the prying eyes of your government

In the continuing slow-motion explosion of SnoopGate, we find:

  • The moderator of the Cryptography mailing list says the President violated the law and endangered the future of the Republic:
    There is no room for doubt or question about whether the President has the prerogative to order surveillance without asking the FISC -- even if the FISC is a toothless organization that never turns down requests, it is a federal crime, punishable by up to five years imprisonment, to conduct electronic surveillance against US citizens without court authorization.

    The FISC may be worthless at defending civil liberties, but in its arrogant disregard for even the fig leaf of the FISC, the administration has actually crossed the line into a crystal clear felony. The government could have legally conducted such wiretaps at any time, but the President chose not to do it legally.

    Ours is a government of laws, not of men. That means if the President disagrees with a law or feels that it is insufficient, he still must obey it. Ignoring the law is illegal, even for the President. The President may ask Congress to change the law, but meanwhile he must follow it.

    Our President has chosen to declare himself above the law, a dangerous precedent that could do great harm to our country. However, without substantial effort on the part of you, and I mean you, every person reading this, nothing much is going to happen. The rule of law will continue to decay in our country. Future Presidents will claim even greater extralegal authority, and our nation will fall into despotism. I mean that sincerely. For the sake of yourself, your children and your children’s children, you cannot allow this to stand.

    Call your Senators and your Congressman. Demand a full investigation, both by Congress and by a special prosecutor, of the actions of the Administration and the NSA. Say that the rule of law is all that stands between us and barbarism. Say that we live in a democracy, not a kingdom, and that our elected officials are not above the law. The President is not a King. Even the President cannot participate in a felony and get away with it. Demand that even the President must obey the law.

    (via boing boing)

  • Our Vice President is telling blatant lies and getting away with it.
  • AmericaBlog points out that this means the Second Amendment is just as dead as the Fourth -- alert the gun nuts NRA members in your life. (via Medley's Furl-stream.)
  • JWZ breaks down the post-Bush impeachment succession order and discovers it's all bad, all the way down the line.
  • Finally, Talking Points Memo and Political Animal are both speculating that the underlying reason for the secrecy over this program, and the reason why it wasn't presented to Congress in the first place, is because it involves wholesale screening of electronic communication -- i.e., the NSA reading everyone's email. Time to bust out that GPG Howto, or maybe turn your holiday celebration into a keysigning party.