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Two Groups File Domestic Spying Lawsuits

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the at-least-we-still-have-private-thoughts dept.

Privacy 770

An anonymous reader writes "The Center for Constitutional Rights and the ACLU both recently filed lawsuits, in New York and Detroit respectively, claiming that President Bush's electronic eavsdropping program is illegal and exceeds his constitutional powers. From the article: 'The Detroit [ACLU] lawsuit, which names the National Security Agency and its director, said the program has impaired plaintiffs' ability to gather information from sources abroad as they try to locate witnesses, represent clients, do research or engage in advocacy.'

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Why I Love the ACLU (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498413)

Now, I'm sure there's much to be debated about whether or not the ACLU [aclu.org] should be taking this action and suing the NSA. Frankly, I'm not sure if this lawsuit is called for or not. It could just be a waste of a government agency's time but the courts will throw it out if that is the case. I'm pretty sure it's not--I'm pretty sure this will be heard in a court of law but the ACLU just won't get anywhere.

Now, I've heard a lot of talk among people of the ACLU being a crazy leftist organization that's terribly out of touch with reality. But, no matter who you are, you have to admit that the ACLU prevents you from losing anything that might be considered a civil liberty.

No one can argue, this group pushes back so hard against the government even when it comes to something like domestic spying on a relatively small part of the population. They put forth such an effort that I'm sure if any member of the government is about to make a decision about our rights they are probably thinking, "If I do this, the ACLU is going to be all over me in the press ..."

And that's why I love the ACLU. Because I can sit on my fat ass and not have to worry about the government getting carried away.

Re:Why I Love the ACLU (2, Interesting)

ezzzD55J (697465) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498425)

And that's why I love the ACLU. Because I can sit on my fat ass and not have to worry about the government getting carried away.

My goodness. It seems you are suggesting the (us) government is not getting carried away, while they are, in fact, already carried all the way.

Re:Why I Love the ACLU (2, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498484)

My goodness. It seems you are suggesting the (us) government is not getting carried away, while they are, in fact, already carried all the way.
Oh, after reading about other governments present and past, the U.S. government is by no means "all the way."

"All the way" is Slashdot's server's IP log being requisitioned by the government whereby, shortly after, you and all your family members and friends are nowhere to be found. Afterall, the easiest way to maintain 100% public approval is simply to remove the nay-sayers without anyone else knowing.

I think we're still a ways away from that point ...

Re:Why I Love the ACLU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14498536)

"All the way" is Slashdot's server's IP log being requisitioned by the government whereby, shortly after, you and all your family members and friends are nowhere to be found. Afterall, the easiest way to maintain 100% public approval is simply to remove the nay-sayers without anyone else knowing.

Fortunately only the Church of Scientology has that kind of power over Slashdot. You can post a call to kill Bush, and Slashdot will stay mum. But post the Fishman affidavits, and David Miscarriage will known your IP in less time than it takes you to say Operating Thetan.

How do we know that hasn't already happened (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14498560)

""All the way" is Slashdot's server's IP log being requisitioned by the government whereby, shortly after, you and all your family members and friends are nowhere to be found."

How do you we know that hasn't already happened?

Re:Why I Love the ACLU (5, Insightful)

tpgp (48001) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498566)

My goodness. It seems you are suggesting the (us) government is not getting carried away, while they are, in fact, already carried all the way.
Oh, after reading about other governments present and past, the U.S. government is by no means "all the way."

Well - as long as you're happy with the new US motto:

America: still more rights then North Korea

Re:Why I Love the ACLU (0, Flamebait)

dammy (131759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498465)

Unless of course, it's the ability to carry out prayer or other religioius expression during meetings or on government property. Then the ACLU is indeed forcing government (courts) to take your rights away. Before I'm called some evil Christian, I am a pagan and ACLU does concern me, alot.

Now then, where the F was the ACLU when the Clinton Admin was conducting physical searches without warrants? Where was the ACLU during the Clinton Admin when they were doing 100% domestic phone taps in Federal Projects? Where was the ACLU during the Ruby Ridge or Waco? Where was ACLU when Echelon (talk about lack of search warrants and a invasion of privacy) was uncovered? Oh silly me, that was a Democrat in the White House and it was us silly conservatives complaining. This is clearly a "Get Bush!" thing.

Back on subject, if the thought that ~36 authorizations of international phone calls were tapped after significant concern about terrorism was called in bothers you, then you have some bigger issues. This is about international intelligence gathering and not the US Gov using "poisoned fruit" evidence in a criminal trial of a US citizen.

Dammy

Re:Why I Love the ACLU (4, Insightful)

EllisDees (268037) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498541)

>Unless of course, it's the ability to carry out prayer or other religioius expression during meetings or on government property. Then the ACLU is indeed forcing government (courts) to take your rights away.

You have every right to pray on your own property, or anyone else's property who is cool with it. What you don't have the right to do is force everyone else to support your religion, so either government supports each religion equally, or not at all.

>Before I'm called some evil Christian, I am a pagan and ACLU does concern me, alot.

It doesn't even concern me alittle.

Re:Why I Love the ACLU (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14498575)

Considering church and state are separate in the constitution I think the ACLU is doing a fine job.

Other then their negative stance on Gun ownership, they pretty much just try to enforce what is written in the constitution.

Granted it is an outdated piece of paper but until we can write one applicable to today's world, it is the bets one we got.

now to refute your arguments,

Now then, where the F was the ACLU when the Clinton Admin was conducting physical searches without warrants?

Umm I don't believe the president ever approved this.

Where was the ACLU during the Clinton Admin when they were doing 100% domestic phone taps in Federal Projects?

Umm I don't believe the president ever approved this.

Where was the ACLU during the Ruby Ridge or Waco?

Probably in their office, what do Ruby Ridge and or Waco have to do with anything.

Where was ACLU when Echelon (talk about lack of search warrants and a invasion of privacy) was uncovered?

Putting together a lawsuit. Which the eventually went to court with.

Oh silly me, that was a Democrat in the White House and it was us silly conservatives complaining. This is clearly a "Get Bush!" thing.

No, this is clearly a "Stop the power grab". The Bush administration has repeatedly refused to acknowledge that it is bound by the same laws as the rest of us. It has been riding the fear wave since 9/11 to bypass any and all executive accountability in the name of 'national security'.

Gored (1)

Bimo_Dude (178966) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498650)

No, this is clearly a "Stop the power grab". The Bush administration has repeatedly refused to acknowledge that it is bound by the same laws as the rest of us. It has been riding the fear wave since 9/11 to bypass any and all executive accountability in the name of 'national security'.

Al Gore gave a speech [archive.org] two days ago regarding the power grab. It's quite interesting. Although, IMHO, I think that Gore should have done this a long time ago, but maybe he thought that he would be lambasted as a "sore loser" (which is for another discussion, another day).

Back on-topic, I'm pleased to hear that these groups are filing this lawsuit. Since there doesn't appear to be any checks and balances in the US government anymore, somebody has to do it.

Re:Gored (1)

skyshock21 (764958) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498705)

So why didn't they file this lawsuit a while back? You know, back when Carnivore and Echelon were being developed? That was shortly after Al Gore invented the Internet, so I'm sure he knew ALL about it and would have been MORE than happy to lend the ACLU a hand in the matter.

Unreal.

Re:Why I Love the ACLU (5, Interesting)

Aneurysm9 (723000) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498586)

The ACLU very much supports the right to freely exercise one's religion. You must be careful not to conflate the Establishment Clause with the Free Exercise Clause. Just because the ACLU advocates on the one hand that the government cannot coerce religious speach or give its imprimatur to religious expression does not mean that they do not support your right to freely exercise your religion, even on government property. You have the right to use every pulic forum for private religious exercise. You do not have the right to have the government create a semi-private forum solely for your private religious exercise.

As for the latest talking point about physical searches during the Clinton administration, remember that was before FISA required warrants for physical searches. That provision was not inserted until the PATRIOT Act. I'm not saying Clinton was entirely without fault, but attempting to smear him certainly does not clear Bush.

If you think that there are only around 36 phone calls that were tapped you're seriously deluded. We're talking around 500 "individuals" monitored per day. Even if each of those persons only made one phone call that's more than 500,000 calls that have been monitored. Stop drinking the kool aid and start thinking for yourself. This administration is destroying this country. Don't help them do it.

Re:Why I Love the ACLU (0)

will_die (586523) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498712)

The ACLU very much supports the right to freely exercise one's religion.
That is not really the case. Was reading of theses stupid lawsuit web sites and they had a lawsuit that the ACLU is helpping to file where they are sueing a local council member. This crime, he sent out, using his own money and time(his wife made them), Christmas cards that showed the Statue of Liberty and a cross on them to friends and acquantices. They are claim it was illegal since he has a seat of authority that it is an official endorsement of a particular religion.

Re:Why I Love the ACLU (2, Informative)

Erwos (553607) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498467)

"But, no matter who you are, you have to admit that the ACLU prevents you from losing anything that might be considered a civil liberty."

Unless, of course, you're talking about the right to own a gun. The ACLU doesn't care much about that particular civil liberty. Or freedom from racism - unless you're a non-white-male.

The ACLU picks and chooses its issues. That's just not something you can deny. When the group first started, they were a lot more impartial. Back in the 1970s, when their membership became more left-wing, the group started down that path as well. There is more than a grain of truth in the idea that they are a left-wing organization at this point.

The ACLU does a lot of good things, and I applaud them for those things. But, do not mistake them for "defenders of all civil liberties, now and always". It's simply not true, and applying that sort of idealism to them is misleading.

-Erwos

Re:Why I Love the ACLU (2, Insightful)

Erwos (553607) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498485)

I forgot to say it, but "freedom from racism" is actually a civil right, not a civil liberty. They're not quite the same thing.

-Erwos

Re:Why I Love the ACLU (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498618)

> The ACLU does a lot of good things, and I applaud them for those things. But, do not mistake
> them for "defenders of all civil liberties, now and always". It's simply not true, and
> applying that sort of idealism to them is misleading.

It *is* always true, unless you've found examples of them not defending some civil liberties. You might be able to find them not defending all examples of a given civil liberty, but they won't have the resources to do that. They have to pick their battles carefully.

Regarding gun ownership, isn't that down to a particular interpretation of the constitution (and its ammendments). Do you think the ACLU should be defending the rights of white supremacists (or radical muslims, for that matter) to own machine guns, nuclear weapons etc?

Re:Why I Love the ACLU (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14498639)

Unless, of course, you're talking about the right to own a gun.

The NRA has something like 10x the operating budget of the ACLU. So even if the ALCU's position on the issue was "liberal" (supporting gun rights above and beyond the literal wording of the constitution), the 2nd Amendment wouldn't be smart place to spend their resources. I covered all bases by joining both organizations.

Re:Why I Love the ACLU (1)

hamburger lady (218108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498656)

Unless, of course, you're talking about the right to own a gun.

the restriction on the right to keep and bear arms is only at the federal level. any of their politics aside, the ACLU knows that if they got involved with a gun ban on the state level it'd get thrown out.

that being said, what's left is stuff like the brady bill and the machine gun ban. you could argue that both are federally restrictive on rights, but that flies in the face of a long line of SCOTUS decisions.

personally, while i think the ACLU does let its own politics get in the way of their decisions to take on gun cases, they also have to take on cases that have a likelihood of winning in one way or another. in that way i agree with you.

oops (1)

hamburger lady (218108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498667)

sorry, miswrote. should be: "the restriction on the government's ability to restrict the right to keep and bear arms"

Re:Why I Love the ACLU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14498479)

No one can argue, this group pushes back so hard against the government even when it comes to something like domestic spying on a relatively small part of the population.

Relatively small? What are the numbers and how did you get them?

That's not really true... (1, Troll)

msauve (701917) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498507)

no matter who you are, you have to admit that the ACLU prevents you from losing anything that might be considered a civil liberty.
The ACLU is a left wing organization, and their actions show it. On some issues, such as the First Amendment ("Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..."), they argue and stretch the meaning beyond the clear wording (i.e. States are not "Congress," so the prohibition does not apply to State establishment of religion, although most states have similar Constitutional prohibitions). Yes, I recognize that the Supremes have in this matter already said that the amendment says something other than what it clearly does.
In other matters, such as the Second Amendment, they argue against civil liberties in opposition to the clear wording and intent ("..the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."), by arguing it somehow doesn't recognize an individual right.

Re:That's not really true... (1, Insightful)

Aneurysm9 (723000) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498609)

The Seond Amendment does not recognize an individual right. If you're going to insist that we strictly hew to the words of the First Amendment you must do the same for the Second. The words "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state" must also have a meaning. The way I take it, the government has the duty to establish a "well regulated militia" and all members of that militia have the right to keep and bear arms. This clearly recognizes the possibility that individuals may be licensed before they purchase firearms and that gun ownership may be restricted based on position in the hierarchy of the militia.

You're wrong... (2, Informative)

msauve (701917) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498686)

even though interpreting that clause requires only a basic understanding of the English language.

"This argument misunderstands the proper role of such prefatory declarations in interpreting the operative language of a provision. A preface can illuminate operative language but is ultimately subordinate to it and cannot restrict it."
-"A Well Regulated Militia, being Necessary to the Security of a Free State" [usdoj.gov]

Re:That's not really true... (3, Interesting)

hamburger lady (218108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498682)

On some issues, such as the First Amendment ("Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..."), they argue and stretch the meaning beyond the clear wording (i.e. States are not "Congress," so the prohibition does not apply to State establishment of religion, although most states have similar Constitutional prohibitions).

actually, the prohibition does apply to the states, thanks to the 14th amendment.

In other matters, such as the Second Amendment, they argue against civil liberties in opposition to the clear wording and intent ("..the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."), by arguing it somehow doesn't recognize an individual right.

which is consistent with decades of SCOTUS decisions. it aint a winner, and the ACLU knows it.

Re:Why I Love the ACLU (2, Interesting)

Dausha (546002) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498526)

"But, no matter who you are, you have to admit that the ACLU prevents you from losing anything that might be considered a civil liberty."

So, they champion my rights under the Second Amendment to keep a firearm? I don't think so. And, amongst all the rights, that one is perhaps the most fundamental because it gives us a fighting chance to stop the government of absolutely alienating us from the remainder of our rights. Perhaps that is why dictatorships like to seize privately owned firearms.

Of course, the great debate is whether the Amendment is individual or corporate (i.e. militia). One good arguement I've heard is that the Bill of Rights were added on to explicitly provide for rights that were not clearly stated in the Constitution. All Amendments except the second have been argued by everybody as being individual. So, if nine are individual, then why would the second not be? And, the other nine deal with stemming the excesses of Government against the individual--which is the very issue raised here with the wiretap lawsuit. Wouldn't the private ownership of firearms also serve in that capacity?

My point is that the ACLU has done little to protect an individual's right to firearms. IIRC, they tend to actually work against that right. Hell, it was founded by Socialists with the intent of expanding their cause.

Re: ACLU has lost its way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14498543)

The ACLU has taken more from you than given. While you sit on your fat ass, they are pushing some crazy court case that has more impact on your civil liberties then you think. Dont be so quick to write them a blank check. You should take a look at some of the other cases they have backed as a "civil liberty" and the impact it had on you.

Bad logic in one case breeds bad logic in countless more decisions, until recognized and corrected. And the main error, often made by the Court and encouraged by the non-critical press coverage of the Court's decisions, is this: There is a tendency to treat the Constitution like a smorgasbord of rights, from which you can take as much as you want of what you like, while rejecting or wasting all the rest. The popular idea is that a "good" decision in the Court is one where the side you favored, won the particular case, regardless of the long-term consequences for the health of the Constitution.

This is a fatally flawed approach to constitutional law. As George Washington said in his "Farewell Address to the American People,"

"The Constitution is sacredly obligatory upon all, until and unless it is changed by the authentic act of the whole people."

This is precisely why the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has lost its way. It defends only some constitutional rights, and then only as it interprets them. It ignores, or even seeks to read into oblivion, other rights contained in the Constitution.

Re:Why I Love the ACLU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14498581)

No you ass, you can't sit on you fat ass and not worry! That is exactly how these things happen! You must get involved - at the very least make a donation to the ACLU!

Re:Why I Love the ACLU (1, Insightful)

Jumper99 (51637) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498597)

But, no matter who you are, you have to admit that the ACLU prevents you from losing anything that might be considered a civil liberty.

I'm guessing that you are not aware that the ACLU was founded by a hardcore communist whose basic ideology is that you have NO individual liberties. Just a thought.

I'm personally against the NSA wiretapping when they can easily get a FISA warrant to do so, but historically, presidents have had the authority to do so. Clinton and Gore did it, Reagan did it as have others. A Congressional subcommittee was informed several times of what was going on and gave it's approval...even the Dems on the committee approved it several times.

What's fishy is that when the Clinton/Gore team was doing this the ACLU could have cared less, but let a Republican president continue it and all hell breaks loose. Again, I'm not saying it's right no matter which party is in power, I just wish the ACLU would be consistant on what they get outraged about.

Re:Why I Love the ACLU (4, Informative)

Aneurysm9 (723000) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498633)

A Congressional subcommittee was informed several times of what was going on and gave it's approval...even the Dems on the committee approved it several times.

You're living in la-la-land, aren't you? Some members of a Congressional committe were notified that the program was in place and required to keep confidential any knowledge they had regarding the program. They were not asked for approval, much less did they give it. They were not allowed to discuss the matter with counsel. They were not allowed to voice their disapproval in any meaningful way.

Re:Why I Love the ACLU (4, Interesting)

hamburger lady (218108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498694)

I'm guessing that you are not aware that the ACLU was founded by a hardcore communist whose basic ideology is that you have NO individual liberties. Just a thought.

and america was founded by hardcore slaveowners. what's your point?

Re:Why I Love the ACLU (2, Insightful)

ZombieRoboNinja (905329) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498630)

"even when it comes to something like domestic spying on a relatively small part of the population" ...if Big Brother spying on American citizens illegally doesn't qualify as an important violation of civil liberties, what does?

Re:Why I Love the ACLU (2, Interesting)

lynx_user_abroad (323975) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498659)

...domestic spying on a relatively small part of the population.

I'd sure like to know what you're basing your "relatively small part of the population" claim on. Either you're in-the-know and revealing classified information which, as the President has said, is an extremely damaging thing, or you're just guessing that only a "relatively small part of the population" has been affected by the President's blatant dereliction of his sworn duty to defend the Constitution of the United States.

In other news (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14498414)

A nuclear detonation occured today in downtown NY.

George Bush and your cohorts... (1)

Bananatree3 (872975) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498415)

we will see you in court.

Re:George Bush and your cohorts... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14498480)

Are you going to drag Carter, Regan, and Clinton in as well? Afterall, it was Carter that started the precident.

The days of "it's not the facts of the case of the seriousness of the charge" are over. You will no longer be able to flail around in a spaztic attempts to attack those that disagree with you, and get away with it. The public is no longer buying it, no matter how many times you repeat the BS and lies. Roberts and Alito are in, and within the next 3 years, we'll another Justice put in as well, so it also spells the end of Judicial Activism. Awww, now you have to use the Legislature to enact your crack-pot laws... aww too bad, following the Constitution sucks for you, don't it. (HA)

A) The FISA court itself states that the actions of the NSA in this matter are legal

B) If they are not, then you better get ready for lawsuits against Carter, Regan, and Clinton, as they acted in the exact same manner when they were in office. Afterall, it was Carter that first created the precident and the others followed in his foot steps.

You continued failed attemps to discredit Bush have always failed and will continue to fail. Unlike Clinton, nobody has broken the law so you aren't going to get your Impeachment here. Just, please, move on to your next failed attempt; its reallly starting to get amusing.

(you guys must like failure... we duh, I'm sorry, i forgot you *are* Liberals, I guess it comes with the territory.)

Re:George Bush and your cohorts... (5, Insightful)

EllisDees (268037) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498573)

>A) The FISA court itself states that the actions of the NSA in this matter are legal

No, it does not. The FISA court has never said that domestic spying without a warrant is legal.

>B) If they are not, then you better get ready for lawsuits against Carter, Regan, and Clinton, as they acted in the exact same manner when they were in office.

No, they did not. They got the required warrants from the FISA court.

>You continued failed attemps to discredit Bush have always failed and will continue to fail.

What amazes me (not really) is people who are so blindly partisan that they will stand behind a man who is breaking actual laws and destroying the ideals of our country in the process. Who gives a shit about Democrats or Republicans, Bush is the problem here.

Re:George Bush and your cohorts... (2, Insightful)

Bimo_Dude (178966) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498706)

Who gives a shit about Democrats or Republicans, Bush is the problem here.

I agree partially with you on this, but would like to add a little more. Bush is only a part of the problem here. He's being used as the "puppet front man." Removing him from office would only be treating the symptoms, not the diesase. We need to take a real hard look at the people behind Bush (and behind many in Congress, of both parties) to get at the root of the problem.

I also agree that this has nothing to do with partisan politics or parties. This is about greed, and only greed. Nothing more, nothing less.

Re:George Bush and your cohorts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14498697)

Despite the fact that you are lying, let's suppose for a moment that you are not (and this goes for the rest of you "5 wrongs make a right" people). IF past presidents had engaged in the same activities...well I would not be against dragging them into court either. I would never have said I thought it was ok for one administration to do this and not another.

The fact that the only rebuttle I see in these comments is "But but, Sally did it too mom", means that it's pretty much indefensible.

hahhahahahahhaaahhaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14498627)

No you won't.

Domestic Intelligence wiretaps YOU (3, Interesting)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498419)

I'm no expert on the topic. I was wondering if anyone from Soviet Russia could help us out and let us know whether it was necessary for domestic intelligence agencies to gain a warrant before wiretapping Russian citizens. It just seems like a fun thing to know.

We're a long way from 1776, people.

Re:Domestic Intelligence wiretaps YOU (2, Insightful)

MadJo (674225) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498437)

We're a long way from 1776, people.

Feels more like 1984 to me.

BTW, Europe is much the same like the US in this regard.
Demanding ISPs to tap internet-traffic. Privacy, what is that again?

Re:Domestic Intelligence wiretaps YOU (1)

0xC2 (896799) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498460)

First Bush lied about domestic spying. Now that he's been outed, he uses the vague "war powers" given to him by Congress in the wake of 9-11. Seems to me Congress needs to declare the war OVER so we can have our Constitution back.

This lawsuit will go nowhere otherwise.

Re:Domestic Intelligence wiretaps YOU (4, Informative)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498535)

Technically it was neccessary. In practice all required warrants were received retroactively.

PS: Yes, I live in Russia.

Re:Domestic Intelligence wiretaps YOU (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498692)

Technically it was neccessary. In practice all required warrants were received retroactively.

Sounds familiar. So, in Soviet Russia, they could also get the warrants retrospectively.

The only difference, then, being that in Soviet Russia they actually bothered to do so?

IN SOVIET RUSSIA... (0, Troll)

Jerk City Troll (661616) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498707)

...Russia lives in YOU!

Re:Domestic Intelligence wiretaps YOU (1)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498623)

I'm not sure, though I'm guessing some people are quite missing the boat on this one. The law doesn't give the NSA a blanket right to monitor US citizens, the NSA monitors and does analysis on FOREIGN communications. Where things become grey is when a foreign entity is talking to a US entity, or one from any of the primary allied countries. (Grey in the eyes of the US public that is). The procedures to be followed in such events are spelled out quite clearly. Have been for more years than I've known these agencies existed.

This stuff is all public domain knowledge anyway. Not quite sure why the US is getting all angry about it _now_, as several other posters have said, it's been going on for decades.

No time like the present (1)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498421)

Why wait until you have proof? Preemptive suing shall become all the rage.

On a more serious note, I'm glad they are so concerned with their client's (and there own) privacy to do this.

Nothing will change (1)

squoozer (730327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498427)

Under the current climate if these people get close to actually changing things something will happen to stop them from actually having any real effect. I'm not saying they will disapear but I wouldn't be surprised is some legislation got rushed through that altered things so that their case became pointless.

Re:Nothing will change (1)

jav1231 (539129) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498470)

There's always the chance their case is pointless anyway. There are legal scholars on both sides of this fence.

Honestly (3, Insightful)

PrinceAshitaka (562972) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498431)

How dare these two groups jeopardize national security by selfishly claiming they have rights!

note: the preceding comment was intended to be facetious

They Don't clain we have rights (2, Insightful)

amcdiarmid (856796) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498594)

They claim that the White House (&NSA) is not following the law. The existing secret (FISA) courts and regulations allow for wiretapping without a warrent application for 72 hours. The wiretapping is done without any courts. The claim is that that wiretapping must follow existing law and regulations, and is not.

I see no claim to rights here...

Move along folks, nothing to see

Re:They Don't clain we have rights (1)

PrinceAshitaka (562972) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498628)

I agree. I have no idea why they marked my comment insightful, I was going for funny.

There is hope (2, Interesting)

quokkapox (847798) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498438)

Winston Smith wasn't allowed to sue the government, not individually nor as an organization.

That was fiction. Get out while you still can.

In totalitarian Oceania... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14498617)

Television watches YOU!

Bruce Schneier wrote about it in cryptogram. (4, Informative)

eddy (18759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498441)

"Bush's eavesdropping program was explicitly anticipated in 1978, and made illegal by FISA. There might not have been fax machines, or e-mail, or the Internet, but the NSA did the exact same thing with telegrams" -- Project Shamrock [schneier.com]

Re:Bruce Schneier wrote about it in cryptogram. (3, Informative)

SimonInOz (579741) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498525)

Eavesdropping goes back just a little bit further than 1978.

Ever heard of the Royal Mail? (Yes, in the UK).
It was established by Royal Charter to carry all mail.
Why?
So the King could read it all.

When? In 1516, by Henry VIII when he established the "Master of the Posts".

Things don't change much, do they? (This sounds better in French).

Re:Bruce Schneier wrote about it in cryptogram. (1)

eddy (18759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498632)

Yes I know, the so called "Black Chambers" go way back. It's in Kahn [nytimes.com] . However, the difference is not the act, it's the legislation.

ACLU Blog (4, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498450)

Here's a blog [reformthepatriotact.org] related to this ACLU Vs NSA lawsuit.

And from that blog, there's a great site [cdt.org] with all the documents which raise concern. There's a lot of info on there if you're really serious about reading up on what resources the ACLU is using to run this case.

This makes me feel good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14498451)

I am very cynical about the present state of affairs. I often feel that our country is decending toward being a fascist state.

These suits remind me that we are very far indeed from being a totalitarian repressive government. It's still a democracy and it still works.

Claiming? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14498457)

Why does the story use the words "claiming"? It is illegal based on every law there is, the only problem is that citizens can't walk into the white house and arrest the President for violating Constitutional Rights. Congress, as it stands, is a GOP majority who will not press for an independant investigation nor will our President be impeached. What this lawsuit is doing is declaring his acts illegal through the final word of a court. If this works, and I'm hoping it does, then the media and general public can pressure punishment based on criminal charges. I would love to see Bush have his salad tossed by a black inmate that went through Katrina.

Re:Claiming? (1, Insightful)

dwayner79 (880742) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498499)

Stop believing the media lie. It is not illegal, in fact, even president Clinton agreed that the president has such powers under constitutional law to do so. Both administrations, as well as independent review boards from both sides, all agree there is nothing illegal about this. The stupid left wing media just can't let it go, and americans are like sheep, they follow whereever the media leads.

Sheep (4, Insightful)

Mark_MF-WN (678030) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498571)

Americans ARE like sheep. They are totally willing to give up essential liberties to gain some imaginary security. The fact that you bothered to bring up Clinton demonstrates that you are just a close-minded partisan. Of course Clinton was just as bad -- democrats and republicans have become indistinguishable. They both do exactly the same fascist crap.

Just look at the last election -- numerous incidents of registration interference by both parties. You know, there are countries where this shit doesn't happen. Where gerrymandering and election fraud don't take place. Where the government doesn't spy on its citizens without warrants, or run concentration camps in foreign countries. Where the public doesn't calmly accept a war based on what were proven to be lies. Where people aren't subjected to theocratic "abstinence education". Where school boards are all trying to have the theory of evolution removed from classrooms and replaced with "creation science".

Yes, Americans are sheep. And you sir are a prime example.

Re:Sheep (1)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498661)

Where such 'shit' does not happen?, which country would that be? I don't know of any, I do have some professional insight on the subject, not that it's important mind.

Echelon Project (1)

genrader (563784) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498461)

I disagree with barely any of Bush's spying, which is only that on US citizens without proper warrants. However, people are so upset about this, but haven't you guys ever read on Project Echelon? I'm sure you've been spied on sometime in your life by this.

Re:Echelon Project (3, Informative)

spge (783687) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498487)

You just beat me to it :) Echelon still exists, although it uses a legal loophole that prevents (not that effectively, it would seem) governments from spying directly on their citizens. Instead, the US government allows the UK to spy on US citizens, while the UK government allows the US to spy on the British. Then they swap reports. The result is essentially the same as spying on your own people, and covers all phone calls, faxes and email transmissions. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECHELON [wikipedia.org]

Re:Echelon Project (1)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498701)

Echelon, does it still exist in the same sense it once may or may not have, based upon your assumption of said codeword? (Whatever that may be :-) ) The word hasn't been used commonly for near on 20 years. Not quite sure why people still use the term as a main reference. I would think UKUSA would be a better replacement, Martin Braidy spilled that to Australian newspapers and television years ago.

Wonder what he's up to these days...

Re:Echelon Project (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14498508)

- yes they have, but folks in the anyone-but-Bush crowd rarely let facts get in the way before spewing hate and hysteria...

- btw, if it come down to a caged death match between the ACLU and the NSA, guess who would win?

- sheesh, where do people get the idea that we live in a free society?

- i mean, c'mon, if the House of Reps is run like a plantation, and New Orleans was meant by Gawd to be "Chocolate City," what chance do ordinary folks have?

Nothing to see here people (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14498476)

This is yet another case of non-news being trumped into something for the failing press to print. Anyone who has looked into the history of this as shallowly as a simple google search will see that Carter, Reagan, and Clinton all did this and in some cases much much worse. Clinton had the FBI physically search peopls homes and businesses without a warrant. As much as I disliked Clinton, I am fair minded and honest enough to know that it was perfectly legal for him to do so as national security action. There is a long legal history dating all the way back to 1776 of the government keeping tabs on people who associate with known enemies of our country. That's why you don't see the WH back-pedaling on this at all. They know they did nothing wrong. I am sure that if they published the names of the people they evesdropped on, why they did it and what they heard, those folks would look a LOT worse in the court of public opinion than the NSA.

Re:Nothing to see here people (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498511)

Clinton had the FBI physically search peopls homes and businesses without a warrant.

Source please.

I am sure that if they published the names of the people they evesdropped on, why they did it and what they heard, those folks would look a LOT worse in the court of public opinion than the NSA.

Like all those people McCarthy denounced or something?

You sir need to recheck your facts (5, Informative)

Critical_ (25211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498547)

WH press secretary McClellan claimed the Clinton-Gore administration had engaged in warrantless physical searches just as your post claims. However, what he was refering to was an FBI search of the home of CIA turncoat Aldrich Ames without permission from a judge. He said Clinton's deputy attorney general, Jamie Gorelick, had testified before Congress that the president had the inherent authority to engage in physical searches without warrants. This resulted in McClellan saying today (of Gore) that, "I think his hypocrisy knows no bounds." Not only is your blanket statement wrong about the Clinton Administration engaging in similar activities as Bush Jr., but you are also incorrect in its scope. At the time of the Ames search in 1993 and when Gorelick testified a year later, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) required warrants for electronic surveillance for intelligence purposes, but did not cover physical searches. The law was changed to cover physical searches in 1995 under legislation that Clinton supported and signed. However, your post fails to mention both and furthermore fails to mention that Clinton never circumvented FISA to search US Citizen's overseas phone calls. It's sad that you'd pedal the same misinformation that the White House feeds everyone instead of presenting the facts to educate your fellow Slashdotters. It's just as bad as Bush's attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, making the same false arguments as McClellan during interviews Monday on CNN's "Larry King Live" and Fox News Channel's "Hannity & Colmes." Chew on that.

Re:You sir need to recheck your facts (1)

LexNaturalis (895838) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498626)

It's not that I don't believe you, but since your post mentions checking facts I thought I'd ask if you had those facts that could be checked? Obviously your parent post had his facts distorted and you don't (by your assertion) so where are these "real" facts? I'll be honest; I'd believe something I saw on CNN/Fox News/ABC before I'd blindly believe something I saw posted on Slashdot in a comment and I'm assuming most folks are the same way.

Why not provide information they WON'T hear on the news?

Re:You sir need to recheck your facts (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14498653)

Thank you for posting that (1)

Critical_ (25211) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498669)

Thanks for posting that as I had not read the Media Matters articles. I'm sure that if there are any gaps in information, they can be filled in by using Google, searching CNN/NYT/WP sites and the texts of most laws can be found online as well.

Stupid Demon-crats (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14498482)

I just do not get it. The Liberals will do anything to undermine Bush. Electronic wiretapping has been used by plenty of presidents for political gain throughout the years. Kennedy, Truman, etc all did it. Bush authorizes calls made from domestic phones to oversees phones from people with terrorist ties, and he gets racked over the coals. Thank GOD I am not a democrat. The democratic party is a waste.

Re:Stupid Demon-crats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14498495)

people like you are the reason why the republican party should be sterilised.

Re:Stupid Demon-crats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14498602)

You're kidding, right? I mean, no one would be stupid enough to really think that this is the same situation, that would require that they have no understanding of all of the situations they themselves mentioned or the situation at hand or local and international law.

Filing lawsuits? I don't understand it. (1, Troll)

Kirth (183) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498488)

Do I have some misconception about your law, or is "filing a lawsuit" in this case referring to civil law (as opposed to criminal law)?

If so, why is this? As far as I can tell spying is considered a criminal offense. In this case, the juridical system should automatically start to investigate Georg W. Bush for charges of "illegal espionage against the american people". in other words: high treason.

Re:Filing lawsuits? I don't understand it. (2, Informative)

Aneurysm9 (723000) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498700)

Yes, this refers to a civil lawsuit. Unfortunately, in this instance, the courts in the United States have no power other than to decide the cases and controversies brought before them. They cannot go out and pick cases they want to hear. The only entity with the power to bring criminal charges against Bush and Gonzales is, you guessed it, run by Bush and Gonzales. Congress could always start impeachment proceedings, but then again, it's controlled by Republicans, so the chances of that happening unless they try to retroactively impeach Clinton again are pretty slim.

An interesting point (2, Interesting)

MarkusQ (450076) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498498)


An interesting point (which the article missed) is that people like Christopher Hitchens, ex-critics who have yet who have yet been defending Bush and the "regime change/WMD quest/freedom spreading/think of the children/over there, not here" war are joining the suit [aclu.org] .

--MarkusQ

Its Interesting (4, Interesting)

kalel666 (587116) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498523)

How this all comes up now, and how so many people act as if this issue is something new, or even exclusive to the Bush administration. For instance, fill in the blanks on this paragraph:
The ________ administration claims that it can bypass the warrant clause for "national security" purposes. In July____ Deputy Attorney General ___________ told the House Select Committee on Intelligence that the president "has inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches for foreign intelligence purposes." [51] According to _______, 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.


If you guessed Bush, 2004, and Gonzales, try again: http://gatewaypundit.blogspot.com/2006/01/al-gore- arrogates-to-himself-power-to.html/ [blogspot.com]

I understand being concerned about possible domestic wiretapping, but lets get real. Many people are suddenly outraged only because it is this administration at this time, when it has been going on and has been an issue for many, many years. Clinton/Gore not only used it, but justified it for completely domestic issues as well.

Re:Its Interesting (5, Insightful)

RobinH (124750) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498557)

I understand being concerned about possible domestic wiretapping, but lets get real. Many people are suddenly outraged only because it is this administration at this time, when it has been going on and has been an issue for many, many years. Clinton/Gore not only used it, but justified it for completely domestic issues as well.

That doesn't make it right for the Bush administration to be doing it, it just means the ACLU is biased, which is pretty well known. Don't blame people for being upset at Bush, blame them for not being upset at anyone else who tried the same thing.

It's quite possible that with the Patriot Act, a lot of people have been paying more attention to these issues, and it's getting some national attention now, where it wasn't before.

What's sick is that republicans were probably all over Gore at the time, but are now defending Bush, and the reverse for democrats. That's hypocrisy.

Stop lying (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14498578)

Really, I'm getting tired of this crap.

What you quoted is not the same as the thing Bush did. While you can of course be of the opinion that it's also problematic, it's legally an entirely different matter.

So stop acting as if it were the same.

Really, I can't understand why some people are so desperate about defending this administrations conduct in this matter that they are resorting to simply lying.

At the time the statement you quoted above was made, physical searches did not, I repeat not violate FISA, because physical searches weren't covered by FISA at the time.
However, what Bush authorized, clearly is covered by FISA and illegal according to it.

http://mediamatters.org/items/200601170014 [mediamatters.org]

Breaking the law for the sake of security? (1, Troll)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498529)

Bush had the power to do spy on people legally, but for whatever reason, he did it illegally.

How are you supposed to trust ANYTHING the Bush Administration does after they admit to starting a war based on false pretenses? They defended the invasion of Iraq SO HARD that they would demonize their opponents and always would deny any wrongdoing was done, until it came out that it was all a lie. It is shameful.

It is unfortunate to say, but this Bush Administration is one of the most corrupt in history. Look at the Abramoff lobbying scandals, FEMA's failure with Katrina, the huge deficit and debt, the no-bid contracts for rebuilding Iraq, the $9 Billion that just went missing that was supposed to be spent on rebuilding Iraq, the lies about the reasons to invade Iraq, the torture of innocent prisoners, and the military contracts for inferior armor.

If President Clinton can be impeached for an affair, what makes Bush immune from impeachment for lying and spying?

Re:Breaking the law for the sake of security? (1)

Phil246 (803464) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498546)

an equally corrupt congress which happens to back him instead of oppose as was the case with clinton?

Re:Breaking the law for the sake of security? (1)

dwayner79 (880742) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498559)

You are the reason the media is still in business... You bought the lie... hook line and sinker.

Congratulations!!! (0, Troll)

TheConfusedOne (442158) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498598)

You hit EVERY DNC talking point.

Now go back and actually do some critical thinking.

Amongst, the people that Abramoff paid off includes Democratic congresscritters as well as Republicans. (Including Dem leadership.)

President Clinton claimed the right to perform warrantless phsical searches for "national security" reasons that included drug raids.

As for Katrina let's all go take a dip in the Mayor Ray Nagin memorial motor pool or sit down in one of those empty trains that left NOLA just before the hurricane hit. Maybe we could sit around with the Red Cross relief supplies that the mayor and the governor wouldn't let reach the dome were the non-existent child-raping and murdering was going on. Or you could just go down there and find the missing 9,000 dead people that showed how Bush-Co hated black people.

Re:Congratulations!!! (1)

Aneurysm9 (723000) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498651)

Not one single Democratic congressperson accepted money from Jack Abramoff. Do not conflate some groups with tenuous connections to Abramoff with Abramoff himself.

Re:Congratulations!!! (3, Insightful)

cswiii (11061) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498655)

Now who's the one reciting talking points?

Repeat after me: Abramoff gave no money to Democrats. It is true that some of his clients, some Indian tribes -- indeed those bilked by Abramoff -- gave money to both Republicans and Democrats. One cannot directly link this money to Abramoff, however.... and in fact it would be foolish to do so.

Meanwhile, an FEC search of Abramoff's personal political donations [newsmeat.com] show where his true loyalties exist.

As for the Clinton bit, please refer to what someone else has written further down in the threads. No need to repeat it here.

Re:Breaking the law for the sake of security? (1)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498685)

If President Clinton can be impeached for an affair, what makes Bush immune from impeachment for lying and spying?

Two words:
Republican Congress

Strange bedfellows... (3, Interesting)

will_die (586523) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498534)

This lawsuit has some really strange bedfellows.
First you have greenpeace which is afraid that its fellow members in ELF [adl.org] are bein listened in on.
Then you have Council on American-Islamic Relations [militantislammonitor.org] who has said that terrorist suspects should have unlimited access to thier supporters back home.

There are plenty of worthwhile groups that looking into wiretapping and if it was legal, this lawsuit is not going to do anything. The only reason for the ACLU to do it is for the publicity; after all it is coming up to 1 year when they filed a suit saying that the US Government has no right to pick up and deport illegal aliens.

Back when Clinton was wiretapping... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14498537)

Where were these people when Bill Clinton's administration was running a far more invasive wiretapping program, one that unapologetically snooped on Americans with no terrorist connections?

Back then, the New York Times ran editorials *supporting* the program and we didn't hear a peep from the ACLU. Was this because catching drug dealers and minor-league domestic terrorists back then was more important than preventing another 9/11-type atrocity is now?

No. We know better than that. The real reason is that the ACLU and their allies consider George Bush in the White House to be a bigger threat than al-Qaeda. The prospect of another 3,000 American lives lost is trivial to these people in comparison the the vast importance of their anti-Republican kulturkampf.

Re:Back when Clinton was wiretapping... (1)

Ash-Fox (726320) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498622)

That's because all the focus was on having a blowjob.

Re:Back when Clinton was wiretapping... (5, Informative)

d3ik (798966) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498645)

Yet another "but Clinton..." argument. Okay, I'll bite. You realize that Clinton went through the FISA court (which was established for just these situations), right? The only time that President Clinton authorized a search without warrant was for physical searches, which at the time was not covered by FISA. After legislation was passed to allow FISA to issue warrants for physical searches so FISA was established as the gatekeeper for domestic wiretapping. Here's what Clinton said:

"My attitude was that once the Congress had spoken on it and given us the tools that we needed, we used it," he said. "We used the law. We either went there and asked for the approval or, if there was an emergency and we had to do it beforehand, then we filed within three days afterward and gave them a chance to second guess it, because I thought it was a good -- I think in the country you always have to try to balance these things out, so that's what we did."

And yes, within the rules of FISA in the case of an emergency you can initiate a wiretap as long as you bring FISA into the loop within 72 hours. So this entire comparison of "Clinton did it too" is ludicrous. He used the tool that was setup for these exact circumstances. The real question you Bush loyalists should ask yourselves is if there was already an established procedure for acquiring a wiretap (even after the fact), why was it necessary for Bush to bypass FISA and use his 'executive privilege'.

Re:Back when Clinton was wiretapping... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14498681)

Well done ass, you are one of those duped by the false GOP talking point! If you did any research instead of repeating what Rush Limbaugh says you would find out that Clinton did it LEGALLY EVEN WHEN THE LAWS WERE UPDATED!
Now go back to your WE SHOULD INVADE IRAN jerk circle.

For Those Who Call the U.S. a Police State: (1, Insightful)

aquatone282 (905179) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498612)

Would a police state allow groups like The Center for Constitutional Rights and the ACLU to file such suits, much less exist?

you're on The List (2, Funny)

chrish (4714) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498620)

I always knew lawyers were terrorists.

Civil Liberty cases and Funding (2, Interesting)

neuromancer2701 (875843) | more than 8 years ago | (#14498678)

One of the benefits of filing Civil Liberty cases is the possibility to get your Legal Fees paid for by the government. As the case with the ACLU [wikipedia.org] , the more cases they file the more likely their are to receive legal fees. They are fund with donations as well.
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