For a bit of history, FISA was amended back in 2001 after the September 11th attacks, and became better known as the USA PATRIOT Act, or the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001. No shit…? That’s a metric fuckton of pretty words, almost even more than I can swallow. But then I guess it’s not being shoved into my mouth, is it?
“The act increased the ability of law enforcement agencies to search telephone and e-mail communications and medical, financial, and other records; eased restrictions on foreign intelligence gathering within the United States; expanded the Secretary of Treasury's authority to regulate financial transactions, particularly those involving foreign individuals and entities; and enhanced the discretion of law enforcement and immigration authorities in detaining and deporting immigrants suspected of terrorism-related acts.” And the best part? “The act also expanded the definition of terrorism to include 'domestic terrorism,' thus enlarging the number of activities to which the Patriot Act’s expanded law enforcement powers can be applied.”
The real kicker was that the act was only supposed to last until December 31, 2005, but was pushed by a bunch of assholes to be permanent. So in July of 2005, Bush did just that, long before the deadline. Fast-forward to yesterday: “Previously, the government needed search warrants approved by a special intelligence court to eavesdrop on telephone conversations, e-mail messages and other electronic communications between individuals inside the
“By changing the legal definition of what is considered ‘electronic surveillance,’ the new law allows the government to eavesdrop on those conversations without warrants.” None of this shit is really news to us, because we’ve known all along that they were doing it. The real news here is that now they’ve created a law for themselves that says they can do it. There’s a six month expiration on this, but I’m sure before that happens that they’ll extend it or make it permanent as well.
But why now? Why the fuck should they give a rat’s ass about what we think? It turns out that telecommunication companies were giving the Bush administration a shitstorm of bitching to the third power, because they kept getting sued over allowing third party surveillance to their customers. So what did Bush decide to do about it? “The law also gave the administration greater power to force telecommunications companies to cooperate with such spying operations. The companies can now be compelled to cooperate by orders from the attorney general and the director of national intelligence.” “Compelled” being the key word there. Well, I for one am sure glad our troops are overseas fighting for freedom, because it looks like we still have a long way to go. But they are doing a great job: one tyrant down, one to go.