Two Presidents and Their Justifications- Glenn GreenwaldSubmitted by jay26783 on Tue, 11/16/2010 - 14:02
"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."