It was revealed today that the Bush administration not only tracks your international phone records and your domestic phone records-after denying they were doing these things-but also your banking records. No court warrants were issued for any of these, instead Bush uses his good old standby for Presidents who have wanted be above the law: executive privilege.
The NY Times and LA Times wanted to make this program public, but the White House urgently requested that they keep it a secret. They urgently requested that it be kept a secret despite their contention that everything about it is legal.
It reminds me of the argument made by supporters of the phone records spying: “If you aren’t doing anything wrong, then what is there to get upset about?” Do you mind if I turn that logic around for a moment?
If there is nothing illegal or immoral or unethical about this program to secretly look into the bank accounts of suspected terrorists-and at this point I think we can pretty much agree that Dick Cheney and George W. Bush believe that anyone who doesn’t leak lies to the NY Times for them is a potential terrorist suspect-then why keep it a secret?
Oh, sure, I know the answer they and their supporters will hand us: Any information that terrorists know about our plans will give them an advantage. Well, here’s my response to that.
If terrorists are so stupid as to use cell phones and bank accounts that can be tracked, then why is the World Trade Center no longer standing? It’s time Americans started realizing that these secret programs are not designed to capture terrorists. They’re much smarter at working below the lines than you or I. They don’t buy family calling plans with Verizon and they don’t have checking accounts down at the local bank. If any terrorist plot is ever stifled because of these programs it will be purely coincidental.
Once again the evidence arises that the Bush White House considers themselves above the law. Once again the evidence arises that the Bush security plan is based on the idea that terrorists are calling each other and planning bombing campaigns over the phone and that they are paying for their Nokia phone with a checking account. If this is the height of sophistication in the Bush security plan be afraid.
Be very, very, very afraid. Oh, and just wait a few weeks. I’m sure we’ll find out that Bush has secretly been wiretapping public conversations. After all, taping a public conversation is not against the law, therefore it’s justified. Why they’re keeping it secret is another topic altogether.