Monday, January 16, 2006

Wiretap Dance

In light of Martin Luther King Day and the current saga of warrantless wiretaps courtesy the National Security Agency, Nicholas deB. Katzenbach has a terrific op-ed in today's Los Angeles Times. A former Attorney General, he recounts the years that J. Edgar Hoover's FBI tapped Dr. King's phones and hotel bedrooms under the guise of "national security."

"Today we are again engaged in a debate over wiretapping for reasons of national security -- the same kind of justification Hoover offered when he wanted to spy on King. The problem, then as now, is not the invasion of privacy, although that can be a difficulty. But it fades in significance to the claim of unfettered authority in the name of 'national security.' There may be good and sufficient reasons for invasions of privacy. But those reasons cannot and should not be kept secret by those charged with enforcing the law. No one should have such power, and in our constitutional system of checks and balances, no one legitimately does."

The entire piece is available here.

(Thanks to Hit & Run)


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