(what's this?)
Discussion Forum
Headline Archive
Video Archive
Audio Archive
Document Archive
POAC counter- spin
Daily Email Newsletter
Postal newsletter
POAC Store
Recommended Books
POAC Myspace 
You can have POAC headlines emailed to you every day free of charge. Subscribe here


Paper or plastic? NO! Earth-friendly reinforced canvas grocery totes now available in the POAC store
If you are presently serving in the military or in the Delayed Enlistment Program and beginning to rethink your participation, here are resources to help you.
Your ad here: $50/week or $150/month Click for details

 Contributing Columnists

Tj Templeton
Jack Dalton
Anwaar Hussain
Doris Colmes
Crisis Papers
Vincent L Guarisco
W. David Jenkins III
Dr. Steven Jonas
Lucinda Marshall
Jason Miller
Andrew Wahl
Rowan Wolf
Reader Submissions

POAC merchandise:

T-shirts, fleece, tank-tops, prints, magnets and more...


Must-see Selections

14 points of fascism
Sept. 11: They Let it happen 
A brief history of the PNAC: a refresher 
Bush Cronyism
Catapulting the propaganda: The Rendon group
The office of special plans
The Whitehouse Iraq Group

POAC ENDORSED: The 15% Solution: A Political History of American Fascism, 2001 to 2022 

F r o m   t h e Archives

National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive makes Bush dictator in event of a terrorist attack or disaster
Former Reagan official says "something's in the works" to trigger a police state (Held over)
Whitehouse denies member of the Homeland Security Committee right to examine plan for operating the government after a terrorist attack.
Iran-contra all over again. (Video) "Explosive" new Hersh scoop: Bush funneling money to Al Qaeda-related groups
Must see: What happens at Facebook.com does not stay at Facebook.com
Dateline 2002: "This is a memo that describes how we're going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq..."


Mass Surveillance Is Not Legal

Rowan Wolf


I am not sure why it is even a question whether the President has the right to spurious surveillance of U.S. citizens, but apparently it is. A report released on January 5, 2005 by the Congressional Research Services, states that Bush likely exceeded his authority in authorizing the NSA to engage in warrantless wiretaps.

Expand |

At the root of the Bush argument is that he has limitless power as president in a time of war. First, while the scope of presidential authority during war time is broad, but not limitless - and not without oversight. Bush, and administration functionaries and flunkies have consistently made this argument, and within the scope of that assumed power is also a limitless range of what gets defined as "national security." The transcripts of the Cheney energy meetings are one example, and Bush Senior's paper are another.

At the heart of the presidential powers that Bush argues for, is that we are at "war." However, that "war" is an ever shifting chimera called the "war on terrorism." We have been told that there is no specific enemy in this "war," that it is global in reach, and that it will last for generations. If we accept the war on terrorism as a legitimate and legal war, then we are essentially making a dictator out of the presidency no matter who is in office. We are accepting a limitless scope of authority beyond the law, the Constitution, and any Congressional oversight - into perpetuity.

However, the "war on terrorism" is more in the nature of the "war on crime," the "war on drugs," and the "Cold war," than war within a Constitutional context. By this definition, Nixon, Reagan, Kennedy, Johnson, Ford, Bush Sr., and Clinton, could all have legitimately claimed the same powers that George W. Bush lays claim to. All of them were fighting the "Cold War."

If the "war" that Bush claims gives him this power is the war in Iraq, then he proclaimed the end of that war almost two years ago. Troops in Iraq are not at war - they are on a peacekeeping mission. Hence, the Iraq "war" is no more, and if Bush wants to claim war powers, he will need to unilaterally declare war on someone else. Perhaps that is why the preparations seem to be moving towards attacking Iran.

In reading the CRS report, it seems clear that Bush's authorization of domestic wiretapping exceeded both law and the Constitution. The questions remain because it is unknown what the actual scope of the NSA program includes. The concluding paragraph of the CRS report summarizes this:

"From the foregoing analysis, it appears unlikely that a court would hold that Congress has expressly or impliedly authorized the NSA electronic surveillance operations here under discussion, and it would likewise appear that, to the extent that those surveillances fall within the definition of “electronic surveillance†within the meaning of FISA or any activity regulated under Title III, Congress intended to cover the entire field with these statutes. To the extent that the NSA activity is not permitted by some reading of Title III or FISA, it may represent an exercise of presidential power at its lowest ebb, in which case exclusive presidential control is sustainable only by “disabling Congress from acting upon the subject.†While courts have generally accepted that the President has the power to conduct 141 domestic electronic surveillance within the United States inside the constraints of the Fourth Amendment, no court has held squarely that the Constitution disables the Congress from endeavoring to set limits on that power. To the contrary, the Supreme Court has stated that Congress does indeed have power to regulate domestic surveillance, and has not ruled on 142 the extent to which Congress can act with respect to electronic surveillance to collect foreign intelligence information. Given such uncertainty, the Administration's legal justification, as presented in the summary analysis from the Office of Legislative Affairs, does not seem to be as well-grounded as the tenor of that letter suggests. "

It seems entirely likely that the NSA program was initiated well before "war" was declared, or any possible interpretation of Congress seceding war powers to the President. In fact it may have started as early as October 1, 2001. This is when General Hayden, who was then head of the NSA, said that he had Presidential Authorization to expand the scope of the NSA. Further, the NSA took the fruits of their labors, data mined it, and shared it with other agencies. That has raised further questions about the status of cases where that information may have been used, but not revealed.

News Reports
Basis for Spying in U.S. Is Doubted

1/07/06 Report Rebuts Bush on Spying

Rowan Wolf is a columnist for Project for the Old American Century, 
and the editor of Radical Noesis and Uncommon Thought Journal . 
Her email is [email protected]

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information please review Title 17, Sec. 107 of the U.S. Code. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

privacy policy

© 2002- 2006  OLDAmericanCentury.org and OLDAmericanCentury.com