shadow government hijinks

Since I work at a newspaper, I try to scan the headlines from time to time to find stories that are newsworthy enough for us to link to. Every once in a while, though, I find a headline that gives me pause. Like this one, from Reuters:

Secret Court OKs Broad Wiretap Powers

Say what? That’s straight past Orwellian, right into heebie-jeebies. Secret Court? I mean, I appreciate that the story is illustrated with an Ashcroft photo, (John Ashcroft is a visual icon representing “we want to take your rights away”. I think they’re using him to represent the security options in future versions of Windows.) but shouldn’t there be a big, flashing sign saying "THE END TIMES ARE NEAR!" around here somewhere?

It gets better, too. "The appeal hearing was not public, and only the Justice Department’s top appellate lawyer, Theodore Olson, presented arguments." Umm… your secret court had a secret trial and secretly heard arguments from one side?! Can we send in some troops to D.C.? ‘Cause I have the feeling we’re gonna be needing some liberation.

I’m glad they at least went through the motion of accepting some amicus briefs from the A.C.L.U. and friends, but what do you think the court’s opinion of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is?

But ya know, maybe I’m just overreacting. I’m sure everything will be juuuust fine. I’m completely reassured by Ashcroft’s statement, “We have no desire whatever to, in any way, erode or undermine the constitutional liberties here”. Unless, ya know, he’s just completely full of shit and lying through his teeth.