Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Monday, May 22, 2006

The Hiding of Illegal Actions

Glenn Greenwald has produced two more splendid, definitive columns. Unquestionably one of the best writers in any medium on the illegal NSA wiretaps, Greenwald points out that the Bush administration always knew the program was illegal in "Gen. Hayden admits the Administration knew it was violating FISA." And, if you missed it, this weekend Attorney General Alberto Gonzales stated that the Bush administration can and may prosecute journalists for publishing leaked, classified information that makes it look bad. Crooks and Liars has the video here. In "Imprisoning Journalists," Greenwald observes that even Nixon didn't go this far, and persuasively argues that the illegality and the efforts to cover it up are of course related. However, the main thrust of his post is a passionate defense of Freedom of the Press. The only sad thing is that it's at all necessary to write in the first place.

(In a third post, Greenwald also has a nice account of National Review editor Rich Lowry's latest hypocrisy.)

When hostility toward the rule of law, the separation of powers, and the Constitution are accepted as mainstream ideas, we're in deep trouble. When essential civil liberties are viewed as an inconvenience and basic honesty is seen as a nuisance by the key players in the White House – and no one with the power to do so challenges them - we're in grave danger.

The consistent line of the Bush administration has been: "The incompetence and illegality of our actions is not the problem. It's the damn media reporting it." Greenwald cites a Thomas Jefferson quotation that's been much used on the blogosphere of late:

"If I had to choose between government without newspapers, and newspapers without government, I wouldn't hesitate to choose the latter."

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