Nov 032009
 November 3, 2009  Posted by  Court, Featured News, Laws, Surveillance, U.S.

Kevin Bankston of the Electronic Frontier Foundation comments on the Obama administration’s recent filing in Shubert v. Bush. Attorney General Holder’s public statement about the reason for their position was reported here. Bankston writes:

In a Court filing late Friday night, the Obama Administration attempted to dress up in new clothes its embrace of one of the worst Bush Administration positions — that courts cannot be allowed to review the National Security Agency’s massive, well-documented program of warrantless surveillance. In doing so it demonstrated that it will not willingly set limits on its own power and reinforced the need for Congress to step in and reform the so-called ‘state secrets’ privilege. The House Judiciary Committee will be taking the first step toward such reform when it begins to consider the State Secret Protection Act of 2009 (HR 984) this Wednesday, so please visit our action center now to voice your support!

Read more on EFF.

Kevin writes, in part, “We Hate to Say We Told You So.” Although EFF did, indeed, “tell us so,” I can say the same thing, as my blog entries on Chronicles of Dissent about Obama going back to his campaign and days as a senator reflect. His weak or nonexistent record on privacy and civil liberties issues such as warrantless surveillance is precisely why I did not endorse him for president. Indeed, I remember a conversation with Kevin shortly before the inauguration where I was very pessimistic about this president’s record and position on certain issues and Kevin expressed more optimism than I was feeling. While EFF has continued to try to give Obama a chance to do the right thing, this blogger sees no reason to be particularly diplomatic. If Obama is going to continue the policies of his predecessor — and he is not only continuing them but making additional power grabs — then civil libertarians, libertarians, progressives, and conservatives need to unite and call him out for promising restoration of the rule of law but then continuing with just more of the same old. “Change we can believe in” was not supposed to be a harbinger of change for the worse.

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