By Bob Barr
For the Journal-Constitution Published on: 08/22/07
It's been a little over two weeks since Congress, rushing to get out of town for its August recess, greatly expanded the power of the Bush administration to conduct surreptitious surveillance of Americans' international calls and e-mails.
While we have no idea how many such transmissions have in fact been monitored, the universe of such communications is vast, as is the government's ability —- and now its legal authority —- to intercept, gather and retain such data. Given the administration's propensity to gather as much information on as many people as possible and sort it out later, it is reasonable and prudent to conclude the number of communications already gathered and retained is extremely large.
It therefore appears timely for Americans to understand just a little bit about how extensive this new power granted the administration really is. (To continue: Congress Trashes ...)
Bob Barr Gets it. Where is the Democrat Majority?
Bob Barr explains in this article that the old law did indeed need to be updated due to changing technology, but this new law goes way beyond what was necessary and gives the President broad new powers to spy on Americans. This new law makes virtually all international calls and emails subject to monitoring without any court oversight. This is a shedding of the 4th Amendment! The good news is that the law must be reviewed again in six months.
I am proud of those handful of "movement conservatives" such as Barr who are standing by conservative principals of distrust of government and standing for Constitutional governance. Bob Barr is one of the four conservative founders of the American Freedom Agenda, which is described as "a coalition established to restore checks and balances and civil liberties protections under assault by the executive branch."
While I do not approve of those Republicans who supported this bill and think one should always put country above party, I can understand party loyalty and understand why the majority of Republican sided with the President and gave him the benefit of the doubt. I do not understand, however, why the Democratic majority are rolling over and playing dead. Is not one of the benefits of divided government, that the "loyal opposition" will provide greater scrutiny of the administration than when the administration and legislative are of the same party? The bill passed the house with a forty vote margin and passed the Senate by a whopping 60 to 28. While the President has a job approval rating of about 30% the Congress has an even lower approval rating of 24%. They have earned it.