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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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  • Re:Interesting ... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bmo ( 77928 ) on Friday August 17, 2007 @09:52PM (#20271201)
    "so a secret court takes steps towards transparency."

    No, a secret court has had enough of being called irrelevant. EVERY president since Carter (Carter created it) has actually gone to get warrants from the court and the court has generally granted them. This administration, however, has wilfully ignored them _and_ said out in public that the FISA court system is an obstacle.

    Anyone who has been paying attention to this _knows_ that the FISA judges are pissed off.

    I am not one bit surprised that they sided with the ACLU.

  • by DavidTC ( 10147 ) <slas45dxsvadiv.v ... m ['eve' in gap]> on Friday August 17, 2007 @10:39PM (#20271723) Homepage

    The administration likes to claim it's only applying to international traffic, so that's how some people refer to it.

    However a) the NSA has repeatedly admitted it doesn't have the technology to just intercept international calls, b) there is no oversight, and c) the Bush administration just rammed a bill through Congress letting them tap people without a warrant as long as the target is not in the US.

    For those who don't know what that means, 'targets' of a tap do not, in fact, have to be at either ends of the actual tap. If they are targetting someone who might call you via unknown means, they can tap all your incoming phone calls, even when that person is not, in fact, calling. Aka, if you know a non-citizen, they can tap all your calls if they want, even domestic ones.

    And there's actually quite a lot of evidence to suggest they are, in actuality, tapping whoever the fuck they want to at any time at they want to. The top of the Justice department doesn't threaten to resign because you're tapping foreigners.

  • by Danathar ( 267989 ) on Friday August 17, 2007 @11:21PM (#20272151) Journal
    Being all up in arms about this stuff is fine. But I have SERIOUS concerns that people are SO foamed up at the mouth with Bush that when the next Democrat wins the presidency everybody will be so happy that nobody will pay attention like they are now.

    I predict that with the exception of some high-profile non-productive executive orders the next prez (no matter which party) will keep most the powers that Bush has acquired via executive orders.

    I may sound jaded, but let's not delude ourselves.
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Friday August 17, 2007 @11:35PM (#20272265) Homepage Journal
    Bush's military used those weapons on Americans in New Orleans after Katrina.

    The National Guard is now trained in Iraq to use them on civilians in cities. Those Guard will soon be restationed back in the USA. As economic collapses and more Katrina-scale disasters repeatedly "threaten public safety".
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @01:04AM (#20272929) Homepage Journal
    The Constitution has all kinds of unprecedented guarantees in it. The Second Amendment, like the rest of the Bill of Rights, is a reiteration of explicit protections from intrusion that are merely implicit in the rest of the Constitution. Which starts with people creating a government with no powers, then enumerating them.

    But the Second Amendment is unique among the others in including an (awkwardly worded) justification for its guarantee. It was flawed from the start. But it does explicitly scope the basis for an uninfringed right to bear arms to supplying a militia, which was distinct from a national army. And since a well-supplied militia is not necessary to the free state in which we live, unless you also think we should disband the standing army and stop buying it weapons, the basis of the noninfringement is gone. While the basis for restricting the weapons is well established. And is the law all over the country.

    The Constitution has been revised plenty of times since the Bill of Rights. Some revisions don't just spell out rights, but have removed some government restrictions and powers. The Second Amendment has survived intact, though experience has shown it to be fundamentally flawed, because its supporters have too much power. They have the guns, for starters, and base their rhetoric on fear. Far from everyone has the right to as many guns as they can afford. We need a better protection of our limited natural entitlement gun ownership that recognizes that it's more of a privilege, like a driver's license, than any kind of natural exercise of the human powers with which we are created.
  • Patriot Act (Score:3, Interesting)

    by flyingfsck ( 986395 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @02:25AM (#20273501)
    As far as I can figure, the actual issue is that the Administration holds that the Patriot Act overrules the older legislation and that they are not bound by the FISA process. I tend to agree, since that was the whole point of passing the Patriot Act. It basically suspends part of the constitution and places the USA in a partial state of emergency.
  • Re:slashkos (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gilroy ( 155262 ) on Saturday August 18, 2007 @05:36AM (#20274371) Homepage Journal
    It doesn't really matter what's driving this. What matters is, there is a law that has been on the books and functioning for nearly 30 years. It makes it a felony to conduct wiretapping of Americans except under the aegis of a court order. The President has publicly admitted that he has approved warrantless wiretaps of a sort that, prima facie, violate the conditions of the law -- and, indeed, the administration has never disagreed with that prima facie reading. (They claim the law is invalid or outdated, but they never claim that what the NSA wiretaps were within FISA itself.)

    In other words, the President has admitted to repeatedly committing a felony under the statutes of the United States. Period.

    There are things that make this worse -- such as the fact that the President did this during a time when he repeatedly and publicly claimed that FISA gave him all the tools he needed, or the fact that FISA has been continually amended and updated (both obviating the "The law is outdated" defense). But it really is as simple as, the President of the United States willfully and repeatedly committed acknowledged felonies.

    Calling this "Bush bashing" is like saying that drunk drivers are arrested as part of a campaign to shut down breweries.
  • Re:slashkos (Score:3, Interesting)

    by NMerriam ( 15122 ) <> on Sunday August 19, 2007 @01:39AM (#20283423) Homepage

    I can see your full of it. The constitution doesn't say that a warrant is needed for each and every search. It says that unreasonable searches and seizures can't happen. So is it reasonable or not to listen in on the american side of a conversation when gathering battlefield inteligence?

    I just stopped reading right there, because the Supreme Court over many decades and ideological shifts has already spoken on the matter. Eavesdropping on phone calls with Americans on the line requires a warrant from a court, period. You can foam at the mouth and call every Supreme Court Justice since the invention of the telegraph a terrorist, but you'll still be completely wrong.
  • Thanks, AC. I'm sure you won't read this, but maybe someone else will.
    Well, someone else did :-)

    I'm no fan of George Bush. I just don't think he's the demon everyone makes him out to be. He's just a guy trying to do a really hard job.
    I would not classify Bush as a demon. He has done some good stuff, some bad stuff, and some horrible stuff. But so have most Presidents. My large fear relates to the structure of the government. We are a government of Laws. not a government of Men.

    I have been known to point out that, since the only other two presidents named "George" were Washington and George H. W. Bush, it is not incorrect to refer to the current president as George III.

    See, I don't think the President has 'trampled all over the Constitution'. If he has broken some rule or another, then the damage has been inadvertent, collateral and temporary, not part of a key piece of some grand dictatorial design.
    How does your second point support the first? I would certainly think that for the Executive to argue that Habeas Corpus doesn't apply if they merely allege terrorist links to American citizens arrested here at home, that is "trampling all over the Constitution" regardless of intent. This great writ is the keystone of our liberty-- erase it at the will of the Executive and we are no longer Free, and we are no longer a government of Laws but of Men. Is there any other definition of a dictatorship?

    I am willing to grant that Bush himself does not appear to be intending to set up a dictatorship for himself. If he did, I think we would have seen more aggressive attacks on checks and balances within our government such that he might have had a chance to achieve absolute power within his eight years in office. Since the attacks themselves seem unable to accomplish this within the time he *can* remain in office, absolute power is obviously not his goal.

    However, I think it would be foolish to think that the Bush Administration is not pushing us in the direction of dictatorship regardless of their intentions.
  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Sunday August 19, 2007 @10:43AM (#20285677) Homepage Journal
    No, Anonymous Republican fascist Coward, Clyburn did not say what you are claiming he was quoted as saying. The WP reporter interpreted it in paraphrase to suit his own typically Washington Post Republican bias. And you are lying to say that Clyburn was quoted as saying that.

    What Clyburn actually was quoted as saying:

    "I think there would be enough support in that [rightwing Democrats] group to want to stay the course and if the Republicans were to stay united as they have been, then it would be a problem for us [to easily change course in Iraq]" Clyburn said. "We, by and large, would be wise to wait on the report."
    Clyburn said that [a generally positive report] would be "a real big problem for us."

    Which the WP reporters paraphrased as:

    House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Mond, ay that a strongly positive report on progress on Iraq by Army Gen. David Petraeus likely would split Democrats in the House and impede his party's efforts to press for a timetable to end the war.
    Without their [rightwing Democrats'] support, he said, Democratic leaders would find it virtually impossible to pass legislation setting a timetable for withdrawal.

    Balz and Cillizza are two Republican boosters writing for the Republican corporate media Washington Post. The simple fact is that Democrats have a small (but larger than their majority margin) fifth column faction, the "Blue Dog Democrats", who vote with Republicans, and who wait for any pro-Bush propaganda Bush manufactures as excuse to vote with Republicans. Balz and Cillizza have turned that propaganda problem for the Whip, who marshals Democratic votes on bills, into a material problem for Democrats, implying that Democrats would find winning to be a problem. When the problem is that Bush, not Petraeus, is writing the report [] to lie about progress when it's still a worsening catastrophe.

    And of course you pick up that propaganda victory and run with it, Anonymous Republican Coward. Because you are a coward. You let Bush scare you into invading, when we needed to capture Osama (where is he, anyway, tough guy?) and destroy the Taliban, who your DC boys are letting retake Afghanistan and threaten the (nuclear) Pakistan that harbors them.

    I'd point out that Vietnam's fate, after we stopped propping up its fake government to massacre its people, was to next successfully defend itself from the China (now among our greatest "allies" with Pakistan) we pretended was going to engulf the world in Communism. Next Vietnam shut down the Cambodian genocide we created with our covert war there. And since then, Vietnam has finally lived in decades of peace after centuries of the colonialism your favorite US buddies (including specifically Cheney, Rumsfeld and their cronies) fought so hard (though not in person, of course, but in air-conditioned remote control offices) to keep for themselves. But lost, and lost horribly, at such terrible, irreparable cost to America. Instead of just accepting Ho Chih Minh's post-WWII plea for a Marshall Plan for SE Asia, which would have given the US the same leverage there against China that we had in Europe against Russia. But the Vietnam War was too profitable for US corporations and Cold War fearmongering to Republican cowards like you to pass up. Exactly like those same Republican mass murderers are doing with Iraq right now. I'd point it out, but what's the point? You Republican cowards can't hear the truth about the blood on your hands and the piss in your pants. You need to kill more people to distract yourselves from your record of failure.

    You sick bitches have got everything about Iraq wrong, just like you alzheimers fucktards got Vietnam so horribly wrong last time around. You should never be let anywhere near decisionmaking power. O

Did you hear that two rabbits escaped from the zoo and so far they have only recaptured 116 of them?