Sunday, May 14, 2006

New Newsweek Poll Shows Popular Opposition to NSA Dragnet

Well, only a day after WaPo-ABCNews showed a majority accepting the Bush administration's dragnet of tens of millions of innocent Americans' phone numbers via AT&T, Verizon, & BellSouth, Newsweek showed the exact opposite sentiment among a majority of Americans:
  • 57% of those polled said that, in light of the NSA data-mining news and other executive actions, the Bush-Cheney Administration has “gone too far in expanding presidential power.” 38% said the Administration’s actions are appropriate.
  • 53% of Americans think the NSA’s surveillance program “goes too far in invading people’s privacy,” while 41% see it as a necessary tool to combat terrorism.
Either Americans had a 180ยบ change-of-heart overnight, or the flaw in the WaPo-ABCNews poll I referenced yesterday was real. Either way, it is heartening to see that many Americans fall to the good side of this issue: as Ben Franklin said, "Those who give up liberty for the sake of security deserve neither liberty nor security."

05/14/2006, 10:30 a.m. Update: Over at the coffee house, Reed Hundt points out that it's what we don't know (and what the federal judiciary doesn't know) about how the dragnetted information is used that can eventually bite us. He writes about how sheerly arbitrary and unAmerican the NSA program is:
None of the folks involved in watching all of us wants to do the wrong thing; each wants to assure peace and security for us. But they are not, as far as reports indicate, operating according to any legal structure familiar to Americans. Their actions are not reviewed by independent judges. They did not tell the Attorney General what they were doing and don't propose to fill that person in. They compose a clandestine organization of watchers guided only by their own sense of right and wrong. However unerring might be that sense of theirs, for the rest of us Americans to place blind trust in, and passively submit to, unknown and unchecked governmental power would be strange [given the American culture's inherent opposition to such intrusion].

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