When it comes to the War on Terror, the Bush administration has sought to leave no stone unturned – which is why the wiretapping ordered by President Bush and carried out by the National Security Agency has become the subject of not one, but two different lawsuits.
The two suits – one based out of Detroit through the American Civil Liberties Union and one out of New York filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights – are citing that President Bush’s use of wiretapping was not given to him by judicial authority, that he may have done it illegally.
Many Americans agreed that after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, closer monitoring of suspicious activity in the United States was required to prevent such attacks from happening again. Yet with the advent of the Patriot Act and its possible February renewal, those same Americans who desired to keep our country safe at all costs may now be wondering if the government is taking things a bit too far.
Bush does not believe so. An Associated Press story said that Bush is justifying the wiretapping with “a congressional resolution passed after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that authorized him to use force in the fight against terrorism as allowing him to order the (wiretapping) program.”
Many inside the FBI, including the director, Robert S. Mueller III, initially raised concerns about the legality of listening in on the international calls of Americans without a warrant, according to an article in the New York Times. Agents in the FBI who were instructed to follow the leads presented by the wiretapping found most of these leads to be a waste of time.
“More than a dozen current and former law enforcement and counterterrorism officials – said the torrent of tips led them to few potential terrorists inside the country,” the Times article said, “- and diverted agents from counterterrorism work they viewed as more productive.”
While the government may have good intentions behind its wiretapping agenda, the essential fact of the matter is that it is potentially doing this without the legality of warrants gained through the judicial system. The citizens who are involved in filing these lawsuits do not feel as though they are being protected, and giving up their personal freedoms are a price they are not willing to pay.