First, the article from the WaPo, detailing the action.
The Bush administration has approved a plan to expand domestic access to some of the most powerful tools of 21st-century spycraft, giving law enforcement officials and others the ability to view data obtained from satellite and aircraft sensors that can see through cloud cover and even penetrate buildings and underground bunkers.
Then comes this reaction from the NYT.
For years, a handful of civilian agencies have used limited images from the nation’s constellation of spy satellites to track hurricane damage, monitor climate change and create topographical maps.
But a new plan to allow emergency response, border control and, eventually, law enforcement agencies greater access to sophisticated satellites and other sensors that monitor American territory has drawn sharp criticism from civil liberties advocates who say the government is overstepping the use of military technology for domestic surveillance.
For all of the complaints about listening in on suspected terrorist conversations, profiling of those most likely to commit terrorist acts, and perceived hate speech when someone dares to criticize someone of the Islamic faith; I think it certainly pales in comparison to the potential abuses that something like this can generate, on all Americans.
In no way, would I be willing to support this at any level.
Once in a blue moon, there is a case that I will come down on the side of the ACLU. For all of it's frivolous complaints and actions, this particular case is what the ACLU needs to focus itself on and forget about the petty stuff for a moment. For all of their obstructions and all of the mindless criticisms for Executive proposals and policies, this is where Congress needs to focus their energies, when they return.
I am no lawyer and do not play one on TV, but I certainly can read. And here is what I read from the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution (with added emphasis from me):
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Captain Ed points out some things, on this issue.
As does Dale, from Q and O. (He gets the Hat tip on this one.)
Bottom line is, this is not good.
I expect a massive outcry on this, from all people that believe in the vision set forth by the founding fathers of this great nation. I fully expect that Democrats and Republicans can set aside their petty feuds for a moment, to mobilize against this. I won't be placing on any bets on it, but if they want to do what's right for the country, they will.