Third Party & Independents Archives

December 17, 2005

NSA Spying and our Authoritarian America

With the NSA spying on Americans, if Bush committed an impeachable offense in ordering it, and that is a very big IF at this point, it is pretty damn certain the House of Republicans would never conduct impeachment hearings against him. And that is how corrupt our political parties and government have become. The laws are for the rest of us, not the leadership in government unless an up and comer can get some political gain out of bumping the king off the mountain.

George Orwell warned us all, that Big Brother was coming. Well Big Brother has been very much alive and well in more and more democracies on the planet including ours, especially since 9/11. Fear drives people toward paternalistic Big Brothers for protection. Compromising our individual liberties to ease our fears is exactly how Big Brother gets a toe hold in democracies. Fearfull, gutless Americans are quite willing to sacrifice the principles which made this country a beacon for oppressed people the world over when the boogie man is loose.

On 9/11, the boogie man was set loose in America and Bush along with 10’s of millions of other fearful gutless Americans chose to cave on their principles of liberty, freedom and justice for all, for a whole lot more vigilance, police power, and remaking the laws to suit the protection of power.

It may well be that the laws passed after 9/11 made the NSA’s actions legal. If that is the case, Bush is not a criminal in the eyes of the law. But the Patriot Act was a Big Brother toe hold supported by American’s fears. The courageous response to 9/11 would have been to live more free, strengthen individual liberties, and adhere to our rules of law and democracy as never before. But that is not what Americans are really made of, is it? They used to be made of that kind of stuff as WWII and its aftermath demonstrated.

But Americans began losing their courage with Sen. McCarthy and the Red Scare, and we have been trading in courage for security, and freedom for government keepers, in bits and pieces ever since. There were some moments of reprieve when a majority of Americans stood up courageously for their freedom and principles, as with the Civil Rights movement and the protests against the Viet Nam War. But nothing so erodes courage and principle like age and wealth. We are becoming a nation of old wealthy people by global standards, and facing our mortality in the face, we reveal and respond to our fears, instead of our principles and freedoms.

If the youth of this country do not pick up the banner of freedom, justice, and courage, very quickly, they could find themselves subjected to restriction and constraints and onerous unfairness of the old, fat, and wealthy whose power is dedicated to insulating and securing that power against all comers. And no nation is more orderly, secure, and safe for the powerful like a functional authoritarian system. Bush was the author of the NSA spying on Americans. It may have been legal. But it was an authoritarian move without Congressional or Judicial review, nonetheless.

Nothing is so risky as living free. And nothing is so small in the nature of humans as subjecting themselves to the will of self-declared superiors. Elections in America are all about choosing our superiors. We talk of the best candidate, the best person for the job, and greatest presidents. But Democracy is about employing our selves to serve each other. Not about putting superiors in charge of all the rest of us. We are losing our democracy in America and it is sad and painful beyond expression.

Voters in this country have increasingly subjected themselves to the will of their superiors in government which is a complete reversal of what Democracy is supposed to be, a rule of, by, and for the people. And nothing evidences this subjugation of voters to their superiors in Washington D.C. like the 90+ percent incumbency reelection rates in the last few election cycles as Americas problems continue to grow in size and number.

In a real democracy, incumbents could never be reelected when the nation’s problems grow in size and number like our national debt, pork barrel spending, overcrowding of prisons to the extent that building them is becoming a huge industry, growing poverty, and loss of faith and trust in our nation’s leadership by civilized peoples around the globe. We traded in democracy for authoritarian leadership. We deserve to be the fearful nation we are becoming. We deserve it immensely for relinquising our role as masters of government at the election polls.

Posted by David R. Remer at December 17, 2005 07:13 AM
Comments
Comment #103469
It may well be that the laws passed after 9/11 made the NSA’s actions legal. If that is the case, Bush is not a criminal in the eyes of the law.

David, Could you or other expand on this point? It’s becoming clear that those on the right are going to defend an expansion of executive powers post-9/11 while those on the left are bound to argue that Bush has overstepped and even abused his powers, eroding constitutional rights. So, ultimately, a lot of this is going to come down to a legal battle. Did Mr. Bush break the law or did the Patriot Act and other legal changes support and protect his actions? We need to start getting a feel for this. A lot of what happens in 2006 may hinge on the question.

Posted by: Reed Sanders at December 17, 2005 11:01 AM
Comment #103476

Reed, I am not versed in national security law, nor the powers available to the Executive Branch of government granted by Congress or Constitutional rulings by the Supreme Court. There were laws prohibiting this kind of activity except for very narrowly defined circumstances passed in the 1970’s. Whether those laws were amended or ruled on by the S.C. giving Bush legal cover or not, is something I cannot answer.

This may become a political football unless the American people demand a thorough accounting. If that happens, there may be sufficient votes in Congress for an investigation but, I fail to see how this would end up in the Justice Department’s hands. The head of the Justice Dep’t is a Bush appointee. Without Justice Dep’t intervention, it would not appear Supreme Court review would be likely.

I just don’t foresee a likely path for testing the legality of Bush’s actions given that the House of Republicans would be loathe to act against a Republican president in the middle of an election cycle.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 17, 2005 11:36 AM
Comment #103477

What this is really about is that liberals have never accepted that this country is at war, that war is not the same thing as a courtroom drama, and that preservation of ALL of our freedoms demands that we win the war that was started on our own soil by terrorists.

Actually, every time Bush blows his nose nowdays the liberals start speculating on whether it’s grounds for impeachment—it’s a truly pathetic spectacle.

Using logic that would be dismissed in a freshman logical class, David poses an utterly false choice between “freedom” on one hand and totalitarianism on the other.

If having roving wire taps for potential terrorists is leading us to domination by Big Brother, then why aren’t laws that forbid me from carrying an Uzi on the subway doing the same thing?

Or for that matter, laws which prevent me from littering and smoking in public places?

Every single argument that liberals make against eavesdropping against potential terrorists and/or the Patriot Act could just as easily be applied to the existence of any law and any law enforcement.

So are liberals against having a society with laws? I don’t think so. I just think their judgmenent is unsalvagably corrupted by hatred of Geogge Bush and by resentment of the American people for kicking their butts out of power.

When Bill Clinton incinerated children at Waco without legal review, do you remember the liberal outcry about Big Brother? No, I don’t either. And that’s because the left—not the right—is actually far more prone in this country to usher in totalitarianism than the right.

If the right risks violating civil rights, it does so only to protect the civil rights in the long run. When the left violates civil rights, they do it to support their anti-free speech, anti-gun, anti-religion ideological agenad.

If we ever have concentration camps and gulags in this country, they will be admistered and staffed by the left—no doubt about it.

And David, you’re in no position to complain about the abridgment of civil rights in this country when you yourrself are so eager to trash, shred and flush the First Amendment with your advocacy of draconian campaign finance laws.

Posted by: sanger at December 17, 2005 11:42 AM
Comment #103481

Sanger, pray tell, quote these draconian campaign finance reforms you say I advocate. You my friend, haven’t the faintest clue what you are talking about. Because my arguments are for preserving money as speech as established by the S.Court.

As for logic classes, not logical classes, I suggest you attend one. Freedom is the opposite of authoritarian and totalitarian regimes. I have rarely witnessed such abjectly unsupported and unthought out claims in this column as yours. Makes you kinda unique. Hope that was the image you were shooting for with your comments.

I will just sit back here and wait for your quotes of my words on campaign finance reform of a draconian nature.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 17, 2005 12:05 PM
Comment #103487

Sanger,

“So are liberals against having a society with laws? I don’t think so. I just think their judgmenent is unsalvagably corrupted by hatred of Geogge Bush and by resentment of the American people for kicking their butts out of power.”

Your diatribe is the biggest load of crap I have read in the two years I have been visiting this site.

For me this isn’t about impeachment, this is about why this country was founded. Given the opportunity and the circumstances, would Washington, Adams, or Jefferson acted this way?
I think not.

This country has always been about liberty, and freedom from oppression.
Aren’t we fighting this same oppression in Iraq?

What is the point of fighting terrorism that theoreticly wants to remove our liberties, if we turn around and give them away through our lack vigilance with our own government?

Posted by: Rocky at December 17, 2005 12:38 PM
Comment #103490

David, I don’t think that my typos (accidental) are really comparable to the outright falsehoods (accidental or intentional I can’t say) in yours.

You say, for example, that there was no review of the eavesdropping measures, but every news report I’ve seen on the subject say that congressional leaders were briefed at least a dozen times. Here is one such link. Leaving this fact out of your post, deliberatley or accidently, totally undermines the credibility of the rest of your argument.

As for the other stuff, I’m not saying that you’re a bad guy—don’t misundertand me. All I’m saying that even good people are easily seduced by the siren song of totalitarian/authoritarian measures as a shortcut to realizing their own fervently held ideologies. Bush, like you and me, ALL have to be on guard against that insinct—something that just might require more self awareness on your part.

You say that a 90% incumbent reelection rate represents the subjegation of voters to their superiors in Washington D.C.

Nope. It represents democracy in action, even if it means that YOUR ideology is defeated in the process. Saying that the choice of voters is somehow undemocratic is a purely totalitarian instinct. Voters make their own choices, and if the choices are bad—well, that’s democracy. Wishing to replace THEIR judgement with your own—or worse, saying that voters are not worthy or able to make informed choices themselves—is completely undemocratic.

I’m not going to troll through your previsous posts and comments to quote the many times you’ve advocated very strict limits on campaign speech and spending. You know as well as I know what limits to freedom you advocate in this regard. And it all comes down, once again, to a belief that speech has to be controlled and limited because voters are too dumb to think for themselves.

Posted by: sanger at December 17, 2005 12:49 PM
Comment #103493

Well, thanks Rocky. I get ranked first in two categories by two different liberal posters in one day! Fantastic!

So let’s just take a brief respite from all this chicken-little, sky-is-falling rhetoric and answer a single simple question. Just one.

Since Bush came to office, please name one instance when your civil rights were violated. You’re clearly pretty wound out up about your loss of rights, so let’s hear just one example.

If there are no such cases (and this goes for other liberal posters here as well) then perhaps it’s times to examine why there’s such a massive chasm between the actual FACTS and your own EMOTIONAL response to something which… well, has nothing to but facts and everything to do with what Marxist theory itself calls “false consciousness.”

Think about it. Look inward. Reflect. Then go forth and sin no more.

Cheers.

Posted by: sanger at December 17, 2005 01:00 PM
Comment #103494
If that happens, there may be sufficient votes in Congress for an investigation but, I fail to see how this would end up in the Justice Department’s hands.

David, It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. The Post notes, “Congressional leaders of both parties called for hearings and issued condemnations yesterday…”, so hearings seem likely. On the other hand, Mr. Bush has obviously decided to address the situation head on, based on his radio address: “I have reauthorized this program more than 30 times since the September the 11th attacks, and I intend to do so for as long as our nation faces a continuing threat from al Qaeda and related groups.” He is arguing that the program meets U.S. law and the Constitution.

I suspect we’re all going to engage in a long debate on these questions, with most people like myself being of two minds. On one hand, we need to protect outselves in an age of instant communication across borders. On the other, power corrupts and we face a real danger of the destruction of democracy from within.

I imagine that most Americans, being less partisan than most of the people who post on WatchBlog, share this ambivalence. That’s why we need the debate: just how much liberty are we willing to give up in order to protect ourselves? And at what point will we have given up so much that we’re unable to ever reclaim our rights again? This is how democracies die, with people voluntarily (at first) giving up their rights for greater piece of mind. So we need to pay serious attention and find the right balance.

Posted by: Reed Sanders at December 17, 2005 01:16 PM
Comment #103496

Sanger,

“Since Bush came to office, please name one instance when your civil rights were violated.”

This is a straw man and you know it.

I can only assume that you subscribe to the saying that, “if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear”.
If so, I fear you don’t care at all for your liberties, and are willing to give them up to be safe, and in if that is case America has already lost the war on terror.

I could give a rat’s ass about George Bush. It is the mindset that would allow his actions to be ignored, or worse yet, accepted, that scare me.

Posted by: Rocky at December 17, 2005 01:17 PM
Comment #103498

Not ignored or accepted but demanded.

So, in trying to determine if our rights are being violated it’s a “straw man” to look for even ONE instance if somone’s rights actually being violated?

I’ll take that as an admission that our civil rights are not only intact but being actively defended. In other words, I’ll take that as an admission that you’re wrong, that you know it, and that you refuse to justify (or even think about) your reasoning.

Posted by: sanger at December 17, 2005 01:23 PM
Comment #103499

David, good article. Rocky, nicely done.
Reed, you wrote:
“It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out. The Post notes, “Congressional leaders of both parties called for hearings and issued condemnations yesterday…”, so hearings seem likely.

I think you’re right Reed. In this LA Times article it sounds to me like Specter and Feinstein (Senate judiciary committee) are really pissed.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 17, 2005 01:40 PM
Comment #103500

Sanger,

It is not nescessary to be arrested to have ones rights violated. I don’t actually need to lose a right to know that is in peril.

There are laws that have been in place, to handle the legalities of wire tapping in this country. Our government, in the name of “our saftey”, chooses to ignore the procedures that have been put in place to protect all of us. There are special circumstances that are allowed, through the courts.
It doesn’t matter who was told or even when they were told, if the procedures were not followed, then any rights we have as Americans can be put in jeopardy at the whim of the President.

Posted by: Rocky at December 17, 2005 01:40 PM
Comment #103506

Sanger:

You say, for example, that there was no review of the eavesdropping measures, but every news report I’ve seen on the subject say that congressional leaders were briefed at least a dozen times.

Briefed is not the same as review. Being told something (briefed) just means they were informed. Who did the review?

That’s the whole point here. No review.

Posted by: womanmarine at December 17, 2005 02:09 PM
Comment #103508

“Feinstein said that informing a handful of members of Congress who are restricted from reporting or responding to the information in any way did not make the policy legal or constitute congressional oversight.”

Very well put.

Posted by: womanmarine at December 17, 2005 02:15 PM
Comment #103510

womanmarine,

“That’s the whole point here. No review.”

I think the point is about no checks and balances. In this country a warrant is required to spy on American citizens.

Posted by: Rocky at December 17, 2005 02:16 PM
Comment #103520

Sanger, still waiting for those quotes. You CANNOT produce them because they don’t exist.

You have been outed. You will say anything to demean a point of view which threatens your own. I thank you for the concession. And I can rest assured that when both Republicans and Democrats in the Congress are concerned over Bush’s actions, they were not informed of what was taking place.

As I said, Bush may have acted legally. That is a factual question to be tested by investigation and possibly the courts. But, for surveillance to be conducted on Americans for no other reason than their expression of opposition to a Bush policy action, is a violation of the very core intent of our 1st Amendement rights.

And if you support such trading in of Constitutional Liberty for safety, you dishonor all those brave Americans buried in Arlington Cemetary who gave up safety for Constitutionally protected liberties.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 17, 2005 03:27 PM
Comment #103591

Rocky:

That’s what review is, a check/balance. Someone else has input into the decision, like a court with a warrant.

Posted by: womanmarine at December 17, 2005 08:35 PM
Comment #103593

Jose Padilla is the best case in point where a US citizen’s rights were violated. It is true that Padilla was pursuing a treasonous act when he was arrested, however, being held incommunicado for over 2 years is UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

The administration was able to do that in part because of the Patriot Act (I believe).

What was very scary about Padilla’s case was that the administration has not to this point have to prove probably cause. That means that the FBI, CIA, NSA, whoever, can take ANY US citizen, call them a terrorist and lock them up without having to prove their claim. That is very scary, IMO.

Posted by: Daniel Waldman at December 17, 2005 08:46 PM
Comment #103601

Daniel, Padilla has been held not as a result of the Patriot Act but because he was designated an “enemy combatant.”

In World War II, literally hundreds of thousands of Japanese and German soldiers were held as enemy combatants—and none of them were ever charged with anything or given access to the American legal system either. Was that a violation of the Constitution?

Japanese-American citizens, you may remember, really were detained illegally by Roosevelt in internment camps. That was definitely a violation of their Consitutional rights. And unlike Padilla, they had done nothing at all to warrant suspicion.

But it’s inaccurate to say that Padilla has been held “incommunicado” considering that he has legal representation and has taken his case all the way to the US Supreme Court.

Also, this is certainly a case where checks and balances have been working—the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the President does in fact have the authority to detain Padilla without charges as an enemy combatent.

Anyone is free to disagree with this decision (I don’t know if Padialla is guilty or not) but it’s not just the administration but our legal system which has determined that what’s going on is legal.

Posted by: sanger at December 17, 2005 09:45 PM
Comment #103605
As I said, Bush may have acted legally. That is a factual question to be tested by investigation and possibly the courts. But, for surveillance to be conducted on Americans for no other reason than their expression of opposition to a Bush policy action, is a violation of the very core intent of our 1st Amendement rights.

David, I actually agree in part with your last statement there. It would be a violation of Constitutional rights (though of the Fourth Amendment, not the First) to eavesdrop on someone for no reason other than the fact that they expressed opposition to a Bush policy.

There’s no reason whatsoever, however, to suspect that this has happened. In fact, the Executive Order in question is highly specific in spelling out who can be put under surveillance: those individuals with known contacts with Al Qaida or other overseas terrorist organizations.

Not only would it be a violation of the US Consitution, it would a be a violation of Bush’s own executive order to put under surveillance those who have merely disagreed with his policies.

It’s spelled out in black and white. To say that it could possibly be abused is correct—as it is also true of any law or act of law enforcement.

Even the tax codes can be abused, if someone wants to abuse them, as a means of retribution on those who voice disagreement with those in power (and this has actually happened a number of times in American history).

That does not mean, however, that there is something inherently wrong with having tax codes. No more than there’s anything wrong with the President excercizing his Contitutional authority to pursue domestic terrorists. When and if those powers are abused, then let’s talk about it. But until they have been, it’s just Chicken Little saying that the sky is falling.

Posted by: sanger at December 17, 2005 10:05 PM
Comment #103619

Logic and facts must really escape you Sanger. Padilla was held for over 2 years before he was even able to see a lawyer. And it was the courts that forced the administration to allow Padilla access to lawyers.

The connection with the PA, and why we’re looking at a Big Brother police state, is that the PA doesn’t require the govern’t to go through normal legal chanels in order to obtain evidence.

In other words, under the PA, the gov’t doesn’t need to even have evidence…it only needs to say it has evidence. And the admin can then hold US citizens as long as they want without having to provide proof or allow the individual to talk with his/her lawyers.

Just put 2 and 2 together and anyone can see the dangers of what’s going on here.

Posted by: Daniel Waldman at December 17, 2005 11:28 PM
Comment #103621

Actually its a 4th amendment problem….if it is a problem at all.

I partly agree with the left on this one, I should expect at least a modicum of privacy while on the phone or sending e-mail, but in todays world Iknow that that is only possible if I use the privacy (encryption) mode on my phone and at least a 256 bit encryption on my e-mails.

Interestingly enough Carnivore, Echelon and Tempest, all NSA programs, were all started in the mid 90s.

Posted by: Ynot at December 17, 2005 11:34 PM
Comment #103685

A person’s word is important to me. That we had signed UN resolutions, given our word, was one of my main supports for the Iraq war. President Bush, with his unecessary secret serveillance program, has declared our own constitution weaker even than UN paper tiger resolutions. They have 72 hours to get FISA warrants AFTER starting a wiretap. Timing is not a problem, oversight is. Temporary war-time measures? Do tell, when does President Bush estimate the war on terror will be over? President Bush will take us to war to back up his word in UN resolutions; but demonstrates his regard for his oath to the American people to defend and support the Constitution of the United States with the esteem most give toilet paper… tossing it out and flushing.

Posted by: jo at December 18, 2005 02:38 AM
Comment #103711

jo:

The UN never authorized the Iraq War. That is a standard lie the GOP gave when Iraq started to fall apart.

The 1st UN Resolution was a Threat given with the understanding that a 2nd UN Resolution would be needed to start a war. That’s why Colin Powell went to the Security Council with the Anthrax. THAT 2nd UN Resolution never took place.

Iraq was a War waged solely on the decision of Bush. Don’t spread te blame when feces hits your face.

Posted by: Aldous at December 18, 2005 03:51 AM
Comment #103836

Aldous,

That is your interpretation, it is not shared by all.

HTH

Posted by: Rhinehold at December 18, 2005 01:28 PM
Comment #103922

Ynot, the NSA is a 4th Amendment problem. But the FBI’s dossiers on anti-IRaq war groups is a 1st Amendment problem, as such actions by our government serve to intimidate free political speech.

The core issue however is secret police, and quasi-secret police operations operating inside the executive branch against the rights of American citizen’s, guaranteed in our nation’s Bill of Rights. Who could doubt that the dossier on a pacifist Quaker group identifying them as a threat to the US for nothing more than assembling and discussing how they as citizens can legally block recruitments for Iraq from their schools, was a violation of 1st Amendment Rights to freedom of speech without reprisal from the government?

Could any member of that group now apply for and be hired in a government job? Would the government ever let them know they were documented as a threat to the security of the U.S.? And with such secret records, would our government ever be able to trust the children of these folks, having been raised by them? There are consequences to the lives of American citizens when such files are created by our government. Secret files on American citizens alleging all manner of negative attributes to those citizens, without those citizen’s ever being aware can alter those people’s lives in ways they can never know are at work. This is the heart of Orwell’s “1984” and Animal Farm, and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World”.

The stink of this should grow so huge as never to be washed from this administration and those who support it. What they are engaging in is as anti-American an act as 9/11 was. For if their actions are allowed, the consequence would be to strike fear in Americans to sway them away from speaking up for American ideals when those ideals are not in agreement with policies of those in our government. Secret police tactics against Americans becomes a form of terrorism in its own right causing Americans to fear their own government should they disagree with those in office.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 18, 2005 04:56 PM
Comment #103952

Oh, brother (and I don’t mean Big Brother).

Yep, I guess that Bush is probably gonna go after the Quakers next—you just know they’ve got to be on his hit list. That Bush won’t be satisfied until all the Amish, Mennonites, Quakers, Shakers and Grateful Dead fans are living beyond barbed wire in a Halliburton-constructed concentration camp.

It only makes sense doesn’t it? I mean, that’s the obvious next step after eavesdropping on those with known ties to Al Qaida.

Posted by: sanger at December 18, 2005 07:40 PM
Comment #104002

Sanger,
Although I realize the reasons and logical history facts backing up David’s and Rocky’s argument, I can not find any other reason and logic in your argument other than to point out that our Federal Government should be able to declare absolute Power over “We the People.” How else can you explain the President’s Actions of going outside the Rules and Laws that we all must live by? Or are you supporting the fact that since America is at war than based soley on the Executive Powers granted to the President, he can come in and take over your place of business and/or home?

OVERSIGHT BY THE NUMBERS & BEING FOUND TO BE RIGHT BY OUR LAWS WILL DEFEAT TERRORISM. Anything else just adds fuel to the political/religious argument OBL and others in the world believe in. So how does that make America Safer?

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at December 19, 2005 12:07 AM
Comment #104003

FYI Sanger,
The Democrats being “The Loyal Opposition” is suppose to point out the Wrongness of the Party Leaders in Charge. Maybe after 5 years in leadership the Republicans have forgot that. It is either that or they can’t stand the heat in the kitchen.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at December 19, 2005 12:12 AM
Comment #104005

Henry, reason and logic (but “logical history facts?”) are certainly important, but so is coherent use of the English language. No offense, but I honestly can’t untangle your writing enough to locate your point.

Just out of curiosity… how do you decide which words to capitalize when you’re writing something. I’m interested because I’ve truly never seen anything like it.

Posted by: sanger at December 19, 2005 12:39 AM
Comment #104010

Sanger,
Excuse the mistake it should of read logically historical facts but I’m not on Word. As far as Capitailizing goes I do it to draw attention to the word or phase as I understand that some people do not read throughly each and every word. And what I want to know is exactly where do you draw the line of Right and Wrong or do you believe like some of the Elder Repiblicans that Government has Absolute Power over its’ Citizens?

You must not be old enough to remember the 60’s and 70’s when Our Federal Government clearly and without regard to “We the People” started operating “Above the Law.” President Nixon may of been the one caught with his hand in “The Cookie Jar;” however, he was not the only person or federal empolyee to be found guilty as charged. The lack of Oversight by Congress lead to 4 died in Ohio and a Citizen Revolution on Incumbents.

Today, knowing the Vice President Cheney and Mr. Rumsfield was part of that same group people in power in the 60’s & 70’s and finding out things like this issue means one of two things. This leadership has not learned from their past mistakes (total incompetence naturaly playing itself out) or the leadership is taking America’s Society back to a time when life even in small cities were seen more as a police state.

While NSA has the right to protect us from terroist, they can not ever be allowed to operate outside the law. If necessary society must bend to allow it to change the Law not rule over it.

Posted by: Henry Schlatman at December 19, 2005 01:09 AM
Comment #104013

sanger:
“Henry, reason and logic (but “logical history facts?”) are certainly important, but so is coherent use of the English language. No offense, but I honestly can’t untangle your writing enough to locate your point.”

Don’t worry, Henry. I think most people could understand what your points were. Maybe even sanger understood, but this is his way of getting out of having to answer you. Either that, or perhaps he just feels like goading you, because you drew embarrassing attention to something.
Btw, I agree with you. Folks like David and Rocky who are steady users of logic and historical facts to back up their assertions always write the best posts. We see a lot of other posts here that tend to leave out facts and logic and history. All too frequently this is because some posts amount to little more than defending and apologizing for the Bush administration and/or Republican’s in general, for whatever they do, or say. Therefore, logic is inconvienient, history is moot, and facts can only get in the way.

“Just out of curiosity… how do you decide which words to capitalize when you’re writing something. I’m interested because I’ve truly never seen anything like it.”

Well, sanger, here you are caught out as a person who hasn’t read much, if any, historical writing. Obviously you’re unaware that capitalizations often were, and sometimes still are, used for emphasis in writing.
A perfect example of this would be the Preamble to the Constitution:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Posted by: Adrienne at December 19, 2005 01:43 AM
Comment #104014

Sanger, NOT going to spy on Quakers. ALREADY HAS! And not because the Pentagon thought they were terrorists, but, because they opposed Bush’s policies in Iraq. That my friend is authoriarian tactics and Pres. Bush is behind it, just as he was behind the torturing by our intelligence and military, just as he was behind policies which segregate and remove opposition demonstrators from his supporters wherever he goes. These are not the actions of a President who believes in the Constitution and its ideals of equality, justice, and rule of law.

He makes up his own rules, the law be damned. And he is getting away with because his party controls the only branch of government capable of legally removing him from office for violations of his oath of office. He has little to fear, as most dictators have little to fear in their regimes designed around the preservation of the dictators power.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 19, 2005 01:45 AM
Comment #104084

Sanger,

Do you understand the way that agencies such as the NSA do business?

From wikipedia, which, BTW, says in it’s article, that much of the information cannot be substantiated (and with the secrecy that this and other agencies like it opperate it is not hard to see why);

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

“ECHELON is thought to be the largest signals intelligence and analysis network for intercepting electronic communications in history. Run by the UKUSA Community, ECHELON can capture radio and satellite communications, telephone calls, faxes and e-mails nearly anywhere in the world and includes computer automated analysis and sorting of intercepts. ECHELON is estimated to intercept up to 3 billion communications every day.”

The software that the NSA uses is said to key on certain words and phrases.
Some of these words and phrases could be possibly misconstrued and cast suspicion on anyone that uses them.
The “if you don’t have anything to hide” attitude is bullshit, and tyranny on it’s face.
I don’t think that I should have to explain an ill-advised word or phrase, that I may have used in an e-mail or phone call, to a friend, and I am certain that you wouldn’t want to either.

Computer programs are not perfect, they only do what they are told to do.

When a government becomes suspicious of it’s own citizens, we all lose our liberties.
Suspicion has a funny way of sticking to someone even if they are innocent.

Posted by: Rocky at December 19, 2005 07:48 AM
Comment #104134

I’m surprised no one has brought up the possibility that we could find a terrorist with these surveillance measures, arrest him/her, and face very troubling legalities after the fact. If this terrorist is an American citizen, it would be difficult to prosecute this person. Even if we could convict him/her, there’s a lot of very hawkish Constitutional lawyers that would see a case to the Supreme Court.

Bush may or may not be prosecuted, but we might find out these measures obstruct our ability to use our legal system against enemies from within.

Posted by: Joseph Ragsdale at December 19, 2005 09:57 AM
Comment #104151

Well, I hope that some of you get the new tin-foil hats for Christmas that you’re hoping for. Your old ones are looking a little ragged.

As usual (or perhaps I should say as is common) David has linked to an article to prove his point which doesn’t. Why not just link to a recipe for rabbit stew? Like that Reuters article, it wouldn’t mention the word “Quakers” or establish anything whatsoeve as factual. David, that article says that sombody in NBC says something “might” be happening, but what extent or if it’s even true is not established. And frankly, it has as many levels of hearsay as do the arguments by some that the CIA is broadcasting secret messages over our dental work.


But to take these essentially baseless conjectures at face value, I see no reason why belonging to a “peace organization” should make one immune from government attention if one is also involved with terrorists. There are a number of Muslim charities, for instance, which have been involved in funneling cash to Al Qaida.

Peace organizations are and have been very convenient fronts for wrongdoers who exploit the good nature of the peace activisists for material support and ideological sympathy while they plan their attacks. This doesn’t mean that peace organizations themeselves should be put under surveillance—just those individuals who are involved with terrorists or who might be.

There’s also a tendency on occasion for “peace activists” to think that they are completely above the law and that they’re being “placed under surveillance” if the police are seen videotaping them at a demonstration.

For one thing, the police have as much right to videotape a demonstration as CNN does. If you want to march in a public place, then anybody who wants to can look at you and take your picture. For another, the number of criminals, thugs and vandals who mix with peaceful protestors are the target of investigation, not those who remain peaceful while they chant their idiotic platitudes and anti-Israel, anti-American slogans.

Posted by: sanger at December 19, 2005 10:22 AM
Comment #104153

I’m surprised that everybody has missed the fat that the call in question were between a person in the US and a person in a foreign country, which is allowed by the US Signals Intelligence Directive 18, July 27th, 1993.

http://cryptome.org/nsa-ussid18.htm#APPENDIX%201

Posted by: Ynot at December 19, 2005 10:23 AM
Comment #104176

Ynot,

As a show technician I have friends from all over the world. I have a very good friend in Germany that asked me not to contact him anymore after the confusion just before we invaded Iraq. I haven’t heard from him since.
This man was my room mate here in America for a few months and is probably the least likely suspect for espionage, yet I understand his paranioa.

Sanger,

Leave it to you to post a dirisive remark on a subject as serious as this.
Have a day pal.

Posted by: Rocky at December 19, 2005 10:45 AM
Comment #104215

Sanger, that was the only reference I could find on the internet. However, this group was videotaped on TV last week for their reaction when they were presented with the gov’t. file identifying their group as a “Threat” to national security. That page of the document was shown.

This is a breaking story. You will here much more about it. But keep you tin foil hat safe and secure because you will need it to keep denying that your President has, could, or would do anything negative, wrong, or illegal. I understand how important it is to your sense of security that your President walk on water and maintain his halo.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 19, 2005 12:11 PM
Comment #104220

David, you wrote:
“For if their actions are allowed, the consequence would be to strike fear in Americans to sway them away from speaking up for American ideals when those ideals are not in agreement with policies of those in our government. Secret police tactics against Americans becomes a form of terrorism in its own right causing Americans to fear their own government should they disagree with those in office.”

This is already taking place. For instance, here is a story about a Dartmouth senior who was visited by federal agents because he requested a copy of Mao Tse-Tung’s “Little Red Book” from the library. That book is apparently on a “watch list”, so anyone requesting it is now considered suspect.

Quote from the link (fully loaded with fear) which was made by the proffessor who had conducted the class:

Dr. Williams said in his research, he regularly contacts people in Afghanistan, Chechnya and other Muslim hot spots, and suspects that some of his calls are monitored. “My instinct is that there is a lot more monitoring than we think,” he said. Dr. Williams said he had been planning to offer a course on terrorism next semester, but is reconsidering, because it might put his students at risk. “I shudder to think of all the students I’ve had monitoring al-Qaeda Web sites, what the government must think of that,” he said. “Mao Tse-Tung is completely harmless.”

Chilling, isn’t it?

Posted by: Adrienne at December 19, 2005 12:21 PM
Comment #104225

Sanger,

This will address some issues from a while back, but bear with me.

1) Briefing congressmen isn’t what the law requires. The law requires that the president, should he want to initiate the kind of spying he expressly authorized, must go to a specific court in order to get the OK.

Saying that briefing the congressmen is sufficient is wrong. The law requires judicial oversight, and if the President didn’t get it, he violated the law. End of story.

I can’t carry a note from my mother saying I’m a good driver in lieu of a driver’s license, simply because the law requires a certain kind of compliance, i.e. licensure from a specific body. If I do get the note instead of the license, my ass gets taken to jail. Same principle applies here.

2) I don’t really believe that anecdotal accounts of abridgments of one’s rights are necessary to express alarm at the disregard for the civil rights of the citizenry displayed by this administration and true-blue Bush apologists. I think it’s OK that we, as Americans, are leery when persons in power demonstrate through rhetoric and argumentation that they are willing ot violate our rights. We simply should never allow that door to be opened.

Add to that the fact that this administration has a tendency to keep a chokehold on information and has allowed or tacitly approved many outright abuses that were taking place behind the scenes, abuses that we didn’t find out about until much later, and we have no reason NOT to believe that such abuses have already occurred.

But, even if they hadn’t, we should be very skeptical and should investigate thoroughly the actions of any administration that demonstrates that they are willing to countenance the outright abrogation of civil rights. Moreover, they’ve already admitted that they’ve spied on Americans. So, I think it’s fair to put hte burden on the administration at this point to demonstrate that they had good reason to do what they did, which I doubt they can do, otherwise they would have abided by the law and gone to the court.

Come on, it’s the American way to demonstrate that kind of suspicion about government. It’s supposed to be hardwired into us, for God’s sake. You wingnuts should espouse the same kind of suspicion about the government spying on us as you do about its ability to carry out universal health care. They’re omniscient when it comes to violating our civil rights, but incompetent when it comes to administering our health? Not teneble.

Posted by: Yossarian at December 19, 2005 12:41 PM
Comment #104240

Ynot,

At one time, i mistakenly thought i had a minimally adequate level of reading comprehension so maybe i am reading the loopholes incorrectly; but the impression i get from your link is that every bit of every US citizen’s signal communication is collected and processed by any number of programs, for any number of purposes, by, and and distributed to, any number of person’s that the sitting president chooses with absolutely no oversight beyond his own appointees and cursory advisement of current members of congress who are barred from acting on such information in any way. This collection, processing and distribution is of course separate from any true ‘monitoring’ which would initiate judiciary oversight requiremts…and that this program has been ongoing since 1993 starting President Clinton?

Sidenote, Any relation to YBnormal?

Posted by: jo at December 19, 2005 01:20 PM
Comment #104249

David and Sanger:

Here is the information on the Quakers and other anti-war groups being under surveillance by the Department of Defense. Further information on this matter is available in this report by the Christian Science monitor. DefenseNews has also carried this story.

Posted by: Jarandhel at December 19, 2005 01:45 PM
Comment #104303

jo,

not really, there is some oversight and certain types of monitoring do require a judge issue a warrent, but, and here’s the thing, the 1975 law that everyone is up in arms about was amended in 1993 to allow just this type of thing.

Now I’m certainly not the type to say, “they did it, why can’t we”, because that is plain wrong, but those that are so “outraged” by this should really do their homework before they start calling names.

No, no relation.

Posted by: Ynot at December 19, 2005 03:00 PM
Comment #104318

Ynot,

Sorry, wrong. The amendments don’t allow for a situation like this.

The only time the President can do what he did without a court order from the court created by FISA is (from Wikipedia):

“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.”

Sorry, U.S. citizens were involved. End of inquiry. He needed court approval.

Posted by: Yossarian at December 19, 2005 03:12 PM
Comment #104340

There is no question that the President needed a warrant to tap phones of citizens. At the very least, any citizen who was “spied” upon should have been immediately informed afterwards that for reasons of a potential security threat, we found it necessary to violate your rights.

Also, I believe that senior members of Congress were briefed on this plan at the outset. For any of them to now raise a flag over it is inappropriate due to the fact that they were complicit in its execution.

Posted by: steve smith at December 19, 2005 03:43 PM
Comment #104362

Adrienne, chilling indeed, and downright dangerous to American’s liberty and justice under this government.

Jarandhel, thank you very much for those links.

America is becoming more authoritarian in the name of the boogie man. Yes, there are very real people in the world who wish very real harm against the U.S. and her citizens. But, that has always been the case at least since 1940. We have managed to live through threats by hostile foreign agents for more than 65 years now without having to abridge our Bill of Rights, or circumvent our Constitution by our President.

It is a dangerous world today, as it has always been. That fact does NOT warrant a sitting President taking extra-legal powers unto himself to address his own fears and those of his supporters. Fear should never be what motivates America or her president. Obligation and commitment to our rule of law, our American ideals and our Constitution should define America’s leadership’s actions.

If they have lost faith in our rule of law, our ideals, and Constitution to protect and defend our nation, then they should step down from office for they are no longer fit to represent America. They are cowards who would sacrifice America and Americans to shield themselves from their own fears.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 19, 2005 04:09 PM
Comment #104396

If the police in a city where there has been a serial murderer taps the phone of their primary suspect and then as a result of monitoring those calls, they capture the murderer, has a law been broken? If so who should be punished and to what extent? Have the murderers constitutional rights been violated.

Posted by: steve smith at December 19, 2005 04:42 PM
Comment #104401

An excerpt from
LEGAL COMPLIANCE AND MINIMIZATION PROCEDURES (FOUO)
LETTER OF PROMULGATION
27 July 1993


SECTION 3 - POLICY
3.1 (U) The policy of the USSS is to TARGET or COLLECT only FOREIGN COMMUNICATIONS.* The USSS will not intentionally COLLECT communications to, from or about U.S. PERSONS or persons or entities in the U.S. except as set forth in this USSID. If the USSS inadvertently COLLECTS such communications, it will process, retain and disseminate them only in accordance with this USSID.


SECTION 4 - COLLECTION
4.1 (S-CCO) Communications which are known to be to, from or about U.S. PERSONS oxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx not be intentionally intercepted. [1 line redacted.]

a. With the approval of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court under the conditions outlined in Annex A of this USSID.
b. With the approval of the Attorney General of the United States, if:

(1) The COLLECTION is directed against the following:
(a) Communications to or from U.S. PERSONS outside of the UNITED STATES, or
(b) International communications to, from, [1 line redacted.]

(c) Communications which are not to or from but merely about U.S. PERSONS (wherever located).


———————————————-

Seems pretty cut and dry to me— PUTUS only has to get an okay from Att Gen(whom POTUS gets to appoint), no judicial oversight necessary. Very cozy, lol, don’t even have to concern one’s self with what the definition of ‘is’ is. ;)

Ain’t this just a fine howdy do, we’ve been living in totalitarian state for more than a decade in ignorant bliss.

Posted by: jo at December 19, 2005 04:46 PM
Comment #104405

People, what difference does any of this make? The aim of terrorism, from a political science point of view, is to put so much pressure on a government that it tightens its own population’s rights until that population itself rises up and destroys it. The Patriot Act, the holding of Padilla for 2 years, the installation of cameras throughout the society, the teaching of children to turn in their parents for drug use (DARE) are all examples of giving in to the aims of terrorism. Impeaching Bush, or anyone else, will not change these facts. Only running every single one of them out of office will begin to answer the problem. The congress went along with breaking the wiretap law. Both parties are corrupt and playing into the ideals of the long term aims of terrorism.

Posted by: Bill at December 19, 2005 04:48 PM
Comment #104435

Bill makes a great point for supporting VOID - Vote Out Incumbents for Democracy.

http://www.poliwatch.org/void/

Posted by: steve smith at December 19, 2005 05:15 PM
Comment #104447

“but those that are so “outraged” by this should really do their homework before they start calling names”

They can’t do that Ynot. Griping about something after you ignored or excused it doesnt get votes.
Stating that this went on in the 90s and people need to wake up is why your posts have been ignored.
Sanger brought up Waco and the criminal actions of the clinton administration in dealing with it, his post was also ignored.
For too many people, its about party, not country.

Steve
The serial killer would go free and would start all over again.

Posted by: kctim at December 19, 2005 05:26 PM
Comment #104452

Can’t change the past, KCTIM, but, the future can be. Vote Out Incumbents! That is how we can force politicians in the future not to trample upon our Constitution or Bill of Rights in the name of power.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 19, 2005 05:31 PM
Comment #104455

kctim,

“The serial killer would go free and would start all over again.”

Only if the tap was obtained without a warrant.

Posted by: Rocky at December 19, 2005 05:33 PM
Comment #104473

I know David and I agree that we need fresh blood.
But why do we need to change now and not then?
The brady bill and no-knock were signed in the 90s, where was the uproar then?
Sure would be easier if everybody thought ALL of their rights were worth fighting for.

True Rocky. But somehow, I dont think the newest victims families are going to care too much about how the person, who just sliced up their loved ones, rights were violated.
Damned if we do and damned if we dont.

Posted by: kctim at December 19, 2005 05:49 PM
Comment #104485

David says,

The courageous response to 9/11 would have been to live more free, strengthen individual liberties, and adhere to our rules of law and democracy as never before. But that is not what Americans are really made of, is it? They used to be made of that kind of stuff as WWII and its aftermath demonstrated.

This is ridiculous. First, Al Qaeda does not win when an Arab immigrant can’t enter the US to go to flight school, nor does it win if some modest impositions on travel time and financial transactions affect ordinary Americans. It wins when it kills us, hurts our economy, etc. The idea that the civil liberties balance before 9/11 was magical and should never be changed is simply ridiculous. In wartime Americans have always ramped up restrictions on civil liberties and then relaxed them when the threat dissipated.

This is particularly apparent in the case of WWII where domestic surveillance, internment camps, a draft, and rationing all were part of the war effort. The impositions were an order of magnitdue larger than today’s; on Hawaii there was martial law. Almost 1mm Americans were interred, including half a million or more non-Japanese of German and Italian ancestry.

You are simply postulating an imaginary America in the past to portray Bush as uniquely villainous. His policies may be wrong, unnecessary, or ill advised. But they’re certainly not without precedent. Look in to the so-called Red Scare of WWI and the Cold War.

Bush’s policies, I should point out, whatever their faults, have prevented another significant terrorist attack on American soil. We can’t be sure the alternatives would have done that, and the cavalier dismissal of the threat after 9/11 shows a real failure to live in reality.

Posted by: Roach at December 19, 2005 05:59 PM
Comment #104511

Roach, the past incidents you cite were American embarassments and stand as historical documentary and testiment that Americans are hypocrites when they are frightened. That is all you comments demonstrate. And that is all this administration is demonstrating for all the world to see. That America has no principles or beliefs that it won’t sacrifice if someone goes “BOO!”

We are indeed dancing to Al-Queda’s music like puppets on a string proving their argument that America stands up for its Bill of Rights or civil liberties and rule of law ONLY when its convenient and safe to do so.

Thank you Roach, for demonstrating the veracity of my comments.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 19, 2005 06:44 PM
Comment #104515

Roach,

“Bush’s policies, I should point out, whatever their faults, have prevented another significant terrorist attack on American soil.”

Have they?

When?

I am only mostly kidding when I say that I used my dragon repellent a few years ago, and I haven’t seen a dragon since.

On it’s face I am not entirely against the PA, that said however, it is not the be all, end all of security in this country.
If Mr. Bush and the right were at all serious about security in this country, we would not have the flood of illegals that enter our country every day, every year.
Why are we so worried about airport security when a terrorist could just walk in right accross our borders, with very little effort at all.

Posted by: Rocky at December 19, 2005 06:50 PM
Comment #104517

KCTIM, 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 06:53 PM
Comment #104522

Of all the themes that have emerged since 9/11, the notion that if we do [insert rational harm-avoidance behavior here], the terrorists have won is the most annoying, misleading, and unrealistic. I understand the basic premise: Terrorists win based on fear, and if they can scare us into doing certain things, they are able to achieve their objectives.

But their objective is not to make the U.S. more authoritarian. Or to line the budgets of DC and NYC SWAT teams. Or to prevent large outdoor gatherings. They are not fighting a guerilla war for control of the US government, where government reaction to terrorists might play into their hands.

Their goal is to paralyze our foreign policy, undermine our client states, and establish Islamist theocracies across the world, starting in the Middle East. And one of their goals is to kill a lot of Americans. If the terrorists do any of those things they really have won.

Street criminals do not win when I lock my door or carry a gun. Drunk drivers do not win when I buckle up or avoid driving around at 2:30 a.m. on New Years day. These groups have imposed costs, no doubt, but the alternative of passive victimization is a much higher cost. And that’s what we’re frequently counseled to do in the face of terrorism: ignore the problem and hope it goes away. We are told not to listen to our own intuitive sense that some areas, some gatherings, and some people just feel more dangerous. This counsel is mere propaganda. To the extent we’re harder targets, more informed citizens, and more aware of risk and benefit of different activities, we are a more aware and less easily victimized society.

The notion that we cannot and should not change any of our behaviors, that the status quo on September 10, 2001 was somehow sacred, is ridiculous and insulting. Things had to change. The only question we should be asking is whether our precautions—both individual and collective—are sensible and cost-effective. But we should never forget what a terrorist victory really looks like.

It is not a matter of hypocricy. Our country is not just a jumble of abstract principles that we’ll follow suicidally, even when it enables our foreign enemies. We’re a specific people in a specific place, whose government is charged with protecting them from, among other things, foreign attack. Indeed, that is the most primary of government obligations. We’re not jumping, incidentally, at someone who is yelling boo. We’re reacting to a real threat that some people would prefer to pretend does not exist. It’s real, and Bush to his credit has made it one of his top priorities.

As for the border problems and other problems in his approach, they’re undeniable. But they only point the way for more actions that will annoy pollyannas like David, not fewer.

Posted by: Roach at December 19, 2005 06:58 PM
Comment #104526

Roach, you reject the goal of Al-Queda to evoke responses by American government that demonstrate to Al-Queda’s audience that America has no principles and does not abide by its own treaties and laws when it deems them inconvenient?

If you do reject that notion, then what can I say? Al-Queda is in the recruiting business. And every betrayal by our government of its own principles and ideals which it profers to the rest of the world about civil rights and rule of law, becomes a recruiting poster for Al-Queda handed to them on a silver platter by our own government.

The utter hypocrisy of this Bush Administration is unbelievable. It tells the world we don’t torture, but reserves rendition rights to have 3rd parties do it for us. Bush touts civil rights in our talks with China, while we violate them against a Quaker group of all people, right here at home.

Bush touts open democracy in Iraq, while segregating and distancing American protesters at every stop he makes in America. Freedom of Assembly for his supporters up close, but, out of sight for his opponents. This is not equal application of the law, nor observance of rule of law. It negates our Bill of Rights and such actions make Al-Queda’s rhetoric that much more credible to its audiences, aiding and abetting their recruitments. And make no mistake, al-Queda is first and foremost in the Recruitment Business, terrorism is just publicity to attract an audience.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 19, 2005 07:12 PM
Comment #104531

Al Qaeda could care less about our principles, our treaties, our laws, our notion of human rights, and our deviations from the same. They view all of this as weaknessa and decadence. They do, however, know that we’re strong, and they know that when they blow something of ours up they make us look weak. In other words, if we’re worried about Al Qaeda propaganda, the best thing we can do is prevent them from acomplishing that. On the other hand, if our internal affairs look like China’s or Russia’s or Western Europe’s they could care less.

How naive you are to think that they care if we adhere to certain rules designed for our international relations with fellow countrymen, and how naive to think most of their potential recruits care either. They hate us and our way of life and they envy us. They want to establish their shitt Tablian-style governmetns throughout the Middle East, and we won’t let them. That most of all is why they hate us. Whether we adhere to the FISA statute ain’t one of the reasons, I promise you that.

Posted by: Roach at December 19, 2005 07:30 PM
Comment #104549

VOID: What if the guy running against the incumbent is a bigger moron than the incumbent—and what if the voter making the decision is a bigger moron than the two morons running for office?

I think alot of people in this country are losing their ability to cut this administration anymore slack, whether it be the open-ended “war on terror”, tax cuts for the rich which will magically trickle down to the unwashed, or anything else that they’ve sugar-coated, manipulated, lied about, or covered up. This FISA situation, and the total belligerence of this president to even attempt to uphold the law is tearing the mask away from this government for alot of people. The morons, well….

Posted by: Tim Crow at December 19, 2005 08:27 PM
Comment #104554

The ease in which a warrent could be issued, from a rubber-stamp court sympathetic to the government no less, leads me to believe that some of these wire-taps are so over the top in illegality (namely, tapping political opponents, journalists unsympathetic to administration, academicians with the ‘wrong’ idealological bent) that the administration KNEW they wouldn’t be okayed.

And there’s an unspoken assumption here about wire-tapping—who says it’s that effective? If any terrorist with his salt hasn’nt figured out a way to communicate outside of normal channels, well… see VOID above.

Posted by: Tim Crow at December 19, 2005 08:41 PM
Comment #104563

Naivete seems to be a strong suit around here. Wishing it weren’t true, doesn’t make it so. But, comfort can be found by one’s knowing that they are not alone in their desire to protect themself from the logic, the wisdom, and the ideas of all others who do not regurgitate the same regurgitated swill they swallowed from their leaders on high.

To hold to the belief that al-Queda will NOT use every inconsistency, every argument, every possible advantage to their own ends is NOT believable. Me thinks the naievete’ charge is really humorous!

I remain fascinated and amazed even after all these decades to watch folks deny one of the most central lessons of human history, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 19, 2005 09:01 PM
Comment #104587

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 10:03 PM
Comment #104617

The left is radically shifting the goalpoasts on this issue, and by all indications, seem to think that surveillance in and of itself is “illegal” or the first step to authoritarian role.

But that’s ridiculous—since when has there been a right to absolute and complete freedom from the government’s attaetion, and where does it lead when taken to such extremes?

If you drive on the highways your car and your person are likely under surveillance. If you aren’t speeding, you won’t get pulled over. If you are speeding, you might be. Does the very existence of police patrols on the highway mean that our civil rights are under attack?

If the government can watch you for no other reason than driving your car, then why shouldn’t they be able to watch you if you’re suspected of having ties to terrorist organizations?

Surveillance takes many forms, and just because somebody is “under serveillance” doesn’t mean that their rights are being violated. All it means is that the law enforcement is being alert.

The government routinely infiltrates various groups for the purpose of keeping an eye on their activities. Various militia groups, the Klan, the mob as well as a number of businesses are infiltrated even without warrants being issued.

The warrants—for search and siezure, or arrest, occur when and if evidence of wrongdoing is found.

Posted by: sanger at December 19, 2005 11:28 PM
Comment #104633

If the government can watch you for no other reason than driving your car, then why shouldn’t they be able to watch you if you’re suspected of having ties to terrorist organizations?

Because, if there is no judicial or congressional overwatch, a terrorist is whoever this bozo administration says is a terrorist. With their track record on Iraq and manufacturing reasons to fight there, lying about torture (and doing it clumsly as well), lying about planted ‘news’stories both in Iraq and at home, outing a CIA agent, (how’s that for being strong on national defense), lying about repeated tax cuts and their efficacy for working people, lying or covering up secret gulags, lying about any real recovery for New Orleans, mismanaging reconstruction funds in Iraq to the tune of billions, lying about protecting the Constitution, then calling it a ‘goddam lousy piece of paper’, yelling at Congressmen that ‘I’m the president, do it my way!’—in short, this government is no longer trustworthy, honorable, or worthy of American people’s allegiance or support.

Posted by: Tim Crow at December 20, 2005 12:36 AM
Comment #104635

Al Qaeda could care less about our principles, our treaties, our laws, our notion of human rights, and our deviations from the same

And neither does this joke of a president or this regressive administration.

Posted by: Tim Crow at December 20, 2005 12:41 AM
Comment #104681

Who is this left you talk about, Sanger? I am a whole lot right of most of the drunken sailor Republicans in Congress jacking up deficits and debts. I think your label is meaningless, save to apply it to anyone you doesn’t speak Sangerspeak.

As for surveillance by police on the highways, it is done in accordance with laws agreed to by the public. There is no law anywhere that granted the President the right to spy on Americans domestically without probable cause as determined by the judicial system or their review after the fact within 72 hours in the event of likely imminent danger.

The FBI’s surveillance of Americans for no other reason than they oppose the Iraq war, or the NSA’s spying without judicial review is not in accordance with existing laws. There is nothing right or left about this. There is just the Constitution and the laws that emanated from it on the one hand, and the actions of the Whitehouse on the other lacking any credible law they can point to justify what they have been doing.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 20, 2005 03:39 AM
Comment #104725

The issue at hand regarding the president’s actions with the NSA seems to boil down to this. Did he violate the law? Does he have authority to do so under the resolution by congress granting him the right to use “any appropriate” force or measure against terrorism?

If he broke the law, then regardless of the reason, he should be prosecuted. Not only did he do something illegal (if he broke the law), he violated the public trust. There is definitely a higher standard of behavior called for here. The most powerful position in the world, with almost unfettered powers, needs to be one that can be trusted. It doesn’t make a damn bit of difference to me if this is Bush fighting fundamentalist muslim terrorists or Nixon fighting domestic bombers in the 1960s, the presidency must work within the law.

There seems to be enormous latitude with FISA, and the president should have at least worked within the framework of that system. We can not and must not allow a presidency to let the ends justify the means. This creates a worrisome precedent.

If the president truly and intentionally subverted the process and violated the law, then action needs to be taken. If he didn’t, then this needs to be verified judicially. We can not take this administration at its word anymore.

Posted by: Dennis at December 20, 2005 07:38 AM
Comment #104783

Tim Crow said……

“VOID: What if the guy running against the incumbent is a bigger moron than the incumbent—and what if the voter making the decision is a bigger moron than the two morons running for office?”

Tim, I am sure you would agree that “what ifs” are in the catagory of questions that have no real answer due to the multitude of theoretical conditions that form the very nature of the question.

VOID is not a political party, we support no canidate directly and we do not advocate casting aside competancy (assuming it has been proven to be better than a second or third alternative).

Many would agree with you that there is certainly a moronic element among the incumbency as evidenced by our current abhorrent conduct of government. VOID will provide the important tools of education regarding the candidates for a political position, it will be up to the voter to disseminate that information and make his or her own choice.

We believe that once the message is received by incumbents that the voters are more concerned with their needs and priorities, they will focus their energy and expertise on returning government to the people rather than the special interests, big corporations and other big money donors.

Posted by: steve smith at December 20, 2005 10:46 AM
Comment #104801

Sanger,

Your comments frequently strike me a deliberately obtuse, because you don’t seem to me to be an unintelligent person.

Nobody is shifting any goalposts, at least not the people who are staying with the real issue, which is the violation of FISA and the 4th Amendment.

Your speeding analogy is completely off base. Observation of what a person does in public (like speeding) is not surveillance in any way that is relevant to this discussion.

As far as the types of investigation you list (infiltration of the Klan, investigation of businesses, and so forth), you’ll have to come with more specifics. Sounds like you’re just plumbing your consciousness for instances when groups get investigated, which, without more, isn’t very illustrative of any particular point.

As far as infiltration of the Klan, I don’t know much about that. But investigation and regulation of business are usually done pursuant to an administrative regulatory scheme and some sort of showing of probable cause.

Posted by: Yossarian at December 20, 2005 11:08 AM
Comment #104805

Folks, we can carry on back-and-forth with opinion but there is precedent and it covers this administrations butt and will jump up and bite the people argueing most loudly during this year’s and 2008’s elections if they aren’t careful.

http://cryptome.org/sigint-hr-dc.htm#Electronic%20surveillance:%201980%20and%20after

Scroll down to the section about Electronic surveillance: 1980 and after and read about USID 18.

Posted by: Ynot at December 20, 2005 11:24 AM
Comment #104827

What? According to my reading, USSID 18 is a guide to personnel gathering information; and even if my reading is inaccurate, USSID 18 is not legal “precedent” of any sort.

The more interesting information on that page is the part that talks about how, according to FISA, spying on Americans is strictly prohibited without FISA court order.

Posted by: Yossarian at December 20, 2005 11:47 AM
Comment #105013

David, more chilling proof:
F.B.I. Watched Activist Groups, New Files Show

Posted by: Adrienne at December 20, 2005 03:45 PM
Comment #105026

Also: DoD spied on locals at a peace rally in Akron, Ohio.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 20, 2005 04:03 PM
Comment #105052

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 04:31 PM
Comment #105081

Adrienne, and as both of those articles indicate, this is very likely just the tip of the ice berg in light of the fact that the released information represents an extremely small percentage of these agency’s activities.

There is no question left in my mind that a full and thorough Congressional inquiry into these agencies’ activities is warranted. Time to write the Senators and Congresspersons and demand a full investigation.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 20, 2005 05:11 PM
Comment #105089

Sanger,

“Since Bush came to office, please name one instance when your civil rights were violated. You’re clearly pretty wound out up about your loss of rights, so let’s hear just one example.”

Would you have posed the same question to a caucasian person in the early 60s? Do you think their response would be the same as a black man.

If I were a person of Middle Eastern descent I would probably have a different response.
There are many stories of incidences at the Canadian border. People held for hours and searched based on ethnicity. People taken in for questioning and held indefinitely etc.
My personal rights have not been violated, yet.
Others have.
I care about the rights of all Americans. Not just mine.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at December 20, 2005 05:19 PM
Comment #105100

David,
Agree 100%. All of them deserve letters from us over this.

Burt,
Yes, indeed. But I’d personally go even further, and say that W is a chronic liar.

Posted by: Adrienne at December 20, 2005 05:28 PM
Comment #105192
“Since Bush came to office, please name one instance when your civil rights were violated. You�re clearly pretty wound out up about your loss of rights, so let�s hear just one example.”

Would you have posed the same question to a caucasian person in the early 60s? Do you think their response would be the same as a black man.

Sure, I’d ask both of them, and the black man at least would probably be able to give a pretty good answer—at least better than the non-answer you get when you ask a liberal to cite a single example of when their rights have been violated.

Andre, I’ve driven across both the Canadian and Mexican borders numerous times, and I’ve been searched extensively—by officials on both sides of the border. I’ve literally had my toothpaste subjected to very close inspection by one official, and I have no idea what he was looking for.

If I was of Arab descent, I might have wondered if it wasn’t because of my ethnicity, so I wonder if these stories you cite aren’t a natural result of people thinking they’re being singled out when they’re being subjected to the same measures as anyone else.

You may remember, actually, that an individual of Arab descent was actually caught at the Canadian border in 2000 with explosives intended for an attack on LAX. Do you think that this search shouldn’t have taken place?

In any case, when any of us, and that includes me, move back and forth over the border we simply don’t have the same rights to privacy that we have elsewhere, nor should we.

The same goes for boarding airplanes, where we’re subjected to types of searches that are not permitted elsewhere.

Since the left believes that even after 9-11 the current administration should not be permitted to issue the same temporary orders that both Clinton and Carter issued, it appears that they’re not willing to countenance ANY raised security measures at all. Not even if those measures are temporary and directed by order only at the associates of Al Qaida.

Posted by: sanger at December 20, 2005 09:51 PM
Comment #105199
In a real democracy, incumbents could never be reelected when the nation’s problems grow in size and number like our national debt, pork barrel spending, overcrowding of prisons to the extent that building them is becoming a huge industry, growing poverty, and loss of faith and trust in our nation’s leadership by civilized peoples around the globe. We traded in democracy for authoritarian leadership. We deserve to be the fearful nation we are becoming. We deserve it immensely for relinquising our role as masters of government at the election polls.

Yes, we have lazily ignored government too long. We have let it grow too corrupt. Without sufficient transparency and accoutability, corruption always thrives and grows worse. Unfortunately, the longer we ignore it, the harder it is to undo it.

But, voters, if they want to (as they did in 1952-1958, 1976-1980, and 1992-1994) can send incumbents a loud and clear message that the rampant corruption and ignoring pressing problems will not be tolerated any more.

And if voters don’t use their votes wisely, they will simply have to learn the hard, painful way (again). Voters need to realize that a fiscal disaster is not at all a far-fetched possibility.

The problem is not just the $8.1 trillion Nation Debt. Not by itself. It isn’t anything by itself. It is the combination of many things.
But the major contributing factors that could be a recipe for the next economic meltdown is the combination of the following, all culminating near simultaneously in the next 5-to-10 years:
[01] $8.1 trillion national debt;
[02] $32 trillion personal debt (nationwide);
[03] $1.6 trillion shortfall in PBGC and pensions;
[04] $1 billion per day in interest on the national debt;
[05] looming shortfalls in Social Security
[06] $2 trillion shortfall in Medicare and Medicaid;
[07] 77 million baby boomers that will earn less, spend less, pay less tax, and drawing heavily upon Social Security and Medicare, and living longer too;
[08] a dysfunctional election system; election fraud; the government is FOR SALE; unfair and illegal barriers preventing third party candidates from getting on election ballots; limited voting choices and candidates (which could be improved by an Approval Voting system); corrupt campaign finance; negative campaigning; pandering; influence by wealthy and/or powerful special interest groups; government for sale; buying elections; 90% of elections are won by the candidate with the most money, giving rise to an elitist and arrogant government; and, 5% of the wealthiest have 59% of all wealth in the nation; thus, the middle-to-lower-class-income groups do not have an equal voice in government;
[09] energy vulnerability[08] continued decline in manufacturing, increasing foreign competition with very cheap labor pools, globalization;
[10] increasingly unaffordable and unreliable health care and health insurance;
[11] declining quality of public education; decreasing numbers of science and engineering graduates; falling scores in most subjects; this is not making us more competitive in global economy;
[12] terrorism , war in Iraq and Afghanistan;
[13] a ridiculously, unfair, and abused tax system; what we have now is an out-of-control “tax-everything” tax system;
[14] a dysfunctional and corrupt legal system ; perversion of the laws to do the very things they are supposed prevent; insufficient or selective law enforcement; legal plunder (e.g. abuse of eminent domain laws and recent, alarming supreme court rulings), wealth re-distribution, plundered entitlement systems, Gerrymandering to manipulate votes based on geographical boundaries, too many greedy, corrupt, and parasitic ambulance chasers, and idiotic juries allowing astronomical judgments for personal injury litigation with million$ and billion$ going to lawyers, etc.); identity theft (the fastest growing crime in the U.S.); no reliable form of identification (e.g. iris and/or finger-print and/or voice-print, and/or hand-print, etc.); releasing repeat offenders to repeat crimes of rape, child molestation, murder, etc.); pardons by presidents to release convicted criminals (some that even pled guilty); violation or insufficient protection of basic rights (e.g. illegal wire-tapping, discrimination, and crimes based on religion, race, gender, age, wealth, sexual preference, etc.), and execution and incarceration of innocent people;
[15] fiscal and moral irresponsibility and unaccountability of the federal government; politicians won’t tackle tough issues for fear of risking re-election;

It’s not just one of the above. It is the combination of all of the above, all culminating simultaneously.

So, it’s not unreasonable at all to be a little concerned about all of the above. You are not Chicken Little or a Dooms-Dayer if you think the above could become a serious problem within the next 5-to-10 years. Don’t beleive those that say everything is OK and tell you that you are just another Dooms-Dayer, or Sky-is-Falling-Chicken-Little nutcase.

Let me refer to those that say everything is OK as the Head-in-the-Sanders.
These Head-in-the-Sanders will show you all sorts of charts, point to the current low interest, inflation, and unemployment rates, but be aware that none of that takes into account all of the above. The Head-in-the-Sanders will take a very microscopic view to prove their case. They will consistently ignore the potential effect of the combination of all factors. Some even read books by respected economists and still choose to believe the outlook is rosy for the short-term and long-term.

There are always some nutcases running all about selling books about the next economic down-turn, but there are more now than ever before. There were a few in the early 1990’s. The difference between then (i.e. 1990’s and now is not only the increasing number of economists predicting potential problems (American and foreign economists too), but they also have much better and faster computers, and much more sophisticated computer models. They can run out all sorts of scenarios with all sorts of factors of varying magnitudes. True, it’s a little like trying to predict the weather, because there are so many factors, but even meteoroligists can now accurately predict that path of a hurricane many days in advance. True, both are complex. That complexity and uncertainty should warrant caution, but instead, we have a federal government that is very fiscally and morally bankruptcy. While you are worring about this, just look at some to the difficult decisions Congress makes daily.

Posted by: d.a.n at December 20, 2005 10:40 PM
Comment #105203

BTW,
There is some legal precedent for the wire-tapping. The government can arrest and detain people. So, they can certainly tap their communications. That’s the argument some will use. But, that doesn’t make it right. Not without a warrant. And, even a warrant doesn’t guarantee an abuse of power won’t still occur.

The interesting thing is that there probably wouldn’t be so many people making such a fuss now about this if it were not for the historical abuse of such powers, and the current high levels of corruption within our government now.

And, it’s not just Republicans. It’s Democrats too.

Posted by: d.a.n at December 20, 2005 11:20 PM
Comment #105212

Sanger your last comment just moved into LaLa land. It is preposterous to suggest that liberals want to invite terrorists over for a blow my house up party while me, the spouse and kids are asleep.

The absurdity of such a suggestion renders dialogue with you on this topic no longer worth while.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 21, 2005 12:33 AM
Comment #105225

Sure, David. That’s what my last comment said, that Democrats want to invite terrorists over to blow up, you me, and our wives and children in our sleep.

I contradict a previous poster by saying that it’s no gross violation of civil rights—or any violation at all—for border officials to search people passing over the borders and to catch people with explosives in their cars, as was done with the LAX bomber. Disagree if you wish, choose not to engage with such a position if you wish. That’s your choice.

Posted by: sanger at December 21, 2005 01:13 AM
Comment #105379

Sanger,

“Since the left believes that even after 9-11 the current administration should not be permitted to issue the same temporary orders that both Clinton and Carter issued, it appears that they’re not willing to countenance ANY raised security measures at all. Not even if those measures are temporary and directed by order only at the associates of Al Qaida.”

That is the problem with those on the right. We either have to be in total agreement with G.W. or we’re soft on terror.
Monitoring a bunch of vegetarians?
Peace marchers?
You wnat the Federal government to have access to your library records without any checks and balances?
Remember checks and balances?
That is all we want. If that makes me a left leaning, soft on terror Democrat then so be it.
This administration is the last thing in the world we want running around unchecked.
You do realize the series of “mistakes” this administration has made thus far and the consequences of those “mistakes”(I’m being kind),thousands of deaths, hundreds of billions of dollars wasted.

Posted by: Andre M. Hernandez at December 21, 2005 08:43 AM
Comment #105448

I think the supporters of warrantless searches should move to Iran. They will feel right at home.

Posted by: Dave at December 21, 2005 10:25 AM
Comment #105471

Sanger,
“Since the left believes that even after 9-11 the current administration should not be permitted to issue the same temporary orders that both Clinton and Carter issued, it appears that they’re not willing to countenance ANY raised security measures at all. Not even if those measures are temporary and directed by order only at the associates of Al Qaida.”

Before the right starts quoting Drudge as fact all over the blogosphere, lets try to correct this misstatement. Clinton and Carter signed orders that only pertained to non-US citizens.

Read on for a thorough explanation:
————————
What Drudge says:
Clinton, February 9, 1995: “The Attorney General is authorized to approve physical searches, without a court order”

What Clinton actually signed:

Section 1. Pursuant to section 302(a)(1) [50 U.S.C. 1822(a)] of the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance] Act, the Attorney General is authorized to approve physical searches, without a court order, to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year, if the Attorney General makes the certifications required by that section.

That section requires the Attorney General to certify is the search will not involve “the premises, information, material, or property of a United States person.” That means U.S. citizens or anyone inside of the United States.

The entire controversy about Bush’s program is that, for the first time ever, allows warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens and other people inside of the United States. Clinton’s 1995 executive order did not authorize that.

Drudge pulls the same trick with Carter.

What Drudge says:

Jimmy Carter Signed Executive Order on May 23, 1979: “Attorney General is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order.”

What Carter’s executive order actually says:

1-101. Pursuant to Section 102(a)(1) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1802(a)), the Attorney General is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order, but only if the Attorney General makes the certifications required by that Section.

What the Attorney General has to certify under that section is that the surveillance will not contain “the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party.” So again, no U.S. persons are involved.

Posted by: bystander at December 21, 2005 11:08 AM
Comment #105482

bystander,

The law requires that the surveillance must be of an emergency nature that can’t wait for the warrant and then the “spy” must go to the court and obtain a warrant within a short period of time (I think 48 hours).

And the right argues that the “MSM” is “left leaning” Ha! They get their news from shills paid for by BushCo to propagandize the American public. It should be a joke, but it’s too scary for that.

Posted by: Dave at December 21, 2005 11:32 AM
Comment #105514

bystander,

Where in Clinton’s and Carter’s EO does it specifically state that US citizens are exempt from warrantless searches or surveillance? Please provide. And BTW, what if a US citizen IS involved in anti-US terrorism operations? Is that a criminal matter and not a foreign intelligence matter?

Posted by: Beak at December 21, 2005 12:42 PM
Comment #105518

Beak,

question: Where in Clinton’s and Carter’s EO does it specifically state that US citizens are exempt from warrantless searches or surveillance?

answer: First, it is against the constitution. To make the orders constitutional, they had to exclude citizens. Second:
(A)That section requires the Attorney General to certify is the search will not involve “the premises, information, material, or property of a United States person.” That means U.S. citizens or anyone inside of the United States.
and
(B)What the Attorney General has to certify under that section is that the surveillance will not contain “the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party.” So again, no U.S. persons are involved.

BTW:
Domestic surveillence is legally limited to domestic agencies, such as the FBI. So, yes, it is a criminal investigation.

Posted by: Dave at December 21, 2005 12:47 PM
Comment #105553

as Dave said.

Plus, if Clinton/Carter intended to apply those to our citizens, I gaurantee you the right would have been all over it then (as the left, and some of the right are all now over Bush), as it would have been a breach of the constitution.

The only part I can’t believe is that, when pushed on the matter, Bush openly admitted to doing this secretly and expects the nation to be understanding about it. As if secretly breaking constitutional law is as ordinary as white bread.?.. (then again, I’m not sure there’s any “good” way to own up to this).

Posted by: bystander at December 21, 2005 02:00 PM
Comment #105584

Dave,

seems as if Clinton forgot that Aldrich Ames was an american citizen.

From NRO:

The debate over warrantless searches came up after the case of CIA spy Aldrich Ames. Authorities had searched Ames’s house without a warrant, and the Justice Department feared that Ames’s lawyers would challenge the search in court. Meanwhile, Congress began discussing a measure under which the authorization for break-ins would be handled like the authorization for wiretaps, that is, by the FISA court. In her testimony, Gorelick signaled that the administration would go along a congressional decision to place such searches under the court — if, as she testified, it “does not restrict the president’s ability to collect foreign intelligence necessary for the national security.” In the end, Congress placed the searches under the FISA court, but the Clinton administration did not back down from its contention that the president had the authority to act when necessary.

Posted by: Beak at December 21, 2005 03:09 PM
Comment #105601

Beak,

So you’re justifying the Ames search?

Posted by: Dave at December 21, 2005 03:22 PM
Comment #105648

Beak, you may have a point, sort of… But, the surrounding details create a different picture than what Bush has been up to.

The Aldrich Ames case had been an ongoing internal CIA investigation for 10 years to find a single individual who had been leaking information within their organization.. This is much different than the POTUS secretly giving an OK to the NSA to investigate whatever/whoever/where-ever they feel like in the name of anti-terrorism without warrants or court approval.. The latter is much more disconcerting in terms of preserving civil liberties. I’m not condoning the former case either (and I don’t know the details, some of which may very well be of questionable legality), but if I worked for the CIA or FBI, I would almost expect my employer to resort to such tactics during internal investigations.. It’s a bit different when it spreads out to the rest of the American public.

PS- I’m curious if there is any info linking Aldrich’s arrest with any direct orders/knowledge from Clinton since Aldrich’s arrest took place a year prior to Clinton’s Surviellance order cited in the earier posts.

Posted by: bystander at December 21, 2005 04:31 PM
Comment #105744

David Reimer,

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 07:22 PM
Comment #106102

Rocky, some here don’t/can’t deal with the facts of the present, as they are too damaging to their pristine view of their leaders, so, please, don’t confuse them with the present, just let them continue to rehash history and allow them the illusion of actually discussing something of import.

Posted by: David R. Remer at December 22, 2005 02:21 PM