Federal Judge Strikes Down Use of Warrantless Wiretaps


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Chipperman
August 17, 2006, 12:56 PM
Breaking news. Posted on Fox and CNN. No detail as of yet.

We'll see what develops.

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Chipperman
August 17, 2006, 12:57 PM
From CNN:

NSA eavesdropping program ruled unconstitutional
Judge orders immediate halt to program

Thursday, August 17, 2006; Posted: 12:14 p.m. EDT (16:14 GMT)

• DETROIT, Michigan (AP) -- A federal judge ruled Thursday that the government's warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional and ordered an immediate halt to it.

U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in Detroit became the first judge to strike down the National Security Agency's program, which she says violates the rights to free speech and privacy.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on behalf of journalists, scholars and lawyers who say the program has made it difficult for them to do their jobs. They believe many of their overseas contacts are likely targets of the program, which involves secretly taping conversations between people in the U.S. and people in other countries.

The government argued that the program is well within the president's authority, but said proving that would require revealing state secrets.

The ACLU said the state-secrets argument was irrelevant because the Bush administration already had publicly revealed enough information about the program for Taylor to rule.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Henry Bowman
August 17, 2006, 01:14 PM
The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on behalf of journalists, scholars and lawyers who say the program has made it difficult for them to do their jobs. They believe many of their overseas contacts are likely targets of the program, which involves secretly taping conversations between people in the U.S. and people in other countries.Attorney-client communications in which legal advice is either sought or given are priviledged. There is not, however, a journalistic or academic priviledge. Perhaps we should not have an expectation of privacy when talking internationally to suspected terrorists. If too many people are wrongly being added to the list of "suspected terrorists," that is a different problem to deal with in a different way.

Marshall
August 17, 2006, 01:28 PM
Considering the Judge, I'm not surprised.

Chipperman
August 17, 2006, 01:33 PM
Here's the story from Fox:

Judge Rules Terrorist Surveillance Program Unconstitutional
Thursday, August 17, 2006


DETROIT — A federal judge ruled Thursday that the government's warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional and ordered an immediate halt to it.

U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in Detroit became the first judge to strike down the National Security Agency's program, which she says violates the rights to free speech and privacy as well as the separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution.

"Plaintiffs have prevailed, and the public interest is clear, in this matter. It is the upholding of our Constitution," Taylor wrote in her 43-page opinion.

Click here to read the judge's opinion (pdf).

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on behalf of journalists, scholars and lawyers who say the program has made it difficult for them to do their jobs. They believe many of their overseas contacts are likely targets of the program, which involves secretly listening to conversations between people in the U.S. and people in other countries.

The government argued that the program is well within the president's authority, but said proving that would require revealing state secrets.

The ACLU said the state-secrets argument was irrelevant because the Bush administration had already publicly revealed enough information about the program for Taylor to rule on the case.

"By holding that even the president is not above the law, the court has done its duty," said Ann Beeson, the ACLU's associate legal director and the lead attorney for the plaintiffs.

The NSA had no immediate comment on the ruling.

Taylor dismissed a separate claim by the ACLU over data-mining of phone records by the NSA. She said not enough had been publicly revealed about that program to support the claim and further litigation could jeopardize state secrets.

ArmedBear
August 17, 2006, 01:38 PM
Remember: he didn't rule wiretapping unconstitutional. He just ruled WARRANTLESS wiretapping unconstitutional.

There's nothing in the Constitution that prevents Congress or the Courts from streamlining the process for obtaining a warrant in these sorts of cases. The NSA and other Washington agencies just don't want to bother with getting one, and they don't care what impact that has on our rights.

Henry Bowman is right, but I think that the process for overseeing the sorts of searches that are conducted IS the warrant process. If too many people are ruled "terrorists" then that's where the check-and-balance system exists.

longeyes
August 17, 2006, 01:41 PM
“I am for socialism, disarmament, and, ultimately, for abolishing the state itself... I seek the social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class, and the sole control of those who produce wealth. Communism is the goal.”

~Roger Baldwin,
Founder, ACLU

ArmedBear
August 17, 2006, 01:43 PM
longeyes, communism is evil. But so is absolute power in the hands of our current government officials, or any government officials, no matter what they call their system.

FreedomKommando
August 17, 2006, 02:14 PM
The judge's opinion can be read here.
http://www.aclu.org/images/nsaspying/asset_upload_file863_26477.pdf

ilbob
August 17, 2006, 02:20 PM
Amendment 4 - Search and Seizure
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized

The purpose of a warrant is to determine whether a search or seizure is unreasonable (or not) in advance by the judiciary, as a check on the powers of the executive. No probable cause, no warrant.

It does not state that a warrant is required for a search or seizure. It does require that it be reasonable.

I think that talking to someone with provable links to sworn enemies of the US makes such a search reasonable.

I am a little disturbed by the lack of oversight. Maybe some after the fact oversight is in order. Have a court review the overall program on a regualr basis, just to see that it is not getting out of hand.

CZ 75 BD
August 17, 2006, 02:24 PM
The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on behalf of journalists, scholars and lawyers who say the program has made it difficult for them to do their jobs. They believe many of their overseas contacts are likely targets of the program, which involves secretly taping conversations between people in the U.S. and people in other countries.



...and how do these peolple even have standing?

ArmedBear
August 17, 2006, 02:41 PM
I think that taps can and will continue. Agencies doing them will need to get warrants.

The court has to draw a line somewhere.

While the taps never bothered me, I've also never "bought" the assertion that judicial oversight would have made them impossible. The agencies just don't want to have to get warrants. This wouldn't be the first time. Warrants are an inconvenience to them.

For those who trust the Bush Administration, I won't argue. But do you really want another Janet Reno doing this stuff? CINC Hillary Clinton doing it?

Courts allow a LOT. SCOTUS has been pretty lax about upholding individual rights, lately. Warrants are not THAT hard to get.

Henry Bowman
August 17, 2006, 02:45 PM
For those who trust the Bush Administration, I won't argue. But do you really want another Janet Reno doing this stuff? CINC Hillary Clinton doing it?Exactly right.

Phetro
August 17, 2006, 02:50 PM
Woohoo! Justice prevails for once.

Want wiretap? GET WARRANT. Very simple, and constitutional.

Can't get a warrant? You must not have a good reason...

Now when is a judge going to wake up one day and declare the ATF unconstitutional?

Vern Humphrey
August 17, 2006, 02:51 PM
For those who trust the Bush Administration, I won't argue. But do you really want another Janet Reno doing this stuff? CINC Hillary Clinton doing it?

In fact, every administration since WWI has done it in one form or another. The tap is on the other end, listening to foreign agents and terrorists.

The argument is, what happens when someone in the US calls a terrorist or foreign intelligence agent? Up until now, the requirement to stop monitoring a terrorist and run get a warrent was nonexistant.

ArmedBear
August 17, 2006, 03:02 PM
The argument is, what happens when someone in the US calls a terrorist or foreign intelligence agent? Up until now, the requirement to stop monitoring a terrorist and run get a warrent was nonexistant.

How do you know that the person on the other end of the line is a terrorist or foreign intel agent?

YOU KNOW THEIR PHONE NUMBER!

So get a warrant that covers tapping calls to that number. If Federal law enforcement can legally pose as and/or monitor drug dealers, money launderers, etc., in order to catch their customers, then surely they can get a warrant to find out who calls phone number X and hear what they say. If not, we need to deal with that as a separate issue, not try to circumvent the warrant process.

If that presents problems for secrecy, then deal with those problems! There is already a special FISA court. If that system needs fixing or augmentation, then fix it or augment it.

Vern Humphrey
August 17, 2006, 03:07 PM
How do you know that the person on the other end of the line is a terrorist or foreign intel agent?

YOU KNOW THEIR PHONE NUMBER!

So get a warrant that covers tapping calls to that number.

The problem it, we don't want anyone to know who we're capable of listening to. Getting warrants involves letting a lot of people know something they have no need to know.

As Benjamin Franklin said, "Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead."

benEzra
August 17, 2006, 03:13 PM
The problem it, we don't want anyone to know who we're capable of listening to. Getting warrants involves letting a lot of people know something they have no need to know.
Which is why the secret FISA courts were set up to allow warrants to be obtained in secret, thereby addressing the problem you bring up.

The problem here is, the administration isn't fighting for secret warrants; it's fighting for warrants not being necessary at all.

Beren
August 17, 2006, 03:16 PM
There's an easy answer to all this confusion. Simply enforce that any call going outside of the U.S. have the following automated warning played first:

"Your call may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance and training purposes."

:D

BryanP
August 17, 2006, 03:20 PM
I have no problem with the wiretaps. It's the "warrantless" part that is the issue. Get a frickin warrant. If you can't justify a warrant you don't have sufficient reason to listen to the phone call.

As for the Baldwin quote, the man had many faults, but you should at least post the entire quote and not an artfully edited version.

"I am for socialism, disarmament and ultimately for abolishing the state itself as an instrument of violence and compulsion. I seek the social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class and sole control by those who produce wealth. Communism is, of course, the goal."

That quote is just as bad, but editing out "as an instrument of violence and compulsion" makes your use of it somewhat dishonest.

Bartholomew Roberts
August 17, 2006, 03:29 PM
One thing worth remembering is that there is no requirement that someone be outside the United States in order to be labelled a "foreign intelligence agent" or "terrorist" - and these seem to be the only criteria necessary to justify the warrantless wiretapping.

As for the "it only applies to those talking to terrorists" bit, the NYT was reporting as many as 5,000 calls being monitored at any given time IIRC. If that is the case, we are either up to our eyeballs in foreign intelligence agents and terrorists or people are being classified as such erroneously and then being wiretapped without a warrant.

Here is a past discussion on these same lawsuits that had some good commentary from both sides:
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=177361&page=2&highlight=NSA

ArmedBear
August 17, 2006, 03:39 PM
The problem it, we don't want anyone to know who we're capable of listening to. Getting warrants involves letting a lot of people know something they have no need to know.

As Benjamin Franklin said, "Three can keep a secret, if two of them are dead."

Like I said above, if the process is a problem, fix the process. What we have now is Federal agencies that tried to use the problems with a process as an excuse to throw out an important check on their absolute power, which they've never found convenient.

Vern Humphrey
August 17, 2006, 03:44 PM
Like I said above, if the process is a problem, fix the process. What we have now is Federal agencies that tried to use the problems with a process as an excuse to throw out an important check on their absolute power, which they've never found convenient.

The "process" is not the problem. It's having too many people knowing what's going on is the problem.

There has never been a requirement for a warrant to tap a telephone overseas. Suddenly someone jumps up and claims that if an overseas phone is tapped, but one party to the coversation is in the United States, a warrant is needed.

Where did that come from?

rbernie
August 17, 2006, 03:51 PM
I have no problem with the wiretaps. It's the "warrantless" part that is the issue. Get a frickin warrant. If you can't justify a warrant you don't have sufficient reason to listen to the phone call.Roger that. If either end of a phone link is allocated to a US citizen, the .gov doesn't get to listen in to the conversation without a warrant.

Vern Humphrey
August 17, 2006, 03:54 PM
Roger that. If either end of a phone link is allocated to a US citizen, the .gov doesn't get to listen in to the conversation without a warrant.

That's never been the law before. Never before has any court said we need warrants to surveil suspected and known terrorists overseas. Never before has a court said if a US citizen calls them, or they call a US citizen, we have to drop the surveillance.

This ruling tears a huge hole in our ability to monitor terrorists.

ArmedBear
August 17, 2006, 04:14 PM
This ruling tears a huge hole in our ability to monitor terrorists.

Requiring warrants in general tears a huge hole in the ability of law enforcement to do a whole lot of things.

Bartholomew Roberts
August 17, 2006, 04:14 PM
That's never been the law before. Never before has any court said we need warrants to surveil suspected and known terrorists overseas. Never before has a court said if a US citizen calls them, or they call a US citizen, we have to drop the surveillance.

Actually, what has been said previously is that the President does not need a warrant to carry out his powers of foreign intelligence gathering which may include spying on foreign intelligence agents WITHIN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES, even if they are United States citizens.

People seem to forget that last part and just assume that because international phone calls are prominently mentioned in several of the news stories that this is the extent of the issue. FISA can be used to monitor people when both ends of the conversation occur entirely within the United States - and presumably so can any process that seeks to bypass FISA. The big problem is how do we know whether the surveillance really relates to foreign intelligence without oversight?

FISA was created in 1972 (during the Nixon Administration) precisely because Congress was a little worried about giving the Executive branch the power to conduct warrantless surveillance on anyone it claimed was a foreign intelligence agent - especially given the abuses revealed by Watergate.

An excellent history of FISA and the restrictions on it is detailed here:
http://www.epic.org/privacy/terrorism/fisa/#Overview

Personally, I don't have a problem with requiring a warrant from a FISA court to insure that a U.S. Citizen being monitored is being monitored for the purpose of foreign intelligence gathering and not for domestic political advantage. I don't think it will disable the war on terror to have the same court that has denied only five warrants in 25 years double-check the work of the executive branch in that regard.

Vern Humphrey
August 17, 2006, 04:26 PM
Requiring warrants in general tears a huge hole in the ability of law enforcement to do a whole lot of things.

There's a big difference between law enforcement and national security.

Next, you'll be saying a soldier in combat needs to give an enemy soldier a trial before he can shoot back at him.

roo_ster
August 17, 2006, 04:31 PM
This pretty much completes the lawyer-ization of the conduct of warfare, intel, & counterintel. Every field intel officer will have to bring along a lawyer to fill out the paperwork to file for a warrant in case the target happens call Dell Gold Level Support* in the middle of his Death_to_America.ppt briefing to fellow international scumbags.

We'll have to phase out the Platoon Medic in our infantry platoons in favor of the Platoon Lawyer. "Just suck up the sucking chest wounds, men! We must be sure the goons we capture get good treatment and access to a lawyer."

* Means "you talk to an Ameican in America." If the target bought the Standard Support option, our field agent would not require a warrant, since the "support" is provided by some guy in Bangalore, India.

What a charlie foxtrot.

aroshi
August 17, 2006, 04:35 PM
There are a lot of things posed above that point out people's opinions and what should be right. It really is simple to summarize:

Fourth Amend. + Checks and Balances = Good

No Fourth Amend. + No Checks and Balances = Bad

The details as to weather judges are involved secretly or not, whether taps are applied as a part of a Standard Operating Procedure during the warrant-application process or not, or whether these are for internal or external calls are moot.

There should be NO absolute control given over those rights. I, in league with our Founding Fathers, am NOT ready to give up my rights DECLARED centuries ago just so that a president today can allow his cronies in the NSA to do what they want without checks and balances. "Power Corrupts, Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely" is the reason our rights were declared in the first place. Any .... ANY Contradiction to those is a violation of our rights.

P.S.
These rights "shall not be infringed" should be at the end of ALL of our rights!

Vern Humphrey
August 17, 2006, 04:39 PM
You do realize that law enforcement can tap you without a warrant?

The courts long ago ruled law enforcement can evesdrop on cordless phones and cell phones without a warrant?

Yet I see no one passing gas over that ruling.

Group9
August 17, 2006, 04:40 PM
Well, at least we have the Brits taking care of business. But for them, we would probably have a lot more dead Americans from this latest plot. We just don't have the tools, or apparently the desire, to stop them.

Bartholomew Roberts
August 17, 2006, 04:44 PM
This pretty much completes the lawyer-ization of the conduct of warfare, intel, & counterintel. Every field intel officer will have to bring along a lawyer to fill out the paperwork to file for a warrant in case the target happens call Dell Gold Level Support* in the middle of his Death_to_America.ppt briefing to fellow international scumbags.

This is also a popular misconception. 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."

They had this authority already in 1993 without needing any amendment to the FISA act. Whatever the current program is (and we don't know because it is secret), we know that it is broad enough that this exception wouldn't cover it and the Bush administration sought to amend FISA in 2002 to allow this new program.

In the example you gave, even back in 1993, the government would have continued monitoring the call and would simply redact/erase the irrelevant information to protect the privacy rights of Americans.

You do realize that law enforcement can tap you without a warrant?

The courts long ago ruled law enforcement can evesdrop on cordless phones and cell phones without a warrant?

I must have missed that ruling. Could you give the case please where they made that ruling?

Well, at least we have the Brits taking care of business.

Yeah, that 4th Amendment is a pesky thing... I suspect that the Brits "taking care of business" circa 1776 is one of the reasons we have it.

Vern Humphrey
August 17, 2006, 04:45 PM
Well, at least we have the Brits taking care of business. But for them, we would probably have a lot more dead Americans from this latest plot. We just don't have the tools, or apparently the desire, to stop them.

Our enemies don't need to kill us -- we're busy committing suicide.

This whole thing is a smokescreen thrown up for political reasons.

1 old 0311
August 17, 2006, 04:47 PM
p.s. she was appointed by Jimmy Carter. That answer anything:cuss:

Vern Humphrey
August 17, 2006, 04:52 PM
I must have missed that ruling. Could you give the case please where they made that ruling?

Apparently there's a lot you've missed. Here's a recent article on the subject:

IRS CUPS ITS EAR TO CORDLESS PHONES (USA Today, 7/30?)

If you're thinking about declaring a few imaginary dependents this year, don't mention it on your cordless phone.

The Internal Revenue Service may be listening.

Under new guidelines for its criminal investigators, the IRA can use radio scanners to eavesdrop on suspected tax dodgers while they chat on their cordless phones.

No warrant is necessary.

The IRS policy, issued as an update to a handbook for investigators, comes in the wake of a recent Supreme Court action.

The high court declined in January to review a federal appeals court ruling that conversations on cordless telephones are not subject to federal privacy laws.

Bartholomew Roberts
August 17, 2006, 05:18 PM
Apparently there's a lot you've missed. Here's a recent article on the subject

A recent article on the subject? That article is from a USA Today article date July 30, 1990 (http://www.textfiles.com/law/crimeftr.018). Do you consider a 16 year old article recent?

The article notes that because the 1986 Electronic Communications Act did not cover cell phones and cordless phones, there was no law preventing monitoring of those communications. The law has been amended since then:

Here is the current text regarding warrantless interception of electronic communication:

Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, any investigative or law enforcement officer, specially designated by the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General, the Associate Attorney General, or by the principal prosecuting attorney of any State or subdivision thereof acting pursuant to a statute of that State, who reasonably determines that--


(a) an emergency situation exists that involves--

(i) immediate danger of death or serious physical injury to any person,

(ii) conspiratorial activities threatening the national security interest, or

(iii) conspiratorial activities characteristic of organized crime,



that requires a wire, oral, or electronic communication to be intercepted before an order authorizing such interception can, with due diligence, be obtained, and

(b) there are grounds upon which an order could be entered under this chapter to authorize such interception,


may intercept such wire, oral, or electronic communication if an application for an order approving the interception is made in accordance with this section within forty-eight hours after the interception has occurred, or begins to occur. In the absence of an order, such interception shall immediately terminate when the communication sought is obtained or when the application for the order is denied, whichever is earlier. In the event such application for approval is denied, or in any other case where the interception is terminated without an order having been issued, the contents of any wire, oral, or electronic communication intercepted shall be treated as having been obtained in violation of this chapter, and an inventory shall be served as provided for in subsection (d) of this section on the person named in the application.

Here is a link to the current version of the law, AKA 18 U.S.C. 2510-2522 (http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00002510----000-.html).

Vern Humphrey
August 17, 2006, 05:21 PM
Note that while an "authorization" is required, a warrant is not.

Bartholomew Roberts
August 17, 2006, 05:30 PM
Note that while an "authorization" is required, a warrant is not.

Note that the language says "may intercept such wire, oral, or electronic communication if an application for an order approving the interception is made in accordance with this section within forty-eight hours after the interception has occurred, or begins to occur."

The order referred to is a court order authorizing the surveillance (a warrant). I linked the entire section of the 1986 Act earlier; but here is the relevant section if you would like to read more about it:

§ 2518. Procedure for interception of wire, oral, or electronic communications (http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00002518----000-.html). I don't believe it supports your assertions here.

ServiceSoon
August 17, 2006, 07:24 PM
It really dosnt matter what the any recent statute says, because NSA is receiving oral, written, and electronic communication without a warrant. What ever new statute Bush creates is irrelevant, because the mother of all documents has clear language and its terms come first. The FACT that NSA was receiving communication without a warrant was posted on all of the news sources that I am aware of. Here is one example of one such report:

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20051217-5791.html

I am very happy that District Judge Taylor is doing her job and following one of the most important American documents every created. After all, that is her curse, to uphold the constitution. I am not against this sort of surveillance. In fact these interceptions will probably never directly affect me. Im sure this ruling will get appealed or dropped from the public eye. So this is all in vain….

Vern Humphrey
August 17, 2006, 09:08 PM
The Constitution does not say the government cannot evesdrop.

It does not say we cannot conduct electronic surveillance of our most deadly enemies since Hitler.

rbernie
August 17, 2006, 09:54 PM
The Constitution does not say the government cannot evesdrop.
In my naiveté, I'd say that the Framers pretty well intended the Fourth Amendment to cover that ground.

It does not say we cannot conduct electronic surveillance of our most deadly enemies since Hitler.Agreed. But if a US Citizen is involved and the communication under surveillance involves a public utility, get a warrant and have at it.

RealGun
August 17, 2006, 10:02 PM
which she says violates the rights to free speech and privacy as well as the separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution. - Fox News

I don't see the "freedom of speech" impairment. "Privacy" I get, while noting that it is not explicit in the Constitution or its ancillary documents. As I understand it, it is the warrant or oversight authorization that legally permits privacy to be violated.

FireBreather01
August 18, 2006, 02:26 AM
Let's see -

A special forces raid in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Whateverstan, turns up 17phone numbers in the USA. Maybe 24hrs to intercept and listen to the calls from/to those phones to gather intel before word gets out of the compromise. But let's wait 48 hrs to get a judge to issue a warrant - sure, makes sense.

And....

We have terrorists, with no ties to any specific state that themselves care not a whit about Geneva or any other treaties and actively seek to kill and destroy civilians, who are now entitled to enjoy the protections of the United States of America's Constitution and civil rights.

Khruschev was right.

BryanP
August 18, 2006, 08:10 AM
A special forces raid in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Whateverstan, turns up 17phone numbers in the USA. Maybe 24hrs to intercept and listen to the calls from/to those phones to gather intel before word gets out of the compromise. But let's wait 48 hrs to get a judge to issue a warrant - sure, makes sense.

The rule is that they are supposed to APPLY for a warrant within 48 hours AFTER they begin surveillance. I don't see how that will slow them down? One clerk is all it takes.

Bartholomew Roberts
August 18, 2006, 10:48 AM
Actually, the rule is even more lenient than that - they can begin surveillance of those numbers immediately and do not have to apply for a warrant until 72 hours after the fact - and the FISA court is available 24/7 to issue such warrants and normally does so within hours of application. The 48 hour rule applies only to law enforcement, not foreign intelligence involving American citizens.

In order to receive a warrant all they have to do is show that gathering foreign intelligence is a significant purpose (not even the only purpose) of the surveillance.

Nobody has yet shown, particularly given the leniency of the FISA court and all the rules and loopholes available for emergencies, how requiring a FISA warrant is such a horrible barrier to effectiveness in the war against terror. Further, everybody supporting this seems to have no problem with the following:

1) The Executive branch deciding who will be monitored without any oversight
2) The Executve branch deciding whether the montioring is legal without any oversight
3) The Executive branch deciding how that information is used without any oversight

The power to direct the NSA's surveillance at American citizens without warrant or oversight is a tremendous amount of power. No single branch of our government should exercise that degree of power without the oversight of another branch. If this program really IS that important and none of the existing emergency provisions adequately cover what is being done, then let's establish an oversight that works rather than leave it solely to one branch of government - you'll thank me later when someone besides Bush is in office.

bakert
August 18, 2006, 12:38 PM
Quote;"you'll thank me later when someone besides Bush is in office".
YES! Although I disagree with President Bush on a number of things,. Who does anyone see in the wings or on the horizon that would do a much better job considering everything?? JMOP

ArmedBear
August 18, 2006, 12:40 PM
But let's wait 48 hrs to get a judge to issue a warrant - sure, makes sense.

The answer to that was the point I made at least 3 times above.

If there's a problem with the process, FIX THE PROCESS. Don't use that as an excuse to throw out all checks and balances. There's no reason that the process has to take 48 hours, or that it has to ruin secrecy.

The notion that 3 people can't keep a secret is bunk. There are many people in the NSA, and many more who could be the sources of information used by the NSA. If the adage were true, there would be no secrets.

If you don't trust just any judge (probably wise), then get some judges with clearance, say high-ranking, longtime JAG officers, and transfer them to the civilian Judiciary Branch.

My point is that there are ways to do this that respect the Constitution, but don't paralyze intelligence gathering. Some of you don't want to think about that, but it's a fact.

Now, as far as the "lawyerization of the military," well, the power and authority given to members of the armed forces are VERY specific and VERY specifically defined. The UCMJ is vigorously, if imperfectly, enforced, with penalties including death, for operating outside the specific authorizations. There are rules about when and where can be shot, under what exact conditions, and who can give the order to do so in what circumstance.

It's simply untrue that our military is effective because it doesn't have laws it must follow. It has plenty, and always has.

Just_a_dude_with_a_gun
August 18, 2006, 01:10 PM
Do you know what this (the no warrant spying thing) really says to me?:

that there are SO MANY people living here in the US that have contacts in, and allegiences to, places that do not like us, and they can't keep track of them, and can't afford the time to get a warrant for all the ones that need watching.

Or maybe that's just me. :rolleyes:

Aside from this, the ruling WILL be appealed, and won't be enforced until said
Appeal is processed, and denied. Secondly, once, and if they do have to get warrants, a judge, perhaps like this ACLU absorbed, Jimmy Carter appointee,
will have to sign it. And they probably won't.

Bartholomew Roberts
August 18, 2006, 01:37 PM
Although I disagree with President Bush on a number of things, I'm not sure I agree with that statement. Who do you see in the wings or on the horizon that would do a much better job considering everything?? JMOP

I think you misunderstood my point. My point was that even if you trust President Bush with this degree of power, you are giving the power to an office, not a person. President Bush will be gone in 2008 and eventually someone will hold that office who will abuse this power if it is given.

Secondly, once, and if they do have to get warrants, a judge, perhaps like this ACLU absorbed, Jimmy Carter appointee, will have to sign it. And they probably won't.

The FISA court (which is the court they would have to go to for a warrant) was established in 1972. In 2005 alone, the FISA court approved 2,072 warrants and rejected 0 (http://www.epic.org/privacy/wiretap/stats/fisa_stats.html). In the 25+ years the FISA court has existed, it has denied only 5 warrant requests (and one of those was later overturned by the FISA Review Court making the total of denied warrants in 25 years a whopping 4).

Snake Eyes
August 18, 2006, 01:39 PM
The Constitution does not say the government cannot evesdrop.


It doesn't necessarily nor explicitly state that you have the right to interstate travel without a document check, either. But do you really think that's the intent of the framers? Do you really want to institute every possible policy that isn't explicitly prohibited in the constitution?

Mr. Humphrey, I have tremendous respect for your input on this forum and often look to your posts for quality opinions and information.

But your dead wrong on this one, sir.

bakert
August 18, 2006, 02:06 PM
Sorry, Mr Roberts. Scanning too fast and didn't read it fully. Went back and changed it. I agree wth you.
BT

ronto
August 18, 2006, 02:56 PM
The "War on Terror", which incidently makes no sense ("terror" is a TACTIC of extreme Islam), is being used as an excuse to erode the Constitution and Bill of Rights. I am proud of my Country,the Constituton and Bill of Rights,the Flag and our military personnel,past and present (myself included).
I am NOT proud of the torture and humiliation of prisioners,secret prisons, holding "suspects" indefinately without any sort of hearing (if proof exists ,lock them up for life) and who knows what else we don't know about.
If winning the "War on Extreme Islam" means I have to give up my rights "to be safe", FORGET IT!!! I'll take my chances.
This war WILL be won without sinking to the low level of our enemies and eroding The Bill of Rights.
IF YOU WANT TO WIRETAP... FOLLOW EXISTING LAW AND GET A WARRANT!.....and if protecting my rights is "too cumbersome" for you... TOO BAD!!!... CHANGE THE LAW IF THAT'S THE CASE.

buzz_knox
August 18, 2006, 03:09 PM
The funniest thing about this decision and all it represents is that at the same time everyone complains about the Constitution being eroded and the gov't acting without restraint, the gov't is being restrained by the institutions set up in the Constitution. People don't like what's happening, they go to court and get it stopped and/or get redress for wrongs, or get told that the activity is legal.

Never before has a gov't dealing with a real national security crisis and two shooting wars been forced to go to court and defend itself so regularly. And never before has a gov't in this kind of situation been told to stop doing something, complain about the decision, yet complied with the orders.

Soybomb
August 18, 2006, 04:21 PM
“I am for socialism, disarmament, and, ultimately, for abolishing the state itself... I seek the social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class, and the sole control of those who produce wealth. Communism is the goal.”

~Roger Baldwin,
Founder, ACLU
If you wanted to be honest and complete you'd mention these were views he held as a young man, later recanted and swung far in the opposite direction, and in the 1940's drove communists from the ACLU. The man's also been dead for 25 years. It really has nothing to do with the ACLU today and attempts to imply it does are misleading as a statistics from the brady bunch.

ceetee
August 18, 2006, 09:01 PM
Never before has a gov't dealing with a real national security crisis and two shooting wars been forced to go to court and defend itself so regularly. And never before has a gov't in this kind of situation been told to stop doing something, complain about the decision, yet complied with the orders.

You should replace "gov't" with "administration". There are many "gov't's" in the world that excercise such control over their populaces on a daily basis. Our "gov't", though, does not have that right, unless we allow it.

To the best of my knowledge, no administration has gone so far outside the bounds of the Constitution as this one, nor has any other administration needed to be reminded what it's job is so often. And to the best of my knowledge, this administration has not yet halted this wiretapping program.

I fervently hope the electorate takes more care in who it hires next time around. Assuming, that is, that the choice actually remains with the electorate.

Hawkmoon
August 18, 2006, 11:30 PM
This whole charade is just a national-level replay of the old Black Panthers wire tap case in New Haven, CT, back in the 60's. It was the exact same situation -- a boat load of very scummy people who in all probability SHOULD have been wire tapped ... but the New Haven police department didn't think they should have to go through the exercise of getting warrants to do so.

It's that pesky Constitution thing again. I don't know why you people keep defending it. Can't you see what an impediment it is to our protectors and saviours?

Hawkmoon
August 18, 2006, 11:33 PM
Never before has a gov't dealing with a real national security crisis and two shooting wars been forced to go to court and defend itself so regularly. And never before has a gov't in this kind of situation been told to stop doing something, complain about the decision, yet complied with the orders.
If you actually believe they goverment is complying with the decision, you are a LOT more trusting than I am. I don't believe for a nanosecond they are complying. Don't ever forget that the President makes no bones about his belief that laws he doesn't like don't apply to him and his administration. Do you really believe he's going to shut down the whole system for one judge?

ArmedBear
August 19, 2006, 01:35 AM
To the best of my knowledge, no administration has gone so far outside the bounds of the Constitution as this one

Note that I am fine with the decision requiring warrants, and I do think the line has to be drawn somewhere, and that there are ways other than warrantless wiretaps to do the job.

That said, I'm ROTFLMAO at what you wrote.

On the other hand, I guess that FDR's stacked SCOTUS did rule that locking up people with Japanese names, and taking their land, homes, farms and businesses was somehow okay.

And don't give me ANY BS about it. I can see where some of the farms had been from my bedroom window. It was VERY REAL. Made some WASPs some fat profits when they developed beach houses on that land.

Then there was Lincoln, who suspended Habeas Corpus in order to arrest his political opponents. He had the military go around and round them up. 13,000 people were ARRESTED. http://www.civil-liberties.com/pages/did_lincoln.htm

He did this in 1861 and 1862, so spare me the BS about freeing the slaves. The Emancipation Proclamation was issued later, and it only covered slaves in the Confederacy. Slaves in the US were NOT set free. Priorities, you know.:uhoh:

Does that make any Constitutional violation okay? Hell no. But don't fall for the partisan BS about the Bush Administration. They're not even contenders yet.

FireBreather01
August 19, 2006, 01:56 AM
Never before has a gov't dealing with a real national security crisis and two shooting wars been forced to go to court and defend itself so regularly. And never before has a gov't in this kind of situation been told to stop doing something, complain about the decision, yet complied with the orders.
And never before has this country been as litigious as it and seen activists use the courts, with their liberal spread of socialist jurists, to enact political agendas they couldn't otherwise accomplish through the political process.
To the best of my knowledge, no administration has gone so far outside the bounds of the Constitution as this one
You mean other than revoking habeas corpus and the Japanese internment???:evil:

edited to add: armedbear - you beat me to it!

Bartholomew Roberts
August 19, 2006, 10:19 AM
To the best of my knowledge, no administration has gone so far outside the bounds of the Constitution as this one

You might look up the Alien and Sedition Acts as well while you are looking for Administrations who have gone far outside the bounds set by this one.

The_Shootist
August 19, 2006, 01:25 PM
...some analysis (the below was from Time - not exactly a pro-Republican outlet) called the judges reasoning "weak" and "political":


http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1228964,00.html

The_Shootist
August 19, 2006, 01:31 PM
...in which the editorial says the ruling doesn't pass the "smell test":

http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/editorials/article/0,2777,DRMN_23964_4928086,00.html

Hutch
August 20, 2006, 11:07 AM
A letter to the editor by my 21yo daughter...

I like the Bill of Rights

Good for Judge Taylor to stand up and declare the NSA wiretaps unconstitutional. It’s about time someone did.

Don’t mistake me. I understand the vital importance of protecting American citizens—all citizens, for that matter—from terrorist attack. The right to life is one of the most basic and essential ones we possess. We also possess, however, the right to liberty, the right to free speech, the right to secure our persons against unreasonable searches. There is a reason warrants and probable cause are required for searches and wiretaps: to protect the innocent.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “They who can give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Old Ben might not have been the nicest guy to trod the earth, but he had some pretty good ideas.

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