Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Even Ike knew better than Bush

Even in the midst of the Cold War, Republican icon Dwight Eisenhower wasn’t comfortable with the idea of secretly recording telephone conversations.

An AP story datelined Abilene, Kan., today reported that someone dug through Eisenhower’s presidential library papers, and discovered notes from a Cabinet meeting. Apparently, Ike had more regard for the people of this country than our current, not-so-beloved president.

A diary kept by James Hagerty, Eisenhower's press secretary, discusses a July 16, 1954 Cabinet meeting.
The Cabinet was dealing with a recommendation to end the routine taping or recording of calls by a stenographer listening in. Ike favored curtailing the practice, at the very least letting people know when they were being recorded, according to Hagerty's diary.

Hagerty's diary said such surveillance had been abused and represented an invasion of individuals' privacy -- statements that could have come from critics of President Bush's domestic surveillance program.
What did Ike actually do? Was the program ever cut back? The story doesn’t report whether it was. However, it’s nice to know that one Republican, at least, worried once about invading people’s privacy and the abuses of power.

What a novel thought.

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