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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-02-07 03:13 PM
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Robert Parry: Bush's Secret Spying on Americans
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Bush's Secret Spying on Americans

By Robert Parry
August 2, 2007

The dispute over whether Attorney General Alberto Gonzales committed perjury when he parsed words about George W. Bushs warrantless surveillance program misses a larger point: the extraordinary secrecy surrounding these spying operations is not aimed at al-Qaeda, but at the American people.

There has never been a reasonable explanation for why a fuller discussion of these operations would help al-Qaeda, although that claim often is used by the Bush administration to challenge the patriotism of its critics or to avoid tough questions.

On July 27, for instance, White House press secretary Tony Snow fended off reporters who asked about apparent contradictions in Gonzaless testimony by saying:

This gets us back into the situation that I understand is unsatisfactory because there are lots of questions raised and the vast majority of those were not going to be in a position to answer, simply because they do involve matters of classification that we cannot and will not discuss publicly.

Discussion closed.


Since al-Qaeda already assumes its under tight scrutiny and since technical secrets of the surveillance program could still be legitimately classified there appears to be no compelling operational reason for blocking a more informed public debate that would weigh the proper balance between liberty and security in a democratic society.

Yet, because of the secrecy that Bush has pulled down around these operations, neither Congress nor the people can evaluate whether the trade-offs of liberty for security are worth it. Leading senators cant even make an informed judgment about whether Gonzales lied to them.

But that, of course, might be exactly the point. The real purpose of all the secrecy appears to be to enable the Bush administration to construct an authoritarian framework similar to the total information awareness concept without the American people knowing that their liberties are facing a draconian threat from intrusive government spying.
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