The Bush-Obama Spying Regime

The Obama administration is planning to cite “national security” concerns to quash a lawsuit alleging illegal government spying under Bush. This is no surprise. A full year ago, Obama the candidate made it completely clear he intended to break his promise to oppose warrantless spying when he voted for cloture on the 2008 FISA Amendments Act. As I warned three years ago, there was no reason for anyone to expect that the Democrats, once in power, would be better guardians of our civil liberties than were the Republicans.

Overall, Obama is about as bad as Bush in this area. He has been slightly better on torture, although not better enough, and he has been precisely as bad on transparency and secrecy and perhaps even worse on habeas corpus.

So here’s the change we’ve gotten: A worse economic policy (as hard as that is to swallow after eight years of spendthrift Republican rule), a foreign policy about as bad but maybe slightly better, and policies on civil liberties that put Obama in about the same league as Bush. Ah, change. We’d better keep an eye on this administration, as we know it will be keeping an eye on us.

Anthony Gregory is a former Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and author of the Independent books American Surveillance and The Power of Habeas Corpus in America.
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