Bush Administration Goes Back to the Future with Warrantless Wiretapping
In the movie "Back to the Future," Marty McFly's family photograph begins fading when he goes back in time and affects events in a way that jeopardizes his own birth. McFly's photograph reminds me of the U.S. Constitution during the Bush Administration. Fortunately, like the kiss between Marty's future parents, a Bush Administration decision today has slightly reversed the fading of Constitutional ink.
U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales sent a letter to Congressional leaders today confirming that the Bush Administration will seek warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act ("FISA") court before wiretapping U.S. citizens, as required by federal law. Bush and Gonzales have been fighting the FISA notification requirement tooth and nail for over a year, ever since their warrantless wiretapping was publicized by newspapers.
Today's decision is a triumph of the Constitution's built-in checks and balances, as designed by our Founding Fathers. This is evidence that the Constitution still works: Bush, Cheney and their underlings went way too far, approaching a dictatorship, in their actions under the rubric of the "war on terror" and the war in Iraq. The American people protested loudly against these actions at the voting booth last November, and voted for a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress. Bush and his officials, apparently in response to the new political reality and possible punishment for their continued flaunting of the law, have had to pull back from one of their most egregious and unconstitutional actions. Perhaps they will soon pull back from other such policies.
I'm so pleased that I even have this crazy thought that Bush and the Democrats might come together and reach some sensible middle ground on some of the important issues that the country faces, rather than approaching the brink of a Constitutional crisis, or even impeachment. One can dream ....