Saturday, March 10, 2007

Blind faith in the Bush administration

By Glenn Greenwald at Glenn Greenwald - Salon

If you don't read this guy, you're missing out on some of the best political analysis out there. He's one of my first stops each day.

Now that even Alberto Gonzales' DOJ has acknowledged that
the FBI has been violating the law with regard to its NSL powers, there are some important lessons that one can learn, if one is so inclined, about how our country has operated for the last six years. Let us begin with the fact that the Inspector General's Office which issued this report is merely a mid-level subordinate DOJ office that reports to the Attorney General, and its conclusions (particularly its exculpatory ones) are hardly dispositive. The oversight here is not the Report itself. That is just the start. The oversight is the Congressional investigation which must follow to determine the scope of the wrongdoing and what actually motivated it.

But the good little authoritarians who always reflexively embrace every unchecked pronouncement by the Bush administration as though it is the Gospel Truth -- the attribute which is, at its core, the defining one of a mindless authoritarian -- are (consistent with that mindset) now running around shrilly insisting that the Leader did no real wrong, because the DOJ Report said that nothing was really done with malicious intent here. The DOJ has spoken, and that settles that. With this mentality, these reflexive Bush defenders are exhibiting precisely the profound character flaw that has led to all of these abuses in the first place: namely, blind, gullible, cult-like and distinctly un-American trust in the assurances of the Leader without any demands of scrutiny, accountability, corroboration or oversight.


This is the key point. Prior to re-authorization of the Patriot Act, there were multiple concerns being raised -- by a handful of Senators and The Washington Post -- over the FBI's abuse of NSLs. But those concerns were brushed aside by false assurances from the Justice Department that the Post's claims were false. We know now, of course, that it was the DOJ's claims which were false - and they have now begun retracting some of those claims now that the real behavior of the FBI is being revealed -- but they succeeded in swindling the Congress into re-authorizing the Patriot Act and continuing to vest drastically expanded NSL powers in the FBI.



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