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FISA Court Sides With ACLU Against Administration 352

Posted by kdawson
from the more-light dept.
jamie caught a breaking news story this evening: the secret FISA Court has ordered the Bush administration to respond by August 31 to an ACLU request for orders and legal papers discussing the scope of the government's authority to engage in the secret wiretapping of Americans. The ACLU's press release calls it an "unprecedented order."
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FISA Court Sides With ACLU Against Administration

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  • by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Friday August 17, 2007 @09:44PM (#20271109)
    ... but every time I get ready to write a check, I read about them doing something barking-mad like this:

    International 'Tribunal' on Hurricanes Katrina and Rita [internatio...ibunal.org]

    Second Amendment a 'Collective' right [aclu.org]

    Translation: The Bush Administration is responsible for Hurricane Katrina, but we still need to give them a monopoly on firearms, because that way, we'll all be safer.

    Or something.
  • Second Amendment a 'Collective' right

    Hey at least they're willing to state, with some persuasion I might add, what their position is, and how they came by it.

    Much as I like the second amendment, some people are going to have to learn that the right to bear arms is a little fucking vague, and could do with a little polish after 200 years of wear and tear.

    Also, and something that's not been adequately explained to me, but where is the line? M-16s OK? What about RPGs? AA Missiles? Nukes? There's either a line that most people can get behind, and shut your griping, or it's all in or all out. Make up your minds.

    Honestly, is it that fucking hard to buy a gun in the States?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 17, 2007 @09:57PM (#20271267)
    "The ACLU filed the request with the FISC following Congress' recent passage of the so-called "Protect America Act," a law that vastly expands the Bush administration's authority to conduct warrantless wiretapping of Americans' international phone calls and e-mails."

    I thought the whole hullabaloo was about *domestic* surveillance. Monitoring of internal US communications. This is how the story break a few years ago. But every time someone accidently brings that up, everyone else only talks about cross-border surveillance.

    AANAL, but it is my understanding that if you cross the border you are going to possibly get a probe inserted in your anus that will come out of your mouth-- and that is perfectly legal.

    But if the cops tried that on you while you were walking down the street, that had better have a rock-solid warrant.

    Was the origianl issue not *domestic* warrantless wiretaps? (QUITE illegal-- but everyone conveniently forgets about it and starts talking about this non-issue international stuff).
  • by belmolis (702863) <billposer@nOSpam.alum.mit.edu> on Friday August 17, 2007 @10:01PM (#20271311) Homepage

    What's so crazy about the International Tribunal on Hurricanes Katrina and Rita? The name and casting of it as a court is a little funny, but basically it is just an inquiry into the Bush administration's mishandling of the relief and reconstruction efforts. Since this not only affects the people in the area but involves the waste of hundreds of millions of tax dollars, this certainly seems a worthwhile topic for investigation, and there is ample evidence already of gross inefficiency and corruption.

    With regard to the Second Amendment, while I like you disagree with the ACLU's position, I don't see why that should prevent you from supporting the ACLU. The ACLU doesn't actively oppose individual gun rights, it just doesn't include them in its agenda.

  • by RyanFenton (230700) on Friday August 17, 2007 @10:04PM (#20271345)
    What's the punishment if they don't comply? Who would be the target of the punishment? Who would enforce this punishment?

    I ask these questions, because I can't think of an incident in this past term in office where the Bush administration complied with any request that wasn't directly self-serving. Without a meaningful cost that could actually be enacted, I don't see this administration answering to anyone about anything that they wouldn't like to do already.

    Ryan Fenton

  • by jcr (53032) <.jcr. .at. .mac.com.> on Friday August 17, 2007 @10:06PM (#20271369) Journal
    where is the line?

    The line is basically at the point where your arms become ordinance; in other words, too big to serve as a personal defense against armed individuals. I'm fine with you owning a .50 cal browning, but I have an issue with mortars and heavy artillery.

    -jcr

  • by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Friday August 17, 2007 @10:13PM (#20271465)
    I'm fine with you owning a .50 cal browning, but I have an issue with mortars and heavy artillery.

    Yeah, me, too. The government has proven itself incapable of handling those types of weapons responsibly, and should therefore be banned from possessing them.
  • by belmolis (702863) <billposer@nOSpam.alum.mit.edu> on Friday August 17, 2007 @10:18PM (#20271507) Homepage

    Funny, that's what China always says when people complain about its violations of human rights and occupation of Tibet.

  • by Newer Guy (520108) on Friday August 17, 2007 @10:19PM (#20271523)
    Two weekends ago Bush kept Congress in session all weekend until the effectively eliminated the FISA court. Now all that has to happen is that once a quarter, Alberto "Lies like a rug" Gonzales has to NOTIFY Congress how many people they've spied on without a warrant.
  • by RightSaidFred99 (874576) on Friday August 17, 2007 @10:38PM (#20271717)
    There is no persuasion to their position, actually, if you understand English and the concept of a parenthetical phrase.

    "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed" .

    The only part of that sentence that means anything is the bold part, the rest is parenthetical. It's really very simple.

    Let's practice. "Because I like the way you spend all your money on porn, I am going to give you $1,000,000."

    Now, do you have to spend the $1,000,000 on porn? No, you don't. The first portion of the sentence is parenthetical.

  • slashkos (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday August 17, 2007 @10:55PM (#20271913) Homepage Journal
    This story is tagged "slashkos". As if a story about the FISA Court objecting to unwarranted (pun intended :P) invasions of Americans' privacy is somehow a "liberal" issue.

    I remember when "Conservatives" used to be the most sensitive Americans to government invasion of personal lives. When "Conservatives" used to swear to lay down their very lives to prevent "big government" from gaining unbalanced power over people.

    That was a long time ago. Those "Conservatives" are dead, or sold out to the lust for power and the money it brings.

    Today's "Conservatives" will sell any liberty for any illusion of "security". And even a geek blog like Slashdot can notice. "Slashkos" indeed.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 17, 2007 @11:08PM (#20272023)

    The line is basically at the point where your arms become ordinance; in other words, too big to serve as a personal defense against armed individuals.

    Why? The second amendment has nothing whatsoever to do with protecting the security of individuals and everything to do with protecting the security of the states.

    Look, it's very simple: if you want constitutional protection for your right to personally defend yourself with guns against armed individuals, rather than to quell a rebellion or invasion as part of a militia, then follow the correct process and convince your representatives to pass it as an amendment. Don't just stick your head in the sand and pretend the second amendment says something it clearly doesn't say. If somebody can do that to extend your rights, they can do it to take them away. Orwellian newspeak has no place in law and it is far more dangerous to condone it than it is to give away your guns. Better to be armed with thoughts alone than the terrible combination of guns and idiocy.

  • by man_ls (248470) on Friday August 17, 2007 @11:18PM (#20272125)
    While overwhelmingly positive, this ruling still has to actually be complied with.

    Let's say, for the sake of argument, the Administration refuses to comply. Who goes to jail, and who takes them? Is it the President? The heads of the various organizations that didn't comply? Nobody, since the Judicial branch can't really enforce anything without the cooperation of agencies under other branches of government?

    I'd like to know, even if it's an unrealistic situation that they'd flat out ignore that sort of an order.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday August 17, 2007 @11:32PM (#20272235) Homepage Journal
    How's that working out for you? This story is about The Man wiretapping you without a warrant. How's that weapon working?

    Is it working as good for you as it is for the Bloods and the Crips? As good as for the Branch Davidians in Waco?

    But then, you think anyone should have a nuke who can afford it. Bin Laden can afford it, but you can't.

    Thank you for demonstrating the kind of dementia that says the Second Amendment guarantees any weapon, no matter how powerful, to you. Rather than just ensuring that the US would use militias, rather than a standing army, that supplied themselves with weapons, rather than the government supporting a huge arsenal and a huge arms industry. Which wrong path you gun fetishists have kept driving us down for generations. And bringing along with it all the shooting deaths here in the US, and all the military adventurism worldwide that now includes Iraq.

    Congratulations, you've gotten the Constitution and common sense so wrong that you've broken the country and helped kill millions of people.
  • Re:slashkos (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday August 17, 2007 @11:45PM (#20272343) Homepage Journal
    Anonymous fascist Coward, the FISA Court is stopping the NSA from wiretapping you. Telecom abuse. Which is most certainly Slashdot material.

    But since you're so insane that you think the FISA Court is engaged in "mindless anti-administration bashing", who cares what you think? Karl Rove, is that you, now that you've "retired" and have time to pollute Slashdot instead of trolling on DKos?
  • Re:slashkos (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday August 17, 2007 @11:47PM (#20272369) Homepage Journal
    How is pointing out that privacy invasion isn't a uniquely liberal issue acknowledging that Democrats are anti-privacy and fewer liberties? Unless of course you're the kind of rightwinger who sees everything that way, no matter what the facts are.

    BTW, by far the biggest jumps in government size since WWII have been by Eisenhower, then Nixon, then Reagan, then Bush. Each of them multiplied the size of the government, rather than the fractional increments during Democratic administrations. But why would facts matter when you've got Republican slogans to repeat instead?
  • More tan that. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Irvu (248207) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @12:15AM (#20272555)
    Actually this administration has said that the Judicial branch as a whole is an obstacle. They have sought to circumvent every level of the court system and complained about them publicly. Keep in mind that Federal Judges rotate through the FISA court on fixed terms there are no judges who are "just FISA". What this suggests is that many federal judges are pissed at being called at best irrelevant or at worst Anti-American. One would hope that Congress also discovers a spine at some point.
  • by Belial6 (794905) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @12:20AM (#20272591)
    The guy might not have said it well, but he is absolutely correct when he said that the second amendment is not about protecting yourself from criminals, and it is also not about hunting. Do you really believe that in 1790, they were sitting around arguing whether you needed a guarantee that you could hunt or not? That would be like needing a constitutional amendment guaranteeing that you could go to the grocery store. Do you really believe that they were debating whether or not you needed an amendment saying you could use the strongest weapon you could get your hands on to stop that group of ruffians from brutally raping your wife and daughter? Do you think it was brought up that, "Hey, if someone breaks into your house, you can just make the two hour ride to the nearest town to get the sheriff to ride another two hours back to stop the raping". No, these kinds of arguments would be absurd.

    The US did just come off of a revolution, where the government had been seen as extremely abusive. Other governments in the world had previously taken the action of disarming the citizens so that the government could abuse them. Do you really believe that the argument would have been presented of "Look, the war was horrible, but can you imagine what would have happened if we didn't have guns? We need to make sure that the government knows they can only go so far before the people rise up and replace them".

    As for the "it's a guarantee that the government can have arms." argument... What government in all the history of the world has ever felt the need to guarantee itself in writing, the right to bare arms? It is an absurd argument.

    I have heard the retort to this before. It goes something like "It's a guarantee for the STATES to have their own military. Not the individual". Of course that argument requires that the person making it, not understand the Constitution at all. It is very clear in the constitution that anything that is not explicitly granted in the Constitution is the domain of the states. There is no need to guarantee the states the right to have their own military because if it the right to regulate state military isn't in the Constitution, then the Constitution already says it is a state right.

    Of course, if we WERE to take the view that the second amendment was designed to make sure the states had military to fight off the federal government, then we would need to see the Civil War as a great loss, and should be demanding that our national guards start blockading the AT&T buildings to keep the federal government from performing warrantless wiretaps.
  • Re:slashkos (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 18, 2007 @12:30AM (#20272671)
    I remember when "Conservatives" used to be the most sensitive Americans to government invasion of personal lives.

    "Conservatives" are still out there and still sensitive to government intrusion into our personal lives.

    The current administration consists of "Neoconservatives"; a.k.a. "Big Government Conservatives", an oxymoron like "Military Intelligence" or "Microsoft Works".

    Just one more thing to hold Bush II accountable for.
  • by wwahammy (765566) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @12:41AM (#20272747)
    The amendment is not created in a vacuum. No other amendment in the Bill of Rights includes a phrase explaining the reason for the amendment. Wouldn't it be logical to assume that, gee, maybe these words written in the supreme law of the country mean something? This isn't the Declaration of Independence where people were trying to convince others of something, this is a legal document.

    Try this: "Pornography, being necessary for the sexual health of the nation, the right of the people keep and hold DVD players, shall not be infringed." When you consider that no other right includes a reason for its existance, I think a fair argument can be made that the right to have a DVD player exists mainly for pornography and having one for other reasons could be restricted to some extent.

    I do think that the amendment provides some protection to gun owners but I don't think it's as all encompassing. I think gun laws as they are now are close to where they should be and that guns should be relatively unrestricted. That said, I think the way the amendment is written is less than clear and anyone who feels that you can ignore half the amendment is lying to themselves for their own gain.
  • Including labeling fanatical Islamic terrorists who would kill them in a moment's notice "freedom fighters".
    Ah, the neverending ability of humans to rationalize evil as long as it's someone else suffering from it. I imagine you cheered Osama bin Laden on as he terrorized and killed Soviet troops during the 80s? It was okay, because they were the Others.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @12:57AM (#20272869) Homepage Journal
    Let's see your facts instead of your unsupported rant. Just like an Anonymous Bush worshipper Coward to do (poorly) exactly what you criticize most.

    If liberals would do "anything", they'd just impeach him on the mountain of evidence of his many crimes. Like the many FISA violations a Federal court already decided Bush violated again and again, and now the FISA Court itself is trying to stop with the action we're discussing in this story. Are you ready now to say that the FISA Court is "liberal" and just out to get Bush?

    And how easily you pisspants Republican cowards morph from talking about how Bush illegally spies on Americans into your demented "support the troops: keep killing them". No one is rooting for Americans to lose. Some of us are pointing out that they have already lost, as is perfectly clear, because they were run into the ground by the Bush regime you worship. This isn't a fucking Cubs game, you obnoxious Anonymous bloodthirsty Coward. Your stupid insanity is killing American troops for nothing, and making us less safe every day.

    Like thinking that pointing out a problem that has to be solved by stopping its perpetuation is somehow rooting for the problem. How do you manage to even brush your teeth with insanity like that ruling your brain? I bet you don't.

    Quoting a Washington Republican Post writer predicting problems for Democrats is just the kind of stupid Republican faceplant that is keeping this war going, well after it's hopeless.

    And claiming that liberals believe the US is the greatest evil in the world is more of the same denial projection you broken "Conservatives" can't help but spew. Since you've attacked all the freedom and rights protection that makes this country the best, while scrambling to find someone standing up for them to blame it on.

    Your factfree post is a sniveling example of why you Conservatives must never be allowed to wield any power in America ever again. Your "Conservative Revolution" has thrown this country low. I bet you've got a similar insane rant insisting that we must torture anyone who gets near our roundup crews.

    You're a Coward. Not just an Anonymous Coward, but a scared baby who will do anything so the big men who say "boo" will tell you you're "strong". Just get out of the way already and let the adults run the country. We might have a chance to save it so you can live in it a free man. Not the abject slave you and your Bush regime have worked so hard to lower us all to.
  • Re:slashkos (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @12:57AM (#20272873)
    Hundreds of millions of Americans owning guns hasn't made us more secure. It's made us less secure.

    Gee, I don't believe that the post was about security. I believe it was about freedom.

    May your chains set lightly upon you, yadda, yadda, yadda.
  • by jjohnson (62583) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @01:23AM (#20273077) Homepage
    I believe that the Republicans will spend every moment of the next Democratic presidency screeching about any use of executive privilege at all; I believe that the Republicans who know the details of the powers the Bush Administration have grabbed, will at every possible opportunity accuse the Democratic president of misusing those powers.

    I think that the Democratic president will make a very public showing of repudiating and rescinding these powers because that's the only PR defense against Republican charges of using the same powers that they complained about when Bush was doing it. And I don't think it'll make much difference at all in how the executive has historically operated.

    One of the things that makes so little sense about the Bush Administration is that everything it's done, and had done by executive agencies, probably could have been done without the bald assertion of the theory of the unitary executive. I mean, do you really believe that under Reagan and LBJ that nobody suffered "extraordinary rendition"? That the NSA and the CIA weren't tapping American phones without a warrant? (Look up the Church Commission.)

    What's gotten Bush in so much trouble is trying to officially extend the powers of the presidency by setting precedents: telling Congress they have no right to actual oversight; using signing statements to expressly override the purpose of legislation; scorched earth legal tactics to avoid turning over documents or accepting judicial rulings.

    When history writes the story of the Bush Administration, it won't be the story of Guantanamo and the FISA court. It'll be the story of how a group of Texas Republicans tried to turn the presidency in a kingship.
  • by Hal9000_sn3 (707590) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @08:27AM (#20275093)
    There is no such thing as a Patriot Act, there is a USAPATRIOT Act, calling it a Patriot Act makes it seem like it has something to do with patriotism, which it does not.
  • Re:slashkos (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NMerriam (15122) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Saturday August 18, 2007 @06:12PM (#20280191) Homepage

    It all comes down to reasonable and probably cause as the constitution protects us. If they are talking with the enemy, then I (like most Americans who aren't against bush) believe there is both reasonable and probable cause to wiretap them.


    I'm not sure you understand the Constitution if you think "they are talking with the enemy" is some sort of magic phrase that obviates the needs for warrants to eavesdrop on Americans. If there's probable cause, then you can go to the FISA court (retroactively even!) and maintain all the secrecy necessary while also following legal due process. It doesn't matter if the American is the target of the wiretap or not, if an American is on the line, you need a warrant. Period.

    I'm sorry if you see that as anti-Bush, it's a standard that was stated quite clearly by the Supreme Court of the United States and followed by all the intelligence agencies decades before either Bush was serving in the White House, and it is a standard that Bush and Gonzales have both publicly stated they were ignoring simply because, well, they find it inconvenient to follow the law. "Listening in on Americans" is not any different from "listening in on Americans talking to the enemy" to the courts, particularly when there's no requirement to show probable cause that the person on the other end is actually an enemy.

    But hey, don't let the facts get in the way of your desire to simply call anyone who loves the Constitution a terrorist Bush-basher.
  • Re:slashkos (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @07:12PM (#20280655) Homepage Journal

    First of all, who says that people who oppose abortion don't donate a weekend a year volunteering with adoption or motherhood support groups? And in fact many anti-abortion folks do advocate adoption as an alternative to abortion.

    I do. The number of people who do anything material to help find better lives for unwanted children is vanishingly small compared to those just shooting off their mouths. And no, there is no "up in arms" over the discarded blastocysts at fertility clinics. It's only an issue at all because it's used as a counterargument by pro-choice people. To which their antiabortion opponents casually (though of course angrily) say "yeah, that's bad too", but never do anything about it. Faith doesn't have to be logically consistent for it to be valid. That's why it's irrelevant to the law.

    I say that an embryo isn't a fetus until its nervous system is developed more than a puppy's. The current 6-month cutoff covers that, with substantial margin to cover individual variation. But that's totally irrelevant to the antiabortion movement. Who say that their faith tells them that life begins at conception. A strangely genetic argument, and one that ignores the many spontaneous abortions of embryos that even implant in the uterus, but fail. Well, my faith says that god creates a soul on the first date, and any couple who fail to conceive and give it a body are murderers. Why is their faith any more important to government than mine?

    When the Democrats controlled Congress, they did indeed reinvest the Social Security fund in government spending. But they didn't try to privatize it and risk it all in the stock market that's been shedding $TRILLIONS in just the last few months alone. Republicans are trying to do that, while deregulating corporate accounting and opening the floodgates to unsupportable new consumer and government debt. The two Parties' policies on Social Security couldn't be more different: Republicans actively campaign to eliminate the most popular, biggest government program that is one of our few that compares to the rest of the industrialized world. And which lets our government resist the onslaughts of corporate attacks on consumers. Republicans want it gone so they can "starve the beast", weaken the government itself so they can "drown it in a bathtub". In favor of corporate anarchy. So you should just concede this major point: you're trying to shift the goalposts to a strawman about whether Democrats borrow from Social Security, when we're talking about how Republicans privatize and target it for elimination. Extremely different, in a huge and essential program that is probably the defining difference since its founding by Democrats.

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