The Day Senator Bunning Read the Newspaper

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So Kentucky’s Sen. Jim Bunning says he doesn’t read newspapers, but he did pick up a copy of the Times long enough to read the financial-surveillance story, and he knows treason when he sees it.

Bunning equated the Times’ story last week on the bank records to publishing the phone number of Osama bin Laden, saying the al-Qaida leader would be tipped and change his number immediately.

“In my opinion, that is giving aid and comfort to the enemy, therefore it is an act of treason,” Bunning said of the story, which detailed how the government is analyzing a massive database on international money transfers.

Let the record reflect that to suggest that terrorists would have had no way to suspect that their records might be surveiled–through an agency that out and out advertises its cooperation with law enforcement), you have to assume that they’re pretty damn obtuse. But no matter: Bunning’s point really is that, as Ari Fleischer would have it, “people need to watch what they say, watch what they do.”

“What you write in a war and what is legal to do for the federal government, or state government, whoever it is, is very important in the winning of the war on terror.”

Asked if that could be a recipe for government abuse of civil liberties, Bunning responded: “It could be.”

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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