Archive for Friday, January 13, 2006

Brownback questions federal mail inspections

January 13, 2006

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U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., this week said the case of a retired Kansas University professor's tampered mail might spark a fresh look at national security laws.

Grant Goodman was the subject of a December Journal-World story after he discovered that a letter from a friend in the Philippines had been opened by the Department of Homeland Security. In recent weeks, the story has been covered by national media outlets, including MSNBC, Reuters and The Associated Press.

Brownback, in an interview with 6News, said the law allows inspection of mail from overseas.

"But I think we ought to look at that afresh and see if that constitutional right, that executive privilege exists," Brownback said. "Normally, it's done after a subpoena is secured. In some recent cases it's been done without a subpoena, but it's been claimed to be under the executive privilege. I think we need to look at that thoroughly and see if it exists because we want to safeguard people's privacy."

Goodman told AP he received a new letter from his friend this week. It appeared to be unopened.

Comments

mcoan 9 years, 5 months ago

Wow, that's mighty enlightened thinking from such a rightwing wackjob redneck as Brownback. Restrain executive privelege? I don't buy that he would consider it...remember, he was speaking to reporters from one of the state's two Blue Counties. Telling us what we want to hear, while he votes strict partyline in support of Bush.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 5 months ago

This is just posturing to make himself seem more moderate in his run for the presidency. If he's ever elected, he'll likely be just as imperial as when he takes the reins of BushCo.

badger 9 years, 5 months ago

There is another argument I've heard floated, which the next few months will bear out or not.

Republicans are starting to get uncomfortable with the degree of executive privilege being exercised these days, as it's taking power from the legislative branch.

This might not seem like a big deal if they're all on the same side, but a lot of Republicans are aware that Bush's falling popularity ratings, lack of a clear Republican successor, and splits within the Republican Party between the far right and the moderates may combine to put a Dem in the White House in 2008. If they don't curb executive privilege now, they set precedent for someone from the other side to use it later. They may not mind so much if GWB taps phones and reads mail without the courtesy of even a retroactive FISA warrant, but they'd certainly mind if it were a Democrat doing it.

If they start to question the extent of that privilege now, then they have firmer ground to stand on if they have to challenge its use by a Democrat in four years.

Bush is losing ground within his own party. It's no longer necessarily good for even the far-right to appear too closely aligned with him.

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