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Domestic Spying Program to Get Judicial Oversight 151

Posted by samzenpus
from the who-watches-the-watchmen dept.
Alchemist253 writes "The U.S. Justice Department has consented to court oversight (albeit via a secret court) of the controversial domestic wiretapping program (the "Terrorist Surveillance Program") previously discussed at length on Slashdot. From the article, "[oversight] authority has been given to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and [it] already has approved one request for monitoring the communications of a person believed to be linked to al Qaeda or an associated terror group.""
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Domestic Spying Program to Get Judicial Oversight

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  • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @06:35PM (#17655590)
    ... but with a different Congress ... suddenly it's going back to the court with warrants and everything?

    Makes you kind of wonder how "legal" it was in the first place. And whether this is just an attempt to avoid an investigation.
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      suddenly it's going back to the court

      And is this Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court actually a court? I mean given that its hearings are in camera by default, it doesn't seem to satisfy the criterion of public scrutiny which characterizes a true judicial court. Any constitutional lawyers here?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        The FISA courts have existed since the 70s and have passed judicial review of their constitutionality. It is useful to remember that Congress has the authority to create and destroy any court other than the Supreme Court and that there is nothing in the Constitution that says that public scrutiny of warrants are required. The Constitution only says that a judge appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate must issue the warrants:

        no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @07:01PM (#17655984)
      It was not legal to begin with. These kinds of warrants specifically require the oversight of the FISA court. All warrants require the oversight of the judiciary (by definition). When a specific set of Federal law statutes tell the Executive branch they can do certain Fourth Amendment searches only under the review of a specific court, the Executive branch damn well better comply. If George Bush does not end up in prison for this clear violation of United States Federal law (and numerous American's rights under the Constitution of the United States) you can officially call the Consitution "just a piece of paper" because it no longer has any meaning. But I think that may have been the intent of this administration to begin with.
      • by deKernel (65640)
        The FISA court setup is at-best shaking if you were to actually read up on it, but hey that is not the /. way.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Written constitutions Just Don't Work.

        This has been proven time, and time again - especially in America. More time is spent arguing about the syntax of the document than is spent fighting for and legislating towards the semantic meaning.

        Massive fail all round.

        • by Omestes (471991) <omestes@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @08:03PM (#17656828) Homepage Journal
          And the alternative is?

          It seems that the American constitution HAS worked rather well in its 200+ year history, sure there are some small glitches from time to time, like McCarthy, and now. But on the whole it has worked, only one superfluous amendment (added, promptly deleted). The strength of it is that it is a living document, meaning its interpretations are supposed to change with the times, arguing about it is a good things. Imagine if it was fixed, the word has changed much in the last 200 years, including people, their values, and what they judge important.

          The constitution is the only thing America has going for it, and the only real hope it has.
          • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

            by finity (535067)
            The trolls live under bridges and only come out when it is easy to nab a victim...
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Arcane_Rhino (769339)

            The strength of it is that it is a living document, meaning its interpretations are supposed to change with the times, arguing about it is a good things. Imagine if it was fixed, the word has changed much in the last 200 years, including people, their values, and what they judge important.

            No. I won't let you get away with that assertion without some comment. The Constitution is a living document because it may be amended by a two-thirds majority of each legislative house. (It can also be amended by a

            • by omeomi (675045) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @12:22AM (#17659162) Homepage
              usually ascribed to by liberals who cannot achieve their will through the legislative process. It is this philosophy that has lead to the incredible divisiveness that currently infects the US.

              So the current mess we're in is the liberals fault?

              Yeah, right. Pull the other one...
              • I don't know how this is insightful.

                Your statement is neither what I said, nor what I think. I was describing the philosophy that, until recently, was used by those considered liberal in the US to achieve certain goals that could not be achieved at the ballot box.

                I don't care who is reinterpreting the Constitution. Anytime the rules of society are altered by any entity other that We the People, I have great concerns. Even then, the ramifications should always be well considered.

            • The Constitution very well is living without amendments. It is deliberately vague, high level. It doesn't assert the specifics of very many laws, just how it will generally be. Like in relation to copy rights it doesn't specify a time, just says that they'll be secured to their creator for a limited time. What that limited time is can, and has changed.

              We wouldn't still have a Constitution if it specified every little thing and required a massive effort to change it. It works because it lays down a framework
            • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

              by iminplaya (723125)
              People who use the word "liberal" OR "conservative" as defined by FOX should be taken out and shot. They're easy to spot by the context they use it in. (sorry about the grammar) It's like pulling the string on a Barbie doll. "I think math is hard" "Let's make some brownies". Pitiful
            • by gkhan1 (886823)

              It's not such a bizarre statement to say that the constitution should be updated every now and again. I mean, after the initial framing and the formation of the Bill of Rights, there have been an additional, what, 17 amendments? That's a whole mess of amendments. Doesn't that tell you that in the past at least, they considered the constitution something that should be changed?

              And look at for instance the second amendment which was written at a drastically different time than today. I mean, "a well regulate

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by hey! (33014)

              What you are describing is a relatively new judicial philosophy, usually ascribed to by liberals who cannot achieve their will through the legislative process.

              It's hardly an exclusively liberal process. Conservative activist judges have got their interpretive licks in as well.

              The US Constitution was innovative for its day, but it has two major flaws. The first is that it is much more vague than a modern constitution would be, failing to define its terms and spell out clearly the extent and limitations of

              • by omeomi (675045)
                It's hardly an exclusively liberal process. Conservative activist judges have got their interpretive licks in as well.

                Conservative justices too...Anyone looking for an activist judiciary should take a long look at the *appointment* of George W. Bush to the presidency while votes were still being counted in Florida.
              • It's hardly an exclusively liberal process. Conservative activist judges have got their interpretive licks in as well.

                I never said it was exclusively liberals doing this, I said "usually". I am sure this hint of negativity concerning the holy concept of "liberal" that has spawned most of the ad hominem attacks. Since yours, and a few others, were considered responses, however, I will response and consider any response you care to give.

                As a side note, while it is easy to get into arguments about cons

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by crotherm (160925)

              Those who fear a totalitarian government would to well to reconsider their approval of this perspective. What the nine giveth, the nine can take away.


              Sheesh, they gave us Bush. PLEASE make them take him away!!!!

            • by Omestes (471991)
              I'm not even really talking about SCOTUS, or a purely legal aspect of this philosophy, it also infects the other to branches of government. A lot of legislators legislate on how they see the constitution. As stated, in the short term this can lead to some bad consiquences, but averaged out over the long term I don't see it as a bad thing, and it hasn't been. I don't see this as just a liberal thing, either, EVERY party, no matter how insignificant can be heard sitting around arguing what this or that par
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by iminplaya (723125)
          Massive fail all round.

          Not for Exxon. Or Halliburton. Some folks have done remaarkably well. It turns out that most things don't exist for the reasons we think they do. There's always a "rest of the story" which isn't so pretty as the fairy tale being portrayed as American history.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by dangitman (862676)

          Written constitutions Just Don't Work.

          That's why I prefer my constitutions on audio cassette. Preferably narrated by James Earl Jones or Sir David Attenborough.

    • by mrogers (85392) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @07:05PM (#17656024)
      By backing down they don't just avoid an investigation, they avoid testing the legality of the program. That could be useful if they want to reinstate the program under the next Congress. But more importantly, the claims about wartime Presidential powers [washingtonpost.com] that were used to justify the wiretapping program are still being used to justify other questionably legal actions (perhaps even including the covert expansion of the Iraq war into Iran and Syria [thewashingtonnote.com]). The administration wants to avoid a direct court battle over those powers, and by backing down over the wiretapping program it's hoping to pacify Congress without establishing any precedents.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        I still don't understand ... if one breaks the law a number of times, and then agrees to play by the rules, why should that get them off the hook. Why can not these actions be ruled in (obvious) violation of the current law, and the officials prosecuted? Is there no accountability for the administration?
      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Avoid testing the legality of the program? Doesn't Congress have the power to investigate any illegal activities such as warrantless wiretapping, even if they occurred in the past? If the investigations reveal something, don't they have the power to impeach and convict?

        Oh yeah, nevermind. The Democrats are afraid of looking partisan. They saw the voter backlash against the Republicans for impeaching Clinton over a blowjob, and said "Oh no! Now we can't impeach anyone for fear of looking partisan, even
    • "The president has determined not to reauthorize the Terrorist Surveillance Program when the current authorization expires," Gonzales wrote in a letter to congressional leaders that disclosed the administration's shift in approach.

      The program finally gets oversight, so the president decides to shut it down. What I want to know is whether the court will be able to review any or all past uses of the terrorism surveillance. I don't think the administration should be able to say, "It's okay, we're not doi

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by thule (9041)
        The reason it is not being renewed is because it is not needed anymore. All the FISA court needs is a NSA lead to grant a warrant now. Previously the FISA judges required some sort of additional information from a FBI investigation.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Orange Crush (934731)

        I was hoping that the administration was on the up and up, but this is definitely a signal that what they are and were doing has highly questionable legal merit.

        There's the rub. Even if everything was handled well and no innocent person's privacy was violated without good cause, the lack of oversight makes it wrong. I don't care if they were being nefarious or not, I want the spying investigated and overseen by the judiciary then, now, and forever always. Any organization that says "Trust us, we're w

        • by ArcherB (796902) *
          There's the rub. Even if everything was handled well and no innocent person's privacy was violated without good cause, the lack of oversight makes it wrong. I don't care if they were being nefarious or not, I want the spying investigated and overseen by the judiciary then, now, and forever always. Any organization that says "Trust us, we're working in your best interests!" without accountability is almost certainly not.

          I think you have right/wrong and illegal/legal confused. While stealing a loaf of bread
          • "National Security" is no excuse for violating due process. They don't need to publish the warrants on the front page of the NY times, the warrants can be kept classified until trial, but they still *must* go to a judge and obtain the warrant on suitable grounds. Spying on someone because they *might* be a terrorist or talking to a terrorist isn't going to protect anyone.

            It's the slippery slope that leads to secret police and being branded a terrorist for speaking out against your government. It's dang

    • by iminplaya (723125)
      ... suddenly it's going back to the court with warrants and everything?

      But not just any court. This is a super duper double top-secret court. That nobody can see. Or touch. It's so secret, I bet it doesn't really even exist. We're just supposed to think it does.
    • Check out this link:

      http://strata-sphere.com/blog/index.php/archives/3 250 [strata-sphere.com]

      AJStrata's point is that now the FISA will grant a warrant purely based on a NSA wiretap intel and nothing else. Under the TSP the FBI would need to do a follow up based on a lead from the NSA and provide additional reason/information to the FISA judge (see .http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/arti cle/2006/02/08/AR2006020802511.html [washingtonpost.com]).

      Remember the NSA has no standing in civilian courts and does not need a warrant to do what
    • Well, there are different meanings of the word "legal." These programs are legal in the sense that no government officials will ever be charged, not legal in the sense of being compliant with written law.
    • Purely illegal from the start, which is why Reagan's deputy attorney general Bruce Fein said that Congress should either change the law or impeach.

      The administration's argument was that Congress couldn't interfere with the powers of the Commander in Chief, that the President could issue any orders to the military without any restraint. The Constitution says otherwise in Article I, Section 8, clause 14.
  • like the?? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Amouth (879122) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @06:36PM (#17655600)
    "or an associated terror group" so someone like anyone that doesn't like them.. i see
  • by guspasho (941623) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @06:37PM (#17655638)
    Who's to say that the administration that has been openly breaking the law for years hasn't just created another hidden illegal program and shifted their illegal activity to that?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by megaditto (982598)
      The President has clearly said he is not breaking the law, and despite what the liberal media is telling you, each and every wiretap still requires an warrant

      Here you go, about half-way down at www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/04/20040420- 2.html

      Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order

      • by ArcherB (796902) *
        But... But... 10000 slashdotters can't be wrong!
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        Yes, wiretaps require court orders. Yes, it's good that the gov. is asking for warrants. But it wasn't that long ago when the executive branch claimed it didn't need warrants--check the /. link in the summary.
        • by thule (9041)
          Since when did US civilian courts need to grant warrants for the NSA to target foreign individuals for wiretapping? The NSA has been doing this ever since its creation. What the TSP did is allow the NSA to pass leads to the FBI. The FBI would get the lead and file for a FISA warrant to make the domestic side a wiretap TARGET.

          Remember if you call a number that has a tap on it, the police can listen in on your conversation. You are not the target, the person you are calling is. This is the same for the N
      • by Wavicle (181176) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @07:42PM (#17656546)
        The President has clearly said he is not breaking the law, and despite what the liberal media is telling you, each and every wiretap still requires an warrant

        I'm lost. Are you being sarcastic? Normally I'd think it obvious that this was tongue in cheek, except your nickname makes a Rush reference.

        Is the United States Department of Justice, a department headed by an appointee of the president, also part of the liberal media? So when they wrote [fas.org] "This constitutional authority includes the authority to order warrantless foreign intelligence surveillance within the United States"?

        The entire executive branch, and much of the republican congress, has said it/they believe that the president has the authority to authorize warrantless wiretaps and furthermore he has done so.
      • by Ardeaem (625311) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @08:34PM (#17657174)

        The President has clearly said he is not breaking the law, and despite what the liberal media is telling you, each and every wiretap still requires an warrant

        Here you go, about half-way down at www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/04/20040420- 2.html

        Bush said this BEFORE he got caught doing wiretaps without warrants. I agree, wiretaps DO require warrants, but Bush has claimed that he doesn't need them (the quote in the parent post not withstanding) and he authorized a program of domestic spying without warrants. If you don't recall this, you are woefully uninformed.

        Since you think the "liberal media" may be lying to you, how about a court decision regarding the program? The first TWO SENTENCES reveal that 1. the program exists and 2. the administration does not dispute that is exists. http://fl1.findlaw.com/news.findlaw.com/nytimes/do cs/nsa/aclunsa81706opn.pdf [findlaw.com] [pdf link]

        People that ignore facts on the basis that they were reported by the "liberal media" confuse me. About 2 seconds of research are all that is required to confirm much of this stuff. If you ignore facts because they came from the "liberal media" you are part of the problem; people in power can sit back and do what they like realizing that you are going to take what they say at face value and not take advantage of the resources at your disposal (the media) to see that they are lying.

        Now, since you quoted Bush directly saying that wiretaps require warrants (in 2004), and I have linked to you a court document which reveals that Bush authorized warrantless wiretaps in 2002, what does this mean, logically? He lied, plain and simple. You don't even need the media, the government's own documents the lie.

      • by iminplaya (723125)
        The President has clearly said he is not breaking the law, and despite what the liberal media is telling you, each and every wiretap still requires an warrant

        In theory. Things work a bit differently in practice. Unfortunately, we can't verify that without proper oversight. Which we aren't getting. So I'm going to assume the worst until someone can prove otherwise. That thing you quote there sounds sooo believeable. For now, it's just Bart Simpson saying, "I didn't do it. Nobody saw me do it. You can't prove
        • by megaditto (982598)
          I didn't RTFA either, but doesn't the summary mean we actually ARE getting the oversight?
          • by iminplaya (723125)
            It is a secret court. There will be no oversight without public verification. And I mean public, not just a couple of baldheads. This here is what is commonly known as a ruse [reference.com].
    • by Syberghost (10557)
      Who's to say that the administration that has been openly breaking the law for years hasn't just created another hidden illegal program and shifted their illegal activity to that?

      They can't; they were replaced by the Bush administration in January of 2001.
      • by Phillup (317168)

        They can't; they were replaced by the Bush administration in January of 2001.
        Clinton had a prosecutor shoved up his ass almost from the get go... and the worst they found was him lying about getting laid more than he should have.

        The Bush administration could not survive one one-hundredth the investigations that Clinton endured.

        The worst that Clinton did was soil some skanks dress.

        Many more have suffered from Bush's actions.
        • by Syberghost (10557)
          Clinton instituted the Extraordinary Rendition program. I guess you're in favor of that, then?
  • Why couldn't they have just done this in the first place? Then there would have been minimal objection and none of this PR nightmare.
    • by User 956 (568564)
      Why couldn't they have just done this in the first place? Then there would have been minimal objection and none of this PR nightmare.

      Because, in their minds, asking forgiveness is easier than asking permission.
    • by kst (168867)
      Most likely because they were doing illegal things that a court wouldn't have approved. (Their previous claims that getting permission would have taken too long are not plausible; the law allows for retroactive permission in some cases.)
  • About %@!#% time! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kelson (129150) * on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @06:39PM (#17655652) Homepage Journal
    If they'd just gone through court procedures in the first place (it's not like it's difficult to get a FISA warrant), there wouldn't have been such a controversy in the first place.

    Ironically, it wouldn't surprise me at all to find that the administration's insistence last year that they didn't need judicial overview contributed to the electoral frustration that cost the Republicans control of Congress.
    • Re:About %@!#% time! (Score:4, Informative)

      by thule (9041) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @09:21PM (#17657650) Homepage
      But they did get a FISA warrant. The FBI would have to get the FISA warrant if the NSA generated a lead on the domestic side of the tapped communication. The domestic side wasn't the TARGET of the tap. Thus the NSA never needs a warrant. This has always been the case.

      You call can be tapped without a warrant if you call some criminal suspect. That is because the TARGET of the tap is not you, the suspect is. This is how the TSP worked. The targets if the NSA taps were outside the US and considered part of the battlefield. If they needed to follow up domestically the FBI would get the information from the NSA and start their own investigation.

      This ruling expands the program and does not require the FBI to further the investigation. The FISA will grant the warrant based purely on NSA intel.
    • by Guppy06 (410832)
      "Ironically, it wouldn't surprise me at all to find that the administration's insistence last year that they didn't need judicial overview contributed to the electoral frustration that cost the Republicans control of Congress."

      Yeah, and AT&T is looking at chapter 11 after so many of its customers left them for going along with this program.

      If the American people actually cared about this stuff, it likely wouldn't have happened to begin with.
  • by the_REAL_sam (670858) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @06:40PM (#17655674) Journal
    This link explained alot for me. Too bad it's a secret court, but it's better than no court, and at least it's a court within the judicial branch of the federal government.

    http://www.fjc.gov/history/home.nsf/page/fisc_bdy! OpenDocument&Click= [fjc.gov]


    Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

    Congress in 1978 established the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court as a special court and authorized the Chief Justice of the United States to designate seven federal district court judges to review applications for warrants related to national security investigations. Judges serve for staggered, non-renewable terms of no more than seven years, and must be from different judicial circuits. The provisions for the court were part of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (92 Stat. 1783), which required the government, before it commenced certain kinds of intelligence gathering operations within the United States, to obtain a judicial warrant similar to that required in criminal investigations. The legislation was a response to a report of the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities (the "Church Committee"), which detailed allegations of executive branch abuses of its authority to conduct domestic electronic surveillance in the interest of national security. Congress also was responding to the Supreme Court's suggestion in a 1972 case that under the Fourth Amendment some kind of judicial warrant might be required to conduct national security related investigations.
    Warrant applications under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act are drafted by attorneys in the General Counsel's Office at the National Security Agency at the request of an officer of one of the federal intelligence agencies. Each application must contain the Attorney General's certification that the target of the proposed surveillance is either a "foreign power" or "the agent of a foreign power" and, in the case of a U.S. citizen or resident alien, that the target may be involved in the commission of a crime.
    The judges of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court travel to Washington, D.C., to hear warrant applications on a rotating basis. To ensure that the court can convene on short notice, at least one of the judges is required to be a member of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. The act of 1978 also established a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, presided over by three district or appeals court judges designated by the Chief Justice, to review, at the government's request, the decisions the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Because of the almost perfect record of the Department of Justice in obtaining the surveillance warrants and other powers it requested from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the review court had no occasion to meet until 2002. The USA Patriot Act of 2001 (115 Stat. 272) expanded the time periods for which the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court can authorize surveillance and increased the number of judges serving the court from seven to eleven.


  • Not good enough (Score:5, Insightful)

    by schwaang (667808) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @06:45PM (#17655744)
    1. It sounds like they won't be pulling NSA cables out of the AT&T (and other) facilities. They're just claiming to use them under FISA now. This wired blog [wired.com] raises some interesting questions about this.
    2. During Attorney General Gonzales' previous congressional testimony on this topic, he was very careful and lawerly in asserting that his statements only applied to the program under discussion, that is the "Terrorist Surveillance Program". The clear implication is that there are other programs besides TSP which have not seen the light of day.

    In short, don't let this stop the oversight hearings.
    • by Jherek Carnelian (831679) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @07:20PM (#17656230)
      2. During Attorney General Gonzales' previous congressional testimony on this topic, he was very careful and lawerly in asserting that his statements only applied to the program under discussion, that is the "Terrorist Surveillance Program". The clear implication is that there are other programs besides TSP which have not seen the light of day.

      Yes, AT&T is still working on their, "Terrorist Friends and Family Surveillance Program." Spy on all the friends and family of a suspected terrorist that you want to for just one, low-cost, secret warrant!
    • by conteXXt (249905)
      one more "insightful" needed.

      Good catch.
  • by the Gray Mouser (1013773) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @06:46PM (#17655768)
    Which is a good thing.

    First they need to troll through all the communication looking for patterns. Once they find something, then they can eavesdrop specific targets and go for a warrant.

    But you don't know what you're looking for until you find it.

    It sounds like not much is changing really, except FISA has given the ok to the datamining.
  • Requests denied? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Bowling Moses (591924) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @06:46PM (#17655774) Journal
    "[oversight] authority has been given to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and [it] already has approved one request for monitoring the communications of a person believed to be linked to al Qaeda or an associated terror group.""

    That's nice. How many requests has this court denied, or is it just a rubber stamp like FISA [epic.org]?
    • by abb3w (696381)

      How many requests has this court denied, or is it just a rubber stamp like FISA?

      FISA is the law; the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is the primary court chartered thereby (with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review as primary appelate, and the SCOTUS as final court of appeal).

      That said, at least the Bush administration may have to put together a request that a handful of the most conservative pro-federal judges on the federal bench won't riot over. This is at least a small s

    • by evilviper (135110)
      authority has been given to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

      That's nice. How many requests has this court denied, or is it just a rubber stamp like FISA?

      -1 for not realizing that FISA _IS_ the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Or more specifically, the Court was established by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
  • by crhylove (205956) <rhy@leperkhanz.com> on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @06:47PM (#17655788) Homepage Journal
    FUCK OVERSIGHT! I want this program OVER. Unless I am an actual proven threat in a court of law, there should be nobody listening to anything I'm doing.

    rhY
    • ... than an innocent man hang. Is a doctrine that seems to have been trampled in the War on Terror fear mongering campaign.
    • FUCK OVERSIGHT! I want this program OVER. Unless I am an actual proven threat in a court of law, there should be nobody listening to anything I'm doing.

      So you want to be proven guilty before they can collect the evidence that would actually prove your guilt? 1) that makes no sense, as it would be circular, and 2) the standard isn't that high for regular warrants.

    • by kevin_conaway (585204) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @07:16PM (#17656172) Homepage
      FUCK OVERSIGHT! I want this program OVER. Unless I am an actual proven threat in a court of law, there should be nobody listening to anything I'm doing.

      Thats what they're doing. Agency X goes to the FISA court (a court of law mind you) and with A, B and C pieces of information showing that you are a "threat" and that they would like a warrant on you.

      • by crhylove (205956)
        If you think the FISA court is anything but a rubber stamp for our new Gestapo, pass the kool aid. I want everything in a PUBLIC COURT. WITH A JURY OF PEERS. AS WRITTEN IN THE CONSTITUTION. Anything less is traitorous fascism, and the perpetrators should be dealt with as such. What's the penalty for treason again?
        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Anything less is traitorous fascism

          I don't think those words mean what you think they mean. But treason is defined in the Constitution so you can go ahead and look it up.

          Anyways, all that the FISA courts are doing are approving warrants. A normal court does not require a jury of your peers to do that.
        • Read this:

          http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/artic le/2006/02/08/AR2006020802511.html [washingtonpost.com]

          Does that sound like a rubber stamp to you? The judge was putting the FBI on notice. They will not grant a warrant based solely on a NSA lead. With this new ruling that is not true anymore. A simple NSA lead is all that will be required for the FBI to get a FISA warrant.

          The NSA has monitored communications for years and years and years. The TARGETS of the tapping were foreign communications. If the foreign c
    • by FudRucker (866063)
      ever hear of "probable cause"?

      _if it walks like a duck...
    • by magarity (164372)
      there should be nobody listening to anything I'm doing.
       
      Then stop taking all those overseas calls from known AQ operatives.
  • Great! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tacokill (531275) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @06:49PM (#17655812)
    That's exactly what should have happened from the very beginning

    It was obvious then and its obvious now.
  • Not so much... (Score:5, Informative)

    by StevenMaurer (115071) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @07:03PM (#17655996) Homepage
    According to his letter [tpmmuckraker.com], Gonzalez hasn't actually subjected the program to judicial oversight. What he's done is gone judge-shopping to find a single judge to declare the entire program authorized.

    The problem is, that's not how warrants work. Warrants have to be specific and time limited - to avoid exactly the behavior that Gonzalez in engaging in: blanket invasion into the privacy of all Americans without any legitimate reason to think they're doing anything wrong.

    Remember: the laws we have on civil liberties aren't there to protect the guilty. They're there to protect the innocent, namely us.

  • by Garry Anderson (194949) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @07:03PM (#17656002) Homepage
    FYI: It is not a "Terrorist Surveillance Program" - it is a "Public Surveillance Program".

    They do not know who the terrorists are - so they have to keep an eye on you "just in case".

    Why do government have no respect for your right to privacy?

    This is a post that I have used many times before :-)

    Liberty has to be one of the most important things in life. Well up there, behind health and safety of your family, must be the right to go about your daily life without being forced to live it under oppressive surveillance. For it surely is oppression - being spied upon by the authorities in all that you do. Knowing this information could be used against you, for any purpose they see fit. The so-called all-seeing eye of God over you - meant to instil respect of them and fear of authority.

    It can be proven they use propaganda to deceive you into believing them. How?

    Ask Security Services in the US, UK, Indonesia (Bali) or anywhere for that matter, to deny this:

    Internet surveillance, using Echelon, Carnivore or back doors in encryption, will not stop terrorists communicating by other means - most especially face to face or personal courier.

    Terrorists will have to do that, or they will be caught!

    Perhaps using mobile when absolutely essential, saying - "Meet you in the pub Monday" (meaning, human bomb to target A), or Tuesday (target B) or Sunday (abort).

    The Internet has become a tool for government to snoop on their people - 24/7.

    The terrorism argument is a dummy - total bull*.

    INTERNET SURVEILLANCE WILL NOT BE ABLE TO STOP TERRORISTS - THAT IS SPIN AND PROPAGANDA

    This propaganda is for several reasons, including: a) making you feel safer b) to say the government are doing something and c) the more malicious motive of privacy invasion.

    Government say about surveillance - "you've nothing to fear - if you are not breaking the law"

    This argument is made to pressure people into acquiescence - else appear guilty of hiding something illegal.

    It does not address the real reason why they want this information (which they will deny) - they want a surveillance society.

    They wish to invade your basic human right to privacy. This is like having somebody watching everything you do - all your personal thoughts, hopes and fears will be open to them.

    This is everything - including phone calls and interactive TV. Quote from ZDNET: "Whether you're just accessing a Web site, placing a phone call, watching TV or developing a Web service, sometime in the not to distant future, virtually all such transactions will converge around Internet protocols."

    "Why should I worry? I do not care if they know what I do in my own home", you may foolishly say. Or, just as dumbly, "They will not be interested in anything I do".

    This information will be held about you until the authorities need it for anything at all. Like, for example, here in UK when government looked for dirt on individuals of Paddington crash survivors group. It was led by badly injured Pam Warren. She had over 20 operations after the 1999 rail crash (which killed 31 and injured many).

    This group had fought for better and safer railways - all by legal means. By all accounts a group of fine outstanding people - with good intent.

    So what was their crime, to deserve this investigation?

    It was just for showing up members of government to be the incompetents they are.

    As usual, government tried to put a different spin on the story when they were found out. Even so, their intent was obvious - they wanted to use this information as propaganda - to smear the character of these good people.

    Our honourable government would rather defile the character of its citizens - rather than address their reasonable concerns.

    The government arrogantly presume this group of citizens would not worry about having their privacy invaded.

    They can also check your outgoings match your income and that you are paying e
    • FYI: It is not a "Terrorist Surveillance Program" - it is a "Public Surveillance Program".
      They do not know who the terrorists are - so they have to keep an eye on you "just in case".


      Please explain how you think this program works, because I thought it was filtering telephone call routing information to fill in hidden nodes in graphs built to analyze social networks of terrorist groups, and because it's under NSA jurisdiction discarded all calls without an international prefix before analysis. This is just
  • The star chamber [wikipedia.org]. This institution has the advantage that, if you're dealing with it and the Powers That Be approve of you, you're pretty much bullet proof. Of course if they don't...

    Under the leadership of Cardinal Wolsey (the Archbishop of York and Lord Chancellor) and Thomas Cranmer (the Archbishop of Canterbury) (1515-1529), the Court of Star Chamber became a political weapon for bringing actions against opponents to the policies of King Henry VIII, his Ministers and his Parliament.

  • by Adult film producer (866485) <van@i2pmail.org> on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @07:21PM (#17656236)
    and it's gonna get us killed, whether you like it or not. We are more vulnerable now that investigators have to wade through the legal system. If you've seen the latest episode of 24, you'll know what I'm talking about, a nuclear attack on an american city. With the appropriate monitoring systems in place, that would have never happened on the show but they were hamstrung like the FBI and NSA is today. Blame the leftists and the god damn liberals for the terror that will befall us :(
    • by geekoid (135745)
      yes, base your argument on a TV episode.

      Dork.
    • I would rather lose a large city (and along with the destabilization) via a terrorist attack than LOSE MY FREEDOM. It'd not matter if it was my city, as long as others would keep their freedom.

      That, and basing an argument about a F-1CTIONAL show is stupid. Stupid.
    • The FBI and NSA are hamstrung today?
      And that would have happened under which administration?

      Hint, that would be the GW Bush administration,
      you know, they who have been fearmongering over
      the terrorist bogeyman for the last 5 years.

      You need to stop watching TV and start *THINKING*.
    • Mod parent funny! Haha, that's the funniest thing I've read today...
    • Balanced budget? Budget surplus? Paying down the debt?
      Personal privacy? Haebus Corpus? Magna Carta? The universal rights of man?

      This is pre-911 thinking and it will get us killed! ;P
  • "monitoring the communications of a person believed to be linked to al Qaeda or an associated terror group."

    So he/she is possibly related to a group that is possibly associated with al Qaeda... I hope the evidence is a damn lot stronger than this half-hearted wording suggests.
    • by dbIII (701233)
      So he/she is possibly related to a group that is possibly associated with al Qaeda... I hope the evidence is a damn lot stronger than this half-hearted wording suggests.

      It isn't - so Kevin Bacon is in deep deep trouble.

  • Makes sense... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Cheetahfeathers (93473) on Wednesday January 17, 2007 @07:41PM (#17656536)
    This of course also happens after a bunch of federal judges were replaced.
  • authority has been given to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court

    Ummm, that authority was given to FISA years ago. The question should not be whether they now will be allowed to do their job, but if those who broke the law in circumventing it will be held accountable.
  • There are elements of the Bush administration that truly believe in the "unitary executive" theory of American government, which by all appearances goes something like this:
    1. President does something shady (the reasons aren't relevant to this discussion).
    2. Congress makes a law to make it illegal to do what the President is doing.
    2. President signs a law (sometimes with a 'signing statement'), and ignores it.
    3. When someone catches him at it, appear to stop doing whatever he wasn't supposed to do so any co

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