Wednesday, March 01, 2006

NSA Surveillance.

I added a few new updates to the Wiretapping Link Repository this morning. If you see blog posts, news stories, or other commentary on this, drop me an email or add a comment and I'll add the link to the repository.

One interesting new post about the NSA Surveillance Program is a commentary at ACS Blog about the development of the role of whistleblowers from "Deep Throat" to the current NSA controversy. It's an interesting read about how all three branches of government have previously lauded the important role of whistleblowers in a variety of contexts, despite the current administration's protests that the whistleblowers in this case put national security at risk.

In the end, it is not a political issue, but one that reaches the freedoms recognized in the Constitution. As Rep. Christopher Shays (D-CT) noted: the “extraordinary powers needed to wage war on our enemies could, if unchecked, inflict collateral damage on the very rights and freedoms we fight to protect . . . expansive executive authorities demands equally expansive scrutiny by Congress and the public.” Whistleblowers, he added, are an “absolutely essential source.”

Another recent post of note is one today at TalkLeft about Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and a letter he has sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee "clarifying" his February 6 testimony about the NSA surveillance program. TalkLeft believes the new letter suggests that the administration has been engaged in more warrantless spying on American citizens than has been disclosed to date. For example, in Gonzales' earlier testimony he indicated that President Bush had authorized the NSA warrantless wiretapping program and said "that is all that he has authorized." But in this recent letter Gonzales was careful to "clarify" that his statements about the legality of the program were not meant to address "any other classified intelligence activities" and that he had meant to confine his February 6 remarks to the NSA surveillance program. All of this suggests the possibility that the administration and/or the NSA have other programs ongoing that have not yet been disclosed.