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Listening In and Naming Names
December 21, 2005 4:27 AM   Subscribe

Listening In and Naming Names "...The press tends to shy away from covering America's largest and most secretive intelligence agency, fearing precisely the kind of scolding President Bush delivered to the New York Times. But the truth is that the NSA—which has an estimated $6 billion annual budget bigger than those of the CIA and the FBI combined—has a decidedly checkered history when it comes to playing by the rules." And yet, NSA abuse seems not limited to Bush. Now, possib ly, Carter and Clinton also used NSA for spying on civilians. That said, NSA seems also to have been used for non-miltary spying, to help selected American firms compete against rival companies elsewhere. What is curious about this agency is that it is the single biggest intelligence organization in our country and yet so few people know what they do, where they are, what they had been legally allowed to do. If, as we are told, tapping phones is necessary in our fight against terror, why then doesn't the FBI do this? If any mobster worth his blackjack knows not to use phones because they are potentially tapped, why are we told that NSA doesn't want terrorists alerted to our tapping their phones and therefore there ought not to be any discussion of this "strategy."? In sum, my suspicion is that a lot more is going on than we have thus far been told, and that in fact email and the internet are more involved in what is taking place than is phone tapping.
posted by Postroad (134 comments total)

 
Matt Drudge is full of it.
posted by barjo at 4:33 AM on December 21, 2005


It was fun watching that CIA guy squirm last night when Gwen asked the tough questions about what exactly the NSA does and how it operates. audio (rm)
posted by carsonb at 4:41 AM on December 21, 2005


Ugh...the spin machine is really in full force. I fisked this same claim on three different political blogs yesterday.

Carter and Clinton both authorized civilian surveillance under the provisions of FISA, specifically stating that the AG had to certify that the criteria of FISA were met. One of the criteria of FISA is that warrantless searches MAY NOT BE conducted against US citizens.

Bush, on the other hand, has admitted to authorizing civilian searches, without warrants, against US citizens. This is in clear violation of FISA.

The obfuscation of trying to paint Clinton and Carter with the same thing when they followed FISA, while Bush rejected that law, is scandalously, intentionally misleading.
posted by darkstar at 4:56 AM on December 21, 2005


discussed here
posted by caddis at 4:58 AM on December 21, 2005


There's some interesting speculation here at ArsTechnica too, with the premise being that Bush has authorised these taps because they use new bulk processing technology that doesn't fit with existing laws. Of course, just because technology makes it possible to listen to analyse more conversations, it doesn't mean that we should. The author has also posted a followup discussing why exactly it's a bad idea here.
posted by r1ch at 5:13 AM on December 21, 2005


In sum, my suspicion is that a lot more is going on than we have thus far been told

Well duh.

Nixon must be spinning in his grave out of sheer envy of having such formidable tools with which to build a longer, more interesting enemies' list.
posted by clevershark at 5:23 AM on December 21, 2005


That said, NSA seems also to have been used for non-miltary spying, to help selected American firms compete against rival companies elsewhere.
(from FPP)

They failed to prove conclusively that Echelon had been used by the United States, or indeed Britain, for commercial spying on European competitors
(from article)

?????
posted by Afroblanco at 5:52 AM on December 21, 2005


So has Bush given any excuse so far that's held water? It seems every answer from him (or his devoted followers) has been refuted in less than 12 hours.

Throwing bullshit is obviously an important spin tactic but the Clinton/Carter thing seems DOA at this point: Drudge isn't just wrong, the evidence of him being wrong is such a glaring proof of Bush's impropriety that the pundits are going to have to drop it as fast as they did when Drudge accused Kerry of having an affair.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:57 AM on December 21, 2005


When the Republicans point at Clinton and Carter as justification for what they do, I can only shake my head in disgust.
posted by three blind mice at 6:00 AM on December 21, 2005


For good information on the subject of FISA (and pretty much anything security-related), I urge everyone here to check out Bruce Schneier's excellent blog.

Schneier, in case you don't know, is the founder and CTO of Counterpane Security, as well as the author of Applied Cryptography.
posted by Afroblanco at 6:15 AM on December 21, 2005


They failed to prove conclusively that Echelon had been used by the United States, or indeed Britain, for commercial spying on European competitors
That would be because to get the conclusive proof, you would have to get an admission from the perpetrators. And you can't trust modern Americans to tell the truth about anything, especially not when it's against their own interest to do so. Disregard for the truth is endemic in a culture that equates accumulation of material wealth with success, discourages questioning and analysis of beliefs claimed, however facilely, to be "deeply held", and equates the numbers and vehemence of people asserting something with that thing's correctness.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:20 AM on December 21, 2005


From the "help selected American firms" link:

Besides tracking a person,'s every action and relaying the data to a computer
screen on earth, amazing powers of satellites include reading a person,'s
mind, monitoring conversations, manipulating electronic instruments and
physically assaulting someone with a laser beam.


Uh huh. Amazing.
posted by bugmuncher at 6:34 AM on December 21, 2005


Just to repeat from the ThinkProgress link:

What Clinton actually signed:

Section 1. Pursuant to section 302(a)(1) [50 U.S.C. 1822(a)] of the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance] Act, the Attorney General is authorized to approve physical searches, without a court order, to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year, if the Attorney General makes the certifications required by that section.

That section requires the Attorney General to certify is the search will not involve “the premises, information, material, or property of a United States person.” That means U.S. citizens or anyone inside of the United States.

The entire controversy about Bush’s program is that, for the first time ever, allows warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens and other people inside of the United States. Clinton’s 1995 executive order did not authorize that.

posted by destro at 6:37 AM on December 21, 2005


P.S. Violation of FISA might be an impeachable offense.
posted by bugmuncher at 6:37 AM on December 21, 2005


For another truly outstanding discussion of FISA, AUMF and the constitutional arguments being made by Bush, et al., I strongly recommend folks to see Orin Kerr's legal analysis on Volokh.

It touches on all the key points - a few pages long, but well worth the read.
posted by darkstar at 6:39 AM on December 21, 2005


That would be because to get the conclusive proof, you would have to get an admission from the perpetrators. And you can't trust modern Americans to tell the truth about anything, especially not when it's against their own interest to do so.

Well, and not just modern Americans in general, but modern American government.

And while I hate to afford Drudge any cred whatsoever, and his specific reference to Clinton and Carter is wrong, I tend to not think that this sort of stepped-up spying on the American public is entirely a partisan thing. I suspect that the government is doing this because the government can, the government has the technology and that technology is being refined, and that this basic fact is not going to change, no matter who is in office:

We are on our way to becoming a national security state, and nothing is going to change that.

The vast bulk of the American public does not and will not care. Can they still go shopping? Can they still watch what they want on TV? Can they go about their everyday lives and, so long as they have "nothing to hide," will those lives appear normal, will they be able to carry on as they always have.

The answer is yes; the answer must be yes.

And so long as the answer is yes, I suspect there's no limit to what Americans might accept. Let me be clear that I think anything like police kicking in the doors of political dissidents and dragging them off to prison in the middle of the night is not something that could happen now, nor tomorrow. But a decade from now, if in fact the president - Republican or Democrat - continues to invoke wartime powers continues to insist that each incremental step between here and there is necessary in order to keep Americans safe, how is it that we may possibly stop before we get to this juncture?

We are not going to stop. This technology exists and it will be utilized, and all the while we will be told it is for our own good, our own safety, and most of the time it will remain hidden, and people will not complain, people will not force this to change. That is the key.

Because for this society - and maybe for all societies, who knows - order is more important than liberty.

It was, of course, Ben Franklin who said that those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.

These days, the likes of Drudge would be citing each and every one of Franklin's utterances that might be construed to advocate the sacrifice of liberty.

And the likes of Ann Coulter would be asking: Why do you hate America?
posted by kgasmart at 6:41 AM on December 21, 2005


I would like to thank the comments that pointed out that what Clinton and Carter did was within the law--Drudge trying to smear--and that I was offbase in putting up that link, though why Clinton would use NSA for spying on citizens ils beyond me. That said, a judge working with FISA has just resigned:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/20/AR2005122000685.html
posted by Postroad at 6:42 AM on December 21, 2005


Yeah, but Clinton got plo chops!
posted by nofundy at 6:49 AM on December 21, 2005


P.S. Violation of FISA might be an impeachable offense.

You seem to be implying that somebody would be willing to impeach him. I wish I lived in a world where party loyalty didn't make such thoughts laughable.
posted by I Love Tacos at 6:51 AM on December 21, 2005


i don't doubt that bill and jimmy may have violated privacy laws as well... but a random post to drudge? sssssssssssssss.....
posted by specialk420 at 6:55 AM on December 21, 2005


That is a pretty depressing and defeatist viewpoint kgasmart.
"I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of freedoms of the people by gradual and silent encroachment of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." — James Madison
posted by caddis at 6:56 AM on December 21, 2005


For what it's worth, the French government has been offering & using their intelligence services for busines advantage for years... Ira Winkler's excellent books on corporte espionage detail some of this sort of thing with a focus on French and Israeli 'corporate' spying.
posted by bhance at 7:25 AM on December 21, 2005


That is a pretty depressing and defeatist viewpoint kgasmart.

And Madison's quote is a case in point - the revelations of the past week were gradual and silent, until the NYT finally went public with them.

I just don't see this society being willing to trade its Xboxes for something as ephemeral as "freedom," particularly when "I have nothing to hide" or "criticism emboldens the terrorists."

If there's one thing September 11 did and did well, it was to make us, collectively, afraid. And a fearful public is one that will accept anything so long as it assuages that fear.

Someone yesterday invoked Milton Mayer's "They Thought They Were Free," a book which I own and just re-read about a month ago. I don't want to put too fine a point on this here - this is not and won't be Nazi Germany, the economic turmoil, the loss of a world war, the violence in the streets of 1933 Germany mean there can be no realistic comparison with this nation.

But in the way ordinary Germans came to accept being "governed by surprise," in that each additional measure was justified as necessary for national security or, on occasion, "regretted" is the exact same approach towards strengthening the power of the state that we are seeing here, is it not?

And as there, as then, who will complain? Already the conservative movement has risen up on its hind legs to defend this apparently unprecedented step as necessary for national security; that will be good enough for much of a public that likes to invoke the Founding Fathers but, when the chips are down, would never sacrifice order for freedom.

I mean, look around at your neighbors, in your neighborhood. Who among them is going to raise a stink about domestic surveillance if they don't believe that they, personally, have anything to fear from it? If they think it's all designed to protect them from this nefarious "them?"

But of course they do have something to fear from it. Mike Royko wrote a great column in the 1970s - can't find it or I'd link - after it was revealed that some Chicago politician or some such was being followed around by Daley's office, and people called to say, why should he be worried about being followed if he's got nothing to hide?

Royko wrote that a woman called him, saying that she wouldn't care if people followed her in such a situation because she had nothing to hide.

He responded by asking her her name - lied and said he had to fill out a "complaint form." She hesitated, but gave it to him.

Then he asked her questions like: Do you DRINK? And if so, HOW MUCH? Ever have AN AFFAIR?

And the woman ended the conversation by hanging up and saying, "You stay away from me or I'll have you arrested!"

Point: We all have something to hide. Fear the government that makes it it's business to find out what it is.
posted by kgasmart at 7:25 AM on December 21, 2005


aeschenkarnos, I would totally flag your comment, except I see so much silly anti-American sentiment on the Blue these days that it would be like trying to empty a swimming pool with a fork.

Please do not confuse the actions of the American govenmnent with those of Americans.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:31 AM on December 21, 2005


i flagged it as fabulous.
posted by quonsar at 7:36 AM on December 21, 2005


Afroblanco: Bolton, for one, admitted to getting NSA intercept info on US Officials, and i think they've refused to reveal any and all uses of Echelon (or TIPS or CAPPS or any other govt. databases, etc)--commercial or otherwise. We know private companies have given databases to the govt.--why wouldn't it go the other way, especially for big supporters and donors?
posted by amberglow at 7:36 AM on December 21, 2005


Disregard for the truth is endemic in a culture that equates accumulation of material wealth with success, discourages questioning and analysis of beliefs claimed, however facilely, to be "deeply held", and equates the numbers and vehemence of people asserting something with that thing's correctness.

While I wouldn't agree that "you can't trust modern Americans to tell the truth about anything", I thought the above comment was really rather striking, succinct, and well put.
posted by stinkycheese at 7:39 AM on December 21, 2005


Postroad: That said, a judge working with FISA has just resigned

not sure what you mean to say by this, but the reason the judge resigned is illuminating:


Robertson indicated privately to colleagues in recent conversations that he was concerned that information gained from warrantless NSA surveillance could have then been used to obtain FISA warrants. FISA court Presiding Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who had been briefed on the spying program by the administration, raised the same concern in 2004 and insisted that the Justice Department certify in writing that it was not occurring.

"They just don't know if the product of wiretaps were used for FISA warrants -- to kind of cleanse the information," said one source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the classified nature of the FISA warrants. "What I've heard some of the judges say is they feel they've participated in a Potemkin court."


In other words, the problem isn't just that they were doing the illegal spying, but that they might have been doing the illegal spying to get information that they then presented to the court in order to do legal spying. This means that, even though the process was separate from the court itself (and that's the main problem) it could now be seen to de-legitimize the court for accepting illicit information as evidence.

Aside from this, the question is why they actually did this since it seems that the secret court (which I guess we're all saying is okay to have since that doesn't even seem to enter the discussion) would have authorized almost anything--often even after the fact.
posted by sandrew3 at 7:40 AM on December 21, 2005



posted by quonsar at 7:41 AM on December 21, 2005


quonsar, you liar.
posted by Eekacat at 7:41 AM on December 21, 2005


I can’t add to anything concerning surveillance, Bush, etc. here. Excellent points.

I would like to ask, concerning the NSA helping American firms compete - how is that different from what other countries do on a regular basis?
We have a wide variety of economic tools at our disposal to aid our economy. We have beef with Canada right now over this lumber thing.
Corporate espionage is well over half of all the spying that goes on. If there is some foreign national working at - say - Bell Labs funneling innovation to Purple (fictional country) I’d want to know about it. Particularly if any government grants go to Bell Labs or we publicly benefit from their technology, etc.

Not as simple a subject as it seems at first glance, I guess is what I’m saying. Not all spying or counter-spying is bad.

But, of course, I agree these matters concerning Bush are abhorrent.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:55 AM on December 21, 2005


And I would add Bolton should be executed. As should those NSA officers who followed his orders. But I’m a bit of a hardass.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:58 AM on December 21, 2005


Pelosi Requests Declassification of Her Letter on NSA Activities
Washington, D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on her request to the Director of National Intelligence to declassify a letter she wrote several years ago to the Bush Administration expressing concerns about the activities of the National Security Agency.

"When I learned several years ago that the National Security Agency had been authorized to conduct the activities that President Bush referred to in his December 17 radio address, I expressed my strong concerns in a classified letter to the Administration and later verbally.

"Today, in an effort to shed light on my concerns, I requested that the Director of National Intelligence quickly declassify my letter and the Administration's response to it and make them both available to the public.

"The President must have the best possible intelligence to protect the American people. That intelligence, however, must be produced in a manner consistent with our Constitution and our laws, and in a manner that reflects our values as a nation to protect the American people and our freedoms."
posted by ericb at 8:01 AM on December 21, 2005


We didn't seek retroactive warrants because it involved "paperwork"
"Air Force Gen. Michael V. Hayden, who was NSA director when the surveillance began and now serves as Bush's deputy director of national intelligence, said the secret- court process was intended for long-term surveillance of agents of an enemy power, not the current hunt for elusive terrorist cells.

'The whole key here is agility,' he said at a White House briefing before Bush's news conference. According to Hayden, most warrantless surveillance conducted under Bush's authorization lasts just days or weeks, and requires only the approval of a shift supervisor. Hayden said getting retroactive court approval is inefficient because it 'involves marshaling arguments' and 'looping paperwork around.'
posted by ericb at 8:04 AM on December 21, 2005


Devil's advocate question:

Aldrich Ames was a U.S. citizen, so was the warrantless (i.e., not court issued) search of his property a violation of FISA and possibly the constitution?
posted by justkevin at 8:07 AM on December 21, 2005


Bush didn't want to ask Congress directly to authorize the spying because he thought Congress would never approve of it --
"'This is not a backdoor approach,' [Attorney General Alberto R.] Gonzales said at the White House. 'We believe Congress has authorized this kind of surveillance.' He acknowledged that the administration discussed introducing legislation explicitly permitting such domestic spying but decided against it because it 'would be difficult, if not impossible' to pass."
Okay, so just break the law and do an end run around the legislature of this country and violate the civil liverties of its citizens!
posted by ericb at 8:10 AM on December 21, 2005


*liberties*
posted by ericb at 8:11 AM on December 21, 2005


Hayden said getting retroactive court approval is inefficient because it 'involves marshaling arguments' and 'looping paperwork around.'

as he furiously marshals arguments and loops paperwork.
posted by quonsar at 8:13 AM on December 21, 2005


Aldrich Ames was a U.S. citizen, so was the warrantless (i.e., not court issued) search of his property a violation of FISA and possibly the constitution?

I believe Ames's clearance (Secret, Top Secret, Eyes Only, ?) was granted contingent upon his willing sacrifice of certain civil rights. When you sign up for that kind of government service, it's a job requirement.
posted by psmealey at 8:27 AM on December 21, 2005


This is utter garbage, the spin is out of control, the lies are stacking up like bodies and the Republicans are desperate for someone to pin this on when their leader admitted it publicly.

Flagged as crap, moving on.
posted by fenriq at 8:28 AM on December 21, 2005


I believe Ames's clearance (Secret, Top Secret, Eyes Only, ?) was granted contingent upon his willing sacrifice of certain civil rights. When you sign up for that kind of government service, it's a job requirement.

Sounds like a reasonable explanation, but can anyone provide a citation (legal analysis, court opinion)?
posted by justkevin at 8:35 AM on December 21, 2005


Postroad, thank you for your retraction.

I apologize if I sounded like I'm on a high horse about this, but I've been on a short fuse on this issue, dealing with a number of conservative friends and family today and yesterday. They are pulling out the stops to legitimize and justify what Bush has been doing, and often claiming blatant falsehood to do so. It has greatly offended my sense of integrity and has me on edge.

Hoping for PP to respond.
posted by darkstar at 8:41 AM on December 21, 2005


Excellent Bruce Schneier article on unchecked presidential power.

...

I've got a baby due in June and I'm freaking out about what world they will grow up in :(
posted by Kickstart70 at 8:50 AM on December 21, 2005


The USS Jimmy Carter heavily armed spyship. fibre optic splicing undersea
posted by hortense at 8:55 AM on December 21, 2005


O dear. Will the NSA ever regain its wholesome pre-Bush image? Will parents ever lose the fear of being wire-tapped if their kids check out the Kids Page at the NSA?
posted by GeorgeHernandez at 8:55 AM on December 21, 2005


The vast bulk of the American public does not and will not care. Can they still go shopping? Can they still watch what they want on TV? Can they go about their everyday lives and, so long as they have "nothing to hide," will those lives appear normal, will they be able to carry on as they always have.

People might not care that much about their liberty, etc, but they don't want their president to be a criminal.

And in any event as long as they're not actively defending the prez, it shouldn't be a big deal.
posted by delmoi at 9:01 AM on December 21, 2005


Hoping for PP to respond.
posted by darkstar at 6:41 PM

Keep hoping.
posted by zaelic at 9:17 AM on December 21, 2005


December 19, 2005

Washington, D.C.– U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today asked four presidential scholars for their opinion on former White House Counsel John Dean’s statement that President Bush admitted to an “impeachable offense” when he said he authorized the National Security Agency to spy on Americans without getting a warrant from a judge.


I heard today on the radio (KPFA) that the spying was not limited to out-of-country communications, i.e. there was American-to-American spying going on as well, but I can't find a link ... ah, NYT. This will not end well for President Bush. There's always a final straw. It wasn't *just* the Watergate break-in that took down Nixon.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:01 AM on December 21, 2005


Ben Franklin who said that those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither

I realize this is a shop-worn response, but the quote is "essential liberties"...

Apparently the executive does not have the power to perform warrantless intelligence collection on citizens, unless they wish to attempt to reverse 38 years of SCOTUS jurisprudence on what the 4th Amendment actually means.

Note, though, Justice Black's lone dissent in the Katz case that established an implicit personal right to privacy:
Since I see no way in which the words of the Fourth Amendment can be construed to apply to eavesdropping, that closes the matter for me. In interpreting the Bill of Rights, I willingly go as far as a liberal construction of the language takes me, but I simply cannot in good conscience give a meaning to words which they have never before been thought to have and which they certainly do not have in common ordinary usage. I will not distort the words of the Amendment in order to "keep the Constitution up to date" or "to bring it into harmony with the times." It was never meant that this Court have such power, which, in effect, would make us a continuously functioning constitutional convention.
As an aside, I am pleased as a peach to see that I have unknowingly echoed the bulk of Black's dissent here the past 2 days.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 10:03 AM on December 21, 2005


It's always been interesting to me that some - including I will admit, great minds and scholars - do not believe that the Bill of Rights encompasses governmental eavesdropping and the right to privacy, whereas I have always thought that it clearly did, without needing to stretch or be distorted or what have you. And, to be fair, quite a lot of great minds and scholars are with me on this as well.

Eavesdropping is a search. Without probable cause and a warrant, it's an unreasonable search. I don't see the difficulty.
posted by kyrademon at 10:29 AM on December 21, 2005


Hoping for PP to respond.

Why, so he can shit all over this thread and then walk away, as usual?
posted by wakko at 10:33 AM on December 21, 2005


The Bush admin is known to pay off journalists, newspapers, reporters, etc to promote their talking points and their indoctrination programming.

How much do they pay Drudge?
posted by five fresh fish at 10:59 AM on December 21, 2005


I have always thought that it clearly did

clear would have been the word "correspondence" in the text of the Amendment, like it is in the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

Eavesdropping is a search. Without probable cause and a warrant, it's an unreasonable search. I don't see the difficulty

That wasn't the reading, 1783-1967, though justices in the late 19th century began asserting a penumbra of privacy.

I agree we have a common-law right to be let alone, yet I also assert that we have delegated police powers to government to preserve the public order and safety.

Our rights and the government's powers are always in conflict; the bigger the power required to fulfill its mandate, the bigger the conflict (eg. conscription).

The constitutional tests are "necessary & proper" of the power, "due process" of the application, and "undue burden" to the individual.

Wow, I feel like a SCOTUS judge here :)
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:03 AM on December 21, 2005


How much do they pay Drudge?

...and Judy Miller (NYT's).

...and Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. and Bill Keller (NYT's) who agreed to hold this domestic spying story for a year. Of so convenient that its revelation last year may have factored into the Presidential election.
posted by ericb at 11:06 AM on December 21, 2005


Bobby Ray Inman brings up a decent point about FISA, public confidence and in spying on Americans.
(Audio link)

Pretty good background too:
here
From the link:
Inman: “We need what some call a Chinese wall. This is necessary so that the analysts are totally independent from and without any loyalty to any [intelligence] collector.

Slate: And independent of the political process?

Inman: Exactly … I don't believe you will solve a lot of the problems we've seen either in the run-up to 9/11 or the run-up to Iraq until you separate collection from analysis.”

/incidentally - PP’s self-avowed intent is to disrupt communications here. If he had an honest opinion, I might listen. But he’s only baiting and derailing purposefully.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:15 AM on December 21, 2005


A Drudge link. In an FPP.
Good times.
posted by 2sheets at 11:16 AM on December 21, 2005


U.S. District Judge James Robertson would not comment Wednesday on his resignation, but The Washington Post reported that it stemmed from deep concern that the surveillance program Bush authorized was legally questionable and may have tainted the work of the court.

Judge Resigns Over Secret Surveillance

I didn't feel it merited posting as a one-link newsfilter FPP, but I thought it's germane to the thread and deserved noting for posterity.
posted by alumshubby at 11:16 AM on December 21, 2005


"A few current and former signals intelligence guys have been checking in since this NSA domestic spying story broke. Their reactions range between midly creeped out and completely pissed off." -- DefenseTech.org.
posted by ericb at 11:23 AM on December 21, 2005


Timeline behind the domestic spying scandal.
posted by ericb at 11:24 AM on December 21, 2005


Democrats Say They Didn't Back Wiretapping.
posted by ericb at 11:26 AM on December 21, 2005


Corrected hyperlink -- Timeline.
posted by ericb at 11:39 AM on December 21, 2005


Smedleyman: "/incidentally - PP’s self-avowed intent is to disrupt communications here. ... he’s only baiting and derailing purposefully."

Can you cite this? I'd love to see it, for the record.
posted by ewagoner at 11:40 AM on December 21, 2005


"I believe in a strong, robust executive authority and I think that the world we live in demands it," der Deputei Führer sprechet.

"I would argue that the actions that we've taken there are totally appropriate and consistent with the constitutional authority of the president.

Commander-in-chief == domestic dictator? hmmm. This could get ... messy. Wonder how much of a hack Roberts really is.

You know, it's not an accident that we haven't been hit in four years," the vice president said, speaking with reporters on Air Force Two en route from Pakistan to Oman.

Your personal failure to execute the powers of the executive prior to 9/11 (gotta get in that vacation time, "bin Laden determined to strike in US" or no) becomes a blank check eh?

gut-wrenchingly odious. Wonder how this is going to play.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:44 AM on December 21, 2005


Funny how they take credit for "no terror attacks in 4 years", but absolutely refust to take responsibility for the one that did occur on 9/11.

Seems to be a little inconsistent, to me.
posted by darkstar at 11:54 AM on December 21, 2005


*refuse

I hate catching a typo in that split second right after you click the "Post Comment" button...
posted by darkstar at 11:55 AM on December 21, 2005


Can you cite this? I'd love to see it, for the record.

He said this 1-2 months ago. fwiw, taken to meta for a concrete example from yesterday.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 12:01 PM on December 21, 2005


In light of recent events, the National Security Archive at George Washington University has re-posted their "National Security Agency Declassified" electronic briefing book, which spells out the prohibition against domestic surveillance by the NSA under The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and the United States Intelligence Directive 18. The National Security Archive is a non-profit organization that gathers and makes available declassified NSA documents via Freedom of Information Act requests. You can explore their collections online via ProQuest.

Because of this archives, many truths (scandals) have come to light about the NSA, covert CIA operations, and previously-denied US government policy during Vietnam, Nicaragua, the Iran-Contra affair, and other notable US overseas adventures.

More about the National Security Archive:

"The National Security Archive combines a unique range of functions in one non governmental, non-profit institution. The Archive is simultaneously a research institute on international affairs, a library and archive of declassified U.S. documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, a public interest law firm defending and expanding public access to government information through the FOIA, and an indexer and publisher of the documents in books, microfiche, and electronic formats. The Archive's approximately $2.3 million yearly budget comes from publication revenues and from private philanthropists such as the Carnegie Corporation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Ford Foundation. As a matter of policy, the Archive receives no government funding."
posted by Sidthecat at 12:16 PM on December 21, 2005


Wonder how this is going to play.

posted by Heywood Mogroot at 12:44 PM
MST
on December 21 [!]
Here's the script:
1. POTUS screws up
2. Yelling, finger pointing, and poop-flinging ensues
3. Things calm down
4. POTUS gets off, scott free
5. ???
6. Profit!!!

Any questions?
posted by C.Batt at 12:30 PM on December 21, 2005


Incidentally, journalist Laura Rozen (who I recommend highly) posts this update to her blog entry on the Slate article:
Update: Two folks who know their way around this world say this story is "crap." One reader: "I think the author of the above story is unfortunately completely wrong. And appears to be somewhat silly and naive? ...The point is: we have access to everything the British have. Ancillary to that, because of their innate skills in the field of cryptography, they literally have access to everything we have. And it is likely that NSA types were using their unfettered British counterparts to warn the British and US governments about the legality of the war in Iraq et al. ... The NSA is not the enemy."
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:32 PM on December 21, 2005


I've said this before in another thread but I wonder if the terroristas understood that their legacy wouldn't so much be 3000 American deaths, but a national mind-fuck where we voluntarily (in most cases) create inarguably (read arguably) unAmerican policy. Likewise we abolish some of the things that make America America. Was this part of their plan? Or did they just want to kill a bunch of people? Did they predict we woud go catatonic with fear and canabalize our own county? Land of the "Free"* and Home of the Brave Indeed. If the terrorists understood that their legacy would be more than murdered Americans... holy shit... it's brilliant. Talk about mission accomplished, those guys undid lots and lots of legal, political and national history... those guys totally must be breaking their arms patting themselves on the back. And you know what? We did it for them.

Said before too, but it is sort of funny in the context of Bush talking about the terrorists "hating our freedom". I thought it simplistic bullshit at the time, but hell... he was on to something... its like he was psychic or something.

*Offer not valid in Puerto Rico. "Some"** Restrictions apply.

**Offer not valid in conjunction with any other offers, nor in the 50 states.
posted by hatchetjack at 12:59 PM on December 21, 2005


"I think that 2006 will be a time when we look back on this surveillance with a clearer eye -- one that takes in these violations, the lack of due process at Guantanamo and the government's sanctioning of torture as illegal acts. In that light, recent administration speeches are less justifications of government policy than they are admissions of guilt." [source]
posted by ericb at 1:02 PM on December 21, 2005


Judge Resigns Over Secret Surveillance

I didn't feel it merited posting as a one-link newsfilter FPP, but I thought it's germane to the thread and deserved noting for posterity.


Yep, it sure did. That's why it was noted and discussed upthread.
posted by soyjoy at 1:25 PM on December 21, 2005


Excuse the sound of my eye-popping

* a war ... A WAR GD IT !
* thousand deads, both nationals and strangers
* allegations of partisan politics interfering in intelligence operation
* allegations of torture on prisoners
* extremist nutso propaganda for 4 years, 4 years !
* economy into the crapper, unemployement
* strikes

AND now americans suddendly wake up because the Prez illegally wiretapped some nationals ?

Fer chris sake
posted by elpapacito at 2:54 PM on December 21, 2005


Oh and I don't mean it as if italians with Berlusconi weren't nearly as idiotic..we were. But hey italy can't do that much damage can we ? :)
posted by elpapacito at 2:59 PM on December 21, 2005


Democrats Say They Didn't Back Wiretapping.

Bush lied about the Dems having "the same intelligence as the executive used to decide whether to go to Iraq." Does anyone think he's being any more honest when he claims Congressional involvement?
posted by clevershark at 4:26 PM on December 21, 2005


GYOFB
posted by docgonzo at 4:26 PM on December 21, 2005


Go Yell Out, "Fuck Bush!" ???
posted by papakwanz at 4:57 PM on December 21, 2005


Guess You're Open For Buggery ?
posted by ericb at 5:11 PM on December 21, 2005


Double entendre intended.
posted by ericb at 5:18 PM on December 21, 2005


aeschenkarnos, I would totally flag your comment, except I see so much silly anti-American sentiment on the Blue these days that it would be like trying to empty a swimming pool with a fork.

Please do not confuse the actions of the American govenmnent with those of Americans.


oh. When did that change exactly? Hasn't America been trying to convince the world for years that the American government IS the people, to a greater extent than anywhere else in the world? You are teh democracy, remember?

Sorry, but I don't buy it. This government won twice in a row. They ARE a reflection of the current generation of Americans & the current state of American culture, as a collective whole. Sure, there are dissidents & protestors. There always are, and perhaps you count yourself among them. But, overall, the Bush government is America. That's how they got elected.
posted by lastobelus at 5:42 PM on December 21, 2005


Yes, lestobelus. We elected him in a landslide too. And we all love our Dear Leader. You are an idiot.
posted by anomie at 6:04 PM on December 21, 2005


Well, the Bush government is about half of America. The other half did vote against him.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:13 PM on December 21, 2005


Come to think of it, I suppose half of America couldn't even be arsed to attend the voting stations... so it's only about a quarter of America that's got the kind of fuckeduppedness required to cast a vote for him.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:15 PM on December 21, 2005


To be fair, another half had the fuckeduppedness not to vote against him... I'm not saying America's perfect, but to say that Dear Leader represents all of us, or even most of us, is fucking insane and insulting to the sane half of this country.

lastobelus, I would be interested to know what country you're from so I could make sweeping stereotypical generalizations about you.
posted by anomie at 6:19 PM on December 21, 2005


lastobelus: there are some logical errors in your reasoning.
The equation Bush Govt = America is patently false and in plain contradiction with your previous statement government = reflection of current generation of american.

What is what ? Both equations can't be true at the same time. Nitpicking ? No, formal logic. Two contradictory statement in the same paragraph describe the confusion in your mind.

Additionally, it is true that the government has been elected and that they formally represent all of americans, even if only half the voting popolutation elected them. Keep this in mind because NOT EVERY american supports all of the decision made by actual government.

Opposition, which should represent the concerns and some valid objections of the "dissenters" has been reduced to being a mere voice with very little power ..except in few relevant instances like the Alaska Wildlife..but only because of defections by some republicans.

But I agree on the facts : all of americans will carry the burden and obtain the benefits of this admin. All of the really rich and powerful americans will get the benefit, you get the shaft.
posted by elpapacito at 6:23 PM on December 21, 2005


Ummm.... you underestimate the scope of the influence of this administration. Your statement should read:

All of the really rich and powerful humans will get the benefit, you get the shaft.

There's no difference between an American who voted against Bush and some innocent dude in Iraq. Neither one voted for Bush, they both get the shaft.
posted by anomie at 7:25 PM on December 21, 2005


those of you who are mad at lastobelus really need to turn that around...
when he says: But, overall, the Bush government is America. That's how they got elected.

i wouldn't knock him. the 2004 election was the first one where pocketbook issues counted for shit, and no matter how fixed and fucked it was, more people were motivated to vote out of hate instead of hope or selfishness. Even now, millions of people are lapping up their lies, and know they're safe, because he was born again like them, and they're good, straight, white, Christians. his party controls the congress, which is the only check that can punish or remove him, so lasto is exactly right. Now, his administration really is America, and until you fight to remove Bush it'll be true--to your shame and regret.
posted by amberglow at 8:34 PM on December 21, 2005


elpapa, since we lost the checks and balances our system relies on, lasto is right--every single horrible and evil thing done has been our responsibility, and Bush knows it--the torture, the rendition, the crusade, the deaths...it is all of our responsibility--until even the koolaid drinkers realize that--that it's all being done in the name of America--which equals all of us, we're sunk.
posted by amberglow at 8:39 PM on December 21, 2005


You're right. The Bush administration is (fucking) America (in the ass).

The Bush administration is NOT America! What does that even mean? The Bush administration has control of America, and alot of America is really fucked up. But to say that you can judge Americans by a group of 50 or so cronies, or even by the 51% of the people who were scared into voting for them, is bullshit. It's simplistic, moronic, and degrading to the 49% of people who disagree with these crooks.
posted by anomie at 8:51 PM on December 21, 2005


I'm not saying America's perfect, but to say that Dear Leader represents all of us, or even most of us, is fucking insane and insulting to the sane half of this country.

Not good enough, sorry. It's not GWB that's the problem. He, like that slightly-less-egregious shitsack Clinton before him, is just a symptom. Hell, W's nothing -- just a dipshit fratboy sockpuppet faux-cowboy halfwit that got lucky. Pitiful, and secondary.

The rot goes far deeper and is systemic, and even the so-called 'sane half' of your country is just as responsible for the sorry state of your democracy as the rest.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:09 PM on December 21, 2005


I was just going to post something, but on preview stavros[...] hit my sentiments on the head.
posted by C.Batt at 9:20 PM on December 21, 2005


GYOFB
posted by docgonzo at 7:26 PM EST on December 21 [!]


i think it's funny the way docgonzo keeps screwing up that acronym. he probably thinks somebody set us up the bomb, too.
posted by quonsar at 10:58 PM on December 21, 2005


amber:
--until even the koolaid drinkers realize that--that it's all being done in the name of America--which equals all of us, we're sunk.

Not so fast amber. Again, it is true that current government formally represent all of americans, but politically they only represent the people who voted for them. Consider this : one votes a representative that sounds OK, promises reasonable achievements and combines this with some agreeable ideology ; you vote and once you voted the representative turns his back and start doing whatever the fuck he pleases ; or something opposite or just formally similar, but not sostantially, to what he promised.

Are you guilty because you were misled and lied to ? NOpe, I don't think you are.

Are you guilty of being naive ? I don't think one can really be guilty of being an innocent simpleton...and many times people are not offered instruments necessary to reduce their own ignorance. Others don't realize why remaining ignorant is bad even if you don't immediately pay the price of ignorance.

On the contrary the GWB base don't have the excuse of being lied to, because as far as I know they were not lied to. In the second election the arguments were incessantly repeated : it's all about protecting from terrorists, it's all about finishing the job in iraq, it's all about the pernicious ideology of exporting democracy by imposition, it's all about pre-emptying weapons that don't exists, but if they existed oh lordie glad the didn't ! It's all about chasing phantom menaces and criticizing dissenters by proxy for dissenting !

Those who voted GWB on the second election...they were not lied to. They'll reap the benefit of their administration IF some benefit will be offered them...yet they'll also have to carry all the burden of the damage. In a true hypocrite fashion they'll say they were lied to and maybe they'll blame "the libruls" or their own "traitors".

OK I can live with their denial, it's kind of expectable..but never again should such a vicious minority obtain so much power over the others, a power so great that they feel locked into need to support extremists and their agendas.
posted by elpapacito at 4:11 AM on December 22, 2005


Does no one suspect that political opponents of the Bush Regime have been eavesdropped on by Bush's Order?
posted by OXYMORON at 5:37 AM on December 22, 2005


If GYOFB == Get Your Own F---ing Blog then doc's acronym is correctly spelled.

If, however, GYOFB == Government Of, By and For You...then it's unfortunately incorrect.
posted by darkstar at 5:46 AM on December 22, 2005


Aggravated by the willingess of many to forfeit their privacy for claims of necessity predicated on national security, The Rude Pundit has an interesting post with a new "Loyal Citizen's Contract such people might be happy to sign:
The Rude Pundit believes a new "contract" of sorts is needed between the government and the American people. Howzabout this:

"I (the undersigned) believe President George W. Bush when he says that the United States of America is fighting a 'new kind of enemy' that requires 'new thinking' about how to wage war. Therefore, as a loyal citizen of President Bush’s United States, my signature below indicates my agreement to the following:

1. I believe wholeheartedly in the Patriot Act as initially passed by Congress in 2001, as well as the provisions of the Domestic Security Enhancement Act. Therefore, I grant the FBI access to:

a. my library records, so it may determine if I am reading material that might designate me an enemy of the nation;

b. my financial records, including credit reports, so it may determine if I am contributing monetarily to any governmentally proscribed activities or organizations;

c. my medical records, so it may determine if my prescriptions, injuries, or other conditions are indicative of terrorist activity on my part;

d. any and all other personal records including, but not limited to, my store purchases, my school records, my web browsing history, and anything else determined as a 'tangible thing' necessary to engage in a secret investigation of me.

I agree that I do not need to be notified if my records have come under scrutiny by the FBI, and, furthermore, I agree that no warrant is needed for the FBI to engage in this examination of my personal records. Additionally, I agree that the FBI should be allowed to monitor any groups it believes may be linked to what it determines to be terrorist activity.

2. I believe that the President of the United States has the power to mitigate any and all laws passed by the Congress and that he has such power granted to him by his status as Commander-in-Chief in the Constitution as well as the 2001 Authorization of Military Force, passed by the Congress, which states that the President can use 'all necessary and appropriate force' in prosecution of the war. Therefore, I grant the United States government the following powers:

a. that the National Security Agency, under the direction of the President, may tap my phone lines and intercept my e-mail without warrant or FISA oversight;

b. that the President may hold me or other detainees without access to the legal system for a period of time determined by the President or his agents;

c. that the President may authorize physical force against me or other individual detainees in order to gain intelligence and that he may define whether such physical force may be called 'torture':

d. that the President may set aside any and all laws he sees as hindering the gathering of intelligence and prevention of terrorist acts for a period as time determined by the President, including, but not limited to, rights to political protest.

I agree that the Judicial and Legislative branch should be allowed no oversight of these activities, and that such oversight merely emboldens the terrorists. I also agree that virtually all of these activities may be conducted in complete secrecy and that revelation of these activities amount to treasonous behavior on the part of those who reveal these activities to the press and the citizenry.

3. Finally, this document is my statement that I believe the President of the United States and the entire executive branch, as well as all departments and agencies involved, as well as all of its personnel, will treat these powers I have granted them with utmost respect. I believe that these powers will not be abused, nor will any of the information I have given them permission to examine be misinterpreted. However, should such abuse or misinterpretation occur, I agree that such actions are mere errors and no one should be subject to investigation, arrest, or employment action as a result.

My consent freely given,
(Your signature)

C'mon, Michelle Malkin, Byron York, John Hinderaker, and all the rest of you good Bush lovers. Sign on up. Send it in to the White House. Let 'em know that you have nothing to hide. Or nothing you don't care about sharing."
posted by darkstar at 6:16 AM on December 22, 2005


.
posted by juiceCake at 7:22 AM on December 22, 2005


And the MSNBC poll on whether to impeach Bush over this, here.
posted by darkstar at 7:54 AM on December 22, 2005


Every one please stop using the "koolaid" meme. please.
posted by hatchetjack at 8:28 AM on December 22, 2005


From the Fineman article, GW = Nixon 2.0
posted by caddis at 9:26 AM on December 22, 2005


I think I'll continue to blame all America and all American citizens for what's going on.

If the majority were really against the Bush agenda, they'd be harassing their representatives to such an extent that there would have to be change.

That the majority can't be bothered to become politically active and rein in the assholes who are destroying the country is an indictment of all America.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:26 AM on December 22, 2005


If GYOFB == Get Your Own F---ing Blog then doc's acronym is correctly spelled.

yeah, but the phrase is "get your own blog, fuckwit" - GYOBF
posted by quonsar at 9:43 AM on December 22, 2005




Mark Earnest (conservative blogger)
"I almost feel I don't know these people anymore. It seems now they feel government cannot have nearly enough power. Secret courts, secret warrants, secret prisons, suspect torture, massive data gathering on all aspects of US citizens including medical records, library records, and financial records are all wonderful things. They hold up the Patriot Act as a great piece of legislation that the Bush Whitehouse pushed through to combat terrorism (little seem to understand most of it was written during Clinton's years).

I truly and honestly do not understand. People who once proudly quoted Franklin's 'Those who give up essential liberty for a little safety deserve neither' now cheerlead the executive branch on in removing any judicial oversight, congressional oversight, and in fact ANY oversight (as most of these laws are secret) from the land. Far from the transparent government the founders imagined, we are now entering a system where laws are kept secret, prosecutions are kept secret, and national security is a password to removing any and all liberty that stands in the way of anything government wishes to do....

People who support a clandestine program of warrantless domestic spying are not 'conservatives' or 'libertarians.' Neither are people who support the creation of a worldwide archipelago of secret torture sites. Neither are people who support the usurpation of the functions of government by the executive branch; who espouse the theory that the executive branch is the final arbiter of the legality of the actions of the executive branch; and who call for the investigation or prosecution of a free press that dares to report on the executive branch’s secret programs of domestic spying and outsourced torture.

Those people, my friends, are called the radical right."
posted by ericb at 9:51 AM on December 22, 2005


Wall Street Journal: Wiretap Furor Widens Republican Divide
posted by ericb at 9:57 AM on December 22, 2005


anomie: Ok -- if you disagree vehemently that the current American government is representative of America (its people, culture & values), what then?

Does the current state of America then represent a fundamental failure of (non-social) democracy?

I thought the whole point of the American ideal of democracy was that the government was supposed to be as close to being representative of the people as possible.

If that is not currently true, than your system of government -- the one you constantly push on other countries, not just Iraq, but my country too, using trade threats to attempt to force us to choose our social laws the way you want us to -- has failed.
(I'm using the collective you of course)

Which is it? Does the current American government represent the American people, or has American democracy failed?

Forget what America was last generation. I don't care. What is it now? Let's look at numbers, comparing America with it's peers -- the other 15 or so western industrialized nations. Let's look at crime rate. Imprisonment of minorities. Percentage of GDP given in aid. Amount of tying of aid to political requirements, and future trade requirements. Health care. Social liberties. Working hours & working conditions. Participation in the world community. Compliance with WTO rules & rulings. Weapons of mass destruction. Money spent on war and warfare compared to money spent on social issues. Etc. These are all numbers and facts with which I can objectively evaluate what America IS, as a culture, as a people, compared to its peers, the other democracies.

It is a historical fact that America was a leading force in the development of democracy, of social liberty. Are you now? You, the currently alive Americans? What your parents & grandparents achieved reflects only on them, not on you. What are you?

Obviously no government ever reflects the values of every single individual living in a nation. But I assure you: from the outside it appears to me and many others that the current American government does indeed represent the COLLECTIVE current values & attitudes of the American people AS A WHOLE.
posted by lastobelus at 9:58 AM on December 22, 2005


You wanna look at numbers?

49% of americans voted for Bush the first time around. (you know that
51% the second time (obviously)

Bush poll numbers: 46% approve, 53% disapprove

What do these numbers say? They say that America is split down the middle in a political battle of epic proportions. Sometimes it feels like we're fighting a political civil war here. Democrats HATE Republicans, and vice versa. If a country is in a civil war, and one side is winning at the moment, do you judge the entire country based on the values of one side or the other? No, you look at the country as locked in a battle, and you admire and support those who are fighting for whichever side you agree with. You want to generalize Americans as dumbfuck bumpkins because it makes us that much easier to hate and criticize. Just because you WANT to look at GWB and judge America as a whole doesn't mean you can do it. Can you judge Iraq as a whole from the ideology of the Shi'te's just because they won the election? No you can't. In fact, every country is complex and evolving, and generalizations are next to impossible to evoke without becoming as bigoted and prejudiced as the people you criticize.
posted by anomie at 10:36 AM on December 22, 2005


amen
posted by Smedleyman at 10:54 AM on December 22, 2005


I don't think Americans are dumbfuck bumpkins at all. Not collectively, and certainly not those individuals with whom I have contact.

I was in the states for almost two years. I met a lot of people that I really liked & admired. There's a hell of a lot that I like about Americans as individuals, and about life in America.

What America is as a world citizen is not what individual Americans are. How America is comporting itself in the world goes much deeper than Bush. Look at another of today's headlines: Microsoft, one of America's largest & most influential companies, ignoring an EU ruling that is more than a year old. Yet this same company is one of the most active in sponsoring and agitating for the imposition of American IP rules & values on the rest of the world.

Present day America is often behaving -- viewed as a world citizen & in comparison to it's peers, the other democracies -- as a hard-working, selfish, violent, hypocritical, superstitious bully.

That does not mean that all Americans or even most Americans are that, and I have ample experience that most are not. But it is how you are currently operating as a nation in the world.

The fact that individuals are or can be completely different from a generalization about the collective is useful only as an excuse for ignoring what the generalization says about the collective. I'm not talking about individuals. I'm talking about the collective.

My willingness to risk doing so, and it certainly does feel risky, is not because I hate Americans but because I care what happens in the world.
posted by lastobelus at 11:29 AM on December 22, 2005


Your original statement:
Sorry, but I don't buy it. This government won twice in a row. They ARE a reflection of the current generation of Americans & the current state of American culture, as a collective whole.


You have changed your argument from saying that the Bush Administration represents the whole of American culture to saying that the American government under the Bush administration as well as large American corporations have acted reprehensably abroad. That is something I can get behind. That is something we are working to change.

Present day America is often behaving -- viewed as a world citizen & in comparison to it's peers, the other democracies -- as a hard-working, selfish, violent, hypocritical, superstitious bully.

You have backed off your language by saying "is often behaving," which is more the case. If I do something stupid, it does not mean I am a stupid person, rather I acted in a moment of stupidity. America seems to be having a lot of these lately, but 8 years ago we were loved throughout the world. Please. Let's stop this "collective" BS and get to the point. You hate Bush. So do I. Bush does not represent the ideals and culture of America. He represents what is wrong with America.
posted by anomie at 12:37 PM on December 22, 2005


Yeah, let's look at numbers:
Do you believe President Bush's actions justify impeachment? * 93911 responses
85% responded: "Yes, between the secret spying, the deceptions leading to war and more, there is plenty to justify putting him on trial."

What do these numbers say? They say that people are not split down the middle and that Bush is up to his neck in it. They probably also say that a lot more people who are pissed at Bush bothered to take the survey, but hey.
posted by caddis at 1:11 PM on December 22, 2005


Hey! Have there been comments deleted from this thread?

I don't see Paris' original comment that I challenged. Nor do I find the comment where I challenged Paris' statement.

Postroad's comment retracting his statement is there, as is my thanks for that. But the other two comments seem to have vanished.

What gives? Did I just dream this or am I making some user error in searching for those comments?
posted by darkstar at 2:50 PM on December 23, 2005


Never mind, my bad. I noticed I posted it here.

These government surveillance scandals are beginning to get confusing...
posted by darkstar at 3:13 PM on December 23, 2005


If a country is in a civil war, and one side is winning at the moment, do you judge the entire country based on the values of one side or the other?

Yeah, but you're not in a civil war. You're sitting on your fat collective ass watching the whole thing crumble. Whimper, not bang.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:38 PM on December 24, 2005


Just for thoroughness, I'll add this note here, too. An outstanding article on the whole warrantless wiretaps issue here by Suzanne E. Spaulding.

As Balkinization reported on Christmas Day:

If you're going to read only one thing about the NSA Spying Program it probably ought to be this piece by Suzanne Spaulding, former assistant general counsel at the CIA, general counsel for the Senate and House Intelligence committees, and executive director of the National Terrorism Commission (1999-2000).
posted by darkstar at 11:43 PM on December 26, 2005






Dial 'M' for Moron
posted by ericb at 11:34 AM on December 27, 2005


Bolton's NSA intercept requests are key.
posted by ericb at 11:36 AM on December 27, 2005




You know, we consider most of those members friends and allies. Another great deed to further our international relations.
posted by caddis at 12:37 PM on December 28, 2005


I suppose it's legal to authorize warrantless NSA wiretaps on the UN Security Council if they are first designated a terrorist organization.
posted by darkstar at 1:12 PM on December 28, 2005


I think they already have, hence John Bolton.
posted by caddis at 3:07 PM on December 28, 2005


... Bush's abuses of presidential power are the most extensive in American history. He has launched an aggressive war ("war of choice," in today's euphemism) on false grounds. He has presided over a system of torture and sought to legitimize it by specious definitions of the word. He has asserted a wholesale right to lock up American citizens and others indefinitely without any legal showing or the right to see a lawyer or anyone else. He has kidnapped people in foreign countries and sent them to other countries, where they were tortured. In rationalizing these and other acts, his officials have laid claim to the unlimited, uncheckable and unreviewable powers he has asserted in the wiretapping case. He has tried to drop a thick shroud of secrecy over these and other actions.

There is a name for a system of government that wages aggressive war, deceives its citizens, violates their rights, abuses power and breaks the law, rejects judicial and legislative checks on itself, claims power without limit, tortures prisoners and acts in secret. It is dictatorship. ...

posted by amberglow at 3:16 PM on December 28, 2005




An outstanding Q&A on the NSA warrantless wiretaps illegality here (links directly to PDF file).

This is via Volokh Conspiracy, where Orin Kerr (brilliant legal scholar) says :

...check out this interesting exchange on the legality of the NSA surveillance program between two Federalist Society members -- Bob Levy of Cato and David Rivkin of Baker & Hostetler. I think Levy is basically right and Rivkin is basically wrong; more on some of these issues later today, assuming that we come back on line.

In reading the exchange, I agree with Orin. Levy schools Rivkin, soundly refuting the Bush apologetists' arguments point by point.
posted by darkstar at 10:54 AM on December 29, 2005




But they immediately fixed the cookie issue and their explanation for their mistake is perfectly sane.

Also, cookies aren't so much information taken unknowingly from us as they are information given to us (for later retrieval).

If you don't want websites and webmasters to keep track of your preferences or your specific instance of web browser, quit accepting cookies.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:56 PM on December 29, 2005




Justice Deptartment to probe leak of spy program.
Because of course that is the real issue here, not that the President of the United States has criminally violated the FISA and got caught red handed.
posted by caddis at 10:39 AM on December 30, 2005


Bush's lies today: ... "It seems logical to me that if we know there's a phone number associated with al-Qaida or an al-Qaida affiliate and they're making phone calls, it makes sense to find out why," he said.

Really? So now there are Al Qaeda members and Al Qaeda affiliates inside the United States making phone calls, we know who they are, and:

1) Bush is letting known terrorists and known terrorist affiliates roam around our country free, which begs the question: Why aren't they under arrest?

2) Bush is saying that the courts would never grant a warrant to listen to the phone calls of Al Qaeda members or Al Qaeda affiliates inside the United States. That's just a lie. ...

posted by amberglow at 9:09 PM on January 1, 2006






Bush Domestic Spying Ad.
posted by ericb at 8:47 PM on January 5, 2006


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