Spy Court Judge Quits In Protest

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Looks like the wiretapping story has legs…

Now, a little background about what I’ve heard on wiretaps…when the government has gone to the courts to request them, those requests have only been denied several times in the last 30 years. So its not surprising that Bush’s actions have pushed people like U.S. District Judge James Robertson over the edge.

From the Washington Post:

Two associates familiar with his decision said yesterday that Robertson privately expressed deep concern that the warrantless surveillance program authorized by the president in 2001 was legally questionable and may have tainted the FISA court’s work.

Robertson, who was appointed to the federal bench in Washington by President Bill Clinton in 1994 and was later selected by then-Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist to serve on the FISA court, declined to comment when reached at his office late yesterday.

And just to be clear, regardless of what many are saying about the usefullness of wiretapping, the concerns of any President having absolute power is a bi-partisan issue:

Word of Robertson’s resignation came as two Senate Republicans joined the call for congressional investigations into the National Security Agency’s warrantless interception of telephone calls and e-mails to overseas locations by U.S. citizens suspected of links to terrorist groups. They questioned the legality of the operation and the extent to which the White House kept Congress informed.

Sens. Chuck Hagel (Neb.) and Olympia J. Snowe (Maine) echoed concerns raised by Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who has promised hearings in the new year.

Hagel and Snowe joined Democrats Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Carl M. Levin (Mich.) and Ron Wyden (Ore.) in calling for a joint investigation by the Senate judiciary and intelligence panels into the classified program.

It’s been fairly disheartening to read the blogosphere take partisan sides on this issue. People, this isn’t a partisan issue, and it’s not about Bush. This is about how we define freedom and why some are willing to give up the right to a life free of intense government scrutiny because they simply want the illusion of being safe. Nobody knows if these wiretaps made us safer, but I can almost guarantee you that wiretaps that monitored groups like PETA and other peace and civil rights activists bore no fruit in the War On Terrorism.

And that’s what’s at issue here, because where will it all stop? How far will we go in the name of protecting our nation? It seems some say “all the way”, but then what kind of nation are we protecting? Are we then still the beacon of freedom, or do those thousand points of light start to dim?

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