[Home]  [Headlines]  [Latest Articles]  [Latest Comments]  [Post]  [Mail]  [Sign-in]  [Setup]  [Help]  [Register] 

Good Morning everyone my name is Devil Anse

Aircraft Carrier Stennis Has Biggest Ordnance Onload Since 2010

Latest Obama executive order: 12 million acres of ANWR off limits

I confess - I had a real drug problem!!!

Nancy Pelosi: I Have ‘Great Standing’ to Speak on Abortion as a ‘Catholic and a Mom of Five’

Public School Now Programming Children to Celebrate Police State and Dress in Blue to “Thank Cops”

For Years I Pleaded With God ... To Make Me Straight --- So Why Did My Prayers Go Unanswered?

Napoleon Hill Laws of Success Full Length

"Climate Change" Forecasters Fail on Blizzard "snowmageddon" predictions (Media and Police State exploit fake crisis )

The DEA Is Spying on Millions of Cars All Over the U.S.

Handcuffs, Leg Shackles and Tasers: The New Face of Punishment in the Public Schools

Golf Ball Hit From Moon During Apollo 14 Mission Found By Rover On Mars

Steam Fracking in Cuba?

Jon Stewart Figures Out What's Really Going On In Sarah Palin's Bizarre Iowa Speech

We Need More Bad Cops

Awwww, Poor Widdle Piggies Don’t Like Being Treated as They Treat Us

Games Road Pirates Play (Or : cops are robbers)

Russia accuses Poles of 'mockery of history' over Auschwitz

Auschwitz survivor indelibly marked by memory of Nazi horror, Russian liberation 70 years on

Supreme Court Allows Detroit Judge To Have Sex In Chambers With Litigant

9 Republicans launch House Freedom Caucus

OBAMA APPROVAL RATING AT 50 PERCENT AS REPUBLICANS ABANDON IMMIGRATION CAMPAIGN PROMISES

Putin Builds Naval and Army Base on Wrangell Island – Owned By the US

REPORT: BERGDAHL TO BE CHARGED WITH DESERTION

THOMAS JEFFERSON’S VIEWS ON CRIME AND PUNISHMENT

Man Attacked by Two Police Officers While Standing in Hallway

‘Free range cannibalism’? Hearty mockery as blizzard-fearing NYC hipsters storm Whole Foods

Pope mulls crossing U.S.-Mexico border to show solidarity with immigrants

Al Gore Wants to Ban Cars in Cities

Here’s Why Republicans Need Mitt Romney to Run for President

BILL GATES PUSHES CASHLESS SOCIETY

US Navy NCIS Scrambles To Get Story Together After Suspicious Death / Commander Firing At GITMO

Female Commander At Pope AFB Fired

Obama ... 'Matrix' --- a world of deniability

Jeb's invisible man strategy

N.M. court upholds ban on switchblades, suggests broader knife bans might be constitutional, too.

'American Sniper' Movie Guide "Family Review" (Warning: Details & SPOILERS)

Scott Walker shows fire in Iowa

Who Killed Litvinenko? Perhaps Not Russia After All

Rooftop solar is now cheaper than the grid in 42 American cities

Possible drone found on White House grounds (Obamas take refuge in New Delhi)

Man Faces Jail After Not Paying Child Support For a Child He’s Proven is Not His

Jeb Bush: We Need to Control Border By Politely Asking Illegals to Leave

10 Weirdest Ways Pro Sports Teams Tried To Get An Edge

Top 20 Greatest Strategy Games (How Many Have You Played?)

Law Has Been Murdered (Government Kangaroo Courts)

Marijuana a Schedule 1 Drug! (Marijuana Is Classified With Heroin and Cocaine) Are you Kidding me?

Libertarians have ‘good reason to be optimistic’ (43% of Americans are independents, 30% D, 26% R)

Sunday Night Music Thread

Who is Sajida al-Rishawi? And why does ISIS care about her?

...And Now for Something Completely Different


Status: Not Logged In; Sign In

U.S. Constitution
See other U.S. Constitution Articles

Title: Warrantless spying fight
Source: [None]
URL Source: http://www.salon.com/2012/05/24/warrantless_spying_fight/singleton/
Published: May 24, 2012
Author: By Glenn Greenwald
Post Date: 2012-05-24 23:05:56 by We The People
Keywords: None
Views: 171
Comments: 1

Obama officials demand full, reform-free renewal of the once-controversial power to eavesdrop without warrants

President Barack Obama waves upon his arrival at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo., Wednesday, May 23, 2012. (Credit: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

In 2006, The New York Times‘ James Risen and Eric Lichtblau won the Pulitzer Prize for their December, 2005 article revealing that the Bush administration was eavesdropping on the electronic communications of Americans without the warrants required by the FISA law (headline: “Officials Say U.S. Wiretaps Exceeded Law”). Even though multiple federal judges eventually ruled the program illegal, that scandal generated no accountability of any kind for two reasons: (1) federal courts ultimately accepted the arguments of the Bush and Obama DOJs that the legality of Bush’s domestic spying program should not be judicially reviewed; and (2) the Democratic-led Congress, in 2008, enacted the Bush-designed FISA Amendments Act, which not only retroactively immunized the nation’s telecom giants for their illegal participation in that spying program and thus terminated pending lawsuits, but worse, also legalized the vast bulk of the Bush spying program by vesting vast new powers in the U.S. Government to eavesdrop without warrants (in his memoir, President Bush gleefully recounted that the 2008 eavesdropping bill supported by the Democrats gave him more than he ever expected).

It was then-Sen. Obama’s vote in favor of the FISA Amendments Act that caused the first serious Election Year rift between him and his own supporters. Obama’s vote in favor of the bill was so controversial for two independent reasons: (1) when he was seeking the Democratic nomination only a few months earlier and needed the support of the progressive base, Obama unequivocally vowed to filibuster “any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies,” only to turn around once he had secured the nomination and not only vote against a filibuster of that bill but then vote in favor of the bill itself; and (2) the bill itself legalized vast new powers of warrantless eavesdropping: powers which the Democratic Party (and Obama) had spent years denouncing (as Yale Law Professor Jack Balkin put it at the time: “Through the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, Congress has legitimated many of the same things people are now complaining about”). When Obama announced his reversal, his defenders insisted he was only doing it so that he could win the election and then use his power as President to stop warrantless eavesdropping abuses, while Obama himself claimed he voted for the FISA bill “with the firm intention — once I’m sworn in as President — to have my Attorney General conduct a comprehensive review of all our surveillance programs, and to make further recommendations on any steps needed to preserve civil liberties and to prevent executive branch abuse in the future.”

The only positive aspect of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 was that Congress imposed a four-year sunset provision on the new warrantless eavesdropping powers it authorized. That sunset provision is set to expire and — surprise, surprise — the Obama administration, just like it did for the Patriot Act, is demanding its full-scale renewal without a single change or reform:

A key Senate panel voted Tuesday to extend a contested 2008 provision of foreign intelligence surveillance law that is set to expire at year’s end.

The vote is the first step toward what the Obama administration hopes will be a speedy renewal of an expanded authority under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to monitor the U.S. e-mails and phone calls of overseas targets in an effort to prevent international terrorist attacks on the country.

Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. called the move by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence “important” to the effort to ensure that authorities can identify terrorist operatives and thwart plots. Extending the provision is the intelligence community’s top legislative priority this year.

In February, Attorney General Eric Holder and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper wrote a joint letter to Congressional leaders demanding “speedy . . . reauthorization of these authorities in their current form” — “without amendment.” The ACLU’s Michelle Richardson yesterday wrote:

Remember the George W. Bush warrantless wiretapping program? The one that was so illegal that Congress had to pass a special law to ensure that no one was prosecuted for it or sued by their customers for facilitating it? And was found by independent reviewers to be pretty pointless anyway? And was then brilliantly codified and written into stone by Congress? And which almost immediately went off the rails, being used to collect all sorts of stuff it wasn’t supposed to? It’s back!

The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA) rewrote our surveillance laws, which had generally required a warrant or court order for surveillance of people in the US. Under the FAA, the government can get a year-long programmatic court order for general bulk collection of Americans’ international communications without specifying who will be tapped.  It is up to the administration to decide that on its own after the fact, without any judicial review. . . .  Once the National Security Agency sucks up these phone calls, texts, emails and Internet records, it can use them pursuant to secret rules that they swear protect our privacy.

That it is now the Obama administration serving as chief crusaders for warrantless eavesdropping powers — once the symbol of Bush radicalism — is telling enough. But there are numerous key facts that make the administration’s demands for reform-free renewal all the more remarkable:

First, even Senators on the Intelligence Committee — such as Democrats Ron Wyden and Mark Udall — have made repeatedly clear that there are basic facts about how this law affects the communications of ordinary Americans which even they have not been provided, including even a rough estimate of how many Americans have had their emails read or calls listened to by the NSA under this law.

Second, the Director of National Intelligence, in response to the inquiries from those two Senators, has claimed that “it is not reasonably possible to identify the number of people located in the United States whose communications may have been reviewed under the authority of the [FISA Amendments Act].” Note that he cannot even identify the number of Americans whose communications have been actually “reviewed,” not merely stored, by the NSA (The Washington Post previously reported that “every day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications”). How can Congress even think about renewing these warrantless eavesdropping powers when even the members on the Intelligence Committee are deprived of the most basic information about how they are used and how many Americans have their communications invaded without warrants?

Third, there is ample evidence of recent abuse of the warrantless surveillance powers vested by the FAA. As the ACLU explained in its letter to Congress this week urging reforms to the bill:

Of course, now that there’s a Democrat in the Oval Office, many Good Progressives discount claims made by the ACLU (here, for instance, is one of them today — Oliver Willis, a Research Fellow at Media Matters — denouncing the ACLU (and me) as “hysterical” for our concerns raised over domestic drones, both of the surveillance and armed variety). So for those types of individuals: here’s the New York Times article detailing the rampant abuse under this law.

Fourth, and perhaps worst of all, the Obama administration is aggressively seeking to block any efforts to have federal courts rule on the constitutionality of this new FISA law. Immediately after its 2008 passage, the ACLU, on behalf of journalists, activists, and writers, sued to invalidate the law on the ground that it violates the Fourth Amendment rights of Americans by subjecting them to warrantless eavesdropping. As they always do in such cases, the Bush and Obama DOJs demanded dismissal of the suit on the ground of “standing”: namely, they asserted the definitively Kafkaesque claim that because the list of Americans who have their conversations intercepted is kept secret, the plaintiffs cannot prove they were eavesdropped on under the law, and thus lack “standing” to challenge it.

This warped argument — along with the “state secrets” privilege — is the one that the DOJ has most frequently invoked to place their War on Terror conduct beyond the reach of the rule of law. But in the ACLU lawsuit, something unusual happened: a federal appeals court panel refused to dismiss the ACLU’s lawsuit on this ground, holding that the plaintiffs’ reasonable fear that they would be subject to the warrantless eavesdropping powers conferred “standing” entitling them to challenge the law. The full Second Circuit Court of Appeals (by a 6-6 vote) refused to reverse that ruling, creating an important precedent that would allow citizens to challenge an unconstitutional law even when the Government’s secrecy prevents them from proving that they were personally subjected to it (it was this Second Circuit precedent that a federal judge recently relied upon in ruling that various writers and journalists could challenge the constitutionality of the NDAA even though they were not yet indefinitely detained under it, and after finding standing on that basis, she then halted use of the NDAA’s detention powers on the ground that it is likely unconstitutional).

But rather than let that ACLU standing precedent remain — and then proceed to defend the constitutionality of the 2008 eavesdropping law on the merits — the Obama DOJ urged the Supreme Court to review and overturn the Second Circuit’s ruling. This week, the Supreme Court announced it was accepting this case for review, and many legal experts believe they would not have agreed to review the ACLU ruling unless they intended to overturn it. So as the Obama administration pressures Congress to renew this eavesdropping law without a single reform, they simultaneously act to block courts even from ruling whether the law is constitutional. And in the process, they threaten to obliterate one of the very few judicial precedents that results in government leaders being subjected to minimal accountability under the law for their secret behavior.

Fifth, the Obama administration has perfectly adopted the standard tactic used by Bush officials to coerce approval of any surveillance power they want and to smear anyone questioning those powers. Namely, they insist that the Terrorists will get us all if they do not get their way, and that anyone opposing their demands will have the blood of Americans on their hands. Recall Harry Reid’s attacks on those urging reforms to the Patriot Act last year (“‘When the clock strikes midnight tomorrow, we will be giving terrorists the opportunity to plot against our country undetected,’ Reid said, referring to the law’s expiration this week. ‘The senator from Kentucky is threatening to take away the best tools we have for stopping them’”). Similarly, Holder and Clapper warn that rapid, reform-free extension of their eavesdropping powers is necessary “to avoid any interruption in our use of these authorities to protect the American people”: because, apparently, just like Bush officials insisted, it’s impossible to Keep America Safe if you first have to obtain warrants before eavesdropping on them.

The continuously expanding Surveillance State in the United States is easily one of the most consequential and under-discussed political developments. And few are doing more to ensure it continues than top-level Obama national security officials.

* * * * *

This morning, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a legal petition with the Army Court of Criminal Appeals seeking public access to the transcripts and court proceedings in Bradley Manning’s court-martial, and I — along with The Nation, Amy Goodman, Jeremy Scahill, Kevin Gosztola, WikiLeaks and others — am a petitioner in that action. You can read about it here, and the petition itself is here.

(3 images)

Post Comment   Private Reply   Ignore Thread  


TopPage UpFull ThreadPage DownBottom/Latest

#1. To: We The People (#0)

The continuously expanding Surveillance State in the United States is easily one of the most consequential and under-discussed political developments. And few are doing more to ensure it continues than top-level Obama national security officials.

The messiah "king" OH-BAMA-BO is just bringing the ChiTown way to EVERY American.

"Badges .... ?, WE DON'T NEED NO STINKING BADGES!"

Suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucckkeerrs!!!!!!

Spoiled, stupid and ignorant, brain dead phuckwads, libTURD fools, tools, and idiots, are the real sickness; the messiah "king" obammy and his regime are only the symptoms.

Mad Dog  posted on  2012-05-25   2:10:27 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


TopPage UpFull ThreadPage DownBottom/Latest

[Home]  [Headlines]  [Latest Articles]  [Latest Comments]  [Post]  [Mail]  [Sign-in]  [Setup]  [Help]  [Register] 

Please report web page problems, questions and comments to webmaster@libertysflame.com