Category Archives: FISA
They didn’t waste anytime did they? Bless those wonderful people at the ACLU. Friday, they filed suit (pdf file) in federal court in the southern district of New York, their press release can be read here. From Jurist:
The ACLU claims that the law violates the Fourth Amendment by allowing unjustified and unregulated surveillance, and violates the First Amendment by limiting the freedom of speech and the press. The complaint also alleges that the Act violates the “case or controversy” requirement and separation of powers. The ACLU asks the court to declare the law unconstitutional and to permanently enjoin such surveillance. The ACLU also filed a separate motion requesting that it be given leave to participate in all cases concerning the Act. The separate motion also requests that publications of all related motions and decisions be made available to the public. The New York Sun has more.
I am so proud of the ACLU and their tireless and sometimes thankless work on behalf of Americans, our freedoms and our Constitution. It is heartwarming and it gives one hope that all is not lost.
Of course, being the curmudgeon I am..I bet the court will toss the case..but allow me a small amount of smugness at this point in time ok? 😉 May this lawsuit give Bush and Mukasey major heartburn and hopefully it will embarrass all those phony fucking Democrats that voted for the bill in Congress.
Obama voted with the heathens to allow warrantless wiretapping and Telco Immunity.
Hillary Clinton voted no and supported Feingold and Dodd. From TPM muckraker:
Moments before the final vote, a handful of senators voted to filibuster the vote, including Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, and Tom Harkin of Iowa.
So what does that mean? It means that the nations largest telecom companies no longer have to worry about a batch of multi-million lawsuits filed by customers angered that the companies turned over their personal information to the government without a warrant.
It also means that if you are at home making an overseas phone call to a suspected terrorist, the government can monitor that call without a warrant.
Perhaps its just my usual ‘kneejerk’ reaction but I applaud Hillary Clinton, Russ Feingold, Patrick Leahy and Tom Harkin for standing their ground on this most heinous bullshit.
Obama can kiss my hairy ass at this point, he looks like all the other sell-outs that voted to destroy our civil rights and grant the fucking Telco’s immunity from civil lawsuits. That might also just be my usual kneejerk reaction but that said..I ain’t happy about his vote to sell the constitution and the rule of law down the fucking river.
May I say that I love the shit out of this memo. I love Mr. Reyes too, amen bro. From RawStory:
Congressman Silvestre Reyes, Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, sent a letter to President Bush regarding the ongoing battle over warrantless wiretapping.
Text of the letter follows below.
President George W. Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mr. President:
The Preamble to our Constitution states that one of our highest duties as public officials is to “provide for the common defence.” As an elected Member of Congress, a senior Member of the House Armed Services Committee, and Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, I work everyday to ensure that our defense and intelligence capabilities remain strong in the face of serious threats to our national security.
Because I care so deeply about protecting our country, I take strong offense to your suggestion in recent days that the country will be vulnerable to terrorist attack unless Congress immediately enacts legislation giving you broader powers to conduct warrantless surveillance of Americans’ communications and provides legal immunity for telecommunications companies that participated in the Administration’s warrantless surveillance program.
Today, the National Security Agency (NSA) has authority to conduct surveillance in at least three different ways, all of which provide strong capability to monitor the communications of possible terrorists.
First, NSA can use its authority under Executive Order 12333 to conduct surveillance abroad of any known or suspected terrorist. There is no requirement for a warrant. There is no requirement for probable cause. Most of NSA’s collection occurs under this authority.
Second, NSA can use its authority under the Protect America Act, enacted last August, to conduct surveillance here in the U.S of any foreign target. This authority does not “expire” on Saturday, as you have stated. Under the PAA, orders authorizing surveillance may last for one year – until at least August 2008. These orders may cover every terrorist group without limitation. If a new member of the group is identified, or if a new phone number or email address is identified, the NSA may add it to the existing orders, and surveillance can begin immediately. We will not “go dark.”
Third, in the remote possibility that a new terrorist organization emerges that we have never previously identified, the NSA could use existing authority under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to monitor those communications. Since its establishment nearly 30 years ago, the FISA Court has approved nearly every application for a warrant from the Department of Justice. In an emergency, NSA or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) may begin surveillance immediately, and a FISA Court order does not have to be obtained for three days. The former head of FISA operations for the Department of Justice has testified publicly that emergency authorization may be granted in a matter of minutes.
As you know, the 1978 FISA law, which has been modernized and updated numerous times since 9/11, was instrumental in disrupting the terrorist plot in Germany last summer. Those who say that FISA is outdated do not understand the strength of this important tool.
If our nation is left vulnerable in the coming months, it will not be because we don’t have enough domestic spying powers. It will be because your Administration has not done enough to defeat terrorist organizations – including al Qaeda — that have gained strength since 9/11. We do not have nearly enough linguists to translate the reams of information we currently collect. We do not have enough intelligence officers who can penetrate the hardest targets, such as al Qaeda. We have surged so many intelligence resources into Iraq that we have taken our eye off the ball in Afghanistan and Pakistan. As a result, you have allowed al Qaeda to reconstitute itself on your watch.
You have also suggested that Congress must grant retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies. As someone who has been briefed on our most sensitive intelligence programs, I can see no argument why the future security of our country depends on whether past actions of telecommunications companies are immunized.
The issue of telecom liability should be carefully considered based on a full review of the documents that your Administration withheld from Congress for eight months. However, it is an insult to the intelligence of the American people to say that we will be vulnerable unless we grant immunity for actions that happened years ago.
Congress has not been sitting on its hands. Last November, the House passed responsible legislation to authorize the NSA to conduct surveillance of foreign terrorists and to provide clarity and legal protection to our private sector partners who assist in that surveillance.
The proper course is now to conference the House bill with the Senate bill that was passed on Tuesday. There are significant differences between these two bills and a conference, in regular order, is the appropriate mechanism to resolve the differences between these two bills. I urge you, Mr. President, to put partisanship aside and allow Republicans in Congress to arrive at a compromise that will protect America and protect our Constitution.
I, for one, do not intend to back down – not to the terrorists and not to anyone, including a President, who wants Americans to cower in fear.
We are a strong nation. We cannot allow ourselves to be scared into suspending the Constitution. If we do that, we might as well call the terrorists and tell them that they have won.
Member of Congress
Chairman, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
He is such a tool, our fearmongering leader. Why do people buy his twisted logic? A logic that basically admits the Telco’s subjugated our rights without so much as a whimper?
Over 40 lawsuits are winding their way through the court systems against these smarmy bastards known as the Telco’s..or Telecoms if you like.
Bush will sacrifice his own electorate in order to glean retroactive immunity for his cohorts in crime. I give you his own fear-filled words on the subject:
The stench of hypocrisy is pretty thick wouldn’t you say my dear reader? I can only hope that the House will stay the course..its our last hope on this issue. Lawd knows those idiots in the Senate can not be trusted to do their jobs.
House Minority Leader John Boehner, had the audacity to actually attempt to defend the Republicans’ desire to give the Telco’s their ‘free pass’..from CNN:
“This issue of the carriers that work with our government are increasingly concerned about their liability and increasingly concerned about whether they are going to continue to work with our intelligence officials,” -Boehner, an idiot and Rethug foot soldier of the highest order, had the nads to say today.
These guys have elevated fearmongering to an art form.
Hooray, its dead..the bullshit will ensue of course..but for now..its dead as the proverbial doornail. And I couldn’t be happier. 😉 Dana Perino can kiss my liberal ass.
Check out this wonderful short video on this issue..simply marvelous!
I bet this news put a crimp in King George’s vacation yesterday. According to the NYT:
In an order signed by Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, the presiding judge, on Thursday and released on Friday, the court called the A.C.L.U.’s motion “an unprecedented request that warrants further briefing.”
The court ordered the government to respond on the issue by Aug. 31, saying that anything involving classified material could be filed under court seal.
The ACLU is claiming victory just by the mere fact that the FISA court and head jurist Ms. Kollar-Kotelly are even considering the FOIA request.