EXTRAORDINARY TIMES: SECRET GOVERNMENT (PART I) Whatever the threat of these times — and it is both great and mysterious — the Bush administration, with significant help from Congress, is using it to rewrite American law and tradition. The new rules make it easier to conduct wiretaps and searches of homes, detain and deport people accused of nothing, and monitor conversations between suspects and their lawyers. Such things merit debate.

The president also, on Nov. 1, signed an executive order giving himself the power to prevent historians and others from ever inspecting any of the records of recent presidents, including himself. He now has complete control over what we will officially know or not know about what the U.S. government is doing in our name in this extraordinary time.

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