From today’s NYT:
WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 — President Bush signed into law on Sunday legislation that broadly expanded the government’s authority to eavesdrop on the international telephone calls and e-mail messages of American citizens without warrants.
Congressional aides and others familiar with the details of the law said that its impact went far beyond the small fixes that administration officials had said were needed to gather information about foreign terrorists. They said seemingly subtle changes in legislative language would sharply alter the legal limits on the government’s ability to monitor millions of phone calls and e-mail messages going in and out of the United States.
They also said that the new law for the first time provided a legal framework for much of the surveillance without warrants that was being conducted in secret by the National Security Agency and outside the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the 1978 law that is supposed to regulate the way the government can listen to the private communications of American citizens.
Comparisons to 1984 are trite, overused, as are quotations of Yeat’s The Second Coming. It’s simple, it’s been inevitable, and thank god Bush hasn’t the wherewithal to extend his presidency into a third term. This is bad fiction, this is a puerile plot, this is two penny dreadful villains at the helm of what was once the greatest nation on this planet. All Cheney needs now is a mechanical hand and a white cat to stroke, all Bush needs is a maniacal cackle and a cloak to flourish as he spins away from the camera to flee back exultantly into the bowels of the White House.