Or, The Bush Administration says “Trust Me” Once Again

When the revelation was uncovered that the Republican Administration had been secretly conducting warrantless spying on apparently billions of financial transactions, Treasury Secretary Snow attempted June 23 to justify it by saying, “If people are sending money to help al-Qaida, we want to know about it.”

Substitute the words “Democrats” or “protestors” or “the ACLU” or anyone else hated by Republicans for the perennial bogeyman “al-Qaida.” Now re-read the same sentence? Does the phrase still sound as comforting?

If those in charge can use that or any other tool for the one purpose, what is to prevent them from using it to accomplish other Republican goals? Given that many Republicans already periodically refer to Democrats, protestors and the ACLU as “traitors” aiding the “enemy” by merely existing, given that the Administration has already diverted funds from the search for Osama bin Laden to pursue instead purely political goals, and given that Republicans still argue even torture is an acceptable means to accomplish their ends, what possible restraint is there to keep them from utilizing the same allegedly useful financial data mining technique to insure they stay in office in perpetuity?

That would be a mighty small leap for them. After all, does anyone need to be reminded which political party leader paid for “plumbers” to burglarize the other party’s campaign headquarters investigate “leaks.” How many times does history have to repeat itself before people listen?

The point is that no one, not Democrats, not even sainted Mother Teresa, should have such incredible powers without judicial and Congressional oversight and without providing the minuscule amount of evidence needed to establish probable cause first.

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