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Mixed News on Wiretapping from 9th Circuit US Court

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the little-from-column-a-little-from-column-b dept.

Privacy 93

abb3w writes "The bad news: the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled (pdf) that the Al-Haramain lawyers may not submit into evidence their recollections of the top secret document handed to them detailing the warrantless electronic scrutiny they received. 'Once properly invoked and judicially blessed, the state secrets privilege is not a half-way proposition.' The good news: they have declined to answer and directed the lower court to consider whether 'FISA preempts the common law state secrets privilege' with respect to the underlying nature of the program itself ... which also keeps alive hopes for the EFF and ACLU to make those responsible answer for their actions."

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HALF-way (1)

andreyvul (1176115) | more than 6 years ago | (#21401389)

a half-way proposition: wtf? Don't they mean a one-way proposition?

Re:HALF-way (3, Informative)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21401671)

No, a one-way proposition is something where one side gets nothing.

2. proposition - (logic) a statement that affirms or denies something and is either true or false

Either this is secret, or it is not. There's no half-way secret where they can put their second-hand recollections in evidence. Of all the various things I've heard, this is most sane. Now I'm sure some here would argue whether there should be "state secrets" or not, but the only sane way to implement it is that whoever is given access is restricted from passing it on. Otherwise you could memorize it, record it to tape or whatever - because it's not the actual classified document, it's not classified? What the hell kind of sense would that make?

Re:HALF-way (1)

gilroy (155262) | more than 6 years ago | (#21402045)

OK. But it's also not unreasonable to say that these "secrets" no longer are secret -- having been revealed to the lawyers -- and thus should be opened by the court. If someone claims to have seen evidence that could clear them, or convict the other guy, it's a little ludicrous to then deny them a review of that evidence.

Re:HALF-way (2, Insightful)

loganrapp (975327) | more than 6 years ago | (#21402293)

That opens up a can of worms - anyone given secrets can tell their lawyer and suddenly it's not secret?


That's either silly if you don't like the state secrets privilege, and very dangerous if you do.

Re:HALF-way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21402337)

You cannot tell your lawyer. But if you do, it is no longer a state secret. (As for those needing legal assistance with respect to a state secret, they can simply get their lawyer to sign an agreement on equal terms to the secrecy those agreed to in the first place.) It is not really important here since the state secrets were given to the lawyers by the government. So those secrets are no longer secret.

Re:HALF-way (2, Insightful)

gilroy (155262) | more than 6 years ago | (#21404631)

Blockquoth the poster:

That opens up a can of worms - anyone given secrets can tell their lawyer and suddenly it's not secret?

Well, in a technical sense, by definition it's no longer secret. But I'm thinking of a more narrowly drawn privilege than that. Here's the hypothetical: Someone is charged wrongly with murder. They have access to information that absolutely clears them, but it's been classified as a "state secret". Should the person truly be prevented from presenting that evidence? Should an innocent person really be sent to the gas chamber to preserve the state secret?

I am no lawyer. Perhaps there exist mechanisms to make sure this doesn't happen. But from everything I've read, the government -- the same government, by the way, that's pressing the murder charge -- could and would keep that evidence from consideration. That seems absurd.

Re:HALF-way (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21408489)

Well, under those circumstances, it is entirely reasonable for the same government to step in and say " don't charge this guy" or pull something even more dramatic by offering immunity to find out what he was doing the last time he went shopping in order to keep him clear.

You see, things like this happen all the time. People of obvious guilt seem to either get off scott free and people with a huge suspicion of guilt don't get charged. We never hear exactly why they don't get charged or if they get some sort of immunity for a testimony. We also rarely hear that testimony that is so important that the government feels they should let someone who otherwise could be convicted of murder go free. Of course years later we might hear some of it or someone might be able to put two and two together and a big conspiracy get started. But there really isn't many Known state secretes that could free a person being repressed while the person if gassed or otherwise incarcerated. and I say known because someone would have to know that a state secrete could affect the outcome in order for anything you mentioned to be true. Otherwise it is just an oversight like a witness who is afraid to come forward and doesn't realize that you are being charged for something they could prove you didn't do.

Re:HALF-way (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 6 years ago | (#21413553)

no, the GOVERNMENT sent something they are claiming is a secret to a DEFENDANT'S lawyer as evidence in a case. In practical terms, it's not a state secret anymore as it was intended to be used in court in defense. That lawyer told his buddies that the UNSEALED evidence he got showed that they were illegally spying on the LAWYER involved in the case.. they sent the guy his own spying records!!! It'a about as damning evidence as you can get because the govt was spying an a defense lawyer outside legal allowances. The court should be flamming pissed about the govt spying on LAWYERS just on principal, not to mention the ramifications it has on fair trials!! About the only thing the court can do is to try to invalidate the evidence at the govt's request, of course being as it was mailed unsealed, directly to the victim releasing the info in the internet might not be a bad idea.

Re:HALF-way (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 6 years ago | (#21413651)

then somebody in the DOJ needs to go to the wall for commiting treason by exporting these documents to the lawyers... balance restored.

Re:HALF-way (4, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21402333)

You're always going to run into this problem as long as there is secret information involved. If you accept the premise that there is information that really ought to be classified, which really would endanger national security, reveal vital intelligence capability, compromise friendly operatives, expose military secrets and so on. What can you do, assuming you have such information showing that someone is a criminal?

a) Black ops [wikipedia.org] - no judge, no jury.
b) Hold a trial, but don't reveal the evidence. Kafka already wrote the book [wikipedia.org] on this.
c) Reveal it to the defendant's lawyer under seal.
d) Don't do anything - let extremely dangerous men go free because being forced to reveal the information would be even more damaging.
e) Reveal everything to the public - but imagine putting top secret files someone stole into evidence, it wouldn't make sense.

There should most definately be laws against secret laws and secrets courts. Secret evidence on the other hand you can't really get away from and there's no ideal solution that completely serves all interests. Feel free to pick one or come up with one I forgot, but providing it to lawyers under seal is a compromise to serve two masters at once - to give the accused a fair trial and at the same time protect national security. The alternatives are quite frankly worse.

Option F (3, Interesting)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#21402619)

Refusing to permit information into the court denies the plaintif due process. So let's admit any state secret, with the understanding that someone has to do time for it's release to the world. If the plaintif loses the case, then he goes to a criminal trial for having forced the state to reveal secrets. If the defendant loses, then he goes on trial.

So when a secret is revealed, someone does time for it. This would compel all government bureaucrats who aree in charge of secret projects to make sure that those projects do not get out of hand.

mod parent up (1)

CamoCoatJoe (972244) | more than 6 years ago | (#21402895)

Interesting. It might scare people from starting a case if they're not sure their evidence will be sufficient. On the other hand, it might be a good thing to make sure that the risks of revealing secrets are only taken when someone's sure enough of their position to stake their liberty on it.

I'd like to hear a retired intelligence worker's (or a lawyer's) thoughts on this.

Re:Option F (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#21403251)

Amendment to the above:

1) A judge would have to rule on the relevance of the state secret to the issue at hand. You couldn't be allowed to subpoena all the NSA's secrets because you had a speeding ticket.

2) Some may consider me to be a tad cavalier with state secrets. To those I say: the world is a dangerous place, so that sometimes state secrets and individual rights may come into conflict. How we handle that problem determines what kind of country we are.
If we subjugate the right to due process or the right to confront one's accusers or habeas corpus to national security, then what are we defending? A nation of slaves, not free people.
It is better to have to fear foreigners than one's own government.

Re:Option F (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 6 years ago | (#21403583)

Well, I'd say that goes under the "do nothing" category. Whoever decides that is probably some executive that won't be charged with anything related to the case, he'll just be the guy with final say over the classified info. Would anyone seriously risk jail time over not scoring a conviction, when they're not risking anything by not doing it? Get teal. As for the defendant... I'm thinking in these cases he's probably up for a lifetime or two anyway, what difference would "forcing the state to reveal classified info" have? He'd probably get a good laugh out of it since the government is shooting itself in other foot.

Re:HALF-way (2, Insightful)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 6 years ago | (#21402823)

What you do is give some time, say six months, in which any on going activities can be restructured so that they will not be compromised by the release of 'evidence' that pertains to the case in question.

Logically speaking all criminal activity is secret whether it is carried out by agents of the government or private individuals working to their own purposes. There is never any excuse where criminal activity once discovered should not be prosecuted, that is a direct denial of justice and one of the basic tenets that all people are equal under the law, including politicians, as well as, agents of the NSA, CIA or the FBI or any other agencies from around the world who where directly or indirectly involved.

The government does not do anything, it is always individuals with in government who carry out the actions of government. It is not the government that is pursued and prosecuted in the courts, it is the individuals who have acted outside the interests of the government and the people whom the government is meant to represent.

The most important issue of any court case is the primary interests of the people and the active public pursuit of justice, no so called secrets should ever be allowed to under mine the sanctity of the courts, the basic means by which, the public can ensure that the government is in fact acting in the public interest and that functions of government have not been treasonously usurped to feed the greed of a corrupt loathsome minority.

Our values dictate the guy walks (2, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#21403409)

d) Don't do anything - let extremely dangerous men go free because being forced to reveal the information would be even more damaging

Is the correct answer. In the absence of a trial and the admission of evidence to open court, the state has not proved that the man involved is actually extremely dangerous. The government cannot have it both ways. If it "knows" the guy is dangerous, then it can bring him or her to trial.

The best way to fight terrorism, is with terrorism. Yes, terrorism is an act of war. The best analog of terrorism is the state sponsored piracy of western nations in the days of sail. All the nations practiced piracy as a means to fight that were short of war. Civilian ships, merchant vessels, were the targets of plunder and destruction. It seems that the way to handle terrorists then, in an era where all the nations support them, or are too weak to prevent terrorists, then, we have to have terrorists ourselves, and engage in tit for tat terrorism with probable enemies.

Instead of invading countries with the US Marines and US Army, we instead have our own Uncle Sam Brigade to fight the Al Quds Brigades, our Bedrock to fight their "Base". The USA would deny it funds the terrorist organizations, but, if Al Qaeda hit an American target, then, the Uncle Sam Brigade would in turn blow up an Islamic religious site, or perhaps steal an oil tanker or two. There are people in American Prisons that could, no doubt, be recruited for this work.

Re:Our values dictate the guy walks (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21408807)

I think your missing the key point of history that the civilized worlds have gotten more sane since the days of long ago. It isn't that we never done those things, it is more like we don't still do them. As for as creating terrorist, it would come back to bite us just as sure as almost every country that we have propped up has. So I don't think that is even close to an acceptable plan of action and I think it is even less likely to be effective if it isn't done by US citizens with an active interest in the success of the US.

Basically, when we create and prop up some terrorist faction, we would have to lie and manipulate them into believing we are the good guys and you should join our little bastard army without letting them know we have a bastard army. This just isn't a good way to keep control over something. If there is any tit for tat, it should be recognized as our guys acting under the full authority of our government. Brainwashed terrorist are not the keenest people around. They might not be able to associate a retaliation from group B when Group A hits a US target without knowing that group B is the government. And this becomes even more clouded when Group C is the ones thinking about hitting the Americans. How is group C supposed to know that sticking any country was the reasons that group A was attacked by some mysterious group B.

There have been leaders of Al Qeada that we captured who admited that they wouldn't have hit the towers if they thought our reaction was going to be as drastic as it was. They assumed from Iraq shooting at us and our reactions to the USS Cole and the previous world trade center bombings that we wouldn't come after them. They thought that we talked big and fell asleep fast. Now they think we carry a big stick and aren't afraid to use it. If that deters some lessor terrorists from attacking, it is worth it.

They HAVE the document.... (1)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 6 years ago | (#21406675)

The charity's lawyers still have copies of the document stored in the middle east. They know exactly what the document says to the exact number of recorded calls, when they were, & how long. They initially presented the original copy to the court, which was then reclaimed by the govt & declared 'classified' after being entered into the record. However, the copies sent to the charity's lawyers in the middle east still have copies of the document.

So in another declaration of stupidity, the US govt is declaring state secrets to avoid getting their asses handed to them in court, over a document that they have absolutely no control over. With a phone call, the charity can have that document on the internet - better, there's nothing the US govt can say about it. Since the document is already out of the country, the US govt cannot exert any form of pressure to have it returned. Any attempt at exerting that kind of pressure is almost certain to see the whole document released.

Personally, I believe that Bush is violating the precept of state secret in that he is using it to forestall the lawsuits to avoid the humiliation of having been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. From the beginning, it's been clear that that is not an appropriate usage of the state secrets claim. I am wondering if the next president will review these claims of state secrets & void them - just to taint Bush & the republican party.

Re:They HAVE the document.... (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21408935)

I have always had a theory about this situation that pretty much goes along the lines of the current administration did this on purpose. They want you to want this document released. They wan this charity to be involved with revealing state secretes. It does numerous things. for one, it shuts down the charity and puts a clear warning to the people who want to challenge them on things like this.

but the most important reasons is that this one particular case will end up vindicating the Bush administration of any wrong doing. There will be some ruling that in the capacity of the taps, the FISA laws didn't apply because the congress cannot restrict the constitutional obligations of another branch. And from then on out, if the president can make a case for the constitution giving some form of power to him (in this case it is to collect battlefield inteligence while acting as commander in chief)they he can do about anything he wants within the scope of those powers.

The key test would be if this case consists of collecting battlefield inteligence. And if it does, then the courts would have to find him (the current administration) in the right. This is especially true because the courts wouldn't want the congress passing a law under the same guise that says they (the courts) cannot find a certain law unconstitutional.

Re:They HAVE the document.... (1)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 6 years ago | (#21410215)

There will be some ruling that in the capacity of the taps, the FISA laws didn't apply because the congress cannot restrict the constitutional obligations of another branch.

The whole point is that without the FISA laws, the DOJ has to go through the regular courts to get their warrants. IE: FISA makes it easier for the executive branch to 'do their constitutional duty'. What this debacle is about is the executive branch ignoring their duty to observe the constitution - specifically the right to be free from unreasonable search & seizure.

It is the explicit purpose of the design of the government that the 3 branches balance each other. There is nothing in the US constitution or the bill of rights that says "unless we think you're a terrorist". So I think that if congress can authorize $28M of our tax dollars to find out that Billy boy was fucking the intern, they damn well better start investing some of my tax dollars into finding out why the fuck US citizens are being wiretapped without warrants.

And sorry, this "we'll reveal zooper zeecret documents to one oversight committee but not the one that has higher clearances & has been asking longer" is more BS right along with ignoring legislation on retaining Emails and proper document handling.

In short - impeach the damn bastard already - he's certainly done more to piss on the constitution than any other president that's been impeached.

Re:They HAVE the document.... (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21412177)

The whole point is that without the FISA laws, the DOJ has to go through the regular courts to get their warrants. IE: FISA makes it easier for the executive branch to 'do their constitutional duty'. What this debacle is about is the executive branch ignoring their duty to observe the constitution - specifically the right to be free from unreasonable search & seizure.

It is the explicit purpose of the design of the government that the 3 branches balance each other. There is nothing in the US constitution or the bill of rights that says "unless we think you're a terrorist". So I think that if congress can authorize $28M of our tax dollars to find out that Billy boy was fucking the intern, they damn well better start investing some of my tax dollars into finding out why the fuck US citizens are being wiretapped without warrants.
Your ignoring several fundamental constructs of the constitution as well as getting the entire FISA laws out of context. The FISA laws and courts were made to regulate what the administration could do in regards with listening to people talking to foreigners in order to stop the executive branch from listening to Americans without cause during the cold war. Of course the cold war wasn't really a war, it was two nations with a grudge against each other incorrectly interpreting the other nations fear. Neither country outright attack each other or their respective close allies. There was no official declaration of war and there was no activities making it a war.

Now, the basic construct of one of the most popular defenses the administration has is that the war in Afghanistan and Iraq make us at war along with the War on terror that was used to justify both wars to varying degrees, has created the necessity for the president to act as commander in chief and while in that position, a inherent duty is to collect battlefield inteligence. Currently, no one checks to see if an American is talking with the enemy before listening in on intercepted communications and they shouldn't. Now the Domestic spying which was really just listening to both ends of international calls when an American might be on one end can be seen as collecting battlefield inteligence and congress cannot limit that ability because it would directly interfere with the president's role as commander in chief. Now hold on and don't get your panties in a knot.

The constitution specifically tells congress where it can directly interfere with the other branches. It doesn't say that congress and limit the president's ability to operate as commander in chief. Just like there is no provision that would allow congress to pass a law saying that the president must sign future bills into law and that the courts cannot find them unconstitutional. So there are limits to the ways the branches can check on each other and there are limits to the abilities of one branch of government influencing the other without their consent. The courts know this as well as congress. They won't open impeachment charges because it will take what they perceive as power away from congress as soon as it goes to the courts. Congress doesn't want to lose that percieved power at all. It motivate lesser informed people into going crazy when they act like there is a problem.

And sorry, this "we'll reveal zooper zeecret documents to one oversight committee but not the one that has higher clearances & has been asking longer" is more BS right along with ignoring legislation on retaining Emails and proper document handling.
You don't have to agree with what they are doing. But your disagreement doesn't make it any more wrong. It either is wrong or it isn't. I'm not sure that it is and I think this case is going to end up settling the question before it is all done and over with. This is why they gave someone a copy of the records, waited until they looked for help and then took them back just before the lawsuit. If you really think the government is that stupid in reality, then you will be doomed to be manipulated by everyone in control to some degree. There is a sound reason why it happened and there is sound reasoning why the appellate court sent it back to the lower courts to decide if national security outweighs a real law passed by congress. (and I will give you a hint, it isn't to get this administration in trouble).

In short - impeach the damn bastard already - he's certainly done more to piss on the constitution than any other president that's been impeached.
Lol.. Well, that would depend on if you interpret the constitution the way the courts think it should be. I already know we disagree on a number of things and I'm pretty sure I am correct from looking at earlier cases. Specifically when congress passed a law saying that the president couldn't replace the secretary of state(war) which lead to the impeachment but not removal of president Andrew Johnson. And to be more specific, the impeachment deals with this exact issue where congress passes something that the president claimed couldn't be enforced.

So say what you want, hope for what you will, but congress won't do anything about this until the courts decide they have the power by denying that the president has the powers he thinks he has. Congress doesn't want it to be proved that they don't have the power and they definately don't want you to know it. As for this case at hand, too many things seem manipulated in order for me to think anyone other then the administration would win. Even if it goes to appeal in order to make it happen.

Re:They HAVE the document.... (1)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 6 years ago | (#21415727)

Your ignoring several fundamental constructs of the constitution as well as getting the entire FISA laws out of context.

I will admit that I am not a constitutional lawyer. So I will defer to the wisdom of 2 constitutional lawyers - the AG and the Assistant AG at the time this whole thing broke - they both indicated that the NSA spying program as it was being operated was illegal. When 2 constitutional lawyers who know all the facts both declare it illegal, I tend to believe them over non lawyers armed with speculation & inuendo.

The constitution specifically tells congress where it can directly interfere with the other branches. It doesn't say that congress and [can?] limit the president's ability to operate as commander in chief.

It does. At any time Congress feels that the President has committed a crime, they have the right to impeach him. There is no caveat that says it can't be done during a time of war. Congress has the ultimate check on the power of the President.

In addition there are many things outside of Congress that are supposed to check the power of the President.

  • International Treaties

    This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land;

    IE when you sign a treaty, it's not negotiable, it's part of the legal system. You don't like it, don't sign the damn thing. If it's already signed - then withdraw, you can't just arbitrarily negate parts of it, or redefine away parts you don't like.

  • The Bill of Rights -

    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.

    I fail to see a caveat here regarding times of war. There is a hundred years of legal precedent regarding wiretaps and the requirement of Warrants to legally conduct them. A hundred years ignored by the current President.

  • The biggest one is the Constitution itself.

    The privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.

    The administration has stated that it does not feel that this does not apply to suspected terrorists - ignoring the fact that neither exception has been legally met.

    The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States;

    Note the power of the Presidency doesn't expand in the time of war. The President is always the Commander in Chief. Also note that nowhere does the constitution allow for the suspension of any laws in the time of war*.

* - the Writ of Habeas Corpus may be suspended in times of Rebellion or Invasion - which are not necessarily aligned with times of war.

You don't have to agree with what they are doing. But your disagreement doesn't make it any more wrong. It either is wrong or it isn't.

What they are doing is playing politics with National Security. They have declared that the details of the domestic spying operation are too secret to be subjected to oversight. However, in order to get approval for relaxing the oversight, they are willing to share the details with a committee that doesn't actually do the oversight. The details are either too secret to be revealed to any member of Congress, or they are subject to oversight. To subject them to scrutiny for political gain but withhold them from oversight is both the apogee of arrogance and the nadir of accountability at the same time.

This is why they gave someone a copy of the records, waited until they looked for help and then took them back just before the lawsuit. If you really think the government is that stupid in reality, then you will be doomed to be manipulated by everyone in control to some degree. There is a sound reason why it happened and there is sound reasoning why the appellate court sent it back to the lower courts to decide if national security outweighs a real law passed by congress.

If you honestly believe that every classified document that has been released under FOI requests has been done to further some plot, then I would recommend upgrading from tinfoil to titanium. Documents are being classified at a rate unprecedented in all of US history. A large number of documents are being classified post distribution. In this particular case they have traced the provenance of the document and it was part of a batch of legal documents regarding legal wiretaps executed against the charity. The charity & it's lawyers actually ignored the document until the FBI came back later crying that it was classified & they needed it back.

I will point out simply that there is no provision in the Constitution to permit the government to violate the laws of the land. Therefore, there is no Constitutional basis for claiming the 'National Security' defence in criminal cases. The government can certainly insulate itself from civil cases in the name of National Security, however it's not supposed to be able to exempt itself from following the laws - . Additionally, I will also point out that the case codifying the 'National Security' defence was revealed 40 years later to have been simply a means of saving the government from embarasment related to shoddy maintenance.

The issue at hand is not has the domestic spying operation violated a law passed by Congress, it's did it violate the Constitution. The shrub is obstructing all investigations into that - both civil (as in this case) and criminal (the oversight committee).

Specifically when congress passed a law saying that the president couldn't replace the secretary of state(war) which lead to the impeachment but not removal of president Andrew Johnson. And to be more specific, the impeachment deals with this exact issue where congress passes something that the president claimed couldn't be enforced.

Your case has little relevance to the issue at hand. The FISA rules do not restrict the ability of the Executive branch to persue wiretaps, they simplify and expedite it. As such, if the Executive Branch cannot be held to the law passed by Congress, they must be held by the highest law of the land - the 4th Amendment being the relevant one here.

In contrast to your example, congress had restricted the power of the Presidency:

and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law:

The choice of who will be in specific offices is governed by the nomination of the President. No Constitutional precedent is presented on relieving them of their posts. As for the actual impeachment, it actually shows that the President can be held subject to the laws passed by Congress even in the midst of war.

but congress won't do anything about this until the courts decide they have the power by denying that the president has the powers he thinks he has

It is as or more likely that having broken ranks with "it's too secret to be under oversight" line by offering the documents to another committee, that the shrub will be forced to show the actual details to the JOC. Refusing a supena from Congress qualifies as one of those

or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
for which the Constitution provides clear authority to Congress to impeach the President.

I do not know what exactly is happening/has happened under this project, however given that 2 constitutional lawyers in the employ of the President and fully briefed stated they felt it was illegal, I really have few doubts that this program was illegal. The refusal of the President to allow an oversight committee to review it is the true sticking point. In refusing the requests of the oversight committee, the President is literally declaring that nothing he chooses to do in the name of 'National Security' is constrained by any law.

If, as suspected, the program violated the law - and specifically the 4th Amendment, then it should not be subject to a 'National Security' blanket - neither the Constitution nor the Military Doctrine of the US permit the violation of US law in the pursuit of National Security. The arbitrary declaration of 'National Security' should not, and cannot be permitted to overrule the balance of power embodied in the Constitution at the whim of the President.

additionally (1)

vague_ascetic (755456) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416771)

Suspension of Habeas Corpus is clearly identified in the Constitution as being a power of the Legislative Branch, not the Executive Branch. It was an unconstitutional overreach of Executive power from the git.

Re:They HAVE the document.... (1)

sumdumass (711423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21416889)

I will admit that I am not a constitutional lawyer. So I will defer to the wisdom of 2 constitutional lawyers - the AG and the Assistant AG at the time this whole thing broke - they both indicated that the NSA spying program as it was being operated was illegal. When 2 constitutional lawyers who know all the facts both declare it illegal, I tend to believe them over non lawyers armed with speculation & inuendo.
While I understand your trust in the fine representatives running the country, I also understand that their declaring something illegal isn't a test to their accuracy. History of the courts and the judicial system itself has showed us that since the beginning conception of constitutional law, we have accused people wrongly and have had laws, actions, cases and specifics of those laws and cases overturned because they were wrong. This is why anyone accused deserves the benefit of doubt. Or in other words, innocent until proven guilty. Even when it appears that they don't offer it to others.

It does. At any time Congress feels that the President has committed a crime, they have the right to impeach him. There is no caveat that says it can't be done during a time of war. Congress has the ultimate check on the power of the President.
Unfortunately, I don't disagree with you on when and the fact of impeachment. But there has to be some construct in the law that allows the impeachment to happen. You see, the congress cannot pass some law or resolution that is otherwise an unconstitutional restriction and tell the president if he doesn't follow it, he will be impeached. That is why the constitution says high crimes and misdemeanors.

IE when you sign a treaty, it's not negotiable, it's part of the legal system. You don't like it, don't sign the damn thing. If it's already signed - then withdraw, you can't just arbitrarily negate parts of it, or redefine away parts you don't like.
Actually, signing the treaty isn't the binding part in our constitutional system. It is congress ratifying it and turning it into law. And congress can withdraw just as easily as the president can but the president needs congress to remove the law. Then there is nothing in any treaty that can be against the constitution, It says really close to where you quoted from that all treaties and law must be made in accordance with it.

I fail to see a caveat here regarding times of war. There is a hundred years of legal precedent regarding wiretaps and the requirement of Warrants to legally conduct them. A hundred years ignored by the current President.
There are more years of or legal precedent for war and what war involves. Also, the wiretap laws, since you seem to know more about them then what has actually been in existence (after 1928 and 1934), only apply to American within the state. It also wasn't until 1967 that it actually became considered unconstitutional by the courts. FISA was created to address Americans outside the state which were never covered by the wiretap laws. Also the constitution doesn't automatically cover foreigners being listened to.

but more importantly, wire taping by commanders in a time of war has been done since the civil war. Benedict Arnold wouldn't have been caught if they waited to get a warrant in the revolutionary war. There have always been exceptions during wars. It has also been done durring WW2, the Korean war, and Vietnam. FISA came into effect after Vietnam in partial response to the cold war (1978).

The administration has stated that it does not feel that this does not apply to suspected terrorists - ignoring the fact that neither exception has been legally met.
No.. He has said correctly that it doesn't apply to suspected terrorist outside the country. And he has said that probable cause is supported when someone is talking to the terrorist or suspected terrorist. There is a big difference, especially seeing how it satisfied the fourth amendment.

Note the power of the Presidency doesn't expand in the time of war. The President is always the Commander in Chief. Also note that nowhere does the constitution allow for the suspension of any laws in the time of war*. The power of the president doesn't change but the role he plays does. You don't have a battlefield or battlefield intelligence if there is no war or conflict. Do you see where the creation of a war caused certain inherent steps to be taken that would not otherwise be present?

* - the Writ of Habeas Corpus may be suspended in times of Rebellion or Invasion - which are not necessarily aligned with times of war.
As we seen with the civil war, the president has been able to declare when and where the rebellion or invasions was taking place and making the case to suspend habeas corpus. But just like during civil war times, congress is the ultimate power over it. And congress has took it upon themselves to do so just like during the civil war times. And contrary to popular opinion, the supreme court never ruled against the act itself. All supreme court rulings from the civil war era were about conditions set forth in the act of congress.

What they are doing is playing politics with National Security. They have declared that the details of the domestic spying operation are too secret to be subjected to oversight. However, in order to get approval for relaxing the oversight, they are willing to share the details with a committee that doesn't actually do the oversight. The details are either too secret to be revealed to any member of Congress, or they are subject to oversight. To subject them to scrutiny for political gain but withhold them from oversight is both the apogee of arrogance and the nadir of accountability at the same time.
Well, no. You see, it doesn't matter what commity the members of congress are in, it matters what their security clearance is set at. So they had to form a special commity that had the security clearances necessary to keep it a secrete. Your failing to see the complexity of the issue in favor of cheap comments.

If you honestly believe that every classified document that has been released under FOI requests has been done to further some plot, then I would recommend upgrading from tinfoil to titanium. Documents are being classified at a rate unprecedented in all of US history. A large number of documents are being classified post distribution. In this particular case they have traced the provenance of the document and it was part of a batch of legal documents regarding legal wiretaps executed against the charity. The charity & it's lawyers actually ignored the document until the FBI came back later crying that it was classified & they needed it back.
Lol.. I am talking about one instance with one set of circumstances. Not everything and not to justify anything. You see, I see a plan here and so far it has been coming true. So there is no need for a tinfoil or titanium hat at all. Just watch the show.

I will point out simply that there is no provision in the Constitution to permit the government to violate the laws of the land. Therefore, there is no Constitutional basis for claiming the 'National Security' defence in criminal cases. The government can certainly insulate itself from civil cases in the name of National Security, however it's not supposed to be able to exempt itself from following the laws - . Additionally, I will also point out that the case codifying the 'National Security' defence was revealed 40 years later to have been simply a means of saving the government from embarasment related to shoddy maintenance. Well, actually, there is a basis in common law which is supported by the constitution. To say that there is no basis is simply showing the misunderstanding of the situation. Thankfully this case will clarify it for us once and for all.

The issue at hand is not has the domestic spying operation violated a law passed by Congress, it's did it violate the Constitution. The shrub is obstructing all investigations into that - both civil (as in this case) and criminal (the oversight committee).
This is where you are just wrong. It is about violating a law passed by congress. See the Katz v. United States ruling. The constitution is satisfied as much as the courts would be concerned by the reasonableness of the targets. They have already upheld that it was reasonable to listen to someone talking to another person that they could legally listen to. Congress passed the law claiming they could only listen to the foreign side.

Your case has little relevance to the issue at hand. The FISA rules do not restrict the ability of the Executive branch to persue wiretaps, they simplify and expedite it. As such, if the Executive Branch cannot be held to the law passed by Congress, they must be held by the highest law of the land - the 4th Amendment being the relevant one here. That will be something the courts have to decide. The case is extremely relevant because congress has restricted the president's ability to act as commander in chief and collect battlefield inteligence die those purposes. And in the later light of day, congress went ahead and removed those restrictions to avoid a fight.

The choice of who will be in specific offices is governed by the nomination of the President. No Constitutional precedent is presented on relieving them of their posts. As for the actual impeachment, it actually shows that the President can be held subject to the laws passed by Congress even in the midst of war. It was argued and held by Johnson that denying him the ability to remove an officer in a cabinet position denied him his consitutional duty to "shall appoint ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls, judges of the Supreme Court, and all other officers of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for"

This means that the president appoints these people. Congress attempted to deny that and lost.

It is as or more likely that having broken ranks with "it's too secret to be under oversight" line by offering the documents to another committee, that the shrub will be forced to show the actual details to the JOC. Refusing a supena from Congress qualifies as one of those
it will be interesting to see how it plays out. I doubt this will happen though. Besides congress not wanting to lose the perception of power, the distinguished democrats have turned it into a campaign issue to get more of their kind elected. In other words, they need it to be an issue more then they need it resolved.

for which the Constitution provides clear authority to Congress to impeach the President.

I do not know what exactly is happening/has happened under this project, however given that 2 constitutional lawyers in the employ of the President and fully briefed stated they felt it was illegal, I really have few doubts that this program was illegal. The refusal of the President to allow an oversight committee to review it is the true sticking point. In refusing the requests of the oversight committee, the President is literally declaring that nothing he chooses to do in the name of 'National Security' is constrained by any law.
And this is why you will be doomed to disappointment. You see, the president isn't claiming they can operate with impunity, they are claiming that certain actions they take require it. Two different constructs. You way, they get buy with anything. Their way, congress backs it up and the courts agree where they won't. Look at it now, we have had congress pass laws enabling both the habeas corpus and warrant less surveillance programs to exist lawfully. And contrary to the point you are attempting to make, this actually validates a number of things he has done.

If, as suspected, the program violated the law - and specifically the 4th Amendment, then it should not be subject to a 'National Security' blanket - neither the Constitution nor the Military Doctrine of the US permit the violation of US law in the pursuit of National Security. The arbitrary declaration of 'National Security' should not, and cannot be permitted to overrule the balance of power embodied in the Constitution at the whim of the President. I agree. That is why it will go though the courts and it will be found that the law would have been violated if it actually applied in the specific situations. But because or other forces, it doesn't apply. Then you have both the president validated as well as congress. And as I stated before, I believe this is the cause of the papers going to a specific person and with specifics to the situations pertaining only to him. The ACLU's case was dropped because they didn't have cause for filing or something like that. Think about that. there is a case with cause, they were shown a document and had to taken back, and is already getting handled nicely in the courts.

Intentional Legislation Trumps Common Law. (3, Insightful)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 6 years ago | (#21401431)

I believe that when the Legislature addresses some domain which had been prior subject to common-law, the legislation takes precedence.

e.g.: Statutory Marriage v. Common Law Marriage.

Re:Intentional Legislation Trumps Common Law. (3, Informative)

Vengie (533896) | more than 6 years ago | (#21401765)

You are incorrect. If the legislature uses "magic words" that were defined at common law, the legislature INCORPORATES those common law principles UNLESS the legislature SPECIFICALLY (and intentionally) abrogates the common law definitions by defining new ones. See e.g. Wells v US, Neder v. US, and any extortion cases (e.g. Sun Diamond)

Hey, switcheurs! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21401793)

Leopard fucking sucks, because Apple sold out to you PC users. All the interface changes--the ostentatiously translucent menu bar, the flat file folders, the dark gray backgrounds--these all feel like something Microsoft would have shat out. But no, it's apparently Apple's attempt to entice more of you Windows refugees into a community that doesn't want you mouthbreathers anywhere near.

Hope you're fucking happy, you tasteless dweebs. You better make an effort to blend in at Macworld because I'm gonna punch any of you khaki-wearing fratboys I see in the mouth. And I know all the old-school Mac users stand with me on this.

Re:Hey, switcheurs! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21402099)

Hehehee, fuck you and your fucked up way of thinking. Also, fuck all mac lusers. Also, all windoze lusers too. Makes me happy to see you pissed off. :) LOL (lot's of love)

Big Brother is my friend. (2, Insightful)

Lordplatypus (731338) | more than 6 years ago | (#21401443)

If the government can't violate everyone's civil rights with complete impunity then the terrorist will win. We don't want the terrorist to win, otherwise they would take away all of our rights and freedom! See, we have to give up our freedom to keep it! I love big brother. He will protect me from the bad people, right?

Re:Big Brother is my friend. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21401617)

where were you bitches when the government was doing this without the benefit of terrorist attacks? oh that's right. you are all the self appointed political experts since 9/11. now you're the same assholes trying to sell off the political party that was fucking with our rights wholesale before as the future saviours of our rights. what a bunch of dumb fucking gimps.

Re:Big Brother is my friend. (1, Flamebait)

Lordplatypus (731338) | more than 6 years ago | (#21401807)

Well me personally I was in high school. Yeah, not much of an excuse, but still that is what I have. I am sorry, but pointing out that Democrats can be just as morally flawed as Republicans is not news. News would be that the American people started voting for people based off their integrity and intelligence. Hey, look. A soapbox.

Re:Big Brother is my friend. (3, Interesting)

vague_ascetic (755456) | more than 6 years ago | (#21401963)

A rather vehement strain of the meme:

"But BillJeff did it first"

which again provides anecdotal evidence that two wrongs do indeed make a righty.

Another lesson that has been finally ground into America's consciousness by the last seven years of governmental overreach is one that has been preached to us for over twenty since, since the Reagancomedy:

Republicans do it better the Democrats

This has now been demonstrably proven to be true in the instances of

  • putrescent pure pro partisan politiking
  • boot-stomping Natural Liberty
  • using sodomy as an interrogatory methodology
  • peeping in the public pottys
  • defaming the rectitude of honourable humans who possessed the temerity to rise in dissent
  • promulgation of revisionist ideations to the extent of the exectuive power, which seems to acquire an ability to exist without the strictures of the U.S Constitution whenever a Republican has ascended to the Presidency
  • deficit spending; as it is well known that Democrats Tax and spend; yet that is a far far better practise than to just spend without end, while heavily dampening down the flow of funding coming into the government.
  • elevating a personal version (Per.Version) of the Creative Force to a position of dominance over the civil government

These are but a few of the many examples of what happens with Conservatism Gone Wild. Yet you seem to be admitting an instance where the Republicans are no better than the Democrats here, and that is when it comes to defending liberty.

So what is the purpose of you ravening spew? Are you claiming that The Democrats Are The Lamer of Two Evils? Given my near seven year experience with the tyranny of GW Bush, I've grown nostalgic for a lamer of evils.

Re:Big Brother is my friend. (3, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21402487)

I think what you are pointing out is more a failing of leadership then a failing of republican ideals.

besides, tax and spend IS a shitty economic policy, and the last few years are too complicated to really say how much better democrats would have done.

Re:Big Brother is my friend. (0, Troll)

rhizome (115711) | more than 6 years ago | (#21402661)

I think what you are pointing out is more a failing of leadership then a failing of republican ideals.

Such a short memory. What Republicans were complaining when DeLay wielded the gavel? None. Sorry pal, but just because fucking the country over turned out badly doesn't mean it has nothing to do with Republicans. Take some responsibility, like your Republican ideals might have you do.

Re:Big Brother is my friend. (1, Troll)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#21402775)

I'm not even from america so how can i BE a republican you dimwit

I'm just stating a matter of fact, that republican methods of government are NOT the driving force behind why your country is so screwed at the moment.

You dummies voted GWB back in for another term, how about you take responsibility for THAT.

Re:Big Brother is my friend. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21404085)

Republican here isn't the same as republican in other places. :)

Re:Big Brother is my friend. (1)

nunyadambinness (1181813) | more than 6 years ago | (#21407235)

I'm not even from america so how can i BE a republican you dimwit


Because that's the only method he has for discrediting your very lucid post.

Re:Big Brother is my friend. (1)

rhizome (115711) | more than 6 years ago | (#21409897)

I'm just stating a matter of fact, that republican methods of government are NOT the driving force behind why your country is so screwed at the moment.

Whatever sense of republicanism you're using is irrelevant when you consider the context of current US misery is due to a particularly American flavor of that philosophy. Saying that republicans in other parts of the world don't subscribe to American Republican tenets is an exercise in irrelevance because foreign Republicans have not been elected into US Government. You may think it unfortunate that they share the name "Republican," but that's the way it is.

You dummies voted GWB back in for another term, how about you take responsibility for THAT.

It ain't "me" dummies, I didn't vote for him but I take responsibility by not supporting his policies and by not traveling, possibly saving some parts of the world from being reminded of GWB's existence.

Re:Big Brother is my friend. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21403615)

How is not taxing and borrowing any better? How is giving the majority of tax relief to the top 1% of income earners that good? Since low income earners have the greatest marginal propensity to consume, it would only stand that giving those people the majority of the tax cuts would have the greatest effect on the economy. (since their more apt to spend that newly found money where as rich people already have enough money, and if they weren't spending it before the tax cuts, I somehow doubt they're going to go on a shopping spree afterwards) I'm not saying that tax and spending is a great thing either, but if your going to reduce taxes, spending has to go down too, not go up.

Re:Big Brother is my friend. (1)

vague_ascetic (755456) | more than 6 years ago | (#21405071)

I wasn't aware that I had supported tax and spend policies. I only stated that when compared to the Republican policy of Cut Taxes and Spend, it is the lamer of two evils. It is assuredly a more defensible position.

Re:Big Brother is my friend. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21405795)

besides, tax and spend IS a shitty economic policy

Yeah, the current republican policy of don't tax and do spend is so much better.

Re:Big Brother is my friend. (1)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 6 years ago | (#21407723)

>tax and spend IS a shitty economic policy, and the last few years are too complicated to really say how much better democrats would have done.

I think it's pretty clearly shown that 'reduce taxes and spend *more*' is an *amazingly* shitty economic policy.

Re:Big Brother is my friend. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21407147)

It's fun to watch you massacre the English language in a vain attempt to give your post some intellectual credibility.

Stop trying so hard, you sound like a pompous twat. Now that I think about it, that's most likely because you are a pompous twat.

flamed by a closeted grammar queen? (1)

vague_ascetic (755456) | more than 6 years ago | (#21411361)

The modern Republican male role model in America

Love the 2008 RNCC Convention logo [impietease.com] , BTW...

Re:Big Brother is my friend. (1)

professional_troll (1178701) | more than 6 years ago | (#21402609)

It was the spoons that did 9/11, cant you all see that? it was the SPOONS!! The evidence is there


PS Go fuck yourself

Re:Big Brother is my friend. (2, Interesting)

YourBigBrother (1190841) | more than 6 years ago | (#21401657)

Thanks. I love you too.

Re:Big Brother is my friend. (-1, Troll)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 6 years ago | (#21401961)

Terrorists take your rights and freedom (plus your life if you're unlucky enough). Big Brother takes away your privacy. I know which I'd rather lose.

Re:Big Brother is my friend. (5, Insightful)

FunWithKnives (775464) | more than 6 years ago | (#21402085)

You would rather live a coward than die a free man, then?

Your opinion seems to be that of the majority in this country, and I believe that sentiment has a lot to do with how we have gotten to where we are, collectively. Do not attempt to raise an ideal higher than your personal interests. Just keep being passive. And remember: Consume, consume, consume! No one likes a louse, right?

Re:Big Brother is my friend. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21402403)

Hahahahahahaha! In the end the USA is losing the war on the worse way: Terrorists (if they really exist...) have won already!
The American people is letting the government destroy the only thing that made the difference on the Cold War against Soviet Union: their democracy and freedom.
Now, with the black vans of the NSA unlawfully wiretapping ALL the communications of all the American citizens, the rape and torture of Latino immigrants by the law enforcement, people "disappearing" just because they made some bad remark about the government on a Starbucks (is HAPPENING already! The GOP-NAZIs are taking even American citizens to their secret GULAG in Guantanamo!), all the lies on Fox News and CNN, the generalized fraud and corruption all over the electoral system, the USA just become worse than Soviet Union was: a tyranny, the worse tyranny on earth, but leaving on a lie.
And now with American economy agonizing and the dollar losing its value before the Euro, doesn't take much longer until we all have to face the losers of our wars, the Germans, the Japanese, the Russians, coming to take apart our carcass...

 

Parody is not in the Dictionary (1)

coyote4til7 (189857) | more than 6 years ago | (#21402541)

FunWithKnives' reply is hardly "Insightful". While I agree with his sentiments vis-a-vis the loose paraphrase of the New Hampshire state motto, he missed the Big Huge Sign(tm) in the post "Big Brother is my friend" that said "Parody". The relevant book is 1984. The author is George Orwell.

For extra credit, please compare and contrast the government as described in 1984 with one of the following:
1) the current Bush Administration or
2) the next administration if Giuliani wins
3) the next administration if Clinton wins
Please note that in each the administration's policies will correlate to the frequently neo(conservative|liberal) beliefs of the individuals key advisers rather than the positions being posited during the election campaign (e.g. the marketing and sales effort). Since your choice of administration (1, 2 and 3) will make minimal difference in the major points you can explore, please be detailed in your analysis. Bonus points for black humor and obscure British comedy references.

Re:Big Brother is my friend. (0, Flamebait)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 6 years ago | (#21402545)

You would rather live a coward than die a free man, then?

You aren't free if you are dead. Your patriot rhetoric is vacuous.

Re:Big Brother is my friend. (1)

soupforare (542403) | more than 6 years ago | (#21402621)

You aren't free if you are dead.
I'd wager it's about the freest one ever gets.

Re:Big Brother is my friend. (2, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 6 years ago | (#21403311)

You aren't free if you are dead. Your patriot rhetoric is vacuous.
Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose.

But even if you and Janis don't see eye to eye, it doesn't matter. Because what's really going on is that people are choosing to live as cowards rather than live as free men. Worldwide, and even more so in the USA, more people are killed by bees than by terrorist attacks. Yet you don't see Big Brother calling for people to live in fear of bee stings do you?

So yeah, I would rather die a free man - a very old free man.

Re:Big Brother is my friend. (1)

FunWithKnives (775464) | more than 6 years ago | (#21403323)

I am not a "patriot." In fact, I believe that patriotism is akin to religion, and has just about as much worth, which is to say absolutely none.

Regardless, it would appear that you and I have a different view of what being "free" entails, exactly. I am of the opinion that if someone is killed for excercising their intrinsic rights, then they die free, by the simple fact that they have resisted attempted enslavement. I assume that you believe otherwise.

Re:Big Brother is my friend. (1)

kcbrown (7426) | more than 6 years ago | (#21402645)

You would rather live a coward than die a free man, then?

Perhaps he would rather live a coward than die a slave.

Before claiming that we're not slaves yet, truthfully answer this: what are you truly free to do? What can you do that doesn't somehow, somewhere, require someone else's permission? Compare that list against the list of things that do require someone else's consent, and I think you'll find that the former list is woefully short. And that's here in the U.S., "land of the free". It's even worse in many other parts of the world.

The time when it was possible to fix this issue is long, long past.

Re:Big Brother is my friend. (2, Insightful)

Vegeta99 (219501) | more than 6 years ago | (#21404439)

Absolute freedom only exists in a State of Nature. What you are willing to call a State of Nature depends on your world view, and I like Hobbes: Solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. When you are allowed absolute freedom, you have the freedom to take and do as you want, and that includes murdering your neighbor in order to rape his wife.

You want true freedom? You may have it, you simply must signal your intent to not follow the laws of the land where you are currently at. Want to kill somebody? Go ahead, do it. However, you must understand that those around you who have decided to give up certain freedoms to be safe will treat you as if you are not part of that society, and are free to kill you, rape you, dismember you, torture you, or whatever they see fit.

Now, we can modernize this and use other people's views, such as John Locke's. I will not, however, provide you an example, as John Locke's views are the same that our country was founded on. I suggest you read some of his writings, and then come back. Do you have life? Do you have liberty (not license)? Do you have the ability to build estate? Yes? Then sit down, shut up, and quit acting like your rights are being trampled upon.

Furthermore, you cannot make an argument like yours without presenting examples. What can I think that I can do without permission? I can kill a trespasser on my own property, I can do what I like with my land (I'm not an idiot, I don't live in a city), hell, I can do pretty much whatever I like on my land, including many things that most people would consider illegal - after all, the police can't come on my land unless they have reasonable suspicion to obtain a warrant, and as long as my activities stay on my own land, they wouldn't ever know!

Re:Big Brother is my friend. (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 6 years ago | (#21403495)

You would rather live a coward than die a free man, then?
That statement's always funny coming from a paranoid liberal!

Do not attempt to raise an ideal higher than your personal interests.
Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realise I was being so selfish when I preferred my life and the lives of everyone around me over your privacy (as well as everyone else's). Apparently, if I want something different from you for everyone else around me, I'm being selfish, but when you want it, it's being altruistic and brave.

Just keep being passive.
OK then. Whatever you and your moderators-for-hire say.

And remember: Consume, consume, consume! No one likes a louse, right?
WTF are you talking about? What the hell does consumerism have to do with terrorism? Why does concern for my fellow man's life make me a rabid consumer? Or did you make a false dichotomy between people who are with you and people who are against you? What's next, "mission accomplished"?

Re:Big Brother is my friend. (1)

FunWithKnives (775464) | more than 6 years ago | (#21409413)

... coming from a paranoid liberal!

I am not a liberal. I am a socialist, and I am not paranoid. Thankfully, it has not fallen to the point that I should feel worried about my safety because of my political and economic views. That is not to say that it will not get to that point, however. It certainly seems that it will, and sooner rather than later, unfortunately.

... didn't realise I was being so selfish when I preferred my life and the lives of everyone around me ...

You did not frame your original post in this context. If one were to weigh the options and choose to sacrifice their rights in order for, say, their family to survive, it would be a much harder issue to confront. On one hand, they sacrifice their freedoms, along with those of their family, for continued survival of not just them but those around them. On the other hand, without inherent rights such as life, liberty and so on, would you consider they and their family to really be alive? Or would they be simply existing?

Whatever you and your moderators-for-hire say.

I am sorry if you feel otherwise, but your position is in fact the very definition of passivity. Simply conforming for an increasingly totalitarian government and going on about your life is not quite my idea of being "active" with regard to the situation.

... the hell does consumerism have to do with terrorism?

My comment was not addressing consumerism and its relation to terrorism. Rather, it is its relation to passivity in the face of the destruction of true democracy and personal liberty that it was concerned with. Our society's infatuation with conspicuous consumption has lulled its members into a state of complacency that was unheard of in years past. People are increasingly unconcerned with politics and world affairs, so long as they have their high definition plasma televisions to watch football with, their overly-large SUVs, and are comfortably secluded within the walls of suburbia. Your original statement gave that impression.

... did you make a false dichotomy ...

The true false dichotomy is between "the terrorists" and the government. The government is here, now. It is here as you step outside of your home, as you drive to work or school, as you sleep at night. "The terrorists" are not. You have less of a chance of being killed by terrorists than you do of winning the lottery. In contrast, the government affects you and your actions, in some way, every day of your life.

When privacy is taken away, it is done so for a reason. I imagine that we have diametrically opposing views as to that reason. While you apparently believe it is to secure citizens from "terrorists," I believe that privacy is being taken away so that, in the future, other rights and freedoms can also be taken away from certain groups within our society.

Regardless of my views, however, I disagree with the "troll" moderation of your original post. It was simply your opinion, and as your signature implies, posts should not be modded down due to differences in opinion.

Re:Big Brother is my friend. (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 6 years ago | (#21412359)

Well, I'm mostly satisfied with that reply, thank you. Just a couple of things:

I am sorry if you feel otherwise, but your position is in fact the very definition of passivity. Simply conforming for an increasingly totalitarian government and going on about your life is not quite my idea of being "active" with regard to the situation.
No, it really isn't. Passivity is when you see something seriously wrong and you decide to go with the flow. You haven't yet established that I see something wrong. My inaction may just spring from the fact that I generally agree with current policy on terrorism, and there's nothing I want changed.

My comment about the moderators-for-hire was about how non-conformist or non-passive ideologies often enough end up with the non-conformists expecting others to conform to their ideology. It's a strong double standard that I pick up on a lot on Slashdot.

People are increasingly unconcerned with politics and world affairs, so long as they have their high definition plasma televisions to watch football with, their overly-large SUVs, and are comfortably secluded within the walls of suburbia. Your original statement gave that impression.
I accept your apology. Let that be a lesson about guessing your opponent's opinions with little to nothing to go on.

The true false dichotomy is between "the terrorists" and the government.
Misdirection! There are false dichotomies on all sides. On one hand, you have the terrorists and the government, on the other you have the government and the people. Both of them are false, but I, in all fairness would have to say the former is less false, due to the fact that the latter parties physically overlap, whereas the government has absolutely no terrorists in it. But I get the point, the ideological dichotomy isn't exactly warranted. Still, there are people out there who want to kill me, call them terrorists or not, and I would like my government to do something about it.

You have less of a chance of being killed by terrorists than you do of winning the lottery.
I hear that one quite a bit, but it fails to take a few things into account:

Firstly, I care about other people. Even if you were to care about the lives of only people you know, that still multiplies the odds significantly.

Secondly, there are inconveniences associated with terrorist strikes. Buildings and possessions get destroyed, and someone has to pay for it. It raises insurance premiums, interest rates, it puts people out of business.

Thirdly, there's nothing to say that terrorist attacks won't increase if they detect weakness. Many of the security measures are designed to allay fears and psychologically discourage terrorists. Who can really say what'll happen if those measures go away?

Fourthly, and finally, despite the low odds of an attack happening, people feel scared by them. There's no sense of control in a terrorist strike for civilians. Only the government is in really any position to help counter them, since they can see and influence the big picture. I personally see nothing wrong, in a democracy, with addressing people's fears, even if they make little tangible benefit.

So there you go, we've broken past our derogatory and inflammatory jibes, and bared our opinions. I hope you found mine as well-reasoned and rational as I did yours.

Re:Big Brother is my friend. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21402089)

How can you have freedom without privacy? It doesn't make any sense. It's like saying "terrorists take away our cars, but the government only takes away our gasoline". One is no good without the other.

Re:Big Brother is my friend. (1)

Maestro485 (1166937) | more than 6 years ago | (#21402793)

You do realize that the only way to give up privacy is to also give up a handful of rights and freedoms, right?

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.

This is all I could come up with after 5 seconds of searching...

Re:Big Brother is my friend. (1)

yndrd1984 (730475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21403073)

Terrorists take your rights and freedom (plus your life if you're unlucky enough). Big Brother takes away your privacy. I know which I'd rather lose.

Chance of BB taking privacy if it's accepted, 100%. Chance of BB abusing their ability to invade privacy in order to do other undesirable things, 99%. Chance of BB letting the government committing acts as bad as terrorists, maybe 50%.

Chance of terrorist killing you less than 1/10 %. Chance of terrorist taking rights and freedom from many people without government help, 0%.

You need to take into account the chances of the bad things happening as well as how bad they are. Terrorist scare me like serial killers do - lock your doors, make sure the cops are doing their jobs, and don't pick up hitchhikers - but that's about it. The implementation of a real BB would scare me like the rise of fascism scared my British Great-Grandpa - time to leave the country (brought family to US), and get ready to fight (in his case, Air Force).

Originalize This: (5, Informative)

vague_ascetic (755456) | more than 6 years ago | (#21401721)

"You seem...to consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions; a very dangerous doctrine indeed, and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy. Our judges are as honest as other men, and not more so. They have, with others, the same passions for party, for power, and the privilege of their corps. Their maxim is 'boni judicis est ampliare jurisdictionem,' and their power the more dangerous as they are in office for life, and not responsible, as the other functionaries are, to the elective control. The Constitution has erected no such single tribunal, knowing that to whatever hands confided, with the corruptions of time and party, its members would become despots...I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power."

Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Charles Jarvis, September 28, 1820

"An avidity to punish is always dangerous to liberty. It leads men to stretch, to misinterpret, and to misapply even the best of laws. He that would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself."

Thomas Paine, "Dissertations on First Principles of Government", 1795

"Perhaps it is a universal truth that the loss of liberty at home is to be charged to provisions against danger, real or pretended, from abroad. "

James Madison, letter to Thomas Jefferson, May 13, 1798

Re:Originalize This: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21402277)

if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power."

Shame he didn't forsee a combination of government education with the abuse of constitutional power. What now, Mr. Forefather?

Re:Originalize This: (1)

vague_ascetic (755456) | more than 6 years ago | (#21405299)

Jefferson felt that one of his failures was his not being able to get the wealthy to understand the merits of bearing the financial burden for the education of the poor. In 1776 he laid out a plan in the Virginia legislature which would have divided the state up into school districts. He also proposed two higher educational groups. One for a general University education and the other for advanced Science and Mathematical studies. He believed that these too should be available to all without concern for their families' financial status. It was opposed by the wealthy landholders who comprised the majority of the State's legislature. Throughout his life Jefferson was a proponent of a strong and able public school system which was paid for out of the general treasury.

Jefferson foresaw more than you give him credit for. The failure you so willfully point out is caused by persons who equate personal liberty to being the same as their own personal greed, who believe they have a right, both divine and civil to not aid their fellow citizens whom the vicissitudes of life have unfairly placed without the reach of The Dreamtime America.

This is repugnant to the advancement of liberty. It is the elevation of personal possessions to a higher place the the Natural Rights of Humanity, and it is contemporary conservatism's continued embrace of this obscene concept which is a part of the body of evidence proving that it has not yet experienced enough pain to purge the evil that has infected its soul.

EIGHTH POST (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21401729)

That's how slow this thread is moving.

A lot depends on the Ninth Circuit (3, Insightful)

Eternal Vigilance (573501) | more than 6 years ago | (#21401839)

It seems like it's a race to see if the Ninth can rule definitively on the culpability of the telcos (AT&T in particular) before the Congress rewards the telcos (and by implication the Bush Administration) with immunity.

There remains the question of whether the SCOTUS will overturn any pro-citizenry ruling the Ninth makes anyway.

But the more that comes out before the Ninth, the harder it will be for Congress/SCOTUS to completely immunize the telcos and the White House.

I hope the clerks in the Ninth make sure the judges don't choose this month to switch to decaf! (There's an amusingly twisted Ninth-Circuit-judges-meet-Lloyd-Bridges-from-Airplane! visual in there somewhere....) :-)


Keep believing the right things will happen and act accordingly.

Re:A lot depends on the Ninth Circuit (1)

deftones_325 (1159693) | more than 6 years ago | (#21402059)

Ever seen a grown man naked?

Re:A lot depends on the Ninth Circuit (1)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 6 years ago | (#21402831)

But the more that comes out before the Ninth, the harder it will be for Congress/SCOTUS to completely immunize the telcos and the White House.

Not really. If Congress doesn't like how courts are interpreting the law, it has every right and the power to change that law. Of course, Congress should be doing this because they believe the people want them to do so, and it must not violate the Constitution when doing so. Also, the SCOTUS has full power to overrule the Ninth. Of course, SCOTUS is supposed to rule in way that is consistent with the Constitution but that is also a different question/topic. So my point is, the Ninth Circuit's rulings don't have much weight when it comes to determining what Congress or SCOTUS may do.

Re:A lot depends on the Ninth Circuit (1)

Eternal Vigilance (573501) | more than 6 years ago | (#21403275)

It doesn't become any harder for them legally, I agree. It becomes harder for them politically.

I think our difference is that while you consider whether the SCOTUS may rule (and the Congress and Executive may act) in a way consistent with the Constitution a different question, I believe it to be the very heart of the question.

Assuming Constitutional behavior on the part of any of the three Branches seems an unwarranted supposition these days (the three Branches and a free press exist precisely because it's never warranted), and so the more information available to the public, the greater the likelihood of either Constitutional behavior initially, or a Consitutional remedy post facto.

In general, the deterioration in what one might call the general quality of government (Constitutional behavior and so on) is the natural and necessary precursor to a more informed and involved populace. So while I lament what I see as the death of the government, I look forward to living in a country where it isn't a structural assumption that the people must be governed. At some point one outgrows the need for parents and we've reached it, whether we like it or not, and for both worse and better. I hope my observations here can be seen in that light, as the willingness to accept my own mortal responsibilities, and forgive the mortal weaknesses of others (as well as the other way around ;-) ).

Re:A lot depends on the Ninth Circuit (1)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 6 years ago | (#21404873)

Not really. If Congress doesn't like how courts are interpreting the law, it has every right and the power to change that law.

You're right in that SCOTUS can overrule anything that the Ninth Circuit may decide, but the interesting question--and perhaps what the OP is getting at--is, if the Ninth issues findings and/or judgments, does Congress have any recourse?

We know that you can not be charged under a law if the act you are accused of was not illegal at the time that you did it (ex post facto laws). Can you, then, be absolved of guilt for a crime or tort you were found guilty/liable of, by virtue of Congress declaring it legal afterward? I doubt that. I'm not a legal expert, but it seems to me that if Congress granted immunity after a judgment is entered that it would not have an effect on said judgment (except, maybe, if SCOTUS used it on an appeal). If they get it in before there are any findings about it, though, they might be able to stop it in its tracks.

They can certainly make it legal going forward (constitutionality aside), which would be bad at least from my perspective, but I think the timing matters quite a lot as far as what effect they have on this current litigation.

BpeMR cgBNHyLN Ha Yac (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21401853)

BpeMR cgBNHyLN Ha Yac
Ha CoBeTCKoM GLodyce
PaHbWe XpeH BcTaBaL B nocTeLN
A Tenepb B aBTodyce.

i'm all "tapped" out (2, Interesting)

deftones_325 (1159693) | more than 6 years ago | (#21402019)

Bad pun, I know. Being a paranoid person..( from back in the day when my friends and I would make up all kinds of code words for trying to score a doobie over the phone ) Anything you do or say has the potential to be heard by anyone else with the knowledge or technology to do so. But does the Gov't care about some teenagers trying to get some dope, or some 30-something running a port scan on his neighbor from his moms basement? ( no offence slashdotters ). No matter what you do, why not just expect it to be listened to? Because it is.

Re:i'm all "tapped" out (5, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21402063)

why not just expect it to be listened to?

Well, sure, that's just basic security. But this isn't really about the specific issue of telco complicity ... it's about how our government jumped the track, and what we can do to put it back. If we tolerate such egregious abuses of government power and make excuses for it, they'll keep grabbing more until they have it all. As citizens, we need to push back, and push back hard, or matters will only get worse.

Re:i'm all "tapped" out (1)

deftones_325 (1159693) | more than 6 years ago | (#21402143)

You are most definately right. I, for one, am all about pushing back against "the man". What these laws/judgements/rulings do, is pretty much describe what is admissible in court. It seems like common knowledge that someone is out there listning to everything, everywhere. What they can use to get a warrant or as evidence in court is the issue at stake ( i think ), in which case there does need to be a significant counter-force against the government and there use of terrorism and such things as an excuse to 'legally' spy on U.S. citizens. I didn't mean to say we should bend over and take it, but wrong or right... we have to be carefull about our communication. It will be used against us either indirectly or directly. ( like them knowing a mob boss killed a bunch of people.. but most of thier evidence was inadmissible, so they got him for something puny, and give him the max sentance )

yawn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21402139)

People will do whatever they can get away with. If you don't like it, then stop them.

bad news is good news (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21402469)

I would say that what you classify as bad news is actually good news and what you classify as good news is only so-so news...

Who would have thunk that the 9th circuit court of liberalism and comunism would come out with such a decision?

Oh, by the way, do you guys actually support terrorism???

Good, take the gloves off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21402471)

Using the Patriot Act and various new found powers to take down rank and file criminals like drug dealers, copyright violators, or peaceful protestors and what have you? Obnoxious, un-American, illegal.

But using these powers to go after terrorist scum threatening our national security? Go at it, boys - take the gloves off. Nuke those motherfuckers.

Never Been Comfortable (4, Insightful)

maz2331 (1104901) | more than 6 years ago | (#21402509)

I've never really been comfortable with the claim of "State Secrets" being used as it is in courts. I totally agree with not releasing information that should be kept under wraps for whatever reason, but don't like that it can be used as a way to cover up malfeasence either.

In any decently-run system, a claim of secrecy should be honored, but only as a stipulation that the opposing side's claims are true and accurate. In other words, a default judgement against the government in that case.

Justice should be blind, but not deaf nor dumb.

Re:Never Been Comfortable (3, Interesting)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21402547)

Or, even if it is "State Secrets", why can't it be used in the trial anyways?

Are people just accepting of the fact that "State Secrets" also means "immune from opposition"?

"State Secrets" was formed as a dodge... (5, Informative)

Sparky McGruff (747313) | more than 6 years ago | (#21403063)

It was invented as an "immune from opposition" ploy in the first place. As noted in Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] ,

The privilege was first officially recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 1953 decision, United States v. Reynolds (345 U.S. 1). A military airplane, a B-29 Superfortress bomber, crashed. The widows of three civilian crew members sought accident reports on the crash but were told that to release such details would threaten national security by revealing the bomber's top-secret mission.[snip]

As a footnote to the founding case establishing the privilege, in 2000, the accident reports were declassified and released, and it was found that the argument was fraudulent, and there was no secret information. The reports did, however, contain information about the poor state of condition of the aircraft itself, which would have been very compromising to the Air Force's case.
It's worth keeping that history in mind when reading about how this fine administration is throwing the "state secrets" claims around in what could be very damaging cases.

Re:"State Secrets" was formed as a dodge... (2, Interesting)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21403143)

Ah, sweet. The gov't gets the protections against self-incrimination that the people do under the 5th amendment. Maybe this should be extended to corporations, since they are also considered "people", legally?

Law suits would get pretty rare when nobody has to say anything bad about themselves... "What design documents specifying 40% lead in the paint of those toys? That is a corporation secret"

Still, why can't the cases be herd In camera [wikipedia.org] if there are secrets involved?

It's not like the 5th amendment at all.. (1)

Sparky McGruff (747313) | more than 6 years ago | (#21403241)

Under the 5th amendment, you have the right not to testify against yourself. You can decline to answer questions. You can't order that the prosecutor hand back all the evidence he has collected about the case, and never speak of the details under penalty of imprisonment. That's just a wee bit more broad sweeping. And, it's a very effective way for a corrupt government to sweep away any accountability for even the most blatantly illegal activities. And guess what! You can't say anything about it, unless you want to go to jail for the rest of your life!

Re:Never Been Comfortable (2, Interesting)

saihung (19097) | more than 6 years ago | (#21403953)

State secrets privilege in the United States is all-or-nothing. Once the government claims it, the case basically stops. While it's theoretically possible for a case to proceed after a claim of state secrets if there is still enough evidence to move the case forward, in reality state secrets is such a blow that no case survives. In other countries, such as those with real state secrets problems like Israel, state secrets results in a balancing test to determine whether the government's interests in the secret is more important that the aggrieved plaintiff's need for justice. If there are secrets that must be introduced at trial, the judge and the attorneys are trusted to hear them in closed court. Especially considering the potential for abuse, especially the tendency of the Bush administration to use the privilege to cover up criminal activity that should result in jail terms for high officials, the common law doctrine of state secrets privilege created in U.S. v. Reynolds needs to change. A statute regulating the use of classified information at trials would be nice.

Re:Never Been Comfortable (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 6 years ago | (#21413413)

Exactly, if the US govt can't speak to the case, then they can't speak to the case. period. If the plaintiffs have information gained directly from AT&T by accident then AT&T needs to deal with that.. much how the Quest CEO had to deal with being accused of "insider trading" while having official government deals backed out but he couldn't talk about. I don't see why AT&T has any rights more than him.

The alternative is that the courts start locking people up for contempt of state secrets anyway... it might be legal, it might not, but contempt of court is a near absolute right of the court itself.. perhaps what really need to happen is for those claiming secrets to sit it the hole for their country!!!

It's not bad news (4, Informative)

Kenrod (188428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21403091)

It's not bad news, it's good news. If the Al-Haramain lawyers were allowed to use their "recollections", they could say anything, and the only effective defense the govt would have would be to produce the documents and thus reveal state secrets.

All that aside, neither the govt nor the Al-Haramain lawyers actually want the top secret documents revealed. The govt because the information is top secret and would harm ongoing investigations; the Al-Haramain lawyers because even though the documents may prove standing the govt illegally wire-tapped them, would also show Al-Haramain's guilt in funding world-wide terrorism. Remember, copies of these documents were sent to Al-Haramain in Saudi Arabia - they could have been released already with no legal consequence by Al-Haramain in Saudi Arabia.

What Al-Haramain really wants is for the federal courts to restrict wire-tapping - any wire-tapping - as much as possible. Why? Take a wild guess.

Here is the best source for details about this conflict and Al-Haramain terrorism links.

http://www.zombietime.com/al-haramain_surveillance/ [zombietime.com]

where is the "NPOV"? (was: Re:It's not bad news) (1)

av567 (902488) | more than 6 years ago | (#21404723)

[quote:] "It's not bad news, it's good news." [comments about it:] Right! Never mind which one the writer thinks is good/bad! I realize this is not wikipedia (see NPOV [wikipedia.org] ), but how hard would it have been, to use some more neutral terminology, (in the original, not the immediate parent here) like, "on the one hand..." and "then again, on the other hand..."? This would have been an alternative to framing it as "The bad news: ..." and then "The good news: ..."; one way seems to insist on revealing (and almost, emphasizing) which side the writer is on; while the "NPOV" approach (by contrast) tries to just emphasize reporting what has happened (the "news"), and tends to leave it up to the reader to figure out (or already know, or misinterpret it /slash, get it wrong... whatever) what is true, and what to believe, what to think, what to consider interesting, etc. If it's an idea whose time has come, then I don't care who it is that reports (conveys) it; and I don't care what his/her opinions are. Well, OK, I might care to try to determine whether the reporter is someone who'd be tempted to lie just to score a point, but I mean, if we had some kind of "trust but verify" possibility - which IMHO exists more today (with the internet, and blogs, and ATMs and libraries... etc.) than it did 10 or 20 generations ago - then I'd prefer "just the facts"). Just my 0.02... from Mike Schwartz Glendale, AZ.

Re:It's not bad news (1)

remmelt (837671) | more than 6 years ago | (#21405097)

> The govt because the information is allegedly top secret and would allegedly harm ongoing investigations;

Fixed that for you. There is no way for us to know whether those documents contain actual state secrets. There is no-one who can check to make sure, even without telling the court. Even knowing if there are secrets in there is secret, remember? Trias politika, checks and balances, etc.

Re:It's not bad news (2, Interesting)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 6 years ago | (#21406763)

If the Al-Haramain lawyers were allowed to use their "recollections", they could say anything, and the only effective defense the govt would have would be to produce the documents and thus reveal state secrets.

The only reason the Al-Haramain lawyers don't produce a certified copy of the original is because they are being nice. Copies of all of the documentation regarding the orginal FOIA request were shipped to the middle east. They presented one of those copies to the court initially. They can produce a copy at any time they want. If the Al-Haramain lawyers wanted to play games like that they would simply release the document to the public through channels outside the control of the US govt.

I am certain that as in the 1953 case, this round of 'state secrets' is going to eventually be revealed as a ploy to avoid public humiliation and not a matter of national security at all.

Hate to see... (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#21404037)

Hate to see the ACLU and the EFF on the same side of the same suit, given how much I hate one of them, and adore the other.

Re:Hate to see... (1)

Copid (137416) | more than 6 years ago | (#21415527)

Hate to see the ACLU and the EFF on the same side of the same suit, given how much I hate one of them, and adore the other.
I can't for the life of me see how you find the two organizations as particularly different. My guess is that the ACLU, if it takes a position, probably agrees with the EFF on practically every position the EFF takes.

Two simple thoughts... (2, Interesting)

tiqui (1024021) | more than 6 years ago | (#21404369)

First: This is the 9th circuit. They are the most overturned court in the country, so nobody on either side of the issue should presume this is the final result.

Second: If you think of this ruling as bad news, let's try a simple thought experiment... The RIAA drags you into court and wants to introduce as evidence their "recollections" of documents that said what you did on the internet, what files you downloaded, and what files you shared. Should this be allowed? Should you have to answer this by providing an complete an accurate record of your online activities and the files on your system? (in other words: should the threat of "recollection" evidence be a tool that can be used to force you to give-up evidence you would not otherwise have to produce?)

I do not like the idea of government using secret evidence, but I also do not want any court making it worse by allowing in "recollections" of documents. You do not fix the problem of secret evidence which cannot be examined by allowing recollected evidence which cannot be examined. Why not just skip a few steps and start using fortune tellers and ouija boards for evidence?

Bad news/good news? (1)

stewbacca (1033764) | more than 6 years ago | (#21405963)

Funny how I don't consider it "bad" news that lawyers aren't allowed to divulge classified information...Maybe it's just me, but "news" should not reported as "good" or "bad", because then it is no longer news.
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