Thursday. It seems, from reading Glenn Greenwald at Salon.com and some of the other blogs today, that Congress has come to a compromise FISA bill that gives the administration everything they wanted: the right to spy on any and every American without a warrant and giving the phone companies, who've broken the law by giving the government unlimited access to our communications without the required Watergate inspired FISA warrant (for a period of six years now), immunity from prosecution guaranteeing that we, including members of Congress, will never know the who, what or why of the program and the people they were watching. The suspicion is they went way off the farm after nine-eleven, some say before nine-eleven, and this has nothing to do with saving the telecoms money but saving many in the administration from going to jail.
This has always been a bug-a-boo of mine, I admit it, but I've never seen it quite this far out of hand and I'm worried, given the political landscape, given this “war on terror”, how far it may go, how much of what has been taken will never be returned. But I've said this before. The administration was never able to get this wretched FISA law amendment passed when the Republicans controlled Congress and now they've gotten it with the Democrats in power.
Later. OK, a bit cooler now, me if not the weather, the temperature currently eighty-four degrees Fahrenheit. In the shade. Here in the apartment. I know you're sympathetic. The only consolation is all the Homeland Security bugs tend to melt and they have to send somebody in at great expense to replace them when I'm out shooting pictures.
You do go on. You're sure they can bug Americans in their homes without a warrant?
Not one hundred percent, but that's what I'm hearing. The Attorney General signs off, the Intelligence Chief signs off and no court is allowed to ask a question. There is a week's limit to spying here on an American, but the administration has not been willing to say they feel they're bound to that by the law. We are in 1984 land here and no one really knows what's going on.
And they've got your apartment bugged?
No, of course not, but when you're pissed you let off steam. The FBI gave up on me as a teenager years ago when I folded the old magazine in Seattle and stopped selling nuclear secrets to the Soviet Union. The FISA law, as it exists, came out of Watergate and Nixon's spying with the Plumbers on Americans he didn't like using people like Gordon Liddy. We're in a different world from Nixon's rather primitive attempts in the seventies and I suspect we'll hear more of this before we're finished. From me, at least.