Changing Minds… My Thoughts On FISA Seven Years Ago

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I find it interesting how people change their minds and views on things. I thought that I’d always been against this program, but I’m wrong in that recollection. That’s the cool thing about blogging and commenting on other blogs. Having the ability to search and find old comments on topics is kind of cool…. An sometimes annoying, as I was all prepared to call out the hypocrites where for the FISA program back in the day, and it looks like I’m one of them!!!! 🙂

This is what I wrote in a comment at Gay Patriot back when the original story broke about the FISA wiretaps at the end of 2005:

  1. At the beginning of the new era, 9/12, many started asking why we Americans aren’t sacrificing more. This was usually couched as a method of furthering a political agenda, as shone here. Well, the NSA wire tapping revelation is an example of the sacrifices that must be made if we are serious about preventing another attack on our soil. And no, this is not like Watergate. In this case, several key members of congress, including Jay Rockerfeller, were briefed periodically about the operation. Each of those members had ample time to express their doubts behind closed doors, and if their doubts were valid, the operation would have probably been shut down. So it’s not as if there were no checks or balances in this case. Also, Bush did not just wake up one day and decide “Hey! I’d be cool to wiretap people without court approval”. This action was set into motion with the approval of the DoJ.

    As for the legalities, I’ll leave that up to the lawyers to decide. But I’d rather have a president who is willing to push the edge of the envelope to try and protect against a future attack, rather than one who wont step over a line or two and thus leaving us more vulnerable to attack.

    Just my thoughts

    Comment by sonicfrog — December 22, 2005 @ 7:29 pm – December 22, 2005

Now I am against them. Unlike many who have changed their minds based on the “D” in front of the name of the current resident of the White House, my change of heart was not due to the events of the last week and changed long ago. I think I’ll have to credit the years of listening to podcaster / history buff Dan Carlin for bringing me around. Government abuse of power has been a constant theme on his “Common Sense” podcast… In fact, he has a brand spanking new podcast out right now covering this topic.

I’ve been looking to see if I had blogged or commented on another blog on the FISA topic between 2006 and now, but so far I haven’t been able to turn anything up. Looking back though, I think this commenter at Gay Patriot expressed the right balance of approval coupled with caution that I wished I would have written or thought at the time.

This is one of these issues that leaves me scratching my head. Even though I’m liberal, I support the government working to do things like, say….stopping terrorists from attacking us again. Using wiretaps on cel phones is clearly something that is helping to accomplish this goal, along with other modern forms of electronic surveillance.

Why is it though that the members of the Bush administration want to sidestep an established court order process for performing these wiretaps. From what I’ve read (and tell me if I’m wrong), the laws as written allow for both secret issuance of court orders and for court orders “after the fact” if it’s deemed necessary to perform a wiretap in a timely manner.

Allowing a goverment to do something completely in secret, may sound good if the initial goals are agreed upon. However, the old saying goes that absolute power corrupts absolutely. If these acts can be used against bona-fide suspected terrorists, what’s to stop someone in position of power in the government from using these against his/her own enemies, perceived or real? Let’s not forget Nixon….his downfall stemmed from the fact that he used what he thought was the power of the presidency to work secretly against his “enemies”.

Comment by Kevin — January 20, 2006 @ 8:20 pm – January 20, 2006

With the revelation of the PRISM program, I think it is safe to say things have gone way too far.