Friday, August 24, 2007

Exceptionally Grave Damage to America's Freedoms

Telecom Firms Helped With Government's Warrantless Wiretaps
By Ellen Nakashima Washington Post Staff Writer Friday, August 24, 2007; D03
The Bush administration acknowledged for the first time that telecommunications companies assisted the government's warrantless surveillance program and were being sued as a result, an admission some legal experts say could complicate the government's bid to halt numerous lawsuits challenging the program's legality.
"[U]nder the president's program, the terrorist surveillance program, the private sector had assisted us," Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell said in an interview with the El Paso Times published Wednesday.
An appeals court in San Francisco is weighing the government's argument that these cases should be thrown out on the grounds that the subject matter is a "state secret" and that its disclosure would jeopardize national security.
The government has repeatedly asserted that any relationship between the telecommunications firms and the National Security Agency's spy program is classified. The firms' alleged cooperation and other details of the program, government lawyers have argued, are so sensitive that they cannot be disclosed. The government has argued the lawsuits against the telecom firms must be dismissed.
"[D]isclosure of the information covered by this [state secrets] privilege assertion reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States," McConnell said in a sworn affidavit filed in a federal court in San Francisco in May.
_______________________________________________________________________-
Which, of course, is a total crock of shit.
The exceptionally grave damage that has been done to American society and the freedoms that are basic to American society, have been done by Dick Cheney, David Addington and (with the insubordinate connivance of) Alberto Gonzales.
'State secret' has been so universally abused as a concept and so specifically exploited as a curtain behind which this administration has hidden its abuses, that it no longer has a meaning that can be upheld in a court of law. To propose that 'enemies of the state' could possibly gain advantage by the proper and lawful disclosure of our generalized protections against them, is so contemptible a scare tactic that it smacks of the weakest of dictators.
The antidote to dictatorship has always been the light of truth and information. This past six years of dissembling and fear mongering marks our darkest hours, a low point in the national history.

* For more in-depth articles by Jim on Conservative Politics, check out Opinion-Columns.com