A. Barton Hinkle on the Lack of Coverage of Obama's Warrantless Spying


The ACLU has released a trove of Justice Department records showing—in the ACLU's words—a "huge increase in warrantless electronic surveillance" from 2009 to 2011. The documents show an explosion in the use of "pen register" and "trap and trace" surveillance. Those forms of spying record information such as who is calling (or emailing) whom and for how long, but not the content of the conversation. A few years ago these revelations would have been milked for days of banner headlines. Now they are being met with the equivalent of crickets chirping. The New York Times—which won a Pulitzer for breaking the warrantless-wiretapping story during the Bush years—has not seen fit to mention the ACLU's findings. A. Barton Hinkle wonders if the election season has anything to do with that.