Warrantless Thanksgiving Eavesdropping

Those who feel violated by the so-called “warrantless wiretapping” engaged in by the Bush Administration should consider the hazards of Thanksgiving in Pittsburgh.

A friend tells me she turned down an invitation to a Thanksgiving dinner here because the hostess, call her Mrs. Burgh, observes the odd holiday custom of “bugging” her guests.

Mrs. Burgh employs standard holiday information-gathering techniques, like rapid fire interrogation (”Are you still single? Who are you dating? Where do you live? Do you rent or own? Do you like your job? Is that what you went to school for? Is it lucrative? Why don’t you have a baby? When will you have a baby? When will you have another baby?”) and subtler, more psychological forms of information-gathering (the once-over combined with feigned concern, “How are you feeling since that breakup? Are you all right? I went through the same thing…”) in order to soften her guests up to spill the details of their personal and professional lives.

But Mrs. Burgh takes it a step further and actually hides tape recorders around her house – in potted plants, for instance – so she can record guests’ conversations and listen to them at her leisure. (Yes, she actually does this).

She also deliberately inserts herself into conversations so she can entrap people into gossiping while the tapes roll.

I would bet my cranberry sauce that this woman’s actions are a more serious violation of civil liberties than anything the Bush Administration has undertaken (assuming none of her guests are connected to al Qaeda).

Where is the ACLU? Where is the outrage?

In all seriousness, I give thanks this year to live in a nation whose leaders have demonstrated the moral courage to keep us safe despite the condemnation they’ve received, every step of the way, for doing so. Happy Thanksgiving all!

This entry was written by and posted on November 23, 2007 at 1:38 am and filed under Blog.