A federal judge dropped charges against 13 peace activists arrested for protesting outside the headquarters of the secretive National Security Agency.More overstepping of legal bounds by Bush administration officers. Convenient tandem report to this morning's more significant Times piece on the Justice Department's excessive secrecy tactics in NSA wiretapping cases.
An NSA security officer lacked the legal authority to charge the protesters and did not provide a statement of probable cause, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Gauvey ruled Thursday.
The law only prohibits illegal entry, not remaining on NSA property, and the protesters were never told the NSA objected to their presence, the judge said.
''There was no guard. There was no checkpoint. There was no sign warning them of anything,'' Gauvey said.
The activists were charged with entering a military installation for illegal purposes, which carries a maximum six-month sentence and a $5,000 fine.
Do you think the lawless tone at the top of this administration has anything at all to do with such incidents? Where they've lawyered down the Geneva Conventions, repeatedly expressed disdain for the judiciary, declassified intelligence for political purposes such as silencing an Iraq war crtitic (Joe Wilson)? The message they've sent with such actions has trickled down, no doubt about it. Might makes right has been the unofficial slogan of the Bush administration, to date.