VICE News, Astrid Chandler
Following the attack in New York, debate at the White House has been confused and slow with little forward movement. Now, over a week later, very little action to protect American citizens has happened. From the outside, it feels that the members of the government are entirely apathetic to the fact that American citizens are filled with terror and sorrow after the 9/11 attacks.
The discussion happening inside the White House however, may be considered just as frightening as the acts of terror that took place outside it. The White House is divided and bickering over inconsequential issues, and the few propositions for action that have been raised are in direct violation of human rights and American morals and primarily target the privacy of American citizens.
Vice President Dick Cheney is the prime sponsor and signatory on these wild propositions, including actions such as warrantless wiretapping, removal of funds from education for military purposes and the spreading of fake news and propaganda through a variety of NGO media agencies.
“I don’t think this will last more than 3 years,” Cheney said when other cabinet members suggested more reasonable amendments to his propositions. “Wiretapping is justified at this point.” Cheney believes that it is okay to violate American citizens’ privacy, as long as it is just for three years.
Although most of Cheney’s disturbing ideas were eventually voted down by the rest of the congress members, they remained in discussion for extensive periods of time. For example, the proposition to spread positively biased news about the actions of the government members through a third party spread like a plague across Congress, infecting both Republicans and Democrats.
In a surprise turn of events, Congress began the voting process when the prime supporters of the bill were outside, and therefore barred from the room, allowing for the bill to be voted against.
Despite the dissolution of most of the bills brought up by Cheney, the majority of the present government members were strongly in favor of permitting wiretapping without a warrant in some manner, including the possibility of wiretapping regardless of suspicion of guilt in the 9/11 attacks.
Among the supporters of this proposition was John Ashcroft, stating that, “Wiretapping and surveillance will protect [American Citizens].” In later conversations with Cheney, he said, “We don’t really think it’s a violation of human rights [...] The most fundamental human right is the right to life and if you’re dead you can’t really do anything about it. We understand that these terrorists communicated through digital means. If we had been able to wiretap them before, 9/11 could have been easily avoided.”
The proposed bill is called the “Don't Beat Around the Bush Bill” because, as Cheney said, “We aren’t going to beat around the bush about this.” He means that our American government will be listening in on our phone calls and reading our emails. Our privacy is no longer safe.
But not everyone agrees with this bill. Joe Biden argued for regulations on wiretapping such as a limit on unwarranted investigations to two weeks, and the U.S. Ambassador to the UN, James B Cunningham, flat out declared that, “What we are doing is a crime against humanity.”
Colin Powell, Secretary of State, correctly reminded the rest of the White House that, “Americans don’t trust us right now.” How can our government expect our trust if they threaten to lie to us through a corrupt third party and abuse their power over our digital privacy?