Category Archives: Wiretapping Americans

They don’t need no stinking warrants!

From Slate:
The New York Times, WaPo , and the Los Angeles Times lead with a federal appeals court’s 2-1 decision to dismiss a case that had challenged the Bush administration’s secret warrantless wiretap program. The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals panel ruled that because the plaintiffs in A.C.L.U. v. N.S.A. could not prove they had incurred any direct injury as a result of the wiretapping, they were not qualified to file suit in the first place.

Even though the case was dismissed on what is essentially a technicality, the 6th Circuit’s ruling still counts as a rare victory for an administration that has lately been doing its very best Anthony Young impersonation. The ruling effectively bars future suits from being brought: In order to prove injury, potential plaintiffs would need to present specific evidence that they had been targeted by the N.S.A.—but the 1953 “state secrets” privilege prohibits that sort of information from being released or discussed in court. As the ever-literate LAT notes, it’s a classic Catch-22.

Our civil rights were tossed in the crapper because of a friggin technicality? WTF is this, Hitler’s Germany?


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Avoid Bush’s Executive Privilege Claim By Investigating NSA Program As A Crime

From ThinkProgress: (video on their site as well)

Yesterday, after years of White House stonewalling, the Senate Judiciary Committee issued subpoenas to the Bush administration for documents related to the warrantless domestic surveillance program.

Today, during a background discussion with reporters, senior Bush administration officials indicated that they would invoke executive privilege in order to deny the NSA documents to Congress, just as they did this morning concerning subpoenas related to the U.S. attorney scandal. “Our response to [the NSA] subpoenas will be the same as our response was before,” said an anonymous official.

But last night on MSNBC’s Countdown, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley claimed that Congress may be able to “get around the executive privilege in court” by saying “we are investigating a potential crime.” Turley said this was possible because warrantless wiretapping is “a federal crime” that “the president has ordered hundreds of people do.”

As Columbia University law professor Michael Dorf points out, the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Nixon that, “where the President asserts only a generalized need for confidentiality, [executive privilege] must yield to the interests of the government and defendants in a criminal prosecution.”

Bush is invoking such “a generalized need for confidentiality,” according to a senior administration official this morning:

“This is not a mere exercise relating to a particular event. This is an exercise in an attempt to protect the prerogatives of the president for this president and for future presidents.”

When I saw this on Countdown the other night I thought it was a simply wonderful idea. I am glad that TP posted on it for those that might of missed the show and interview w/Professor Turley.

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Cheney pushed for wiretapping.

This isn’t a surprise right? The Big Dick Cheney was behind the wiretapping program. From WaPo:

By Dan EggenWashington Post Staff WriterThursday, June 7, 2007

Vice President Cheney told Justice Department officials that he disagreed with their objections to a secret surveillance program during a high-level White House meeting in March 2004, a former senior Justice official told senators yesterday.
The meeting came one day before White House officials tried to get approval for the same program from then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft, who lay recovering from surgery in a hospital, according to former deputy attorney general James B. Comey.

Cheney allegedly disagreed with Justice officials on the legality of surveillance.
Comey’s disclosures, made in response to written questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee, indicate that Cheney and his aides were more closely involved than previously known in a fierce internal battle over the legality of the warrantless surveillance program. The program allowed the National Security Agency to monitor phone calls and e-mails between the United States and overseas.
Comey said that Cheney’s office later blocked the promotion of a senior Justice Department lawyer, Patrick Philbin, because of his role in raising concerns about the surveillance.
The disclosures also provide further details about the role played by then-White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales. He visited Ashcroft in his hospital room and wrote an internal memorandum on the surveillance program shortly afterward, according to Comey’s responses. Gonzales is now the attorney general. He faces possible congressional votes of no-confidence because of his handling of the firings of nine U.S. attorneys last year.
“How are you, General?” Gonzales asked Ashcroft at the hospital, according to Comey.
“Not well,” replied Ashcroft, who had just undergone gallbladder surgery and was battling pancreatitis.
The new details follow Comey’s gripping testimony last month about the visit by Gonzales and Andrew H. Card Jr., then President Bush’s chief of staff, to Ashcroft’s hospital bed on the night of March 10, 2004. The two Bush aides tried to persuade Ashcroft to renew the authorization of the NSA surveillance program, after Comey and other Justice Department officials had said they would not certify the legality of the effort, according to the testimony and other officials.
Ashcroft refused, noting that Comey had been designated as acting attorney general during his illness.
The episode prompted sharp criticism from Democrats and some Republicans, who questioned whether Gonzales and Card were attempting to take advantage of a sick man to get around legal objections from government lawyers. It is unclear who directed the two Bush aides to make the visit.
Democrats said yesterday that the new details from Comey raise further questions about the role of Cheney and other White House officials in the episode.
“Mr. Comey has confirmed what we suspected for a while — that White House hands guided Justice Department business,” said Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.). “The vice president’s fingerprints are all over the effort to strong-arm Justice on the NSA program, and the obvious next question is: Exactly what role did the president play?”

For the rest of the article, click here.

What is it with these guys?

After reading several accounts of James Comey’s trip to the Hill Tuesday..I am left with the realization that BushCo will do pretty much anything to get their way, regardless of the legalities of it.

To attempt to get a hospitalized Attorney General to sign off on the illegal wiretapping is friggin outrageous my dear reader. These guys are nucking futs and will pretty much stoop to the lowest level of hell to get their way.

Disgusting..totally friggin’ disgusting.

Bush pushes for changes to the FISA law.

This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that follows the errant ways of our current administration..but just the same..

This is total bs:

The administration says it wants to make the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act — or FISA — more “technology-neutral” — that is, it wants to make sure spy agencies can use new forms of surveillance that aren’t specifically foreseen in the law.

Oh, another thing..the bill will also provide immunity to participating telecom companies. Isn’t that fabulous my dear reader?

Even Arlen Specter thinks this bill is hogwash..or more precisely: “That provision is a pig in the poke. There has never been a statement from the Administration as to what these companies have done. That’s been an intolerable situation.”

As The Nation article on this bill notes: “And Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office, and Legislative Counsel Timothy Sparapani, wrote in a letter to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence: “… the Administration has not publicly provided Congress with a single example of how current standards in FISA have either prevented the intelligence community from using new technologies or proven unworkable for the personnel tasked with following them.” Frederickson concluded in a statement, “FISA has been constantly violated since President Bush authorized warrantless wiretapping and data mining of Americans by the National Security Agency in 2001. Congress shouldn’t reward a president who continuously disregards the rule of law. FISA has already been amended numerous times. It doesn’t need to be ‘modernized,’ it needs to be followed.” Mike German, Policy Counsel, adds, “This proposal doesn’t ‘modernize’ FISA. It guts it.”

For the love of God, these criminals need to be impeached. NOW, before its too damn late. The tipping point is close at hand..and the Democrats better get their well-paid asses in gear and end this madness. BushCo, who we all know is very fond of spin and buzz words, is trying to paint this bat guano with a ‘modernization of the law’ brush. Total and absolute spying is what they really have in mind AND making it easy for the Telecom’s to give up our information..all in the same package!

Check out The Nation article..then blog about it..bitch about it..just say something about it. Otherwise, the Dem’s will pass another bill that they didn’t read and will give us all a big fat OOPSIE later.

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