The approval of a bill in the House of Representatives this past Thursday granting legal status to President Bush?s warrantless wiretapping program, may actually have positive effects on the American people if used carefully.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M., allows President Bush to legally wiretap calls and monitor e-mails between people in America and those in other countries. However, he must have reason to do so.
According to yahoonews.com, the president would be permitted to conduct wiretaps if he abides by the following conditions: he notifies the House and Senate intelligence committees and Congressional leaders, he believes an attack is imminent (and explains the reason and names the individuals involved), and he renews his certification every 90 days.
A specific bill such as this could prove a beneficial and necessary tool in protecting the American people from imminent danger. However, with great power comes great responsibility. It is Congress? job to hold the president accountable and not let the provisions of this bill fall through the cracks. This power should not be used frivolously and should be taken advantage of only when necessary. If the power ever does start to get abused, now or in the future, it should be revoked.
Democrats argue that the war on terrorism should not be given priority over the individual rights and freedoms of the American people. They argue that the bill gives the president too much power and leaves too much room for it to be overturned by a court. Republicans are considering this a test as to whether Democrats want to be a part of the fight against terrorism.
Partisanship aside, we believe that at this day in age, when terrorist attacks are all too likely possibilities, it is appropriate to take the necessary steps to ensure safety to all Americans.