Friday, June 30, 2006

Semantics Matter

On All Things Considered tonight, Melissa Block introduced a segment on USA Today retracting a part of its story on the NSA wiretapping as occuring while "the rhetoric is heating up against other newspapers for disclosing government efforts to thwart terrorists." This is a significantly slanted way to describe the US Government activities that have been revealed -- illegal/warrantless wiretapping, sweeping secret bank record surveillance, warrentless domestic phone datamining, and setting up secret "black site" prisons. I question the value of any of these to "thwart terrorists." The secret detention/torture prisons have arguably helped al-Queda recruit terrorists and sympathizers. The data mining and wiretapping policies seem part of a broader strategy of the Bush administration to expand executive power and sidestep constitutional checks and balances. It would be more acceptable if she had just said revelations of controversial secret activities that the Bush administration claims are needed for state security.

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