Monday, December 26, 2005

Bush's Spying a Clear and Present Danger

Matthew Yglesias puts the domestic spying in context for those who might not see any real harm in a wide-net surveillance program.

Assuming only a 10% error rate in whatever secret program the NSA is running
Say we want to monitor a group of 10,000 people that includes 200 terrorists. We're going to catch 180 actual terrorists plus a whopping 980 innocent people. Thus, out of our total pool of 1,160 "terrorists" only 15.5 percent will genuinely be terrorists.

Consider, also, what our government claims it may do to combat terrorism: label anyone, even a U.S. citizen, an "enemy combatant;" deny basic rights to enemy combatants, such as legal council and confrontation of witnesses; render enemy combatants to locales outside the U.S. for "coercive" interrogation, which is actually torture; imprison enemy combatants indefinitely.

This Administration claims these powers as a Constitutional right and responsibility, outside of regulation and oversight.

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