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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Intel Committee Vote Today on NSA Oversight

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence votes today on whether they will exercise their Constitutional duty to provide oversight on the illegal NSA domestic spying -- or whether they are an irrelevent bunch of nitwits who don't deserve a paycheck. I think that pretty much sums up how I feel about it -- how about you?

Anonymous Liberal, guest posting at Glenn Greenwald's blog this morning, has a few choice thoughts for the Democratic leadership on this issue.
Long story short, it seems that most Democrats have, at least so far, badly misjudged the relative strength of their hand and the weakness of their opponent's. They've got pocket Aces with another Ace showing on the flop, and they're still afraid to call an obvious bluff. It's pathetic. Every Democrat should be repeating verbatim what Al Gore said when he spoke about this subject last month, and with the same intensity.
Damn straight.

If Americans understand anything, it's real world examples that directly impact their lives. You think the Bush Administration isn't spying on everyday, ordinary people who are doing nothing wrong? Well, think again. How about this example of some regular folks who were scrutinized because they...paid off a credit card.
And all they did was pay down their debt. They didn't call a suspected terrorist on their cell phone. They didn't try to sneak a machine gun through customs.

They just paid a hefty chunk of their credit card balance. And they learned how frighteningly wide the net of suspicion has been cast.

After sending in the check, they checked online to see if their account had been duly credited. They learned that the check had arrived, but the amount available for credit on their account hadn't changed....

They were told, as they moved up the managerial ladder at the call center, that the amount they had sent in was much larger than their normal monthly payment. And if the increase hits a certain percentage higher than that normal payment, Homeland Security has to be notified. And the money doesn't move until the threat alert is lifted.
I'm with Arthur on this one. I'm just going to assume from now on that the Bush Administration is monitoring everything I do. (And a big morning howdy to my minder. Just put on a fresh cuppa coffee in case you are stopping by today. **wave**)

Take a little time this morning to call members of the Senate Intel Committee and explain -- in a short and succinct way -- how un-American you find this behavior without some checks and balances and oversight -- and that you expect them to do their jobs and provide oversight. It will make you feel better.

Then, put on a fresh pot of coffee. You never know who might be dropping by to check on that payment you sent to the drycleaners or the pharmacist or...well, you never know these days, do you?

UPDATE: As Wesgpc points out in the comments, all those Pizza Hut runs for the FBI have a whole new level of meaning now, don't they? Also, Sam caught an error -- that Bruce Schneier pointed out -- the problem is the amendments made to the Bank Secrecy Act via the Patriot Act. Check out Bruce's blog for specifics on this.