PRIVACY FOR ME...

PRIVACY FOR ME BUT NOT FOR THEE. Many props to the Washington Post who led off their front-page, top-'o'-the-paper story on the NSA scandal with this bolded quote:

The privacy of ordinary Americans is fiercely protected in all of our activities. We're not mining or trolling through the personal lives of millions of innocent Americans. Our efforts are focused on links to al-Qaeda and their known affiliates.

Youch. Of course, given Bush's "with us or against us" mentality, it may indeed be that furious opposition to him and his administration is enough to hint at al-Qaeda sympathies. Meanwhile, the new Harris poll, after all, has Bush at 29 percent. 29 percent! The president has met the enemy, and it is us. Who can blame him for wiretapping the whole damn country?

It's also worth noting that this administration has jealously protected its own right to keep its links, consultations, and conversations secret. That case with Cheney and the energy records wasn't about a transcript, it was about merely obtaining a list of who attended the secret energy meetings. Such revelations were considered so intrusive that the Bush administration appealed those requests all the way to the Supreme Court. Think about that when the GOP spin inevitably shifts to argue that such basic data collection carries no threat to privacy. As the kids say, IOIYAR.

--Ezra Klein

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