May 19 Sources: NSA "Spying" is Legal and Smart

The NSA phone analysis is a non-starter for Dems and they will not really push this one. The article on connecting the dots explains why. Phone analysis is a good idea. Besides the Supreme Court as far back as 1979 explicitly ruled the Fourth Amendment doesn’t include phone-calling records.

In a big blow to the tin foil crowd, there once again is no evidence that extra terrestrials have ever visited our planet. Where Have All the UFOs Gone shows . . . well nothing.

Here are a few more interesting articles.

Hate at the Movies

Title IX Should Not Be Used as a Weapon

Public Worried About Iran but Wary of Military Action

The Iraq/Vietnam Difference

Primaries Feed Incumbent Jitters

Securing America’s Energy Future

U.S. Public Diplomacy

Government Access to Phone Calling Data

As the Middle East Comes Apart, Europe & America Come Together

Where Have All the UFOs Gone


Posted by Jack at May 19, 2006 10:41 PM
Comment #149639


I suppose America can decide what it wants to accept in the way of freedoms and rights, but are you sure you want a single administration, without oversight from Congress, or without informing the American people of its actions to decide what infringements it will make upon those freedoms? Because… it seems to me that this administration makes a lot of very powerful, who-we-are-as-a-Nation decisions without informing the American people or letting them have a say.

The test for you is this (and answer honestly!): Would you have been OK with this had Clinton or (suppose for argument’s sake) Kerry had taken this action? C’mon now, be HONEST!

We fought in 1776 to relieve ourselves from a monarchy. Are we headed toward a military dictatorship now? Witness the Hayden confirmation hearings. Is it not the American people’s business to know about domestic surveillance? We aren’t to know about America’s torture policies, about prisoners held incommunicado, secret foreign prisons and torture chambers? What have we come to? I do not trust this administration and they have provided no reason for me to trust them when they implore that they aren’t crossing the line.

Now they are probing telephone systems? When will they come to my door to send me to the gulag??? Don’t tell me we don’t have them! The administration is outraged that the media told us about them! One day an American will be sent to one of these prisons… if they haven’t already done so. This is serious stuff here.

I’m a product of the Cold War years (born 1956). I know what they told me about the EVIL Russians (Soviets). They LIED to their own people and used propaganda.. no free press or flow of information. They silenced those opposed to their government. They tortured and held political prisoners. They took over countries and tried to impose their form of government on those countries.

Dang!!! that’s US now! God Help Us All.


Posted by: LibRick at May 19, 2006 11:19 PM
Comment #149644

If it’s so effective, where are the terrorists we nabbed from doing it? If it is such a no-brainer, why not tell the American public about it? If it’s such a good idea, how about random search and seizures of citizens’ private homes?

I mean, I’m not a criminal, I have nothing to hide, if you’re against the idea of random body cavity searches you’re probably a terrorist anyway! There was a time when Republicans would have been against the idea of big brother watching their every action. Those days are gone. How long before this is used for political purposes? Let’s face it, it probably already has been.

Posted by: Max at May 19, 2006 11:37 PM
Comment #149646

Btw, Jack, you should read the post about what Gore had to say regarding nuclear power and corn-based ethanol. Seriously, I think you will be interested, I’m not being snarky.

Posted by: Max at May 19, 2006 11:39 PM
Comment #149668

It’s called a warrant, one needs it to break another’s privacy. However, our ol’ faithful Dubya is breaking the law by invading the privacies of innocent Americans without a warrant.
Under the FISA Act, the Gov’t could get a warrant after a wiretapping took place, yet Bush decides to ignore the dam thing and goes on to break the law.


Posted by: greenstuff at May 20, 2006 12:40 AM
Comment #149669
The billions of telephone-calling records voluntarily provided to the NSA by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth are anonymous. This means they’re just phone numbers - the caller’s names/addresses aren’t identified in the calling record.

LOL! Go google your phone number. What planet are you guys living on that you think a phone number isn’t just as (or more) accurate an identifier as your full name?

Posted by: American Pundit at May 20, 2006 12:42 AM
Comment #149677

There have been 2 issues -
Calling records… Why are we we discussing this issue since it has been determined that phone records are not private decades ago by the supreme court.

International calls to questionable destinations - this is bit more grey… but do you really expect US protection on an international call?

This really goes back to the question of do you really belive we are at war?

If you do, you belive it is a great idea to monitor calling patters, listen to questionable conversations, detain those who wish to harm us, and use agressive methods of questioning.

Our nation has the ability to VAPORIZE all organic matter in a region of the world where our enemy lives… anything short of that is showing mercy!

Posted by: Shawn at May 20, 2006 1:09 AM
Comment #149682
do you really expect US protection on an international call?

Shawn, there’s evidence that domestic calls between American citizens within the United States are also getting tapped without a warrant as part of that program. Otherwise, this wouldn’t be much of an issue.

Posted by: American Pundit at May 20, 2006 1:20 AM
Comment #149690

Jack, thanks for the weekly right wing slant reader.

connecting the dots- agreed it’s probably legal. So is evicting widows from their Homes when they don’t understand or respond to some wacko from the Homeowner’s Association. How’s does anyone know if it’s necessary or not? Please reveal the detailed knowledge you have of this program, then turn yourself in to the local sheriff for treason.

Title IX Should not be used as a weapon— Let me see if I get this argument right…Title 9 worked in athletics, there is still a cultural shortfall of women in science, engineering and math… therefore if we stir up fear about an imaginary cutback in science for men we should therefore repeal title 9? Maybe she forgot the argument that women are just too stupid to want to go into these subjects. Is she married to Jimmy the Greek?

This is too easy…I’ll attack the rest of this nonsense later.

Where have all the UFOs gone—given that most UFOs are known to haunt the swamps of Georgia, a Republican stronghold,Why are you looking for them in England? Thanks for the sample of Republican sexist rant:

As for the existence of Fairies, the Taipei Times reported yesterday that this “myth” resisted debunking “because fairies have an eternal appeal to the vast swathes of every female generation who love their itty-bitty dresses and their iridescent wings and their flowery bowers.” (See here.) The paper concluded that “Rational argument becomes sodden and useless upon contact with minds so wet, alas.”
Alas indeed.

Hate at the Movies Thanks for letting us know fiction and entertainment are always against something. Paranoia is running deep here. Hint: Drama always include antagonists and heros. Tell someone at AEI to get a clue.

Posted by: gergle at May 20, 2006 2:50 AM
Comment #149691

oops somehow those comments got out of order…must have been those aliens.

Posted by: gergle at May 20, 2006 2:52 AM
Comment #149693

Ok having read the rest of your links I don’t have major disputes with those as they are informative.

The link about US diplomacy problems is easy though: GW Bush, Dick Cheney, John Bolton. Nuff Said?

Posted by: gergle at May 20, 2006 3:10 AM
Comment #149694

“There have been no extraterrestrial visitors to British skies in the past 30 years.”

That’s exactly what the aliens want us to think. We are falling right into their trap.

It’s Bush’s fault.

Posted by: zorgon at May 20, 2006 3:15 AM
Comment #149709

America: Love it or Leave it.

This means if you don’t love the freedoms and liberties offered here in the US, why don’t you move to some facist country where your civil liberty violations (wire taps, habeus corpus, rendition…)are a standard of life.

Don’t push your fear mongering complicity on me.

Posted by: nutty little nut nut at May 20, 2006 7:34 AM
Comment #149720

In Response to LibRick’s comment:

“The test for you is this (and answer honestly!): Would you have been OK with this had Clinton or (suppose for argument’s sake) Kerry had taken this action? C’mon now, be HONEST!”

I have to tell you, if Kerry were President today he would never authorize the phone-tappings. And as a Conservative Republican, I would have supporte him had he done so. In fact, former President Bill Clinton should have zipped up his pants and take actions against Suddam Hussein years ago. But you know, he had other priorities like getting blow jobs from women not his wife or defining the word “is”.

Posted by: Dana at May 20, 2006 10:29 AM
Comment #149724


Congressional Intelligence committees were briefed on this all along. Briefings were available to congressional party leaders including Democrats Pelosi and Reid. That is the oversight we need. The principle has been vetted the courts as early as 1979. You may want to expand the definition of privacy to include analysis of phone records, I don’t feel it has anything to do with liberty to look for patterns among nameless numbers.

I would have had no trouble with Clinton doing it. I always assumed the NSA was doing things like this all along. This is a far cry from the Gulag. The hyperbole is overpowering, in fact, and shows how out of touch people can be. You probably have never talked to anyone who lived under communism when they actually did fear their government. You don’t. Otherwise you would not be writing.


We have not had any terrorist attacks on U.S. soil since 9/11. We have broken up several groups. This is the dog the didn’t bark. If you remember the analogy, that is the significance.

And you are not justified to extrapolate from data analysis to body searches. Have you been to an airport recently? Aren’t you afraid that those measures will be extended to your home? We could much more easily extrapolate that.


If you are arguing about the wiretaps you can talk about warrants. If you are talking about the data analysis, no warrant is required. Read the article and check on the Supreme Court decision. Do they need a warrant at the airport to check you in the line?

Do you want law enforcement to do nothing? All investigations CAN find individuals. That is the nature of investigations. You have to look at lots of data until you find the ones that lead to the bad guys. Did you marry the first girl you met or did you date (or even look at) some others? Why did you need to do that? Couldn’t you just go to the right one without any investigation?


You cannot evict people w/o good cause or sufficient warning. Have you ever tried to evict anyone? Even when they stop paying their rent and start to steal the fixtures, it takes a lot of time.

Title IX has a mixed record. My daughter almost benefited from it with a scholarship in crew. What were her qualifications? Being female and being tall. Unfortunately (for me) she didn’t want to put in the time. Men are more interested in sports than women. It is hard to find enough women to balance the men. We don’t need to extend that artificial distinction to other areas.

The UFO thing is just funny.

Hate in the movies. I don’t care about such things. But imagine a movie that treated a politically correct subject. What if we made fictional movie. Imagine a movie that showed AIDS activists infecting children to draw attention to their cause or civil rights workers murdering protestors to provoke a reaction. Would that be a hateful movie?

The other trouble is that some people really do thing the DaVinci Code is based on real facts.

Posted by: Jack at May 20, 2006 10:55 AM
Comment #149729

LibRick, good post.

Max, you too. You wrote:
“If it’s so effective, where are the terrorists we nabbed from doing it? If it is such a no-brainer, why not tell the American public about it?”

Exactly. I think it’s pretty obvious that such massive and sweeping domestic data mining of phone records really doesn’t have anything to do with “The War On Terror”.

“I mean, I’m not a criminal, I have nothing to hide, if you’re against the idea of random body cavity searches you’re probably a terrorist anyway!”

Maybe one day Republican Big Brother will even allow these cavity searches to be utilized by their corporatist friends:
This anal probe brought to you by AT&T. Tagline: “We’re Looking Everywhere — To Keep America Safe.”

Posted by: Adrienne at May 20, 2006 11:20 AM
Comment #149730

Title IX is just another liberal special but equal plan. In order for one of their ‘protected’ groups to ‘feel’ equal another group must be discriminated against, by law, just to be ‘fair’.

Posted by: pige at May 20, 2006 11:32 AM
Comment #149748

“Title IX is just another liberal special but equal plan. In order for one of their ‘protected’ groups to ‘feel’ equal another group must be discriminated against, by law, just to be ‘fair’.”

??? Please explain what “protected” group you are talking about?

Posted by: tony at May 20, 2006 1:36 PM
Comment #149764

Back in the days of my youth, when Republicans wanted small governments and balanced budgets, I recall arguments about gun control that went like this: it’s important to have guns in private hands, and important that they not be regulated by the government - because if government ever got out of hand and became repressive, the citizens should have the ability to fight back.

At the time this seemed like a silly argument. Now, of course, it seems even sillier - all the gun-toting John Wayne wannabes seem to be suddenly willing to hand over anything the Feds ask for: phone records, medical records, …and with amazingly few checks & balances to prevent abuse.

Out of curiousity, Jack, what sorts of personal liberty / privacy rights / political freedom would you not want to give up for Bush’s “Long War”? I think it’s worth putting stuff like this down - as I see it, this country is drifting further and further away from what I consider basic American values, we should all stop and draw some lines in the sand, if for no other reason than to track the shifts in attitude.

Posted by: William Cohen at May 20, 2006 4:11 PM
Comment #149772

Why do REPs find it so easy to send others off to fight and die for FREEDOM, but when it comes to anything on the homefront, anything that might call for their own risk, they had over these freedoms without question.

I wonder what message they are sending to the troops?

Posted by: tony at May 20, 2006 5:18 PM
Comment #149775

Spying on US citizens? Building a wall on the border?

Feels like East Germany all over again.

Keep chipping away at the Constitution and there ain’t no recognizable America left to fly a flag over.

Bush says first that the gov’t will not spy without warrants; then he backtracks and claims the gov’t is spying without warrants, but it’s ok because they’re not spying on domestic phone calls. Then he backtracks again, claiming the gov’t IS spying on domestic phone calls without warrants — but it’s ok because, well, he says so. Then the investigation into the spying is stopped dead in its tracks by the very agency that’s being investigated.

Just how intrusive, how spooky, do things have to get, Jack, before you get nervous about how broadly the executive branch defines its scope of power?

Posted by: pianofan at May 20, 2006 5:53 PM
Comment #149789


I agree. Collecting phone numbers is not a violation of the forth amendment. It is a violation of all of the other laws. I guess the other laws don’t count? Warrant-less wiretaps are a violation of the forth amendments. Why are the “Reds” markedly less upset when Bush bald faced lies about wiretapping Americans than they are when Clinton bald faced lies about getting his cigar licked? And… exactly which part of - once they have your “anonymous” phone number, they can electronically cross reference it to all of their other massive database information - don’t you “Reds” understand? Especially since they are doing it through Choice Point which completely circumvents the protections of our privacy. Are you not concerned about this awesome power? Personal liberty, right to privacy, unbridled government power, this should be a “Red” issue. Where did the real “Reds” go? Why must we “Greens” and “Blues” pick up the slack here?

Posted by: Ray Guest at May 20, 2006 10:01 PM
Comment #149790


What “other laws” are those? Government has some awesome powers. We have to keep be careful. This is not one of the dangerous cases. Ordinary government regulations of how we do business are much more of a threat.

There are two separate issues, BTW. The wiretapping was discussed last time. That one is still not clearly decided by the courts. The new issue is phone records, which is clearly decided by the courts and found legal.

Yes, they can cross check numbers. That is what it means to investigate. To capture criminals or prevent crimes you have to investigate. Unless you don’t want to investigate or prevent crimes, you have to accept that the authorities can investigate.

Posted by: Jack at May 20, 2006 10:32 PM
Comment #149817

>>Yes, they can cross check numbers. That is what it means to investigate. To capture criminals or prevent crimes you have to investigate. Unless you don’t want to investigate or prevent crimes, you have to accept that the authorities can investigate.

Posted by: Jack at May 20, 2006 10:32 PM

But, when the government tracks my PRIVATE life, don’t you think it should seek a warrant? Do all investigations include scatter-shot methods (okay I’ll keep Cheney out of this)? Wasn’t that the reason for warrants in the first place? Wasn’t it to keep enforsement from abusing its power, by limiting investigations into private matters without probable cause?

Posted by: Marysdude at May 21, 2006 12:17 AM
Comment #149828


You’re a reasonable guy and I suspect we could sit in a cafe and have many stimulating conversations, but I simply do not get why you take the slant you do on so many posts. Perhaps you simply like to antagonize.

Eviction was not my point. Just because something is legal, doesn’t make it right was my point. Here in Houston there are no zoning laws. Many communities have Homeowner’s Associations created to enforce deed restrictions. A recent case here involved an elderly woman who had failed to pay her Assoc. dues. The Homeowner’s association foreclosed on her home, sold it in auction to a real estate speculator (who it turned had defaulted on his taxes on several properties) for pennies on the dollar to collect their fee. She was evicted and eventually she was either compensated or returned to her home after a great deal of public furor and embarrassment of the speculator and the Homeowners’s Association in the media (I forget the details ). I know they talked about changing the law to limit HA powers to foreclose.

You say title IX has had mixed results but offered no evidence. Neither did the article. It simply speculated that it could hurt science education, even though it hasn’t through the years it has function. “Men like sports better than women.” I’ll let you tell that to women athletes at the next WNBA game (Houston has a championship team) and make sure to sit far away from you. I rarely watch sports myself. How often do the women in your life whack you upside the head?

Didn’t Philadelphia show a lot of hypocrisy about gays and those supposedly sympathetic? I’m sure there are movies about the subjects you propose..I’m just not that familiar with movie plots. Drama is Drama is Drama, I don’t know of any sacred cows there. Many shows take sympathetic views of causes of the day….to draw audiences…duh. It’s about ENTERTAINMENT, not news or truth. Let’s not conflate and confuse those more than the media already does. Especially FOX. (had to say it.)

I think everyone’s problem with the NSA revelations has to do with oversite and balance of powers issues, not espionage per se.

Posted by: gergle at May 21, 2006 2:32 AM
Comment #149907


You wrote: “What “other laws” are those?”

In your link: “Government Access to Phone Calling Data” Page 7, FISA - Page 10, FISA - Page 15, Communications Act of 1934 - Page 17, Customer Proprietary Network Information - Act 47 U.S.C. Section 502 - Act 47 U.S.C. Section 503 (b)(1) - Act 18 U.S.C. Section 2703 (e) - Act 47 U.S.C. Section 222 - etc. - etc. - etc. - etc. - etc - etc. - etc. - etc. - etc. - … Those laws don’t count? You have the unmitigated gall to declare that this has been determined to be legal???

Posted by: Ray Guest at May 21, 2006 12:27 PM
Comment #149909


We do not even know what they are actually doing. How can it have been determined to be legal? By what authority - what check - what balance?

Posted by: Ray Guest at May 21, 2006 12:30 PM
Comment #149918


We don’t even know what they are doing. You declare it has been determined to be legal - but not just legal - you declare it to be wise - wise - wise. Does God even know enough about the program to know if it is wise? Based on their past performance, I would prefer not to trust the Bush regimes assessment of the programs wisdom - Thank you.

Posted by: Ray Guest at May 21, 2006 1:21 PM
Comment #149930


To correct my own earlier post - you say it is smart, not wise - someone else must have said that it is wise - same difference.

Posted by: Ray Guest at May 21, 2006 2:51 PM
Comment #150017


Home owners associations don’t have that kind of power where l live. My wife is the president of our board. We can assess dues or penalties, but we cannot make anyone pay. The only option we have is to attach the house, which means that the association MIGHT have a way to get the money when the person sells the house. We cannot evict anyone, since they are the home owners.

Re title IX – more men enroll in sports. More women enroll in dance. The simple solution would be to just call dance sport or sport dance.

If you want to read about the problems Google title IX wresting or title IX swimming. You will see how some colleges had to get rid of some men’s sports because they could not get enough women to enroll in sports to compensate.


The Supreme Court case mentioned in the article came in 1979 AFTER FISA and after the 1934 statute you mention. We don’t like all the decisions the Supreme Court makes, but what they say is the law IS the law.

You are right that we don’t know the details of the program. I have seen nothing that makes me feel uneasy. You probably have not either, but you assume there must be something. There is no way to resolve this. I can only say that Congressional committees have been briefed including party leaders such as Pelosi & Reid. That is oversight. Some things need to be kept secret. I don’t see alternatives. You cannot keep a secret if you brief too many people. We obviously cannot keep many secrets in general.

A minor point - I don’t think smart and wise are the same. YOu an make a smart move that is not particularly wise and sometimes a wise choice is not a smart one.

Posted by: Jack at May 21, 2006 11:24 PM
Comment #150172

Jack sez: “I have seen nothing that makes me feel uneasy.”

Yes, and since they haven’t let you see anything, that condition will remain. Note that for some us the fact that you can’t see anything makes us feel uneasy. We remember J. Edgar Hoover and Nixon and how they used surveillance information.

That’s the thing I don’t get. Smaller government, less intrusion into personal lives, mistrust of the govenment without full oversight: these all used to be conservative values. If you are a conservative, rather than an apologist for whatever the administration cooks up, why are you on this side of the privacy argument? Just wondering.

Posted by: Mental Wimp at May 22, 2006 1:28 PM
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