Surveillance News Alerts
Today’s Date: March 7, 2008
Regular Resources –- Negotiations are proceeding between House and Senate leaders on amending the FISA law.
Glenn Greenwald @ Salon.com posted an “Exclusive capitulation report: House Democratic leadership circulates FISA bill” on 3/7/08. The post lists what is being proposed as terms of a compromise, but Greenwald maintains that it is just what the White House wants. His fine essay titled “The banality of the surveillance state,” was posted on 3/7/08 about “Another federal database is launched to monitor the behavior of Americans, and, as usual, it receives little attention and has almost no oversight.” His expose titled “Shocking New Revelation,” was published 3/6/08. It is “yet another report detailing widespread abuses by the FBI of its surveillance powers demonstrates the overarching truth about government power.”
Christy Hardin Smith @ Firedoglake says “Let’s hit the Phones and Faxes:” 3/7/08. To quote, “You know what to do gang: hit the phones and the faxes and let Speaker Pelosi and Rep. Reyes and tell them no compromise on telecom immunity, no watering down the Fourth Amendment, and no capitulation.
Phone: (202) 225-4965
Emptywheel posted “My Version of Pelosi’s Statement on Exclusivity” 3/6/08, discussing a conference call Nancy Pelosi had with bloggers about the current situation; and “The Government’s Unclear Demands for Emails” on 3/5/08, discussing what is emerging about what is behind the administrations demands.
Paul Kiel @ TPM Muckraker “Pelosi: Surveillance should be on ‘Exclusivity‘” 3/6/08 is related to the post above, regarding what Speaker Pelosi is thinking about doing to move things forward next week.
David Rogers and Daniel W Reilly @ Politico.com wrote an article, “House to send FISA back to Senate” 3/6/08, This article is about what was being proposed yesterday to break the FISA impasse.
Blaine Kinsey‘s fine comment on Politico is worth the read:
Mar. 6, 2008 – 10:05 PM EST. Quote:
Lexicographer Samuel Johnson wrote that patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel. An ad hominem attack is the first refuge of someone who is incapable of making a logical argument.
Some people have commented that the telecommunication providers that assisted with the Terrorist Surveillance Program may not have done anything illegal based on interpretation of Title 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2511(2)(a)(ii)(B) or Title 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2702(b)(8) and Title 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2702(c)(4). Although the complete answer is not known for certain, James Comey and Jack Goldsmith furnished testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in September 2007 which indicates that the certifications by the Justice Department to the telecommunication providers did NOT meet the requirements outlined in Tile 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2511(2)(a)(ii)(B), at least for most of the period during which the Terrorist Surveillance Program was operative. The Bush Administration has promulgated some tortured legal rationales, but the exceptions to prohibited disclosures in Title 18 U.S.C Sec. 2702 are specifically for emergencies, and it would be difficult to establish that the necessary emergency conditions existed throughout the duration of the Terrorist Surveillance Program.
After the expiration of the Protect America Act of 2007, Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell sent a letter to the Chairman of The House Intelligence Committee in which Mr. Mukasey and Mr. McConnell unwittingly acknowledged that it is illegal to intercept electronic communications outside of the guidelines legislated under FISA. Therefore, as critics of the Terrorist Surveillance Program already knew, the President acted illegally for at least five years by circumventing FISA via the Terrorist Surveillance Program, and probably the President is currently engaging in illegal activity because it is unlikely that current electronic surveillance is within the guidelines legislated under FISA (notwithstanding the authorizations which legally can extend for up to one year after the expiration of the Protect America Act of 2007). The effort to provide immunity for the telecommunication providers that assisted with the Terrorist Surveillance Program is just a method of enlisting Congress in the obstruction of justice.
tahoblue’s comment: Mar. 6, 2008 – 10:04 PM EST. To quote an opposing opinion:
The incompetence of the House and Senate is overwhelming!
They could care less about our safety, well-being or good will as they want to allow all the terrorists free access to American phones, secrets and latent terrorists.
Just today a supplier of arms to terrorists was apprehended in Thailand with the help of the American Security forces. While the article did not say – I suspect a phone was tapped here or there. Making our Security folk jump through legal hoops to make there job harder and please the far left is ridiculous. We have better things to do.
In the meantime gas goes to $4.00 a gallon and we claim our energy program using funny looking bulbs will solve our problem. How can we be so stupid?
This person has no idea what he is willing to allow the government to do to diminish his civil liberties protections.
Note a correction submitted to me by Blaine Kinsey on June 11, 2008:
CORRECTION: The appearance by former Deputy Attorney General James Comey before the Senate Judiciary Committee was on May 15, 2007, and the appearance by former Assistant Attorney General (for the Office of Legal Counsel) Jack Goldsmith before the Senate Judiciary Committee was on October 2, 2007.
Cross posted at The Reaction
My “creative post” today at Southwest Blogger is about .