©2013 By ILANA MERCER
No wonder the language being deployed to describe the forlorn Associated-Press reporters is something redolent of a jilted lover. The AP has been violated by its beloved Barack Obama and his gang-bangers. The news agency has gone from sexting, so to speak, with the president, to being snooped on by him.
Politico offered readers an endearingly intimate glimpse “Inside the AP,” where the flaccid folks were overcome by feelings of “fear” and “determination.” Nevertheless, they had not lost their resolve, and were proceeding with “heads-down determination.”
What made The Beloved and his dream team turn to rough play?
According to the (idiomatic) mainstream, Obama’s Justice Department had been monitoring AP phonelines in D.C., in the Hartford and New York bureaus, and in Congress. Subpoenaed too were the phone logs, “credit card receipts, airplane records and other digital information,” belonging to individual AP editors and reporters. All this in violation of Fourth-Amendment protections; without presenting a judge with evidence of probable cause, and absent a search warrant (all SOP, or standard operating procedure, at the Transportation Security Administration).
The Justice Department in the person of Attorney General Eric Holder has claimed, comically, to have been looking to plug a “very, very, very, serious leak.” Perhaps “the most serious” since the AG started his prosecutorial career in 1976.
A pesky detail has eluded all those invincibly stupid special interests who’re piping up for the privacy of the press, as opposed to fighting for the privacy of all Americans. Have the various tele-lawyers, the director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and protesting members of the House Judiciary Committee forgotten the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, whose provisions were extended until December 31, 2017, by the people’s representatives?
There is nothing new about warrantless wiretapping—other than that the American people haven’t been particularly exercised about them. They’ve trusted Uncle Sam to go about this activity judiciously. Peeping Sam had promised, after all, that covert surveillance would never be executed against “United States persons.” Were a “United States person” to fall under suspicion, he or she would not be subjected to surveillance without “judicial and congressional oversight,” puled the same perverts.
It’s not as if the National Security Agency (NSA) under George Bush was not accused of bypassing the courts to spy on the 43rd president’s many critics. It was! Sideshow “O,” however, has done Bush one better. Obama is using the FISA provisions against “friendlies.”
George Bush, you’ll recall (or maybe not), also authorized the President’s Surveillance Program (PSP). Subsumed within the PSP are activities whose scope has yet to be disclosed. Attorney General Holder, at the behest of President Obama—no doubt—is expanding the remits of the Surveillance State, as did “W” before him.
The incontinent coverage of the AP outrage has a delusional quality. Contra those whose job it is to feign indignation on TV—America is not a free country. Media convulsions notwithstanding, the government is reading over your shoulder—has been doing so for some time. It can spy on Americans without breaking the law.
It is perfectly permissible for the state to monitor you, me or The Other Guy, without a “perfunctory nod to due process and legal restraint.” In other words, without a court order.
National Journal is agreed, writing that “the Obama administration technically broke no rules.” Companies that give up this information to the government have “immunity,” which has been “built into a 2008 revision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.”
Here’s the other rub: FISA permits surveillance sans court order, explains Wikipedia, for “the period of one year provided it is only for foreign intelligence.”
And provided the president has authorized the fishing expedition.
In my understanding of the impossibly convoluted and cancerous Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Obama has to have authorized the dragnet that was cast at the Associated Press.