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FISA Court Sides With ACLU Against Administration 352

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 trentfoley ( 226635 ) on Friday August 17, 2007 @10:08PM (#20271393) Homepage Journal
    The judge that signed this order is the same judge that presided over the Microsoft anti-trust trial after Thomas Penfield Jackson was removed from the case. She has apparently now become presiding judge over FISC. She certainly gets around. []
  • by tgd ( 2822 ) on Friday August 17, 2007 @10:09PM (#20271407)
    This sort of behavior has been the standard operating procedure for our government for seventy years, unfortunately.

    I was recently reading a couple of books on the history of the atomic weapons program in the US, particularly around the spy cases brought against a bunch of people involved.

    A shocking number of known Soviet spies were unable to be tried because of the massive amount of illegal wiretapping that had been done against US citizens during that time. It wasn't until decades later that FOIA releases started to show just how many cases were quietly dropped to avoid it becoming public about the illegal surveillance and wiretapping.

    The biggest difference now is via legal "loopholes" like Guantanamo Bay, and secret courts, people can be imprisoned without a trial or with a secret trial where the government can actually use the illegal wiretaps as evidence.

    In my opinion, they're going after the wrong thing here. What do they hope to do? Stop the wiretaps? It'll *never* happen. What needs to be targeted is the illegal courts that allow them to make use of the illegal wiretaps.
  • Burying the lede. (Score:4, Informative)

    by lheal ( 86013 ) <(moc.oohay) (ta) (9991laehl)> on Friday August 17, 2007 @10:13PM (#20271461) Journal
    Why all the hyperventilating? From the end of TFA:

    The ACLU's request to the FISC acknowledges that the FISC's docket includes a significant amount of material that is properly classified. The ACLU argues, however, that the release of court orders and opinions would not raise any security concern to the extent that these records address purely legal issues about the scope of the government's wiretap authority, and points out that the FISC has released such orders and opinions before. The ACLU is seeking release of all information in those judicial orders and legal papers the court determines, after independent review, to be unclassified or improperly classified.
    So release the court orders and such. It's the ACLU's job to be paranoid, but I'm glad they see the value in keeping some things classified. All of these charges that the Bush Administration is trampling over the Constitution and spying on everyone is only helpful to partisans.
  • Re:Interesting ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by jfern ( 115937 ) on Friday August 17, 2007 @11:11PM (#20272039)
    Nice try, but no cigar.

    Yesterday, some of Bush's defenders pointed out on conservative websites that the Clinton administration had authorized a search of the home of Aldrich Ames, a suspected Soviet spy, without a warrant in 1993.

    But legal specialists said the Ames case is irrelevant because it involved a physical search of Ames's home, and the 1978 law did not require warrants for physical searches. The year after the Ames search, 1994, the law was amended to require warrants for physical searches and wiretaps.

    Link []
  • by belmolis ( 702863 ) <billposer AT alum DOT mit DOT edu> on Saturday August 18, 2007 @12:54AM (#20272847) Homepage

    I'll explain it to you. The OP complained that the International Tribune was crazy without explaining why. /dev/trash offered as a reason for objecting to the International Tribune the fact that the US is a sovereign country and that nobody has any business looking into how the US handles its own affairs. My comment about China points out the dubious validity of hiding behind sovereignty. You can agree or disagree, but each post is straightforwardly connected to its predecessor.

  • by jjohnson ( 62583 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @01:32AM (#20273143) Homepage
    In fairness to Congressional Democrats, they may have titular control of Congress, and control of the committees (which grants broad investigative powers that they're using), they're hamstrung by their bare majority in the Senate. The House has passed all of Nancy Pelosi's bills that she promised, only to see them get filibustered in the Senate (meaning that the Senate equivalent bill that gets rationalized in committee with the House bill never gets passed). The Republicans in the Senate have one strategy: prevent the Democrats from looking effective in Congress, and the makeup of the Senate (with Bush's veto behind it) makes that all too easy.

    If the Democrats had a veto-proof majority in the Senate (66 seats), they would surely send a bill to Bush tying funding for the Iraq war directly to a withdrawal date--they would love for the withdrawal and the subsequent bloodbath to happen while Bush is president so they can call it "Bush's war", and blame him solely for everything that went wrong. They would also look strong, standing up to a president and carrying out the people's (poll-driven) will. As it is, a Democratic president is going to have to wiggle out of Iraq, and will share some of the blame for how badly it goes and the subsequent mess.

    If they had a filibuster proof majority (60 seats) they'd send even harsher bills to Bush, knowing they'd be vetoed, but making the Democrats look tough and effective and blaming Bush for rejecting the clear expression of the people's will via Congress.
  • by jjohnson ( 62583 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @01:47AM (#20273231) Homepage
    This is the (predictable) problem with the ./ summary--it gets a few facts right, and misses the point entirely.

    The Bush Administration has to respond--that's all. An argument that the ACLU has no goddamned right to see what they're requesting is a response. The judge might rule against the Bush Administration, but that just means years more of the Justice Department's stonewalling that they perfected during the Padilla and Moussaoui fiascos.

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