Using former President Nixon's Administration as the baseline standard, there has never been such an emphasis on security and privacy within an Administration as is currently being manifest under President Bush. Unfortunately the same concerns do not seem to be extended to the Citizens of the United States.
And it extends far beyond issues of national security. A blatant example of this...
Senator Mel Martinez, special friend of the President, while acting as the Secretary of HUD, decided to draft a final rule affecting all facets of the housing industry and specifically mortgage finance disclosures.
Repeated attempts by both industry trade associations and Congressional representatives to obtain the details of this draft final rule were rebuffed. Secrecy was maintained at the highest levels. There were no leaks. No officials provided hints or partial specifics.
The proposed legislation drew a record 40,000-plus comment letters from industry and congressional representatives without even having been published as a draft: sight unseen.
In the end, the Congressional leadership vowed to fight any draft final rule that Martinez proposed and his tenure at HUD was over.
Fortunately for Martinez, there was another job opportunity available: the election of a Senator from Florida. Of course, the President threw his tacit support to his buddy Martinez instead of Kathleen Harris. Harris, you might remember, struggled mightily as the Florida Secretary of State to run a fair and clean election which ultimately elected Bush to the Presidency... and embroiled her in controversy.
(Now Martinez stands with buddy Bush and Teddy Kennedy to promote amnesty for illegal aliens.)
Some say it is a sign of administrative arrogance while others seem to believe that it is the way the administration avoids demonstrating their sheer incompetence. Any yet others see an evil malevolence and hidden agenda. Gaining access to all private communications for political purposes -- far beyond the routine political snooping of the Nixons and the Clintons.
Furthering that concern is the President's use of signing statements and Presidential directives signaling the Administration's intention to ignore legislation passed by Congress and being signed into law by the President of the United States.
The Administration Rebuffed on EMAIL snooping without a warrant...
A recent United States District Court Ruling substantially upheld a lower court's preliminary injunction that would require the government to follow proper procedure and to allow the customer of an Internet Service Provider to receive a notice to allow the customer to take legal action to protect their rights.
Although there are established procedures for surveillance warranted under national defense and criminal considerations, the government did not like this ruling and appealed.
"The government appeals the district court’s entry of a preliminary injunction, prohibiting it from seizing “the contents of any personal e-mail account maintained by an Internet Service Provider in the name of any resident of the Southern District of Ohio without providing the relevant account holder or subscriber prior notice and an opportunity to be heard on any complaint, motion, or other pleading seeking issuance of such an order.”
The Court, serving as the last bastion of freedom for those who deny citizens their rights under law, said...
"The district court correctly determined that e-mail users maintain a reasonable expectation of privacy in the content of their e-mails, and we agree that the injunctive relief it crafted was largely appropriate, although we find necessary one modification."
"On remand, the preliminary injunction should be modified to prohibit the United States from seizing the contents of a personal e-mail account maintained by an ISP in the name of any resident of the Southern District of Ohio, pursuant to a court order issued under 18 U.S.C. § 2703(d), without either (1) providing the relevant account holder or subscriber prior notice and an opportunity to be heard, or (2) making a fact-specific showing that the account holder maintained no expectation of privacy with respect to the ISP, in which case only the ISP need be provided prior notice and an opportunity to be heard."
Just because Administration policies and legislation exist to force technology vendors to enable government surveillance, there is no automatic right for them to do so unless a proper search warrant showing probable cause has been legally obtained.
Thus an e-mail provider does not have any more right to disclose the contents of your email than the telephone company's right to reveal the contents of your conversations...without a legal warrant.
This is a constitutional issue which should have been carefully considered by the Department of Justice. Unfortunately, it appears that, under the direction of another Bush Buddy, Alberto Gonzales, the Department has been politicized almost to the point of ineffectiveness. The Department's non-prosecution of law enforcement officials and so-called "confidential informants" over false and misleading representations to the Court in obtaining warrants remains a subject to be further addressed.
What can YOU do?
Beware of your rights as a citizen of the United States. Learn more about the Constitution which makes our government and our lives immeasurably better than most other nation's of this world.
Support organizations that support Constitutional rights. No, not phony pseudo-rights organizations like the leftist ACLU, but organizations like the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) which has fought governmental and corporate incursions into the lives of ordinary Americans. They can be found at www.eff.org.
Vote for honest, open politicians who disavow the rabid partisanship which currently seeks to divide American into easily defeated separatist constituencies. In essence, not more Clintons, Bushs, or those with a religious or one-issue agenda. Representatives who will represent American over any particular partisan cause.
The government appears to be in a confused state -- help bring the disinfecting sunlight back into the government.
A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…
“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!
“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw
“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell “Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar “Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell
“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar
“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS