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January 23, 2009 12:08 PM   Subscribe

Wired: Obama Sides With Bush in Spy Case. "The Obama administration fell in line with the Bush administration Thursday when it urged a federal judge to set aside a ruling in a closely watched spy case weighing whether a U.S. president may bypass Congress and establish a program of eavesdropping on Americans without warrants."
posted by blue_beetle (86 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
[INSERT EDITORIALIZING HERE]
posted by blue_beetle at 12:08 PM on January 23, 2009


[INSERT IRONIC LYRIC FROM THE WHO HERE]
posted by Spatch at 12:11 PM on January 23, 2009 [17 favorites]


So Obama thinks the legislation he voted for was legal? Shocking. The case isn't about warrantless wiretapping itself, it's about whether or not congress can retroactively legalize it.

Also, Holder said he would support the same position as A.G. in his confirmation hearings.
posted by delmoi at 12:12 PM on January 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


[GYOFB HERE]
posted by cavalier at 12:13 PM on January 23, 2009


Surely this....
posted by inigo2 at 12:15 PM on January 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Obama continues holding position I don't like"
posted by smackfu at 12:15 PM on January 23, 2009


[REDACTED]
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:16 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


At some point, people are going to have to start admitting to themselves that Obama is endorsing these police-state surveillance powers because he, you know, wants them.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:16 PM on January 23, 2009 [12 favorites]


[SQUAREBRACKETS]
posted by Artw at 12:18 PM on January 23, 2009 [14 favorites]


At some point, people are going to have to start admitting to themselves that Obama is endorsing these police-state surveillance powers because he, you know, wants them.

At some point, people are going to have to start admitting to themselves that Obama is not the Messiah.
posted by spicynuts at 12:20 PM on January 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


You'd want 'em too, if you were king of Earth. Right?
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 12:20 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maybe we should have McCain Palin in charge, instead. I'm sure that would work out even better for civil liberties.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:21 PM on January 23, 2009 [9 favorites]


the difference is, i would happily give the info to Obama to make him like me. i resented Bush for wanting it. it just came off as needy.
posted by JVA at 12:21 PM on January 23, 2009 [12 favorites]


This case does not affect me. I want to know Obama's position on Ceiling Cat.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 12:23 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Should they? I don't think so. Can they? Of course they can. We can go much farther than this, and I think we actually have.
posted by StrikeTheViol at 12:28 PM on January 23, 2009


Obama breaks wind: fails to excuse himself!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:28 PM on January 23, 2009


At some point, people are going to have to start admitting to themselves that Obama is not the Messiah.

Disillusioned Bush supporter: He said he was going to bring honor back to the Presidency. Now he's betraying CIA agents and torturing prisoners.

Continuing Bush supporter: Were you expecting a Messiah?
posted by Joe Beese at 12:31 PM on January 23, 2009


[HONEYMOON STATUS: THREATENED]
posted by boo_radley at 12:34 PM on January 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


ARRAY[0]
posted by Artw at 12:35 PM on January 23, 2009


The Obama Presidency is an unmitigated disaster -- and will remain so until he signs an Executive Order issuing Joe Beese his own. fucking. blog.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:36 PM on January 23, 2009 [10 favorites]


joe lisboa, bring that petition over here - I'll sign it.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 12:39 PM on January 23, 2009


This is why Obama will never be President.
posted by oneirodynia at 12:41 PM on January 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


This is my surprised face.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:44 PM on January 23, 2009


[SOCIALIST TAX BRACKETS]
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:45 PM on January 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


No matter how wonderful he might be in some areas, don't forget - Obama has a history of shitting on the Bill Of Rights with his Senate votes. And it looks like he's going to continue that policy now that he's in power.

Still better than Bush - Rather than a shit sandwich we have a nice deli club... with small blobs of poop in it.

Also, I find that most Obama voters are pretty realistic about him not being perfect. What I find unrealistic is the typical consevative belief that liberals think he's flawless.
posted by aapep at 12:52 PM on January 23, 2009 [18 favorites]


Obama [INSERT SYMBOL OF RELATION HERE] Bush
posted by found missing at 12:55 PM on January 23, 2009


Mefi with my little eye, something beginning with W.
posted by gman at 1:03 PM on January 23, 2009


[FLAGGED]
posted by LarryC at 1:04 PM on January 23, 2009


Obama better watch it, he might fall off his unicorn.

Seriously, I can't believe that this situation isn't causing riots in the streets. The gov't was spying on us illegally. (They're still spying on us, but now it's legal).

Nevermind that this is disgusting. The telcos are culpable; at the time, they KNEW that Bush had no authority to authorize such spying. Without congressional approval, what they were being asked to do was against the law. There is no way they couldn't have known this.

But they went along with it anyway. The telcos deserve to be sued into oblivion.

And now they're being indemnified. Is this a great country or what?
posted by smcdow at 1:04 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is not just about "whether or not congress can retroactively legalize" warrantless surveillance

Some light from the fucking article:
The legal brouhaha concerns Walker's decision to admit as evidence a classified document allegedly showing that two American lawyers for a now-defunct Saudi charity were electronically eavesdropped on without warrants by the Bush administration in 2004.

The lawyers — Wendell Belew and Asim Ghafoo — sued the Bush administration after the U.S. Treasury Department accidentally released the Top Secret memo to them. At one point, the courts had ordered the document, which has never been made public, returned and removed from the case.
This looks to me like the unfortunate Bush practice of arguing that evidence of illegal activity is secret, so the activity can't be investigated.
posted by grobstein at 1:05 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Mentioned already in this previous Obama thread...
posted by Pantengliopoli at 1:06 PM on January 23, 2009


> Is this a great country or what?

The answer is no.
posted by Stonewall Jackson at 1:11 PM on January 23, 2009


[SCHADENFREUDE] [REFERENCE] [VINDICTIVE] [DEMOCRAT] [SAFER] [AMERICA] [EXPLETIVE]
posted by Chuffy at 1:12 PM on January 23, 2009


The gov't was spying on us illegally.

Well, the reason there aren't any riots is that we don't know who exactly the "us" was.
posted by smackfu at 1:13 PM on January 23, 2009


And now they're being indemnified. Is this a great country or what?

It will only be great once we all agree that torture is good. Nobody wanted privacy anyway...that's what Facebook's for.
posted by Chuffy at 1:14 PM on January 23, 2009


Under the spreading chestnut tree / I sold you and you sold me / There lie they, and here lie we / Under the spreading chestnut tree.
posted by loquacious at 1:14 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, the reason there aren't any riots is that we don't know who exactly the "us" was.


No, not really. We just learned that the "us" is everybody, especially journalists. The reason there aren't any riots is because this isn't like the Celtics winning the championship, it's boring political stuff that interferes with American Idol discussion at the water cooler.
posted by Chuffy at 1:16 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't think this conversation is going to prove very enlightening, nor provide much ammo for any opinion about Obama. He was just inaugurated, the new AG is not yet installed, and all that has happened is that the new administration has substituted itself as defendant and asked to continue the stay. There's at least a reasonable argument that with a changing of the guard going on at the Department of Justice and at the security agencies, the Obama Administration simply wants a chance to review and prioritize this and other issues. I think Wired may be going too far in interpreting a continuance of the stay as "siding with the Bush Administration." A stay is not a permanent silencing. The Department of Justice is not yet organized, and buying a little time for review doesn't strike me as an egregious power grab.

It is certainly one area to watch closely and I agree that despite the fine qualities of the New President, there is indeed the temptation to pursue the broad powers the Bush Administration sought. I don't honestly believe that is Obama's intent, and I will admit that there's simply not enough information about the reasons for the stay or the potential implications of allowing the enforcement to go through to make an informed, intelligent decision. The fact that Bush recently renewed it, and then one of the first acts of the Obama administration was to renew it, causes me to speculate that there is some strategic issue in play. It could have to do with whether the telecommunications companies will be granted the same immunity from prosecution by private citizens that they were during the Bush Administration, and I have no doubt that that's a big enough topic to require major strategizing within the Obama Administration - the precedent is important, there is at least some argument that their actions were under government directives and thus should have immunity, and there is some economic argument about the potential size and impact of a public class-action suit against the telecommunications companies in a failing economy.

In other words, interesting move. Worth noting, but I think there are very few people who have any actual idea how to interpret it or what it means right now. Stays expire. Let's see what happens next.
posted by Miko at 1:17 PM on January 23, 2009 [44 favorites]


Surely THIS will be what finally brings down the Obama administration!
posted by empath at 1:17 PM on January 23, 2009


[insert what Obama knows here]
posted by JoeXIII007 at 1:17 PM on January 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Surely THIS will be the thread that convinces the admins to permanently ban everyone who makes a "Surely THIS..." joke.
posted by you just lost the game at 1:20 PM on January 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


[FITTER] [HAPPIER] [MORE PRODUCTIVE]
posted by filthy light thief at 1:20 PM on January 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Miko: I'm as big an Obama supporter as the next guy -- bigger, for most values of "the next guy" -- but he's bad on this issue and always has been. We got all upset about it when he voted for retroactive telecom immunity, so its not a surprise. On this issue, he's essentially Bush. On most other issues he's infinitely better, but on this issue, he's not, so it doesn't pay to fool yourself.
posted by The Bellman at 1:25 PM on January 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


[MUST BREAK FREE OF THESE METAPHORICAL PUNCTUATIONAL CHAINS]
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:32 PM on January 23, 2009


[HARDER] [BETTER] [FASTER] [STRONGER]
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:33 PM on January 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm less disturbed by Obama than I am of MeFi of late. Time for a vacation.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:34 PM on January 23, 2009


I would really like to see a better write-up of this, explaining the context of the lawsuit and the specific arguments being made.

At this point, I'll admit that I'm giving Obama the benefit of the doubt, which I wouldn't do for Bush.

This may very well be an ominous indicator that Obama loves the idea of arbitrarily spying on everybody without warrants, like the author implies. But I just don't know enough about the case to start freaking out over this:
To the extent any briefing on this topic is necessary in this Court, the appropriate course would be for parties to do so in connection with the pending stay motion. For now, we note simply our disagreement with plaintiffs’ specific contention that the collateral order doctrine would not provide grounds for an appeal under 28 U.S.C. § 1291. See Pls. Rep. at 4-5. The Court’s Order conclusively determined that Section 1806(f) of the FISA has preempted the state secrets privilege and that those procedures now will be applied in this case, first to determine whether the plaintiffs have been subject to the alleged surveillance and thus whether they in fact have Article III standing. That issue is separate from the merits question of whether any surveillance violated the law. Also, for the reasons set forth in the Government’s stay motion, any decision on the issue of standing under Section 1806(f), in the unique context here, would be effectively unreviewable because the proceedings ordered by the Court would not only inherently risk disclosure of the privileged information, they provide for its disclosure to plaintiffs’ counsel based on due process considerations. See USG Stay Mem. at 9-14. Plaintiffs’ plan for proceeding does not contend otherwise, but confirms their agreement that further proceedings under the Order would involve the disclosure of classified information to plaintiffs’ counsel, including possibly of the Government’s prior classified filings. Under these circumstances, the Government need not wait until the last minute for an actual physical disclosure of classified information to the plaintiffs’ counsel before appealing. See id. at 14, n.9. 3 The order is appealable under Sections 1291 and 1292(a)(1). The government has also sought certification under 28 U.S.C. § 1292(b). But this has nothing to do with the present question regarding a stay of this Court's order pending appellate proceedings. The fact that the Order provides for declassification review of information implicates an issue of timing, not the legal effect of the Order, which provides that due process requires the disclosure of classified information to the plaintiffs under Section 1806(f) after the 45 day review period.

Finally, in arguing that the Order is not appealable, plaintiffs refer to some statements of two individuals who have been nominated to offices in the Department of Justice regarding the lawfulness of some particular forms of surveillance. See Pls. Rep. at 5-6. These observations are alsoirrelevant to whether the Court should grant a stay pending appeal. The concern raised by the Government’s stay motion is that the privilege assertion not be irreparably harmed pending appeal. The Government’s position remains that this case should be stayed.
posted by designbot at 1:35 PM on January 23, 2009


[COMFORTABLE]
posted by rusty at 1:35 PM on January 23, 2009


Intresting analysis on firedoglake, by the reporter who covered the Plame case and is generally pretty good. Keep in mind that Holder hasn't been confirmed yet, the republicans are stalling and so the DOJ is really still Bush's DOJ. It's not all that clear that Obama is responsible for this, but, Holder did say he supported the Bush position on this case so it's not clear it matters.
posted by delmoi at 1:36 PM on January 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


[ASTRONAUT] [BARELY ALIVE] [BETTER] [STRONGER] [FASTER]
posted by Chuffy at 1:38 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


he's bad on this issue and always has been. We got all upset about it when he voted for retroactive telecom immunity, so its not a surprise. On this issue, he's essentially Bush.

I'm not saying he's not bad on "this issue" [not sure how broadly you define that]. I'm saying that anyone here without a law degree and strong knowledge of the changeover in the Department of Justice who thinks they know what is actually happening is pretending.
posted by Miko at 1:41 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


He’s had plenty of time as president to work all this out and solve everything for everyone forever. That’s it, I quit.

“don't forget - Obama has a history of shitting on the Bill Of Rights with his Senate votes.”

You from Illinois Illinois, chief? Are those community organizers and civil rights attorneys real Nazis where you’re from?

“Some light from the fucking article:”

Whoa, hey there grobstein, last thing we need are facts and information here. Aw, forget it, I quit...again.

“There's at least a reasonable argument that with a changing of the guard going on at the Department of Justice and at the security agencies, the Obama Administration simply wants a chance to review and prioritize this and other issues.”

But I want them to do what I think NOW! *stamps foot*
I quit.

“Under the spreading chestnut tree / I sold you and you sold me”

Y’know, though - screw Winston Smith. Dude wasn’t even really human anyway. Just a political meat puppet. Even at the end. He deserved to be part of that whole anti-passion play, from the kicking the hand into the gutter to believing it was ok to throw acid in a child’s face because he hated big brother.
This is the same thing here. I can’t believe folks can’t see it for what it is.
It’s not enough to hate big brother. It’s not enough to love people who hate him. You have to split from the whole program. Deny any of it has any hold over you. That’s what the damned rights are predicated on in the first place.
There can’t be this knee jerk reaction - whether it’s love Obama, hate him, ‘meh’, etc. It requres thought, effort, inquiry into the issue.
I mean, ultimately, it’s not about f’ing Obama, it’s about us and what we want our country to be. If he does support this and seriously defends spying on journalists than we’ll go after him on it. Or quit.

(not that there aren't some pretty funny comments here)
posted by Smedleyman at 1:42 PM on January 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I blame Lester Freamon.
posted by ooga_booga at 1:47 PM on January 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


[EXPLETIVE DELETED]
posted by blucevalo at 1:53 PM on January 23, 2009


If he does support this and seriously defends spying on journalists than we’ll go after him on it.

Let's wait to see if he reverses his stated support of police-state surveillance sometime in his first term. And if he still hasn't reversed himself after he's re-elected, we'll hold him responsible then.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:53 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


[MeTa]
posted by swift at 1:54 PM on January 23, 2009


Keep 'em coming, I can't wait til its safe to put a "Don't blame me, I voted for Nader" bumpersticker on my car.
posted by 445supermag at 1:54 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


You can put it over your "Don't blame me for voting for Nader" bumpersticker
posted by found missing at 1:58 PM on January 23, 2009


Thanks for the link, delmoi. That's what I was looking for.

It's not all that clear that Obama is responsible for this, but, Holder did say he supported the Bush position on this case so it's not clear it matters.

Hold up there, Holder said that he would support retroactive immunity for telecom companies, which is what Senator Obama also voted for. That's a completely separate issue from this case.

If the Obama administration really believed that warrantless wiretapping was legal, then why would the telecom companies even need immunity for it?
posted by designbot at 2:02 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter: [ ]
posted by ZenMasterThis at 2:02 PM on January 23, 2009


<BRACKETFAIL>
posted by Brak at 2:21 PM on January 23, 2009


<BRACKETFAIL>
posted by Brak at 2:21 PM on January 23 [+] [!]


Almost eponysterical.
posted by Foosnark at 2:29 PM on January 23, 2009


And next you're going to tell me that Obama doesn't poop rainbows!
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:34 PM on January 23, 2009


[YES] [WE] [CAN] [SPY] [TOO]
posted by mygoditsbob at 2:38 PM on January 23, 2009


[ABORT] [RETRY] [IGNORE]
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 2:51 PM on January 23, 2009


[C] [C] [C] [COMBO BREAKER]
posted by GuyZero at 2:57 PM on January 23, 2009


[YOU KNOW WHO ELSE GOVERNED CONSISTENTLY WITH HIS CAMPAIGN RHETORIC?]
posted by grobstein at 2:58 PM on January 23, 2009


<BLINK/>
posted by blue_beetle at 3:02 PM on January 23, 2009


In other news: Clinton Lawyer: Obama's Order Designed To Pry Loose Key Bush Docs
posted by homunculus at 3:30 PM on January 23, 2009


hey is this the thread where we abuse brackets

[[[[USAmerica sharedCountry] voters] majority] electPerson:[[USAmerica senate] senatorFromState:kUSAStateIllinois] toOffice:kUSAPresidentOffice];
posted by Mikey-San at 3:36 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm not sure I'd be getting my info on politics from Wired magazine, and oh, what Smedleyman saids.
posted by sfts2 at 3:37 PM on January 23, 2009


“Let's wait to see if he reverses his stated support of police-state surveillance sometime in his first term.”

Again, Obama is besides the point. The problem is the apparatus, which should be dismantled whether Obama likes it or not. Unless you want to argue he is aiming to be exactly the same kind of executive as Bush.
I haven’t seen his people come out with any ‘unitary executive’ theories. I personally don’t think he’ll fight it. I could be wrong. Still, the question of whether the president can spy domestically on citizens without warrants is not related to how swell or lousy Obama is. If he’s for it he’s only one thing: in the way.

But refresh my memory, where did he say he supported police-state surveillance exactly?
And criticism is swell, but how exactly is ‘holding him responsible’ going to do anything?
(I actually, y’know, give money to the EFF and contact congressmen and my reps, n’stuff.)
Especially ‘holding him responsible’ not even a week into his presidency?
On top of that, he doesn’t seem responsible for this.
Far as I can see it’s a procedural thing, legal jiggery, not substantively in support or in opposition to, the prior administration’s position.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:39 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Clinton Lawyer: Obama's Order Designed To Pry Loose Key Bush Docs

If he can get his hands on Bush administration documents, that would help his AG build cases. I say we give him time to investigate and get a good legal effort ready, before damning Obama this quickly.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:14 PM on January 23, 2009


a compilation has been made by NSA of those professing anti-Obama remarks in comments on this post....
posted by Postroad at 4:47 PM on January 23, 2009


Just expanding on what Miko said in her comment above . . . I just read the Case Management Statement from the government in full and can't fathom how the Wired blog could get this so wrong.

First of all . . . this suit apparently named the President of the United States as a defendant. Up until January 20th, that was Bush. Now that is Obama. In every single pending case against the President in his official capacity, and there must be thousands, Obama is now the defendant. So Obama should be substitituted in as a defendant in all those thousands of cases as of 1/20. That does not mean that Obama agrees with the positions that the DOJ took prior to his election

Second, the Case Management Statement explicitly says that the DOJ made the decision to seek a stay on January 16th, four days before inauguration, when Obama wasn't president.

Third, the government is seeking a stay of proceedings in the trial court while it tries to get the appellate court interested in hearing a discretionary appeal. That's totally standard. Plus the government lost. On the narrow issue at stake here -- whether FISA preempts the state secrets doctrine in these circumstances -- the Obama administration may take a different position. Frankly, I don't know whether they will and no one else writing in to Metafilter knows either.

In other words, and because it seems that crass statements get attention here, there's absolutely no fucking link fucking whatsoever between the government's filing and what the blogger writes.

And I'm a civil rights lawyer. And I teach Civil Rights Litigation. And you can check for yourself by reading the case management statement linked in the article.

Now we can debate wiretapping and retroactive legislation and separation of powers, and that will be interesting. But that has nothing to do with the FPP, regrettably.
posted by ferdydurke at 4:54 PM on January 23, 2009 [18 favorites]


[I GOT 99 PROBLEMS BUT A BUSH AIN'T ONE]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 5:41 PM on January 23, 2009


[HIT ME]
posted by lostburner at 8:17 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hold up there, Holder said that he would support retroactive immunity for telecom companies, which is what Senator Obama also voted for. That's a completely separate issue from this case.

Huh? This is the only case challenging retroactive immunity that I know of. It's entirely about retroactive immunity now since retroactive immunity would make the case moot.
posted by delmoi at 8:52 PM on January 23, 2009


Obama Picks Critic of Warrantless Wiretapping for Slot at Justice Dept.
posted by homunculus at 10:04 PM on January 23, 2009


I just got back from blowing Obama. Man, I can't believe, but it really does taste like rainbows.
posted by Dark Messiah at 10:07 PM on January 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Am I supposed to know who this Obama guy is?
posted by srboisvert at 12:38 AM on January 24, 2009


No time for rioting I have to play Halo 3 with my boyz tonight. For real.
posted by zzazazz at 11:43 AM on January 25, 2009


That is why I cast my vote for Barama Obama Barama.
posted by Kwine at 6:12 PM on January 25, 2009



posted by cytherea at 1:24 AM on January 26, 2009


erm.

<BRA|KET>
posted by cytherea at 1:25 AM on January 26, 2009


As soon as you’re elected they make you feel small
By giving you no time instead of it all
Till the bullshit is so big you see nothing at all
A working class president is something to be
posted by Smedleyman at 6:24 AM on January 26, 2009


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