Credit where credit is due: Captain's Quarters rightly (heh) comes out against yet more government power eroding Constitutional rights:
While some conservatives undoubtedly would argue that they see nothing wrong with giving law-enforcement agencies access to existing technology, others will rightly object on two grounds. First, the obvious application for the sneak-peek technology would be to avoid search warrants. If probable cause existed for a warrant, law enforcement wouldn't need the satellite technology; they'd simply enter. That's the way it's supposed to work, and has worked well for over 200 years. Civil liberty is based in part on judicial oversight of law enforcement encroachment on private property, which the sneak-peek technology would obliterate.
Second and perhaps more importantly, American legal tradition has separated military and foreign-intel collection from domestic law enforcement, and for good reasons. The Posse Comitatus Act forbids the military (except the Coast Guard, for certain purposes) from acting in a law-enforcement role, except under emergencies specifically requiring martial law. This law keeps the federal government from usurping power from local and state authorities. Since these satellites were launched with strictly military and foreign-intel missions in mind, using them as tools for law enforcement may not entirely cross the PCA, but it gets too close for comfort.
Unless the use of the satellites is strictly limited to national-security applications, such as a counterterrorist operation or immigration enforcement (both of which are legitimate national-security concerns under federal jurisdiction), satellites should not be used as law-enforcement tools. We did not put those military assets in orbit to be deployed against the people of the United States.
If real conservatism -- not the faux conservatism practiced by neocons and holy rollers -- makes a return, there might be hope for our political system. So far, Democrats seem to be rather unwilling to challenge the neo-fascistic growth of executive power and corporate collaboration defiantly embraced by the Bush Administration.
I ask conservatives: Do you relish the thought of a President Hillary Clinton or President Barack Obama or President John Edwards having the same kind of extra-Constitutional powers Bush is exercising?
(Personally I am much less worried about the Democrats with that kind of power, but this is still power that is unprecedented and not sanctioned by the Constitution that has helped America flourish for over 200 years. Where's the "strict constructionism" when it comes to presidential authority?)
More on this theme soon.