Civil Liberties

If The President Doesn't Sign an Extension, Americans Are Going to Die

|

Republicans today failed to muster the 60 votes needed to end debate on a bill extending and expanding the Protect America Act, a temporary measure that gave the executive branch the unilateral authority to order surveillance of international communications involving people in the U.S. The bill the Bush administration wants would permanently amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to allow such spying without court approval and give retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that helped the NSA carry it out before it was legalized. In his State of the Union address tonight, President Bush is expected to attack Democrats for endangering national security by failing to approve the bill he favors. Meanwhile, however, he has threatened to veto any bill that temporarily extends the Protect America Act, which expires on Friday, to allow more time for debate. If he follows through on that threat, he will be depriving intelligence agencies of tools he has said are necessary to prevent terrorist attacks. By his own account, then, Bush is prepared to risk the lives of Americans just to score political points.

I analyzed the Protect America Act's assault on privacy last August and noted Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell's comments on the fatal effects of criticizing the Bush administration in September.

Advertisement

NEXT: Whatever Is Not Permitted Will Nevertheless Be Taxed

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I would have immediate respect for any congressman that stood up when President Bush attacks “Democrats for endangering national security by failing to approve the bill he favors”, and say GO FUCK YOURSELF.

    It would get millions of hits on youtube and I would have more respect for democrats than I do now, which is negligible.

  2. If Bush doesn’t get his way, he doesn’t just leave the sandbox, he calls in an airstrike to kill the remaining children.

  3. Oh come on, hasn’t that been obvious from day one?

    After September 11th, when unarmed passengers were unable to overpower a few lightly armed men what did the Federal Government do? Did it repeal victim disarmament on aircraft.

    Nope! They didn’t even want crew members to be armed!

    Instead they set up a porous perimeter of security checkpoints* and worked diligently to disarm any law abiding citizen who wasn’t a government official. That way, the next time something like this happens, it won’t be non-government officials thwarting the attack…

    If the U.S. government truly cared about our safety, they would have relaxed restrictions on weapons ownership, even encouraged it. But instead they chose costly security theater, to make it look like they cared.

    *BTW If I were an officer of al Queda, I would be grateful for all those secutrity checkpoints. The lines waiting to go through the screening would present very target rich environment.

  4. hmm, I knew of this bill’s powers but the name hadn’t struck me before. So ..

    The Protect America Act spies on Americans.

    The Patriot Act does away with your rights that Patriots fought for.

    The No Child Left Behind Act makes sure to keep every child back, so none is behind anymore.

    Despite being non-American I’m starting to get the hang of how you guys name legislation finally.

  5. If The President Doesn’t Sign an Extension, Americans Are Going to Die

    No need to worry. Kiefer Sutherland is out of jail. All is well.

  6. In his State of the Union address tonight

    Huh? Is that tonight? It’s a good thing I don’t watch much TV or I’d be bent that Bush was preempting something of far more substance (see: damning with faint praise) with the usual hours-long drivel punctuated by artificial and unworthy applause lines (with the obligatory cut to Teddy K to see if he can muster even a reluctant clap or two when Bush throws a token bone to the liberals) followed by the even-worse (quite an accomplishment), though thankfully much shorter, response from the “opposition.” Why can’t we go back to the days when the president literally mailed it in?

  7. Despite being non-American I’m starting to get the hang of how you guys name legislation finally.

    Bald faced lies. Yep. It’s amazing how many Americans haven’t figured it out.

  8. “Why can’t we go back to the days when the president literally mailed it in?”

    Well, the last president to do that was Jimmy Carter, so I don’t think I want to go to those days specifically.

  9. I get he sarcasm. What I don’t understand is Reason’s complicity in the marginalization of The police state’s most fearless critic: Dr. Ron Paul.

    Matt and Nick have willingly become the libertarian straw men that the establishment knock down to claim the defeat or irrelevance of libertariansm.

  10. So, will H&R be liveblogging the State of the Union address tonight?

  11. If the U.S. government truly cared about our safety, they would have relaxed restrictions on weapons ownership, even encouraged it.

    Mmm, do not want people carrying guns on an airplane. An unending supply of booze and a firearm do not a good pair make.

  12. Cato’s Roger Pilon is all in favor of extending the Protect America Act, http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/018960.html.

  13. The airline has a right to restrict weapons or booze. The federal government does not. My guess is that without TSA checks the airports would still have security screenings, they’d still agree not to have passengers armed, just drunk instead, and they might even hire their own private air marshalls or at least allow pilots to be armed. Oh, but the pilots are drunk, too. Hmm, yeah, just the private air marshalls then.

  14. By his own account, then, Bush is prepared to risk the lives of Americans just to score political points.

    Be fair, Jacob: he’s prepared to risk the lives of Americans to protect large businesses from lawsuits, and to cover up illegal behavior by himself and his administration.

  15. US Americans like theater, thus the bit with the shoes at the airport, banning geiger counters in my town, and similar silliness.

    It is just too bad that we don’t like good theater. Then, at least, it might be amusing to this cosmotarian. (And it is all about me!)

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.