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Two Presidents and Their Justifications- Glenn Greenwald

"The real finalization process on my book leaves me very pressed for time today, but I wanted to note these two brief though highly illustrative items:

First, relating to the story I reported last week about the warrantless border seizure of the laptop and cellphone of a Bradley Manning supporter for the crime of visiting Manning in prison, The New York Times today editorializes in favor of greater restrictions on such searches and writes:

'There is also a big difference between government agents scanning items for explosives or looking through a suitcase full of clothing, and searching through the hard drive of a laptop computer containing work papers, financial records, e-mail messages and Web site visits. . . .

The George W. Bush administration first authorized border agents to seize and view the contents of laptops, smartphones, and other devices and copy and share data with other government agencies without need for any individualized suspicion of wrongdoing.

The Obama administration has tweaked the policy, requiring approval from supervisors to hold a seized device for more than five days, for example. The fundamental flaw remains: it permits the government to engage in indiscriminate and invasive fishing expeditions.'

I actually laughed audibly when I read that because, on reflection, it so perfectly expresses the Change -- sorry, "tweaking" -- that Barack Obama has brought to the nation in these areas: we're going to keep in place and aggressively enforce George Bush's unfettered laptop seizure policy for Americans, but our Goodness is reflected by our new requirement that some low-level unaccountable "supervisor" somewhere give their approval if we want to keep the citizen's seized property for more than five days. Well, just as long as some unseen "supervisor" agrees that my seized, searched and downloaded laptop can be permanently stolen by the Federal Government and all its data permanently stored and shared even in the absence of a whiff of suspicion that I've done anything wrong, then I'm satisfied."

Continue at: http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/11/16...

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reedr3v's picture

Greenwald's putting up a good fight;

wish their were more ethical Leftists like him.

Let's see what Rand does

Greenwald writes: "The Editorial also notes that legislation has been introduced by the now-defeated Russ Feingold to (a) ban all border laptop searches and seizures except where there is reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing; (b) require a probable cause warrant from a court in order for a laptop and other electronic devices to be seized and kept by the Government; and (c) limit the ability of Homeland Security to share the information it obtains. That illustrates why, despite his flaws, Feingold's re-election was one of the very few this year about which I cared enough to advocate. That bill has three remaining Senate co-sponsors, all Democrats (Akaka, Wyden, Cantwell), but if the Tea Party candidates were even minimally genuine about their professed belief in liberty and limited government, shouldn't they vocally support such limitations on the Federal Government's unfettered power to invade, seize and then forever keep your laptops, cellphones and other instruments of communication and thought? Who can simultaneously support that power and claim with a straight face to be an advocate of individual liberty and limited government?"

--I now what Ron Paul would do -- what will Rand do ?