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Domestic Spying Program to Get Judicial Oversight

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the who-watches-the-watchmen dept.

Privacy 151

Alchemist253 writes "The U.S. Justice Department has consented to court oversight (albeit via a secret court) of the controversial domestic wiretapping program (the "Terrorist Surveillance Program") previously discussed at length on Slashdot. From the article, "[oversight] authority has been given to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and [it] already has approved one request for monitoring the communications of a person believed to be linked to al Qaeda or an associated terror group.""

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151 comments

I spy with my little eye... (0, Offtopic)

Luke727 (547923) | more than 7 years ago | (#17655582)

...failure to achieve first post. *kills self*

SECRET Court (2, Informative)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 7 years ago | (#17655944)

To go with warrantless secret spying, secret charges in violation of secret laws on the secret evidence that resuts in secret detentions.

"Secrecy" and "Oversight" are oxymoronic.

Re:SECRET Court (0, Offtopic)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#17657200)

Or under the present regime, simply moronic. Oxy is for pimples.

Re:SECRET Court (1, Informative)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#17657696)

Don't forget the secret torturing to secret death. The reputation of the USA is going down the toilet due to no way to refute this other than "it was the guys we handed the prisoner over to and not us - and we don't know who the guys standing by with American accents were."

So it was 100% legal before ... (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#17655590)

... but with a different Congress ... suddenly it's going back to the court with warrants and everything?

Makes you kind of wonder how "legal" it was in the first place. And whether this is just an attempt to avoid an investigation.

Re:So it was 100% legal before ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17655784)

suddenly it's going back to the court

And is this Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court actually a court? I mean given that its hearings are in camera by default, it doesn't seem to satisfy the criterion of public scrutiny which characterizes a true judicial court. Any constitutional lawyers here?

Re:So it was 100% legal before ... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17656362)

The FISA courts have existed since the 70s and have passed judicial review of their constitutionality. It is useful to remember that Congress has the authority to create and destroy any court other than the Supreme Court and that there is nothing in the Constitution that says that public scrutiny of warrants are required. The Constitution only says that a judge appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate must issue the warrants:
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.
Nothing here says that the public has to be informed. Personally, I think the FISA courts are a good thing but we have to be extraordinarily careful with them. They still have the checks and balances required by the Constitution but they don't have a people's check (i.e. public opinion determining how they are implemented). FISA courts were designed to operate against foreign enemies of the US (such as spies and terrorists). There is a legitimate need for secrecy here. Since the people's check was returned for trials these FISA courts are legitimate (since they don't have the authority to run trials). Any trial will still be a public proceeding.

Re:So it was 100% legal before ... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17655984)

It was not legal to begin with. These kinds of warrants specifically require the oversight of the FISA court. All warrants require the oversight of the judiciary (by definition). When a specific set of Federal law statutes tell the Executive branch they can do certain Fourth Amendment searches only under the review of a specific court, the Executive branch damn well better comply. If George Bush does not end up in prison for this clear violation of United States Federal law (and numerous American's rights under the Constitution of the United States) you can officially call the Consitution "just a piece of paper" because it no longer has any meaning. But I think that may have been the intent of this administration to begin with.

Re:So it was 100% legal before ... (1)

deKernel (65640) | more than 7 years ago | (#17656180)

The FISA court setup is at-best shaking if you were to actually read up on it, but hey that is not the /. way.

Re:So it was 100% legal before ... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17657688)

Yes, it is true the FISA court is shaky with respect to it being able to allow some of the searches the statutes appear to make it capable of allowing. Those searches are searches that would not be constitutional under any interpretation of the Constitution. And, yes, it does appear the present administration has done those searches. The searches are illegal. But if they had been performed in conformance with the FISA law, the present administration could present a qualified immunity defense successfully. Since the searches were not performed in conformance with FISA law, George Bush is going to prison. The alternative is to pretend the law does not exist, like George Bush did.

Re:So it was 100% legal before ... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17656226)

Written constitutions Just Don't Work.

This has been proven time, and time again - especially in America. More time is spent arguing about the syntax of the document than is spent fighting for and legislating towards the semantic meaning.

Massive fail all round.

Re:So it was 100% legal before ... (3, Insightful)

Omestes (471991) | more than 7 years ago | (#17656828)

And the alternative is?

It seems that the American constitution HAS worked rather well in its 200+ year history, sure there are some small glitches from time to time, like McCarthy, and now. But on the whole it has worked, only one superfluous amendment (added, promptly deleted). The strength of it is that it is a living document, meaning its interpretations are supposed to change with the times, arguing about it is a good things. Imagine if it was fixed, the word has changed much in the last 200 years, including people, their values, and what they judge important.

The constitution is the only thing America has going for it, and the only real hope it has.

Re:So it was 100% legal before ... (0, Offtopic)

finity (535067) | more than 7 years ago | (#17657158)

The trolls live under bridges and only come out when it is easy to nab a victim...

Re:So it was 100% legal before ... (2, Interesting)

Arcane_Rhino (769339) | more than 7 years ago | (#17657496)

The strength of it is that it is a living document, meaning its interpretations are supposed to change with the times, arguing about it is a good things. Imagine if it was fixed, the word has changed much in the last 200 years, including people, their values, and what they judge important.

No. I won't let you get away with that assertion without some comment. The Constitution is a living document because it may be amended by a two-thirds majority of each legislative house. (It can also be amended by a Constitutional Convention to be called by two-thirds of the legislatures of the States; this has never been done.)

What you are describing is a relatively new judicial philosophy, usually ascribed to by liberals who cannot achieve their will through the legislative process. It is this philosophy that has lead to the incredible divisiveness that currently infects the US.

Those who fear a totalitarian government would to well to reconsider their approval of this perspective. What the nine giveth, the nine can take away.

Re:So it was 100% legal before ... (2, Insightful)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#17657300)

Massive fail all round.

Not for Exxon. Or Halliburton. Some folks have done remaarkably well. It turns out that most things don't exist for the reasons we think they do. There's always a "rest of the story" which isn't so pretty as the fairy tale being portrayed as American history.

Re:So it was 100% legal before ... (5, Insightful)

mrogers (85392) | more than 7 years ago | (#17656024)

By backing down they don't just avoid an investigation, they avoid testing the legality of the program. That could be useful if they want to reinstate the program under the next Congress. But more importantly, the claims about wartime Presidential powers [washingtonpost.com] that were used to justify the wiretapping program are still being used to justify other questionably legal actions (perhaps even including the covert expansion of the Iraq war into Iran and Syria [thewashingtonnote.com] ). The administration wants to avoid a direct court battle over those powers, and by backing down over the wiretapping program it's hoping to pacify Congress without establishing any precedents.

Re:So it was 100% legal before ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17657336)

I still don't understand ... if one breaks the law a number of times, and then agrees to play by the rules, why should that get them off the hook. Why can not these actions be ruled in (obvious) violation of the current law, and the officials prosecuted? Is there no accountability for the administration?

Re:So it was 100% legal before ... (1)

navyjeff (900138) | more than 7 years ago | (#17658288)

Is there no accountability for the administration?

That's correct.

Re:So it was 100% legal before ... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17657486)

Avoid testing the legality of the program? Doesn't Congress have the power to investigate any illegal activities such as warrantless wiretapping, even if they occurred in the past? If the investigations reveal something, don't they have the power to impeach and convict?

Oh yeah, nevermind. The Democrats are afraid of looking partisan. They saw the voter backlash against the Republicans for impeaching Clinton over a blowjob, and said "Oh no! Now we can't impeach anyone for fear of looking partisan, even if they eat a baby on live television! We're helpless!"

What do you think? What happens if Bush eats a baby on live TV? My predictions:
  1. FOX News runs a lively debate on Hannity and Colmes. Hannity claims we should all be eating babies. Colmes suggests that eating babies is generally wrong, but concedes that this one baby probably deserved it.
  2. 25% of Americans believe that baby planned 9/11.
  3. Joe Lieberman and John McCain demand to know why that baby was not eaten earlier.
  4. Hillary Clinton says it's not productive to rehash whether or not it was right to eat the baby, we should just spend our efforts finding out if there's dessert.
...anything else?

Hunh? (1)

Khammurabi (962376) | more than 7 years ago | (#17656442)

"The president has determined not to reauthorize the Terrorist Surveillance Program when the current authorization expires," Gonzales wrote in a letter to congressional leaders that disclosed the administration's shift in approach.
The program finally gets oversight, so the president decides to shut it down. What I want to know is whether the court will be able to review any or all past uses of the terrorism surveillance. I don't think the administration should be able to say, "It's okay, we're not doing it anymore," and get away with anything they did previously.

I'm reminded of a FullMetal Alchemist quote, "I had to see it for myself...Innocent people don't cover their tracks." I was hoping that the administration was on the up and up, but this is definitely a signal that what they are and were doing has highly questionable legal merit. Far from proof, but highly suspicious looking.

Re:Hunh? (2, Interesting)

thule (9041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17657414)

The reason it is not being renewed is because it is not needed anymore. All the FISA court needs is a NSA lead to grant a warrant now. Previously the FISA judges required some sort of additional information from a FBI investigation.

Re:BRACE FOR IMPACT!! was: Hunh? (1)

lynx_user_abroad (323975) | more than 7 years ago | (#17657874)

The reason it is not being renewed is because it is not needed anymore.

Riiight!. So let me get this straight....The reason we haven't had any terrorist attacks since 9/11 is because of Bush's illegal spying, which was necessary to keep us all safe. But now that it looks like he might actually be held accountable for those illegal acts, it's suddenly no longer necessary for Bush to conduct illegal spying just to keep us safe.

Either Bush was right, and we're about to see a huge upswing in successful terrorists attacks (or at least unsuccessful ones that manage to see daylight) because Bush can no longer spy on people and foil the plots before anyone even hears about them, or we'll go on seeing about the same level of terrorist activity (what color are we at now?) as we were before and would have been if Bush had been playing by the rules all along.

If they can claim a lack of terrorist attacks then as proof that the program was working, then we can use the same fallacy now to prove it was never necessary in the first place.

Ain't payback a bitch?

Re:BRACE FOR IMPACT!! was: Hunh? (2, Interesting)

thule (9041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17658024)

It's not needed anymore because this ruling allows for FISA warrants based purely on NSA leads with no FBI follow up. The NSA will do what it has always done, target foreign communications for tapping. If they happen on interesting communication that terminates in the US, they can pass this information to the FBI and a warrant will be granted. The FBI can now make the US side a target of a tap.

Nothing has changed except the bar was lowered. Previously the FISA court required *more* information from the FBI beyond a simple lead from the NSA. See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/artic le/2006/02/08/AR2006020802511.html [washingtonpost.com] .

What the court is saying is that not only was the TSP legal, but they now make it easier to make the US side a target of a tap.

Re:Hunh? (2, Insightful)

Orange Crush (934731) | more than 7 years ago | (#17657428)

I was hoping that the administration was on the up and up, but this is definitely a signal that what they are and were doing has highly questionable legal merit.

There's the rub. Even if everything was handled well and no innocent person's privacy was violated without good cause, the lack of oversight makes it wrong. I don't care if they were being nefarious or not, I want the spying investigated and overseen by the judiciary then, now, and forever always. Any organization that says "Trust us, we're working in your best interests!" without accountability is almost certainly not.

Re:So it was 100% legal before ... (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#17657232)

... suddenly it's going back to the court with warrants and everything?

But not just any court. This is a super duper double top-secret court. That nobody can see. Or touch. It's so secret, I bet it doesn't really even exist. We're just supposed to think it does.

This ruling expands the program! (2, Informative)

thule (9041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17657390)

Check out this link:

http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/3 250 [strata-sphere.com]

AJStrata's point is that now the FISA will grant a warrant purely based on a NSA wiretap intel and nothing else. Under the TSP the FBI would need to do a follow up based on a lead from the NSA and provide additional reason/information to the FISA judge (see .http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/arti cle/2006/02/08/AR2006020802511.html [washingtonpost.com] ).

Remember the NSA has no standing in civilian courts and does not need a warrant to do what they do with foreign communications.

Re:So it was 100% legal before ... (1)

misanthrope101 (253915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17657446)

Well, there are different meanings of the word "legal." These programs are legal in the sense that no government officials will ever be charged, not legal in the sense of being compliant with written law.

Re:So it was 100% legal before ... (1)

Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) | more than 7 years ago | (#17657478)

Purely illegal from the start, which is why Reagan's deputy attorney general Bruce Fein said that Congress should either change the law or impeach.

The administration's argument was that Congress couldn't interfere with the powers of the Commander in Chief, that the President could issue any orders to the military without any restraint. The Constitution says otherwise in Article I, Section 8, clause 14.

Bush's Warrantless NSA Spying Was Always Illegal (-1, Flamebait)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#17658076)

No, it was 100% illegal, as ruled in Federal court last year [cnn.com] . If you still believe in 2nd Millennium institutions as quaint as "Federal courts", it's obvious that Bush has repeatedly and determinedly broken the FISA law, violated the 4th Amendment, and committed other high crimes against Americans. The very kind of tyrant the Constitution provides for the Congress impeaching. Maybe this Congress, not a wholly owned Rove subsidiary, will actually do it. And not a moment too soon.

Especially as Bush has already started a new war with Iran. Just when you think it can't get any worse, Bush breaks new ground.

like the?? (3, Interesting)

Amouth (879122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17655600)

"or an associated terror group" so someone like anyone that doesn't like them.. i see

But what about the illegal wiretapping? (4, Interesting)

guspasho (941623) | more than 7 years ago | (#17655638)

Who's to say that the administration that has been openly breaking the law for years hasn't just created another hidden illegal program and shifted their illegal activity to that?

Re:But what about the illegal wiretapping? (2, Interesting)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#17656156)

The President has clearly said he is not breaking the law, and despite what the liberal media is telling you, each and every wiretap still requires an warrant

Here you go, about half-way down at www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/04/20040420- 2.html

Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.

Re:But what about the illegal wiretapping? (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#17656182)

But... But... 10000 slashdotters can't be wrong!

Re:But what about the illegal wiretapping? (2, Informative)

Anonymous McCartneyf (1037584) | more than 7 years ago | (#17656254)

Yes, wiretaps require court orders. Yes, it's good that the gov. is asking for warrants. But it wasn't that long ago when the executive branch claimed it didn't need warrants--check the /. link in the summary.

Re:But what about the illegal wiretapping? (1)

thule (9041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17657600)

Since when did US civilian courts need to grant warrants for the NSA to target foreign individuals for wiretapping? The NSA has been doing this ever since its creation. What the TSP did is allow the NSA to pass leads to the FBI. The FBI would get the lead and file for a FISA warrant to make the domestic side a wiretap TARGET.

Remember if you call a number that has a tap on it, the police can listen in on your conversation. You are not the target, the person you are calling is. This is the same for the NSA. The idea was to remove the wall so the leads the NSA would discover would get passed on to the FBI. The FISA judges would still require something other than a pure NSA lead to grant the warrant (see: Secret Court's Judges Were Warned About NSA Spy Data [washingtonpost.com] .

What is funny about this ruling is that the FISA court is now said that all it needs is a NSA lead. This is a lower requirement than what the TSP was doing.

Re:But what about the illegal wiretapping? (4, Interesting)

Wavicle (181176) | more than 7 years ago | (#17656546)

The President has clearly said he is not breaking the law, and despite what the liberal media is telling you, each and every wiretap still requires an warrant

I'm lost. Are you being sarcastic? Normally I'd think it obvious that this was tongue in cheek, except your nickname makes a Rush reference.

Is the United States Department of Justice, a department headed by an appointee of the president, also part of the liberal media? So when they wrote [fas.org] "This constitutional authority includes the authority to order warrantless foreign intelligence surveillance within the United States"?

The entire executive branch, and much of the republican congress, has said it/they believe that the president has the authority to authorize warrantless wiretaps and furthermore he has done so.

Re:But what about the illegal wiretapping? (5, Informative)

Ardeaem (625311) | more than 7 years ago | (#17657174)

The President has clearly said he is not breaking the law, and despite what the liberal media is telling you, each and every wiretap still requires an warrant

Here you go, about half-way down at www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/04/20040420- 2.html

Bush said this BEFORE he got caught doing wiretaps without warrants. I agree, wiretaps DO require warrants, but Bush has claimed that he doesn't need them (the quote in the parent post not withstanding) and he authorized a program of domestic spying without warrants. If you don't recall this, you are woefully uninformed.

Since you think the "liberal media" may be lying to you, how about a court decision regarding the program? The first TWO SENTENCES reveal that 1. the program exists and 2. the administration does not dispute that is exists. http://fl1.findlaw.com/news.findlaw.com/nytimes/do cs/nsa/aclunsa81706opn.pdf [findlaw.com] [pdf link]

People that ignore facts on the basis that they were reported by the "liberal media" confuse me. About 2 seconds of research are all that is required to confirm much of this stuff. If you ignore facts because they came from the "liberal media" you are part of the problem; people in power can sit back and do what they like realizing that you are going to take what they say at face value and not take advantage of the resources at your disposal (the media) to see that they are lying.

Now, since you quoted Bush directly saying that wiretaps require warrants (in 2004), and I have linked to you a court document which reveals that Bush authorized warrantless wiretaps in 2002, what does this mean, logically? He lied, plain and simple. You don't even need the media, the government's own documents the lie.

Re:But what about the illegal wiretapping? (-1, Flamebait)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#17657520)

Perhaps you are confused here: Al Qaeda are not people that deserve "rights". They are hell-bred mentally abberant, subhumanly evil crazies, pure and simple. You cannot argue with them you cannot convert them, you cannot appease them.

I am not going to link it here at a family-friendly server, but methinks it would do you good to watch the "Nick Berg Beheading" video to see what would happen to you and me the moment you give those terrorists a chance. One you watch it, ask yourself if they cared that Berg was a "liberal" and defended their "liberties?"

Again, with rational people you can bargain, argue, and negotiate. It pains me greatly that you and those like you fail to see, however, that with terrorists and madmen no rational argument is possible. Two outcomes only possible: i)you and your family get killed -OR- ii)the scum (bin Laden, Hitler, Pol Pot, Ted Bundy, Saddam Hussein, Marcel Petiot, "BTK" Dennis Rader) get captured and neutralized

Than again, perhaps you could negotiate some kind of a truce with this guy [wikipedia.org] where he only gets to torture, rape, and kill your kids, your parents, your wife, but spare your life?

Now, since you quoted Bush directly saying that wiretaps require warrants (in 2004), and I have linked to you a court document which reveals that Bush authorized warrantless wiretaps in 2002, what does this mean, logically? He lied, plain and simple.
Either that, or perhaps this means the warrants are not required to listen to foreign terrorists making phonecalls from outside the US?

And in general, most of our laws do not apply to those OUTSIDE the U.S. of A.'s jurisdiction (hence the reason we do not actively arrest, try, and kill all the paedophiles and potsmokers in Holland). More to the point, since none of the info collected from foreign terrorists in this way can be used in court, you can rest assured that the terrorists' rights are safe and sound.

Re:But what about the illegal wiretapping? (1)

mikek3332002 (912228) | more than 7 years ago | (#17657770)

And Witches are the Devil's Servants and they deserved to be burnt at the stake.

Re:But what about the illegal wiretapping? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17657866)

I don't do this very often, but I really think perhaps you should calm down and reflect on the situation.

Thanks, and sorry if this causes the opposite reaction, that certainly is not my intention.

Terrorist madman #872,984,299,102

Re:But what about the illegal wiretapping? (1)

EllisDees (268037) | more than 7 years ago | (#17657960)

Yeah, everyone needs to be terrified out of their minds. The terrorists will hate it if we are all so scared of them that we give up the rule of law and cave in to whatever ridiculous demands the government makes of us so that we'll be safe from these people who's most successful attack was carried out with box cutters. We should all shut up and toss out all those rights that were fought and died for by our grandparents because of the huge threat posed by these near cavemen.

You are pathetic. Coward.

Re:But what about the illegal wiretapping? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17658340)

So you really believe our only two choices are the Terrorism or the Dictatorship? Rape or be raped? Black or white?

Please, don't be absurd, there is a perfectly plausible middle ground, a country with Freedom+Justice, a society where the terrorists are in jail AND the good folks are free and living happily in a democracy?

Fuck black-or-white, I like pink.

Re:But what about the illegal wiretapping? (1)

Ardeaem (625311) | more than 7 years ago | (#17658052)

No, you are confused. I never said anything about "appeasing", nor did I say anything about being able to "bargain, argue, and negotiate" with anyone. (You've constructed a totally irrelevant straw man). What I said is that Bush stated that wiretaps require warrants (as indeed they do). But he had previously directed that wiretaps can be done WITHOUT warrants. Neither of these facts is in dispute, regardless of your attempt to derail the discussion. By the way, let me quote you quoting Bush: "When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so." This is in direct contradiction to the position you are attempting to argue on Bush's behalf. Bush himself, in the very quote YOU posted, invalidated your argument even before you made it.

Either that, or perhaps this means the warrants are not required to listen to foreign terrorists making phonecalls from outside the US?
This is domestic wiretapping. The people being wiretapped are American citizens and are afforded all the rights that come with citizenship. This includes 4th Amendment rights which require a warrant (covered by FISA) for wiretapping. The fact that the person on the other end of the phone is not a citizen is irrelevant. That's the whole point of this discussion. In the topic article, the DoJ has said that they will seek FISA warrants. If it is destructive to national security to do this (as they have argued) and if it is unnecessary (as you and the administration have argued) why would they do this? It doesn't make sense. What does make sense is that they fear a challenge by Congress, and want to make the point moot. They've done this before (see Padilla and Hamden cases). Finally, as to your claim (completely irrelevant to the discussion) that you can't bargain with terrorists that want to see you dead, you are wrong about this. The most successful alleviation of a terrorist threat in modern history was in Northern Ireland. We don't hear much about terrorism in Northern Ireland anymore. Why? Read about it yourself. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provisional_Irish_Rep ublican_Army [wikipedia.org]

Re:But what about the illegal wiretapping? (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#17657394)

The President has clearly said he is not breaking the law, and despite what the liberal media is telling you, each and every wiretap still requires an warrant

In theory. Things work a bit differently in practice. Unfortunately, we can't verify that without proper oversight. Which we aren't getting. So I'm going to assume the worst until someone can prove otherwise. That thing you quote there sounds sooo believeable. For now, it's just Bart Simpson saying, "I didn't do it. Nobody saw me do it. You can't prove a thing."

Re:But what about the illegal wiretapping? (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#17657548)

I didn't RTFA either, but doesn't the summary mean we actually ARE getting the oversight?

Re:But what about the illegal wiretapping? (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#17657630)

It is a secret court. There will be no oversight without public verification. And I mean public, not just a couple of baldheads. This here is what is commonly known as a ruse [reference.com] .

Re:But what about the illegal wiretapping? (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#17657676)

It's the same court that would have issued the FISA wiretaps [fas.org] in the first place.

So it appears reasonable that if the court are competent enough to issue individual wiretap orders, they are probably competent enough to issue a blanket approval.

Re:But what about the illegal wiretapping? (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#17657818)

What in the world makes you think they're competent? You are getting government press releases, not independant reports from a disinterested party. I can't believe what they say. I can only see what they have done, way back before "frat-brat" Bush was put in front of the camera to play president on the TV. Their credibility report doesn't look so good. And the closer you look, the worst it gets. It is that simple. Government transgressions are growing like a fungus. Or more like a mold. You don't see it, but you see what it leaves behind.

Re:But what about the illegal wiretapping? (1)

Syberghost (10557) | more than 7 years ago | (#17657412)

Who's to say that the administration that has been openly breaking the law for years hasn't just created another hidden illegal program and shifted their illegal activity to that?

They can't; they were replaced by the Bush administration in January of 2001.

Took long enough (1)

tarlos25 (1036572) | more than 7 years ago | (#17655650)

Why couldn't they have just done this in the first place? Then there would have been minimal objection and none of this PR nightmare.

Re:Took long enough (1)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17656146)

Why couldn't they have just done this in the first place? Then there would have been minimal objection and none of this PR nightmare.

Because, in their minds, asking forgiveness is easier than asking permission.

Re:Took long enough (1)

kst (168867) | more than 7 years ago | (#17656440)

Most likely because they were doing illegal things that a court wouldn't have approved. (Their previous claims that getting permission would have taken too long are not plausible; the law allows for retroactive permission in some cases.)

About %@!#% time! (3, Insightful)

Kelson (129150) | more than 7 years ago | (#17655652)

If they'd just gone through court procedures in the first place (it's not like it's difficult to get a FISA warrant), there wouldn't have been such a controversy in the first place.

Ironically, it wouldn't surprise me at all to find that the administration's insistence last year that they didn't need judicial overview contributed to the electoral frustration that cost the Republicans control of Congress.

Re:About %@!#% time! (3, Informative)

thule (9041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17657650)

But they did get a FISA warrant. The FBI would have to get the FISA warrant if the NSA generated a lead on the domestic side of the tapped communication. The domestic side wasn't the TARGET of the tap. Thus the NSA never needs a warrant. This has always been the case.

You call can be tapped without a warrant if you call some criminal suspect. That is because the TARGET of the tap is not you, the suspect is. This is how the TSP worked. The targets if the NSA taps were outside the US and considered part of the battlefield. If they needed to follow up domestically the FBI would get the information from the NSA and start their own investigation.

This ruling expands the program and does not require the FBI to further the investigation. The FISA will grant the warrant based purely on NSA intel.

For more information: (5, Informative)

the_REAL_sam (670858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17655674)

This link explained alot for me. Too bad it's a secret court, but it's better than no court, and at least it's a court within the judicial branch of the federal government.

http://www.fjc.gov/history/home.nsf/page/fisc_bdy! OpenDocument&Click= [fjc.gov]


Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

Congress in 1978 established the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court as a special court and authorized the Chief Justice of the United States to designate seven federal district court judges to review applications for warrants related to national security investigations. Judges serve for staggered, non-renewable terms of no more than seven years, and must be from different judicial circuits. The provisions for the court were part of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (92 Stat. 1783), which required the government, before it commenced certain kinds of intelligence gathering operations within the United States, to obtain a judicial warrant similar to that required in criminal investigations. The legislation was a response to a report of the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities (the "Church Committee"), which detailed allegations of executive branch abuses of its authority to conduct domestic electronic surveillance in the interest of national security. Congress also was responding to the Supreme Court's suggestion in a 1972 case that under the Fourth Amendment some kind of judicial warrant might be required to conduct national security related investigations.
Warrant applications under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act are drafted by attorneys in the General Counsel's Office at the National Security Agency at the request of an officer of one of the federal intelligence agencies. Each application must contain the Attorney General's certification that the target of the proposed surveillance is either a "foreign power" or "the agent of a foreign power" and, in the case of a U.S. citizen or resident alien, that the target may be involved in the commission of a crime.
The judges of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court travel to Washington, D.C., to hear warrant applications on a rotating basis. To ensure that the court can convene on short notice, at least one of the judges is required to be a member of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The act of 1978 also established a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, presided over by three district or appeals court judges designated by the Chief Justice, to review, at the government's request, the decisions the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Because of the almost perfect record of the Department of Justice in obtaining the surveillance warrants and other powers it requested from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the review court had no occasion to meet until 2002. The USA Patriot Act of 2001 (115 Stat. 272) expanded the time periods for which the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court can authorize surveillance and increased the number of judges serving the court from seven to eleven.


Re:For more information: (4, Interesting)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 7 years ago | (#17656334)

Did you know that Chief Justice John Roberts has the role of appointing the Judges that sit on the FISA court?

Did you know that Chief Justice John Roberts also has the role of appointing the Judges that sit on the FISA Review Panel?

Link [dailykos.com]

It makes me wonder if a new judge was appointed to FISA recently.

Re:For more information: (3, Informative)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 7 years ago | (#17657152)

Possible but not likely. However, one term on the FISC (Claude Hilton) is due to expire in 2007. Two more are set for next year, two for 2009, one in 2010, two in 2011, one in 2012, and two in 2013 for the FISC. The Court of Review has vacancies coming in 2008, 2010, and 2012. All terms expire on 18 May of their respective years. All current judges would have been appointed by Rehnquist before he died.

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court 2006 Membership [fas.org]

Re:For more information: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17656590)

""Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us." -Jesus Christ The Lord's Prayer"

You know Jesus didn't write or say that, right?
Sigh, probably not. Like most chritians you probably don't really know your own theology.

Believe what you will, but at least get it right.

Matthew 6:9-13
Luke 11:2-4

Also, it may have very well have been literally about debtors.

sh17 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17655700)

opinion in other approximately 90% h3re, but what is we all know,

Not good enough (5, Insightful)

schwaang (667808) | more than 7 years ago | (#17655744)

1. It sounds like they won't be pulling NSA cables out of the AT&T (and other) facilities. They're just claiming to use them under FISA now. This wired blog [wired.com] raises some interesting questions about this.
2. During Attorney General Gonzales' previous congressional testimony on this topic, he was very careful and lawerly in asserting that his statements only applied to the program under discussion, that is the "Terrorist Surveillance Program". The clear implication is that there are other programs besides TSP which have not seen the light of day.

In short, don't let this stop the oversight hearings.

Re:Not good enough (4, Funny)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | more than 7 years ago | (#17656230)

2. During Attorney General Gonzales' previous congressional testimony on this topic, he was very careful and lawerly in asserting that his statements only applied to the program under discussion, that is the "Terrorist Surveillance Program". The clear implication is that there are other programs besides TSP which have not seen the light of day.

Yes, AT&T is still working on their, "Terrorist Friends and Family Surveillance Program." Spy on all the friends and family of a suspected terrorist that you want to for just one, low-cost, secret warrant!

Re:Not good enough (1)

conteXXt (249905) | more than 7 years ago | (#17656344)

one more "insightful" needed.

Good catch.

It still won't be traditional warrants (3, Insightful)

the Gray Mouser (1013773) | more than 7 years ago | (#17655768)

Which is a good thing.

First they need to troll through all the communication looking for patterns. Once they find something, then they can eavesdrop specific targets and go for a warrant.

But you don't know what you're looking for until you find it.

It sounds like not much is changing really, except FISA has given the ok to the datamining.

Re:It still won't be traditional warrants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17656094)

Sorry Charlie, but you need a warrant before you can search my communications for "patterns". There is a reason George Bush failed to get the legally required (or even apply for the legally required) warrants from the F.I.S.A. court. Bush knows this program is a violation of United States law.

Requests denied? (2, Informative)

Bowling Moses (591924) | more than 7 years ago | (#17655774)

"[oversight] authority has been given to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and [it] already has approved one request for monitoring the communications of a person believed to be linked to al Qaeda or an associated terror group.""

That's nice. How many requests has this court denied, or is it just a rubber stamp like FISA [epic.org] ?

Re:Requests denied? (1)

abb3w (696381) | more than 7 years ago | (#17656520)

How many requests has this court denied, or is it just a rubber stamp like FISA?

FISA is the law; the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is the primary court chartered thereby (with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review as primary appelate, and the SCOTUS as final court of appeal).

That said, at least the Bush administration may have to put together a request that a handful of the most conservative pro-federal judges on the federal bench won't riot over. This is at least a small step away from a utterly absolute imperial executive. On the other hand, a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Chamber">t he Star Chamber was a court, too.

Re:Requests denied? (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#17657988)

authority has been given to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

That's nice. How many requests has this court denied, or is it just a rubber stamp like FISA?

-1 for not realizing that FISA _IS_ the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Or more specifically, the Court was established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

THIS PROGRAM MUST END! (2, Informative)

crhylove (205956) | more than 7 years ago | (#17655788)

FUCK OVERSIGHT! I want this program OVER. Unless I am an actual proven threat in a court of law, there should be nobody listening to anything I'm doing.

rhY

Better a hundred guilty men go free.... (1)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#17656036)

... than an innocent man hang. Is a doctrine that seems to have been trampled in the War on Terror fear mongering campaign.

Re:THIS PROGRAM MUST END! (1)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 7 years ago | (#17656098)

FUCK OVERSIGHT! I want this program OVER. Unless I am an actual proven threat in a court of law, there should be nobody listening to anything I'm doing.

So you want to be proven guilty before they can collect the evidence that would actually prove your guilt? 1) that makes no sense, as it would be circular, and 2) the standard isn't that high for regular warrants.

Re:THIS PROGRAM MUST END! (3, Insightful)

kevin_conaway (585204) | more than 7 years ago | (#17656172)

FUCK OVERSIGHT! I want this program OVER. Unless I am an actual proven threat in a court of law, there should be nobody listening to anything I'm doing.

Thats what they're doing. Agency X goes to the FISA court (a court of law mind you) and with A, B and C pieces of information showing that you are a "threat" and that they would like a warrant on you.

Re:THIS PROGRAM MUST END! (0)

crhylove (205956) | more than 7 years ago | (#17656354)

If you think the FISA court is anything but a rubber stamp for our new Gestapo, pass the kool aid. I want everything in a PUBLIC COURT. WITH A JURY OF PEERS. AS WRITTEN IN THE CONSTITUTION. Anything less is traitorous fascism, and the perpetrators should be dealt with as such. What's the penalty for treason again?

Re:THIS PROGRAM MUST END! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17656668)

Anything less is traitorous fascism

I don't think those words mean what you think they mean. But treason is defined in the Constitution so you can go ahead and look it up.

Anyways, all that the FISA courts are doing are approving warrants. A normal court does not require a jury of your peers to do that.

Rubber stamp? (1)

thule (9041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17657810)

Read this:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/artic le/2006/02/08/AR2006020802511.html [washingtonpost.com]

Does that sound like a rubber stamp to you? The judge was putting the FBI on notice. They will not grant a warrant based solely on a NSA lead. With this new ruling that is not true anymore. A simple NSA lead is all that will be required for the FBI to get a FISA warrant.

The NSA has monitored communications for years and years and years. The TARGETS of the tapping were foreign communications. If the foreign communication terminated in the US, they could still listen in on it, just like the police could listen in if you called a person that was subject to a tap (suspected criminal). You could become the subject of a tap if you said something that the police wanted to follow up on. They of course would have to go back to the court and get another warrant for you.

This is how the TSP worked. The NSA did what they always do. If they got a domestic lead they would pass it to the FBI so the FBI could follow up and potentially get a FISA warrant. The FBI is subject to civilian courts, the NSA is not.

Re:THIS PROGRAM MUST END! (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 7 years ago | (#17656962)

ever hear of "probable cause"?

_if it walks like a duck...

Great! (2, Insightful)

tacokill (531275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17655812)

That's exactly what should have happened from the very beginning

It was obvious then and its obvious now.

Not so much... (4, Informative)

StevenMaurer (115071) | more than 7 years ago | (#17655996)

According to his letter [tpmmuckraker.com] , Gonzalez hasn't actually subjected the program to judicial oversight. What he's done is gone judge-shopping to find a single judge to declare the entire program authorized.

The problem is, that's not how warrants work. Warrants have to be specific and time limited - to avoid exactly the behavior that Gonzalez in engaging in: blanket invasion into the privacy of all Americans without any legitimate reason to think they're doing anything wrong.

Remember: the laws we have on civil liberties aren't there to protect the guilty. They're there to protect the innocent, namely us.

Re:Not so much... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17656640)

Right.

And in addition, it doesn't make the last five years of FISA felonies any less criminal.

Surveillance Society - the governments aim (2, Interesting)

Garry Anderson (194949) | more than 7 years ago | (#17656002)

FYI: It is not a "Terrorist Surveillance Program" - it is a "Public Surveillance Program".

They do not know who the terrorists are - so they have to keep an eye on you "just in case".

Why do government have no respect for your right to privacy?

This is a post that I have used many times before :-)

Liberty has to be one of the most important things in life. Well up there, behind health and safety of your family, must be the right to go about your daily life without being forced to live it under oppressive surveillance. For it surely is oppression - being spied upon by the authorities in all that you do. Knowing this information could be used against you, for any purpose they see fit. The so-called all-seeing eye of God over you - meant to instil respect of them and fear of authority.

It can be proven they use propaganda to deceive you into believing them. How?

Ask Security Services in the US, UK, Indonesia (Bali) or anywhere for that matter, to deny this:

Internet surveillance, using Echelon, Carnivore or back doors in encryption, will not stop terrorists communicating by other means - most especially face to face or personal courier.

Terrorists will have to do that, or they will be caught!

Perhaps using mobile when absolutely essential, saying - "Meet you in the pub Monday" (meaning, human bomb to target A), or Tuesday (target B) or Sunday (abort).

The Internet has become a tool for government to snoop on their people - 24/7.

The terrorism argument is a dummy - total bull*.

INTERNET SURVEILLANCE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO STOP TERRORISTS - THAT IS SPIN AND PROPAGANDA

This propaganda is for several reasons, including: a) making you feel safer b) to say the government are doing something and c) the more malicious motive of privacy invasion.

Government say about surveillance - "you've nothing to fear - if you are not breaking the law"

This argument is made to pressure people into acquiescence - else appear guilty of hiding something illegal.

It does not address the real reason why they want this information (which they will deny) - they want a surveillance society.

They wish to invade your basic human right to privacy. This is like having somebody watching everything you do - all your personal thoughts, hopes and fears will be open to them.

This is everything - including phone calls and interactive TV. Quote from ZDNET: "Whether you're just accessing a Web site, placing a phone call, watching TV or developing a Web service, sometime in the not to distant future, virtually all such transactions will converge around Internet protocols."

"Why should I worry? I do not care if they know what I do in my own home", you may foolishly say. Or, just as dumbly, "They will not be interested in anything I do".

This information will be held about you until the authorities need it for anything at all. Like, for example, here in UK when government looked for dirt on individuals of Paddington crash survivors group. It was led by badly injured Pam Warren. She had over 20 operations after the 1999 rail crash (which killed 31 and injured many).

This group had fought for better and safer railways - all by legal means. By all accounts a group of fine outstanding people - with good intent.

So what was their crime, to deserve this investigation?

It was just for showing up members of government to be the incompetents they are.

As usual, government tried to put a different spin on the story when they were found out. Even so, their intent was obvious - they wanted to use this information as propaganda - to smear the character of these good people.

Our honourable government would rather defile the character of its citizens - rather than address their reasonable concerns.

The government arrogantly presume this group of citizens would not worry about having their privacy invaded.

They can also check your outgoings match your income and that you are paying enough tax. What do you think all this privacy invasion is for? The War on Terrorism? You poor dupe. All your finances for them to scrutinize; heaven help you if you cannot account for every cent.

The authorities try make everything they say sound perfectly reasonable.

e.g. Officials from US Defence Department agency have said they want, quote: "the same level of accountability in cyberspace that we now have in the physical world".

Do they keep record of all the people that you send letters and faxes to (and receive from)? Worse still - record the text? Do they record your phone conversations? Do they keep a record of peoples houses, shops and establishments you visit - or the magazines and books you pick up to browse? Do they keep record of books you take out of library? Do they keep record of purchases you make from the shops?

Indeed - do government currently keep records of everything that you say, touch and do in the physical world to analyse?

No they do not. So then - is that the same level of accountability?

They wish to keep an electronic tag on you, like some kind of animal. Actually it is even worse than this - like some pervert sex offender - a child molester that they have to keep track of.

Would ANY person of intelligence call that accountability?

Do not believe the lies of Government - even more of your money spent on these measures will not protect us from terrorists. Every argument they use is subterfuge - pure spin.

In UK, the RIP Act is unjust - dim-witted ill-informed MPs believed governments 'experts'. Remember - they will get everything about you, your phone calls, emails, TV viewing - everything. It would be like having a spy living in your house.

Americans - the Total Information Awareness plan, USA Patriot act and Homeland Defence - you are generally more technologically aware, are you really that easily misled?

Quote from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency: "The goal of the Total Information Awareness (TIA) program is to revolutionize the ability of the United States to detect, classify and identify foreign terrorists -- and decipher their plans -- and thereby enable the U.S. to take timely action to successfully preempt and defeat terrorist acts."

The declared GOAL is to, quote: "identify foreign terrorists" - what rubbish. They know you are American citizen, not even a suspect foreigner - yet want to know what you buy, where you travel - everything. They want to profile you, like a criminal. I find it hard to believe that U.S. politicians are that dumb to go along with this violation of the American Peoples Rights. Looks like TIA initials stand for Totally Ignorant Acceptance (for their propaganda).

It should be noted that the UK government will be violating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - which we have adopted.

Article 12 states: "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks."

You may be interested in the psychology of this type of surveillance. Here is a piece, wrote by another who did a better job of explaining than I could:

Foucault focused on Bentham's prison model, or the Penopticon as Bentham called it - which literally means, that which sees all. The Penopticon prison, which was popular in the early nineteenth century, was designed to allow guards to see their prisons, but not allow prisoners to see guards. The building was circular, with prisoner's cells lining the outer diameter, and in the center of the circle was a large, central observational tower. At any given time, guards could be looking down into each prisoner's cells - and thereby monitor potentially unmoral behavior - but carefully-placed blinds prevented prisoners from seeing the guards, thereby leaving them to wonder if they were being monitored at any given moment. It was Bentham's belief that the "gaze" of the Panopticon would force prisoners to behave morally. Like the all-seeing eye of God, they would feel shame at their wicked ways. In effect, the coercive nature of the Panopticon was built into its very structure.

The government will be watching all you do.

You will be good people now - won't you?

Or else!

I know what is possible. I also know from my own experience with a government department that they will abuse personal information. In my last job (at one of the largest food manufacturing plants in Europe) my responsibilities included stand-alone and networked data capture systems (not solely) - and the automation of turning large amounts of data into information. These were reports on analysis of the data for all levels of management - to any amount of detail. I cannot stress enough - all your personal thoughts, hopes and fears will be open to them.

Finally! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17656104)

Most people have only been asking for the same kind of oversight as the current FISA court accomplishes -- a warrant for each instance of someone who is going to be monitored -- and then most are willing to accept the idea. Why did it take clandestine discovery that the program even existed, court challenges to its validity, and a couple of years of widespread public outrage for the right thing to finally be done? The law was on the books. It should have been a no-brainer: yes, do what is needed, but within the context FISA laws/courts to make sure it isn't abused, because people are justifiably sensitive about the issue of their own government spying on them. How hard is that to figure out? And if FISA wasn't adequate for some reason, then, for heaven's sake, emend the law.

Maybe this is the sign the Bush administration isn't incorrigible. That would be nice.

A crushing blow to the Extreme Right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17656148)

Sure this is still not perfect, but this is basically a hocked-up loogie spit right in the face of the ultimate right wing (if you'll pardon the somewhat gross metaphor). There are still legitimate security and privacy concerns at stake here, but at least the slobbering right-wing masturbation fantasy of a secret police force that has no checks or balances on its power whatsoever has taken yet another step away from reality. Go freedom!!

Been Done Before (1)

sehlat (180760) | more than 7 years ago | (#17656194)

The star chamber [wikipedia.org] . This institution has the advantage that, if you're dealing with it and the Powers That Be approve of you, you're pretty much bullet proof. Of course if they don't...

Under the leadership of Cardinal Wolsey (the Archbishop of York and Lord Chancellor) and Thomas Cranmer (the Archbishop of Canterbury) (1515-1529), the Court of Star Chamber became a political weapon for bringing actions against opponents to the policies of King Henry VIII, his Ministers and his Parliament.

this is pre-911 thinking (3, Funny)

Adult film producer (866485) | more than 7 years ago | (#17656236)

and it's gonna get us killed, whether you like it or not. We are more vulnerable now that investigators have to wade through the legal system. If you've seen the latest episode of 24, you'll know what I'm talking about, a nuclear attack on an american city. With the appropriate monitoring systems in place, that would have never happened on the show but they were hamstrung like the FBI and NSA is today. Blame the leftists and the god damn liberals for the terror that will befall us :(

Re:this is pre-911 thinking (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#17656322)

yes, base your argument on a TV episode.

Dork.

Re:this is pre-911 thinking (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | more than 7 years ago | (#17656416)

I would rather lose a large city (and along with the destabilization) via a terrorist attack than LOSE MY FREEDOM. It'd not matter if it was my city, as long as others would keep their freedom.

That, and basing an argument about a F-1CTIONAL show is stupid. Stupid.

Re:this is pre-911 thinking (1)

SpaceLifeForm (228190) | more than 7 years ago | (#17656534)

The FBI and NSA are hamstrung today?
And that would have happened under which administration?

Hint, that would be the GW Bush administration,
you know, they who have been fearmongering over
the terrorist bogeyman for the last 5 years.

You need to stop watching TV and start *THINKING*.

Re:this is pre-911 thinking (0)

slimjim8094 (941042) | more than 7 years ago | (#17656568)

Mod parent funny! Haha, that's the funniest thing I've read today...

Re:this is pre-911 thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17656622)

You're right: it's post-Nazi-Germany thinking.

The downside of a democracy sliding into fascism is far greater than the risk of a few determined radical extremists.

But even if Al Qua'ida is so dangerous (and I think we can agree that they are), then your side has a funny way of showing it by wasting effort and resources in Iraq while Osama walks free. In the meantime you grab losers off the streets of Kabul and lock them for years in Gitmo with zero evidence (and later most walk free) instead of focusing on real bad guys.

And you spout bull like "they hate us for our freedom" instead of acknowledging that our uncritical support of Israel and our propping up of vicious dictatorships in exchange for a stable oil supply is pissing off the whole Middle East and giving nutjobs like Osama all the recruitment propaganda they need.

Re:this is pre-911 thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17656804)

Wade? Wade through the legal system? Hamstrung? Under FISA they can go ahead and do the wiretapping and retroactively seek approval from the court up to 72 hours later. Sheesh. Assign a lawyer to do that job (they aren't doing the intelligence gathering anyway).

If the Bush administration truly thought the FISA court and law was too constraining and risky to keep following it, then the appropriate thing to do would have been to CHANGE the law or abolish it, not to ignore it for years. At least in most western democracies, elected officials are supposed to follow the law, and if there is a problem with it, propose new laws or emend old ones. Bush et al. seem to have forgotten what principles they are defending.

Pitiful willing slave (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17656848)

Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death! Patrick Henry [historyplace.com]


The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure. Thomas Jefferson [bartleby.com]


For over two hundred years our fellow Americans have died so that we could live free and not all of them have been soldiers, but patriots all. For us to give up so willingly, the liberties they fought and died for, does an extreme dishonor to those patriots and that includes the victims of the 911 attacks. "So this is how liberty dies: with thunderous applause."Padmé Amidala [wikipedia.org] The last line is from fiction, let's keep it there.

Re:this is pre-911 thinking (1)

Hotawa Hawk-eye (976755) | more than 7 years ago | (#17658004)

So when (eventually) the leftists and liberals are voted in as President and Congress, are you willing to give them the same power to investigate whomever they claim as a terrorist (like their political enemies) as you're willing to give to the current administration?

Re:this is pre-911 thinking (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17658006)

So, which causes the USers to be at most risk-

1. An administration that removed not one single person from their position of responsibility following the greatest intelligence failure in the history of this country

or

2. a secret court that allows the government to submit their case for approval up to 72 hours AFTER surveillance has begun

hmm??

The FISA court is not a secret (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17656472)

Only the proceedings.

Gee, that doesn't sound sketchy at all.. (1)

necro2607 (771790) | more than 7 years ago | (#17656498)

"monitoring the communications of a person believed to be linked to al Qaeda or an associated terror group."

So he/she is possibly related to a group that is possibly associated with al Qaeda... I hope the evidence is a damn lot stronger than this half-hearted wording suggests.

Re:Gee, that doesn't sound sketchy at all.. (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#17657618)

So he/she is possibly related to a group that is possibly associated with al Qaeda... I hope the evidence is a damn lot stronger than this half-hearted wording suggests.

It isn't - so Kevin Bacon is in deep deep trouble.

Makes sense... (2, Interesting)

Cheetahfeathers (93473) | more than 7 years ago | (#17656536)

This of course also happens after a bunch of federal judges were replaced.

Fai7zors (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17656564)

the accounting core team. They inventin6 excuses

fp bitcoh (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17657092)

Users all ove8 the a8d the Bazaar

Authority Given Years Ago (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 7 years ago | (#17657922)

authority has been given to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

Ummm, that authority was given to FISA years ago. The question should not be whether they now will be allowed to do their job, but if those who broke the law in circumventing it will be held accountable.

Oh yeah, I feel MUCH better (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17658212)

A secret court. Oh yeah, that makes me feel much better. Let them just reimplement the STAR CHAMBER then.

I tell you what. I am going to start spying on you. But its ok. Because I've set up my own secret court to approve it.

All government should be clear and transparent. I'm sorry, but there are no secrets worth keeping in the interest of national security. Everything that is kept secret is always shady underhanded dealings that undermine democracy. They have been going on so long there pretty much is zero democracy left. Everyone here could be 100% pissed off about something, but it doesnt matter, because they can't vote on it directly right here, right now, or ever. The only thing our vote has been watered down is to a choice between a turd sandwich and a giant douce every four years (Southpark episode), which is basically no democracy at all, only the faintest semblence of one to be able to call it 'democratic'.

Humanity does not want American Style democracy. American's do not want American style democracy.
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