Monday, May 15, 2006

Tracking Phone Calls in the War on Media

It seems the White House isn't just using its phone tracking powers for good.

ABC News is reporting that a number of government sources have told them (in person) the Executive branch is specifically tracking the phone records of political reporters in an attempt to root out their confidential sources.

As Josh Marshall explains:

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I think part of the issue for many people on the administration's various forms of surveillance is not just that some of activities seem to be illegal or unconstitutional on their face. I think many people are probably willing to be open-minded, for better or worse, on pushing the constitutional envelope. But given the people in charge of the executive branch today, you just can't have any confidence that these tools will be restricted to targeting terrorists. Start grabbing up phone records to data-mine for terrorists and then the tools are just too tempting for your leak investigations. Once you do that, why not just keep an eye on your critics too? After all, they're the ones most likely to get the leaks, right? So, same difference. The folks around the president don't recognize any real distinctions among those they consider enemies. So we'd be foolish to think they wouldn't bring these tools to bear on all of them. Once you set aside the law as your guide for action and view the president's will as a source of legitimacy in itself, then everything becomes possible and justifiable.

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It is a slippery slope, indeed.

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