Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Read any good mail lately?

I can imagine that the Bush regime might claim that there is some ambiguity as to whether electronic communications are entitled to full Fourth Amendment protection, both because they are not clearly "papers, persons, and effects" and because of the exigency involved in instantaneous communications. I haven't heard them make this claim, but one could imagine that they would.

Mail, however, is another question. We already had postal service at the time the Bill of Rights was adopted, and there is no question that the privacy of the mails was well within the scope of protected activity when the Fourth Amendment was adopted. For that matter, we even had international mail at that time. What, then, will they say about this report, which reveals that they've been opening mail when they think they need to to protect national security?

And, given what they've already done, and how they've justified it, how can we trust any of their explanations about anything?

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