Sunday, January 14, 2007

The assault continues

By now you will have heard about the outrageous comments of Charles Stimson, the deputy assistant secretary of defense in charge of the administration's "detainee" policy, in which he criticized some of the nation's premier law firms for having the gall to defend the rights of people held at Guantanamo Bay, and called for the firms' corporate clients to tell the firms to give up that representation or lose the corporations' business. What makes Stimson's comments all the more hideous is that he is not merely some political hack, but a lawyer himself. (Not that being a lawyer is inconsistent with being a hack.)

Now comes word that the CIA and the Pentagon have been looking into Americans' bank accounts and credit records through the use of non-mandatory "national security letters." (How many banks and credit providers will take the chance of being labeled uncooperative by this administration?)

And for a parlay, The New York Times today reports that some observers are concerned that the omission of 10 words from an Arny manual on intelligence gathering signals that the military accepts the administration's view that the government has an inherent right to spy on Americans without bothering about pesky formalities like warrants.

Because most Americans do not feel threatened by these assaults on our system of government, they do not realize the constitutional crisis that the administration has precipitated through its blatant misreading of the Constitution.

Perhaps the new Democratic Congress can educate the American people. Impeachment hearings might be one vehicle for that.

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