“Sometimes I Feel Like, Somebody’s Watching Me”

20 04 2009

And listening to my calls, and tracking my URL visits, and storing my GPS movements, etc…

This paranoia is something I share with liberals, who elected Obama in large part because he pledged to restore our Constitutional rights of privacy and ditch the power-grabbing Police State model while declassifying Bush’s previously stonewalled perversions so that we could heal.

However, it seems Obama is turning out to be potentially far more invasive than Bush, and even a few liberals (outside the corporate msm) are noticing.

I expected this from Obama, a man who has now appointed more, “czars” than the Romanovs, as The Volokh Conspiracy highlights:

Over some 300 years, Russia was ruled by a total of 18 czars of the Romanov dynasty. However, as David Rothkopf of Foreign Policy points out, the Obama administration has now appointed more czars than that in just three months.

But back to Obama the Constitution Shredder, from Reason:

Barack Obama, who at one point was looking at least a little better than his predecessor on the issue of warrantless domestic surveillance, may turn out to be just as bad. During his campaign he criticized the Bush administration for flouting the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by monitoring communications involving people in the U.S. without a court order. But then he went along with amendments to FISA that legalized such surveillance, even giving in on the issue of retroactive immunity for the telecommunications companies that facilitated it. Now The New York Times reports that the National Security Agency has been abusing its new statutory powers, collecting purely domestic communications along with the international phone calls and email messages covered by the FISA amendments:

Several intelligence officials, as well as lawyers briefed about the matter, said the N.S.A. had been engaged in “overcollection” of domestic communications of Americans. They described the practice as significant and systemic, although one official said it was believed to have been unintentional.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration is trying to quash an Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) lawsuit aimed at holding Bush administration officials responsible for warrantless surveillance conducted prior to the FISA amendments, surveillance that Obama himself has said was illegal. It argues that allowing the lawsuit to proceed would harm national security—a claim frequently made by the Bush administration, which Obama has criticized as excessively secretive. Obama’s Justice Department has gone even further than the Bush administration, arguing that the PATRIOT Act immunizes government officials who participate in illegal surveillance, except when “the Government obtains information about a person through intelligence-gathering, and Government agents unlawfully disclose that information.”

The Atlantic’s, Marc Ambinder has something on Bush’s favorite loophole, the state secrets privilege:

The Obama administration suffered a bit of a legal setback this afternoon: a federal judge in California rejected the administration’s assertion of the state secrets privilege in the civil suit brought by an Islamic charity that was allegedly subjected to illegal NSA surveillance.

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