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judge rules warrantly wiretapping illegal
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Major Tom



Joined: 09 Jul 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 5:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

THAT'S RIGHT, MR BUSH; ANYONE WHO DISAGREES WITH YOU DOESN'T HAVE ALL THE INFORMATION...

...WHO COULD REMEDY THAT SITUATION, I WONDER.

dick.
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Bush Vows to Overturn Wiretapping Ruling

By ADAM LIPTAK and ERIC LICHTBLAU
Published: August 18, 2006
WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 — President Bush said today that he is confident that a federal court ruling against his administration’s electronic surveillance program will be overturned, and he described those who hailed the ruling as naïve.

Also in the Guide The Race for the U.S. House Governors' Races “I would say that those who herald this decision simply do not understand the nature of the world in which we live,” Mr. Bush said in a question-answer session at Camp David, Md. “I strongly disagree with that decision, strongly disagree. That’s why I instructed the Justice Department to appeal immediately. And I believe our appeals will be upheld.”

“We believe, strongly believe, it’s constitutional,” the president added. “And if Al Qaeda is calling into the United States, we want to know why they’re calling.”

A federal judge in Detroit ruled on Thursday that a National Security Agency program to tap the international communications of some Americans without a court warrant violated the Constitution, and she ordered it shut down.

The ruling was the first judicial assessment of the Bush administration’s arguments in defense of the surveillance program, which has provoked fierce legal and political debate since it was disclosed last December. But the issue is far from settled, and the ruling will not take effect at least until after a hearing scheduled for Sept. 7.

In a sweeping decision that drew on history, the constitutional separation of powers and the Bill of Rights, Judge Anna Diggs Taylor of the United States District Court in Detroit rejected almost every administration argument in the case.

Judge Taylor ruled that the program violated both the Fourth Amendment and a 1978 law that requires warrants from a secret court for intelligence wiretaps involving people in the United States. She rejected the administration’s repeated assertions that a 2001 Congressional authorization and the president’s constitutional authority allowed the program.

“It was never the intent of the framers to give the president such unfettered control, particularly when his actions blatantly disregard the parameters clearly enumerated in the Bill of Rights,” she wrote. “The three separate branches of government were developed as a check and balance for one another.”

Republicans said the decision was the work of a liberal judge advancing a partisan agenda. Judge Taylor, 73, worked in the civil rights movement, supported Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign and was appointed to the bench by him in 1979. She has ruled for the A.C.L.U. in a lawsuit challenging religious displays on municipal property. But she has also struck down a Detroit ordinance favoring minority contractors. “Her reputation is for being a real by-the-books judge,” said Evan H. Caminker, the dean of the University of Michigan Law School.

The government said it would ask Judge Taylor to stay her order at the hearing on Sept. 7.

The Justice Department and the American Civil Liberties Union — which brought the case in Detroit on behalf of a group of lawyers, scholars, journalists and others — agreed that her order would not be enforced until then, but lawyers for the A.C.L.U. said they would oppose any stay after that.

Administration officials made it clear that they would fight to have the ruling overturned because, they said, it would weaken the country’s defenses if allowed to stand.

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, at a hastily called news conference after the decision, said he was both surprised and disappointed by the ruling on the operation, which focuses on communications of people suspected of ties to Al Qaeda.

Administration officials “believe very strongly that the program is lawful,” said Mr. Gonzales, a main architect of the program as White House counsel and the biggest defender of its legality in a series of public pronouncements that began after the program was disclosed by The New York Times last December.

“We’re going to do everything we can do in the courts to allow this program to continue,” he said, because it “has been effective in protecting America.”

Tony Snow, the White House spokesman, also described the surveillance program as a vital and lawful tool. “The whole point is to detect and prevent terrorist attacks before they can be carried out,” Mr. Snow said. “The terrorist surveillance program is firmly grounded in law and regularly reviewed to make sure steps are taken to protect civil liberties.”

Democrats applauded the ruling as an important affirmation of the rule of law, while lawyers for the A.C.L.U. said Judge Taylor’s decision was a sequel to the Supreme Court’s decision in June in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld that struck down the administration’s plans to try detainees held in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for war crimes.

“It’s another nail in the coffin of executive unilateralism,” said Jameel Jaffer, an A.C.L.U. lawyer.

But allies of the administration called the decision legally questionable and politically motivated.

“It is an appallingly bad opinion, bad from both a philosophical and technical perspective, manifesting strong bias,” said David B. Rivkin, an official in the administrations of President Ronald Reagan and the first President Bush. “It is guaranteed to be overturned.”

Mr. Gonzales would not say whether the program played any role in foiling a plot last week to set off bombs in airliners bound for the United States from Britain. But Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Republican of Illinois, suggested that it did play a role in the investigation.

In a written statement criticizing Judge Taylor’s ruling, Mr. Hastert defended the wiretapping operation and said that “our terrorist surveillance programs are critical to fighting the war on terror and saved the day by foiling the London terror plot.”

Also in the Guide The Race for the U.S. House Governors' Races His office declined to elaborate.

Mr. Bush alluded to the London plot today as an example of danger in an era of terrorism, but without asserting that the surveillance program had had a role in its detection. “You might remember last week, working with people in Great Britain, we disrupted a plot,” the president said.

Mr. Gonzales said on Thursday that he expected the ruling to figure in the debate in Congress over how and whether to change federal eavesdropping laws. But he said the exact impact was “hard to predict.”

Among competing proposals, Republican leaders have proposed legislation that would specifically permit the wiretapping program. Some Democrats, however, have introduced legislation that would restrict, or in some cases ban altogether, the government from conducting wiretaps on Americans without a warrant.

The White House is backing a plan, drafted by Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, with the blessing of President Bush, that would allow a secret court to review the legality of the operation.

But in the view of critics, it could also broaden the president’s authority to conduct such operations. Mr. Gonzales said it appeared to administration lawyers that the Specter legislation, if passed by Congress, “would address some of the concerns raised by the judge in her opinion.”

Another element of the Specter legislation would force other lawsuits over the program — like the one brought by the A.C.L.U. in Detroit — to be consolidated into a single action to be heard by the secret court.

Judge Taylor rejected the government’s threshold argument that she should not hear the case at all because it concerned state secrets. Dismissal on those grounds was not required, she wrote, because the central facts in the case — the existence of the program, the lack of warrants and the focus on communications in which one party is in the United States — have been acknowledged by the government.

The government also argued that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue because they had not suffered concrete harm from the program. Judge Taylor ruled that the plaintiffs “are stifled in their ability to vigorously conduct research, interact with sources, talk with clients and, in the case of the attorney plaintiffs, uphold their oath of providing effective and ethical representation of their clients.”

Some plaintiffs, the judge wrote, have had to incur travel expenses to visit clients and others to avoid possible monitoring of their communications.

Going beyond the arguments offered against the wiretapping program by many legal scholars, Judge Taylor ruled that it violated not only the 1978 law, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, but also the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.

The Supreme Court has never addressed the question of whether electronic surveillance of partly domestic communication violates the Fourth Amendment. Judge Taylor concluded that the wiretapping program is “obviously in violation of the Fourth Amendment.”

The president also violated the Constitution’s separation of powers doctrines, Judge Taylor ruled. Neither a September 2001 Congressional authorization to use military force against Al Qaeda nor the president’s inherent constitutional powers allow him to violate the 1978 law or the Fourth Amendment, she said.

“There are no hereditary kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution,” she wrote, rejecting what she called the administration’s assertion that the president “has been granted the inherent power to violate not only the laws of the Congress but the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution itself.”

Republicans attacked the decision. “It is disappointing that a judge would take it upon herself to disarm America during a time of war,” said Representative Peter Hoekstra, Republican of Michigan, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Judge Taylor did give the government a minor victory, rejecting on national security grounds a challenge to a separate surveillance program involving data mining. That ruling is consistent with recent decisions of federal courts in San Francisco and Chicago.

Judges in those cases drew a distinction between the wiretapping program, which the administration has acknowledged and defended, and the data mining program, which has not been officially confirmed.
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mouse



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 10:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

AAAAAAUUURRRGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!

notice how _none_ of the republicans mention the word "WARRANT"?????

they are totally trying to persuade everyone that the judges and the democrats are completely trying to gut any attempt at investigating terrorists. which is just stupid, and not at all what anyone has been saying.

it's not about the wiretaps, guys - IT'S ABOUT DOING IT WITHOUT A WARRANT.

what is so freaking hard to understand about that?
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CopperTop



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This isn't data mining - it's data strip mining. A FISA warrant takes only 45 minutes to obtain; you can't tell me that anyone is so dangerous that the government couldn't wait less than an hour to get the proper paperwork for an electronic survellance addition to the case. Perhaps Bush was afraid that the sheer volume of warrants would clue even the FISA court into the fact that what he wanted done was to "bug" everyone that fit a particular pattern... or would that be profile?
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Monkey Mcdermott



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not only does it only take 45 minutes to obtain, they can get one RETROACTIVELY if i recall the hubbub correctly
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Dogen



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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Exactly, mouse. Search for terrorists. Protect America... but do it within the law. Every rebuttal is based on fear - Tony Snow says, "the whole point is to detect and prevent terrorist attacks," seeming to imply that if we don't have this program then we must have no program. If we stop them from warrantless wiretaps, the terrorists win.

Plus, you know it's effective because there haven't been any attacks on America recently... that's logical, right? Not that anyone will suggest this program helped them stop the London bombers, but some program did, of that we're sure, and that program was probably intelligence-based, too, just like this one, and though it may or may not have involved warrants, well, the evidence is clearly in favor of intelligence programs in general. Since warrantless wiretapping is an intelligence program the evidence obviously indicates it's working. Rolling Eyes
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Amilam



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PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2006 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Monkey Mcdermott wrote:
Not only does it only take 45 minutes to obtain, they can get one RETROACTIVELY if i recall the hubbub correctly


This is correct, not only that, but the information is not a matter of public record and it's done by a court that is extremely forthcoming in providing warrants.

The only logical reason for the Bush administration to take such ridiculous steps to avoid simple due procedure is that the scope of wire tapping is far larger than the administration has let onto and would raise immense questions on civil rights and range of executive power. Ironically, trying to ignore due procedure has caused the same thing Rolling Eyes
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CopperTop



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PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2006 1:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Amilam wrote:
The only logical reason for the Bush administration to take such ridiculous steps to avoid simple due procedure is that the scope of wire tapping is far larger than the administration has let onto and would raise immense questions on civil rights and range of executive power. Ironically, trying to ignore due procedure has caused the same thing Rolling Eyes


I read the published unredacted manual on the equipment that was installed in AT&T's San Francisco office. The hardware is capable of picking up EVERY data stream that comes through those trunk lines. The software is capable of reconstructing those packets into the conversations and emails they started as - all the government has to do is pick and choose which ones they want.

The scope of this is incredible - if these are in the offices of the major phone carriers, the government has the ability to deconstruct and reconstruct every phone call and electronic communication made by approximately 90% of the population.
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bun bun
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2006 3:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

the second article presented by Major Tom wrote:
“We believe, strongly believe, it’s constitutional,” the president added. “And if Al Qaeda is calling into the United States, we want to know why they’re calling.”

I find the political "bait-and-switch" absolutely fascinating to watch. He is implying that it is Al Quaeda's possible actions that make the wiretapping constitutional, when the issue of consitutional rights is primarily an internal privacy issue. Only when the argument is extended are the actions of terrorists calling the United States relevant.

That is to say, one must decide whether or not it is constitutional to wiretap a private phone line without a warrant under any circumstance before one decides whether or not it is constitutional here, because the latter is a specific case, and the former is a generality. In using this sentence format, Bush artificially inserts Al Quaeda into every aspect of the issue emotionally, making it impossible for most listeners/readers to split the issue into its constituent parts. If, then, someone does do that, those readers react emotionally to the idea of Al Quaeda, rather than reacting rationally to the counter-argument.

This is why Liberals are un-American, it seems. Through a plethora of Republican bait-and-switch arguments, where generalities are equated to their specifics. There's never any mention of what would happen when this wiretapping power is used for other, less easily-arguable purposes.
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kame



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PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2006 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can either live in a country where you have a reasonable expectatoin of privacy, or you can live in america. And as pissed off as you ought to be with the government, you really ought to be more pissed off with your telcos for voluntarily maintaining a database that tracks who you called and for how long. I'm interested in finding out how they expect to effectively grep perhaps trillions of phone records for useful intelligence, and will they know how often I've called NAMBLA?

Hell, maybe they can figure out if American Idol was rigged!
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CopperTop



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PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2006 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The government dangled a huge carrot out there for the telcos - notice how many have merged together of late without so much as a whisper of opposition from the FCC and the FTC?

Coincidence? I don't think so...
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nathan



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PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2006 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kame wrote:
You can either live in a country where you have a reasonable expectatoin of privacy, or you can live in america.


Yes, thank god you're safe from our silly missteps. In fact, I'd venture to say you're every bit as safe up there in Canada as the English businessmen who were recently hauled in (from England) for running gambling websites that stepped on the toes of brank spankin' new US legislation. Or the Irish fellers whose government voluntarily hands over any and all information on its citizens to the CIA et al. without any further explanation than "we want it."


In this age of Corporate nation-states, American privacy laws touch you day in and day out like the alcoholic uncle you've tried so hard to forget.
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Dogen



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PostPosted: Sat Aug 19, 2006 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CopperTop wrote:
The government dangled a huge carrot out there for the telcos - notice how many have merged together of late without so much as a whisper of opposition from the FCC and the FTC?

Coincidence? I don't think so...


That was actually a result of the Telecommunications Reform Act of 1996. Clinton envisioned it fostering competition (and thus lowering prices), but instead it encouraged consolidation by removing a lot of the regulations controlling where and how telecoms could function in the same market. As a result, there are fewer telecoms now than there were in '96 (and getting smaller as AT&T and BellSouth get into their merger), as well as 1/3rd of all radio stations being owned by two companies (Clear Channel and Viacom/Infinity).

AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth bent over for the NSA for several reasons:
Quote:
The sources said the NSA made clear that it was willing to pay for the cooperation.

...

One major telecommunications company declined to participate in the program: Qwest.

According to sources familiar with the events, Qwest's CEO at the time, Joe Nacchio, was deeply troubled by the NSA's assertion that Qwest didn't need a court order — or approval under FISA — to proceed. Adding to the tension, Qwest was unclear about who, exactly, would have access to its customers' information and how that information might be used.

Financial implications were also a concern, the sources said. Carriers that illegally divulge calling information can be subjected to heavy fines. The NSA was asking Qwest to turn over millions of records. The fines, in the aggregate, could have been substantial.

The NSA told Qwest that other government agencies, including the FBI, CIA and DEA, also might have access to the database, the sources said. As a matter of practice, the NSA regularly shares its information — known as "product" in intelligence circles — with other intelligence groups. Even so, Qwest's lawyers were troubled by the expansiveness of the NSA request, the sources said.

The NSA, which needed Qwest's participation to completely cover the country, pushed back hard.

Trying to put pressure on Qwest, NSA representatives pointedly told Qwest that it was the lone holdout among the big telecommunications companies. It also tried appealing to Qwest's patriotic side: In one meeting, an NSA representative suggested that Qwest's refusal to contribute to the database could compromise national security, one person recalled.

In addition, the agency suggested that Qwest's foot-dragging might affect its ability to get future classified work with the government. Like other big telecommunications companies, Qwest already had classified contracts and hoped to get more.

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mouse



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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2006 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dogen, that quote indicates to me the reason the bush administration has not attempted to get a fisa warrant - the search is too broad, they have no specific targets. of course, we have no way of knowing what warrants fisa has approved in the past - but i bet they had at least _some_ information that indicated that a specific person or group of people were being targetted. even fisa (i hope) would balk at a wide-scale "grab it all and see who it leads to" approach, which is what this apparantly is.

i am interested that the bush admin has made no specific attempt to link our intelligence work with the british arrests - just sort of broad "we's", and an effort to piggyback on the importance of intelligence in general. (which is amusing in itself, as the admin's initial reaction was to somehow say this proved that police work was ineffective, and this just proved we should stay the course in iraq). i suspect they haven't done it because britain would immediately refuse the claim. we don't seem to be getting much from this "highly essential" program - no major arrests, no rings busted up - certainly no progress in iraq or with hezbollah or bin laden......
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Michael



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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2006 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bun bun wrote:
the second article presented by Major Tom wrote:
“We believe, strongly believe, it’s constitutional,” the president added. “And if Al Qaeda is calling into the United States, we want to know why they’re calling.”

I find the political "bait-and-switch" absolutely fascinating to watch. He is implying that it is Al Quaeda's possible actions that make the wiretapping constitutional, when the issue of consitutional rights is primarily an internal privacy issue. Only when the argument is extended are the actions of terrorists calling the United States relevant.

That is to say, one must decide whether or not it is constitutional to wiretap a private phone line without a warrant under any circumstance before one decides whether or not it is constitutional here, because the latter is a specific case, and the former is a generality. In using this sentence format, Bush artificially inserts Al Quaeda into every aspect of the issue emotionally, making it impossible for most listeners/readers to split the issue into its constituent parts. If, then, someone does do that, those readers react emotionally to the idea of Al Quaeda, rather than reacting rationally to the counter-argument.

This is why Liberals are un-American, it seems. Through a plethora of Republican bait-and-switch arguments, where generalities are equated to their specifics. There's never any mention of what would happen when this wiretapping power is used for other, less easily-arguable purposes.


that is a very interesting statement there bunbuns... specially since it's making me almost side with the conservatives; at least you can see where their motives lie

edit, total edit:: you know, that's really a huge part of the issue here: everybody's talking from their own agenda and trying to anticipate the next moves and trying to say the thing that will result in whatever result they deem desirable. And that's all politics and if you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen but still it'd be nice if everybody was as transparent as the average fundamentalist or bible-belt conservative cause at least you'd have an idea what they actually wanted.

CAn you tell I drank a little?
Anyway, "Bush artificially inserts Al Quaeda into every aspect of the issue emotionally, making it impossible for most listeners/readers to split the issue into its constituent parts" but isn't it much more dangerous to pretend to have forgotten about Al Quaeda in every aspect of the issue? Do you really think you're able to think objectively? That you can leave everything you learned behind and just speak universal truths?
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nathan



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PostPosted: Sun Aug 20, 2006 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sober up before political posts.
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