Sunday, March 16, 2008

Another Step Closer to Tyranny

"It's quite clear that the Bush administration officials who were around in the 1970s are settling old scores now. Here they are even preventing oversight within the executive branch. They have closed the books on the post-Watergate era."
Tim Sparapani, senior legislative counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union

Last week Bush signed another Executive Order that brought our country another step closer to tyranny: Executive Order: President's Intelligence Advisory Board and Intelligence Oversight Board

Last week with a stroke of a pen, George W. Bush struck down a long-standing safeguard in our Democracy. The Intelligence Oversight Board was created in 1976 by President Gerald Ford, and was essentially eviscerated on February 29, 2008 by Bush. The Board was created by President Ford to ferret out illegal spying activities and to provide much-needed oversight for intelligence agencies. But now the Executive Order issued by Bush has gutted this important oversight board.

"An organization like this gives some level of comfort that there is an independent review capability. Changes like this appear to water down an organization that contributes to the public's confidence."
Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, former general counsel at both the CIA and the National Security Agency who is now the dean of the University of the Pacific law school, remarking that it is unwise for the Bush administration to undermine the Intelligence Oversight Board at the same time that the administration is pushing for fewer restrictions on its intelligence powers.

"What the Bush administration has systematically done is to try to limit both internal oversight - things like the Intelligence Oversight Board - and effective external oversight by the Congress. It's profoundly disappointing if you understand American history, and it's profoundly harmful to the United States."
Frederick A. O. Schwarz Jr., former chief counsel to the Senate committee that undertook the 1975-76 investigation into intelligence abuses, commenting that by rolling back the post-Watergate reforms, the Bush administration had made intelligence abuses more likely to occur.

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