Americans want to support intelligence efforts to detect terrorism plots. But they also need assurances that intelligence-gathering methods are legal and don’t violate their constitutional rights. That’s what is missing with the National Security Agency programs to eavesdrop on international phone calls and e-mails and to collect phone records of millions of ordinary Americans. President Bush assures that these programs are focused only on links to terrorists, but how do we know that without any court review and without any meaningful oversight by Congress? What happens, for example, if these programs turn up incriminating information about political opponents? Will government officials really ignore it? And those who say we should just trust the government have forgotten past abuses.
Posted by Phillip Brownlee
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