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Obama Administration Defends Warrantless Wiretapping 788

a whoabot writes "The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Obama administration has stepped in to defend AT&T in the case over their participation in the warrantless wiretapping program started by Bush. The Obama administration argues that that continuation of the case will lead to the disclosure of important 'state secrets.' The Electronic Frontier Foundation has described the action as an 'embrace' of the Bush policy." Update: 04/07 15:18 GMT by T : Glenn Greenwald of Salon has up an analysis of this move, including excerpts from the actual brief filed. Excerpt: "This brief and this case are exclusively the Obama DOJ's, and the ample time that elapsed — almost three full months — makes clear that it was fully considered by Obama officials."
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Obama Administration Defends Warrantless Wiretapping

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  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:20AM (#27489841) Homepage

    I didn't vote for Obama. I voted Libertarian. If you want to end the corruption and game playing with business, you should too. "But why should I waste my vote?" Is it really a waste? Democrat/Republican parties are two sides of the same coin. Vote for them and you vote to continue the game. We have seen attempts at change from within, and each time they are silenced quickly. In Obama's case, I can't say whether or not he was sincere, but his promises and attitudes changed VERY quickly once he got into office.

    This is more than disappointment. It's our death.

  • Re:Does this (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cbiltcliffe ( 186293 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:20AM (#27489857) Homepage Journal

    Preface: I didn't vote for Obama, and I didn't vote for Bush. I also have never voted for any other American president, party, or political idea. I'm not an American, and I don't live in the USA.

    My point:

    Well, honestly, we can give him the benefit of the doubt, in that state secrets might actually be revealed if the case continues.

    However, this does not mean that Obama is not being a moron.

    There's a reason courts have the ability to seal records. If something that truly needs to be kept secret comes out in the court case, the judge reviews it, then orders the records for that particular part of the case sealed. It doesn't go into court records, doesn't show up on websites later, and in general, stays between those who heard it in the courtroom, with the threat of contempt of court charges if anybody ever says anything about it.

    So, Obama is either an idiot who doesn't realize the above is possible, or he's a corrupt jerk, little or no better than Bush.

    Either way, he shouldn't be running your country.

  • by vsingh165 ( 1058102 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:30AM (#27490027)

    This is just so much more ammo for the "Please don't vote for either R or D!" argument.

    Choosing the lesser of two evils is not a good policy. "Throwing away" your vote on a third party is always decried as the best way to let the other guy in. No, no, no, you need to vote for whichever (R or D) is closer to your views or else all your doing is letting the other one, that you really hate, in.

    Can we agree that their both evil yet?

    Can we make 2012 a third party year? Please?

    Signed by me, a cynical brit that would love to see actual change on either side of the atlantic.

    Can we please make 2012 a no party year? Candidates should be themselves rather than cloak themselves in stupid pointless ideologies.

  • Re:Change? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:33AM (#27490085) Journal

    Yeah, the kind left in your pocket.

    What, people are surprised? He telegraphed this months before the election when he reversed a campaign promise to support the FISA "compromise".

    I can't wait for all the rationalizations by his supporters and deflections to how much worse GWB supposedly was.

  • Defending Obama (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tjstork ( 137384 ) <> on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:38AM (#27490185) Homepage Journal

    You know, as a Republican, I suppose I could take the cheap shot and say, "Hah, there you go, see, he's not really any different after all."


    Bashing Obama for doing something supposedly conservative is just silly. Conservatives bashing Obama for doing something conservative is even sillier still. If it was so right for Bush to wiretap, then, shouldn't conservatives be defending Obama at least on this issue? If it was so wrong for Bush to wiretap, well, conservatives, where were you for eight years?

    The thing is, one could make the argument that Obama is defending Bush on warrantless wiretapping not necessarily because he plans on doing it himself, but because he wants to spare the USA the damage from some foreign policy implication of what Bush did.

    If you look at his overall record, Obama is acting like the dyed in the wool hardcore liberal that he is. Come on, Obama has spent his last European trip apologizing for everything the USA has ever done - a typical liberal thing to do. Do you think Bush would ever apologize for American foreign policy? Don't think so.

  • Re:Change? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:47AM (#27490329) Journal

    "Change"... is all you'll have left in your pocket or bank account once Obama is done.

    Well yeah, all you'll have left is change. Coins don't burn [] nearly as well as bank notes ;)

  • by Shakrai ( 717556 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:56AM (#27490477) Journal

    Obama's also done a lot of bad. Or, rather, Tim Geithner has. And it's just gonna get more interesting from here.

    I gotta say I got a kick out of the political game that the White House was playing a few weeks ago -- trying to link the GOP to Rush Limbaugh. That came right out of the West Wing, courtesy of Axelrod and Plouffe. I seem to recall Democrats complaining at the top of their lungs when the GOP used these types of tactics (say by linking every Democrat to Al Sharpton, Michael Moore or Sean Penn), so where's the outrage now that one of their own is engaged in the same behavior?

  • by Dr. Manhattan ( 29720 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `171rorecros'> on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:57AM (#27490483) Homepage

    But it's nice that you guys on the fringe right have a party to vote for.

    Funny, when I argue libertarian positions on conservative sites, I get called "fringe left".

    "Before 9-11 I was a conservative. After 9-11 I'm a radical liberal... and my opinions haven't changed." - Jeffery McLean

  • Watergate today (Score:3, Interesting)

    by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @11:57AM (#27490489) Journal
    Imagine Watergate today. The Whitehouse would just get AT&T or another friendly telco to bug their conversations and then claim state immunity. Nixon would never have resigned. Does anyone think that would have been a good idea?
  • ...weaken their vote...

    Given the current voting structure, that is a risk. There are other [] ways [] to do it, but until those are actually in practice, you need to be a bit more clever. Use vote pairing to prevent worst-case scenarios while still increasing the visibility and viability of third-party candidates. []

    The problem with voting for the "lesser of two evils" is you're still voting for evil.

    Obama has done A LOT of good and reversed many of the horrible mistakes Bush made already, even in the first weeks

    Name three. I'm only aware of a reversal on experimentation with stem cells.

  • by RyuuzakiTetsuya ( 195424 ) <taiki.cox@net> on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @12:17PM (#27490879)

    Uh, ask George Washington what he thought about toothpaste.

    It doesn't matter. I've seen a lot of really really rational people throw out their rationality when it comes to politics and cling to the great fallacy of arguing from authority. I don't care what George Washington thought. He's dead.

    Let's focus on the now.

    Now, we have a DOJ that's had it's hands deep in something it shouldn't have. The question now is, "what next?" This isn't a matter of simply pulling the plug on the operation. it's a matter of trying to figure out a messy complicated legal situation. Until then, they'll have to drag their feet.

  • Re:Change? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lgw ( 121541 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @01:55PM (#27492677) Journal

    even more so as I am not a US citizen and things look even worse from my point of view (Europe).

    There were many (somewhat reasonable) allegations at the time that the Obama campaign was receiving substantial contributions from non-citizens, especially from Europe. Some right-wingers were a bit frantic about this subversion of our electoral process (as if any election is ever clean). My opinion differed: "just wait till they see what they bought - this problem is self-correcting". So far that opinion seems justified.

  • by Viros ( 1128445 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @02:02PM (#27492811)
    Or how about the similarities between the current "You can't NOT support Obama's economic policies or you want the country to fail" sentiment being pushed by Obama's administration and supporters and Bush's "If you're not with us, then you're against us."

    At least Bush had the stones to say it outright...
  • by sac13 ( 870194 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @02:11PM (#27492973)

    You don't have the best health system in the world. You have a good health system in terms of quality, and a poor one in terms of coverage and costs. You know that you already pay more in taxes towards the state health provisions in the US than I do as a UK citizen? And that you don't get the benefit of that because you or your employer have to pay for insurance on top of that?

    I think the term "best" when it comes to it's usage to describe health care is rather ambiguous. What are the criteria that we are using? Death rates? Life expectancy? Those are composed of many factors that have nothing to do with medical treatment. Poor diet, murders, automotive accidents (the US gives anyone that can turn the key to start a car a license to drive - compare that to most European country requirements for education and testing), etc skew those numbers against the US. Is it quality? Like you say, we have good quality. So, that must not be it. Is it access? Is bad access to good care worse than good access to bad care?

    I'm just pointing out that the whole discussion of "best" needs to be qualified, but we're trying to do it all in one list. I'm not arguing one way or other on the issue of "universal" care here anyway. What prompted me to respond was that I wanted to thank you for pointing out that we already pay a lot in taxes for health care in the US. For people that are advocating government care, they seem to be ignorant of the fact that the government already pays about 45% of health care in the US. That percentage has grown significantly over the last 25-30 years or so. I'm just wondering if people think that access to care has improved in that time or regressed. And, regardless of which view you have there, is there a correlation and possibly a causation there?

    Just food for thought...

  • Re:Does this (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dbcad7 ( 771464 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @03:01PM (#27493783)

    You know what bothers me about it all ?.. It's that here's a guy who has taken over a job, where he obviously has a full plate in dealing with some complicated problems affecting the majority of people in the country.. The guy before him, did some awful crap, leading to things like this case.. The new guy, has a choice.. He can either let this case continue, in which case the government is put into a position to defend the crappy stuff the guy before him did.. or he can find a way to get it dropped.

    The majority, as can be seen here.. only sees the injustice of the guy before "getting away with it".. and although I agree with that, I just don't think there is "good" choice.. Do we really want to put the government in a position to defend their acts and spend (how much ?) defending things that most don't beleive in ? .. and at what result ? .. Isn't it just better to impliment better policies going forward ? This is the result you really want anyway.

    So Slashdot think.. I reject you this time. I think this is the best move for the country, given the situation.

  • Re:Change? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by g1zmo ( 315166 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @04:26PM (#27495059) Homepage

    Because, you know, current administrations have a habit of becoming previous administrations after a few years, and if every incoming president legally screws the people who just left, that would tend to cause productivity problems.

    Being held accountable for your actions causes productivity problems?

  • Re:Change? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Mister_Stoopid ( 1222674 ) on Tuesday April 07, 2009 @05:42PM (#27496221)
    Holding previous administrations legally responsible for their actions would cause productivity problems if the work you're trying to get done is "undermine the constitution". As applied to the president and his administration, I'm a big fan of "if you've got nothing to fear, you've got nothing to hide".

All Finagle Laws may be bypassed by learning the simple art of doing without thinking.