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Administration Claimed Immunity To 4th Amendment

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the unreasonable-searches-and-seizures dept.

Privacy 703

mrogers writes "The EFF has uncovered a troubling footnote in a newly declassified Bush Administration memo, which asserts that 'our Office recently [in 2001] concluded that the Fourth Amendment had no application to domestic military operations.' This could mean that the Administration believes the NSA's warrantless wiretapping and data mining programs are not governed by the Constitution, which would cast Administration claims that the programs did not violate the Fourth Amendment in a whole new light — after all, you can't violate a law that doesn't apply. The claimed immunity would also cover other DoD agencies, such as CIFA, which carry out offline surveillance of political groups within the United States."

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Only the 4th ammendment? (5, Insightful)

adpsimpson (956630) | more than 6 years ago | (#22949978)

'our Office recently [in 2001] concluded that the Fourth Amendment had no application to domestic military operations.

I thought the whole constitution had no application to the whole government?

After all, isn't it just a scrap of paper?

More specifically.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22950098)

I was just reading about this from another site, and they found a very interesting article [startaid.com] .

Re:More specifically.... (1)

adpsimpson (956630) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950202)

Shock site redirect.

yada yada yada, (link to something redirecting to nimp.org), yada yada.

Well, at least the offensive, racist troll has gone his way - this current plague is only offensive if you click the link.

Re:More specifically.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22950254)

I've been kind of busy lately chasing girls etc.

Niggers are useless and lazy and Mudslums abuse their women and are generally more of a niusance than they are worth.

Re:Only the 4th ammendment? (1)

buravirgil (137856) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950176)

Not only is only just a piece of paper, i don't recall having signed the damn thing...why don't we just cut through the cheese and start issuing stocks under the name of our Presidents...but you know, don't tell nobody...our civil servants have given so much of their lives to a churlish, unappreciative constituency...and a pay out is in order here...

Re:Only the 4th ammendment? (5, Informative)

jc42 (318812) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950204)

I thought the whole constitution had no application to the whole government?

After all, isn't it just a scrap of paper?


No, actually Bush was wrong about that, too. The US Constitution was written on parchment [archives.gov] , not paper.

The Bush crowd just can't get anything right. ;-)

(To further confuse matters, replicas of the Constitution are commonly printed on "parchment paper", which is a kind of paper treated to superficially resemble parchment. But the original was on true parchment, made from stretched animal skin. A quick google search didn't turn up info on what sort of animal it was made from, though presumably that's known.)

Re:Only the 4th ammendment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22950366)

The article that created that statement has been proven wrong so many times that the only people who still make references to it are totally ignorant or just using it to lie.
Which one are you?

Re:Only the 4th ammendment? (1)

slmdmd (769525) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950318)

hahaha, democracy is an illusion, just like life is, watch the movie called life and enjoy, my current role is corporate slave

Real Texans keep their word. (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950336)

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Re:Real Texans keep their word. (5, Insightful)

3waygeek (58990) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950436)

However, Bush is somewhat dyslexic. He interpreted the oath to mean that he would preserve, protect, and defend the office of President, and execute the Constitution. This may explain why he considers himself to be a great leader -- he has brilliantly lived up to the oath of office as he understood it.

Re:Only the 4th ammendment? (5, Insightful)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950350)

It's the exact opposite... that scrap of paper IS our government. For them to say that a particular law doesn't apply to a particular government action is completely ridiculous. If anyone should be held to the laws there, it's the government itself, which is supposed to be defined by that document.

perhaps the slightest bit bitter (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22949980)

Isn't the Republican party traditionally the one that raises the biggest fuss about the Bill of Rights?

Sure would be nice if Colbert or Stewart chose to lampoon this little footnote. At least their shows get noticed more than Slashdot.

Re:perhaps the slightest bit bitter (2, Insightful)

Smidge204 (605297) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950162)

Isn't the Republican party traditionally the one that raises the biggest fuss about the Bill of Rights?
Only if it's the second amendment, apparently.

=Smidge=

Re:perhaps the slightest bit bitter (3, Insightful)

tbannist (230135) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950384)

Actually, it's more like "Only if and when it will get them votes".

Re:perhaps the slightest bit bitter (5, Insightful)

JavaLord (680960) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950408)

Only if it's the second amendment, apparently.

The Bush administration doesn't speak for every Republican or Conservative in America. You might have noticed his dismal approval rating...to get that low he ticked off a lot of Republicans too.

As far as the original point of the story. The fourth amendment doesn't apply to 'domestic military operations' because the whole idea was to NOT have domestic military operations against regular citizens.

Re:perhaps the slightest bit bitter (3, Insightful)

thomas.galvin (551471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950286)

Isn't the Republican party traditionally the one that raises the biggest fuss about the Bill of Rights?
No, the Republicans and the Democrats are just about even in raising a fuss over how inconvenient the Constitution is to their goals... oh, wait.

Re:perhaps the slightest bit bitter (5, Informative)

Chris_Stankowitz (612232) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950328)

Isn't the Republican party traditionally the one that raises the biggest fuss about the Bill of Rights?

Not really. That depends on what you consider traditional.

The Republican Party, aka the GOP (Grand Old Party) was founded by anti- slavery supporters. They sold out their base supporters in 1876 in exchange for electoral votes, rejecting Reconstruction ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reconstruction [wikipedia.org] ).

They [Republicans] have been seen as the party of the "rich" ever since, with the Democratic party touting itself as the party of the people.

This really only proves that politicians (on both sides of the aisle)don't make a fuss over anything unless it is self serving. Ok, that isn't fair to the "good" politicians out there, but IMO they lack the numbers and conviction to make a difference on a grander scale.

Re:perhaps the slightest bit bitter (4, Insightful)

tbannist (230135) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950406)

Yeah, and it'll stay that way until someone figures out how to fix the gerrymandering problem. As long as the parties decide who gets the safe seats, they'll pick the people who can raise the most money and avoid the people who have a spine.

WTF (-1, Offtopic)

splatacaster (653139) | more than 6 years ago | (#22949984)

NO!!

Politicians (1)

Sobrique (543255) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950002)

Politicians weasel, but don't actually lie.

This is not news.

Re:Politicians (3, Insightful)

HairyNevus (992803) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950092)

The government claims to be above the constitution, a document made to protect individual rights from a tyrannical government. How is that not news??

No its the document that allows them to govern (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22950352)

The constitution is a contract between the federal, state, and individuals. The federal government is not limited but defined only by the constitution. The problem is that Lincoln and others after him have been pissing on it when convenient and with no real backlash. So it is hard to tell anymore if the constitution actually means what it says, after all who has ever been prosecuted for not upholding their oath to it?

hmm (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22950016)

after all, you can't violate a law that doesn't apply

Yeah right!

fp, BTW

Police State (5, Insightful)

pbailey (225135) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950018)

Aren't you guys tired of living in a Police State and a constant state of war - when are Americans going to stand up and demand their rights back - I keep waiting,,,,

Re:Police State (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22950084)

Especially in a country where everyone is allowed to have gun.

Wake up people!

Re:Police State (-1, Offtopic)

BVis (267028) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950224)

Yeah, that's a good idea. What's worse than the typical dumbass redneck American? That same typical dumbass redneck American with a gun.

Find me one study or article that supports home gun ownership as ensuring civil rights. (Difficulty: One that wasn't written by the NRA or one of its meat puppets in Congress.)

Granted, most people interpret the second amendment to mean that Americans have a right to own a gun, and that that's a civil right. But read the actual text:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Personally, I think that the meaning of this has been twisted over the years.

Re:Police State (5, Insightful)

dctoastman (995251) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950270)

We should be able to own any sort of weaponry the military can use in case it becomes necessary to overthrow an oppressive regime. The Second Amendment is our absolute last line of defense against our government.

The American Revolution was not fought with cupcakes and daisies.

Re:Police State (4, Funny)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950358)

The American Revolution was not fought with cupcakes and daisies.
Meh, all they had were tea and crumpets.

Re:Police State (1)

Evanisincontrol (830057) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950426)

The American Revolution was not fought with cupcakes and daisies.

But if it were, I bet people would complain about it a lot less.

Re:Police State (4, Insightful)

timster (32400) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950448)

Well, we could be a little more balanced than that. After all, there could be legitimate reasons for the military to have something like a tank, but we don't really want private companies to be driving tanks around -- that would hardly protect individual rights. Instead, I think we need some threshold; say if the military has more than 5,000 of any particular type of weapon, it becomes fair game.

Re:Police State (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950472)

Without guns, you'll be conceding even MORE power to the government. At least now, when their jackbooted thugs kick down your door, you can shoot back.

I'm a civil libertarian. That means I believe in *ALL* the amendments, including the 2nd *and* 4th. I hate conservative thugs who ignore the 1st and 4th and I hate pussy-ass liberals who ignore the 2nd. Those amendments were put there as an assurance to the American people that the new Federalist government would never be like that of the English monarchy, and to give them redress (including armed redress, if necessary) should part of that government ever become oppressive.

Re:Police State (4, Interesting)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950104)

The thing is, for all the claims of "living in a police state" people who dont live in the US make about the US, for the most part 99% of the population doesnt see it that way, and likely never will. The minute soldiers are marching in the street acting like cops HERE, things will change (and dont say they do now, I live right next to NYC and even AFTER 9/11 it wasnt that bad). But for Bobby Joe redneck in the middle of the US with NO ONE around for miles, the kind of people who make up half the population of the US? They are as off the grid as they where in the 30-40's.

Re:Police State (1)

NiceGeek (126629) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950428)

"The minute soldiers are marching in the street acting like cops HERE, things will change"

By the time things get to that point, it will already be far, far too late.

Re:Police State (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22950484)

The minute soldiers are marching in the street acting like cops HERE, things will change


Uhm.. no, they won't. As long as people can go to McD's, Walmart, and watch the latest mindless action flick they won't care. If the non-basement dwelling iteration of Slashdot poster were the norm (which I know, it excludes 90% of us) in our population, we wouldn't have been in this situation in the first place. Remember, the current population here voted Bush in a second time. FAIL.

The nation is being run like your average silicon valley startup: if we don't have profit within one to two quarters, then to hell with it. We just have those little credit and debt problems on the side, however.

In addition, our priorities are screwed up. National version: oh noes! Social security will be bust by 2025, but we can fix it if we pass a two percent tax hike now! OMG! No new taxes! But.. we do need multiple squadrons of F-22 that were designed to fight the cold war, since the F-35 and Superhornet obviously aren't enough. We need a missile defense that serves to do nothing except piss off Russia. And, we need a war built on LIES in Iraq that's a constant money sink.

Don't even get me started on health care, since we're the only first world nation without some sort of formalized universal coverage. Even South Africa is jumping on the bandwagon! The morons who bleat that it's too expensive seem to conveniently forget about that bigass middle layer of PROFIT MAKING organization in the middle: the insurance companies. They aid efficiency? Give me a break. Hell, a good friend of mine in Chile said they've even started a universal health care program down there. Oh hell, I just admitted that I have friends outside of the US. I guess it's time to turn in my redneck card.

Ah.. the times in which we live. The Democrats have already effectively blown off their own foot with respect to the upcoming general election, and the Republicans aren't even proper Republicans. What happened to the fiscal conservative iteration of the Republicans? All I see now are war mongering evangelical morons. And yes McCain, don't think I didn't see you "get religion" at the last second when it suited you.

Re:Police State (3, Informative)

kalidasa (577403) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950556)

Actually, those folks don't make up half the population of the US - it's more like 20% [dot.gov] . But because they reside in states with small populations, and the Senate gives equal weight to all states. In addition, the electoral college has a mixed representation based upon both the Senate and House, which skews things in favor of the states with smaller populations. Finally, two of the smallest states are the first to vote in the presidential primary/caucus system, and because they are small enough for politicians to realistically campaign door-to-door in their states, and because in the later primaries the "momentum" of the candidates helps to skew votes toward those who did well in the earlier primaries, they receive a disproportionate amount of attention from the press and from politicians (especially in campaign platforms, where things like farm policy have a prominence all out of proportion with the actual importance of agriculture in the modern US economy). There's also a deep streak of conservatism in US popular culture, one that leads folks who live in suburban subdivisions to talk about the empty midwest as "the Heartland" and "the real America," when the real America always has been, and always will be, a mercantile empire. So I'm sure that to the rest of the world, those Bobby Joe rednecks look like they are half the population of the US, they're just a small minority. The real America isn't Hope, Arkansas: it's Paterson, New Jersey.

Re:Police State (1)

FoolsGold (1139759) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950338)

Rebellion is a lot harder to achieve when the majority of people just don't care.

Re:Police State (1)

marcovje (205102) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950376)

Yes, and at least in the Orwellian scenario one was only at war with one other party at a time.

Re:Police State (1)

Peter Simpson (112887) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950470)

What's really bugging me is that our elected representatives (all of them) seemed to have no trouble re-authorizing the PATRIOT act, and seem to be willing to give Bush and his cronies free rein as they ignore the laws and the Constitution (or claim it doesn't apply to them)

Wake up guys! This isn't just "business as usual"...stand up to these clowns (or does that just happen when the President gets a BJ in the Oval Office?)

Re:Police State (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22950474)

So do I, Homie. So do I. And I've been waiting since the day this guy took office.

And my posting this will mean that I will get audited by the IRS again, too. No question about it.

Who does it apply to? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22950030)

Wait, then who does it apply to? Foreign governments spying on US citizens? US government spying on foreign citizens? Foreign governments spying on foreign citizens?

I thought the whole idea behind the 4th amendment was to say that the US government spying on US citizens was off limits. I'd like to hear why they think one of the other three situations is the real reason that pesky little amendment is in there.

Re:Who does it apply to? (4, Insightful)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950220)

If I'm following their reasoning correctly, the US government spying on its citizens without a warrant would be wrong and would violate the 4th Amendment. However, because their intention is to catch terrorists, it suddenly makes the spying part of the "War on Terror", a military operation, and therefore not covered by the 4th Amendment. It seems that all the government needs to do to bypass all rules and restrictions is cry terrorism. Of course, the fact that this power of the government's would make the whole 4th Amendment pointless (due to the government saying terrorism to justify the spying even if no terrorism occurred) escapes them. Terrorism is the new communism. Either you're with them or you're against America.

For the record, I'm against America... at least America as they define it. I'm for the America where people didn't have to worry about their government spying on them or having no checks on its power simply because some government official cried out "Terrorism!"

Re:Who does it apply to? (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950538)

What the neocons are trying to say is that by subcontracting everything out to their mates at Halliburton and the Carlyle Group, the military is no longer part of the government, but is a private militia that is not bound by the constitution.

That's outrageous (5, Insightful)

Nerdposeur (910128) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950036)

I'm one of those religious, conservative nutjobs that gets mocked on this site, and I find this outrageous. Here is the Fourth Amendment:

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.
That's been suspended?? Doesn't apply to military operations?? If the citizens have no rights over against the military, why do we have the Third Amendment?

Amendment III
No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Now I see that there is a difference in the Third Amendment between "in time of peace" and "in time of war," but realistically, this "time of war" against terrorists can NEVER be officially and completely over. There are no official enemies, so there can be no official truce.

The government is overstepping its Constitutional bounds, and it needs to stop. We have to be careful that we do not lose our identity as a country of freedom via our efforts to protect that freedom.

Re:That's outrageous (5, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950088)

Which is the whole reason for calling it the "War on Terrorism" or the "War on Drugs". It basically gives them the power to do whatever they want, as they can claim that they are in a state of war. The US needs some serious political change. I hope that they elect in somebody competent in November. Although I'm not sure who's running who would actually qualify. Hopefully whoever gets voted in, will be willing the stop the insanity that is, "The War on Terrorism".

Re:That's outrageous (2, Insightful)

Remloc (1165839) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950218)

Which is the whole reason for calling it the "War on Terrorism" or the "War on Drugs". It basically gives them the power to do whatever they want, as they can claim that they are in a state of war.
No it doesn't. It's not a real war. Only Congress can declare war, and it hasn't.

Re:That's outrageous (2, Interesting)

wakingrufus (904726) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950256)

the congress gave up their power to declare war and gave it to the president just after 9/11. yet another constitutional violation of this administration.

Re:That's outrageous (1, Interesting)

Rampantbaboon (946107) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950248)

Do you realize that Obama is a Harvard professor of Constitutional law?

He has pledged to personally review the constitutionality of this administration and revert to a constitutional balance of power.

Re:That's outrageous (2, Insightful)

Atzanteol (99067) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950316)

Do you realized that Obama is a politician?

"You can trust *me*, I'm not like the others..."

Re:That's outrageous (1)

Gryle (933382) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950490)

And the first Bush promised not to raise taxes. Point?

Re:That's outrageous (4, Informative)

Eivind (15695) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950262)

The problem is that you're a two-party state. Or atleast thats one of the major problems.

The system is such that it is effectively impossible for a third party to play a major role, and the rules are unlikely to change since that would require atleast one of the big two to vote in favor of changing the rules to their own detriment.

Fat chance !

Democracies with a multi-party system has MUCH more variation among political parties, and you are much more able to vote your true opinion rather than as in the USA where you may in many situations merely choose the lesser of the two evils.

Re:That's outrageous (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22950110)

I'm one of those religious, conservative nutjobs that gets mocked on this site, and I find this outrageous.
I'm one of those who would normally mock you, and I agree. The media should explode. People should be marching in the street over this. The president should be impeached.

Will it happen? It's very unlikely. "Deh tererists" might get us if we don't suspend the Constitution, or at least ignore the bits we don't like.

Re:That's outrageous (2, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950112)

I'm sorry but pretty much the rest of the planet already sees the USA as having lost its freedom.

Re:That's outrageous (4, Insightful)

adpsimpson (956630) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950116)

Have you seen "V for Vendetta?" One of the most telling lines, read over the top of news footage of current and past US campaigns and riots, is "As America's wars expanded, the rest of the world got drawn in deeper and deeper"*

Not to call a Godwin on George Orwell, but it's a theme that's been around in literature since the second world war, and is now starting to be seen in the real world. In a time of war, unusual powers are granted to government.

To get those unusual powers in a time of peace, a war must be created. But since conventional wars may be won, you declare it on a concept, series of countries ("Axis of evil") or race/religion.

After convincing the voting public that this really is as dangerous a threat as a "real" war (after all, the "war on terror" has so far included at least two real wars in the Middle East), the extra-ordinary wartime powers may be granted.

The constitution is specifically designed to prevent this abuse, but has been so thoroughly swept away by successive governments since it was created that attacks like this are not met with the lynchings they are actually supposed to be met with - the "right" to bear arms (which I personally think is one of the biggest things wrong in the US) is specifically provided to allow protection of citizens from the military.

*Or words to that affect

Re:That's outrageous (3, Insightful)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950154)

And in an election year, perhaps the flap over this memo will actually reach the great unwashed, so that they can see the government for what it truly is.. a self-perpetuating power-hungry cancerous lump on the freedom of the United States and our Constitutional rights. (This isn't about political parties anymore, we've not had a 2 party system in many years... anyone who thinks there is a legitimate difference between the "big 2" parties need only look at the current crop of Democrats who have done zilch to combat the excesses of the Republicans... and have created some of their very own.)

We have to realize the futility of expecting these assclowns to fix anything. They are all in it for the power and money.

The current administration and the current Congress are both violating their sworn duty to UPHOLD the Constitution and DEFEND it from all enemies, both FOREIGN and DOMESTIC. Attempting to justify illegal activity by claiming the Constitution doesn't apply turns my stomach.

Re:That's outrageous (1)

Himring (646324) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950160)

Yep. At some point liberals and conservatives meet. I am entirely conservative over the 2nd amendment (which you left out). I do believe it is the one that says I can carry a fire arm. So, let's follow the logic here: the government tells me I have no 4th amendment, right? K, come and take my 4th amendment. It'll give me a chance to practice my 2nd amendment....

Re:That's outrageous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22950172)

I'm one of those religious, conservative nutjobs that gets mocked on this site, and I find this outrageous.


Quit your bitching. I assume you voted for Bush.

Re:That's outrageous (1)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950214)

This is why the Judicial branch is around to rule on constitutionality. They can guess at future rulings all they like in memos and footnotes but their conclusion is irrelevant to the court's decision.

Re:That's outrageous (3, Insightful)

qengho (54305) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950258)

We have to be careful that we do not lose our identity as a country of freedom via our efforts to protect that freedom.

Too late. Bush-Cheney have remade the image of the USA: we are now a country that tortures, snoops on its citizens at whim and overthrows countries on spec. Sometimes I feel like weeping. It will take generations to undo the damage this administration has wrought.

Re:That's outrageous (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950452)

The government is overstepping its Constitutional bounds, and it needs to stop. We have to be careful that we do not lose our identity as a country of freedom via our efforts to protect that freedom.
I am making assumptions there but : it could help to attach more importance to a candidate's attachment to individual freedoms than to his/her religiousness and conservativeness.

Martial Law without declaring it as such. (1)

clusterix (606570) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950460)

Basically Bush is saying that they can behave as if we are in martial law without any of that politically embarrassing declaration as such. It is the same crap they applied during the election that maybe somehow they may 'delay' the elections due to terrorism fears. As far as we know since they interpreted the constitution this way, Bush did elect himself last time. If we are actually permitted to vote 'and' it counts toward the election this time, we should consider ourselves lucky.

Re:That's outrageous (1)

natoochtoniket (763630) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950530)

The coup is already done. The people lost.

The Bushite fascists now control the country. We live in a police state. They can search and seize at will, without restraint. They can take people into custody without warrant or charge, and without any limit as to duration or methods of interrogation. The president even claims the power, now, to declare martial law.

I expect that we will not actually have an election in November. They might hold a mock election, to give the appearance of an election, but without actually counting any votes. But I wouldn't even count on that. I think he will make up an excuse to declare martial law and cancel the elections before then.

The only possible saving grace is that our military people are sworn to preserve and protect the constitution, not the president. And the great majority of them are good, honest people. If the Bushites go too far, they might do something about it. Then we will have a military dictatorship instead of a civilian police state. But, just maybe, they will then organize new elections to reconstitute the republic.

a misreading (4, Interesting)

Speare (84249) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950050)

See, the whole thing is just a misunderstanding of the phrase, "No warrant shall issue but upon probable cause." It doesn't mean they can't search, it means they don't need a warrant. How silly is that?

I intended this as a joke, but upon reflection... *sigh*

Re:a misreading (3, Interesting)

adpsimpson (956630) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950178)

"No warrant shall issue but upon probable cause."

Alternatively, it means that the "probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation" must be watered down while "particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized" must be broadened.

Eg "I have reason to believe (probable cause) that all communists/terrorists/Europeans (persons to be searched), wherever they may be hiding (place to be searched) hate our freedom.

So... I guess this is Civil War? (3, Funny)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950052)

Usually civil wars begin when a group of people not in power attack the established government, rather than the established government deciding to attack civilians in "domestic military operations", but I suppose there's a first time for everything.

Re:So... I guess this is Civil War? (1)

Beyond_GoodandEvil (769135) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950114)

IANAL I thought domestic military actions would run afoul of posse comitatus.

Enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22950054)

Fuck this [slashdot.org] shit [slashdot.org]
It just keeps coming. I'm mad as hell. Impeach all these fuckers.

What about passe comitatus? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22950074)

Even if the fourth amendment doesn't apply, I thought passe comitatus prevented the use of military personnel in law enforcement activites except under emergency circumstances. If they're rounding thes epeople up and trying them in our court system, they can't use military agencies to gather the evidence.

Posse Comitatus ain't what it used to be. (5, Informative)

GungaDan (195739) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950182)

Posse Comitatus was altered by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2007. It's not really what it used to be anymore.

Here are some articles:

http://www.towardfreedom.com/home/content/view/911/ [towardfreedom.com]

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=5150 [globalresearch.ca]

http://www.americanfreepress.net/html/martial_law_made_easy.html [americanfreepress.net]

And here are Senator Leahy's remarks on the Senate floor about this Act, which has since been passed and signed into law. The first paragraph is all you really need to read:

http://leahy.senate.gov/press/200609/092906b.html [senate.gov]

And the wiki, for good measure:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Insurrection_Act [wikipedia.org]

Re:Posse Comitatus ain't what it used to be. (2, Insightful)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950300)

"And here are Senator Leahy's remarks on the Senate floor about this Act, which has since been passed and signed into law. The first paragraph is all you really need to read:

http://leahy.senate.gov/press/200609/092906b.html [senate.gov] "

From http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h109-5122 [govtrack.us]

"Sep 30, 2006: After passing both the Senate and House, a conference committee is created to work out differences between the Senate and House versions of the bill. A conference report resolving those differences passed in the Senate, paving the way for enactment of the bill, by Unanimous Consent. A record of each representative's position was not kept."

So he thought that part of the bill was awful, but not awful enough for him to do anything about besides make speeches? Real moral bravery there.

Secret Government (5, Insightful)

GWLlosa (800011) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950094)

The part of all this that really gets to me is that the administration feels that they have the right to do all of this in such an underhanded fashion. This is a democracy, they work for the people. If the government really felt that the fourth amendment didn't apply or was somehow holding back effective terror efforts, and that most people would not object to them taking on this extra dimension of authority, there are ways to change that. Amendments can be themselves amended, for example. At the very least, some kind of public announcement or passage of some clarifying law is called for. This kind of thing, where they decide the law doesn't matter, and then they don't tell anyone about it, is indicative of a government that feels itself to be above the people, or, at best, the feel that they 'know what`s good for us'. It may be a '$f-bomb piece of paper'... but the theory of open, participatory government ruled by the people, with oversight, checks-and-balances, and restraint is what this nation was founded on. Given the inability to directly preserve these ideas in a concrete form, we substitute symbols in their place. Its just a piece of paper. Its just a bolt of cloth (flag). Its just an amalgamation of stone and concrete (the White House). But these things represent something greater, some over-arching idea to which we have all subscribed. Nobody, not me, not you, not Mr. Bush, can just go and decide its meaningless because its inconvenient. And the fact that we have to find out about this kind of thing from watchdog-style organizations and not from our government directly is evidence of the idea that there are people in government who have forgotten what its all about.

Re:Secret Government (1)

weyesone (1216104) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950180)

This country (U.S. of A.) is Republic and not a Democracy. Therefore, we (U.S. citizens) are guided/ruled by the few, wealthly elite, who are supposed to be working on our behalf (citizens) and taking prudent measures to uphold the Constitution and it's assoicated laws. However this is not the case and it never was. Either the guides/rules wake up and realize the mess they put us all in, or the citizen must wake up and realize they need to take back this current Republic (by force if necessary) and place it into trusting/trustworthy hands that will uphold the Constitution and it's associated laws.

Re:Secret Government (1)

ghc71 (738171) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950396)

The underhandedness is an unfortunate necessity.

The administration may well have felt that the Fourth Amendment did not or should not apply - but they did not feel that most people would not object to them taking on this extra dimension of authority.

While some things are legal, they do not necessarily play well with voters - particularly conservative-with-a-small-"c" voters who might swing away from supporting the Republicans.

The fact that an activity might survive judicial scrutiny is moot if it cannot survive electoral scrutiny as well. Not drawing attention to actions that might alienate your political base is just good common sense.

Of course, getting found out, if you *have* tried to cover things up, makes you look both guilty and incompetent. C'est la vie.

Re:Secret Government (2, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950402)

At the very least, some kind of public announcement or passage of some clarifying law is called for.

That's exactly what the Supreme Court is SUPPOSED to be for. Unfortunately, at this point it's stacked with Bush cronies who would probably be cool with it if he started setting up concentration camps for political enemies.

The Law (5, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950126)

"The law applies to you, not us.

Sincerely,
The Administration"

Re:The Law (1)

nsebban (513339) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950518)

Last time that kind of things happened in European countries, it lead to revolutions. Not to jokes.

Summary sucks...again (5, Interesting)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950142)

given the breathless nature of the summary, I actually read the RTFA. Some points.

1) It's a speculative footnote - the memo authors were speculating that the 4th amendment may not apply during military operations in the US proper. The summary takes that and runs with it to its own speculation.

2) The basis of the footnote was the fact that Congress authorized military operations in the US, and typically the 4th amendment doesn't apply to military operations - if a soldier is going to search a house, his warrant is permanent and engraved into the sole of the bot he uses to kick down the door. Why in the HELL Congress decided to chuck posse comitatus overboard I'll never understand, except ibn light of tehm being a bunch of cowardly pussies who were so afraid of a jetliner crashing into the Capitiol and killing them all that they would do ANYTHING to protect their pampered asses.

Re:Summary sucks...again (1)

Kenrod (188428) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950346)

Right on. The article is filled with demonstrably false assumptions and conclusions.

In criticizing the arguments for the warrantless surveillance program, the EFF lawyer claims the US is "far from the military theater". Well 9/11 was an attack on US soil, so where does the EFF think the "military theater" is? The warrantless surveillance program was specifically designed to prevent an attack on US soil by non-US citizens.

Re:Summary sucks...again (1)

fredrated (639554) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950468)

The Constitution applies to the government of the US, and that includes the military.

That soldier with the warrent engraved on the sole of his boot will find his head splattered all over the soldier behind him if he thinks that warrent is real. Sure, they will kill me for it, but if the army decides it is at war with the citizens of the US, what choice do we have?

JESUS WAS A GAY HOMOSEXUAL FAGGOT (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22950184)

Jesus was a gay homosexual faggot who sucked my cock in his mouth!!!!!!!

News but not surprising (2, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950228)

The Bush administration long ago has made claims that the authorization to go to war on Iraq authorized a great many executive powers that are "assumed" as part of the authorization. This isn't surprising and is fairly consistent. Prior claims are similar to this one. This is but a grain of sand on top of the huge pile of stuff this administration has put past the people and government of the U.S.

Soon he'll be out of office and the in-coming president will grant pre-emptive pardons to the outgoing administration and all of its staff and the whole matter will be closed. The time for prosecution and impeachment is nearly done.

What we really need: (1)

menace3society (768451) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950246)

A list of which amendments the government doesn't disregard. First is gone, second is long gone, fourth is gone, fifth & sixth have been thoroughly trashed at Gitmo, eighth excludes waterboarding, ninth and tenth are themselves eliminated by the provisions of the fourteenth amendment, the protections of which the Federal government refuses to honor. Of the original Bill of Rights, the only ones still unspoilt are the provisions prohibiting the quartering of soldiers in private residences, guaranteeing trial by jury for civil suits over $20, and prohibiting double jeopardy (it's just a matter of time, though).

Beyond outrageous, historically ignorant! (1)

redelm (54142) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950252)

Yes, I can see how some narrow-minded lawyer might say "we're going in, and it will only cost us fruit-of-the-poisoned-vine". That somebody shoulda flunked law skule.

Historically, the 4th Am got inserted because one of the favorite pre-revolutionary English harassement techniques was to tear apart homes (often using soldiers) of disfavored people under the guise of "searching for evidence" of some wrongdoing. A search can be extremely distruptive and disgusting. So they were made subject to checks and balances.

It is this revulsion that eventually matured into the fruit-of-the-poisoned vine doctrine, but that is merely one consequence. The principal to make people safe remains, and I fully expect some M$ lawsuits.

Since warrents can be very quickly and easily obtained (even by phone) with good evidence, I seriously wonder why various administrations and police see any need to bypass the system. It might have more to do with avoiding meta-analysis and criticism "They did 4,000 searches and only charged 1,000 people". But this oversight is an essential check-and-balance in a democracy. The electorate _must_ be informed, most specifically on govt actions, and even more specifically on govt actions that might be considered improper.

Playground lessons (1, Insightful)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950266)

As a very small child in grade school, I remember playing games of tag outside during recess. The game was simple; someone would be chosen as "it," and whoever was "it" had to tag someone else and make them "it," etc.

There was always a structure - a basketball net, a fence post, a swingset, or something - that was designated "base." If you made it to "base," whoever was "it" and trying to tag you could no longer do so. You were safe at "base."

The game was never quite the same after some kid with a grudge figured out that you could punch someone in the gut just as easily whether they were touching "base" or not.

Crossing the Rubicon (3, Insightful)

RichMan (8097) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950290)

So anyone still doubt if the great republic has crossed its Rubicon yet?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubicon

You're pathetic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22950502)

Not only did you have nothing to say but a tired literary cliche, you were so impressed with yourself that you felt the need to define "Rubicon," as though you're the first person on slashdot ever to pick up a book, and you felt it necessary to give us poor illiterate simps a hint.

Fuck you. I mean it.

arrrrrrgh (1)

omarius (52253) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950344)

1 - every soldier swears to uphold the Constitution, which flies in the face of this

2 - By that measure, I suppose it means the military can also muzzle our speech, shut down our newspapers, and deny our assemblies; seize our arms; quarter troops in our homes; try us indefinitely until found guilty; forgo meddlesome juries in the aforementioned; sue us without jury; flay us alive; deny all rights to the people; and likewise the States.

I find it particularly galling in the light that these amendments were created to protect us from the civil operations of the military (who, in 1789, would be doing the searching and seizing in the first place? The militia, that's who).

I'll assent if the Administration will also grant that the 8th amendment doesn't apply to lawyers.

Re:arrrrrrgh (2, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950394)

No, if every soldier swears to uphold the constitution and their "Commander in Chief" disregards the constitution, it's time to march a couple divisions around the White House and the "Congress" which has LET this happen by failing to do anything, stage a coup, or at least force an election.

But because the "revolutionary" spirit in America was killed by Nintendo and plasma tv's and nice cars, it just ain't going to happen. Just keep shopping and everything will be ok so long as the mall is open.

Re:arrrrrrgh (2)

omarius (52253) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950510)

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
-TJ

Re:arrrrrrgh (1)

Chabil Ha' (875116) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950514)

Troubling isn't it? One could argue that we should trust the government to do the right thing, but just men are not always our kings, and the constitution was suppose to protect us from such institutions abusing its people. A very sad day indeed...

Well, this is an issue... (5, Insightful)

plazman30 (531348) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950360)

The Constitution is not a law. It's the framework of how the country operates. It applies to everyone in this country regardless of political position, military rank or accumulated wealth. Unlike laws, which can be written to exclude certain groups, the Constitution applies to everyone in all 50 states, all citizens abroad, and all people in US facilities abroad. To think any differently is treason.

Re:Well, this is an issue... (1)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950524)

To think any differently is treason.

Much as I appreciate and generally agree with the sentiment, this is literally untrue, otherwise the constitution could never be ammended. Here's a legal description of treason....

From Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856) :

    TREASON, crim. law. This word imports a betraying, treachery, or breach of
    allegiance. 4 Bl. Com. 75.
              2. The constitution of the United States, art. 3, s. 3, defines treason
    against the United States to consist only in levying war (q.v.) against
    them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid or comfort. This
    offence is punished with death. Act of April 30th, 1790, 1 Story's Laws U.
    S. 83. By the same article of the constitution, no person shall be convicted
    of treason, unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act,
    or on confession in open court. Vide, generally, 3 Story on the Const. ch.
    39, p. 667; Serg. on the Const. ch. 30; United States v. Fries, Pamph.; 1
    Tucker's Blackst. Comm. Appen. 275, 276; 3 Wils. Law Lect. 96 to 99; Foster,
    Disc. I; Burr's Trial; 4 Cranch, R. 126, 469 to 508; 2 Dall. R. 246; 355; 1
    Dall. Rep. 35; 3 Wash. C. C. Rep. 234; 1 John. Rep. 553 11 Johns. R. 549;
    Com. Dig. Justices, K; 1 East, P. C. 37 to 158; 2 Chit. Crim. Law, 60 to
    102; Arch. Cr. Pl. 378 to 387.

Prohibition never ended in america: marijuana (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22950400)

Marijuana is still Schedule I, listed as having no medical benefit, in your country.

Non violent marijuana users are jailed so they can have their anuses filled with disease ridden semen from gang members.

Stop drinking your fluoride poisoned water and wake up! Every day there's a new law and another freedom lost!

Your television is filling up with channel after channel of masturbatory pro-prison channels.


Where is the outrage? Where is the action?

great idea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22950414)

neat trick.

for the record; I declare that copyright laws don't apply to me.

!News (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22950418)

Not news. Since when has Any of the constitution applied to Mr Bush?

At least it wasn't the 3rd... (1)

TheGreatOrangePeel (618581) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950424)

Back around the end of Bush's first term and the start of his second, I had (silent) concerns that the president was setting himself up to dissolve congress and the house to declare martial law. I knew that they were highly unlikely, but I wasn't going to dismiss it just because, "Oh, this is the USA. Stuff like that doesn't happen here." If it weren't for the fact that the next election is coming up fast, I'd be having concerns about this again. There is one thing I can certainly say with fact, though: The president certainly likes to do whatever the hell he wants to do and make rules or decisions that make it okay after the fact.

I freely admit that this is the slightly paranoid Art Bell side of me coming out, but Bush has a knack for making feel ... disconcerted.

Bush Administration Warmly Praised by China (2, Insightful)

samjam (256347) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950442)

The USA sounds more and more like China every day.

Bush can't spy on his people so he gets their military to do it for him!

Sam

Re: Pissing and Moaning (2, Insightful)

sudden.zero (981475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950446)

This comment is for all of the United States Citizens on this board who are pissing and moaning about this, and then saying someone should do something about it. Guess what. You are someone and maybe you should do something about it. That is the problem in our country today! Everyone thinks that someone (not them) should do something about the problems in this country, but nothing is ever going to get done unless we all unite together and take our country back, period. We have let crooked politicians and the crooked corporations that own the crooked politicians control our country for far too long. I myself am afraid that there is no more fight left in our country. All of the truly great minds have long passed and those that do remain have been corrupted by the system. If you say that I am wrong then quit pissing and moaning and do something about it instead of waiting around for someone else to take action! Here is another question. If we are so intelligent then why didn't we listen to Abraham Lincoln? He predicted that if our country continued down the path it was on that what is going on right now would happen.

Time to come out of fantasyland (-1, Flamebait)

gothzilla (676407) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950516)

When I joined the military I took an oath to protect my country from enemies, foreign and DOMESTIC. What makes anyone think the same doesn't apply to the Commander in Chief? I don't care if you're a citizen or not, if you're a terrorist or in communication with terrorists then you're an enemy of my country.
The constitution does not guarantee you protection if you're associated with enemies of my country. It frightens me that so many people are so damned determined to help and support terrorism.

The new equation (3, Insightful)

sorak (246725) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950544)

1. Make the military above the law
2. Make everything a branch of the military
3. ?????
4. Oh crap...

Military (2, Interesting)

Badbone (1159483) | more than 6 years ago | (#22950548)

The operative word here is military. While I dont agree with it, here is their reasoning.

There are lots of ways the constitution doesnt apply to the military. Soldiers do not have a 1st amendment right, for instance. They cant exercise free speech to insult a superior officer. They cant exercise a right to assembly if told to go somewhere else. Etc. The constitution is a civilian document, the military cant be bound by it.

As I said, this isnt what I believe, merely the argument currently being passed around by the government and its people.

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