President Bush rammed through the renewal of the illegal wiretapping of U.S citizens again last week.
Bush did it using the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act courts as the approving body. And it came at the end of the final week of Congress before they all go home for the fall recess.
That might sound pretty good until you read the fine print and find out that one person has been designated to approve who gets their privacy invaded illegally by our government: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
Yes, the same person who has lied repeatedly to Congress under oath, the same person the Senate is considering serving a perjury lawsuit against!
Additionally, the Democrats told us they had problems with the FISA courts and the approval process.
Those problems have not been resolved. Yet the Democrats who screamed the loudest during their campaigns about the abuse of privacy by this president and his disregard for the rule of law just go along with this.
It is astounding to think the Democrats approved giving Gonzales more congressional authority in view of his performance over the last year and the problems the Democrats say they have with him and the way he has politicized the Justice Department.
If Gonzales is politicizing the Justice Department in favor of what the Bush White House wants rather than upholding the independent rule of law, what is to stop him from approving wire taps on political opponents here in America at the request of this administration under the guise of terrorism?
Sounds far-fetched? No it isn’t. That’s how the Justice Department caught Martha Stewart.
The department spied on her financial records without her knowledge or approval and it was done under the Patriot Act, which restricts the use of such methods to those engaged in terrorist activities.
How many of you think Stewart is a terrorist? Raise your hands. Not a majority of you, I see.
But if we know the government has abused this power before and if we know Gonzales puts the will of the White House before the independence of the Justice Department, why would anyone agree to pass this illegal wiretapping proposal and make Gonzales the person who decides who will be wiretapped by the government here in America?
Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., was right: We are closer to a dictatorship today than ever before in the history of the United States.
Robert J. Ellis is a lecturer and associate director of business development for the western region of Troy University-Tucson.