Magazine article The Progressive

Who Needs Proof?

Magazine article The Progressive

Who Needs Proof?

Article excerpt

Certainly not Bill Clinton. Well before any definitive answer was in on the cause of the explosion of TWA Flight 800, there was Clinton demanding more power to infringe on our civil liberties.

He urged Congress to pass legislation that would allow the government vast new authority for wiretapping and other snoopery. Clinton, whose respect for civil liberties has been nonexistent, tried to legalize such invasions of privacy in the counterterrorism bill last spring but was outvoted in Congress. Now he's back.

But it's not like his Administration hasn't already been snooping around: The Clinton Administration is already spying on Americans at a rate twice that of the Bush Administration and two-and-a-half times that of the Reagan Administration.

The explosion of TWA Flight 800 has just given Clinton another excuse to trample on our rights.

The response by the American press to the TWA explosion was no better.

Even before any hard evidence was in, the pundits took to their perches. Thomas L. Friedman in The New York Times said "our increased vulnerability" to "an unknown terrorist is what really characterizes this new age," adding that the TWA flight would "no doubt" be pegged to terrorists, though there were plenty of doubts around when he banged those words out on his computer.

A.M. Rosenthal of the Times also rushed to the terrorism conclusion, and demanded retribution. "Stopping terrorism means standing ready to retaliate militarily against the sponsors of terrorism."

Jim Hoagland of The Washington Post called for an attack. …

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