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Domestic Spying Records Ordered Released

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the let's-get-to-the-bottom-of-this dept.

257

CokoBWare wrote to mention an eWeek report on the NSA's domestic spying program. A federal judge has ordered the Department of Justice to release records from the program by March 8th. From the article: "In ordering the Justice Department to expedite the FOIA request processing, Judge Henry Kennedy Jr., of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, said that the department's opinion that it could determine how much time is needed was 'easily rejected ... Under DOJ's view of the expedited processing provisions of FOIA, the government would have carte blanche to determine the time line for processing expedited requests,'"

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257 comments

I love this guy. (4, Insightful)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745268)

"Vague suggestions that inadvertent release of exempted documents might occur are insufficient to outweigh the very tangible benefits that FOIA seeks to further--government openness and accountability," he wrote.

This judge is my new personal hero (temporarily displacing Alton Brown), and exactly the type of person who SHOULD be a judge. He actually seems like he cares about people and knows what kind of stuff gets pulled behind the scenes.

He may as well have come out and said "Sorry, guys, you're full of shit. Give us ALL the records, and soon."

Re:I love this guy. (4, Insightful)

c0d3h4x0r (604141) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745304)

No shit. That judge should be our president.

Re:I love this guy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14745449)

Maybe Cheney will take Bush hunting with him next time.

Re:I love this guy. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14745474)

Not a chance -- hunters only enjoy targets that are smart enough to try to get out of the way.

Re:I love this guy. (1, Troll)

Copid (137416) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745572)

Not Cheney. He's been known to enjoy a "canned" hunt here and there. Why do the hunting when you can cut straight to the killing?

Re:I love this guy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14745743)

"or else explain the legal basis under which the records cannot be released."

The DOJ says "national security" interest and the case is closed; simple as that. The FOIA allows groups like EPIC to request (through suit if need be) such documents, but in no way guarantees it. This federal judge is merely acting properly on behalf of that plaintiff and FOIA guidelines, nothing more, nothing less. If some of you fringe fanatics would simply wipe the froth from your mouth and quit grinding your political axe blade on your keyboard for a second here, you might actually stop and notice that, although highly unlikely...

Re:I love this guy. (1)

fishmasta (827305) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745477)

Dude, Alton Brown should be our president.

Re:I love this guy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14745579)

Dude, *I*, anonymous coward, should be your president. I'm perfectly qualified for the job. A presidents job is to shovel shit. Do a search for all my posts, then try to tell me I'm not the supreme shit shoveler. And like a good president, I also throw some good stuff in among the shit too, just to keep people guessing.

And I, unlike some other presidents, don't think people misunderestimate me.

Re:I love this guy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14745739)

No shit. That judge should be our president.

Ya, he seems like a real straight shooter, unlike our president... and vice president.

Re:I love this guy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14745813)

the neo-cons will just start a rumor saying he has an illegitimate black daughter.

Re:I love this guy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14745847)

> No shit. That judge should be our president.

Modded +5 Insightful?! Has the polotical bar for hatred and bias devolved some people's capacities to such a low extent now, that phrases like these set the new standard for intellectual prowess and understanding here? So many "dudes" and "shit" and "fucks" used here ad nauseum on /. now, it sounds more like a sorority house full of drunk poly-psy majors than an IT coffee shop. Like "man, whew! that one comment almost flew right over my head there, dude. Whoa. Deep or something..."

At best, mod it funny. At worst (or to be accurate), don't mod it at all. Holy smokes that's a sad sad reflection on not only you the poster, but the 5 moderators who considered that as "insightful". How the mighty at /. have fallen. Hmm, I wonder what's on pennyarcade these days; surely more insight than here...

HAHHA HIPPIES! (1)

CmdrTaco (troll) (578383) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745348)

You think you'll get your precious information? NO FUCKING WAY! You think this is a big victory but it will be a big fat zero when they get an injunction from another judge. You'll never see anything, ever. Fucking hippies.

Re:I love this guy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14745462)

>>He may as well have come out and said "Sorry, guys, you're full of shit. Give us ALL the records, and soon."

And that shit they are full of is now going to hit the fan.

Re:I love this guy. (4, Insightful)

elwinc (663074) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745505)

I love the judge too. But, according to The Note, [go.com] "The order gives Justice 20 days as part of the lawsuit, but the Justice Department will probably plead irreparable harm to national security (or something similar) to block the order." It'll most likely die on the vine until the democrats take over.

My hope is this: the avalanche of Republican scandals and screw-ups will result in democratic majorities in both the House and Senate. Then we'll have a real investigation, with subpoena power too. Bush will fight the investigation and it'll probably all wind up in the Supreme Court's lap. That'll be interesting.

Re:I love this guy. (2, Insightful)

Brushfireb (635997) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745689)

Although I hope you are right, I think its probably unlikely that the house and senate will be dem majorities next time around. And the presidency will still likely be republican -- Becuase it will be a very strong republican candidate (Giuliani or McCain). There isnt a dem in the world that could win against either of them, outside of Bill Clinton (and he cant run again ;p)

Here come the judge! Here come the judge! (1, Troll)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745512)

This judge is my new personal hero (temporarily displacing Alton Brown), and exactly the type of person who SHOULD be a judge. He actually seems like he cares about people and knows what kind of stuff gets pulled behind the scenes.

Hear! Hear!

Was this guy elected or appointed? Clearly these sort of judges will rub both parties the wrong way and therefore haven't a chance of being on the US Supreme Court, which isn't as it should be.

He may as well have come out and said "Sorry, guys, you're full of shit. Give us ALL the records, and soon."

Then he'll mysteriously die in his sleep or be invited to a "hunting" trip with Dick Cheney.

Re:I love this guy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14745582)

He may as well have come out and said "Sorry, guys, you're full of shit. Give us ALL the records, and soon."
Want to bet that he's now also a target for surveillance, as a "potential terrorist sympathizer?" True or not is entirely unimportant, only that he be harassed into submission.

Kick ass (1, Troll)

NickCatal (865805) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745289)

A big tip of my hat to this guy... and a wag of my finger to the bush administration... bears are still the #1 threat at the moment...

Re:Kick ass (5, Interesting)

ScrappyLaptop (733753) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745402)

Don't forget to also wag your finger at the Senate, which in an even bigger story, has now decided that there is no need to investigate this whole "domestic spying" thingy.

So, you have one branch saying, "Let's see what really happened" and the other two saying, "Nothing to see here; move along, move along".

So then.. (5, Insightful)

BigZaphod (12942) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745311)

On March 8th, which page of the newspaper will this story be buried on and who will Dick Cheney have to shoot to get that to happen?

(sarcasm doesn't always transmit well via text...)

Re:So then.. (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745384)

(sarcasm doesn't always transmit well via text...)
Use the [SARCASM] tag :op

To reply to your "who will Dick Cheney have to shoot to get that to happen?"

This story ain't gonna get buried.

Fortunately for us, this lawsuit wasn't locked away behind the doors of a secret court proceeding, so any BullShiat excuse the Gov't might try to pass off will have to meet public scrutiny.

Re:So then.. (4, Insightful)

Reducer2001 (197985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745542)

This story ain't gonna get buried.

I wish I could agree with you on that. I really do, but this is 21st Century (We're afraid of the terrorists, so please do whatever it takes to make it safe for me to shop at Target) America. The mainstream press, which used to include heroes like Edward R Murrow [wikipedia.org] and Woodward and Bernstein [wikipedia.org] taking time to gather facts and check them thoroughly has been replaced by the 24/7 "we don't care what's important, we only care about what's NEW" now, now, now press.

For example, the biggest story out of Washington this week was Dick Cheney shooting his hunting partner. What about the almost lack of debate in Congress about the pending renewal of the Patriot Act? What about Dick Cheney saying that he has the right to declassify information whenever and to whoever [cnn.com] he wants?

Listening to NPR these past couple of months regarding this issue, it's become VERY clear to me that most people simply don't care that this is going on. They say, "Well, I've got nothing to hide!" and the people I've spoken with at work about this feel the same way. If this was as big of an issue to American public as a missing white girl, or celebrity divorce, this story would be the headline on CNN today, instead of Harry Whittington apologizing the Dick Cheney for being shot!

Whatever, maybe I shouldn't have had that second mocha!

Re:So then.. (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745631)

If nothing else, a group of bloggers will keep this story alive until the rest of the news media decides to get back to it.

And I honestly think that the Cheney shooting has only persisted so long because it has turned into a metaphor for the secretive nature of the Bush Administration.

And I read about Cheney claiming he can declassify information whenever and to whoever he wants. I thought only the President had the legal authority to unilateraly declassify something without going through channels. Kinda like "if the President says it, it ain't classified."

Re:So then.. (3, Informative)

dschuetz (10924) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745882)

I thought only the President had the legal authority to unilateraly declassify something without going through channels.

Actually, "channels" means anyone with Original Classification Authority, which includes the President, Vice-President, Director of Central Intelligence, and other intelligence community leaders (I believe DIRNSA, and presumably also the new DNI).

I believe that each individual is responsible for certain kinds of information. For example, the Director of NSA would obviously have some authority over information regarding crypto, so he wouldn't be authorized to declassify information about human spies. Higher-level authorities like DCI, DNI, and obviously VPOTUS and POTUS, would be able to declassify more and more.

So, yes, I would expect that VP Cheney would have the authority to declassify certain information, including, most likely, whatever it is "Scooter" is up the creek over (I honestly have forgotten). But I'm equally certain that such a declassification would have to have a paper trail, and anyone who simply "takes [someone]'s word for it," even the Vice-President's word, that something is now open for release, well, they're not doing *their* job to protect classified information.

I can't remember which Executive Order it is that covers all this...I think 12958 or something along those lines. Okay, I just checked, and OMG, I *did* remember the order. Check it out here: Executive Order 12958 - Classified National Security Information, as Amended [archives.gov] . It's actually fairly interesting reading....

Re:So then.. (1)

raddan (519638) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745884)

Unfortunately, I don't have the same faith in the media that you do. Here's Fox News' version [foxnews.com] of the story. I was only able to find it by using their search engine and entering "electronic privacy information center". This should be front-page news, not just some generic AP blurb buried somewhere on the site!

Re:So then.. (1)

ScrappyLaptop (733753) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745426)

...You mean like how he "pardoned" Skippy, or Sparky or whatever his name is (Scooter) during the time between the shooting and the Fox interview?

Hang on there. (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745814)

Wait a minute ... you're saying President Bush pardoned I. Lewis (a.k.a. "Scooter") Libby?

I think you've gotta be misinformed on that one. Unless it was just totally ignored by every media outlet on the planet, and it's being blocked by Google... I don't think it's happened. Yet.

about time (2, Insightful)

la htris (955271) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745316)

From TFA: "EPIC asked the Justice Department for four types of records, including an audit of NSA domestic surveillance activities, a checklist showing probable cause to eavesdrop, communications about the use of information NSA obtained, and other documents concerning increased domestic surveillance." My new hero this judge is.

Blah. Wait for the appeal(s)... (4, Insightful)

ErikTheRed (162431) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745322)

This case will eventually wind up in the Supreme Court, where its chances are unspectacular. Cases like this are usually filed in a court that the filing party knows or strongly suspects will be sympathetic to their claim - a practice known as "judge shopping". I would be absolutely shocked if this suit lost in the first round.

Re:Blah. Wait for the appeal(s)... (4, Informative)

_Sharp'r_ (649297) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745552)

Also, the article summary is wrong in one little detail. The actual article continues the sentence with "or else explain the legal basis under which the records cannot be released."

So basically, the judge set a deadline by with the government must respond to the FOIA request (which could just be a denial saying you can't have the records cause it's classified, likely in this case), he didn't order them to actually release the records.

Re:Blah. Wait for the appeal(s)... (3, Informative)

gvibes (579654) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745640)

National security data (specifically, "matters that are -- specifically authorized under criteria established by an Executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy and are in fact properly classified pursuant to such Executive order") is exempted from FOIA requests, so I'm guessing the judge is expecting the DOJ to claim that most of the requested documents are classified.

Re:Blah. Wait for the appeal(s)... (1)

gvibes (579654) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745577)

Que?

First, I'm sure that the D.D.C. hears the great majority of FOIA claims. Heck, they may be required to hear them all by statute. I don't know.

Second, to the extent your stating that they went judge shopping, cases are assigned randomly in the D.D.C. pursuant to Local Rule 40.3(a), and you only get one dismissal without prejudice.

Third, why do you think this case's chances in the S. Ct. are "unspectacular"? It seems like the DOJ is saying that "as soon as practical" means "never" (disclosure - I don't know jacka bout FOIA law).

Finally, what is +5, insightful about this post?

1) conclusory statements that sound authoritative, made without backup

2) ...

3) Profit!

Why so much foot-dragging time? (2, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745335)

Why is so much time given? This gives plenty of time to gather up and redact tons of information prior to delivery. I expect we'll end up with millions of pages of black rectangles on them with few, if any, legible words on them.

Re:Why so much foot-dragging time? (2, Funny)

Romancer (19668) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745455)

Then I hope that they use .DOC or .PDF to do the editing. There's lots of fun when you get that stuff removing the blankouts and reversing the edits. :)

Re:Why so much foot-dragging time? (1)

MrTester (860336) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745642)

RTFA. Were not talking about the actual conversations that were recorded, but summary information about the records.
-What are the criteria for being recorded.
-What has the program actually accomplished.
etc...

Checks and balances (4, Insightful)

truthsearch (249536) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745339)

Wow, an example of checks and balances. I thought that was pretty much gone now.

Next steps: The White House will declare him an "activist judge" (whatever that really means) and unpatriotic. Meanwhile a religious zealot on the ABC Family channel will pray for his death.

But nothing is more patriotic than those in power keeping the government open. Because nothing could more empower the citizens.

Re:Checks and balances (3, Insightful)

sparkane (145547) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745367)

Well, just start calling the DOJ 'Activist Executives'. A term that is way, way, WAY overdue IMHO, and I do mean for certain very TOP men.

Something to remember (4, Insightful)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745342)

Even if these records get released and prove to be, as claimed, solely people with direct links to known and documented terrorists, that still does not exonerate the establishment of the program. The real issue was never a matter of whether, at this particular time, the NSA was listening in on you or your grandma, it was about precedent. The real issue is whether it is acceptable for an agency like the NSA to conduct domestic surveillance without oversight, without warrants of any kind. In the past the law has been such that various types of surveillance were permitted, but as these cases have come to light each loophole has been blocked - it was precisely for this reason that the Foreign Intelligence Services Court, and the corresponding act, was originally created. An about face and progressive weakening of such laws sets a dangerous precendent, and in my view shouldn't be tolerated. Don't let the report as to what surveillance was conducted blind you to the deeper issue of whether such a precedent is acceptable.

Jedidiah.

Re:Something to remember (2, Interesting)

stupidfoo (836212) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745425)

I love how everyone has become constitutional scholars these days. Anyways...

Unfortunately it's not a cut and dry issue. Ex-CIA chief James Woolsey [com.com] (appointed by Clinton) believes that the President actually has greater powers than the ones they're asking for. The only thing he believes should be looked at is whether or not a judge needs to be involved once the NSA program starts targetting specific American citizens.

He said he staunchly believes that Article 2 of the U.S. Constitution, which establishes the president's role as commander-in-chief and implicit wartime powers, permits the president to do the kind of "electronic mapping of the battlefield" that the NSA program appears to do.

Re:Something to remember (1, Troll)

nexthec (31732) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745508)

Great, lets just wait until WE DECLARE WAR.........

Re:Something to remember (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14745760)

But we did declare war, remember? The war on terror!

What a load of bullshit that Bush and Co has been feeding US citizens.

Re:Something to remember (1)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745543)

I love how everyone has become constitutional scholars these days...Unfortunately it's not a cut and dry issue.

I wasn't suggesting it was, or was not constitutional. I was expressing my belief as to what does, and does not, represent good practices with regard to surveillance regardless of legal standing. It may well, once it has worked its way through the system, be decided that Bush's actions were legal. That does not mean I have to agree that allowing such things is a good idea, merely that I accept it as legal as defined by the courts. To judge the legality may well require a constitutional scholar, to have an opinion as to whether such actions are good or bad does not.

Finally the point that I was trying to make was that the practicalities do not absolve the principles: the ends do not necessarily justify the means.

Jedidiah.

Re:Something to remember (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14745561)

But are we actually at "war" right now? I know the definition of "war" is very vague, and our government probably claims it to be the "war on terror". I really think "war" should be defined as a conflict between governments or some other type of large groups that share common characteristics, rather than a conflict between us and some individuals hiding in a cave. I know that these people we are after are not all hiding in caves, but alot of the coordination is being done by individuals who are hiding out in certain countries that are not directly involved with the conflict at hand. There is a "war" going on in Iraq, but the conflict with terrorists did not start with Iraq, but instead, the US government used the lies and bullshit claims to justify invading Iraq. Now they must deal with the shitstorm that is Iraq, which includes terrorists now coordinating attacks in the country. Was there much coordinating being done by terrorists in Iraq before the US invaded it?

Re:Something to remember (4, Informative)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745593)

James Woolsey may have been appointed by Clinton, but he also was a member of The Project for a New American Century [wikipedia.org] . Mr. Woolsey's buddies in that organization included Bill Kristol, the Scaife Family, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz. That is not exactly a list of names you would find listed in the Democratic National Committee fundraising book.

I'm not saying that Mr. Woolsey's arguments are invalid. I am saying that you shouldn't (intentionally or unintentionally) insinuate Mr. Woolsey is a liberal Clintonite....

Re:Something to remember (1)

mOdQuArK! (87332) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745666)

Ah yes, somebody intimately involved with an intelligence agency of the executive says that the Constitution gives the executive infinite powers to spy on anyone. No agenda there.

Re:Something to remember (1)

DirePickle (796986) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745682)

But, look! He was linked with Clinton! That means he has no bias here. Come on, don't you know anything?

Born Again = Post Facto (4, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745349)

It's safe to release all of the domestic spying records, now that Bush got his literal "get out of jail free" deal from his Republican Congress [nytimes.com] .

After terrorists attack our ports through infiltrating the royal United Arab Emirates corporation that just got handed the ports management contracts [nytimes.com] , I expect Congress will pass a law that says that "no one could have anticipated that the ports would be infiltrated through their foreign managers".

Re:Born Again = Post Facto (4, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745414)

Mr. Roberts [chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee] had promised to hold a committee vote yesterday on whether to investigate. But he canceled the vote, and then made two astonishing announcements. He said he was working with the White House on amending the 1978 law, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, to permit warrantless spying. And then he suggested that such a change would eliminate the need for an inquiry.
That is a load of bullshiat.

Since when does changing a law mean it applies retroactively to offenses in the past?

Just the other day, my father was bitching about seat belt laws. Saying that when they first passed the law, they said it wouldn't be used to pull you over. 10 years later, they changed the law to allow cops to pull you over for not wearing a seat belt.

My dad said "That's how they get you. They chip away at it"
And I remember thinking "Yep, and our civil rights too"

:Grumbles: (2, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745356)

The Law: 1
BushCo: 1x10^7

Noting that public awareness of the government's actions is necessary in democracy, [Judge] Kennedy said that timely awareness is also a necessity.
The highlighted is exactly what the Bush Administration has been trying to prevent since he came into office and frankly I don't see this victory becoming a trend.

Bush, Cheney and the Republicans have already been cracking down on leaks of classified information so that they won't have any more splaining to do.

Remember how they jumped all over the leak of the NSA spying? Not to condemn possible spying of Americans, but to demand investigations in order to discover the identity of the leaker(s).

Re::Grumbles: (1)

CoachS (324092) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745576)

Bush, Cheney and the Republicans have already been cracking down on leaks of classified information so that they won't have any more splaining to do.

They only crack down on the leaks they don't like. When it's time to smear a political opponent you can bet that Karl and Scooter are working the phone trees to leak whatever they can.

-Coach-

Grumble consistently, and about the right things (3, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745727)

but to demand investigations in order to discover the identity of the leaker(s).

And what exactly is your problem with this? You can't honestly say that there should be no such thing as classified information, unless you'd like every poor SOB who's trying to keep on eye on various actually bad guys to be strung up and shot. The classification of intel methods and collected information exists specifically to allow it do what it has to do. If you tell Kim Jong Il what time of day the next high-altitude drone will be overhead which of his slave camps, or CC the lunatic president of Iran on the intel you're sharing with EU security people about his nuclear program... you're pretty much asking for the consequences, including the unpleasant deaths of the people living in those countries and working, with our spooks, to counter the influence/acts of the mullahs or the so-honorable KJI.

Assuming you don't actually refute the need for classified and covert activities on a number of fronts, then how can you complain about tracking down the people who deliberately leak such specific operational information? It sounds like you're more in the "classified is OK, but only on the stuff I think should be classified, and then definitely the administration should be investigating the people who leak it" camp. But that's not what you're saying, and should be. At which point, you should be more clearly spelling out what you think should, and should not be classified when it comes to intercepting a phone call from a known Al Queda-type contact in, say, Lahore, Pakistan to a used-only-once-ever cell phone that was in a batch of fifty or so [go.com] bought with cash. You know, a cell phone that is untraceable to a person, will never be used again, and can never be part of a FISA warrant scenario by its very nature. Is reminding the guys using those phones that we know when the person in Lahore is dialing a number from that batch of disposable phones something you think should be leaked? Is that constructive, from your perspective?

The law is the law (4, Insightful)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745358)

To turn the "law and order" types' favorite phrase back on them, the law is the law. If the government will not obey its own laws, then it has no moral authority to operate. Ironically, that's a Biblical concept, not a liberal idea. According to scripture, God's authority to stand in divine judgement handing down damnation or salvation comes from his perfection and consistency. God follows his own laws, thus he has total moral authority. But how many Bush supporters would freak out at such an argument?

In pure secular terms, the only result of giving discressionary power in 99% of all cases out there is to have the government not obey the law. The government must obey its own laws in order to ensure law and order, and having a law that says "the state shall do what it wilt, shall be the whole of the regulation of the government's conduct" is not a law. It's a license to anarchy in the pejorative sense of the word.

If our government is unwilling to even use its Article IV powers to shut down the borders in violation of NAFTA and all travel from rogue states and Saudi Arbia, then it doesn't need to even speak about new powers.

Re:The law is the law (3, Insightful)

dcocos (128532) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745479)

"Ironically, that's a Biblical concept, not a liberal idea. "

I would argue that Biblical and Liberal are not mutually exclusive.

Re:The law is the law (1)

fishmasta (827305) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745534)

Thank you. That's a concept lost on to many people today. The Bible is full of liberal ideals such as fightng poverty and protection for the weak over the powerful.

Re:The law is the law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14745874)

Wrong. Those are Marxist ideals, now referred to by the euphemisms "social liberalism" and "progressivism." Classical liberalism is concerned with preserving individual liberty from government oppression.

Re:The law is the law (0, Troll)

CoachS (324092) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745626)

I think it's fairly ironic that the same Republicans who were so anxious to impeach Clinton for lying about his sex life crying "The President has to uphold the law!" are now shrugging off the law as an inconvenience when it's their boy under the spotlight.

One of the reasons this country is so great is that we have laws like the Constitution to protect us from the excesses of government and the egomaniacal power grabs of individuals. Checks and balances are an absolutely essential component of what America is all about.

The judge is exactly right that this case needs to be exposed to the light of day to ensure that abuses (if any) are curtailed and exposed. And our President needs to be reminded that he's not the King. He works for us, not the other way around.

A guy who self-righteously claims to promote democracy shouldn't have to be reminded of that.

-Coach-

well (2, Funny)

revery (456516) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745366)

Domestic Spying Records Ordered Released

Domestic spying... ok.

There was this one time, when I was ten, I was hiding in the hall and I heard my mom and dad talking about my birthday present. That was pretty cool.

Then there was this time in high school when I hid in the principal closet and hoped to hear something interesting, like him having a secret affair or him reading the final exams out loud for fun or something, but he just made a phone call to his doctor and passed gas a few times.

Then there was this time I was in a Jefferies tube with Seven of Nine, and we were listening to the Cardassians who had taken over our ship, but I'm pretty sure that was just a dream.

There was some other stuff, but I don't remember most of it.

Staples Stock Soars (1)

mck144 (640822) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745744)

Staples recorded record profits for the first quarter of 06. Amazingly, all the sales were from paper shreaders.

Welcome to slashdot... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14745408)

...the new democratic underground

Deceptive headline (0, Flamebait)

dfenstrate (202098) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745459)

Why is it called 'Domestic Spying' when the monitored conversations occured between foriegn, self-proclaimed enemies of the United States who are engaged in armed conflict with us, and people inside the United States?

That's surviellence of an enemy, and given the Presidents power to wage war, it's not any stretch of the imagination that this sort of activity is within his authority.

The problem with this entire debacle is that you have people who are trying to apply the law-enforcement model of handling things to a war. A guerilla War, to be sure, but a War nonetheless. Do you think that Britain and the US got warrants when they were trying to break Germanys enigma code in World War 2? Do you think they thought twice about intercepting any communications between Germany and the US? No, because we wanted to ultimately hunt down and kill those we were monitoring, those they were associated with, and break the will of Germany to wage further war. It's not pretty but it sure as hell is necessary.

Those who revealed this program have made us less safe, and made it more likely that people who want to do us harm will evade our survellience- all for some petty political points (backfiring, by the way. A significant majority of the US population approves of this activity, and they will be voting next election) and yet another chance to scream "ChimpyMcBushHaliburtonCheneyCabal is EVIL!" Yeah, AQ and gang likely figured they were being monitored, but they didn't always act like it from some reports. Thanks for reminding them and shoving it in their face every single day.

If you don't want to be monitored by the government, then don't talk to overseas agents of an organization that has killed Americans, wants to kill more, and is killing our troops every week. It's not that complex.

As for the supposed 'rights' of those inside the US, terms like 'traitor' are really underused lately, or they are simply foreign agents of an 'enemy'- a simple concept that so many have foolishly convinced themselves doesn't apply to anyone any more.

Either way, once we've gotten all the information we need from them, we should deal with them like we did in the last war we resolutely won: try and execute the traitors, kill the spies, and hold the footsoldiers as prisoners of war until the other side capitulates and hostilities cease.

Good thing the safety of the nation doesn't lie in the hands of pontificating, apologist candy asses who lack the will and confidence to defend our civilization from threats- or we'd have already capitulated cravenly like Norway [brucebawer.com] did recently (if the story is no longer on his main page, there are links at the bottom for previous posts).

-1 Troll? -1 Flamebait? Sure, why not- but we're not talking about civil liberties here, we're talking about monitoring the communications of people who want to kill us, and their agents in our country. The fact that so many don't realize this- or plainly deny it because of a visceral hate for the current administration- sickens me, and you have just read the result of that disgust.

To those who are worked up about this,
I question your seriousness about preserving our country.
I question your patriotism.
and most of all....
I question your judgement

Re:Deceptive headline (0, Offtopic)

distilledprodigy (946341) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745598)

This is a good post, why is it that since he doesnt agree with the general opinion of the website is he modded flamebait?

Re:Deceptive headline (2, Insightful)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745664)

This is a good post, why is it that since he doesnt agree with the general opinion of the website is he modded flamebait?

Well, I guess that one reason is that he questions the patriotism of those who disagree with him. Not to mention his insinuation that those who disagree with him are "candy asses". Yeah, agree or disagree with him, that post is most definitely flame.

Re:Deceptive headline (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745772)

Amen, he crossed a line in insinuating that if you didn't agree with him, you were a traitor to your country ("I question your patriotism"). Even if I agreed with him, I would have modded him down flamebait.

Re:Deceptive headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14745823)

How is this off topic? Oh my god. All disagreement will be buried! I thought the original topic was confrontational, but not flaimbait. Holy sh**! This is pathetic.

Re:Deceptive headline (2, Insightful)

CokoBWare (584686) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745608)

Throwing down the "question your patriotism" card... nice... too bad most people see through those kinds of arguments. Having someone turn your own country into a warzone is not fun especially when it's a war on something you can't see... Look at what happened to the war on drugs? uhmm.... admittedly the US government funded black ops in the CIA by selling MORE drugs to Americans, not less...

Why is it unpatriotic, nevermind not OK in your view to question your government's policies on breaking civil liberties? To live under a rock and believe everything you read is unhealthy and incredibly foolish, and taking someone's word for it that the powers granted to them will be used for good is hogwash. You need safeguards... Remember Star Wars Episodes 1-3, where Palpatine chipped away the Republic to gain emergency powers and ultimately total control over the galaxy? Well certainly this US Administration is no Palpatine, but if we allow for a similar pattern to happen with no checks and balances, the US could end up with an Administration that has more power than it should and really cause a lot more loss of civil liberties than you realize.

The US was founded on the principles of providing civil liberties to its citizens. You take that away, and you take away America. How unpatriotic is that when your founding constitution is eroded to the point where it's as useful as toilet paper? If you kill the US Consitution and the Bill Of Rights, you no longer have a free America. Period.

Re:Deceptive headline (4, Insightful)

dcocos (128532) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745616)

That's surviellence of an enemy, and given the Presidents power to wage war, it's not any stretch of the imagination that this sort of activity is within his authority.

Congress determines that authority.

Do you think that Britain and the US got warrants when they were trying to break Germanys enigma code in World War 2?

Last I checked Germans weren't American citizens and afforded the rights granted by the Constitution

A significant majority of the US population approves of this activity

Apparently you have read any polls lately.

If you don't want to be monitored by the government, then don't talk to overseas agents of an organization that has killed Americans, wants to kill more, and is killing our troops every week. It's not that complex.

The FOIA request wants to make sure that that is really the case. Negligence and poor planning is what is killing a lot of our troops every week.

To those who are worked up about this,
I question your seriousness about preserving our country.


Preserving our country means preserving the system of check and balances and assures that no one is above the law.

I question your patriotism.

Blind following of leadership is not as patriotic as questioning it.

Re:Deceptive headline (0, Troll)

Tsiangkun (746511) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745630)

I support more invasive monitoring of the terrorists who left Americans dying on their rooftops.

I've heard they frequently have communications with people outside the country, including terrorist friendly nations like Saudi Arabia, Iran, Israel, and Pakistan.

Re:Deceptive headline (1)

exi1ed0ne (647852) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745725)

I always thought you weren't a Terrorist until after found guilty by a trial of your peers. Or are we scrapping the whole innocent until proven guilty thing now?

Re:Deceptive headline (4, Insightful)

Minwee (522556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745652)

"That's surviellence of an enemy, and given the Presidents power to wage war, it's not any stretch of the imagination that this sort of activity is within his authority."

Richard Nixon thought so, but somehow that didn't help him any.

"A significant majority of the US population approves of this activity, and they will be voting next election"

A significant percentage of the US population also believes that Saddam Hussein personally piloted both of the airplanes used in the attack on the World Trade Centre. And yes, many of them will somehow figure out how to vote in the next election.

"Sure, why not- but we're not talking about civil liberties here, we're talking about monitoring the communications of people who want to kill us, and their agents in our country. The fact that so many don't realize this- or plainly deny it because of a visceral hate for the current administration- sickens me, and you have just read the result of that disgust."

Actually, you're talking about the laws of your country and the principles upon which it was founded. You may want to try reading books instead of burning them, you may learn something.

I question your seriousness about preserving our country.
I question your patriotism.
and most of all....
I question your judgement

I question your motives. Wrapping your country in plastic and then never sitting on it will "preserve" it, but I wouldn't want to live there.

Re:Deceptive headline (1)

geekee (591277) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745819)

""That's surviellence of an enemy, and given the Presidents power to wage war, it's not any stretch of the imagination that this sort of activity is within his authority."

Richard Nixon thought so, but somehow that didn't help him any. "

Watergate had nothing to do with the Vietnam War, nor did anyone ever claim it did.

"Actually, you're talking about the laws of your country and the principles upon which it was founded. You may want to try reading books instead of burning them, you may learn something."

Yes, and the FISA wiretapping law may not apply in a time of war because of a presidental Constitutional powers. The supreme court will ultimately decide, I'm sure. Your ad hominim attack is unnecessary. grow up.

Re:Deceptive headline (2, Insightful)

joss (1346) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745658)

> when the monitored conversations occured between foriegn, self-proclaimed enemies of the United States who are engaged in armed conflict with us, and people inside the United States?

Who says ? The administration certainly likes to imply those were the only conversations listened to, but Gonzales went out of his way to avoid confirming this.

> I question your patriotism.

And I question yours. If being an American means anything, it means respect for the constitution. Trying to justify the efforts of a president to remove the protections in the constitution brands you as a traitor to the republic.

Re:Deceptive headline (4, Insightful)

FungiFromYuggoth (822668) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745660)

Actually, some spy intercepts were purely domestic [nytimes.com] - but that's not the point. It's called "Domestic" because one person is in the US, and it isn't a purely international communication.

Since this program resulted in thousands of dead end leads [nytimes.com] , only an idiot would claim that only terrorists were monitored under this act.
If the NSA was only spying on terrorists, then FISA would have granted warrants (even after the wiretap had started). Given that the administration decided to end run around FISA, it's reasonable to speculate who else was being spied upon - particularly considering this crowd's track record with honesty.

No rational person can make the case that the disclosure of this program has damaged national security, so by making it you prove your irrationality. It's not like Al Qaeda didn't know that the NSA existed, or that the NSA was spying on phone calls. No one, and I mean no one is arguing that the NSA shouldn't be able to spy on terrorists. Why in the world would terrorists care whether or not the NSA got warrants to do this? The best excuse this administration can offer is that reminding the terrorists that the NSA taps phone calls damages national security, otherwise "they forget". If keeping the NSA out of the headlines is that important, then they'd damn well better follow the law.

It's not about eavesdropping on people who want to kill us - otherwise those thousands of dead ends wouldn't have happened. It's about whether the President can pick and choose which laws he wants to follow by invoking the excuse of a perpetual war, relegating Congress to a powerless debating soceity.

The candy asses are on the right - people who will happily give away this country's proud heritage because they're terrified of the big bad swarthy bogeyman. Grow a spine.

Re:Deceptive headline (2, Interesting)

geekee (591277) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745785)

"No rational person can make the case that the disclosure of this program has damaged national security, so by making it you prove your irrationality."

Huh. If agents know their conversations might be tapped they will find ways of coding their communications. Pretty rational reason to keep the program secret. The statement you made was the irrational one.

"people who will happily give away this country's proud heritage because they're terrified of the big bad swarthy bogeyman."

Equating al Qaeda to the bogeyman is also irrational.

Who mods this crap up and mods down any /. groupthink dissenting opinion as flaimbait. /. is guilty of censorship.

I don't even agree with Bush's program, and your arguements still suck ass.

Re:Deceptive headline (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14745661)

Do you think that Britain and the US got warrants when they were trying to break Germanys enigma code in World War 2?

I don't care what you might define this conflict as, but it sure as hell isn't a war. Wait until these terrorists control their own country and are coordinating attacks from it, then it might be considered to be on the scale of a war. Also, there is no way can you can even compare what is happening right now to WWII - which involved many nations all over the globe, took more than 60 million lives, and at the time cost atleast a trillion dollars.

Re:Deceptive headline (2, Insightful)

Androk (873765) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745681)

First, let's get this clear.. We are NOT at war. Period, end of sentence. There has always been people that want to cause damage to the US government. Are we at war with Oklohoma because an American bombed a US Government building? Did we start wars because the WTC was bombed in 1992 (maybe 93, sue me if it's wrong). Did the US President at the time use it as an excuse to start a fear campaign across the US and drag us into further conflicts? Or perhaps he said we were at "war" with the terrrorists and used it as an excuse to erode our civil Liberties? No, he didn't, are you sure? The people that can be labelled as traitors are the ones that are will to use the constitution to wipe their asses with, like our current regime. To answer your last point, there is a special court, perhaps you've heard of it by now, the FISA court. It is especially designed to handle survelance requests in a completely secure manner, even to the point of getting warrants after the fact of survelance. Our country is built on freedom, if we dont have it, the great promise our country once had, slowly goes into nothingness, we become a historical footnote of failed ideals. I love my country, the United States of America, I don't want people like you to destroy it.

Re:Deceptive headline (1)

twostar (675002) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745754)

To clarify above.

The President has the ability to start a war but only Congress can wage war. There has been no Declaration of War and therefore there is no war that the United States of America is engaged in. The President has the ability to quickly react and defend the Constitution and People of the country but long term deployments of troops must be approved by Congress.

Any executive orders must have their authority from Congressional acts and/or the Constitution. No if or but about it. We are a nation of Laws. That is the founding idea behind all that we have, we agree to follow those Laws and that only Congress has the power to create those Laws.

Re:Deceptive headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14745730)

dfenstrate,

I have to say that you are a moron, and that you've been brainwashed into believing everything that the goverment is telling you. First of all I'd like to point out that there is a huge difference between intercepting German messages during WW2, and what is going on now. First of all during WW2 we were actually at war, Congress had declared war on a foreign enemy, unlike today with the so called "war on terror". Next, during WW2 the goverment wasn't wiretapping it's own citizens.

Further more, you're taking what the goverment has told you as literal truth, how do you KNOW they are only wiretapping people that are communicating with known terrorist? Because they told you so?? PLEASE.

"Those who revealed this program have made us less safe" -- I'd say that depends on your point of view. I'd say that they made us more safe from an our own goverment.

I'd also like to point out that your missing the big picture here, I'm all about tracking down terrorists, supporting the troops and all of that, but what I don't agree with is Bush doing whatever he likes or pleases. Whether you like it or not, there is FISA, and it clearly states how these wiretappings should have been done. Bush decided he didn't like it, so he's just going to ignore the law that congress had already set out? Thats not they way the executive branch is supposed to operate. Haven't you ever heard of "check and balances".

"To those who are worked up about this,
I question your seriousness about preserving our country.
I question your patriotism.
and most of all....
I question your judgement"

No sir, I question your patriotism and your seriousness about preserving our country. Most of all I question your judgement.

Re:Deceptive headline (2, Interesting)

TheSpoom (715771) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745753)

How do you know they were between a foreign enemy and someone else? How do you know they weren't spying on normal US citizens who had piqued the interest of the government for whatever reason? Because that's exactly what Bush's executive order allowed.

Re:Deceptive headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14745761)

I see your point, and it is valid. However, should we let them use Echalon and all those nifty spying powers to spy on political enemies and opposition parties for the purpose of winning elections and removing opposition to laws people don't like? They do, afterall, have the power to spy on anyone and throw anyone into jail for any reason.

The only thing more dangerous than the terrorists is ourselves. The choice not to go out, buy, train in, and carry a handgun for self defense; the spinlessness of most Americans not to stand up for some moral high ground unto death to secure life, liberty, and posterity; the lazyness to sit infront of a television digesting the lives of others instead of living your own; the lack of caring for your own children by abandoning them to a school system you know is troubled and signing them up for contracts they don't understand when they are born. All of these things are far more dangerous than a few million Islamists who believe in Jihad against the great beast.

Why? Because your greatest enemy is yourself.

What do I think? We need more vigalante's. Of course that term has bad connotations, but vigilante simply means a vigilant person. We need people willing to become temporarily deputised and to go out hunting for child molesting sex cults and businesses, banking cartels, and people in need. We need people who are willing to home school or church school their children. We need people willing to go into office and get us off of this fiat money system which is destroying this country. We need people who are in control of their wants and choose not to get themselves into debt for crap they don't need. We need people who can keep their pants on long enough to earn a decent income before having children. We need people who don't use drugs for the solution to their problems.

And until that happens, it doesn't matter what the government does, it can't keep the country from completly falling apart.

Do you really think our enemies didn't know (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14745779)

we are spying on them? Surely not!
I find that argument completly without merit.
No American is upset about our intelligence agencies conducting surveilance to protect us. I *WANT* them to be able to do that and am very grateful to those who have made it their life's work to protect my family and me. However, I am *VERY* concerned about the desire to conduct surveilance with no oversight or accountability whatsoever. People fought and died throughout American history to protect us from this kind of stuff, so we are not about to just take someone's word that it is OK. Not even when that person is our President.

Re:Deceptive headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14745795)

Uhm, if you never questioned the actions of your leaders... Wouldn't you still be members of the British Commonwealth?

Re:Deceptive headline (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14745810)

The point about the continued existence of real enemies is an important one, but the rest of this post is distortion at best. Throughout American history, Presidents and Congresses have turned to extra-legal police measures in the prosecution of war, and every time, it has resulted in the death and imprisonment of innocent people. Whether it helped secure victory is a more debatable matter.

It is true, it is not always realistic to conduct a war with full Constitutional protections in effect. But compared to other conflicts in our history (Civil War, WWI, WWII, etc.), we have virtually no chance of 'losing' this one. Terrorism does not aim to conquer, it aims to change public opinion. If we continue to support Israel, speak our minds, and behave like Westerners, we've already won.

In short, it is hardly necessary for the President to violate the Constitution, especially to the extent that he has, in order to win. And of all the War Presidents (Lincoln, Wilson, Roosevelt, etc.) I'd say I trust this one the least with the delicate responsibility.

How about hearing from the guy who ran it? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14745563)

One thing about this is story is everybody has an opinion about what NSA is doing, and what the law is. Then of course there is the reality of what the NSA is really doing and what the law really is. General Hayen used to run the NSA, and was running it when the program was set up. He was the briefer of members of Congress (remember from both parties) on what the program was doing during his time at the NSA. Here is the transcript http:/// [http] http://www.dni.gov/release_letter_012306.h tml/> of Gen. Hayden's appearance Jan. 23, 2006 with the Washington Press Club about this program.

Interesting Separation of Powers Case (1, Troll)

sigalarm (955394) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745655)

Does a low level member of the Judiciary branch have the ability to override the executive branch? We have a black program, that is protected by multiple layers of secrecy. This is a construct of the executive branch. Can the Judiciary proclaim this level of secrecy null and void by decree and order classified information released?

How many billions of dollars will be now rendered worthless as all of the programs that would be revealed by complying with this order would now be rendered null and void?

Does anyone believe putting our sources and methods on display to our enemies (the El Quesos) is going to make this country any safer?

Re:Interesting Separation of Powers Case (1)

lucabrasi999 (585141) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745723)

Does a low level member of the Judiciary branch have the ability to override the executive branch? We have a black program, that is protected by multiple layers of secrecy. This is a construct of the executive branch. Can the Judiciary proclaim this level of secrecy null and void by decree and order classified information released?

Maybe you need a refresher course on the Separation of Powers [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Interesting Separation of Powers Case (1)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745771)

Maybe you need a refresher course on the Separation of Powers.

Way to sound pious without actually answering his very specific, reasonable, and important question. This isn't a separation of powers question, it's a is-FISA-even-about-this question. Arguably, it's not.

Bullsh*t (-1, Troll)

Illbay (700081) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745735)

"Domestic spying?" How about "spying on foreign operatives here on our soil."

You people just keep behavin' like *ssholes. We'll save civilization for ya.

Not going to happen (4, Interesting)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 8 years ago | (#14745762)

A federal judge ordered the Department of Justice to release records related to the National Security Agency's warrantless domestic spying program by March 8, or else explain the legal basis under which the records cannot be released.

The Gonzales will just give him the same tripe they've been spouting on TV. Constitution, use of force authorization, blah, blah, blah. The Bush administration isn't going to let some piddly little district court judge push them around. Especially when they've managed to load the Supreme Kangaroo Court with their cronnies.

They'll claim it's necessary for "security" and there will be a 5 to 4 vote overturning the order and they'll go right back to doing whatever the hell they feel like. This will only further demonstrate how little the current administration values the rule of law. And if you haven't figured that out by now, you're never going to. For rest of us it will simply be one more razor slash on the Constitution.

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