What Fresh Hell Is This?

December 22, 2005

FISA Judges react

Yesterday I posted this. It's a story about a FISA judge who resigned in protest Bush's secret surveillance program.

Well via washingtonmonthly, I found this article at the Washington Post.

Seems that Georgie's got some 'splainin' to do:
The presiding judge of a secret court that oversees government surveillance in espionage and terrorism cases is arranging a classified briefing for her fellow judges to address their concerns about the legality of President Bush's domestic spying program, according to several intelligence and government sources.

Several members of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court said in interviews that they want to know why the administration believed secretly listening in on telephone calls and reading e-mails of U.S. citizens without court authorization was legal. Some of the judges said they are particularly concerned that information gleaned from the president's eavesdropping program may have been improperly used to gain authorized wiretaps from their court.
I loved the part where the judges involved want to know why the administration believed the authorization-free surveillance was legal. Looks like they already think it was not. Then there's these interesting hints in the text:
Bush administration officials believe it is not possible, in a large-scale eavesdropping effort, to provide the kind of evidence the court requires to approve a warrant. Sources knowledgeable about the program said there is no way to secure a FISA warrant when the goal is to listen in on a vast array of communications in the hopes of finding something that sounds suspicious. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said the White House had tried but failed to find a way.

One government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the administration complained bitterly that the FISA process demanded too much: to name a target and give a reason to spy on it.

"For FISA, they had to put down a written justification for the wiretap," said the official. "They couldn't dream one up."
Whuuh? The administration complained that it had to name a target and give a reason that it wanted to spy on it? What sort of democracy do we have here?

Looks like they wanted to be able to listen in wherever/whenever they wanted, keep it completely secret and not have to justify it to anyone ever. Too bad there were laws against that sort of thing. No problem, they just ignored the law and spied anyway. Any complaints would be chalked up to "irresponsible acts that help the enemy."

Worst President ever.
Impeach the bastard.


Anonymous said...

I think this is a bit of political grandstanding. Roosevelt was the first to argue that the president did have the power to act without a warrant. The Echelon program under President Clinton tracked millions of email, phone and other forms of electronic transfers. Aldrich Ames the CIA traitor was captured after the FBI knocked down his door without a warrant. The administration argued in court the same thing that Bush is claiming today. So while I believe this is an infringement on our civil liberties, sadly it’s nothing new and it has passed muster in the courts.

Maria said...

The Clinton administration program, code-named Echelon, complied with FISA

The right-wing outlet NewsMax sums up the basic argument"

"During the 1990’s under President Clinton, the National Security Agency monitored millions of private phone calls placed by U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries under a super secret program code-named Echelon…all of it done without a court order, let alone a catalyst like the 9/11 attacks."

That’s flatly false. The Clinton administration program, code-named Echelon, complied with FISA. Before any conversations of U.S. persons were targeted, a FISA warrant was obtained. CIA director George Tenet testified to this before Congress on 4/12/00:

"I’m here today to discuss specific issues about and allegations regarding Signals Intelligence activities and the so-called Echelon Program of the National Security Agency…There is a rigorous regime of checks and balances which we, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and the FBI scrupulously adhere to whenever conversations of U.S. persons are involved, whether directly or indirectly. We do not collect against U.S. persons unless they are agents of a foreign power as that term is defined in the law. We do not target their conversations for collection in the United States unless a FISA warrant has been obtained from the FISA court by the Justice Department."

Meanwhile, the position of the Bush administration is that they can bypass the FISA court and every other court, even when they are monitoring the communications of U.S. persons. It is the difference between following the law and breaking it.

>>>"The administration argued in court the same thing that Bush is claiming today."

Again, you're missing something KEY here. They ARGUED IN COURT.

Bush thinks he doesn't need no stinkin' courts.

That is why he is a traitor to the Constitution who needs to be impeached.

Maria said...

Falsely equating Clinton's searches in Ames case with Bush wiretapping

The joint CIA/FBI investigation of Ames, a CIA analyst ultimately convicted of espionage, also took place prior to the 1995 FISA amendment requiring warrants for physical searches. Therefore, when the Clinton administration ordered investigators to go "into Aldrich Ames's house without a warrant," they did not..."carry out their authority" to bypass the FISA requirements, because FISA did not cover such searches.

At the time of the Ames investigation, FISA did require warrants for wiretaps -- as it does now -- and there is ample evidence that the Clinton administration complied with those requirements.

Anonymous said...

If Clinton complied with FISA why did they identify a housewife as a possible terrorist after she said her kid bombed at the school play?

Any thoughts?

How about Hillary using the IRS to coverup the Cisneros investigation.

Any thoughts?

You libs will keep losing because you feel compelled to always be on the wrong side of an issue.

1. War on Terror - no attacks lately
2. Iraq- did you notice more people turn out at each election?
3. The economy - notice it growing at a fast rate - 3 to 4%
4. Judges - 2 solid candidates

You will not win until you come up with ideas beyond hating Bush. You're a bunch of whining turds.