In December 2005, the New York Times reported the National Security Agency was tapping into telephone calls of Americans without a warrant, in violation of federal statutes and the Constitution.Furthermore, the agency had also gained direct access to the telecommunications infrastructure through some of America’s largest companies.In the last ten years we have seen a steady erosion of the fundamental rights and civil liberties, all in the name of national security.The gradual erosion of our civil liberties came in the shape of Warrantless Wiretapping, abuse of the USA PATRIOT Act, the National Security Entry/Exit Registration System (NSEERS), the Real ID Act, the Military Commissions Act, No Fly and Selectee Lists, Abuse of Material Witness Statute, Attacks on Academic Freedom and monitoring peaceful groups.The FBI, federal intelligence agencies, the military, state and local police, private companies, and even firemen and emergency medical technicians are gathering incredible amounts of personal information about ordinary Americans that can be used to construct vast dossiers that can be widely shared with a simple mouse-click through new institutions like Joint Terrorism Task Forces, fusion centers, and public-private partnerships.The fear of terrorism has led to a new era of overzealous police intelligence activity directed, as in the past, against political activists, racial and religious minorities, and immigrants.Warrantless Wiretapping — Soon after the September 11 terrorist attacks, President Bush issued an executive order that authorized the infamous National Security Agency (NSA) warrantless wiretapping program.This secret eavesdropping program allowed the surveillance of certain telephone calls placed between a party in the United States and a party in a foreign country without obtaining a warrant through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
Investigations into other military detention centers have revealed severe human rights abuses and violations of international law, such as the Geneva Conventions.
The government has also engaged in the practice of rendition: secretly kidnapping people and moving them to foreign countries where they are tortured and abused.
It has been reported the CIA maintains secret prison camps in Eastern Europe to conduct operations that may also violate international standards.
The program was confirmed by President Bush and other officials, who boldly insisted, in the face of all precedent and the common understanding of the law, that the program was legal.
During the presidential campaign season, Obama’s campaign promised that he would vote to filibuster any bill that gave amnesty to telecom companies that had cooperated with Bush’s illegal NSA warrantless wiretapping program. We have a Bushian surveillance state approved by both political parties.