not The White House - White House parody website
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Tuesday, April 14th, 2009 at 7:15 am

State Secrets

AT&T / NSA logo - by EFF

Back when I was running for President, I criticized Bush for being too quick to invoke the "state secrets" claim. That approach made sense when I was just a candidate. Now I'm the President.

Here's a perfect example of why I believe in the concept of state secrets. There is a court case where the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is trying to sue the National Security Agency for its warrantless surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans.

In a patriotic move, AT&T gave the government access to its communications switches and its huge databases of information on millions of ordinary Americans. It's true that many of those AT&T customers surveilled have never been associated with terrorists. However, if you fish long enough, you will eventually catch something.

Being a former constitutional law professor, I'm all for the 1st and 4th Amendments. But as far as I'm concerned, the wiretapping program is a "state secret" and that means the courts are barred from ever judging its legality. See how nicely that works out?

President Obama is making an important point
Now some may be asking, "What about privacy laws?". I believe that under the PATRIOT Act, the United States government has complete immunity for any spying that might happen to violate federal privacy laws. The American people just need to trust me on this one.

When we live in a world threatened by terrorists, we occasionally need to adjust the checks and balances between the Executive and the Judicial branch. It's just good common-sense policy to tilt the power a little my way in these precarious times.

I'm sure the guys who signed the Constitution would agree. Openness and transparency - it's more than just a slogan.

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