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The Future of Tech And NSA Wiretaps

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the momentous-events dept.

643

Tyler Too writes "Is there more to last week's story about President Bush authorizing wiretaps without court review? Ars Technica writes about what's going on behind the curtains with the National Security Agency's technology: 'When the truth comes out (if it ever does), this NSA wiretapping story will almost certainly be a story not just about the Constitutional concept of the separation of powers, but about high technology.'"

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643 comments

muddy issues (5, Insightful)

andy314159pi (787550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304176)

The problem for the average American isn't necesarily that liberties are being taken with regard to surveillance of fringe elements who might be prone to terrorism. The real problem is in defining what is a fringe element and who might be prone to become a terrorist. The recent news that groups like Greenpeace and PETA are being investigated leads me to believe that the authorities consider anyone with an opinion about anything as being involved in a fringe element. Strangely, the NSA, FBI and other institutions harbor people who think like this regardless of the current administration and political climate. It seems that we have to clarify to them what is acceptable every couple of decades or so.

Re:muddy issues (4, Insightful)

wealthychef (584778) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304224)

liberties are being taken

Yes, literally!

Re:muddy issues (1, Funny)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304295)

Let's be civilized about this.

Best 2 out of 3 at Rock, Paper, Scissors

Winner gets to keep the liberties.

Re:muddy issues (5, Insightful)

Philip K Dickhead (906971) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304433)

Yeah! Let's watch Brazil, and get nice and cozy with our futures!
In 1975, former Monty Python cast member and celebrated animator Terry Gilliam had a great idea for a movie. Along with playwright Tom Stoppard (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead), he'd write and direct a sweeping, epic masterpiece about a world gone wrong.

The film would take place "somewhere in the twentieth century." It would feature an oppressive, totalitarian government which systematically stripped the public of its basic freedoms in favor of an ostensibly fraudulent and hopeless war on terrorism. The term "information retrieval" would be used implicitly throughout the film, a euphemistic nickname for the gruesome torture techniques applied to suspected terrorists as they're kidnapped, secured, and readied for interrogation.

The mechanics and systems of this "fantastical" world would need to be absurd and contradictory, serving only to bury its chief directors under bureaucracy, red tape, and endless coils of administrative paperwork. Identification cards, DNA scans and security checkpoints would round out Gilliam's view of a monolithic, technologically-driven society, and patriotic propaganda posters telegraphing a mandatory us-or-them mentality would be broadcast regularly to all citizens amidst the false cheeriness of a consumer theme park culture.

Spot-on, Mr. Gilliam!

Some of you guys thought it'd be like Trek. Oh, well. That was a "gimme", so we'd embrace technology as a beneficial end in itself - not just another manifestation of human tool appropriation. Technology won't make a paradise by creating super-abundance. We HAVE super-abundance, where 2% Elite own and control 96% of the resources, wealth and secondary benefits of that abundance. The rest of us fight it out over notions of artificial scarcity. That's CONTROL, baby!

Now, you get to live in the U.S., just like the old DDR! They payed engineers 2-3 times the "worker rate", and bought allegiance there, too! "I'm not worried about the totalitarian state. They pay for my Trabant! Why shouldn't I build eavesdropping equipment? At least we are safe from the evil forces of International Capitalism and the Jew-Bankers!"

Re:muddy issues (4, Insightful)

Boronx (228853) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304305)

The real problem is yet another American president thinks he's above the law, as if the entire point of the revolution and the constitution and the millenia of history before that went over his head.

Though sometimes I think a faux monarchical figure head would suit us well. No people should invest so much of their self worth in their elected officials as Americans do in their president. It shouldn't be as hard as it is to say "Bush, you fucked up. You're out. We're going to give some other horses ass a shot.".

Re:muddy issues (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304500)

Exactly! All the argument about whether these particular measures are good, misses the real point: given that our President feels he can supersede the law with secret Presidential orders, and that hiding the truth is good for us, do we have ANY IDEA what else our government is up to?

Re:muddy issues (3, Interesting)

ghstomahawks (847102) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304307)

err ... I don't know about you, but "groups like Greenpeace and PETA" are in my mind "prone" to terrorism. Surely not every member, and probably not 99%, but I'd like to suggest that maybe their members' likelihood of participating in terrorist-type ativites would be higher than your average person's? Sure, they might have a point on some of their crusades, but PETA is sort of considered a joke (at least where I'm from). I'm not saying that it's necesarrily right what the NSA may have (or more like definitely) did, but there is some sort of logic there. PETA may be a great organization, but it does attract the sort of radical viewpoints that can lead to that sort of activity.

Re:muddy issues (1)

cens0r (655208) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304381)

PETA knows they are a joke. It's just that they feel that any publicity for their cause is worth pursuing. They've discovered by doing really stupid things they can get tons of publicity.

Re:muddy issues (1)

andy314159pi (787550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304390)

I'd say the idea that PETA or Greenpeace has members prone to terrorism is 100% ridiculous. Labeling them as such is just another gimmick that the right can use to impose their fringe idealogy on the rest of us.

Re:muddy issues (1)

TykeClone (668449) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304401)

Consider the source, but... PETA & the ALF [huntingmag.com]

Maybe a better source PETA & the ALF on CNN! [cnn.com] PETA apparently funds the Animal Liberation Front - an outfit that does fit the definition of a terrorist group.

And a quote from September, 2001: "Money is the life-blood of terrorist operations"

Terrorist activity (5, Insightful)

rewt66 (738525) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304411)

Look. The word "terrorist" has a rather specific meaning. Raiding a mink farm and freeing the mink doesn't qualify as terrorism. Sabotage, economic warfare, street theater, whatever, but it isn't terrorism.

Even if they killed the mink farmer, that's just murder. (My point is not to minimize how horrible murder is!) But it's not terrorism.

The real problem is that "terrorism" is getting stretched to mean "anything law enforcement wants to have an easier time checking into". This trivialization of the word "terrorism" means that pretty soon, we're going to need a new word for the real thing...

Re:muddy issues (0, Troll)

LnxAddct (679316) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304430)

Greenpeace and PETA are no joke. Its true that small numbers from both groups make a bunch of noise, but those who do are absolutely crazy and its not unheard of for them to participate terroristic-like activities. I'm glad to know that our government is keeping tabs on them.
Regards,
Steve

Re:muddy issues (-1, Troll)

sycodon (149926) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304434)

I guess it depends on what you call terrorism.

Is breaking into medical research labs and setting the animals free (or just taking them) and then trashing the place terrorism? It causes millions in damage and sets back research by years.

Or what about burning down car dealerships? Just as a matter of course, that's 20 years in jail; worse if someone dies trying to put out the fire.

I bet all the Pro-Choice groups wouldn't have a problem with the feds listening in on the Pro-life groups.

Of course, not one Democrat had a problem with someone listening in on Newt Gingrich's cell phone calls and the publishing them.

As we have come to find out, what they are doing now is very tightly controlled, reviewed every 45 days, the congressional leadership and the judges they normally would go to were all informed, Including the Democrats that are now having a cow.

No one is listening to someone's dirty phone calls to get political dirt, all the calls were international calls that originated outside the US (If I remember right), and although some would dispute it, the lawyers at the justice department think that it's ok under existing laws.

This whole kerfuffle is nothing more than the Times hawking a book and trying to influence legislation and the Democrats being their usual political opportunist selves.

Re:muddy issues (2, Insightful)

Castar (67188) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304510)

No, the real problem, from my point of view, is that the President apparently considers himself above the law.

Irrespective of whether the surveillance was justified, whether it's a good thing or not, or even whether he's spying on terrorists or political opponents, the President does not have the authority to disregard laws. One of the important founding principles of this country is that no one is above the law, even the President.

It's especially bad in this case because the FISA requirements are so easy to meet. You can't argue that wiretaps would be delayed, because you're allowed to get approval after the fact. Plus the FISA court has mostly rubber-stamped requests as they come through, so there's very little reason to break the law in this regard.

But break the law he did, and hopefully he will answer for it.

Re:muddy issues (3, Informative)

tenchiken (22661) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304552)

The courts have been explicit on this point, most recently in In Re: Sealed Case, the 2002 opinion by the special panel of appellate judges established to hear FISA appeals. In its per curiam opinion, the court noted that in a previous FISA case (U.S. v. Truong), a federal "court, as did all the other courts to have decided the issue [our emphasis], held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information." And further that "we take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President's constitutional power." http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.ht ml?id=110007703 [opinionjournal.com]

Hmm. Judicial review disagrees with you. Unfortunitly their opinions matter.

Re:muddy issues (0, Troll)

Omega1045 (584264) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304548)

I am very much opposed to the way that the Bush administration has violated our rights.

But you have to know that PeTA and Greenpeace both have sponsored organizations that have used violence as a means to their ends. PeTA has funded a couple of extremist organizations, such as the one that burned down a ski resort a couple of years ago. They denied contributing to these types of groups, but their public IRS records gave them away. Not only did they donate to groups that committed violence only days before their violent acts, but PeTA donated to the defense funds for those charged after the fact. My opposition to PeTA is for many reasons, but most importantly that they DO SUPPORT VIOLENT ORGANIZATIONS. Do I want to use the "terrorist" buzzword here? Hell yes.

Greenpeace's links to violent means is well documented. Do a google search, and you will find many cases.

PeTA and Greenpeace should be investigated and suspected of terrorism. They are both horrible, deceitful organizations. You should not use such extremist groups to highlight the fact that Bush and his cronies are going way too far.

Re:muddy issues (1)

dabigpaybackski (772131) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304563)

The recent news that groups like Greenpeace and PETA are being investigated leads me to believe that the authorities consider anyone with an opinion about anything as being involved in a fringe element.

This is merely the pragmatism of sociopaths. Greenpeace and PETA are political rivals, therefore the power-wielding individuals and institutions attack them with every means at their disposal, that is, every means they can get away with at the moment. If circumstances allowed, they would happily toss them all in jail or worse. Our current social paradigm is still dialectical materialism, which bestows the richest rewards upon those with the fewest scruples and the willingness to act. The ruling caste and their cyborg lackeys are comprised of the foremost practicioners of this nonsense, but they'd be all but powerless if the people they feed upon would just open their eyes and see them for what they were.

Kein Problem (0, Troll)

jonathonklem (939915) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304185)

So what the president ordered wiretaps? I mean, if it can prevent the loss of innocent lives due to terrorism, it can't be all that bad. These people were still allowed to continue their conversations and, as far as i know, they didn't get charged with anything.

The real worry is the laws that get passed that turn everyday citizens into criminals. I'm quite aware of the famous Benjamin Franklin quote that went something like, "Any man willing to give a little liberty in exchange for security, deserves neither, and will lose both." And I would much rather have the government spy on me than to restrict me.

Re:Kein Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14304212)

Are you kidding me? Why would you even allow anyone to have such powers?

Our wonderful country is based on a constitution. And this guy can circumvent it and your answer is 'so what?'

Re:Kein Problem (5, Insightful)

sbyrnes00 (940041) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304220)

What's the real difference between spying and restriction? Spying is, of course, a necessary prerequisite for restriction as the government needs to know what you're up to in order to prevent you from doing it. So what the president ordered wiretaps? If the president ordered wiretaps in violation of his Constitutional duties then he violated his oath. If you allow one president to violate the Constitution for "security", then you are saying the President is above the law. That, unfortunately, is a prerequisite for dictatorship.

Re:Kein Problem (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14304260)

Terrorists! National Security!

The situation is explained, go back to bed.

Re:Kein Problem (4, Interesting)

peculiarmethod (301094) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304270)

"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."

George W Bush
April 20, 2004

Here is his full statement from that day:

http://usinfo.state.gov/is/Archive/2004/Apr/21-381 579.html [state.gov]

Re:Kein Problem (1)

mdman (846276) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304373)

Whats with the mods here? why mod this a troll? SO, If I am conservitive Im a troll and if Im Libral Im not? WTF is that?

Re:Kein Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14304442)

So wait, Conservatives are no longer about Big Business and Little Government, or even Bibles in Every School, now it's about your right to listen in on your neighbor's call to 1-900-HOT-SEXX?

God help us all.

Re:Kein Problem (1)

tmbailey123 (230145) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304425)

Wake up and go back to sleep, spying restricts your privacy.

The parallels to the 1950s witch hunt for communists (or the 1692 Salem Witch trials) are too close. Substitute "Dubya" for "Joe McCarthy" and "terrorists" for "communists". This administration has already clearly demonstrated how abusive it can be with intelligence.

We have witness the death of over two thousand American soldiers and we are responsible for tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi non-combatants killed because of the mismanagement of intelligence.

Do you really want to give Dubya a chance to fuck up again !!

About the tapping itself... (4, Informative)

Quaoar (614366) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304208)

The Bush administration really screwed up this time, and I'm saying this from a completely non-partisan point of view. The FISA court exists specifically for quick wiretaps when the government believes there is an immediate threat, and they even have a 72 hour period where you can get the tap authorized by FISA after the tap is placed. As far as I'm aware, they never even brought some of these cases before FISA.

The fact that they did this without even consulting the FISA court is completely illegal, and bypasses the checks and balances of our government. I don't think anything will happen to the prez, but this is really just disgusting.

Re:About the tapping itself... (0, Troll)

tenchiken (22661) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304298)

Did you RTFA or are you just here to dog Bush? The article mentions a variety of situation where taps might be needed and useful, but could not be used by FISA under the pre-emptetory clauses because it is not narrow enough.

On top of that, it clearly falls into line with the supreme court's standards for intellgence (must be linked to a foreign power) as well as historical executive orders issued by Clinton, Regean and Carter and even then can easily be read into the 9/11 bills.

Re:About the tapping itself... (1)

delong (125205) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304352)

If you were looking for informed discussion, you came to the wrong place. If you want flames and smoke, come to Slashdot.

Re:About the tapping itself... (5, Insightful)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304363)

Did you RTFA or are you just here to dog Bush? The article mentions a variety of situation where taps might be needed and useful, but could not be used by FISA under the pre-emptetory clauses because it is not narrow enough.

(Needed + Useful) != Legal

On top of that, it clearly falls into line with the supreme court's standards for intellgence (must be linked to a foreign power) as well as historical executive orders issued by Clinton, Regean and Carter and even then can easily be read into the 9/11 bills.

You cannot make up new laws and "read them into" real laws that have actually been passed. Democracy doesn't work that way.

Re:About the tapping itself... (0)

tenchiken (22661) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304421)

So when a practice is challanged in court (this was in 2002 and 2003), authorized by the Constitution (and found legal over and over by the USSC) and further given authority by a act of congress equal legal(In the 9/11 bills)? == Legal...

Cause that appears to be what happened here. Calling it illegal over and over, and ignoring the past history of executive orders, laws, and court cases doesn't make it so.

Re:About the tapping itself... (4, Insightful)

EllisDees (268037) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304498)

When was this ever challenged in court?

There is a law that specifically forbids spying on American citizens without a court order, in this case an exceptionally easy to get court order. The fact that they didn't do so tells me that they were doing more than conducting surveillence on suspected terrorists and have moved on to spying on political enemies.

What other reason can you think of?

Re:About the tapping itself... (1)

tenchiken (22661) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304532)

The courts have been explicit on this point, most recently in In Re: Sealed Case, the 2002 opinion by the special panel of appellate judges established to hear FISA appeals. In its per curiam opinion, the court noted that in a previous FISA case (U.S. v. Truong), a federal "court, as did all the other courts to have decided the issue [our emphasis], held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information." And further that "we take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President's constitutional power." http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.ht ml?id=110007703 [opinionjournal.com]

Re:About the tapping itself... (5, Insightful)

plover (150551) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304336)

I don't think anything will happen to the prez,

That's the problem. This particular action is worthy of the worst of the Soviet Union. It's as unamerican as you can get -- secretly taking away "oversight" when the oversight mechanism itself was already as secretive as possible, and every bit as accessible as oversight can be. 72 hours AFTER the monitoring isn't enough? There can be no reason for dodging the FISA court, no excuse. If the court wasn't fast enough, he could have extended the FISA approval process to two weeks, or a month. But to remove oversight for the sake of executive secrecy? Is he implying that the FISA judges are leaking secrets to Al Qaeda? Are the oversight boards populated by "terrarists?" I don't even think any of the likely FISA judges are anything but Republicans!

I seriously believe this is treason. This action DEFINES treason. Not some weak "censure" or "impeachment." This is stand-before-a-judge-jury-and-firing-squad serious.

Re:About the tapping itself... (1, Troll)

tenchiken (22661) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304388)

Implying a moral equivelence to the USSR simply betrays your political bias. Millions upon millions died for the crime of opposing political leaders. You post trolls that would have landed you somewhere in the middle of siberia with no food and a bunk mate named Sergy.

By the way did you RTFA? Do you know what a soft trigger is? Did you know that Clinton, Reagan and Carter all excercised the exact same authority? Did you know that a federal court declared it legal in 2002? If not, why are you posting. If so, why are you posting?

Re:About the tapping itself... (2, Funny)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304341)

The fact that they did this without even consulting the FISA court is completely illegal, and bypasses the checks and balances of our government.
Yes, and I find this as dispicable as you do

BUT
  1. We don't have much information to base our decisions on
  2. This could end up hinging on the definition of the word 'wiretap' or 'is'
  3. Last but not least, The majority of (vocal) Republicans seem willing to take him at his word

Re:About the tapping itself... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14304374)

But this doesn't matter. Bush has protected lives and saved Americans from the threat of terrorists:

"To save American lives we must be able to act fast and to detect these conversations so we can prevent new attacks"

"I swore to uphold the laws. Do I have the legal authority to do this? And the answer is, absolutely."

You see, George W. Bush is God. He is the President of the United States, and he can do whatever the hell he wants, because he is above the law. So stop questioning his authority or he will throw you in a CIA secret prison, and torture you until you beg for forgiveness for ever doubting him.

P.S. Just kidding. I think he is a corrupt, stupid, and lying asshole who should be impeached.

Why? (1)

RaNdOm OuTpUt (928053) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304216)

Why does Bush even care about the Patriot Act again? He said himself he would continue this behavior "irregardless".

Re:Why? (1)

Triumph The Insult C (586706) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304316)

man, someone should make a book of bush's fuckups of the english language. they could make a killing!

Re:Why? (1)

RaNdOm OuTpUt (928053) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304412)

Well, I haven't read it, so I don't know for sure what it is about, but from what I see at amazon.com, your book already exists.

Nothing new here... move along. (5, Informative)

tenchiken (22661) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304217)

To try and keep this article from devolving similar to the last one, here are a couple of notes:

This really isn't anything new. In fact Carter used the Exact same Authority [fas.org] that Bush is using now. That executive order became Executive Order 12333 under Reagan in 1981. Gorelick also stated that Clinton used the same authority. From a CATO Report:
The Clinton administration claims that it can bypass the warrant clause for "national security" purposes. In July 1994 Deputy Attorney General Jamie S. Gorelick told the House Select Committee on Intelligence that the president "has inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches for foreign intelligence purposes." [51] According to Gorelick, the president (or his attorney general) need only satisfy himself that an American is working in conjunction with a foreign power before a search can take place. . . .

FISA itself has ruled that:
The courts have been explicit on this point, most recently in In Re: Sealed Case, the 2002 opinion by the special panel of appellate judges established to hear FISA appeals. In its per curiam opinion, the court noted that in a previous FISA case (U.S. v. Truong), a federal "court, as did all the other courts to have decided the issue [our emphasis], held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information." And further that "we take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President's constitutional power." http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.ht ml?id=110007703 [opinionjournal.com]

Bush also pointed out that the 9/11 resolution gave him additional authority. Here is the verbage:
"use all necessary force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations, or persons [...] "

Re:Nothing new here... move along. (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14304297)

Obviously you missed the key difference this time... Bush did it.

Re:Nothing new here... move along. (1)

L0k11 (617726) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304299)

i reckon they could easily make an original movie about this.

it could be about an ordinary citizen who gets on the wrong side of the NSA by accidently stumbling across some information. he could hook up with an informant who shows him that he has bugs in his shoes and that the NSA has been monitoring all phone calls for key words like bomb and president.

i mean we'd have to include some car chases and cool spy technology and show how our hero takes the low tech options to avoid them.

as for a name... how about "that guy who the state doesn't like very much"

Isn't the question though... (4, Insightful)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304312)

If the article in question is to believed, and they are scanning 1% of all US calls, they probably aren't distinguishing between foreign and citizen conversations. They're simply eavedropping on everybody and then trying to figure out what's going on.

Ignoring civil liberties is almost never warranted, and every time we do it, it turns out that not only do we regret it, but most important *it was never necessary to do in the first case*.

Didn't we learn anything from the internment of Japanese citzens during WWII?

Re:Isn't the question though... (2, Interesting)

tenchiken (22661) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304351)


If the article in question is to believed, and they are scanning 1% of all US calls, they probably aren't distinguishing between foreign and citizen conversations. They're simply eavedropping on everybody and then trying to figure out what's going on.

No, the original article stated that this could cover "hundreds or maybe thousands" of people. 1% of all US calls is completly bogus. Even the NYT makes the provisos that this covers international calls that originate or terminate in the US. Hardly 1%.

Ignoring civil liberties is almost never warranted, and every time we do it, it turns out that not only do we regret it, but most important *it was never necessary to do in the first case*.

Nice plattitude by the reverse has been shown throughout US history. During times of crisis typically civil liberties have been slightly restricted (more so in the Civil War and World War I, less so in World War II). As time has gone by, the tripod of American politics has safely re-established protections. That's what is going on here.

Didn't we learn anything from the internment of Japanese citzens during WWII?

I think we need a follup on Goodwin's Law... Talking about the Japanese citizens when it has nothing to do with the question at hand means automatic mass-deletion of the post.

Office of Censorship (2, Interesting)

Derling Whirvish (636322) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304481)

Didn't we learn anything from the internment of Japanese citzens during WWII?

A better question might be: "Did we learn anything from the use of the 'Office of Censorship' which opened and read every international letter, postcard, package, telegram, or telephone call sent or received by US citizens from 1941-1945?" The answer to that would be a "Yes, it worked." Spies and sabateurs were caught. It was effective. And the program was terminateed when no longer needed in 1945.

Re:Nothing new here... move along. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14304322)

There's no justification for this. It's true that a warrant is not needed for foreign intelligence, but domestic intelligence requires a warrant, and this is domestic spying. What's more, no sane person would ever construe the authorization act to mean that the President was free to violate federal law and the Constitution. This is nothing but blatant abuse of position in violation of law and the Constitution.

Yeah, but, but, but... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14304323)

...it doesn't count when Carter or Clinton use it, because they are Democrats, and not Evil Republicans (TM)! Democrats would *never* abuse their power to harm us poor workin' folk!

Sincerely,
Blind Liberal Slashbots Everywhere

Re:Nothing new here... move along. (2)

gentleolas (609359) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304356)

Truly then, we must await the criminal intent and use of such immense power for personal greed.... Hmm, I imagine this evidence is forthcoming as we all more effectively keep our eyes on the money. Who financially profits from terror and death? Globalist elite megalomanics? America takes seriously our role of thug in the global protection racket; Bush benefits, we all benefit. No worries here..., head down, work hard, and we shall be free.

Re:Nothing new here... move along. (5, Interesting)

Sebastopol (189276) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304454)

Except that Bush lied about it to the American public. From the whitehouse website via salon.com:

[["Now, by the way," he said, "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."

That certainly seems to be different from what Bush is saying now -- that over the past three years, he has authorized and repeatedly reauthorized the "interception" of communications without warrants.]]

Re:Nothing new here... move along. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14304470)

"This really isn't anything new. In fact Carter used the Exact same Authority that Bush is using now. That executive order became Executive Order 12333 under Reagan in 1981. Gorelick also stated that Clinton used the same authority."

This is a common argument from power-abuse apologists. "It happened before, so it's ok now." "It was done by our opposing party, so it's ok for us to do it."

Millions of people have been massacred by governments historically. Governments committing massacres of civilians is nothing new. Do you believe, therefore, that it should be allowed to continue?

That is the flaw in your logic -- if one can be so generous as to call it logic.

Re:Nothing new here... move along. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14304475)

oh come on. Take a contract law course. The 'wheras' clauses are intent clarifiers only, and are not at all binding...and the 9/11 resolution specifically stated that actions must be within US statutory code. Also the whole thing about "use all necessary force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001" doesn't include Iraq, or the ACLU, or the host of other domestic organizations invesigated under these statutes.

Also, Clinton used the FISA court, but he always got retoractvie warrants as per FISA regulation. FISA states that warrants can be applied for up to 72 hours after a search has taken place. Why didn't Bush do this? He could have done it legally, as Clinton did, as his father did.

The courts, while allowing warrantless searches in opinions, have ALWAYS stated that they come with the requirement of due process. In other words, the courts MUST have oversight on some level. This hasn't happened under the 30+ executive orders authorizing this program.

Factual error (3, Interesting)

Linux_ho (205887) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304536)

The difference that you missed between what the Bush Administration has done and what past presidents have done is this: FISA only allows warrantless surveillance of NON-US-PERSONS. Warrants are still legally required under FISA and the Patriot act for surveilling US Citizens. Which is why the FISA court was set up - so they could get a warrant in minutes if necessary, or even within 24 hours AFTER the surveillance had begun. So what's their excuse? Judicial oversight just too much hassle, with that minutes-long waiting period?

Re:Nothing new here... move along. (1)

alfalfro (120490) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304540)

Excellent comment tenchiken.

Re:Nothing new here... move along. (1)

Castar (67188) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304555)

Even disregarding the curious interpretation of "force" in the language you cited, the resolution is limited to apply only to those who had a direct hand in the attacks on 9/11. That doesn't even apply to future terrorists if they weren't involved in that attack (although perhaps the "in order to prevent..." language could be twisted).

I think it's beyond question, though, that the President exceeded the authority that Congress believed it was granting with that resolution, and his attempt to find legal loopholes in it is outrageous.

My question (1)

quickbasicguru (886035) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304231)

About the part of technology in the topic, I wonder how tech will change the way we live our lives in the US (that seems to becoming more fascist everyday).

This was already posted (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14304237)

on digg, nice try - the masses win again.

How about a PGP phone? (2, Interesting)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304238)

How about this plan:

We begin the call in the clear. We tell each other our public encryption key.

Go silent and key in the other parties public key.

Begin speaking again and the voices are encrypted using the public keys.

On the receiving end, the encrypted packets are decrypted using the private keys.

There we have a phone call that's impossible to tap.

Re:How about a PGP phone? (1)

kid_wonder (21480) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304303)

Right. Lame, old school encryption.

NSA is probably a decade ahead technology-wise - so if they don't yet have quantum computing they have something pretty darn fast to crack your scheme. Your solution just changes detection from immediate to postponed, which is probably Good Enough(tm) since I doubt the first telephone call a terrorist will make is going to be "I'm about the push the button."

Re:How about a PGP phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14304473)

You really think the NSA can break, say, 256 bit AES or 2048 bit ElGamal? They may be slightly ahead in tech (and maybe not), but it's not as though we're a hop, skip and a jump away from blowing away encryption as we know it.

Re:How about a PGP phone? (4, Informative)

David McBride (183571) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304402)

All the NSA (or some other attacker) need to do is sit between you and the person you're trying to call. You exchange keys with the NSA, the NSA exchanges keys with the other person, and everything else they can pretty much just relay verbatim -- listening in the whole time.

The only slightly tricky part of this is that the NSA have to convincingly imitate the other person when you're exchanging keys.

Classic Man-in-the-middle attack; see also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_in_the_middle [wikipedia.org]

Re:How about a PGP phone? (1)

Narcissus (310552) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304534)

PGP Phone is an application that now runs over the internet however originally, it used direct modem-to-modem connections via the POTS.

That is basically what you're proposing, and it's been around for quite a while...

How about suspicion? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304547)

If you are under investigation, i dont think that a bit of PGP will matter, unless you beam your thought to the phone.

A good parabolic dish across the street will pick up every word you say.

And if you REALLY call attention to yourself, it wont matter much what you said. The fact you said anything might get you tossed in the can for 'questioning'.

Does this really matter to you? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14304239)

I know I will get lots of flak about this but..

I mean come on everyone. Will this wiretapping really effect you? It sure as hell won't to me! I'm not trying to do anything bad. I live within the law. I'd rather live under the remote chance of being wiretapped if it means that they are able to listen to potential terrorits.

I just don't see how this effects me in a negative way. For nearly all Americans this won't either. Isnt the safety of lots worth the loss of freedom of a small few? Even though the constitution or whatever says everyone deserves it, you gotta be realistic.

Re:Does this really matter to you? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14304376)

god, you gotta be kidding...?

if your post is not a troll, give me a break. Laws and checks/balances exist to keep a monolithic govt in control. Bush and Co are completely out of control, and do not really care about terriorism or our rights. They "care" about solidifying corporate control of world wide resources. US and the presidency are just a platform for it. Read anything written by Cheney in the last 20 years and it's all in print.

With this in mind..you don't think there is anything wrong about a fascist govt snooping on it's citizens? I hope you dont have any pics of your kids on your computer, or any links to democratic or independent websites, or anything about a "nonchristian" moral set.

You see, the thing is, when they go beyond the law, who's to say they'll stay within it when they start the arrests? Basically, it rots the very foundation for which this country was founded.

Govt needs:

"intelligent" foreign policy, not ironfisted kneejerk militarism

Transparency, not bush deceipt and lies

To support it's citizens, not the corporations that buy it.

To support the country's infrastructure, not put us trillions in debt with tax breaks for the wealthy.

blahblahblah list goes on and on.

Get your gd head out of the sand and see wtf our fascist dictator is doing.

When the truth comes out (3, Insightful)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304240)

When the truth comes out (if it ever does)

You'll be pushing 70, at a minimum, and the technology will seem quaint, though cool from a historical perspective.

Pitchforks, tar, and feather. (1)

Zencyde (850968) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304266)

C'mon, we all saw this coming, it seems like it's about time for a revolution. I am not kidding about this either, will anyone here really be surprised if another American revolution takes place within the next decade? I am _not_ afraid to hide my identity, if I get arrested for speaking out against the current way things are done, not only will the rights granted by the constitution (which isn't followed these days anyway) be violated, but it will also help serve as proof that something needs to be changed.

Arrested? (1)

L0k11 (617726) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304334)

I think its more likely you'll be secretly labelled an "enemy combatant", deported to egypt for some "questioning" and errr chased to your death by hundreds of naked women

sweeeeeeeet

Re:Arrested? (1)

kadathseeker (937789) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304484)

"chased to your death by hundreds of naked women"

That's how I want to die. My mighty wang will take out many of them, but I will be old by then and will die of a erection-induced heart-attack (as my massive wang will require far too much blood, even with the implanted marrows, three extra hearts, and mechanically time-released blood infusions from a portable 20 gallon blood reservoir tank.)

Soft Triggers... (3, Interesting)

tenchiken (22661) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304272)

The article talks about "Soft Triggers" which are interesting. A lot of focus has gone on keywords, but there are far more efficent technologies out there for building predective models. Why do you want a predective model? Simply put with Petabytes of data out there from intercepted transmissions you have to predict based on the content of a message if a message in innocent or threat. Replace the words "threat" with "spam" and all of a sudden technologies like Bayes and other data mining techniques are interesting.

If you don't think this is valuable, go read a book on Enigma and find out how much exactly reading your opponents mail helps.

However technologies such as this are not covered by FISA. I think it would have been better to revise FISA to cover technologies such as this, but non-withstanding that, it's really nothing new in terms of excercise of power then anything Clinton or even Carter did.

Like Echelon? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304273)

The "softer trigger" here is a phrase that's on a watch list, or a call with an abnormally high volume of a certain type of vocabulary. The "agility" bit is a reference to the technology's ability to move from call to call, taking small slices. That's also probably what's behind the claim that the technology is less intrusive than a traditional wiretap, because the time slices are very short.
I'm not 100% sure how this is different from Echelon except for the fact that they're intercepting calls originating in the U.S. and that any one call can be shunted over to a human in real-time.

Slashdot meta-comments
spying = teh badness
president = teh evil
republicans = talking points
democrats = hate freedom
Nazi = Thread Godwinned

Wow (1)

Saiyine (689367) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304279)


That's got to be pretty big iron to scan all those phone calls, I wonder what algorithm do they use?

Re: Shhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14304354)

Aho-Corasick [nist.gov]

Re: Shhh (1)

Saiyine (689367) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304456)


A text pattern finder? No way they're converting all that sound data into text.

That would be a daunting task, and pretty much lost work as the speech recognition engines are mostly crap and you would be search for strings in a sea of nonsenses.

It has to be some esoteric sound wave comparations algorithm, a cool job for the mathemathics geniuses out there.

Make Your Choice (0, Flamebait)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304285)

Make your choice:

1: Protection against government intrusion.
2: Protection against terrorism.

You're not going to get both.

Re:Make Your Choice (3, Insightful)

jumpingfred (244629) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304313)

The way things are going you probably won't get either.

Re:Make Your Choice (1)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304357)

3. A governement with a foreign policy that does not anger the rest of the planet.

Re:Make Your Choice (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304452)

3. A governement with a foreign policy that does not anger the rest of the planet.

Oh, tell me you kidding. Yes, I really do mean kidding. You don't really believe all we have to do is play nice with terrorists and they'll leave us alone, do you? Seriously? What? You do?? Like Saudi Arabia tried??? And others too.

Sir, you are dangerous to my own safety, and I sincerely hope you live a very long distance away from me -- like in another country entirely since you clearly do not understand that you offend terrorists simply by breathing and sharing the same planet with them.

I, for one, do not wish to live under a highly corrupt, fourteen hundred year old legal system. If you do, move where they have one. But do stop with the above stupid ideas. They're worse than useless, and will get us both killed if carried out to the extreme you no doubt have in mind.

Re:Make Your Choice (1)

brpr (826904) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304553)

Oh, tell me you kidding. Yes, I really do mean kidding. You don't really believe all we have to do is play nice with terrorists and they'll leave us alone, do you? Seriously?

He meant that the US ought to play nice with the rest of the world, not with terrorists, you idiot.

Re:Make Your Choice (2, Interesting)

FatMacDaddy (878246) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304361)

I guess I'll side with ol' Bennie Franklin, who said something like "Anyone who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither."

Re:Make Your Choice (1)

david.gilbert (605443) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304382)

Thanks! I choose 1.

Re:Make Your Choice (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304469)

Thanks! I choose 1

Tell me again how I'm safer under your approach. I missed that somewhere along the way.

Re:Make Your Choice (1)

kerrle (810808) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304558)

You're not safer under either approach - one just gives your the appearance of safety, while changing the direction the threat comes from and possibly inspiring future violence.

This isn't a safe world, and it never has been. That's not going to change regardless of whether we start considering our own populace to be potential mass murderers and spying on them.

Such action is very likely to end up actually inspiring more domestic terrorism in the long run, as people become fearful that their rights are being removed.

Make Yours (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304406)

I'm going to quote an old post [slashdot.org] from the "DMCA Abuse Widespread" [slashdot.org] article:
 
Whenever a controversial law is proposed, and its supporters, when confronted with an egregious abuse it would permit, use a phrase along the lines of 'Perhaps in theory, but the law would never be applied in that way' - they're lying . They intend to use the law that way as early and as often as possible.
To directly respond to you, lemme put it like this:

If we lose liberties present in the Constitution, the Amendments and The Bill of Rights, have the terrorists won?

Maybe you or someone else can specify some criteria for the terrorists 'winning' over our (former) way of life. If we don't spy on everyone, have the terrorists won?

Re:Make Yours (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304497)

If we lose liberties present in the Constitution, the Amendments and The Bill of Rights, have the terrorists won?

Let me see here. Float a couple ideas out there:

1: We do not take steps against terrorists out of privacy concerns. Terrorists succeed with their next attack because of it. I'm dead.

Or...

2: We use all means at our disposal to locate terrorists and stop next attack. Terrorists caught or killed before being able to launch attack. I'm alive, but someone may have tapped my phone or e-mail.

Yeah, that's a really tough decision to make.

USA! USA! USA! (3, Interesting)

bobocopy (816690) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304474)

A reality of abolutes and black-and-white would be convenient for ethicists, philosophers and just about anyone else who wants to know the difference between right and wrong. You must know that it doesn't work that way. Invoking terrorism as an excuse for abusing civil liberties? Please. We may as well invoke the bogey-man as a reason to pay taxes or Santa Claus as a reason to be a moral person. Let's all put our shirts back on, set the can of Old Milwaukee down and take a deep breath. Civil liberties are at the core of a strong democracy, and as they are eroded, so will be a democracy's strength.

Re:USA! USA! USA! (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304509)

Civil liberties are at the core of a strong democracy, and as they are eroded, so will be a democracy's strength.

And when your democracy is dead because you did not defend it againt enemies foreign and domestic, you don't have a weaker democracy afterwards. You have no democracy at all.

Tell me again how that means I actually won, because I'm not seeing it right now.

Digg (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14304309)

There is just way too much Digg overlap going on here.

Other Taps (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304311)

Wiretaps - Easy.
Slashdot taps - ???

there has to be more to it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14304320)

If the FISA court can provide retroactive approval it seems there is no reason for the Administration to go outside the bounds of the act to aquire a wire tap. The question we need to ask is why the administration felt they had to act outside the act-- perhaps they are doing more than just wiretaping. Or maybe the technology or technique they are using more intrusive than the act allows or a judge would allow. That might explain why the NSA is in the picture.

I'm not paranoid, i just havn't taken my soma.

The technology behind it all (3, Informative)

wilstrup (726073) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304335)

We've read a lot about the network wiretapping technologies in use by the intelligence agencies, Carnivore, and similar At least one of the technology providers allows us to take a closer look at the actual technologies used. Unispeed openly claims [unispeed.com] to provide solutions to police and intelligence agencies. They'll even let you try the stuff for yourself [unispeed.com]

Wartime?? (2, Insightful)

Freaky Spook (811861) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304353)

I understand the nessecity for wiretaps & high levels of secrecy to avoid intelligence falling into the wrong hands,
but we keep hearing we are at war with terrorists, no body is safe.

I know there is a large imminent terrorist threat, but is this a war or more just a large unkown fear placed by the administration onto the population. So many people are fearful of nothing, they don't understand whats going on or why it needs to be done & the more it all goes on people are getting more and more frustrated because of all the paranoia regarding this supposed war.

At some point in war there is meant to be communication between to sides, some sort of resolve, this is not happening, it is just a bunch of fundamentalists trying to stir the pot while the Government keeps declaring its a war on humanity.

These wiretaps are more confusion to add to everything else thats going on around us, nobody know's anymore who's right or who's wrong, all we see is a President on TV bascially doing announcing he needs america to help him fight a war on Terror and thats all the details the american people are going to get.

Impeachment proceedings forthcoming? (4, Interesting)

jlowery (47102) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304365)

If the Dems manage to gain back a majority in the house next election, I would think they would be obliged to begin impeachment proceedings against Bush. It would have a lot more validity than the impeachment of Clinton, and they would look like wimps if they didn't.

Mao & Bush (0, Flamebait)

stontu (886760) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304398)

Give a Bush a second term and living in the United States will be like living in China. Wait a sec.. you did so!

Busting Public Ass (2, Funny)

ryg0r (699756) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304458)

Does this mean they can take down Goatse/Tubgirl/Lemon Party now?

*crickets*

No?

I got nuthin...

Thank You for Wiretapping (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14304465)

Please stop stripping the Presidency of its Constitutional authority to defend America.

That is the real issue raised by the Beltway furor over last week's leak of National Security Agency wiretaps on international phone calls involving al Qaeda suspects. The usual assortment of Senators and media potentates is howling that the wiretaps are "illegal," done "in total secret," and threaten to bring us a long, dark night of fascism. "I believe it does violate the law," averred Mr. Feingold on CNN Sunday.

The truth is closer to the opposite. What we really have here is a perfect illustration of why America's Founders gave the executive branch the largest measure of Constitutional authority on national security. They recognized that a committee of 535 talking heads couldn't be trusted with such grave responsibility. There is no evidence that these wiretaps violate the law. But there is lots of evidence that the Senators are "illegally" usurping Presidential power--and endangering the country in the process.

The allegation of Presidential law-breaking rests solely on the fact that Mr. Bush authorized wiretaps without first getting the approval of the court established under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. But no Administration then or since has ever conceded that that Act trumped a President's power to make exceptions to FISA if national security required it. FISA established a process by which certain wiretaps in the context of the Cold War could be approved, not a limit on what wiretaps could ever be allowed.
The courts have been explicit on this point, most recently in In Re: Sealed Case, the 2002 opinion by the special panel of appellate judges established to hear FISA appeals. In its per curiam opinion, the court noted that in a previous FISA case (U.S. v. Truong), a federal "court, as did all the other courts to have decided the issue [our emphasis], held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information." And further that "we take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President's constitutional power."

On Sunday Mr. Graham opined that "I don't know of any legal basis to go around" FISA--which suggests that next time he should do his homework before he implies on national TV that a President is acting like a dictator. (Mr. Graham made his admission of ignorance on CBS's "Face the Nation," where he was representing the Republican point of view. Democrat Joe Biden was certain that laws had been broken, while the two journalists asking questions clearly had no idea what they were talking about. So much for enlightening television.)

The mere Constitution aside, the evidence is also abundant that the Administration was scrupulous in limiting the FISA exceptions. They applied only to calls involving al Qaeda suspects or those with terrorist ties. Far from being "secret," key Members of Congress were informed about them at least 12 times, President Bush said yesterday. The two district court judges who have presided over the FISA court since 9/11 also knew about them.

Inside the executive branch, the process allowing the wiretaps was routinely reviewed by Justice Department lawyers, by the Attorney General personally, and with the President himself reauthorizing the process every 45 days. In short, the implication that this is some LBJ-J. Edgar Hoover operation designed to skirt the law to spy on domestic political enemies is nothing less than a political smear.

All the more so because there are sound and essential security reasons for allowing such wiretaps. The FISA process was designed for wiretaps on suspected foreign agents operating in this country during the Cold War. In that context, we had the luxury of time to go to the FISA court for a warrant to spy on, say, the economic counselor at the Soviet embassy.

In the war on terror, the communications between terrorists in Frankfurt and agents in Florida are harder to track, and when we gather a lead the response often has to be immediate. As we learned on 9/11, acting with dispatch can be a matter of life and death. The information gathered in these wiretaps is not for criminal prosecution but solely to detect and deter future attacks. This is precisely the kind of contingency for which Presidential power and responsibility is designed.

What the critics in Congress seem to be proposing--to the extent they've even thought much about it--is the establishment of a new intelligence "wall" that would allow the NSA only to tap phones overseas while the FBI would tap them here. Terrorists aren't about to honor such a distinction. As Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," before 9/11 "our intelligence agencies looked out; our law enforcement agencies looked in. And people could--terrorists could--exploit the seam between them." The wiretaps are designed to close the seam.

As for power without responsibility, nobody beats Congress. Mr. Bush has publicly acknowledged and defended his decisions. But the Members of Congress who were informed about this all along are now either silent or claim they didn't get the full story. This is why these columns have long opposed requiring the disclosure of classified operations to the Congressional Intelligence Committees. Congress wants to be aware of everything the executive branch does, but without being accountable for anything at all. If Democrats want to continue this game of intelligence and wiretap "gotcha," the White House should release the names of every Congressman who received such a briefing.
Which brings us to this national security leak, which Mr. Bush yesterday called "a shameful act." We won't second-guess the New York Times decision to publish. But everyone should note the irony that both the Times and Washington Post claimed to be outraged by, and demanded a special counsel to investigate, the leak of Valerie Plame's identity, which did zero national security damage.

By contrast, the Times' NSA leak last week, and an earlier leak in the Washington Post on "secret" prisons for al Qaeda detainees in Europe, are likely to do genuine harm by alerting terrorists to our defenses. If more reporters from these newspapers now face the choice of revealing their sources or ending up in jail, those two papers will share the Plame blame.

The NSA wiretap uproar is one of those episodes, alas far too common, that make us wonder if Washington is still a serious place. Too many in the media and on Capitol Hill have forgotten that terrorism in the age of WMD poses an existential threat to our free society. We're glad Mr. Bush and his team are forcefully defending their entirely legal and necessary authority to wiretap enemies seeking to kill innocent Americans.

Anybody have a cache or text of referenced article (2, Informative)

MonkeyBoyo (630427) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304504)

arstechnica.com cannot be found right now.

and the article is not in the google cache.

Your right to what (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14304505)

WHAT right to privacy? You guys are as bad as the 2nd amendment guys. "A well-regulated militia being essential to a free state" means you get to carry a pistol?? A militia of one, huh? The same applies here. You guys are so certain that your individual right to a private telephone conversation is more important than listening in on targeted calls trying to figure out of some idiot has an atomic bomb in a suitcase parked in a closet in New York City.
    And suddenly, you guys figure out there's technology available to tap calls. Duh! We've been able to do that since BEFORE the carter administration. You think THAT's something, you ought to see the resolution of cameras from space. Just hold that newspaper a little more vertically so they can read the articles, okay?
    Thank God that supercillious weasel Kerry didn't get in and thank God for George Bush.

The Government Hoax (0, Offtopic)

Bladestorm (914734) | more than 8 years ago | (#14304543)


The government hoax is probably the oldest, most pervasive and stubborn of hoaxes. It's the belief in non-existent "states" and "nations" and that "government" is both legitimate and necessary. In the geographic area of the North American continent commonly referred to as the "United States," it's claimed only "government" can provide the service of protecting "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness." This is nonsense if only for the reason "government" has no duty to protect anyone and their property.

Another reason is: no service or product should be provided at the barrel of a gun. It's that simple. There are no exceptions unless one believes people have no rights. If one believes people have no rights then "government" is not "necessary" to "protect" what doesn't exist. If you believe people have rights, then you don't "protect" them without their freely given consent. Also, protection is not submission to the violent unaccountable control of another nor is violent domination a legitimate method of doing business. Would you hire people who don't acknowledge you have property, to protect your property? I wouldn't:

"The ultimate ownership of all property is in the State; individual so-called "ownership" is only by virtue of Government, i.e., law, amounting to mere user; and that use must be in accordance with law and subordinate to the necessities of the State." Senate Resolution #62, April 1933.

What exactly is "government?" Have you ever seen a "government?" While there are varying degrees, "government" is one man violently controlling the life and property of another man. In some places this violent control is "decreed" to be for the latter's "own good" and "protection" and hailed as the "best system in the world." Because it's based on violence, there are no "states" or "nations," "states" being "voluntary associations." You may recognize that violent control over a man's life and property is what we like to call... slavery. Slavery is a form of "government," and in most cases, if not all, synonymous with "government." Govern means control, not protect. Have you ever noticed the word "protect" is mysteriously not included in any definitions of govern?

"govern. To direct and control; to regulate; to influence; to restrain; to manage. State v Ream, 16 Neb 681, 683." Ballentine's Law Dictionary, page 530.

In "democracies" and so-called "democratic republics," slaves are given the false choice of choosing new masters. The old plantations can be seen as "political subdivisions" such as "cities," only smaller: "nations" have "presidents," "states" have "governors," "counties" have "commissioners," "cities" have "mayors" and plantations have masters.

"Government" is a group of men and women providing the service of protecting "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" at the barrel of a gun. We have no choice in accepting and paying for their wonderful services. Their services are so valuable we're compelled to accept and pay for them. And non-political libertarians and voluntaryists are the extremists?

To keep this short, I'll use statements from politicians themselves i.e., their sacred "law" that's worshipped, revered and most important, feared. Compare the following:

"tax. A forced burden, charge, exaction, imposition or contribution assessed in accordance with some reasonable rule of apportionment by authority of a sovereign state upon the persons or property within its jurisdiction to provide for public revenue for the support of the government, the administration of the law, or the payment of public expenses. 51 AmJ1st Tax 3." Ballentine's Law Dictionary, page 1255.

"The organized use of threats, coercion, intimidation, and violence to compel the payment for actual or alleged services of arbitrary or excessive charges under the guise of membership dues, protection fees, royalties, or service rates. United States v McGlone (DC Pa) 19 F Supp 285, 286." Ballentine's Law Dictionary, page 1051.

The first is a "kinder, gentler" way of describing the second. Both are accurate descriptions of how men and women pretending to be "government" operate. I like the second one because it's actually the definition of "racketeer."

The government hoax is that "government," a racket, is legitimate and necessary. That's absurd. Maybe if you believe a service should be provided at the barrel of a gun then yes, you'd think "government" is legitimate and necessary.

The government hoax is exposed with nothing more than no service or product should to be provided at the barrel of a gun. If the service men and women doing business as a pretended "state" is so valuable, then people will voluntarily accept and pay for it.

Some attack this saying, "What's the alternative?!" That's easy:

Anything done under the guise of consent can be done by consent.

Men and women pretending to be "government" only have to do one thing different (here's the "radical" "extremist" part): provide their services on a voluntary basis like everybody else.
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