A small minority of Republican negotiators hammered out a “compromise” to extend the Patriot Act—under which all manner of unconstitutional domestic surveillance is legitimized to “fight terror”—for “only” 4 more years, instead of the 10 originally sought. This is bad law and intentional erosion of civil liberties, under the guise of “keeping us safe”, at which the Bush Administration has proven singularly incompetent—see the findings of the 9/11 Commission. It’s no consolation that the Act is supposed to expire in 4 years instead of 10—that 4 years still gives the Bush White House the opportunity to target political opponents for domestic spying (shades of the “ratfuckers” of CREEP), and another year during which they can guarantee pardons for themselves—shades of Ford pardoning Nixon.
HUAC under McCarthy in the early 50s used “domestic security” as excuse for all manner of illegal and unconstitutional invasion of privacy; Nixon did it in the early 70s; now Bush/Rove are doing it. It’s always the same: external threats are magnified in order to justify internal spying, repression, and illegality. Now we’re including torture and character assassination. Those bastards are going to have a lot to answer for, and I’d guess there will be multiple indictments, on both the Hill and in the White House.