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Lawsuits filed over domestic spying program

Discussion in 'Legal' started by rick_reno, Jan 17, 2006.

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  1. rick_reno

    rick_reno member

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    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.
     
  2. Biker

    Biker Member

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    Good. Pull the snake's tongue till it pops.
    Biker
     
  3. Henry Bowman

    Henry Bowman Senior Member

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    So why does the headline (mis)read "domestic spying program"? :scrutiny:
     
  4. BostonGeorge

    BostonGeorge Member

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

    ArmedBear Member

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    No s***, Sherlock!
     
  6. Camp David

    Camp David member

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    Curious whether the ACLU will reveal the plaintiff on their lawsuit... was it Osama bin Laden or Ayman al-Zawahiri? ;)
     
  7. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    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.
     
  8. Biker

    Biker Member

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    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
     
  9. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    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.
     
  10. Biker

    Biker Member

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    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
     
  11. Hawkmoon

    Hawkmoon Member

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    Agreed.

    Thank you for making that point.
     
  12. Leatherneck

    Leatherneck Member

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    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
     
  13. Biker

    Biker Member

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

    Didn't work, did it?

    Where's that 'busted' smilie?

    Biker
     
  14. Lobotomy Boy

    Lobotomy Boy Member

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

    Biker Member

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    Hah! "Don't touch that guitar! It's never been played!" Classic...:)
    Biker
     
  16. taliv

    taliv Moderator

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    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.
     
  17. megatronrules

    megatronrules Member

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    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?
     
  18. Lobotomy Boy

    Lobotomy Boy Member

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

    Sinsaba Member

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    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.

    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.

    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.
     
  20. Lennyjoe

    Lennyjoe Member

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    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.
     
  21. Lobotomy Boy

    Lobotomy Boy Member

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    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.
     
  22. Sinsaba

    Sinsaba Member

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    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.
     
  23. TheEgg

    TheEgg Member

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    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.
     
  24. yucaipa

    yucaipa Member

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    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.
     
  25. Henry Bowman

    Henry Bowman Senior Member

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    2 for 2 Sinsaba! Excellent posts.
     
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