The Seattle Times: Nation & World: Bush says feds can open mail without warrant

The Seattle Times: Nation & World: Bush says feds can open mail without warrant
Bush says feds can open mail without warrant

By James Gordon Meek

New York Daily News

WASHINGTON — President Bush quietly has claimed sweeping new powers to open Americans' mail without a judge's warrant.

Bush asserted the new authority Dec. 20 after signing legislation that overhauls some postal regulations. He then issued a "signing statement" that declared his right to open mail under emergency conditions, contrary to existing law and contradicting the bill he had just signed, according to experts who have reviewed it.

In the early days of PGP encryption, advocates used to use comparison of regular email to a postcard, and encrypted email to a sealed letter. The government was trying to restrict PGP and its use, frequently with the illogical argument that someone would only encrypt their email if they had something to hide. Advocates would point out that if that were the case, everyone would use postcards instead of letters in envelopes. A postcard, or regular email, can be read by any of the systems that is passes through. Letters offer greater privacy, and do not mean that the sender has something to hide.

Well, that argument is effectively moot now. If Grand Marshall Bush Supreme Arbi-Traitor of Democracy can claim "exigent circumstances" as a 'war president' than I can easily foresee secret rooms installed at the Post Office much as they were at SBC in San Francisco. In these rooms, and without benefit of the protections provided by the Fourth Amendment, people without conscience will violate your privacy for The Good of the Homeland. They will pre-screen your credit offers, make copies of the sexy photos from your long distance relationships, giggle at the itemized pay-per-view bill listing your late night viewing habits, and steal the junk-mail offers for penis enlargement pills in the hopes of someday developing a social life. They will do this for God and Country, and because they enjoy Power; Power from which our Constitution was designed to protect us.

This is particularly unsettling considering it follows so closely upon the heels of news that the government believes a warrant is not required to read your email if it is on someone else's server.

Thank you Mr. Bush. I feel safer already.

-Chris

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