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Justice Department To Review Domestic Spying

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the yep-they're-listening dept.

United States 222

orgelspieler writes, "According to the New York Times, Justice Department Inspector General Glenn Fine has opened a review of his department's role in the domestic spying program. Democrats (and some Republicans) have been requesting an all-out investigation into the legality of the so-called 'Terrorist Surveillance Program' since it was made public. But this new inquiry stops short of evaluating the constitutional legitimacy of the program." From the article: "The review, Mr. Fine said in his letter, will examine the controls in place at the Justice Department for the eavesdropping, the way information developed from it was used, and the department's 'compliance with legal requirements governing the program'... Several Democrats suggested that the timing of his review might be tied to their takeover of Congress in this month's midterm elections as a way to preempt expected Democratic investigations of the N.S.A. program."

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222 comments

Lame ztory, here iz a schön schpiel inztead ! (0, Troll)

Adolf Hitroll (562418) | more than 6 years ago | (#17031904)



Zlashtod mods are evil, but zey're stupid too!
  • Mod zis up to force zem to waste zeir points!
  • Insult them to force them to waste zeir points!
  • Azk Rob Malda if he'z gonna call hiz test tube daughter "Magda" and smile because you're ze ghey!
  • If you're a mod, shoot yourzelf in ze foot and think pozitive!

There is one reason for this (5, Insightful)

finkployd (12902) | more than 6 years ago | (#17031914)

And one reason alone...

"I'm sorry Senator, I cannot comment on the program due to an ongoing Justice Department investigation" - Alberto Gonzales, speaking to the new Democrat controlled congress sometime next year

Finkployd

They'll Still Be Remembered For What They Did (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032008)

"I'm sorry Senator, I cannot comment on the program due to an ongoing Justice Department investigation" - Alberto Gonzales, speaking to the new Democrat controlled congress sometime next year
He sure isn't afraid to speak his mind now [cnn.com] . And I think that's been his stance since the beginning [cnn.com] .

Regardless if they're doing this to prevent a congressional hearing, I think all of Bush's cabinet are in up to their necks with this thing. They've promoted it, publicly praised it & even publicly defended it--I'm excited to see it publicly scrutinized & watch revisionist history write them all off as enemies of the constitution. I mean, my grandfather tells me about the horrible things the president authorized against Japanese-Americans during World War II & my father tells me the horrible things that Nixon did. I'm sure there will a time when I'm a haggled old coot that keeps telling my kids how lucky they are not to have a president that's pushing for government archival of their phone & internet records--and that's the only part I knew about which mean it must be twice as worse! So I put an onion in my pocket which was the style at the time ...

Re:They'll Still Be Remembered For What They Did (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17032124)

Regardless if they're doing this to prevent a congressional hearing

I'd say there's a chance they're doing this in order to say "oh wow, this is way overboard and shouldn't be done any more" and kill the program, just in time for Democrats to not get their hands on it.

The Republicans spent the last few years giving themselves all sorts of unconstitutional powers, all along being asked "so what are you going to do when the Democrats win and start using these wiretaps and detainments?", and I think now we're going to find out.

Re:They'll Still Be Remembered For What They Did (3, Interesting)

finkployd (12902) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032180)

I'd say there's a chance they're doing this in order to say "oh wow, this is way overboard and shouldn't be done any more" and kill the program, just in time for Democrats to not get their hands on it.

You know, it's funny. I have a lot of friends and family who believe Bush can do no wrong (since we are at war and he is protecting us all) with all of these executive power grabs, but their eyes glass over and faces go black when I ask if they would be comfortable with Kerry or Hillery Clinton bringing those same surveillance and detention powers to bear against gun owners, anti-abortion activists, other conservative groups, etc. Did everyone just forget that Bush (who they oddly trust implicitly) will not be in power forever.

Finkployd

Re:They'll Still Be Remembered For What They Did (3, Insightful)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 6 years ago | (#17033336)

Did everyone just forget that Bush (who they oddly trust implicitly) will not be in power forever.

And that this 'war' will continue forever, too.

Conservativism==Whatever the Republicans in power are doing, exactly until the Americans get so annoyed at them they vote them out or they have obvciously failed, at which point the whole thing becomes fake conservativism..real conservativism, you see, has never been tried, or never been tried correctly.

It's a lot like communism that way. All the failings are on the implementation and the people who try, or just pretend to try, to implement it, and it is never wrong.

Just wait. They're already turning on Bush, talking about how he's not really conservative. They are, of course, correct, but everyone else started pointing that out six fucking years ago. They don't get to disown him after years and years of sucking up.

Re:They'll Still Be Remembered For What They Did (2, Interesting)

finkployd (12902) | more than 6 years ago | (#17033782)

Just wait. They're already turning on Bush, talking about how he's not really conservative. They are, of course, correct, but everyone else started pointing that out six fucking years ago. They don't get to disown him after years and years of sucking up.

This is true, and I was really annoyed at the TV talking heads who just woke up after the election and realized that what the republicans have been doing is not "fiscally conservative" and maybe that is what turned off much of their base. Really? hemorrhaging money like a drunken sailor on shore leave is not fiscally conservative? Who knew?

Unfortunately for most people it seems conservative means "against gay marriage, against terrorists, and against abortions" and as long as those three are met, nothing else matters. Sad state of affairs.

Finkployd

Re:They'll Still Be Remembered For What They Did (2, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 6 years ago | (#17034784)

This is true, of course. It comes about because there are a lot of people in America who like to call themselves "conservative," but have no concept of what that means and really would be best described as "authoritarian." The basic tenets of authoritarianism are the subjugation of the individual to the group's ideals, something that you can see any time a so-called 'conservative' starts talking about how those pesky "rights" need to be "re-examined" because of "national security." (Sound familiar [slashdot.org] ?) The authoritarian focus also comes through on other typical key issues, such as abortion and gay marriage. In each case, emphasis is placed on 'shared values' instead of individual choice. This isn't conservative. It's just giving small, petty people an opportunity to regulate the lives of others; something which they do with gusto, given the opportunity.

The problem is, when a large group of people essentially hijack a term and take it as their own, there's not a lot you can do about it. I used to call myself a conservative, until I realized that I didn't agree with any of the new Evangelical would-be "conservatives." Like a lot of other people I know, I now tend to describe myself more in terms of libertarianism.

Bush, I think, will be viewed as an interesting figure in hindsight. He was neither a conservative nor really an authoritarian, because by all accounts he doesn't have much in the way of personal convictions or opinions either way. He and others in the Republican party seem to see themselves as having played the Evangelical bloc, secretly scorning them even as they paid lip service to whatever issues and stances that were required to stay on top and consolidate power. In terms of straight political maneuvering, the neo-con takeover of the Republican party and subsequent rise to power is quite amazing. I think you'd have to look back to the days of organized crime and the labor movement to find a time when a small group of people so thoroughly took over a part of the political process and got away with it, less so because of their own secrecy but because of the public's unwillingness to confront what was plainly happening.

Re:They'll Still Be Remembered For What They Did (1)

Slithe (894946) | more than 6 years ago | (#17034920)

I once a read a blog entry [coyoteblog.com] that dealt with the same subject, although it criticized the technocrats on the left. It looks like technocracy is a bipartisan practice.

Re:They'll Still Be Remembered For What They Did (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17032792)

Revisionist history, eh?

This domestic spying is without warrant. Thus, it very clearly violates that amendment of the Constitution known as the Fourth. It also is against the very specific set of statutes known as the FISA statutes. FISA is short for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. If an executive branch office wants to spy on the American people because they think they may gain foreign intelligence (i.e., the infamous bad guys were calling into the United States so we had to spy on all of you excuse), the executive branch officer is required by law to follow the law. The law governing is the FISA statutes. Bush chose consciously and intentionally not to follow the law. He chose consciously and intentionally not to get the required warrant. It is not in any way revisionist history to call George Bush an enemy of the Constitution and thus an enemy of the United States of America. This is but one of his many Constitutional violations. Nixon looks like a saint.

Japanese internment was very much a wrong, It did not take a revision of history for reparations to be made and the government to very publicly apologize for what it did (something Nixon and the Reagan-Bush-I-Iran-Contra-Affair-Cabal have never done). And a country known as Japan attacked the United States. Did the American people attack George Bush? Is that why his domestic surveillance program in violation of FISA and without warrants is okie-dokey?

It is not revisionist history to call George Bush a traitor to this country for his numerous conscious choices to violate the United States Constitution and our law. It is a joke to have the justice department investigate its own boss.

'Revisionist History'? (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 6 years ago | (#17033230)

Are you implying that Bush's spy plan was constitutional? I don't see where 'revisionist history' comes into play here...Bush and Co. seem to prefer 'revisionist present' where they lie through their teeth until the evidence of their evilness can no longer be denied.

lying is evil.

Re:They'll Still Be Remembered For What They Did (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | more than 6 years ago | (#17033770)

I think that Congress is looking for water in a dry hole. Let us consider that the president's people have made the right actions over the last 6 years. Because, we all know, the president could not sell umbrellas, or wind shield wipers in a rain storm. If the president was really interested in hosing the expansion of Islam, he would move America in the direction of the Hydrogen Dollar, he has not. I just find it hard to accept that the pipe line from Iraq through Jordan through Israel/Lebanon is to be the corner stone of the current administration's legacy. It is like watching a junkie rationalize their next fix.

Re:They'll Still Be Remembered For What They Did (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 6 years ago | (#17034070)

"I mean, my grandfather tells me about the horrible things the president authorized against Japanese-Americans during World War II"

And is Franklin Roosevelt reviled today because of it? No, we put him on the dime.

The only president I can think of that approached this level of contemporary controversy in office over executive powers and the like is Lincoln, and we put him on money too. I believe I've said it before, but as much as we dislike Bush, until 2009 January 20, he's just an assasin's bullet away from being memorialized and being referred to in the same tone as FDR and Lincoln.

To think I voted for Bush (1, Flamebait)

arrgster (951348) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032386)

I can't believe I voted for Bush the first time. Had I know he would willing to ignore our constitution and way of life in the name of safety, I would have never considered him. Top that off with hiring a guy like Alberto Gonzales (whom I dislike even more than Bush), I just feel like an idiot... I'm not willing to turn this country into Nazi Germany out of fear of some guy who might come up with a creative way to kill me.

Yes, To Think You Voted For Him (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17032462)

I'm not willing to turn this country into Nazi Germany out of fear of some guy who might come up with a creative way to kill me.
Yeah, I often wonder if there was a psychopath (like from the "Saw" movies) loose what the current administration would be able to do with that situation. I'm sure they'd be able to convince the public that they need all their monies & to be able to enter their homes and have sex with their daughters on a need to screw basis.

Re:To think I voted for Bush (3, Insightful)

finkployd (12902) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032644)

I can't believe I voted for Bush the first time. Had I know he would willing to ignore our constitution and way of life in the name of safety, I would have never considered him.

You and me both, but really it was hard to forsee.

I mean, we just went through the Clinton years where Gore was spearheading the clipper initiative which would have effectively make privacy (and all non clipper crypto) illegal and given the government the ability to spy on everything, while having John Ashcroft emerge as the champion of privacy by leading the opposition to the clipper initiative. I really didn't expect the total and complete 180 on the issue.

Now I know better, both parties are want total access to our lives and supreme executive power (all in the name of keeping us safe). They just pretend to be outraged when the other party is in office and expanding those powers. Believe me, if the democrats take the whitehouse next election they will completely forget about their opposition to any spying and the republicians will suddenly oppose it.

Finkployd

yeah (1)

arrgster (951348) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032840)

Unfortunately I have to agree with you.

Re:To think I voted for Bush (1)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032950)

What I get a kick out of is the fact that the reason for snooping morphs and changes. In the 90's it was to reign in the drug dealers who were using crypto to shove cocaine up our children's noses. Now it's terrorists. In 6 years it will be the andorian attack fleet.

(Spasms)

WE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN AT WAR WITH EURASIA. OCEANA IS OUR ALLY...

Re:To think I voted for Bush (5, Funny)

neoform (551705) | more than 6 years ago | (#17033122)

Don't you love the ability to choose between the two options given to you?

A) Democrats

A) Republicans

(no, that's not a typo)

Re:To think I voted for Bush (1)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 6 years ago | (#17033388)

Unfortunately, they didn't realize that, in 2000, the election was actually:

A) Democrats

B) Neocons

Re:To think I voted for Bush (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 6 years ago | (#17034026)

I would have gone more with something like this:

A) Pussies

B) Idiots

Re:To think I voted for Bush (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#17033744)

Don't you love the ability to choose between the two options given to you?

One more reason why people should strongly push for approval voting [wikipedia.org] . It allows one to vote for a 3rd party or independent candidate without "wasting" their vote, and isn't more difficult for anyone to understand than our current system.

-b.

Re:There is one reason for this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17034136)

Or from another perspective: "Let's hide the evidence before Congress starts issuing subpoenas".

It doesn't exist. (2, Funny)

Rastignac (1014569) | more than 6 years ago | (#17031962)

Domestic spying program is not real. My computer is safe and nobody is sp+++NO CARRIER

Preemptive strike (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17032024)

It's a preemptive move. Either the justice department can order an inquiry (Justice dept = Bush cronies), or Congress can order a special investigator (which would be independent).

So this is a preemptive move, designed to head off a full investigation.

Why is there an investigation? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17032518)

Why is there even an investigation needed? It's clear that "domestic spying" (here in Europe we know enough about it to just call it what it is: fascism) is completely contrary to the very nature and essence of what America theoretically represents.

Put simply, no investigation is necessary to determine that the "domestic spying" is unacceptable, should thus be immediately stopped, and legislation passed to prevent such nonsense from arising in the future. The fact that the Democrats haven't immediately put an end to it suggests to the rest of the world that they're not truly different at all from those in the Bush administration.

But is it impeachable? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17032900)

It may be illegal without a FISA warrant, but nobody will prosecute Bush if it truly has only been used for terrorist related work. That's the difference and the reason for investigating.

He's loaded the NSA and CIA with his cronies, if the DOJ finds anything bad, those cronies will accept the blame on behalf of the NSA or CIA and apologize to the President for their failures and a cosy stitch-up will happen, just like the CIA took the flak for over WMDs in Iraq.

However if the independent investigator gets in, he'll speak to the real NSA staff, and the real CIA intelligence men and get the real story and real guilt will be determined.

"The fact that the Democrats haven't immediately put an end to it suggests"

You do understand that they're not yet in power?

Re:But is it impeachable? (1)

Shajenko42 (627901) | more than 6 years ago | (#17034564)

It's only impeachable if over half of the US House Representatives say it is, and only convictable (is that a word?) if two-thirds of the US Senators say it is.

They could remove him for having a ham sandwich if they so desired, so long as enough of them wanted to.

Re:Why is there an investigation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17033830)

We need an investigation to find out what else they've been up to, so that all the illegal activity can be stopped, not just what we know about now. Of course, with the Justice Department "investigating" itself, I'm sure nothing new will turn up, and they'll conclude they've done nothing wrong.

Re:Preemptive strike (1)

TheSolomon (247633) | more than 6 years ago | (#17033680)

It may be engineered as a preemptive move, but I don't see how it will have any blocking affect. Do we really believe Democrats will think to themselves: "Oh, I don't need to investigate now, there's this other [decidedly smaller] investigation going on. That's good enough."

If the Democrats really want to start a far reaching investigation into the matter, they will. There can be multiple investigations occurring simultaneously. In fact, given the limited scope of this current investigation, I doubt there would be very much overlap at all. If the Democrats see a value to the current investigation, they may "wait and see," but they are certainly smart enough to start a new investigation should this current probe bear nothing of importance.

What the Program Actually Is (0)

fdiskne1 (219834) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032036)

What the headline calls domestic spying is actually the tapping of phone calls to and from people inside the United States to and from someone outside the United States who is a known terrorist or member of Al Queda. It is not, as some believe, the government wiretapping phone calls internal to the United States.

Re:What the Program Actually Is (2, Insightful)

s31523 (926314) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032102)

And how do you know this? Because they told you so? There are probably numerous terror cells living here in the US that the G-men are interested in, and monitoring internal US phone traffic is probably a good way to get a lead or two. If the G-men aren't doing it, the declaration that it is OK is one step away, since the international program sets a precedent. And soon after that, the G-men might say well, these criminals types are a "threat" so we need to include them too, and so on and so on.

Re:What the Program Actually Is (1, Insightful)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032270)

Sigh....

And how do you know this? Because they told you so?

Yes, actually. If we all took your stance then we could assume the government is kidnapping babies out of hospital maternity wards and turning them into mutant super fighters. How do you know they're not? Because they told you so? You naive fool!

After all, you have no proof one way or the other. So yes, we go by what has been released to the public so far and we don't need to make up more conspiracy theories.

There are probably numerous terror cells living here in the US that the G-men are interested in...

Yes, the feds are monitoring groups within the U.S., but it has nothing to do with this particular program or these particular accusations.

Re:What the Program Actually Is (4, Informative)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 6 years ago | (#17033814)

It has publicly come out that they are wiretapping domestic calls.

From the NSA warrantless surveillance controversy article [wikipedia.org] article at wikipedia:

"On May 22, 2006, it was reported by Seymour Hersh and Wired News that under this authority, the NSA had installed monitoring and interception supercomputers within the routing hubs of almost all major US telecoms companies capable of intercepting and monitoring a large proportion of all domestic and international telephone and Internet connections, and had used this to perform mass eavesdropping and order police investigations of tens of thousands of ordinary Americans without judicial warrants. " [Emphasis mine]

Here [newyorker.com] is the link to the Hersh article, and here [wired.com] is the link to the Wired article.

Please, wake up.

Re:What the Program Actually Is (1)

Paladin144 (676391) | more than 6 years ago | (#17034020)

If we all took your stance then we could assume the government is kidnapping babies out of hospital maternity wards and turning them into mutant super fighters. How do you know they're not? Because they told you so? You naive fool!

This was modded insightful?!!

Can you please let me know when, throughout all of human history, it was a good idea to blindly trust the government?

Lord knows the government has NEVER lied before, right? What the fuck are you smoking and can I get about 3 pounds of it delivered to my house?

And this doesn't even take into account the well-documented galaxy of lies spun by the Bush administration. The Bush regime is probably the most deceptive, despicable and heinous American presidency ever. So could you please explain to me again why we should blindly trust these people?

I guess since you don't know your history [wikipedia.org] you're condemned to repeat it.

Re:What the Program Actually Is (1)

HobophobE (101209) | more than 6 years ago | (#17034206)

Yes, actually. If we all took your stance then we could assume the government is kidnapping babies out of hospital maternity wards and turning them into mutant super fighters. How do you know they're not? Because they told you so? You naive fool!
And if we all took your stance we'd be faced with another record deficit, a lackluster economy, a city and people left for dead, another attacked, and a couple of major armed conflicts that are giant messes.

Oh.

Wait.
After all, you have no proof one way or the other. So yes, we go by what has been released to the public so far and we don't need to make up more conspiracy theories.
Paging Benjamin Franklin! Wow. Remember the ethic of the Bill of Rights at all? It's kind of an implicit suggestion that we ought not blindly trust our government, friend. You know, there's reasons for all of those rights to be there and that we're protected in those various ways...because otherwise the government is dysfunctional and we're all wasting our goddamn time.

So let me remind you that, based on what we've _seen_, which is more reliable than what we've been told, our government doesn't have a clue. And they don't have one badly. Do you trust the fact of their track record or the vagueness of their rhetoric?

You are invited to awaken and join the rest of us for freedom. BYOI (Bring your own ideas)

Re:What the Program Actually Is (2, Insightful)

DavidTC (10147) | more than 6 years ago | (#17034542)

After all, you have no proof one way or the other. So yes, we go by what has been released to the public so far and we don't need to make up more conspiracy theories.

FISA doesn't allow the government to spy on communication between Americans and terrorists without a warrant, you lying sack of shit:

Notwithstanding any other law, the President, through the Attorney General, may authorize electronic surveillance without a court order under this subchapter to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year if the Attorney General certifies in writing under oath that--
(B) there is no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party; and

Period. That's what the law says.

There's no other way to intercept without a court order, or at least a retroactive court order. (There are plenty of ways, however, to intercept with one.) Now, we can argue if that requirement is a good idea, or if it can be removed without constitutional issues. But it's right there, in the law. The Attorney General did not authorize the spying under that rule, because he knew he was listening to Americans. So the president is not 'withstanding other laws', specifically the law: 'A person is guilty of an offense if he intentionally engages in electronic surveillance under color of law except as authorized by statute'.

So, as the executive branch has, you know, already admitted breaking the law(1), so maybe taking their word as to to, exactly, how much of the law they are breaking is not a good idea.

And stop saying 'the government'. I trust the government to follow the law. 'The government' includes the judicial branch issuing warrants and the legislative branch doing oversight of the program in general. It's the executive branch that decided to operate outside of that framework.

1) Yes, they have. Their 'AUMF authorized it' theory, which was actually only advanced by the media whores and not the administration, was shot down in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, where the courts said that authorization to invade a country didn't magically invalidate other laws, especially laws designed to cover, duh, war time. The AUMF could not, and does not, void FISA, anymore than it voided the UCMJ.

The only other thoery they have, and the only one they've actually advanced, is their nonsensical one that basically reduces to 'If the president does it, it's not illegal', which is just so manifestly incorrect under our system of government that it's actually hard to explain why, except to explain that all people must follow the law at all times unless explicitly noted.

Re:What the Program Actually Is (2, Funny)

kahei (466208) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032244)


Oh, right. That's ok. As long as it's limited to people whom someone, somewhere, for reason's you'll never know, has decided to call 'known terrorists'.

Phew.

That's a weight off my mind.

I guess it seemed like there was a problem, but really, there wasn't.

Well, I'm off to sit in a field of cotton wool hugging a giant kitten, in Fluffiton, the land where everything is soft and fluffy.

Re:What the Program Actually Is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17033510)

Your kitty is terrorist,which left biological WMDs on White House lawn.I'm afraid we have to arrest her.

Re:What the Program Actually Is (0, Flamebait)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032278)

You are correct sir.

Unfortunately, /. is infested with many of the same moonbat types that think that the Bush Administration actually planned 9/11 in conjuction with the Eeeevil Jews to implicate innocent Muslims so they could take over the Iraqi Oilfields, and then grant exclusive oil-rights to Haliburton while making obscene profits on the backs of "working class" Americans and randomly shooting people while going hunting!

So yeah, be prepared to be modded down and modded down hard. There isn't room for anything outside the /. groupthink.

Re:What the Program Actually Is (4, Informative)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032894)

so they could take over the Iraqi Oilfields

I seem to recall a few years back when Bush was claiming that the war would be paid for with Iraqi oil. Of course, now that the cost of the war is expected to pass one [msn.com] or maybe two [guardian.co.uk] trillion dollars, Iraqi oil couldn't pay for it, so it's easy to backpedal on that claim.

You are correct sir.

No, he is wrong, there are two programs. One which tapped calls internationally as the grandparent posted, and a second one that collected phone records on nearly every single American's domestic calls. [usatoday.com] Did you call in for pizza? Did a terrorist call in for pizza (God forbid that terrorists actually run the pizza delivery place, mafia style)? Does it matter? Who knows! Nobody knows what the NSA is going to use such an enormous block of data for, since the vast majority (99.999999999999%?) of the calls have nothing to do with terrorism. Google other articles about Qwest's refusal to participate to see the millions in juicy taxpayer dollars they passed up that the other telecoms were apparently all too happy to suck out of your tax dollars for this service.

is infested with many of the same moonbat types

It's a shame the infestation hasn't managed to drive out the infestation of ignorant Bush supporters who can't even keep track of what their president is doing. Maybe we need to swallow a cat to get the spider now?

Re:What the Program Actually Is (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#17033330)

It has long been established that people do not have a constitutionally protected expectation of privacy in records of who they call. SCOTUS ruled this in Smith v. Maryland,which allowed law enforcement to collect this data without a warrant.

Congress disagreed, and passed the Electronic Communications Privacy Act in 1986. However ECPA has exceptions for intelligence gathering, and IIRC the Patriot Act further relaxes these.

The programs -- as they are asserted to be -- probably pass constitutional and statutory muster. At least based on the current state of the law, not what the law ought to be.

What is problematic about this is the way we (and Congress) learned about them. For one thing, the President doesn't have power to spend money on such things on his own authority; spending authorization has to start in the House; at the very least Congress was very sloppy in its budgetary oversight.

But even more important, it suggests that Congress is not able to exercise oversight over the program. The separation of powers argument cuts both ways: the Constitution clearly tasks Congress with regulating (not directing) the activities of the Executive Branch. The framers, with an eye to the history of the Stuart monarchs and the English Civil War, placed budgetary power in the hands of the most representative organ of government: the House of Representatives, precisely for the purpose of curbing the power of the President to conduct war on his own authority, in a manner answerable only to himself.

The fruits of unaccountable authority are distrust. We don't know that the program only does what it is claimed to do, and we are entitled to be skeptical becasue if it is as innocuous as claimed, why keep it secret even from Congress, which routinely exercises oversight of secret programs?

"Land of the Free". (1)

FatSean (18753) | more than 6 years ago | (#17033866)

We're becoming more and more like the European Surveilance State...and who would have thought the REPUBLICANS would be driving it.

I thought I could at least trust the Republicans to spend less of my money and to reduce gov't intrusion into my private life....now what the fuck are they good for?!

Re:"Land of the Free". (1)

hey! (33014) | more than 6 years ago | (#17034448)


I thought I could at least trust the Republicans to spend less of my money and to reduce gov't intrusion into my private life....now what the fuck are they good for?!


Well, as much as I hope the Democrats capture the White House, I think the past six years demonstrates the value of divided government.

Putting my partisan hat on, I have to say I'm not surprised. The Republicans have told us all along that government is a scam to steal money from taxpayers and trample the liberties of the individual. So, what should we expect when we re-elect people who believe that, other than they want to keep the scam running? An honest man might go for one or two terms to put a stop to things, but the excuses run thin after five successive terms in the majority.

Re:What the Program Actually Is (-1, Offtopic)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032364)

Just reposting this, because the moonbats with mod points decided to mod me down. (Are we surprised? Nope.)

You are correct sir.

Unfortunately, /. is infested with many of the same moonbat types that think that the Bush Administration actually planned 9/11 in conjuction with the Eeeevil Jews to implicate innocent Muslims so they could take over the Iraqi Oilfields, and then grant exclusive oil-rights to Haliburton while making obscene profits on the backs of "working class" Americans and randomly shooting people while going hunting!

So yeah, be prepared to be modded down and modded down hard. There isn't room for anything outside the /. groupthink.

Re:What the Program Actually Is (-1, Redundant)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032412)

Oh, and here is fdiskne1's original post that was buried by moonbats:

"What the headline calls domestic spying is actually the tapping of phone calls to and from people inside the United States to and from someone outside the United States who is a known terrorist or member of Al Queda. It is not, as some believe, the government wiretapping phone calls internal to the United States."

There. Now everyone can put the discussion into context.

Re:What the Program Actually Is (1)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 6 years ago | (#17033506)

And some would call you a moonbat for not paying attention to ACs.

Re:What the Program Actually Is (5, Insightful)

Mo Bedda (888796) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032418)

And your opinion is based on?

My understanding is that the true nature and extent of this program is still top secret. All that has been released to the public is a couple of leaks and a bunch of denials/justifications from the government. Given the fact that before the leaks Bush was claiming that they were getting warrants for all their tapping, what is the rational basis for believing what they say now? If this program is still top secret, doesn't the Administration actually have a duty to lie about or obfuscate the true nature and extent of the program?

The program as you and the Administration describe it could easily fit within the existing FISA law. Which raises the question, why risk the political and legal fall-out of avoiding the FISA court if you don't have to? Why is the lame duck Congress trying to push through new legislation to authorize the program if the program could actually fit within the existing legal framework?

Re:What the Program Actually Is (4, Insightful)

finkployd (12902) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032538)

What the headline calls domestic spying is actually the tapping of phone calls to and from people inside the United States to and from someone outside the United States who is a known terrorist or member of Al Queda.

Of course, and as we well know the government is totally infallible and would never falsely accuse anyone of being a terrorist or anything else. Even when they know they could get away with it because there is absolutely no independent oversight (gotta keep those activist judges out of the loop, they just complicate matters). We have a strict system of checks and balances in this country, and of course habeas corpus and presumption of innocence applies to us all....unless you are a known terrorists. "Known to who" you ask? "What makes one a known terrorist" you ask? Those are dangerous, un-American questions, boy. You best let the President do his work and keep us all safe and not worry about insignificant details like that.

It is not, as some believe, the government wiretapping phone calls internal to the United States.

Nope, absolutely not. I mean, before someone leaked it we did not think they were wiretapping any calls without properly obtaining warrants, but since it was leaked we know that they are wiretapping international calls without warrants. We still think they are not tapping internal calls this way, and what are the chances we would be wrong again?

And when it comes to the Internet, I'm sure those classified NSA server closets that AT&T has are where they keep the doughnuts.

Finkployd

Re:What the Program Actually Is (-1, Redundant)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032596)

Here is fdiskne1's original post that was buried by moonbats:

"What the headline calls domestic spying is actually the tapping of phone calls to and from people inside the United States to and from someone outside the United States who is a known terrorist or member of Al Queda. It is not, as some believe, the government wiretapping phone calls internal to the United States."

There. Now everyone can put the discussion into context.

Keep modding me down Moonbats. I can post indefintely, you have limited mod points.

Re:What the Program Actually Is (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032784)

Or, they could know that fdiskne1's original post was false. The domestic curveillance program involved wiretaps and other surveillance of people in the US suspected to have had contact with al-Qaeda. It included the eavesdropping of completely domestic calls. Contrary to what you've been led to believe, the international calls were not the only thing monitored.

Re:What the Program Actually Is (1)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 6 years ago | (#17033448)

Except that it WASN'T false. His post contained exactly what we know about the program. You can make all the suppositions and theories you want, but that's all they are. suppositions and theories.

My point was that the OP post shouldn't have been modded down as now the entire conversation can't be placed in context. All you see is one side's view, and no opposing opinion.

Personally I don't have a problem with this program. How the heck else are we going to find out this information? We TRIED the "law enforcement" method already under the Clinton Administration. What did that get us? The USS Cole, the first tower bombing, and eventually, 9/11. Gee, that was working well.

This is a MILITARY ISSUE. Which means that the President, via his commander-in-chief powers, can do things that would be illegal for ordinary civilian law enforcment. He can do this because we are in a state of declared war. Once we are no longer in a state of war, he can no longer run this program.

This is why Congress is acting to change the laws, and why it is undergoing judicial review. This program needs to be run outside a state of war, and the current laws won't allow that.

It's about breaking the law (1)

jamie (78724) | more than 6 years ago | (#17033900)

Personally I don't have a problem with this program. How the heck else are we going to find out this information?

How about... legally?

The problem that Democrats and other patriot have is not with the wiretapping. Listening in on phone calls between Americans and suspected terrorists abroad is, everyone agrees, a good thing, and entirely legal if it is done according to the law of the land. That means getting a warrant from the FISA court.

The issue with Bush's wiretapping is that it violates that law. Bush is engaging in warrantless wiretapping of those phone calls.

(And, incidentally, the administration has never given a plausible reason why it can't get warrants. The FISA court is notorious for rubber-stamping requests -- it rarely turns them down. And the request can be made retroactively, so it's not like a warrant would hold up a time-sensitive investigation.)

Please don't turn this into an issue of whether or not we should listen in on phone calls with a suspected terrorist on one end. Everyone agrees we should. The question is whether the law should apply to the president, and whether warrants should be required before listening in on Americans' phone calls.

The question which the Department of Justice will now, for a second time, investigate, is what role the Department of Justice had in this violation of the law. Whether it really makes sense for Bush's DoJ to investigate itself, I can't say. (The first investigation, long-delayed, was eventually cancelled when -- I am not making this up -- George W. Bush personally refused to grant security clearance to the investigators.)

He can do this because we are in a state of declared war.

You are absolutely, 100% wrong. Bush's Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in July confirmed that there's been no declaration of war [crooksandliars.com] and that this therefore does not affect the legality of this program.

Re:What the Program Actually Is (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#17034710)

You can make all the suppositions and theories you want, but that's all they are. suppositions and theories.

The White House has not acknowledged that it eavesdrops on purely domestic telephone conversations, yet it has been widely reported that it did.

He can do this because we are in a state of declared war. Once we are no longer in a state of war, he can no longer run this program.
Are you kidding me? Did you really drink the kool-aid, or what? We are not in a state of declared war at all, no more than we've been in one since the "War on Drugs" began.

can do things that would be illegal for ordinary civilian law enforcment

I think you need to re-examine the case law in re: civil rights in time of war. SCOTUS has ruled that a state of war does not affect civil liberties.

Re:What the Program Actually Is (2, Insightful)

QCompson (675963) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032636)

What the headline calls domestic spying is actually the tapping of phone calls to and from people inside the United States to and from someone outside the United States who is a known terrorist or member of Al Queda. It is not, as some believe, the government wiretapping phone calls internal to the United States.

So if being monitored by the government, without a warrant or any oversight, while you make a call to Canada from within your own house doesn't bother you, I assume you also wouldn't mind if the government listened to any phone calls you make purely inside the United States?

I'm curious why one seems acceptable to many anti-bill-of-righters but the other presumably is not.

Re:What the Program Actually Is (1)

fdiskne1 (219834) | more than 6 years ago | (#17034100)

To you and all the others that are saying I don't care about being monitored, what exactly in my post made you decide that I didn't care about being monitored? I stated a fact, or according to some, a lie made by the administration. I did not say it was right or wrong. I don't see my opinion anywhere in my post.

Re:What the Program Actually Is (1)

Dare nMc (468959) | more than 6 years ago | (#17033118)

tapping of phone calls to and from people inside the United States to and from someone outside the United States

you are correct the exposed warantless tapping is international calls, and then any calls that are tied to those international calls.
however the survelance was (supposidly) all domestic calls, they were/are accused of data-mining all phone calls, ie who you called, who called you, and how long you talked. That was all phone calls, domestic, longdistance, and international. This data would then be used with the international tapping to get warrants on the rest of us, unless one or both are declared un-constitutional.

Re:What the Program Actually Is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17033170)

actually the tapping of phone calls to and from people inside the United States to and from someone outside the United States [...]

Please show me the results of a Congressional investigation that shows this. Just because you are repeating a Republican talking point does not make it true.

[...] who is a known terrorist or member of Al Queda.

If this part of your Republican talking point were remotely true, why isn't George Bush getting a warrant? The very fact George Bush is not getting a warrant (and under FISA, he can get a warrant up to 72 hours after the surveillance) shows your Republican talking point is bogus.

Bush needs to follow the law. He is not. It is that simple.

By the way, do you think this Senator [page 1 [talkingpointsmemo.com] , page 2 [talkingpointsmemo.com] ] viewed a program that fits your description?

Somehow I doubt it.

Re:What the Program Actually Is (2, Insightful)

PhysicsPhil (880677) | more than 6 years ago | (#17033180)

What the headline calls domestic spying is actually the tapping of phone calls to and from people inside the United States to and from someone outside the United States who is a known terrorist or member of Al Queda. It is not, as some believe, the government wiretapping phone calls internal to the United States.

Would the people that determine the known list of terrorists be the same ones who were certain that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction?

Re:What the Program Actually Is (0, Troll)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 6 years ago | (#17033570)

You are correct sir.

Unfortunately, /. is infested with many of the same moonbat types that think that the Bush Administration actually planned 9/11 in conjuction with the Eeeevil Jews to implicate innocent Muslims so they could take over the Iraqi Oilfields, and then grant exclusive oil-rights to Haliburton while making obscene profits on the backs of "working class" Americans and randomly shooting people while going hunting!

So yeah, be prepared to be modded down and modded down hard. There isn't room for anything outside the /. groupthink.

Just making moonbats waste their mod points. This is fun!

*taps shoulder* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17033968)

Ahem, no, today sir we are saying that the program is a way to give teddy bears to militant preschoolers...
wait, let me get out my decoder ring and check that.

Today is what a waning gibbous?

Oh, waxing?

Okay, today we're saying the program is a test posed to the American people to see if they can recognize and defend the Constitution against a Trojan Horse.

Yes, I know how it sounds sir, but that's what it says.

Yes, we will all probably be hanged for this sir, but it's in the name of science, sir.

Re:What the Program Actually Is (1)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 6 years ago | (#17034144)

You are correct sir.

Unfortunately, /. is infested with many of the same moonbat types that think that the Bush Administration actually planned 9/11 in conjuction with the Eeeevil Jews to implicate innocent Muslims so they could take over the Iraqi Oilfields, and then grant exclusive oil-rights to Haliburton while making obscene profits on the backs of "working class" Americans and randomly shooting people while going hunting!

So yeah, be prepared to be modded down and modded down hard. There isn't room for anything outside the /. groupthink.

Just making moonbats waste their mod points again. This is fun!

Stops short? (4, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032048)

But this new inquiry stops short of evaluating the constitutional legitimacy of the program

Unless, when they say "Justice Department" they actually mean "Judges," then of course it "stops short" of determining the constitutionality of a program. That's what judges do. They don't always do it well, but that's what they do.

Re:Stops short? (1)

DannyO152 (544940) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032766)

Absolutely correct. The Justice Department will make a finding about the operations as they relate to current law. (The really interesting bet is whether they will resort to referencing Presidential War Powers to aid the lipsticking of this pig.)

Regarding constitutionality, judges don't investigate that. They ajudicate a dispute between two parties, one of whom is arguing that some activity or law is harming them and is in conflict with another law or the Constitution. The other argues that there was no harm or no conflict, unless you're the Bush Administration, who have been responding to these suits by requesting the cases be dismissed as there may be state secrets at risk if a case proceeds.

Re:Stops short? (1)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 6 years ago | (#17033078)

They key is "request". A case is dropped only by the consent of the plaintif or a ruling of the court.

Point 2 is that Judges DO rule on constitutionality, and they are the final word. Article III of the constitution. Try reading it some time.

FIX THE FUCKING FLAG ICON (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17032084)

fix the fucking flag icon
it has had the wrong number of stripes for many years now

Look, we all have to give up some freedoms, (-1, Troll)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032254)

to protect our nations from terrorism. Get over it America.

Haha, I'm just kiding.

Wow... only 10 posts... (4, Interesting)

smilindog2000 (907665) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032280)

Does anyone else find it interesting how slowly the slashdot crowd is responding to this topic? I figure it's one of three things, but I can't guess which:

- We're too tired of talking about this issue
- We realize that we all agree it's evil, and that no one is listening to slashdot
- We're somewhat afraid that this topic will actually be read carefully by the Justice Department

Re:Wow... only 10 posts... (1)

mr_matticus (928346) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032336)

The thought that the Justice Department would commit the resources to read Slashdot-word-vomit is more terrifying than, well, terrorism.

Re:Wow... only 10 posts... (1)

rucs_hack (784150) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032414)

thats because the non American readers are all sat hitting refresh and shouting 'FIGHT! FIGHT!'

This one is going to be good...

Re:Wow... only 10 posts... (1)

kevin_conaway (585204) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032448)

Its only 8:44 am EST, most of us haven't enjoyed our coffee yet. Furthermore, what much more can we say that already hasn't been said?

  • Its about time!
  • Its a trap!
  • Cowboy Neal..or something

Re:Wow... only 10 posts... (1)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 6 years ago | (#17033136)

Its only 8:44 am EST, most of us haven't enjoyed our coffee yet. Furthermore, what much more can we say that already hasn't been said?
  • Its about time!
  • Its a trap!
Cowboy Neal..or something

You forgot:

  • Poland
  • "I for one welcome our Department of Justice Overlords"

Re:Wow... only 10 posts... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17032666)

Hmm, I'm going to go with reason No. 4:

-The sun hasn't risen yet in our particular part of the earth...

...and I resent the term "Anonymous Coward!" Couldn't I have "Anonymous Person Maintaining Their Right to Privacy" or something? Makes me feel like more of a fight-the-system Coward :)

Posted by: Anonymous.... Something

Re:Wow... only 10 posts... (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 6 years ago | (#17033592)

You forgot one:

- We wait for a repost

Clinton's People Impressed with it. (2, Insightful)

sycodon (149926) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032296)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uslatest/story/0,,-62440 89,00.html [guardian.co.uk]

But that will not prevent the coming Congressional Wankfest and Witch Hunt. Henry Waxman as much as said so.

The next two years will be a reprisal of the inept, ill conceived and utterly useless Iran Contra Hearings.

Re:Clinton's People Impressed with it. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17032662)

As well it should be a lynching party..

Most intelligent people do not question the existence of the program but rather how it
is being implemented. The administration comes along and says hey we do not like how
judges rule sometimes so lets just cut them out of the program by removing the oversite. That
just is not how stuff is supposed to work in the ole USA. That judicial oversite is there
to provide balance to the system, without it abuse is nearly certain.

This program sounds fishy. (4, Insightful)

giantsquidmarks (179758) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032348)

W says with this program he's "listening to al queda operatives in the United States make plans". My question is, if W knows al queda's phone number, why doesn't he go and bust them?

In all these years one can count the number of terrorist convictions racked up by the DOJ on one hand. Experts are saying there is no vast al queda presence in the United States (see PBS Frontline "enemy within" http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/enemywithi n/view/ [pbs.org] )

Who the heck are they listening to...?

Re:This program sounds fishy. (4, Insightful)

lawpoop (604919) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032964)

This is not hard to figure out. I am not being overly dramatic here, and I ask you to look at the sources I am citing and consider what I am saying seriously.

These people basically have a centralized, facist mindset. They don't really believe in freedom; they think that the masses people need to be managed and controlled. They believe that there should be a class of ruling elites who run the show, and then the common folk, who have no real power or influence. They view society as a corporation, with a few owners, some managers, and a bunch of peon workers who just take orders. They want to be the CEO sitting in the control chair, watching a real-time dashboard of everything that everyone is doing.

All of this tracking and surveillance they are doing has nothing to do with watching Al Qaida and terrorists. What they want to do is what all totalitarian governments -- be they communist or fascist -- want to do: track everybody. That way you can have control over everybody. Knowledge is power. Check out "IBM and the Holocaust". The Nazis were using then state-of-the-art information processing technology to keep track of Jews, opposition groups, everybody. Everybody had a number, everybody had a file. The same thing happened in communist Russia and in Iraq under Hussein. It's the calling card of totalitarianism.

The smoking gun is the Total Information Awareness [wikipedia.org] program which was introduced shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It is a conglomerate database of all electronic information that exists about everybody in the US -- all your bank, medical, school, work records -- even the purchases you make with your shopping club card. Due to public outcry, the program was ostensibly canceled, but in actuality all of the seperate features were just broken up into smaller programs. Check out the wikipedia article linked above.

9/11 was the excuse for all of these fascistic plans to come out of the woodwork and be given a go. Yes, we do need to be protected from Al Qaida and other terrorists, but not at the expense of the constitution.

Things are not bad yet, but they could go bad. Pieces are being moved into place that would give a dictator all of the tools that he would need to exercise incredible power. We are already seeing the media bullied, silenced, and propagandized. I guess the next sign of things getting worse would probably be disappearances and prominent people flee^H^H^H^Hleaving the country.

Re:This program sounds fishy. (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#17033844)

Experts are saying there is no vast al queda presence in the United States

So the main solution to our Al-Qaeda problem is to basically strengthen our borders so that it's more difficult for Al Qaeda operatives to enter. That actually can be done without negative impact on domestic freedoms.

-b.

Re:This program sounds fishy. (1)

SamuraiMike (768946) | more than 6 years ago | (#17033912)

In all these years one can count the number of terrorist convictions racked up by the DOJ on one hand.
It's hard to get convictions on terrorist charges when your strategy for such suspects is to hold them indefinitely without a trial...

Fr^ist psot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17032368)

documents like a heRe, but what is

Glenn Fine (1)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032496)

I just hope this Glenn Fine isn't related to Larry Fine (Wise guy, eh?)

Re:Glenn Fine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#17032804)

or worse... Fran Fine

"Domestic"? (1)

Diamon (13013) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032610)

I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong (and will probably try even if I'm right and they're wrong) but isn't the spying program we're talking about calls that original foreignly and only terminate domestically? Based on on the criteria that the spying program is being called "domestic" all cars sold in the US would be domestic regardless of location of manufacture and assembly unless you go to a dealership in a foreign country and purchase the car there and import it, it is no longer foreign. All wines are now "domestic" it doesn't matter where the grapes are grown, fermented and bottled if the sale happens locally it is now "domestic". Money transfers from secret Swiss bank accounts are now "domestic" transactions as long as the transfer terminates in your account held with a US bank. We're talking about international phone calls that originate at a foreign country and only terminate domestically.

Now having said that, does that mean we shouldn't worry about the program? Not necessarily, you can say it's only terrorists phone calls that are being tapped into, but odds are it's more than likely it also applies to suspected terrorists and suspicion is not a very high bar to set. Additionally if you allow the government to spy on any foreign calls how long until we see certain calls being rerouted through overseas circuits so that they can be declared foreign and be subject to policies established for foreign calls. There are real issues to be looked at but throwing up a smoke screen and calling it "domestic" spying isn't the way to get to the real issues to be concerned with.

Re:"Domestic"? (2, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032780)

While I can understand where you are coming from, answer me this:

How do they find out who is a terrorist and who is not? A part of that process is listening into RANDOM conversations with people they THINK might have SOME connection.

In translation: They are grasping at straws. What are you going to do when they grab yours?

Re:"Domestic"? (2, Insightful)

d3ac0n (715594) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032810)

Diamon,

You are correct in that the spying program is not "Domestic". This is just a term thrown around by politicos that want to frame the debate as one where one side is "Protecting the freedoms of Americans" and the other side is "Trying to take away our freedoms". The truth of the matter is that this is a program used to keep tabs on terrorist suspects abroad and their contacts in the United States. It's important and necessary as one of the weaknesses of any terrorist organization is thier communication link. As they are not a nation-state with the resources to develop thier own communications technology, they must rely on civilian technologies to for thier CAC functions. By tapping into these lines of communication we can thwart their efforts to attack us.

The problem with many of those that don't like this program is that they see Terrorism in much the same way that the Clinton administration did. As a law-enforcement problem. That type of limited vision is how we ended up with 9/11 in the first place. By not treating terrorism as what it is, a MILITARY action against the US and other countries by an organized but decentralized force, and assuming that subpoenas, police and lawyers will be effective in stopping a global jihad, we place ourselves directly in the line of fire for another terror attack.

But there are plenty of people on Slashdot with mod points that just don't get that. Of course, many of them also think that Michael Moore is a visionary and Al Gore is an Environmental genius. There's no accounting for Common Sense I guess.

Re:"Domestic"? (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 6 years ago | (#17034126)

"...tabs on terrorist suspects abroad and their contacts in the United States. "
So, how do you classify a person as a terrorist SUSPECT?? Isn;t it the same definition as a "Person of Interest".
Michael Moore may be a boor and uncouth, but he atleast tries to bring the truth into blinding light.
Are you saying Michael Woodward who wrote Plan of Attack and the rest of "Bush at War:" books as criminal?
Since when is it illgal in US to expose the reckless witless war mongering of presidents? Since when is it criminal to try to expose those who commit an actual crime?
Two Crimes don't make a right.

Is it not a crime if i break into a Bank and stole Money? Assuming i had $10,000 on deposit in the Bank, and i needed money at 2 AM, can i break into the bank to steal just $9,900? (less than my deposit)?
Before i could even count it, i would be counting the bars on my high-sec prison, and no amount of defence would save me.

The discussion here is about breaking the law. I frankly think you are trying to change the subject matter by bringing in TERROR flag, as Bushy and Cheney has done for past 5 years.
Since when is it alright to BREAK the LAW to PREVENT a supposedly criminal act (which has not happened)
You would love Minority Report i guess.

Bush BROKE the Law of the Land: The same law he vowed to protect, and like Nixon, he must either resign or be impeached and sent to prison after a due conviction.

But am doubtful it will ever happen,
You reps weenies would definitely do something to make it not happen.

     

Re:"Domestic"? (2, Informative)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032902)

but isn't the spying program we're talking about calls that original foreignly and only terminate domestically?
No. The program involves surveillance of purely domestic activity as well -- the program is 'limited' to people who are suspected of having contact with foreigners with links to al Qaeda. Once the connection with a foreign person of interest is established, the administration feels that the domestic person is then an OK target for surveillance. The program isn't/wasn't limited to wiretaps -- it also involved field teams doing surveillance, mail sniffing, etc.

Re:"Domestic"? (2, Funny)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032996)

<i> the program is 'limited' to people who are suspected of having contact with foreigners with links to al Qaeda</i>

God help us all if Kevin Bacon ever ends up on a watchlist. I have a Bacon number of 2.0.

<i>First they came for the actors who worked with Kevin Bacon. And I said nothing. And then they come for the people who worked with the people who worked with Kevin Bacon...</i>

Re:"Domestic"? (1)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 6 years ago | (#17033032)

No, it also includes domestic calls that go out internationally. Bascially if you have any friends or relatives overseas, you would be subject to monitoring. Because, you know, Al Queda has cells everywhere. Saudi Arabia. Germany. Canada.

I'll believe it when I see results (2, Insightful)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 6 years ago | (#17032852)

Seriously, when they start frog marching DOJ officials for high crimes and misdemenors, I'll believe that congress is sincere. Until that point I'll be treating this as a dog and pony show to appease the rabble.

Does this mean it will be on the final exam? (1)

EvilTwinSkippy (112490) | more than 6 years ago | (#17033312)

I mean, if the DOJ is taking the trouble to review it the prof must have told them it will be on the test. Though with all these benchmarks going around maybe it's a federal requirement now...

We should really worry when (1)

Enrique1218 (603187) | more than 6 years ago | (#17033420)

the first judge allow into evidence recordings collected without a warrant. This warrantless wiretapping hasn't been brought up before the courts where I suspect all evidence collected in that manner will be thrown out. No American will be convicted on it. Any worry I do have is supression of dissenting voice using illegal wiretaps.

Re:We should really worry when (1)

element-o.p. (939033) | more than 6 years ago | (#17034880)

I have one additional worry. Since Bush has said that terrorist suspects go to Guantanamo (or other, similar prisons) and do not have to be given a criminal trial according to U.S. law, then how many people arrested due to evidence collected by the warrantless wiretapping will ever see a court?

That is something I really think is scary...

We need a poll (0, Flamebait)

sbenj (843008) | more than 6 years ago | (#17033602)

Given the high level of informedness and concern about civil liberties with this crowd, I think it's time for a poll. No really, I'd be curious to see the results-
"Do you think George Bush should be impeached for breaking the FISA law?"
-Yes
-No
-No, but impeached for something else [dailykos.com]
-No, just to take an unarmed stroll through any street in Baghdad

Re:We need a poll (1)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 6 years ago | (#17033890)

"Do you think George Bush should be impeached for breaking the FISA law?"

How about "tried for treason"? Supposedly, he blocked some investigations into al-Qaeda operations before 9/11 in order to appease his Saudi oil-buddies. *If* this is true (and we won't know without a fair trial) he deserves the usual penalty for treason.

-b.

Posse Without a Warrant (4, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#17033828)

The NSA warrantless wiretapping is already officially illegal [blogspot.com] .

Bush violated the FISA [wikipedia.org] . The FISA is an exception to basic Constitutional guarantees of protection from government privacy invasion and arbitrary searches, within an extended compromise with rare, extreme cases where the government claims extraordinary necessity for speed and secrecy that the normal due process cannot accommodate.

Bush violated the FISA exception that requires him to get a warrant. Therefore he violated the Constitution. Many times, over many years. As a matter of policy, with a large staff behind him. Bush is a criminal of the highest order. That means impeachment. You or I would go to Federal prison for years and be bankrupted [wikipedia.org] . Bush will clear brush at his ranch.

So-called so-called (2, Insightful)

toddhisattva (127032) | more than 6 years ago | (#17034458)

It is called the Terrorist Surveillance Program.

It is so-called domestic spying by the enemy media.

Bush's Eight Rules of Modern Autocratic Government (5, Insightful)

glider0524 (847295) | more than 6 years ago | (#17034490)

  1. This war on terrorism is our new Cold War. It will last a generation or two.
  2. Because we are at war it is necessary to engage in certain behaviors--renditions, torture, domestic spying, secret prisons, etc.
  3. We cannot tell you what we are doing because it would compromise national security during a time of war.
  4. The courts cannot review what we are doing because it will compromise national security during a time of war.
  5. Any newspaper reporter or news outlet that reports a leak of these programs can be put under oath and forced to reveal sources, under threat of going to jail for contempt.
  6. Only select members of Congress can know what we are doing. But they cannot tell anyone because it will compromise national security.
  7. When Congress passes laws, the president has the right to ignore these law if he believes they infringe upon his war powers or his role as Commander in Chief.
  8. The courts cannot review the president's decision in rule no. 7 because it would compromise national security.
These rules have the very convenient effect of disabling ALL of the checks and balances on the executive branch of the government. Frankly, unless many thousands of Americans are dying, violence is erupting everywhere, and this country is teetering on the brink of economic/political oblivion, I see no reason to install an emergency autocratic government. Even if we were at that point, I would still want some above-board cost/benefit arguments explained to me as to how I'm going to be safer in reality (as to just "feeling" safer) by giving up some of my civil liberties and watching the world learn to hate us.

Much like the rest of his political strategy (Iraq war, etc), Bush puts forward nothing but a flim-flam job of justifying inflated neo-con theories of the use of discretionary executive force. How nice it would be to make all the trains run exactly on time, if we could just arrest anyone who used to make them run late? Fascism has a certain appeal when you don't realize that it actually is fascism.

We need checks and balances in the country.. anybody who doesn't believe that should closely read the Federalist Papers. Those guys were certified geniuses in the realistic exercise of power. They had the benefit of 1,000 years of European wars and history to examine human nature at its Machiavellian worst. They knew EXACTLY what they were doing when they set up checks on presidential power, they envisioned internal and external threats to the country every bit as clear and present as they are today.
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