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Analysts: Bush spying rationale legally shaky

Discussion in 'Legal' started by rick_reno, Jan 7, 2006.

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  1. rick_reno

    rick_reno member

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    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.
     
  2. beerslurpy

    beerslurpy member

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    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.
     
  3. Joejojoba111

    Joejojoba111 Member

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    It was the lie, not the blowjob. If only all political lies left stained dresses behind.
     
  4. beerslurpy

    beerslurpy member

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    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.
     
  5. PCGS65

    PCGS65 Member

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

    PATH Member

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    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:
     
  7. cz75bdneos22

    cz75bdneos22 Member

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    a commentary..

    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:
     
  8. davec

    davec Member

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    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.

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

    Waitone Member

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    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:
     
  10. publius

    publius Member

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    I find it odd that the administration would go around the FISA courts, since those courts virtually never refuse to grant a warrant.
     
  11. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

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    We had to destroy the nation's civil liberties to make it a less appealing target for the terrorist savages.
     
  12. Waitone

    Waitone Member

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    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.
     
  13. CAnnoneer

    CAnnoneer Member

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    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.
     
  14. Headless Thompson Gunner

    Headless Thompson Gunner Member

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    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.
     
  15. Waitone

    Waitone Member

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    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.
     
  16. Helmetcase

    Helmetcase Member

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    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.
     
  17. No_Brakes23

    No_Brakes23 Member

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    +1 Wouldn't that be nice. JRB is one of the few decent political exports my state has.
     
  18. Biker

    Biker Member

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    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
     
  19. fourays2

    fourays2 Member

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    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.
     
  20. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

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    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.
     
  21. yucaipa

    yucaipa Member

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




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

     
  22. Dain Bramage

    Dain Bramage Member

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    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.
     
  23. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

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

    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.
     
  24. beerslurpy

    beerslurpy member

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    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.
     
  25. yucaipa

    yucaipa Member

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    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.;)
     
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