Perry Metzger, a bright man whom I recall from my days years ago as a crypto engineer, wrote the following editorial piece on the Cryptography Mailing List: A Small Editorial About Recent Events. In case you don't follow links, it's about President Bush's unapologetic admission that he has been authorizing domestic surveillance without court orders for years, and that he intends to keep doing so. This outraged me when I first read about it, but the news often outrages me and I do nothing about it. Perry's editorial struck a nerve. He's right, we all should be doing something about this one.
So, I wrote my first-ever letter to my long-time Congressman, Bill Pascrell. It went like this;
Congressman Pascrell, You've been my Congressman for an awfully long time, and I've always admired the job you do, and have never felt the need to write to you before. Today, I feel I must, even though I expect you are already feel as I do. I'm contacting you in regards to President Bush's recent admission of surveillance of U.S. citizens without benefit of warrants or court orders. This is clearly a violation of the law (U.S. Code 50 USC 1801 - 50 USC 1811), and the President must be held accountable. Please do whatever you can. The rule of law is the most important precept in our republic, and no one can be allowed to ignore it, no matter how noble the reason. Thanks for your attention. Jim Russell Nutley NJ
I'll be following up with letters to Senator Lautenberg and Senator-in-Waiting Menendez. I realize that having a Democratic Congressman and two Democratic senators make my letters a bit like preaching to the choir, but I want to make sure they understand the level of anger and fear that the President's actions have instilled. There were plenty of legal methods to accomplish what he wanted. No one, especially the President, should be able to ignore the law.