Tuesday, May 16, 2006

ABC report: Government is tracking reporters' calls

War Room - Salon.com

For people who don't understand why the NSA database is such an issue, this presents a classic example. Its now suggested that the government is tracking the calls of reporters in order to identify confidential sources in leak investigations. No matter how you define the terms, that use does NOT fall under 'detecting patterns of behaviour among terrorists' nor does it meet the standard that the administration is no 'trolling through the personal lives ... of Americans.'

This report may be totally unfounded. In a system where the proper checks and balances were in place, it would be easy to determine if these reporters claims are true or not. But in the current situation, its nearly impossible for the administration to point to any concrete proof that these things aren't happening. Essentially, the only answer to critics who say that the program isn't being used for political purposes, or for purposes other than the narrowly defined war on terror, is for the administration to say "We aren't ... trust us." Problem is, trust isn't what governments are built on ... they are built in verifiability.

Ronald Reagan once said "Trust ... but verify." Of course, he was talking about Soviet Arms reductions, but it applies just as well here. I'm happy to trust, but I also need to verify. If its good enough for Ronnie, surely its good enough for us today.


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