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NSA conducts Domestic Surveillance on Web

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In a piece on ABC's Nightline that 3/6/2007, it profiled the efforts of former AT&T employee Mark Klein efforts to expose DOMESTIC surveillance of U.S. Citizens internet usage.


The NSA's history of DOMESTIC SURVEILLANCE goes to the 1940s with their SHAMROCK program of intercepting telegrams and telexes.


For more about the SPY SCANDAL, Read wired.com's article:




Whistle-Blower's Evidence, Uncut


Former AT&T technician Mark Klein is the key witness in the Electronic Frontier Foundation's class-action lawsuit against the telecommunications company, which alleges that AT&T cooperated in an illegal National Security Agency domestic surveillance program.


Inside the Secret Room


Courtroom Clash!


A federal judge refuses to give AT&T back its internal documents, but orders the EFF not to give them out.


Whistle-Blower's Precognition


Years before the NSA's warrantless surveillance program made national headlines, then-AT&T technician Mark Klein suspected his company was colluding with the government to spy on Americans.


The Ultimate Net Monitoring Tool


A little-known company called Narus makes the packet-inspection technology said to be the basis of the NSA's internet surveillance. Here's how it works.


In a public statement Klein issued last month, he described the NSA's visit to an AT&T office. In an older, less-public statement recently acquired by Wired News, Klein goes into additional details of his discovery of an alleged surveillance operation in an AT&T building in San Francisco.


Klein supports his claim by attaching excerpts of three internal company documents: a Dec. 10, 2002, manual titled "Study Group 3, LGX/Splitter Wiring, San Francisco," a Jan. 13, 2003, document titled "SIMS, Splitter Cut-In and Test Procedure" and a second "Cut-In and Test Procedure" dated Jan. 24, 2003.




They (NSA) are watching and reading your internet activities RIGHT NOW. :)







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Wednesday, I think it was, a guest on George Noory's show who was talking about Swiss-farmer-contactee Billy Maier(sp?) mentioned that BM had been told that in a deal with the government, Microsoft had built in an access in the new Vista operarating system to allow personal files to be accessed via the web. Hmmmm. It's about what you would expect.


I am still intrigued by the synchronicity of BillGates and Watergate........



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As for "I am still intrigued by the synchronicity of BillGates and Watergate..."


I don't think they are connected just because of "gate" :)


As for "Wednesday, I think it was, a guest on George Noory's show who was talking about Swiss-farmer-contactee Billy Maier(sp?) mentioned that BM had been told that in a deal with the government, Microsoft had built in an access in the new Vista operarating system to allow personal files to be accessed via the web. Hmmmm. It's about what you would expect."


Well the NSA tested Vista for Microsoft. No Joke. Accurate reporting.


Also, a former CIA agent says Google is in bed with them. Along with the fact their CEO is a republican making stump speeches should give you a "chill".


Total Information Awareness program is alive and well :)





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  • 2 months later...

Re: NSA - Justice Department Comey testifies


Justice Department Comey testifies on Capital Hill that many in DOJ were going to resign over the Bush Administration use of NSA Domestic Surveillance. And that Ashcroft was bullied in hospital room but did not give in to Andy Card the President Chief of Staff.


Echos of Watergate... But its even bigger... They say they have "detailed files" on every american in the United States.


Be Warned!





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  • 1 month later...

Ashcroft: Officials Fought Over Snooping




Ashcroft: Officials Fought Over Snooping




Associated Press Writer


Published June 21, 2007, 10:07 PM CDT


WASHINGTON -- The administration was sharply divided over the legality of President Bush's most controversial eavesdropping policies, a congressman quoted former Attorney General John Ashcroft as telling a House panel Thursday.


"It is very apparent to us that there was robust and enormous debate within the administration about the legal basis for the president's surveillance program," Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, told reporters after a closed-door meeting with Ashcroft.


The point is critical to two matters being considered in the Democratic-controlled Congress: One is the House and Senate Intelligence committees' ongoing review of 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which includes an extensive examination of the president's warrantless eavesdropping program.


The other is the House and Senate Judiciary Committees' parallel examinations of current Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' service to the administration. Under that probe, former Deputy Attorney General James Comey revealed that Gonzales, then White House counsel, tried to pressure him and a critically ill Ashcroft to certify the legality of the wiretapping program.


Comey and Ashcroft, who was in intensive care during Gonzales' 2004 hospital visit, refused to comply.


Also Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee authorized -- but did not issue -- subpoenas to Gonzales and to the custodian of records at the Executive Office of the President for all administration documents on the legality of the program. The panel approved giving Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., authority to issue the subpoenas, 13-3, with Republican Sens. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, Orrin Hatch of Utah and Chuck Grassley of Iowa voting with the Democrats.


The White House made no move to comply.


"It's important for Congress to understand that the information the committee is requesting is highly classified and not information we can make available," said Bush spokesman Tony Fratto. "Also important is for Congress to respect our need to ensure that internal executive branch deliberations are confidential.


Democrats have insisted that the hospital story appears to contradict Gonzales' congressional testimony that there had been no significant disagreement within the administration over the program. Gonzales has stood by his testimony.


In his first public comments on the subject, Ashcroft told reporters he was pleased to cooperate and "to signal that I want to do everything I can to make sure that the framework we have for defeating terror, defending the liberty and security of the United States in the context of our Constitution, that that capacity remains intact and is functioning properly." He refused to take questions.




We are going to learn more about NSA wiretapping Americans very soon...!!! :)





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Senate Subpoenas Cheney, WH Documents on Spying


Senate Subpoenas Cheney, WH Documents on Spying




After putting up with months of stonewalling by President Bush, Vice President Cheney and their aides, the Senate Judiciary Committee has issued subpoenas seeking information about internal debates regarding the legality of warrantless wiretapping programs that were promoted by the vice president and authorized by the president.


Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy today issued subpoenas to the White House and, in particular, to Cheney's office demanding documents relating to the National Security Agency's spying program.


The fact that a primary target of the subpoenas is Cheney's office confirms that the focus of the committee's investigation of White House collaboration with embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has expanded to include a sharp focus on the role that the vice president played in promoting lawless actions and in pressuring others in the administration to go along with him.


Subpoenas have also been dispatched to the Justice Department and the National Security Council.


All must be answered by July 18, according to Leahy, who wrote in the cover letters for the subpoenas, "Our attempts to obtain information through testimony of administration witnesses have been met with a consistent pattern of evasion and misdirection. There is no legitimate argument for withholding the requested materials from this committee."


If Cheney's office and the other targeted agencies do not comply by the 18th, Leahy can take the matter to the courts -- provoking a conflict like that seen when the Nixon administration when it refused to comply in the 1970s with Congressional investigators of the Watergate scandal.


By expanding the Gonzales inquiry to include consideration of the warrantless wiretapping program, Leahy has brought to a head a simmering conflict between the executive and legislative branches that is more than a year old.


Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, who last year proposed censuring President Bush for authorizing the illegal spying program, hailed the move.


"It has been more than a year and a half since it was first disclosed that the President authorized an illegal warrantless wiretapping program," he said. "After a year and a half of stonewalling by the Administration, the Judiciary Committee is finally taking appropriate action by issuing subpoenas for information that will tell us how and why high-ranking officials authorized this illegal program."


Specifically, the Judiciary Committee is seeking information about when high-ranking members of the administration were made aware of the fact that even their own appointees and allies believed the warrantless wiretapping program was in conflict both with specific laws and privacy protections outlined in the Constitution.


The decision to issue the subpoenas has bipartisan support, as the committee voted 13-3 to authorize Leahy to dispatch them. The ranking Republican on the committee, Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter ¤, has consistently sided with Leahy on this issue.


"The bipartisan support for issuing these subpoenas demonstrates that both Democrats and Republicans are fed up with the misleading statements from the Attorney General and the Administration about this illegal program," explained Feingold, who chairs the Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on the Constitution.


And the committee has a good sense of what it wants. The authoritative Center on Democracy & Technology has prepared a list of the seven "most wanted surveillance documents."


They include:


1. Memorandum prepared by former Deputy Attorney General James Comey which, according to Comey, was sent to the White House shortly after March 10, 2004. The memorandum followed a review of the classified surveillance program (to which Comey referred in his May 15, 2007 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee) and it apparently explained why the Department of Justice in 2004 would not certify the surveillance program as lawful.


2. Memorandum from Department of Justice former Assistant Attorney General Jack Goldsmith, who participated in the DOJ's review of the classified surveillance program. This memorandum was attached to the Comey memorandum and was prepared in the same time frame as that document.


3. Department of Justice Office of Intelligence Policy and Review legal memorandum discussing the classified surveillance program, and drafts of that document. The final document was probably prepared in early March, 2004.


4. Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) memorandum prepared in early 2004 -- by Comey's account -- laying out OLC's legal concerns about the classified program.


5. Memorandum from then-White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales received by Comey shortly after March 10, 2004 that responded to the determination by the Department of Justice not to certify the lawfulness of the classified surveillance program.


6. January 10, 2007 orders of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court authorizing what the warrantless surveillance program the Administration calls the Terrorist Surveillance Program.


7. Court order applications related to the FISC authorization of the Terrorist Surveillance Program.







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Appeals court tosses NSA spy program suit




July 6, 2007 9:52 AM PDT


Appeals court tosses NSA spy program suit


Posted by Anne Broache


A federal appeals court on Friday threw out a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and others against the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program.


In a 2-1 decision, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati reversed a federal district court ruling last summer that found the National Security Agency surveillance program violated the U.S. Constitution.


The majority ruled that the ACLU and the collection of journalists, scholars, attorneys and national nonprofit organizations it represented did not have legal standing to bring their case. They had argued that the NSA program was trampling on federal laws and their constitutional rights because they had reason to believe the feds were sweeping up international communications they intended to keep private.


The two judges' reason for dismissing the case boiled down to one major point: the plaintiffs hadn't shown evidence that they have been "personally" subject to the eavesdropping program. They sent the decision back to the lower court and recommended the suit's dismissal.


One judge, however, said he fundamentally disagreed with their stance and would have chosen to uphold the lower court's ruling.


Check back at CNET News.com later today for a full analysis of the decision.




How do you prove a SUPER SECRET AGENCY is spying on you? lol :)


Maybe they should submit Wired.com's article as evidence...




Whistle-Blower's Evidence, Uncut





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  • 3 weeks later...

Gonzales denies pressuring Ashcroft


Gonzales denies pressuring Ashcroft




By LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press Writer


21 minutes ago


WASHINGTON - Alberto Gonzales denied Tuesday that he and former White House chief of staff Andy Card tried during to pressure a hospitalized Attorney General John Ashcroft to recertify President Bush's domestic eavesdropping program.


But lawmakers continued to press for answers from a recalcitrant White House, with one senior Republican raising the prospect of a special prosecutor to probe areas where Bush has blocked Congress.


"The constitutional authority and responsibility for congressional oversight is gone," said Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the Judiciary Committee's ranking Republican. "If that is to happen, the president can run the government as he chooses, answer no questions."


Glaring at Gonzales just a few feet away at the witness table, Specter declared, "The attorney general has the authority to appoint a special prosecutor." He added later that a special prosecutor would be one of several options to consider months from now, if the Senate cites Bush administration officials with contempt of Congress.


Democrats weren't likely to stand in the way.


"I don't trust you," Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., told Gonzales, who succeeded Ashcroft as attorney general.


Gonzales' credibility remained at issue throughout the proceedings, with senators of both parties growing exasperated and at some points accusing the attorney general of intentionally misleading the committee.


But the story about Gonzales' famous 2004 hospital visit elicited the most anger from senators because it addressed the concerns of some that the attorney general's loyalty to the president damaged his judgment and the Justice Department's independence.


Gonzales said that he and Card had been urged by congressional leaders of both parties to take steps necessary to ensure that the unidentified intelligence program survive a looming deadline for its expiration. To do that, Gonzales said, he needed Ashcroft's permission.


At the time, Ashcroft was in an intensive care unit recovering from gall bladder surgery and Gonzales was Bush's White House legal counsel. Ashcroft had transferred the powers of his office to Deputy Attorney General James Comey.


"We went there because we thought it was important for him to know where the congressional leadership was on this," Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee in his first public explanation of the meeting.


"Clearly if he had been competent and understood the facts and had been inclined to do so, yes we would have asked him," Gonzales added. "Andy Card and I didn't press him. We said 'Thank you' and we left."


Gonzales' version conflicts with Comey's.


"I was angry," Comey testified in May, releasing details of the meeting for the first time. "I thought I had just witnessed an effort to take advantage of a very sick man who did not have the powers of the attorney general."


Comey said that he and Ashcroft had decided against recertifying the classified program. There were concerns at the time about whether the domestic eavesdropping program violated civil liberties. The program was slated to expire on March 11, 2004, if not recertified by Justice.


But Gonzales said Tuesday that he did not know whether Ashcroft had made a decision or whether he had been aware of Comey's objections. Furthermore, he said, House and Senate leaders of both parties urged him during an emergency meeting earlier on March 10 to make sure the program survived the deadline.


"How can you get approval from Ashcroft for anything when he's under sedation and incapacitated? For anything?" Specter asked.


"We would not have sought nor did we intend to seek to get any approval from General Ashcroft if in fact he was not fully competent to make that decision," Gonzales replied.


"I'm not making any progress here," Specter snapped.


Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., grilled Gonzales on whether the attorney general provided misleading statements when he said there had been no dissenting views in the administration on the domestic surveillance program that then operated without warrants.


"How can you say you haven't deceived the committee?" Schumer asked.


Gonzales stood by his comments.


"The disagreement that occurred, and the reason for the visit to the hospital, senator, was about other intelligence activities," Gonzales said, refusing to say what the other program might be.


"How can you say you should stay on as attorney general when we go through exercises like this?" Schumer asked. "You want to be attorney general, you should be able to clarify it yourself."


Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., told Gonzales that he believes the attorney general intentionally misled the committee about which program caused dissent among administration officials.


Gonzales said he couldn't say in an unclassified setting, but offered to go into more detail in private meetings with senators.




Of course, They wouldn't pressure a sick man in the hospital.. :)





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FBI director contradicts Gonzales' testimony


FBI director contradicts Gonzales' testimony


Mueller's statement is the latest blow to embattled attorney general, Bush




Updated: 8:02 p.m. ET July 26, 2007


WASHINGTON - The head of the FBI contradicted Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' sworn testimony and Senate Democrats requested a perjury investigation Thursday in a fresh barrage against President Bush's embattled longtime friend and aide.


In a third blow to the Bush administration, the Senate Judiciary Committee issued subpoenas to compel the testimony of Karl Rove, Bush's chief political adviser, in connection with its investigation.


'It has become apparent that the attorney general has provided at a minimum half-truths and misleading statements,' four Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee wrote in a letter to Solicitor General Paul Clement calling for a special counsel to investigate.


'I'm convinced that he's not telling the truth,' added Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.


The developments marked a troubling turn for Gonzales as well as the administration, which has been on the political defensive since congressional Democrats launched an investigation seven months ago into the firings of U.S. attorneys.


That probe revealed information that Democrats have sought to weave into a pattern of improper political influence over prosecutions, of stonewalling and of deceit in sworn testimony before Congress.


Making a list


The White House defiantly stuck by Gonzales and denied that FBI Director Robert Mueller had contradicted him.


Democrats insisted that Gonzales had been untruthful and that the White House had encouraged top aides to flout congressional subpoenas in the U.S. attorney probe.


He said, he said


July 26: White House Press Secretary Tony Snow discusses FBI Director Robert Mueller's testimony apparently contradicting Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' earlier testimony.




But Gonzales took the toughest hits Thursday, when four Senate Democrats issued a list of examples of what they said was the attorney general lying to Congress under oath — the basis for their request to Clement to appoint a special counsel to investigate.


Among the Democrats' examples of Gonzales' untruthfulness was his emphatic and repeated statement to the Judiciary Committee Tuesday that his dramatic nighttime visit to the bedside of Attorney General John Ashcroft in 2004 was not related to an internal administration dispute about the president's secret warrantless eavesdropping program.


Warrantless wiretapping discussed?


In his own sworn testimony Thursday, Mueller contradicted his boss, saying under questioning that the terrorist surveillance program (TSP) was the topic of the hospital room dispute between top Bush administration officials.


Mueller was not in the hospital room at the time of the dramatic March 10, 2004, confrontation between Ashcroft and presidential advisers Andy Card and Gonzales, who was then serving as White House counsel.


Mueller told the House Judiciary Committee he arrived shortly after they left, and then spoke with the ailing Ashcroft.


'Did you have an understanding that the conversation was on TSP?' asked Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas in a round of questioning that may have sounded to listeners like bureaucratic alphabet soup.


'I had an understanding the discussion was on a NSA program, yes,' Mueller answered.


Jackson sought to clarify: 'We use 'TSP,' we use 'warrantless wiretapping,' so would I be comfortable in saying that those were the items that were part of the discussion?'


'The discussion was on a national NSA program that has been much discussed, yes,' Mueller responded.


The NSA, or National Security Agency, runs the program that eavesdropped on terror suspects in the United States, without court approval, until last January, when the program was put under the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.




Things are getting interesting...





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Data Mining Figured In Dispute Over NSA


Data Mining Figured In Dispute Over NSA


Report Links Program to Gonzales Uproar




By Dan Eggen and Joby Warrick


Washington Post Staff Writers


Sunday, July 29, 2007; Page A04


A fierce dispute within the Bush administration in early 2004 over a National Security Agency warrantless surveillance program was related to concerns about the NSA's searches of huge computer databases, the New York Times reported today.


The agency's data mining was also linked to a dramatic chain of events in March 2004, including threats of resignation from senior Justice Department officials and an unusual nighttime visit by White House aides to the hospital bedside of then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft, the Times reported, citing current and former officials briefed on the program.


Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, one of the aides who went to the hospital, was questioned closely about that episode during a contentious Senate hearing on Tuesday. Gonzales characterized the internal debate as centering on "other intelligence activities" than the NSA's warrantless surveillance program, whose existence President Bush confirmed in December 2005.


FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III contradicted Gonzales, his boss, two days later, testifying before the House Judiciary Committee that the disagreement involved "an NSA program that has been much discussed."


Although the NSA's data mining efforts have been reported previously, neither Bush nor his aides have publicly confirmed that, in connection with the surveillance program, the agency had combed through phone and e-mail records in search of suspicious activity.


Nor have officials publicly discussed what prompted the legal dispute between the White House and the Justice Department.


The report of a data mining component to the dispute suggests that Gonzales's testimony could be correct. A group of Senate Democrats, including two who have been privy to classified briefings about the NSA program, called last week for a special prosecutor to consider perjury charges against Gonzales.


The report also provides further evidence that the NSA surveillance operation was far more extensive than has been acknowledged by the Bush administration, which has consistently sought to describe the program in narrow terms and to emphasize that the effort was legal.


The White House, the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment last night. Calls placed to the NSA, which collected and analyzed the data, were not returned.


The warrantless surveillance program, which was authorized by presidential order after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, was first revealed publicly by the Times in December 2005. Bush confirmed aspects of the program at that time, defining it as monitoring communications between the United States and overseas in which one party was suspected of ties to al-Qaeda.


The Washington Post reported in February 2006 that the NSA targets were identified through data mining efforts and that thousands of Americans had been monitored. USA Today later reported that the government had the help of telecommunications companies in collecting millions of phone records.


The practice of sifting through mountains of privately collected data on phone calls and Internet communications raises legal issues. Although the contents of calls and e-mails are protected, courts have ruled that "metadata" -- basic records of calls and e-mails kept by phone companies -- are not.




This is dis-information... We are data-mining not wiretapping... Yeah Right! :)





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NSA spying part of broader effort


NSA spying part of broader effort


Intelligence chief says Bush authorized secret activities under one order




By Dan Eggen


Updated: 8:34 p.m. PT July 31, 2007


The Bush administration's chief intelligence official said yesterday that President Bush authorized a series of secret surveillance activities under a single executive order in late 2001. The disclosure makes clear that a controversial National Security Agency program was part of a much broader operation than the president previously described.


The disclosure by Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence, appears to be the first time that the administration has publicly acknowledged that Bush's order included undisclosed activities beyond the warrantless surveillance of e-mails and phone calls that Bush confirmed in December 2005.


In a letter to Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), McConnell wrote that the executive order following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks included "a number of . . . intelligence activities" and that a name routinely used by the administration -- the Terrorist Surveillance Program -- applied only to "one particular aspect of these activities, and nothing more."




What are they doing besides data mining, wiretapping phones and emails? Mmmmmm? :)


Black bag operations? Black Ops?





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Secret Court Ruling - NSA Wiretapping is Illegal


Court Ruling that NSA Wiretapping is Illegal Drives Emergency Push for New Spy Powers, Newsweek Reports


By Ryan Singel




The Bush Administration's hard press for emergency wiretapping powers from Congress before the August break now has an explanation: a secret court decided several months ago that at least one portion of the NSA wiretapping program is illegal, according to MSNBC Newsweek. That program operated for four years without court supervision, until the Administration bowed to public pressure in January 2007 and allowed the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to review it.


In short, prior to the Patriot Act passage, the Administration launched a series of secret, warrantless wiretapping operations, which included snooping on Americans and wholesale data mining of innocent Americans' communications records (the latter only according to press reports). The Administration believes it can do this surveillance since it is a King in wartime and thus never asked Congress to make any of this legal in the Patriot Act for fear it would be turned down.


Years later, a part of this secret surveillance is revealed by the New York Times. After a year of criticism and revelations, the Administration agrees to let a super-secret and very compliant court oversee the program using some very super secret, and legally dubious program warrants. A few months later, a judge from this court finds portions of the program illegal. The administration refuses to make this decision public. Instead, it goes on offense and says it needs the power to wiretap anyone overseas including Americans. A Republican Congressman accidentally leaks the a hint of the decision on Fox News, while saying that Democrats are putting the country at risk. Newsweek's Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball (published on MSNBC.com) followed up with good reporting.


The order by a judge on the top-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court has never been publicly acknowledged by administration officials—and the details of it (including the identity of the judge who wrote it) remain highly classified. But the judge, in an order several months ago, apparently concluded that the administration had overstepped its legal authorities in conducting warrantless eavesdropping even under the scaled-back surveillance program that the White House first agreed to permit the FISA court to review earlier this year, said one lawyer who has been briefed on the order but who asked not to be publicly identified because of its sensitivity.


Now, we know why there's an intelligence gap. Democrats afraid of looking soft on terrorism are now at work to give more spying power to the government to fill the mineshaft gap.


Once again: a secret court judge found that the Bush Administration's formerly warrantless wiretapping program was illegal.


And that was the program AFTER it was scaled down in March 2004 after Justice Department officials revolted. I wonder what judges would have made of the earlier program -- the one so bad that then-Attorney General John Ashcroft was ready to resign.


If there's an intelligence gap, and I'm not sure there is, it's only due to the Administration's hubris.




As promised by TheCigMan... We learn the truth about NSA Spying... !!!


Four years of unauthorized secret warrantless surveillance of americans by wiretapping and data mining..!!!


Be Warned!





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Bush: Congress must stay until surveillance law...


Bush: Congress must stay until surveillance law upgraded




WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush said Friday that Congress must stay in session until it approves legislation modernizing a U.S. law governing eavesdropping on foreigners.


Bush said the intelligence community needs "the tools they need to protect the United States."


"So far the Democrats in Congress have not drafted a bill I can sign," Bush said at FBI headquarters, where he was meeting with counterterror and homeland security officials. "We've worked hard and in good faith with the Democrats to find a solution, but we are not going to put our national security at risk. Time is short."


The president said lawmakers cannot leave for their August recess this weekend as planned unless they "pass a bill that will give our intelligence community the tools they need to protect the United States."


Bush has the authority under the Constitution to call Congress back into session once it has recessed or adjourned, but White House spokeswoman Dana Perrino said talk of him doing that is premature.


"We cannot imagine that Congress would leave without fixing the problem," she said.


As of early afternoon, however, it was clear that no deal was imminent.


"It's up in the air; I think we're going to be here for awhile," Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said upon emerging from a closed-door meeting of Senate Democrats on the issue.


Sen. Kit Bond, top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, said the White House's offer included several concessions; among them to let the plan expire in six months, giving lawmakers time to work out a more comprehensive law.


National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell "has put on the table this last best offer," Bond said.


Earlier Friday, the White House offered an eleventh-hour accord to Democrats in the negotiations over the matter, saying it would agree to a court review of its foreign intelligence activities instead of leaving certification up to the attorney general and director of national intelligence.


But it attached several conditions that could be unacceptable to Democrats: that the review would only be after-the-fact and would only involve the administration's general process of collecting the intelligence, not individual cases, said a senior administration official speaking on condition of anonymity to more freely discuss internal deliberations.


Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Nebraska, said other issues in the dispute include whether the new eavesdropping powers Bush wants be made permanent -- or temporary -- and whether this new authority could be used against intelligence targets other than al-Qaeda terrorists, such as Iran or Syria.


Bush said the administration offer is a "a narrow and targeted piece of legislation that will close the gaps in intelligence."


"This is what we need to do our job to protect the American people," the president said. "It's the bare minimum."


The two sides, however, still are far from striking a deal on what all agree needs to happen, and soon: an update of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.


At issue is how the government would spy on foreign terror suspects overseas without invading Americans' privacy rights. Democrats want the special FISA Court to review the eavesdropping process to make sure the surveillance does not focus on communications that might be sent to and from Americans.


The law now generally requires court review of government surveillance of suspected terrorists in the United States. It does not specifically address the government's ability to intercept messages believed to come from suspects who are overseas, opening what the White House considers a significant gap in protecting against attacks by foreigners targeting the U.S.


Negotiations broke off shortly before midnight Thursday and resumed Friday morning.


In a statement late Thursday, National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell said he would agree to a review by the FISA court, but only after the surveillance had begun, not before as some Democrats are demanding.


"To acknowledge the interests of all, I could agree to a procedure that provides for court review -- after needed collection has begun -- of our procedures for gathering foreign intelligence through classified methods directed at foreigners located overseas," McConnell wrote.


"While I would strongly prefer not to engage in such a process, I am prepared to take these additional steps to keep the confidence of members of Congress and the American people that our processes have been subject to court review and approval," he wrote.


The FISA court review would happen 120 days after the surveillance began, another senior administration official said Friday. Until then, McConnell and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales would oversee and approve the process of targeting foreign terrorists, said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing negotiations.


The administration is demanding that this apply to monitoring of all foreign targets, no matter whether they end up communicating with another foreigner or someone in the U.S, and no matter whether they are a suspected terrorist or a target for some other reason, said the first official.


Democrats leery of Gonzales' involvement said that seemed far too long a period of time before the FISA court could step in.


Bush said that he would judge any bill sent to him by one measure alone: McConnell's judgment as to whether it provides "what you need to prevent an attack on the country."


"If the answer's `no,' I'm going to veto the bill," he said.


The urgent push to update FISA may stem from a recent ruling by the court that oversees it, according to remarks earlier this week by House Republican Leader John Boehner during an interview with Fox News.


"There's been a ruling, over the last four or five months, that prohibits the ability of our intelligence services and our counterintelligence people from listening in to two terrorists in other parts of the world where the communication could come through the United States," said Boehner, going further that most officials have in explaining the pressing need for change.




El Presidente Bush is upset... Awwwww.... :)





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Re: Bush: Congress must stay until surveillance law...




Thanks... I was torn between between the cnn and msnbc article... I like to mix it up with the sources...


As for "Where is Jason Bourne when we need him :confused: .By the way it was a great movie,think you will like it"


I liked it but... It was a rehash of the first movies... I wanted more spy intrigue...


How did bourne develop his skills?... A flashback to his training... How were the Blackbriar operatives trained... Why is he clairvoyant in the first 2 films?...


I thought maybe he'd be recruited for a mission or something or take on the CIA in a different way.


But it was good.





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More Known Unknowns in NSA Spy Controversy


More Known Unknowns in NSA Spy Controversy: Secret Appeals Courts, Tea Leaves and the Mineshaft Gap




By Ryan Singel


Reports from Newsweek and the Los Angeles Times that a secret intelligence court struck down activities at the heart of the government's secret wiretapping program creates a whole new set of known unknowns in the complicated saga of the Administration's secret spying programs.


The Los Angeles Times reports that the ruling struck down one of the key pillars of the spying program:


[O]ther officials said the ruling's reach was broader, affecting cases "where one end is foreign and you don't know where the other is" — meaning warrants would be required even when it was unclear whether communications were crossing the United States or involved a person in the United States.


One official said the issue centered on a ruling in which a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court judge rejected a government application for a "basket warrant" — a term that refers to court approval for surveillance activity encompassing multiple targets, rather than warrants issued on a case-by-case basis for surveillance of specific terrorism suspects.


"One FISA judge approved this, and then a second FISA judge didn't," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the activities of the FISA court are classified.


The precise effect of the ruling is unclear, but a second official said that it "reduced the amount of intelligence we were collecting" on overseas terrorism suspects.


Besides not knowing what the FISA court ruling struck down, it's also unknown if the Justice Department appealed the decision to the secret court's secret court of appeals before rushing to Congress for a change in the law. (Yes, that actually exists).


That appeals court, known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, has only met once to any one's knowledge when it overturned a FISC judge's ruling that would have limited the involvement of law enforcement officials in directing intelligence wiretaps.


Is the decision by the court so strong that the Administration thinks it will lose with its current set of legal arguments (another known unknown)? If Congress deadlocks before the summer recess, will the Administration then go to the super secret court? Did the super secret court ALREADY rule on the program?


Balkinization's Marty Lederman, who formerly worked in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, reads the tea leaves thusly:


[T]he primary burden on NSA would be "only" to demonstrate to the court probable cause to believe that the targeted person who is overseas -- not the other parties to the communications -- is an "agent of a foreign power," which includes someone who "engages in international terrorism or activities in preparation therefore." 50 U.S.C. 1801(b)(1)©. Therefore, if the NSA were able to show that the targeted foreign person is an Al Qaeda agent (or other terrorist), as has been touted under the "TSP," it should be able to readily obtain a FISA court order, even for a whole series of communications, some of which might be with U.S. persons. [...]


t must be the case that the NSA's aim is not simply to surveille foreigners who it already suspects as being part of Al Qaeda. It can obtain a FISA order as to those folks. What it wants, instead, is to be able to intercept foreign communications coming over domestic wires where (i) it does not have probable cause to believe that any of the parties is a terrorist or agent of a foreign power; and (ii) there is a chance that some of the intercepted communications will be with persons in the U.S.


Spencer Ackerman has a good rundown on what to look for out of the ongoing negotiations over the "surveillance gap."


I have the Mineshaft Gap on my mind...




Surveillance Gap?.... :) What are they are talking about... Mmmmmmm





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ACLU Condemns Senate for Passing Spy Law Changes


ACLU Condemns Senate for Passing Spy Law Changes




CONTACT: [email protected]




WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union today condemned the House and Senate for bowing to pressure from the Bush administration and rushing to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The administration lobbied heavily to alter the legislation before Congress recessed. The White House pushed for sweeping changes to the spy law after a FISA court judge recently rejected its use of wide-scale, untargeted surveillance. The bill was passed in the Senate by a vote of 60 to 28, and the House is poised to take up the same legislation late tonight.


'We are deeply disappointed that the president's tactics of fearmongering have once again forced Congress into submission,' said Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU. 'That a Democratically-controlled Senate would be strong-armed by the Bush administration is astonishing. This Congress may prove to be as spineless in standing up to the Bush Administration as the one that enacted the Patriot Act or the Military Commissions Act.'


The legislation that passed would allow for the intelligence agencies to intercept – without a court order – the calls and emails of Americans who are communicating with people abroad, and puts authority for doing so in the hands of the attorney general. No protections exist for Americans whose calls or emails are vacuumed up, leaving it to the executive branch to collect, sort, and use this information as it sees fit.


'It seems that political cover is more important to our senators than the rights and privacy of those they represent,' added Caroline Fredrickson, director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. 'The administration is on the verge of reviving a warrantless wiretapping program even broader than the illegal one it conducted before. Though lawmakers claim these changes are temporary, we've just witnessed their lack of backbone today and, unfortunately, may soon see it again. Luckily, the sunset expires in the midst of primary season – so the voters will be able to keep lawmakers at their word.'


To read the ACLU's letter to Congressional leadership on FISA changes, go to:




To read the ACLU's Myths and Facts about FISA, go to:






I'm disappointed by Congress specifically the House in giving in the Bush Administration...


But I guess they wanted to go home... :(


However, the backlash could be EVEN EXPANDED EVESDROPPING POWERS...





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Congress gives Bush more eavesdropping leeway


Congress gives Bush administration more eavesdropping leeway




WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The House late Saturday night approved the Republican version of a measure amending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by a vote of 227-183, with most Republicans and conservative Democrats supporting the bill.


The White-House backed legislation closes what the Bush administration has called critical gaps in U.S. intelligence capability by expanding the government's abilities to eavesdrop without warrants on foreign suspects whose communications pass through the United States.


Lawmakers have been scrambling to pass a bill acceptable to the White House before they leave for a monthlong summer recess.


President Bush had threatened to veto any bill that Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell said did not meet his needs.


The Senate approved its Republican-sponsored bill Friday night. Immediately after that vote, a Democratic-sponsored bill failed to reach the 60-vote majority.


Saturday night's vote followed fireworks in the House, where an angry group of Republicans accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of delaying a vote on the bill, the president's legislative priority.


"Last night, the Senate passed this bill at about 9:30. Now it's almost 1 o'clock. We should have had the FISA bill on the floor the first thing this morning," Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan told reporters in the early afternoon.


"We could have passed a rule and passed this bill by 11 o'clock this morning, and it could have been on its way, and the president could have signed it," said Hoekstra, the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee.


House Democrats rearranged the schedule so the FISA bill could be considered ahead of a measure dealing with Defense Department funding.


The House on Friday night rejected a Democratic version of the bill.


FISA allows officials to apply to a secret court for a warrant to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens.


But there was a rush to update the program after a ruling by the secret FISA court earlier this year.


It said the current law also requires a warrant for monitoring foreigners' communications because so many overseas calls and e-mails are sent through U.S. switching centers, U.S. officials said.


Before the ruling, investigators always thought they didn't need warrants to operate outside the United States. The decision hurt the intelligence community's ability to monitor suspected terrorists in other parts of the world, they said. Watch Kelli Arena's report on what some call an intelligence gap »


Democrats had objected to provisions in the GOP bill that grant the attorney general and the director of national intelligence the authority to approve all wiretaps, even if one party is in the United States, with minimal court oversight.


The administration initially proposed to give the authority only to the attorney general, but agreed to add the director of national intelligence after Democrats objected to putting more power in the hands of embattled Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. McConnell had signaled his disapproval of both Democratic-sponsored measures.


Despite the push from the Democratic leadership for their bill, several Democrats said during debate that they would vote in favor of both measures.


All the bills are temporary fixes -- the Democratic bill would have expired in four months, while the GOP bill gives lawmakers six months to overhaul the 30-year-old law.




This is not good... :( They are pushing for "No Oversight in Wiretapping..." Period.





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Government Looking For a NSA Wiretap Leaker


Government Looking For a NSA Wiretap Leaker






Aug. 13, 2007 issue - The controversy over President Bush's warrantless surveillance program took another surprise turn last week when a team of FBI agents, armed with a classified search warrant, raided the suburban Washington home of a former Justice Department lawyer. The lawyer, Thomas M. Tamm, previously worked in Justice's Office of Intelligence Policy and Review (OIPR)—the supersecret unit that oversees surveillance of terrorist and espionage targets. The agents seized Tamm's desktop computer, two of his children's laptops and a cache of personal files. Tamm and his lawyer, Paul Kemp, declined any comment. So did the FBI. But two legal sources who asked not to be identified talking about an ongoing case told NEWSWEEK the raid was related to a Justice criminal probe into who leaked details of the warrantless eavesdropping program to the news media. The raid appears to be the first significant development in the probe since The New York Times reported in December 2005 that Bush had authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on the international phone calls and e-mails of U.S. residents without court warrants. (At the time, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said of the leak: "This is really hurting national security; this has really hurt our country.")


A veteran federal prosecutor who left DOJ last year, Tamm worked at OIPR during a critical period in 2004 when senior Justice officials first strongly objected to the surveillance program. Those protests led to a crisis that March when, according to recent Senate testimony, then A.G. John Ashcroft, FBI Director Robert Mueller and others threatened to resign, prompting Bush to scale the program back. Tamm, said one of the legal sources, had shared concerns about he program's legality, but it was unclear whether he actively participated in the internal DOJ protest.


The FBI raid on Tamm's home comes when Gonzales himself is facing criticism for allegedly misleading Congress by denying there had been "serious disagreement" within Justice about the surveillance program. The A.G. last week apologized for "creating confusion," but Senate Judiciary Committee chair Sen. Patrick Leahy said he is weighing asking Justice's inspector general to review Gonzales's testimony.


The raid also came while the White House and Congress were battling over expanding NSA wiretapping authority in order to plug purported "surveillance gaps." James X. Dempsey of the Center for Democracy and Technology said the raid was "amazing" and shows the administration's misplaced priorities: using FBI agents to track down leakers instead of processing intel warrants to close the gaps. A Justice spokesman declined to comment.


-Michael Isikoff




Sounds like a witch hunt...


The secret has been out on the NSA for a long time...


Why not start with the movie "The Enemy of the State" or James Bamford's "The Puzzle Palace"... or Mark Klein and Wired.com's articles...





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How far does the new wiretap law go?


FAQ: How far does the new wiretap law go?


By Declan McCullagh and Anne Broache


Staff Writer, CNET News.com




Published: August 6, 2007, 1:40 PM PDT


Just before leaving town for a month's vacation, a divided U.S. Congress acceded to President George Bush's requests for expanded Internet and telephone surveillance powers.


Over strong objections from civil liberties groups and many Democrats, legislators voted over the weekend to temporarily rewrite a 1978 wiretapping law that the Bush administration claimed was hindering antiterrorism investigations.


To help explain what the Protect America Act of 2007 means, CNET News.com has prepared the following Frequently Asked Questions, or FAQ list.


What does the new Protect America Act actually do?


The new law effectively expands the National Security Agency's power to eavesdrop on phone calls, e-mail messages and other Internet traffic with limited court oversight. Telecommunications companies can be required to comply with government demands, and if they do so they are immune from all lawsuits.


It also says, as George Washington University law professor Orin Kerr notes, that 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants are not needed for Internet or telephone "surveillance directed at a person reasonably believed to be located outside of the United States." What that means is that the National Security Agency can plug into a switch inside the United States (when monitoring someone outside the country) without seeking a court order in advance.


How long will this law last?


The law signed by Bush is set to "sunset" in 180 days. That addition was tacked on as an amendment after last-minute negotiations among politicians and the Bush administration, who remain at odds over how a permanent law should be worded.


"Our main objective at this point was to ensure that a bill passed that would give us the tools we needed to continue to fight the war on terror," a spokeswoman for Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell told CNET News.com on Monday. "The politics of it were such that that was the concession we were willing to make in order to get this bill passed sooner than later."


Translation: If the protracted skirmishing over the Patriot Act renewal is any indicator, this won't be settled easily, quickly or amicably.


Why did House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic leadership bring this bill to a vote over the weekend, instead of delaying it until fall or killing it outright?


The short answer? Political concerns. House of Representatives rules let the majority party control the schedule of votes, so Pelosi had the power to push back a vote indefinitely. In fact, Pelosi even said the legislation "does violence to the Constitution of the United States."


Many Democrats were worried about rushing to approve a bill just before Congress left town for a summer holiday. "Legislation should not be passed in response to fear-mongering," said Rep. Rush Holt of New Jersey.


But in the end, the Democratic leadership became fearful about appearing weak in the so-called "War on Terror" and interfering with intelligence gathering, and scheduled the vote before they left town. Liberal publications such as Mother Jones responded by saying: "The Democrats can rest easily over the August recess knowing that they haven't left themselves vulnerable to political attacks. The rest of us can worry about whether the NSA is using its enhanced surveillance authority to spy on Americans." An article on DailyKos.com was even less complimentary.


Weren't there some concerns about a recent court ruling?


Yes, although details remain murky. House Minority Leader John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, told Fox News last week: "There's been a ruling, over the last four or five months, that prohibits the ability of our intelligence services and our counterintelligence people from listening in to two terrorists in other parts of the world where the communication could come through the United States." Because the ruling--and even the existence of a ruling--is not public, there's no way to tell what's really going on.


A subsequent Los Angeles Times article says it was a ruling by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that imposed new restrictions on the National Security Agency's ability to intercept communications that are between people overseas, but that "transit" U.S. data networks operated by Internet service providers and telecommunications companies. The newspaper, citing an anonymous source, said the FISA ruling dealt with a request for a "basket warrant," meaning a kind of dragnet approach rather than warrants issued on a case-by-case basis for surveillance of specific terrorism suspects.


The Washington Post elaborated on the impact of the ruling, saying its effect was to block the NSA's efforts to collect information from a large volume of foreign calls and e-mails that pass through U.S. communications nodes clustered around New York and California.


The FISA court is relevant because Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said in January that the Bush administration would seek its approval for future electronic surveillance.


What does this mean for lawsuits against the telecommunications companies for allegedly opening their networks to the NSA in violation of federal law?


It may be too early to tell. The Justice Department declined to comment about the various pending suits, and the ACLU said it was still assessing the effect of the new law on its case.The law does immunize telecommunications companies going forward, but does not exempt them from legal liability before this week. So the court challenges would become weaker but could, at least in theory, continue.


What are groups that support privacy and individual rights saying about all of this?


American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Anthony Romero said: "That a Democratically-controlled Senate would be strong-armed by the Bush administration is astonishing. This Congress may prove to be as spineless in standing up to the Bush administration as the one that enacted the Patriot Act or the Military Commissions Act."


The Cato Institute's Tim Lynch wrote: "If a member of Congress does not support the proposal under consideration, it means he or she is too 'soft.' Even though we're about six years past 9/11 and even with the track record of Attorney General Gonzales, most legislators put their reservations aside, curl up into the fetal position and say 'I am against the terrorists too,' as they vote in favor."


What do telephone companies think about this new law?


A: Representatives from Quest, Verizon and AT&T--which has hinted in the past about how it could be required to cooperate with the NSA--declined to comment. Last year, AT&T accidentally leaked information in a legal brief that sought to offer benign reasons why a San Francisco switching center would provide a mechanism to monitor Internet and telephone traffic.


McConnell told Democratic congressional leaders in a private meeting late last week that some major telecommunications firms are concerned about the law's provision that could force them to cooperate with law enforcement based on orders from the attorney general or the DNI, a Democratic congressional aide told News.com. The companies reportedly indicated they would rather comply with a court-sanctioned warrant.


Why is the Bush administration making such a fuss about getting these new powers, anyway? Doesn't it already believe programs like the National Security Agency's terrorist surveillance program are already legal?


It's true that the Bush administration has steadfastly defended the legality of a National Security Agency undertaking publicly known as the "Terrorist Surveillance Program," which officials have indicated in recent weeks is just one of many such intelligence programs that the government has been operating. More broadly, the administration has been agitating with increasing urgency over the past year or so for changes to FISA because it claims the law has become outmoded, delaying critical intelligence collection.


FISA said that investigators generally must obtain warrants from a secret court before tapping into communications with foreigners that originate in the United States. But intelligence officials have argued that because communications today are often physically routed through American soil, distinguishing between calls and e-mails that occur inside and outside the country only stymies their efforts to snoop on suspects. "Simply due to technology changes since 1978, court approval should not now be required for gathering intelligence from foreigners located overseas," McConnell said in a recent statement.


Opponents to such changes, such as the ACLU, argue that FISA has already been updated dozens of times since 1978 and that the justifications for further tweaks offered by the Bush administration are really just looking for new ways to wiretap Americans without a warrant.


Which presidential candidates voted for or against the wiretapping bill?


Voting against the bill: Democrats Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Christopher Dodd and Dennis Kucinich.


Voting for the bill: Republican Sam Brownback.


John McCain and Ron Paul did not vote, but based on his congressional record and public statements, Paul would have likely opposed the legislation. The Senate voting results and House of Representatives results are now online.


Did the votes in the U.S. Congress fall mostly along party lines?


Yes. In the Senate vote on Friday night, not one Republican joined the 28 Democrats who voted against the measure, though 15 Democrats were among the 60 members who voted for the bill.


Some Democrats who voted to approve the bill indicated they did so based on the experience of members of their party who are on the Senate Intelligence Committee. "They chose to give significant weight and deference to the intelligence community on FISA reform, and so did I," freshman Virginia Sen. Jim Webb said in a statement.


On the House side, 41 Democrats joined the 186 Republicans voting for the bill's passage, while just two Republicans joined the 181 Democrats opposing it.


What happens when this thing expires? Is there any chance it'll be replaced with something different before then?


Both supporters and opponents of the law already have begun publicizing their hopes for the next version of the law. "Our work is not done," President Bush said in a statement after signing the bill--which he characterized as a "temporary, narrowly focused statute"--on Sunday. He called for "comprehensive reform," singling out "the important issue of providing meaningful liability protection to those who are alleged to have assisted our nation following the attacks of September 11, 2001." He was almost undoubtedly referring to shielding the telephone companies that allegedly assisted the government in a less-than-legal way.


House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, meanwhile, has already sent a letter to fellow Democrats Rep. John Conyers, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Silvestre Reyes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, instructing them to craft a new bill that "responds comprehensively to the administration's proposal while addressing the many deficiencies" in the approved law.


Details on that new proposal weren't immediately clear, but a Conyers representative said the chairmen "will want to move swiftly on introducing and moving the legislation in September."




Interesting... We'll see what the next version of the law is...





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Re: How far does the new wiretap law go?


Is there a single living soul, that doesn't already think that this bill, was just another turn on the wheel, that is already on motion. This spin just make it legal, and it was done by those who you guys trusted to be the honest of all. Would you guys have voted it, by knowing what you already know, if they would have asked? Does illegal surveillance gets legal if it get stamped by a law. Is it right to spy on own people and do what they do, when enough becomes enough. I think if we would have gone by Titor sayings, then the world would be already in turmoil that leads Europe to 'bloody catastrophy' and America in 'civil war'. However, if you think that Titor was right, then the way the US government is acting, is much along like of way his talking about the event before the bombings. Maybe we really are the 'useless people, who had everything, but didn't do jack s***'.



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Re: How far does the new wiretap law go?




Most people in America will ignore it. It's an american culture thing.


Any talk of the "NSA" is considered "extremely paranoid" and makes you eligible for the looney bin. :)


There is this widely accepted notion that anyone "who worries" is "paranoid"..


It's very strange.


I would say it's the CIA's greatest achievement.


If only they knew the truth as to how much Americans are "wiretapped"...




As for "Maybe we really are the 'useless people, who had everything, but didn't do jack s***'."


You might be right...



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WSJ attacks \"TheCigMan\" for NSA Stance :)


Reason and Wiretaps


August 8, 2007


By Some Right Wing Neocon Nutbag at the Wall Street Journal :)




To hear the critics tell it, the warrantless wiretapping law passed by Congress this weekend is an immoral license for a mad President Bush and his spymasters to eavesdrop on all Americans. For those willing to believe such things, mere facts don't matter. But for anyone still amenable to reason, the deal is worth parsing for its national security precedents, good and bad. The next Democratic President might be grateful.


The good news is that the new law will at least allow the National Security Agency to monitor terrorist communications again. That ability has been severely limited since January, when Mr. Bush agreed to put the wiretap program under the supervision of a special court created by the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). The new law provides a six-month fix to the outdated FISA provision that had defined even foreign-to-foreign calls as subject to a U.S. judicial warrant.


The first duty of Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell is to prevent the next terrorist attack, and it's disgraceful that some have vilified him for trying to revive our intelligence ability in that cause. His effort has been no different, and no less honorable, than a general arguing for more troops.


* * *


But it's important to understand for the debate ahead why all of this has become so ferociously controversial. Opposition from the Democratic left to this intelligence program isn't merely part of the partisan blood feud against a weak President near the end of his term. It is part of a far larger ideological campaign to erode Presidential war powers. Goaded by the ACLU and much of the press corps, many Democrats want to use the courts and lawsuits to restrict Mr. Bush and future Presidents in their ability to gather intelligence in the war on terror. For a flavor of this strategy, spend a few minutes on the ACLU's Web site.


In that regard, even the weekend deal is far from encouraging. For example, the new law does not offer explicit liability protection for telecom companies that cooperate with the wiretap program. Instead, the most Democrats would accept is language to "compel" the cooperation of these companies going forward. The Administration hope is that this "I had no choice" claim will be an adequate defense against future lawsuits, but in the U.S. tort lottery that is no sure thing.


Meantime, Democrats blocked any retroactive liability protection for companies that thought they were doing their patriotic duty by cooperating with the National Security Agency after 9/11. The goal here isn't merely to open another rich target for the tort bar. It is to use lawsuits to raise the costs for private actors of cooperating with the executive branch. Even if they lose at the ballot box or in Congress, these antiwar activists still might be able to hamstring the executive via the courts.


That's also the explicit strategy in trying to expand the reach of the special FISA court to all wiretaps, foreign and domestic. The left is howling that the NSA will no longer need a FISA warrant for each wiretap (of which there were 2,176 in 2006). That's the best part of the bill. But the Administration did concede to let FISA judges review the procedures for wiretapping up to 120 days after the fact. If a judge objects, the wiretapping can at least continue, pending appeal all the way to the Supreme Court.


This is the kind of review that judges are neither allowed to perform under the Constitution, nor equipped to provide as a matter of policy. Whatever the merits of the 1978 FISA law, no Administration has ever conceded that that law trumped a President's power to make exceptions to FISA if national security requires it. To do so would be a direct infringement on the President's Article II powers as Commander in Chief to protect the nation against its enemies.


The courts have been explicit about this, with the FISA appellate court asserting in a 2002 opinion (In Re: Sealed Case) that "We take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the President's constitutional power." FISA established a process by which certain domestic wiretaps in the context of the Cold War could be approved, not a limit on what wiretaps were ever allowed.


In the weekend deal, the Bush Administration grants the FISA court power to review procedures even for foreign communications, which is unprecedented. Under Article III of the Constitution, the courts are granted the power to settle disputes. The judiciary also has power under the Fourth Amendment, which gives courts the ability to issue warrants. But nowhere does the Constitution empower our nation's judges to serve as foreign policy advisers or reviewers of intelligence policy. Judges have no particular expertise on intelligence, and in any case they are unaccountable to voters if their decisions are faulty. Recent news reports have suggested that several current FISA judges are uncomfortable with making such intelligence decisions, and rightly so.


As for the possibility that Presidents will abuse this power, fear of exposure is an even more powerful disincentive than legal constraint. The political costs of being seen as spying on Americans for partisan ends would be tremendous. Congress, on the other hand, is only too happy to use the courts to squeeze executive power, in part because this allows the Members to dodge responsibility themselves. If there's another terror attack, the President still gets the blame even if some unelected judge refused a warrant. Congress can blame everyone else.


This is a statutory version of Senator Jay Rockefeller's famous decision to write a letter to Dick Cheney objecting to the warrantless wiretap program after he'd been briefed on it, but then sticking the letter (literally) in a drawer. Only after the program was exposed did he unearth the letter to show he'd objected all along, though he'd done nothing at all to stop it.




Like El Presidente Bush doesn't have dictorship like powers now? :)


Laughable :)





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Leahy sets final deadline for WH - wiretapping doc


Leahy sets final deadline for White House on wiretapping docs


Nick Juliano


Published: Wednesday August 8, 2007




The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee has given the White House another 12 days to hand over documents it requested nearly six weeks ago regarding the administration's legal justifications for its warrantless wiretapping program.


"Despite my patience and flexibility, you have rejected every proposal," Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) wrote in a letter to White House counsel Fried Fielding. The administration has "produced none of the responsive documents, provided no basis for any claim of privilege and no accompanying log of withheld documents."


The requested documents relate to President Bush's authorization of a foreign surveillance program he approved in the wake of Sept. 11. Just before adjourning last week for a month-long recess, Congress approved a temporary expansion of the government's ability to spy on conversations between people in the US and surveillance targets abroad. The legislation, which expires after six months, allows the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on such phone calls and e-mails without first getting a warrant.


In June, the Judiciary Committee subpoenaed the Justice Department, National Security Council, the White House and the Office of the Vice President seeking information on the program. Existence of the program was first revealed by the New York Times in December 2005.


Leahy first gave the White House until July 18 to produce the documents, and then he agreed to give the administration until Aug. 1 to comply. The letter to Fielding sent Wednesday sets Aug. 20 at 2:30 p.m. as the "new return date" for the subpoenas.









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