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Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2006 06:05 pm

Spyin’ and lyin’

Bush isn’t much of a president, but he deserves credit where it’s due

As we’ve seen in his botched handling of everything from the Iraqi occupation to the Katrina disaster, George W. Bush is not much of a president. But let’s give credit where it’s due — Bush has been a heck of a performer in two areas: spying and lying.      Both have come to the fore with the recent revelation that Bush has secretly and unilaterally been using the National Security Agency to spy on U.S. citizens. He has done so illegally, not bothering to get a judicial warrant for his eavesdropping on untold numbers of our phone calls and e-mails, as required by the Constitution and the law. Caught spying on us, Bush then shifted to lying to us. His most dangerous whopper is the claim that only bad guys are spied on — that is, those Americans who’ve been talking to al Qaeda operatives abroad. To the contrary, Bush’s spy program is nowhere near this focused or competent. Instead, NSA has been making wholesale sweeps of domestic communications, then using crude computer searches to finger thousands of “terrorist suspects.” The FBI now admits that virtually all of these secret taps have involved innocent Americans. One guy whom the Bushites claimed to have caught in their unconstitutional terrorist net turned out to be a crackpot who wanted to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge with a blowtorch. We hardly need to wreck our Constitution just to nab kooks like this one. In fact, the FBI now concedes that the spy program had nothing to do with catching this guy. Bush says that folks need to trust him to do the right thing. Ours is a government based not on trusting some officials but on holding all officials accountable to the rule of the law.
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