Gonzales’s Latest Data Grab

What, can't he download all of our records from Michael Hayden? Now Attorney General Gonzales is telling Comcast, Google, Microsoft, and other companies that they must keep client records for an extended period — to be turned over to the Justice Department at Gonzales's asking. (With a court order, supposedly, though the Bush administration isn't known for being punctilious about that.) He claims this is an anti-child-pornography measure, though, of course, terrorism also crops up as a pretext. Well, what's to be expected? The attorney general is hardly going to make his demands on the basis of a less sensational cause. But who really thinks these records would only be used in kiddie porn and terror cases?

Notice, by the way, that Gonzales gives this order without any law or court order to back him up. He says he might ask Congress for a law. But, typically for a Bush official, he prefers not to go through legal channels when extra-legal channels are available.

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