Who will protect from the protector?

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 10, 2006

One of the hardest parts of writing a weekly column is picking a topic.

This may surprise many that know me, as I’m sure they would tell you that I rarely have trouble finding something to talk about.

Never the less, I often look to others for ideas regarding column topics.

Many times, my inspiration comes from other writers and columnist.

This week was no exception as a friend of mine brought to my attention the column of a young female writer we both know.

The young lady wrote about the current scandal involving President George W. Bush’s authorization of the National Security Agency (NSA) to conduct wiretaps on Americans without a warrant.

Her position was clear, she supported his decision.

She simply doesn’t see what the big deal is and admits that she doesn’t understand where people get that the fourth amendment means that the government can’t &uot;spy&uot; on us.

As one of those people, I can only say that I got that idea from my belief in the constitution of the United States of America.

While the fourth amendment may not specifically say that it protects American citizens from the NSA listening in on our cell phones, it does protect us from illegal searches.

There are legal ways that the NSA and other government agencies can listen to our cell phone conversations and read our e-mail.

They need only receive a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court (FISA).

President Bush held a press conference recently to defend his policies in Iraq and his authorization of domestic eavesdropping. In this press conference, Bush stated one of the reasons he permitted NSA to conduct domestic wiretapping without a warrant and not go through FISA is &uot;because it enables us to move faster and quicker.&uot;

What Bush did was make a clear decision to not obey the law.

He admits to knowing that what he did was illegal, yet he did it anyway.

Not that I am perfect.

I sometimes speed when I drive and I have been known to jaywalk on a few occasions.

Although I can do that, I know that when I get pulled over by the police, my actions will have consequences.

What I cannot do is launch a full investigation, at the expense of the taxpayer, into who ratted me out to the police.

In an effort to defend her mentor, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stated that the war on terrorism was a &uot;different type of war&uot; that gives the president &uot;additional authorities.&uot;

On Meet the Press, Rice said the president had gone to &uot;great lengths&uot; to &uot;protect Americans from another attack but also to protect our civil liberties.&uot; She claimed congressional leadership had been briefed about the secret wiretapping program, &uot;including the leadership of the intelligence committee.&uot; Yet Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid made a claim to the contrary, stating, &uot;Congress was never involved.&uot;

Ah…another juvenile case of he said/she said.

I am inclined to believe that they are both lying, however I must admit that I find it especially hard to believe the man that just got caught with his hand in my cookie jar.

Fact is, I don’t believe that President Bush authorized illegal wiretaps so that he could listen to my late night phone conversations.

Nor am I worried that he will read my multiple junk e-mails advertising prescription drugs.

I believe he did what he did to protect us from terrorist.

And that’s great, I don’t like terrorist and I don’t want them in my neighborhood.

I’m glad that my President is willing to literally go above and beyond the call of duty to protect me from them.

But now who is going to protect my civil liberties from a President who sees the Constitution as a roadblock on the path to self-righteousness.

I’d like to hear from you. If you agree or disagree with my opinion on something, have an idea for a column topic or just want to let me know someone is reading this every once in awhile please e-mail me. My address is david.friedman@r-cnews.com. See ya next week!