Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Say what?

During questioning at hearing in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Alberto Gonzalez, the United States Attorney General, tried to defend the Administration's use of unwarranted wiretaps. He said:

President Washington, President Lincoln, President Wilson, President Roosevelt have all authorized electronic surveillance on a far broader scale.
I'd be real interested to see what sort of "electronic surveillance" that those presidents had, especially Washington and Lincoln. For the historic-timeline challenged, George Washington was president from 1789-1797. Abraham Lincoln was president from 1861 to 1865. The level of electronic surveillance during either of those time periods was probably pretty low.

While low-tech surveillance was probably on the order of following people in their horse-drawn carriages, electronic surveillance wasn't exactly invented yet. Therefore, it'd be hard to authorize it on a "far broader scale" than incoming phone wiretaps.

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