Monday, February 06, 2006
Arab-Americans fear NSA wiretapping
When I got the assignment to cover Arab-American reaction to the Bush administration wiretapping revelations, I knew who to call.

Osama Siblani is the publisher of the Arab American News, a newspaper based in Dearborn, Michigan, with an online edition that's read around the world. For more than a decade, whenever I've contacted him, he's always given me an accurate picture of what's going on in metro Detroit's Arab community, one of the largest outside the Middle East.

Right off the bat, Siblani told me many Arab-Americans fear their government is listening to their phone conversations. In fact, he says he's quite sure his newspaper's phones are bugged. I asked him if he had any evidence. He said no. But since he regularly makes calls to contacts in Arab countries overseas, he reasoned that his newspaper would be a likely target for eavesdropping.

A few things I should point out. The National Security Agency does not comment on where or on whom they do surveillance, but General Michael Hayden, former head of the NSA and now the nation's deputy director of intelligence, recently said neither Arab-Americans nor any other ethnic group are a target of the wiretapping program. Hayden said the program targets "only those we have a reasonable basis to believe involve Al Qaeda or one of its affiliates."

Some Arab-Americans we spoke with had no problem with wiretapping without warrants. As one man born in Iraq told me, you have "to do what you have to do to protect the country."

Still, Osama Siblani assured me, a large share of the Arab-American community feels they are being monitored. And, he says, it is sparking anger. Many Arab-Americans now believe their loyalty to the United States is being questioned.

For our story, we talked to a number of folks from Detroit's diverse Arab community to see if that was valid. And sure enough, it wasn't tough to find Arabs and Arab-Americans who did not have any evidence, but did have a lot of suspicions that they were being wiretapped. And they weren't happy about it.
Posted By Keith Oppenheim, CNN Correspondent: 3:13 PM ET
  143 Comments
No one is 'perfect' in this world, everyone should fear one another if they have to!!!
Posted By Anonymous Kamal from NYC : 3:27 PM ET
I don't approve of the government's wiretapping without warrant. It just seems obvious to me that it's wrong to invade people's privacy like that. If Arab-Americans are being wiretapped simply because they're Arab-American, I wouldn't be all that surprised. How exactly is the government deciding whom to wiretap? They keep telling us how they're not, sure. It's all leaving me very suspicious.
Posted By Anonymous Molly, Coleville, CA : 3:32 PM ET
Some (if not most) of the Arab-Americans in the US probably came from one country or another that were tapping the phones, emails, etc. only their government(s) would almost certainly deny such alligations. The fact that people now know that they could be listened in on is what is making everyone so upset.

The way I figure is if someone wants to listen to my boring phone call, it's ok with me. As long as they don't hang up the call, or make noises in the background. I've got nothing to hid.
Posted By Anonymous Lester W. New Lebanon, OH : 3:38 PM ET
If these were normal times, I might have a problem with phone tapping - these aren't normal times.

I am a strong supporter of phone tapping, as well as the Patriot Act, and any other so-called civil rights / liberty "violating" intelligence gathering measures. Of course my opinion is based on my belief that, if you've done nothing wrong, you should have nothing to fear.

What I do have a problem with, are those individuals who think we need to know everything. We're not the only folks who follow the news.
Posted By Anonymous Geoff, Montclair, Virginia : 3:40 PM ET
I wouldn't be happy about it either. I do feel that Arab-Americans need to do more to condemn the actions of terrorists abroad.
Posted By Anonymous Bill@Russellville, AR : 3:42 PM ET
Please, I'd like to know the number of people you talked to and what percentage felt that way. If your number is 10, 30, 50 , 100 not enough for me to be concerned. I have many friends who live in Michigan and many are Arabs. From Iran, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordon. They don't feel they are being monitored, They call home to their familes like they always have, and talk about the same things everyone else that is a American. Family, birthdays, deaths, news, weather, cars, vacations, when you coming home son. etc. Not watch what you say on the phone they might be listening? Does everyone on here really think the government is listening to everyone. Me for one, listen if you want, I have nothing to fear since I'm confident I'm not doing anything wrong. I talk with people all over with world with Skype, not a problem, I talk to problem areas like Iraq, syria, iran, etc. so I can get ALL points of views. People really should try to contact people and talk, that is how the War will be won. just listening to people /media one sided all the time you will be TOLD what to feel, and not form your opinion. The world is a small place, you'd be surprised how much you could learn if you listen.
Posted By Anonymous dennis,merrimack,nh : 3:43 PM ET
Unfortunately, the Bush administration has a history of telling Americans what they want to hear regardless of the real situation. White House statements are always vague, so one can interpret them in whatever manner suits them. General Hayden suggested the program targets those who can reasonably be determined to be linked to Al Qaeda or an affiliate group, but whose reason are they using? I think Arab-Americans could be justified in their suspicions, and all Americans would do well to continue questioning the ethics of wiretapping without warrants.
Posted By Anonymous M. McKelden, Fort Stewart, GA : 3:44 PM ET
Arab-Americans should take some comfort that our government is being proactive in fighting terrorists. No one wants to have personal freedom or privacy compromised, yet most of us have nothing to fear with repect to phone calls as we are law abiding citizens. This is a classic damned if you do and damned if you don't situation. God forbid another attack should occur and the government was not using all resources at its disposal. Which would be worse?
Posted By Anonymous Brand Inlow, Richmond, VA : 3:49 PM ET
Middle Eastern born individuals account for an very large (90-99%) of the known terrorist. I think that if I had nothing to hide, who would care if phone call were tapped. Only those that support the terrorist would care. Terrorist are killing their fellow countrymen, this actually makes the Arab-Americans safer.
Posted By Anonymous JoeB, Baltimore,MD : 3:49 PM ET
If you wish to live in the USA you are subject to our security concerns. If people insist on worrying about our civil rights to the extent they expose us to danger by protecting the enemy then we will be hit again. 9-11 will be nothing more than the beginning of a string of terrorist attacks. I applaud Pres. Bush for at least having the common sense to pursue the enemy on their turf. Wiretaps should be the least of American's worries. If you're not doing anything wrong...what are you covering up??
Posted By Anonymous Neal, Denver, CO : 3:51 PM ET
Do you advocate ignoring phone calls from Arab-Americans to countries that harbor ill will towards America and American's? As Ronald R. once said...trust but verify.
Posted By Anonymous Bill Monroe Palm Bay, FL : 3:52 PM ET
Most Americans understand the need for this type of intelligence and are willing, if necessary, to relinquish some privacy rights in exchange for security.
Posted By Anonymous Troy in Katy, Texas : 3:53 PM ET
To those that say they don't like the wiretapping, I say tough. The rest of us (non-Arabs) are tired of suicide bombings, jihad and calls for the execution of someone for drawing a cartoon. How about someone, anyone, in the Arab community stand up and tell the radicals to stop justifying terror and violence through the name of Allah. I can't believe CNN won't publish the cartoon out of "respect for Islam." Sounds to me like you are doing what every other politician and leader is doing . . . sidestepping the issue of radicalism and it's insanity. By sidestepping the issue, you only embolden the supporters of mayhem and terror in the name of Islam. I wish I could find a copy of the cartoon, I would blow it up (pun intended) and post it on my front door and any radical Islamist that doesn't like it can kiss my wiretap.
Posted By Anonymous Richard Kerr, Virginia : 3:54 PM ET
The President wire tapping is shameful and he needs to start being held accountable. If our Founding Fathers could see what was going on they would be ashamed.
Posted By Anonymous Rachel-Albuquerque, NM : 3:54 PM ET
Love it or leave it. Do you think you would be given a choice in the Middle East on weather or not they would be allowed to spy on you?
Posted By Anonymous CP, Knoxville, Tn. : 3:56 PM ET
I do not blame Arab-Americans for their concerns regarding NSA wiretaps. It appears that a simple difference of opinion can be "reasonable basis" for the NSA to believe involvement with whomever. Lord knows my opinion is always different. Guess I'd better stsy off the phone.
Posted By Anonymous Jayne, Charleston, SC : 3:56 PM ET
Regarding the assertion that there was no evidence presented to prove Arab-Americans are being monitored, all I can say is: Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence--anon.

If it was easy to get evidence by some ordinary Arab-American, then it would not be secret eavesdropping or monitoring. I doubt the NSA would make it so easy to detect their monitoring, especially by a common person.
Posted By Anonymous khan, NY, NY : 3:57 PM ET
All I can say to the Arab communitys concern over probable wire tapping by our government is, "welcome to the club" In past wars there were many injustices done by our government to protect our national security. An example would be the war with Japan.
If this country were ever to go to war with Mexico this would happen again. If it were France, the govt would watch French Americans, so welcome to the club.

JRRam
Dallas Tx.
Posted By Anonymous JRRam Dallas Texas : 3:57 PM ET
I think there should be some oversite on wire tapping. At the very least I would hope there are guide lines as to the type of calls or the origin of one of the parties. To think the govt. would turn a blind eye towards this is naive. No I would not want my calls monitered but I am not planning any terrorist attacks either. We are in a war with an enemy that is going to be very tough to beat.

And if you think you have it so bad here move back and see how much you like it there.
Posted By Anonymous James, Jacksonville, Florida : 3:57 PM ET
Cooper, I personally would not be happy with the wiretapping in my household or business. But if it were people of my nationality (latin) that came over and attacked, and showed so much hatred toward Americans, I would understand the governments need to focus on the latins in America. Another thing to keep in mind, is that most Latins still keep alot of their old traditions and beliefs. What makes us think other nationalities don't?????
Posted By Anonymous Lisa from somewhere...hee : 4:00 PM ET
If you don't have anything to hide then what are you affraid of. Stop causing so many distractions and report the news don't blow it out of porportion and act like America is all up in amrs about this. After 9-11 and all that is going on in the world true Americans that want to protect this country and our heritage would not be upset, unless you have something to hide or you just have a blind hatered for the President and all he stands for. If thats the case get over yourself or leave the country.
Posted By Anonymous Brett Kc, Mo : 4:00 PM ET
A major problem in America right now are that many people do not wish to actually integrate into the country. They want to simply use and profit from it, but not be a part of it. That is all of those who use a hyphenated designation for themselves. They cluster together in neiborhoods or areas, and basically create mini-countries (china-town, etc). You either are American, or you arn't. You arn't Hispanic-American (where is Hispania anyway?), Asian-American, African-American, Arab-American, etc.

Secondly, if you are doing nothing wrong, then you have nothing to worry about. If you are carrying out illegal activities, then you deserve to be caught.

People also don't seem to realize that there are very few (relatively) translators even able to monitor these things. It simply isn't possible for all that many people to be monitored at one time. Unfortunately, because of the sensationalism and hate that some people and media spew, it gets people paranoid when they have nothing to worry about.
Posted By Anonymous Troy Williams, NY, NY : 4:01 PM ET
We must be doing something right for a change!
Posted By Anonymous John Menzies,Atlanta,GA : 4:01 PM ET
I agree with the idea that if I have nothing to hide, what is the problem. We have become more concerned with criminals rights than with the actual protection of innocent lives.
Go ahead... listen to my calls.
Posted By Anonymous Rosemary, Washington, DC : 4:02 PM ET
The issue, of course, is not whether _my_ phones are tapped. Like most people, there's nothing interesting in my conversations.

The problem is the administration took it upon themselves to circumvent a fair and flexible process for wiretapping in something that would have been familiar to our founding fathers as a 'general warrant'.
Posted By Anonymous flash q fiasco, los angeles, ca : 4:03 PM ET
You have to hand it to American government. It has exercised a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good." What a shameful era for a lost democracy.
Posted By Anonymous Nacer Fetamia. Paris France : 4:03 PM ET
if you're not doing anything wrong,
you have nothing to worry about.
these times call for strong mesures,
terrorist do not wear uniforms,they hide among law abiding citizens.
it is unfortunate but acceptable
Posted By Anonymous alan,montreal : 4:03 PM ET
Very easily corrected. If we are monitaring calls from and to foreign countries then tell all of those who not like it to GO TO THE FOREIGN COUNTRY THEY ARE IN CONTACT WITH AND TALK DIRECTLY WITH THEIR CONTACT.....NO PROBLEM.
Posted By Anonymous Jerry, Va Beach Virginia : 4:04 PM ET
Regardless of your heritage, any patriotic American should be horrified when a President claims that laws do not apply to them. It is a direct challenge to the Constitution and to the oath that G.W. Bush pledged. If the powers are needed, then he should petition Congress to change the FISA law. To ignore them, though, flies in the face of our system of government and elevates the President to a King, requiring no input from the other branches.
Posted By Anonymous M.D. Tisdale, Lexington, MA : 4:04 PM ET
I think these people have a right to feel concerned about the wiretap issue. If our government is truly acting within their legal limits, why are they not getting the proper warrants? It seems as though the warrants would be granted and this would be a non-issue if the wiretapping were truly on the up and up.
Posted By Anonymous Chriss Miller, Canton, OH : 4:05 PM ET
If you don't like the fact that people might be listening in as an effort to curb terrorism, move back to wherever it is you came from. This is the United States and this is how we take care of our own.
Posted By Anonymous Kraig, Phoenix AZ : 4:05 PM ET
What makes the President think that terrorists did not think that the government was already listening to conversations? If I were one, I would never have assumed my phone was not tapped. To do so is to consider the terrorists stupid. After 9/11, that is not an assumption that can be made.
Posted By Anonymous W. McHugh, Harvard, MA : 4:06 PM ET
I'm sure our media will do everything they can to cause our government trouble. Just keep digging.
Posted By Anonymous Charles Turner, Cookeville, Tn : 4:06 PM ET
I feel that the only people who are worried and upset are the ones that should be worried and upset. If they have nothing to hide why should they care? I also agree that with the current atmosphere surrounding Islam as a whole, it shows us that we do indeed need wiretaps. When people scream for Osama to seek revenge, torch embassy's, and commit genocide all in the name of a "religion of peace", then yes wiretaps should happen for our security. It's sad when our national security has been wiped off the table for political gain.
Posted By Anonymous Erin, Murfreesboro Tn : 4:06 PM ET
If you aren't doing anything illegal over the phone, why are you worried about your privacy? I understand that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but our President has a right to use "whatever means necessary" to protect our country. I for one would rather be safe and have someone listening to my conversations, than to have another 9/11 attack on my country!
Posted By Anonymous Amy, Atlanta, GA : 4:07 PM ET
just a few points to make...
if you are indeed proud of living in a 'free country' that is absolutely 'not a police state' perhaps one should be a bit more interested in the liberty one is giving up, simply because they have 'nothing to hide'...

and secondly the idea that every person of arabic persuasion should present themselves to the media and shout 'i condemn the terrorist actions abroad' is just plain unrealistic...when a pro-life advocate shoots a doctor at an abortion clinic, i've noticed that not to many christians knock on my door to announce they're against the violence..is there any particular reason why arabic people should feel inclined to do so?
Posted By Anonymous Tyson, Toronto, Ontario : 4:07 PM ET
I feel that the Arab American population needs to do a much better job of condemning terrorism. Unfortunatly, until Arabs aound the world start to condemn and report on these terrorists we have no other option than to protect our country.
Posted By Anonymous Richard Abbott Houston, Texas : 4:08 PM ET
This is one thing I don't understand the problem with. It is not like they are sitting listening to me talk to my friend about potty training my son. If you are not doing anything wrong why worry.
The only people who should worry are the ones doing things they should not do.
Posted By Anonymous Christy in ga : 4:09 PM ET
Who would you expect our government to monitor? Swedish Rotarians? Seriously!

And I, for one, would love to hear of another emotion besides "ANGER', eminating from the Muslims around the globe.
Posted By Anonymous Armand, Southfield, MI : 4:10 PM ET
The government should NOT be allowed to invade our privacy without oversight. It's been tried before in this country with disasterous results and is a hallmark of dictatorships around the world. The FISA court should be used in all instances of domestic spying. Since FISA allows spying for up to three days before applying for a warrant, there's no excuse to do otherwise. If the laws are inadequate, change the laws, don't break them. This is America, not China!
Posted By Anonymous Nancy, Media, PA : 4:10 PM ET
If your not doing anything you shouldn't, what's the problem. If this is going to make me more safe, so be it.
Posted By Anonymous DEBORAH S. STATEN ISLAND NYC : 4:11 PM ET
The safety and security of the country is of prime importance, even if it means sacrificing civil liberties. Bottom line is this: if you have nothing to hide, then who cares who's listening?
Posted By Anonymous Tony, Poughkeepsie, NY : 4:11 PM ET
It's simply too early to get paranoid about whose phone is being tapped and whose isn't.

In times of war and change, citizens must learn to have faith in their government. Explaining the depth of this NSA program that the President has authorized could be a serious threat to our national security.
Posted By Anonymous John, Tampa, FL : 4:11 PM ET
If you are not dong anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about. Wiretap away!If anyone thinks there are not terrorists in our country already, mabey in their own town, they are fools. We need to protect America first.
Posted By Anonymous Kathy Thomas, Farmington Hills, MI : 4:13 PM ET
Whether or nor Arab Amaricans are nervous is an irrelevant question. WE SHOULD ALL BE WORRIED! We're talking about an extremely controversial situation where the government has no requirement or obligation to reveal to anyone (as far as I can tell) who is being bugged, why, when, or for how long. Since warrants aren't required, there isn't even a court record documenting or limiting these activities. This goes against everything Americans have stood, fought, and died for over the past 230 years. We were supposed to be a beacon of hope. A safe, free place where all people from all over the world could come and settle to ESCAPE exactly what our government is doing right now!
Posted By Anonymous Mike - Orlando, FL : 4:13 PM ET
I feel very sad that I have now come to a point in this conflict that is slowly turning me away from the respect I have always had for Muslims. Not having seen or heard from the greater Muslim majority in this country condeming the ways in which their fellow Muslims choose to try and forward their cause. I have no big problem with the NSA's actions but I do now have a big problem with the re-actions of Muslims to the cartoon put forth in the Danish news. I simply say to all--"Grow-up" and act like thinking adults not like a bunch of bully's in a school yard or a 3 year old child who does not get their way with things. If we were all wise enough to finally say "enough is enough" then maybe we could begin to find mutual respect again and get on with life. I dearly hope so.
Posted By Anonymous Linda A.,Plymouth,MA : 4:14 PM ET
Sorry but I have no sympathy for anyone, whatever their faith, that suspect that they are being monitored or surveilled and yet have no proof to back up their claims. So now all you need is a "sneaking suspicion" and you have a right to complain and get press coverage. Give me a break... this is just like crying wolf.
Posted By Anonymous Tom, Washington DC : 4:14 PM ET
I understand no one likes to be eavedropped on, however it's to bad in this case. The 19 terrorists from Sep. 11th were not the only ones in the USA. There are still more among us and probably planning something new. I would prefer to have some "rights" violated to prevent another Sep. 11th.
My feeling is if you don't like something in America you are free to leave. That is actually a right you have in the USA; if you don't like it you can choose to leave. Not all countries have this right.

It's sad that America is one of the most powerful country in the world, but gets pushed around by little 3rd world countries. I understand with great power comes extra responsibility, but enough is enough. We're to busy being politically correct.
Posted By Anonymous Greg, Glendale Heights, IL : 4:15 PM ET
It appears that a large portion of the United States has lost its collective minds. We oppose and fight terrorism because we want to protect our security and our freedom. Does anyone else notice the counterintuitive approach to protecting freedom by destroying it? Shall we make ourselves secure by turing down a path which looks frighteningly like the Soviet Union in the 1970's and '80's? If giving up our freedoms is what will make you feel secure, then may I suggest moving to another country. America, the United States was and is founded upon the principals of the freedom of the people to behave pretty much as they wish as long as they do not harm others, steal from others or oppress others. Do not make the mistake of trading our freedom for our security. Our founding fathers dismissed the idea of an intrusive government and rather chose the idea that freedom from opressive governments, regardless of the reasoning, was what would make America great. They were right. Do not remake America. Love it or leave it.
Posted By Anonymous Doug, Jasper Georgia : 4:15 PM ET
there isn't a national security reason in the world why anyone should want to "bug" anyone; other than terrorists. all immigrants that have come to this country, and their children, have always felt threatened by the government. it was the case in my family and it will always be so. for media to state that they feel sure they are being "bugged" and admitting they have no proof causes me to suspect their credibility and objectivity.
Posted By Anonymous michael wallingford ct : 4:17 PM ET
It is called WAR! Do you believe that the FBI had warrants for all of their activities during WWII?

Technology and cunning continually keeps us at risk of other attacks in the borders of the USA.

During times of WAR (That what we are in) Civil Liberties are often sacrificed for the Good of the War Effort. (We are at War).

Was FDR a criminal for interring Japanese and Germans who happened to live in the US while we were at WAR (We are at WAR) with Japan and Germany? Perhaps he should have been tried post morteum for War Crimes...

It is obvious to me that we have graduated too many educated people who have little common sense and no sense of nationality and turned some of them into journalists.

There is no sense of right and wrong and belonging demonstrated by much if any in the media.

Grow-up and join with the rest of us in protecting America.
Posted By Anonymous Dick C Houston, TX : 4:18 PM ET
There is not much that I have ever have agreed with Bush on. In general him and his policies have been disastrous for this country. However on the policy of monitoring these calls I absolutely agree. I personally could care less if the government wants to monitor my calls. I believe that most law abiding Americans would agree. Its not as though they're listening on the other end - word for word anyway. We need to do what necessary to protect this country and its legal residents. Until we can make our borders more secure and establish some type of accurate tracking for foreigners, this will at least help. If it even stops one attack its worth it. I wish no ill will toward any Arab - American or otherwise but will remind those that complain that it was Arabs - or in general people of middle eastern decent that attacked this country and started this whole issue. If they want someone to be mad at start there. They should direct their anger in a constructive way and help eliminate the problem at the source!
Posted By Anonymous Greg, Clearwater, Florida : 4:18 PM ET
This is a simple concept, if you are not affiliated in any way with someone involved or in sympathy with one of these terrorist organizations you are not being tapped.

To avoid another 9/11 I dont have a problem with tapping as many people as is required, providing the information is used for security purposes only
Posted By Anonymous ken James, Canton OH : 4:18 PM ET
This article is worthless. Some unknown percentage of Arab Americans are concerned about being wire-tapped, but none have evidence. Some percentage of Arab Americans also believe Jews were behind 9/11. This sort of "reporting" provides no useful information other than what it reveals about the perspective of its author.
Posted By Anonymous Mark Alpert, Huntington Beach, California : 4:18 PM ET
So what if Muslims get upset, I wonder how many Muslims died on 9/11. Muslims are always getting upset at security issues, they should expect the federal government to take whatever steps to make this nation safer. When those 4 planes were hijacked, how many white male hijackers were they? How many Hispanic male hijackers were they? How many Asian American hijackers were they? The answer is ZERO. I am sick everytime I turn on CNN or pick up a newspaper I hear or read about some middle eastern family or group whinning about being singled out. This is America. We are at War. So its Uncle Sams responsible to protect this nation at whatever cost. If Muslims don't want to live in the US. There are international flights everyday to other countries.
Posted By Anonymous Garion Dillingham Corinth, Mississippi : 4:19 PM ET
Regarding phones being monitored, if an Arab-American has nothing to hide then they have nothing to worry about. It is the people that have something to hide that are getting angry, so they should be watched. If the government wants to listen to my calls, then go ahead because I have nothing to hide. I want our country to be safe and if that means monitoring our phone calls, then go ahead.
Posted By Anonymous Patricia, Cypress California : 4:20 PM ET
Boohoo Arab Muslims. Act civilized, don't hate everyone for not being Arab Muslims, and dont't attack and kill innocent people, and there would be no need to tap phones. What is wrong with pre-emtive action against terrorist attacks? I believe that violent action was taken against the west that was uncalled for. Why is it so hard for Arabs to accept the West's peaceful way to prevent violent attacks against civillians via wiretapping suspected terrorist's phone lines?
Posted By Anonymous S.Williams, Armuchee , GA : 4:22 PM ET
There is nothing to fear unless you are doing something you should not be doing. If you are then you should fear! Is it fair that other non muslim americans have to fear a radical muslim or group of muslims committing another terrorist act?
Posted By Anonymous Roland, Charlotte NC : 4:23 PM ET
Am I one of the few people who understand that the rationale for the wiretapping touted by the administration is dangerous to the future of our democracy? The law is the law. The President needs to abide by it. Hell, if he can break it for good reason, why can't I? The principles set forth within our Constitution issue forth from Reason, the only recognizable sovereign among all people. Reason tells us that power needs to be checked by power. Any action, no matter how horrid, can be defended in the name of Justice and Freedom. That's why our Constitution gives one branch of government that chance to limit the powers of another. Limit freedom for Freedom's sake? How absurd. That means, in not so many words, "I'm the President, and I'll do as I please." It seems the shadow of Nixon era looms large and eclipses our ability to reason.
Posted By Anonymous Lloyd J. Baker II, Pomona, CA : 4:23 PM ET
American Muslims are not trusted, and it's clear that the Bush Administration's approach to preventing terror hinges on ethnic / religious profiling. Consider when, about a month back, news came out that the FBI had instituted warrantless surveillance for radiological material near mosques and perhaps Muslim residences. Ethical issues aside, the monumental stupidity of this broad-brush profiling to fight terror cannot be overstated. From what's come out so far, the NSA wiretapping program smells like the same sort of deal. Mr. Siblani's right to suspect he's been bugged.
Posted By Anonymous Carl Willis, Columbus OH : 4:25 PM ET
I heard a comment yesterday on CNN that I found so appropriate....why didn't the Muslim population rise up like they are doing now over a cartoon...when there were beheadings and planes flying into buildings. I am really getting turned off by the entire Muslim community and their religious beliefs and we should worry if they are wiretapped????? It has to be done and if they don't like it leave the USA..........sick of all these people telling us how to run our country when they are trying to destroy us. No matter what we do we are wrong. Plus the news media gives out too much information.....
Posted By Anonymous Gloria Boca Raton, FL USA : 4:25 PM ET
The majority of Americans have no problem with wiretaping. If you are doing nothing wrong, why would you worry about this? Would you rather have another 9-11?
Do people complaining about this have something to hide? Probably yes!
Posted By Anonymous Bob Camp Adrian Mi. : 4:26 PM ET
Your blog was linked to the byline "Wiretapping sparking anger among Arab Muslims". I'm not suprised that Arab Muslims are enraged over this issue, for the simple reason that EVERYTHING "sparks anger among Arab Muslims. I'm pretty sure that I sparked anger among Arab Muslims today, although I can't imagine how. For Pete's sake, they torched embassy over some cartoons that were printed five months ago. If we can impose a statute of limitations on irrational anger, we'll all be able to get along.
Posted By Anonymous Carlos Lana, San Antonio, Texas : 4:27 PM ET
I have nothing to hide, but that doesn't mean I in anyway support the govenment wiretapping phones without a warrent. Chock it up to a general mistrust of our government's ability to correctly use the powers given to them (or taken by them in this case) and not abuse them.

"Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely."
-Lord Actocn

"Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
-Ben Franklin
Posted By Anonymous Stan von Kotin, Hamtramck, MI : 4:28 PM ET
Why shouldn't the loyalty of American Muslims be in question? When have they denounced the radicals who hijacked their religion?
Posted By Anonymous Aims, Riverside, CA : 4:28 PM ET
Maybe these "angry " Muslims should be thankful they can express there opinions as some of there breathren obviously disagree with, i.e. THE CARTOON!!!
Posted By Anonymous Peter Thomson Milwaukie, Oregon : 4:29 PM ET
They think we don't trust them? Damn, imagine that! Why ever would we not trust them!
Posted By Anonymous Frank, Huntington, WV : 4:29 PM ET
I find the concept that "I don't mind my phone being tapped since I have nothing to hide very un-American. It's one of our most precious freedoms to be free from governmental interference in private business.

We say that the terrorists are at war with our way of life. An important aspect of that way of life are our freedoms. Programs such as this wiretapping program are aiding the terrorists in destroying the American way of life.

The reasonableness of the belief that "if I have nothing to hide I'll be safe" died in the excesses of the Hoover FBI. We have courts and checks-and-balances for a reason. The Executive branch can't simply decide they want to monitor somebody's phone call and do it without any legislative or judicial review.

Even if this program itself somehow manages to avoid the sort of abuses that previous such efforts have had, it sets a terrible precedent that we as Americans are willing to give up our freedoms that millions have died for just because we're scared.

See the ACLU lawsuit against this program for examples of perfectly legitimate activities (such as lawyers consulting with clients) that simply cannot be done with this program in existance.

The "data mining" part of this program, which has been the least reported about, it actually the most scary to me.
Posted By Anonymous Richard K, Forest Hills, NY : 4:32 PM ET
Wiretapping is OK--ESPECIALLY those with middle eastern surnames. The Arabs in America should be thankful that the US Government uses such means. It may save the rest of us the trouble of deporting them someday in mass, if terrorism comes again to our shores.
Posted By Anonymous Wyatt, Sacramento, CA : 4:32 PM ET
I feel it is amusing that these same groups speak out more against domestic spying then terrorist attacks. Most "new" groups in this country care more about their ethnic heritage and the "old" country then they do this country. THAT is one of the reasons this country is going down hill.
Posted By Anonymous Dan Washington D.C. : 4:33 PM ET
The only people who are concerned about being wire tapped are those with something to hide.
Posted By Anonymous Ron, Woodbridge, VA : 4:34 PM ET
"He who trades liberty for security deserves neither and will lose both." - Thomas Jefferson.

On the other hand:

"No man can tame a tiger into a kitten by stroking it. There can be no appeasement with ruthlessness. There can be no reasoning with an incendiary bomb." - Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

And:

"No people in history have ever survived who thought they could protect their freedom by making themselves inoffensive to their enemies." - Dean Acheson.
Posted By Anonymous Clinton, Chicago, IL : 4:34 PM ET
It is impossible for the U.S. to protect all of the potential targets with in our borders. Likewise, it is imossible to search or screen for all potential weapons. Our only chance to avoid a repeat of 9/11 is to identify potential terrorist before they act. Every school gymnasium, movie theater, and church auditorium provides an undefended target with potential for mass casualties. Every car, gasoline tanker or propane tank off a home barbeque grill is a potential weapon of mass destruction. We can only succeed by identifying the individual. Aggressive surveillance is an absolute necessity.
Posted By Anonymous Ken Henson, Sarasota, Florida : 4:35 PM ET
People fail to remember that private companies (i.e. Choicepoint) have detailed information about everyone in this country and sell it to anyone who wants it, including the government. If you've got nothing to hide, relax. Also-the recent Danish cartoon matter is clearly showing the world the true colors of the Muslim world. Irrational and primitive.
Posted By Anonymous Tim Schmidt, Los Angeles : 4:35 PM ET
Is it the job of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to merely defend NSA eavesdropping, or is he supposed to find the legality of it. I'm getting so confused lately as to what is propaganda and what is due process.
Posted By Anonymous David M. Dalechek, Lakewood, CO : 4:36 PM ET
What part of war don't people understand. In order to win a war, one does what one has to do to protect the country. War is an ugly thing,but if you are in it...win.
Posted By Anonymous Julio Caspi, Albuquerque, NM : 4:36 PM ET
This program wouldn't be nearly as offensive to me as an American citizen if there were warrants involved. The White House, as a member of the Executive Branch of our government, has no authority to judge whether the NSA's actions are legal or not. Those powers reside solely in the hands of the federal judiciary, and without a warrant issued by a judge; these programs override our most basic protections against the government. And what's more, if Congress were really concerned about this program they could threaten to end all funding of the NSA until the program is either stopped entirely or the appropriate courts issue warrants.

The way in which the wiretaps are being conducted is tantamount to a slap in the face, much in the same way President Jackson said "(Chief Justice) John Marshall has made his decision. Now let him enforce it."
Posted By Anonymous Steve D., Ann Arbor, MI : 4:36 PM ET
I have nothing to hide, listen in as much as you want! If you have nothing to hide, what is the big deal?
Posted By Anonymous Bill, Western NY : 4:37 PM ET
A major responsibility of our government is protect our citizens from harm. In a time of war, the executive branch is given additional authority by our constitution engage in actions that will help protect the lives of the American people.

Recently, there have been confirmed reports in the media that the terrorists are in the process of planning new attacks against the American people

In response,the President of the United States has constitutional authority to utilize all necessary resources at his disposal to protect citizen's lives.

Wiretapping of conversations between purported Al Queda sympathizers here and abroad is an action that the Executive branch of government has a right to take without the consent of the legislative branch.

If there are citizen's of Muslim descent who feel victimized by this action would they have the same level of concern if it were Jewish or Chrisitian groups or individuals that were being monitored for possible terrorist connections?
Posted By Anonymous Lionel A. Cone, Los Angeles, CA : 4:37 PM ET
I'm another supporter of the wiretapping. Anything that can be done to keep our countrymen safe. These terrorist want us all dead, as they have already demonstrated. And any person or group that is already in our country, plotting against us with correspondence overseas, needs to be monitored.
Posted By Anonymous Tommy, Oklahoma City, OK : 4:38 PM ET
I think the surveillance in question was and is appropriate and necessary. However, the fact that it was done without a FISA warrant is troubling. The current debate, I think, is healthy in a democracy.
Posted By Anonymous Ralph Butler, Albuquerque, NM : 4:38 PM ET
The fact that the administration even admitted the phone taps exist is incredible. I would expect any responsible government to conduct illegal surveillance and monitoring, and then deny it. Christ!(or whatever you prefer) It's amazing that people don't think this has been going on BEFORE 9-11. I'd suspect the US of conducting illegal wiretaps ever since old George Prescott Bush ran the CIA back in the sixties, at least.
Posted By Anonymous Juan Cabrera, The Majic City, Florida : 4:38 PM ET
A lot of people who posted comments to this blog seem to be in support of racial/ethnic/religious profiling (i.e., if the terrorists are Arab or Muslim, then one can understand why Arabs or Muslims in America are specifically targetted for eavesdropping). It's always easier to be be pro-racial/ethnic/religious profiling when it's not your race/ethnicity/religion being profiled. During times when this administration has admitted mulitple times that they have acted on faulty or incorrect intelligence, and when this administration has justified detaining people without having to declare the crime they have committed, denying people legal representation, and holding people for undetermined amounts of time, I too would be afraid if I were Arab or Muslim in America, even if I knew I was innocent. There are plenty of innocent African-Americans who are (rightfully) afraid of encountering the police because they fear irrational actions by police officers who are racially profiling. The type of profiling that innocent Arab and Muslim-Americans are facing can have devastating results for those individuals and their families.
Posted By Anonymous Daren, Boston MA : 4:39 PM ET
These Arab-Americans that are complaining about wiretapping need to be reminded that we are technically at war and that some personal freedoms may be temporarily suspended at the government's discretion. If that's what it takes to ensure that America is safe and secure, then I'm all for it.
Posted By Anonymous Jonny Enriquez, Buena Park, CA : 4:39 PM ET
Too many people are missing the point as to why wire tapping is wrong. If we make exceptions to our civil rights we are giving the government way too much power.

Now, all you have to do is label someone a terrorist and suddenly your rights are out the window.
Posted By Anonymous Bob, Geneva, NY : 4:41 PM ET
This is a NO BRAINER...
We must monitor the Muslims, they've been monitoring us for decades...

And look what happened!
Posted By Anonymous Tequila Dave NYC : 4:41 PM ET
This is an issue I believe we should not be dicussing unless the US government has violated personal privacy issues - which is only dicussed as a potential and non-proven risk. The media is at fault, if not for treason, when it "leaks" facts that are essential to the safety and security of our country. In these times, those that object to the subject wire tapping are "free" to relocate to other parts of the world.
Posted By Anonymous Larry, Spokane, WA : 4:42 PM ET
I don't get all of the posters who agree with this wire-tapping / domestic spying policy? Why are we even in Iraq, then? What freedoms, exactly, are we protecting? If it's our freedom that al-Qaeda and other terrorists hate so much, as the President says, then I would say that the terrorists are certainly winning. We're losing freedoms each day in the name of protecting those freedoms. Anyone else see the irony here? And to the poster(s) that indicate that Arab-Americans should condem terrorism, I have one question for you...are you a Christian? Have you made it a point to publicly condem, say, David Koresh or other people who harm children and other innocent people in the name of their Christian beliefs? Arab-Americans aren't any more responsible for what al-Qaeda does than any average Christian-American is for what happened in Waco in 1993. Finally, for the supporters of this domestic spying policy...has it occurred to anyone to think about who the next President might be? Maybe you trust President Bush to listen on your phone conversations and read your e-mails, but will you trust the next guy (or woman)? President Bush is setting a very dangerous precedent with this policy.
Posted By Anonymous Lisa from Texas : 4:42 PM ET
um, Richard, there are plenty of Muslims and people in the Arab world who condemn suicide bombings and extremism. It's offensive and short sighted to suggest otherwise. I share in your frustration, but don't let it obscure the truth.
Posted By Anonymous Chris, Houston, TX : 4:42 PM ET
Religion does not make one bit of difference. People from all walks of life - Muslim, Jew, Christian, rich, poor, progressive or conservative - fear warrentless wiretapping.

Ben Franklin said it best, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Thank god he's gone in 2008.
Posted By Anonymous Rick, Lake Tahoe, CA : 4:42 PM ET
Boo-Hoo, the terrorosts have rights too. Puh-leez, cry me a river.

"I asked him if he had any evidence. He said no."

If this guy runs a newspaper, he has the responsibilty to tell the truth, NOT spread rumors and innuendos. Then again, maybe he interned for the NY Times.
Posted By Anonymous Bob, Bangor, Maine : 4:42 PM ET
Muslims are afraid of losing the freedom of private telephone conversations. I see a bigger problem. CNN has lost the freedom of the press. By not printing the Muslim cartoons, all Americans including the Muslims have lost a lot more than their private telephone conversations.
Posted By Anonymous Dave Antrosio Bellevue, WA : 4:43 PM ET
Listen to my phone calls if it helps protect our country. The only people that are upset are people with something to hide.
Posted By Anonymous Hal Barclay, Silsbee, Texas : 4:44 PM ET
I am not an Arab American, but a person of Indian origin in H1 B visa, who is living in New york with family.
I am of the opinion that the US needs to do whatever it takes to protect its country,people and its way of life.Any other law abiding,democratic country would have done something similar .Accept the fact that Islamic republics would have (and will) undertaken much more drastic programs than this for ensuring their security and survival.
Posted By Anonymous Mathew Jose,Garden city,New York : 4:44 PM ET
Again, all the hype about civil liberties from people who don't know how many calls are tapped. Is it less than, let's say .0000001% of all phone calls? If so, is that really imposing on civil liberties for certain groups to start what ever it is they are trying to accomplish
Posted By Anonymous carperter bob, houston,texas : 4:45 PM ET
Despite my loathing of all things "Bush," after considering the perimeters of the wire-tapping controvery, I have to agree with those that say "You shouldn't care if you've got nothing to hide." Although the Arab-Americans feel slighted on their Patriotism, (as they are in-fact Americans, after all), we have to remember that Arabs ARE the ones who attacked us, right? And how else can we single-out individuals who could be preparing for another attack against us? However, I must say, if we take the Arab-Americans' perspective into consideration, it really does become a sticky situation. I think they (the Arab-Americans, as well as ALL Americans) should consider the possibility of our conversations being tapped as a "price" of freedom. We have to remember, these are different times.
Posted By Anonymous Adrienne Haught, Pittsburgh, PA : 4:45 PM ET
Its both unfortunate and ironic, that in an attmept to protect our freedoms (safety and security) we now resort\acquiesce to the violation of the fundatmental principles of such freedoms...the right to privacy.

It is similarly ironic and disturbing that anyone or any religion would use God as a protector\reason to kill or injure anyone else.

Man\humanity continues to conjure up reasons to hurt each other and blame someone else.
Posted By Anonymous Kevin Mickelson; Bismarck, North Dakota : 4:46 PM ET
Its interesting that Mr. Siblani says he knows he is being monitored even though he has no evidence. He is basically saying that he understands why he would be monitored and that his calls fit 'the profile.' I just don't understand why people people would be bothered by this if they are doing nothing wrong.
Posted By Anonymous Keith, Bethpage New York : 4:47 PM ET
If truth be told, this is a tricky business. Both national security and honoring basic citizen rights are important. It is understandable if eavesdropping creates anxiety and uneasy-feeling amongst those affected people.

Moreover, the question is whether or not eavesdropping is the most effective way of forestalling terrorism? How much resources spent to undertake this eavesdropping, can we reallocate this resource to do something else that is more productive in combating terrorism?

Thought the government should talk more to American Muslims especially those of the Middle-east of origin and discuss how American Muslims can help so that we can obviate eavesdropping. Come on politicians and security experts, come up with a 'win-win' proposal.
Posted By Anonymous Uber Swot, Conroe, Texas : 4:47 PM ET
It seems to me that the people who are least concerned about warrantless wiretapping are people who think they will never be the target of the program, and it's easy to say they have nothing to hide. However, if you feel, like I do, that there is a chance, however small, that you may be monitored, then you are worried because you worry about the lack of protections for you should there be a mistake. I don't have anything to hide either.
Posted By Anonymous Karen, St Louis, MO : 4:48 PM ET
These people that agree that unwarranted phone tapping is OK are sad. Were these people also OK with putting Americans that happened to be Japanese in detention camps during WW2, even though they were completely innocent. We must stand up to this corrupt dictactorial government before it's too late and they start just doing door to door searches to see what comes up. Our founding fathers would be turning in their graves and slapping us silly for letting this go on.
Posted By Anonymous Mike Walker, Longmont, CO : 4:48 PM ET
I am sick of the uproar over wire tapping. Many people seem to forget that we are at war with terrorist who are trying to destroy our way of life. Wire tapping was a successful tool in keeping the US safe and now the enemy knows about it.

If you are concerned with having your conversations monitored then move to a country in the Middle East where every one's civil rights are so preciously protected!
Posted By Anonymous Robert, Reno NV : 4:48 PM ET
The issue is tough, it's hard to feel you are being discriminated against, it's hard to see people claiming to be muslims doing unIslamic things. I think many muslim organizations are doing a lot to try and show the world that these terrorists are not following Islam and trying to condemn these radical acts, but the bad is always going to make headlines. God forbid if another attack occurred, we would all be outraged that it happened again. The same men who are sitting in a room being questioned about the constitutionality of wiretapping would be sitting in a room being grilled over why we didn't see the attack coming. I understand being upset if you feel you are being unjustly targeted, but it's a comfort to me. I don't want to go to a mosque that has radical members, planning to do some horrendous thing.
Posted By Anonymous theresa, richmond, VA : 4:48 PM ET
if arab americans have nothing, why would they be getting angry over the possibility of there conversations being listened to. i, an iranian immigrant in the u.s. welcome and support all our government is trying to do to prevent another 9/11 form occuring.
Posted By Anonymous tony, long island, new york : 4:49 PM ET
Of course they are being spyed upon by our government. In fact, our government blatently claims it's "legal" to do it without a court order anymore.

In recent polls, a majority of Americans say it is OK to eavesdrop on "suspected" conversations.

I think America and Americans have fallen into a stupor and they are unable or unwilling to awake. How many times must we be lied to, misled, and forced to watch an incompetent government in action. I don't even feel like an American anymore, and I am white, anglo saxon catholic.
Posted By Anonymous Greg, San Francisco, CA : 4:49 PM ET
If you haven't done anything wrong, you have nothing to fear. Hiding behind the veil of "civil liberty" is one of the ways that enemies of the United States use our own freedoms against us.
Posted By Anonymous Doug Graham, St. Marys, Ga : 4:50 PM ET
I thank President Bush for having the guts to do what is right in the face of insanely politically motivated critism from the left. I am certainly not a fan of racism in it's truest form but you can bet, when I get on a plane I do my own version of "profiling" the passengers and keep a close eye on those of Middle Eastern origin. I bet the left wingers do that also. They just would not admit it!
Posted By Anonymous Curtis / Hot Springs, AR : 4:50 PM ET
If Muslims want respect then they have some house cleaning to do. Condemn the 911 attacks, take necessary actions against the radicals claiming the same religion, and assist us in eliminating these types of threats. This country will do what it has to do to overcome terrorists. It is never good to step on someone's religious beliefs. I will say I'm sorry when I see a line forming between good and bad Muslims.
Posted By Anonymous Eddie - Huntsville, Alabama : 4:50 PM ET
I wrote a comment here before any of the others were visible. Now I've seen what some of my fellow Americans have posted...and, shoot, it's clear there are some very ignorant persons on board to say the least! Take "CP" in Knoxville, "Bill Monroe" in Palm Beach, or "Neal" in Denver.

The latter is perhaps the most flagrant example of someone who must have flunked middle-school civics class: "if you wish to live in the USA you are subject to our security concerns." Sir, as American citizens, we are all subject to the freedoms and protections enshrined in the Constitution, the Fourth Amendment of which deals with searches and seizures and effectively prohibits warrantless wiretapping. If YOU don't like the Constitution, you are welcome, and encouraged, to pack your bags and get outta here, right now. There are many nations that have happily exchanged civil rights for increased security: Uzbekistan, North Korea, China, et cetera. Please Neal...go find your true home.
Posted By Anonymous Carl Willis, Columbus OH : 4:50 PM ET
We made a big mistake when we let Arabs and especially Muslim Arabs come into the USA as easily as we have in the past. They never should have been allowed to be American Citizens. They are taught jihad against Americans from the day they were born! None can be trusted as you cannot tell who is who.
Posted By Anonymous B Goldsmith, Bakersfield, CA : 4:52 PM ET
I live in the Metro Detroit area now and have for my entire life so I have a pretty good read on what the attitude is in the area. The gentleman Anderson spoke to in Dearborn views any attempt to thwart terrorism as a slight to the Arab-American population. Please Mr Siblani, enlighten this listening audience how to effectively deal with terrorists. BTW, I do not believe by any stretch of the imagination that all people of Middle Eastern desent are up to no good, but enough of them managed to wipe out 3000 people a few years back, so in my opinion wire tapping is an essential key to the war on terror.

You do remember we are still at war, don't you?
Posted By Anonymous Mike Detroit, Michigan : 4:53 PM ET
I fear the Bush administration more than terrorists. This bogus reasoning that "if I have nothing to hide, then I'm not worried." is the same old rationalization of people right before they fall for fascism. Besides, the Bush administration is not simply spying on terrorists - there is evidence they are spying on all sorts of groups they don't like. Why the heck do you people think he didn't go to a FISA court for this? Because he was ILLEGALLY SPYING ON THESE PEOPLE, THAT'S WHY!!
Posted By Anonymous Dex Mandark, Denver, CO : 4:55 PM ET
I am appalled that the administration is willing to disregard the protections outlined in the Constitution. That document was created to protect the people from the government. Without its protection, our government can become as oppressive as any other we fear. If you trust this administration to spy on only those people who have "known or suspected al Qaeda connections," will you trust the judgement of an administration led by a President John Kerry? How about Hillary Clinton?

This issue is not just about what THIS administration is doing. It is about what OUR government is doing. In my opinion, the Bush administration has been working to undermine our constitutional protections from day one. It has not gotten better (as I expected it would) after the departure of John Ashcroft.

Just my humble opinion . . .
Posted By Anonymous Rob Jewett, Franklin & Holliston, MA : 4:57 PM ET
It's not about if I have nothing to hide then I shouldn't worry if they are listening my phone calls. Government has been listening to Sami AL Arian for more then 10 years and they tried their best to prove that he is a terrorist by providing false/not correct translations of his phone calls in the court. After loosing their case recently US Govt is still not satisfied with prosecuting him. This proves that when Uncle Sam decided that they want you out of the country they will use all the resources they have to get rid of you. This is where phone tapps come in, one might be saying something very innocent and FBI translater can easily give FBI a totally different version of what a person might be saying then guess who is in trouble, WE ARE!!
This is the time for us to be careful what we say on the phones, even if its just a political statement. Remember when they come get you, YOU have to prove to UNCLE SAM that you are not GUILTY ( not other way round )
Posted By Anonymous Sergio, Vienna VA : 4:57 PM ET
It seems to me That people r missing the point of this. If a president under the reason of protecting me. Can change or unsurp the very document or laws. Which we as a nation live by then THAT is the greater crime.
Posted By Anonymous Chris ,ny ny : 4:58 PM ET
So many of the previous comments have seemed to forget that these are American citizens whose rights are being violated. It is a basic and fundamental right in America for one to be considered innocent until guilt of a crime has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Listening to the phone conversations of American citizens, no matter what thier race or ethnic background is, is a violation of what this country was founded upon.

To all of those who say that you shouldn't have a problem with the wiretapping if you are doing nothing wrong, you are missing the point. I am a loyal American citizen, I would never support a terrorist, but I feel that my right to privacy is greater than the government's right to listen illegally to my conversations or to know about any other aspect of my life without following the laws that have been created to safeguard these very same civil liberties. Before you condem an entire ethnicity to subhuman treatment, please remember that laws exist to allow the government to listen to the conversations of suspected terrorists and these laws have been circumvebted by the current Administration. No one, not even the President, is above the laws of this nation.
Posted By Anonymous Angela, Philadelphia, PA : 4:59 PM ET
In response to the 4pm post by 'Lisa from somewhere' I suggest she consider how she would feel if the gov't decided that illegal "latin" immigrants were a threat to national security? Would she not feel insulted to be treated that way and be subject to scrutiny?

Feels different once it's personal instead of a phantom person you don't know, with whom you can't identify. ~N~
Posted By Anonymous -Nioshii- NYC/ATL : 5:00 PM ET
I do not understand the suspicions of the Arab-American community, unless some of them have something to hide. They, as a group, should be happy that the American government is taking steps to protect ALL Americans. If they are not involved in any illegal or terrorist activities, they have nothing to fear. The majority of Americans see wiretapping as one part of the overall effort to prevent another terrorist attack on our shores.
Posted By Anonymous Chris Oelerich, Arlington Heights, IL : 5:00 PM ET
What I would like to know is whether the people conducting the wiretapping speak and understand Arabic. And out of all the wiretapping that has been done, exactly how many "people of interest" confirmed to the NSA that this illegal sysem actually works.
Posted By Anonymous PAT, ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA : 5:00 PM ET
This won't prove / disprove / catch or stop the issues at hand, it will only escalate the issues. Why do we have this issue in the first place? Why aren't we working to resolve this in another fashion, it will only lead to more bloodshed and violence.
Posted By Anonymous M, Orlando, FL : 5:02 PM ET
It is sad that our leader has to propose such choices (wiretapping). It is equally sad that some people still cling to the beliefs of our "founding fathers" as absolute and still relavant in todays' world.
We are living amongst people who have no regard for human life, and are willing to twist their revered Prophet's teachings to fit their sick purpose of world domination. If giving up my rights to absolute privacy in communications is necessary to protect America from terrorism, so be it.
Posted By Anonymous Bill, Edmond, Oklahoma : 5:02 PM ET
It's amazing to me how many of the people posting above are unconcerned by the thought of wiretapping sans warrant. There is this idea that if you have nothing to hide you shouldn't care that the government might be listening to your phone conversations; this is an alarmingly un-American sentiment. I'm not a terrorist and I obey the law in general, but I still don't want the government listening in on my private conversations. The right to privacy and other civil liberties are at the very heart of what it means to be an American patriot. Like Benjamin Franklin said, "He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither."
Posted By Anonymous Gary L., Northampton, MA : 5:03 PM ET
Every religion in the world has had satirical cartoons about them and you don't see the reaction the muslim world is having over the Danish cartoons. If this is the way the muslim community handles themselves or their right wing element, then they have no justification for being against any type of wire tap. I'm totally for wiretaps if they will protect this country. If you have nothing to hide then why worry. If you come from any Arab country and have the freedom you have in this country, you should be willing to protect it by whatever means necessary or maybe you aren't what you profess to be.
Posted By Anonymous Bill, Charlotte, NC : 5:04 PM ET
It is funny how those who support garbage like this hide behind the "if you're not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about" curtain. Fact is that our liberties, liberties bought with the blood of our veterans, are being eroded for security that is not there. If an attack is going to happen, phone tapping is not going to stop it. The patriot act will not stop an attack. If some of you would actually look back on history, you would see were this is going. Citizens lose rights, we enter a police state, economy fails, do I need to go on? This has nothing to do with wether or not I have anything to hide. Besides, how much do we have to give up to be "safe"? The answer to that is EVERYTHING.
Posted By Anonymous Jon Fargo, ND : 5:04 PM ET
It scares me to see people saying "I've got nothing to hide" or "Love it or leave it". We are a country of laws and proceedures exists to get a warrant via the FISA court (36 hrs after they start monitoring). I think the program is worthwhile gives the proper oversite. What if another attack ocurrs thats linked to a "Right To Life" group or an "Environmentalist" group ? Would we be ok for the gov to listen to calls of pro-life or enviromentalist ? The law was created for a reason. It should be followed.
Posted By Anonymous Doug, Atlanta, GA : 5:07 PM ET
The point that is missing? It could have been done in a legal manner. Give up a little freedom here and there and you will find yourself imprisoned. It is the arrogance of those that think they are above the law. Love it or leave it! The voice of the true idiot.
Posted By Anonymous Steve, Louisville, KY : 5:09 PM ET
There are Americans dying in Iraq to protect "our freedoms" as our government works to take away those very freedoms. To give up freedom for the sake of security isn't right. To say the President can decide which laws to follow "during a time of war" isn't right. The War on Terror will go on forever, just like the War on Drugs and the War on Poverty.

We must hold Civil Liberties and our freedom above all other things.
Posted By Anonymous Melissa Springer, South Lake Tahoe, CA : 5:10 PM ET
It seems to me what the majority of these commentors are failing to realize is that what the president is doing is illegal. It is plainly illegal. There are rules and guidlines which he can follow which would allow him to be making these wire taps, he has chosen not to. Some of you are perfectly willing to grant the blatant illegality by saying something long the lines of "well it may be illegal, but it's for a good cause". That sentiment shows a complete lack of understanding of how the rule of law works. Nobody is allowed to break the law "for a good cause", at least, they aren't supposed to be. We dont get to pick and choose which laws to follow if we dont agree with them. Thus the purpose of the courts and legislature. Once the people start to turn a blind eye toward the government's abuse of the system, the abuses will continue to occur and will eventually become more widespread.

When one branch of the government breaks the law, or writes a law which is unfair, it is up to the other two branches to check and balance the power. The people who say, ignorantly, that to be against the wiretaps is to be for the terrorists, or that the Arab people in this counrty should be happy that they know they are being listened to whereas in their countries they wouldn't be told, need to think a little more analytically about the situation. Our country isn't supposed to condone oppressive practices used in other countries, such as warrantless spying, holding people without due process of the law, etc. Countries which do those things are "terrorist" countries. What do we do? But the reponse is "we're afraid of the enemy, so we can break down our system of rights to fight them". Isn't that the terrorist's goal?

To all of you who say "I have nothing to hide" I say that's baloney. And who is to say we can trust the government to destroy records / recorded phone calls containing dirt on people that doesn't in fact contain terrorist info? It will be a funny day when that sort of collected info gets used against everyone who "had nothing to hide".
Posted By Anonymous Jordan Greco, Boston MA : 5:10 PM ET
I find many of the comments here disturbing, to say the least.

Several people on this blog have stated that wiretapping is perfectly normal in many Middle Eastern countries, so no big deal. Well, guess what? We're in America!!! If you people are comparing us to nations like Iran to justify our government's behavior then I'm very worried! Land of the free indeed! Nobody seems to mind that the very freedoms which make this country grand are being eroded. Keep giving the government (in particular the President) more power and before too long, we too will be living under a dictatorship.

I could go on for hours on this, however Benjamin Franklin said it best when he said, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little safety deserve neither liberty nor safety"
Posted By Anonymous Shawn Peterson, Petoskey Michigan : 5:10 PM ET
Wiretapping without a warrant goes against everything our country was founded upon. It is illegal. Then again the Patriot Act shreds apart our Bill of Rights and Constitution, and no one seems to be to concerned about that.
"Those who would sacrifice essential liberties for a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
Posted By Anonymous Neal, Eugene Oregon : 5:12 PM ET
Now that the cat is out of the bag, the wiretapping is probably more useless than it was before we knew about it. What self respecting terrorist would be stupid enough to discuss his/her insidious plans on their home phone or a traceable cell phone?
The wiretapping may be a necessity but I don't think the president should have the first and final say as to who gets tapped.
I feel for the Arab Americans who believe they are being scrutinized and for those who are. The odds of any of them truly being terrorists are probably about the same as my DNA matching Bin Laden's.
Maybe Mr. Bush should reopen the Japanese internment camps for Muslims whose only crime is that they do not have the same religious beliefs as 76% of the people in this country, including myself, have.
I'm not saying that there are no terrorists among the Arab American community or among any other ethnic American group for that matter. That would be a very naive assupmtion. But to make all Arab Americans feel suspect in order to possibly root out 1 or 2 who may be plotting dastardly deeds is wrong.
Posted By Anonymous Tom, Medford, NY : 5:12 PM ET
Many people have mentioned that they don't have anything to hide, so they don't mind if the government snoops on their conversations. In that case, you shouldn't mind if the government puts cameras in dressing rooms and bathrooms either. You haven't done anything wrong, so you don't have anything to hide.
Posted By Anonymous AS, Worcester, MA : 7:52 PM ET
Has anyone called for impeachment yet? I haven't heard a single Senator or Congressman call for impeachment. Know what I think...they know Bush will tell us the names of those who already knew about this program. Then, the questions will turn to "why didn't they tell anyone?" These are my questions: If everyone is so concerned with freedoms, why has this gone on for so long? If this is illegal, why aren't we talking impeachment? Feinstein was quoted as saying that she told the President that she had serious reservations about this program. If she knew and did not agree or simply thought it was illegal, why didn't she blow the whistle? Where is the outrage taht we are finding out now, after three years? Amazing!!!
Posted By Anonymous Robert Anderson, Las Vegas, NV : 7:54 PM ET
I agree with Tom (Medford, NY), this eavesdropping program which was supposed to be "secret" and now becomes public, surely enough, won't be effective anymore. Are we assuming that those terrorists are stupid? Are we intimidating them by doing this publicly? Are we forget about one of the definition of "intelligence"? Here's one from Cambridge dictionary: SECRET information about the governments of other countries, especially enemy governments, or a group of people who gather and deal with this information.
Posted By Anonymous Southern Belle, New Orleans, LA : 8:13 PM ET
It's really interesting to see all the responses to wiretapping...consider this. Now it may be NSA, but tomorrow could it be justified if your employer wiretap your phones in the future to see if someone may be "hiding something"? While Arab-Americans are targeted for now, what race of people will be targeted next? While people assume that the only phones that are being tapped are Arabs, think again. I think anyone who might openly oppose the actions of this administration is fair game.
Posted By Anonymous Angie, St. Louis, MO : 8:34 PM ET
The people who say, "Go ahead and listen I have nothing to hide," are being exceptionally short sighted. Letting the government listen to phone calls without a warrant is the first step right down the road towards the kind of country where the police can barge into your home at any time, cart you off to a secret destination, hold you there for years without a trial, and never tell your family what happened to you. What countries does that sound like? Would you want to live in one of them?
Posted By Anonymous Barbara Orchard Park, New York : 8:45 PM ET
The wire tapping issue is a smoke screen for the real issue: Is anything the President does in time of war legal under the Constitution's statement about the President being responsible for defending the country in time of war?

Any war? Even an undeclared war, even a war for which the country and Congress may have been lied to for their support?
Any thing? Suspend Congress...Suspend the Supreme Court...

Isn't our duty to resist this power grab? This is especially true for all government employees, each of whom takes an oath to "Support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic," not the President and his plans for an unlimited plutocracy led by himself.
Posted By Anonymous Gregory Farino, Marietta, GA : 8:56 PM ET
I think Arab-Americans have every right to be nervous, I know I am as a non Arab-American. We know nothing about this program - even if it is legal or not! I have zero faith in the Bush Administration when they say it is "a narrow program." I just don't buy it. People who could care less if they are listened to or not, legal or not, really scares me about where we are in this country. How much are we going to give up in the name of security and the "war on terror"? We need to be outraged and very concerned about this because this is the very thing those soliders are fighting for in Iraq and Afghanistan. The "war on terror" has no end in sight as far as I can see, so why not work with Congress to find a way to continue this program in an effective way that everyone can feel comfortable about. It is just UNBELIEVABLE to me, now that we all know, that the Bush Administration is still unwilling, to date, to take a step back and work with other branches of our democracy.
Posted By Anonymous Jane from Upland, PA : 9:01 PM ET
Welcome to Despotism everyone!

Warm Regards,

Benjamin Franklin
Posted By Anonymous Chris, San Diego CA : 9:17 PM ET
Well as an outsider (Canadian) I am truly surprised so many of you Americans freely give up your privacy rights. What I don't think many of you realize is that once you open the door and allow your government to do this to you...its very hard to close that same door afterwards. These powers you are giving WILL be abused and exploited, it is only a matter of time....history has proven this over and over again. Many of you say "I have nothing to hide" but the truth is, it IS a small world after all. One day you may say something on the phone that can harm you...perhaps you hide something to protect someone from harm, an affair, a business secret, a stock holder decision being made, anti-government comments you might make, or who knows what things have happened to you (or will happen),and end up in your skelton closet. You don't truly believe that just because they are looking for terrorists its going to stop there do you? Just because you don't get arrested as a terrorist does not mean your safe. The guy listening to your phone call "could" be interested in the information for their own personal gains. Or you could end up on another government list of people to watch....and don't laugh your goverment has done that many times in the past.
People abuse power, its a fact.
Also, these are Arab-Americans, many of these people were born and raised in your country, "100% made in the USA" as you might say. I think its time you started treating them like it, a little more respect for the rights your supposed to share would be in order I would think.
Being innocent or having nothing to hide does not protect you. How many innocent people have ended up in jail for crimes they did not commit and later cleared their name? Some of the detainees in Gitmo bay have been there for 3 years and they have not had a chance to prove if they are innocent yet.
Innocence is no protection from harm.
By the way, have you read the reports on some of the people they stop for being on those so-called terrorist watch lists? They have stopped well known peace activists (Cat Stevens and others), your own politicians, and even an 4 year old boy. I'd say they need to do a bit more work on the intelligence side would'nt you? Now you want to trust them with wiretapping your own people?
These wiretaps, and the Patriot Act for that matter, go completly against the laws & rights your founding fathers set up for you. Anyone who agrees with the patriot act needs to read your own history again, its an insult to what your country was founded for. You can not sacrifice freedom for security, this only leads to the end of the USA as a free country. If you don't stand up and protect your hard won rights and laws...some day in the not so distant future you will find a new Berlin wall locked around your own country and wonder where the hell it all went wrong?
Posted By Anonymous Ron, Orillia Ontario : 9:20 PM ET
This is not about Arab Americans in the fight against terrorism. It's about Americans in the fight against tyranny.
Our system of law (not that the current administration pays attention to such things) puts a lot of emphasis on precident. Allowing this illegal activity to continue give tacit approval for the next use.
The law in place was created in reaction to another administration that abused the power with which it was entrusted. Disregarding a law on the books goes far beyond the actions of the Nixon administration. They only had the vague guidance of the Constitution and the invasive practices of the Hoover FBI.
If we do not stop this here and now, what is to stop the current administration from using such tools to perpetuate a one-party rule in the name of protecting us (from ourselves or terrorism...either way, it will just be an excuse).
Posted By Anonymous Charlie, Watchung, NJ : 9:36 PM ET
I am a teacher. I think one has to take a look at the "big picture" when it comes to domestic wiretapping. As long as we still feel we are in a democratic society, and that we feel we are not oppressed by an executive branch which is out of control, wiretapping seems like a police technique to catch the bad guys. The big picture is that some of my students, our future citizens, are so poorly instructed in democracy that they see this as a normal policy to get the bad guys. They actually talk that any leader who promises to make them safe can have all the powers they want. In fact, safety and security overrides freedom of expression in their limited experience. I think this makes for a downhill slide away from democracy to some form of authoritarian control that most of us could never have dreamed would be expressed in our national consciousness.
Posted By Anonymous M. Williams, Lake Elmo, Mn : 9:38 PM ET
I am usually a Democrat, and will identify myself as a liberal. I have to ask, however, a very simple question. If you are doing nothing wrong, what have you to hide? Many will respond to this with calls to the right to privacy. But morally, the right to privacy isn't really defensible, except as ego. Now, I think that the President and NSA violated the law when they bypassed the FISA courts, so it is wrong what they did legally. Morally, however, is a completely different story.
Posted By Anonymous Adam, Long Grove, IL : 9:45 PM ET
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