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The Fine Print On Wiretapping Review

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the always-read-before-you-sign dept.

151

notarus writes "Congress' new bill to 'force' the wiretapping program to be reviewed by FISA has some very doublespeak provisions. One nice line: 'Nothing in this Act shall be construed to limit the constitutional authority of the President to collect intelligence with respect to foreign powers and agents of foreign powers.'"

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So let me get this straight... (3, Insightful)

Umuri (897961) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725989)

So, if i'm to understand that correctly, if you use the grey area rule a bit, that can be construed as to allow anyone exemption if they were considered an agent of a foreign power... And terrorists are certainly a foreign power.. so if they wanted to say i'm a suspected terrorrist, then i'm obviously connected to a foreign terrorist cell, and i'm free game for no legal protection? Or am i just missing something....

Re:So let me get this straight... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15726007)

I don't think you're missing anything. The question is, what can we do to stop these maniacs?

Seriously, is there any way to stop them before they've entirely subjugated any tiny bit of control we still have over the behemoth that governs us?

They don't even flinch when they're accused of torture; instead, they argue they have the "right" to torture suspects. They don't even blink when they're caught spying on the communications of millions of innocent Americans; instead, they say they're doing it to protect us, and they blame the whistleblowers for undermining them.

What can you do to stop a criminal who accuses his victims? It's like a murderer who, when his crimes are exposed, calls for the exposers to be jailed for bringing grief to the families of the dead. This government has no remorse, and doesn't seem to even understand what it's doing -- unless it's all intentional, which is that much worse.

Is there any way to end the rampage before we're all locked up to protect us from "terrorists"?

Re:So let me get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15726095)

It's so annoying when people ignore the facts when they form opinions. Just because the media convinces you something is true does not mean it is. Blind ignorance is killing more Americans than our government is.

Re:So let me get this straight... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15726159)

"Just because the media convinces you something is true does not mean it is."

And unfortunately, the media have been hyping the "War on Terror" because it's sensational; they get more viewers and more ad revenue by playing into the hands of the power-hungry. Only very recently have the big media even slightly questioned what's going on -- and that's only because it's gone too far even for their taste. It's no longer in their financial interest to incite terror when the terror brings about laws that limit their business, but they'll happily promote government and corporate propaganda as long as it gives them a net profit.

Re:So let me get this straight... (1)

Ethan Allison (904983) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726158)

Think about it this way. Terrorists could easily and covertly (almost to the point of undetectability) kill millions of citizens without losing any lives on their own part. They're just too stupid to figure out how. As long as they're dumbasses, we're pretty much safe.

Re:So let me get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15726285)

Terrorists could easily and covertly (almost to the point of undetectability) kill millions of citizens without losing any lives on their own part. They're just too stupid to figure out how.

No, you're just too stupid to figure out that nobody actually wants to do that.

Re:So let me get this straight... (2, Insightful)

dnoyeb (547705) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726272)

They are rich people. They are incapable of understanding what they are doing because they do not live with the consequences. Unfortunately, we seem to like to elect people that are nothing like us.

The beatings will continue.

What can we do (1)

conlaw (983784) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726318)

You CAN do something. There are representatives to be elected in every state next year, along with 1/3 of the Senators. You san start now to find out who's likely to be running for those offices in the primaries and support the nomination of those willing to "end the rampage." Then support those people to be ellected. It will take a year and a half for it all to take effect, but at least you can let the incumbents know how you feel by using the power of the ballot.

Please don't think that I'm pointing at any particular party or individual. IMHO, they've all been lying down on the job and not supporting us. We have the right and the obligation to choose leaders who will follow our wishes.

Here endeth the rant for the day.

Re:So let me get this straight... (1)

iced_773 (857608) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726009)


But American citizens couldn't possibly be agents of a foreign power - if they were it would be treason, and there are laws in place for that already.

Doesn't protect the random Middle-Eastern citizen from being swept off the street while vacationing in Europe, though.

Re:So let me get this straight... (1)

himurabattousai (985656) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726097)

It is possible to be a terrorist without being a traitor, as in the case of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh (sp?).

It is possible to be a traitor without being a terrorist. I can't think of any examples off the top of my head, so if someone could provide one, I'd appreciate it.

This bill has nothing to do with someone of Russian, Arabic, Chinese or anyother descent calling some relatives in a hostile country with schematics of a fighter jet. It's all about the government changing the rules so that, while still wrong, its spying would be legal.

If this passes (and I hope it doesn't), some downright frightening links could be made. Given that the accepted definition of terrorism refers to acts of violence committed against civilians with the purpose of spreading fear if XYZ doesn't happen, it's not a short jump to spreading what can fall under that umbrella. Hell, even routine traffic violations could be considered terrorist acts. Seeing someone run a red light six inches from your bumper has its way of making the heart race, and if the government can't be bothered to mind big details such as constitutionally guaranteed civil rights, why should it be concerned with the intent of an action? I know this reeks of tin-foil-hat-ism, but it's not inconceivable, at least to me.

Re:So let me get this straight... (2, Informative)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726120)

It is possible to be a traitor without being a terrorist. I can't think of any examples off the top of my head, so if someone could provide one, I'd appreciate it.

Benedict Arnold.
The Rosenbergs.

Re:So let me get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15726317)

It is possible to be a terrorist without being a traitor, as in the case of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh
I disagree. The definition of treason is:
Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.
McVeigh was obviously levying war against the US. A better example might be the KKK or the Black Panthers. They are obviously terrorists but they aren't levying war against the US (which has a very strict interpretation [findlaw.com] by the Supreme Court) nor assisting our enemies.

Timothy McVeigh (1)

Xtifr (1323) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726135)

> And terrorists are certainly a foreign power

So what foreign power was Timothy McVeigh?

Re:Timothy McVeigh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15726225)

Wasn't he from the south?

Some of them are still waving the Confederate flag over there, so they belong to a foreign -- although non-existent -- power.

Re:Timothy McVeigh (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15726229)

> So what foreign power was Timothy McVeigh?

He was Iraqi. Just like the 9-11 hijackers, duh!

I bet you feel stupid now!

Re:So let me get this straight... (1)

Mattintosh (758112) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726226)

"Terrorists" aren't a power, nor are they foreign. They're just a classification of people that cause terror. This is done by causing relatively minor but very visible destruction or harm, then relying on the panicky nature of "sheeple" to take over and spread general fear that "maybe it'll happen to me too". A "power" is a country that has a standing military. "Foreign" is any country that isn't yours. So in the context of this decision the USC has made, the president (and therefore the rest of the executive branch) has the authority to carry out an unimpeded investigation into anyone who is:
1) Not a US citizen, or
2) A US citizen working in concert with any other country's government.

US citizens who aren't into the "spy scene" are in no danger from this particular law. And it's a good thing, too. We have plenty of other symptoms of a retarded government to deal with.

Re:So let me get this straight... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15726507)

"US citizens who aren't into the "spy scene" are in no danger from this particular law."

I think the point that the OP was making is that if someone's being investigated, they're not necessarily guilty of the crime. They might turn out to be entirely innocent; the investigation is based on some suspicion of guilt, and its purpose is to ascertain guilt or innocence.

Now, if you are being investigated as a "terrorist" under these rules, you instantly lose your legal rights. It doesn't matter if you've never harmed a fly in your entire life. It doesn't matter if you've never set foot nor made a phone call outside the US. It doesn't matter whether you're guilty or innocent. Simply by being accused of "working in concert with any other country's government" you suddenly lose your rights; you are, in the eyes of the government, already guilty, but they don't even have to prove it in a court. Where is the justice in this? There is none.

Re:So let me get this straight... (1)

grcumb (781340) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726235)

"And terrorists are certainly a foreign power.. "

Nothing could be further from the truth. The vast majority of terrorist attacks are perpetrated by citizens of the nation where the attack occurs.

Re:So let me get this straight... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15726247)

We are talking about communications. If you are communicating with an agent of a foriegn power then you have no fourth amendment protection.

If you are unjustly accused of being an agent of a foriegn power, or communicating with one, and the government has not issued a wiretap warrant signed by a judge, then guess what? The case against you is tossed out.

People have this idea that the Constitution protects them from search or siezure by police. It does not. It protects you from having those items siezed used against you in court, and allows you to get them back - after the fact, after you have seen a judge.

Obviously, a DA or detective is not in the business of pissing off judges so they do try to adhere to your rights, but the ultimate expression of those rights are not with the DA or the detective - they are with a judge in a court of law.

Re:So let me get this straight... (1)

Chowderbags (847952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726388)

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

If they don't have a warrant and they monitor your calls, they are in violation of the law and should be tried. Period. I'm a little antsy about retroactive warrants, but I at least see that they can be monitored for abuse.


And DAs, detectives, and even the average cop will do whatever they can to get you to give up your rights. They're looking for convictions, not for you to be educated about what you don't have to do (which can easily make or break a case). For the most part, judges aren't very forgiving (they're not willing to overturn status quo, not that I can blame them).

Re:So let me get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15726555)

"If you are unjustly accused of being an agent of a foriegn power, or communicating with one, and the government has not issued a wiretap warrant signed by a judge, then guess what? The case against you is tossed out."

Actually, the case isn't tossed out. That's the whole problem here. Once you're accused of "terrorism" you lose a lot of rights, regardless of whether you're actually guilty. Do you honestly not see the problem with that method of operation?

Let me put it in plainer words:

If you're so sure someone is a criminal, why are you so afraid to give him a trial like every other criminal? Why do you insist on holding him incommunicado, preventing him from seeing his lawyer or family, and judging him in a military kangaroo court? If you won't give him a real trial, and you still insist on holding him in jail, you are the actual criminal.

"People have this idea that the Constitution protects them from search or siezure by police. It does not. It protects you from having those items siezed used against you in court"

You apparently haven't read the Constitution. It says: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Therefore, yes, the Constitution does protect them from unreasonable search and seizure. The use of such items in court is outlawed as a result of that -- but the act of unreasonable seizure itself is a violation of the Constitution.

Bend over (2, Interesting)

rts008 (812749) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725991)

Hoefully this won't pass, but I would almost bet it will.
We can safely bet it will not be vetoed by POTUS!

Re:Bend over (4, Informative)

9x320 (987156) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726042)

Hm... how can Congress say that the president may have inherent constitutional authority to spy on Americans when the Supreme Court already disagreed in East District of Michigan v. Nixon? That ruling was before FISA even came into existance, but considering this is about "inherent constitutional authority," FISA's existance can be disregarded in that consideration.

Re:Bend over (4, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726105)

East District of Michigan v. Nixon

Don't you understand? It's a different world! 9/11 changed everything! The US has never ever ever faced an enemy as dangerous to its very existence as AlQaedaSaddamHusseinHezbollahSomeGuyDownTheStreetW hoSaidBushSucks! 9/11! The Nixon administration? 9/11! That's a different world you're talking about! 9/11!

Oh, and in case you forgot, 9/11! 9/11! MP3 pirates! 9/11! Child porn! 9/11! 9/11!

the 9-11 changed everything rationale (4, Insightful)

SethJohnson (112166) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726172)



Like you, I'm getting pretty fed up with this excuse for trampling on the constitution and human faces in secret prisons scattered worldwide. While 9/11 was certainly a horrific tragedy, it certainly doesn't represent a threat of such proportions that we need to sidestep the trivialities of the constitution to preserve the continued existence of America.

While it's a completely different conflict, consider the threat that the Civil War posed to the country. 9-11 was baby crap compared to how close America came to disolving during the Civil War.

So, yeah, America has been guided through some spectacularly difficult times by that Constitution. And these neocons who are second guessing the original authors of the document, well, I wouldn't exactly put them on the same shelf of great thinkers occupied by the likes of Ben Franklin.

Seth

Re:the 9-11 changed everything rationale (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15726211)

> 9-11 was baby crap compared to how close America came to disolving during the Civil War.

Well duh, it was a civil war.

But Lincoln restored Habeas Corpus when the civil war ended. When is the war on terra going to end?

Re:the 9-11 changed everything rationale (1)

9x320 (987156) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726308)

Technically, under the conditions of Congress's 2001 authorization, it goes on for as long as any single member of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda have not perished, surrendered, or been captured. I'd say that'd be at least sixty years.

Even then, they could extend it even more, I suppose. It says 'authorization to use military force against the people, organizations, governments, or parties that caused the September 11, 2001 attacks and the people, organizations, governments, or parties that help or protect them. Rumor has it Osama has training camps for al-Quaeda over in Somalia, taking advantage of the anarchy caused by the fighting of rival warlords.

The radical Islamic Courts Union, the judicial branch of an old government, turned into a dictatorship led by the former Chief Justice and used its military to attack Somalia towns. They recently gained a major victory by capturing the capital of Somalia, and then the base where rival factions had fleed to after the takeover. There are rumors that they have links with al-Qaeda, and in light of afforementioned news reports, wouldn't it be something special if they were true? Under Congress's distasterously wide authorization, Bush could deploy hundreds of thousands of troops to Somalia and he wouldn't so much as have to utter a breath before Congress again to do it!

I guess when you consider either the qualifiers of "when every single al-Qaeda, Taliban, or Islamic Courts Union member is dead" or "a non-war supporting president is elected," it makes Rumsfeld's recent PR term "the long war" literally "the long war." Odd that the Somalia dictatorship came from the judicial branch. Usually it's been depicted as coming from the executive branch, or in the case of Palpatine, the legislative.

Re:Bend over (2)

NaruVonWilkins (844204) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726744)

7/4 changed everything.

Re:Bend over (1)

philipgar (595691) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726629)

how can Congress say that the president may have inherent constitutional authority to spy on Americans when the Supreme Court already disagreed in East District of Michigan v. Nixon?
What part of "foreign powers and agents of foreign powers" wasn't clear? This whole article, and the fact that it's on slashdot is stupid. Of course such a line would be inserted into any bill. Congress CAN NOT ever pass a law that limits the powers of the president if those powers are allowed by the constitution (including powers the courts have ruled the constitution has granted him). If the law stated that the president had extra powers or something, maybe that would be newsworthy. Although I guess considering how rarely congress follows the constitution, maybe a law where they state they don't violate it is a good start.

Phil

Why do we have subdomains and sections again? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15725996)

Blah blah blah...Belongs in politics.slashdot.org, not yro.slashdot.org...blah blah blah...Zonk sucks...blah blah blah...

Wouldn't matter anyway... (0, Troll)

gowen (141411) | more than 8 years ago | (#15725998)

Nothing in any act (short of a constitutional amendment) can undermine anyone's constitutional authority to do anything. That's what constitutional authority is. Furthermore, Presidential acts tend to get fast-tracked to the Supreme Court, and there's no way in hell that august body is gonna rule against Prez. That's tantamount to treason these days. Nice solid 5-4 with some half-assed whiny dissent paying lip service to Civil Liberties.

Re:Wouldn't matter anyway... (1)

ortcutt (711694) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726079)

I'm not sure what your point is but I would start by asking "What constitutional authority?" The only people who think that Article II authorizes the President to do whatever he wants regardless of statutes are (1) Bush Administration lawyers, (2) John Woo, (3) some fourth-tier law school professors. The Supreme Court and the vast majority of constitutional scholars believe otherwise. The FISA set limits and the Bush administration ignored those limits. Now, Senator Specter wants to weaken FISA so that FISA Court review is optional. That's absurd. That's like dealing with a state's murder problem by making murder legal and declaring the problem solved.

Re:Wouldn't matter anyway... (2, Interesting)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726129)

It's a bait and switch:

President: "Under my constitutional authority ..."

Supreme Court, playing along: "You don't have that constitutional authority."

Rubber-stamp Congress: "Under the President's constitutional authority ..."

Supreme Court: "The law clarifies the President's constitutional authority ..."

Bang! You and I and everyone else who gives a damn about freedom can howl all we want, but all it takes is one Supreme Court decision to enshrine this previously-nonexistent authority as precedent.

I feel like a conspiracy-theorist nutcase even making this post, but you know, just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you.

Re:Wouldn't matter anyway... (1)

ortcutt (711694) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726260)

But the Supreme Court didn't enshrine any such authority and seem unlikely to given the Hamdan decision. So, I'm still confused about your point.

Re:Wouldn't matter anyway... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15726278)

"Do whatever he wants"

Nice strawman you have slain. Did it drop the gloves of +1 lawyering?

Seriously, heres what FISA says about FORIEGN intelligence gathering:

The Truong court, as did all the other courts to have decided the issue, held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information. It was incumbent upon the court, therefore, to determine the boundaries of that constitutional authority in the case before it. We take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President's constitutional power. The question before us is the reverse, does FISA amplify the President's power by providing a mechanism that at least approaches a classic warrant and which therefore supports the government's contention that FISA searches are constitutionally reasonable.

Case No. 02-001

Nice Troll, Supreme Court Has Overrulled Bush (3, Informative)

MyNameIsFred (543994) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726090)

...there's no way in hell that august body is gonna rule against Prez...
I realize you're probably trolling, but we can't ignore the facts. See, for example, the Supreme Court rebuking Bush on Gitmo [freep.com] or Supreme Court limits Bush's power [voanews.com] .

Re:Nice Troll, Supreme Court Has Overrulled Bush (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15726481)

and how about the surpreme court ruling the state can steal your house and sell it to corporations [slashdot.org] if the price is right, or ruling that ended the recount in florida even though gore won by all accounts (despite misleading headlines)?

its no troll, the supreme court supports all but the most blatant of bush's agendas.

So long as they can help him without the public marching on their courthouse they will.

Re:Wouldn't matter anyway... (2, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726106)

. . .there's no way in hell that august body is gonna rule against Prez.

Not really true, at the moment, as the recent ruling on the tribunals shows; however. . .

To show close you are to the truth compare and contrast C. Thomas' minority opinion in the imminent domain case, where he was both legally sound and right, with his minority opinion in the tribunal case, where he completely ignores his own legal philosophy in order to favor absolute powers for the president.

The cognitive disonance is scarey, as is the fact that these fundamental issues of American legal philosophy are coming down to single vote majorities.

KFG

Doublespeak? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15726003)

Right. God forbid a congressional bill uphold the constitution.

Read the whole article, it's important (4, Insightful)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726021)

The devil is in the details, and he's plotting busily away.

For one thing the bill allows FISC to issue, not individual warrants, but permission for exactly the kind of driftnet fishing expedition that's never been legal against US citizens.

Then comes the real land mine. If someone does challenge a domestic spying program, this bill says FISC can "dismiss a challenge to the legality of an electronic surveillance program for any reason". Think about that: "any reason". Not "any legal reason", not "any rational reason", not "any reason related to national security". This simply means the court can throw out any complaint without a hearing just because it wants to.

"...foreign powers and agents of foreign powers" makes this sound much better than it really is. Just remember that if spying on "agents" doesn't allow enough abuse to satisfy the people behind this, they'll interpret it as "suspected agents". After that, it will somehow expand to "alleged agents" and then to "possible agents", meaning everybody. Then they'll be able to bug the Democratic Party [wikipedia.org] as before, only this time it will be legal.

Re:Read the whole article, it's important (1)

kesuki (321456) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726126)

One senator saying he's backing this does not a law make :)

the bill still has to go before the congress, and then the senate then to committee then to the president's desk :)

maybe zonk was sleeping on the job because the submitters commentary, the parent comments, etc had nothing to do with the content of any article about this news i could find :)

Re:Read the whole article, it's important (2, Funny)

bblboy54 (926265) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726147)

Read the whole article, it's important....
br> You must be new here.

Re:Read the whole article, it's important (1)

avtchillsboro (986655) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726148)

"Read the whole article" indeed. It's an EDITORIAL

Then comes the real land mine. If someone does challenge a domestic spying program, this bill says FISC can "dismiss a challenge to the legality of an electronic surveillance program for any reason". Think about that: "any reason". Not "any legal reason", not "any rational reason", not "any reason related to national security". This simply means the court can throw out any complaint without a hearing just because it wants to.

...please.

Re:Read the whole article, it's important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15726181)

What constitutional authority does the President have anyway? He is the commander-in-chief, but he can only do what congress grants him the authority to do. And congress can only grant authority that the constitution allows. Where does Bush get off claiming the constitution gives him the authority to spy on US citizens? I have heard many claims to that effect but never heard a quote from the constitution to back it up.

Re:Read the whole article, it's important (4, Interesting)

gettingbraver (987276) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726182)

This administration does not want another Daniel Ellsberg [wikipedia.org] leaking today's equivilant of the Pentagon Papers [wikipedia.org] . Especially after reading this [boston.com] .

Re:Read the whole article, it's important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15726333)

Yea, that is a bit sticky. Its deference to the judiciary, which by my account is the most rational of the three branches. They are not in the business of trampling the Constitution (or else they get smacked hard by a court of appeal or the Supreme Court) and they do not suffer foolish prosecutors gladly.

Even SCOTUS, while now a conservative body, has no problem slamming the President, as they recently did re: Gitmo. Frankly, if I had my choice between trusting the Judiciary, the Congress, or the Executive, it would be a no-brainer.

Re:Read the whole article, it's important (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15726439)

Heh, time to send some of these out to your Congresscritters.

We the [Redacted] [cafepress.com]

Re:Read the whole article, it's important (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726603)

To be fair, a number of centrist journalists think that mass-internet-filtering for data is likely to be legal in the future. Clearly, it's a useful tool in tracking criminals. Clearly, it's easy to abuse as well, but it may be possible to have enough oversight to ensure that it's used only for just purposes, and that abuse can rarely occur (eg. just scanning the "outside of the envelope", for instance).

Usual Suspects (1, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726038)

The NY Times coverage [nytimes.com] of SPECTRE's [wikipedia.org] latest BushCo ex post facto whitewash says

the deal would put the court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, in the unusual position of deciding whether the wiretapping program is a legitimate use of the president's power to fight terrorism.


Lichtblau says the FISA Court's position would be "unusual". The FISA Court [cornell.edu] is the ONLY venue that is ALWAYS in the position of deciding whether US persons are legitimate wiretap subjects. It's position is not just not "unusual", it is absolutely required every time.

Anyone who isn't complicit in creating a "unitary executive" [wikipedia.org] from Bush's imperial presidency can tell that SPECTRE is just papering [blogspot.com] the discarding of Congress as the lawmaking body in the USA.

Hey, Mods... (1)

KwKSilver (857599) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726930)

Wake up, mods, the parent is mot a troll.

Re:Hey, Mods... (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15727007)

These anonymous fascists aren't "asleep". There's no one left with the excuse that they don't notice Bush's tyranny. They're in on it, even though they're probably just getting screwed like the rest of us. They're part of the big chunk of Americans who call themselves "Conservatives" but are really just sicko authoritarians [google.com] . Like the TrollMods who mod me down when I discuss Bush's torture and murder in our Terror War gulags. They hate America, they hate me, they hate themselves. It's a nightmare, but no one's sleeping.

Re:Usual Suspects (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 8 years ago | (#15727004)

Moderation -1
    100% Troll

TrollMods actually want Bush to spy on them like a tyrant.

FIRST POST (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15726047)

'first post' During which I win out; either the under the GPL. you down. It was EFNet, and apply world wiil have

Re:FIRST POST (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726068)

To quote Gollum: "What did he say?"

That quote from TFS reminds me of... (-1, Troll)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726061)

The quote from the summary reminds me of president nixo... err bush's "signing statements"..

which, though theyre function is supposedly to clarify the intent of laws passed, in the majorify of cases have amounted to "i, bush, do not have to obey this law i've signed"

Re:That quote from TFS reminds me of... (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726161)

A Congress with guts would interpret signing statements as declaration of intent to break the law, and therefore strong evidence for impeachment the instant the law goes into effect and is presumably broken. "You signed this bill, therefore it is law. Nothing you say about it has any legal force; only the bill itself, and your signature, represent the law. We're watching you, buddy."

Oh, I just re-read the first four words of my post. Never mind.

Courts (1, Redundant)

9x320 (987156) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726070)

Hm... how can Congress say that the president may have inherent constitutional authority to spy on Americans when the Supreme Court already disagreed in East District of Michigan v. Nixon? That ruling was before FISA even came into existance, but considering this is about "inherent constitutional authority," FISA's existance can be disregarded in that consideration.

Re:Courts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15726571)

Nixon case was superseded by US V Truong.

Read current case law nitwit, not just something that reinforces your political prejudices. On top of that try reading the powers of the Presidency as they are written into the articles at the beginning - and the most recent enabling act that delegates the war owers to the PResident for the current conflict. You might become educated as to the president's constitutional powers to wage war, including spying as part of thatm which also include swarantlesses wiretaps and searches, going back to WW2, etc.

In the words of... (2, Funny)

Marko DeBeeste (761376) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726077)

...the great sage (and government employee) Gomer Pyle: "Surprise, Surprise, Surprise."

In defence of freedom?! (4, Funny)

headkase (533448) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726093)

Searching for "Laws fall silent in times of war" led to this page [umkc.edu] . Putting it in context, barring further violence US politics hopefully will begin to lose some hysteria and in another 5 years and we can get back to more pressing issues such as whether or not such and such president got or did not get a bj and whether we ought to impeach the bastard. And he didn't inhale.

Re:In defence of freedom?! (1)

kesuki (321456) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726231)

You mean if a former president can be the first lady ;)

Nope, not an 'offical' endorsment. afterall, she wouldn't want my 'official' endorsment anyways. depending on how the next few weeks pan out, we might be a little closer to knowing if hillary actually stands a shot at a presidential bid or not though.

anyways, keeping annoying criminals locked up is important :)

rehabilitating criminals is important too :) if we just throw them in there and make them work, or let them teach each other how to do more crimes then there is little real benefit to society, as they leave bitter, and angry, or having been well educated in evil.

considering who i am, and what i've done, there is little doubt in my mind that this long war is about to come to a screeching halt. not a cold war, not a hot war, more like, a period of peace and prosperity that will allow people to have a lot more fun. yeah, i was loosing my touch definitely, i know people were trying to warn me, etc. but hey :) it has definetly got mr. toads wild ride beat :)

legal analysis (5, Insightful)

herbiesdad (909590) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726108)

i knew the law degree would come in handy some time. ok, sorry, but you guys have it wrong. the quoted language is to clarify that congress is making no attempt to divest the president of the rights he has in that office pursuant to article ii of the constitution. any efforts by the congress to limit the executive powers expressly granted to the president in article ii are illegal because they implicate a breach of separation of powers. along the same lines, the president could not pass a resolution or treaty that would take away legislative powers from the congress. i take no position on the proposed legislation.

How dare you (1)

SnowZero (92219) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726390)

How dare you bring such a "legal analysis". It has no place here, this is Slashdot; a utopian non-RTFM collective.

How dare you? Here's how. (-1, Flamebait)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726583)

You thought that law degree would come in handy? Well, it hasn't done a damn thing for your belief in the balance of constitutional powers of the three branches of government. You lost me when you said "I take no position on the proposed legislation". Did you ever think maybe you goddamn OUGHT to take a position? Or has your "law degree" so clouded your ability to discern right from wrong. The Bush Administration has brought a full-scale attack on the fundamental principles that have made the United States a great nation. But you "take no position". You should be ashamed. I mean no disrespect, but you are a worm.

Re:How dare you? Here's how. (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726605)

Let me amend, in case your law degree also precludes your ability to discern sarcasm: I do mean disrespect.

Re:How dare you? Here's how. (2, Insightful)

blank axolotl (917736) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726741)

You lost me when you said "I take no position on the proposed legislation".

How fortunate.. you lost him right when he finished!

Also, withholding an opinion (until sufficient analysis is done) is better than jumping to conclusions without careful thought, as you seem apt to do. In fact, the OP's point was that many people posting here hadn't analyzed the story correctly and had the completely wrong idea (and yet are still ranting on)

Re:legal analysis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15726653)

You are full of shit. People with law degrees use capitalization.

Re:legal analysis (2, Insightful)

alphaFlight (26589) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726713)

exactly! laws that violate express grants of power in the constitution are some of the easiest for the supreme court to strike down as unconstitutional.
it was refreshing to find your post.

Re:legal analysis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15727087)

This is correct on one level but incorrect on another. The president has more power (in Justice Jackson's famous framework) when he or she is acting with the consent of Congress. One could construe the clause as a constitutional savings clause, viewing it as an attempt to make sure the law does nothing unconstitutional -- i.e., divest the executive of his or her article II authority. The more likely intent however, and the clear outcome in any case (as the previous poster seems to recognize), is that this is a clear punt to the courts. Nothing has been decided, but arguably, Congress has aquiesced. Imagine that, lawyers disagree.

FUD (4, Insightful)

Evets (629327) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726127)

I see all the political propoganda going around these days as nothing more than FUD. The text of the bill isn't even in TFA, so without doing some legwork (which I'm sure someone here will do), you really have no idea what is in the bill.

It's certainly within the power of congress to present a bill that would reduce the effectiveness of a previously passed bill.

My take on this is that anything going through congress should be thought through with the mindset that terrorism is not a factor. Terrorism today is like the war on drugs or the war on communism. It never ends and it's a tool used by the powers that be to do things to the citizenry that would under normal circumstances be impossible. If you strip away the fundamental principals of society to deal with a problem, then the solution is worse than the problem.

We are dealing with three things here - 1) we live an an information age society that is fundamentally different than the one's which gave birth to the majority of our laws and 2) we have a general populous that is ignorant of that which makes our society great. The third thing is that political maneuvering is based on a polling structure that encourages answering without any pontification or even any background information. Sure, we would all like to live in a well thought out society, but we can't even force the issue of working in a well thought out environment. We can blame our congressman for making bad decisions, but a better solution would be to become involved to the point where we were helping governmental decision making in general better.

I certainly see that government will always push the limits of it's own power and understand that laws which grant power to the government should be written with a conservative (conservative, not right-wing) mindset. But I also can see that lawmakers have a different perspective than the general populous. They sometimes have a better historical perspective. They sometimes have access to information that the general public does not which factors into their decision making, and they sometimes have motivations completely unrelated to a particular bill that push them to vote one way or another. In the end, they have to live with their decisions just as much as we do. If their track record is so bad, then why is the re-election rate upwards of 90%? Surely it couldn't be pure apathy on the part of their detractors.

Re:FUD (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726152)

2) we have a general populous that is ignorant of that which makes our society great.

Girls Gone Wild?

KFG

Re:FUD (3, Informative)

WerewolfOfVulcan (320426) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726185)

original bill [eff.org]

changes as of 6.14 [eff.org]

The bill is S. 2453. Working title is National Security Surveillance Act of 2006.

There are a couple of other bills worth noting. One is S. 2455 (Terrorist Surveillance Act of 2006), sponsored by Senators DeWine and Graham. The other is S . 3001 (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Improvement and Enhancement Act of 2006) sponsored by Senators Specter and Feinstein.

I've been following these bills since their introduction. I knew that one or more of them would make it to the table before November. If any of them pass, Bush will have gotten away with wiping his ass with the Constitution yet again [google.com]

eff.org senate.gov (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15727049)

The parent deserves some positive moderation for the eff.org links.
 
  The bill is S. 2453.
 
I find it hilarious (dare I say ironic) that I spent a ton of time trying to conclusively ID the bill based on TFA and had no luck. (Spectre sponsored another bill, too, neither of which seemed to have the executive power exclusion thingy.) But then again, I used senate.gov instead of eff.org...

Re:FUD (3, Insightful)

ortcutt (711694) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726559)

What about the track record of the Republican-led Congress or Bush administration gives you any indication that they are concerned about civil liberties or even with the most effective means of combatting terrorism? Everything tells me that they'd rather just let the President off the hook and authorize whatever he wants to do. It is also short-sighted to see this as FUD. There are reports about what the bill will contain and many people are rightly concerned that the safeguards put in place by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act aren't eroded. This is not premature. If we wait until the t's are crossed and the i's dotted on Specter's FISA-Gutting-Act, it's going to be too late to respond to this travesty.

Wake-up call for techies! (4, Interesting)

CurtMonash (986884) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726171)

Let's be real. Government WILL wind up with huge amounts of information about us, and the technological means to filter it. Financial transactions, electronic communications, travel -- all of those are trackable in theory, and anything trackable can be stored and mined. Over the next couple of decades, that theory will increasingly become fact.

We need laws that protect us DESPITE this inevitable progression. I.e., since freedom will lose on the battlefield of what information government has access to, we need to find ANOTHER battlefield where freedom can win. And the only viable candidate I see is to greatly strengthen laws controlling what government can DO with data, even if it possesses same.

This winds up being a system design issue, as tough as the flip-side problem of "How will government integrate all that information to get at it anyway." So we need to start solving it right away, just like the integration problem is already being worked on, then get that solution out into the public consciousness.

I think I've made a good start at http://www.monashreport.com/2006/06/06/freedom-eve n-without-data-privacy/ [monashreport.com] , but it's just a start. A lot more is needed.

Ummmm doublespeak? (-1, Troll)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726190)

Before I start, let me say that I voted Badnarik in 2004 over most of what Bush stood and still stands for. That said...

The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government, and shall protect each of them against Invasion; and on Application of the Legislature, or of the Executive (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic Violence.

It's not a stretch to argue that the President has a legal obligation under Article IV, Section 4 to prevent intelligence gathering. By definition, anyone who acts as an agent of a foreign power is committing a potential act of war against the United States and is not a mere criminal. If the person is an American, they could be quite justifiably be executed for treason.

Most terrorists are in fact agents of foreign governments. You will be hard-pressed to find a terror group with the power to do serious damage that isn't backed by at least one foreign government. For the President to treat such people as not mere criminals, but rather as combatants is good for us. Why? Because if done right, it doesn't involve tampering with the legal system for even serious criminals. The very fact that we give foreign agents trials at all is a testament to our civility. Many governments would probably quietly shoot such people dead without a trial.

Liberals are, like conservatives, the consummate hypocrites. Where was the left-wing outrage when Clinton pulled 500 confidential, need-to-know FBI files on some of his political enemies? How about the actual massacres at Ruby Ridge and Waco? If you want to point fingers, then point them at the FBI and the powers that be who are unwilling to actually enforce the law and constitution against corrupt presidents like Clinton and Bush. The CIA's efforts against terrorists aren't what should scare anyone. What should scare everyone is the fact that there are no checks and enforcements against presidents who are out of control and that the people simply don't care.

[blank]-American (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15726257)

If the person is an American, they could be quite justifiably be executed for treason.


Errr.... North American, South American, or Central American?

Re:[blank]-American (0, Flamebait)

chunky shit salsa (956359) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726921)

Since you seem to be quite socially inept, spending most of your time in your mom's basement, so let me explain. While there are other countries on the american continents, the world refers to 'americans' as people from the usa, not the rednecks from canadia, the shit-stained half niggers of brass dill or the hard-working salsa manufacturers of mekhico.

Re:Ummmm doublespeak? (1)

Darby (84953) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726868)

Why? Because if done right,

There is the deepseated fundamental flaw in your entire "point".

As soon as you have to throw in, "and the magic faeries came and make everything wonderful" which is exactly equivalent to your statement, your entire argument becomes completely worthless.

Think it *all* the way through next time.

Re:Ummmm doublespeak? (1)

HotBlackDessiato (842220) | more than 8 years ago | (#15727088)

First time I've read a sig line which automatically qualifies a person for a lifetime's reserved bed in Gitmo.

(Not saying I dissagree with it, you know, the internet an all...hi NSA slashdot political views supervsor!)

Nothing in any Act can limit the president thusly (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15726201)

The quote is just boilerplate, designed to save everyone the expense of a court case.

The fact is, nothing in any Act can constrain the executives authority to conduct foriegn intelligence data gathering. That is a prerogative of the Executive, as enumerated in the Constitution, as interpreted (repeatedly) by the Supreme Court. An amendment to the Constitution is required. First, we establish that foreign intel gathering is seperate from domestic gathering for purpose of applying 4th amendment:

Katz v. United States, 389 U.S. 347
Whether safeguards other than prior authorization by a magistrate would satisfy the Fourth Amendment in a situation involving the national security is a question not presented by this case.

United States v. United States District Court, 407 U.S. 297 (1972)
"[T]he instant case requires no judgment on the scope of the President's surveillance power with respect to the activities of foreign powers, within or without this country."

Let us not forget that the 4th covers people. Surely if seizing foriegners is an Exuctive prerogative to making war, then siezing thier communications is also:
Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. 507 (2004)
"The Government maintains that no explicit congressional authorization is required, because the Executive possesses plenary authority to detain pursuant to Article II of the Constitution. We do not reach the question whether Article II provides such authority, however, because we agree with the Government's alternative position, that Congress has in fact authorized Hamdi's detention through the AUMF [the post-September 11 Authorization for the Use of Military Force]. We conclude that detention of individuals falling into the limited category we are considering, for the duration of the particular conflict in which they were captured, is so fundamental and accepted an incident to war as to be an exercise of the "necessary and appropriate force" Congress has authorized the President to use."

Now establish Constitutional authority for Executive to conduct foreign surviellance:
United States v. [Cassius] Clay, 430 F.2d 165 (5th Cir. 1970)
"We...discern no constitutional prohibition against the fifth wiretap. Section 605 of Title 47, U.S.C., is a general prohibition against publication or use of communications obtained by wiretapping, but we do not read the section as forbidding the President, or his representative, from ordering wiretap surveillance to obtain foreign intelligence in the national interest."

United States v. Butenko, 494 F.2d 593 (3rd Cir. 1974)
"In sum, we hold that, in the circumstances of this case, prior judicial authorization was not required since the district court found that the surveillances of Ivanov were "conducted and maintained solely for the purpose of gathering foreign intelligence information.""

In 1980, the Fourth Circuit decided United States v. Truong
"For several reasons, the needs of the executive are so compelling in the area of foreign intelligence, unlike the area of domestic security, that a uniform warrant requirement would, following [United States v. United States District Court, 407 U.S. 297 (1972)], "unduly frustrate" the President in carrying out his foreign affairs responsibilities. First of all, attempts to counter foreign threats to the national security require the utmost stealth, speed and secrecy. A warrant requirement would add a procedural hurdle that would reduce the flexibility of executive foreign intelligence activities, in some cases delay executive response to foreign intelligence threats, and increase the chance of leaks regarding sensitive executive operations."

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review Sealed Case No. 02-001
"The Truong court, as did all the other courts to have decided the issue, held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information. It was incumbent upon the court, therefore, to determine the boundaries of that constitutional authority in the case before it. We take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President's constitutional power. The question before us is the reverse, does FISA amplify the President's power by providing a mechanism that at least approaches a classic warrant and which therefore supports the government's contention that FISA searches are constitutionally reasonable."

Your Rights Online ?!?!!?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15726203)

For god's sake, this one should've clearly been filed under Politics.

I've seen too many YRO recently, which clearly didn't have much to do with it.

What's next? Any further developments on Dell's Exploding Battery Syndrome will be YRO because if the laptop explodes then you can't get online?

Sheeesh.....

FISA != SCOTUS (3, Interesting)

jlowery (47102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726219)

IANAL, but surely FISA has no business determining if something is constitutional. Specter has come up with a poorly negotiated compromise that weakens two branches of government to the point of being hobbled. I really, really hope that consequences are fully thought out by our congress and senate before they agree to this power-grab. I'm hopeful, not expectant.

Re:FISA != SCOTUS (1)

gilroy (155262) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726312)

Well, other courts besides SCOTUS can rule on constitutionality. Any court lower than SCOTUS can be appealed, of course, but the way that the Supremes make constituionality decisions is often by affirming (or quashing) the decision of a lower court.

No, there's a more troubling thing here than an attempt to dilute the reach of SCOTUS: In the US, in general, courts don't do prior review. They rule only on "actual cases and controversies" -- meaning they don't green-light legislation ahead of time. Partly this is to check the judiciary and partly it's to avoid clogging the court system with hypothetical.

Putting this before FISC without allowing an actual suit is certainly unusual and possibly a tad worrying.

Re:FISA != SCOTUS (2, Insightful)

Darby (84953) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726881)

I really, really hope that consequences are fully thought out by our congress and senate before they agree to this power-grab.

Oh good god, the naivety of people is really driving me fucking nuts these days.

Of course they thought it through. That's *why* they're fucking doing it, you simpleton.

Grow up, pull off the rose colored glasses and deal with the reality you're in, not the delusional fantasy world you wish you were in.

Are you that out of touch with reality that you actually believe they'll fuck it up by accident?!?

The consequences you are worried about *are* their fucking goal.

For ample proof of what I'm saying, just look at the whole entirety of human history.

Constitutional authority (4, Insightful)

mybecq (131456) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726239)

Nothing in this Act shall be construed to limit the constitutional authority of the President

The Legislative body doesn't have that power anyway.

Re:Constitutional authority (1)

DarkProphet (114727) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726365)

Right. Its implicit based off the existing organization of our government as prescribed by the Constitution. The fact that the author felt it necessary to illustrate the point in writing leads me to believe that something is amiss...

Bad example line (1)

wwahammy (765566) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726251)

While I think this bill is a horrible infringement of the rights of citizens, I think the example line used in the summary is a poor choice. All that line seems to do is explicitly say that Congress isn't trying to intrude on the President's inherent constituional powers and authority. That line doesn't really say what powers they believe the President has but in the end, even that doesn't matter because its up to the courts to figure all that out. My guess is that someone put that line in for two reasons (no idea if these reasons are legitimate/legally valid... your mileage may vary). First it shows the American people and the President that this isn't intend to hurt the power of th President to fight terrorism. Second it basically says to the court "ya we actually considered the issue of Presidential power and we don't feel we're limiting it". It sorta makes the executive branch challenge it with more than "Its about eavesdropping and they didn't even consider us so they must be taking away our power". I don't know if I'm describing this correctly or even if this is at all legally relavent but that's my thinking.

Overstepping Power? (0, Troll)

droe42 (752882) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726261)

'Nothing in this Act shall be construed to limit the constitutional authority of the President to collect intelligence with respect to foreign powers and agents of foreign powers.' Geez. i know i bought a pocket constitution for dummies, and I read it cover to cover, and I can't find anywhere the "you cannot violate civil rights, unless you say that you say (with a straight face) it was for a foreign power" This must be in the same updated constitution that says the NSA can tap AT&T internet communications of everyone because one person might be using it for a foreign power.

eTroll (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15726270)

irc.secsUp.Org or

The Fine Print On Wiretapping Review (0, Offtopic)

White_Knight_32_KS (605740) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726281)

I'd rather have the Nazgûl, of EFF attourneys, represent us, than Senator Spectre, who gives me flashbacks of James Bond's S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Nazgûl Trivia (attourneys): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazg%C3%BBl#Trivia [wikipedia.org] S.P.E.C.T.R.E. Trivia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S.P.E.C.T.R.E. [wikipedia.org] With any good fortune, EFF's attourneys will be equally tenacious, as IBM's! White Knight

What about signing statements? (0, Flamebait)

QCompson (675963) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726310)

Can't our esteemed beloved leader Mr. Bush just sign this bill from Congress into law with a signing statement saying that he doesn't necessarily have to follow it?

That's really how things work, right? Check and balances are a throwback to pre-21st century America: they're quaint and cute, but they don't actually apply.

All you 'wire tap' people are idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15726681)

It ain't wiretapping - that is, listening in to conversations. It's data mining looking at patterns of calls to and from known terrorist support groups outside of the US with numbers inside the US. There are millions of hours of phone conversations daily here in the US. Who the hell do you think is going to review all of them? And what agency has the manpower to screen every 'Hi Mom/Hi Sweetie/Hello Boss/is the coast clear' call made just to get the one 'the bomb's in the mail' call?
This is supposed to be a news site for IT workers. People who do analysis. People who think logically. Try it folks. If it hurts too much you can go back to being stupid and letting some news outlet selling advertising do your thinking for you.
Just remember if you let someone else dump their agenda into your head, you wind up with shit for brains.

Re:All you 'wire tap' people are idiots (1)

KwKSilver (857599) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726959)

Who the hell do you think is going to review all of them?
The Homeland Secret Police? or as our German friends would say, Geheime Staatspolizei.

Do7l (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15726766)

study. [rice.edu] Learn what mistakes at death's door Am protesting it. Its mission is That the project A BSD box that officers. Others the problems Slashdot 'BSD is least I won't this is consistent GAY NIGGERS FROM survey which she had no fear lube or we sell If you have If you don't example, if you took precedence

What about Constitutional Responosibilities? (2, Insightful)

GISGEOLOGYGEEK (708023) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726782)

The President has no constitutional authority to allow the wiretapping program, the doublespeak in the article means nothing. ... Of course since no american judge has the balls to knock down the constitution breaking laws Bush has passed such as the patriot act, Bush is effectively above the constitution. He needs no further authority since you dumbasses won't hold him accountable.

So the arguement is moot.

What's the point again? (3, Insightful)

lionchild (581331) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726935)

One nice line: 'Nothing in this Act shall be construed to limit the constitutional authority of the President to collect intelligence with respect to foreign powers and agents of foreign powers.'

So, um...what's the whole point of this act, if the President can simply decide that this doesn't apply to what he's doing? Are we just paying our Congressmen to generate laws and paperwork that have no meaning or way for enforcement?

Whatever happened to a system of checks and balances? Geez.

Don't get your panties in a bunch (2)

TheConfusedOne (442158) | more than 8 years ago | (#15727151)

The system of checks and balances remains firmly in place. Congress cannot unilaterally override the Constitution. The language is actually probably boiler-plate to help avoid a Constitutional challenge of the new law.

As for the President we've already seen that the courts can and will override the Executive branch when they claim Constitutional privledges (Hamdan v Rumsfeld). In that case they said "go back to the Legislative branch to get clarifying law, until then we say this is beyond your Constitutional scope of power".

Do something about it (2, Informative)

arrrrg (902404) | more than 8 years ago | (#15726998)

I'm surpised nobody has posted an EFF link yet. Here's the summary & link from BoingBoing [boingboing.net] :

Cindy Cohn, EFF's stellar Legal Director, sez, "Senator Specter and the Bush Administration today announced that they have reached a deal to send all of the cases concerning the illegal NSA wiretapping (including EFF's) to the secret FISA court. This is being spun in the press as a big concession by the Administration but in truth it's an abomination -- the FISA court acts in secret and doesn't even hear argument from both sides. This bill will likely move fast, so we only have a limited window to try to stop it. Here's s direct link to EFF's action center [eff.org] to let you write to the relevant Congressional committees."

It takes less than 30 seconds to send an e-mail to your congresscritter, and it's really the least you can do if you really care about this issue.
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