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Will the 110th Congress Challenge Bush’s Domestic Spying Program? December 17, 2006

Posted by publicpolitics in U.S. Congress.
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Federal agents continue to eavesdrop on Americans’ electronic communications without warrants a year after

President Bush confirmed the practice, and experts say a new Congress’ efforts to limit the program could trigger a constitutional showdown.

David Kravets, Associated Press

Experts differ on whether the Congress can effectively challenge the secret program begun soon after 9/11. The President puts up the familiar argument that in wartime, the constitution permits such extraordinary invasiveness and secrecy. The legislative options are limited when a president is determined, and this one seems to be. The veto in this divided Congress is a powerful tool because it is difficult to override if the executive can muster any loyalty at all. The American Civil Liberties Union’s challenge to the Bush spying program will be heard in the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals January 31, 2007. The case is American Civil Liberties Union v. National Security Agency, (06-2095). That is one step short of the Supreme Court, and if Bush is affirmed, we are one step closer to a national security state. There are already remedies for situations where monitoring is truly needed, and Bush should use them. The establishment of a permanent, secret wiretap power is an essential step in the buildingofa totalitarian state. A Supreme Court precedent in favor of the Bush program would be much harder to overturn than rapid and vigorous legislative opposition before the case gets that far.

Tags: WARRANTS | Trigger | Spying | showdown | program | looms | Limit | EXPERTS | ELECTRONIC | efforts | EAVESDROP | Domestic | confirmed | communications | Agents | Virginia | San Francisco | Richmond | president | Constitution | Congress | Bush | AMERICANS

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