DICK CHENEY’S PART IN SHANGHAIING OUR PRIVACY
Although, technically, Vice President Cheney had no control over the Cincinnati federal appeals court that rejected the NSA spying lawsuit, the decision was right along party lines: two Republicans in favor, the Democrat against. According to an MSNBC article, the majority decided the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue without proof they were monitored by the government. The dissenter, Judge Gilman, says they were in their rights, and that “it was clear the surveillance program violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978.” There may be some justification here the plaintiffs were not directly challenged, but almost every top legal authority agrees that FISA was violated. Slate had an excellent piece recently by Bruce Fein, “Impeach Cheney,” that seems to tie Cheney in with all this administration’s shenanigans in usurping the public’s individual rights. It quotes Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist Papers indicating “an impeachable offense is a political crime against the nation.” Fein says Cheney’s “multiple crimes against the Constitution clearly qualify.” With Big Brother II actually in control of Big Brother I, the Vice President has virtually no use for individual liberties. Fein refers to a number of incidents where Cheney commandeered the rights of others; like military commissions acting as judge, jury and prosecutor; kidnappings and secret detentions in foreign prisons of suspected terrorists; advocating and authoring signing statements that affirm the president’s intent to disregard the provisions of bills he thinks unconstitutional. But the hum dinger was Cheney as architect of the National Security Agency (NSA) warrantless spying. His contention that the president can just ignore any law that stands in the way of gathering intelligence is alarming, and the Senate Judiciary Committee has now subpoenaed his office for records on the matter. The NSA incident alone should qualify him for impeachment.