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FBI Files a "Secret Justification" For Gag Order 167

An anonymous reader notes a story up at Ars on the FBI's continuing penchant for secrecy. "Clearly, the FBI isn't ready to give up its Bush-era secrecy addition just yet. the case of Doe v. Holder, the FBI is carrying out a secret investigation using secret guidelines on what is and is not constitutional, and as part of that investigation they've compelled the secrecy of a service provider and are using a secret justification to argue that nobody's First Amendment rights are being violated."
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FBI Files a "Secret Justification" For Gag Order

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  • What's with (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 26, 2009 @12:44PM (#28484603)
    the "FBI isn't ready to give up its Bush-era secrecy addition" bullshit? Quit blaming institutional behavior - in this case Holder - on Bush! If Obama wanted it to end it would end, right? SSDD!
  • Bush-era? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gandhi_2 ( 1108023 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @12:45PM (#28484617) Homepage
    Like government secrecy started and ended with Bush?
  • Re:What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jurily ( 900488 ) <jurily@g m a i l . com> on Friday June 26, 2009 @12:46PM (#28484639)

    Their plan is working.

  • Existential rights (Score:5, Insightful)

    by goffster ( 1104287 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @12:48PM (#28484691)

    If a right is violated, and no one can talk about it,
    then it must not have happened.

  • Re:Bush-era? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mdm-adph ( 1030332 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @12:50PM (#28484725)

    Yes, it's a bit facetious to say "Bush-era" when talking about all government secrecy -- but you have to admit it was taken to all new levels after 9/11, if for no other reason than the fact that no one was willing to stop them for a while at risk of looking "unpatriotic."

  • by Space cowboy ( 13680 ) * on Friday June 26, 2009 @12:53PM (#28484755) Journal
    Lord Hewit: "... it is not merely of some importance but is of fundamental importance, that justice should not only be done, but should manifestly and undoubtedly be seen to be done."

    Nothing much has happened to change that, apart from government organisations wanting more power, and the governed giving it to them. RIP Justice, it was kinda cool while you were around...

  • by tnk1 ( 899206 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @12:56PM (#28484821)

    This only goes to show what everyone else already knows. If you give the government powers, it will continue to use them no matter what party is in power at the time.

    This isn't a partisan issue, except in that those who suggest that giving government more power through secret wiretaps, or special prison camps, or government bailouts or nationalized health care are making the problem worse. It doesn't matter that this is a "Bush-era" innovation as much as it was an innovation to begin with. We don't call Social Security a "Roosevelt-era" initiative (at least not anymore), it's just accepted that it is there. The same thing will happen with most powers granted to the government when it tries to "help us" by taking care of things for us. Eventually, unless this is overturned, it will go the same way, but wouldn't you think that the Obama Administration, as the Anti-Bush, wouldn't have been the best chance we had to get rid of these? Yet we are disappointed, but I think we shouldn't be surprised.

    I don't consider the government to be "the enemy" like some people do, but I think that any entity which develops too much power and gains responsibility in too many areas is bound to become grossly inefficient at best, and quite possibly dangerous to liberty. We are abdicating our responsibilities and rights in order to have security, be it from terrorists or from being uninsured. And we all know what people get when they trade liberty for security: neither.

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @01:00PM (#28484895) Homepage

    And be sure to give your co-conspirators legal immunity. Funny how aiding and abetting the government in violating the constitution can be make legal with a rider.

  • Re:What's with (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 26, 2009 @01:04PM (#28484945)

    the "FBI isn't ready to give up its Bush-era secrecy addition" bullshit? Quit blaming institutional behavior - in this case Holder - on Bush!

    Ah, well, this is simply because, up until January 2001, the FBI was so widely renowned among government institutions for the openness and transparency of its counter-intelligence operations.

  • Re:Bush-era? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Belisarivs ( 526071 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @01:13PM (#28485073)
    All new levels? It's a well known fact that the NSA used to collect all international telegraph traffic from the major telecoms for decades after WWII under the argument of national security, and killed all inquiries into the fact using that argument. And let's not forget that the FBI was run by Hoover, who wasn't exactly the most circumspect person when it came to individual liberties. I really don't think that Bush was any more secret than most of the administrations of the 20th century up until the Church committee. The only real difference is the amount of information that's available to the general public.
  • by JohnnyGTO ( 102952 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @01:14PM (#28485089) Homepage
    like this are starting to turn me off /. If the current administration wanted change it would change.
  • Re:The FBI? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath ( 636671 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @01:17PM (#28485143)

    Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity.

    Bad rule these days. Tons of what the Bush administration did could have been attributed to stupidity (bad WMD information, exposing Valerie Plame, etc.) But in retrospect much of it seems to have been malice.

  • Schrodinger Rights (Score:2, Insightful)

    by spun ( 1352 ) <loverevolutionar ... m ['oo.' in gap]> on Friday June 26, 2009 @01:28PM (#28485301) Journal

    Until someone we talk about it, everyone's rights have been violated, and not violated, at the same time.

  • by causality ( 777677 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @01:32PM (#28485375)

    Because the FBI are just a gaggle of incompetent Catholic and Mormon scumbags yearning for the good ol' days of the inquisition. That's what happens when little god-fearing geeks who watched too many cop shows as children grow up to do their god's bidding using any means possible. And the motherfuckers can't even catch any real crooks.

    This quite rightly deserves the "Flamebait" mod it received. Having said that, I still want to try and add something useful. I think your sentiment is accurate but your target is not.

    There is indeed a religious element to this, but it's not the one you have identified. Statism is what you're dealing with here, which is the belief that the State as represented by the government needs to have powers expanded and its interests furthered at all costs. It follows that anytime there is a conflict of interests between the State and the citizenry, the State should prevail at the expense of the citizenry. Otherwise, statism is very much a religion. What's hard to understand and even harder to relate to is the derived concept that anything which increases state power is "morally right" and "good" no matter how much real harm it does. In the religion of statism, the government is "God" and can do no wrong, and neither can "God's" servants.

    Both major political parties are faithful members of this religion. That's why neither of them is making any serious efforts to reduce the size and power of the federal government. No deficit is large enough to change this and no resemblance to the methods of various 20th century dictatorships is strong enough to give them pause. The mainstream news media is probably the single biggest part of the problem.

  • Re:What's with (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MikeBabcock ( 65886 ) <> on Friday June 26, 2009 @01:41PM (#28485513) Homepage Journal

    While you may have understood it that way, and the story's poster may have meant it that way, the grammar doesn't imply what you think it does.

    What the statement implies is that under the Bush-era administration, such secrecy was allowed (a well-recognized fact), and that while we expect that to be changing under the new administration, it appears not to be in all cases.

  • Re:What's with (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jawn98685 ( 687784 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @01:42PM (#28485525)

    Sorry, but I call bullshit right back at you. The whole mess our country finds itself in, with this any number of other threats to our Constitutional protections still ongoing, is a direct result of the over-reaching of neo-con ideologues like Cheney and the hand-picked to team of "reliable" lawyers who drafted the various rationales intended to support the sundering of those protections. The fact that the various agencies are still operating under heretofore unconscionable guidelines is exactly the kind of thing cooler heads tried to warn us about as far back as 2001. Not being able to "put the genie back in the bottle" is a weak metaphor when one considers the damage that has been done.

    If you want a real eye-opener, read Jane Mayer's "The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals". It is a very well researched and scholarly summary of the horrible things that have been done to your rights as an American citizen, and it will make it chillingly clear to you, how and why that damage will be a very, very long time in being undone, if it ever is.

  • by MikeBabcock ( 65886 ) <> on Friday June 26, 2009 @01:44PM (#28485567) Homepage Journal

    Up here in Canada, many ISPs stood up to RIAA style tactics requesting subscriber data at one time. It ended up going to court, the recording industry demanding information on subscribers from the ISPs and the ISPs refusing to cooperate. The courts ruled that the ISPs were in fact right, thus ending the whole mess once and for all (or at least a while).

    All it takes is one ISP to ignore such an order and actually take it to court. Unfortunately, that may also turn out to be a secret trial with secret evidence.

    This is the democracy you fought and your ancestors died for, now are you going to use it or not?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 26, 2009 @01:46PM (#28485587)

    There wasn't unprecedented transparency, like any administration, which is why there is plenty of surveillance issues to talk about.

    Politicians have already demonstrated abuse of his power to silence his opposition. They even abused their position during the campaign to silence opposition.

    Speaking of abuses, do you all remember when that person "mishandled" national secrets of the highest security level and it was mysteriously swept aside? If that person had been prosecuted they would have likely been convicted and executed but it never happened because he was in the "good ol' boys" club.

    Politicians are very disturbing to me and they need to be watched closely. If left to their on devices they will ruin this country.

    Fixed that for you. I don't know why people keep trying to blame Democrats/Republicans. Look at the full political spectrum and you'll realize they are the same party and elections are just there to give us perceived democracy. The only purpose of keeping the 2 parties separate is to keep the people's focus on ridiculous squabbling. If you don't believe that then ask yourself why if "every vote counts," that voting for a third party is considered "wasting your vote."

  • Re:What's with (Score:4, Insightful)

    by binary paladin ( 684759 ) <binarypaladin&gmail,com> on Friday June 26, 2009 @02:13PM (#28485973)

    Thank you. That was the first thing I noticed. Mr. "Change" and "Transparency" is neither. Not that I'm surprised though. There's a reason I've never voted R or D. People say voting third party is a waste, but hell... voting for ANY of these assholes is a waste.

  • by WindowlessView ( 703773 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @02:24PM (#28486119)

    but one day, we may get someone who's not so respectful of the Constitution and the Powers afforded the President and the Government.

    One day? It could be any day, regardless of who is in power.

    I guess it is a human condition for people to hold on to their illusions until they finally can't reconcile reality anymore. Maybe I am missing one or two but I can't think of a single government on the globe that has moved toward less repression of the public in the last ten years.

    Looking at Iran, the only thing that has happened in the last couple of weeks is that a lot of people who thought they were being ruled by theocratic thugs realized they were just thugs. Our epiphony hasn't come yet.

    There are a lot of reasons to condemn Iran but anyone who thinks things would unfold much differently here is smoking a still illegal weed. There is no dissent in this country without government permits or being put in a pen where no one can see you. Our government would not even tolerate 10 thousand protesters at last year's conventions. Preemptive arrests and bogus charges were the norm. If a million showed up showed up somewhere the streets would be flowing red before you could say "martial law". Who the hell do we think we are fooling? Only ourselves.

    Anyone who can't feel the collar around their neck already isn't conscious.

  • Re:What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by causality ( 777677 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @02:38PM (#28486295)

    Ask "Joe the Plumber" who asked, are you trying to tax me out of my ambitions?" (Paraphrasing) and the media scrambled to learn everything about him, ratting him out to the local union house so he can't get a job there, and starting a media wave to make him look like some kind of hick.

    The message there is as clear as can be. If you stand up and ask real questions that were not pre-scripted and want a real answer, an attempt will be made to dig up dirt on you and otherwise to make you pay for that. The goal is that you will be intimidated so that others who were inclined to do the same will have a reason to sit down and shut up.

    THEN WE CAN TALK ABOUT Palin. The only *real* choice in the last election, the Left is so afraid of her freedom-loving ways they want you to think she's a stupid dork with a white trash family. Most of the slashdotters here believe it for that reason.

    I don't see it so much as a Left and Right issue, for both "sides" have gladly lead us down this ugly path while blaming each other the whole way. I think Palin has caught so much flak because she's much more of a genuine person and much less of a representative of a system. This is one of the few qualities that really does scare (and put to shame) the political-media machinery, because so much of what they do depends on demoralization (politics of fear) and dehumanization (treating the citizenry as a resource). This observation has absolutely nothing to do with whether I like her politics, but rather, is about what kind of person she is and why she does what she does.

    Oh, no...Bush was never this restrictive, controlled the media, and Bush (being a dork that he was) was at least able to create jobs. The same cannot be said for THIS particular dork.But this dork wants POWER. And he wants it NOW. (See Cap-and-Trade legislation).

    Again I think you are artificially restricting your thinking, just as you did when you said this is about "Left" (and "Right"). The monied interests who put Bush into power are the same as the monied interests who put Obama into power. They are all cut from the same cloth. Bush expanded executive power and thus, he helped to pave the way for what Obama is now doing. I would not be the least bit surprised if Obama does something similar for whoever comes after him. The people behind all of this are in it for the long haul and have no problem executing plans that take decades or generations to complete. Their motivation is somewhat religious in nature, so to them serving the Cause (of statism) is more important than whether their goals are realized during their own lifetimes.

    Much of this is possible because the kind of people who are successful in politics are not regular people who happened to achieve their positions. We don't have that. What we have is a ruling class, and this ruling class has studied statecraft for many decades and has been careful to learn from past mistakes. The citizens, on the other hand, hardly ever learn anything from history and for the most part, just want to live their lives and spend time with their families. This is a situation best described as "no contest," at least until people wake up and realize that the destination of this path that we are on is easily known in advance.

  • Re:What's with (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ari_j ( 90255 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @02:45PM (#28486371)
    "I will not discuss American history on Slashdot again, because if I do the government will probably come and inter me for being a member of a dangerous group of seditious people. []"
  • by causality ( 777677 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @02:50PM (#28486433)

    The only purpose of keeping the 2 parties separate is to keep the people's focus on ridiculous squabbling.

    The term for that is "divide and conquer". It's an age-old device that works as well today as it did thousands of years ago. Unfortunately.

  • Re:Bush era? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by endianx ( 1006895 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @02:58PM (#28486521)
    It's funny. Everybody uses that same excuse. It has become self-fulfilling. Most people I know don't really like the Republican or Democrat platforms, but they vote for them because they think those are the only credible options. The end result being that those are indeed the only credible options. If people would vote for who they really wanted, it wouldn't be a problem.

    I voted 3rd party in 2008. Was my vote wasted? Well, if I had voted for Obama or McCain...we'd still have ended up with Obama or McCain - so also a wasted vote.

    Stop voting for the lesser of two evils and vote for someone who isn't evil.
  • Re:What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @02:58PM (#28486525) Homepage Journal

    Ask "Joe the Plumber" who asked, are you trying to tax me out of my ambitions?" (Paraphrasing) and the media scrambled to learn everything about him, ratting him out to the local union house so he can't get a job there, and starting a media wave to make him look like some kind of hick.

    He is some kind of hick, that was his whole shtick!

  • Re:What's with (Score:4, Insightful)

    by element-o.p. ( 939033 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @03:03PM (#28486601) Homepage

    Picking the lesser of two evils is still picking evil. If enough people figure that out and start acting on that knowledge, then perhaps we'll finally have a chance to elect some real change.
  • by Shivetya ( 243324 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @03:12PM (#28486711) Homepage Journal

    the secrecy and similar government abuse because it was under a Republican Administration.

    Look at all the crap Obama's group is pulling with various IG across the country. Shutting down investigations or attempting to intimidate. He has brought Chicago style politics with him.

    I was never really afraid of Bush's abuse. We had the press constantly nipping on his heels. They and a adversarial Congress were are best line of defense against that Administration. Now with ABC fighting MSNBC for the rights to sleep in the White House who do we have? Rush? Sean? Oh, please.

    I also cannot stand the comparisons some of those right wingers make with Obama to Carter. At least Carter stood up to his own party, damning himself in the process. Yet he did and he really did try to make it work. Fortunately Reagan was able to pull off of a lot of it, yet again we had a diligent press and adversarial Congress to keep him mostly honest. Same worked for Clinton post 94.

    This guy is simply dangerous because he is getting a free pass from the expected watch dogs and worse he knows it and is using it.

  • Republican?? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jsalbre ( 663115 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <erblasj>> on Friday June 26, 2009 @03:36PM (#28486979) Homepage Journal
    I'm totally non-partisan (anti-partisan actually, political parties are half of the problem in our country) and a centrist in my views, but I can't help being annoyed that this post has been tagged "Republican." What does any of this have to do with Republicans?
  • Re:Bush era? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by endianx ( 1006895 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @03:51PM (#28487223)
    Take a look at his position on warrant-less wiretapping, whitehouse emails, prison abuse photos, his "openness" on fiscal spending, etc.

    But hey, tell yourself whatever you need to to justify your vote.
  • by moxley ( 895517 ) on Friday June 26, 2009 @05:14PM (#28488445)

    Haven't you heard? If you quote and carry a copy around a copy you are now consiered a "constitutionalist," which, according to several dubious law enforcement training pamphlets makes you a likely "homegrown terrorist."

    I only wish I was kidding.

Vitamin C deficiency is apauling.