Noncompulsory, But Warrantless, Is Still A Crime
But not to be outdone, the Central Intelligence Agency and Pentagon are getting into the game by issuing the letters to obtain banking and credit data from financial institutions. The kicker here is that Congress has expressly turned down requests to make such 'letters' mandatory, thereby limiting Pentagon and CIA expansion into domestic intelligence gathering. So what do the spooks do? They issue 'non-mandatory' letters that adhere to the letter of the law, and most financial institutions roll right over and give them what they want.
So the question arises: If a financial institution exposes private data in response to an illegal, noncompulsory CIA or Pentagon request--given that in many states the legal requirement is to keep such records private--can the institution be charged with a crime? Sued into non-existence through a class action?
Isn't it ironic that the administration that is fighting to keep secret service logs from the American people (so we can't see what type of criminals are visiting the White House)has no problem with going through your checkbook to make sure you're not funding terrorists. So much for innocent until proven guilty. Now, we all are guilty.
Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has ruled that your financial records are not protected under the 4th Ammendment.
In United States Vs. Miller the court held in a 5-4 decision that despite a faulty subpoena...
"We find that there was no intrusion into any area in which respondent had a protected Fourth Amendment interest and that the District Court therefore correctly denied respondent's motion to suppress."
Be sure to read Bremmer's dissent because that is the only thing is this case that makes any sense.
You might have a point that the bank could be sued for violating the bank privacy act of 1970 though.
I think to myself "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" - and then I watch them and wonder what ELSE they have to HIDE.
This bothers me more and more. They flat don't need to do most of the things they do that infringe on constitutional rights to get the results they want. Yet they do it anyway. I think it is less that they have other really bad things to hid, and more that they are incredibly arrogant.
Lot's of mysterious transactions for flies...
Will the Republic stand 2 more years?
Praguetwin...I was not aware of that case. Thanks for the pointer. I think though that this is directly in conflict with California law (multiple statutes as a matter of fact) and since the Surpremes didn't rule on the legality of the action, just it's permissibility under the 4th Amendment, then CA law would still apply.
So I guess a bank could still be sued. Perhaps a class action as D.K. suggests. Administration officials, on the other hand, are probably protected by the blanket amnesty included in the Military Commissions Act.
They want to know what I check out at the library, the contents of my e-mail, what I am saying during private phone conversations, and to whom I write checks... one nation, under surveillance. What a bunch of paranoids. I say f*ck 'em!
Because power is what seems to matter above all to these jerks, and because they are still in power, I think they enjoy continually pushing the envelope, seeing how much they can get away with, seeing how long the public will stay asleep and not put up any resistance... And the more we let them get away with, the more they seem to push the envelope. It seems to be a vicious circle, and I'm not sure the country can keep going on like this without things coming to a head during the next two years.
Is the administration pushing for some kind of "constitutional crisis" as a way to test its power? At this point, I am sure the administration really DOESN'T give a crap about the Constitution, and that they probably consider it "irrelevant" (or as Bush supposedly called it, "a goddamned piece of paper").
Somebody really needs to get their act together and point out to Bu$hCo that the Constitution is indeed still relevant, and much of what the administration has been doing goes in direct opposition to what makes our country such a great place to live... that what they do goes in direct opposition to what our troops have fought and died for during our nation's history (which I don't believe was unchecked/unlimited presidential power, but rather something like the opposite... heh...)
Now it's my turn to get all goofy and paranoid: Does anybody but me think that if our Doofus in Chief and his friends overstep the boundaries too much more in major ways, particularly in relation to foreign policy, that our military commanders might band together and do something about him? Does anybody but me think that may be just about the only way he and his cohorts could be removed from office before their term expires?
If so, what would be worse: having the country run temporarily by the military, maybe until the next election and until January of 2009, or having it run for two more years by Bu$hCo? I have to think that at some point there would be sentiment within the military to slow Bush down, particularly given the current state of affairs in Iraq, given Bush's designs on other Middle Eastern nations, and given the Bush tendency toward extending the military to the breaking point in pursuit of goals that are nebulous at best... goals which have done little to curb violence in the world, and which have isolated our country.
I think it would take at least two years to successfully impeach Bush, and maybe take that long to even complete successful investigations. I think there will be enough stonewalling from the administration to keep things such as these on hold until the cows come home.
Anyway, I agree with me4prez in wondering if our country can stand two more years of this stuff. The country is in mortal danger, in my less than humble opinion!
Still, as we agree, there may be some type of civil recourse. Indeed, banks might make privacy one of their selling points. Power of free markets.