Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Banking Surveillance Program and Outing It

No detailed analysis here, just general impressions. I'm not sure what's going on yet.

But I have to say, this program doesn't seem all that crazy/invasive to me, and I'm inclined to wish that the NYT had been a little less specific about what was going on--to start out with, at least. I have some suspicion that the administration has been so secretive and dishonest to this point that many of us just expect that they're always up to no good. But it's not so clear to me in this case yet.

My reaction was very much like Schumers at the end of this Post story:

"Allowing law enforcement to examine bank records in order to stop the flow of money to terrorists makes a lot of sense, and this program appears to allow for just that. The real question here, as with so many other programs run by this Administration, is whether they are obeying the laws we have on the books to protect Americans from unnecessary invasions of their privacy."


Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

At some point reality must intrude and ask if this defending of a putative slippery slope is going to get people killed.

5:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I gotta admit, unlike the half-dozen other things the Bush admin has been exposed on - things that were alternatively unethical, immoral, illegal, or all three - what I've seen thus far doesn't lead me to believe this particular program really should have been blown.

That said, I'd like to ask TVD if he understands that this stuff did not happen in a vaccuum - that the admin has done stuff to earn this kind of intense and occassionally overreaching scrutiny. Is it really unreasonable to suggest that if the admin behaved in a way that didn't suggest this whole "rule of law" thing was just a passing fad, stuff like this would A) occur less, and B) be more roundly condemned when it did happen? Or are you taking the position that because our enemies are so vile, Bush is empowered to do anything he sees fit to fight them?

5:57 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

I'm sayin' what I'm sayin'. I don't care about the rest of it just now.

7:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Of all the secret Bushist surveillance programs that the New York Times has told us about, this one has by far the most open precedents. Pretty much anyone who was paying attention knew that the U.S. is watching money flow this way and that.

Duhbya himself has frequently referred to tracing the terrorists funding, so he had already outed this program in vague terms. That fits the pattern of the Cheney administration to a tee - revealing state secrets is reserved to them for use as a crass political tool. Is there a difference between the interests of the GOP and that of the nation?

We're already off the slippery slope into mid-air. Constitutional democracy is not a Bushist value, just something to pay lip service to while gathering as much power as possible. Did anyone else notice that the Supreme Court majority shied away from a direct confrontation with Duhbya? From news reports, it seems they gave the Bushists a way out - via the pliant Congress - and kept for themselves a fig leaf of the checks and balances that used to exist a short five years ago.

5:44 PM  

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