Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Eavesdropping and "omniscience"

I like The Revealer, but Jeff Sharlet's claim (linked to here by Rob) that the recent reporting (not "revelations"; there is, I think, a bit of a "shocked, shocked!" quality to many of the critics' reactions) about the Administration's electronic eavesdropping on conversations thought to involve persons connected with an international terrorist organization (is this "domestic spying"?) reveals a widespread "acceptance of omniscience as a legitimate aim of government" is a bit of a stretch.  It does not reflect a misplaced or idolatrous desire for "omniscience" for an electrician to want to know everything he possibly can about the ancient and possibly dangerous wiring in my house before he works on it.  And -- putting aside, for the moment, the policy, legal, and military merits of the Administration's eavesdropping -- it does not seem to reflect a misplaced hunger for omniscience for government to want information that, it is reasonably argued, is essential to carrying out a task that everyone believes is at the heart of its obligation to the common good.

For two good posts on the legal and constitutional issues, read Orin Kerr and Cass Sunstein.


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