Analysts: Bush spying rationale legally shaky


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rick_reno
January 7, 2006, 02:21 AM
Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said the activities “were conducted in accordance with the law and provide a critical tool in the war on terror that saves lives and protects civil liberties.”
"protects civil liberties" - Mr. Roehrkasse would have done well in the era of "We had to destroy the village in order to save it". Are there no limits to what this administration will do?

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10741787/

WASHINGTON - A memorandum from two congressional legal analysts concludes that the administration’s justification for the monitoring of certain domestic communications may not be as solid as President Bush and his top aides have argued.

The Congressional Research Service, which advises lawmakers on a wide range of matters, said a final determination about the issue is impossible without a deeper understanding of the program and Bush’s authorization, “which are for the most part classified.”

Yet two attorneys in the organization’s legislative law division, Elizabeth Bazan and Jennifer Elsea, say the justification that the Justice Department laid out in a Dec. 22 analysis for the House and Senate intelligence committees “does not seem to be as well-grounded as the tenor of that letter suggests.”

The National Security Agency’s activity “may present an exercise of presidential power at its lowest ebb,” Bazan and Elsea write in the 44-page memo.

Bush and his top advisers have defended the program, which allowed the highly secretive agency to eavesdrop without court approval on international calls and e-mails of people who were inside the United States and suspected of communicating with al-Qaida or its affiliates.

The Bush administration says it was legal under Article 2 of the Constitution, which grants presidential powers, and Congress’ September 2001 authorization to use military force to conduct the war on terror.

But the memo concludes: “It appears unlikely that a court would hold that Congress has ... authorized the NSA electronic surveillance operations here under discussion.”

Responding to the report, Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said the activities “were conducted in accordance with the law and provide a critical tool in the war on terror that saves lives and protects civil liberties.”

Balance of powers
The domestic monitoring has raised questions about the appropriate powers of Congress and the executive branch. Congress’ legal advisers are saying lawmakers should have a role in overseeing such activities.

Ken Bass, a Carter administration Justice Department official and an expert on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, said the issue of the president’s inherent power has remained unresolved for decades.

The White House’s analysis of presidential power is consistent with previous administrations, Bass said. But he said he didn’t know of an administration that had asserted authority for four years, as in the monitoring program, to delegate decisions normally requiring court orders to midlevel intelligence officials.

On Monday, Bush reasserted his authority to order the surveillance.

“The enemy is calling somebody, and we want to know who they’re calling and why,” Bush said in San Antonio, Texas. “And that seems to make sense to me, as the commander in chief, if my job is to protect the American people.”

Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., who was among those who requested the research service’s memo, said it contradicts Bush’s claim that the program was legal.

“It looks like the president’s wiretapping was not only illegal, but likely targeted innocent Americans who did nothing more than place a phone call,” he said.

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beerslurpy
January 7, 2006, 04:01 AM
All the legal blogs I watch seem to be edging towards a verdict of "the president didnt violate teh 4th amendment, but he sure violated the hell out of FISA." Something that carries a 5 year prison sentence, I might add.

Although he is probably going to weasel out of it, this comes closer to an impeachable offense than oh, say receiving a blowjob. If the president is trying to get the PATRIOT act non-renewed, abuses like this are certainly the medicine called for.

My dream scenario is Alito being confirmed, followed by the PATRIOT act expiring , followed by Ginsburg having a heart attack. The dream ends with the nomination of Janice Rogers Brown lol soiled sheets.

Joejojoba111
January 7, 2006, 04:43 AM
It was the lie, not the blowjob. If only all political lies left stained dresses behind.

beerslurpy
January 7, 2006, 04:59 AM
If he had lied about something like Waco or Ruby Ridge, that would never have seen the light of day. Of course, lies were told, but they were told by underlings. Serious malfeasance is always performed by underlings. This is the same principle that will protect Bush. Bush knows better than to say something unscripted before cameras or to do a dirty job better delegated to a minion.

The lewinsky mess produced direct undeniable lying because it was a choice between lying (and hoping there was no way of disproving the lie) and admitting something extremely embarassing and probably politically damaging. Unfortunately for bill, monica held on to the dress.

I know the democrats are desperately hoping for something similarly damning on bush, but I dont think that will happen as long as Rove is running things. Putting Rove and the Cheney staffer before the grand jury was a shrewd move, but since there was no law broken (and it was nothing scanadlous like sex), they had no reason to lie about it. The likelihood of getting Bush to testify on anything is slim at best.

PCGS65
January 7, 2006, 05:06 AM
by beerslurpy, The lewinsky mess produced direct undeniable lying because it was a choice between lying (and hoping there was no way of disproving the lie) and admitting something extremely embarassing and probably politically damaging. Unfortunately for bill, monica held on to the dress.


Hey beerslurpy, Slick Willy should have made sure Monica swallowed the evidence!:barf:

PATH
January 7, 2006, 05:43 AM
They could listen in to me all day and their grannies could too!:D I like the fact that when someone is speaking about blowing things up the Govt. is listening. Listening to the bad guys is a good thing. Now I'll put the asbestos clothing on!:evil:

cz75bdneos22
January 7, 2006, 06:12 AM
the very fact that spying on American citizens was authorized by the president without court warrants ought to raise a cry from the American public. Not apathy. the point of a warrant is to prevent the government from turning into a mock KGB. The KGB was the Russian Commitee for the State Security when Russia was the Soviet Union. An organization known for deception, torture and revenge, the KGB spied on people and even made people disappear. The danger of our illegal spying deal is that it is being cloaked in patriotism. "This authorization is a vital tool in our war against the terrorists. It is critical to saving American lives," President Bush said. If the people being spied upon truly were a danger to American lives and there were enough evidence to prove it, a warrant surely would have been granted for each wiretap that the president authorized. Hermann Goering said when asked how Nazism prevailed in germany that " the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. all you have to do is tell them that they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country." The ends never justify the means. And contrary to what the Bush administration believes, war does not justify all actions...::fire:

davec
January 7, 2006, 06:41 AM
The Indians are running off the reservation. I don't think anybody is going to be able to call Sam Brownback a weak kneed liberal terrorist enabler. The man is about as right wing as they come.

Senator: Bush’s spying raises concerns
Brownback disagrees with legal rationale

By Scott Rothschild

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Topeka — U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., on Friday said the Bush administration needed to answer questions about spying on Americans without court authorization.

And Brownback said he disagreed with the administration’s legal rationale, which he said could hamper future presidents during war.

“There are questions that should be examined at this point in time,” Brownback said during a news conference.

Bush has confirmed that he approved allowing the National Security Agency to monitor Americans without seeking warrants from a secret federal court that oversees the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA.

Bush said the move was necessary to fight the war on terror.

The administration said Bush’s decision was legal in part because of a congressional resolution that authorized force to fight terrorism, which was adopted after the 9-11 terrorist attacks.

Brownback said he disagreed with that justification.

“I do not agree with the legal basis on which they are basing their surveillance — that when the Congress gave the authorization to go to war that that gives sufficient legal basis for the surveillance,” he said.

He said if the justification holds up, “you’re going to have real trouble having future Congresses giving approval to presidents to go to war.”

Earlier this week, U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, acknowledged he was aware of Bush’s secret operation, and that he agreed with it and thought it was legal.

Brownback said he wasn’t opposed to the administration conducting surveillance but that the legal basis had to be straightened out.

He said of Roberts, “My colleague Pat Roberts is doing an outstanding job on intelligence. It’s a tough issue.”

And he defended Roberts against criticisms from top Democrats on the Intelligence Committee who have said they had problems with Bush’s operation.

Brownback said the controversy was becoming politicized.

He said the best way to examine the issues was to have hearings when Congress reconvenes in January. Brownback is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, whose chairman, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., has already announced that he plans such hearings.

In a related development, it was revealed Friday that Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito advocated a strategy to strengthen the government’s power in ordering domestic wiretaps when he worked for the Reagan Justice Department in 1984.

Asked whether that position espoused by Alito should be part of his confirmation hearing, Brownback, who supports Alito’s nomination, said it should.

“Anything in his record is subject to the hearing and review and should be,” Brownback said.

http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2005/dec/24/senator_bushs_spying_raises_concerns/?print

Waitone
January 7, 2006, 07:20 AM
Clinton's impeachment was a scharade as will Bush's impeachment be a scharade. Democrats don't want him impeached. They want him injured and hung around republican's neck. His value is in being beaten but still holding office. If Bush is to be damaged he'll have to have agreement of both parties for a prosecutor. Ken Starr was a lawyer to the establishment. He was to go after Clinton for lying but stay away from various Arkansas events. Same thing will happen with Bush if it goes that far. Remember, the Bush Syndicate and the Clinton Family have achieved mutually assured destruction. Neither organization wants to push the other too hard. :scrutiny:

publius
January 7, 2006, 09:36 PM
I find it odd that the administration would go around the FISA courts, since those courts virtually never refuse to grant a warrant.

Standing Wolf
January 7, 2006, 10:32 PM
We had to destroy the nation's civil liberties to make it a less appealing target for the terrorist savages.

Waitone
January 8, 2006, 12:04 AM
I find it odd that the administration would go around the FISA courts, since those courts virtually never refuse to grant a warrant. Yup, right up until 911 then for some reason denials and modifications zoomed. No reason under speculation in the media, just the story that Bush's requests were not left untouched.

CAnnoneer
January 8, 2006, 12:06 AM
The cancer is too far gone within the Republican party.

Today I listened to Newt Gingrich say on TV that the whole breaking of the law thing is basically "POTUS having the right and exercising his obligation to defend the nation against terrorists. If laws are too restrictive to this task, then Congress should change the laws to accomodate." (quoting by essence). Also, "If our civil liberties prevent us from stopping terrorists from detonating a nuke in Washington, then we have to limit our civil liberties accordingly."

Except, POTUS and co. could have gotten the warrants just for the asking. They did not deign it necessary to bother with it.

I used to respect Newt until today...

Both major parties are diseased aging bodies suffering from a huge array of debilitating ailments. It is time that we cut the life support on both and let them slip into the past, before they drag us with them.

Headless Thompson Gunner
January 8, 2006, 12:15 AM
All administrations since Carter have asserted that the President has the authority to do what Bush did. Why is it suddenly a problem for Bush to assert that he has this authority?

There are legal mechanisms in place that allow the President (through his attorney general) to authorize these types of interceptions. Nobody claims that Bush failed to provide the necessary authorizations.

The media would have you believe that the FISA court is the only body that can authorize these interceptions. But this simply isn't true.

Waitone
January 8, 2006, 12:33 AM
I think it admirable for the prez to go to the FISA court PROVIDED HE WAS REALLY REQUIRED TO BY LAW. I'll refrain from judgement until it is demonstrated he was requuired by law to do so. I will not get excited if it turns out the law didn't require it and he felt no need to go over and above the letter of the law.

All the bashers gotta do is demonstrate the law required an appearance before th court then I'm there widcha.

Helmetcase
January 8, 2006, 01:03 AM
I think it admirable for the prez to go to the FISA court PROVIDED HE WAS REALLY REQUIRED TO BY LAW. I'll refrain from judgement until it is demonstrated he was requuired by law to do so. I will not get excited if it turns out the law didn't require it and he felt no need to go over and above the letter of the law.
The law clearly states he has to get the warrants. Even AG Gonzales doesn't try to deny that FISA was violated. The issue is whether he has to follow it or if AUMF lets him circumvent it.

All the bashers gotta do is demonstrate the law required an appearance before th court then I'm there widcha.
Done. Well, he doesn't have to appear, but the court has to be consulted.

I've heard a rumor that one of the people they were spying on was Christiane Amanpour from CNN. It is confirmed that some of the spying in question was indeed domestic on domestic.

No_Brakes23
January 8, 2006, 01:07 AM
My dream scenario is Alito being confirmed, followed by the PATRIOT act expiring , followed by Ginsburg having a heart attack. The dream ends with the nomination of Janice Rogers Brown lol soiled sheets. +1 Wouldn't that be nice. JRB is one of the few decent political exports my state has.

Biker
January 8, 2006, 01:08 AM
The law clearly states he has to get the warrants. Even AG Gonzales doesn't try to deny that FISA was violated. The issue is whether he has to follow it or if AUMF lets him circumvent it.

Done. Well, he doesn't have to appear, but the court has to be consulted.

I've heard a rumor that one of the people they were spying on was Christiane Amanpour from CNN. It is confirmed that some of the spying in question was indeed domestic on domestic.
But it's okay because he's Bush. Right? You're right, Helmetcase, according to a number of sources, FISA was bypassed for a number of domestic taps.
However, the Bush apologists will continue with the "Dems did it before us" mantra. Guess that makes it right now.
Biker

fourays2
January 8, 2006, 01:23 AM
All administrations since Carter have asserted that the President has the authority to do what Bush did. Why is it suddenly a problem for Bush to assert that he has this authority?

There are legal mechanisms in place that allow the President (through his attorney general) to authorize these types of interceptions. Nobody claims that Bush failed to provide the necessary authorizations.

The media would have you believe that the FISA court is the only body that can authorize these interceptions. But this simply isn't true.

probably because it's the final straw for a lot of people. compound it with CFR, the border issue, eminent domain abuses, cronyism etc and this guy doesn't look like he's worth the effort anymore.

Bartholomew Roberts
January 8, 2006, 01:38 AM
probably because it's the final straw for a lot of people. compound it with CFR, the border issue, eminent domain abuses, cronyism etc and this guy doesn't look like he's worth the effort anymore.

OK, I can see blaming Bush for CFR, the border, and cronyism; but eminent domain abuses? He didn't appoint any of the justices that supported Kelo (and were almost universally liberal). He didn't make Kelo happen. He had pretty much nothing to do with Kelo in general.

About the best connection you can make to eminent domain abuses and Bush is that when he was an owner of the Texas Rangers, the franchise used eminent domain to grab land for their new stadium.

yucaipa
January 8, 2006, 02:01 AM
The law clearly states he has to get the warrants.


No, it doesn't the FISA court has said the exact opposite.


In 2002, that FISA review court upheld the president's warrantless search powers, referencing a 1980 Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals decision. That court held that "the president did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information. ... We take for granted that the president does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the president’s constitutional power," wrote the court.




AG Gonzales doesn't try to deny that FISA was violated. The issue is whether he has to follow it or if AUMF lets him circumvent it.



Actually AG Gonzales says just the opposite, he publicly cities Hamdi v US decided by the Supreme Court in 2004


"that the Supreme Court decision on Hamdi reinforced the claim that the president was given wide permission in the Sept. 14, 2001, vote by Congress authorizing the president to "use all necessary and appropriate force" against those behind the Sept. 11 attacks"

Dain Bramage
January 8, 2006, 02:49 AM
The Seattle Times ran the exact same story, only they had a blurb that Sen. Diane Feinstein was the one requesting the memo.

I'm sure that Feinstein and Lautenburg, those stalwarts of personal liberty, are only out to protect the constitution.

Bartholomew Roberts
January 8, 2006, 04:44 AM
No, it doesn't the FISA court has said the exact opposite.

You keep saying this; yet you fail to emphasize the foreign intelligence part every time.

Actually AG Gonzales says just the opposite, he publicly cities Hamdi v US decided by the Supreme Court in 2004

You do realize the quote you cite in support of your argument actually supports the post you are contradicting, right? AUMF means "authorized use of military force". You claim Gonzales says the opposite and then cite "vote by Congress authorizing the president to "use all necessary and appropriate force" against those behind the Sept. 11 attacks" in support.

beerslurpy
January 8, 2006, 04:54 AM
Hamdi didnt invalidate the 4th amendment. Saying the president was authorized to go to war doesnt give him plenary powers to violate the constitution or the laws of congress. Many of the powers one might assume fall under "warmaking powers" are actually reserved to congress. Such as suspending haebus corpus and maintaining the army and navy. If congress wishes to grant him exceptions from certain laws, then they can alter the laws to provide such an exception.

In areas where the constition is silent, we look to the statutes. If congress had not created a law restraining the president in this specific way, it is arguable that warrantless wiretaps were implictly authorized when they sent him off to make war. But congress specifically denied him permission to do this and did not retract this restriction when they authorized the wars.

The FISA judges have no authority to set aside the law, they are simply arbiters of fairness in the warrant-issuing process.

yucaipa
January 8, 2006, 10:34 AM
You keep saying this; yet you fail to emphasize the foreign intelligence part every time.



Correct, but the debate isn't "does a US President need a warrant form a US court to wire tap communications of foreign soil",not even Barbara Boxer is making that argument. The entire CIA would be behind bars.;)

fourays2
January 8, 2006, 10:39 AM
OK, I can see blaming Bush for CFR, the border, and cronyism; but eminent domain abuses? He didn't appoint any of the justices that supported Kelo (and were almost universally liberal). He didn't make Kelo happen. He had pretty much nothing to do with Kelo in general.

About the best connection you can make to eminent domain abuses and Bush is that when he was an owner of the Texas Rangers, the franchise used eminent domain to grab land for their new stadium.

true, he didn't order the SCOTUS to OK the land grabs, but it happened on his watch and I don't recall him being outraged by it.

yucaipa
January 8, 2006, 11:10 AM
Hamdi didnt invalidate the 4th amendment. Saying the president was authorized to go to war doesnt give him plenary powers to violate the constitution or the laws of congress. Many of the powers one might assume fall under "warmaking powers" are actually reserved to congress. Such as suspending haebus corpus and maintaining the army and navy. If congress wishes to grant him exceptions from certain laws, then they can alter the laws to provide such an exception.

I agree,unfortunately the courts are going the other way,expanding the President's autonomy.



The FISA judges have no authority to set aside the law, they are simply arbiters of fairness in the warrant-issuing process.


Ultimately the Supreme Court will have to decide,the last 5 administrations have argued that Congress violated the separation of powers when it created FISA,and so far the lower courts have agreed.

Regardless of what any member of congress says today, the day they are elected President, Democrat or Republican.

President McCain-Clinton, whoever, they and their AG will making the same argument. "the President has the authority"

The true is this is a turf war,a power struggle.

Helmetcase
January 8, 2006, 11:16 AM
No, it doesn't the FISA court has said the exact opposite.

Nice try slick, that was the FISA Review Court. It was not the FISA court. Three judges who hear appeals about FISA decisions. It was an off handed opinion, not a ruling after an adversarial hearing with a plantiff and defendent arguing both sides of the case. You're talking about that Schmidt article; in fact, he's wrong, and no court has actually ruled on this issue. The issue the FISA review court was considering was whether FISA was limited by the president's authority, not the reverse.


Actually AG Gonzales says just the opposite, he publicly cities Hamdi v US decided by the Supreme Court in 2004
Nice try again; he's citing Hamdi and AUMF as reasons POTUS can ignore FISA. Hamdi by and large uses AUMF as a justification.

You're gonna have to get up earlier in the morning to try to slide those kind of whoppers past anyone. But you are correct that it's fundamentally about checking the POTUS's authority; if he can ignore that law, what other laws can he ignore? Republicans in their partisan zeal to support W no matter what he does should bear in mind that there will someday be another president, and you might care to ask yourself what laws that president will invalidate for his own ends.

For my money, AUMF is a far less specific statute than FISA, and I subcribe to the idea that the more specific statute should govern.

yucaipa
January 8, 2006, 12:29 PM
Nice try slick, that was the FISA Review Court. It was not the FISA court. Three judges who hear appeals about FISA decisions. It was an off handed opinion, not a ruling after an adversarial hearing with a plantiff and defendent arguing both sides of the case. You're talking about that Schmidt article; in fact, he's wrong, and no court has actually ruled on this issue. The issue the FISA review court was considering was whether FISA was limited by the president's authority, not the reverse.


Nice try again; he's citing Hamdi and AUMF as reasons POTUS can ignore FISA. Hamdi by and large uses AUMF as a justification.

You're gonna have to get up earlier in the morning to try to slide those kind of whoppers past anyone. But you are correct that it's fundamentally about checking the POTUS's authority; if he can ignore that law, what other laws can he ignore? Republicans in their partisan zeal to support W no matter what he does should bear in mind that there will someday be another president, and you might care to ask yourself what laws that president will invalidate for his own ends.

For my money, AUMF is a far less specific statute than FISA, and I subcribe to the idea that the more specific statute should govern.

If you disagree with the AG trying to couple those two cases together fine, but the FACT remains the the AG IS PUBLICLY defending the Presidents position (which you said he wasn't in your original post ) using that argument.

Shooting the messenger is not going to change the case the AG is making,be it right or wrong.:D

Helmetcase
January 8, 2006, 10:53 PM
If you disagree with the AG trying to couple those two cases together fine, but the FACT remains the the AG IS PUBLICLY defending the Presidents position (which you said he wasn't in your original post ) using that argument.
Oh, that's definitely his job; he is in some sense the CiC's chief legal counsel. Personally I think you can make the argument either way, I just come down on the side of not letting the exec usurp the legislature in broad, sweeping fashion.

Shooting the messenger is not going to change the case the AG is making,be it right or wrong.:D
Shoot him? Ha! Although I don't like Gonzales' position on things like detainees and Abu Ghraib, I'd rather see him nominated to the SCOTUS than some of the other people that have been coming down the pipe. ;)

Khornet
January 9, 2006, 12:37 PM
I note the poster compared the NSA activity to the old Vietnam saw about 'destroying the village in order to save it."

Too bad that was a lie made up by Peter Arnett. But it became a standard meme which will not die. Just like the current 'domestic spying' meme.

yucaipa
January 9, 2006, 01:34 PM
I note the poster compared the NSA activity to the old Vietnam saw about 'destroying the village in order to save it."

Too bad that was a lie made up by Peter Arnett. But it became a standard meme which will not die. Just like the current 'domestic spying' meme.


I agree, there's a lot ( of dishonest) one liners and gotcha going on,as in most debates the sides end up yelling bumper stickers at each other and the country suffers for it.


The people in the article questioning Bush's authority are from the
The Congressional Research Service

I'm not convinced they are a neutral party.

The same as when The Justice Dept. publishes there paperwork that Bush has the authority. It headed by the AG who is a appointee.

Bartholomew Roberts
January 9, 2006, 01:49 PM
true, he didn't order the SCOTUS to OK the land grabs, but it happened on his watch and I don't recall him being outraged by it.

1. How is the President responsible for what happens in an independent branch of governmnet just because "it happens on his watch"?

2. Why would he be outraged when the justices he claims to be his ideal rejected the Kelo decision in the dissent?

fourays2
January 9, 2006, 03:20 PM
1. How is the President responsible for what happens in an independent branch of governmnet just because "it happens on his watch"?
I believe this is damaging to our national culture, and he is responsible for protecting our language, culture and borders.
2. Why would he be outraged when the justices he claims to be his ideal rejected the Kelo decision in the dissent?
he wasn't outraged by the decision, that was my point. I think he should have been regardless of wether "his" justices voted for it or not.

Shmackey
January 10, 2006, 12:51 AM
Saying the president was authorized to go to war doesnt give him plenary powers to violate the constitution or the laws of congress. Many of the powers one might assume fall under "warmaking powers" are actually reserved to congress. Such as suspending haebus corpus and maintaining the army and navy. If congress wishes to grant him exceptions from certain laws, then they can alter the laws to provide such an exception.

In areas where the constition is silent, we look to the statutes. If congress had not created a law restraining the president in this specific way, it is arguable that warrantless wiretaps were implictly authorized when they sent him off to make war. But congress specifically denied him permission to do this and did not retract this restriction when they authorized the wars.

Game. Set. Match.

The only people who get to say "it's legal because I said it is" are kings. We don't do kings in this country.

Biker
January 10, 2006, 01:04 AM
Game. Set. Match.

The only people who get to say "it's legal because I said it is" are kings. We don't do kings in this country.
Correction: We *didn't* do kings in this country. Apparantly, times have changed.
Biker

Coltdriver
January 10, 2006, 01:08 AM
I will say this much: I don't know of a single American who has been abused and I don't know of a successful attack on this country since 9/11.

I don't know that I would want to trust the next President with the actions that Bush has taken, but I have zero issues with what Bush has done so far.

I support the Patriot Act, but I also think it should have an automatic six month sunset. There is no harm in renewing it, there could be great harm in letting a less than trustworthy leader have that power.

publius
January 10, 2006, 09:42 AM
I don't know that I would want to trust the next President with the actions that Bush has taken, but I have zero issues with what Bush has done so far.
Kinda funny, since the administration is claiming they are exercising wiretapping powers used by previous Democrat administrations. The powers of the President are not going to depend on how trustworthy you find him.

Camp David
January 10, 2006, 10:29 AM
Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said the activities “were conducted in accordance with the law and provide a critical tool in the war on terror that saves lives and protects civil liberties.”
"protects civil liberties" - Mr. Roehrkasse would have done well in the era of "We had to destroy the village in order to save it". Are there no limits to what this administration will do?.
:rolleyes:
rick_reno... I'd like the chance to reply to your allegation and will do it with references documenting my statements=>

In the defense against Islamic Radicalism, measures are necessary to secure the homeland. The President spoke on this very point in October in a speech to the "National Endowment For Democracy" on the "Nature Of The Enemy We Face And The Strategy For Victory." You may wish to read his valid reasoning: http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/nationalsecurity/

Further, the President has great legal latitude in wartime to utilize tools toward accomplishing the ends of national security; thus far, since 09/11/01, his policies on national security have prevented further acts of terrorism and enabled law enforcement to detect numerous terror cells domecile within the United States.

As opposed to "destroying the village in order to save it" the policies in place now, during the War on Terror, as designed specifically to address Islamic Radicalism and prevent domestic and international terror from Islamic Radicalism; those that wrongly assume that such measures will affect their civil liberties are imagining a threat that does not exist.

Lest I be accused of debating this point without evidence, you might wish to review the recent polls (January 2006) on this point that reveal that more than half of the nation strongly support the President on the wiretaps; [re: President authorizing wiretaps following 09/11/01 without Court warrants to prevent domestic terror (CBS News Poll): See: http://www.pollingreport.com/

Also see Rasmussen Polls, which attest that "Sixty-four percent (64%) of Americans believe the National Security Agency (NSA) should be allowed to intercept telephone conversations between terrorism suspects in other countries and people living in the United States."
See: http://www.rasmussenreports.com/2005/NSA.htm

The War on Terror enables the President to act to protect the homeland against threats to it. Thus far, the President has a distinguished record of accomplishment in the fight against Islamic Radicalism and I am proud that he prioritizes our security. Far from "destroying the village in order to save it", this Administration seeks to preserve all the villages that comprise American, their citizens, and their way of life...

Camp David

captain obvious
January 10, 2006, 10:44 AM
I believe this is damaging to our national culture, and he [Bush] is responsible for protecting our language, culture and borders.

Well, he sure as hell has been derelict in protecting two of those, why would he save the third?

Also I thought it was really weird too that he went around the FISA courts - I can't imagine it would be all that difficult to get a warrant out of them at a moments notice.

And dammit, if Bush is going to keep citing the need for warmaking powers, why doesn't he press congress for a bloody DECLARATION OF WAR? What is so difficult about actually following the constitutionally outlined process for that?

EDIT

Also see Rasmussen Polls, which attest that "Sixty-four percent (64%) of Americans believe the National Security Agency (NSA) should be allowed to intercept telephone conversations between terrorism suspects in other countries and people living in the United States."
See: http://www.rasmussenreports.com/2005/NSA.htm


How many Americans supported the revolution, or Germans supported the Nazis? Just because a majority believes it good doesn't make it so.

Lobotomy Boy
January 10, 2006, 10:49 AM
We had to destroy the nation's civil liberties to make it a less appealing target for the terrorist savages.


Great line Standing Wolf! I hope you don't mind that I'm planning to use it for my signature line.

The people in the article questioning Bush's authority are from the Congressional Research Service. I'm not convinced they are a neutral party.


Ho ho. I love it. Yucaipa is check mated on his argument and resorts to attacking the source.

Further, the President has great legal latitude in wartime to utilize tools toward accomplishing the ends of national security;

The Constitution is explicit about what constitutes genuine wartime, specifically requiring a bit more stringent criteria than billowing rhetoric about a "war on terror." Just saying we're at war doesn't make it so.

Helmetcase
January 10, 2006, 11:05 AM
Camp David, the point just flew over your head so fast it ripped your toupee off.

The public supports wiretapping, I support wiretapping, everyone supports reasonable measures to keep us safe. That's not the problem, and you're trying to smokescreen it.

Publius nailed it: Bush isn't going to always be POTUS. (Though he will for longer than I care to see). Therefore, it behooves us to take notice of when the CIC expands his own authority beyond what the law will allow. AUMF has to be bounded by some laws; which laws exactly do you think should be broken--and bear in mind that the next POTUS might be Hillary Clinton? Remember, any authority to break the law you give W just because you like him, you might also be giving her.

1911 guy
January 10, 2006, 11:07 AM
When any letter, phone call, etc crosses state lines (and in theory they all do because of the network) federal law must be enforced, it falls under interstate commerce. So when a call originates or is destined to the U.S. network, warrants should be and I believe are required. Only completely offshore comms are exempt, I believe. So when can we expect heads to roll over illegal spying on Americans? I think never, I hope soon.

bogie
January 10, 2006, 11:08 AM
Just remember - vote for Anyone But A Bush Crony (the evil republicans) in the next election. Don't worry about your gun rights - worry instead about the rights of people in the U.S. who were in communication with Islamic terrorists overseas.

Helmetcase
January 10, 2006, 11:58 AM
...this is about all of our rights, including what many of believe is our right to live in a society governed by the rule of law.

Short version: God isn't spelled B-U-S-H. Get over it.

yucaipa
January 10, 2006, 11:59 AM
Ho ho. I love it. Yucaipa is check mated on his argument and resorts to attacking the source.


If you are going to quote me please at least be honest enough to quote my entire statement, which was trying to show that both sides have an interest here, to protect their turf.

I was not "attacking" anyone.

The only neutral party here are the courts, and all the documentation from the courts in last 25 years side with the executive branch (the President)

If you wish to deny that FACT fine, but that doesn't change what the courts have said.

Khornet
January 10, 2006, 03:23 PM
1. Many legal experts on this topic have found that the President is in fact acting within his proper scope. I realize some others disagree, but I have readf precious few who have presented in-depth analysis and concluded that Bush broke the letter or spirit of the law.

2. If you describe his actions as "domestic spying" or "spying on American citizens", you haven't studied the topic.

3. The technology involves putting filters on the switches which handle international calls, programmed to watch for specific numbers, addressses, etc. If your call isn't one of them, it just goes through. If it is filtered out and turns out not to contain the key words/data/etc. being searched for, it gets dumped. So nobody is sitting around reading/listening in.

4. I have read the requirements for supporting a wiretap required by the FISA courts. There are at least 15 items, all requiring that 'probable cause' be shown for each. It often takes 72 hours just to complete the form, let alone have the court then review it and approve or reject. If rejected, any data obtained in the meantime cannot be used and must be dumped. Many claim that the FISA courts are 'rubber stamps', but that is either misinformed or disingenuous. The very structure of the FISA serves as a rejection. And more requests have been denied since Bush began than ever before.

Khornet
January 10, 2006, 03:28 PM
50 U.S.C. 1850 (f)

Also see:http://www.powerlineblog.com/

Scroll down to "72 Hours: Who Could Ask For More?" where the rules are shown.

Bartholomew Roberts
January 11, 2006, 12:13 AM
1. Many legal experts on this topic have found that the President is in fact acting within his proper scope. I realize some others disagree, but I have readf precious few who have presented in-depth analysis and concluded that Bush broke the letter or spirit of the law.

Shouldn't we be concerned when the executive branch claims sole discretion to determine both who will be wiretapped and whether or not that action is legal?

2. If you describe his actions as "domestic spying" or "spying on American citizens", you haven't studied the topic.

Really? Since the administration itself admits to monitoring American citizens inside the domestic United States; maybe you would like to explain why this doesn't fit the label of "domestic spying" or "spying on American citizens"?

3. The technology involves putting filters on the switches which handle international calls, programmed to watch for specific numbers, addressses, etc. If your call isn't one of them, it just goes through. If it is filtered out and turns out not to contain the key words/data/etc. being searched for, it gets dumped. So nobody is sitting around reading/listening in.

First, what are the odds that the key words/data being searched for can be found in calls besides those attributed to terrorists?

Second, what is your source for this claim? It seems to me that those who have the knowledge to discuss the subject authoratively would be prohibited by law from commenting. So is this an unauthorized leak, an uninformed comment, or did we suddenly declassify this information in the last year?

4. I have read the requirements for supporting a wiretap required by the FISA courts. There are at least 15 items, all requiring that 'probable cause' be shown for each. It often takes 72 hours just to complete the form, let alone have the court then review it and approve or reject. If rejected, any data obtained in the meantime cannot be used and must be dumped.

How fortunate then that from 1979-2003, only 4 requests have ever been rejected (all in 2003) (http://www.epic.org/privacy/wiretap/stats/fisa_stats.html). Even more fortunate, due to the Patriot Act you can start listening first and ask for a FISA warrant later, so timeliness is not an issue.


Many claim that the FISA courts are 'rubber stamps', but that is either misinformed or disingenuous. The very structure of the FISA serves as a rejection. And more requests have been denied since Bush began than ever before.

This statement is disingenuous in its own right. For 24 years, from 1979-2002, not ONE single FISA request has been denied. In 2003, there were 1,727 applications to FISA and four were denied. In 2004, there were 1,758 requests with ZERO denials. Do you really meant to sit there with a straight face and claim that FISA is NOT a rubber stamp on domestic surveillance?

While you are techinically correct that there have been more FISA denials under the Bush administration than ever before, I really don't see much cause for alarm in denying four out of 1,727 requests. I am much more alarmed that the same court that hasn't seen fit to make a denial in 25 years makes four in one year and even though these four are less than 0.1% of all requests, it prompts the administration to bypass the process entirely.

Waitone
January 11, 2006, 01:22 AM
This statement is disingenuous in its own right. For 24 years, from 1979-2002, not ONE single FISA request has been denied. In 2003, there were 1,727 applications to FISA and four were denied. In 2004, there were 1,758 requests with ZERO denials. Do you really meant to sit there with a straight face and claim that FISA is NOT a rubber stamp on domestic surveillance?Different statistics from what I've seen. Citations?

Bartholomew Roberts
January 11, 2006, 01:23 AM
Different statistics from what I've seen. Citations?

Click on the underlined link in the post you quoted. Also feel free to share any cites you have that conflict with those.

Lobotomy Boy
January 11, 2006, 01:59 AM
That's an informative site. Thanks for posting it.

beerslurpy
January 11, 2006, 02:06 AM
What laws and constitutional strictures bind the president in time of war?

ALL OF THEM. Without exception.

The same congress that must authorize military action can also choose to release a president from the bounds of an inconvenient rule or law. When congress declines to do so (as it did in this case) the president remains bound by that statute. The president can ask congress to declare war and he can ask congress to repeal or alter a statute. The president cannot do so himself, nor can he act as if such a thing had been done if it has not.

The constitution is doubly inviolable. Congress can declare war by a simple majority. The constitution requires a supermajority of both congress and the many states to be amended. Letting "war powers" override sections of the constitution is a backdoor to tyranny.

Khornet
January 11, 2006, 08:47 AM
did you read the requirements?

They are so stringent that in order to gat approval you have to have a perfect case. In other words, in order to justify a wiretap (which I repeat is NOT what goes on) you must already have so much evidence that the wiretap is unnecessary. The rules require that requests be so perfect that of course few will be rejected. But also of course fewer and fewer will be requested because of the cumbersomeness of the preocess.

Look at the rules closely, and tell me they have any connection with the real world. Congress views them as a tool to keep intelligence services in check, and the intelligencve services view them as a tool to minimize their exposure to charges of overstepping. What's missing in all this? Simply any focus on getting the best intel as fast as possible.

If you can't get through your head that this is not a matter of 'domestic spying', than I can't help you. Calls from the US to foreign places or vice versa in which one of the participants is believed to be connected to terrorism are the only calls involved. I can read the material for you, but I can't understand it for you.

publius
January 11, 2006, 10:10 AM
did you read the requirements?

They are so stringent that in order to gat approval you have to have a perfect case.

Which should be eliminated or modified?

(a) Submission by Federal officer; approval of Attorney General; contents (http://powerlineblog.com/archives/012770.php#012770)

Each application for an order approving electronic surveillance under this subchapter shall be made by a Federal officer in writing upon oath or affirmation to a judge having jurisdiction under section 1803 of this title. Each application shall require the approval of the Attorney General based upon his finding that it satisfies the criteria and requirements of such application as set forth in this subchapter. It shall include—
(1) the identity of the Federal officer making the application;
(2) the authority conferred on the Attorney General by the President of the United States and the approval of the Attorney General to make the application;
(3) the identity, if known, or a description of the target of the electronic surveillance;
(4) a statement of the facts and circumstances relied upon by the applicant to justify his belief that—
(A) the target of the electronic surveillance is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power; and
(B) each of the facilities or places at which the electronic surveillance is directed is being used, or is about to be used, by a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power;
(5) a statement of the proposed minimization procedures;
(6) a detailed description of the nature of the information sought and the type of communications or activities to be subjected to the surveillance;
(7) a certification or certifications by the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs or an executive branch official or officials designated by the President from among those executive officers employed in the area of national security or defense and appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate—
(A) that the certifying official deems the information sought to be foreign intelligence information;
(B) that a significant purpose of the surveillance is to obtain foreign intelligence information;
(C) that such information cannot reasonably be obtained by normal investigative techniques;
(D) that designates the type of foreign intelligence information being sought according to the categories described in section 1801 (e) of this title; and
(E) including a statement of the basis for the certification that—
(i) the information sought is the type of foreign intelligence information designated; and
(ii) such information cannot reasonably be obtained by normal investigative techniques;
(8) a statement of the means by which the surveillance will be effected and a statement whether physical entry is required to effect the surveillance;
(9) a statement of the facts concerning all previous applications that have been made to any judge under this subchapter involving any of the persons, facilities, or places specified in the application, and the action taken on each previous application;
(10) a statement of the period of time for which the electronic surveillance is required to be maintained, and if the nature of the intelligence gathering is such that the approval of the use of electronic surveillance under this subchapter should not automatically terminate when the described type of information has first been obtained, a description of facts supporting the belief that additional information of the same type will be obtained thereafter; and
(11) whenever more than one electronic, mechanical or other surveillance device is to be used with respect to a particular proposed electronic surveillance, the coverage of the devices involved and what minimization procedures apply to information acquired by each device.

Lobotomy Boy
January 11, 2006, 10:40 AM
It looks like the certifying official needs only have proper identification and tell the judge that it's important to authorize the wiretap to satisfy many of these stipulations. The rest seem perfectly reasonable. The fact that the administration followed the procedure nearly 6,000 times during its first four years indicates that administration officials were proficient at negotiating the stipulations of the law.

After reading this I find the Bush administration's decision to disobey the law even more troubling. Which stipulations of the law, stipulations that they had no trouble obeying nearly 6,000 other times, gave them problems on the warrantless wiretaps?

Saying the law is too complicated to obey is no excuse, especially when it wasn't too complicated to obey nearly 6,000 other times. You're going to have to try another approach to convince me, Khornet.

Khornet
January 11, 2006, 10:47 AM
billions of electronic exchanges. 4,000 is a puny number. And you can see by the form how much manpower must have been spent on those 4,000 cases.

The worst enemy of good is perfect. FISA, and the spirit behind it, demand perfection in inteligence gathering. That's a good way to get crappy intelligence gathering.

I would eliminate FISA altogether, frankly. But from the list above, I'd eliminate 4B, 5, 7 A-ii, 9, 10, 11.

Lobotomy Boy
January 11, 2006, 11:03 AM
The worst enemy of good is perfect.

You do realize that this was the mantra of the former Soviet Union? This was the rationale it used to excuse the tyranny and excesses of its leaders.

Are you saying that the law doesn't work because it doesn't allow the administration to monitor all electronic communications? I think many of us would argue that this means the law actually works, and is not simply a rubber stamp nullifying the Fourth Amendment, as we fear.

It does seem to me that you are advocating we nullify the Fourth Amendment because its perfection is the enemy of the good (although it now appears that what you define as "the good" is the mediocre, at best); hence, you are advocating a decent into tyranny.

Sorry, but when it comes to our Constitution, I'll remain a perfectionist.

Master Blaster
January 11, 2006, 11:05 AM
From the horses mouth:

Jan 10, 2006 — Russell Tice, a longtime insider at the National Security Agency, is now a whistleblower the agency would like to keep quiet.

For 20 years, Tice worked in the shadows as he helped the United States spy on other people's conversations around the world.


Related: NSA Letter to Tice



ABC News Investigations: Complete Coverage


NSA Whistleblower Alleges Illegal Spying
Alito Pleases GOP Senators, Not Democrats
New Retirement
"I specialized in what's called special access programs," Tice said of his job. "We called them 'black world' programs and operations."

But now, Tice tells ABC News that some of those secret "black world" operations run by the NSA were operated in ways that he believes violated the law. He is prepared to tell Congress all he knows about the alleged wrongdoing in these programs run by the Defense Department and the NSA in the post-9/11 efforts to go after terrorists.

"The mentality was we need to get these guys, and we're going to do whatever it takes to get them," he said.


Tracking Calls

Tice says the technology exists to track and sort through every domestic and international phone call as they are switched through centers, such as one in New York, and to search for key words or phrases that a terrorist might use.

"If you picked the word 'jihad' out of a conversation," Tice said, "the technology exists that you focus in on that conversation, and you pull it out of the system for processing."

According to Tice, intelligence analysts use the information to develop graphs that resemble spiderwebs linking one suspect's phone number to hundreds or even thousands more.


Tice Admits Being a Source for The New York Times

President Bush has admitted that he gave orders that allowed the NSA to eavesdrop on a small number of Americans without the usual requisite warrants.

But Tice disagrees. He says the number of Americans subject to eavesdropping by the NSA could be in the millions if the full range of secret NSA programs is used.

"That would mean for most Americans that if they conducted, or you know, placed an overseas communication, more than likely they were sucked into that vacuum," Tice said.

The same day The New York Times broke the story of the NSA eavesdropping without warrants, Tice surfaced as a whistleblower in the agency. He told ABC News that he was a source for the Times' reporters. But Tice maintains that his conscience is clear.

"As far as I'm concerned, as long as I don't say anything that's classified, I'm not worried," he said. "We need to clean up the intelligence community. We've had abuses, and they need to be addressed."

The NSA revoked Tice's security clearance in May of last year based on what it called psychological concerns and later dismissed him. Tice calls that bunk and says that's the way the NSA deals with troublemakers and whistleblowers. Today the NSA said it had "no information to provide."


So all one would have to do in this case to comply with FISA is ask for 250 Million- 400 million warrants. One for each phone and cell phone in the United States. Quite doable, just hire 100,000 clerks and have them each fill out 4000 or so apllications to the FISA, and Bush and co. would be covered.

I suspect that the 1700 or so applications are a result of the filtering done by the NSA program where they have some probable cause to actually listen in on a call.

Khornet
January 11, 2006, 11:12 AM
if Hitler says 2+2=5, you don't shout "Rotten Fascist!"; you simply prove him wrong.

FISA places an executive function under the control of the judiciary, which is not appropriate.

Amendment IV protects against 'unreasonable searches and seizures'. Reasonable people can disagree about what is reasonable, no?

You are certainly free to insist on perfection, my friend. That's how we did it before 9/11. That's how we got the famous Gorelick 'wall'. That's why Moussaoui's computer was confiscated but never searched.

Lobotomy Boy
January 11, 2006, 11:39 AM
if Hitler says 2+2=5, you don't shout "Rotten Fascist!"; you simply prove him wrong.

"2+2=5" is simply an example of faulty math. "The perfect is the enemy of the good" is an example of the philosophy that guided the Soviet Union, which was a totalitarian state. When you cite a philosophy used to further the aims of a totalitarian state and I point that out, I am not calling you "Rotten Fascist." I am pointing out the danger of the philosophy underlying your basic premise.

BTW, Moussaoui's computer was never searched because of FBI bungling, turf guarding, and infighting, and violating the Bill of Rights would not have changed that.

Khornet
January 11, 2006, 12:33 PM
you dodged my point about the mantra and denied the facts about Moussaoui's computer. No points awarded.

Lobotomy Boy
January 11, 2006, 12:42 PM
No points needed, Khornet. Just because you say it's so doesn't necessarily mean it's so.

Bartholomew Roberts
January 11, 2006, 12:55 PM
did you read the requirements?

They are so stringent that in order to gat approval you have to have a perfect case. In other words, in order to justify a wiretap (which I repeat is NOT what goes on) you must already have so much evidence that the wiretap is unnecessary. The rules require that requests be so perfect that of course few will be rejected. But also of course fewer and fewer will be requested because of the cumbersomeness of the preocess.

Khornet, I am aghast at some of the things you are claiming in this conversation. Did you not read the posted link? How is it that the administration has managed to both request and receive 5k+ FISA warrants in three years (compared to 13k FISA warrants in the previous 22 years) if the rules are as difficult as you claim?

Here are the requirements to obtain a FISA warrant (http://www.epic.org/privacy/terrorism/fisa/):

The application must contain, among other things:

1) a statement of reasons to believe that the target of the surveillance is a foreign power or agent of a foreign power, (subject to the relevant amendments made by the USA-PATRIOT Act, discussed below)
2)a certification from a high-ranking executive branch official stating that the information sought is deemed to be foreign intelligence information, and that the information sought cannot reasonably be obtained by normal investigative techniques;
3)statements regarding all previous applications involving the target;
detailed description of the nature of the information sought and of the type of communication or activities to be subject to the surveillance;
4)the length of time surveillance is required;
5)whether physical entry into a premises is necessary, and
6)proposed procedures to minimize the acquisition, use, and retention of information concerning nonconsenting U.S. persons.

For U.S. persons, the FISC judge must find probable cause that one of four conditions has been met:

(1) the target knowingly engages in clandestine intelligence activities on behalf of a foreign power which "may involve" a criminal law violation;
(2) the target knowingly engages in other secret intelligence activities on behalf of a foreign power under the direction of an intelligence network and his activities involve or are about to involve criminal violations;
(3) the target knowingly engages in sabotage or international terrorism or is preparing for such activities; or
(4) the target knowingly aids or abets another who acts in one of the above ways.

Also, thanks to the Patriot Act surveillance and collection of information can begin BEFORE a warrant is requested - a fact here that many seem to forget.

Finally, according to the 2002 FISA court review (http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/doj/fisa/fiscr111802.html) much of the bottleneck for FISA applications was not with the court (which at that time had not denied any request); but with the Department of Justice OIPR office that handled the requests before passing them on to FISA. So the same office that was the problem (DOJ) is still the same office that was approving warrantless surveillance by NSA.

Look at the rules closely, and tell me they have any connection with the real world. Congress views them as a tool to keep intelligence services in check

Yes; Congress did this because former FBI head Hoover used domestic spying to collect information on political adversaries and blackmail politicians for his own personal gains. There is a reason this rule it exists.

If you can't get through your head that this is not a matter of 'domestic spying', than I can't help you. Calls from the US to foreign places or vice versa in which one of the participants is believed to be connected to terrorism are the only calls involved. I can read the material for you, but I can't understand it for you.

In 2001 alone, the Bush administration requested 932 FISA warrants - that represents a number three times larger than EVERY OTHER FEDERAL WIRETAP REQUEST COMBINED. The target of those warrants were American citizens within the United States. If you don't consider that domestic spying, I'm wondering what you DO actually consider domestic spying?

Have you seen me extoll the virtues of the Democratic party on this board in any of the last two elections? Seen me talk about how great the LP party is recently? There is a reason why the Republicans will lose my vote over this - IT IS BECAUSE THIS IS WRONG.

BuddyOne
January 11, 2006, 08:36 PM
The American Law Division of the Congressional Research Service is composed of forty (40 for those of you in California) attorneys. Two of these, labeled "analysts" by msnbc, were asked by Democrat legislators to find "wiggle room" in the statutory framework enabling electronic eavesdropping by the government (of any political party). Two out of forty did the best they could and the most they could come up with was their own opinion that it looked like shaky ground.

Where would we be without "analysts"?

This type of post is becoming a common characteristic of THR. Those of you in Rio Linda seem to have missed the poll that reported a huge majority of Americans find eavesdropping to be acceptable.

Tomorrow, though, is another day. Same cast of characters, same Bush Derangement Syndrome.

See ya there,
Buddy

benEzra
January 11, 2006, 09:51 PM
Tice says the technology exists to track and sort through every domestic and international phone call as they are switched through centers, such as one in New York, and to search for key words or phrases that a terrorist might use.

...

He says the number of Americans subject to eavesdropping by the NSA could be in the millions if the full range of secret NSA programs is used.

"That would mean for most Americans that if they conducted, or you know, placed an overseas communication, more than likely they were sucked into that vacuum," Tice said.
Understand that Tice is parsing his words carefully to avoid spilling classified information for which he could be prosecuted. So read between the lines here a little.

Here's my best guess as to the true scope of the program. Automated keyword scavengers on all major U.S. international call hubs, set up to flag any international call containing certain keywords for NSA attention (such as "jihad," as Tice mentions). Sort of how Carnivore was supposed to work for email, except using voice recognition to flag "suspicious" conversations. Flagged conversations would then be selected for further analysis, and "contact trees" generated to see if the same person(s) in flagged conversations regularly call others, and automated analysis to see whether any names in such trees show up on watch lists. Just a guess, but perhaps not far from the truth.

That would explain why the administration secretly dodged FISA for this program, because FISA requires the administration to have a target, and the 4th Amendment precludes fishing. I suspect the administration's rationale may have been that no person looks at non-suspicious calls, that info on flagged calls is discarded if deemed irrelevant to an investigation, and only the "bad guys" are listened to further. But if true, that would totally turn the Fourth Amendment on its head.

yucaipa
January 12, 2006, 12:04 AM
Now they are "reporting" that Tice was an NSA employee but never actually worked on the program in question.

Also that he was fired over a year ago for "physcodtic (sp) paranoia", he fluked the head test.

An interesting twist,if true.

If this is disinformation I find it hard to believe that the Government thinks they could pull this off, in this atmosphere.

Waitone
January 12, 2006, 12:10 AM
Tice's history has been batted around for about a week.

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