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Spying sets precedent

President Bush says his domestic spying program is legal, and to protect the public. If this is true, nothing to worry about, right? Sincerity aside, his actions will broaden the powers of all future presidents. Precedent is the basis for most law. Rules expire when not enforced. Mr. Bush says that Congress gave him authority to authorize the NSA’s actions. These assertions can only be true if Congress agrees, which they may not. And provisions exist allowing the president to accomplish his goals legally. I am not aware of any assertions that the NSA followed the rules and found them to be too cumbersome. A thinking person might conclude that the president didn’t want to bother with the rules.

Whether the president is expanding his powers or protecting the public is not the critical issue. The question all of us, including supporters of the president, should be asking is: Do we want all future presidents to have the power to pry into our private lives unchecked? Future presidents could be Republican, Democrat, Independent, etc. Trusting any president now on this issue because he pleads sincerity means that we will have to trust future presidents on these issues without recourse. Scares me.

R. L. Church



Penn Valley


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