Domestic Surveillance: Illegal?

Many critics are saying that the President’s side-stepping of the FISA Court to conduct surveillance of international emails and phone calls is a violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act statute requiring FISA court approval for such communications. This may be true. But the critics appear to be speaking in a vacum and do not sufficiently address the interaction of the FISA law with later developments, specifically the congressionally authorized military actions against Al Qaeda.

The body of law as a whole must be interpreted to harmonize its different pieces, and one of those pieces is the authorization of force for the President to respond to the 9/11 attacks. Any such authorization of force has with it certain grants of power, including implied powers. The Congressional authorization specifically states:

[T]he President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

We're often told by civil libertarians that the government is force and that force is its chief tool in trade. Jailing people or threatening to do so is undeniably an act of force. But so too is the seizing of personal communications. Why does this matter?

If we're textualists of one kind or another, and we acknowledge the authorization to conduct military operations through force carries with it certain implied powers--the power to select which units go where, the power to create prison camps, the power to kill, bomb, and interrogate--then does not the greater, include the lesser? That is, does the power to bomb not include within it also the power to intercept emails?

At least two principles of statutory construction apply her, and they in turn should be read in light of an overarching principle of philosophical and linguistic integrity. The first principle is that a later statute amends earlier statutes to the extent they conflict. The other principle of interpretation is that war and foreign policy powers are construed broadly to permit presidential authority in the realm of warmaking and international affairs. The final principle is one of philosophical honesty and good faith; if one decries the use of warrantless international surveillance because it is an act of force and ordinarily ultra vires, why is such force not permitted by the broad permission of "force" authorized in the September 18th Congressional authorization authorizing a miltiary response to the 9/11 attacks?

Arguably another principle could save the day for those that oppose the President: the princple that more specific legislation controls when it is in conflict with general legislation. Under this reading, one might say that all force not governed by other statutes is allowed, but in those areas covered by statutes and constitutional provisions--i.e., Padilla's internment, wiretapping--then the more specific, preexisting legislation should control in the absence of alternatives. But the specificity principle could also be brought to bear in defense of the President's actions; after all, FISA is a generic intelligence law for peacetime, whereas the President's authorization of certain types of wiretapping are Al Qaeda and 9/11-specific.

I've really not thought about this rigorously enough to say the President is definitely right. I can say, however, that based on well established principles of statutory construction, he is not definitely wrong.

Posted by at December 19, 2005 6:01 PM
Comments
Comment #104491

Thanks for starting to get into the specifics here. It’s helpful.

Posted by: Reed Sanders at December 19, 2005 6:16 PM
Comment #104499

I don’t know about this one. I think it is the final straw for me. I’ve stood by Bush for so long now against a pile of accusations of wrongdoing and poor planning. It appears he’s finally lost me. I cannot stand by and watch the Constitution be violated. Message to Republican party: I’ll be searching for independent canidates. I feel you’ve abused my loyalty and patriotism.

Posted by: greenback at December 19, 2005 6:27 PM
Comment #104502

While I find this at best questionable, I do find it amusing that the party of “originalists” that would deny the right to travel, privacy, etc. because it wasn’t specifically stated in the constituion come up against this

“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.”

And the reply comes, “Oh well, it’s in how you interpret it.”

Posted by: chantico at December 19, 2005 6:34 PM
Comment #104510

Chris
during a time of declared war I find it reprensable that all we hear from the left is how thier freedoms and indivual rights are being taken away …As President Bush has repeatly stated those who are being listened in on have clear links to al Qaida or other type sinister organizations ,when our special forces or CIA attacks and successfully apprehends or eliminates known terrorists, the info they then obtain from lap tops, computor hard drives, and disposable cell phones is then given to the NSA for immeadate actionable intelligence .With todays varity of disposable cell phones and abilty to obtain new phone numbers with in moments if forewarned i personally see no other way the government can anticapate and derail future attacks .

The bigger Issue that I see is following the trail back to determine who was responsible for releasing this highly sensitive clearly damaging information.

A few weeks ago a democratic brief was discovered that originated from aids of senator Dick Durbin stating that any damaging info that could be obtained from those currently on the senate Intelligence Committee should be released to the press through untracable sources ,to #1 Embarress the Bush Administration as well as further thier cause in withdrawing all troops .

My real question to all who read this is this ….

Should congress and the senate hold special closed door sessions to determine the source of these leaks ,and once determined what should occur to those responible …?

Posted by: rylee at December 19, 2005 6:42 PM
Comment #104512

Chantico, interpretation is demanded by that amendment, not least because it does not prohibit all searches without warrants, but only “unreasonable” ones. Lots of warrantless searches are allowed—incident to arrest, plain view, at the border, Terry stops, etc. To say that war-related intelligence gathering comes under the “force” provision of a statutory authorization and that such intelligence gathering is reasonable under the 4th Amendment is not the most lawyerly parsing of language ever, that I can promise you.

Akil Amar has some good stuff about “reasonableness” being the touchstone of 4th Amendment reasonableness.

Posted by: Roach at December 19, 2005 6:45 PM
Comment #104520

Rylee:

Please show evidence of declaration of war in this conflict.

Posted by: Arr-squared at December 19, 2005 6:57 PM
Comment #104523

Chris, the law was aimed at foreign sponsored terrorists. It doesn’t even read in a manner to the lay person as granting spying and intelligence gathering on Americans without review and Constitutional protections observed.

The huge tanker of a problem here for the administration is that they want the American people to believe that they KNOW the Americans they are spying on are terrorists. Nothing in most cases could be further from the truth. For if they KNEW with evidence these Americans were terrorists, they would have no problem obtaining a warrant to surveil them.

The fact is, in many of these cases, the NSA and the FBI are acting on whim and erroneous information, but the Quaker group members are all still documented by the federal government as a threat to national security for no other reason than they sought legal means of preventing recruiters for the Iraq war from recruiting in their schools where their children attend. Hence, as a matter of fact, our government is spying on Americans for any reason or no reason whatsoever, unverified tips, hints of Americans opposing Bush’s policy in Iraq. What’s next? Establishing a secret record on Americans who didn’t vote for Bush? Certainly possible under the current SOP of the Bush Administration.

And these secret records on Americans are not without consequences to these Americans. With a secret file, they will not be eligible for government service jobs for no other reason than they were acting in accordance with their Quaker and American patriotic principles. Their children could even be targeted for ineligibility for service to their nation as a result of having been raised by those on the list.

This is McCartyism red scare tactics by our own government against its own people starting all over again.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 19, 2005 7:00 PM
Comment #104525

I like the way the alleged crime of Macarthyism is still trotted out so self-righteously, as if the Rosenbergs and Alger Hiss and Greenglass and the other communists were not real, as if the Soviets were not a major threat to the US, and as if there should be some right to shield the identities of those affiliated with a political party controlled by a foreign enemy. Macarthy’s only crime was giving anti-communism a bad name.

Your whole world-view appears made up of a variety of unsustainable cliches about American history. Think of the examples you point to: Bush is bad because he’s uniquely abusing Presidential power. WWII was better, but it was bad too. The poor poor communists of the 1950s etc.

Posted by: Roach at December 19, 2005 7:04 PM
Comment #104533

Chris,

The passage from the Congressional Authorization that you cite clearly relates very specifically to those who had a direct hand in 9/11. How many people being spied upon right now do you think had anything to do with 9/11, even if they are bona fide terrorists?

Secondly, as r2 has pointed out, there is no declaration of war here - despite the ramblings of what some would have you believe. The problem with the whole “War on Terror” is that it is as faux as the “War on Drugs”. There is no real war as it relates in a legal sense - even the war in Iraq has become merely an occupation, and war was never declared there in the first place. By dragging out the myth that we are at war indefinitely, only serves to allow a misguided administration to continue to stretch and abuse powers under the guise of war-time actions.

You have to acknowledge that thankfully American citizens have more rights and protections from our government than those who are not - even if their name is Abdul. Just as the illegal detention of Jose Padilla was one of the most striking examples of this administration’s abuse of power, these new cases just continue to show a pattern of abuse - not against foreign enemies - but American citizens.

What no one has managed to explain is why going around the FISA court is necessary in even the most extreme cases. Are we really to believe that it is more expedient to present a case to the President for his approval than to a judge who has been put on call for this exact circumstance?

Let’s be frank here. This has nothing to do with necessity for combatting terrorism. If it did, it would be easy for the Bush administration to create a new law and then follow it, instead of using backhanded legal qualifiers to go around, and break, the current law.

Posted by: Burt at December 19, 2005 7:36 PM
Comment #104534

Were these wire taps used on US citizens or on noncitizens?
Only US citizens are protected by the Constitution. Non citizens are not.

Posted by: Ron Brown at December 19, 2005 7:38 PM
Comment #104535

Chris:

An interesting argument, but you appear to have forgotten something in your analysis. The words “necessary and appropriate” in the authorization. All force, all uses or abuses of government power, were not authorized by that document. Only such force as is necessary and appropriate were authorized. Let’s think on that, as we examine Bush’s actions with regard to the wiretapping case.

First of all, was it necessary? So far the only justification for the use of warrantless wiretaps that has been given is the suggestion that adhering to the requirements of FISA would not allow us to act quickly enough to capture time-sensitive information. But the fact of the matter is that FISA already allowed wiretapping, with permission from the attorney general, for up to 72 hours before requiring a warrant to be obtained. This clearly indicates that speed is not better served by eliminating FISA. So what is?

Honestly, I can think of one thing served by elimintating FISA: by removing judicial oversight you are eliminating the requirement for probable cause. In other words, the state need make no case for why they should be allowed to invade your privacy through a wiretap. They would not have to show any evidence, and could wiretap anyone on a whim. This would seem to me only helpul to the government in that it would allow them to wiretap those they have no case against. And if that is true, why are they suspicious of them and why should we humour that suspicion with the full force of our government’s surveillance capabilities?

FISA, as it currently exists, went so far as to allow an attorney general to overrule a judicial decision against issuing a warrant to wiretap and use information obtained in a warrantless wiretap IN COURT if that information contained threats of death or serious bodily harm to any person. So the government could not even say that it feared liberal judges that cared more about terrorist rights than about catching the bad guy. The law already gave them the tools to override judicial rulings if that extremely unlikely scenario ever happened.

Given all of that, in what way was it necessary or appropriate to do an end run around FISA and the judiciary?

Finally, I would remind you that the authorization of force was used as a prime argument in Hamdi v Rumsfeld, where the government claimed the right to indefinitely imprison without judicial review an american citizen. As you know, the outcome of that case did not favor the government, clearly establishing that Bush’s authorization of force does not extend to breaching the civil rights of american citizens. I believe that sets a large precedent to believe that he has once again stepped beyond the bounds of his proper authority, and far beyond what was necessary or appropriate to the situation.

Posted by: Jarandhel at December 19, 2005 7:39 PM
Comment #104548

—-
[T]he President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.
—-

So, basically, you are saying that as long as Bush says that these people fit the bill, then to heck with civil liberties, let him go for it?

Who exactly determines if these people are part of or supporters of the 9/11 attacks? What oversight is there to ensure that the law is not stretched to fit whatever need the day brings? What if I agree with the attacks of 9/11? Do I loose my rights for that? (And before any idiot jumps on the last statements… They’re hypothetical.)

At some point, this sort of power without control or limit turns in to totalitarianism. How can we dishonor the freedoms our soldiers fought and died for by so easily surrendering them to our unproven fears?

Posted by: tony at December 19, 2005 8:23 PM
Comment #104551

You have to love Roach’s defense of Bush. Other Presidents failed, so my President should be given carte blanche when it comes to usurping American civil liberties too!

It’s like McVeigh using Manson as a defense against the Death Penalty. Tooooo funny!

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 19, 2005 8:29 PM
Comment #104557

I now hear Bush declaring that he gave Congress notice before implementing this policy.

What is fascinating is the bargain struck. The Whitehouse informs the 8 bipartisan heads of Congressional Intelligence Committees that he has an exercise of power he wants to share with them. But, they must all swear an oath to not reveal the any aspect of that exercise of power under penalty of law which will be enforced by the Attorney General. They swear, and the Whitehouse unloads that he is going to spy on Americans even though there is not a single law in place that authorizes him to do so.

Rockefeller, one of the 8, was so incensed by the trap of secrecy he found himself in, he did the only thing he could do under the circumstances without violating the law himself. He wrote a secret letter of strong objection to the Whitehouse about the policy the Whitehouse announced. But, of course that letter was top secret too!

Somebody in the NSA or retired from the NSA couldn’t stand the abuse of power anymore and released a copy of Jay Rockefellar’s letter of objection to the press.

Does anyone not see that the Whitehouse is creating the very chimneys of non-sharing of information that the 9/11 Commission warned in such detail about? Does anyone not see that the secrecy climate is simply going to breed more and more patriotic leakers who simply cannot hold their head up as a government employee if they don’t reveal potential abuses of power to which they are witness?

Does the President, the NSA, and the FBI really believe they can create such climate of fear in America that patriotic Americans will voluntarily surrender their civil and Constitutional rights and give the government a pass all in the name of the Government doing what it says is in our best interest. Stalin, Hitler, Moussalini, Mao Tse Tung, Pinochet, Castro, and many others expanded their powers in the name of protecting their people by limiting their freedoms.

Does this Administration really believe educated, intelligent Americans are going to stand idly by while he trades in democracy of checks and balances for an authoritarian expansion of the powers of his own office on the merits that he alone knows what is best for Americans?

I don’t think so! What about you?

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 19, 2005 8:47 PM
Comment #104560

Its all a republican plot - they plan to watch your every move - its because they want an intercourse tax. They can now listen in and see if that is happening and then tax you - it just goes along with their insatiable desire for power - they torture trees and bacteria and say its for the good of humankind - this has got to stop and now they want to protect the American public from terrorists - how dare they!

Posted by: MIke at December 19, 2005 8:54 PM
Comment #104565

Authorization for war in Iraq Acually occurred in 1998 linktext

Posted by: rylee at December 19, 2005 9:08 PM
Comment #104568

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iraq_Liberation_Act

Posted by: Rylee at December 19, 2005 9:09 PM
Comment #104573

Whomever disagrees with what Bush did here (wiretapping/ domestic surveillance), did you disagree with prez Clinton when he authorized spy satellites to track white supremacists after the Oklahoma bombing? Hmmm?!

Posted by: rahdigly at December 19, 2005 9:23 PM
Comment #104575

Rylee:

You might want to read that link a bit more closely. Specifically the part that says, quoting the Act,

“Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize or otherwise speak to the use of United States Armed Forces (except as provided in section 4(a)(2)) in carrying out this Act.”

Posted by: Jarandhel at December 19, 2005 9:26 PM
Comment #104586

Newsweek is now reporting that Bush tried to kill the NSA story two weeks ago by inviting the New York Times to the Oval Office.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10536559/site/newsweek/

Posted by: scarp at December 19, 2005 10:02 PM
Comment #104589

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2003_invasion_of_Iraq

this link is the actual war authorization H.J.Res. 114 when combined with prior legislation enacted by congress and sihned by then president clinton ,seems to show a history of both non compliance by iraq and primary reasons for this …..

Electronic surveillance
Generally, the statute permits electronic surveillance in two scenarios. First, the President may authorize, through the Attorney General, the surveillance without a court order where it is directed at the acquisition of “technical intelligence” or the contents of communications of foreign powers (not including terrorist organizations), there is “no substantial likelihood” of a US citizen being party, and the procedures, among other things, minimize the impact on United States citizens.

Alternatively, the government may seek a court order permitting the surveillance using the FISA court.

Seems to me that if the president choses to have the nsa moniter or listen in evan to US citizens he can do so for technical intelligence…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Intelligence_Surveillance_Act

go here for more detailed info.

Posted by: Rylee at December 19, 2005 10:07 PM
Comment #104592

“do you diagree with pres. clinton…”
rahdigly,

what does pres clinton have to do with pres bush?
to follow your logoc, murder is justifiable. cain slew able. someone did it before so it’s ok to do it now?

Posted by: ec at December 19, 2005 10:10 PM
Comment #104594

hey scarp
Personally i wish President Bush had sent the FBI and arrested the Times editor and reporters involved in this ,vast majority posters on these lines still continue to Ignore the fact that this story in all likly hood has changed the SOP of bin Laden and his evil henchmen and very well may lead to another large scale attack on the US ..I truly wonder if 6 months from now having compramised this highly classified info ,and the terrorists do change tactics and successfully attack New York or any other large american city whethor people will still be interested in reading more New York Times Expose’s ….

Posted by: Rylee at December 19, 2005 10:15 PM
Comment #104595

Of interest is this link about the legal history of wiretaps. To summarize, a warrant is required if either party is a U.S. citizen even when national security is alleged to be involved.

That’s about as specific as you can get. And of course it would not be legal for Congress to enact more specific legislation that would violate the Constitution.

Mr Bush did not give notice to Congress (not that that really has anything to do with anything). He gave notice to 8 or so Congressmen long after the program started and specifically prohibited them from telling other Congressmen.

There has not been a declaration of war. One might argue (just being silly here) that for Mr Bush to “declare” that we are at war is yet another violation of the Constitution: article I, section 8, reserves that power to the Congress. As Burt said, the “war on terror” is equivalent to the “war on drugs” and the “war on poverty”. And what Bush said is equivalent to him saying “as long as there are poor people we are going to confiscate your property and give it to wealthy people so that it can trickle down and help the poor people” (which is, of course, what is happening).

The FISA act permits a grace period of 72 hours between starting wiretaps and obtaining a warrant. It also establishes a secret court just for that purpose. So neither the press of time or the need for secrecy support any of this.

What was “exposed” by the newspaper recently was not that we were wiretapping (didn’t you already know that?) but that we were wiretapping without obtaining warrants. It’s hard to figure out how that gives any advantage to enemies of the U.S., although perhaps easy to see how it gives advantage to the patriots who are enemies of Mr Bush and his totalitarian policies.

Posted by: Lee at December 19, 2005 10:18 PM
Comment #104596

From 11/04
‘Domestic terrorism: New trouble at home’
From article:

” Since Sept. 11, the nation’s attention has been focused on possible threats from Islamic terrorists. But home-grown terrorists have been steadily plotting and carrying out attacks in unrelated incidents across the nation, according to federal authorities and two organizations that monitor hate groups.

and…
“But some of the alleged domestic terrorists who have been arrested had ambitious plans. The people and groups range from white supremacists, anti-government types and militia members to eco-terrorists and people who hate corporations. They include violent anti-abortionists and black and brown nationalists who envision a separate state for blacks and Latinos. And they have been busy.”

and….
“”The ‘black helicopter’ crowd is still out there,” says Wisconsin federal prosecutor Tim O’Shea, referring to extremists who distrust and abhor the federal government.”

Are these the Americans being spied on?


Posted by: bugcrazy at December 19, 2005 10:21 PM
Comment #104599

Chris:

Thank you for such a well written argument. As I listen to the different strands of legal/constitutional logic, it seems to me that in the moment of national emergency Presidents must make judgment calls.

For instance Congress did authorize President Bush to use all means all necessary and appropriate force.

I have also heard arguments concerning FISA and it’s requirement for judical review.

The problem is that in warfare, the knowledge base from the previous wars is not sufficient to win the new war. It is only logical that circumstances arrise that make previous law obsolete. It would seem to me that in such situations that would predictably occur, a Commander in Chief would be torn between written law as passed by congress, and the Constitutional requirement to defend our republic.

The question is, what do you do as commander and chief in that case? If this were not a state of emergency, I would expect the President to go before congress and get changes necessary. In a state of war or emergency, you cannot have open public debate over some issues because if you do, you endanger the Union by telling the enemy in advance where the fault lines are in our politics and let them know in advance what tactics will be used.

The only answer seems to be what Bush did. He looked at the legalities with his staff, and he consulted members of Congress.

So what happens now? I think it two things. One it goes to the Supreme court, because Bush is letting the world and our enemies know that the wire taps will continur. Second I think Congress and history will review the matter, and changes in law will occur.

Lincoln and Rosevelt both made decisions that later were viewed as unnecessary. Internment was shown to be wrong headed. History is such a wonderful luxury with so much time to consider. I don’t know if Bush is right or wrong. History will probably show that there was a better way to accomplish his objective. This insight will be used by future presidents.

I think Bush and company were correct in making a decision based on balancing the constitutional obligation defend the union as commander and chief in a new type of war, and respecting previous law. Whether the individual decision in it’s context is correct, I don’t think any of us have enough information to judge. We will with time.

Craig

Posted by: Craig Holmes at December 19, 2005 10:25 PM
Comment #104601

Answer me this:

If a warrant had been requested and issued would that not have to be in a public record?

Posted by: dawn at December 19, 2005 10:27 PM
Comment #104602


The Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq (H.J.Res. 114) was a resolution passed in October 2002 by the United States Congress authorizing what was soon to become the Iraq War under the War Powers Resolution. The authorization was sought by U.S. President George W. Bush, and it passed the House on October 10 by a vote of 296-133, and by the Senate on October 11 by a vote of 77-23, receiving significant support from both major political parties. It was signed into law by President Bush on October 16, 2002.

The act cited several factors to justify a war:

Iraq’s noncompliance with the conditions of the 1991 cease fire
Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction, and programs to develop such weapons, posed a “threat to the national security of the United States and international peace and security in the Persian Gulf region”
Iraq’s “brutal repression of its civilian population”
Iraq’s “capability and willingness to use weapons of mass destruction against other nations and its own people”
Iraq’s hostility towards the United States as demonstrated by the 1993 assassination attempt of former President George H. W. Bush, and firing on coalition aircraft enforcing the no-fly zones following the 1991 Gulf War
Iraq’s connection to terrorist groups, including Al Qaeda
Fear that Iraq would provide weapons of mass destruction to terrorists for use against the United States
The act praised President Bush’s diplomatic efforts at the UN Security Council to “obtain prompt and decisive action by the Security Council to ensure that Iraq abandons its strategy of delay, evasion and noncompliance and promptly and strictly complies with all relevant Security Council resolutions.” It authorized him to use military force to “defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council Resolutions regarding Iraq.” Before being permitted to use force, the President was required to determine that further diplomatic efforts alone would not satisfactorily protect the United States or ensure Iraq’s compliance with UNSC resolutions.

The act was significant in that it did not require the President to obtain UN Security Council authorization. Further, even if Iraq complied with UNSC resolutions, the President was still authorized to attack in order to protect the United States. This was, in effect, approval for President Bush to act unilaterally. This was viewed among American conservatives as a major impetus for the UNSC’s unanimous adoption of UN Security Council Resolution 1441 a few weeks later.

This would alos authorize President Bush to have the NSA do what they have been doing ,or at least I would believe so.

Authorization during times of war
FISA authorizes the president to authorize surveillance and physical searches without a court order after a declaration of war by Congress. 50 U.S.C. §§1808 and 1829. The duration of such surveillance under these provisions is somewhat ambiguous. The statute says that the president may authorize such surveillance “for a period not to exceed 15 calendar days following a declaration of war by the Congress.” It is unclear whether this limits the time of such surveillance or whether this limits the period of time in which the president may invoke this section. That is, whether the president may authorize indeterminately long surveillance under this section only during the fifteen days after a declaration of war. Or, whether the president may authorize only fifteen days of surveillance at any time after the declaration.

Posted by: Rylee at December 19, 2005 10:28 PM
Comment #104605

ec,
“do you diagree with pres. clinton…”
rahdigly,

what does pres clinton have to do with pres bush?
to follow your logoc, murder is justifiable. cain slew able. someone did it before so it’s ok to do it now?


The point was that they (GWB and Clinton) both used surveillance means to protect this country. I agree with both even though I did not like Clinton (at all!). So, if I didn’t like Clinton, yet agreed with his duties of protecting us, the Bush dislikers should do the same. However, that certainly isn’t happening now is it?!

Posted by: rahdigly at December 19, 2005 10:33 PM
Comment #104610

Brainwashed.

The lot of you.

Posted by: callitasEYEseeIT at December 19, 2005 11:04 PM
Comment #104615
Were these wire taps used on US citizens or on noncitizens? Only US citizens are protected by the Constitution. Non citizens are not.
I can think of one thing served by elimintating FISA: by removing judicial oversight you are eliminating the requirement for probable cause.

Jarandhel, There is one other thing served by bypassing the FISA: a warrant is documentation, a paper trail. Without it we don’t know who or why the President was spying on.

Ron, there is no way for sure to know if they were American citizens or not, all we have is Bush saying “trust me”. This documentation is why a warrant is required. Even if the NSA needed to do immediate surveillance, they have 72 hours to seek a warrant, but they didn’t. Why? Who were they really spying on? Without that warrant there is no way to know for sure.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at December 19, 2005 11:26 PM
Comment #104616

I just wonder HOW MANY wiretaps there were/are, and how was the decision made about WHO/WHAT would be wiretapped.

It just might be interesting to know who the Bush administration considered worth listening to….Exxon, Shell, Lumberjacks in the Northwest, Arabs, Blacks, Latinos, or whites,etc?

Do they all feel like being listened to is justified, or will they sue the daylights out of the U.S. and the Bush administration, and everyone else involved with this whole thing?

Linda Haenchen

Posted by: Linda H. at December 19, 2005 11:28 PM
Comment #104618
Whomever disagrees with what Bush did here (wiretapping/ domestic surveillance), did you disagree with prez Clinton when he authorized spy satellites to track white supremacists after the Oklahoma bombing?

rahdigly,

Where warrants sought within 72 hours? If not then yes, I disagree with Clinton. There are laws and procedures in place. The President, no matter what their party affiliation, is not above the law.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at December 19, 2005 11:33 PM
Comment #104623

Bush’s eavedropping measure is something added to law enforcement’s arsenal as a last-ditch defense against potentially unfolding attacks.

I’m not even sure that it has ever been used, but it’s a valuable tool, and one that I’m glad is in effect.


Posted by: sanger at December 19, 2005 11:59 PM
Comment #104626

one reason I posted info on last post was I feel a lot of dem poster’s here have forgotten the reasons given to congress for an invasion of Iraq ,,,when reviewing perhaps this will enlighten a lot of you regarding Issues raised by Bush Admin prior to going to war in Iraq.As well as give you a little direct info regarding war powers act.regardless whethor the US declared a ( War on Terror ) simple facts are congress approved this act against Iraq which during a time of declared war gives the President Who ever it is broad powers to protect american citizins.

Posted by: Rylee at December 20, 2005 12:04 AM
Comment #104627

I’m not concerned about this spying B.S. The Presidents explanation is good enough for me. I just want to see our troops in Iraq home, and I want them to win every battle they go into because they have the leadership, equipment, and training. Bush may not always be right, but I don’t know any president that has always been right.

Posted by: Ed. McConnell at December 20, 2005 12:06 AM
Comment #104628

Rylee, would you explain why the terrorists would not have been assuming already that the government was intercepting their communications? I would guess that this revelation is not really all that important in terms of the terrorists’ strategies because they, if anyone, are assuming the most adversarial conditions in their communications. We saw in post-9/11 revelations that the problem was not getting the information, but connecting the dots between messages and figuring out what was a credible threat and what was not.

Posted by: Erika at December 20, 2005 12:17 AM
Comment #104630

The Bush administration is claiming that the President had the authority, as Commander and Chief, to authorize the wiretaps under Article II of the U.S. Constitution.

Article II, section 2: The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

This section states very clearly that the President is Commander and Chief of the Army, Navy and the the Militia of the several states. Nowhere does it say that the President is Commander and Chief of American civilians. And nowhere does the constitution grant the President any powers to operate outside the law or the Constitution.

In fact it states that the President can only “recommend” measures that he feels are necessary and expedient.

Article II. Section. 3: He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient;
Posted by: JayJay Snowman at December 20, 2005 12:18 AM
Comment #104637
Personally i wish President Bush had sent the FBI and arrested the Times editor and reporters involved in this ,vast majority posters on these lines still continue to Ignore the fact that this story in all likly hood has changed the SOP of bin Laden and his evil henchmen and very well may lead to another large scale attack on the US ..I truly wonder if 6 months from now having compramised this highly classified info ,and the terrorists do change tactics and successfully attack New York or any other large american city whethor people will still be interested in reading more New York Times Expose’s ….

Yes, Rylee…how insightful of you. It’s being reported tonight that Muslim mosques in big cities across America are ditching their email and telephone services and are installing string and tin cans for communication. I’m sure some day the FBI will find a way to break into this mode of communication, but until then we’ve been foiled again by Bin Laden and his associates at the New York Times.

Posted by: Burt at December 20, 2005 12:45 AM
Comment #104638


Erika:
I believe the biggest point so many are curently missing is this ,these wire taps are being conducted by the NSA after the CIA or special forces captures or kills the enemy within a safe house in Iraq or afganistan or for that matter any where with in the world.

upon completing the mission and securing the location ,any computors,laptops,or cell phones discovered at that location all numbers are then called directly in from the field of battle via secure means enabling our intelligence agency’s to listen to these numbers within mins of completion of raid while smoke is still coming area ,while the terrorists still believe them to be secure ,which in turn has already resulted in stoping planned attacks ,personaly i do not talk with known terrorists in Iraq or afganistan and the NSA could moniter my calls in defense of our nation ,with the advent of the internet and a lot of new technoligy think about this ,a highly intelligent terrorist operating in afganistan has managed to hack his way into an americans computor via one of many chat lines out there ,now once this is done the hacker can use this innocent americans computer to send and recieve emails and messages with out them knowing,in which case by now monitering this number with thier experts they can unravel and dicover thier network ,right after 9-11 it was reveiled that many terrorists were using yahoo chat rooms to send and recieve messages ,once discovered and publicized perhaps this was one of thier adjustments,

with many of the radical posts in both newspapers and on some of the major liberal news agency’s who attempt to:.” The Sedition Act made it unlawful for any person to write, print, publish, or speak anything “false, scandalous and malicious” about the government, either Congress or the Executive, if it was done with the intent to defame or to bring the government “


the info below shows that we may need some thing simalar to this back in effect with political leaders making outright lies and doing thier best to completely

The Sedition Act of 1918 is sometimes compared to the USA PATRIOT Act because of the latter’s perceived chilling effect on free speech. However, the Sedition Act had the explicit and specific purpose of quelling anti-government speech while the nation was at war. The Sedition Act was repealed in 1921.
The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. The Alien Act allowed the President to arrest, imprison, and deport “dangerous” immigrants on mere suspicion of “treasonable or secret machinations against the government.” If a deported alien returned, the President could imprison him for as long as he thought “the public safety may require.” The Sedition Act made it unlawful for any person to write, print, publish, or speak anything “false, scandalous and malicious” about the government, either Congress or the Executive, if it was done with the intent to defame or to bring the government “into contempt or disrepute,” or to excite the hatred of the people against the United States.

Posted by: Rylee at December 20, 2005 12:47 AM
Comment #104640

Amazzing after reading this and then consider statements and actiond of cindy sheehan ,micheal moore,Howard dean nancy pelosi ,harry Reid ,and countless others pretty much what thier intent is regarding the Bush administration ,,,,

Posted by: Rylee at December 20, 2005 12:53 AM
Comment #104643
I believe the biggest point so many are curently missing is this ,these wire taps are being conducted by the NSA after the CIA or special forces captures or kills the enemy within a safe house in Iraq or afganistan or for that matter any where with in the world.

Rylee,

I think the biggest point you are missing is that without that warrant there is simply no way to know who is being spied on, or how they decided to spy on them. You have cited that they are monitoring people who were listed on computers, or cell phones, can you please cite your source for this info?

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at December 20, 2005 1:09 AM
Comment #104644

An “after the fact” warrent should have been requested in each and every case. The only reason I can think of why one wouldn’t do such is because that would result in documentation of “who, what, why”. Go ahead and listen in on conversations that are “questionable”. Hell, it could save lives; but at least follow up by following the law.

For everyone who “trust” the president (not that I don’t or do), ask yourself this question: “If this were another president in the other party would I blindly trust his administration?”

This shouldn’t be a partisan discussion. I don’t care what party any president is…he should follow the law. Government should be transparent in hind-sight. In other words, after the information has been obtained and the bad guys caught, there should be an auditable trail. SOmetimes big brother makes mistakes and there should be a record of it to protect the inocent.

Posted by: Tom L at December 20, 2005 1:10 AM
Comment #104648

I would like to ask a question of all ,
recently in upstate new york the FBI arrested and detained the Lackawanna 6 ,a terrorist cell operating from Buffalo new york ,is very possible these people were detained arrested and convicted because of this ,and you still are missing a very important fact …….
WE ARE AT WAR

and not repeat NOT because President Bush was bored and had nothing better to do,but because osama bin laden declared war on the united states and then killed almost 3000 americans .

So many of the poster’s here seem to act like ostriches with there heads in the sand ,since sept 11 2001 we have not had a major attack evan though al Qaida and friends very much would like to .Consider this as well since the terrorist attack weve had well over 150,000 americans die in traffic accidents and the such yet when it comes to iraq weve lost 2150 or so people in almost 3 years while enabling over 25 million people to have freedom ,think back my friends to the revolution ,,,,for had the french navy not come to our assitance at yorktown we might not have won our own freedom.FREEDOM HAS A COST.

Another point that truly bothers me ,every one says theres no weapons of mass detruction ,primarily chemical and biological weapons im talking about now ,after allowing saddam 4 years with no inspections how difficult do you think it may have been to bury entire truckloads of these type weapons?may of 2004 the insurgants used a 155 Chemical howitzer shell that had 4 liters 2 seperate agents that are designed to mix as shell rotates through barrel .
This info was readily available on all major news channels at the time ,my point is this evan if when they used this as an IED that did not propery mix the 2 agents with in the shell,we then told them what they had found, when these were inventoryed by the UN weapons inspectors in 1996 there were 795 shells …in a country the size of california and 4 years with no inspections I believe firmly that many additional weapons are still there either buryed in the desert or transfered to syria or Iran (who by the way still has several hundred iraqi planes that escaped from Iraq during the first war in 1991

Posted by: Rylee at December 20, 2005 1:51 AM
Comment #104649

For me it comes down to this. If you do not have anything to hide then why worry. I go to work to support my wife and children, I go to the library with my kids on the weekends to rent videos and check out books, I pay my taxes.

An average person who has nothing to hide. I really do not care what the President does (Republican and or Democrat) as long as they protect my family. If that means taking the initiative then by all means do so.

Posted by: Neil at December 20, 2005 2:08 AM
Comment #104655

Neil:

You better hope to God your name does not match or is similar to any known Terrorist. The US Government can snatch you off the street and it could be 6 months before they figure out they had the wrong guy. Better pray all those Torture Stories are fake too. I doubt any American will find water-boarding a “Fraternity Prank” when its their turn.

Posted by: Aldous at December 20, 2005 2:33 AM
Comment #104683

And Neil’s comment appears not to care how many fellow innocent Americans are caught in this web of secret policing. Sounds like a comment from the “me” generation and to hell with everyone else. So much for one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all, eh?

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 20, 2005 3:42 AM
Comment #104691

Rylee, McVeigh did the same thing, declaring war on the US government and citizens who work for it. Did we round up and detain every red neck in the South or all the KKK or all the Aryan Nation folks and send them off to Mexico to be tortured to find out who the accomplices were and what future plans existed?

Your argument is highly inconsistent, as is President Bush’s actions. He says his actions are legal but, he can’t seem to point to a single law that grants him the unilateral power he exercised. The only cover he has on this is a House of Republicans which is not going to impeach him even if some Republican investigators find his actions were extralegal. And his worshippers of course who can’t see his actions for his political party halo.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 20, 2005 3:49 AM
Comment #104695

Posted by callitasEYEseeIT:

Brainwashed.

The lot of you.

Another violation of our policy like this callitasEYEseeIT, and you won’t be seeing your comments on this site anymore. Critique the Message, not the Messengers.

Posted by: Watchblog Managing Editor at December 20, 2005 4:01 AM
Comment #104697

David
if you read my earlier posts ive already explained in detail why i feel president bush has every right to do what he is doing,,, and with that merry christmas to all and to all a good night…along with links and specifics as to why.

Posted by: Rylee at December 20, 2005 4:02 AM
Comment #104708

To my fellow Conservative Pundits,
To what ethical, legal, and moral standard should Our Government/Society be held to? Actions and Words to date would demand that a reasonable and logic person declare that the Republican Leadership wants to lower that bar of propriety so that our elected officials can do pretty much whatever they like as long as they allow the Rich to keep getting richer. Reading the responses here and in the Third Party column on this issue from both the Left and Right makes me wonder what if anything have the Republicans and Democrats learned from history and our civic classes in high school.

First, as pointed out by President Bush and JayJay, the U.S. Constitution states that the President of America has the authority to do whatever is necessary to win a war as long as he does it right; thus, being found within the Law of the Land. However, by precedence and prudence of our Forefathers and that established by The Founding Fathers, President Bush and all Prominent Citizens of Our Society shall be held to a higher standard of ethics, morals, and legal limits than that of the average layman citizen. This Code of Conduct places that standard bar at the place where Propriety and Impropriety start to become shades of gray in the law. As a result of years of neglect and the lowering of Principles by the Republican Leadership over the last 5 years, the President’s own words shows that at the very least impropriety occurred. As every American knows the job is not done until all the “I’s” are dotted and the “T’s” are crossed; thereby, this Pandora’s Box was opened by “Total Incompetence” or the direct actions of a person or persons who did not want these acts on the record. Although a conspiracy theorist could have an absolute ball with these information by attempting to convince “The Bush Supports” that Karl Rove and Company used this information for political gain, I can only hope that it is due to the continued theme of “Total Incompetence” which we have heard about so much from both sides of Congress about how the Administration is doing their job. Nevertheless, a show of impropriety has accrued.

So what if anything could have been done by the President and his Advisers to keep the Left from raising their voice? Well, I’m no genius nor do I hold any crystal ball, but I bet that I could of wrote a speech that was a lot shorter and explained the President’s Actions to the point that the average citizen would understand how such of a thing could of happened through the natural course of Human Events. How and why they did not allow the President to explain it in the following manner I do not even try to understand; however, the following is what I hope is only the case in our government;

To my fellow citizens on the Left that have always opposed my actions and to those Moderates in the Middle let me assure all Americans that the steps that were taken by the NSA was done to protect Our Nation. Yes, you must understand that in the “War on Terror” things happen fast and furious sometimes and all the correct paperwork that should be done just don’t. For this oversight, I accept full responsibility and can only offer to you that My Staff will work twice as hard to insure proper procedures must be followed.

Now, while I can not/ should not discuss completely on how and why certain investigations were made at this time, I have kept our Congressional Leadership in the Loop. Nevertheless, it is Common Knowledge that NSA has the ability to listen in on conversations. And although disclosing exactly what happened, we all know that certain words are automatically picked up by the computers. Unfortunately, sometimes this leads into a very high volume of occurrence which when I was confronted with the legal problems involved with each issue, I and I a lone made the dissection to error on the side of National Security.

However, no information gathered during certain investigation were recorded so that future Presidents would not use them as precedence during Peace Time to spy on American Citizens. Yet, THIS IS WAR and “We Need” to remember that although dotting the “I’s” and crossing the “T’s” are important my first concern every minute of everyday is your National Security and to that I offer my “Loyal Opposition” to stand beside and fight this global war on terror by strengthing our National Security.

Now, David and Rocky how is that for some political BS? Did I “CYA” enough?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at December 20, 2005 4:32 AM
Comment #104718

—-
hey scarp
Personally i wish President Bush had sent the FBI and arrested the Times editor and reporters involved in this ,vast majority posters on these lines still continue to Ignore the fact that this story in all likly hood has changed the SOP of bin Laden and his evil henchmen and very well may lead to another large scale attack on the US ..I truly wonder if 6 months from now having compramised this highly classified info ,and the terrorists do change tactics and successfully attack New York or any other large american city whethor people will still be interested in reading more New York Times Expose’s ….
—-

Kind of similar to outing an CIA agent?

Posted by: tony at December 20, 2005 6:44 AM
Comment #104722

Tony,
Common Knowledge on how the computor at NSA picks certain words or pharse up and the lack of details in each case points to what should be considered a Wistle Blower. Now, should it be found to be politically motivated than I would have to class this case on the same level as the CIA Leak. Yet, many on the Right want to say that those actions were ok so are we to believe that these actions are ok also?

As far as OBL and Company, they knew about this knowledge long before 9/11. And as it has been said by the Republican Leadership, they only have to be right once; however, this Administration better be right a 100% of the time. Maybe the President might want to learn how to govern that way. Remember, in 2004 OBL said that they liked Bush because he was much like the Leaders of their own nations. Or is it due to the fact that President Bush keeps slipping on the “Political Banana Peel” and providing fuel to the fire of Hate? Again, Staying the Course is not an option!

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at December 20, 2005 7:28 AM
Comment #104724

Plame was as important to a covert operation as I am - NOT, NONE, NADA,ZERO,ZILCH.

Posted by: bugcrazy at December 20, 2005 7:34 AM
Comment #104727

Henry,

I don’t know about David, but with his speech last week, my opinion of Mr. Bush actually rose a bit.
This doesn’t help though.
I am not against wire tapping, but if you are going to do it, make it legal. That has been and continues to be, my whole point.
We are involved in an undeclared war. Had Congress actually declared war then it would be a totally different matter, but they didn’t and now we are stuck in this grey area where the President seems to think that he can do what he likes, in the name of protecting Americans, on our own soil.

Well, I don’t want to be protected in this way.

We are talking about American citizens.
Will any American arrested as a result of these taps be treated as an enemy combatant, or will they be prosecuted in an American court of law?
If they are taken to court, will the arrest stand up because the taps were illegally obtained?

Posted by: Rocky at December 20, 2005 7:50 AM
Comment #104728

Your analysis is completely bogus since these wiretaps started way before any war was declared. You and your conservative colleagues cannot have it both ways on the consitution: use it when you want to buy/hold guns, refuse it when you want to spy on citizens.

Not one US Citizen has been shown to be with Al Qaida, and yet we are now spying on little peaceniks whose bicycles and pierced ears are probably their biggest threats.

This is how it all started in Argentina in the 1970’s and look what was the result: 1000’s of innoncent people just disappear. Wake up, you are blindly rationalizing actions that will lead to a police state.

Posted by: Mike Tracy at December 20, 2005 7:55 AM
Comment #104729

Mike,

“This is how it all started in Argentina in the 1970’s and look what was the result: 1000’s of innoncent people just disappear.”

Actually I think it was in Chile.

Posted by: Rocky at December 20, 2005 8:00 AM
Comment #104732

Mike,

And BTW, I brought that subject up on another thread and was told that my tin foil hat was on sideways.

Posted by: Rocky at December 20, 2005 8:12 AM
Comment #104733

Rocky,
That is why I formed the argument in that manner. As long as those actions stayed off the books than no president in the future could use them in court as precedence. However, to play with the Devil for a moment, could you imagine if a report leaked out that showed this information was giving to Republican Leadership as was the case in the 70’s with President Nixon?

So yes you and every American has an iron in the fire.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at December 20, 2005 8:14 AM
Comment #104738

To All,
Forgive me if I have overlooked a comment containing this phrase “record of checks and balances.” I think it is very wise for each and every American to brush up on the fundamental principles upon which this country of ours was founded. When our forefathers broke free of England and stamped their imprint into the land that we now occupy, they did so in retalliation for persecution by their government. They felt that their basic rights as citizens of a country had been compromised and they were fighting mad. So mad, in fact, that this group of patriots put their lives and the lives of their families on the line in order to form and protect a country that they could be proud of. So what of it, America? These same pioneers clearly outlined the need for checks and balances through the three major branchs of the government in order to prevent one branch from gaining too much power and overstepping the constitutional rights of The United States of America’s citizens. Is this not what President Bush has done. No matter the reasoning, our President has disregarded the principles upon which our country has been founded. He has crossed the lines in which he is to conduct his business. Not once but over and over. He has placed a huge blow to this country’s cornerstone. How can this be acceptable?

Posted by: Karen at December 20, 2005 8:57 AM
Comment #104742

Henry,

One of the myriad of problems that I have had with this administration, is Mr. Bush’s parade of “yes men”, whose job, it seems, is to tell the President what he wants to hear.

His explaination is that he told members of Congress, as if that fixes everything.

It also seems that while the right has been criticizing Clinton for his “focus group” governance, this administration is using the “wet finger” method to tell which way the wind blows, and those are the policies that are implemented.

We have rules of law, let’s use them.

Posted by: Rocky at December 20, 2005 9:20 AM
Comment #104747

Most of you are missing the fact that it was Al Qaeda members and “known” terrorists overseas calling the US. Congress is politicizing this and the President made a (LEGAL) decision that saved American lives. Clinton did something similiar when he authorized spy satellites to track white supremacists after the Oklahoma bombing. Now, I agreed with that.

If you’re trying to kill Americans you have absolutely no rights and will be stopped. Kudos to Prez Clinton and President Bush…

Posted by: rahdigly at December 20, 2005 9:36 AM
Comment #104748

To summarize the core of this issue:
Bush says “Yes, it is illegal. But, I can make legal nitpicks to get the lawyers off my back. So, I’ll keep doing it… Trust me.”
Does “I am not a criminal” sound familiar to anyone?

Posted by: Dave at December 20, 2005 9:38 AM
Comment #104752

rahdigly,

“If you’re trying to kill Americans you have absolutely no rights and will be stopped.”

Yeah, but if you are an American citizen you do have rights, and they need to be upheld.

Posted by: Rocky at December 20, 2005 9:40 AM
Comment #104753

Rocky,

Where were American citizens rights violated with what the Prez authorized? Again, it was Al Qaeda (you know the enemy) and “known” terrorists.


American citizens rights were upheld; the terrorists rights weren’t b/c our President was doing his job.

Posted by: rahdigly at December 20, 2005 9:44 AM
Comment #104754

Good morning all:
I would pretty much bet that just as Bin Laden told his henchmen that once the us suffers enough casualtys they would cut and run as they did from mogidishu ,the combination of a lack of unity from both sides of the Isle ,the last 4 years of democrats stating first that president bush was not legally elected ,then he lied about weapons he lied about intell ect ,has shown all the world this country has lost most of its ability to defend itself evan when those that have stated thier goals of destroying america ,we just dont get it do we .

and you can bet that with christmas right around the corner and now a mojor transit strike in New York that ,if at all possible they will strike New York,can any one think of a better time to strike than during the holidays in the middle of what is surly very choatic ?…perhaps as President Bush has stated there may be another attack about to take place ,and if thats so we may all find our selfs feeling rather silly if it ends up that by the Times exposing this highly sensitive info at this time truly has undermined all of our efforts to safegaurd our people .

I truly feel that and investagation should take place behind closed doors with an absolute minimum of top leaders involved and a policy of complete secrecy regarding this ,To me this again sounds very simalar to rants the left made prior to last election that if John Kerry lost they would move to canada or elsewhere,however this is far more serious than any thing thats occurred in a long time ,release of this info is sedition and i firmly believe all means nessicary should be employed to find out specificly who released this info.

what happens if with in next few days terror cells already living in this country who perhaps are activated by last release of tape ,and the use multiple suicide bombs that have north korean nuclear fuel rod material attached ?….

so many state that this program of eves dropping on peopel within this country who are linked by there phone number to terror operatives around the world and think this should not continue .
I am greatly concerned about our ability to defend our selfs and think we may be very similar to the Roman Empire ,Enenemys with the stated goal of destroying our way of life and were more concerned with attempting to belittle and demonize those trying to defend us…

Posted by: Rylee at December 20, 2005 9:44 AM
Comment #104759

Hey mike ever heard of the lackawanna 6 ?

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/01/10/attack/main536123.shtml


(AP) A fifth member of an alleged terrorist sleeper cell in a Buffalo suburb pleaded guilty Monday to supporting terrorism.

Yasein Taher, 25, admitted learning to fire guns and grenade launchers at an al Qaeda camp in Afghanistan months before the Sept. 11 attacks.

Taher, acting against his attorney’s advice, became the fifth member of a group of six Yemeni-Americans to enter a plea agreement with the government in the case. He is expected to receive an eight-year prison term when he is sentenced in September.

Prosecutors said Taher trained at the Afghan camp and was a member of a sleeper cell, a team of trained terrorists who lie dormant until called to action.

The other men, Faysal Galab, 27, Shafal Mosed, 24, Sahim Alwan, 30, and Yahya Goba, 26, also have been offered sentences of between seven and 10 years. In all cases, the sentences are contingent upon their cooperation in this and future terrorism investigations.

They could have faced up to 15 years if convicted at a trial. Plea negotiations with the sixth suspect are ongoing.

In a courtroom full of friends and family, Taher acknowledged hearing Osama bin Laden speak against the United States and Israel and listening to a fellow trainee asking others to sign up for suicide missions.

Defense lawyers said the young men had no advance knowledge of the Sept. 11 attacks and left the camp before completing their training because they were disturbed by what they heard.

Taher was born and raised in the gritty steel city of Lackawanna and was voted “most friendly” by his high school class.

Seems like if looking at the past few years a lot of political leaders from the left should read this in regards to thier actions.


.” The Sedition Act made it unlawful for any person to write, print, publish, or speak anything “false, scandalous and malicious” about the government, either Congress or the Executive, if it was done with the intent to defame or to bring the government “

Posted by: Rylee at December 20, 2005 9:55 AM
Comment #104760

Rylee,

And you guys accuse me of wearing a tin foil hat.

rahdigly,

The President himself said that there were wire taps on American citizens.
What part of “American citizen” don’t you understand?

Posted by: Rocky at December 20, 2005 9:56 AM
Comment #104761

Ok, here’s the rules:
You get to use anything at your disposal to kill, maim, and destroy anyone, anything, and anywhere you want.
I get to stand here naked and throw baseballs (limited to 3) to attempt to stop you from doing the above, only after I have obtained all the facts, personal knowledge, a court order, and a mandate from congress that you did kill, maim, and destroy while some misguided left winger is holding my pitching arm.
I wonder who will win?

I for one applaud every avenue taken by any law enforcement agency to determine where the terrorists are and to apprehend them, nay, eradicate them in the name of national defense.
How many more 9-11’s do the American people need to realize we are in a struggle for our way of life. I for one will not cower to these terrorist or the left wing ideologist who want to hold out the olive branch to the guy getting ready to cut off their head.
I believe in doing what this country has always done, stand up to those who are trying to oppress, kill, or overthrow our way of life.
I applaud the debate. We are such a great country because we can have this debate. Now, while you debate, I’ll take care of the business of preventing the terrorist from driving a plane into the debating location.
I will gladly allow the NSA or any other US law enforcement agency to tap my phone lines, listen in on my conversation, read my email, etc., if it would take us one step closer to winning this war on terrorism. I have nothing to hide, do you? After the war, I’ll remove my authorization to tap my lines. This is WAR! And I, for one, intend for America to be victorious. Wake Up!

Posted by: Spanky at December 20, 2005 9:58 AM
Comment #104765

Spanky

one word DITTO

Posted by: Rylee at December 20, 2005 10:09 AM
Comment #104767

Rylee,

Personally i wish President Bush had sent the FBI and arrested the Times editor and reporters involved in this ,vast majority posters on these lines still continue to Ignore the fact that this story in all likly hood has changed the SOP of bin Laden and his evil henchmen and very well may lead to another large scale attack on the US ..I truly wonder if 6 months from now having compramised this highly classified info ,and the terrorists do change tactics and successfully attack New York or any other large american city whethor people will still be interested in reading more New York Times Expose’s ….

So, let me get this straight. American citizens have certain rights and freedoms. Bin Laden’s henchmen take advantage of those rights and freedoms to plan and execute terrorist attacks. Therefore, the solution is to take away those rights and freedoms so they won’t be available to terrorists who want to kill us. Anything less would be giving Bin Laden the tools he needs to kill more Americans.

Of course, let’s not stop at our privacy. Let’s jump right on that pesky 2nd Amendment, that terrorists in this country could use to obtain weapons (legally, no less!). And those little things called “Freedom of Speech” and “Freedom of the Press” could be used to recruit further terrorists. And since most of these terrorists are claiming a Jihad against us, we better do something about that whole “Freedom of Religion” nonsense as well.

Prohibiting searches and seizures just makes it harder to find people who are planning these acts. Requiring a speedy trial, evidence, etc. will only lead to a suicide attack by someone who we still had “reasonable doubt” about. And how can you have “innocent until proven guilty” when the person doesn’t prove their guilt until they blow themselves up, and take innocent lives with them?

So, essentially, the Bill of Rights should be called the “Freedom to Terrorize” Act. Unless you’re a supporter of Bin Laden, I’m sure you’ll join me in demanding that the first 10 Amendments to the Constitution be repealed.

I’m sure the ACLU, DNC, and the rest of the terror-loving pinko liberals will complain about losing “essential liberties”, but that’s just because they want another 9/11. Patriotic Americans like me, Rylee, and Chris know that we have to get these “weapons of terror” out of Bin Laden’s hands before he uses them again!

So let’s take off the tinfoil hats and let the government do its job. I mean, come on, we’re at WAR, people! Patriotic Americans, say NO to freedom! Otherwise, we’ve already lost.

[sarcasm off]

Ok… was that too much?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 20, 2005 10:13 AM
Comment #104768

I find this all very interesting.

No matter what this administration does, they can do no wrong.

The idea that anyone, not just the president, but ANYONE can violate one single person’s rights in this country when so many avenues are available to them to NOT violate them is astonishing.

The President, Vice-President, Senators, Congressmen all swore to uphold the Constitution of the United States. They did not swear to do so when convenient, nor when there were “exceptions.”

If we allow ANYONE to VIOLATE ONE SINGLE RIGHT OF ONE SINGLE PERSON IN THIS COUNTRY we have lost the war and have surrendered to what we were fighting.

(and to answer the first question that will arise from this post. no I am not a liberal, or a democrat)

Posted by: Tom at December 20, 2005 10:13 AM
Comment #104769

Rob,

While we’re at it let’s just suspend the Constitution and declare the the terrorists have won.
After all they have caused us to alter our way of life so drasticly that even common citizens are demanding that our most basic freedoms be abridged in order to be “safe”.

Posted by: Rocky at December 20, 2005 10:26 AM
Comment #104772

Tom,
AMENHope I’m not watched for saying that. (sarcasism on)

Posted by: Karen at December 20, 2005 10:27 AM
Comment #104774

Rocky,

We need more comments like this! Thank you!

Posted by: Karen at December 20, 2005 10:30 AM
Comment #104775

I don’t know one person living in the USA that lost his or her civil liberties during this time of war. More people lost theirs when a Democrat majority suspended the rights of hundreds of thousends of Japanese, German, and Italian people who were citizens of the USA during WW2. If non- Americans with suspected terrorist links are being spied on, so what. Isn’t the goal here to prevent sneaky terrorists from hijacking American civil liberties to attack the innocents in this country? I also know that exposing our strategy in the media is a compromise of my rights as a citizen, doesn’t that carry more weight then any outside invader? What is the real goal here by the left? Do they need and desire the terrorists to murder and win?

Posted by: George at December 20, 2005 10:31 AM
Comment #104776


I am really disapointed by a lot of the posts here claiming president bush did this with no authority or oversight,while Lawyers from the whitehouse ,the nsa and the justice department verified and okd this program prior to its use as well as it is reviewed every 45 days then renewed ,whats it gonna take folks ?an attack against us that kills and maims 250,000 people ?having spent my time in the service ,and specificly advising senior military commanders on the effects of chem bio and nuke weapons we do so at our peril .and having read some who state the times had this info prior to the 2004 election and did not release BULL
however the dan rather story and many within the liberal media in my opinion have openly attempted to bring down this adminastration with any kind of nonsense they can find .you really should watch the tape of MR Armstrong perhaps you would then realize the kind of enenmy we face they dont care about themselfs or thier family all they want to do is to destroy america and with the assistance of far left radical activists like cindy sheehan ,micheal moore ,and holly wood big wigs they may actually end up giving the terrorists what they wanted ,for
UNITED WE STAND DIVIDED WE FALL

Personally i wish President Bush had sent the FBI and arrested the Times editor and reporters involved in this ,vast majority posters on these lines still continue to Ignore the fact that this story in all likly hood has changed the SOP of bin Laden and his evil henchmen and very well may lead to another large scale attack on the US ..I truly wonder if 6 months from now having compramised this highly classified info ,and the terrorists do change tactics and successfully attack New York or any other large american city whethor people will still be interested in reading more New York Times ExposeⳠ⦮

The Sedition Act of 1918 is sometimes compared to the USA PATRIOT Act because of the latter’s perceived chilling effect on free speech. However, the Sedition Act had the explicit and specific purpose of quelling anti-government speech while the nation was at war. The Sedition Act was repealed in 1921.
The Alien and Sedition Acts of 1798. The Alien Act allowed the President to arrest, imprison, and deport “dangerous” immigrants on mere suspicion of “treasonable or secret machinations against the government.” If a deported alien returned, the President could imprison him for as long as he thought “the public safety may require.” The Sedition Act made it unlawful for any person to write, print, publish, or speak anything “false, scandalous and malicious” about the government, either Congress or the Executive, if it was done with the intent to defame or to bring the government “into contempt or disrepute,” or to excite the hatred of the people against the United States.

Posted by: rylee at December 20, 2005 10:31 AM
Comment #104779

Well, for once I think Rylee (who has yet to demonstrate that Congress declared war against anyone since WWII) got something right.

“think we may be very similar to the Roman Empire”

Indeed. Recall that before the Roman Empire, there was the Roman Republic - the world’s second democracy. Remember how the Roman Republic fell. In its desire to maintain its own power, the Roman Senate promised too much to its own citizens and overstretched its military capacity abroad. As the house of cards began to tumble, economically and militarily, the craven Senate sought safety and succor in the absolute power of an individual, Julius Caesar. Caesar was eventually granted unlimited power by the Senate for a period of, I believe, 5 years, so that he could keep the Republic safe from those who wished to “destroy their way of life.”

In 44 BC, Julius Caesar declared himself dictator in perpetuity, and the Roman Empire was born, destroying the idea of democracy until, at bare minimum, the signing of the Magna Carta 1200 years later.

Yes, I believe the analogy to Rome is apt. And I believe it is increasingly obvious who is doing the fiddling.

Posted by: Arr-squared at December 20, 2005 10:35 AM
Comment #104780
After the war, I�ll remove my authorization to tap my lines. This is WAR! And I, for one, intend for America to be victorious. Wake Up!

You assume two things, Spanky.

(1) You assume that there will be an end to this “war”. We’ve declared war on “terror”. At what point do you think our government will be willing to declare victory in such a war? When will there be no more terror?

(2) You assume that you’ll have the power to remove that authorization after the “war”. You’ve given a portion of your freedom to the government. That’s a portion of your power to control the government. Give the government enough, and they control you. Then how do you “remove that authorization”?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 20, 2005 10:37 AM
Comment #104781

To all of you who would sacrifice your constitutional rights to “feel” safer: Who’s side are you on? Do you even know? This issue isn’t even about party affiliation. It’s simply about us and them; Americans and the enemy. Too many people in this country have chosen to go on autopilot as citizens and are far too willing to settle for a quick fix without considering the future ramifications. Come on. You are willing to sacrafice your rights?! Our forefathers are rolling over in their graves. What if we believed that England could rescue us from the French invasion. Where would we be today? You are giving your power away and won’t get upset about the ramifications until your life is seized by the FBI for an investigation. Innocent or guilty. War or no war. Where is the probable cause to spy on the Catholic Workers organization? What about PETA? I don’t even support PETA, but they are not terrorists. President Bush has failed to fill in the details and because of that the lines of checks and balances have been blurred. I say FOUL!

Posted by: Karen at December 20, 2005 10:39 AM
Comment #104782

Karen
you dont believ peta is a homegrown terrorist organazation?….please read the say that.

In the past, PETA has handled the press for the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), a violent, underground group of fanatics who plant firebombs in restaurants, destroy butcher shops, and torch research labs. The FBI considers ALF among America’s most active and prolific terrorist groups, but PETA compares it to the Underground Railroad and the French Resistance. More than 20 years after its inception, PETA continues to hire convicted ALF militants and funds their legal defense. In at least one case, court records show that Ingrid Newkirk herself was involved in an ALF arson.

PETA has even begun to adopt the tactics of an ALF offshoot known as SHAC (Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty). This group is notorious for taking protests outside the boardroom and into the living room, attacking their targets at their homes.

In 2001, three masked SHAC members brutally bludgeoned a medical researcher outside his home in England. The lead attacker was arrested and sentenced to three years in prison. A few months later, SHAC attacked another research industry employee on his doorstep with a chemical spray to his eyes, leaving him temporarily blinded and writhing in pain. The following year, Newkirk was asked her opinion of SHAC in the Boston Herald. Her response? “More power to SHAC if they can get someone’s attention.”

By 2003, PETA activists had adopted SHAC’s protest techniques, stalking and harassing fast-food restaurant executives. Not content to write letters and picket the chain restaurant’s offices, PETA’s leaders met with the CEO’s pastor, and visited his country club and the manager of one of his favorite restaurants. PETA activists, one dressed in a chicken suit, even protested at the church of two executives, annoying worshipers by driving a truck with giant screens of slaughterhouse video back and forth along the street.

still think that ?

Posted by: Rylee at December 20, 2005 10:46 AM
Comment #104785

I think the liberal press and liberal ” white flag” wavers are exposing themselves more and more. They have steadily lost elections since 1994 and are losing by bigger numbers steadily. The problem that liberalism has in this country, unlike other countries is that the people are educated in this country. When the cons can’t con anymore, they become the big losers. When people are sacrificed for ideas, who will be left to respect our actual liberties? the Terrorist/ murderers? If they are allowed to survive, I believe liberals will be the first ones executed. They will be the first ones to submit to them.

Posted by: George at December 20, 2005 10:49 AM
Comment #104786

Something to think about

Did you know that Ben Franklin said “Those who trade freedom for safety deserve neither.”

Think about that while your giving away your rights.

Posted by: tom at December 20, 2005 10:50 AM
Comment #104787

Rob, You are so right! There is no “removing” orders in the government. The issue is that “terror” is too lose of a term. Ask 10 people to define terror and you’ll get 10 different answers. I’m sure President Bush’s definition was shuffled into the Patriot Act somewhere, but lawmakers didn’t take the time to read the bill or rather found it very difficult to decipher all that it contained. For fear of being viewed as “unpatriotic” after 9/11, a move that would have meant political suicide, they voted rashly on a number of bills masked as safety measures for America. How soon we forget the propaganda surrounding the attacks on our soil. So sad.

Posted by: Karen at December 20, 2005 10:51 AM
Comment #104788

George,

If non- Americans with suspected terrorist links are being spied on, so what.

If that were all that was occurring, we wouldn’t be talking about this. The problem is that the NSA was spying on AMERICAN CITIZENS without a warrant. It’s a precident we don’t want to set.

Isn’t the goal here to prevent sneaky terrorists from hijacking American civil liberties to attack the innocents in this country? I also know that exposing our strategy in the media is a compromise of my rights as a citizen, doesn’t that carry more weight then any outside invader? What is the real goal here by the left? Do they need and desire the terrorists to murder and win?

Being in the middle, I can’t really speak for the “left”. But I would guess that their goal is the same as yours and mine — to protect America and everything it stands for. It just seems that, today, when we talk about “life and liberty”, the Right cares more about the former, while the Left cares more about the latter. Our Founding Fathers wouldn’t want us to ignore either.

Nobody here (I hope) wants the terrorists to win. But you must understand that they can win without murder if we let them. If we give up everything we believe in, in the name of security, then they will win without another person on either side dying.

Bin Laden cannot win simply by killing Americans, no matter how many he manages to take out. But Bush, in the name of security, is well on the way towards winning Bin Laden’s war for him, by destroying the principles that Bin Laden opposes.

You’re fighting to keep the terrorists from killing. I’m fighting to keep the terrorists from winning. There’s a difference.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 20, 2005 10:53 AM
Comment #104790

Rylee,

While your obvious knowledge of historical facts is admirable, I ask you to define terror. Will everyone agree with your definition?

Posted by: Karen at December 20, 2005 10:57 AM
Comment #104792

Rylee,
Where do you draw the line then? So spying on americans is OK. So how much of the camel do you have to let into the tent before you say, “You know, I think this camel is trying to take over the tent?”

Where is that line? Does it exist? Can Dear Leader do ANYTHING at all to make you say, “You know this might be bad.” Does your phone personally have to be tapped (if it was how would you know?) Does habeaus corpus have to be suspended for american citizens? How about martial law? Do the Senate and Congress have to be dissolved so as to not get into Dear Leader’s way? Where is that line? Do you even know?

Our founding fathers fought against oppresive regimes, to be free. We have a proud heritage. America is supposed to be the bastion of freedom to the world. It saddens me that we are so quick to throw that heritage of freedoms and checks and balances in the face of adversity. I know, I constantly hear, “But..but..but the terrorists!” As Senator McCain said, “It’s not about who they are, it’s about who we are.”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for catching terrorists. It needs to be done. However, the forms must be obeyed, they exist for a reason. Why did FISA not work? And if it didn’t why not create a bill to create something that does? You mean to tell me that Dear Leader with the political climate right after 9/11 couldn’t pass a law for the security of the country? Please, he could’ve requested a law that every third puppy be sacrificed to the demon Kwijibo to avert terrorist attacks and congress and Senate would’ve passed it post haste.

This isn’t Russia, France, England or anywhere else this is America. We should be better than this.

Posted by: chantico at December 20, 2005 10:59 AM
Comment #104793

If the news has just came out, how many people do you know are being spied on? I don’t know any. I’d like to see a list of all the people in my area being spied on. How can you be so sure that its happening the way you imagine. I say, so what? If it protects this country, precedent for this has been established in a time of war, and we are still around. Wheres the real danger?

Posted by: George at December 20, 2005 11:01 AM
Comment #104794

We lost our all privacy when income tax and social security laws were enacted. As compared to the government having the right to confiscate my bank account and watch every dollar I make, someone listening in to my calls is no big deal.
I used to have a party line and no one was charged for listening in, although they were cussed out occasionally.

Posted by: Kruser at December 20, 2005 11:01 AM
Comment #104795

Just in case anyone is wondering, I do not consider myself a liberal or extreme lefty. Has anyone noticed how quickly that stereotype is tossed at those who oppose….period. Rob, I couldn’t have said it better. I’m fighting to keep the terrorists from winning too. If it’s a war they want, then it’s a war they’ll get but not at the cost of my own personal freedom!!!!!

Posted by: Karen at December 20, 2005 11:03 AM
Comment #104797

Rylee,

Thank you for the History lesson. I specifically was interested in how you brought up the “Alien and Sedition Acts.” You stated that “we may need some thing simalar to this back” in reference to these acts. There are some places that still have these types of laws today. North Korea, China, parts of the former Soviet Union, and my favorite Cuba! To think that people are actually supporting our government spying on our own citizens scares baffles me. Then to call the people who leaked the information traitors sickens me. So it is alright to leak a person who works at the CIA, but not people who are running illegal programs in the name of America? This is mind boggling. If President Bush is so concerned about who leaked this information, why isn’t he equally as worried about the leak that came from his Vice President’s office? Convenience. When it suits the conservative party to break laws, they call it patriotism. When it is something they disagree with, they call it treason. Let me ask the conservatives out there a simple question that I doubt will get a straight answer. Why didn’t our President just ASK who leaked the CIA name? Think of how much money we could have saved. And I know how fiscally conservative our government is (sarcasm back on).

Posted by: Vic at December 20, 2005 11:03 AM
Comment #104802

I suppose my last comment can and probably will be twisted so allow me to clarify. We have rules. We have laws. Just because the terrorists do not abide by them, whether we are talking about PETA or al queda, doesn’t mean we sacrafice ourselves at the feet of the enemy. We need our constitution now more than ever. We need unity now more than ever. OBL didn’t attack us because he saw a “chance” to infiltrate our airline companies. He attacked us because he doesn’t live here. Because he doesn’t live in this vacuum. Because he has studied our mannerisms, our beliefs, our propaganda. He hates us because we come off like puppets to a government he hates even more.

Posted by: Karen at December 20, 2005 11:11 AM
Comment #104803

Karen intriguing question:

Intense, overpowering fear. See synonyms at fear.
One that instills intense fear: a rabid dog that became the terror of the neighborhood.
The ability to instill intense fear: the terror of jackboots pounding down the street.
Violence committed or threatened by a group to intimidate or coerce a population, as for military or political purposes.
Informal. An annoying or intolerable pest: that little terror of a child.

this is my own personal belief :
Terror and terrorists further thier stated goals by inducing fear among law abiding indivuals enabling them to bring there own kind of vicious extremist society to all,remember if you will under both the talibon and saddam if it was discovered that a married woman had an affair her father and or brothers would bring her into the public sqaure where her nieghbors would then pick up stones and stone her to death….while not allowing most women to gain any kind of education as well.so many on the left pundits as well as elected officials feel that democracy should not and will not work in an Islamic society ,however I feel they are completly wrong that no matter what thier back ground all people deserve and should be allowed to pick there leaders ,go to school ,bring up familys ,and contribute to thier own society ,that is what we are fighting for ,for by bringing democracy to both afganistan and now Iraq the US has now freed more people than any other nation in all of history ,and if we loose sight of this and rapidly withdraw without completing this mission ,which is not finished by the way as long as Iran ,syria and north korea have thier current governments no one will be safe.

Posted by: Rylee at December 20, 2005 11:12 AM
Comment #104804

“To all of you who would sacrifice your constitutional rights to “feel” safer”

Is the 2nd Amendment still considered a constitutional right? Nope, we sacrificed it to make us “feel” safer didnt we.

“Who’s side are you on?”

Great question.
Rid the people of their most effective right to deal with a corrupt govt (the 2nd Amendment) and then whine because the govt no longer fears the people.

The left wanted it and now they have it, the people totally dependent on and at the mercy of, the govt.
Whose side are you on indeed.

Posted by: kctim at December 20, 2005 11:13 AM
Comment #104807

based on the below definition and the facts that the attorney general ,the legal counsil for the NSA and the whitehouse approved the actions of listening in on some conversations after locating positive proof on the battlefield that the numbers involved were either on a laptop ,computor hard drive or cell phone than i still do not see how any can equate this to a Loss of our cival rights ,for if your number is found on the battle field you are either directly assisting our enemys or:your phone number is being used via a dialer or other type of technoligy to assist the terrorists ,many times computor hackers are able to cover thier tracks by using multiple computors to redirect thier transmissions ,and remember unlike in the past this is not a law enforcement issue where we allow them to commit the crime than apprehend and convict ,for if successful they may kill maim and injure 1000s DO we really want to be so politicly correct that we’ll tie our deffenders hands behind thier backs ?….


Treachery redirects here, but can also refer to certain war crimes
In law, treason is the crime of disloyalty to one’s nation. A person who betrays the nation of their citizenship and/or reneges on an oath of loyalty and in some way willfully cooperates with an enemy, is considered to be a traitor. Oran’s Dictionary of the Law (1983) defines treason as: “…[a]…citizen’s actions to help a foreign government overthrow, make war against, or seriously injure the [parent nation].” It is also generally considered treason to attempt or conspire to overthrow the government.

Traitor may also mean a person who betrays their own party, group, family, and friends.

One person’s traitor is another’s patriot. In a civil war or insurrection, the winners may deem the losers as traitors. Likewise the term “traitor” is used in heated political discussion — typically as a slur against political dissidents. In certain cases, as with the Nazi Dolchstosslegende, the accusation of treason towards a large group of people can be a unifying political message.

Posted by: Rylee at December 20, 2005 11:29 AM
Comment #104808

Apologies if anyone has said this before, but has anybody ever thought that the mission of terrorists isn’t to kill every last American citizen piecemeal, which seems unlikely, but rather to expose the fraud at the heart of the American empire? To attack some segment of our population, and then sit back and watch as we betray every one of our purported values and freedoms out of fear and ignorance? So that we can prove to the rest of the Muslim world that, at bottom, we’re really not so different from the people we condemn, and then the terrorists sit back and grin while more flock to their cause?

Now we tolerate debate on the use of torture, start to restrict civil liberties, spy on our own people, throw people in prison for months without showing cause, invade other nations on specious grounds, allow religion to push into government, and sadly, only a few are outraged.

Damn. Looks like maybe Osama should give a speech with a “mission accomplished” banner behind HIM.

Posted by: Yossarian at December 20, 2005 11:29 AM
Comment #104809

KCTIM,

Well, paint me perplexed. Exactly what is your point? This really isn’t about pointing fingers. This issue isn’t about party affiliation. It’s about right and wrong. I totally agree with those here who have posted comments questioning why warrants weren’t issued. I don’t know about you, but I demand my leaders obey the laws that they swear to. Come on! The lines that defines the right from the left are gray.

RYLEE,

You have proven my point. It is obviously easy to define terror from a dictionary, but darn near immpossible to apply it without opinion. Here in lies the issue. Thanks for quoting the presidential address, but I saw the whole thing.

Posted by: Karen at December 20, 2005 11:33 AM
Comment #104811

Rylee,

Intense, overpowering fear. See synonyms at fear. One that instills intense fear: a rabid dog that became the terror of the neighborhood. The ability to instill intense fear: the terror of jackboots pounding down the street.

“Shock and Awe”, anyone?

Violence committed or threatened by a group to intimidate or coerce a population, as for military or political purposes.

This could describe US military tactics as well. Add use of WMDs, and it describes the reason we nuked Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

I think the reason we’re at war against “Terror”, and not against “Al Queda”, “Saddam Hussein”, “The Taliban”, etc., is because nobody can define it. It allows the administration to change the definition when needed to include people they don’t like (Iraq, Iran, Syria), while excluding people they do like (Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Israel, etc.). If our allies do something too nasty, just “redefine” it into the right, and we’ll be ok.

With the number of people on this ‘blog suggesting that the Democrats want the terrorists to win, I wonder how they’d feel about a definition that included John Kerry and Hillary Clinton as terrorists. Would anyone here actually support that?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 20, 2005 11:35 AM
Comment #104812

Sarcasm off.

I do not intend to demean anybody in this post, but after reading many posts on Watch Blog, it has come to my attention that very few people understand what Government is or what it was intended to be.

Government is set to do things that we as individuals cannot do. Things like defend ourselves as a country, providing roads, schools and support during natural disasters. We can’t even do that anymore. Our troops are stretched thin in a war that congress has yet to DECLARE, our roads haven’t changed, our schools are at a critical level because the No Child Left Behind Act has not been properly funded, and all of us saw what happened during Katrina. Yet Iraqis have satellite TV. (Sorry I had to be a little sarcastic here).

Government is not God, not your boss and defiantly, not a place you should look to for guidance. Government is not set up for trying to save Teri Shivo, or to Spy on our Citizens. It is not set up to allow Big Business like the Oil industry to profit during hard times. It was never meant to have so much control over its citizens. WE THE PEOPLE are the government. Many of us have forgotten that. Our country is now run by lobbyists and radical Christians. Thomas Jefferson is probably rolling in his grave knowing that James Dobson even has access to our President. Ben Franklin a “Player” in his own right, could never imagine that trips to other countries would be a benefit to big business, not our country. Yes this goes on with both sides of our political spectrum, although it seems the Republicans are profiting much more. Just ask Jack Abramoff or that Rep from San Diego. At least crusaders like John McCain understand this is happing and have sworn to do whatever his in his power to stop it. There is hope on the right after all.

My point is this. We need to take our country back. That will not happen as long as people forget about reading from various news sources, or just continuing to stay educated. This won’t happen as long as people continue to support their party no matter what. Conservatives have taken pride in calling themselves “Traditionalists” and pride themselves in protecting originality. Why don’t they view their government in the same way?

Posted by: Vic at December 20, 2005 11:35 AM
Comment #104813

YOSSARIAN,

Thank you for taking this conversation back to its core. I agree.

Posted by: Karen at December 20, 2005 11:36 AM
Comment #104817

kctim,

I’ve always thought it strange that the Left ignores the 2nd and 10th Amendments from the Bill of Rights, while the Right ignores the other eight…

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 20, 2005 11:38 AM
Comment #104818

VIC,

Couldn’t have said it better. Thank you.

Posted by: Karen at December 20, 2005 11:41 AM
Comment #104820

Has anyone ever thought that instead of pointing out the USA faults and weaknesses, shouldn’t the USA take advantage of terrors weaknesses. Too much credit and advantage is given to these parasites and I am insulted that they are given the benefit of the doubt more then ourselves. I say to hell with them, kill them all before they kill us all. If they ever do win, maybe they will take out the pussies that gave in to them easiest first. How can anyone ” analyze ” why they hate us, getting rid of the enemy before they get rid of us the name of the game. This is a war of numbers. How can this be debated? You want to debate them, go ahead, the rest of will kill them after they behead you on national television when the debate is over.

Posted by: George at December 20, 2005 11:41 AM
Comment #104821

Rylee again:

“remember if you will under both the talibon and saddam if it was discovered that a married woman had an affair her father and or brothers would bring her into the public sqaure where her nieghbors would then pick up stones and stone her to death”

It is well established that, however awful a dictator Hussein was, he was a secular awful dictator. Please provide some evidence of public stoning of adulteresses under Hussein’s regime.

It is, of course, difficult to “remember” things that you make up.

And regarding the Taliban, did you see the news reports today of a male Afghan teacher being murdered for the crime of teaching girls? The Taliban is back, not that they ever really left, and yet you fiddle still, preferring to imprison and execute loyal Americans.

Posted by: Arr-squared at December 20, 2005 11:41 AM
Comment #104824

Isn’t the point of any war to divide and conquer? I would like to throw this out: maybe we are waging too many “wars” all at the same time. Everything with a cause is considered a “war” these days, isn’t it?

Posted by: Karen at December 20, 2005 11:44 AM
Comment #104825

Oh, and George:

“I say to hell with them, kill them all before they kill us all.”

I assume you are serving, or have served? Otherwise, with respect, unless you’re putting or have put your money where your mouth is, you have no moral credibility on this issue.

Posted by: Arr-squared at December 20, 2005 11:44 AM
Comment #104829

I have served and I have family there. I currently have a son that wants to serve. As far as ” moral” high ground, I have more then Clinton did. I believe in this country and they right for it to survive. If you don’t desire this move to France, they might need to be liberated by us again someday.

Posted by: George at December 20, 2005 11:49 AM
Comment #104831

I would like to see this debate get back to the issue at hand. Also, has any single American seen proof of Saddam Hussein’s link to the Taliban. If he was such a self-righteous dictator, why would he give a crap about anyone else’s cause? Just curious. Please don’t cite history without a link to the proof. I will try to the same.

Posted by: Karen at December 20, 2005 11:49 AM
Comment #104835

I have served and I have family there. I currently have a son that wants to serve. As far as ” moral” high ground, I have more then Clinton did. I believe in this country and they right for it to survive. If you don’t desire this move to France, they might need to be liberated by us again someday.

Posted by: George at December 20, 2005 11:51 AM
Comment #104838

I have served and I have family there. I currently have a son that wants to serve. As far as ” moral” high ground, I believe in this country and our right for it to survive. If you don’t desire this move to France, they might need to be liberated by us again someday.

Posted by: George A. Casper at December 20, 2005 11:52 AM
Comment #104845

Checks and balances: is there anyone here who can link me or direct me to where I can discover the public record and proof of Saddam’s link to OBL? Please.

Posted by: Karen at December 20, 2005 11:57 AM
Comment #104847

Some people seem to value their own individual life over liberty and the founding principles of this country more. If I lose my life and retain my liberty, so be it. Lives lost to terrorists are a tragic, tragic loss, but it is the founding principles of this country which make us strong enough to fight terrorists and give us the right to do so unhypocritically. If we take away those our freedoms, our rights, our liberties, we are no longer the country founded in 1776.

Posted by: Erika at December 20, 2005 11:59 AM
Comment #104850

Karen,

Thank you. I enjoy your posts as well.

George,
So being in the military gives you more “Moral Highground” than those who are not enlisted? I guess maybe you think that thes war is free. I guess we are not spending hundreds of billions of dollars on a country that most of us cannot even locate on a map, no less explain their history.

I honor your service and your patriotism. What I do not care for is your lack of respect for our countries citizens. If you don’t like free speech, maybe you should stay over there. They need more propoganda writers.

Posted by: Vic at December 20, 2005 12:01 PM
Comment #104851

George,

Too much credit and advantage is given to these parasites and I am insulted that they are given the benefit of the doubt more then ourselves. I say to hell with them, kill them all before they kill us all.

You show me a proven terrorist, and I’ll say “have at him!”. But we’re talking about policies that abuse the rights of people who are NOT terrorists. You’ve completely removed any burden of proof that the government would have to show that someone actually IS a terrorist.

If the government decided that they thought your son was a terrorist, would you demand proof, or would you say “to hell with him, kill him before he kills us all”?

Why are you so opposed to holding the government accountable to prove their case?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 20, 2005 12:03 PM
Comment #104853

“If we take away those our freedoms, our rights, our liberties, we are no longer the country founded in 1776.”

You think we are the same country that was founded in 1776?
That’s a laugh.

Posted by: bugcrazy at December 20, 2005 12:04 PM
Comment #104854

“You think we are the same country that was founded in 1776? That’s a laugh.”

If we no longer are commited to the principles this country was founded on, then this country really is no more than a greedy consuming super-power that is no better than any other country and probably worse than many.

Posted by: Erika at December 20, 2005 12:08 PM
Comment #104859

“Well, paint me perplexed. Exactly what is your point? This really isn’t about pointing fingers. This issue isn’t about party affiliation. It’s about right and wrong”

I did not point a finger at anybody. I just find it amusing in how the same people who fight so hard to take away our right to defend ourselves from govt are now the ones who are saying something must be done since its not their guy in office.
I’ve been telling people about this stuff since the mid 90s, why didnt the left support me then?
Tin foil hats? Conspiracy theorist? Ive been called them all by you guys, and now that its not YOUR party in power, you want me to listen.
You want to preach about how its not about right vs. left?
Well, practice what you preach and maybe more people will listen.

So dont be perplexed, I simply would like to know HOW the left expects to stop all this corruption when they are the ones responsible for taking away our right that enabled us to stop it.
Ironic, no?

RC
I’m with you but its not 2 for the left and 8 for the right.
I just think the right and left pick the parts that they agree with and ignore the rest.
Both sides are guilty and neither can understand why the other wont support them.

Posted by: kctim at December 20, 2005 12:16 PM
Comment #104861

You’ve made my point for , what if? woulda, shoulda, coulda, THE FACT IS THE BURDEN IF PROVE SHOULD BE MADE BY THE TERRORISTS WHOSE RIGHTS YOU HOLD SO DEAR. This country has a 200 year history of liberation, rights and freedoms, now, all of a sudden, the rights of murdering criminals are held to a higher right. I don’t think you are really worried about government accontability, your worried about blame and finding fault with the USA.Don’t you find fault with our enemies?

Posted by: George at December 20, 2005 12:19 PM
Comment #104869
You think we are the same country that was founded in 1776? That’s a laugh.

True. That country fell apart in the 1860s. It was replaced by one that lasted until the Great Depression. We’re in the Third Era of America, founded by such men as Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S Truman, and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

But this third era was build upon the foundation laid by the other two, much as our original Independence from England was built on British foundations such as the Magna Carta. I would hope that we wouldn’t forget that.

I believe that history will show that we are now witnessing the beginning of the Fourth Era. The loss of freedoms that we are accepting today will make our country a much different place in the coming decades than it was previously.

This ain’t Washington’s America, and it ain’t Lincoln’s America. Hell, it ain’t Reagan’s America anymore. Welcome to Bushland.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 20, 2005 12:25 PM
Comment #104871

Its been said, and I believe it ” I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it, I also believe that for evil to thrive, good men need to do nothing, All I see here is good men willing to do nothing subtantial to stop evil from thriving, accept putting the tools in place for evil to triumph.

Posted by: George at December 20, 2005 12:28 PM
Comment #104878

George,

You’ve made my point for , what if? woulda, shoulda, coulda, THE FACT IS THE BURDEN IF PROVE SHOULD BE MADE BY THE TERRORISTS WHOSE RIGHTS YOU HOLD SO DEAR. This country has a 200 year history of liberation, rights and freedoms, now, all of a sudden, the rights of murdering criminals are held to a higher right. I don’t think you are really worried about government accontability, your worried about blame and finding fault with the USA.Don’t you find fault with our enemies?

I don’t hold the rights of terrorists dear. The point (since capital letters seem to be your style) is that WE HAVEN’T PROVEN THAT THESE PEOPLE ARE TERRORISTS!!!!! Some are SUSPECTED terrorists, yes. Some are POTENTIAL terrorists, perhaps. But some are just innocent folks who happened to make an international phone call at the wrong time of day.

Tell me, George. How far would the government have to go before you would say, “I’m not willing to give up THAT right, even if it would help you fight the terrorists”? Or does that limit exist within you anywhere?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 20, 2005 12:34 PM
Comment #104879

I find it so funny that the Left thinks it has all the answers. Because the NYT spoke and the left listened that it is the truth. What makes anyone on this board think they know the President spied on American’s in an illegal manner. Do you people really believe that the most top secret programs and policies are ever truely known? Just because you may be a fan of the tv show “24”, does give you a top secret clearance with knowledge of the in’s and out’s of America’s Black Program.

Could you possibly expand your horrizons and realize that Bush has some of the most experienced legal support any where in the world. The only people that should be worried about what the President has done should be terrorist. There has been no violation of the Patriot Act or Bush’s listening on 18 terrorist. Get over it.

Posted by: Ryan Thompson at December 20, 2005 12:37 PM
Comment #104881

Rylee,

having spent my time in the service ,and specificly advising senior military commanders on the effects of chem bio and nuke weapons we do so at our peril

Sir, I trust that someone who cannot spell the word “even” has never advised senior military commanders about anything except the way to the bathroom. If I’m wrong, God help us all.

and having read some who state the times had this info prior to the 2004 election and did not release BULL

That’s not much of an argument to just say “BULL”. What evidence do you have? The L.A. Times would disagree with you.

I say to hell with them, kill them all before they kill us all. If they ever do win, maybe they will take out the pussies that gave in to them easiest first.

George, by “pussies” you’re surely referencing those in the Republican party who refuse to demand that the government pursue Osama Bin Laden to the best of its ability and who refuse to demand that government implement the recommendations of the 9/11 commission to make this country safer.

THE FACT IS THE BURDEN IF PROVE SHOULD BE MADE BY THE TERRORISTS WHOSE RIGHTS YOU HOLD SO DEAR.

Yes, you’ve flipped. More evidence that in the world of Bush supporters, white is black and black is white. You assert that individuals are guilty until proven innocent. If there has been a more un-American statement written here, I haven’t seen it.

Posted by: Burt at December 20, 2005 12:41 PM
Comment #104882

The left seem to think that calling the right what they do is proper, but calling terrorists, terrorists is not proper. How many innocents have to die before you call the killers ” terrorists” Maybe if the NYTimes called them terrorists, they might, but then they also might say they are too right wing. I give up on the left, They really have “left”. Its a good thing Hitler didn’t have the left on his side, we would’ve lost.

Posted by: George at December 20, 2005 12:43 PM
Comment #104886

kctim,

So dont be perplexed, I simply would like to know HOW the left expects to stop all this corruption when they are the ones responsible for taking away our right that enabled us to stop it. Ironic, no?

Why can’t you buy a gun? Are you a felon or something?

Posted by: Burt at December 20, 2005 12:44 PM
Comment #104890

George,

“THE FACT IS THE BURDEN IF PROVE SHOULD BE MADE BY THE TERRORISTS WHOSE RIGHTS YOU HOLD SO DEAR. This country has a 200 year history of liberation, rights and freedoms, now, all of a sudden, the rights of murdering criminals are held to a higher right. I don’t think you are really worried about government accontability, your worried about blame and finding fault with the USA.Don’t you find fault with our enemies?”

What a load of crap.

Not one person that has posted here has advocated rights for terrorists. We are involved in trying to defend our rights as citizens of America.

You served to defend these same rights, and now you wish to abrogate them with out even a fight.

Shame on you.

Posted by: Rocky at December 20, 2005 12:49 PM
Comment #104891

Ryan,

24? Are you kidding me? I doubt the Liberals connect a TV show to our political policies. That is a conservative tactic. My favorite TV show from the right was ” Shock and Awe. ” I only wish that Bruce Willis starred in it. He being such a tough guy now. The sequel sucked though. I beieve it was called ” Clean up in Iraq. ” I can’t wait to see the final part of the trilogy. Maybe we could call it, ” Bush’s legacy… Corruption and Cohersion. Ain’t we grand? “


Posted by: Vic at December 20, 2005 12:49 PM
Comment #104893

In all fairness to George, he must obey what the President dictates. That is his boss. That is who he pledged his alligence to when he became a soldier.

But what he doesn’t understand it that the government is NOT OUR BOSS. We are their boss. We decide who runs our country and how it should be run. Not the President’s excellent legal team. Once you consevatives realize that WE THE PEOPLE are the government we can go back to being a Republic.

Posted by: Vic at December 20, 2005 12:53 PM
Comment #104897

Vic Liberals don’t connect with anything that doesn’t it they way they do, If one disagrees with them, they are name callers and brainwashed. Anything having anything to do with defending the people is wrong. Let them be, we need liberals to keep up what they do. They’ve losing elections by wider margins every year. I really hope they keep alienating the American people more and more. happy elections Libs.

Posted by: George at December 20, 2005 12:55 PM
Comment #104902

Rocky,
“Not one person that has posted here has advocated rights for terrorists.”


No, and I haven’t seen too many condemning the terrorists either. Many of the posts have focused on Bush so much that he might as well be a terrorist. If the Bush haters spent as much time “disagreeing” with the terrorists as they do with Bush; the terrorists wouldn’t stand a chance. However, that just is not the case; it’s Bush, Bush, and more Bush and he’s the problem not anyone else (especially not the terrorists).

Posted by: rahdigly at December 20, 2005 1:00 PM
Comment #104903

George,

“Anything having anything to do with defending the people is wrong.”

What’s the point of defending the people if their liberties have been given away?

Posted by: Rocky at December 20, 2005 1:00 PM
Comment #104909

George,

Did you happen to catch the mid-term elections?

Sorry, but conservatives will never be able to spin the video footage of Katrina or the words of Frist explaining how Terri Shivo could get better by looking at a video tape.

Conservatives want you to believe that these were little bumps in the road. Those of us with eyes understand that this adminstration has crippled this countries capability to defend itself. The 9-11 commission came out 2 weeks ago and said that very few of their concerns have been adressed. Yet Consevatives believe we are safer than ever. Wake up. Our terrorist attack resonse team ( better known as FEMA ) can’t even get water to babies who are dying. What makes you think that they could handle a dirty bomb. We have the best military in the world being run by a guy that can’t even speak. It is embarassing.

Many of you may think that the liberals on this blog site are anti-American or unpatriotic. I mean how can Erika say that we are ” probably worse than many. ” ?

Because people like her and the rest of us think that our country is worth changing. We realize that the old days aren’t as great as Republicans want us to belive. That bringing our country back to the Leave it to Beaver ( Which I hear all the time refered to in Conservative radio conversations )days is not what we need. Those days look great to some of us now. That is if you are a white upper class male. Course they could drink from any water fountain they wanted to.

The only way to continue our democracy it to grow. Going backwards by destroying our civil rights can only make us weak.

Posted by: Vic at December 20, 2005 1:10 PM
Comment #104910

This was completely avoidable.

No one anywhere is saying that HAD he gone through the proper legal channels they would object to the spying. Bush HAD everything at his disposal. He had FISA and its special court to hear his reasons for the spying. (remember, the FISA court has been used over 11,000 times since its inception and only denied 4 times.) If expediency was the problem, that was addressed too. He could have ordered the wiretap and then contacted the FISA court within 72 hours. He didn’t.

It’s actually bizarre why he didn’t. i mean, these are just safeguards put in place to stop abuse of power. Given the fact that the court rarely (4 out of 11,000) rejects such request; it’s just plain weird.

Again; it was completely avoidable

Posted by: john trevisani at December 20, 2005 1:11 PM
Comment #104913

George, Ryan, etc.

None of you seem to have noticed, but it’s not only the “Left” that’s opposed to this sort of thing. I believe most of your challengers in this thread, myself included, have expressed themselves to be Independent. There are also some on the “Right” who believe that this is going too far.

This isn’t just a problem for the tree-hugging liberals out there. It’s a problem for everyone.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 20, 2005 1:13 PM
Comment #104916

We lost our all privacy when income tax and social security laws were enacted. As compared to the government having the right to confiscate my bank account and watch every dollar I make, someone listening in to my calls is no big deal.

This was the best point made so far and it was worth repeating.

Phone taps of criminals and terror suspects are not a violation of anyone’s rights. Doing them with out a warrant MAY be unconstitutional, but they are not a rights violation.
Let’s worry about the real rights the government takes away from ALL OF us. Like the “right to privacy” we hear so much about. If there is an implied right to privacy in the Constitution, why the hell do I have to put my SS number on every form, government or otherwise, that I have to fill out???!!!
The government gets all the information it wants on me from other sources. They can tap my phone anytime they want to. It wouldn’t be in their interest in the first place, unless someone at the NSA is trying to cure his insomnia.

Posted by: TheTraveler at December 20, 2005 1:22 PM
Comment #104917

rahdigly,

It is sad that you think that the liberal people in this country actually are not condeming the terrorists. But that is your right to believe it.

I just find it odd that so many of you have such a great compassion for a country ( Iraq )you know little about. You can get hoodwinked into thinking that this President makes us safer, but fail to see our education system is broken. You will vote for somebody because they are against abortion and demonize gay marriage. Yet neither of these things have anything to do with Presidential policy. When was the time a president changed Row vs. Wade or made gay marriage illegal? Never. But these are the issues you hang your hat on. John Kerry is a flip flopper, yet the person who created No Child Left Behind has abandonded it. How about for once, Consevatives actually talk about something that will benefit our country? Cheap precriptions, or even fiscal responsiblity. Something. What happened to your guys? Your party used to represent responsibility, but now you have Pat Robertson directing you. Happy Holidays.. Oh wait, Merry Christmas!

Posted by: Vic at December 20, 2005 1:27 PM
Comment #104918

” If there is an implied right to privacy in the Constitution, why the hell do I have to put my SS number on every form, government or otherwise, that I have to fill out???!!! “

You don’t.

The Privacy Act of 1974

The Privacy Act of 1974 (Pub. L. 93-579, in section 7),

The Act requires state and local agencies which request the SSN to
inform the individual of only three things:

1: Whether the disclosure is mandatory or voluntary,
2: By what statutory or other authority the SSN is solicited, and
3: What uses will be made of the number.

In addition, that section makes it illegal for Federal, state, and local
government agencies to deny any rights, privileges or benefits to
individuals who refuse to provide their SSNs unless the disclosure is
required by Federal statute.

Posted by: Vic at December 20, 2005 1:31 PM
Comment #104919

Rob,
My point to my post was why do you or anyone on this blog feel they have all the top secret knowledge of everything and persume that the world is going to come to an end because the President listened to 18 terrorist?

I think it is petty that the most of those who are appauled are probably lawyers who praise the rightousness of the constitution when violated but are the true manipulators of it when it servers their need. IE Roe V. Wade. It is amazing what you can’t find anything in the war powers act, but yet so many can find legitimacy where it does not exsist in other parts.

Everyone lets move on, this is not Watergate. I am sure if Bush truley violates any non terrorists rights then the NYT will publish it for us. Then you can decry the desecration of our constitutional rights.

Posted by: Ryan at December 20, 2005 1:32 PM
Comment #104922

Would anyone care to give an example where a US citizen has been falsely prosecuted based on information “illegally” obtained by the electronic surveillance in question? I’m confident that the courts will not admit any evidence that was acquired in a questionable manner.

The Constitution applies only to US citizens. As far as US dealings with citizens of other sovereignties, that must comply with international agreements and agreements with the specific countries. No foreign citizen has the rights and privileges of a US citizen while within the borders of the US.

The simple fact of this matter is that “Echeleon” has been used for more than a decade, by presidents other than GW, for more dubious purposes that looking for terrorists and has not been reported by the media.

As more time goes by, it becomes more and more apparent that, for each step forward GW attempts, there are numerous forces that are trying to push him back. It is obvious to any objective observer that the forces aligned against our president are only interested in the acquision of power, not the best interest of the people of the United States.

Posted by: Rich at December 20, 2005 1:33 PM
Comment #104924

This is a must read.

Posted by: Burt at December 20, 2005 1:35 PM
Comment #104925

“Why can’t you buy a gun? Are you a felon or something?”

You assume the govt will abuse its powers and spy on Americans, I just take it one step further: IF the govt wants to spy on, torture and detain innocent Americans, they sure as hell are going to want to confiscate arms and thanks to unConstitutional laws, they know who has them.

ALL of our rights, not just the ones or parts your particular side agrees with and if your going to wait until its the otherside that is power before you start complaining, you deserve to be ignored and voted out of office.

Posted by: kctim at December 20, 2005 1:38 PM
Comment #104926

Rich,

Need an example?

How about Richard Jewell?

Posted by: Vic at December 20, 2005 1:39 PM
Comment #104929

Rich,

Would anyone care to give an example where a US citizen has been falsely prosecuted based on information “illegally” obtained by the electronic surveillance in question? I’m confident that the courts will not admit any evidence that was acquired in a questionable manner.

Well, you must be well aware that no one can give the example you ask for because this is a secret program. You might be confidant that courts would throw out any illegally obtained evidence, yet this administration has shown a willingness to “prosecute” American citizens without any charges whatsoever (Jose Padilla) let alone a trial.

If you start adding this stuff up, you’ll see that the Bush administration has been proven to spy on American citizens and hold them indefinitely without the need to bring forth any proof or even charges of wrongdoing. If that doesn’t scare the hell out of you, you’re hopeless.

The Constitution applies only to US citizens. As far as US dealings with citizens of other sovereignties, that must comply with international agreements and agreements with the specific countries. No foreign citizen has the rights and privileges of a US citizen while within the borders of the US.

You’re exactly right. And that’s why this is such a big controversy. Because it involves spying on American citizens, not foreign nationals.

It is obvious to any objective observer that the forces aligned against our president are only interested in the acquision of power, not the best interest of the people of the United States.

So exactly what “power” do you think those of us on the left, center and right who have spoken out here are after? What do we have to gain except trying to preserve what we feel America is all about?

Posted by: Burt at December 20, 2005 1:43 PM
Comment #104934

I’m still waiting on those that support this to tell me where they draw the line. What is “too far” for Dear Leader to go? Perhaps it’s because they believe in a carte blanche. Perhaps it doesn’t exist.

Posted by: chantico at December 20, 2005 1:47 PM
Comment #104936

Ryan,

As I have said before on WatchBlog, it’s not the legality that concerns me, or even the rights of these 18 individuals - it’s the precident.

The next president to enter office (hopefully in 2008) will have at his/her disposal the precident that spying on Americans is acceptable. I’m fairly certain that Bush won’t abuse that power TOO much. But I’m not sure about the next guy… or the one after that… or the one after that.

Freedom isn’t destroyed all at once. It’s eroded, piece by piece.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 20, 2005 1:49 PM
Comment #104946
Its a good thing Hitler didn’t have the left on his side, we would’ve lost.

George,

The scary part of this statement is that Hitler did have the right on his side.

Anything having anything to do with defending the people is wrong.

This simply is not true. We should have gone after the terrorists. Iraq had no connection to the terrorists that attacked on 9/11. Iraq did not become a breeding ground for terror until after we became occupiers. The fact is that we have let OBL go. The President has said he is not concerned with OBL. Everyone in the country stood shoulder to shoulder and supported this President when he went after the terrorists in Afganastan. We only became divided when the President dropped our focus on the terrorists and instead went after Saddam and Iraq.

If this President were truly fighting a war on terror, then he would be enjoying very high approval ratings and probably the most popular President of all time. But he hasn’t done that. He is spying on Americans without a warrant, so we really have no idea who, what, or why he is spying on them. Some say he is only spying on people with known terrorist connections. If that is true, then why no warrant? Why is there nothing documented through the courts? Who the NSA was spying on? All we have is people within the administration saying “trust me”. There is no reason that the administration could not have sought warrants, after survallance began.

The left would love it if we were fighting a war on terror. Unfortunatly we are not. We have done little to stop the terrorists from infiltrating America, we have allowed the one person most responsible for 9/11 to go. We have done nothing to secure our chemical, nuclear, biological facilities in this country. The President instead has focused his attention to a personal vendeda on Saddam and spying on Americans without a warrant. This is the extent of Bush’s “war on terror”. Sad, really. The left wants a leader that actually puts his/her focus on the real “war on terror” and works within the law to protect us. When the law needs to be changed to protect us then work with Congress to do it. And when a situation arrises that requires us to work outside the law to protect America from attack then by all means do it, and we will deal with it afterwards. But there is simply no reason that Bush could have worked within the law on these wiretaps. None, zilch, zippo.

The Dems have held up the Patriot Act because it does not provide enough protections for the liberties of American citizens. They have asked for an extension to tweak it, but the President and the Republican congress have rejected that notion. They would rather see the Patriot Act die and use it for political gain by saying the Dems killed it, then to sit down and work together with the Dems to come up with a Patriot Act that is both effective and does not violate the U.S. Constitution. If the Patriot Act dies it will be at the hands of the Republicans, not the Dems who are willing to work on it to make it right, and are who are not willing to trample the Constitution to get there.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at December 20, 2005 2:04 PM
Comment #104949

Under FISA the wire taps were not illegal. The FISA court knew of each and every one of the wiretaps. The House Intelligence Committee knew. The Senate Intelligence Committee knew. The House leadership knew. The Senate leadership knew. The wiretaps on American citizens were those who had foreign contacts. So what is the controversy? No American citizens rights were abridged illegally.

Posted by: tomh at December 20, 2005 2:10 PM
Comment #104953
You assume the govt will abuse its powers and spy on Americans, I just take it one step further: IF the govt wants to spy on, torture and detain innocent Americans, they sure as hell are going to want to confiscate arms and thanks to unConstitutional laws, they know who has them.

I’ve made a similar argument to those on the right, like Mr. Simonson who likes his guns, but only got the sound of chirping crickets in response.

We can argue about whether gun registration is unconstitutional or not or whether you really need to have the right to own an Uzi or rocket launcher. But if the government actually starts coming after people to confiscate their guns, myself and I believe most of the left would consider that a trampling of our rights as well, and we would defend your right to resist. And if the government got to the point of confiscating guns, I doubt they would only go after those that are registered. They’d be searching every home, door to door.

We’re really not in disagreement here. You don’t have to believe the NRA lobbyists that the left is the boogeyman. Without the left to demonize, the NRA would have a much harder time raising money and peddling influence in Congress.

Posted by: Burt at December 20, 2005 2:17 PM
Comment #104956

Vic,

The Privacy Act of 1974 is worthless.
Try not using your SS number on any government document and see how far you get.

And I’m just talking about civilian documents. The government also uses the SS number for military identification on military ID’s and dog tags. If you get captured, even the enemy will track you with your Social Security number.

In addition, that section makes it illegal for Federal, state, and local
government agencies to deny any rights, privileges or benefits to
individuals who refuse to provide their SSNs unless the disclosure is
required by Federal statute.

If a government form asks for asks for the number, there is almost certainly a federal statute telling them to use that form, and by extension take your number.

Posted by: TheTraveler at December 20, 2005 2:24 PM
Comment #104958
But if the government actually starts coming after people to confiscate their guns, myself and I believe most of the left would consider that a trampling of our rights as well, and we would defend your right to resist.

Again, here’s someone confusing the “right to resist” with the “ability to resist”. Once they’ve taken away our ability, you’ll defend our right!?!? You assume that you will still have that ability when the time comes….

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 20, 2005 2:26 PM
Comment #104962

Vic,
“It is sad that you think that the liberal people in this country actually are not condeming the terrorists. But that is your right to believe it.”


I just asked if anybody on here (besides the righties) condemned the terrorists like they do Bush. Don’t you find that odd? Aren’t you a little concerned when lefties continually say that “Saddam was a bad man, but Bush…”, “OBL is a murderer, but Bush…”? I certainly would be.

And I’ve seen this comment throughout this blog the past few days “Why bother defending the citizens if their liberties have been given away?”. I would respond: What good are our liberties if we’re dead?!

And to reply to your comment:
“How about for once, Consevatives actually talk about something that will benefit our country?Cheap precriptions, or even fiscal responsiblity. Something.”

Well Bush spent more money on poverty and education. With education, he held the teachers (and the teacher’s unions) accountable and they pitched a fit. Bush tried fixing the social security problem with “optional” personalized accounts that would allow people to invest in their retirement and keep their own money, rather than the gov’t doing it. That was a fiscally responsible plan that would “benefit” our country and it didn’t go over (at all) with the dems; they wouldn’t budge or offer a solution.


So, I gave you a few answers to your comment; now it’s the libs turn to actually come up with a democratic solution or (even) an agenda. Jeez, I thought the dems were a national party? They should at least have an agenda. Don’t you think?!

Posted by: rahdigly at December 20, 2005 2:33 PM
Comment #104967
Again, here’s someone confusing the “right to resist” with the “ability to resist”. Once they’ve taken away our ability, you’ll defend our right!?!? You assume that you will still have that ability when the time comes….

No, Rob, you’re mistaken. We defend you’re right before they have taken away your ability. If the government hasn’t taken your guns yet, then you have not only the right, but the ability to resist. What is so confusing about this time line?

Posted by: Burt at December 20, 2005 2:42 PM
Comment #104975

rahdigly,

I just asked if anybody on here (besides the righties) condemned the terrorists like they do Bush. Don’t you find that odd? Aren’t you a little concerned when lefties continually say that “Saddam was a bad man, but Bush…”, “OBL is a murderer, but Bush…”? I certainly would be.

There are some things that we all - left, right, and center - agree upon. Those don’t get debated a lot, as there’s nobody to debate them with. One of those is condemnation of the terrorists. Nobody on this site condones the attacks of 9/11. Nobody on this site supports Bin Laden. Nobody on this site wants another terrorist attack on the US.

The reason most people on Left and Center don’t condemn Saddam and Bin Laden on these boards is because the Right has already done so quite well. We don’t disagree with those condemnations, so we see no cause to debate them.

I have never questioned the need to fight the terrorists. I’ve only questioned HOW we should do so. Unfortunately, there are many Bush supporters on this site who confuse the two. They assume that there are only two options — support Bush’s method, or give in to the terrorists. Most of us are trying to show that there are more options than that. There are ways to fight the terrorists that don’t require giving the government the power to invade our privacy. We don’t have to sell out what we believe in order to win.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 20, 2005 2:54 PM
Comment #104982
No, Rob, you’re mistaken. We defend you’re right before they have taken away your ability. If the government hasn’t taken your guns yet, then you have not only the right, but the ability to resist. What is so confusing about this time line?

If the People don’t have the power of revolution — the ability to overthrow their government if necessary — then their other rights mean nothing.

Again, freedom isn’t destroyed en masse… it’s eroded little by little. First they get rid of the nuts who want to keep grenades and mortar shells, and the rest of us support it. Then they get rid of the nuts who want automatic weapons, and the rest of us support it. Then they get rid of the nuts who want semi-automatic weapons, and the rest of us support it. By the time the majority of people realise what’s happened, they’re defending themselves with slingshots.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 20, 2005 3:08 PM
Comment #104983
I would respond: What good are our liberties if we’re dead?!

Did you mean dead or brain dead?

Bush tried fixing the social security problem with “optional” personalized accounts that would allow people to invest in their retirement and keep their own money, rather than the gov’t doing it.

Bzzzzt. By the White House’s own admission, private accounts did nothing to “fix” social security.

That was a fiscally responsible plan

Bzzzzt. The plan was not fiscally responsible. It would have put the country $2 Trillion more in debt.

that would “benefit” our country and it didn’t go over (at all) with the dems;

Bzzzzt. It didn’t go over well with Republicans or their voters either, which is why it stalled quickly without a fight.

they wouldn’t budge or offer a solution.

Bzzzzt. I’m a Dem who has given a solution right here on this site a number of times. And even a number of conservative posters have said they don’t disagree with it. Do I need to post it again for your approval?

Logic 4 rahdigly 0

Posted by: Burt at December 20, 2005 3:09 PM
Comment #104986
By the time the majority of people realise what’s happened, they’re defending themselves with slingshots.

That’s a slippery slope argument that doesn’t jive with reality. But that’s a debate we can have in another thread.

Posted by: Burt at December 20, 2005 3:12 PM
Comment #104990

rahdigly,

“I would respond: What good are our liberties if we’re dead?!”

At least we could assure that those that would follow us might be able to enjoy those liberties.

Posted by: Rocky at December 20, 2005 3:14 PM
Comment #104992
But that’s a debate we can have in another thread.

Agreed.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 20, 2005 3:15 PM
Comment #105007

RC,

If we’re all in agreement with who the enemy is, then why spend all that time talking about Bush and no time talking about the enemy. The blogs I’ve read certainly indicate (sometimes) that it’s Bush that is the tyrannt, Bush is the terrorist. If you disagree with the way he’s waging this war fine, but don’t try and say that it’s the rights’ fault that they “confuse” the two (terrorism and how to fight it). That’s just plain wrong. I have yet to hear (from the right) how Clinton was a “tyrannt” or a “terrorist” b/c of the way he handled the war on terror (or lack thereof). All I’ve read and said about Clinton were disagreements on how he fought the war.


Now, I will pose this question to all the libs out there (and to the repubs, as well), who are our enemies?! Be honest now, give an order (most dangerous to least) of who you think the enemy truly is. I’ll go first to get you started.

OBL
Saddam Hussein
Zahariwi (sp?)
Zarqawi
Iranian president
Kim Jong Il
Al Qaeda members
Al Qaeda wannabes
Syria
Wahhabists
Bush haters
(US)Anti-war phantics
Western European socialists/ US Democratic Party :O)

Posted by: rahdigly at December 20, 2005 3:36 PM
Comment #105009

Wow! Rahdigly, you consider Saddam to be the 2nd most dangerous person to the country despite the fact that he has been captured and put on trial?

Logic 5 rahdigly 0

Posted by: Burt at December 20, 2005 3:41 PM
Comment #105015

Just an example of how the surveillance train runs amok when given a long leash. You may disagree with the politics of some of the targets, but you have to agree they have little to do with protecting us from terrorism in the main.

Posted by: Mental Wimp at December 20, 2005 3:47 PM
Comment #105023

Rocky,
“At least we could assure that those that would follow us might be able to enjoy those liberties.”


No, they wouldn’t. If we don’t allow our gov’t to keep us safe (in a time of war) b/c some want to make the decision over the rest of us to “give me liberty or give me death”, then that means the Islamofascists would kill us and, you can be rest assured, that our kids won’t have any “liberties” in the radical islamist world.

So, if you want death over liberty, then you make that choice for you and your family. As for my family and me, I’ll take giving up some liberty over death, anyday. Believe that.

Oh yeah, and Burt, try to be a little more original with the scoreboard; uhhhh, I’ve been using that one now for the past month. I guess that’s what happens when people aren’t original, they have to mimic others. Ha!

Posted by: rahdigly at December 20, 2005 3:58 PM
Comment #105030

“By the time the majority of people realise whats happened, they are defending themselves with slingshots”

“That’s a slippery slope argument that doesn’t jive with reality. But that’s a debate we can have in another thread”

They go hand in hand guys.
Reality says the govt only wants to register guns in order to catch criminals. The left says its a slippery slope argument because govt will never want to confiscate guns.
Reality says the govt only spies on its citizens in order to catch terrorists. The right says its a slippery slope because govt will only use it to spy on terrorists and not everyday citizens.

While the issues may differ, the objective should be the same: Protecting ALL of our rights.

I did not bring the 2nd Amendment violations up for fun, I mentioned them because without our ability to resist, we are forced to accept.
Instead of both sides thinking that one right means one thing and another right means another, we should be working together against the govt so that we can prevent crap such as gun control and privacy issues from becoming “just the way it is.”

Posted by: kctim at December 20, 2005 4:05 PM
Comment #105032

kctim

To come and get our guns they have to come and get our guns. Without a leak, no one would have known they were spying on us illegally.

Posted by: Mental Wimp at December 20, 2005 4:07 PM
Comment #105035
As for my family and me, I’ll take giving up some liberty over death, anyday. Believe that.

Let us know when you’ll be moving to France. I’ll send you a housewarming gift.

Oh yeah, and Burt, try to be a little more original with the scoreboard

Woosh! That one sailed right over your head, eh? I guess admitting that is easier than actually responding to the points made.

Posted by: Burt at December 20, 2005 4:08 PM
Comment #105040
Reality says the govt only wants to register guns in order to catch criminals. The left says its a slippery slope argument because govt will never want to confiscate guns.

I didn’t say the government will never want to confiscate guns. I said that before that were to happen, the left would defend your right to keep your guns and resist any attempt by the government to confiscate them.

You’re making up arguments for the left that don’t exist. That’s called a strawman and it doesn’t fly.

On the other hand, the lack of privacy due to the government spying on US citizens without oversight from the judicial or legislative branches is apparently very real - and not a hypothetical argument.

Posted by: Burt at December 20, 2005 4:14 PM
Comment #105041

Arr squared
Look out rylee’s back now.
still looking for specific mutilations of women in Iraq will find soon enough ,however this is a partial list of the our liberal friends who feel saddam is such a hero he should have been allowed to stay in power.

April 28, 1937 is the declared birth date of Saddam Hussein in the village of Ouja, near Tikrit in northern Iraq. He is born of a poor landless peasant family. His father dies, or disappears, before Saddam is born. He is sent to live with his maternal uncle, Khairallah Talfah, who influenced Saddam’s life tremendously. Several reports link Saddam to the murders of a school teacher and/or a cousin during these early years.

1957Saddam joins the Ba’th party at the age of 20. Also in this year Saddam was denied admission to the prestigious Baghdad Military Academy (probably because he had not finished high school), a humiliating blow that dishonors him vis-à-vis his military counterparts. (Later, in 1976, President Bakr confers on him the rank of General.)

1959 Complicity in an assassination attempt against Abdul Karim Qasim, Prime Minister of Iraq after the 1958 revolution. He flees to Egypt, where he spends the next four years and completes high school.

February 1963-November 1963First Ba’th regime in Iraq. Saddam, a mid-level operative, takes no part in the coup. After the collapse of the Ba’th regime in November 1963, Saddam takes charge of organizing a Ba’th security organ, “Jihaz Haneen.” This becomes the core of the dreaded security apparatus after 1968.

July 17-30 1968The 2nd Ba’th regime takes over. A bloodless coup by senior Arab Nationalist officers and retired Ba’thist officers overthrows the regime of President Abd al-Rahman Aref. Saddam is the Deputy Secretary-General of the Ba’th party at the time, but plays a minor role in the coup. Ahmed Hassan Al-Bakr, a relative of Saddam, becomes president and chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC).

July 30, 1968 Saddam carries out a plot to oust the rival faction (Arab Nationalist officers) in the coup. Among others, minister of Defense Ibrahim Dawood is “sent” to Jordan and Prime Minister Abd al-Razzah Nayif is “sent” to Morocco.

Fall of 1968 beginning of purges to remove all non-Ba’thists from posts within state institutions. Saddam engages in purifying the government and society of potential dissidents. The higher echelons of the military and the government deemed disloyal are sent into retirement, imprisoned, tortured, or executed. Members of non-Ba’th political parties and non-Arabs are accused of crimes and executed or deported.

November 1969 President al-Bakr, Saddam’s kinsman, appoints Saddam Deputy Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) and Vice-President. He controls the internal security and intelligence organs and is the driving force behind the regime.

November 1968 Nasir al-Hani, former Foreign Minister and co-plotter of the 17 July, 1968 coup is abducted from his home under the pretext that President Bakr wanted to consult with him. A few days later his body is discovered dumped in a ditch.

January 1969 17 alleged “spies” (including 13 Jews) are hanged in Liberation Square.

August 8, 1969 Kurdish village of Dakan in Mosul governorate is site of a massacre performed by the army.

October 1969 Abd al-Rahman al-Bazzaz, former prime minister, is imprisoned on charges of being a Zionist agent. Tortured and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.

March 1970Hundreds of Communists are arrested and tortured.

October 15, 1970 Hardan al-Tikriti, Minister of defense, Deputy Premier, and former member of the RCC, is dismissed from all his functions. Assassinated in Kuwait on March 30, 1971.

March 11, 1970 An “autonomy agreement” is concluded between the Kurds, under Mulla Mustafa Barzani, and the central government, but was never implemented.

September 1971 Failed assassination attempt on Mulla Mustapha Barzani, the Kurdish leader. Several other people are killed in the attempt.

September 28, 1971 Abd al-Karim al-Shaikhli, Foreign Minister and member of RCC is dismissed, appointed to a position at the UN. Later assassinated.

1972 1st wave of deportations of Iraqi Arabs, Turkoman and Kurdish families, stripped of their citizenship and sent to Iran.

July 8, 1973 The Chief of Internal Security, Nadhim Kzar, is executed along with 35 other after reports a coup and conspiracy.

1974-1975 War against the Kurds ignites again. Phosphorous shells are reportedly used against the Kurds.

March 1974 The Kurdish towns of Zakho and Qala’at Diza are razed to the ground. 8,000 Kurds disappear from the village of Barzan.

December 1974 5 Shi’a ‘ulama are executed.

6 March 1975 Saddam signs Algiers Accord with the Shah of Iran. The Accord defines border with Iran and ends Iranian support for Kurds.

March-April 1975 Major exodus of Kurds to Iran, including departure of leader, Mulla Mustapha Barzani.

February 1977 Beginning of mass deportations to Iran of Iraqi Shi’a, confiscation of their property and “disappearance” of sons. Estimated that by early 80’s, 200,000 Iraqis are deported to Iran and stripped of nationality and property.

1975-1979 President Bakr remains the head of State, but his power is virtually reduced to a figurehead while Saddam controls in the president’s shadow.

February/March 1977 Eight Shi’a dignitaries, 5 clergy and 3 laymen are executed. Mass purges of Shi’a suspected of belonging to the Da’wa Party.

1978-79 The regime eliminates an estimated 7,000 Iraqi Communists.

October 1978 Ayatollah Khomeini, exiled by the Shah and living in Najaf, is expelled from Iraq.

May 1979 All Communist party offices are closed down in all provinces.


Part II: Presidency to the Gulf War (1979-1991)

On July 16, 1979 At the age of 42, Saddam forces Al-Bakr to retire and is sworn in as President of the Republic of Iraq. President Bakr officially steps down. Saddam now holds the posts of President of the Republic, Chairman of the Revolutionary Command Council, Secretary-General of the Ba’th Party Regional Command, Prime Minister, and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Saddam grants himself a Staff Field Marshal army rank.

July 15-August 8, 1979 In order to consolidate his power, Saddam embarks on a purge, reminiscent of Stalin, in which party members are accused of being involved in a Syrian plot to place Iraq under Syrian hegemony and remove Iraq’s leadership. By the end of the purge, hundreds of top ranking Ba’thists and army officers are executed, including five members of the RCC.

April 1980 Revolutionary Command Council bans the Da’wa Party and membership in its ranks becomes a capital crime punishable by death.

April 1980 Leading Shi’a cleric Sayyid Muhammad Baqir Al-Sadr and his sister Bint al-Huda are executed.

On September 22, 1980five days after Saddam Saddam publicly tears up the 1975 Algiers Accord with Iran and denounces “the frequent and blatant Iranian violation of Iraqi sovereignty”, the Iraqi Air Force bombs Iranian airfields and Iraqi forces invade Iran.

In 1982, former President Bakr dies mysteriously. It is widely suspected that Saddam is involved.

June 1982 Riyadh Ibrahim, Minister of Health and Shafiq ‘Abd al-Jabbar Kamali, ex-RCC member, are executed.

1987-1988 Saddam launches the Anfal campaign against the Kurds, in which some 180,000 “disappear.” 4,000 villages are razed. Depopulation of large areas of eastern Kurdistan.

March 1988 The Kurdish town of Halabja is gassed. 5,000 people perish, 10,000 suffer injuries.

August 1988 A number of Kurdish villages on Turkish borders are gassed. Thousands of casualties.

August 1988. Ceasefire declared between Iraq and Iran, ending the 8-year war. The war is estimated to have caused one million casualties including 250,000 Iraqi dead.

May 1989 Adnan Khayrallah, Saddam’s cousin, brother-in-law, popular army officer and Defense Minister, dies in a helicopter crash widely believed to be engineered by Saddam.

March 1990 British journalist Farzad Bazoft is executed on charges of espionage. International indignation brings attention to the brutality of Saddam regime.

August 2, 1990Iraqi troops cross into Kuwait and occupy the country, ejecting the Kuwaiti government.

August 28, 1990 Kuwait officially becomes the 19th province of Iraq.

January 17, 1991 Allied planes begin bombing Iraq.

Posted by: Rylee at December 20, 2005 4:15 PM
Comment #105051

Ok, can we once and for all say that George Bush, is in fact, a liar?

George Bush, April 20, 2004:

Secondly, there are such things as roving wiretaps. Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires — a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we’re talking about chasing down terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so. It’s important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.

Posted by: Burt at December 20, 2005 4:30 PM
Comment #105053

Rylee,

our liberal friends who feel saddam is such a hero he should have been allowed to stay in power.

Who exactly are you talking about??!! I haven’t seen ANYONE on this board claim that Saddam was a hero. Please provide a quote on that one, or back off the statement.

Oh, and you forgot a very important historical event on your timeline:

September 8, 1988 - US House of Representatives passes “Prevention of Genocide Act” to condemn Saddam’s gassing of the Kurdish people, but the bill dies in the US Senate after President Reagan threatens to veto it.

Or was Reagan one of the “liberal friends who feel Saddam is such a hero” that you were talking about?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 20, 2005 4:31 PM
Comment #105056

Arr Squared :
so far havent found specifics regarding stoning of women however it is there simply must locate it .however the last post i posted shows the actions of our liberal lefts hero ,why the US would ever consider attacking and removing such a patron saint ,,,,,and also heres the war resolution regarding Iraq ,actual war resolution for the war on terror was never actually approved ,democrats thought it might alarm the terrorists and we certainly wouldnt want to make em mad now would we.

The Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq (H.J.Res. 114) was a resolution passed in October 2002 by the United States Congress authorizing what was soon to become the Iraq War under the War Powers Resolution. The authorization was sought by U.S. President George W. Bush, and it passed the House on October 10 by a vote of 296-133, and by the Senate on October 11 by a vote of 77-23, receiving significant support from both major political parties. It was signed into law by President Bush on October 16, 2002.

Posted by: Rylee at December 20, 2005 4:35 PM
Comment #105057

“the left would defend your right to keep your guns and resist any attempt by the government to confiscate them”

Resist with what, a march? Our ability to resist rest solely with our ability to resist.

“You’re making up arguments for the left that don’t exist. That’s called a strawman and it doesn’t fly”

Of course not, you believe one right that you support is more important than another which does not support what you believe.

“On the other hand, the lack of privacy due to the government spying on US citizens without oversight from the judicial or legislative branches is apparently very real - and not a hypothetical argument”

No kidding, but the 2nd Amendment violations are hardly a hypothetical argument.

The crux of my post was that we all should work together to protect ALL of our rights. You do not wish to do this and our country will continue to be divided and will continue its downward spiral.
Rather than acknowledging that working together is the only way The People will win, you trivialize the concerns of those who do not agree with you.
Nothing new, but it gets sadder each time.

Posted by: kctim at December 20, 2005 4:41 PM
Comment #105061

“the left would defend your right to keep your guns and resist any attempt by the government to confiscate them”

Resist with what, a march? Our ability to resist rest solely with our ability to resist.

“You’re making up arguments for the left that don’t exist. That’s called a strawman and it doesn’t fly”

Of course not, you believe one right that you support is more important than another which does not support what you believe.

“On the other hand, the lack of privacy due to the government spying on US citizens without oversight from the judicial or legislative branches is apparently very real - and not a hypothetical argument”

No kidding, but the 2nd Amendment violations are hardly a hypothetical argument.

The crux of my post was that we all should work together to protect ALL of our rights. You do not wish to do this and our country will continue to be divided and will continue its downward spiral.
Rather than acknowledging that working together is the only way The People will win, you trivialize the concerns of those who do not agree with you.
Nothing new, but it gets sadder each time.

Posted by: kctim at December 20, 2005 4:43 PM
Comment #105063

Burt,
“Let us know when you’ll be moving to France. I’ll send you a housewarming gift.”

Not I said the rabbit. The lefties can move there, since that is such an “utopia” for the socialists. Their cars will probably be burned, though; that’s b/c the french don’t know how to handle muslims, muslim extemists, or (any) war for that matter.


“Wow! Rahdigly, you consider Saddam to be the 2nd most dangerous person to the country despite the fact that he has been captured and put on trial?”

Funny how you didn’t display your list; you just quipped about mine. Hmmm. Actually, I considered his sons as well, except they are both dead (He! He! Thanks to our troops!!). When Saddam’s dead and rotting in hell, then I’ll take him off the list. That is of course if he doesn’t get aquitted; remember, it’s former Attorney General from the Democratic Party Ramsey Clark that’s defending him.

“Woosh! That one sailed right over your head, eh? I guess admitting that is easier than actually responding to the points made.”


Your scoreboard (that you copied from me) means nothing b/c I’ve already originated it. So, why don’t you go back to previous blogs and read why I started that in the first place. Later!

Posted by: rahdigly at December 20, 2005 4:46 PM
Comment #105068

rahdigly,

“As for my family and me, I’ll take giving up some liberty over death, anyday. Believe that.”

Spoken like a true patriot.

The founders must be spinning in their graves.

Posted by: Rocky at December 20, 2005 4:52 PM
Comment #105069

rahdigly,

“As for my family and me, I’ll take giving up some liberty over death, anyday. Believe that.”

Spoken like a true patriot.

The founders must be spinning in their graves.

Posted by: Rocky at December 20, 2005 4:54 PM
Comment #105073
Your scoreboard (that you copied from me) means nothing b/c I’ve already originated it. So, why don’t you go back to previous blogs and read why I started that in the first place. Later!

Wow! rahdigly invented the scoreboard! Was that before or after Al Gore invented the Internet?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 20, 2005 4:57 PM
Comment #105076

RC,
“Wow! rahdigly invented the scoreboard! Was that before or after Al Gore invented the Internet?”

Ha! Ha! Good one. I enjoyed the facetiousness…

Posted by: rahdigly at December 20, 2005 5:02 PM
Comment #105083
Resist with what, a march? Our ability to resist rest solely with our ability to resist.

Uh, how about guns. Or do you believe that liberals and/or Democrats don’t own guns? I’m sure that’s what the NRA would have you believe, but it is not necessarily true.

Rather than acknowledging that working together is the only way The People will win, you trivialize the concerns of those who do not agree with you.

I’ve agreed with you and said the left would support you, but I guess that is too much for you to wrap your mind around.

Posted by: Burt at December 20, 2005 5:12 PM
Comment #105105

“I’ve agreed with you and said the left would support you, but I guess that is too much for you to wrap your mind around”

Yes Burt, the lefts actions don’t “jive” with their words concerning ALL of our rights so its too much for ME to wrap my mind around.
The left loses elections because millions of people know they don’t “support” us when it comes to our right to defend ourselves against govt and it is ME who does not understand.

The left says they support ALL of our rights and the right says they support ALL of our rights.
So why all the whining?
You win, divided we will fall.

Posted by: kctim at December 20, 2005 5:36 PM
Comment #105119

The country of “Give me liberty or give me death!” has become the country of “Take my liberty, just don’t give me death!”

Posted by: chantico at December 20, 2005 5:58 PM
Comment #105132

Fickle Republicans….things don’t go your way exactly and your ready to dump Bush and the party!!!

Waaaaaaaaa!!!!!That’s it…I’m going to be an independent!!!
Waaaaaaa!!!! That’s it…I’m voting Dumbocrat the next time!!!
I’ll bet you wouldn’t be happy if Christ himself
was President!!!
FDR violated the Constitution….so did Lincoln during the Civil War!!!!!
Booooooo!!! Bush is spying on you…..look out!!!!!!

Posted by: Lug at December 20, 2005 6:36 PM
Comment #105165


Now, I will pose this question to all the libs out there (and to the repubs, as well), who are our enemies?! Be honest now, give an order (most dangerous to least) of who you think the enemy truly is. I’ll go first to get you started.

OBL
Saddam Hussein
Zahariwi (sp?)
Zarqawi
Iranian president
Kim Jong Il
Al Qaeda members
Al Qaeda wannabes
Syria
Wahhabists
Bush haters
(US)Anti-war phantics
Western European socialists/ US Democratic Party :O)
—-

Bush Haters? (Are those like Freedom haters or Evil Doers?) Well hell, just serve ‘em up with a big ‘ol batch of Freedon Fries. mmmmm! mmmmm!

(You guys are worse than my 2nd grader at making up names to call people.)

Public Enemy #1: people who prefer to think of the US Constitution as a members-only club.

Posted by: tony at December 20, 2005 8:00 PM
Comment #105211

Tony,

If an “all or nothing” stand is going to be taken by the Republican Party in Congress over the extension of the PA than they must take first place in those who stand against America.

As I have stated earlier in this post, the President does have the Constitutional Right to act within the “Extreme Gray Area of the Law” when and if the moment warrents such an act. However, he and his Administration is accountable to Congress and “We the People” in the form of documentation that the law was followed.

By their own actions and words they have opened the door that has lead to the Letter of the Law has not been followed. These actions may or of may not of put our government in jeopardy; nevertheless, the public airing of this continued problem of “Total Incompetence” leaves the American Public no alturnative(sp) but to follow the Truth were every it may lead. Failure of any of our elected leadership to do so is in and of itself a major threat of upholding the Principles of Law that this Nation was founed upon. Could you see the President being impeeched during a time of war? So who is the biggest threat to the National Security of America? Maybe the Right might want to stop bringing a knife to a gun fight. Because the War that “We” are engaged in is a street fight and there is only one thing that wins at that level of play. Hopefully somebody will explain that to President Bush and Company.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at December 21, 2005 12:29 AM
Comment #105222

A friend of mine made the statement, “If you aren’t guilty, you have nothing to worry about; If you are guilty, you have nothing to complain about.”

I don’t agree with that statement completely, but it does beg the question: When our rights to be defended by the Government (clearly stated in the Constitution) conflict with our rights to be free from illegal search and seizure (Clearly stated in the 4th Amendment), which should prevail?

So much of the debate today is focused almost entirely on individual rights. This is a relatively new thing as it really began to take off in the 1960’s with decisions by the Supreme Court. Before that, we always seemed to strike a balance between an individual’s rights and what was good for the nation as a whole. We now believe it is better that a person be free from illegal eavesdropping, even if that person may be planning to kill thousands.

One of these days we are going to get hard evidence that a terrorist could have been discovered and apprehended but for the fact that he was protected by his/her individual rights, and it might not be discovered until after he/she has had a chance to do major damage. Perhaps then we will wake up to the reality of the situation that our enemies aren’t playing by the same rules.

One last thought, this being a more practical argument. It seems that what we are worried about here is that the government might be listening in on our conversations or reading e-mail and discover some piece of information that will later be used against us. That information could be some embarrassing photo or sensitive business information. But think about it for a moment. The government really doesn’t have that many resources devoted to “domestic spying” as it is or we might have prevented 9/11. So with such limited resources, either the government is going to focus its resources on those they already suspect of terrorism, or they are going to have to quickly filter out the non-terrorism information it gathers, meaning that Christmas party photo of you dancing topless might be the butt of a few jokes, but will quickly be dismissed in favor of more important information.

I’m more concerned with my family’s safety than I am your dignity or humility. But that’s just my opinion.

Posted by: Michael Babb at December 21, 2005 1:06 AM
Comment #105263

George:

I understand you have a son willing to serve? Can you post his name and email below? I have Recruiter friends desperate to make their quota.

Posted by: Aldous at December 21, 2005 4:26 AM
Comment #105347

Chantico,
“The country of “Give me liberty or give me death!” has become the country of “Take my liberty, just don’t give me death!”


It’s more like, “Don’t let hateful Islamofascists use our liberties to destroy us”. I’ve never understood why there are Americans in this country that use our liberties and constitution to defend people that want destroy our liberty and constitution. That’s not the American way; however, if there are Americans that want to preach the “give me liberty or give me death” mantra, then by all means go ahead. We still have our liberties, only we won’t allow the enemy to have any; which (eventually) we will get rid of these hateful scum bags who try to impose their religion and way of life on us.

Posted by: rahdigly at December 21, 2005 7:51 AM
Comment #105359
I’ve never understood why there are Americans in this country that use our liberties and constitution to defend people that want destroy our liberty and constitution.

I haven’t met any of those Americans yet, rahdigly, so I don’t know who you’re talking about. I have, however, met MANY Americans (myself included) who aren’t willing to sell out their OWN rights in order to fight an enemy whom our government can’t even define.

It’s not about the civil rights of the terrorists we’re fighting. It’s about what happens to the civil rights of the rest of us in the process.

Why is this so hard to understand?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 21, 2005 8:19 AM
Comment #105383

Rob,
“It’s not about the civil rights of the terrorists we’re fighting. It’s about what happens to the civil rights of the rest of us in the process.”


It is about the civil rights of the terrorists. The (legal) surveillance and wiretaps that Bush authorized (w/out court order) were on Al Qaeda and other known terrorists making calls internationally to the US. It was not (NOT) a domestic issue; American’s civil liberties were not violated. No one’s “OWN rights” were trampled, except (of course) the terrorists. He! He!

Posted by: rahdigly at December 21, 2005 8:49 AM
Comment #105388

What has happened to this blog?! I get on with my daily life for less than 24 hours and I come back to the site to read a bunch of whining? What is the real issue here? Maybe a few here should go back to the article that is linked to these comments. WE THE PEOPLE don’t have to act like congress. It’s worse than a couple of newlyweds who have just realized the honeymoon is over. I feel like turning a couple of you over my knee and sending you to your room to think about it!
Now then, the last comment I posted was a call to integrity. If you wish to state your opinion it would be honorable to back it up with the facts as much as possible. “18 terrorists”? What is that about? President Bush admitted on national TV to illegally spying on American citizens. My point isn’t that anyone has been prosecuted based on the information gathered, but rather that the system of checks and balances has been breached. So what is other presidents have done it. I’m here because I was too young to object when the other presidents did it! So I’m objecting now! FOUL! Make it right. Sorry just doesn’t cut it. President Bush promised to uphold the constitution! He declared war on a country that DID NOT STRIKE FIRST!!!!! OBL is responsible for 9/11. I rallied behind President Bush when he declared war on OBL, but he lost me when my way of life as an American citizen has been dramatically compromised to support attacking Iraq. Why can’t we have OBL on trial? Why can’t we have his head on a platter? Please stick to the issue at hand or go sling your hate in another thread.

Posted by: Karen at December 21, 2005 9:02 AM
Comment #105389

rahdigly,

Ok.. maybe no one’s rights were trampled THIS TIME. But a system that allows an executive to wiretap people without checks and balances, without having to prove to anyone that the person he’s wiretapping really IS a terrorist, and not just, say, a political rival, is begging to be abused.

Remember Nixon’s ‘Watergate’? Or Clinton’s ‘Whitewater’? Or Reagan’s ‘Iran Contras’? Or Ted Kennedy’s… entire life? Politicians inevitably abuse their power. Even if Bush can be trusted to use this power ONLY on the terrorists, can you guarantee me that the next person (who MIGHT be Mrs. Whitewater herself) can be trusted to do the same? What checks and balances are in place to make sure the power isn’t abused?

As I’ve said all along, it’s not about whose rights may have been trampled this time. It’s about the PRECIDENT that it sets. And THAT is an issue that you have completely failed to address.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 21, 2005 9:04 AM
Comment #105403

Bravo, Rob! Couldn’t have said it better.

Check this out: www.sauduction.com

Posted by: K at December 21, 2005 9:15 AM
Comment #105416

Right off the top of my head, Chris:

1)The constitution would trump any act of congress much less an executive order. Since Marbury v. Madison, the principle has been that Constitutional law is greater than any law passed by congress.

2)Nowhere in the language of that bill does it lay out the surveillance of Domestic sources.

3)Even if it did, it would have to include mechanisms for obtaining warrants to do that.

4)Last, but not least, if the President can justify extraconstitutional action under the auspices of the authorization of force against the al-Qaeda terrorists, there’s nothing to stop him. This the expansion of the president’s power far beyond the scope of what the constitution allows.

If we accept that, we accept the Rule of One, in place of the Rule of Law. That is unacceptable. We did not defeat one King George212 years ago, and subsequently decline to make another George king, just to have this George become monarch.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at December 21, 2005 9:29 AM
Comment #105429

I greatly recommend this site no matter whose side you’re on:

www.sauduction.com

Opinions, please.

Posted by: Karen at December 21, 2005 9:52 AM
Comment #105433

Stephen,

My goodness Stephen how melodramatic. I can’t imagine you get good nights sleep with all the depravity of the constitution. Are you serious that you honestly believe GW wants to be a King? What a joke.

For all the lawyers on this blog who are decrying the degradation of the constitution need to do some serious self examinations. Funny how there can be 50 million abortions since Roe with no call for the desecration and erosion of the constitution since it is not explicit in the constitution. Yet GW listens in on known terrorist who are calling American citizens and it is the worst violation of the constitution.

For those who think GW wants to be a King or Dictator it is your politics, not reasoning that drives your thought process and Americans can see right through you.

Posted by: Ryan Thompson at December 21, 2005 9:56 AM
Comment #105434

As I have posted elsewhere, I tried to click on the link in my previous comment and “NOT FOUND”? Odd. If you type it into your search engine TA DA there it is!

Posted by: Karen at December 21, 2005 9:57 AM
Comment #105436

Ryan,

As an American citizen, you owe it to yourself to visit www.sauduction.com. Type it into your search engine and prepare yourself for the truth.

Posted by: Karen at December 21, 2005 9:59 AM
Comment #105439

Ryan,

I’ve actually been calling for having Roe v. Wade overturned for years now… but that’s a completely different topic. Today, in this thread, we’re talking about spying on US citizens and the precident that it sets. Please try to keep up.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 21, 2005 10:09 AM
Comment #105440

Karen,
“President Bush admitted on national TV to illegally spying on American citizens… OBL is responsible for 9/11. I rallied behind President Bush when he declared war on OBL, but he lost me when my way of life as an American citizen has been dramatically compromised to support attacking Iraq.”


No. President Bush admitted to spying on Al Qaeda and other “known” terrorists that were communicating from within the U.S. to al Qaeda operatives and associates internationally. You threw in “illegal”, not the president. In fact, prove that what he did was illegal.


Posted by: rahdigly at December 21, 2005 10:12 AM
Comment #105442

Karen,

You wanted an option on your ‘magazine’? Simple, it’s part of the worst in consipiracy theories I’ve seen, right up there with Roswell and the Illuminati. Michael Moore would approve.

HTH.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 21, 2005 10:13 AM
Comment #105445

Karen,

Check this out: www.sauduction.com

Thanks for the link. It’s definitely an interesting site. I’d be more than happy to discuss the Saud family’s impact on US policy in an appropriate forum. But, again, it’s a bit off-topic for this thread. I would recommend bringing it up in a thread about the Iraq War, and the reasons behind it.

But at the moment, we’re discussing aspects of the War on Terror, which has little to do with the Iraq War. :-)

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 21, 2005 10:18 AM
Comment #105458

Oh boy, Rylee’s back, now with 5 times the vapidity.

None of that stuff you spew goes against my basic point. Saddam Hussein was a secular, as opposed to an Islamic, dictator. Osama Bin Laden referred to Saddam Hussein as “an infidel.” It doesn’t make Hussein a better man, and indeed, your ad hominem attacks only degrade you further.

And rahdigly, I would suggest that any list of enemies that places Saddam Hussein over Kim Jong Il is seriously misguided, in my view. If the balloon ever goes up and we do find ourselves involved in WWIII, I firmly believe it’ll be because Kim Jong Il just turned Seoul into a parking lot.

Posted by: Arr-squared at December 21, 2005 10:36 AM
Comment #105461

Arr-squared,

You’re basic point is irrelevant. The idea that a ‘secular’ dictator and a ‘religious zealot’ can’t possibly work together against a common foe is just ignoring the realities that history has shown us and is nothing more than sticking your head in the sand.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 21, 2005 10:46 AM
Comment #105464
And rahdigly, I would suggest that any list of enemies that places Saddam Hussein over Kim Jong Il is seriously misguided, in my view. If the balloon ever goes up and we do find ourselves involved in WWIII, I firmly believe it’ll be because Kim Jong Il just turned Seoul into a parking lot.

Wow… now THAT would be an interesting thread. We could all predict how we think WWIII is going to start, and then vote on which is more likely.

My money is on a confrontation that leads to some large nation (probably China) nuking a US aircraft carrier in the middle of the ocean, followed by a US overreaction that targets a civilian populace. The resulting war will never be recorded in history books, because nobody will be left to record it.

But I’m sure the winning vote in this crowd would be a Middle East nuke-fest. Because, while every other country in the world wants nukes for defense (MAD-style), most people here seem convinced that the only reason an Arab would want one is for a terrorist attack.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 21, 2005 10:54 AM
Comment #105473

Keep up the debate, Rob! You are true red, white, and blue! For those here who choose to follow blindly: Don’t call to me broken and bloody from the gorge that you plummeted into by “following your leader”. A leader is only as good as the policies he upholds OR breaks.

Rhinehold,

Those are real quotes! I do however, doubt whether you even logged onto the site. Search a little bit deeper and you will see the truth for yourself. It’s people like you who support “minor” breaches of the government who ultimately fall at the feet of the REAL dictators in this world. So sad.

Rahdigly,

Thank you for the editing. I will be more than happy to be more cyrstal clear in the future. I fear we are both wrong, though, for sidestepping the real issue. Rob is absolutely correct. The real issue on this thread is whether domestic surveillance without warrants is legal. My answer is NO! Yours?

Posted by: Karen at December 21, 2005 11:09 AM
Comment #105488

I would imagine for those who still are loosing sleep over spying over Americans who communicate with terrorist I hope you outrage is also directed to the previous 3 Administrations. If you think that this GW wants to be a king you politics are diluting this very serious issue of protecting us.

www.nationalreview.com/york/york200512200946.asp

Posted by: Ryan at December 21, 2005 11:45 AM
Comment #105498
It’s people like you …

That you started out with that phrase let’s me know that I can dismiss everything else you say. Good job! And enjoy your mag, I’m sure it will help you out in the future with everything you desire.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 21, 2005 12:01 PM
Comment #105500

Good point Ryan. The government by its nature is oppressive and as evidenced by the RICO statues and how they were used to keep American citizens under the bootheels of the government shows that everything we have now we allowed to happen through years of creeping apathy by the American people.

We have allowed the government to get their guns into our lives more and more over the years. Trying to blame all of this on a single person for political gain, or as in the case of Karen possibly racial hatred, is beyond sad.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 21, 2005 12:04 PM
Comment #105502
The (legal) surveillance and wiretaps that Bush authorized (w/out court order) were on Al Qaeda and other known terrorists making calls internationally to the US. It was not (NOT) a domestic issue; American’s civil liberties were not violated. No one’s “OWN rights” were trampled, except (of course) the terrorists. He! He!

rahdigly,

Again, I ask you how do you know this? Because Bush said so. No warrant= no legal documentation= no accountablility. Without that warrant we do not know who was being spied on, or why.

You threw in “illegal”, not the president. In fact, prove that what he did was illegal.


United States v. United States District Court, Supreme Court ruling:

These Fourth Amendment freedoms cannot properly be guaranteed if domestic security surveillances may be conducted solely within the discretion of the Executive Branch. The Fourth Amendment does not contemplate the executive officers of Government as neutral and disinterested magistrates. Their duty and responsibility are to enforce the laws, to investigate, and to prosecute. Katz v. United States, supra, at 359-360 (DOUGLAS, J., concurring). But those charged with this investigative and prosecutorial duty should not be the sole judges of when to utilize constitutionally sensitive means in pursuing their tasks. The historical judgment, which the Fourth Amendment accepts, is that unreviewed executive discretion may yield too readily to pressures to obtain incriminating evidence and overlook potential invasions of privacy and protected speech.
Posted by: JayJay Snowman at December 21, 2005 12:06 PM
Comment #105503

Ryan,

I would imagine for those who still are loosing sleep over spying over Americans who communicate with terrorist I hope you outrage is also directed to the previous 3 Administrations.

Yes, I most certainly am outraged at the previous three administrations. It is obvious, if nothing else by your comment, that they set the precident that Bush is now expanding upon. How far is this precident going to be allowed to expand before we do something about it?

If you think that this GW wants to be a king you politics are diluting this very serious issue of protecting us.

Even though GW has gone on record as saying that his job would be easier if he were a dictator, I honestly believe that he’s doing what he thinks is best for America. I don’t think that he truly understands the harm that he is doing by setting this precident.

You may note that I have rarely complained about THIS ADMINISTRATION spying on US citizens. Instead, I have complained about THE GOVERNMENT spying on US citizens. As you have pointed out, it didn’t start with Bush, and unless we take a stand, it won’t end with him, either.

This isn’t about defending the terrorists or attacking Bush. It’s about finding the proper balance between defending American LIVES and defending American LIBERTY.

It’s difficult finding myself on the same side as the Democrats, as most of them are too busy attacking Bush to really discuss the issue. Likewise, most of the Republicans are too busy defending Bush to discuss the issue. Such is life in the middle….

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 21, 2005 12:09 PM
Comment #105512

Rob Cottrell:
“We could all predict how we think WWIII is going to start, and then vote on which is more likely.”

That would be a great thread, but truth be told, probably a conversation much better suited to beer. A whole lot of beer.

Posted by: Arr-squared at December 21, 2005 12:38 PM
Comment #105528

Karen,
“The real issue on this thread is whether domestic surveillance without warrants is legal. My answer is NO! Yours?”


My answer is no, as well. That would be breaking our 4th, 5th, and 6th amendments. I will say that, what’s been in the media and certainly the main focus on this blog, is the false premise that Bush illegally wiretapped domestic surveillance. What he did was not illegal; and it certainly wasn’t domestic. It was eavesdropping on Al Qaeda!!! Bush kept this country safe by doing what he did and the majority of American people are behind him on that. Definitely!!

So, I hope I answered your question and cleared somethings up as well.

Posted by: rahdigly at December 21, 2005 1:17 PM
Comment #105535

rahdigly,

What he did was not illegal; and it certainly wasn’t domestic. It was eavesdropping on Al Qaeda!!!

I certainly hope that you are right. But, since he never filed for a warrant in any of these cases (which he could legally do up to 72 hours after the fact), we’ll never know, will we?

The questions that I must ask (again) are — Why was a warrant from the FISA court never requested? What would it have hurt to request such a warrant? How would this have hindered the President’s ability to fight the “War on Terror”?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 21, 2005 1:37 PM
Comment #105543
what’s been in the media and certainly the main focus on this blog, is the false premise that Bush illegally wiretapped domestic surveillance. What he did was not illegal; and it certainly wasn’t domestic. It was eavesdropping on Al Qaeda!!! Bush kept this country safe by doing what he did and the majority of American people are behind him on that. Definitely!!

So, I hope I answered your question and cleared somethings up as well.

rahdigly,

Well you still haven’t answered my question: Again, I ask you how do you know this? Because Bush said so. No warrant= no legal documentation= no accountablility. Without that warrant we do not know who was being spied on, or why.


“Remember that a government big enough to give you everything you want is also big enough to take away everything you have.” -Barry M. Goldwater

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at December 21, 2005 1:46 PM
Comment #105561

Jay,
“Well you still haven’t answered my question: Again, I ask you how do you know this? Because Bush said so. No warrant= no legal documentation= no accountablility. Without that warrant we do not know who was being spied on, or why.”


I trust my President; just like I trusted President Clinton (though I never voted for him, or even liked him). I (truly) believe that both Clinton and Bush did the right thing and had our National interest in mind. And, so did the US Congress for that matter, Jay. Remember Congress gave Bush the power to go to war and do what is necessary to keep us safe.

http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/bills/blsjres23.htm

“SEC. 2. AUTHORIZATION FOR USE OF UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.
(a) IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”

So, it’s not just me that put trust in Bush and Bush certainly didn’t let us down, it’s just partisan bull crap that’s going on. Now, if they want to have a hearing to go over the intelligence to see what really happened, I say bring it on, but only after the war. They ought to have a hearing on who leaked this in the time of war and why. Again, you’ll find political motives.

And, no you didn’t try to quote Goldwater to me.

“I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” Barry Golwater

Posted by: rahdigly at December 21, 2005 2:30 PM
Comment #105574

Bush is not gathering intelligence to use in court, its being gathered to prevent an attack in time of war… Big differance. Of the 300 or so people being watched, very few are American citizens. Also, 2 major attacks have been prevented. If nothing had been done, Bush would be blamed for doing nothing.I don’t believe the American left or the Bush haters amongest us have the best interest of the American people at heart. How many have to die before you quit crying about non- US citizens US rights? Whats next for you guys, reporting on future military movements to set them up?

Posted by: George at December 21, 2005 2:53 PM
Comment #105585

rahdigly

As ususal, the excusers skip the determinations sections where he had to prove a laundry list of conditions. Those conditions are why he lied about WMD. Those lies are why he should be impeached and incarcerated.

Posted by: Dave at December 21, 2005 3:09 PM
Comment #105590

Dave, before you hang the President, isn’t their a process in the USA that one has to go through before incarceration? You Lib/Terrorist lovers preach about civil rights, but I guess thats only fair for Democrats and Terrorists!

Posted by: George at December 21, 2005 3:14 PM
Comment #105592

rahdigly,

I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.

By itself, it isn’t. But it opens the door for extremism for other more nefarious purposes. It sets a precident that can be used (and abused) by future presidents.

I understand that you trust this President. But by supporting this, you’re putting a lot of trust in people who haven’t even been elected yet. You’re placing this trust in presidents for generations to come.

Democracies don’t always elect righteous rulers. Read the histories of Hitler and Milosevic, just to name a few.

Or, more importantly, read the history of George Washington. On several occasions, he refused powers that people tried to give to him, because he didn’t think that a President should be entrusted with such powers. He refused a third term, as well as an invitation to be King, because he knew that certain limits needed to be placed on the Executive.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 21, 2005 3:15 PM
Comment #105594

Dave,
“As ususal, the excusers skip the determinations sections where he had to prove a laundry list of conditions. Those conditions are why he lied about WMD. Those lies are why he should be impeached and incarcerated.”

Where’s your proof that he “lied” about WMD’s?! Back it up with facts and then we can impeach him; the incarceration will be saved for Saddam…

Posted by: rahdigly at December 21, 2005 3:16 PM
Comment #105600

George,

Bush is not gathering intelligence to use in court, its being gathered to prevent an attack in time of war… Big differance. Of the 300 or so people being watched, very few are American citizens. Also, 2 major attacks have been prevented. If nothing had been done, Bush would be blamed for doing nothing.

I’m not questioning why he used the wiretaps — that’s obvious. I’m questioning why he didn’t GET A WARRANT. Do you understand the difference?

Is there a reason you keep dodging the question?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 21, 2005 3:21 PM
Comment #105603

rahdigly,

The evidence is staring you in the face, you just deny it. So why should I bother?

Posted by: Dave at December 21, 2005 3:23 PM
Comment #105610

i don’t believe anything is being dodged. If evidence was being gathered for a legal case, sure, a warrent is needed. But if evidence is being gathered to prevent a crime, Isn’t that like staking out a crack house or watching suspects before a warrent is needed?

Posted by: George at December 21, 2005 3:28 PM
Comment #105622

Dave, when did you earn the title, Judge and jury?

Posted by: George at December 21, 2005 3:44 PM
Comment #105624

George,

“Staking out a crack house or watching suspects” is something you or I could do. Local police can do that without a warrant — everything involved is in public view. But to tap a phone line, the local police would require a warrant, because it’s an invasion of privacy. Courts have consistently found it counts as search and seizure, and is protected as such.

And when the Federal government operates WITHIN the borders United States, especially dealing with phone calls involving US citizens, the same rules apply. For the sake of expediency, FISA allows for the warrants to be obtained after the fact (for exactly the reason you state — because it’s for prevention and not trial), but the principle is the same.

I still don’t understand how getting a warrant is supposed to hinder the president’s ability to defend us against terrorists. Can you help me understand that one, George?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 21, 2005 3:46 PM
Comment #105628

Dave,

I’m sorry, but whenever I think of impeachment for Bush, I keep coming back to three frightening words…

“PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY”

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 21, 2005 3:49 PM
Comment #105631

Dave,
“The evidence is staring you in the face, you just deny it. So why should I bother?”


Try me. Where’s your evidence?!!! Bring it…


Posted by: rahdigly at December 21, 2005 3:52 PM
Comment #105657

Rob, If you don’t understand fighting againest terrorism why argue at all. Why is it the USA are the only ones to go by what you think the rules are? They aren’t going by the rules, why not fight them? I don’t know why tapping phones of non- citizens is so distasteful to you. I sure don’t know any citizens here that have lost ” anything”. Its too bad people like yourself are so corrupted with hate that figting back is not in you vocabulary. Don’t worry those that won’t be defeated will fight for your freedoms.

Posted by: George at December 21, 2005 4:38 PM
Comment #105663

George,

WHAT??!! Did you even READ my posts?!?! I have never said that I oppose fighting back, or even that I oppose tapping phones. Why do you keep making up arguments that don’t exist?

Again, I have no problem with the government tapping phones when necessary to fight terrorism. I just don’t understand why they can’t get a warrant for it, especially when they don’t even have to get the warrant BEFORE the wiretap.

And, again, you’ve completely avoided that question.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 21, 2005 4:53 PM
Comment #105668

Like I said, I don’t have a problem of phones being tapped of non- citizens in this country. I don’t kno any citizens that have had their phone tapped, do you?

Posted by: George A. Casper at December 21, 2005 4:58 PM
Comment #105675
Like I said, I don’t have a problem of phones being tapped of non- citizens in this country.

And, like *I* said, I don’t have a problem with ANYONE’s phone being tapped, as long as there’s a justification for it. All Bush needs to do is provide that justification in the form of an application for a warrant! But, for some reason, you don’t want him to do that. Can you please explain why that idea is so vile to you? Or why you STILL insist on avoiding the question?

I don’t kno any citizens that have had their phone tapped, do you?

Hold on a second while I check through the names on the warrants to find out…. oh, wait a minute… I can’t do that, because those warrants don’t exist!

How ‘bout this — Can you name the 18 non-citizens who have had their phones tapped? Can you name ONE of them? If not, then how do you know that they were non-citizens?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 21, 2005 5:05 PM
Comment #105677

Chris,

I have read other of your commendable writings but I must confess that I find your post of December 19, 2005 7:04 odd. I assume that it is to be taken into the context of David Remer’s post that directly precedes yours; if so, I fail to see a logical connection.

The World War II reference to Bush’s “uniquely abusing Presidential power” begs the question as to how the McCarthy history supports your assertion, whatever that assertion may be. I suppose Mr. Remer should share some of the blame, for if he had not made the McCarthyism analogy then his argument could have stood on its own merits. However, the analogy was bait for distraction and apparently you bit.

Your defense of McCarthyism as a means to counter criticism of the President’s use of the NSA program is an egregiously poor one. McCarthy had little to do with Alger Hiss, the Rosenbergs or Greenglass (Ethel’s brother)other than that the timing of these cases merely coincided with McCarthy’s hearings. In fact, each of those cases remain controversial to this day and none of the people actually named by McCarthy were ever convicted of any crime. The net result of his witch-hunt was to ruin, soley by innuendo, careers and lives. Also, McCarthy’s assertions about Truman and the Venona Project contained flaws that invalidated his justification for holding hearings.

His defense of Major Joachim Piper and other Nazi SS officers culpability over the murder of US Soldiers at Malmedy in World War II leaves your arguments in support of McCarthy in shambles. McCarthy’s claim that the Nazi’s were framed by lying US soldiers was outrageous and led to accusations that he himself was a Nazi sympathizer (his financial support from right wing German American businessmen was also cited in this accusation). One might as erroneously make that accusation against you if they were to explore your article’s backtrack: an accusation that I would know to be false since I am familiar with some of your other writings.

Finally, McCarthy’s Army hearings left him discredited and he was to eventially die from alcoholic cirrhosis, so I can’t help but think that you have chosen a poor analogy that is on the same level as one that would claim that the President is akin to Adolph Hitler. Unfortunately these comparisons tend to undercut not underscore one’s assertions.

As to the legal resolution of the NSA program… I hope to hear from the courts. As to any damage done by disclosure of the program… I can’t help but remember that Bin Laden and his boys quit using satelite phones years ago because they long knew that they were being tracked.

Posted by: Thomas Luckett at December 21, 2005 5:08 PM
Comment #105679

This news is only a couple days old, if American citizens rights are being violated, I think waiting to see how bad the problem is would be a good idea. Jumping to confusions is not the best thing to do at this time. If non- citizens are being staked out and their phones are being tapped, I could care less. If that is needed to stop an attack, go for it USA. For the past 5 years, I love to watch how fast GW’s opponents jump like rabid hyenas everytime they think a smoking gun has gone off and confusion reins. If history shows that this war is being fought the right way, you current opponents of Bush will look very foolish and Bush will come out of this looking pretty damn good. Being a vet, I think the risk is worth it. If you don’t think so, I could care less. The only thing I believe in is using whatever tools are needed to win. If you got a better idea, lets hear it instead of blame for the short term.I want to see an alternative” smart” strategy. If you don’t have it, I won’t care what you say.

Posted by: George A. Casper at December 21, 2005 5:11 PM
Comment #105685

George,

I think I’ve already offered an alternative solution. The only difference between mine and Bush’s is that the wiretaps would be properly warranted.

But, YET AGAIN, you’ve totally failed to acknowledge the argument, or present ANY reason why Bush’s method is superior. You appear completely unable to address the issue, and so keep trying to change the subject to other issues that you are more capable of addressing.

And yes, yes… I know all too well how the Democrats jump on Bush every chance they get, hoping to gain that 0.5% of the vote they need to win those close elections. Leftie sucks — I already know that. Preacher, meet Choir. Choir, meet Preacher. But, again, you’re dodging the question….

I’ll ask it one more time…

What harm is there in expecting the Executive to get a warrant for these wiretaps?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 21, 2005 5:21 PM
Comment #105691

Rob,

There isn’t when one is required. I’m interested to find out if one was in any of these cases.

I haven’t seen a smoking gun to say that required warrants were not requested or approved, but I have seen some behavior I’m not too fond if including the leaking of classified information to the press. That is a bit disturbing. Apparently this was done with congressional approval, though through some sense of strongarming.

My mind is not made up yet on this one, haven’t seen all of the research done yet, but I agree with you that a warrant that is required should be issued and not just ignore the requirement. We just have to answer the question if they were required or not in these cases.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 21, 2005 5:32 PM
Comment #105693

Btw, I am all for limiting the power of government, obviously, as a libertarian. But if we have legally given them the power over us, we can’t be too upset when they use it, can we?

We have the ability to take that power away too, if we choose to. Maybe one day the pendulum will start toswing back in the other direction?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 21, 2005 5:34 PM
Comment #105700

Getting a warrent for non- citizens isn’t that big a deal. Getting warrents for American citizens…YES. If a terrorist attack can be prevented without getting a warrent, who cares. what if the time to get a warrent makes it possible for the enemy to expedite an attack. What do we do then, Say OOPS, we’ll do it quicker next time? I wouldn’t want to try to solice the survivors of the dead because a warrant wasn’t attained fast enough. If you knew your neighbor was going to wipe out alot of people wouldn’t stopping him or her be the top priority? Bush is right, A warrant is needed to try a case, not to stop an act of war.

Posted by: George at December 21, 2005 5:43 PM
Comment #105704

Um, George, the law is the law. If you want to CHANGE the law, then change the law. If you want to IGNORE the law, then go to jail.

Do you see the difference?

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 21, 2005 5:45 PM
Comment #105708

Is that the same law Carter was going by in his executive order dated May 23, 1979 or Clintons dated Feb. 9, 1995. If previous Presidents have done this type of activity and it worked before, why is this differant?

Posted by: George at December 21, 2005 5:55 PM
Comment #105724

George, you are not listening to what I said. If the president did nothing illegal, meaning if the warrants weren’t required by law because of the EO and congressional consent, etc, then fine.

If not, then none of presidents who signed the EOs should be allowed to get away with violating the law like that.

It appears to me to be a very simple question. Now, let’s determine if the actions were legal or not, not just jump on another perceived smoking gun and watch it blow up everyone’s faces when it turns out not to be.

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 21, 2005 6:17 PM
Comment #105728

Rhinehold,

Changing the law is exactly what I’m suggesting. As the law is obviously somewhat ambiguous, it needs clarification. I’m not calling for blood, or impeachment, or heads on pikes or anything. I’m just looking for a clarification of the law.

George,

The FISA law allows the warrant to be obtained AFTER the wiretap is performed. There is no reason why getting a warrant would delay the intel.

Again, Bush may not have been legally required to get a warrant. But what would it have hurt to do so? What would it hurt to require it?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 21, 2005 6:26 PM
Comment #105735

Thomas Luckett
There are some errors in your post on McCarthy. I’d love to take you on at another time when it is more appropriate.

Posted by: tomh at December 21, 2005 6:58 PM
Comment #105737

This really comes down to what unreasonable means. If I’m talking to a member of a terrorist group, I don’t think that it’s unreasonable to wire tap my phone.

Posted by: David at December 21, 2005 7:03 PM
Comment #105741

Rob,

From the Presidents own mouth July 7, 2004. This was at an ask President Bush event at the Mid-States Aluminum Corporation in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin.

I hope that the White House website is a good enough source for you guys.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/07/20040714-11.html

“Q The Patriot Act is due to expire —

THE PRESIDENT: Yes.

Q — coming next year. And I find that an important tool for protecting America. And in Wisconsin here, we have Senator Russ Feingold, as you’re aware, the only Senator to vote against the Patriot Act. Wondering if you can tell us all here the importance of the Patriot Act and what we can do to help get that renewed.

THE PRESIDENT: Let me — that’s a great question. A couple of things that are very important for you to understand about the Patriot Act. First of all, any action that takes place by law enforcement requires a court order. In other words, the government can’t move on wiretaps or roving wiretaps without getting a court order.”

Posted by: Rocky at December 21, 2005 7:09 PM
Comment #105779

Does anyone dare to address the real dilemma here and that is the NY Times held this story for a year in what appears to be a staged, political attempt (yet again) to disrupt the renewal of the Patriot Act. Why in the world would they wait that long on it? I read that it looks like the author is about to release his book and the NYT would have been “scooped”.

I want to hear from the libs, the same ones that have voraciously and vehemently attacked our President every step of the way on every issue, to have the moral courage to condemn what this poor excuse for a newspaper did to this country’s National Defense in a time of War. Remember, this is Al Qaeda that the President & NSA were spying on; you know, the same Al Qaeda that the libs say the Prez should have gone after exclusively. Well, he does and now all the big fuss; even though Clinton, Reagan, & Carter did similiar things during their Presidencies.


Stand up and clarify yourselves, libs!! Rahdigly (in the Higly) is calling yous (NJ joke) out!!!
Bring it!

Posted by: rahdigly at December 21, 2005 10:16 PM
Comment #105790

David,

This really comes down to what unreasonable means. If I’m talking to a member of a terrorist group, I don’t think that it’s unreasonable to wire tap my phone.

Nor do I. I just think that a warrant should be obtained, to make sure that the power to wiretap isn’t abused.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 21, 2005 10:48 PM
Comment #105793

Rocky,

Congratulations! You’ve caught the president saying one thing, and doing another. Well done! But that doesn’t prove that either act was illegal. What it does do, however, is show that, in theory, even he understands why this sort of thing makes people uncomfortable. Now if only he’d put some of that understanding into practice….

rahdigly,

I had a nice long response to your last post written, but then I noticed that you were only asking the “libs”, so I didn’t post it.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 21, 2005 11:02 PM
Comment #105835
Stand up and clarify yourselves, libs!!

rahdigly,

The libs here have been pretty clear; stay within the law. If someone broke the law by releasing this information, or the NYT broke the law by publishing it, then they should have to answer for it, just as Bush must answer if it determined that he broke the law. More important someone needs to ask Attorney General Gonzales to clarify himself.

“This is not a backdoor approach,” Gonzales said at the White House. “We believe Congress has authorized this kind of surveillance.” He acknowledged that the administration discussed introducing legislation explicitly permitting such domestic spying but decided against it because it “would be difficult, if not impossible” to pass.

Huh? If Congress authorized the surveillance, then why would Bush think it would be impossible to pass such legislation in the Congress? That makes no sense. This is the guy giving the President legal advice? Scare me!

I like this one too:

“The whole key here is agility,” according to Air Force Gen. Michael V. Hayden, who was NSA director when the surveillance began and now serves as Bush’s deputy director of national intelligence, “most warrantless surveillance conducted under Bush’s authorization lasts just days or weeks, and requires only the approval of a shift supervisor.” Hayden said getting retroactive court approval is inefficient because it “involves marshaling arguments” and “looping paperwork around.”

Say what? He is justifying breaking the law, and disregarding the Constitution by saying they were too lazy to do the paperwork! Are these people for real?

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at December 22, 2005 2:57 AM
Comment #105848

Jay,
“The libs here have been pretty clear; stay within the law. If someone broke the law by releasing this information, or the NYT broke the law by publishing it, then they should have to answer for it, just as Bush must answer if it determined that he broke the law.”


Then, let’s have an investigation into why the NYT would post something like that in a time of war! See, what most people are missing here is the fact that, a few months ago, the big story was whether Karl Rove “outed” a CIA agent; which he didn’t. Then, a few weeks later, there’s a story about “secret CIA” prisons; certain runway that “secret CIA” planes used; and now, the “outing” of our NSA.

It’s just unbelievable how the media covered the Plamegate story as an Administration outing an agent, b/c outing an agent is “harmful” to our country; and yet, when it comes to outing our National Security, it’s the media getting to the bottom of the truth. Whatever!

I’m telling you, this is not going to go away. The media can’t cover this up and stick up for the NYT and the liberal agenda anymore. They are going to have to answer to the truth here, and it’s not going to be pretty for them. As a popular Talk Radio host says: “You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you mad”


Rob,
“I had a nice long response to your last post written, but then I noticed that you were only asking the “libs”, so I didn’t post it.”

Ha! Ha! That’s funny. Ok, Rob, I will take it back and open it up to “ALL”…

Posted by: rahdigly at December 22, 2005 6:52 AM
Comment #105853

rahdigly,

Does anyone dare to address the real dilemma here and that is the NY Times held this story for a year in what appears to be a staged, political attempt (yet again) to disrupt the renewal of the Patriot Act. Why in the world would they wait that long on it? I read that it looks like the author is about to release his book and the NYT would have been “scooped”.

Holding onto a story until a politically decisive moment, while despicable, is not illegal. Since this was classified information, though, whoever leaked it to the NYT was breaking the law. The source of the leak should be found and prosecuted.

I want to hear from the libs, the same ones that have voraciously and vehemently attacked our President every step of the way on every issue, to have the moral courage to condemn what this poor excuse for a newspaper did to this country’s National Defense in a time of War.

I’m getting a little sick of this “in a time of War” rhetoric. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are essentially over. And the “War on Terror” doesn’t qualify as a “War” anymore than the “War on Drugs” does. It’s a police action against international criminals. We’ve been fighting criminals for centuries, and will continue to do so, but that doesn’t make this “a time of War”.

Leaking this information was illegal. We’re all in agreement there. Let’s quit trying to over-dramatise it with this “in a time of War” stuff.

Remember, this is Al Qaeda that the President & NSA were spying on; you know, the same Al Qaeda that the libs say the Prez should have gone after exclusively.

And, on that point, the “libs” were right for once.

Well, he does and now all the big fuss; even though Clinton, Reagan, & Carter did similiar things during their Presidencies.

And Clinton, Reagan, and Carter should have been held accountable for it, but they weren’t. Unfortunately, they set a bad precident that Bush is now following, even though he knows that it’s not what the American people want.

All he had to do was file a warrant. Some people here apparently think that if Bush gets a warrant, then the terrorists win. I don’t understand the logic. I’m still waiting for someone to explain it to me. Heck, I’ll even make it simple for you… just complete the following sentence:

Warrantless wiretaps are more effective at fighting terrorism than warranted wiretaps because _______________________________________________.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 22, 2005 8:18 AM
Comment #105858

I totally agree with the President here. He is not tapping Phone calls of Joe Shnoe down the street. Unless Joe is talking to terrorists they have identified already. We asked the prsident to protect us from future threats, and in this day and age where terrorists can constantly change numbers, and move around, this is giving us the protection we need. It is not a violation of our rights, because how can you have the right to persue happiness with terrorists attacking American soil. I say it is a protection of our rights.
GOOD JOB BUSH!!!!

Posted by: Eric Knowles at December 22, 2005 8:27 AM
Comment #105874

Rhinehold,

Where do you get off suggesting anything that I’ve said is racial?! Show me proof!

Posted by: Karen at December 22, 2005 9:29 AM
Comment #105878

Eric Knowles,

Ok… so we’re in complete agreement that the wiretaps were necessary. But, again, why no warrants?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 22, 2005 9:38 AM
Comment #105885

Will someone please finish Rob’s sentence? “Warrantless wiretaps are more effective at fighting terrorism than warranted wiretaps because________________________________.” I will. Oh, wait! I can’t finish it because it is illegal and if it’s not, then it should be. (Emphasis on the period!)

Posted by: Karen at December 22, 2005 9:49 AM
Comment #105887

Rob,
“I’m getting a little sick of this “in a time of War” rhetoric. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are essentially over. And the “War on Terror” doesn’t qualify as a “War” anymore than the “War on Drugs” does. It’s a police action against international criminals. We’ve been fighting criminals for centuries, and will continue to do so, but that doesn’t make this “a time of War”.”


And the terrorist have lost both wars and they know it. However, their strategy is to “dissuade” the American people to turn on it’s own gov’t; just like Vietnam. So, when the Prez is blamed, for keeping us safe and infringing upon the terrorist’s civil liberties and the people they called (remember “those who harbor terrorists”), that plays right into the terrorists game plan. It’s also a game of strategy; not knowing the other side’s next move. And, what the NYT (including the person who leaked it) did was show the enemy what our strategy is. You’re right, that’s illegal and should be looked into.


“And Clinton, Reagan, and Carter should have been held accountable for it, but they weren’t. Unfortunately, they set a bad precident that Bush is now following, even though he knows that it’s not what the American people want.”


They didn’t set bad precedent, Rob; they were doing their job as President. Plain and simple. President’s have a job to protect us and keep us safe and, by wiretapping the enemy, lives were saved by this action. Remember, the Senate already granted authorization to the President and he acted on it.


Q: “Warrantless wiretaps are more effective at fighting terrorism than warranted wiretaps because”:

A: terrorism and terrorists change tactics constantly and, to keep up with this dynamic, going after a warrant is time consuming and not the most effective tool in certain situations. Allowing the President (after he received authorization) to make the decision is the right decision.


Later!

Posted by: rahdigly at December 22, 2005 9:55 AM
Comment #105894

Rhinehold,

???????? Of course, you can’t show me proof! Good grief! Have you even read any of my posts? I have asserted the whole time that warrantless searches are or should be illegal. I have also asserted that our system of checks & balances has been compromised. I have also stated that I myself was too young to stand up and cry FOUL at the underhandedness of the previous Presidents who, as some have pointed out, acted much in the same way that President Bush has. That last sentence is not a debatable subject on THIS thread. Suggesting that the President can do it IF he’s done it b/c others before him did it, is juvenile! Stand up if you want to be seen. Shout if you want your voice to be heard. Racial? Please!

Posted by: Karen at December 22, 2005 10:00 AM
Comment #105895

Rob,

What has been achieved here is what few Presidents have achomplished.
Mr. Bush has a sycophantic following that hang on his every utterance, as if it coming from God himself. They belive that he is incapable of doing any wrong, because, of course, it is for the good of the country.

Nothing that you or I say, dispite proof to the contrary, will sway these folks from their dogmatic worship of the ground that Mr. Bush walks on.

Posted by: Rocky at December 22, 2005 10:00 AM
Comment #105899

Rahdigly,

Even though you were addressing Rob I would like to comment on your feedback. Since the warrants can be issued up to 72 hours after the “search” has started, how is that time consuming? The President himself does not have to stop what he’s doing to file the paperwork. So why was it not done? By your stating, “Going after a warrant is time counsuming and not the most effective tool in certain situations” suggest to me that you believe he has issued warrantless searches. No nastiness, here. Just want clarification.

Posted by: Karen at December 22, 2005 10:06 AM
Comment #105902
going after a warrant is time consuming and not the most effective tool in certain situations.

“Going after a warrant” is a freakin’ desk job! It’s not taking agents out of the field. And with the FISA law in place, it doesn’t even have to be done before the taps are in place, so it delays nothing.

I’m not asking that we take from the President any tools that he needs to fight terrorism. He can use wiretaps whenever he deems them necessary. All I’m asking is that he document the use of that power (after the fact, even), so that we can ensure that it isn’t being abused.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 22, 2005 10:14 AM
Comment #105905

Karen,
“Oh, wait! I can’t finish it because it is illegal and if it’s not, then it should be.”


As we’ve been saying on this post, it’s not illegal. Check out the previous presidents and the Congressional Authorization Resolution in January of 2002.


“Since the warrants can be issued up to 72 hours after the “search” has started, how is that time consuming?”

It’s the “application” process that the most time consuming, it takes weeks; that’s why you can’t always rely on the courts.

Posted by: rahdigly at December 22, 2005 10:16 AM
Comment #105910

rahdigly,

It’s the “application” process that the most time consuming, it takes weeks; that’s why you can’t always rely on the courts.

But, again, that’s a desk job. It’s not pulling agents out of the field, and it’s not delaying the wiretap, so what’s the problem?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 22, 2005 10:21 AM
Comment #105914

Rahdigly,

Don’t even have to respond if you’ll take the time to pour over Rob’s last post.

Posted by: Karen at December 22, 2005 10:27 AM
Comment #105924

Rahdigly,

I’ll tell you what. I want to debate on a fair understanding so I will admit that I don’t readily have the proof of what the presiden’t role in securing the warrants is even if it’s after the “search”. But do you? Can you outline the exact chain of command for this “paperwork”? Please reply with the appropriate links.

Posted by: Karen at December 22, 2005 10:34 AM
Comment #105936

To Rob and Karen,

The bottom line is that FISA and all the other policies, that were in place prior to 9/11, did not work well at all; just look at how 9/11 Commission graded the agencies and policies. We had a huge “wall” and needed to “connect the dots” better and that is what the Patriot Act and the NSA’s eavesdropping on terrorists have done.


Quick question, would president FDR allow this kind of questioning and leaking of the presidential powers during WWII? He didn’t allow it, so should he be “investigated”? Think about it.

Posted by: rahdigly at December 22, 2005 10:52 AM
Comment #105941

To all,
“Life” summons me to its daily routine. I will pick this back up later. I have read your post rahdigly and I will have a response. But for now. What is your point? Scroll back a few posts and start fresh. Geez!

Posted by: Karen at December 22, 2005 11:04 AM
Comment #105948

rahdigly,

The bottom line is that FISA and all the other policies, that were in place prior to 9/11, did not work well at all; just look at how 9/11 Commission graded the agencies and policies. We had a huge “wall” and needed to “connect the dots” better and that is what the Patriot Act and the NSA’s eavesdropping on terrorists have done.

Bush’s administration was in place prior to 9/11, too. Do you judge them as deficient? The point is that FISA was deficient because it wasn’t used effectively.

Yes, 9/11 exposed several problems in our national security. But giving unchecked wiretap authority to the Executive isn’t the solution to those problems. In the long run, it will create more problems than it solves.

Quick question, would president FDR allow this kind of questioning and leaking of the presidential powers during WWII? He didn’t allow it, so should he be “investigated”? Think about it.

Unfortunately, FDR probably wouldn’t have. And there are certain things that he did that we DID investigate and determine unconstitutional after the fact (such as the interment of Japanese-Americans).

But, again, we’re back to that whole “during a time of war” argument. FDR did what he did during a war. Even if it was necessary then, it was deemed unnecessary once the war was done. That’s why we don’t have Japanese interment camps anymore. Our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are essentially over. Isn’t it time to return to a non-war stance?

That’s what scares me about this whole “War on Terror” concept. It’s not a war against a nation, an organization, or any group of people. It’s a war against a battle tactic! And since you can never completely rid the world of terrorism, it puts our country in a perpetual war stance, in which civil liberties take second stage to furthering the war.

How many times, in this thread alone, have the left and center been accused of treason for simply asking that our civil liberties be protected?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 22, 2005 11:17 AM
Comment #106010

Rob,
“Bush’s administration was in place prior to 9/11, too. Do you judge them as deficient? The point is that FISA was deficient because it wasn’t used effectively.”


Yes, the Bush administration were (definitely) deficient the 7 1/2 months they were in office. The good thing about 9/11 (if that’s even possible) is the fact that the enemy was able to expose what wasn’t working and what we needed to do to fight terrorism and keep us safe.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/technology/chi-0512210142dec21,1,2062394.story?coll=chi-technology-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true

“President Bush’s post- Sept. 11, 2001, authorization to the National Security Agency to carry out electronic surveillance into private phone calls and e-mails is consistent with court decisions and with the positions of the Justice Department under prior presidents.”

And, civil liberties are protected; it’s the terrorist’s civil liberties that aren’t.

Posted by: rahdigly at December 22, 2005 12:24 PM
Comment #106026
Dave, “The evidence is staring you in the face, you just deny it. So why should I bother?” Try me. Where’s your evidence?!!! Bring it… Posted by rahdigly at December 21, 2005 03:52 PM

Sorry, I don’t teach special-ed.

Posted by: Dave at December 22, 2005 12:41 PM
Comment #106030

rahdigly,

I don’t think anybody has said don’t investigate the NYT or find out who the leaker was. Investigate the whole lot of ‘em. The NYT though is protected under the 1st amendment’s freedom of the press clause, so that would be a pretty worthless investigation. Investigate to find out who leaked the info to the press, then prosecute. Neither of these things really threatened national security, that is just another Bush scare tactic. I’m sure the terrorists already knew there was a pretty high chance they were being wiretapped prior to this leak.

The President should be held to a higher standard than these other two, though. He is commander and chief of the military, but is not the commander and chief of the homefront. The laws of the land under the Constitution even during wartime remain within the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branch. (and before you start a history lesson, the whole point of history is that we learn from it so we do not keep repeating the same mistakes. It is not a free ticket to do what ever Bush wants.) The only time the President should have the authority to work outside the law on the homefront is when there is an immanent threat that requires quick and decisive action. This is not such a case. He did not receive authorization from Congress to do warrantless wiretaps. Congress authorized the “use all necessary and appropriate force”. I don’t think Congress meant that working outside the law was “appropriate force”.

He also did not get approval for the warrantless wiretaps from Congress. He had a meeting with some top congressional leaders, where they were sworn to secrecy, then they were told what he was doing. From what I have read so far, most expressed concerns. This was not a meeting to get permission, it was meeting to tell them what he was doing, whether Congress thought it was appropriate or not. There was never a vote in Congress to authorize such surveillance. As I pointed out earlier the Attorney General even said that they did not peruse it with Congress because it would have been impossible to get approval.

However, their strategy is to “dissuade” the American people to turn on it’s own gov’t; just like Vietnam.

So what are you saying here? That Bush is working for the terrorists? It is Bush and his policies that are turning the American people on our own government. The terrorist have nothing to do with that, other than creating the fear for the Bush administration use to push through his agenda, that you say is a terrorist strategy.

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at December 22, 2005 12:46 PM
Comment #106054

Jay,

“The only time the President should have the authority to work outside the law on the homefront is when there is an immanent threat that requires quick and decisive action. This is not such a case. He did not receive authorization from Congress to do warrantless wiretaps. Congress authorized the “use all necessary and appropriate force”. I don’t think Congress meant that working outside the law was “appropriate force”.”


So, should we listen to what you think, or should we go to the courts? Why don’t you take a look at this for a “judicial” lesson:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/technology/chi-0512210142dec21,1,2062394.story?coll=chi-technology-hed&ctrack=1&cset=true


“Four federal courts of appeal subsequently faced the issue squarely and held that the president has inherent authority to authorize wiretapping for foreign intelligence purposes without judicial warrant.

In the most recent judicial statement on the issue, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, composed of three federal appellate court judges, said in 2002 that “All the … courts to have decided the issue held that the president did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence … We take for granted that the president does have that authority.”


“Every president since FISA’s passage has asserted that he retained inherent power to go beyond the act’s terms. Under President Clinton, deputy Atty. Gen. Jamie Gorelick testified that “the Department of Justice believes, and the case law supports, that the president has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes.”

I’ll let you chew on that for awhile…

Posted by: rahdigly at December 22, 2005 1:19 PM
Comment #106066

rahdigly,

And, civil liberties are protected; it’s the terrorist’s civil liberties that aren’t.

So how are civil liberties protected in this case? How are we protected from inappropriate, warrantless wiretapping?

Again, I’m not saying that wiretapping terrorists is inappopriate. But there have been so many defenses put up around the President’s powers here that we have no way of knowing whether only terrorists are being targetted. All we have is his word on the matter. And, while I may trust the word of this president on the matter, what protection do we have from future presidents who would abuse this power?

Please, rahdigly, tell me — what prevents a President from wiretapping non-terrorist US citizens using this power?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 22, 2005 1:39 PM
Comment #106094

Rob,
“So how are civil liberties protected in this case? How are we protected from inappropriate, warrantless wiretapping?


If OBL calls, hang up right away! If we don’t deal with terrorists, we’ll have no problems.


“But there have been so many defenses put up around the President’s powers here that we have no way of knowing whether only terrorists are being targetted.”


It’s called the US Constitution; blame that for the “many defenses”.


“Please, rahdigly, tell me - what prevents a President from wiretapping non-terrorist US citizens using this power?”


Us! We have to be careful who we elect. That’s why Hillary will never be prez!!

Posted by: rahdigly at December 22, 2005 2:16 PM
Comment #106111

rahdigly,

“Please, rahdigly, tell me - what prevents a President from wiretapping non-terrorist US citizens using this power?”


Us! We have to be careful who we elect. That’s why Hillary will never be prez!!

So you’re throwing checks and balances out the window, and placing the entire kitty on whether the same people who elected Bill Clinton are good judges of character??!! Heaven help us!

And, for the record, although you and I may refuse to vote for Hillary, there are a LOT of people out there who would be happy to vote for her. She’s got a better shot at the job than just about anyone else right now, I’m sorry to say.

And look how many people voted for John Kerry. Only one person has EVER gotten more votes for president than he did. (That person, of course, was Bush, which is why Kerry’s not president today.) A Ross Perot-esque draw on conservative voters could have EASILY put Gore or Kerry in the White House these past two elections.

And there are even more corrupt people out there trying to win office. Remember, Adolf Hitler was an elected official. A shrewd candidate can get people to vote for just about anything.

No, sir. I’m not willing to bet my civil liberties on the judgement of the average voter. Not today… not ever!

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 22, 2005 2:30 PM
Comment #106127

Rob,
“So you’re throwing checks and balances out the window, and placing the entire kitty on whether the same people who elected Bill Clinton are good judges of character??!!”

Here’s what a former Clinton Official said recently:

“I do not believe the Constitution allows Congress to take away from the president the inherent authority to act in response to a foreign attack. That inherent power is reason to be careful about who we elect as president, but it is authority we have needed in the past and, in the light of history, could well need again.”

________________________________________________

“And, for the record, although you and I may refuse to vote for Hillary, there are a LOT of people out there who would be happy to vote for her.”

Yikes!!


_________________________________________________

“She’s got a better shot at the job than just about anyone else right now, I’m sorry to say.”

I’m sorry to hear :o) Seriously though, check out rassmussenreports.com, they usually have the “Hillary meter” on there. Last month it said 25% would definitely vote for her; 42% say they definitely wouldn’t.


____________________________________________

“Only one person has EVER gotten more votes for president than he did. (That person, of course, was Bush, which is why Kerry’s not president today.)”

Amen, and hallelujah to that!!!


____________________________________________

“No, sir. I’m not willing to bet my civil liberties on the judgement of the average voter. Not today… not ever!”

You already do, and it’s been going on in this country for over 200 years now. Sorry Rob, elections matter.

Posted by: rahdigly at December 22, 2005 2:54 PM
Comment #106132
I’ll let you chew on that for awhile… Posted by: rahdigly at December 22, 2005 01:19 PM

rahdigly,

I would love to, except the site you sent me to won’t let me access it, even though I am registered and logged in. If you have other sources that don’t seem to be locked down, please let me know. Thanks, JayJay

Posted by: JayJay Snowman at December 22, 2005 2:59 PM
Comment #106170
“I do not believe the Constitution allows Congress to take away from the president the inherent authority to act in response to a foreign attack.

I agree with this entirely. But “in response to a foreign attack” needs some definition. Obviously, the President today doesn’t still have the authority to act in response to Pearl Harbor, which happened over 60 years ago. Eventually we stand down from our war stance and enter “day-to-day defense” mode.

The president has increased powers during an emergency. That’s not being questioned here. But we’re not in an emergency anymore. It’s time to stop acting like we are.

Sorry Rob, elections matter.

Yes, they most certainly do. But our system of laws, of checks and balances, means that we don’t bet the entire kitty on one election. If we make a mistake, which we have done several times (in the case of Ted Kennedy, several times IN A ROW), checks and balances prevent that person from doing too much damage before we remove them from power. Without checks and balances, a democracy’s first mistake will likely be its last.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at December 22, 2005 3:36 PM
Comment #106175

Jay,
“I would love to, except the site you sent me to won’t let me access it, even though I am registered and logged in. If you have other sources that don’t seem to be locked down, please let me know.”


Here, I copied and pasted the entire article for you:


President had legal authority to OK taps

By John Schmidt
Published December 21, 2005


President Bush’s post- Sept. 11, 2001, authorization to the National Security Agency to carry out electronic surveillance into private phone calls and e-mails is consistent with court decisions and with the positions of the Justice Department under prior presidents.

The president authorized the NSA program in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America. An identifiable group, Al Qaeda, was responsible and believed to be planning future attacks in the United States. Electronic surveillance of communications to or from those who might plausibly be members of or in contact with Al Qaeda was probably the only means of obtaining information about what its members were planning next. No one except the president and the few officials with access to the NSA program can know how valuable such surveillance has been in protecting the nation.

In the Supreme Court’s 1972 Keith decision holding that the president does not have inherent authority to order wiretapping without warrants to combat domestic threats, the court said explicitly that it was not questioning the president’s authority to take such action in response to threats from abroad.

Four federal courts of appeal subsequently faced the issue squarely and held that the president has inherent authority to authorize wiretapping for foreign intelligence purposes without judicial warrant.

In the most recent judicial statement on the issue, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, composed of three federal appellate court judges, said in 2002 that “All the … courts to have decided the issue held that the president did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence … We take for granted that the president does have that authority.”

The passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 1978 did not alter the constitutional situation. That law created the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that can authorize surveillance directed at an “agent of a foreign power,” which includes a foreign terrorist group. Thus, Congress put its weight behind the constitutionality of such surveillance in compliance with the law’s procedures.

But as the 2002 Court of Review noted, if the president has inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches, “FISA could not encroach on the president’s constitutional power.”

Every president since FISA’s passage has asserted that he retained inherent power to go beyond the act’s terms. Under President Clinton, deputy Atty. Gen. Jamie Gorelick testified that “the Department of Justice believes, and the case law supports, that the president has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes.”

FISA contains a provision making it illegal to “engage in electronic surveillance under color of law except as authorized by statute.” The term “electronic surveillance” is defined to exclude interception outside the U.S., as done by the NSA, unless there is interception of a communication “sent by or intended to be received by a particular, known United States person” (a U.S. citizen or permanent resident) and the communication is intercepted by “intentionally targeting that United States person.” The cryptic descriptions of the NSA program leave unclear whether it involves targeting of identified U.S. citizens. If the surveillance is based upon other kinds of evidence, it would fall outside what a FISA court could authorize and also outside the act’s prohibition on electronic surveillance.

The administration has offered the further defense that FISA’s reference to surveillance “authorized by statute” is satisfied by congressional passage of the post-Sept. 11 resolution giving the president authority to “use all necessary and appropriate force” to prevent those responsible for Sept. 11 from carrying out further attacks. The administration argues that obtaining intelligence is a necessary and expected component of any military or other use of force to prevent enemy action.

But even if the NSA activity is “electronic surveillance” and the Sept. 11 resolution is not “statutory authorization” within the meaning of FISA, the act still cannot, in the words of the 2002 Court of Review decision, “encroach upon the president’s constitutional power.”

FISA does not anticipate a post-Sept. 11 situation. What was needed after Sept. 11, according to the president, was surveillance beyond what could be authorized under that kind of individualized case-by-case judgment. It is hard to imagine the Supreme Court second-guessing that presidential judgment.

Should we be afraid of this inherent presidential power? Of course. If surveillance is used only for the purpose of preventing another Sept. 11 type of attack or a similar threat, the harm of interfering with the privacy of people in this country is minimal and the benefit is immense. The danger is that surveillance will not be used solely for that narrow and extraordinary purpose.

But we cannot eliminate the need for extraordinary action in the kind of unforeseen circumstances presented by Sept.11. I do not believe the Constitution allows Congress to take away from the president the inherent authority to act in response to a foreign attack. That inherent power is reason to be careful about who we elect as president, but it is authority we have needed in the past and, in the light of history, could well need again.

—————

John Schmidt served under President Clinton from 1994 to 1997 as the associate attorney general of the United States. He is now a partner in the Chicago-based law firm of Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw.

Copyright © 2005, Chicago Tribune

Posted by: rahdigly at December 22, 2005 3:41 PM
Comment #221406

Watchdog blog has fleas
George W Bush was elected to save us from the evil left behing by Osama Bin Impeached billy boob clintoon.

Posted by: Bruce at May 27, 2007 5:49 AM
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