More Than Just Another Third-Rate Burglary?
For a better understanding of the NSA's responsibilities and capabilities, see The National Security Agency Declassified, a web page of the George Washington University, National Security Archive.
To better see how national security nonconsensual electronic surveillances are administered within the US justice system, see the Department of Justice's Office of Intelligence Policy and Review webpage.
It seems to me there are two serious questions that need to be answered to ensure the preservation of our Constitution's 4th, 6th, and 1st Amendments:
- Was the NSA used illegally by the President to conduct nonconsensual electronic surveillances on US citizens in the US? If the answer is "yes", then it must also be asked what lawful use the government could make of the information obtained from the illegal searches. Certainly the government could not use illegally obtained evidence in any criminal prosecution of US citizens. That leaves taking extrajudicial action against US citizens the government believed was violating the law. I would hate to think our government would even consider extrajudicial action against US citizens.
- What was the New York Times told that convinced it to withhold this story for a year at the request of the White House? Why did the Times choose to run the story now? What has changed? The Times needs to fully and honestly explain how its decision to withhold the original story should be viewed as anything other than a failure of its 1st Amendment responsibilities to US citizens. The explanation offered by Times Executive Editor Bill Keller and reported in today's Editor & Publisher online is weak at best.
Here's a relevant excerpt from Volume 61, Number 11, December 2004 issue of Bench & Bar of Minnesota: "As the Watergate scandal erupted, Senator Walter Mondale said in July of 1973, 'I am shocked by the number of lawyers involved in the Watergate scandal … . The sad truth is that the legal profession performed miserably in the entire Watergate affair.' John Dean asked: 'How in God’s name could so many lawyers get involved in something like this?' "