Bush refuses to answer questions about spying on Americans....

Discussion in 'Politics' started by ZZZzzzzzzz, Dec 16, 2005.

  1. I am trying...I honestly am trying to put myself in the shoes of these people but what I find shocking is the lack of insight these people display. I came from a region whereby the governments use(d) perceived threat as an excuse to undermine its people's liberty and freedom in an attempt to impose its doctrines and intimidate its people into submission.

    If I fear you eavesdropping on me than I will be damn careful not to criticize for fear of crossing the ever expanding red line that only such governoment knows.

    A governoment that intimidate you from enforcing checks and balances is a governoment that seeks and is ready to take the police state role as opposed to the servant one.
    #51     Dec 17, 2005
  2. The Patriot Act, is under fire from people that want the war on terror to fail.

    Yeah, "percieved threat", I suppose another Terrorist Act on the US, is just a phoney issue, to increase monitoring of US Citizens.

    No attacks since 9-11, so the War is a Rumor - it never happened, according to the liberal media and the Democratic Leadership.

    Cancel the Patriot Act, and let's not worry anymore.

    PLEASE give me a break!

    The Democrats are trying to seize another phoney issue, it will not work.

    Cut and Run from Iraq failed.

    Flamegate failed, LOL, Karl Rove exposes a CIA CLERK! Details at 11.

    The Iraqi vote was a huge success, and the NYT releases a story and the author is putting out a book.

    By the way, check the stock price on symbol NYT, its a great short opportunity.

    and now its the NSA, and members of congress leaking secret information that they were well informed of all along in secret briefings.

    More of the Democrats desperately trying to make Iraq into Vietnam.

    John Kerry again, stabbing our troops in the back, talking about, our troops in the Field.

    All this in the last week, are there any other Liberal Democrat and Lockstep Liberal Media Manufactured issues to discuss?
    #52     Dec 17, 2005
  3. Pabst


    Kick ass post! And yes, true revenge against the left would have been putting on a long HAL short NYT spread the day the war started.

    #53     Dec 18, 2005
  4. Thank You!
    #54     Dec 18, 2005
  5. Spying on Americans

    Sunday, December 18, 2005; Page B06

    IN THE WAKE of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the New York Times reported last week, President Bush authorized the National Security Agency to conduct electronic surveillance of hundreds of U.S. citizens and residents suspected of contact with al Qaeda figures -- without warrants and outside the strictures of the law that governs national security searches and wiretaps. The rules here are not ambiguous. Generally speaking, the NSA has not been permitted to operate domestically. And the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requires that national security wiretaps be authorized by the secretive FISA court. "A person is guilty of an offense," the law reads, "if he intentionally . . . engages in electronic surveillance under color of law except as authorized by statute" -- which appears, at least on its face, to be precisely what the president has authorized.

    Mr. Bush, in his weekly radio address yesterday, defended his action, chastised the media for revealing it, and suggested both that Congress had justified this step by authorizing force against al Qaeda and that such spying was consistent with the "constitutional authority vested in me as commander in chief." But there is a reason the CIA and the NSA are not supposed to operate domestically: The tools of foreign intelligence are not consistent with a democratic society. Americans interact with their own government through the enforcement of law. And in those limited instances in which Americans become intelligence targets, FISA exists to make sure that the agencies are not targeting people for improper reasons but have sufficient evidence that Americans are actually operating as foreign agents. Warrantless intelligence surveillance by an executive branch unaccountable to any judicial officer -- and apparently on a large scale -- is gravely dangerous.

    Why the administration even deems it necessary remains opaque. Mr. Bush said yesterday said that the program helped address the problem of "terrorists inside the United States . . . communicating with terrorists abroad." Intelligence officials, the Times reported, grew concerned that going to the FISA court was too cumbersome for the volume of cases cropping up all at once as major al Qaeda figures -- and their computers and files -- were captured. But FISA has a number of emergency procedures for exigent circumstances. If these were somehow inadequate, why did the administration not go to Congress and seek adjustments to the law, rather than contriving to defy it? And why in any event should the NSA -- rather than the FBI, the intelligence component responsible for domestic matters -- be doing whatever domestic surveillance needs be done?

    As with its infamous torture memorandum, the administration appears to have taken the position that the president is entitled to ignore a clearly worded criminal law when it proves inconvenient in the war on terrorism. That argument is not as outlandish in the case of FISA as it is with respect to the torture laws, since administrations of both parties have always insisted on the executive's inherent power to conduct national security surveillance. Still, FISA has been the law of the land for 2 1/2 decades. To disrupt it so fundamentally, in total secret and without seeking legislative authorization, shows a profound disregard for Congress and the laws it passes.

    What's more, Mr. Bush's general assurances that the program is legal offer no indication of what legal authority, if any, permits this surveillance of what he described as "the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations." In the torture context, the administration abandoned the argument that the president could simply disregard laws prohibiting brutal interrogations and moved on to other legal theories. There is reason to think something similar has happened here. Does the administration now claim that warrantless surveillance of hundreds of people by an agency generally barred from domestic spying is consistent with FISA? Does it claim that the congressional authorization to use military force against al Qaeda somehow unties the president's hands? Other than claiming it has done nothing illegal, the administration is not saying.

    Congress must make the administration explain itself. In the aftermath of the revelations, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) said hearings on the matter would be a high priority in the coming year. That's good. It should be unthinkable for Congress to acquiesce to such a fundamental change in the law of domestic surveillance, particularly without a substantive account of what the administration is doing and why.
    #55     Dec 18, 2005
  6. December 18, 2005
    This Call May Be Monitored ...

    On Oct. 17, 2002, the head of the National Security Agency, Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden, made an eloquent plea to a joint House-Senate inquiry on intelligence for a sober national discussion about whether the line between liberty and security should be shifted after the 9/11 attacks, and if so, precisely how far. He reminded the lawmakers that the rules against his agency's spying on Americans, carefully written decades earlier, were based on protecting fundamental constitutional rights.

    If they were to be changed, General Hayden said, "We need to get it right. We have to find the right balance between protecting our security and protecting our liberty." General Hayden spoke of having a "national dialogue" and added: "What I really need you to do is talk to your constituents and find out where the American people want that line between security and liberty to be."

    General Hayden was right. The mass murders of 9/11 revealed deadly gaps in United States intelligence that needed to be closed. Most of those involved failure of performance, not legal barriers. Nevertheless, Americans expected some reasonable and carefully measured trade-offs between security and civil liberties. They trusted their elected leaders to follow long-established democratic and legal principles and to make any changes in the light of day. But President Bush had other ideas. He secretly and recklessly expanded the government's powers in dangerous and unnecessary ways that eroded civil liberties and may also have violated the law.

    In Friday's Times, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau reported that sometime in 2002, President Bush signed a secret executive order scrapping a painfully reached, 25-year-old national consensus: spying on Americans by their government should generally be prohibited, and when it is allowed, it should be regulated and supervised by the courts. The laws and executive orders governing electronic eavesdropping by the intelligence agency were specifically devised to uphold the Fourth Amendment's prohibition of unreasonable searches and seizures.

    But Mr. Bush secretly decided that he was going to allow the agency to spy on American citizens without obtaining a warrant - just as he had earlier decided to scrap the Geneva Conventions, American law and Army regulations when it came to handling prisoners in the war on terror. Indeed, the same Justice Department lawyer, John Yoo, who helped write the twisted memo on legalizing torture, wrote briefs supporting the idea that the president could ignore the law once again when it came to the intelligence agency's eavesdropping on telephone calls and e-mail messages.

    "The government may be justified in taking measures which in less troubled conditions could be seen as infringements of individual liberties," he wrote.

    Let's be clear about this: illegal government spying on Americans is a violation of individual liberties, whether conditions are troubled or not. Nobody with a real regard for the rule of law and the Constitution would have difficulty seeing that. The law governing the National Security Agency was written after the Vietnam War because the government had made lists of people it considered national security threats and spied on them. All the same empty points about effective intelligence gathering were offered then, just as they are now, and the Congress, the courts and the American people rejected them.

    This particular end run around civil liberties is also unnecessary. The intelligence agency already had the capacity to read your mail and your e-mail and listen to your telephone conversations. All it had to do was obtain a warrant from a special court created for this purpose. The burden of proof for obtaining a warrant was relaxed a bit after 9/11, but even before the attacks the court hardly ever rejected requests.

    The special court can act in hours, but administration officials say that they sometimes need to start monitoring large batches of telephone numbers even faster than that, and that those numbers might include some of American citizens. That is supposed to justify Mr. Bush's order, and that is nonsense. The existing law already recognizes that American citizens' communications may be intercepted by chance. It says that those records may be retained and used if they amount to actual foreign intelligence or counterintelligence material. Otherwise, they must be thrown out.

    President Bush defended the program yesterday, saying it was saving lives, hotly insisting that he was working within the Constitution and the law, and denouncing The Times for disclosing the program's existence. We don't know if he was right on the first count; this White House has cried wolf so many times on the urgency of national security threats that it has lost all credibility. But we have learned the hard way that Mr. Bush's team cannot be trusted to find the boundaries of the law, much less respect them.

    Mr. Bush said he would not retract his secret directive or halt the illegal spying, so Congress should find a way to force him to do it. Perhaps the Congressional leaders who were told about the program could get the ball rolling.
    #56     Dec 18, 2005
  7. Agents' visit chills UMass Dartmouth senior
    By AARON NICODEMUS, Standard-Times staff writer

    NEW BEDFORD -- A senior at UMass Dartmouth was visited by federal agents two months ago, after he requested a copy of Mao Tse-Tung's tome on Communism called "The Little Red Book."
    Two history professors at UMass Dartmouth, Brian Glyn Williams and Robert Pontbriand, said the student told them he requested the book through the UMass Dartmouth library's interlibrary loan program.
    The student, who was completing a research paper on Communism for Professor Pontbriand's class on fascism and totalitarianism, filled out a form for the request, leaving his name, address, phone number and Social Security number. He was later visited at his parents' home in New Bedford by two agents of the Department of Homeland Security, the professors said.
    The professors said the student was told by the agents that the book is on a "watch list," and that his background, which included significant time abroad, triggered them to investigate the student further.
    "I tell my students to go to the direct source, and so he asked for the official Peking version of the book," Professor Pontbriand said. "Apparently, the Department of Homeland Security is monitoring inter-library loans, because that's what triggered the visit, as I understand it."
    Although The Standard-Times knows the name of the student, he is not coming forward because he fears repercussions should his name become public. He has not spoken to The Standard-Times.
    The professors had been asked to comment on a report that President Bush had authorized the National Security Agency to spy on as many as 500 people at any given time since 2002 in this country.
    The eavesdropping was apparently done without warrants.
    The Little Red Book, is a collection of quotations and speech excerpts from Chinese leader Mao Tse-Tung.
    In the 1950s and '60s, during the Cultural Revolution in China, it was required reading. Although there are abridged versions available, the student asked for a version translated directly from the original book.
    The student told Professor Pontbriand and Dr. Williams that the Homeland Security agents told him the book was on a "watch list." They brought the book with them, but did not leave it with the student, the professors said.
    Dr. Williams said in his research, he regularly contacts people in Afghanistan, Chechnya and other Muslim hot spots, and suspects that some of his calls are monitored.
    "My instinct is that there is a lot more monitoring than we think," he said.
    Dr. Williams said he had been planning to offer a course on terrorism next semester, but is reconsidering, because it might put his students at risk.
    "I shudder to think of all the students I've had monitoring al-Qaeda Web sites, what the government must think of that," he said. "Mao Tse-Tung is completely harmless."

    Contact Aaron Nicodemus at anicodemus@s-t.com
    #57     Dec 18, 2005
  8. December 18, 2005
    In Address, Bush Says He Ordered Domestic Spying

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 - President Bush acknowledged on Saturday that he had ordered the National Security Agency to conduct an electronic eavesdropping program in the United States without first obtaining warrants, and said he would continue the highly classified program because it was "a vital tool in our war against the terrorists."

    In an unusual step, Mr. Bush delivered a live weekly radio address from the White House in which he defended his action as "fully consistent with my constitutional responsibilities and authorities."

    He also lashed out at senators, both Democrats and Republicans, who voted on Friday to block the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act, which expanded the president's power to conduct surveillance, with warrants, in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks.

    The revelation that Mr. Bush had secretly instructed the security agency to intercept the communications of Americans and terrorist suspects inside the United States, without first obtaining warrants from a secret court that oversees intelligence matters, was cited by several senators as a reason for their vote.

    "In the war on terror, we cannot afford to be without this law for a single moment," Mr. Bush said forcefully from behind a lectern in the Roosevelt Room, next to the Oval Office. The White House invited cameras in, guaranteeing television coverage.

    He said the Senate's action "endangers the lives of our citizens," and added that "the terrorist threat to our country will not expire in two weeks," a reference to the approaching deadline of Dec. 31, when critical provisions of the current law will end.

    His statement came just a day before he was scheduled to make a rare Oval Office address to the nation, at 9 p.m. Eastern time on Sunday, celebrating the Iraqi elections and describing what his press secretary on Saturday called the "path forward."

    Mr. Bush's public confirmation on Saturday of the existence of one of the country's most secret intelligence programs, which had been known to only a select number of his aides, was a rare moment in his presidency. Few presidents have publicly confirmed the existence of heavily classified intelligence programs like this one.

    His admission was reminiscent of Dwight Eisenhower's in 1960 that he had authorized U-2 flights over the Soviet Union after Francis Gary Powers was shot down on a reconnaissance mission. At the time, President Eisenhower declared that "no one wants another Pearl Harbor," an argument Mr. Bush echoed on Saturday in defending his program as a critical component of antiterrorism efforts.

    But the revelation of the domestic spying program, which the administration temporarily suspended last year because of concerns about its legality, came in a leak. Mr. Bush said the information had been "improperly provided to news organizations."

    As a result of the report, he said, "our enemies have learned information they should not have, and the unauthorized disclosure of this effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk. Revealing classified information is illegal, alerts our enemies and endangers our country."

    As recently as Friday, when he was interviewed by Jim Lehrer of PBS, Mr. Bush refused to confirm the report the previous evening in The New York Times that in 2002 he authorized the spying operation by the security agency, which is usually barred from intercepting domestic communications. While not denying the report, he called it "speculation" and said he did not "talk about ongoing intelligence operations."

    But as the clamor over the revelation rose and Vice President Dick Cheney and Andrew H. Card Jr., the White House chief of staff, went to Capitol Hill on Friday to answer charges that the program was an illegal assumption of presidential powers, even in a time of war, Mr. Bush and his senior aides decided to abandon that approach.

    "There was an interest in saying more about it, but everyone recognized its highly classified nature," one senior administration official said, speaking on background because, he said, the White House wanted the president to be the only voice on the issue. "This is directly taking on the critics. The Democrats are now in the position of supporting our efforts to protect Americans, or defend positions that could weaken our nation's security."

    Democrats saw the issue differently. "Our government must follow the laws and respect the Constitution while it protects Americans' security and liberty," said Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee and the Senate's leading critic of the Patriot Act.

    Senator Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee, has said he would conduct hearings on why Mr. Bush took the action.

    "In addition to what the president said today," Mr. Specter said, "the Judiciary Committee will be interested in its oversight capacity to learn from the attorney general or others in the Department of Justice the statutory or other legal basis for the electronic surveillance, whether there was any judicial review involved, what was the scope of the domestic intercepts, what standards were used to identify Al Qaeda or other terrorist callers, and what was done with this information."

    In a statement, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader, said she was advised of the president's decision shortly after he made it and had "been provided with updates on several occasions."

    "The Bush administration considered these briefings to be notification, not a request for approval," Ms. Pelosi said. "As is my practice whenever I am notified about such intelligence activities, I expressed my strong concerns during these briefings."

    In his statement on Saturday, Mr. Bush did not address the main question directed at him by some members of Congress on Friday: why he felt it necessary to circumvent the system established under current law, which allows the president to seek emergency warrants, in secret, from the court that oversees intelligence operations. His critics said that under that law, the administration could have obtained the same information.

    The president said on Saturday that he acted in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks because the United States had failed to detect communications that might have tipped them off to the plot. He said that two of the hijackers who flew a jet into the Pentagon, Nawaf al-Hamzi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, "communicated while they were in the United States to other members of Al Qaeda who were overseas. But we didn't know they were here, until it was too late."

    As a result, "I authorized the National Security Agency, consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution, to intercept the international communications of people with known links to Al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations," Mr. Bush said. "This is a highly classified program that is crucial to our national security."

    Mr. Bush said that every 45 days the program was reviewed, based on "a fresh intelligence assessment of terrorist threats to the continuity of our government and the threat of catastrophic damage to our homeland."

    "I have reauthorized this program more than 30 times since the Sept. 11 attacks, and I intend to do so for as long as our nation faces a continuing threat from Al Qaeda and related groups," Mr. Bush said. He said Congressional leaders had been repeatedly briefed on the program, and that intelligence officials "receive extensive training to ensure they perform their duties consistent with the letter and intent of the authorization."

    The Patriot Act vote in the Senate, a day after Mr. Bush was forced to accept an amendment sponsored by Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, that places limits on interrogation techniques that can be used by C.I.A. officers and other nonmilitary personnel, was a setback to the president's assertion of broad powers. In both cases, he lost a number of Republicans along with almost all Democrats.

    "This reflects a complete transformation of the debate in America over torture," said Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director of Human Rights Watch. "After the attacks, no politician was heard expressing any questions about the executive branch's treatment of captured terrorists."

    Mr. Bush's unusual radio address is part of a broader effort this weekend to regain the initiative, after weeks in which the political ground has shifted under his feet. The Oval Office speech on Sunday, a formal setting that he usually tries to avoid, is his first there since March 2003, when he informed the world that he had ordered the Iraq invasion.

    White House aides say they intend for this speech to be a bookmark in the Iraq experience: As part of the planned address, Mr. Bush appears ready to at least hint at reductions in troop levels.

    There are roughly 160,000 American troops in Iraq, a number that was intended to keep order for Thursday's parliamentary elections.

    The American troop level was already scheduled to decline to 138,000 - what the military calls its "baseline" level - after the election.

    But on Friday, as the debate in Washington swirled over the president's order, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the top American commander in Iraq, hinted that further reductions may be on the way.

    "We're doing our assessment, and I'll make some recommendations in the coming weeks about whether I think it's prudent to go below the baseline," General Casey told reporters in Baghdad.
    #58     Dec 18, 2005
  9. ZZZZZzzzzzz

    Again, the New York Times and the Democratic Party is a SHORT SALE.

    If you were in a burning airplane on the way down, you would be the person worrying about the effect on the enviorment below when the airplane hits the ground.
    #59     Dec 18, 2005
  10. Ricter


    And you'd be the cry baby freak praying to god in stark terror to forgive your sins.
    #60     Dec 18, 2005