Constitution violations are still adding up

Allen Hines

Apparently a little paperwork to help prevent Orwellian supervision is too much for the Bush administration, so they just don’t bother with it. Instead, they conduct surveillance on people of interest inside the United States with little oversight.

The Bush administration’s secret wiretapping program was uncovered in December. Under this program, the government bypassed a court created under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The FISA court oversees who the government can and cannot watch. The court approved nearly every application for surveillance it has received since its creation in 1979.

Recently, Judge Anna Diggs Taylor ruled the program unconstitutional, citing violations of the First and Fourth Amendments. Taylor did not mention the government’s obligation to obtain FISA warrants in her decision, though many legal experts think that is the strongest argument against the program.

The New York Times found out the U.S. government has yet another program to spy on suspected terrorists, this one to track money transfers around the world. The June 26 article reported that under the program, a Belgium-based consortium which handles $6 trillion in transactions daily, provides the CIA with financial records. The government has looked at the financial records of thousands of U.S. citizens and others in the country. Again, the Bush administration didn’t bother with warrants.

The British information commissioner is now investigating the program’s legality. A representative of the commissioner recently told the Guardian newspaper that if the CIA looked at the records of any European citizen, it likely broke the law.

We can only hope that this investigation is fruitful and charges are filed against George Bush. After all, he doesn’t have the luxury of appointing lackey judges to support him on the international court, as he did with U.S. judges John Roberts and Samuel Alito, so he may finally face some penalty for the crimes he has committed as president.

Under Bush’s rule, we have witnessed numerous violations of the Constitution, and the violations of international law are also piling up. The recently discovered surveillance programs are just two examples.

I am not calling for the toppling of the Bush regime because I think some other career politician could do better. If Bush goes down in disgrace before the 2008 elections, the electorate of this country will throw its weight behind some ultra-liberal Democrat who has many of the same principles as the Republicans but repackages them to look different.

Instead, I hope Bush is prosecuted because of his other crimes — the war on Iraq and the slow response to Hurricane Katrina, to name a couple. This approach is similar to locking up mobster Al Capone on tax evasion charges, only Bush has killed more people and done more damage to the United States than 100 Capones.

Still, Bush’s downfall depends on a bureaucrat in Britain, one of the United States’ staunchest allies. Allies in world domination always stick together. So, the only way the world’s worst serial murderer will face justice is if the people of the world call for it.

Allen Hines is a sophomore pre-journalism and mass communication major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].