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Communications Privacy The Courts United States Your Rights Online

Judge Finds NSA Wiretapping Program Illegal 136

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that a federal judge has ruled that the NSA's warrantless surveillance program was illegal, rejecting the Obama administration's effort to keep one of Bush's most disputed counterterrorism policies shrouded in secrecy. Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled that the government had violated a 1978 federal statute requiring court approval for domestic surveillance when it intercepted phone calls of Al Haramain, a now-defunct Islamic charity in Oregon, and of two lawyers who were representing it in 2004. Declaring that the plaintiffs had been 'subjected to unlawful surveillance,' the judge said that the government was liable to pay them damages."
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Judge Finds NSA Wiretapping Program Illegal

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  • April Fools? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by siwelwerd ( 869956 ) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @08:06AM (#31699228)
    I spent several minutes deciding if this was a joke or not. And that fact makes me very sad.
  • Re:Sadly... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by oodaloop ( 1229816 ) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @08:06AM (#31699232)
    Yeah, that was my reaction as well. That's way F'd up if this is an April Fool's Day prank.
  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @08:25AM (#31699352)
    You say that as if it were a bad thing. With the possible exceptions of Eisenhower and Obama, we haven't had any Presidents since the 40s who weren't better dead. Carter at least has done a number of great things after being voted out of office.
  • by L4t3r4lu5 ( 1216702 ) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @08:28AM (#31699370)
    You do realise that you put those guys there, don't you?

    Not you personally, but the people who voted for their respective party's. You folks really need to sort out your electorate... Maybe handing out fliers on election day, outside the polling areas? List alternative parties, some of their major points... Something for them to read while in line.
  • by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @08:59AM (#31699592)

    Clinton and Bush Sr were pretty good presidents, and Carter was a nice guy, only time will tell for Obama but it looks like he is following in Bush Jr. footsteps.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 01, 2010 @09:03AM (#31699618)

    I've tried getting Libertarians elected.


    Everyone just picks their sample ballot printed by the Dems that says to vote for the 2 Democratic judges and the 1 Republican one. They just copy from the "sample" onto the real. That's their entire act of voting, even when we could get them to accept alternate literature.

    All that means is that the Democrats are doing a better job of selling their candidate than you did selling yours. Figure out why, and work out a better strategy for November.

    Seriously, I don't vote for libertarians because their answer to a hard question is to take their toys and go home.

  • by Martin Blank ( 154261 ) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @09:51AM (#31699960) Homepage Journal

    The general consensus is that Congress is doing an abysmal job, with an overall approval rating somewhere in the mid-teens. However, when people are asked about how their specific representatives are doing, the approval rating is usually at least in the mid-40s, and often well above the 50% mark. Essentially, the common view is, "Everyone in Congress is an idiot except the ones I voted for."

    I happen to agree that most of Congress don't deserve to be there, but there are some that do. I'd like to see them all leave at the same time and start over, but I don't want term limits. We voted on those in California to deal with the stupid political shenanigans that were going on, and things got worse -- far, far worse. I voted for them myself, sold on the idea that bringing in fresh blood on a regular basis would keep the corruption level down. I'd happily see the term limits overturned now, because I have realized that with the stupid political shenanigans came the realization on the part of legislators that they were probably going to have to work with the guy on the other side of the aisle for the next 20-40 years, and so making friends even on contentious issues would be a good idea.

    Term-limited legislators also don't have the time to learn the complexities of their districts. One's district might be relatively simple if it consists of a bunch of forest land and a few small towns, but those encompassing agricultural zones or crossing through cities with multi-ethnic neighborhoods may have far more complex issues to learn, and with only six years available in the Assembly and eight years in the Senate, there just isn't time to learn the subtleties, or to carry forward the knowledge that they do gain to help shape legislation a decade or two or three in the future.

  • by Golddess ( 1361003 ) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @10:54AM (#31700358)

    Term-limited legislators also don't have the time to learn the complexities of their districts.


    No, seriously. What. The. Fuck? Don't have time to learn the complexities of their districts? Why the fuck are they even allowed to be voted in to represent that district if they don't know anything about the goddamned district they are supposed to be representing???

    If this isn't what you meant, then please, clarify.

  • by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @11:15AM (#31700516)

    Let me put this in perspective.

    Carter - nice guy, did nothing of value
    Reagan - horrible
    Bush Sr - did some good, did some bad
    Clinton - did a bit more good than Bush, did some bad
    Bush Jr. - horrible
    Obama - so far? horrible

    Clinton and Bush Sr were the only presidents in my lifetime that I can agree with some of their decisions.

    Clinton and Bush both made great strides in balancing the budget, they made modest improvements in some areas of domestic policy. And they took far fewer measures to destroy the constitution and integrity of the nation than Reagan and Bush Jr.

    Did they get everything right? No. Were they great? No. But they stand head and shoulders above every other president in my lifetime. Unlike Reagan, Bush Jr and probably Obama (time will tell but he isn't doing well), I can have some small measure of respect for them.

  • by zzsmirkzz ( 974536 ) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @11:15AM (#31700518)
    How does the work "Effects" not cover electronic communications. Even the fact that they go through the pain of listing so many nouns should make the intent clear. Nothing can be searched or seized without probable cause and without a description of the places to be searched and the items to be seized.
  • by Reziac ( 43301 ) * on Thursday April 01, 2010 @12:04PM (#31700882) Homepage Journal

    Exactly -- but observationally, many don't have a clue about ANY part of their district other than the squeaky wheels.

    I've noticed tho, that the ones who have a clue are also most likely to maintain a bunch of local offices and to regularly do town hall meetings and suchlike, all in the name of getting average citizens' input.

  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @12:30PM (#31701064) Journal

    Have you considered that, perhaps, Ron Paul is not a candidate that is viewed favorably by many people who might otherwise be willing to vote third party?

    I mean, really. Reading Slashdot, it is like "third party" is just synonym for "libertarian". If it is so in practice, I am not surprised about lack of third party votes.

  • by ravenspear ( 756059 ) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @01:16PM (#31701400)
    Good, maybe we'll actually get a decent ruling on it this time. If Walker should be disqualified from ruling on this case because he is gay, then all religious bigot judges would have to be disqualified as well, and we've had plenty of them rule on gay issues.
  • by gyrogeerloose ( 849181 ) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @01:17PM (#31701410) Journal

    biggest open secret in the whole affair is that Vaughn Walker is himself homosexual.

    It's not a secret at all, he's openly gay but according to this San Francisco Chronicle article [sfgate.com] "Walker [...] has never taken pains to disguise - or advertise - his orientation."

    Sounds like you're making something out of nothing. I have mod points and briefly considered modding you troll but decided that a reply was more fair.

  • by TheLink ( 130905 ) on Thursday April 01, 2010 @01:29PM (#31701494) Journal
    > Why the fuck are they even allowed to be voted in to represent that district if they don't know anything about the goddamned district they are supposed to be representing???

    AFAIK, whether they know anything or not is irrelevant, as long as:

    1) They manage to run as a candidate.
    2) They get voted in.
    3) They aren't disqualified for whatever reason.

    There are some restrictions and requirements on who can be a candidate, but I doubt "knowing stuff" is a requirement.

"Card readers? We don't need no stinking card readers." -- Peter da Silva (at the National Academy of Sciencies, 1965, in a particularly vivid fantasy)