Lawsuits filed over domestic spying program


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rick_reno
January 17, 2006, 01:04 PM
NEW YORK - Civil liberties groups filed lawsuits in two cities Tuesday seeking to block President Bush’s domestic eavesdropping program, arguing the electronic surveillance of American citizens was unconstitutional.

The U.S. District Court lawsuits were filed in New York by the Center for Constitutional Rights and in Detroit by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The New York suit, filed on behalf of the center and individuals, names President Bush, the head of the National Security Agency, and the heads of the other major security agencies, challenging the NSA’s surveillance of persons within the United States without judicial approval or statutory authorization.

It seeks an injunction that would prohibit the government from conducting surveillance of communications in the United States without warrants.

The Detroit suit, which also names the NSA, was filed with the ACLU along with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Greenpeace and several individuals.

Messages seeking comment were left Tuesday morning with the National Security Agency and the Justice Department.

Bush, who said the wiretapping is legal and necessary, has pointed to a congressional resolution passed after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that authorized him to use force in the fight against terrorism as allowing him to order the program.

The program authorized eavesdropping of international phone calls and e-mails of people deemed a terror risk.

The Detroit lawsuit says the plaintiffs, who frequently communicate by telephone and e-mail with people in the Middle East and Asia, have a “well-founded belief” that their communications are being intercepted by the government.

“By seriously compromising the free speech and privacy rights of the plaintiffs and others, the program violates the First and Fourth Amendments of the United States Constitution,” the lawsuit states.

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Biker
January 17, 2006, 01:14 PM
Good. Pull the snake's tongue till it pops.
Biker

Henry Bowman
January 17, 2006, 02:30 PM
The program authorized eavesdropping of international phone calls and e-mails of people deemed a terror risk.So why does the headline (mis)read "domestic spying program"? :scrutiny:

BostonGeorge
January 17, 2006, 02:50 PM
So why does the headline (mis)read "domestic spying program"? :scrutiny:

I certainly hope that was a rhetorical question Henry. The article probably should have read, "international communications originating or terminating within the United States."

ArmedBear
January 17, 2006, 02:52 PM
The Detroit lawsuit says the plaintiffs, who frequently communicate by telephone and e-mail with people in the Middle East and Asia, have a “well-founded belief” that their communications are being intercepted by the government.


No s***, Sherlock!

Camp David
January 17, 2006, 02:55 PM
NEW YORK - Civil liberties groups filed lawsuits in two cities Tuesday seeking to block President Bush’s domestic eavesdropping program, arguing the electronic surveillance of American citizens was unconstitutional. The U.S. District Court lawsuits were filed in New York by the Center for Constitutional Rights and in Detroit by the American Civil Liberties Union... Curious whether the ACLU will reveal the plaintiff on their lawsuit... was it Osama bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahiri? ;)

ArmedBear
January 17, 2006, 03:00 PM
I'm not excusing anything, but put this into perspective...

http://newsbusters.org/node/3282
http://cryptome.org/echelon-60min.htm
http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2005/12/19/114807.shtml
http://sibbyonline.blogs.com/sibbyonline/2005/12/more_on_clinton.html

This sort of surveillance has been de rigeur for a long time. It has apparently been used for more than national security purposes.

Partisanship has obscured the real questions here, which are what US policy should be, what can or should be done in secret, and what, exactly, is "privacy."

This really isn't a Bush question. It's a federal alphabet-soup agency and secrecy-without-accountability question.

Biker
January 17, 2006, 03:07 PM
It's a Bush question now because Bush is in office. Where does the buck stop?
Not to mention the fact that Bush is flagrantly flaunting its use. He's essentially flipping us all the 'dubious digit' and saying 'Whatcha gonna do about it'?
I don't much care for that attitude. I push back.

Just ask my Senators and Congressman who're getting *real* tired, I expect, of all of my faxes and phonecalls.:evil:
Biker

ArmedBear
January 17, 2006, 03:18 PM
I don't much care for that attitude. I push back.


Sure.

Or maybe I don't exactly care. If we are to be a nation of laws, not men, then attitude shouldn't matter too much. I care about my freedoms a damn sight more than my feelings.

If we get too hung up on an individual person, we'll just get another individual person who will also be corrupted by the power and attention. If we define policy, then we can be at least somewhat protected from the whims of individuals.

All power corrupts.

Biker
January 17, 2006, 03:33 PM
Sure.

Or maybe I don't exactly care. If we are to be a nation of laws, not men, then attitude shouldn't matter too much. I care about my freedoms a damn sight more than my feelings.

If we get too hung up on an individual person, we'll just get another individual person who will also be corrupted by the power and attention. If we define policy, then we can be at least somewhat protected from the whims of individuals.

All power corrupts.
Power corrutps some more than others. Bush, in his hubris, has brought this particular political proclivity to the public eye and it is time to call a spade a spade.
64% of the American public agree with him - it's time for the other 46% to make a lot of noise and set an example. I have a feeling that this is just the tip of the proverbial icecube. Time will tell.
Biker

Hawkmoon
January 17, 2006, 03:47 PM
This really isn't a Bush question. It's a federal alphabet-soup agency and secrecy-without-accountability question.
Agreed.

Thank you for making that point.

Leatherneck
January 17, 2006, 04:07 PM
64% of the American public agree with him - it's time for the other 46% to make a lot of noise and set an example Math, anyone? :evil:

I don't know about anyone else, but I've never assumed privacy talking over the air. While I agree in principle that the feds shouldn't push the envelope too hard on invading privacy, neither do I think monitoring the air waves costitutes an unreasonable search under the BOR.

TC

Biker
January 17, 2006, 04:54 PM
Math, anyone? :evil:

I don't know about anyone else, but I've never assumed privacy talking over the air. While I agree in principle that the feds shouldn't push the envelope too hard on invading privacy, neither do I think monitoring the air waves costitutes an unreasonable search under the BOR.

TC
Math? Sure...I do everything 110 percent!

Didn't work, did it?

Where's that 'busted' smilie?

Biker

Lobotomy Boy
January 17, 2006, 04:58 PM
Math? Sure...I do everything 110 percent!

The volume knob on his guitar amp also goes up to 11, which is 1 more than 10, you see.

Biker
January 17, 2006, 05:05 PM
Hah! "Don't touch that guitar! It's never been played!" Classic...:)
Biker

taliv
January 17, 2006, 05:21 PM
i find it disturbing that the checks and balances that were supposedly integral to the gov have almost entirely disappeared and are now being performed by AM radio and the ACLU.

megatronrules
January 17, 2006, 06:58 PM
I don't get this whole spying thing I mean is it that if they think your a terroist they can wiretap your phone or read your emails? Or does it mean they can can simply radomly check emails and listens to people's phone calls?

Lobotomy Boy
January 17, 2006, 07:00 PM
Curious whether the ACLU will reveal the plaintiff on their lawsuit... was it Osama bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahiri?

How about Christopher Hitchens, a reporter who strongly supports the Iraq war, and Larry Diamond, a senior fellow at the ultra-conservative Hoover Institute.

Sinsaba
January 18, 2006, 10:27 AM
It's a Bush question now because Bush is in office. Where does the buck stop? ...


I wish President Truman had never had that sign. "The Buck Stops Here" is possibly the most ridiculously misused concept in the popular press today.

Think about it, when the Abu Ghraib prison scandal broke who did the press blame? Bush and Donald Rumsfeld. Why? Because the buck has to stop somewhere.

Supposedly reasonable people accepted this line of thought (if you can call it that). If this reasoning is valid, then Bush and Rumsfeld are responsible every time a still wet behind the ears E-2 goes out and gets busted for DWI or something. If either one of them had authorized such abuses, or even suggested that "people wouldn't mind", that would be another story. There is no evidence that they did.

Not to mention the fact that Bush is flagrantly flaunting its use. He's essentially flipping us all the 'dubious digit' and saying 'Whatcha gonna do about it'?...

Bush is "flaunting" it? Someone who is supposedly trustworthy enough to keep national secrets spills this to the press and Bush is flaunting it? I don't understand the reasoning.

Before you bring up the "whistle blower" aspect of spilling top secret information to the press, there are LEGAL avenues for having the matter addressed. Make no mistake, the individual who gave this to the press broke the law. He/She compromised national security and in my opinion is a traitor. Not to Bush, to the entire US. Not because he/she made a fuss, but because he took it to the press instead of working it through the channels.

Any way you look at it, Bush did not FLAUNT it. Once it was out there all he has done is say "yes I authorized it, I have the authority to authorize it". You and I might disagree but that is for the courts to decide.

Power corrupts some more than others. Bush, in his hubris, has brought this particular political proclivity to the public eye ...

Again Bush didn't bring it to the public eye. And how is it hubris to do the job the Americian people gave him? Do you really think he acted all by himself on this? Do you really think that he didn't get legal advice? If it is so cut and dried that he didn't have the authority how are the right wing talk shows able to come up with so many law scholors to say he was within his rights? Where is the hubris? You've used the word but haven't shown how this applies in this instance.

Biker, I'm not jumping on you personally. Your comments only just sparked me. What I object to is what I perceive as faulty reasoning (or lack of reasoning). A lot of people just love to bash Bush and don't stop to reason through the positions they take or the statements they make. There is a lot he has done that I don't like either but I like to think that at least my dislike is reasoned.

Lennyjoe
January 18, 2006, 11:47 AM
Didn't Clinton sign an executive order back in the 90's allowing the Attny General to approve this exact same thing?

Good post Sinsaba.

Lobotomy Boy
January 18, 2006, 11:48 AM
Think about it, when the Abu Ghraib prison scandal broke who did the press blame? Bush and Donald Rumsfeld. Why? Because the buck has to stop somewhere.

When an editor who works for me screws up, I am the one who takes the fall. I accept that responsibility. Why should we not hold the President and Secretary of Defense to the same standard?

This reminds me of the liberal aesthetic that destroyed our education system and the criminal justice system in the 1960s and 1970s. People were no longer held responsible for their actions. Instead they were coddled as victims. And we see today how well that worked out. Every man and woman is responsible for the people for the actions those working under him or her. End of story.

Sinsaba
January 18, 2006, 11:54 AM
When an editor who works for me screws up, I am the one who takes the fall. I accept that responsibility. Why should we not hold the President and Secretary of Defense to the same standard?

This reminds me of the liberal aesthetic that destroyed our education system and the criminal justice system in the 1960s and 1970s. People were no longer held responsible for their actions. Instead they were coddled as victims. And we see today how well that worked out. Every man and woman is responsible for the people for the actions those working under him or her. End of story.

When one of my help desk agents screws up the first thing I do is look at how. If they screwed up because of a policy I put in place then I of course take blame. If they screwed up because I provided inadaquate supervision then I take the blame. If however, in spite of good policy and in spite of good supervision they manage to screw up... then I ream them. If necessary I throw them to the wolves. We have a working arrangement that it is their job not only to answer the phones and field the calls but to not screw up.

This is called making them take responsibility for their actions. I know it seems harsh but that is the real world.

TheEgg
January 18, 2006, 12:13 PM
I wonder if this situation is the result of technology butting heads with antiquated law? By that I mean we now have the technical capability of putting a 'trip wire' on virtually every call being made on the planet. That trip wire is set with certain content filters for triggering an alarm -- including words like Osama Bin Laden, nuclear bomb, etc. etc. etc.

The technology allows then for real time intercepts of communications that MIGHT be from or to terrorists. Once the trip wire is 'tripped' the conversation can be monitored, recorded, analyzed, and investigated. This CAN happen at any time (perhaps many times a day), and CAN involve people the Feds have never heard of before.

In light of this, it may be a practical impossibility to 'get a warrant' in the traditonal sense when using such technology. Thus we might need to decide as a society if we want to use such technology and, if so, make the needed modifications in the law to make sure the technology is not abused.

This might involve a judicial review board that simply 'watches' the whole process and has the authority to call a halt if they see abuses. In other words a sort of semi-permanent 'warrant' that can be revoked at any time by the judicial oversight board -- just a thought off the top of my head, there are probably other better ways of doing this.

I don't want to throw out the baby with the bath-water here. I hear a lot of loud outrage, much of which I agree with in principal (warrants are an important check and balance against abuse of power!). But in this heated climate, let us make sure that we don't go too far.

I for one want our security agencies to have a good shot at intercepting and preventing the next 9/11. I think we can do that and STILL preserve our rights. But when you listen to a lot of folks like the ACLU and some Democratic politicians, their proposals would make it near impossible to use communication intercepts to help protect ourselves from large scale terrorist attacks.

We need to be careful in our reaction here and not go too far in the other direction. Let us make sure that we make things BETTER rather than WORSE.

yucaipa
January 18, 2006, 01:12 PM
Both of these suits will be thrown out because neither party can show (prove) they part of the program. If you aren't an "injured party" you have no legal standing,in Federal Court.


When they are tossed out,you will here a lot of BS but, the truth is it doesn't prove anything one way or the other.

Henry Bowman
January 18, 2006, 02:33 PM
2 for 2 Sinsaba! Excellent posts.

Lobotomy Boy
January 18, 2006, 03:00 PM
When one of my help desk agents screws up the first thing I do is look at how. If they screwed up because of a policy I put in place then I of course take blame. If they screwed up because I provided inadaquate supervision then I take the blame. If however, in spite of good policy and in spite of good supervision they manage to screw up... then I ream them. If necessary I throw them to the wolves. We have a working arrangement that it is their job not only to answer the phones and field the calls but to not screw up.

If I were your supervisor and one of your reports screwed up and you fired the person, I'd support you. But if you then blamed the person reporting to you and claimed innocence, you would be on your way out yourself, eventually. If you habitually shirked your responsibility in such matters, I'd fire you. Then I would take responsibility for having hired you in the first place.

ball3006
January 18, 2006, 03:13 PM
transmitted over microwave? Cell phone calls are transmitted over radio freq., so, I believe anyone can intercept these calls, if they have the technology. The word "wiretap" is kinda sinister and misleads people into thinking something not legal is going on.......After all, how many do you think lurk on our gun forums to see what we are up to....we do it to the DU......chris3

Sinsaba
January 18, 2006, 04:15 PM
If I were your supervisor and one of your reports screwed up and you fired the person, I'd support you. But if you then blamed the person reporting to you and claimed innocence, you would be on your way out yourself, eventually. If you habitually shirked your responsibility in such matters, I'd fire you. Then I would take responsibility for having hired you in the first place.

If one of the people that answer the phone in the call center I run started cussing out the customer that called (BTW something very similar to this did actually happen on a help desk I was running). I would consider that a "screw up". If you then asked me who was to blame I would have to request you to elaborate. If you wanted to know if it was the practice of the call center staff to cuss out the customer I would assure you that it wasn't. If you asked me had it been made plain to the individual that cussing out the customer I would assure that it had. If you asked me if actions had been taken with regards to the matter I would assure you that I had.

But who is to blame for an employee knowingly doing something wrong? Please!

Now then, in talking to the customer I would apologize profusely for the employee's actions. I would explain that the employee had been disciplined. I would ask what I could do to help the customer.

I would not ascribe blame. Who's to blame for an individual's stupidity?

If I do something wrong, if I do something stupid, I take responsibility for my action. I DON'T expect my boss to take responsibility because "the buck stops there".

taliv
January 18, 2006, 04:29 PM
Aren't most land line phone calls....
transmitted over microwave?

in most of the country, no. there is a lot of microwave in tx though, so possibly.

longhorngunman
January 18, 2006, 07:50 PM
Great posts Sinsaba!:)

Lobotomy Boy
January 18, 2006, 08:53 PM
But who is to blame for an employee knowingly doing something wrong?

I'd hold his supervisor responsible. The supervisor supervises, and the example you cite is an instance in which supervision was sorely lacking.

Flyboy
January 18, 2006, 10:19 PM
If either one of them had authorized such abuses, or even suggested that "people wouldn't mind", that would be another story. There is no evidence that they did.
So the reports that Bush authorized NSA to conduct the wiretaps are wrong? And the fact that he's publically saying that he has the authority to do so doesn't seem to suggest that he might have authorized them?

This sort of surveillance has been de rigeur for a long time. It has apparently been used for more than national security purposes.
The Catholic church didn't pardon Galileo for his heresy of suggesting that the Earth orbits the sun until 1992. Their position had been "de rigeur" for a long time. That doesn't make them right.

Bartholomew Roberts
January 19, 2006, 01:23 AM
First, Bush is claiming legal authority to do something expressly forbidden by Congress - that is to bypass a secret court that has denied only 4 warrant requests in over 25 years of existence (and the same court processed 1,758 warrants with no denials in 2004).

Let's just think about that for a moment - for a little more reflection think about this, his first year in office Bush requested 932 warrants under this program, that is triple all the other federal wiretap requests combined. Now he has almost doubled that number in 2004 - and apparently he is listening to something on the order of 500 American citizens at any given time with no warrant at all on top of that.

I'll certainly enjoy watching the backers of this action squeal like pigs when another party takes the White House and uses this precedent for its own purposes...

taliv
January 19, 2006, 01:33 AM
i've been extremely disappointed, yet not surprised, to hear all the 'conservative' talk shows over the past few days sticking up for bush in this regard.

their position is nothing short of gladly trading freedom for an illusion of "doing something about teh terrarists!"

i think i've heard savage and bortz both say "you don't have anything to worry about if you're not breaking the law" :barf: :barf: :barf:


it's sad to think i'd have to go as far as Air America to find a talking head who believes in the 4A

Sinsaba
January 19, 2006, 07:09 AM
I'd hold his supervisor responsible. The supervisor supervises, and the example you cite is an instance in which supervision was sorely lacking.

Since I was the supervisor I obviously would disagree that supervision was "sorely lacking". Could you give me some indication how you arrive at this conclusion? I also notice that somehow in the discussion the concept of "blame" (the word used in my original assertion) has somehow (changed by you) morphed into "responsiblity". These aren't the same, I chose my words carefully.

Please note that the original contention was that the press BLAMED Bush not that he was responsible. Definitions of the words according to princeton.edu are ...

First definition of blame that fit the discussion:
incrimination: an accusation that you are responsible for some lapse or misdeed; emphasas mine

First two definitions of responsibility that fit the discussion:

duty: the social force that binds you to the courses of action demanded by that force; "we must instill a sense of duty in our children"; "every right implies a responsibility; every opportunity, an obligation; every possession, a duty"- John D.Rockefeller Jr

province: the proper sphere or extent of your activities; "it was his province to take care of himself"
a form of trustworthiness; the trait of being answerable to someone for something or being responsible for one's conduct; "he holds a position of great responsibility"

Byron Quick
January 19, 2006, 07:44 AM
I don't much care who did what to whom. I simply want Republicans to follow the Constitution and the law in the same manner that I want Democrats to follow the law. Simple. It don't take a rocket scientist.

I wonder if this situation is the result of technology butting heads with antiquated law?:uhoh: :uhoh:

Do you really want to go down to the logical end of that line of reasoning?

By that logic, the Second Amendment doesn't apply to any firearm more advanced than flint lock muzzle loaders. The First Amendment only applies to hand operated printing presses using movable type set by hand. Both are prime examples of technology butting heads with 'antiquated' law.

I have no problems with the goal of gathering intelligence on this nation's enemies. I have no problem with killing our nation's enemies. However, these worthy goals are not worth being gained at the price of losing the rights, freedoms, and traditions made sacred by the sacrifice of patriots from Lexington and Concord to Baghdad.

I've been reading about the American Revolution lately. Reading David Hackett Fischer's "Washington's Crossing." Our top military leaders and our top political leaders were determined to act according to their beliefs in human rights even in the face of British and Hessian atrocities. They still have much to teach us. We dare not take the expedient path at the expense of what makes us Americans.

redneck2
January 19, 2006, 07:46 AM
Let's just think about that for a moment - for a little more reflection think about this, his first year in office Bush requested 932 warrants under this program, that is triple all the other federal wiretap requests combined. Now he has almost doubled that number in 2004 - and apparently he is listening to something on the order of 500 American citizens at any given time with no warrant at all on top of that.

Uh, yeah. IIRC there was a minor incident on 9/11 of that year

I suspect the same people that are bitching about survelience are the same ones screaming "why didn't they connect the dots?" How are you gonna connect the dots if you don't have intelligence???

You expect the government to have all this information, you just don't want them to be able to get the information.

Gotta make up your mind. Let them get the info or we get nuked, another 9/11, etc. Can't have it both ways. If they can't monitor calls, we're screwed. And forget the FISA crap. There was a guy from the FBI on radio the other day. Something like 80-90% of their requests were denied and the ones that were OK'd took weeks or months. There was some ultra-liberal that supposedly OK'd their request, but she never OK'd them.

All the terrorists have to do is change numbers once a month and they're free to do whatever they want

If it were a perfect world, you wouldn't have to make choice.

Sinsaba
January 19, 2006, 07:50 AM
....Think about it, when the Abu Ghraib prison scandal broke who did the press blame? Bush and Donald Rumsfeld. Why? Because the buck has to stop somewhere. ...

... If either one of them had authorized such abuses, or even suggested that "people wouldn't mind", that would be another story. There is no evidence that they did.


So the reports that Bush authorized NSA to conduct the wiretaps are wrong? And the fact that he's publically saying that he has the authority to do so doesn't seem to suggest that he might have authorized them? ...


You took my arguement out of context and assigned it a new meaning... I have to call you on that one Flyboy (I added the portion of my arguement that you seemed to be taking exception to)


... The Catholic church didn't pardon Galileo for his heresy of suggesting that the Earth orbits the sun until 1992. Their position had been "de rigeur" for a long time. That doesn't make them right.

I have to agree with you in that their position had no basis in (currently) established fact.

However, I have to disagree in the way you utilize the arguement. Much, most or maybe all of politics is based on law. For better or worse, application of law is based on precedence. This entire issue is a debate about the law and it is reasonable to bring precedence into the discussion. The press and a lot of others want to crucify Bush for doing something that there was a long line of precedence for. That is unjust.

Lobotomy Boy
January 19, 2006, 08:55 AM
This conversation is getting ridiculous. I say accept responsibility for your reports and act like a man, but you apparantly aren't able to do that, so let's look at this point by point. You ask:

Since I was the supervisor I obviously would disagree that supervision was "sorely lacking".

Answer: Because as a supervisor you were responsible for controlling a person who was clearly out of control. End of discussion. You, sir, would be fired if I was your supervisor, and I would take full responsibility and blame for your failure not to supervise your charges, but for your failure to accept responsibily for that lack of supervision.

You write:

I also notice that somehow in the discussion the concept of "blame" (the word used in my original assertion) has somehow (changed by you) morphed into "responsiblity".

Let's look at your definition:

Incrimination: an accusation that you are responsible for some lapse or misdeed (emphasas mine).

Should you decide that you want to argue about what the definition of is is, we should probably take it to another thread.

ceetee
January 19, 2006, 09:03 AM
I wonder if this situation is the result of technology butting heads with antiquated law...

...In light of this, it may be a practical impossibility to 'get a warrant' in the traditonal sense when using such technology....

This might involve a judicial review board...


The situation is this... If one of the alphabet agencies suspects someone of being a terrorist, they go before a special court, and hold a confidential hearing. If they convince this special batch of judges, they get their warrant. If they happen to overhear something that sounds like terror plotting, and they don't yet have a warrrant... they just fill out the papers, say what they heard, and get their warrant anyway (up to 72 hours later).

The system works.

The current administration has taken the position that even though it's remarkable easy to get a warrant and do things lawfully, they don't need no steenkin' warrants. They feel that "the war on terror" justifies any and all means of gathering intelligence, even if it's at odds with the Constitution. Therefore, they have (or, rather, Bush has) admitted to warrantless "wiretapping" of American citizens' domestic calls.

This is either a heinous violation of all Americans' rights, or a justifiable tactic in fighting the "war on terror", depending (it seems) on your own political idiology...

Lobotomy Boy
January 19, 2006, 09:17 AM
This is either a heinous violation of all Americans' rights, or a justifiable tactic in fighting the "war on terror", depending (it seems) on your own political idiology...

I agree with everything you wrote except this last line, specifically, the last phrase: "...depending (it seems) on your own political idiology."

I don't see the dividing line here related to any traditional political idiology. People on the left and right, Democrats and Republicans alike believe this is a heinous violation of American rights. I see the divide between supporting liberty and supporting tyranny, though a less politically charged way to say that would be between supporting being coddled in the safe womb of the benevolant state and being a free individual.

yucaipa
January 19, 2006, 10:03 AM
I'll certainly enjoy watching the backers of this action squeal like pigs when another party takes the White House and uses this precedent for its own purposes...


Agreed, President Nixon is an example of the damage that can be done by a President that turns this capability in wards, for domestic use.

I suggest this proves wrong all those who repeat the platitude "it doesn't matter who's in the White House", it does,regardless of party, if he/she is willing to abuse the technology we are all in danger.

Whoever is President the temptation to use this for political gain or advantage will always be there.

Bartholomew Roberts
January 19, 2006, 10:44 AM
Gotta make up your mind. Let them get the info or we get nuked, another 9/11, etc.

Nobody is saying "You cannot listen in on calls with terrorists." Nobody is even saying "You cannot listen in on calls of American citizens who are talking to terrorists." Nobody is even saying "You cannot listen in on the calls of American citizens who are talking to foreigners who might conceivably be terrorists."

What we are saying is "The Executive Branch must follow the laws established by Congress to protect the rights of American citizens when it does such listening." This includes getting a FISA warrant from a court that has denied only four such warrants in 25 years. Yet despite the relative ease of obtaining such a warrant (which you can even ask for 72 hours AFTER you started listening), this administration was monitoring as many as 500 people at any given time WITHOUT that warrant.

On top of that, we find out in today's news that the Congressional Research Service reports that the full membership of the House and Senate Intelligence committees was not briefed on the program either and STILL do not know the extent of it (http://customwire.ap.org/dynamic/stories/D/DOMESTIC_SPYING?SITE=FLBOC&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2006-01-06-21-24-59).

And forget the FISA crap. There was a guy from the FBI on radio the other day. Something like 80-90% of their requests were denied and the ones that were OK'd took weeks or months. There was some ultra-liberal that supposedly OK'd their request, but she never OK'd them.

Did you not read the post you just replied to? In 25 years, only five FISA requests have ever been denied (http://www.epic.org/privacy/terrorism/fisa/) (one of those was later reversed by the FISA review court which met for the first time ever in 2002). Not only that; but the bottleneck in FISA requests has never been the court, it has been the Department of Justice's OIPR office - and the Department of Justice is the only group that is still in the loop in the non-FISA surveillance.

There is nothing ultra-liberal about opposing this (unless of course you define ultra-liberal as "not fond of wearing jackboots"). It is good sense from a practical policy standpoint since the Republicans will one day lose office and setting up the next J. Edgar Hoover to blackmail opponents into silence won't benefit them. It is also good sense from protecting your individual rights standpoint.

Bartholomew Roberts
January 19, 2006, 12:05 PM
One other comment for the defenders of this policy...

According to the New York Times report on this program (and admittedly the NYT is a biased source that hates Bush and hasn't been afraid to report false and inaccurate news in order to smear him), the program was monitoring as many as 500 Americans at any given time.

Think about what that means for a second if it is correct... 3am in the morning? 500 Americans. 12 noon? 500 Americans. Right now? 500 Americans.

Either America is just flat overrun with terrorists (which would explain why the much feared nuke hasn't happened yet - they are afraid they would kill the largest single source of recruits they have) or the program is using a very broad net that catches a lot of non-terrorists and records their everyday conversations.

While you are thinking about that, remember that the Patriot Act (designed to fight terrorists) has been used to prosecute a number of crimes completely unrelated to terrorism. Also remember that evidence gathered under a FISA warrant (issued for the purposes of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance - the FIS in FISA) is still admissible in court, even if it turns out you weren't actually talking to terrorists but just your accountant about that little tax error. Wonder how they might extend that if the precedent were set that no FISA warrant at all were necessary?

Lobotomy Boy
January 19, 2006, 12:11 PM
It is good sense from a practical policy standpoint since the Republicans will one day lose office and setting up the next J. Edgar Hoover to blackmail opponents into silence won't benefit them. It is also good sense from protecting your individual rights standpoint.

Exactly. Unfortunately common wisdom trumps good sense nearly every time. Good sense requires putting some thought into your decisions. Common wisdom generally going with an emotional response. One of the most effective ways to achieve a political end is to use fear mongering to elicit an emotional response instead of a sensible response.

Henry Bowman
January 19, 2006, 12:12 PM
Think about what that means for a second if it is correct... 3am in the morning? 500 Americans. 12 noon? 500 Americans. Right now? 500 Americans.With all due respect, Bart, I think you misstate this. A more reasonable interpretation would be that there are as many as 500 on the list total "at any given time" period. Not as in any given moment of the day.

Lobotomy Boy
January 19, 2006, 12:15 PM
Either America is just flat overrun with terrorists (which would explain why the much feared nuke hasn't happened yet - they are afraid they would kill the largest single source of recruits they have) or the program is using a very broad net that catches a lot of non-terrorists and records their everyday conversations.

That would explain the warning about keeping your luggage under control at all times at the airport--we have hundreds of thousands of elfin terrorists running around like sprites, slipping explosive devices into our bags the second we take our eyes off of them.

Sinsaba
January 19, 2006, 12:59 PM
This conversation is getting ridiculous. I say accept responsibility for your reports and act like a man, but you apparantly aren't able to do that, ...

I agree that this is getting rediculous. However, I don't see the need make personal attacks. I also agree that since we are unable to reach common ground on things like the definition of words and what supervision is, that there is nothing left to talk about.

Lobotomy Boy
January 19, 2006, 01:16 PM
I apologize for my phallocentric phrasing. I should have said, "Act like a mature, responsible adult." As a male, I tend to think of mature, responsible adults as men and I strive to act like a man. This is unfair to the mature, responsible adults who happen to be female.

Sinsaba
January 19, 2006, 01:27 PM
LOL

Bartholomew Roberts
January 19, 2006, 02:55 PM
With all due respect, Bart, I think you misstate this. A more reasonable interpretation would be that there are as many as 500 on the list total "at any given time" period. Not as in any given moment of the day.

It could certainly be read that way; but I am skeptical that the list is that small. If it were that limited, you wouldn't need NSA at all. The NSAs forte is sifting through lots of information - analyzing whole chunks of the electromagnetic spectrum for signals and things of that nature.

Take a look at this recent Boston Globe article (http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2005/12/23/wiretaps_said_to_sift_all_overseas_contacts?mode=PF). It describes the surveillance as:

Bush authorized the NSA's human analysts to look at the international messages of up to 500 Americans at a time, with a changing list of targets.

Hayden, now the deputy director of national intelligence, told reporters this week that under Bush's order, a ''shift supervisor" instead of a judge signs off on deciding whether or not to search for an American's messages.

The general conceded that without the burden of obtaining warrants, the NSA has used ''a quicker trigger" and ''a subtly softer trigger" when deciding to track someone.

Bamford said that Hayden's ''subtly softer trigger" probably means that the NSA is monitoring a wider circle of contacts around suspects than what a judge would approve.

After all the Bush administration is asking for upwards of 1,700 FISA warrants a year and have received all but four of them. If they only needed to monitor a list of 500 people, then what would be the problem in getting the warrant and avoiding the whole issue? I'll bet you money they can't get the warrant because at the beginning of the day they don't know exactly who they'll be listening to or how many people it will be.

Henry Bowman
January 19, 2006, 03:37 PM
I'll bet you money they can't get the warrant because at the beginning of the day they don't know exactly who they'll be listening to or how many people it will be.True, especially if they are monitoring the inbound calls from a suspected terrorist outside the USA.

Bartholomew Roberts
January 19, 2006, 06:18 PM
True, especially if they are monitoring the inbound calls from a suspected terrorist outside the USA.

According to this declassified 1993 document named United States Signals Intelligence Directive 18 (http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB23/07-12.htm), the NSA already had the authority to monitor:

"A person who, for or on behalf of a foreign power is engaged in clandestine intelligence activities (including covert activities intended to effect the political or governmental process), sabotage or INTERNATIONAL TERRORIST activities or activities in preparation for INTERNATIONAL TERRORIST activities, or who conspires with, or knowingly aids and assists a person engaing in such activities."

NSA had this authority in 1993 without needing a FISA warrant. So what did the Bush Administration authorize in 2002? Take a look at some of the giant language loopholes we are looking at here... how big a truck can you drive through the 1993 language? Now stop and think... whatever size of truck that is, it wasn't big enough for whatever Bush need to do in 2002 so a new authorization had to be made.

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