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Politics at center of Bush anti-terrorism complaints

May 7, 2012
The Mining Journal

While former President George W. Bush was in office, many in Washington and elsewhere were extremely vocal in allegations his administration was trampling the privacy rights of Americans through programs intended to combat terrorism.

But now, with President Barack Obama in office, far fewer complaints are being heard from his fellow liberals.

Is that because law enforcement agencies have decreased their surveillance efforts? Far from it: The FBI alone used "national security letters" to collect private information on more than 14,000 people last year.

That is more than twice the number of people involved in the process the previous year.

National security letters allow the FBI to, in effect, spy on people without a court order. The only approval needed is from within the agency.

Of course, national security requires a certain amount of such activity. Bush made that very argument - and was criticized roundly for it by liberals.

But again, the FBI's use of what amounts to covert surveillance operations is increasing dramatically. If liberals truly are worried about Americans' rights to privacy, one would expect them to complain.

They have not. Clearly, their reason for criticizing Bush had little to do with concern for Americans' rights - and everything to do with politics.



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