Big Brother is trying to pull another one over on us.
The administration, in cahoots with Fox and other propaganda outlets, is trying to give the formerly covert domestic warrantless wiretapping program a new name - the "terrorist surveillance program." If this terminology gets adopted, the issue is as good as dead. Who can stand and say "I’m against terrorist surveillance!" The debate is lost before it’s started, just as "tax relief" was. The terminology shifts the debate from "warrantless" which is what the real issue is, to "terrorist", which it is not.
You can see how misleading the terminology is by following the logic through. If it’s a "terrorist surveillance program" then it only "surveills" terrorists, right? By definition anyone who’s under surveillance must be known by the government to be a terrorist.
If that’s the case, Mr. Bush, why aren’t these known terrorists in jail? Why are they free to roam our streets making cell-phone calls to their co-conspirators? You’re the one who labeled them terrorists, and if you haven’t arrested them then I can only conclude that you must be soft on terrorism.
What’s that? I’ve gone to far? They aren’t known conclusively to be terrorists? You might watch a suspect that isn’t a terrorist? Just someone who might cause harm to the US? If "harm to the US" is the standard you use, the program seems destined for some exponential growth, starting with those who brought this important issue to our attention:
“The fact that somebody leaked this program causes great harm to the United States.” [MSNBC]
Terrorist, suspect, leaker, political opponent: if these terms aren’t distinct, we’re in grave danger. Refuse to swallow terminology that is manipulative, inaccurate, and prevents the meaningful democratic discourse (in this case on the role of warrants in legitimate surveillance activities) upon which our freedom from government tyranny relies.