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Senate Committee Votes to Authorize Warrentless Wiretapping

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the patriot-act-3 dept.

927

LividBlivet writes, "The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that not only authorizes, but extends, US warrentless wiretapping. No accountability. No oversight. No definition of 'terrorist.' No record of who voted for what. Great way to devolve a democratic republic into a fascist theocracy. Me worried? Yea." Here is the text of SB2453, the National Security Surveillance Act (PDF). Confusingly, the committee also voted out two other bills, one of which "all but declares the warrantless wiretapping illegal," according to Wired.

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927 comments

Vote! (5, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103443)

I don't know who is more dangerous, the "Islamofascists" who are behind terrorism or the Neocons who are willing and able to give away all of our Constitutional rights and freedoms. The thing that gets me is that I cannot see an endgame to the Neocon strategy as it is based on a continued fear and principals of isolationism. What are they getting out of the deal by giving away our rights?

Your first chance, should you disagree with these strategies (rights erosion, elimination of civil liberties, etc...etc...etc...) is to exercise your Constitutionally given rights (for now) and vote this November for a change. Elect those individuals that will best represent the people, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights at home and abroad. Make these people responsible for what they say and do by linking their jobs to their implemented law and take back your country.

Re:Vote! (3, Insightful)

Franio (964631) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103467)

And what do we do when "individuals that will best represent the people, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights at home and abroad" are not on the ballot?

Re:Vote! (3, Insightful)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103495)

Or, what do we do when they are on the ballot, and the people vote for them, but the official election results once again differ wildly from exit poll results, as they hve in every election since 2000?

Exit polls were the gold standard of election forcasting...until 2000. Funny...that's when all the trouble started, isn't it?

A little bit OT, but (5, Insightful)

knightmad (931578) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103527)

From where did this "Islamofascist" expression came? I'm not a native english speaker, and this expression makes absolute no sense, except if I'm missing some context-dependent information that is out there. Islamic theocracy (that is, according to the most distorted views on both sides, the ultimate goal of the islamic terrorism) and fascism are so different concepts that "islamofascism" sounds like an oxymoron.

I don't know, I'm guessing here, but it sounds like an attempt to label the "other side" fascist, in order to evoke towards them the anti-fascist feelings that survived after the WWII, and also to avoid to be labeled themselves as fascists.

Anyway, it is a lame expression (meme) and I doubt there is an equivalent for it currently in use in any other country/language.

Re:A little bit OT, but (2, Insightful)

helifex (921775) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103589)

I agree. It's an absurd construction. I (like you) assume they believe that labeling thier enemy fascists will help misdirect the publics attention from there fascist behavior.

Re:A little bit OT, but (-1, Flamebait)

deKernel (65640) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103805)

Fascist behavior like a members of Congress basically threating ABC to have their FCC license revoked, and an ex-President also calling the ABC president asking for a movie to pulled because it makes him look bad. You mean that kind of Fascist?

Re:A little bit OT, but (4, Interesting)

BWJones (18351) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103600)

From where did this "Islamofascist" expression came?

I put the word in quotes for a reason in that the label "Islamofascist" is a marketing term developed by Rove and company to help define who the enemy is in this "Global War on Terrorism", better defined by General Abizaid as "The Long War".

OT: Abizaid gets it and understands what it is that we are dealing with with radical fundamentalism and is just the sort of person you want in the military.

Re:A little bit OT, but (0, Flamebait)

Epeeist (2682) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103650)

> Anyway, it is a lame expression (meme) and I doubt there is an equivalent for it currently in use in any other country/language.

What we need to invent is a single word meme for End Times Christian Fundamentalist Neo Conservative.

Re:A little bit OT, but (5, Funny)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103665)

a single word meme for End Times Christian Fundamentalist Neo Conservative

Nutball?

Okay, mod me down now.

-Eric

Re:A little bit OT, but (1)

eosp (885380) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103796)

Bush qualifies as all of those but Christian. He has his fair share of anti-Biblical teaching (war, for example. Something about turning the other cheek?)

Re:A little bit OT, but (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103695)

I think the term "Islamofascist" is taking advantage of the shift in common usage of the term "fascist" from a specific historical movement to a more general term for anyone who employs similar methodology as said historical movement.

I hate the neocons as much as anyone, but I can't really fault them for this, as it's at least more specific than "Islamic Radicals" ("radical" being such a broad term).

Re:A little bit OT, but (4, Insightful)

CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103839)

Just because I was curious about a more exact meaning of "fascit" (wasn't really sure the exact meaning through out time) I ran to wikipedia for a quick read and found this among the descriptions about fascits.

This meant embracing nationalism and mysticism, and advancing ideals of strength and power as means of legitimacy, glorifying war as an end in itself and victory as the determinant of truth and worthiness. An affinity to these ideas can be found in Social Darwinism. These ideas are in direct opposition to the ideals of humanism and rationalism characteristic of the Age of Enlightenment, from which liberalism and, later, Marxism would emerge.

and I'm left thinking..... which side of this "war on terror" does this sound like?

Re:Vote! (-1, Troll)

deKernel (65640) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103577)

The problem with your statement is that the President has the powers that you question, and they are granted to him by the Constitution. You know that nastly little document that is the frameworks for our government. The President is tasked in a time of war to protect the country as he/she sees fit, and guess what we are at war. Our enemy has said that they are at war with us.

The FISA court was created in 1978 or so because Congress felt the need to stick their noses in places it doesn't belong.

As a note as well, please be aware that the wiretapping was of communications with endpoints in locations that were select like Iraq, Iran and Syria. They were not tapping conversations between two endpoints in the US.

Re:Vote! (3, Insightful)

jtharpla (531787) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103729)

Actually, technically we're not at war. The President publicly declared the end of the war in Iraq like 3 years ago. And Congress never voted him new authority to be at war. So while there's cleary still conflict, the President does not have the authority, as his war powers ended 100 days after he declared an end to hostilities. The fact that this sticky point has been missed by most people shows that we have already come to accept the rewiting of the past to fit the present, just as Orwell feared. Yes, this truly is the Long War--the end of which will always be conviently adjusted to fit those in power.

To War, Or Not To War (5, Insightful)

dereference (875531) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103787)

The President is tasked in a time of war to protect the country as he/she sees fit, and guess what we are at war. Our enemy has said that they are at war with us.

Oh, I see. So I guess Congress no longer needs to declare war, what with all the bureacratic trivialities of debate and voting; as long as our "enemy" says we're at war, we are. Ah, that should be a real time-saver. I sure hope that's a troll, but I fear you were serious (albeit terribly misguided).

Yes, Congress grants special power to the President in a time of declared war, but only when Congress agrees indeed there is a war. The "war" on terror, the "war" on drugs, and the "war" on child pornography are all marketing campaigns at best, not actual legally-declared wars.

Re:Vote! (4, Insightful)

Cheeze (12756) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103812)

Can we declare war against an intangible target?

War on Terror is hardly a war in the definition of the word. War on Drugs is the same way.

Who and what are we at war with right now?

Afghanistan? Didn't we win and pull most of our troops to Iraq?
Iraq? I thought Bush declared "Mission Accomplished"
Terror? Terror comes in all forms, including saying things like "if we pull out of Iraq, we will be attacked again."

Re:Vote! (4, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103593)

I don't know who is more dangerous

When is the last time you were directly threatened by a "islamofacist"?

Yup, me neither.

Gues we know the answer to that question, then.

Re:Vote! (2, Interesting)

Epeeist (2682) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103606)

> Neocons who are willing and able to give away all of our your Constitutional rights and freedoms

Close but not quite, you are missing a "y". Replace "our" by your.

To quote from one of my favourite books (The Man who was Thursday) "The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly. The rich have always objected to being governed at all".

Re:Vote! (1)

BWJones (18351) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103770)

I realize that you are in the UK, but you need to realize that we are all in this game together. The reality is that we are headed towards more global integration and if we do not work together, there is going to be more radical fundamentalism grown out of protectionism and isolationist strategies as people become disenfranchised and more able to rule local and uneducated individuals.

There is truth to your quote, but do not let that make you cynical as there are lots of things that you can do from the UK to involve yourself in elections in foreign countries that will have a say in your life almost as much as mine.

Re:Vote! (1)

hummdinger02 (997602) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103635)

I don't know who is more dangerous, the "Islamofascists" who are behind terrorism or the Neocons who are willing and able to give away all of our Constitutional rights and freedoms.

Wow what a dramatization! You do not know who is more dangerous? I do not agree with our governments move but I also think the dramatic reaction does not further the useful debate. It just serves as polarizing rhetoric.

But I COMPLETELY AGREE with your solution!!!

Re:Vote! (1)

RandLS (637452) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103686)

Definitely a bit knee jerk, but the solution is dead on. For those concerned enough to do a little research, you may want to check out the Libertarian Party (www.lp.org) - they fit the bill for civil liberties advocates pretty handily, and are on the ballot in 48 states (more than any other "third" party!).

Re:Vote! (5, Insightful)

daigu (111684) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103715)

What are they getting out of the deal by giving away our rights?

Easy question to answer. More money and more power.

Make these people responsible for what they say and do...

The problem with American-style "democracy" is that it is all too easy to control the tyranny of the majority. It is easy to move from tyranny of the majority to simply tyranny. The major problem is not the people in power - they simply exploited the flaws in the system to their advantage. The major problem is that the system can be gamed by profiling voters, media control (did you see that extended ad by the president that he did from the Oval Office a few days ago?) and so forth.

The sad fact is that despite this administration's incompetence on everything from Iraq to Katrina, it is still going to be a tight race. If the Democrats happen to take back a piece of Congress, they might become a minor thorn - but these guys will never see the jail terms they so richly deserve. Further, they have set the precedent where this will happen again a few presidents from now - and it will likely be even worse.

So, let's not pretend that voting this November is anything major shall we? Yes, people should vote and we should do what we can to deal with the immediate problem - but it does not solve the bigger issue.

Re:Vote! (1, Interesting)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103717)

I plan to vote this November.
I am an American who (working for a foreign company) makes FREQUENT calls, faxes, and emails outside the US. Occasionally to people that might be in, or just returned from, companies the US isn't terribly happy with.

I will be voting FOR the people that are writing/passing this legislation, because I'm convinced that the "good guys" (and we ARE them, by & large) cannot win against an insidious, merciless, and determined enemy by being Dudley Do-Right and playing with one hand tied behind their back.

I couldn't care LESS if the government is reading my emails, listening to my telephone calls, or keeping me under direct surveillance, aside from being annoyed that they're wasting their time. Yawn.

No, I don't believe the sky is falling, EITHER.

This is like the FUD equivalent of Amway. Amway salespeople tell you about the thousands of people who have made million$, but they're still apparently pounding on your door to try to make a buck themselves.
The Left tells you about how the Constitution is in tatters, how the US has become a fascist state (usually a CHRISTIAN FASCIST state, I guess that's "really" bad), and how we're all oppressed...yet they continue to preach their FUD without being picked up and shipped (without trial, of course) to one of those CIA facilities themselves. Damn, that might be too bad a use for all those unmarked black helicopters if they're not too busy. They need to get working, then.

Re:Vote! (5, Informative)

GogglesPisano (199483) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103741)


> What are they getting out of the deal by giving away our rights?

To quote Orwell's 1984:

'The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?'

Re:Vote! (1)

muellerr1 (868578) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103766)

What are they getting out of the deal by giving away our rights?
An American empire headed by a 'president' with near-absolute power. They've never hidden the fact that that's all they've ever wanted. Check out their Project for a New American Century [newamericancentury.org] mission statement. Also, pay particular attention to who signed that document.

Re:Vote! (1)

Rhett's Dad (870139) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103827)

Absolutely, vote vote vote! I'm beginning to think that the best community strategy going forward is to vote out all incumbents no matter who is running against them. Could it get worse, even if like-minded idiots get voted in? The newcomers would likely trip over themselves trying to implement the kinds of things that are being quietly implemented now by the "pros". I hear entirely too many people around me standing up for "our country was based on Christianity, so why not put the Ten Commandments in the courthouse?" Maybe that crowd can get popular support for such a thing, given a voter majority existing of Christians. But that is democracy by brute force, not by legitimacy. I think you'll enjoy being on the receiving end of such religion-in-government when Christians are NOT the majority voters. Has everyone forgotten that short-lived TV commercial where the Christians are having a hidden service in someone's basement, because it presumably wasn't safe to practice it? Further, how far away are we from seeing GW proclaim that the US "will be reorganized into the first Galactic Empire", for the "safety" of everyone?

Re:Vote! (1)

smilindog2000 (907665) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103831)

Yes, vote!

For the first time ever, I intend to push that idiotic "Democrat" vote tab. There are lots of good Republicans I support, but their party has been subverted.

The islamofascists and neocons need eachother. The islamofascists proper simply because of neocon actions, and vise-versa. There is no quicker way to power than to find an enemy of your culture and challenge it to a fight to the death.

Bedtime for Democracy (5, Interesting)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103448)

(Apologies to Jello Biafra)

Here's a quick rundown of SB 2453:
1) Repeal the core requirement of FISA that its procedures and the criminal Wiretap Act (Title III) "shall be the exlusive means" for conducting electronic surveillance. The bill essentially makes FISA optional overall, by explicitly deferring to the President's "inherent" constitutional authority instead.

2) Authorize (but not require) the President to submit the current NSA surveillance program to review and blessing by the FISA courts. This review effectively would be limited to Fourth Amendment issues. The separation-of-powers issues deriving from FISA itself would not be reviewed, because Congress already would have capitulated in Step 1) above.

3) Refer all third-party court challenges to intelligence-surveillance programs to the FISA courts, instead of the ordinary District Courts such as those of Judge Taylor in Detroit, Judge Lynch in New York or Judge Walker in San Francisco, which now have several cases before them. I am uncertain of what effect this would have on Judge Taylor's case, since she already has ruled against the program and issued an injunction.

4) Make some fundamental changes to the definitions within FISA, most importantly removing the current provision that makes FISA apply to any intelligence surveillance acquired within the United States, regardless of who the target is. This apparently would have the effect of authorizing warrantless surveillance beyond that now reported to take place under the NSA program.


More information can be found at Unclaimed Territory [blogspot.com].

Re:Bedtime for Democracy (4, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103543)

Stick a fork in the Republic, it's done.

Ave Caesar!

KFG

Re:Bedtime for Democracy (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16103576)

In Swedish, "fisa" means "to fart".

but you shouldn't worry! (0, Troll)

jigjigga (903943) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103458)

If you have nothing to hide, then why are you complaining, citizen? Only the tourists have to worry! (they envy our freedom)

Re:but you shouldn't worry! (3, Interesting)

lightspawn (155347) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103522)

If you have nothing to hide, then why are you complaining, citizen? Only the tourists have to worry!

The Eternal Value of Privacy -By Bruce Schneier [wired.com]

Re:but you shouldn't worry! (1)

JohnDeckard (902737) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103802)

That's cliched parroting of sound bites and a shortcut to thinking.

The problem isn't isn't the step, but where the foot eventually lands.

Re:but you shouldn't worry! (2, Insightful)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103788)

As someone who has been a tourist in your country often in the past, I am worried.

And I haven't travelled to the Paranoid States of America since 2001. Nor do I have any plans to travel there in the forseeable future.

Just keep off my damn lawn.

Confused (-1, Flamebait)

bconway (63464) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103461)

"The administration has taken their illegal conduct in wiretapping Americans without court orders, in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the Constitution, and used it as springboard to not only get FISA changed to allow the Terrorist Surveillance Program, but to actually, going forward, not give protections to Americans' privacy rights," Graves said.

Could someone cite these privacy rights we (Americans) have? I can't find them anywhere in the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.

Re:Confused (1)

BWJones (18351) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103516)

You have been listening to Rick Santorum too much and need to realize that the Constitution does not grant individual rights. Rather it is a document defining the extent of government and the role of government whereas the Bill of Rights was a document that defined what the US government may not do.

Re:Confused (1)

narcolepticjim (310789) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103526)

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Re:Confused (1)

daspriest (904701) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103536)

I always figured these two little blurbs at the end of the bill of rights covered that. But what do I know, I am just a citizen that takes his rights seriously. IANACS(I am not a constitutional scholar, or a lawyer for that matter)

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.

Don't Look at the Man Behind the Curtain (1)

geoffrobinson (109879) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103552)

I don't mean the following to be snide or flamebait, etc.

The Constitution relies on natural rights (human rights), etc. And there are major philosophical and epistemological problems regarding human rights.

It is really hard to resolve controversies over rights not enumerated by the Constitution because

a) they are assumed to be there
b) there is no mutually agreed upon way within jurisprudence or society to figure out what rights are there or how rights may be limited between competing rights

Most controversial Supreme Court decisions revolve around this philosophical problem which is buried right into the Constitution.

So rights which are obvious to some people aren't to others. That doesn't mean they don't exist. But that's why we get to argue about this kind of stuff.

Re:Confused (1)

mgpeter (132079) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103679)

Amendment IV

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 you want to learn more about the United States Constituion while you are learning about OpenOffice.org Writer styles check out my OpenOffice.org Styles Tutorial at

http://www.pcc-services.com/tutorials/OOo/basic_st yles/page1.html [pcc-services.com]

Maybe you will learn a thing or two about Freedom (in reguards to both Society and Software).

Please define "no oversight" (4, Insightful)

Kainaw (676073) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103491)

Going to Thomas - where the REAL text of the bill is located - it clearly requires FISC and Congressional oversight. It does allow for emergency authorization of a wiretap, but not without later Congressional oversight. So, without meeting the narrow definition of an "emergency", these wiretaps have to be authorized by FISC and then go to Congressional oversight. How is that considered "no oversight"?

Re:Please define "no oversight" (1)

deanj (519759) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103641)

Mod parent up

You hit the nail on the head. They people that are against this bill would rather give you a "half truth", rather than actually tell you what the REAL bill says.

It's much easier for them to rally their troops when you have people pointing to a wired article that doesn't say a thing about the fact that the OTHER half of the phone call is to a suspected terrorist, AND that it'll go through a court AND it'll have Congressional oversight.

No, it's much easier to be alarmist and only tell the part of the story that backs up what they want to project.

And they wonder why people aren't flocking to their side of the argument.

Re:Please define "no oversight" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16103767)

There is no court involved. You people have got to stop lying. America is sick of it.

Fortunately, there is also no ex-post facto law. So what Bush has already done will be reviewed come November and he will be going to prison for breaking the laws of the United States of America.

I have never understood why people supported this criminal [thesmokinggun.com].

Re:Please define "no oversight" (1)

udderly (890305) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103847)

No, it's much easier to be alarmist and only tell the part of the story that backs up what they want to project.

They are just hysterical parrots, mouthing what their overlords at the DNC have taught them. "Squawk! Bush evil! Squawk! Democrats Good! Squawk!"

Not that there aren't the same types on the other side of the aisle--just listen to most talk radio if you want an example. "Squawk! Democrats evil! Squawk! Bush Good! Squawk!"

I just wonder why the truth is always the first casualty in any political discussion. Probably because most people don't care about the truth; they either are just looking after their own interests or they merely want to feel morally superior.

Re:Please define "no oversight" (4, Informative)

kevin_conaway (585204) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103648)

See Thomas [loc.gov] for more information.

Section 7 contains the information about Congressional Oversight

Re:Please define "no oversight" (1)

HatchedEggs (1002127) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103769)

Great information. Alot of times "half truth" articles get posted on /. to try and whip the members into a frenzy. People would do well to read the actual documents pertaining to what is going on. Thanks for posting the link, it has alot of good information.

Re:Please define "no oversight" (1)

Stinky Fartface (852045) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103758)

Considering how well Congress has asserted itself during the corse of events since 9-11, ceding to almost every single one of the president's demands no matter how illegal or illogical, I define "no oversight" to mean "Congressional oversight."

Re:Please define "no oversight" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16103794)

The "oversight" is a secret court wherein only the government can testify and appeal. How the fuck is that oversight? And Congres, oversee? Yeah, right, I really trust those pricks to protect my privacy.

No talking! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16103501)

I'm sorry, but for reasons of national security this topic may not be discussed in any fashion.

Remember, everytime you question your government, a marine dies in the streets of Anbar.

Re:No talking! (1)

durnurd (967847) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103813)

Yes, but the two events are mostly uncorrelated, an you could say that about every time you do anything.

The big question is... (0, Flamebait)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103503)

Will Congress pass a bill to abolish itself or will King George have to declare a state of an emergency if the Democrats regain control of Congress in November?

No worries here. (5, Insightful)

boyfaceddog (788041) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103508)

This is just political tactics. These loosers will tack this brick onto some Democratic feel-good bill, like free Housing for All, or National Health Care, or Puppies are Good.. Then the Dems will be forced to kill their own bill and the GOP will tell the world how the Evil Democratic Party (tm) doesn't like National Health Care or poor people or puppies.

Re:No worries here. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16103614)

These loosers...

As opposed to tighteners?

No oversight? (1)

DaHat (247651) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103511)

Given that some in the congress were kept informed of the previous warrentless program, I would fully expect that that would be the case again, if for no other reason that the Senators would want some degree of oversight provided by themselves and behind closed doors.

Granted I have yet to read the bill to verify that this is the case, however I would bet good money that it is.

Re:No oversight? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16103622)

t's under Section 7.

Generally speaking, this bill authorizes Bush to do what he was illegally doing before. Gonzalez's argument from the beginning was basically that "The president must abide by the Constitution, the Constitution allows the president to do anything at all in the name of 'national security'" and nothing has really changed about that.

I guess the question then becomes: do you trust a subset of Congress that can have its membership manipulated by any party in power to provide oversight to a likeminded executive branch?

The fact that Congress rubberstamped for Bush for five years does not convince me of their ability to act as a whole in a manner that checks Executive power. That they won't even be acting as a whole on this matter certainly leaves me deeply troubled. Further, the fact that there is so much bitter partisanship in D.C. right now does not leave me hopeful that any change in the body in the future won't result in retribution and abuse.

Text of the Fourth Amendment (5, Informative)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103528)

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.


In case you'd forgotten.

Re:Text of the Fourth Amendment (1)

faloi (738831) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103561)

But what if you're all about strict interpretation of the Constituition. It doesn't say anything about phone calls!

I kid, I kid. I hope.

Re:Text of the Fourth Amendment (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103795)

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.

You left out the part about conversations shall not be listened to.

Re:Text of the Fourth Amendment (1)

zerocool^ (112121) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103821)


In Soviet America, phone listens to you! ...but for real this time! What a country!

My Favorite Part of the PDF (1)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103553)

My Favorite Part of the original PDF [govtrack.us] is this tastey excerpt from pages 2 & 3:
(4) Although it is essential that the President
12 have all necessary means to protect us against our
13 enemies, it is equally essential that, in doing so, the
14 President does not compromise the very civil lib
15 erties that the President seeks to safeguard. As Jus
16 tice Hugo Black observed, ''The President's power,
17 if any, to issue [an] order must stem either from an
18 Act of Congress or from the Constitution itself.''.
19 Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U.S.
20 579, 585 (1952) (opinion by Black, J.).
21 (5) In 2004, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor ex
22 plained in her plurality opinion for the Supreme
23 Court in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld: ''We have long since
24 made clear that a state of war is not a blank check
25 for the President when it comes to the rights of the

1 Nation's citizens. Youngstown Sheet & Tube, 343
2 U.S., at 587, 72 S.Ct. 863. Whatever power the
3 United States Constitution envisions for the Execu
4 tive in its exchanges with other nations or with
5 enemy organizations in times of conflict, it most as
6 suredly envisions a role for all three branches when
7 individual liberties are at stake.''. Hamdi v. Rums
8 feld, 542 U.S. 507, 536 (2004) (citations omitted).
Of course, with Republicans owning (not by 2/3 thank god) the majority in the house, the majority in the senate and the white house, what else would you expect?

Goodbye checks and balances! Hello fascism!

Re:My Favorite Part of the PDF (2, Insightful)

Y-Crate (540566) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103605)

"Of course, with Republicans owning (not by 2/3 thank god) the majority in the house, the majority in the senate and the white house, what else would you expect?"
To be perfectly honest, I don't think you could really expect Democrats to do much better. The party has cozied up to Bush and the GOP to such an extent in recent years that they have completely lost the will to provide any real challenge to the administration beyond the occasional displeased remark, or half-hearted disagreement with a particular bill/nominee/etc.

They let Bush have his way for so long, I don't even think they realize how pathetic they've become.

Re:My Favorite Part of the PDF (2, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103659)

To be perfectly honest, I don't think you could really expect Democrats to do much better. The party has cozied up to Bush and the GOP to such an extent in recent years that they have completely lost the will to provide any real challenge to the administration beyond the occasional displeased remark, or half-hearted disagreement with a particular bill/nominee/etc.
I'd expect backwards inbred bills with either party owning majority over all three branches. I'd be bitching just as much or more with the Democrats in the same position.

It's the checks and balances we're now missing.

Re:My Favorite Part of the PDF (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16103754)

I'd expect backwards inbred bills with either party owning majority over all three branches.

It's the whole "party" crap that's the problem. These people supposedly have important jobs to do but instead of trying to do them to the best of their ability their busy playing the most moronic games you can imagine based around whether the president, or a potential judge or whoever, is a member of their gang or the other gang. It's stupid, it's pathetic and it's dangerous.

Now all the US needs is to elect a Stalin, (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16103554)

Hitler or other genocidal dickhead to make "proper" use of these laws. Only fools refuse to learn from history.

Filibuster (4, Insightful)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103557)

Consider encouraging Democratic (and Republican - though that's unlikely) senators to filibuster this.

Senator contact list [senate.gov]

It looks like filibusteris the only realistic option [crooksandliars.com] on this one.

Oh, and vote however you prefer to end this destruction of personal and public liberties in November. I'd HIGHLY suggest Democratic in most cases this election.

Ryan Fenton

Nothing New Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16103560)

The article is overhyped and one of the charges:

"Redefines surveillance so that only programs that catch the substance of a communication need oversight. Any government surveillance that captures, analyzes and stores patterns of communications such as phone records, or e-mail and website addresses, is no longer considered surveillance."

Is nothing new. Since phone numbers, web addreses and email addresses all pass through third parties and those third parties have to review them in order for the call, web request or email to get through there is no right o privacy on them. As long as the substance of the content isn't reviewed this isn't a major change.

Constitution - What's That? (1)

organgtool (966989) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103572)

I wonder how long and how far the neocons will get in their quest to completely destroy the constitution. The sad part is that they didn't even need to raise the "terror alert" to get this passed. The time may come when U.S. citizens envy the "freedom" of the people of China.

Re:Constitution - What's That? (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103824)

The time may come when U.S. citizens envy the "freedom" of the people of China.

When that time comes, I'm sure you will be free to move to China.

Can I have my country back? (3, Funny)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103584)

Hay, can I have my country back? I didn't sign up to be wiretapped, monitoried, surveiled, folded, spindled, or what have you. And while I'm at it, can I please go to college without having to give up two arms and a kidney?

Re:Can I have my country back? (1)

FirienFirien (857374) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103660)

You may have not signed up for it, but at the same time the government can work on the fact that you haven't signed up against it. Tacit acceptance! Watch the bills roll through.

Re:Can I have my country back? (1)

drewzhrodague (606182) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103736)

No, I kinda have signed up against it. I call Fetus Master Santorum sometimes, but he doesn't seem to care about the things I say. I have a pile of form letter responses from him here.

"No definition of 'terrorist.'" (2, Insightful)

ChePibe (882378) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103601)

No definition of 'terrorist.'

While I realize the author's complaint regarding the law, it should be noted that the definition of terrorist has changed at least a dozen times since the term was coined in the 1790's - scholars who study terrorism for a living still don't have a working definition of what it means to be a terrorist that is widely accepted, and most books I've seen on the matter take about a chapter to come up with a loose working definition but ultimately apply a "you know it when you see it" approach.

Defining a term whose meaning moves a great deal - and has strayed so far from its original meaning - is no easy task, and present USG definitions from State and DoD aren't too satisfying either.

U.S. belongs to americans no more ! (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103602)

It now belongs to some white-assed neocons, rich of oil without having to do anything for it, now reducing the american people to the satus of 'property' bit by bit.

TOO harsh ?

not one bit of harsher than what neocons did to american people during the last 8 years - sent them to die in distant hells, taken away their almost every right, cut down the social security and used it for means other than where it was intended, hijacked 2 elections, and supressed your voices in wherever can and whenever they can.

how is this confusing? (1)

farker haiku (883529) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103613)

Confusingly, the committee also voted out two other bills, one of which "all but declares the warrantless wiretapping illegal," according to Wired.

Big brother wants warrantless wiretapping. Obviously, big brother will then shut down any attempt at making warrantless wiretapping illegal. Who's confused?

Positive development (-1, Troll)

amightywind (691887) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103625)

This is a very positive development for national security. Islamic fascist terrorists should not feel at liberty to scheme within the borders of the US. It is hoped that a mistimed cell phone call from Waziristan will lead to a 500 lb GPS bomb hit on the point within 30 seconds.

Hey, the UK has prior art on police state! (1)

Morgaine (4316) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103628)

You'll be hearing from our lawyers. :P

I'm just laughing as a defence mechanism though. This is very sad news for you guys, and probably for the west as a whole. :-((((

In the good old days (5, Insightful)

MECC (8478) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103629)

Actually, by declaring 'war on terror' (the pretense for invading Iraq and his mad rush for 'war powers'), GWB has done something that hasn't happened since King Charles I of England started a war with Scotland in 1637 without consulting Parliament. Parliament later didn't give him an army when the Irish rebelled, and in 1649 beheaded Charles.

GWB is trying to take the country in the direction of Caesar-like rule, in that a leader under the pretense of fighting defending the empire/country could act with total impunity and a complete lack of accountability. He's actively fighting the constitution itself, even though he twice swore to defend it. Separation of powers in a standing government isn't just a hallmark of democracy - its a sign of being a civilized society.

Also, its one thing to temporarily alter the separation and balance of powers laid out in the US constitution during a time of war - but in this case war has not been declared, and it also a 'war' with absolutely no end in site. As long as there is one terrorist group "plotting and planning", the undeclared war will continue. This is clearly a grab for permanent power, and he's using the pain of 9/11 to do it.

Tin Foil Hat Brigade - UNITE! (0, Troll)

Skippyboy (978787) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103633)

[sarcasm] Oh no - the government can tap my phone conversations any time they want to now!!! Ack! Now they are gonna find out that: 1. I watch daytime TV and Springer is my favorite. 2. I can't stop calling Home Shopping Network and buying overpriced, useless, crap. 3. I like to have phone sex with girls from "Spank Me Harder, Mommy" sex line. 4. Nobody ever calls me because I am a 47 year old virgin, who smells like cabbage. (They will learn this because of my conversations with anyone who picks up the phone in sections 1-3 above.) Now is the time to ACT! Don't let your personal and private secrets get listened to and filed in the "Useless Loser" category of the government's database! Vote to impeach George Bush, and make all future president's wear French Maid outfits and say "Mother May I" before and after every public appearance. [\sarcasm] Really people - this has been going on for a very long time. It is becoming politicized simply because one party controls the media, and the other controls the government. When the same party controls both media and government, this type of thing was routinely swept under the rug. If you are REALLY concerned about YOUR privacy - there are plenty of websites that will tell you how to "live off the grid" and disappear. Yes - I am a veteran. I may disagree with what you have to say - but I HAVE served and I DO believe in your right to say it.

Re:Tin Foil Hat Brigade - UNITE! (1, Interesting)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103744)


It is becoming politicized simply because one party controls the media, and the other controls the government.

Ahh...so I see you're trotting out the old 'liberal media' chestnut yet again. How cute.

Read this [huppi.com] to see why the myth of the 'liberal media' is exactly that...a myth with zero basis in fact.

2112 (1)

Heem (448667) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103652)

Attention all planets of the solar federation
Attention all planets of the solar federation
Attention all planets of the solar federation
We have assumed control.
We have assumed control.
We have assumed control.

Read the PDF (0, Troll)

deanj (519759) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103678)

"The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that not only authorizes, but extends, US warrentless wiretapping. No accountability. No oversight. No definition of 'terrorist.' No record of who voted for what. Great way to devolve a democratic republic into a fascist theocracy. Me worried? Yea."

Read the text of the bill linked above, not the Wired article for the full story.

Oh, and that "Me worried? Yea." part? You're overstating your importance...to...well, anyone.

Don't worry. If you really read what's going on with that bill, you'd know that 1) It's for people communicating the terrorists, 2) It's being overseen by a court, and 3) it's ALSO being overseen by Congress.

How Congress works (2, Insightful)

glorpy (527947) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103698)

As a reminder to those of you who want to believe that the Senate is a rubber stamp for its committees, Senate and House committees are merely supposed to filter out the meaningless and/or ineffective gibberish, not decide whether they should become law or not. By that standard, they did their jobs.

Dude? (0)

deanj (519759) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103700)

"Me worried? Yea."

Dude... Seriously, no one cares about what your phone calls are, unless you're calling out of the country to terrorists.

Go grab your latte and relax. You sound paranoid.

Re:Dude? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16103811)

oh ok, by the way, we have some nice stars you might want to attach to your shirt while we wiretap everything. kthx!

"Theocracy"? (1)

Cyryathorn (6591) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103722)

Can anyone explain to me how the passage of this bill would help bring about "theocracy"? The poster said that this would be a "great way" to do it, but I fail to see the connection. (N.B. I'm specifically asking about the "theocracy" bit.)

Why can't they just say it? (1)

aliendisaster (1001260) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103724)

Hey. Your living in a police state. You have no rights. If I even suspect you did something wrong, your ass is mine. Oh, you know your rights and you got a lawyer. Ha ha ha. I laugh at your pitiful attempt at freedom.

I have the solution!!!! (1)

tommyatomic (924744) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103726)

Fire the incumbants. All of them. Both sides. Show them that everyone means business and that our rights are not for sale; not for lease and certainly not on loan to a fairytail land somewhere. If this was majority voted-in then we have a simple issue of too many bastards and the few folks in congress doing their duty and protecting our rights arent working hard enough.

Far far away.. in the country of Sweden.. (1)

TheJaff (714004) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103727)

..the sitting minister of justice want to give the police more slack when it comes to wiretapping "when there is suspicion of crime". He will probably be out of a job on monday though since the election on sunday will probably shift the entire goverment to a new rule (to the Alliance - four collaborating parties where the Moderates are the biggest party).

My thoughts. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16103817)

Voting will not help. Doing so only validates a system that pulls this kind of crap. If no one votes, then they have no power. Honestly, anarchy is far superior to democracy at this point.

Coming soon: underground wireless heavily encrypted communication networks so you can call your pot dealer to see if he's home without getting all involved arrested.

The real problem (5, Interesting)

segfault_0 (181690) | more than 7 years ago | (#16103822)

The problem is that Americans are a bunch of pussies now who arent willing to die for real liberty anymore. To keep my freedoms I would be willing to die in a terrorist attack if chance put me in that position and I wouldnt look at it any different than a car wreck or an earthquake. It appears that we've been subdued with digital cable, SUVs and 70$ jeans to the point where we have completely lost our perspective on whats worth something in this life - like fostering a free and fair society for our children. I just hope those of us who agree or sit silent while this occurs realizes its our children that will pay the price - not us.
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