Fun With Echelon

The most informed commentary about Bush’s FISA-free wiretapping is going on at DefenseTech.

This gave me an idea:

this call chain [which began with direct al Qaeda connections] could very well have grown out of control, the source admits. Suddenly, people ten and twelve degrees of separation away from Osama may have been targeted.

Maybe it’s now possible to play ‘six degrees of Osama bin Laden?’ How many steps of phone tag away from America’s single greatest enemy is, say, Kevin Bacon? Rudy Giuliani? Grandma? File a FOIA and find out.

Some killjoy NSA veteran had this to say:

“It’s drilled into you from minute one that you should not ever, ever, ever, under any fucking circumstances turn this massive apparatus on an American citizen,” one source says. “You do a lot of weird shit. But at least you don’t fuck with your own people.”

IOW, the people who know what’s going on think that this revelation is unprecedented and overall a very bad thing.

Also, Newsweek’s Alter has a revealing story behind the story and Carpetbagger runs down recent sightings of the ‘I’ word. Discuss what it all means or flame each other silly.

***Update***

Was Congress briefed? It depends on what your definition of ‘briefed’ is. And your definition of ‘Congress.’ Four or five Senators were given sketchy outlines and forbidden to communicate anything to colleagues, the press or even their staff, and when they expressed concerns they were ignored. See here and here.






371 replies
  1. 1
    srv says:

    Maybe it’s now possible to play ‘six degrees of Osama bin Laden?’

    Well, GW and Daddy were at most 2 degrees from the Bin Laden Group. Let’s start with them.

  2. 2
    cd6 says:

    How long until Cheney and Rumsfeld enable SKYNET?

  3. 3
    dilbert says:

    I don’t get it. Such a big flap over domestic spying without a judicial warrant! All this when the Israelis, the most free and democratic nation on earth (as we know from TV and the movies), carries out targeted killings without a hint of a judicial warrant–and they even do it in allied countries.

  4. 4
    ET says:

    The title for the movie of the week on this
    “When pissed off and pissed on bureaucrats strike back”

  5. 5
    srv says:

    But our National Security has been comprimised! Everyone needs to stop thinking about it, because every time you do, a terrorist wins.

    Leave it to our most brilliant president to come up with a perfectly legal solution that was also perfectly secret until these traitors let the cat out of the bag.

  6. 6
    The Other Steve says:

    carries out targeted killings without a hint of a judicial warrant

    Huh? Why would they need a warrant, given they’re doing it in a war zone? And would you prefer they used B-52’s filled with a couple dozen bombs instead of targeted killings?

  7. 7
    Ozymandius says:

    Uhh, my brother’s roommate’s sister’s ex-boyfriend’s mother’s hairdresser’s plumber once met OBL’s dog walker.

    I bet they’re watching me now.

  8. 8
    The Other Steve says:

    So if Mr. Terrorist calls up his dry cleaner to see if his suit is ready… does that mean dry cleaner is now on the NSA suspects list?

    What if the dry cleaner calls up his supplier to see when his next shipment of cleaning agents is coming in?

    Does that mean the NSA suspects they’re going to use dry cleaner chemicals in a chemical attack?

  9. 9
    Brian says:

    Yeah, and your definition of “spine”, too. After all, did Rockefeller have any spine in writing that CYA letter to Cheney and leaving it at that? Not exactly a courageous act on his part, was it? Of course, the Dem’s aren’t exactly a courageous bunch.

  10. 10
    dilbert says:

    srv says:”[Bush had] a perfectly legal solution that was also perfectly secret until these traitors let the cat out of the bag.”

    Oh hurry, srv, you’re late for the Wannsee Conference.

  11. 11
    Davebo says:

    Yeah, and your definition of “spine”, too. After all, did Rockefeller have any spine in writing that CYA letter to Cheney and leaving it at that? Not exactly a courageous act on his part, was it?

    OK, so what do you suggest Rockerfeller should have done?

    Gone public??

    I’d love to hear that outcry. A co-chair of the intelligence committee revealing classified information.

  12. 12
    Jim says:

    “You do a lot of weird shit. But at least you don’t fuck with your own people.”

    I suspect this sentiment goes a long way to explaining how the story was leaked to the Times.

  13. 13
    Brian says:

    He could have done what a certain other person has done, and gone to the NYT as a secret cource. I’m sure he has contacts there.

    While we’re on the topic, who do you think blew this “whistle”? Maybe it was Rocky, you don’t know.

    You guys can be so unimaginative.

  14. 14
    Lines says:

    I thought it was Bullwinkle

  15. 15
    srv says:

    While we’re on the topic, who do you think blew this “whistle”? Maybe it was Rocky, you don’t know.

    Yeah, Senate and House Intelligence committee guys are known for their rocking the boat. George could have had gas chambers set up and they’d be as happy as clams.

    Since the NSA is staffed largely by the military and civil service types who are ex-military, I know more than a few of them who read the oath as preserve and defend the constitution and not the president.

  16. 16
    srv says:

    Oh hurry, srv, you’re late for the Wannsee Conference.

    DougJ, just because I spoof sometimes doesn’t mean rewarding such low-hanging fruit will get me to forgive you.

  17. 17
    Lines says:

    But srv, George Bush is America. Only a traitor would claim that Dubya doesn’t stand for Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Little Debbie cookies.

  18. 18
    Mike S says:

    While we’re on the topic, who do you think blew this “whistle”?

    My guess would be someone who thinks the Constitution is something worth protecting. That of course leaves out about 80% of the New Republican Party.

  19. 19
    NRM says:

    Trackback didn’t work. Oh well.

    TIA is both very cool and very scary. The program was scuttled after facing major protests due to the potential scope and power. Rockefeller’s letter seems to lean towards the idea that what the NSA is engaging in is an offshoot of one of the TIA programs. I think it was Graham that said it was a technology change, which further confirms that suspicion. I’m covering some of the possibilities over here.

  20. 20
    Ancient Purple says:

    Yeah, and your definition of “spine”, too. After all, did Rockefeller have any spine in writing that CYA letter to Cheney and leaving it at that? Not exactly a courageous act on his part, was it? Of course, the Dem’s aren’t exactly a courageous bunch.

    This coming from Brian who would sacrifice his civil and constitutional rights to save his own ass.

    You can cut the irony with a knife.

  21. 21
    over it says:

    Is it just me…or does anyone else find it odd (if not creepy) that an American Senator feels the need to add this to a letter to our Vice President?:

    “I am retaining a copy of this letter in a sealed envelope in the secure spaces of the Senate Intelligence Committee to ensure that I have a record of this communication”

    To me, that sounds more like something you see on an episode of Law and Order when a letter has been sent to the Mafia.

    Could just be me though….

  22. 22
    srv says:

    Is it just me…or does anyone else find it odd (if not creepy) that an American Senator feels the need to add this to a letter to our Vice President?:

    Yeah, it’s not addressed to him as president of the senate or anything. I was wondering the same thing. Wondering why he didn’t write the AG also.

  23. 23
    Brian says:

    srv,

    Why must any boat be rocked? The boat’s BEEN rocked big time the past few days, and it would not surprise me one bit if a Senator was behind it. These guys rock the boat all the time. Where you been man?!?!

    If, as the Senior Ranking Member of the Intelligence Committee, the Senator wanted to ensure that civil liberties were assured if the program went ahead, could he not have requested at least that much from the White House? There’s little evidence in his letter that’s what he did.

    Instead, there’s active in the oppsition party a pathological tendency to shrik before Bush, hide out for awhile and simmer with resentment while Bush goes about his job, then expose what they originally knew about all along as some crime or political malfeasance. And in the process, classified info get out that would not have been out if they were a responsible opposition party that knew how to play the game.

    They’re proving themselves to be the dunderheads they are, and not a group that can be entrusted with national security.

  24. 24
    Brian says:

    This coming from Brian who would sacrifice his civil and constitutional rights to save his own ass.

    Can you explain this to me? If you’re going to talk about me this way on a comment board, detail what the hell you’re talking about.

  25. 25
    James C. says:

    Scrolling through the comment threads on this site is a bit like wading through a sewer; but without the benefit of a gas mask, it becomes a bit odoriferous after a while. I guess kindergarden is out thus permitting all these brainless kids acess to the adults PC.

  26. 26
    TM Lutas says:

    I don’t think the most right wing superconservative out there would say that filing for injunctive relief in the FISA Court would have been out of bounds if legislative concerns had been ignored. It would have been secure (everybody has clearance). It would have gotten all three branches in one room to hash out the legalities. It would have settled the issue without splashing all over every blog and front page across the world.

    So why didn’t Daschle, Reid, Pelosi, Rockefeller, and Harman do anything when their concerns were brushed aside? They’ve got a duty to keep the executive in line. They’re in the minority but are not powerless. They could have introduced legislation and worded it so that it compromised no national secrets. What were the bill numbers?

    So there were two routes (lawsuit and legislation) that could have been taken but apparently were not. Does this give a clue that maybe what’s going on isn’t real outrage but politically motivated scandal mongering and to hell with the actual interests of the nation? Tell me the bill numbers or tell me where the lawsuit was filed under seal and I’ll back off on this charge but if this really is an overreach by the executive, we’ve got major problems that the minority party is worthless as a watchdog and needs to be completely cleaned out, starting with Pelosi, Reid, Rockefeller, and Harmon.

  27. 27
    Brian says:

    So there were two routes (lawsuit and legislation) that could have been taken but apparently were not. Does this give a clue that maybe what’s going on isn’t real outrage but politically motivated scandal mongering and to hell with the actual interests of the nation?

    BINGO! We have a winner!

  28. 28
    ats says:

    I feel safer knowing that they are spying on that all-powerful Arab-American Anti-Discrimination cabal. Wolfie, Perle, Feith, Abrams, May, Pollack, Adelman and Shulsky have been fighting a lonely, thankless battle against the overwheening influence of dual-loyalists and Caliphate- firsters at all levels of this muslim-permeated administration and Sharia-infested media.

    In fact, I wrote the New York Times to tell Dan Okrent that Arab-Americans should either recuse themselves or be forcibly excluded from covering the Middle East, but he said he found this idea “deeply offensive.”

  29. 29
    searp says:

    Interesting that Bush authorizes what appear to be patently illegal domestic spying operations, and this ends up being the Democrats’ fault.

    To TM Lutas: Why the hell didn’t every single member of congress briefed on the program stop it? You blame Democrats, why the hell didn’t Frist, Hastert, Delay, etc tell the president he was doing something illegal? Do they hate us so much?

  30. 30
    Doug says:

    Kos has a Bush lied post up on the warrantless wiretap searches. He cites an April 20, 2004 speech by Mr. Bush in defense of the Patriot Act:

    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.

    Possibly 4/20/04 was opposite day.

  31. 31
    Al Maviva says:

    >>>“You do a lot of weird shit. But at least you don’t fuck with your own people.”

    Did anybody read that quote, and wonder why it is then, that FISA has a warrant procedure, along with a laundry list of warrant exceptions?

  32. 32
    KC says:

    This is all going to blow over. As aborhent as I think the whole thing is, the GOP holds power now, lawlessness in pursuit of security/money/power means nothing.

  33. 33
    Davebo says:

    Filing a lawsuit in the FISC??

    Not really familiar with the scope of the FISC are you? They don’t handle civil litigation you know.

    And now I’ll leave you all to Big Al and what will undoubtedly be his latest “creative recreation” of federal statutes.

  34. 34
    srv says:

    Brian,

    I’m sure a Rockefeller would want to go toe-to-toe with Dick that soon after 9/11. Look at the original PA, nobody opposed that, it was 99-1.

    Instead, there’s active in the oppsition party a pathological tendency to shrik before Bush, hide out for awhile and simmer with resentment while Bush goes about his job, then expose what they originally knew about all along as some crime or political malfeasance. And in the process, classified info get out that would not have been out if they were a responsible opposition party that knew how to play the game.

    Well, whatever. If you see the world as weany dems and heroic reps, good luck with that. I wouldn’t piss on congress if it were on fire.

    Given the last few years, I am quite sure that in the end, we will find that the “degrees” of US persons pursued in this effort is far greater than anyone was probably “briefed”. And that this end-run around FISA on pre-FISA constitutional authority would not be received well (at least by the last SCOTUS, I make no predictions about the current one).

    You really think all those people spent all that time on FISA and the PA, knowing wink-wink that there was an end-run around it?

    It’s curious how many people seem to think this is so clearly legal, yet so clearly secret. We’ll see if I’m wrong about how many non-foreign agent US persons had their phone calls and emails processed. I’m betting somewhere between 50-100K.

    If it only went 1-degree, and only involved a few hundred, then I’ll be happy to admit I’m wrong. But they didn’t want a paper trail for a reason.

  35. 35

    More on Secret Spying Inside the United States

    Feeling a little distressed over this whole violation of civil liberties business, I went over to read what Tim F. at Balloon Juice had to say about it all. Well, confession, I went to see what John Cole had to…

  36. 36
    Retief says:

    Tm Lutas, So let me just get this right. You’re suggesting that congress is responsible to check the abuse of power by the executive, and that that didn’t happen, so we should blame, not the people and party who control congress but the ones who don’t? Have I missed anything?

  37. 37
    Davebo says:

    Geez, they weren’t even allowed to discuss it with their fellow congressmen or staff, yet we have apologists out in force claiming they should have either A. Done the impossible by attempting a lawsuit in FISC or B. Offered legislation that doesn’t actually mention the program yet is somehow supposed to curtail it. And I assume just tell the other 430 or so congressmen to “trust me and vote yes”.

    The pretzel logic offered in defense is… well… pretty twisted.

  38. 38
    recklessprocess says:

    Oooh, poor, poor Jay Rockefeller… couldn’t do anything.

    http://www.spectator.org/blogg.....logID=1221

    There is a lot he could do. His hands were not tied. But like many, if not all, democrats he lies everytime he opens his mouth. The link above shows he had many options.

    He is the Vice Chair! Of the Senate Subcommittee. On Intelligence! Oh, poor helpless widdle Jay…. It is ALL BUSHES FAULT!

  39. 39
    srv says:

    Filing a lawsuit in the FISC??

    Yeah, exactly. Let’s file a lawsuit on a program whose scope they may well not had any idea about. This is a SCOTUS issue, not a FISA issue.

  40. 40
    StupidityRules says:

    Osama bin Laden

    Salem bin Laden, Osama’s brother, dead since 1988, invested in Arbusto through:

    James Bath, part owner of Arbusto, seem to have had the same problem as GWB back in 1972…

    George W Bush, misarble failure

  41. 41
    Davebo says:

    Not a lot of effort required to debunk that great news outlet “American Spectator” is there?

    First, he could have discussed his concerns with me or other Members of Congress who had been briefed on the program. He never asked me or the Committee to take any action consistent with the “concerns” raised in his letter.

    Which would have violated the order from the White House not to discuss it with anyone.

    Second, he could have raised objections with the Vice President during one of the many briefings we received. I have no recollection of Senator Rockefeller objecting to the program at the many briefings he and I attended together. In fact, it is my recollection that on many occasions Senator Rockefeller expressed to the Vice President his vocal support for the program. His most recent expression of support was only two weeks ago.

    But he did that with his letter to the Vice President. As to the claim he had offered vocal support for the program, I’d say that doesn’t jibe with the content of his letter. In the letter we have dated evidence of his concerns for the program, but of course we will just have to take Senator Roberts word for it.

    Finally, he could have pursued any number of legislative remedies. He chose to pursue none.

    Again, that would be an interesting piece of legislation. We hereby renounce XXXXXXX and believe that XXXXXX is a blatant violation of the constitution, specifically the XXXX ammendment as well as the XXXXX amendment and the XXXXX act.

    Essentially the senator is suggesting that legislation be offered that requires the executive branch to comply with previously passed legislation.

    Sounds a lot like the Schiavo bill to me.

  42. 42
    Tim F. says:

    I can’t say how much this Rockefeller’s-fault excuse line makes me laugh. Keep it up guys.

  43. 43
    Davebo says:

    Stupidity.

    I worked for Jim Bath for several years. And though the man has plenty of serious flaws, what you are suggesting is not one of them.

  44. 44
    Lines says:

    So, if Senator Rocky is being politically adversarial with this latest release, then why now? Because the Preznit’s numbers were starting to slightly edge upwards amongst die-hard republican’s again? I think not. The timing of the leak from within the FISA process has nothing to do with Rockafeller, it just happened that he wrote a letter 2 years ago and it was brough to life AFTER the leak. Sorry, but your pathetic Swift Boating of Rockefeller is nothing more than that, and as is being made clear in the public forum, the people are tired of your shit. Stop smearing and start discussing, you juvenile twits. Rockefeller was prohibited from discussion of the project, and as pointed out above, couldn’t even write up a resolution about it without compromising security and going to jail.

    Play your little games, but when it comes down to it, your President fucked the American people over, again. He won’t be caught, again, but his credibility and the credibility of all Republicans just continues to sink into areas never seen before.

    Why should anyone on these boards continue to even listen to you jackass reactionary defenders? You do nothing to preserve the Constitution, instead, you attack those that attempt to protect it. Pathetic, totally pathetic.

  45. 45
    Dexter says:

    But like many, if not all, democrats he lies everytime he opens his mouth.

    Worst of all, the NYT prints his lies. I think that he was probably their source for the story. At the very least, he should be removed from office. More appropriate, I think, would be criminal proceedings. I’m not sure whether or not it would be fair to label him an “enemy combatant”, but certainly under Section 124(c) of the Patriot Act, it is a possibility.

  46. 46
    Davebo says:

    You know what the most pathetic aspect of these apologists is?

    These are the guys saying I’m not a patriotic american!

  47. 47
    Gratefulcub says:

    i know I am really late to this party, but I just had one of those WTF moments.

    Yeah, and your definition of “spine”, too. After all, did Rockefeller have any spine in writing that CYA letter to Cheney and leaving it at that? Not exactly a courageous act on his part, was it? Of course, the Dem’s aren’t exactly a courageous bunch.

    It was classified. What was he supposed to do, shout it from the podium?

  48. 48
    Dexter says:

    Tim F, congress was briefed over and over again about this. For you to suggest otherwise is completely disingenuous. If “Rocky” didn’t know about this, then why did he write Cheney that letter? I think Gay Rockefeller will be the big loser in all of this. I’ll be surprised if he’s still around by this summer.

    The American people do not like a rat. And Rocky is a rat.

  49. 49
    Dexter says:

    These are the guys saying I’m not a patriotic american!

    You’re not. You care more about the rights of terrorists than you do about national security. You have no understanding of the law or the prerogatives of the executive branch. All you is sit around hate Bush. Thank God 53% of the country disagrees with you.

  50. 50
    Gratefulcub says:

    is Dexter Real?

  51. 51
    srv says:

    Gratefulcub,

    No, I don’t have the current list. DougJ, dilbert (prob), dexter, emily…

  52. 52
    Darrell says:

    the GOP holds power now, lawlessness in pursuit of security/money/power means nothing.

    Incredibly ignorant statement which any leftist political hack would be proud to repeat. ECHELON has been ongoing for DECADES now. Suddenly, ignorant Dems in an emotional scramble to smear the Bush administration in a pursuit to hunt terrorists. I mean, if you’ve got an example of the govt using this technology to prosecute a US citizen without a warrant, then show us where.

    It would be most useful for you lefties screaming now to point me to your posts objecting to it when it was going on under Clinton. Since you’re all so honest and noble, I’m sure you’ll have no problem producing such examples, right?

  53. 53
    Krista says:

    Left-wing theme on this thread: The current executive is power-hungry, they’re abusing their powers to appalling degrees, and they’re violating the rights of innocent American citizens.

    Right-wing theme on this thread: The executive did nothing wrong. And it’s really all the Democrats’ fault — they should have stopped the executive from doing the wrongdoing that they didn’t actually do!

  54. 54
    demimondian says:

    Thank God 53% of the country disagrees with you.

    What is this “God 53% of the country”? Is this the new war on Christmas? Let’s get the “God 53% of the country” out of the season!

  55. 55
    srv says:

    Gratefulcub,

    And since he caught me by doing TD yesterday, he may be doing Darrell now.

  56. 56
    CadillaqJaq says:

    “over it Says:

    Is it just me…or does anyone else find it odd (if not creepy) that an American Senator feels the need to add this to a letter to our Vice President?:

    “I am retaining a copy of this letter in a sealed envelope in the secure spaces of the Senate Intelligence Committee to ensure that I have a record of this communication”

    To me, that sounds more like something you see on an episode of Law and Order when a letter has been sent to the Mafia.

    Could just be me though….”

    LMAO! Funniest bit I’ve read today…. thanks.

    To Over It, you may assuage your curiosity by reading Senator Pat Robertson’s response to Rockefellow, whom he refers to as “inconsistent,” in a letter dated today.

  57. 57
    Krista says:

    It would be most useful for you lefties screaming now to point me to your posts objecting to it when it was going on under Clinton.

    Yes, Darrell…because the blogosphere was alive and well in 1999.

  58. 58
    SeesThroughIt says:

    I can’t say how much this Rockefeller’s-fault excuse line makes me laugh. Keep it up guys.

    I like it, but I can’t get the timeline down here…was it Rockefeller’s fault before or after it was Clinton’s fault (an extension of the ever-popular “b-b-b-b-b-but Clinton did it!” defense)? It’s so hard to keep track of the bullshit. Which I guess is an integral part of the current GOP defense strategy. You know, like how a frightened squid will shoot ink at an attacker and flit away. Well, in this case, the squid ink is bullshit talking points. Just cloud the sea with them, and you’re good.

    I’d like to think Dexter is a spoof, but I’m not 100 percent convinced of that just yet.

  59. 59
    demimondian says:

    Dexter is a spoof. Look at the tag-line structure, and the word choice…it’s DougJ.

    I have only one question, DougJ — why Dexter? Did Brian made you jealous, or something?

  60. 60
    John S. says:

    Left-wing theme on this thread: The current executive is power-hungry, they’re abusing their powers to appalling degrees, and they’re violating the rights of innocent American citizens.

    Right-wing theme on this thread: The executive did nothing wrong. And it’s really all the Democrats’ fault—they should have stopped the executive from doing the wrongdoing that they didn’t actually do!

    Pretty much. Thanks for the concise synopsis, Krista.

  61. 61
    Darrell says:

    Krista Says:

    Left-wing theme on this thread: The current executive is power-hungry, they’re abusing their powers to appalling degrees, and they’re violating the rights of innocent American citizens.

    Right-wing theme on this thread: The executive did nothing wrong. And it’s really all the Democrats’ fault—they should have stopped the executive from doing the wrongdoing that they didn’t actually do!

    No, it’s more like this:

    Left-wing theme: There is no real terrorist threat. 9/11 was an isolated event like getting hit from lightening while sitting in your office. The Bush cabal used 9/11 as an excuse for them to exercise their sinister powers to start conducting illegal espionage on Americans who might be using recreational drugs, having sex, or protesting BushHitler’s illegal power grab in their relentless pursuit of stealing our freedoms and making it unpatriotic to have fun. Anyone objecting to this unholy power grab will be silenced by the phrase “war on terror national security” and be dragged away in the darkness of night to secret gulags

    Right-wing theme: This has been going on for decades under Echelon. If you want to change the rules, fine, but try keep a lid on your emotional arguments (“Bush lied”, etc), and more importantly put on the table a proposal of your own. Tell us explicitly how you would handle this balancing act if in power

  62. 62
    Gratefulcub says:

    George Tenet 4/12/00

    I’m here today to discuss specific issues about and allegations regarding Signals Intelligence activities and the so-called Echelon Program of the National Security Agency…

    There is a rigorous regime of checks and balances which we, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and the FBI scrupulously adhere to whenever conversations of U.S. persons are involved, whether directly or indirectly. We do not collect against U.S. persons unless they are agents of a foreign power as that term is defined in the law. We do not target their conversations for collection in the United States unless a FISA warrant has been obtained from the FISA court by the Justice Department

    No difference Darrel?

    Warrant. No Warrant.

    Use the FISA court. Circumvent the FISA Court.

    I say potato, you say potatoe.

  63. 63
    T. Miller says:

    If our elected President cannot eavesdrop at will on your conversations and my conversations, then the terrorists have won.

  64. 64
    Gratefulcub says:

    There is no real terrorist threat.

    Oh sweet Jesus.

    This has been going on for decades under Echelon

    Without warrants? Without oversight? In violation of FISA? Did Clinton’s AG write up some opinions telling Bubba he didn’t have to abide by FISA?

  65. 65
    Doug says:

    9/11 is looking more like our generation’s Reichstag Fire than our Pearl Harbor.

  66. 66
    The Other Steve says:

    So there were two routes (lawsuit and legislation) that could have been taken but apparently were not. Does this give a clue that maybe what’s going on isn’t real outrage but politically motivated scandal mongering and to hell with the actual interests of the nation?

    It is amazing to me the level to which rightwing shills will spin anything in an attempt to blame someone else.

    Here we have a revelation that the Bush administration is acting outside of the spirit and letter of the law, and this nut’s response is… “It is the Democrats fault.”

  67. 67
    John S. says:

    Darrell Says:

    No, it’s more like this:

    Up is down. Black is white. You must go in to get out…

    Darrell kind of reminds me of The Sphinx from Mystery Men.

    As Mr. Furious (from the movie) would say, “Okay, am I the only one who finds these sayings just a little bit formulaic?”

  68. 68
    srv says:

    Right-wing theme: This has been going on for decades under Echelon.

    Even though I think it’s DougJ today (and maybe always) – if Bush is just using Echelon exactly as before, why did he feel a need to brief congress on this “new” program? Or did Rocke not know about Echelon in 2002?

    Really, aim a little higher.

  69. 69
    DougJ says:

    I’ll drop the Dexter. I only break it out for the true loons like TM and Brian. I know my Dexter was weak today. I’m busy.

    If Brian is a fake, he’s the best one ever.

  70. 70
    fwiffo says:

    Six degrees of Bin Laden…
    1. I’m employed by my boss…
    2. Who knows a guy…
    3. Who, on occasion, has dinner with Jeb Bush…
    4. Who is brother to George W…
    5. Who is no more than two degrees from the Bin Laden Group…
    6. …
    7. Which is a firm full of OBL’s relatives.

    Darn, one short.

  71. 71
    Darrell says:

    No difference Darrel?

    Warrant. No Warrant.

    ECHELON always intercepted conversations of US citizens. It’s the nature of the technology. The Bush admin executive order only clarified what level of scrutiny these ALREADY INTERCEPTED communications can be subjected to without warrant. Do you think such conversations weren’t being read over before? The Bush made it more above-board, informing FISA judges of what they were doing, and they informed senior members of both houses and both parties in Congress of what they were doing too.

    With the emotional hysterics on the left, many seem not to understand that a warrant is STILL needed to make a US citizen a subject of prosecution. Again, you want to change the law?.. then tell us what you would change and how

  72. 72
    Gratefulcub says:

    Echelon is just convenient. It allows them to use their favorite talking point. Clinton.

  73. 73
    Gold Star for Robot Boy says:

    9/11 is looking more like our generation’s Reichstag Fire than our Pearl Harbor.

    That’s the scariest idea I’ve heard in a long, long time.

  74. 74
    Gratefulcub says:

    Darrel,
    So, Tenet was lying to the Senate? That is the only way to reconcile what you say and what he is saying.

    How do you have all this inside information anyway?

    George Tenet 4/12/00

    I’m here today to discuss specific issues about and allegations regarding Signals Intelligence activities and the so-called Echelon Program of the National Security Agency…

    There is a rigorous regime of checks and balances which we, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and the FBI scrupulously adhere to whenever conversations of U.S. persons are involved, whether directly or indirectly. We do not collect against U.S. persons unless they are agents of a foreign power as that term is defined in the law. We do not target their conversations for collection in the United States unless a FISA warrant has been obtained from the FISA court by the Justice Department

  75. 75
    Gratefulcub says:

    If Brian is a fake, he’s the best one ever.

    No way he is fake. Way too sincere.

    I just set myself up, obviously DougJ will turn out to be brian.

  76. 76
    Darrell says:

    Darrel,
    So, Tenet was lying to the Senate? That is the only way to reconcile what you say and what he is saying.

    GC, I’m sorry you are too ignorant about the ECHELON technology to know that communications from US citizens have been intercepted for decades. They may not have been “collected” for prosecution against a US citizen without a warrant, I don’t dispute that, but those communications INCLUDE CONVERSATIONS OF US CITIZENS, were damn sure intercepted in the ECHELON net. Discussing this issue with the left is like trying to explain to them that WP is not a chemical weapon. They can’t see past their “Bush lied” blinders

  77. 77
    Gratefulcub says:

    Darrell (i even used to l’s),

    How are you so sure that the program being used now is just an extension of Echelon? I have seen plenty of people with a little inside info trying to peice together what is going on, but none of them seem near as confident that they know the answer as you do?

  78. 78
    Tim F. says:

    That’s the scariest idea I’ve heard in a long, long time.

    Stirling Newberry coined it somewhere around 9/12 on the old Atlantic boards.

  79. 79
    Darrell says:

    How are you so sure that the program being used now is just an extension of Echelon? I have seen plenty of people with a little inside info trying to peice together what is going on, but none of them seem near as confident that they know the answer as you do?

    ECHELON has been going on for decades, that is not in dispute. I am confident in proclaiming that ECHELON has been in existence for decades, and I am confident in stating that conversations, including those of US citizens, were caught up in the ECHELON net. The left acts as if this was “news”. It’s not

    In the past, it’s been unclear/muddy to what extent these intercepted conversations of US citizens were used. They certainly could not be used to prosecute individual citizens without warrant. That’s been the case for quite a while.

    The Bush admin took steps to bring this monitoring more above-board than in previous administrations, notifying FISA judges and Congress. Not enough scrutiny for you? Then give us your proposals. What’s incredible though, is that so many on the left are shocked (gasp!) to learn that communications involving US citizens, as well as foreigners, were being intercepted by the govt. and had been for decades

  80. 80
    Gratefulcub says:

    This has been going on for decades under Echelon. If you want to change the rules, fine, but try keep a lid on your emotional arguments (“Bush lied”, etc), and more importantly put on the table a proposal of your own. Tell us explicitly how you would handle this balancing act if in power

    First, what is THIS? No one knows exactly what was going on yet. Just the generic, ‘wiretapping of american citizens.’

    And as for how I would handle the balancing act…..
    They haven’t denied taking actions that violated FISA. They have basically admitted to it, and swore to continue the practice. Their defense is not that they didn’t violate FISA, their defense is that he isn’t bound by FISA because of executive power derived from the constitution and from the congressional act authorizing action against Afghanistan. So, I would have handled it through the FISA courts.

  81. 81
    srv says:

    Do you think such conversations weren’t being read over before?

    According to Tenet and former NSA directors (I think Odom or the guy before him, the testimony was in 2000), they weren’t.

    This isn’t about prosecution. This is about processing. The Gov’t has a various times denied they processed domestic data on US persons. If that’s always been a lie, and you always knew it, you really think everyone else in the US knew it was a lie?

  82. 82
    Gratefulcub says:

    The Bush admin took steps to bring this monitoring more above-board than in previous administrations, notifying FISA judges and Congress.

    You lost me there. As Tenet said, they always got warrants from FISA courts. Now, Bush’s executive order allowed the NSA to perform the same functions without going through FISA courts. Isn’t that the opposite of what you are saying?

  83. 83
    srv says:

    In the past, it’s been unclear/muddy to what extent these intercepted conversations of US citizens were used.

    Well, there you go. There is a big difference between collection/recording and processing (reading). When exactly did you become informed about the reading part?

  84. 84
    Darrell says:

    First, what is THIS? No one knows exactly what was going on yet. Just the generic, ‘wiretapping of american citizens.’

    I already linked to a source. There are many out there. Here is my link again. ‘This’ is:

    ECHELON is a term associated with a global network of computers that automatically search through millions of intercepted messages for pre-programmed keywords or fax, telex and e-mail addresses. Every word of every message in the frequencies and channels selected at a station is automatically searched. The processors in the network are known as the ECHELON Dictionaries. ECHELON connects all these computers and allows the individual stations to function as distributed elements an integrated system. An ECHELON station’s Dictionary contains not only its parent agency’s chosen keywords, but also lists for each of the other four agencies in the UKUSA system [NSA, GCHQ, DSD, GCSB and CSE]

    Although the intercepts of communications involving US citizens cannot be used in a prosecution of that citizen without warrant, that does not mean that the information may not yield other valuable intel.

    1999 interview by Paula Zahn:

    ZAHN: But what’s the purpose of monitoring domestic e-mails? What are they trying to learn from the average e-mailer?

    PIKE: Well, the National Security Agency almost certainly is not monitoring purely domestic communications. They are, however, trying to monitor most international communications, and unavoidably since Americans are a very chatty people, that’s going to involve law and under international — and under regulation, they’re not supposed to retain information about the American side of that communication. They can’t retain information on U.S. persons. And if they follow those regulations, I don’t think that Americans would have nearly as much to worry about as Osama bin Laden does.

    The nature of ECHELON technology makes it impossible NOT to intercepts conversations of innocent US citizens, and it’s been going on for 20 years

  85. 85
    Krista says:

    I am confident in proclaiming that ECHELON has been in existence for decades, and I am confident in stating that conversations, including those of US citizens, were caught up in the ECHELON net. The left acts as if this was “news”. It’s not

    And you are acting as though you being confident about something therefore makes it indisputable fact.

    It’s not.

    I’m not saying that you might not very well be right about the history of ECHELON. However, I am saying that if you’re going to assert that we’re being silly to get upset about this, due to the alleged fact that this has been going on for decades, then we’re going to want something a bit more concrete than your “confidence” as proof that this has indeed been going on for decades.

  86. 86
    Darrell says:

    There is a big difference between collection/recording and processing (reading).

    So you are asserting that in the past, such communications were never read.. at least not until the evil Bush cabal seized control, right?

  87. 87
    Darrell says:

    And you are acting as though you being confident about something therefore makes it indisputable fact.

    It’s not.

    I’ve provided links which no one has yet refuted, because ECHELON * really did * monitor conversations, emails, etc based on keywords. ECHELON has been in place for 2 decades or more. That is not merely my “opinion”. Those are facts. But like with WP, the ignorant left keeps screaming

  88. 88
    Cyrus says:

    Darrell Says:

    No, it’s more like this:

    Left-wing theme: There is no real terrorist threat. 9/11 was an isolated event like getting hit from lightening while sitting in your office. The Bush cabal used 9/11 as an excuse for them to exercise their sinister powers to start conducting illegal espionage on Americans who might be using recreational drugs, having sex, or protesting BushHitler’s illegal power grab in their relentless pursuit of stealing our freedoms and making it unpatriotic to have fun. Anyone objecting to this unholy power grab will be silenced by the phrase “war on terror national security” and be dragged away in the darkness of night to secret gulags

    Darrell, the way the page looks to me, you were the first person on this thread to use the words and phrases “cabal,” “sinister,” “drugs,” “sex,” “unpatriotic,” “unholy,” “war on terror,” “national security,” “dragged away,” “darkness of night,” “9/11” or “secret gulags”. (I might have missed one or two in the 50-plus comments above yours, but I think my point stands.) For that matter, I could be remembering wrong, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone use the word “BushHitler” in earnest. Admittedly there are people who make the comparison, but it seems to me that if they’re really as bad as you seem to think then you should be able to use rational arguments at least once in a while rather than parody and misquotes.

    Right-wing theme: This has been going on for decades under Echelon. If you want to change the rules, fine, but try keep a lid on your emotional arguments (“Bush lied”, etc), and more importantly put on the table a proposal of your own. Tell us explicitly how you would handle this balancing act if in power.

    As far as I can tell, you are also the first person in this thread except for the original poster – the left-of-center Tim F. – to use the words and phrases “Echelon,” “emotional,” “‘Bush lied,'” “proposal,” and “balancing act.”

    On the other hand, every post by Brian so far in this thread has been nothing but personal attacks on both Rockefeller in particular and Democrats in general, and TM Lutas made basically the same point, blaming Rockefeller for not stopping this instead of blaming Bush for doing it. Those two plus Al Maviva* and yourself are, if not the only right-wing commenters, the ones who made the majority of right-wing posts.

    When they talked about creating their own reality, this wasn’t what they had in mind. Just to let you know.

    *Whose post was very vague, but it looked to me like either a personal attack on a critic of this program, or a defense of its legality (Which pretty much exactly fits the first sentence of Krista’s description of the right-wing theme.)

  89. 89
    Darrell says:

    Bad link above. Link again should work now

  90. 90
    srv says:

    So you are asserting that in the past, such communications were never read.. at least not until the evil Bush cabal seized control, right?

    I’m asserting that federal officials when queried on this exact loophole (someone even brought up in testimony that we got around the warrant part by having the Brits read our domestic emails for us – which was denied also), have always denied they were read (without a warrant). I’m not saying they denied keeping the trap (?) data (phone number, timestamps, etc).

    Again – when exactly did you know they all lied about this?

  91. 91
    Darrell says:

    As far as I can tell, you are also the first person in this thread except for the original poster – the left-of-center Tim F. – to use the words and phrases “Echelon,” “emotional,” “’Bush lied,’” “proposal,” and “balancing act.”

    You’re right Cyrus, only allegations from the left that Bush was engaged in “patently illegaly domestic spying operations” etc. Such an important distinction

  92. 92
    Gratefulcub says:

    When I said THIS, i didn’t mean, what is Echelon. By THIS, I meant the the current issue. no one knows exactly what was going on NOW. If it was just a continuation of a program that has been going on for decades, then I would agree with you. But, I am not confident that this is just a continuation of a long running program.

    Why hasn’t the administration just said, “We aren’t doing anything new, we just didn’t stop doing what Clinton, Bush, and Reagan were doing.”

  93. 93
    srv says:

    Darrell, you assume what has been going on is just the keyword program. Please provide a link proving that’s all this program in fact was.

  94. 94
    Darrell says:

    have always denied they were read (without a warrant). I’m not saying they denied keeping the trap (?) data (phone number, timestamps, etc).

    Did they deny such communications were not even “read” without a warrant? or did they only deny that such communications were not saved for use without warrants? Quite a distinction there

  95. 95
    Gratefulcub says:

    Darrell, this is what i have been trying unsuccessfully to ask you:

    you assume what has been going on is just the keyword program. Please provide a link proving that’s all this program in fact was.

    From what I have read, i don’t think it was just a continuation of echelon. i am not pretending to know what it is, but we need to find out.

  96. 96
    Darrell says:

    By THIS, I meant the the current issue. no one knows exactly what was going on NOW

    Ok, then why the hysteria on the left if no new evidence on what the Bush admin has done has emerged? Show me the new evidence

  97. 97
    srv says:

    Did they deny such communications were not even “read” without a warrant? or did they only deny that such communications were not saved for use without warrants? Quite a distinction there

    I’m done with you if you don’t answer my question.

    Tenets and others comments were never said with a prosecution caveat. I’ve been told keyword trap analysis was only done on international calls and if a domestic person was found they had to go FISA regardless of a criminal case. That would be inline with court decisions.

    I’m betting this isn’t keyword at all. It’s domestic recording and processing on US persons who are within N-degrees of a foreign person of interest. If Odom and others were to be believed, N used to be 1. Now, I’m thinking it’s a number alot bigger than that.

  98. 98
    Darrell says:

    Darrell, you assume what has been going on is just the keyword program. Please provide a link proving that’s all this program in fact was.

    You’re asking me to prove a negative? LOL! “I demand to see proof that you didn’t steal that dress”. This entire thread is based on accusations from the left, and you’re now reduced to demanding that evidence be give that Bush DIDN’T violate the law. Incredible, but typical leftist mindset

  99. 99
    Darrell says:

    I’ve been told keyword trap analysis was only done on international calls and if a domestic person was found they had to go FISA regardless of a criminal case

    They had to go to FISA just to read it? Or to prosecute? You’re busted srv, you’re just too dishonest to admit it

  100. 100
    NRM says:

    Darrell, you assume what has been going on is just the keyword program. Please provide a link proving that’s all this program in fact was.

    The program that has been implemented is speculation at this point. It may be tied in with ECHELON, but it seems there is some amount of real time analysis that is occuring, something that wasn’t possible 10-20 years ago. Bush talking about the time sensitive nature and the slowness of the FISA process points to that. The IAO, before it was dissolved, listed a number of research areas for contextual analysis and agents that learn in real time.

    I’d bet that whatever this program is, it’s a continuation of Total Information Awareness. While keyword recognition of speech or text may require a warrant, merely tracking the destination of US to foreign (and vice-versa) communications probably wouldn’t. And there are plenty of types of analysis that can be done just by collecting the destinations.

  101. 101
    Darrell says:

    I’m betting this isn’t keyword at all.

    That’s right, you’re “betting” on it without evidence because you have none. You ‘feel’ Bush did something, and that’s enough.. exactly like with the WP issue

  102. 102
    Lines says:

    Hysteria? Over the Bush administration basically saying they know what they are doing is illegal but they are going to keep doing it anyway?

    Hysteria by the left? When many legal analysts are basicaolly showing that the Afghanistan conflict doesn’t give the Executive these kinds of powers? That it really is in fact, illegal?

    Thats not hysterics, thats looking at information and trying to process it all to determine what really is happening and going to happen in the near future. Darrell, you seem to be the only one in hysterics.

    So why don’t you try to save some face and stop? You really havn’t helped your case or even made much of one in this entire thread.

  103. 103
    Gratefulcub says:

    then why the hysteria on the left if no new evidence on what the Bush admin has done has emerged

    Because they have admitted they broke the law that is FISA, but say that the president is above that law, he doesn’t have to follow it.

    There was a law on the books (FISA), that basically stated that a warrant had to be obtained before, or within 72 hours to get a wiretap on international communications involving US citizens.

    The Admin, for whatever reason, rightly or wrongly, thought that restriction was too severe.

    Obvious solution is to change the law.

    Why didn’t they go to Congress and get the law re-written? Isn’t that how our system works?

    Instead they got lawyers to write opinions saying the president doesn’t have to follow that law.

    The first order is whether the administration’s and the NSA’s actions were constitutional. The merit of the FISA legislation can be debated, but when these actions occurred FISA was the law of the land. It is legislation written to prevent the exact actions taken. The admin has a team of lawyers that know the law, know the intent of the law, the spirit of the law. They wrote creative opinions to get around the law, but everyone knew what they were doing.

    Even if FISA is atrocious law, the question is, did the president, his staff, and the NSA violate the law? Their defense so far has been, it is a time of war, so the president doesn’t have to abide by that law. I need to know which laws they think the president has to follow during a time that he says we are at war.

    Q If FISA didn’t work, why didn’t you seek a new statute that allowed something like this legally?

    ATTORNEY GENERAL GONZALES: That question was asked earlier. We’ve had discussions with members of Congress, certain members of Congress, about whether or not we could get an amendment to FISA, and we were advised that that was not likely to be—that was not something we could likely get, certainly not without jeopardizing the existence of the program, and therefore, killing the program. And that—and so a decision was made that because we felt that the authorities were there, that we should continue moving forward with this program.

    Sorry, if they didn’t think they could get a Republican Congress that passes everything they want passed, to change the FISA law……..

    Again, correct me if I am wrong, but this seems to be shaking out as: They did what FISA explicitly said they couldn’t, and the defense is: the president doesn’t have to follow that law.

  104. 104
    Gratefulcub says:

    You’re asking me to prove a negative? LOL! “I demand to see proof that you didn’t steal that dress”. This entire thread is based on accusations from the left, and you’re now reduced to demanding that evidence be give that Bush DIDN’T violate the law. Incredible, but typical leftist mindset

    you’re better than that. That is not what I am asking you to do, at all. Let me try one more time.

    Your point seems to be that the current situation is just a continuation of Echelon, or some advanced keyword search. What evidence do you have that that is all that is going on? I have seen no one say with any certainty that is the case.

  105. 105
    The Other Steve says:

    Have you ever noticed now right-wing nuts like Darrell and Brian sound an awful lot like those guilty of spousal abuse?

    What I mean… It’s the same old thing every time. Whenever they do or support something bad, they qualify it with a statement sounding very much like “Don’t make me hit you.”

    Listen to their theme… It’s Jay Rockefellers fault for not stopping the Bush administration from breaking the law.

    It would make me laugh, if they didn’t sound so serious.

  106. 106
    Tim F. says:

    You’re asking me to prove a negative?

    He’s asking you to defend an unsupported affirmative. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to request that you defend your own statements.

  107. 107
    Darrell says:

    There was a law on the books (FISA), that basically stated that a warrant had to be obtained before, or within 72 hours to get a wiretap on international communications involving US citizens.

    International communications involving US citizens had been obtained in the ECHELON net for decades, despite FISA, as that is the nature of the ECHELON and any similar technology.

    What evidence do you have that that is all that is going on?

    You are asking me to prove a negative. Illogical and irrational

  108. 108
    srv says:

    They had to go to FISA just to read it? Or to prosecute? You’re busted srv, you’re just too dishonest to admit it

    They “read” the international call. If they want to pursue (tap, or whatever) the US person, they went FISA.

    That’s right, you’re “betting” on it without evidence because you have none. You ‘feel’ Bush did something, and that’s enough.

    See AG statements above.

    Finally, you’re incapable of answering my question. If Tenet and Odom and everyone before that lied, and prior admins pursued US persons domestic-domestic w/o FISA, and you’re happy with that, then you are one weird person.

  109. 109
    Darrell says:

    Listen to their theme… It’s Jay Rockefellers fault for not stopping the Bush administration from breaking the law.

    Show me where I ever asserted such a thing, or have the honor to admit you simply made it up

  110. 110
    Gratefulcub says:

    You are asking me to prove a negative. Illogical and irrational

    Bullshit. You are saying that there is nothing to see here because it has been going on for years, but you have no idea what is going on today. So, my question is, how do you know that there is nothing new happening? And your response? ‘you are asking me to prove a negative’ I am not asking you to prove anything. Why are you so confident that nothing besides echelon is going on?

  111. 111
    Darrell says:

    He’s asking you to defend an unsupported affirmative. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to request that you defend your own statements.

    Wrong Tim. His statement was this:

    Darrell, you assume what has been going on is just the keyword program. Please provide a link proving that’s all this program in fact was.

    He in fact asked me to prove a negative, but thanks for stopping by to snipe without offering substance

  112. 112
    Gratefulcub says:

    He in fact asked me to prove a negative, but thanks for stopping by to snipe without offering substance

    I’m not, what is the answer?

  113. 113
    Tim F. says:

    Sniping eh. You clearly have information that we don’t, Darrell. Something led you to believe that the latest revelations strictly pertain to the Echelon keyword operations that have gone on for some time. What is it? Share and we will all be better-informed.

  114. 114
    Darrell says:

    Something led you to believe that the latest revelations strictly pertain to the Echelon keyword operations that have gone on for some time

    This entire thread is based on insinuations and outright accusations from those on the left that Bush did something beyond what Echelon had done for decades. The burden is on those like you making the accusations. So tell us Tim, which of the “latest revelations” lead you to assert that the Bush administrations has done anything substantively different than what Echelon had been doing for a long, long while?

  115. 115
    Mac Buckets says:

    Your point seems to be that the current situation is just a continuation of Echelon, or some advanced keyword search. What evidence do you have that that is all that is going on?

    What’s the difference whether it was exactly ECHELON or not?

    The issue seems to be whether interception of US citizens’ phone calls and e-mails has been going on for decades under Democrat and Republican administrations or not, and Darrell produced links indicating that it had. Whether it was this same program or not is irrelevant. If I understand Darrell’s larger point here, his issue is only that the left is playing partisan politics with this “privacy” and “civil rights” issue that they totally ignored when their party’s guys were doing the intercepting.

  116. 116
    srv says:

    This entire thread is based on insinuations and outright accusations from those on the left that Bush did something beyond what Echelon had done for decades.

    Uh, well, the quotes in the NYT article, the AG saying they couldn’t use or amend FISA to do what we wanted…

  117. 117
    Darrell says:

    I’m not, what is the answer?

    I have seen no indication, no evidence, that Bush has done anything beyond what had been going on in Echelon for decades.

    Private conversations, emails and faxes, including those of US citizens, have always been caught in the Echelon net. Although such communications could not be used in a prosecution without a warrant (Bush didn’t change that), I think it is incredibly naive to assert that intelligence agency types didn’t read those communications scouring for leads.

    Bush, from what I’ve seen, attempted to bring this nod-wink intelligence gathering process more above board. Unlike previous administrations, he informed FISA judges and Sr. members of both houses of congress what NSA was doing.

  118. 118
    Gratefulcub says:

    Again Darrell, no one really knows what all this consists of. We do know some things though. They have admitted to an executive order circumventing FISA. They have taken actions that break the FISA statute. Their defense is that the president is not bound by FISA, even though it was written to prevent what they were doing.

    The issue is not whether laws should be changed, or if FISA is good law or not. They have admitted to breaking it, and their reason is that he is a ‘war president’ not bound by that law because of national security.

    The argument they are making would basically allow the executive to do whatever they damn well please withoug worrying about the checks and balances of our democracy.

    Nasty words in 2006: Liberal, civil liberties, FISA, Checks and Balances, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson

    I can hear Coulter now: “Don’t quote Jefferson to me. He was a weak kneed unamerican pansy. If he were alive today he would be supporting al Quaeda and civil liberties. He believed in Checks and Balances, he wouldn’t have given our lord and saviour president the tools he needs to fight terrorists, lesbians, or catholics.”

  119. 119
    NRM says:

    If I understand Darrell’s larger point here, his issue is only that the left is playing partisan politics with this “privacy” and “civil rights” issue that they totally ignored when their party’s guys were doing the intercepting.

    Some people have been in an uproar about ECHELON since the program was uncovered. Just because the program went on under administrations from both sides doesn’t mean it’s partisan to complain about it now. Again. Like some people have been doing for years.

    This newest bit of information may go beyond normal ECHELON operations though. We won’t know unless more information comes out about it. But speculation is fun…

  120. 120
    John S. says:

    And yet another thread is queered by Darrell, degenerating what might have passed for rationale discourse into little more than a partisan pissing match…

    Liberals, the left or however you want to generalize are nothing more than shrill hypocrites hating on Bush for the same thing Clinton did, and Bush – as usual – can do no wrong in the name of protecting us from the evil terrorists. The Democrats are playing partisan politics, the Republicans are the real victims and Joe Citizen should pipe down and be thankful for the wonderful administration we have. Nothing to see here, so move along…

  121. 121
    ppGaz says:

    Bush, from what I’ve seen, attempted to bring this nod-wink intelligence gathering process more above board.

    All kidding and spoofing aside, I gotta ask you, Tim and John, why you let this lunatic post here?

    When people argue that the spoofing of DougJ “queers” a thread, and a Darrell can come along and spam a thread with something like this and his other pigeon droppings upthread, we get mixed messages.

    Really, what is the point? Are you so desperate now for righty representation? Is this the best you can do?

    This entire thread is based on insinuations and outright accusations

    I ask you again, what is the point of this?

  122. 122
    Darrell says:

    The issue is not whether laws should be changed, or if FISA is good law or not. They have admitted to breaking it, and their reason is that he is a ‘war president’ not bound by that law because of national security.

    That’s not their reasoning. Their reasoning from what I’ve read is that often times such information is a) very time sensitive and b) when casting these enormous info-gathering nets, it’s not practical to get permission from a judge to read every little piece of info they run across, especially when it CANNOT be used to prosecute US citizens without a warrant.

    There is a balance to be struck between protection of civil rights and liberties vs security needs. From what I’ve read, Bush did not do anything substantively different than what prior administrations had been doing for decades. If you want to debate the balance, fine, I’m all for that. But be honest, the left is having another typical emotional over-the-top hissy fit pointing fingers at Bush, over something which has been going on for a long, long while

  123. 123
    srv says:

    Bush, from what I’ve seen, attempted to bring this nod-wink intelligence gathering process more above board. Unlike previous administrations, he informed FISA judges and Sr. members of both houses of congress what NSA was doing.

    So Tenet, Odom, others, the NYT’s quotes are all lies and Rockefeller had no idea (or wrote a letter lying that he knew) this was just always the Echelon status-quo… You’ve got a great conspiracy there, let’s see how it hunts.

  124. 124
    searp says:

    It is a simple series of questions:

    (1) did Bush assume that he has the innate power to ignore statuatory law and then proceed to order a wholesale violation of the FISA statute?

    Ans: He as admitted as much, citing other authority for his actions.

    (2) Does Bush have a legal defense for this action?

    Ans: He has cited two sources of authority, the Iraq Authorization, which is laughable, and the Constitutional obligation to protect the US.

    (3) Will this legal defense ever be tested?

    Ans: I’d say probably. Not in an impeachment or Congressional hearings, but in public debate and possibly civil suits.

    (4) Do Americans want to accord to the President the right to ignore the law based solely on his perception of national security needs?

    Ans: Who knows? I sure don’t. Egypt has been in a state of national security since the assasination of Sadat. I don’t want America to be like Egypt.

  125. 125
    Darrell says:

    You’ve got a great conspiracy there, let’s see how it hunts.

    Tenet said they never “collected” info without a warrant, not that they NEVER, EVER read such communications. Run of the mill CYA language. Too bad your too much of a partisan hack to see it

  126. 126
    Mac Buckets says:

    The argument they are making would basically allow the executive to do whatever they damn well please withoug worrying about the checks and balances of our democracy.

    No, it wouldn’t. If the executive’s actions directly relate to keeping Americans safe from Al Qaeda and terrorists, it would certainly give them more leeway. I just don’t think that’s a winning issue for Democrats.

    Nasty words in 2006: Liberal, civil liberties, FISA, Checks and Balances, James Madison, Thomas Jefferson

    I think it will be just the opposite. Instead of playing to their strength, the Democrats have again opened themselves up to the “weak on defense” albatross they’ve been dragging around for thirty years by making it harder for the government to move quickly against terrorists who want you and me and every other American voter dead.

  127. 127
    Brian says:

    Have you ever noticed now right-wing nuts like Darrell and Brian sound an awful lot like those guilty of spousal abuse?

    Hey, c’mon now. Was that really necessary, even if you did try to qualify it?

    Okay, I just got back from stink-bombing Tookie Williams’ funeral procession, and have read the comments I missed while off having fun.

    I don’t think that I ever said it was Rockefeller’s fault for this program’s existence, nor it’s revelation to the NYT, as “Other Steve” seems to think I said. I do see that the Senator had options, and they were options that could have kept this operation under wraps while providing the protections he felt were lacking for U.S. citizens. He knew about the program, and he had clear misgivings about them, but he left it there, apparently in a self-serving attempt to cover his own ass if/when it got out. He was not behaving much like a leader, even though he holds a powerful leadership position in the Intel Committee.

    Now that the news is out on a secret military program that particular Senators knew about in advance, the opposition party is posturing to score political points, and there is not a shred of interest as to who appointed him/herself as duty-bound to disclose this program, at the expense of national security, personal lives or careers. And who, whether it be the leaker or the NYT, has the experience to judge the legality of the program, or its military or security significance?

    As I have already stated, this matter will sort itself out in due time, if Congress decides to take it up as a challenge to the President’s authority. If they don’t, then it will go nowhere, because a court won’t bring it up on its own. If the president overstepped his bounds, we’ll find out in due time, but now the onus is back on the Dem’s to find out the truth, or to step on their dicks again like they did with the troop pullout angle that was put to vote a few weeks ago, only to be voted down when push came tho shove.

    Regardless, in the meantime saying that this matter is absolutely consitutional or definitely unconstitutional is not very constructive until more info is known.

  128. 128
    Darrell says:

    John S. Says:

    And yet another thread is queered by Darrell, degenerating what might have passed for rationale discourse into little more than a partisan pissing match…

    and

    When people argue that the spoofing of DougJ “queers” a thread, and a Darrell can come along and spam a thread with something like this and his other pigeon droppings upthread, we get mixed messages.

    I guess this is where leftist whackjobs try drag the thread down to a purely personal level, making personal attacks without any substance whatsoever.

  129. 129
    ppGaz says:

    making it harder for the government to move quickly against terrorists who want you and me and every other American voter dead.

    You shameful coward.

    Give us liberty, or give us death. Fuck you.

  130. 130
    Tim F. says:

    If I understand Darrell’s larger point here, his issue is only that the left is playing partisan politics with this “privacy” and “civil rights” issue that they totally ignored when their party’s guys were doing the intercepting.

    The Tenet quote, which was likely picked up from here, indicates otherwise.

  131. 131
    Mac Buckets says:

    Some people have been in an uproar about ECHELON since the program was uncovered. Just because the program went on under administrations from both sides doesn’t mean it’s partisan to complain about it now. Again. Like some people have been doing for years.

    Fine, those six people who have consistently protested ECHELON for years can talk without being seen as hypocrite partisans. Senator Levin cannot. Senator Feingold cannot.

  132. 132
    Tim F. says:

    George Tenet:

    We do not collect against U.S. persons unless they are agents of a foreign power as that term is defined in the law. We do not target their conversations for collection in the United States unless a FISA warrant has been obtained from the FISA court by the Justice Department.

    He sounds pretty confident that everything he did at that time complied with FISA. Did Tenet lie under oath? It wouldn’t be the only time, but for now that’s what we have to go on.

  133. 133
    Brian says:

    And yet another thread is queered by Darrell, degenerating what might have passed for rationale discourse into little more than a partisan pissing match…

    Not to be an apologist for Darrell, since I’m sure he can defend himself, but I think you’re picking on the wrong people. The most civil form of discourse here has come from, ahem, people like Darrell and myself.

  134. 134
    John S. says:

    I guess this is where leftist whackjobs try drag the thread down to a purely personal level, making personal attacks without any substance whatsoever.

    Uh, no. This is where the reasonable folks try to salvage the board by pointing out that there is a certain rightist whackjob whose sole mission is to queer threads by personally attacking everyone and making unsubstantiated claims.

  135. 135
    Uberweiss says:

    I would seriously watch what you say on these open threads. The NSA and President Bush are watching for “terrorists” expressing their ideas on balloon-juice.com. As a matter of fact, I could be the NSA or President Bush. All beware.

  136. 136
    Il Supremo Benito Bush says:

    The reason President Bush is attempting to deflect criticism of domestic survellience away from the White House is because he is trying to protect Jesus from having to testify before Congress.

    Most of the information that came the President’s way regarding domestic terrorists and Al Qaeda lovers came from Jesus. The NSA is taking the rap for the Lord.

  137. 137
    srv says:

    Tenet said they never “collected” info without a warrant, not that they NEVER, EVER read such communications. Run of the mill CYA language. Too bad your too much of a partisan hack to see it

    Read but don’t collect. How Orwellian. I’m too much of a partisan hack to realize the DCIA lied?

    Okey dokey.

  138. 138
    John S. says:

    The most civil form of discourse here has come from, ahem, people like Darrell and myself.

    If you say so. I suppose it is all in the eye of the beholder…

  139. 139
    ppGaz says:

    leftist whackjobs try drag the thread down

    How does one “drag down” a Darrell thread?

    If I were you, John, I’d go out and get a sentient poster on the right, someone of the caliber of Tim F, and give him or her some guest space. Because if Darrell is your righty representation …..

  140. 140
    Darrell says:

    The Tenet quote, which was likely picked up from here, indicates otherwise.

    No it doesn’t. And that issue has been dealt with earlier. So if you have a specific argument, please make it. Tenet’s statement:

    We do not collect against U.S. persons unless they are agents of a foreign power as that term is defined in the law. We do not target their conversations for collection in the United States unless a FISA warrant has been obtained from the FISA court by the Justice Department.

    Keyword = “collect”. What does that mean? It certainly doesn’t mean the same as, say ‘intercept’, as tons of emails, faxes and other communications involving US citizens have most definitely fallen into US security nets under George Tenets watch. Again, that link by itself doesn’t demonstrate squat.. unless you want to make the argument that A) US intelligence agencies have not been intercepting, without warrant, communications involving US citizens or B) you want to assert that if they did intercept such communications, they never read them

    Please explain what other possible position you could have?

  141. 141
    jg says:

    If the executive’s actions directly relate to keeping Americans safe from Al Qaeda and terrorists,

    What if this or the next administration declares an america militia to be a terrorists organization?

    How do we know they’re only spying on terrorists or those they think are terrorists if they skip the oversight part of the process?

    When did we become so paranoid in this country that giving up our freedoms is not that bad an idea if it keeps us safe from big bad Osama? This is the same paranoia that keeps people home on holidays because they’re afraid of the remote chance a drunk driver might get them and they also allow for ‘security’ roadblocks in the name of getting home safely.

  142. 142
    NRM says:

    Fine, those six people who have consistently protested ECHELON for years can talk without being seen as hypocrite partisans. Senator Levin cannot. Senator Feingold cannot.

    You are assuming that this falls under the purview of ECHELON. You also assume that both Levin and Feingold have been briefed on ECHELON and whatever program the Bush administration has authorized. Feingold isn’t on the intelligence committee and Levin isn’t the ranking member.

  143. 143
    Darrell says:

    Because if Darrell is your righty representation

    keep making it personnal ppg. Don’t offer any substance to the discussion, just personal name calling and insults. It’s who you are

  144. 144
    srv says:

    Fine, those six people who have consistently protested ECHELON for years can talk without being seen as hypocrite partisans. Senator Levin cannot. Senator Feingold cannot.

    Mac, if Darrells theory is to be accepted, then most of congress didn’t know about this “secret” wink-wink status quo. So all those people are hypocrites now if they complain?

    Since people used to call me a crackpot since Puzzle Palace came out, I guess I win.

  145. 145
    Darrell says:

    You are assuming that this falls under the purview of ECHELON.

    Ok then, ECHELON, or any program like ECHELON which data mines from huge numbers of emails, faxes and other communications.

    Unless, of course, you have specific information that the Bush administration did anything beyond ECHELON-like intelligence methods.. and if that’s the case, where is it?

  146. 146
    John S. says:

    Keyword = “collect”. What does that mean? It certainly doesn’t mean the same as, say ‘intercept’

    Wow. Do you have a little shrine to Clinton in your home? I mean he is the patron saint of all terminology parsers…all praise William of the Sacred Parse.

  147. 147
    Mac Buckets says:

    Give us liberty, or give us death. Fuck you.

    Always the misdirected F-bomb…weak, as usual. The problem is, ppg, you wouldn’t know liberty like Patrick Henry meant it if it smashed your grill in. Protecting our liberty from Islamofascists is what the greater issue is, but you’d rather whine about the government because it’s topped by a guy you hate. Shameful, and Henry would be the first one to tell you so.

  148. 148
    Darrell says:

    Mac, if Darrells theory is to be accepted, then most of congress didn’t know about this “secret” wink-wink status quo

    This is what the left’s argument is reduced to – They didn’t know. In addition to the normal Congressional intelligence briefings, there were multiple newspaper articles, stories, television interviews on ECHELON and it’s data-mining operations. But Congress didn’t know anything, right? That is your position, is it not?

  149. 149
    Mac Buckets says:

    George Tenet:

    We do not collect against U.S. persons unless they are agents of a foreign power as that term is defined in the law.

    That’s a big unless, and it is also part of what this Administration is offering by way of defense. They are saying that these US-based Al Qaeda contacts who were tapped were agents of a foreign power, as defined by US v bin Laden.

  150. 150
    Brian says:

    This is what the left’s argument is reduced to – They didn’t know.

    And it’s what their defense mechanism is often composed of: “we don’t know”. This is translated as perceived weakness and powerlessness. The Democrats will never be given the levers of power again until they can show responsibility, imaginativeness, and backbone.

  151. 151
    Tim F. says:

    All kidding and spoofing aside, I gotta ask you, Tim and John, why you let this lunatic post here?

    ppGaz, I think I’ve been around the internet enough to know trolling when I see it. Darrell doesn’t troll. He also doesn’t vituperate any more than we liberals do.

    Finally, we don’t take nominations for banning.

  152. 152
    jg says:

    Protecting our liberty from Islamofascists is what the greater issue is, but you’d rather whine about the government because it’s topped by a guy you hate.

    Islamofascists are not a threat to my liberty. Except that they cause paramioa amongst my own countrymen making them voluntarily give up freedoms.

    Terrorism scares people into tearing up their own house. It can’t conquer anyone or anything. It can only make you do shit because you’re scared. And you are scared.

  153. 153
    NRM says:

    Ok then, ECHELON, or any program like ECHELON which data mines from huge numbers of emails, faxes and other communications.

    Unless, of course, you have specific information that the Bush administration did anything beyond ECHELON-like intelligence methods.. and if that’s the case, where is it?

    I’m not claiming that this ostensibly new system is separate from ECHELON. I don’t know. From my limited understanding of ECHELON, the domestic spying statutes can be manuevered around by having an ally collect the information on US citizens, instead of the NSA doing it directly.

    I don’t know if the Bush administration has exceeded its powers either. I can think of a number of ways that the NSA could collect information on US overseas communications that would not violate the current laws.

    Bob Graham made an interesting statement a few days ago about the issue, “I came out of the room with the full sense that we were dealing with a change in technology but not policy…”

    Bob Graham could be lying through his teeth. Maybe it’s the same old ECHELON. Whatever it is, I think it’s a good thing that the technology is being discussed. Not only is it cool from a technology perspective, but it is very powerful and ripe for abuse. US citizens have the right to know about these sorts of things.

  154. 154
    srv says:

    But Congress didn’t know anything, right? That is your position, is it not?

    You’re really dense, or your DougJ. I’ve been pretty civil to you, but you make it really tough.

    We know the rumors. And we know what Tenet and Odom and others had said. You’re saying they were lying, or that I wasn’t “partisan” enough to figure that out at the time. You’re saying all of congress has always been in on the wink-wink* part, and I guess FISA is just some joke they all came up with to pull a fast one on us.

    Wink-wink: we read (but don’t collect) all we want domestically if we 1st capture them internationally, and we don’t ever need a warrant.

  155. 155
    Darrell says:

    Thanks Tim, that was a classy response. But I’d still like to know how Tenet’s words amount to some sort of slamdunk-like indication of guilt on the part of the Bush administration

  156. 156
    Brian says:

    Islamofascists are not a threat to my liberty.

    You live in a bubble.

  157. 157
    John S. says:

    Protecting our liberty from Islamofascists is what the greater issue is, but you’d rather whine about the government because it’s topped by a guy you hate. Shameful, and Henry would be the first one to tell you so.

    That is some funny shit. You’re just so convinced that one of America’s early patriots would be with you 100%, huh Mac? I guess your crack analysis of history neglects to realize that one of the primary causes for the American Revolution – and for patriots like Henry to take up the cause – were the abuses by the government itself. As Henry himself said:

    The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.

    But keep convincing yourself that Henry would be in your corner.

  158. 158
    Gratefulcub says:

    George Tenet:

    MacBuckets,

    We do not collect against U.S. persons unless they are agents of a foreign power as that term is defined in the law.

    MB
    That’s a big unless, and it is also part of what this Administration is offering by way of defense. They are saying that these US-based Al Qaeda contacts who were tapped were agents of a foreign power, as defined by US v bin Laden

    The rest of the quote is useful, since no one minds the US government tapping the phones of suspected terrorists,

    We do not collect against U.S. persons unless they are agents of a foreign power as that term is defined in the law. We do not target their conversations for collection in the United States unless a FISA warrant has been obtained from the FISA court by the Justice Department

    Wiretapping isn’t the problem, it is warrantless wiretapping that is the issue.

  159. 159
    Il Supremo Benito Bush says:

    Islamofascists are everywhere, my friend.

    How else do you explain all those city ordinances against public drinking?

  160. 160
    Gratefulcub says:

    All kidding and spoofing aside, I gotta ask you, Tim and John, why you let this lunatic post here?

    ppGaz,
    wasn’t one of your posts yesterday, and I am going from memory, but wasn’t it:

    Fuck you, and fuck you.
    And now, fuck you.
    And oh yeah, fuck you.

  161. 161
    jg says:

    Brian Says:

    Islamofascists are not a threat to my liberty.

    You live in a bubble.

    How are they a threat to my liberty?

  162. 162
    Darrell says:

    We know the rumors

    I think it’s safe to say that the data mining activities of ECHELON has been well known for quite a while. Tenet’s statements were typical CYA on a couple of fronts: 1)What does ‘collect’ mean, legally speaking? as compared to intercept.. and 2)his caveat “We do not collect against U.S. persons unless they are agents of a foreign power as that term is defined in the law.”

  163. 163
    Gratefulcub says:

    Only my government can be a threat to my civil liberties, or to my liberty. Or, maybe another nation that could actually invade and conquer the US. The islamofascist may be able to kill me, they may be able to wipe out NYC, they may be able to scare the US populace so much that they allow my government to take away my liberty. So, the Islamofascists can only take my liberty with the help of my government and the acceptance of my fellow citizens. This is a good test.

  164. 164
    PotVsKtl says:

    That’s not their reasoning. Their reasoning from what I’ve read is that often times such information is a) very time sensitive and b) when casting these enormous info-gathering nets, it’s not practical to get permission from a judge to read every little piece of info they run across, especially when it CANNOT be used to prosecute US citizens without a warrant.

    Are you even paying attention? They don’t need permission before the fact to read it, they simply must apply for a warrant within 72 hours. If your criteria for which laws should and should not be followed is which of them are not efficient or “practical”, then I can certainly see how you would be defending illegality.

  165. 165
    Gratefulcub says:

    his caveat “We do not collect against U.S. persons unless they are agents of a foreign power as that term is defined in the law.”

    And don’t forget the next part, which is oh so important, then we get a warrant in the FISA court.

  166. 166
    Lines says:

    Actually, Eschalon was almost mothballed back in 2000, but after 9/11 (“It changed everything!”) it was brought back out and there was a push to have individual ISP’s install “drones” to monitor emails and web-searches.

    It was the first real attempt to make Eschalon a domestic spying machine, rather than only cover international communications. It failed then, but it sounds like they got the secret approval to do it anyway.

    So Darrell’s assertion that this has been around for over a decade is incorrect. It has changed, and it changed greatly after 9/11, because… wait for it …. “9/11 Changed Everything”.

    But much of the ado seems to be that this was all done via an executive order. Darrell wants to believe that Bush is only trying to be more honest than previous administrations. I find that laughable and to be one of the most humorous things he’s ever written. He got caught by leaks out of the NSA that domestic spying has taken a dramatic increase and the oversight over that spying seems to be nill to nothing.

    So now we come to the “eatting of the baby”. What does it take to admit that these guys don’t care for Constitutional protections? That proverbial “toilet paper” is what this country is derived from. Destroying even a small portion of it is detrimental to the whole, can you not understand that? Are you so frightened of swarthy men with accents that you are willing to lube up and bend over at a token of protection? Do you think our society is so tenuous that it will fall apart at the slightest terrorist’s whim?

  167. 167
    Gratefulcub says:

    Sorry I misquoted you Gaz,
    Here it is:

    Go fuck yourself, Dave. Seriously, go fuck yourself.

    No, I mean it. Go fuck yourself.

    Really, I am not kidding. Go fuck yourself.

  168. 168
    Darrell says:

    Wiretapping isn’t the problem, it is warrantless wiretapping that is the issue

    There already exists the requirement to get a warrant to prosecute a US citizen. Can’t use any data mining or wiretap data against them without a warrant. Doesn’t mean there is not useful intel to be gathered though, to help us hunt and kill terrorists.

    If you’re talking about targeted espionage against random US citizens, I haven’t seen evidence of that

  169. 169
    emily says:

    Wiretapping that doesn’t lead to a prosecution is not a whole lot more reassuring, really.

  170. 170
    Brian says:

    What they accomplished on 9/11 they would like to do on a much greater scale. Bin Laden and his group stated in crystal clear language that they want to ruin our country, and to kill as many of our citizens as possible in order to bring us to our knees.

    In ’93, the was the first WTC bombing. In ’96, there was a truck bomb in Saudi Arabia, killing 19 servicement. In ’98, there were the bombings of US Embassises in Kenya and Tanzania, killing over 250. In 2000, the USS Cole attack with 19 killed, 39 wounded. Then, of course, there was 9/11, and the attacks subsequent to that over the globe. There have been fatwas announced against us, and al Qaeda has demonstrated its willingness to attack us at our most vulnerable points. They also have great patience, operating on a different sense of time than we do.

    Four years since 9/11, that’s nothing in their world. They’re in no hurry. They’ll be content to wait until we’re comfortably numb and off guard to do something like an EMP attack or hijack more planes. Bin Laden is very serious about his motives, and to not take him seriously, think that he is no threat to your liberty, is a grave mistake.

    Your turn.

  171. 171
    srv says:

    I think it’s safe to say that the data mining activities of ECHELON has been well known for quite a while. Tenet’s statements were typical CYA on a couple of fronts: 1)What does ‘collect’ mean, legally speaking? as compared to intercept.. and 2)his caveat “We do not collect against U.S. persons unless they are agents of a foreign power as that term is defined in the law.”

    Darrell, you’re mixing up capabilities and policy. You really think all of Congress and all US citizens should innately know what the “real” policy (regardless of all the word games the gov’t has played with them) is and should just STFU about it if they don’t like it?

    You really think all these “Bush-bashers” would have embraced this policy under Klinton?

  172. 172
    srv says:

    Lines, I think you’re talking about Carnivore, which supposedly operated under FBI rules.

  173. 173
    Gratefulcub says:

    If you’re talking about targeted espionage against random US citizens, I haven’t seen evidence of that

    This may be were our points of view part ways. I am not claiming that Bush is the second coming of Nixon and that he is spying on domestic enemies. The problem is, he has removed the check on his power that would prevent such a thing. Our constitution was written with a basic premise, don’t trust the government, it is made of people (yeah, like solient green).

    Checks and balances were put into place to force transparency. The president is forbidden from spying on American citizens for political purposes, but that isn’t enough. We don’t have to tell him he can’t and then trust him. He has to get a warrant from an equal branch of government to spy. That is the check on his power. in this instance, he has removed that check. I am not questioning his intentions, I am not saying he is spying on Kerry, I am just saying that he removed a check on his power with an executive order.

    That can’t happen. And their reasoning is that he has the right because we are at war with islamofascist. This has nothing to do with the war in Iraq, so they must be saying it is important because of the WOT. That is a neverending war.

    Again, I am not saying he is doing this, but they have set the precedent for a president to be able to:

    spy on an american citizen without obtaining a warrant or being checked by another branch.
    Declare someone an enemy combatant and make him disappear without an legal recourse.

    That’s not right. Not under president Clinton or Bush. I promise you I would have the exact same problem if it were clinton.

  174. 174
    Lines says:

    Brian, right now its people like you that seem to be the greatest threat to liberties. Ready to use fear of any boogyman that might threaten us to reduce the right’s of American citizens. Why do you think that will actually help? Do you think they are so dumb as to believe they arn’t being watched? They will attack us no matter what protections we put into place. You can’t turn this country into a police state in the hope that everything will be ok, thats just insane, but its exactly what you seem to want.

    Lets see, the biggest military on the face of the planet being used by a ruler that operates a police state, nothing for the rest of the world to be frightened about with that, is there?

    Why do you hate the Constitution, Brian? Did it push you down when you were a wee lad? Did you get a paper cut while you were supposed to be studying it?

  175. 175
    srv says:

    Sorry I misquoted you Gaz,
    Here it is:

    Go fuck yourself, Dave. Seriously, go fuck yourself.

    No, I mean it. Go fuck yourself.

    Really, I am not kidding. Go fuck yourself.

    Oh, the memories!

  176. 176
    Darrell says:

    So Darrell’s assertion that this has been around for over a decade is incorrect. It has changed, and it changed greatly after 9/11, because… wait for it …. “9/11 Changed Everything”.

    Lines, specifically how has it changed “greatly” since 9/11? I can produce news articles and news interviews demonstrating that the Echelon’s data mining scope of has been of concern for a long time. From 1999:

    ZAHN: Congressman Barr, how much is the government snooping on all of us?

    BARR: By all accounts that we’ve been able to tell, far too much and without any oversight or reasonable or probable cause basis on which to listen in to by some stories I’ve seen, up to two million communications every hour of every day. And these are communications such as e-mails, Internet transmissions, phone conversations.

    And the only basis apparently on which the government is listening in on these conversations is the computer picks up a certain key word that you don’t know what it is. It then scoops up those communications, feeds them into a computer and uses them for heaven knows what. But this, if in fact the government is doing this, and there have been a number of reports that it is, that raises very serious concerns about the government spy agency snooping on American citizens without proper constitutional and legal safeguards in place.

  177. 177
    Lines says:

    Carnavor was supposed to be the ISP portion of Eschalon that would allow targetted email capture, yes. Under the reasoning that information and gathering would be shared by the various agencies, it was supposed to become one, at least as far as I can remember.

  178. 178
    NRM says:

    BARR: By all accounts that we’ve been able to tell, far too much and without any oversight or reasonable or probable cause basis on which to listen in to by some stories I’ve seen

    It looks like Barr was one of the six who cared.

  179. 179
    Uberweiss says:

    Tell me the bill numbers or tell me where the lawsuit was filed under seal and I’ll back off on this charge but if this really is an overreach by the executive, we’ve got major problems that the minority party is worthless as a watchdog and needs to be completely cleaned out, starting with Pelosi, Reid, Rockefeller, and Harmon.

    Exactly. I couldn’t have put it better myself.

  180. 180
    jg says:

    What they accomplished on 9/11 they would like to do on a much greater scale. Bin Laden and his group stated in crystal clear language that they want to ruin our country, and to kill as many of our citizens as possible in order to bring us to our knees.

    In ‘93, the was the first WTC bombing. In ‘96, there was a truck bomb in Saudi Arabia, killing 19 servicement. In ‘98, there were the bombings of US Embassises in Kenya and Tanzania, killing over 250. In 2000, the USS Cole attack with 19 killed, 39 wounded. Then, of course, there was 9/11, and the attacks subsequent to that over the globe. There have been fatwas announced against us, and al Qaeda has demonstrated its willingness to attack us at our most vulnerable points. They also have great patience, operating on a different sense of time than we do.

    Four years since 9/11, that’s nothing in their world. They’re in no hurry. They’ll be content to wait until we’re comfortably numb and off guard to do something like an EMP attack or hijack more planes. Bin Laden is very serious about his motives, and to not take him seriously, think that he is no threat to your liberty, is a grave mistake.

    Your turn.

    None of that means they are a threat to my liberty. Only by scaring pussies like you into removing our freedoms can they affect change here.

    Al Qaeda wants a war between muslims and the west. They attacked us to goad us into a fight. Thats the only move they have. They made that move, Bush followed through. we are now at war in the middle east. Killng muslims and burning down mosques.

  181. 181
    Brian says:

    spy on an american citizen without obtaining a warrant or being checked by another branch

    This is where I’m anxious to see if Congress takes this up as a matter to be resolved. If they don’t, then they do not really believe that the Executive Branch has overextended its powers. This was leaked right before the Congressional Christmas break, which is suspect in that it got the issue “in the air” to be debated during the break so that the Dem’s could then return, put their finger to the wind, and determine their next steps. It was no coincidence that this came out when it did.

  182. 182
    Lines says:

    Its actually being used. As far as anyone was able to determine, the original Eschalon experiment was just that, an experiment. It never went anywhere and it appeared that the possibility of results was going to be minor. It wasn’t brought out into the public view until most American’s became scared of their shadow and the government pulled it out to shake at the imaginary boogymen.

  183. 183
    Gratefulcub says:

    Brian,
    I know what they want to do. I know they are evil men. I realize there is a threat.

    If we closed the airports and interned all the muslims, we would be safer. If we spent all of our money scanning cargo freight and ports, we would be safer. If we turned to martial law, we would be safer.

    I accept that my way of thinking makes us less safe. We would be safer if we allowed our government to act more like the KGB (I am not saying they do).

    It is a balancing act. It is my belief that there is something that makes the US different than most nations on earth. A couple hundred years ago we decided to do something that had never been done. It was the grandest of experiments. Self rule. Protection from our government. We are still in the infancy of that experiment, and it is more fragile than some realize. It is easy to maintain when there is no danger. The real tests come when we face obstacles like these. Do we give the power back to the government due to fear, or do we fight to keep the liberties we have? Without those liberties, what are we fighting for?

  184. 184
    Brian says:

    scaring pussies like you

    Do you want to take that back?

  185. 185
    Ancient Purple says:

    Protecting our liberty from Islamofascists is what the greater issue is, but you’d rather whine about the government because it’s topped by a guy you hate. Shameful, and Henry would be the first one to tell you so.

    Right. Because when Henry said, “Give me liberty or give me death” he really didn’t mean it.

    Brilliant.

  186. 186
    Lines says:

    Do you want to take that back?

    Oh no! Someone is going to get a swirly after recess!

    Damn, Brian, when is Christmas break over so the adults can have a discussion without little Republican bullies like you around? Did you push your little chest out when you typed that in? Did you push your sleeves back a little further?

  187. 187
    Gratefulcub says:

    It was no coincidence that this came out when it did.

    Definitely some merit to that thought. If there was a useful opposition party……..

    I am not sure this is a political leak though. It is a little confusing actually. The NYT got the information a year ago, before the election. They sat on it. If there was a political leaker trying to get the information out there, why didn’t they just go to another paper when it became apparent that the Times wasn’t going to run it?

  188. 188
    Darrell says:

    The problem is, he has removed the check on his power that would prevent such a thing. Our constitution was written with a basic premise, don’t trust the government, it is made of people (yeah, like solient green).

    I agree with the 2nd sentence, but I disagree that Bush has removed “the” check, or even “a” check. Think about it, with new technology, intelligence agencies probably get 10’s of thousands, if not 100’s of thousands of intercepts every week. Are they supposed to blindfold themselves to these communications when hunting terrorists? Did they ever blindfold themselves in the past? Then why now?

    Everything I’ve read shows Bush attempted to bring this long established data mining practice more above-board. Any other US President notify FISA judges or Congress on what they were doing with regards to similar intelligence gathering practice? I haven’t heard of any. Perhaps they did, but I’ve seen no evidence of it

  189. 189
    jg says:

    This is where I’m anxious to see if Congress takes this up as a matter to be resolved.

    Congress isn’t impartial. If they don’t take it up it doesn’t nescessarily mean there’s nothing to the issue. It may only mean that a republican controlled congress didn’t want to investigate a republican president.

    scaring pussies like you

    Do you want to take that back?

    No. You taking back the bubble remark?

  190. 190
    Gratefulcub says:

    I disagree with every word, minus one or two, that Brian has said all day.

    But he has yet to tell anyone to go fuck himself or call them a pussy.

    Sure must make you feel like a big man to call someone a pussy from behind your keyboard.

  191. 191
    jg says:

    Our constitution was written with a basic premise, don’t trust the government,

    No it isn’t. That may have been Reagans platform but it certainly wasn’t what the founding fathers thought. Their point was government is too much power for a man to have or a church to have. The power must be givien to the people. Just because republicans are bad at government doesn’t mean we give up trying to get it right.

    ID is to science as republicans are to government. A lazy ass excuse to stop trying.

  192. 192
    Uberweiss says:

    Why the hell didn’t every single member of congress briefed on the program stop it? You blame Democrats, why the hell didn’t Frist, Hastert, Delay, etc tell the president he was doing something illegal? Do they hate us so much?

    Because Frist, Hastert, Delay, etc. are all in the Bush administration’s pockets. Are you telling a republican member of Congress is going to go against the party. I’m sorry but you are dreaming.

  193. 193
    Darrell says:

    Are you even paying attention? They don’t need permission before the fact to read it, they simply must apply for a warrant within 72 hours

    Often times it takes more than 72 hours to put together an application, then time for FISA to act. I though we already established this upthread.

  194. 194
    Gratefulcub says:

    but I disagree that Bush has removed “the” check, or even “a” check.

    Darrell,
    He signed an executive order that allowed the NSA to conduct wiretaps without obtaining a warrant from the judicial branch, when before the executive order they did have to obtain a warrant. They have admitted as much.

  195. 195
    Brian says:

    Gratefulcub,

    I understand where you’re coming from. As a free society, the burden of this war (or whatever you want to call it) falls on us. We respect the rule of law, of sovereignty, civil rights, and property rights. The opposition operates by no such rules or respect for others.

    We don’t have the luxury of scanning all container ship, tracking every train to make sure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, or undermining every “feared” government across the globe. The best we should do is to continue our experiment in democracy, going about our business as usual, as best we can, while the strengths of our military, political, and intelligence establishments work behind the scenes to do the dirty work of keeping us safe.

    If Bush really has crossed a line he cannot return from, then we will know and we will respond accordingly. That’s another great thing about this democracy: we take care of our dirty laundry. But, there lacks enough evidence that he has crossed that line. Time will tell, and I hope it’s in a short time. If he did not overreach his powers, then I hope he goes right back to protecting us, using the tools at his disposal, while we go about our business and our lives.

  196. 196
    Gratefulcub says:

    jg,
    when i say don’t trust the government, I don’t mean it in the Reaganesqu sense.

    We don’t HAVE to trust the governemt. Instead of trust, we built in transparency, checks & balances.

    If you remove those two things, you no longer have liberty.

  197. 197
    Uberweiss says:

    Brian,
    I know what they want to do. I know they are evil men. I realize there is a threat.

    If we closed the airports and interned all the muslims, we would be safer. If we spent all of our money scanning cargo freight and ports, we would be safer. If we turned to martial law, we would be safer.

    I accept that my way of thinking makes us less safe. We would be safer if we allowed our government to act more like the KGB (I am not saying they do).

    It is a balancing act. It is my belief that there is something that makes the US different than most nations on earth. A couple hundred years ago we decided to do something that had never been done. It was the grandest of experiments. Self rule. Protection from our government. We are still in the infancy of that experiment, and it is more fragile than some realize. It is easy to maintain when there is no danger. The real tests come when we face obstacles like these. Do we give the power back to the government due to fear, or do we fight to keep the liberties we have? Without those liberties, what are we fighting for?

    This is one of the best statements on this whole issue that I have heard. I’m not really sure how anybody who believes in freedom, democracy, and liberty can disagree with this statement. Well done.

  198. 198
    Darrell says:

    So to all you who screamed treason over the unproven leak of a not-secret agent, will you agree that the leaker of the NSA intelligence gathering program, which exposed a legal, perfectly reasonable govt operation which undoubtedly saved the lives of LOTS of Americans.. do you now support treason charges against those who exposed this legal, but secret program? Unless what was going on was illegal, this is a much, much more serious outing than anything involving Valerie Plame.

    Crickets chirping on the left

  199. 199
    jg says:

    Often times it takes more than 72 hours to put together an application, then time for FISA to act.

    Who cares how long it takes FISA to act? The time issue involved setting the tap before the chance was lost. FISA doesn’t interfere with that. FISA lets you get the tap put on then produce the proof the tap was needed later. That way you don’t wait for the permission to tap, only to use the info. No time issue. Bush went around the part where they produce the proff the tap was needed. He said he doesn’t have to, national security and all that. He’s avoiding oversight. Why would he need to avoid oversight?

  200. 200
    Lines says:

    Brian, how can he cross a line that people like you just keep moving for him? How soon before he’s eatten too many babies that you have to stop moving the line and actually admit that he’s fucked up so bad that he has to go?

    I don’t think you can stop moving that line, I think that now that you’ve started, people like you will continue to move it. Thats why you’re in that little 30% base that will ignore the blood and gore dripping from his chin after his last baby-eatting and will just applaud louder. After all, you’re probably safe in your assumption that it was just a baby from one of those other 70%

  201. 201
    Gratefulcub says:

    Brian,
    I actually agree with everything you said. I am sure that our disagreement comes from which way we lean instinctively. I instinctively react negatively to any governmental power grab, especially from the executive. And, I don’t trust these guys. There has been a steady stream of events that, IMO, show their philosophy is to expand the power of the executive branch.

    Yoo’s opinions
    Gonzales’ opinions
    SCOTUS nominees (especially Alito)
    Cheney’s statements

    And this is the most recent one:

    And I am having a hard time understanding any rationale defending it.

    There is a law, FISA. It states you have to get a warrant to wiretap US citizens. Bush signed an Executive order saying wiretaps aren’t necessary. They have publicly given two defenses, 1) The constitution gives the executive that right 2)the afghan war resolution gives him that right.

    I don’t buy either of those arguments.

  202. 202
    Lines says:

    Crickets chirping on the left

    Thats because our jaws have dropped at the absolute level of ignorance and stupidity it took to draw up that strawman of an argument.

    Outting Plame was not to protect the Constitution, it was out of political expediency that some Republican hack outted an agent.

    But you knew that, you’re just trying to tweak people, because thats all you can do when you lose. Tweak away, you little toad. I’m done arguing with you. You’ve lost every single bit of my respect, and I’m not sure how you’ve garnered any of Dougj’s.

  203. 203
    Brian says:

    Lines, you’re missing my point here. It’s not up to me, or to you, to move the line. It’s up to the Supreme Court, as I understand the situation, to determine this, if it gets brought before the Court.

    Even with a GOP-controlled Congress, this issue can get enough legs to get before the SC if the People are pissed enough about it and the issue has legal merit. The GOP can’t ignore the public if it wants this matter resolved for now, and for the future. Hence my belief that this was leaked when it was, to get it out there to see if it could grow legs.

  204. 204
    Gratefulcub says:

    Crickets chirping on the left

    In my opinion, it is not treason to leak information about an illegal act by your government.

    But, I do accept that this is a tough issue, and I am having a hard time with it myself. Someone broke the law, but I am not sure how I feel about it.

  205. 205
    Darrell says:

    No time issue. Bush went around the part where they produce the proff the tap was needed. He said he doesn’t have to, national security and all that

    Echelon has been monitoring emails, faxes and other communications of US citizens for decades. Decades. Bush didn’t “go around” anything, he simply brought this process above board notifying FISA judges and Congress.

  206. 206
    Brian says:

    There is a law, FISA. It states you have to get a warrant to wiretap US citizens. Bush signed an Executive order saying wiretaps aren’t necessary. They have publicly given two defenses, 1) The constitution gives the executive that right 2)the afghan war resolution gives him that right.

    Agree completely, at least in that these are the Executive Branch rights that must be resolved. In our democracy, I for one would like to see this before the Court for a resolution. I’m no Constitutional scholar, but this seems like an issue of immense Constitutional importance, and the People should get behind it only to further demonstrate the strength of our system.

  207. 207
    Darrell says:

    Outting Plame was not to protect the Constitution, it was out of political expediency that some Republican hack outted an agent.

    Tell us Lines, which Republican outed her as you claimed. I call bullshit. And how about telling us how Echelon has “greatly changed” after 9/11 as you claimed above?

    Whoever leaked information on this LEGAL, sensible, classified program which has unquestionably saved American lives would seem to be guilty of treason. Much more so than any non-leak of a desk jockey at Langley.

  208. 208
    Pb says:

    FYI–Echelon. I guess the question is, if you assume that they do personally keep tabs on one in a million international communications out of America, how many Americans could that potentially catch?

    Also, it’d be nice to know which subjects are taboo here–are they doing keyword searches for people saying things like “Iranian Gas Centrifuge Uranium Enrichment”, or “God is great and glory to Islam”, or “George W. Bush must be impeached”, or “at least you don’t fuck with your own people”, or what?

    Oh, and as for (Tall)Dave, I second ppGaz’s sentiments. Hey, I call ’em like I see ’em.

  209. 209
    Gratefulcub says:

    This is one of the best statements on this whole issue that I have heard. I’m not really sure how anybody who believes in freedom, democracy, and liberty can disagree with this statement. Well done.

    Well thanks, I’m blushing. But let me try.

    No one is saying that the CIA should become the KGB, or that will ever be able to check every ship in every port. There will always be threats, and we can’t protect against them all.

    The world has changed, and not just on 9/11. The world has changed more in the past 100 years than it did in the previous 500 or 1000. The only threats we faced in the past were from invading armies or nature itself. Through advances in technology, it is now possible for a small group of determined men that are willing to die for a cause to destroy a large group of americans. They are theoretically capable of bringing our financial institutions to a standstill, causing a worldwide depression.

    I still believe in the protection of our civil liberties, but the threat from a small group has grown exponentially in the past few decades.

    As you said, it is a balancing act. We may have to give up some of our civil liberties to better protect ourselves from these threats. We should debate this in public, and not through executive order, but Bush was not being maliciously unconstitutional, he was doing what he thought best protected the people he is charged with defending.

  210. 210
    Darrell says:

    In my opinion, it is not treason to leak information about an illegal act by your government.

    But there was nothing illegal about the program. So therefore treason, right? Or are calls of treason only reserved for Republicans who never outed a not-secret agent?

  211. 211
    emily says:

    The information leaked was that the administration was using a well-known technology, wire taps, without the warrants required by current law.

    No new technology was exposed. There has been speculation that a new technology is implied, but it is only speculation.

  212. 212
    PotVsKtl says:

    Echelon has been monitoring emails, faxes and other communications of US citizens for decades. Decades. Bush didn’t “go around” anything, he simply brought this process above board notifying FISA judges and Congress.

    You can ignore Tenet’s claims to the contrary all you want, it doesn’t make you right.

  213. 213
    Pb says:

    Oh, and Darrell–please back up your claim that the Valerie Plame affair was in fact just a “non-leak of a desk jockey at Langley”, and did not in fact compromise any intelligence or intelligence officers, or result in any deaths. Feel free to use any sources available to you, including the Echelon program if applicable.

  214. 214
    Darrell says:

    You can ignore Tenet’s claims to the contrary all you want

    That issue of Tenet’s comments has been thoroughly debunked on this thread already. You can ignore that all you want

  215. 215
    Darrell says:

    Oh, and Darrell—please back up your claim that the Valerie Plame affair was in fact just a “non-leak of a desk jockey at Langley”,

    Non-leak, because it has not been proven that anyone beyond her loose lips and her husband’s ever leaked her name. She had been assigned desk duty in Langley for 5+ years at the time of her alleged outing. Any other questions?

  216. 216
    Gratefulcub says:

    But there was nothing illegal about the program. So therefore treason, right? Or are calls of treason only reserved for Republicans who never outed a not-secret agent?

    I am here arguing against myself, and saying that the leak issue is all around tough to deal with, so the over the top ‘Republicans who never outed a not-secret agent’ isn’t all that necessary.

    Was it illegal or not, we will find out I am sure. All that I am saying is that it is very possible to leak classified information, and yet still get my support. The Pentagon Papers were classified, but IMO, it was heroic not treasonous to sneak those into the NYT.

    We will see about Plame. You have to admit that Rove and Libby et al. did leak her identity. It is entirely possible they didn’t know she was undercover or that it would do any damage. And, it seems that her role wasn’t that great at this point. We don’t know all the implications. But, the two scenarios (PP and Plame) are not one and the same.

  217. 217
    PotVsKtl says:

    That issue of Tenet’s comments has been thoroughly debunked on this thread already. You can ignore that all you want

    You questioning the meaning of “collect” is not a “thorough debunking” no matter how much it might help your argument.

  218. 218
    srv says:

    Darrell says:

    I think it’s safe to say that the data mining activities of ECHELON has been well known for quite a while.

    But…

    Whoever leaked information on this LEGAL, sensible, classified program which has unquestionably saved American lives would seem to be guilty of treason. Much more so than any non-leak of a desk jockey at Langley.

  219. 219
    Pb says:

    Darrell,

    I think it’s been pretty well confirmed.

  220. 220
    ppGaz says:

    ppGaz,
    wasn’t one of your posts yesterday, and I am going from memory, but wasn’t it:

    Fuck you, and fuck you.

    Why, yes it was. But you see, it was in context. I simply responded to a personal attack with a personal attack. I’ll gladly do the same for you, any time. I make no apology for it, now or any other time.

    Now, tell me again why Darrell should be allowed to post here and basically claim that (a) all lefties are bad and stupid and unreasonable and (your unpleasant adjectives here), and (b) up is down and black is white? He does it unprovoked. He does it relentlessly. He lies and makes shit up.

    Let me guess. Darrell’s transgressions are okay because you agree with his politics, but mine aren’t because you don’t agree with mine?

    Where is the righty commentary that can argue that this NSA-FISA flap is over something that is good for the country, and support the argument with something stronger than “Bush said so and that’s good enough for me?” “Clinton did shit too?” “Oh yeah, you lefties are a bunch of America hating defeatists?”

    You want reasoned dialogue? I’ll guess that that’s what you are pretending to want here, otherwise why invade my flame war with Dave, since it’s none of your business?

    Okay, let’s see you defend this latest presidential gaffe and have only a reasoned dialogue while doing it. Go ahead. Want to talk about surrendering your liberties for supposed safety from blowtorch-wielding terrorists? Go ahead, make that argument. Want to talk about taking the word of an administration that has been wrong about every single thing having to do with Iraq for the last four years, never had a plan for the adventure, and now wants us to believe, in the span of two weeks, that we suddenly have a “plan” for “victory” and that we are “winning?” Go ahead, make that argument.

    Go ahead and make the latest idiotic Darrell argument that Bush “hasn’t done anything” and then explain why he had the NYT down to the White House to try to browbeat them into not running this story? If there’s nothing here, then what’s he so afraid of?

    Explain to me why I should believe Darrell, and not my lyin’ eyes?

    Oh, and fuck you.

  221. 221
    NRM says:

    Darrell says:

    Echelon has been monitoring emails, faxes and other communications of US citizens for decades. Decades. Bush didn’t “go around” anything, he simply brought this process above board notifying FISA judges and Congress.

    Can you please post a cite that shows what Bush brought “above board” was ECHELON? We know what ECHELON does, we don’t know exactly what Bush authorized and monitored.

  222. 222
    Pb says:

    ppGaz,

    Go ahead and make the latest idiotic Darrell argument that Bush “hasn’t done anything” and then explain why he had the NYT down to the White House to try to browbeat them into not running this story? If there’s nothing here, then what’s he so afraid of?

    See, that’s different–that could have been *before* the election, when a better-informed populace might have been inclined to make different choices. Now it’s *after* the election, so they don’t really give a shit.

  223. 223
    Pb says:

    NRM,

    No, he won’t. He got his privileged non-information from the same non-place he got his non-information on the Plame case.

  224. 224
    Darrell says:

    srv, what was unknown to the terrorists but revealed by the scum who leaked it, is that we were not just monitoring, but ACTING on that intel to kill the terrorists. I see no other explanation other than dishonest hypocrisy to explain the positions of those on the left who screamed treason re Valerie Plame’s non-leak, and who are now silent about, or who defend, those who leaked info about a legal classified program which saved american lives

  225. 225
    NRM says:

    Here’s something General Hayden said in the press conference yesterday:

    And here the key is not so much persistence as it is agility. It’s a quicker trigger. It’s a subtly softer trigger. And the intrusion into privacy — the intrusion into privacy is significantly less. It’s only international calls. The period of time in which we do this is, in most cases, far less than that which would be gained by getting a court order.

    That doesn’t sound like 20 year old technology. This is something new. Real time processing of targets? Something that happens so quickly and so often that it would overwhelm the FISC?

    Again, all speculation at this point.

  226. 226
    Gratefulcub says:

    Let me guess. Darrell’s transgressions are okay because you agree with his politics, but mine aren’t because you don’t agree with mine?

    HA.

    You want reasoned dialogue? I’ll guess that that’s what you are pretending to want here, otherwise why invade my flame war with Dave, since it’s none of your business?

    I invaded your flame war, though not really, because you were writing that someone else should be banned. I thought that was funny, after the fuck off-a-thon yesterday.

    And yes, that is what I want. I enjoy a decent reasoned dialogue. Too often it turns into school yard name calling.

    How people get offended by some other cyber person with a fake name is beyond me. But when it starts, it spirals into rhetoric and name calling, and no one has anything useful to say anymore.

    I enjoy hearing from Darrell until you and he get into a flame war. I don’t agree, but it is nice to know how the other side thinks. Sometimes, it even makes me think.

    Explain to me why I should believe Darrell, and not my lyin’ eyes?

    yeah, I have a hard time believing either.

    let’s see you defend this latest presidential gaffe and have only a reasoned dialogue while doing it.

    I did, just so I would have to think about it, and do it without a single fuck you.

    No one is saying that the CIA should become the KGB, or that will ever be able to check every ship in every port. There will always be threats, and we can’t protect against them all.

    The world has changed, and not just on 9/11. The world has changed more in the past 100 years than it did in the previous 500 or 1000. The only threats we faced in the past were from invading armies or nature itself. Through advances in technology, it is now possible for a small group of determined men that are willing to die for a cause to destroy a large group of americans. They are theoretically capable of bringing our financial institutions to a standstill, causing a worldwide depression.

    I still believe in the protection of our civil liberties, but the threat from a small group has grown exponentially in the past few decades.

    As you said, it is a balancing act. We may have to give up some of our civil liberties to better protect ourselves from these threats. We should debate this in public, and not through executive order, but Bush was not being maliciously unconstitutional, he was doing what he thought best protected the people he is charged with defending.

    Oh, and fuck you.

    I’m not very good at this, is this where I call you a pussy?

  227. 227
    PotVsKtl says:

    srv, what was unknown to the terrorists but revealed by the scum who leaked it, is that we were not just monitoring, but ACTING on that intel to kill the terrorists

    What in God’s name are you talking about. Here’s what was revealed: We have been doing things they already knoew we were doing, but without warrants. That’s it. Pull yourself together man.

  228. 228
    Darrell says:

    Can you please post a cite that shows what Bush brought “above board” was ECHELON?

    It was ECHELON or ECHELON-like data mining. Never before to my knowledge has a President who used ECHELON or similar technology ever notified congress or FISA judges. But I’m open for correction if you have information to the contrary

  229. 229
    Gratefulcub says:

    what was unknown to the terrorists but revealed by the scum who leaked it, is that we were not just monitoring, but ACTING on that intel to kill the terrorists.

    i don’t think this affected the way terrorists act at all. Any terrorist worth his weight in virgins was already under the assumption that he was being monitored.

  230. 230
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Um….Darrell said:

    That issue of Tenet’s comments has been thoroughly debunked on this thread already. You can ignore that all you want

    His treatment of Tenet’s quote:

    Tenet said they never “collected” info without a warrant, not that they NEVER, EVER read such communications. Run of the mill CYA language. Too bad your too much of a partisan hack to see it

    So, now it’s been “debunked”. Ignore the little insult at the end, because Darrell accuses the lefties on the site of dragging the discourse down (where he seems to be happy to go).

    I’m not really sure how this thread got to talking so much about Echelon, but rather than just dismissing Tenet’s quote as CYA, for which there is no solid evidence, why not look at what he did say.

    He said that they do not target their conversations for collection without a FISA warrant. Assuming that Echelon “flags” certain conversations, and it becomes apparent that a US citizen is on one end of the conversation, doesn’t it seem likely that Tenet was saying that in these instances, to further scrutinize the content of these conversations, a FISA warrant was requested (and granted)?

    If this was really all that was under discussion (i.e. Echelon or a similar program), then wouldn’t the administration just say “we are doing the same thing any other administration has done”. Instead, it appears that they have at a minimum ignored the FISA requirement part of the equation, even though there are accomodations in the text for urgency (i.e. put the tap on, justify it in your warrant request within 72 hours).

    Darrell, I don’t think anyone here (except you) has been particularly focused on the “flagging” aspect of Echelon program, but rather are more worried about the “okay, we’ve flagged someone, now lets file a warrant request to keep our further investigation transparent and accountable” aspect.

    Your argument that warrantless tapping means only that they can’t prosecute based on it worries me. Firstly, what happens if they capture a terrorist based on their taps, and it gets thrown out because they didn’t have a warrant, and secondly, prosecution is only one potential outcome of what might be learned on those taps.

    While I’m not saying it’s happening, I can certainly envision a government who uses that information for political blackmail, or financial gain, or one of a million other scenarios that you only have to go as far as your local “political thriller” section of your bookstore to find mirrored on the bookshelves.

  231. 231
    srv says:

    srv, what was unknown to the terrorists but revealed by the scum who leaked it, is that we were not just monitoring, but ACTING on that intel to kill the terrorists.

    So Osama thought we had a listen but don’t kill policy… OK. Thanks for clarifying that.

  232. 232
    Gratefulcub says:

    Never before to my knowledge has a President who used ECHELON or similar technology ever notified congress or FISA judges

    I’ve pasted it at least 5 times. Tenet’s statement in front of congress said that they always got a warrant from a FISA judge if they were collecting/gathering/reading/whatevering data from US citizens.

    Either he was lying, and you know it, or there is evidence of echelon/FISA.

  233. 233
    Darrell says:

    i don’t think this affected the way terrorists act at all. Any terrorist worth his weight in virgins was already under the assumption that he was being monitored

    Oh the leaker took it beyond that, they specifically mentioned an Iranian doctor in the south who allegedly had ties with Al Queda. How long do you think it will take AQ to figure out who that is and adjust their communications accordingly? Again, nothing but extreme hypocrisy on the left – screaming treason over Valerie Plame, but silent on the leakers of a legal, classified security program. Much higher stakes

  234. 234
    John S. says:

    Or are calls of treason only reserved for Republicans who never outed a not-secret agent?

    Super strawman power!

    Of course, anyone with half a brain knows that the CIA didn’t clamor for a huge independent investigation because a non-secret agent was outed.

  235. 235
    Darrell says:

    Tenet’s statement in front of congress said that they always got a warrant from a FISA judge

    I and others have responded repeatedly. See above

  236. 236
    Gratefulcub says:

    nothing but extreme hypocrisy on the left

    Come on Darrell. That broad brush is dangerous.

  237. 237
    peekaboo says:

    To be capable of wielding a narrower brush….one needs opposable thumbs.

  238. 238
    Gratefulcub says:

    Darrell: Never before to my knowledge has a President who used ECHELON or similar technology ever notified congress or FISA judges.

    George Tenet 4/12/00

    I’m here today to discuss specific issues about and allegations regarding Signals Intelligence activities and the so-called Echelon Program of the National Security Agency…

    There is a rigorous regime of checks and balances which we, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and the FBI scrupulously adhere to whenever conversations of U.S. persons are involved, whether directly or indirectly. We do not collect against U.S. persons unless they are agents of a foreign power as that term is defined in the law. We do not target their conversations for collection in the United States unless a FISA warrant has been obtained from the FISA court by the Justice Department

    I don’t get it Darrell. I understand that you think Tenet is in CYA mode and he is parsing words like Clinton, but are you also saying that he is just flat out lying to congress when he says they obtained warrants from the FISA court?

  239. 239
    srv says:

    Oh the leaker took it beyond that, they specifically mentioned an Iranian doctor in the south who allegedly had ties with Al Queda.

    Who had dubious ties to Osama. So Osama stopped talking to all his dubious doctors in the south.

  240. 240
    Darrell says:

    Darrell, I don’t think anyone here (except you) has been particularly focused on the “flagging” aspect of Echelon program, but rather are more worried about the “okay, we’ve flagged someone, now lets file a warrant request to keep our further investigation transparent and accountable” aspect.

    Your argument that warrantless tapping means only that they can’t prosecute based on it worries me. Firstly, what happens if they capture a terrorist based on their taps, and it gets thrown out because they didn’t have a warrant, and secondly, prosecution is only one potential outcome of what might be learned on those taps.

    It cannot be used to prosecute a US citizen in court. It’s only to hunt and kill terrorists and foil plots. I’m sorry so many of you on the left are having such difficulty with this basic fact

    As for disallowing evidence in court to use against terrorists, I guess you didn’t get the memo that terrorists aren’t entitled to the same legal protections as enemies. Incredible ignorance in that remark of yours

    So since such info cannot be used to prosecute US citizens (that’s right, Americans who help terrorists get a free pass under this program) what other abuses would there be? Blackmail? Extortion? And you think that with bipartisan members of congress regularly updated on it, FISA and DOJ judges regularly updated, they’re going to use it to pull that kind of crap? Get a grip and a clue

  241. 241
    Darrell says:

    that terrorists aren’t entitled to the same legal protections as enemies should read: same legal protections as US citizens

  242. 242
    Gratefulcub says:

    FISA and DOJ judges regularly updated

    Serious? FISA judges have been cut out of the process, that is the problem I thought we were discussing.

  243. 243
    ppGaz says:

    You can’t invent the mealy-mouthed bullshit coming from these lying cocksukers:

    Q: Why didn’t the president just go to (FISA) court?

    Cornyn: Well, there’s the need for speed ….

    Q: But, he can take the action first and has up to 72 hours to go back and go to the court …

    Cornyn: Well, that’s true, but then that seems to (go against) the argument that he can’t take the action.

    Unofficial MSNBC transcript of today’s Hardball.

    Say what?? The fact that he can get retroactive approval from the court argues that he doesn’t need the court’s approval?

    Sorry, this subject is closed. These motherhumpers are just fucking with us now.

  244. 244
    ppGaz says:

    is this where I call you a pussy?

    Yes, but you have only 72 hours to get retroactive approval.

  245. 245
    Gratefulcub says:

    that terrorists aren’t entitled to the same legal protections as enemies should read: same legal protections as US citizens

    And that is a problem. Who gets to decide who is a terrorist, excuse me, an illegal combantant?

    They declared plenty of people to be illegal combatants, locked them up, and have subsequently released them.

    I am all for locking up terrorists, just like I am pedophiles, rapists, and murderers. But, as a US citizen, you get to defend yourself against those charges.

    Jose Padilla may be the world’s worst man, but he should get the right to defend himself. I hope he does, then I hope we lock him up forever. But, he should get that right. Just like we should.

  246. 246
    Darrell says:

    GC, I’ve got a newsflash for you. International conversations, faxes, and emails of US citizens has been monitored for a long time. You may not like it, but it’s not new. When Tenet refers to “collect” information on US citizens, he most certainly was not saying that they did not intercept many tens and hundreds of thousands of communications from US citizens. They most certainly have been doing that for a long time.

    Nothing the NSA collects on US citizens without a warrant can be used against them, only the terrorists. Please explain why the hysterics from the left over something that has been going on for decades.. of course they’re looking to smear Bush, even if they have to be dishonest hypocrites to do it

  247. 247
    ppGaz says:

    invaded your flame war, though not really, because you were writing that someone else should be banned. I thought that was funny, after the fuck off-a-thon yesterday.

    Clearly you think that a personal fuck-you is worse than a bullshit-a-thon.

    That’s your opinion, I do not share it. My opinion is the exact opposite.

  248. 248
    Gratefulcub says:

    Yes, but you have only 72 hours to get retroactive approval.

    Now that was good. Actually made me chuckle out loud. And since he isn’t here, I will even join you in calling Cornyn a dumb bag of wank before I go home.

  249. 249
    Darrell says:

    Jose Padilla may be the world’s worst man, but he should get the right to defend himself.

    I agree, but he is a US citizen. This program cannot prosecute US citizens without a warrant. Been that way for a long while now. Not even fascist Bush could change that.

    We are talking about foiling plots and hunting terrorists who are NOT US citizens. Why is this so difficult to understand?

  250. 250
    Davebo says:

    Right on cue it seems, Jeff Goldstien has decided it’s been to long since he’s made a fool of himself.

    And so what does he do? Well, go back to the Al Maviva well of course. That’s just worked out swell for Jeff in the past right?

    You’d think that after the sixth or seventh time he’d stop putting his finger in the light socket.

  251. 251
    Darrell says:

    Right on cue it seems, Jeff Goldstien has decided it’s been to long since he’s made a fool of himself.

    Glad you provided links and insightful commentary there Davebo. Devastating critique on Goldstein

  252. 252
    Gratefulcub says:

    Clearly you think that a personal fuck-you is worse than a bullshit-a-thon.

    That’s your opinion, I do not share it. My opinion is the exact opposite.

    no, i would agree with you. But, I don’t think many people, DougJ excluded, realize they are bullshitting. They believe joe Wilson leaked his wife’s name to smear bush.

    I just thought it was funny that you, as a left leaning free speech advocate, thought someone should be banned from a little corner of the internet because of something they were saying. Especially after you went on a go fuck yourself tirade yesterday.

    And, I wasn’t trying to start anything, that is why I called you ‘Gaz’. You said yesterday that you didn’t respond to that name.

  253. 253
    Gratefulcub says:

    I agree, but he is a US citizen. This program cannot prosecute US citizens without a warrant. Been that way for a long while now. Not even fascist Bush could change that.

    Actually, that is what we are talking about. Forget about the court aspect of it. Before the executive order, it was illegal for the NSA to continue surveillance on US citizens without a warrant. Bush said that was no longer the case.

  254. 254
    ImJohnGalt says:

    I’m sorry, did I miss the part where you read my mind, Darrell?

    I seem to recall that the issue here is domestic surveillance. If they did indeed get a warrant, as they have in the past, a US citizen caught in the web would certainly be allowed to be prosecuted, now?

    And what the fuck is with your arrogance and automatic knee-jerk broad-brushing against anyone who actually tries to raise a point for discussion? Instead of calling them ignorant, how about you assume they are making a good faith argument, and responding like an adult with a response to their point, sans your mandatory “you ignorant leftie” comment.

    Where you said:

    It cannot be used to prosecute a US citizen in court. It’s only to hunt and kill terrorists and foil plots. I’m sorry so many of you on the left are having such difficulty with this basic fact.

    I don’t have a problem with this. In fact, I never argued to the contrary, so you appear to have pulled this out of the ether. My point was that if you had a warrant, you *could* actually prosecute a US citizen based on your surveillance, which appears to me to be how hundreds of years of domestic policing have worked fairly well.

    You then go on to patronize me with:

    As for disallowing evidence in court to use against terrorists, I guess you didn’t get the memo that terrorists aren’t entitled to the same legal protections as enemies. Incredible ignorance in that remark of yours

    Again, I was making no such argument. I was assuming that the goal was to prosecute terrorists, whether domestic or foreign. My apologies if you’d rather we be forced to ignore domestic terrorists because we didn’t want to leave a paper trail. There was no ignorance in my remark, only in the way in which you chose to respond to it.

    And then, as gratefulclub so helpfully pointed out, you finished with:

    FISA and DOJ judges regularly updated,

    Even though you have yourself admitted that this new process bypasses FISA (by your assertion because it takes too long to process warrant requests). So how is this not inconsistent?

    I wish I knew why you’re so eager to label and dismiss anyone who comes here wanting to see have an actual debate on the merits. It would be nice for a change if you would actually respond civilly here, although I’m beginning to think that it is not in your nature.

    And for the record, something is not debunked merely because you dismiss it.

  255. 255
    ppGaz says:

    Glad you provided links and insightful commentary there Davebo

    From the Darrell Lecture Series on Insightful Commentary ….

  256. 256
    ppGaz says:

    no, i would agree with you. But, I don’t think many people, DougJ excluded, realize they are bullshitting. They believe joe Wilson leaked his wife’s name to smear bush

    .

    Eh? You do know that DougJ is a serial spoofer, right? He has taught us all to do it. It’s both fun and effective.

    I just thought it was funny that you, as a left leaning free speech advocate, thought someone should be banned from a little corner of the internet because of something they were saying. Especially after you went on a go fuck yourself tirade yesterday.

    It’s all theater. Everything you see in here is theater, from the ads, to the threadstarters, to the comments.

    Enjoy.

    And, I wasn’t trying to start anything, that is why I called you ‘Gaz’. You said yesterday that you didn’t respond to that name.

    Was that you? Seriously, I have a bad habit of not paying attention to names in here.

  257. 257
    jg says:

    I heard Cheney say that they are simply restoring presidential powers that the executive branch has always had but that had been restricted these last few decades.

    Darrell says Bush is doing what every president has been doing these past few decades.

    Simply put this administration has gone around a court set up to allow for executive branch spying on US citizens. A court established to allow the government to do what needs to be dome without delay. Set up so they can submit the paperwork after the fact. Yet they went around it. It hindered them somehow. What part of go do it and provide the proof after, is a hindrance?

  258. 258
    ImJohnGalt says:

    Was that you? Seriously, I have a bad habit of not paying attention to names in here

    Ah, except you’re always able to identify Darrell’s posts, so you can accuse him of queering a thread! You liar! Impeach him!

  259. 259
    Darrell says:

    Serious? FISA judges have been cut out of the process, that is the problem I thought we were discussing

    FISA judges are regularly updated. In fact, when Bush initiated the program they offered no objections. The issue is whether or not all the paperwork and preparations for a FISA warrant had to take place when an American is not even the target of the investigation. Again, any info on a US citizen obtained without a warrant cannot be used against them…only the non-US terrorists have to worry. Countless US lives have been saved by this program, and leftists are screaming without basis

  260. 260
    PotVsKtl says:

    Countless US lives have been saved by this program

    Link?

  261. 261
    ppGaz says:

    Ah, except you’re always able to identify Darrell’s posts

    Alas, yes.

  262. 262
    Gratefulcub says:

    Eh? You do know that DougJ is a serial spoofer, right?

    That’s why he knows he is bullshitting, eh?

    Was that you? Seriously, I have a bad habit of not paying attention to names in here.

    Not yesterday, no. But I did today, just so I could save that little joke if you did respond. Entertaining myself agian.

    I got that you didn’t pay attention to names when you thought i agreed with Darrell.

    I truly didn’t mean to pick you out of a crowd of ‘fuck-you’ posters, it just sort of happened that way. Your post hit at a pissy moment.

  263. 263
    Gratefulcub says:

    FISA judges are regularly updated. In fact, when Bush initiated the program they offered no objections. The issue is whether or not all the paperwork and preparations for a FISA warrant had to take place when an American is not even the target of the investigation. Again, any info on a US citizen obtained without a warrant cannot be used against them…only the non-US terrorists have to worry. Countless US lives have been saved by this program, and leftists are screaming without basis

    The Pentagon would pay you huge money to right news articles in the Iraqi press.

    Damn, did I just do the sort of thing I have been bitching at ppGaz for doing?

  264. 264
    Darrell says:

    If they did indeed get a warrant, as they have in the past, a US citizen caught in the web would certainly be allowed to be prosecuted, now?

    If they got a warrant, yes. But that is what the entire debate hinges upon, the alleged “change” that Bush no longer has to get a FISA warrant. So then, what is your point?

  265. 265
    Gratefulcub says:

    And i typed right instead of write, what a moron.

  266. 266
    Darrell says:

    The Pentagon would pay you huge money to right news articles in the Iraqi press.

    When you have no argument, I guess this is what you come back with

  267. 267
    jg says:

    But that is what the entire debate hinges upon, the alleged “change” that Bush no longer has to get a FISA warrant.

    Which side of the alledging are yuo on?

  268. 268
  269. 269
    Gratefulcub says:

    When you have no argument, I guess this is what you come back with

    I’ve argued with you all day. I had a momentary lapse in character. But, you are right. I truly have no argument. I have understood what you are saying for about the last 50 posts. FISA judges are regularly updated? news to me. Maybe on the program, but not the individual cases. You have lost me.

  270. 270
    Darrell says:

    Which side of the alledging are yuo on?

    I am on the side that the NSA doesn’t need a warrant gather intelligence when the suspect is a non-American foreign terrorist, unless they want to use info. from that investigation against a US citizen

  271. 271
    Gratefulcub says:

    TallDave,
    I read it, but I haven’t used my law degree in a while, so I am rusty. want to explain the ‘doh!’, or just link to the site that linked to that doc.

  272. 272
    PotVsKtl says:

    Doh!!

    Doh what? Have you read FISA?

  273. 273
    Darrell says:

    FISA judges are regularly updated? news to me. Maybe on the program, but not the individual cases. You have lost me.

    FISA judges are updated on individual cases

    FISA judges are not required to issue warrants when investigating foreign terrorists

    Two independent statements of fact which do not contradict one other

  274. 274
    TallDave says:

    All I can add is that Dems are digging their political graves. When the next terrorist attack happens, as we all know it probably will (and it’s now more likely thanks to this program’s existence being leaked), and there are pieces of dead Americans all over TV, castrating the NSA is not going to be such a great selling point.

    We all want to uphold the Bill of Rights. But some of us would like to be able to hold up more than the burnt remnants of it.

  275. 275
    PotVsKtl says:

    (and it’s now more likely thanks to this program’s existence being leaked)

    Why?

  276. 276
    searp says:

    I believe all this talk of rigorous “controls” is absurd.

    All of the “controls” are as secret as the intercepts. People putting their faith in the “controls” that are mentioned by people in the know are doing just that.

    Darrell seems especially well-informed about our unerringly accurate capability to target only REALLY BAD FOREIGNERS and how benign the program is for US citizens. I wish I had his faith.

    After all, with open and very rigorous legal procedures, we make fairly regular mistakes in death penalty cases.

    If it cannot be scrutinized, then there is no justification for assuming it is benign or virtually error-free.

  277. 277
    jg says:

    Which side of the alledging are yuo on?

    I am on the side that the NSA doesn’t need a warrant gather intelligence when the suspect is a non-American foreign terrorist, unless they want to use info. from that investigation against a US citizen

    Huh?

    The question was about an alledged change Bush did or didn’t make. Which side of that alledging are you on? Was a ‘change’ made by Bush or not?

    But that is what the entire debate hinges upon, the alleged “change” that Bush no longer has to get a FISA warrant.

  278. 278
    TallDave says:

    gc,

    Clinton authorized warrantless searches. Not just wiretaps, but physical searches.

    Excuse for why this is completely different in 3.. 2.. 1…

    Pot,

    Do I really need to explain why terrorists knowing their calls are being wiretapped makes it harder to monitor their communications?

  279. 279
    Darrell says:

    and there are pieces of dead Americans all over TV, castrating the NSA is not going to be such a great selling point.

    But Dave, terrorism is not a real threat to our daily lives. 9/11 was a one-time fluke which could never happen again. Bush is using 9/11 as an excuse to hatch his sinister spy plans taking away our freedoms. Did you know that if you disagree, Bush can claim that we are in a “war on terror” and therefore drag you off to a gulag? And those who have leaked info about this fascist classified program to hunt terrorists should be given a medal (actually I’ve read several lefty posters suggest as much)

  280. 280
    Darrell says:

    Darrell seems especially well-informed about our unerringly accurate capability to target only REALLY BAD FOREIGNERS and how benign the program is for US citizens. I wish I had his faith

    If no warrant is obtained, information gathered on US cannot be used in a court of law. This is not my ‘opinion’, it is a fact. No faith required, just a little reading.

    Now of course any program can be exploited and abused. Any evidence suggesting the Bush cabal is using this program for blackmail, extortion or financial gain?

  281. 281
    PotVsKtl says:

    Clinton authorized warrantless searches. Not just wiretaps, but physical searches.

    Excuse for why this is completely different in 3.. 2.. 1…

    Again, have you read FISA? The authorizations are entirely within the limits of the law. Here, I’ll do the grueling work for you. From your link, the only portion that’s relevant:

    Section 1. Pursuant to section 302(a)(1) of the 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.

    From the related section in FISA:

    (a) Presidential authorization (1) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the President, acting through the Attorney General, may authorize physical searches without a court order under this subchapter to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year if— (A) the Attorney General certifies in writing under oath that— (i) the physical search is solely directed at premises, information, material, or property used exclusively by, or under the open and exclusive control of, a foreign power or powers (as defined in section 1801 (a)(1), (2), or (3) of this title); (ii) there is no substantial likelihood that the physical search will involve the premises, information, material, or property of a United States person; and (iii) the proposed minimization procedures with respect to such physical search meet the definition of minimization procedures under paragraphs (1) through (4) [1] of section 1821 (4) of this title; and (B) the Attorney General reports such minimization procedures and any changes thereto to the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives and the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate at least 30 days before their effective date, unless the Attorney General determines that immediate action is required and notifies the committees immediately of such minimization procedures and the reason for their becoming effective immediately.

    In case you’re having trouble parsing that, it means that FISA specifically puts into place a process for warantless authorization of physical searches.

    And now on to part 2:

    Pot,

    Do I really need to explain why terrorists knowing their calls are being wiretapped makes it harder to monitor their communications?

    They already knew they were being monitored. The system was already in place to have them monitored. The only thing that has been revealed is that the administration has chosen to not apply for a retroactive warrant in these cases. It has exactly zero impact on a suspects understanding of our tactics.

    Honestly, are you even paying attention?

  282. 282
    ppGaz says:

    Your post hit at a pissy moment

    Not a problem, these things happen.

    Drinks are on me.

  283. 283
    jg says:

    If no warrant is obtained, information gathered on US cannot be used in a court of law.

    No shit.

    You’re ok with the government being able to spy on US citizens’ communications and only have to tell anyone who they spied on if they want to prosecute? Otherwise no having to tell anyone who they’re listening to? This is OK?

  284. 284
    Darrell says:

    jg, I think Bush merely formalized a policy which had gone on for decades. International calls, faxes, emails, etc have been monitored for a very long time, even prior to the fascist Bush regime. This monitoring took place largely without warrants of any type. Did intelligence agents read intercepted communications with key words flagged in the past? I think one would have to be extraordinarily ignorant to believe they didn’t read many of them.. and act on them without warrants, when the suspects were foreigners

  285. 285
    Brian says:

    TallDave uses more colorful language to say what I said in an earlier comment, that is that we are the target of a very serious enemy. All of this hand-wringing over procedural minutiae will be pointless when the next attack comes, in whatever form it comes. No one will give a shit about this discussion because the People will see that heads roll, literally.

  286. 286
    jg says:

    jg, I think Bush merely formalized a policy which had gone on for decades.

    You’re wrong about that. He circumvent a court set up to oversea domestic spying by the executive branch.

    You’re ok with the government being able to spy on US citizens’ communications and only have to tell anyone who they spied on if they want to prosecute? Otherwise no having to tell anyone who they’re listening to? This is OK?

  287. 287
    Darrell says:

    You’re ok with the government being able to spy on US citizens’ communications and only have to tell anyone who they spied on if they want to prosecute? Otherwise no having to tell anyone who they’re listening to? This is OK?

    jg, this may come as a big surprise to you, but US citizens have had their emails, faxes, and phone calls monitored for many, many years. You may be alarmed by this revelation. But it’s not new.

    The primary purpose of this program now is to hunt terrorists. There are not enough resources to listen to every phone call, and every fax and email, so our intelligence agencies look for flag keywords (kill infidels), and they also monitor communication to and from suspected terrorists.

  288. 288
    jg says:

    Are you ever going to answer the question?

  289. 289
    Brian says:

    jg,

    I guarantee you that your phone company listens in on your conversations at times, for the purpose of quality control. It’s in your usage contract.

    Call the ACLU.

  290. 290
    jg says:

    Guys seriously, read past the word ‘and’ in my question. Please.

  291. 291
    Darrell says:

    I think there is a balance between liberty and freedoms vs. security needs. Bush’s actions regarding this issue strike me as a very sensible and reasonable balance.

  292. 292
    searp says:

    Tall Dave: the issue with terrorism has been and still is one of identification. The subsidiary issue is how you go about identifying terrorists without compromising our increasingly tattered fourth amendment rights. This shouldn’t be so hard to understand.

    The issue is where the line has to be drawn, why, whether everyone agrees on the line and whether there is a serious enforcement mechanism.

    I see this as a healthy debate, myself. Maybe the constitution goes up in flames after the next attack. Maybe the best way to prevent that is to agree that it is actually important, that the Bill of Rights means something and that we should be able to be as free as possible.

    Am I afraid of terrorists? Sure. Do I think that 9/11 obliges the government to re-interpret my rights? No. Do I think we’re living in a new era? No. 9/11 was a continuation of trends that we understood long before 9/11. Do I want a few people with high security clearances making my decisions for me? No. Simple as that. I’ll take my chances with a healthy system of OVERT checks and balances, thanks.

  293. 293
    ppGaz says:

    so our intelligence agencies look for flag keywords (kill infidels)

    There you have it, citizens! Your government is protecting you by keeping an ear out for “kill infidels.”

    We’re not paying these guys enough. Really. Nobel prizes for the lot of them.

    That’s why they run the country, and all you can do is sit there with your thumb up your ass wondering what happened to your fucking liberties.

  294. 294
    jg says:

    So you thinks its OK? Not having to tell anyone who he spied on unless he plans to prosecute? Otherwise free reign on communications.

  295. 295
    Brian says:

    jg,

    No, of course not. But I also don’t believe nowadays that the gov’t has the time to monitor conversations in the manner that you seem to fear. Think about it, the sheer volume of information that’s out there. I was at a meeting with Cisco last week and discovered that every American has 6.4 discrete devices or addresses that they communicate with. That’s phone, blackberry, email, fax, pager, etc. Now, multiply that times our population. And that is BEFORE you do the same with the global population!

    They have to use very sophisticated methods for monitoring in a manner that narrows the search and monitoring to likely candidates for the label “troublemaker”. I think you envision a roomfull of individuals, under the thumb of Bush, listening in on your conversation with your buddies and chuckling about your story about the bachelor party, or whatever, then they all go to the bar and share stories about what they listen to.

    We don’t have the TIME for this. It’s narrowing down all communiques to a small subset worthy of their attention. They don’t give a shit about you….nothing personal.

  296. 296
    searp says:

    Truth is, nobody could admit here that they really knew exactly how the surveillance is performed. My bet is that to be effective, it has to be thorough. To be thorough, it has to hoover up a lot of chaff with the wheat.

    I hear Darrell about admissibility, but I don’t see that as any impediment at all to abuse. It is the information itself that is valuable, not its admissibility.

    Sure, I know they have more than likely been listening for a long time. I know or suspect that the information is handled properly. Would I want to bet that this will always be the situation? Emphatic no there. Do I think the current climate makes it more likely the information will be mishandled? Yes.

  297. 297
    jg says:

    Bush’s actions regarding this issue strike me as a very sensible and reasonable balance.

    The court was setup to the executive branch could spy domestically and get teh spying done without waiting for a court to approve. All they have to do is go to the court later and explain themselves. Having to explain themselves came along after Nixon. Having to explain yourself is a check on the power to spy on US citizens. With that check the power is not easily abused, its the point of the check. Bush removed the check by saying he doesn’t have to go to the court at all. Why not? How is his action a reasonable balance when all he did was remove the check on his power? What else has he done that I’m not seeing that seems reasonable? How is he better off now at getting terrorists? How did having to go back to the court to justify who he spied on prevent him from keeping us all safe?

  298. 298
    Darrell says:

    jg Says:

    So you thinks its OK? Not having to tell anyone who he spied on unless he plans to prosecute?

    First of all, this program, unlike similar ones in previous administrations, are under the review of members of both houses of congress, FISA and DOJ judges, as independent members working in the executive branch. There are limited resources in conducting investigation.

    If they intend to spy, but not prosecute, that would mean that with that amount of oversight, other motivations would have to be in play. Tell us which ones you’re concerned about? Do you seriously think they would use it to blackmail or extort? Any program is open to abuse. This one seems to have a reasonable amount of checks when you look at the amount of data that has to be sifted through

  299. 299
    Darrell says:

    How is his action a reasonable balance when all he did was remove the check on his power?

    Except that wasn’t “the” only check, as explained above.

  300. 300
    jg says:

    Now you’re back to saying he goes to the FISA court with the appplications as he is supposed to under law?

    I’m done. Bye.

  301. 301
    searp says:

    Brian:

    What you say is largely true, with a big caveat: if they cared about me, they probably already have plenty of data to drive a very precise profile. I am betting they could set up blanket electronic surveillance with a single interactive command.

    That is, someone operating in total secrecy could, in a few seconds time, intercept anything I did electronically. Do I like that thought? No, especially the total secrecy part.

  302. 302
    Ancient Purple says:

    No one will give a shit about this discussion because the People will see that heads roll, literally.

    You are wrong. I will care. I care more about the principles of this Republic than I do for my life. You, on the other hand, value your life over our Constitution.

    How sad for you.

  303. 303
    Doug says:

    I guarantee you that your phone company listens in on your conversations at times, for the purpose of quality control. It’s in your usage contract.

    The phone company isn’t the government, so who cares?

  304. 304
    NRM says:

    We don’t have the TIME for this. It’s narrowing down all communiques to a small subset worthy of their attention. They don’t give a shit about you….nothing personal.

    The problem isn’t when a very powerful tool is used for good, the problem happens when there is not enough oversight and that tool can be put to nefarious uses. No one anywhere close to the tech field thinks that there are a bunch of people are sitting in a room listening to phone calls. This surveillance is probably done with intelligent agents that are fed parameters of not only keywords, patterns of communication, probability matrixes, etc.

    Used to detect real threats, like terrorists, this is all fine and good. But seeing the recent information about the FBI monitoring “kiss ins” can lead a person to believe that these very powerful tools will not always be used for legitmate threats. We know from past experience that people will create enemy lists. Hoover did it, Nixon did it, and Clinton did it.

    Without the proper oversight, compiling information on political enemies would be trivial with the type of system outlined by the IAO. I don’t think President Bush is doing this, but President Bush may be testing the limits of executive authority here. Just because our current CinC wouldn’t abuse his power doesn’t mean a future CinC won’t.

  305. 305

    EXECUTIVE ORDER 12949

    Doesn’t apply to American citizens. Next time, read the executive order.

    It mentions nothing about American citizens.

  306. 306
    Brian says:

    You, on the other hand, value your life over our Constitution

    That is a logical leap that misses its target. But, time will tell if you are correct. If there is an attack bigger than what happened to NY and D.C., people will be pissed, especially if it turns out that it happened because of political posturing between Dems and the GOP. I care as much about this country as you do, but I also want to see it defended more than you do.

  307. 307

    There is a specific court (the FISA court) which has been set up to to address the need for “emergency” warrants. Under the current law, the authorities have the ability to wiretap a phone and then within 72 hours ask for the warrant to do so.

    Taking this into consideration, the administration’s claims that they need this policy (to bypass the court) in cases of emergencies falls completely flat. Under the current law, they were already allowed to wiretap a phone immediately and then get a warrant afterwards. The issue here is that they don’t feel they should be forced to obtain a warrant at all. Unfortunately, the US Constitution says otherwise.

  308. 308
    ppGaz says:

    If after a fair and open debate, the American people decide they want a presidency with unfettered powers in the mold of Saddam Hussein (stolen elections, pre-emptive wars, torture, rape rooms, secret prisons, secret spying), then so be it.
    Markos/DKOS today

    Markos describes the Darrell/TallDave/Brian New America. “Not Quite As Fucked As Saddam Hussein” will be their slogan.

    Happy holidays.

  309. 309
    NRM says:

    DOJ judges

    You keep bringing up “DoJ judges”. What is a “DoJ judge”? If there is a judge that reports to the executive branch, that judge is not independent and therefore does not serve as oversight. As to the FISA judge issue, I thought the entire thing people are complaining about is that the FISC was not reviewing the monitoring. Am I wrong on this? Is the FISC actually providing oversight, but not issuing warrants?

  310. 310

    especially if it turns out that it happened because of political posturing between Dems and the GOP. I care as much about this country as you do, but I also want to see it defended more than you do.

    If you consider called questioning an administration’s actions as to whether they violated the Constitution (the foundation of this country), you don’t care about this country.

    I’ll you with a quote, which I’m sure you’re not famaliar with…

    “Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”

    Find who said that.

    On another note, you do realize the guy arguing for a police state in order to stop terrorism could uses your line and say he cares about defending the country more than you do.

    Get a new talking point, asshat.

  311. 311
  312. 312

    *If you consider questioning an administration’s actions as to whether they violated the Constitution (the foundation of this country) “political posturing between Dems and the GOP”, you don’t care about this country.

  313. 313

    so many typing/grammar mistakes. Oh well, what can I say. So-called “Americans” who don’t give two shits about our Constitution send me into a rage.

  314. 314
    Brian says:

    NRM,

    You seem to see a slippery slope, where I do not. It is possible that we need to update the laws for new technology in a new time, and this is something that Congress and the WH can do in concert. I will be terrible for the Dem’s though, if it turns out that they could have taken this path but instead abdicated their responsibility to the People, either out of fear of the Bush admin, or out of political opportunism.

  315. 315
    Brian says:

    Get a new talking point, asshat

    No reciprocation for you after that one. You don’t deserve my time.

  316. 316
    ppGaz says:

    You don’t deserve my time.

    Yeah, your time is greatly sought after.

  317. 317
    Ancient Purple says:

    I care as much about this country as you do, but I also want to see it defended more than you do.

    You know this how, Brian? You don’t know what level I have gone to or will go to in defending this country. Yours is pure speculation.

    I treasure this nation and I cherish our Constitution. It isn’t a document of “helpful hints.” It is the law. If you don’t like the law, then there are methods to change it; but who the hell are you or who the hell is that idiot president we have to say that they law can be abandon on a whim in order to save lives? Where is that in the Constitution, Brian?

    Paine knew that he would be charged with sedition, treason and face execution for writing “Common Sense.” The entire body of the Continental Congress knew they faced being hanged for penning their names to the Declaration of Independence. These people were willing to give up their lives, even if it meant the American Republic would die as well.

    If you want to cower in your fear of the terrorists blowing up a city or other act, that is your right. However, you would have great nerve in ever quoting one of our founders.

    You have nothing in common with them.

  318. 318
    Brian says:

    I treasure this nation and I cherish our Constitution

    You girls are so full of yourself, and full of shit. You couldn’t find your ass with both hands, yet you talk like you’re a Constitutional scholar and write with certainty, ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY, that Bush is a unrepentant liar who puts the Constitution in a paper shredder in a unchecked desire to bring about a police state. You are FULL OF SHIT!!!

    I have no more certainty that Bush didn’t violate the Constitution than you have any certainty that he did, but you’re the only one between us behaving like you’re David Souter-meets-Ruth Ginsberg in intellectual heft on the topic of the Constitution and presidential powers.

  319. 319
    Ancient Purple says:

    You are FULL OF SHIT

    And you are a gutless coward.

    Can I be on your “no reciprocation list” now?

  320. 320

    No reciprocation for you after that one. You don’t deserve my time.

    Like I give two shits, Brian. I care about your time as much as you care about our Constitution.

    You’re nothing more than a diehard Republican who puts party before country. You and your ilk disgust me. You are spineless scum. You aren’t worthy of the land you walk on or the blood that our founders spilled.

    Go fuck yourself.

  321. 321
    Darrell says:

    You’re nothing more than a diehard Republican who puts party before country.

    So you’re in favor of aggressive prosecution of those who leaked classified info on this program assuming it turns out to be a legal program? Country before party, right?

  322. 322
    Krista says:

    jg, I think Bush merely formalized a policy which had gone on for decades. International calls, faxes, emails, etc have been monitored for a very long time, even prior to the fascist Bush regime. This monitoring took place largely without warrants of any type. Did intelligence agents read intercepted communications with key words flagged in the past? I think one would have to be extraordinarily ignorant to believe they didn’t read many of them..

    You know what, Darrell? Maybe I’m feeling reckless, but I’ll agree with you that this is a definite possibility. Mind you, I’m extremely cynical about government, despite living in what you would call a socialist country. I don’t know if I believe in the “trigger word” theory, but I do believe that warrantless monitoring has occurred long before W. came to office. The thing is, though — there’s no point in being angry with previous governments about this. For starters, despite our assumptions, we don’t actually have proof that they engaged in this activity as well. We do have proof that Bush did. Also, there’s no real point in getting pissed off at previous governments — we can’t actually do anything about any abuses of power that may have occurred under previous administrations. It’s history. It’s over. We CAN, however, do something about the abuses of power that are occurring under THIS administration. And I think that the icing on the proverbial cake is the fact that Bush is completely unrepentant about this. Not just that, but he’s actually being belligerent about it, and is blaming the very news source that covered his ass by not reporting this news previous to the 2004 election.

  323. 323
    Darrell says:

    FISA and NSA judges were informed of the program and were part of the periodic reviews. The Bush admin took the position that the law didn’t require them to get warrants if the targets of the surveillance weren’t US citizens. No strenuous objections from any of the the judges, members of congress, or the executive legal staff from what I’ve read. It’s not so obvious that this was some nefarious power grab which undermines the constitution

  324. 324
    TallDave says:

    Doh!!

    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.”

    WASH POST, July 15, 1994: Extend not only to searches of the homes of U.S. citizens but also — in the delicate words of a Justice Department official — to “places where you wouldn’t find or would be unlikely to find information involving a U.S. citizen… would allow the government to use classified electronic surveillance techniques, such as infrared sensors to observe people inside their homes, without a court order.”

    Deputy Attorney General Jamie S. Gorelick, the Clinton administration believes the president “has inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches for foreign intelligence purposes.”

    Secret searches and wiretaps of Aldrich Ames’s office and home in June and October 1993, both without a federal warrant.

    http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/eo12139.htm

    New rule: It’s Only Evil If Bush Does It.

  325. 325
    Pooh says:

    Brian,

    I’ll engage you honestly because I feel that you are doing the same for us (thanks for wading through the muck). I think GC and most of the other thoughful people here are worried not about the “spying on” part, but about the “terrorists” part of “spying on terrorists”. Who gives two shits is we snoop on the baddies? But make, you know, some bare bones showing that the guy you are listening to is in fact the baddies (no, not Liberals, the guys with the bombs and what not) or at least in contact with the baddies.

    Does the fact that I have little faith in the ‘good faith’ of this administration play into my vehemance on this issue? Absolutely. I think they’ve played fast and loose with the Constitution and the truth since before the 2000 election (push-polls anyone?). That being said, I’d be wary of any executive being able to ‘legally’ listen to my calls/read my mail ‘just because’, which absent oversight, is what a ‘terrorist’ designation boils down to.

    Darrell,

    I’m going to hate myself for this, because you are self-evidently not making much effort to meet arguments head-on, but why, if this was merely ECHELON, did dubs not just say “it’s the same thing Bubba did?” (In fact, that’s such a good lie, why didn’t he just say that regardless of its truth?)

    We all want to uphold the Bill of Rights. But some of us would like to be able to hold up more than the burnt remnants of it.

    Wait, TD is that an argument for or against untrammeled executive power? Are you suggesting that the National Archives are the next target? The actual Bill of Rights? If you have that kind of info, what are you doing BSing with us moonbats?

    Alternatively, those who are thinking of the figurative Bill of Rights are wondering, can we have them back yet, or did 9/11 serve as the same implied repeal of the BoR that AUMF did of FISA?

  326. 326
    TallDave says:

    I treasure this nation and I cherish our Constitution

    Me too, which is why I don’t want terrorists to be able to blow either of them up.

  327. 327
    Darrell says:

    Not just that, but he’s actually being belligerent about it, and is blaming the very news source

    If Bush’s program turns out to be legal, and by securing NSA approval I believe he took the legal steps necessary, then revealing compromising info about a classifed program could arguably be tried and convicted on treason charges. Bush isn’t being ‘belligerant’ in being upset about this. He has every right to be all over their case on this leak.

  328. 328

    So you’re in favor of aggressive prosecution of those who leaked classified info on this program assuming it turns out to be a legal program?

    Bullshit. I should support an aggresiive prosecution because someone had the balls to be patriotic and expose an Unconstitutional policy of the Bush Administration?

    I’m not surprised to see that your dumbass thinks I should support an aggresive prosecution of people who defend the Constitution.

    Tell me Darrell…let’s say there comes a time when a President decides to start torturing American citizens in the War on Terror. You honestly think I should support an aggresive prosecution for people who leak that information to the public because it is a “National Security” matter?

    Fuck no, I wouldn’t. I respect the Constitution, and I respect people who will defend it.

    The relevaltion of this policy didn’t do shit to National Security. All it did was prove to be an embarassment for Bush.

    Country before party, right?

    Considering that I don’t belong to a party, what party would that be?

  329. 329
    PotVsKtl says:

    TallDave, I’m not even going to bother. Are you going to retract your earlier Doh!!? Did you spend more than 5 minutes this time researching?

  330. 330
    StupidityRules says:

    Question to the right wing nuts (You know who you are):

    Either we got really stupid terrorists who don’t understand that their calls might be wiretapped unless the American press write about it. Or we got terrorists that are as dangerous to the US as the USSR was during the cold war.

    Which is it?

  331. 331

    New rule: It’s Only Evil If Bush Does It.

    More like, “New Rule: CLINTON DID IT TOO!”

    You guys are fucking pathetic. Let’s re-investigate Clinton for all I fucking care.

  332. 332
    Darrell says:

    I’m going to hate myself for this, because you are self-evidently not making much effort to meet arguments head-on, but why, if this was merely ECHELON, did dubs not just say “it’s the same thing Bubba did?”

    Actually, as TallDave has cited, Clinton did much more. He authorized searches without warrants. And whether it was Echelon or Echelon-like intelligence gathering makes no difference that I can see. Bush believed that the law didn’t require them to get warrants if the targets of the surveillance weren’t US citizens.

    If you’re going to accuse me of not answering arguments “head on”, at least be specific as to what you’re talking about

  333. 333
    TallDave says:

    If after a fair and open debate, the American people decide they want a presidency with unfettered powers in the mold of Saddam Hussein (stolen elections, pre-emptive wars, torture, rape rooms, secret prisons, secret spying), then so be it.
    Markos/DKOS today

    Ahhh, no day would be complete without Kos’ obligatory comparison of Bush to Saddam/Hitler/[insert evil person here].

    Honestly, he talks like this so much I’m starting to think Kos is just angling for a job in the rape rooms (I hear those get started any day now). Can’t you just picture him putting a Bush mask on a detainee and getting his freak on while screaming “who’s President NOW bitch!?”

  334. 334
    ppGaz says:

    Me too, which is why I don’t want terrorists to be able to blow either of them up.

    So who told you to trade away other people’s civil liberties in order to make you feel safer?

  335. 335
    Darrell says:

    I’m not surprised to see that your dumbass thinks I should support an aggresive prosecution of people who defend the Constitution.

    I see. The leakers of a legal, sensible, classified program are now noble “defenders of the Constitution”.

  336. 336
    Thomas DePaine says:

    PotVsKtl, what about part ii?

    ii) there is no substantial likelihood that the physical search will involve the premises, information, material, or property of a United States person;

    I don’t see how Bush gets away with this one.

    TDP

  337. 337
    Pb says:

    Brian,

    I, too, treasure this nation and I cherish our Constitution. And you, obviously, don’t know a goddamn thing about those of us who do. Fuck you.

  338. 338
    Pb says:

    Darrell,

    Show me the “legal, sensible, classified program” and I’ll show you the noble defenders of the Constitution.

  339. 339

    The leakers of a legal, sensible, classified program are now noble “defenders of the Constitution”.

    Read the 4th Amendment sometime.

  340. 340
    Brian says:

    you are a gutless coward

    I, too, treasure this nation and I cherish our Constitution. And you, obviously, don’t know a goddamn thing about those of us who do. Fuck you.

    This continues to be representative of the opposing thought on this site, day after day after day.

  341. 341
    PotVsKtl says:

    You know, honestly, Brian’s comments in this thread have been thoughtful and well reasoned. Aside from possibly

    TallDave uses more colorful language to say what I said in an earlier comment, that is that we are the target of a very serious enemy. All of this hand-wringing over procedural minutiae will be pointless when the next attack comes, in whatever form it comes. No one will give a shit about this discussion because the People will see that heads roll, literally.

    He certainly doesn’t seem to deserve the attacks. Focus on Darrell and TallDave please.

  342. 342
    Brian says:

    PotVsKtl,

    I appreciate the backup, because I’m stunned by the attacks and how personal they are. I’ve been trying to maintain a decent tone.

  343. 343
    Brian says:

    My points today, in summary:

    1) We don’t know what laws were broken for certain, if any. Time will tell.

    2) If the Congress wants to push this to the Supreme Court, with public opinion pushing them along, they can do so.

    3) If they don’t want to go to the Court, they can work with the White House to update the laws to be current with the threats we face and technological advances.

    4) It is possible that members of Congress had this opportunity already, but abdicated it for political advantage. It is also possible that the president duped the same members of Congress.

    Listen, we can work together, as citizens who have equal respect for our system of gov’t. without having to resort to vindictive measures. Are we working together on this, or against each other? If it’s the latter, that is precisely the divide and conquer scenario our enemy would be heartened by.

  344. 344
    DougJ says:

    That’s better, Brian. You’ve done an honest job of reframing the debate in terms that are more favorable to the right-wing. But fair enough — you’ve done so as honestly as possible.

    But you were being a bit of an ass before, hence the sarcasm. If you can refrain from “playing devil’s advocate”, referring to Sean Hannity, or failing to get jokes in the future, I and others will treat you with respect.

  345. 345
    Brian says:

    Agreed. What joke did I not get?

    I would like to add on more point that I left out from my last post, and that is:

    5) That the gov’t is using very sophisticated tracking tools and math geeks to find and monitor truly important and potentially dangerous people. For instance, to quote another blogger, if I am sending daily emails to Pakistan from my home in Los Angeles, they might pick up on this, and certain language I’m using (“Where the fuck is my stuff, Amir?”) and finally discover that I’m really talking about rugs, then move on to someone truly important.

    Let me predict the response from a thoughtful commenter here, that this could be used for nefarious purposes against non-violent citizens. I see that, and respect that, but don’t fear that. I understand that others do, hence my interest in seeing that the Legislative and Exec branches work this out for all concerned. If not, throw it to the Supreme Court to decide.

  346. 346
    Ancient Purple says:

    I appreciate the backup, because I’m stunned by the attacks and how personal they are.

    Brian,

    I will be the first to admit that when my buttons are pushed, I will get into defensive mode and, surprise!, defend myself.

    I will retract the “gutless coward” comment and simply say that I have very grave doubts about anyone who would give up one iota of any civil or constitutional liberties in order to maintain some perceived security. I have always believed that and always will.

    That being said, you are not an altar boy here. You made these two statements:

    I care as much about this country as you do, but I also want to see it defended more than you do.

    and

    You girls are so full of yourself, and full of shit.

    In the first, you are directly accusing me of somehow wanting our nation to be less defended than you are. I resent that implication because it is patently untrue. I value this nation as much as you do.

    For the second, if that isn’t a personal attack, I don’t know what is.

    Now, I ask you (in an effort to have a reasoned discussion): how is giving up one iota of my rights on any level not a betrayal of the work and sacrifices of our nation’s founders?

  347. 347

    As someone who was the target of an illegal spying operation from the 1980s, I can say that it’s not a pleasant experience.

    My union, the San Francisco branch of the letter carriers’ union, was one of the 1000 or 1500 organizations illegally spied on by an operation run thought the Anti-Defamation League. I was an officer in my branch during the period that the spying occurred.

    One of the guys doing the spying was Tom Gerard, an intelligence officer with the SFPD who’d done black ops work with the CIA in Honduras, El Salvador, Algeria and other places during periods of leave from the SFPD. When the heat went up and he disappeared out of the country, Gerard left photos in his police locker of guys strapped to chairs with black hoods over their heads.

    We joined with a lawsuit that Pete McCloskey’s office was doing (he was a target too, as were bookstores, anti-apartheid groups, public television stations, whatever).

    This much appears to be known through the ACLU’s investigation: The spying operation grew out of a multi-agency taskforce in San Francisco during the Democrat’s 1984 convention in the City. When the spying was discovered and was determined to have violated the law, at some point it was “privatized,” placed in the name of the ADL and continued. While there were probably a couple dozen of the groups that might have been of interest to the ADL the rest of the 1500 organizations would have been of no interest to them. Who could use the information? The government, and their corporate friends.

    The files were in a legal limbo. They were private property so you couldn’t claim access to them under FOIA. And yet they were clearly not of any use to the ADL, and apparently some information was gained illegally. Can’t actually be sure, because no one in DA’s office wanted anything to come out. As I understand it, there were similar cases in Portland and a couple of cities.

    So fifteen, twenty years after the fact, I don’t know why my union was spied on, who was ultimately behind it and what information they got. It’s possible that because I signed a petition for the government of El Salvador to stop “disappearing” union officials I may have brought attention to my local. We believe there may have been an illegal break-in at that time too.

    I hate to think that my union was illegally spied on by a guy who was torturing people in El Salvador and Honduras, but it’s a logical presumption.

    I think it’s pretty obvious that this current administration is by far the worst collection of psychopaths to have run our country. These inatuse bastards are willing to squander our freedoms to slake their limitless lust for power. You people who think spying on your fellow citizens is just swell because your Great Leader says it is, well, I hope one day you don’t find yourself strapped to a chair with a hood over your head.

  348. 348
    capriccio says:

    I didn’t read through all 300 plus posts here, so maybe somebody already pointed out to Tim that “America’s single greatest enemy” is lurking at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

  349. 349
    Brian says:

    Now, I ask you (in an effort to have a reasoned discussion): how is giving up one iota of my rights on any level not a betrayal of the work and sacrifices of our nation’s founders?

    AC, let me think about that for the night. I don’t have an easy answer for it. All I can do is respond with another question(s):

    How do you square your rights with the security of the country? Whose rights are greater, the individual’s, or the common good?

    This bugging issue is going to be huge, the more I know about it. I think it’s the ultimate convergence of privacy rights, national security, free market forces (if the NSA’s actions are interfering in legitimate business activities w/o those businesses being aware), and Constitutional barriers. Maybe “ultimate” is an overstatement. I would like to see that this get worked out behind the scenes between Congress nd the WH, because it may involve stuff we don’t ever want to know about, and certainly don’t want to make public for the sake of our enemies.

    If we’re Americans, can we respect what we’re trying to retain in our Constitution and our way of life? Can we achieve this through the very gov’t we’re criticizing, and trust our military to work toward our common good? I would like to think so.

    That said, I retract any poorly-worded comment I made here, or slur directed anyone’s way.

  350. 350
    John S. says:

    All this talk our nation’s founders, liberty, freedom and the Constitution makes me think of the immortal words of Patrick Henry:

    The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.

    I think that is the bottom line.

  351. 351
    DougJ says:

    they might pick up on this, and certain language I’m using (“Where the fuck is my stuff, Amir?”) and finally discover that I’m really talking about rugs, then move on to someone truly important.

    I think you left out a “d” in there.

  352. 352
    Brian says:

    That’s quite a freightening story, Bob. Seriously.

  353. 353
    Al Maviva says:

    Cyrus, you’re saying I made a personal attack on the story’s source, or some kind of a defense of the legality of Bush’s program in my post above? My post, in its entirety, was:


    >>>“You do a lot of weird shit. But at least you don’t fuck with your own people.”

    Did anybody read that quote, and wonder why it is then, that FISA has a warrant procedure, along with a laundry list of warrant exceptions?

    How is my question an assertion of legality of Bush’s program, or a personal attack on the anonymous source who made the claim? I thought that was a reasonable question about the facts alleged by the source, and if you care to actually answer it, even the facts provided in the NY Times undercut the anonymous source’s statement without making any attacks on him of a personal nature, or without defending anything Bush has done. I thought if I asked you to think, you would; and indeed you did, but you thought “gee, Al has some secret meaning here… got to find the cryptic personal attack in those words…”

    Here, I’ll type slowly in a non-personal non-attack manner, and see if you can figure it out. FISA doesn’t give help non-US Persons and foreign powers, it exists to protect US persons from unauthorized monitoring, and to dictate the conditions under which monitoring can occur. The existence of FISA means that Congress has contemplated NSA monitoring of US Persons and set standards for it. Published sources say the FISA court has granted permission to monitor US Persons 8,000 – 10,000 times in the last 20 years – I think some may have quoted those figures here at BJ in comments.

    In plain language, NSA has “fucked with our own people” quite extensively – you can view this as fucking with one US Person a day, on the average, for roughly 25 years. So much for the agency culture of never fucking with your own people.

    Even if I had said that instead of inviting you to figure it out for yourself, how is it a personal attack on the anonymous source? It’s not like I called him a crapweasel or something – that would be a personal attack. Likewise, how is it defending Bush? The way I see it, it’s debunking a demonstrably false factual claim, a claim that anybody who has been following the debate here should have immediately recognized as false or highly misleading based on stuff we’ve all discussed and considered already.

  354. 354
    Brian says:

    DougJ,

    This might surprise you, but I think the WOD is the most wasteful and ridiculous waste of our police resources ever marshalled. Unfortunately, no politician has the guts to challenge it.

  355. 355
    demimondian says:

    Al…you weren’t the only person who was puzzled by that statement originally. After rereading the NYTimes story, though, I realized that FISA monitors the activities of the FBI, not the NSA.

  356. 356
    DougJ says:

    Brian, what exactly are you buying from Amir? I’d be careful if I were you. ;)

  357. 357
    Brian says:

    No comment on Amir.

    No. Comment.

    I have to run, guys. The wife’s demanding sexual favors, and is a tad resentful I’m chatting with you all.

    G’night, and thanks for the dialogue.

  358. 358
    ppGaz says:

    We don’t know what laws were broken for certain, if any. Time will tell.

    Sure we do, Richard Nixon settled it: “When the president does it, it’s not illegal.”

    That’s the governing principle here. Bush has stuck his finger in the eye of the law, knowing that it probably isn’t possible to do much about it. Blog monkeys will mount the Al Maviva “no controlling legal authority” defense. Other apologists will mount the “I don’t care what he did, I just want to be safe” defense.

    Problem is, neither of those defenses are going to convince a large percentage of people, myself being one of them. I am not willing to trade liberty and privacy for a little protection. I do not live in fear of terrorists, and I don’t like being manipulated.

  359. 359
  360. 360
    patience says:

    I have posted this at other sites because the readers may not have seen this.

    But in today’s Washington TIMES Conservative Constitutional scholar Ben Fein has declared.

    “President Bush presents a clear and present danger to the rule of law.”

    Sobering stuff. Read it yourself.

    It’s time to put politics aside for a time, come together, and handle this mess before it gets out of control.

  361. 361
    Pooh says:

    Brian, how exactly is Congress going to take this matter to the Supreme Court? By which I mean, what mechanism, what ‘case or controversy’. And how is any trial going to be anything more than a sham? They’ll spend the 3 years of Bush’s term in pissant discovery stuff AT LEAST…

    Darrell,

    Well, the argument I made in the post right after I said you don’t meet arguments head-on. Let me quote myself…

    I’m going to hate myself for this, because you are self-evidently not making much effort to meet arguments head-on, but why, if this was merely ECHELON, did dubs not just say “it’s the same thing Bubba did?” (In fact, that’s such a good lie, why didn’t he just say that regardless of its truth?)

    I might note it’s interesting to argue that A) “We dont’ know what Bush did”, but B) “Clinton did worse”

  362. 362
    Ancient Purple says:

    How do you square your rights with the security of the country? Whose rights are greater, the individual’s, or the common good?

    It is all our rights.

    Now, as to your question, the answer is clearly “the individual’s.” I understand people’s fear of terrorist detonating a nuke in a suitcase in a major metro area. But that does not diminish the fact that the Constitution doesn’t say anything about suspending rights because of a threat that you may die. If you want the document to say that, there are ways to amend it. You don’t just stop following the law because it is inconvenient or because there is a national crisis.

    The rights granted to us are not “good ideas,” but are the law. If that is not a good thing for us in 21st century America, then change the Constitution.

    I am not willing to let one egomaniac in the White House determine whether or not I really need a particular right. Those are mine already.

    They are yours too.

  363. 363
    Slide says:

    The Right Wing continues to lie. We now have Drudge and the bush apologists saying that Clinton did it…. Carter did it… etc. Alas, as is usual with the Darrells and Al Maviva’s of the world, they are jut LYING. Or, let me be charitable, WRONG.

    The top of the Drudge Report claims “CLINTON EXECUTIVE ORDER: SECRET SEARCH ON AMERICANS WITHOUT COURT ORDER…” It’s not true. Here’s the breakdown –

    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.now I know it may be a bit much to ask our right wing friends to actually do a little research before they open their lying little mouths and repeat what that bastion of journalistic integrity, Drudge, says but why don’t you give it a shot. Oh, you ask about Carter now? Ok… Carter:

    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.

    LIARS..

  364. 364
    searp says:

    I don’t think the history buffs’ arguments are persuasive. Bush has said consistently that after 9/11 we were in a new era, which he presumably thinks means demands new responses and new laws.

    There were a raft of laws passed – laws creating Homeland Security, and the Patriot Act.

    The issue is whether there was, additionally, some willful lawbreaking. It is certainly a legitimate question. The discovery of the issue probably could not have happened without even more lawbreaking, that is, the leak. I personally tend to think that the leak was not damaging, but I could be convinced otherwise. Given the secrecy laws, it was almost certainly illegal.

    To those that don’t think there is an issue: why did the FISA judge just resign? This suggests at least one of the FISA judges takes this very seriously. There are reports that some NSA personnel refused to participate in the program, again a serious bit of evidence that there were qualms among people in the know.

    To those that think this is partisan posturing: I refer you to the paragraph above and to the statements of several Republican senators.

    To those who just think it is OK to spy on Americans: I agree if there are stringent controls. Briefing congressional leaders does not count, period. Nobody knows what was said, and this simply does not constitue oversight, which is what the administration would have you believe.

    Bottom line: the administration probably broke the law, and the question will be what to do about it.

  365. 365
    OCSteve says:

    Man. I can honestly say this is one thread I’m glad I missed. Others made the same arguments I would have and took the abuse in my stead :)

  366. 366
    DougJ says:

    We’re glad you missed it too.

  367. 367
    RobR says:

    So you’re in favor of aggressive prosecution of those who leaked classified info on this program assuming it turns out to be a legal program?

    I will agree to this, Darrell. Any man who violated federal law and national security with an unfounded axe to grind should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

    However: will you agree that if it turns out to be an illegal program, that the President of the United States should be impeached, and if convicted, charged and tried for violations of federal and constitutional law?

    Note that I said, “The President,” and not “George W. Bush.” To avoid the inevitible strawman argument, I will stipulate that I believe that under those circumstances, said impeachment, charges and trial for violations of Federal law and the Fourth Amendment should apply to Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, or George Washington.

    I await your answer with interest.

  368. 368
    slide says:

    Can all the Bush apologists now admit that Bush is a lying sack of shit? There is a video of him talking about how there is always a need for a warrant when the government wiretaps and that nothing has changed. He said this after he very well knew he was wiretapping Americans by the thousands without a warrant.

    clinton lied about having consentural sex. Bad boy.

    bush lied about illegal wiretap activity on Americans.

  369. 369
    Ancient Purple says:

    I understand that others do, hence my interest in seeing that the Legislative and Exec branches work this out for all concerned. If not, throw it to the Supreme Court to decide.

    I am not sure the latter is possible without litigation beginning at the basic federal court level. Of course, there would be the typical legal battle over standing, jurisdiction, etc.

    As for the executive and legislative branches working it out, I am not sure that one can “compromise” on this. Either the law was broken or it wasn’t.

    What I don’t understand, however, is any objection to Congressional hearings on the issue.

  370. 370
    recklessprocess says:

    http://powerlineblog.com/archives/012623.php

    Translation: Tim is full of shit

  371. 371

    You know, honestly, Brian’s comments in this thread have been thoughtful and well reasoned. Aside from possibly

    LOL. Hmm I specifically attacked Brian for this “thoughtful” comment of his:

    I care as much about this country as you do, but I also want to see it defended more than you do.

    You call that well-reasoned and thoughtful?–Give me a fucking break.

    Do you expect me to act cordial to some asshole who accuses me and others of not wanting to protect the country because I have valid objections to the President shitting on the the 4th Amendment?!

    Well sir, fuck him and fuck you.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. More on Secret Spying Inside the United States

    Feeling a little distressed over this whole violation of civil liberties business, I went over to read what Tim F. at Balloon Juice had to say about it all. Well, confession, I went to see what John Cole had to…

Comments are closed.