Saturday, August 28, 2004

Civil Liberties worry President

Executive Order Establishing the President's Board on Safeguarding Americans' Civil Liberties

A while back I posted comments here and on some other blogs that I was concerned about what I and others see as an erosion of our Civil Liberties. The President of the U.S. signed four executive orders yesterday which included this one on Civil Liberties. He is establishing a board to oversee and guide the various government agencies as they expand efforts on terrorism which have already led to civil rights abuses. I just hope it works.

The other three executive orders, which are getting more attention, have to do with establishing a centralized intelligence system. As I said in my review of the 9/11 Commission report published in the Billings Outpost and linked below, having a system in which intelligence agencies talk to each other and share information about perceived data, and where each agency can gather information about suspected terrorists from the others is the only way to hope to prevent massive terrorist attacks. This, however, will impact civil liberties as we have already seen occur.

Giving the CIA power to regulate and centralize the intelligence systems of the U.S. is what I understood was happening with the establishment of the CIA back in 1947 (believe it or not, I was interested in that sort of thing even then; I mean what kid didn't like to read spy novels coming out of WWII?). One of the intelligence officers who testified before the 9/11 Commission, according to its report, commented that the CIA director only had had that power only when a sitting president had endowed him with such authority. Otherwise, if a President had relied on other sources within government, the CIA director was just another head of department and not a specially effective one.

The Executive Orders signed yesterday also include establishing a centralized counterterrorism agency and this may be the most important. Although those orders do not seem to be on line yet (and maybe they are classified as of now), the goal seems to be to set up an area where the spooks will talk to each other and share information.

Now all we have to do is be concerned about the specifics and the details. The devil is, as they say, in those details.

19 Comments:

Blogger David Summerlin said...

I am not being cynical when I say that this is laughable and transparent. For Bush to sign an order establishing an advisory board to protect civil liberties would be like:

Bush establishing a board to protect workers' rights. (He also thinks Eugene Scalia makes an appropriate labor secretary.)

Bush establishing a board to protect the environment. (He's bankrupted the EPA superfund and his appointees now allow orphan sites to deteriorate in residential neighborhoods, and the agency is now impotent to enforce any anti-pollution regulations.)

Bush establishing a board to mandate U.S. adherence to international law. (Ha.)

You'd have to be severely delusional to pretend that Bush cares for civil liberties any more than he cares about the abuses of big-money polluters, big-money exploiters of labor, or big-money foreign investors. Not that America has any shortage of delusional idiots who are prepared to believe every piece of drivel that oozes from those bloodless, icy lips.

3:17 PM  
Blogger NT said...

That's just Bush trying to be all things to all people. It's his way of saying, "look, I care about civil liberties." As the previous comment mentioned, he's done the same with the environment and labor. The only real and effective actions he'll take are those that appeal to his base.

NT

9:45 PM  
Blogger Eric Coobs said...

I for one am glad that he took the 9/11 commissions report seriously.

As you recall, when terrorists attacked us in the 'good ol 90's' and President Clinton did nothing it only encouraged more attacks.

(Oops - I forgot, he bombed an aspirin factory on the day Monica testified, let's not leave that out.)

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