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Court Orders Dismissal of US Wiretapping Lawsuit

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the we-heard-your-plan-you-have-no-case dept.

Privacy 362

jcatcw writes with a link to a ComputerWorld article about the dismissal of a case against the NSA over the wiretapping program revealed last year. The case was brought by the ACLU. A three-judge panel in the Sixth Circuit has sent the case back down to District court for ultimate dismissal. "The appeals court decision leaves opponents of the NSA program in a difficult position, said Jim Dempsey, policy director of the Center for Democracy and Technology, a civil liberties group that has opposed the program. The appeals court ruled that the plaintiffs could not sue because they can't prove they were affected by the program, and at the same time, ruled that details about the program, including who was targeted, are state secrets."

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Fir Pos? (2, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#19771735)

Enjoy your dictatorship, America. Bush and his cronies can do no wrong, and can block and dismiss any attempt to see JUST HOW FAR they have gone. At least until after the next election. If there IS an election. You guys still have them, right?

Re:Fir Pos? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19771817)

>>>You guys still have them, right?

The USA does go through the process, but there is a history of some pretty serious irregularities [wikipedia.org]

Re:Fir Pos? (3, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772149)

I'm a libertarian and a Libertarian. There are SERIOUS irregularities caused by the two party system in general. The fact that every post primary debate only has TWO parties represented and doesn't include ANY of the viable third party candidates is of great concern with me (Ross Perot not withstanding).

Want to improve all the issues pointed out in the article, stop having a two party system. However, I realize that having more than two options to vote for confuses most Americans.

Lastly, I'd like a "None of the Above" option on all elections. And looking at the approval ratings of congress, and the president, I think NOTA would win most elections.

Re:Fir Pos? (3, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772275)

Enjoy your dictatorship, America.

This really isn't anything to do with Bush, though it is his actions we are concerned with; it is a shortcoming in the legal system, a loophole that arises because of the way lawsuits are qualified. The president has violated his oath to uphold the constitution; via US telecomm laws, wiretapping is linked inextricably to fourth amendment citizen immunity to unreasonable search; the president swears to uphold and defend the constitution, and he has not doe so, in fact a strong case can be made that he has directly violated it. There is a remedy for this. Recourse is via the congress, who should impeach and convict him for this violation of the presidential oath, a "high crime" if there ever was one.

The problem that we actually face is a congress that has absolutely no spine and is so corrupt itself that they find it perfectly natural to violate the constitution. After all, they have done it many times by producing blatantly unconstitutional laws. Examples abound: ex post facto gun laws, suppression of speech in public areas (most recently, the ruling on that kid's Jesus / Bong banner), the witless inversion of the commerce clause, violation of the right to keep and bear arms and so on.

We can't fix any of this because of the entrenched two party system, and because the legislators themselves are corrupt (with the exception of one or two.)

Spankings 4 all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19771737)

prepare to be spanked in appeal!

Tough ground (4, Insightful)

mulvane (692631) | more than 7 years ago | (#19771763)

The only way to prove you were affected is to be affected. The fact you were affected you can't prove even when you are affected because the fact that you were is to remain a state secret.

Re:Tough ground (2, Interesting)

andy314159pi (787550) | more than 7 years ago | (#19771795)

You know a good lawyer will tell you that in the end the truth will prevail, as corny as it sounds. This irrational decision will stand until the paperwork is filled for higher appeal. I am not sure where the appeal process will take them and I am sure there are lawyers on this board who will tell us, but I still have faith in the process even though it seems to be falling short right now.

Re:Tough ground (1)

mulvane (692631) | more than 7 years ago | (#19771851)

Not a lot of trials that had state secrets in them ever made it to trial. Some have I know. The problem is from what I have seen and read, is finding people that both sides will agree on to try the case, how to maintain the classified nature of the case from ever becoming public record outside of the declassification process.

Re:Tough ground (1)

phatvw (996438) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772057)

Why is the Government so concerned about keeping the surveillance list secret? Its not like they care about justice anyway since so many folks are being held in Guantanamo without formal charges. Just treat all the suspects as enemy combatants and be done with it.

All the publicity regarding wiretapping will just make the bad guys cover their tracks more and make the job of the NSA even harder. If the NSA were smarter, they would release a list of all the folks who have loose affiliations but are of minimal risk. That would satisfy the EFF and everybody else and let them keep the real important stuff secret.

As for the folks at AT&T who couldn't keep the secret about wiretapping, give them all free iPod's and enable the 13th application [google.com]

Re:Tough ground (4, Interesting)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772099)

Two good reasons I can think of at the moment:

If people know they are being spied on an tapped, they'll take fewer risks and give less away.

Likewise, if they know they /aren't/ they'll be more agressive in their interactions and get things done faster, with possibly better organization.

Re:Tough ground (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19772237)

One More:

According to the judgement above, you'd also be creating a list of people who now have the right to sue you.

As it stands, unless they break the "State Secrets" limitation, the government is protected from being held accountable.

In THIS government, accountability is the very last thing they want applied to themselves. As such, I think this, more than those other two arguments, is why they'll never release such a list.

-AC

Re:Tough ground (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19772555)

> Why is the Government so concerned about keeping the surveillance list secret? Its not like they care about justice anyway since so many folks are being held in Guantanamo without formal charges. Just treat all the suspects as enemy combatants and be done with it. Just treat all the suspects as enemy combatants and be done with it.

(I kinda wish they would. At least it'd get it out in the open. But to answer your question as to why -- if it were out in the open, if it were made legal, then they couldn't keep doing it. Catch-22 applies to them as well as us.)

"No reason," wailed the old woman. "No reason."

"What right did they have?"

"Catch-22."

"What?" Yossarian froze in his tracks with fear and alarm and felt hiw while body begin to tingle. "What did you say?"

"Catch-22," the old woman repeated, rocking her head up and down. "Catch-22. Catch-22 says they have a right to do anything we can't stop them from doing."

"What the hell are you talking about?" Yossarian shouted at her in bewildered, furious protest. "How did you know it was Catch-22? Who the hell told you it was Catch-22?"

"The soldiers with the hard white hats a clubs. The girls were crying. 'Did we do anything wrong?' they said. The men said no and pushed them away out the door with the ends of their clubs. 'Then why are you chasing us out?' the girls said. 'Catch-22,' the men said. 'What right do you have?' the girls said. 'Catch-22,' the men said. All they kept saying was 'Catch-22, Catch-22.' What does it mean, Catch-22? What is Catch-22?"

"Didn't they show it to you?" Yossarian demanded, stamping about in ager and distress. "Didn't you even make them read it?"

"They don't have to show us Catch-22," the old woman answered. "The law says they don't have to."

"What law says they don't have to?"

"Catch-22."

Re:Tough ground (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19772395)

As much as it sucks that the ACLU lost, the decision makes sense. You must be an aggrieved party to file a civil claim.[1] This is basically the foundation of civil law. You sue to reclaim damages done to you, and you have to expect to reasonably prove that the damages have been done to you, and show that it was the plaintiff's fault more than yours.

Civil court wasn't the right way to approach this, at least not while the relevant information is classified. National Security trumps civil law. Otherwise, people could sue the government, or even each other, for trivial matters and sub poena unrelated classified information.

On the other hand, Congress is in a position where they can and should investigate the NSA.

[1] Not exactly, but this is close enough. If verifiable information regarding who was tapped is leaked, the ACLU can file on behalf of those affected, with their permission.

Re:Tough ground (5, Funny)

The Angry Mick (632931) | more than 7 years ago | (#19771875)

The only way to prove you were affected is to be affected. The fact you were affected you can't prove even when you are affected because the fact that you were is to remain a state secret.

Ok . . my head just exploded.

Re:Tough ground (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19772129)

Ok . . my head just exploded.
Clean up in thread 199255. And bring a bucket. It's another logic lobotomy.

Re:Tough ground (1)

discogravy (455376) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772507)

Ok . . my head just exploded.

...and how did that affect you?

Re:Tough ground (1)

twifosp (532320) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772543)

Ok . . my head just exploded.

I assume it was not from misunderstanding the above statement, but that you just realized that the above statement is in fact reality.

Re:Tough ground (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19771915)

Any lawyers around? I'm wondering...

state secret- obstruction of justice?
the justices for allowing this as a legal defense- accomplices?

Re:Tough ground (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19772005)

no. youre on the wrong track. IAAL. in camera review should determine standing.

Re:Tough ground (4, Insightful)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#19771973)

I've nothing against the tapping in and of itself, I keep on the legal side of the fence, and honestly, I don't know anyone who will do the tapping so I don't care if they hear me complaining on the phone to a friend about the results of that extra-bean burrito I ate...

Regardless, a government that does not follow the rules and restrictions set for it by itself and its people is just as much of a threat as any malicious foreign party. Which leads me to my next question - can they take further action on this case, or was it pretty much shot down, and prevented from going higher? The quotes didn't seem optimistic.

Re:Tough ground (1)

jack455 (748443) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772047)

Something tells me that anyone who was affected received a National Security Letter. I don't know if that would keep them from suing though.

Re:Tough ground (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19772445)

If you want to challenge this why don't you plot with someone in Pakistan to bomb something in the US. Then when you get arrested and go to trial, THEN you can make a valid challenge.

Mneh (1)

Helen Keller (842669) | more than 7 years ago | (#19771765)

Gnnnn1st

menhehh

mmm

geh geh

Mngggg

Psot!

This is not EFF -vs- AT&T (3, Informative)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 7 years ago | (#19771779)

Last paragraph of the article:

The appeals court decision does not affect another lawsuit still pending in California, in which the Electronic Frontier Foundation has sued AT&T Inc., which allegedly participated in the NSA program.
If this ruling makes you angry, support the EFF [eff.org] !

Re:This is not EFF -vs- AT&T (2, Interesting)

Bomarc (306716) | more than 7 years ago | (#19771879)

Actually, if they go through their records -- they might be able to determine if they are affected... http://www.aclu.org/freespeech/protest/30298prs200 70628.html [aclu.org] As anyone been denied enterence to a Bush actvity after sending email or talking on the phone?

Better yet... (4, Insightful)

msauve (701917) | more than 7 years ago | (#19771981)

since the EFF was ineffective, support the NRA [nra.org] .

Better even yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19772419)

Screw the NRA, start supporting CTD [cheaperthandirt.com]

Re:Better yet... (4, Informative)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772441)

The NRA tends to support politicians that supported the illegal wiretapping.

Re:This is not EFF -vs- AT&T (1)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#19771983)

Better yet, contact your congressman (of any Party, they all want to be re-elected) and tell them why this issue is important to you and how this will affect your vote in 2008.

Re:This is not EFF -vs- AT&T (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772347)

Better yet, contact your congressman (of any Party, they all want to be re-elected) and tell them why this issue is important to you and how this will affect your vote in 2008.

Your congresscritter will know better. There's no absentee voting in Gitmo.

Re:This is not EFF -vs- AT&T (1)

terrymr (316118) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772279)

A wise man once said :

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Why? (1)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772389)

If this ruling makes you angry, support the EFF!

Why? They talk a great talk (and they love to talk- seems they're always giving speeches) but when it comes down to court time, their record is less than stellar, particularly with larger cases. I really don't give a shit about CSS or encrypted music/movies. I do care quite a bit when the government is engaged in unconstitutional wiretapping.

Our era's reverse catch 22. (4, Insightful)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 7 years ago | (#19771783)

There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. (Lt.) Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he was sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.

                "That's some catch, that Catch-22," he [Yossarian] observed.
                "It's the best there is," Doc Daneeka agreed.


Instead, it's fear of terror that's the new catch, completely unaccountable in its all-enforcing secrecy from the people the system is supposed to represent, and completely against the constitution that gives it the charter it exists to serve.

Ryan Fenton

Re:Our era's reverse catch 22. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19772167)

"There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's privacy in the face of surveillance that was real and immediate was the process of a pro-American mind. The ACLU was pro-American and not subject to surveillance. All they had to do was file suit; and as soon as they did, they would become anti-American and would then become subject to surveillance. The ACLU would be anti-American to advocate surveillance, and pro-American to oppose it; but if they were pro-American, they had to advocate surveillance. If they advocated surveillance they were pro-American and didn't have to be watched; but if they didn't want to be watched, they were anti-American and had to be watched."

- Supreme Court Justice Joseph Heller

Re:Our era's reverse catch 22. (3, Funny)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772277)

The book had a lot more instances of catch-22

1) You could only "see" Major Major Major when he was not in. If he was in you could not see him, until later, when he was out.

2) The italian police were not permitted to tell those they arrested what they had been charged with.

Kid's these days! How many slashdotters don't know what Catch-22 is?

Re:Our era's reverse catch 22. (1, Informative)

MadMidnightBomber (894759) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772367)

"No reason," wailed the old woman. "No reason."
        "What right did they have?"
        "Catch-22. [...] Catch-22 says they have a right to do
          anything we can't stop them from doing. [...]"
        "Didn't they show it to you?" Yossarian demanded, stamping
          about in anger and distress. "Didn't you even make them read
          it?"
        "They don't have to show us Catch-22," the old woman
          answered. "The law says they don't have to."
        "What law says they don't have to?"
        "Catch-22."

5 O'Clock News (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19771785)

So, want to start taking bets to see if this actually makes onto the news tonight...?

Before or after the American Idol/You Think You Can Dance/Duh/Paris Hilton report?

Re:5 O'Clock News (1, Informative)

mroberts47 (1073802) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772145)

I dunno, I am just glad that someone is finally telling those stupid liberal groups to STFU.

Appeal? (4, Insightful)

Shadow Wrought (586631) | more than 7 years ago | (#19771797)

I'd think they should be able to appeal to the Supreme Court though. How can you prove you have standing if it illegal for you to know whether you have standing or not. Even the current Court would find that one difficult I'd think.

Re:Appeal? (1)

Uthic (931553) | more than 7 years ago | (#19771863)

Not well versed on the US legal system, but can't the court hear "secret" evidence but in some kind of closed session? Granted it's not much better, but this case involves some serious infringements of liberties.

Re:Appeal? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772113)

Not well versed on the US legal system, but can't the court hear "secret" evidence but in some kind of closed session?


Yes, it's done all the time. Even in civil cases like SCO v. IBM, where there is some evidence considered 'confidential' by the companies involved, the judge can hear the evidence in a closed-door session and the specific secret evidence can be redacted from the transcripts.

The thing that really bugs me... (3, Interesting)

Elemenope (905108) | more than 7 years ago | (#19771809)

...is the standing rulings that have collectively made it law that taxpayer participation (i.e. by paying taxes) in a program is insufficient standing for challenging that program. Is there a lawyer in the house that can explain why if I pay for something that doesn't give me the standing to complain about it? A rational explanation escapes me, but IANAL...

I mean, I can *kind of* see that if taxpayer participation was enough, then the courts would be come much busier with complaints about government spending and programs (perhaps paralyzingly so), but there must be a better way than just excluding the entire class as lacking standing.

Re:The thing that really bugs me... (1, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772027)

Is there a lawyer in the house that can explain why if I pay for something that doesn't give me the standing to complain about it?

      It's like if you start bitching and moaning about how Toyota is running its company, when you only own ONE share. Yeah, good luck with that. Now if you earn a big enough chunk of the company, you might be able to get enough support to get a case, and have the board of directors changed. But as a single tax payer, the government is NOT going to listen to you. Ever. Your only chance to make a difference is at the ballot box - and even then you have to pick between processed, nicely packaged candidate (A) vs. processed, nicely packaged candidate (B).

      The only way to REALLY change things is with enough AK-47's, and even then it's only temporary.

Re:The thing that really bugs me... (1)

Elemenope (905108) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772253)

The difference between Toyota and the Federal Government is, though, that the Fed has police powers, including enforcement and punishment of laws that can deprive persons of life and liberty. And they do this in the name of the people at large. I am a member of 'the-people-at-large'. Since they are doing things in my name (among others), and I am subject to those rules, and I am also a dutiful taxpayer (my *buy-in* to be served by that Fed which acts in my name and others) does this not entitle me to slightly more standing than, say, a petty shareholder in a for-profit company? At least in theory?

Re:The thing that really bugs me... (4, Informative)

MaceyHW (832021) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772323)

I am a law student, not a lawyer, and standing is dealt with in upper level courses that I haven't taken yet, but Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] provides the following nugget that seems to answer your question

The Court developed a two-part test to determine whether the plaintiffs had standing to sue. First, because a taxpayer alleges injury only by virtue of his liability for taxes, the Court held that "a taxpayer will be a proper party to allege the unconstitutionality only of exercises of congressional power under the taxing and spending clause of Art. I, 8, of the Constitution." *479 Id., at 102, 88 S.Ct., at 1954. Second, the Court required the taxpayer to "show that the challenged enactment exceeds specific constitutional limitations upon the exercise of the taxing and spending power and not simply that the enactment is generally beyond the powers delegated to Congress by Art. I, 8." Id., at 102-103, 88 S.Ct., at 1954."
(note, the article is about Flast v. Cohen but the case quoted is Valley Forge Christian College v. Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Inc., 454 U.S. 464 (1982)).

It would seem to me that the reasoning goes something like this "you're claiming harm via the payment of taxes, so the harm has to be directly related to the payment of taxes. This means that the violation you're claiming has to be a violation of Congress's constitional authority to tax or to spend. Sorry, any old violation of the Constitution won't do."

Now is that sane? Maybe not, but you asked for a legal argument, not a sane one.

Re:The thing that really bugs me... (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772359)

Because pure Democracy is nothing more than Mob rule. The majority is not "Always Right"(tm)

Checks and Balances (4, Insightful)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 7 years ago | (#19771827)

Our government was set up on a basis of checks and balances to keep things on the straight and narrow. In a Democracy, however, the governmental checks and balances are tier 2 of the mechanism to keep things in line. The voting populace is tier 1. Without the ability to understand what the government is doing (the information is classified) we are unable to direct the government through elections.

We are looking at an example where the checks and balances system is being undermined at the most fundamental level.

We seem to be living at the period in American history that future peoples will point to when discussing the unraveling of our Nation.

Regards.

Re:Checks and Balances (1)

Mr. Bad Example (31092) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772109)

> We are looking at an example where the checks and balances system is being
> undermined at the most fundamental level.

Which is clearly why we need to return to the system of Jacks and Palances [theonion.com] .

Re:Checks and Balances (1)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772125)

We seem to be living at the period in American history that future peoples will point to when discussing the unraveling of our Nation.

And I hope there's a special Hell for the politicians an bureaucrats who are doing this

Re:Checks and Balances (2, Insightful)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772187)

I agree on the short term, the checks and balances have been eroded. But the great thing about the US system is over the long run, the wrongs are righted. We have already seen some of this. A new administration will be in place in 18 months, and we'll see how much more change that brings.

Re:Checks and Balances (2, Insightful)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772313)

The wrongs are not righted only pushed aside while focus is redirect to the newest wrong. The old wrongs continue to be wrong.

Look at the monkey.

My sig is inappropriate for this post.

Re:Checks and Balances (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772339)

We seem to be living at the period in American history that future peoples will point to when discussing the unraveling of our Nation.
I'll agree with you, but I'd say this period began several decades ago, when television became the primary source of political information for the electorate and the primary requisites for national leadership positions became telegenicity and demagoguery.

Quite a few historians out there have been pointing to the decline of the free American nation for some time now. It's just that the past few Congresses and Presidents have accelerated the decline.

Re:Checks and Balances (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772587)

I'd argue that it began much longer ago than TV.

FUCK! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19771831)

FUCK!

See no evil, hear no evil? (4, Insightful)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#19771841)

So the court has ruled that as long as the government keeps it's mouth shut about who it was spying on, no one can ever sue the government over un-constitutional spying. Great. No plaintiffs, no lawsuit, no broken laws.

Of course at SOME point, maybe in 20 years or so, the names of who the government was spying on will have to become a non-secret, and thus available under a FOIA request.

Re:See no evil, hear no evil? (1)

mulvane (692631) | more than 7 years ago | (#19771909)

To bad the Statute of Limitations is being written to 19.5 years on these kind of cases.

not really fair... (1, Insightful)

SolusSD (680489) | more than 7 years ago | (#19771899)

This is a case where the only way the NSA would be found guilty is if they basically admitted to it-- but they don't have to because they can label their activities *state-secrets*. You can't win this one.

Better luck next time (1)

bytesex (112972) | more than 7 years ago | (#19771911)

The appeals court ruled that the plaintiffs could not sue because they can't prove they were affected by the program, and at the same time, ruled that details about the program, including who was targeted, are state secrets.

Which is all true. So they should have chosen a better angle under which to file a complaint. Either find someone affected, or argue convincingly that such state secrets are unconstitutional. Should be a breeze given the current make up of the supreme court.

Otherwise, just put your money in the bank and wait until after 2008.

Re:Better luck next time (4, Insightful)

StrongAxe (713301) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772065)

Which is all true. So they should have chosen a better angle under which to file a complaint. Either find someone affected, or argue convincingly that such state secrets are unconstitutional. Should be a breeze given the current make up of the supreme court.

Wait. You think that the current conservatively-biased court would vote against the Republican administration and its theories about state secrets and executive privilege?

Re:Better luck next time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19772503)

I know you don't get to see it here much on /., but I think that might have been sarcasm.

Good News !! (-1, Flamebait)

Dolphinzilla (199489) | more than 7 years ago | (#19771931)

I know it goes against the current liberal anti-Bush Slashdot crowd - If you aren't doing illegal activities over the phone / airwaves / Internet then why worry ? - They could probably get more useful stuff out of your garbage can. As far as I am concerned the NSA/CIA/FBI/??? can wiretap and monitor me to their hearts content I promise it will not only be useless but incredibly boring.

Re:Good News !! (4, Insightful)

The Angry Mick (632931) | more than 7 years ago | (#19771991)

I know it goes against the current liberal anti-Bush Slashdot crowd - If you aren't doing illegal activities over the phone / airwaves / Internet then why worry ?

Because what it perfectly legal now, may not be so in the near future.

Re:Good News !! (1)

GrayCalx (597428) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772239)

Because what it perfectly legal now, may not be so in the near future.

Wait, talking to my grandma in Florida is going to be illegal in the near future?!? Link plz.

Re:Good News !! (1)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772019)

thank you for being a choice candidate for our Patriot Scapegoat and Patsy selection process. We will be kicking in your door at 3:04am. It is important for our subsequent forensics manipulations that you wear an orange jumpsuit and fall forward upon termination.

Re:Good News !! (5, Insightful)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772063)

If that were true then the 400+ people held at Gitmo over these many years would have resulted in more that a small handful of trials and more than a sprinkling of convictions.

We don't know why they choose to hold the people they do, and they do not have to tell us. For all we know the Gitmo detentions are as much to change the political landscape in the Middle East as they are to fight terrorism.

We have no idea what the NSA is looking for when they are wiretapping, and more importantly, we do not know what they might find profitable to look for in the future. We only know that they are permitted to operate without oversight.

Regards.

Re:Good News !! (1)

thule (9041) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772271)

Simple, they were captured on the battlefield. Diplomatic relations with their home country can get them released as per the usual rules of war. We have released some prisoners in GITMO to their home country already and will probably do it many times again. If the person is with the country we are in conflict with, then they will be held until the conflict ends. Pretty standard stuff. Corresponds to capture the flag rules. Does no one remember where the rules of the game came from?

Re:Good News !! (5, Insightful)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772131)

Firstly, Bush's approval rating is around 1/3 and probably at about 28%. So, unless you're willing to admit that most US citizens are liberal and that conservatism is loud-mouthed minority, then please stop assuming that anti-Bush means "liberal."

You've just sounded the mating call of the head-burying oppression sheep. Apparently, privacy to you only applies to those in power even when they break the law. I have to assume you respect the President and Co-President's unprecedented lack of disclosure. I suppose you have no problems with the government spying on innocent protest groups or citizens who object to public policy. I suppose you also have no problem with the government spying on the political strategies of its opponents. I suppose you have no problems with government using private details of people's lives to extort or intimidate them. I suppose you have no problems with authoritarianism as well since Big Brother knows what's best for all of us.

If Ben Franklin were here to read your ignorant post, you'd soon feel the swift kick of a brass-buckled foot to your back-side.

Fine, send them transcripts at your expense. (4, Insightful)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772155)

As far as I am concerned the NSA/CIA/FBI/??? can wiretap and monitor me to their hearts content I promise it will not only be useless but incredibly boring.

Would it be OK if a government clerk spied out your business decisions and passed them on to a competitor that could pay?

Would you mind if there was only one political party because it was able to identify and neutralize anyone who disagreed with them?

Would you mind doing some menial job for your new corporate masters for the rest of your life? Remember, though crime will result in relative economic hardships. The only thing more expensive then freedom is slavery.

I mind all of the above and resent paying for such abuse. If you want a life like that, pay for it yourself.

Re:Good News !! (5, Insightful)

sammy baby (14909) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772171)

Good question. Here's your answer:

Amendment IV

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

Re:Good News !! (1)

guibaby (192136) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772403)

See, you just pegged the problem. The Constitution doesn't mention phone and internet. So what bush is doing must be legal.

Re:Good News !! (2, Insightful)

thule (9041) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772185)

Since you don't communicate with *known* terrorists, then you will never be tapped. The NSA has been tapping international communications for ages. The question has been can they pass this information on to domestic law enforcement? After 9/11 many decided that the "wall" between the NSA and domestic law enforcement was stupid and needed to be lowered.

The only difference pre-Bush or pre-9/11 is that the information from the NSA can be used in domestic law enforcement to bring a case against you. Before the case can be expanded, they still must go the FISA court. The Washington Post confirmed this in an article that cited a FISA judge that was uncomfortable with FISA warrants being used in domestic cases. But the fact remained that the FISA court was still being used.

Re:Good News !! (5, Insightful)

mrscorpio (265337) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772201)

Ah, the classic "I'm not doing anything wrong so I don't have to worry about it" argument.

Well then do this for me:

-Record all of your phone calls and post them on the internet
-Put up all your sent/received e-mails on the internet
-Print out a copy of your bank statements showing all transactions, and put them up on the internet
-Leave your curtains/blinds open 24/7
-Stop mailing things in envelopes, send everything as a post card
-Make sure to leave your stall door open when you use the restroom at Chili's

After all, you have nothing to hide right?

You might argue that the general public having access is not the same as the government having access, and perhaps that's true. But who makes up the government? That's right, people like you and me (of/by/for the people, remember?) And when 10 years from now, your neighbor who now works for the government and has an axe to grind, pulls the complete history of your phone records and searches through it using some key words to find something to embarrass you with, you'll realize that you (and everyone else in the world) DO have something to hide, and it's not unreasonable to feel that way, even if you have committed no illegal acts. Our personal identities and our safety are centered around being able to keep some things private.

But have you REALLY committed no illegal acts? You've never traveled 1 mph over the speed limit, or downloaded a single song you didn't own, or eaten a grape you didn't pay for at the grocey store, or jaywalked, etc.?

Have you ever read Amendment #4, by the way? I'm sure some neocon lawyer type could argue that the subject of this article doesn't violate the letter of it, but it can't be argued against that it violates the SPIRIT of that amendment.

Here's an article for your further consideration:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/geoffrey-r-stone/nsa -surveillance-why-sho_b_16763.html [huffingtonpost.com]

Re:Good News !! (2, Interesting)

fastest fascist (1086001) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772205)

Good, then they won't have any trouble convicting you of speaking ill of the next democractic president, once criticising the president has been made a capital offense, and they won't have any trouble convicting you of treason for criticizing the law that you can't criticize presidents, an act of treason as well. Rights you give away in relatively good times are not magically granted back to you when the shit really does hit the fan, politically speaking.

Defined: Liberal (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19772207)

I'm sick and fucking tired of hearing this word tossed around like a pejorative. Learn the definition! [wikipedia.org] .

Here's a snippet:

Broadly speaking, liberalism emphasizes individual rights and equality of opportunity. A liberal society is characterized by freedom of thought for individuals, limitations on power, the rule of law, the free exchange of ideas, a market economy, free private enterprise, and a transparent system of government in which the rights of all citizens are protected.

You might think twice before you start trash talking a philosophy whose principle tenets promote the very "freedoms" you conservatives claim to love, yet consistently take away.

Re:Defined: Liberal (1)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772357)

I could probably find arguments from the mouths of liberals (I typically use the term "leftist" to describe the extreme ones) that would counter each category listed above. Same with crazy right-wingers.

Echelon story (2, Interesting)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772241)

Apparently in the days of Echelon, there was an actual case where some mom said something along the lines of "Little Tommy bombed at the school play." The automated system flagged her as requiring a case file, and she was investigated and her future calls monitored. In this case, she was innocent, Tommy was innocent (except for bad acting), but the government decided it was worth expending resources to spy on her. Doesn't give me much confidence no matter how you look at it.

Just image what they'd do if you told someone you were going to nuke a tv dinner, pound it down, and crash for the night.

Re:Good News !! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19772321)

As far as I am concerned the NSA/CIA/FBI/??? can wiretap and monitor me to their hearts content I promise it will not only be useless but incredibly boring.

What were you doing on the internet each night for the past month? Would you like it to be the topic of discussion on the evening news, with copies sent to all your friends and relatives? And even if you somehow lived the most boring month in history, how would you feel if a friend or family member were publicly humiliated, harassed, or embarrassed for perfectly legal conversations or activities?

Wiretapping WITH a warrant is good for catching criminals. Wiretapping WITHOUT a warrant is good for watching all of the perfectly legal stuff people do and finding ways to use it against them.

Re:Good News !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19772353)

I know it goes against the current liberal anti-Bush Slashdot crowd - If you aren't doing illegal activities over the phone / airwaves / Internet then why worry ?

It's not John Q. Public doing illegal things. It's the government. It's not John Q. Public keeping things secret. It's the government. It's the government keeping its illegal activities secret.

"Law abiding citizens have nothing to hide" is not only a complete fallacy, in this case it's a complete red herring. The government isn't abiding by the law AND they're hiding. Double whammy.

And get this - the EFF is trying to go through the courts to get evidence disclosed, whereas the government is NOT going through the (secret) courts (who rubberstamp 99% of applications). Three strikes.

It's pretty clear cut who's in the right here, and who's in the wrong.

That you don't care, fine, it's your prerogative to be obtuse.

Re:Good News !! (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772405)

I know it goes against the current liberal anti-Bush Slashdot crowd - If you aren't doing illegal activities over the phone / airwaves / Internet then why worry ?

You know, anti-Bush and anti-big-brother aren't mutually exclusive points of view. So I assume everyone who is pro-Bush is also pro-police-state??

The US is supposed to have constitutional guarantees that the government isn't snooping in on its citizenry without good reason. Think of the McCarthy era in which people were persecuted to find out if they were communists (despite freedom of association guarantees), or homosexuals, or liked Jazz. The very prospect that you might hold an opinion, or do something which some self-appointed moral censor decreed was grounds to dig into and ruin your lives.

What if you're doing something legal, but not something you'd want to be made common knowledge? What if it was just friggin private? I may not be doing anything illegal, but if I'm setting up a trist with the old lady down the street (or anything else for that matter) why should the police be allowed to indiscriminately monitor what I'm doing? It's sure as hell not relevant to anything, but once the government start collecting data on the morality, opinions, and choices of it's citizens, bad things happen.

See, the problem with secret programs which are basically illegal (or at least violate the spirit of the law) and allow such wide range snooping, is you have no oversight, and no way of protecting yourself from abuses of power. Checking out the contacts of everyone who is potentially subversive (read as: doesn't agree with you) is supposed to be something they can't do.

If you are prepared to start allowing people to monitor you on the basis that you're not doing anything illegal is really short sighted. When they start expanding it to the the full on thought police of making sure you don't have any opinions they disagree with, you might understand why it's supposed to be a blanket protection in the first place.

Would you agree with police checkpoints on every corner where you had to be searched? How about if the police routinely came into your home to ensure that you didn't have anything which was ideologically impure? I mean, surely, if you're not doing anything illegal, this couldn't possibly be an imposition.

People who fail to understand why it is desirable to keep checks and balances on government power will one day gets themselves the world they deserve. The rest of us would rather actually be allowed to do things without expectation that the government is watching and reporting on everything we do. That's part of the basis of living in a free society. The alternative is a descent into fascism.

This whole attitude of "If you're not breaking the law why do you care" has always baffled me. If you think I'm breaking the law, go ahead and check for evidence of that. Stay the hell out of my personal life, and sure as hell don't monitor everything everyone does on the hopes of getting lucky here and there.

Go read Brave New World or 1984 if you want to start thinking about why people give a crap about such things.

Cheers

Re:Good News !! (1)

Enrique1218 (603187) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772475)

Its not about you, but our democracy. The presence of the illegal wiretapping program illustrates the fundamental imbalance in the system of checks and balances. The program was started in clear violation of FISA. Yet, no other branch of government has been able to exert any oversight of the program. Checks and balances should allow one branch to question or put the breaks on such a program. If you didn't sleep in US govenment class, then I wouldn't have to explain how dangerous such an imbalance is. The government has violated the rights of individuals many times in history but that system is present to rectified the violation.

Re:Good News !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19772489)

What you are saying is that you should have NO RIGHT to privacy under any circumstance from the Government.

Do you absolutely pay EVERY PENNY of your taxes? (Never took cash for anything and didn't submit and remit the due percentage to the IRS?)

Ever exceed the speed limit? EVER?

Ever spit on the sidewalk (or near it), or jaywalk, or any one of millions and millions of petty but actual violations of the law that normal citizens do from time to time?

If the government is allowed to spy on even significantly private activities such as having a phone conversation with someone of your choosing on a topic of your own choosing, then you've just subscribed to an Orwellian fascist state.

The rights you take for granted are the ones that are (a) easiest to let slip away and (b) the hardest to get back.

By letting the government listen (and act!) on everything you say to anyone, you're giving away your rights of association, and speech. Just because right now the government doesn't (necessarily) disagree with what you're saying, once they're allowed to monitor every/any one at will (as this ruling essentially gives them carte blance to do), then the doors are open to narrowing what things you're allowed to say. Maybe in a few years it'll become "subversive" to talk about political parties/perspectives that aren't representative of the two main parties. A few years later, maybe just one of them... rights rarely disappear all at once, they just quietly slip away until one day you discover you're in a police state and you wonder how it all went wrong, but can't do anything about it because the gulags are just too damn scary...

-AC

Re:Good News !! (1)

Floritard (1058660) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772593)

Sure you're not doing anything illegal now. But what happens when the government changes its mind and decides to outlaw the act of being a sanctimonious dipshit? Or posting on slashdot? Or being an atheist? Or a muslim? Or gay? Or speaking your mind? People who say the government can have free reign over their lives because they're not doing anything wrong according to the current criteria of "upstanding citizen" really have no imagination when it comes to what future administrations might decide to deem unfit behavior for the citizenry. They don't belong in those areas of our lives in the first place, why give them the extra leverage?

Bush's dad... (1, Flamebait)

iknownuttin (1099999) | more than 7 years ago | (#19771939)

appointed her to the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. [ashbrook.org]

FTFA:

The U.S. Department of Justice, which appealed the lower court ruling on behalf of the NSA, said it was pleased with the decision. The NSA program was "a vital intelligence program that helped detect and prevent terrorist attacks," Brian Roehrkasse, the DOJ's acting director of public affairs, said in a statement.

So, Mr. Roehrkasse, do you know what freedom is?

Do you even know what the fuck your organization is even defending?

I don't know about you, but if our freedoms are being taken away by our Government, than what is there for them to defend? I guess the status quo.

I'll do my best in the coming election to vote for someone that'll take our freedoms seriously and not just use the word as justification for eliminating the Bill of Rights - like Bush does. Sorry, when that idiot in Chief goes on national TV and says he's fighting for our freedom and then allows his henchmen in the DOJ and NSA to pull this kind of shit, it's obvious to me that he and th rest of his administration has absolutely no concept of what freedom is.

Re:Bush's dad... (1)

jack455 (748443) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772199)

It's been said before...
If they hate us for our freedoms, then there's nothing safer for us than to just go ahead and give them up.

And it's working because I haven't been killed by any terrorists in the past 6 years! Proof!

Not a complete loss (2, Informative)

jack455 (748443) | more than 7 years ago | (#19771993)

IANAL I assume that the loss on appeal essentially erases the Michigan courts finding of the progral to be illegal, but at least it was overturned on the grounds of the ACLU not being harmed. I figure that's better than saying it is actually ok. or am I missing something?

Let me get this straight... (5, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 7 years ago | (#19771995)

  • Those who can prove they were affected are mishandling classified material and are therefore terrorists
  • Those who can prove they were NOT affected must also be mishandling classified material, but since they're not terrorists, they must be traitors
  • Those who can reasonably conclude they were probably affected can't sue because probable cause is not proof
  • The remainder of the population is obviously hiding something and is probably being spied on by all the other agencies

Fortunately, the decision can be appealed. No guarantee that would do any good. Since we're in election season, judges are standing by their political affiliations on all sides. Even if the decision was favorable to the plaintiffs, though, there's no reason to believe that it'll do any good. How many Republican senators are going to want to look weak on national security right now? That means even if the matter does stay in the courts, it is very unlikely anything will happen before late in November 2008. Of course, if it does stay in the courts, the NSA could just plead guilty and have the President issue a full pardon the following day, rescinding the finding and penalties exacted.

Re:Let me get this straight... (1)

Blahgerton (1083623) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772369)

Federal judges are appointed to lifetime posts by the POTUS with confirmation of the Senate: they're not elected. Judges should have no external influences affecting their decisions, in theory. Obviously personal world-view factors in, as should current precedent.

Re:Let me get this straight... (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772461)

Those who can reasonably conclude they were probably affected can't sue because probable cause is not proof
Normally, probably cause is enough to move a case into the discovery process, where you get real proof (or you find nothing and your case dies).

Unfortunately, the goals of the Discovery process clashes with the Government's contention that everything is a state secret. So even if they had standing, the court seems to be saying that their claims won't get very far anyways.

Wow, two for the price of one (5, Insightful)

Zak3056 (69287) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772043)

Wow, so the appeals court upholds the violation of the fourth amendment, and at the same time pisses all over the first (petition for redress.) Truly, this is an awe-inspiring day. Surely, the men who signed the Declaration of Independence, almost exactly 231 years ago would sing from the rooftops in joy at what became of the nation that they pledged their "lives, fortunes, and sacred honor" to create.

Re:Wow, two for the price of one (1)

guibaby (192136) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772335)

It depends on what your definition of "is" is.

They could tell you that you were being spied on.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19772093)

...but then they would have to kill you.

So this is actually a good ruling.

All hail the sham republic!

Legal System = game of chess? (2, Interesting)

rpillala (583965) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772123)

Maybe the question is naive and the game of chess is obvious to everyone else. The submission says this ruling puts the ACLU in a difficult position. They are not permitted to know whether they are affected by the program or not. Perhaps the difficulty of the ACLU's current position is an unintended consequence, but that seems unlikely to me. What seems more likely is that the court did this as sort of a gotcha, as in "better luck next time, smart guy." I get this feeling every time I hear a lack-of-standing ruling. I understand that it's a valid concept it just sticks in my craw.

I admit that it's just a vague sense of the way things are in this country that leads me to believe this way. I wouldn't really know how to begin looking for other examples of this legal maneuvering in the recent past (or any past.) Can anyone give me some insight into this or a place to start reading?

Re:Legal System = game of chess? (1)

rpillala (583965) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772179)

edit: I Googled "district court legal maneuvering" and found this article about antitrust litigation [law.com] at Law.com so far. Any suggestions are still very welcome

Entrap The Government (4, Interesting)

porkface (562081) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772209)

It's time for the EFF and some supernerds to entrap the government.

Plant some communications that raise the government's interest enough to show up to investigate. Ensure the communications, once the plot is revealed, would not be judged to be a real threat or significantly illegal otherwise. But make sure it raises ire and causes a response that could not otherwise have been wise to the communications had they not been illegally snooping.

Bonus points if you can make it high profile enough that Cheney cannot absolve himself of knowledge of the details of the trap.

Step 3: Profit? (1)

Valdrax (32670) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772551)

Well, that's a nice step 1.

Now, for step 2, how are you going to prove before the court that the government actually wiretapped you? That's the crux of this decision; you can't sue if you can't prove you're a victim, and who's a victim is protected by the nebulous modern legal construct of "state secrets."

Guess I get to be the Troll here (4, Insightful)

downhole (831621) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772259)

Well, I guess I am about to be modded into oblivion by the anti-Bush crowd, but I don't see anything wrong with this ruling.

IANAL, but to my knowledge, in order to sue over an act (tort), you have to prove that you were not just negatively affected by that act, but affected in a specific dollar amount which the court can award you as compensation for the act. What measurable harm have these guys suffered? I don't think that the possibility that one of your conversations might be in a secret NSA database causes you any measurable harm that a court could compensate you for. If they have to ask the NSA whether they have any such records, that in and of itself serves as proof that they were not harmed in any way by the records (if they do exist), since if they were harmed in any way, they would be able to prove that in court.

I don't think it's a good idea either to seek to challenge laws in court on the grounds that you paid the taxes that support the program or somesuch. That is trying to place the courts in a role they were never meant to take - of judging the effect of laws. Passing and repealing laws is the job of our elected representatives in Congress and the President. Provided that the laws do not directly contradict the Constitution, the Courts have no say in what those laws are. (yes, I know that we seem to be steadily accumulating laws that do directly contradict the Constitution, but that's another post) If you don't like the laws, you're going to have to take it up with your elected Representatives, and you're going to have to accept that the American people do not necessarily agree with you on all issues, and they have as much right to their views as you do. If you want to change things, you have to convince your fellow Americans that you are right and they should vote your way.

Re:Guess I get to be the Troll here (1)

The Angry Mick (632931) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772463)

For a tort, you do have to prove financial harm. However, this case wasn't a tort, it was about violating the fourth amendment (and the first, but that was the weaker argument).

Patriots, out of options (5, Insightful)

Phoenix666 (184391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772401)

Congress won't enforce the law. The Executive branch won't police itself. The Judicial branch rules citizens can't sue because the details are classified by the Executive branch. It's a perfect, closed system. No one in the government is accountable to us anymore.

The government no longer answers to the citizens, according the the system we set up to run it. It's a very short, swift step from where we are to where ordinary citizens disappear in the night (non-Muslims, that is). We won't know exactly when that moment arrives, because we won't be told, because no one in the government obeys or enforces the law anymore.

Let's assume for a moment that you're not someone who buries his head in the sand, saying 'As long as I'm not doing anything wrong, why should I care what the government does to others?' Let's assume that your response to crisis is not to hop in your SUV, drive down to the mall, and go shopping. And let's further assume that you're a red-blooded, patriotic American who really cares about freedom and the rule of law, and about protecting the country against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

So ask yourself, what recourse do you have now?

J.E. Hover, is smiling from the grave. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19772495)

FTA |"The plaintiffs cannot show they have been or will be subject to surveillance personally," Batchelder wrote.| Since you didn't find the 4 inch file folder on you it didn't happen... (Lets wait 30 years and see what shows up. On the other hand, no we do not have to wait this time to know what's happening.) |The plaintiff's attempts to sue for other reasons, including violation of their First Amendment, free-speech rights, are a "thinly veiled ruse," the judge added. None of the plaintiffs has shown that their speech has been hindered, she wrote.| The ACLU Lawyers should know that good old Abe Lincoln suspended "Habeas Corpus" back in the 1860's, cuz there was a civil war on. Well guess what, it must be the "Thinly Veiled Ruse 1860's" all over again, and they got the carriage before the horse this time. I didn't see congress issue a Declaration of War granting these powers, as a matter of fact I haven't seen one in the U.S. since December of 1941. I must have missed something. Also, now would someone explain to me how in the world, can we in the US have the right and/or moral authority to export this kind of democracy to the world (think J.E. Hover Justice if your unsure)? The really sad part is I voted for Bush, and was even protesting for him in the election recount. I wised up after Abu Grave and the associated White House Memos. BTW. May God Rest the soul of those fallen from the twin towers in 2001 to those that died in Iraq and Afghanistan today.

Two minds... (1)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | more than 7 years ago | (#19772539)

I have personally always been of two minds on the matter.

I believe that it's a ton of FUD that people are thinking that we're in the midst of creation of an awful big-brother type government. We have way too many people, and we're way too paranoid to let that happen. You need a semi-complacent population (you listening Britain??) that almost WANTS a nanny-state type surveillance for that sort of thing.

Do I think that international calls should be monitored with known/suspected terrorists? You bet your boots I want those heard. Do we need warrants for them? To a point, but there are quite a few spur-of-the-moment issues that occur here, and I doubt that anyone (including the government) understand the complexities of what is going on. Plus, there can be an argument for such a call being a military matter and falling under any President's purview as C-in-C.

That isn't to say that I am comfortable with the entire process and don't think that there may be some level of abuse or semi-dubious legality.

However, keep in mind that ANYTHING this administration has done in the last few years has had several automatic, thoughtless reactions from both sides of the aisle in attack and defense, with very little concept of historical reality and context(my common complaint of journalism, where it seems that everything happens in a 4-8 year vaccuum).
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