Obama worse than Bush on civil rights abuses
(NaturalNews) The USA Patriot Act, passed so fast in the wake of the 9/11 attacks that a conspiracy theorist might proffer that it was pre-written for just such an event, contained a trove of civil rights abuses that, to this day, continue to weaken our constitutional order.
Signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2001, the act did not authorize domestic spying per se, but it did give the president broad authority to conduct surveillance on persons in and outside the U.S. merely “suspected” of having ties to al-Qaeda.
Later, the program was expanded. As reported by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR):
The 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), without specifically mentioning wiretapping, grants the president broad authority to use all necessary force “against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the [9/11] terrorist attacks.” This includes, administration officials say, the powers to secretly gather domestic intelligence on al-Qaeda and associated groups.
The Bush administration maintained that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was an outdated law-enforcement mechanism that was too time-consuming given the highly fluid, modern threat environment. Administration officials portrayed the NSA program as an “early warning system” with “a military nature that requires speed and agility.” Moreover, the White House stressed that the program was one not of domestic surveillance but of monitoring terrorists abroad, and publicly referred to the operation as the “Terrorist Surveillance Program.” Opponents of the program referred to it as “domestic spying.”
Obama deemed much worse
The Bush administration vowed to disband the warrantless program but never did. In fact, Bush pressed for institutionalizing the program; in 2007, he signed the “Protect America Act,” which “gave the attorney general and the director of national intelligence temporary power to approve international surveillance, rather than the special intelligence court,” the CFR reported. “It also said warrants are unnecessary for surveillance of a person ‘reasonably believed’ to be located overseas. This six-month stopgap measure expired in early 2008, but the FISA Amendment Act passed just months later contained similar provisions.”
Enter President Obama and the latest revelations of domestic spying.