This was in one paper today so I’m sure it will be all over the place by tomorrow.
The Seattle Times: Nation & World: Bush says feds can open mail without warrant
WASHINGTON — President Bush quietly has claimed sweeping new powers to open Americans’ mail without a judge’s warrant.
“The [Bush] signing statement claims authority to open domestic mail without a warrant, and that would be new and quite alarming,” said Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies in Washington.”You have to be concerned,” a senior U.S. official agreed. “It takes executive-branch authority beyond anything we’ve ever known.”
He then issued a “signing statement” that declared his right to open mail under emergency conditions.
Bush cited as examples the need to “protect human life and safety against hazardous materials and the need for physical searches specifically authorized by law for foreign intelligence collection.”
I see this as specific power and not “sweeping.” And they are definitely not new to our nation. The Department of State, formerly the U.S. Department of Foreign Affairs was originally the Committee of Secret Correspondence.
Recognizing the need for foreign intelligence and foreign alliances, the Second Continental Congress created the Committee of Correspondence (soon renamed the Committee of Secret Correspondence) by a resolution of November 29, 1775:
The Committee members-America’s first foreign intelligence directorate-were Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Benjamin Harrison of Virginia and Thomas Johnson of Maryland.
The committee employed secret agents abroad, conducted covert operations, devised codes and ciphers, funded propaganda activities, authorized the opening of private mail, acquired foreign publications for use in analysis, established a courier system, and developed a maritime capability apart from that of the Navy.
A certain level of spying has been apart of our nation since before its beginning. These are not sweeping powers. And they are definitely not new nor unprecedented.
Our Founding Fathers knew what needed to be done to protect our nation, they did it, and we are here today as a testimony to their judgment and insight.
I’m glad President Bush is listening to the Founding Fathers and I pray that our nation will stand in the future as a testimony to his good judgment.
Also see: AP Highlights in History for today