Spying protects United States

U-Wire Columnist The News Record University of Cincinnati

Terrorists live among us. That point has been drilled into American minds since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

However, the ongoing struggle over whether or not President George W. Bush has the authority to conduct wiretaps without a warrant fell out of his favor Saturday.

The Washington Post reported an arm of Congress said the president’s justification for conducting the wiretaps conflicts with existing law and hinges on weak legal arguments.

Congress attacked many of the claims and reasons Bush has leaned upon in recent weeks, in effect tearing down his defense for warrant-less wiretaps. But even though it appears Bush has over-stepped his presidential power, the motives behind the misuse can only benefit the United States.

Sure, many people would be angry if they knew their conversations were being listened to by complete strangers, but isn’t that the price we pay for the world we live in? The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 proved that there are those who are willing to live and work in this country in order to create a cover that will later allow them to carry out an attack unimpeded.

In the Post’s report, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) goes on record as saying, “it looks like the president’s wiretapping was not only illegal, but also ensnared innocent Americans who did nothing more than place a phone call.”

This may be true, innocent Americans may have been ensnared, but their lives were not destroyed for the country’s overall safety.

How would you know when the government is listening anyway?

Just like at the airport, where security checks are often lengthy and involved, passengers must be inconvenienced by getting to the airport early, waiting through long security lines and having their ID checked countless times. But it is all for our safety.

Vice President Dick Cheney has stood by Bush in defending the need for wiretapping, claiming many attacks have been thwarted by the strategy.

From an administration that I have a great deal of trouble believing, on this matter I am fully convinced that domestic spying is essential to this country’s safety.

An AP-Ipsos poll taken Tuesday through Thursday last week showed the majority of Americans, 52 percent, think a warrant should be issued before any wiretapping takes place.

Of the roughly 1,100 people surveyed, however, 42 percent, mostly those over the age of 60, said a warrant is not necessary because of the purpose of the wiretaps.

If wiretapping gets shot down another window of opportunity will swing open for would-be terrorists in the United States.

Sure, Bush sent us into a war based on skewed intelligence, but terrorism is not located solely in Iraq. The war on terror is a global war that requires any and every method of stopping attacks and punishing those who would carry them out.There is much speculation over just how much the U.S. government knew before Sept. 11, 2001.

Even so, Cheney claimed just a few days ago that at least two of the hijackers who flew into the Pentagon could have been picked up if wiretapping were being used. These suspected terrorist were communicating with al-Qaida on overseas calls.

Americans generally fear what they do not understand, and until the country fully grasps the need for domestic spying, angry feelings will continue to inundate Washington.