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January 17, 2006

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» ACLU Lawsuit Against NSA Is Weak from Stop The ACLU
Another hat tip to AJ Strata Certainly folks that knowingly correspond with known and suspected terrorists should know they are taking a risk, and that such treasonous actions comes with consequence. It is obvious that the ACLUs case is weak.... [Read More]

Comments

JJ

OIC. The site is downupside.

maryrose

When did the NYT become intelligence experts? Oh I forgot, ever since Plame they got the bona fide inside track, she said ironically.

john

Lowell Bergman is a longtime CBS news producer, the guy played by Al Pacino in "The Insider."

danking70

Well if the question of why dots weren't connected ever comes up again, I'm sure many will point at the Democratic Leadership and the NY Times.

epphan

Simple question for the FBI: Just how many terrorists have to be caught to make the program worth the inconvenience?

5? 20? 2,752?

maryrose

We are a nation of amnesiacs; we are now witnessing an action with this law suit which could potentially return us to the pre 9/11 intelligence levels. One lawsuit was filed in New York . Do the members filing for the ACLU actuallt live in New York? Aren't they afraid they are putting their neighbors at risk?

Kay in CA

"Simple question for the FBI: Just how many terrorists have to be caught to make the program worth the inconvenience?"

Catching just one would be fine with me.

Rodney Graves

The article goes on to contradict itself (para 15 I believe) by then citing at least three cases that have either resulted in charges or charges and convictions.

The more I read about this the more clueless the MSM in general, and the NYT in particular, appear when it comes to matters of Signals and Communications Intelligence.

Out Here

TBONELEE

How many terrorists does it take to blow the S*@T out of a bunch of innocent people. If this program nabs just one of these nuts it is well justified and the pols complaining about the legality of the program should shut their pie holes.

Forbes

Maryrose: The ACLU and lefties, in general, don't believe they're putting anybody at risk, because they don't believe they themselves are ask risk.

LAHLAHLAH, myfingersareinmyears, Ican'thearyou, LAHLAHLAHLAHLAH.

The risk is derived from the perspective that anything the US does is wrong, and should be viewed as hostile. We have embassies in their countries, we have war ships in their waters, we have soldiers in their countries, we support Israel...the list is endless and ever-changing.

This perspective fantasizes that, if per chance, you are a victim of Islamic terrorism, you should understand it is the fault of your government, and that is why the lefties want to change course and defeat the Chimpy W. McHitlerburton warmongering neocons.

And while 2004 was a referendum on the Administration's policies, especially those regarding the GWOT, the baseline leftist assumption must be that the election was stolen, or somehow compromised, because the leftist political view is surely the correct and proper choice that any sentient person would make, would they not?

Certainly, I don't agree with any on this nonsense, nor do I imagine you do either, but to engage these folks with logical arguments is merely to put nonsense on stilts.

It is the obligation of minority viewpoints to engage their opposition, and not vice versa.

Mark Tapscott

Could Don Van Atta be the son of or otherwise related to former Jack Anderson associate Dale Van Atta?

Lew Clark

If you read the article closely, you find that there are a lot of clues that "the FBI" did not think this was a wasted effort. They tap dance around the identity of their sources, but only admit to one "former FBI official". The rest are "officials". And interestingly the term "more than a dozen" is used again. Is this our same dirty dozen plus, leakers/traitors that the NYT has referenced before.
Like most good gossip rags, the NYT has taken a grain of truth and expanded on it. I'm sure many FBI agents were complaining about the increased workload and questioning, not seeing the whole picture, if it was worth it. And individuals, that the NYT admits were not closely involved are saying there were no successes.
And I'm getting really tired of these anonymous sources. I know one little guy's email won't do much. But I felt good after I emailed the NYT and said that we all know they made the story up and we're not buying it. True stories have real sources, lies are attributed to "invisible people".

chuck

Uh... they were spying on totally innocent people (in violation of the FISA), and then they took the people that should be protecting us and sent them on so many wild goose chases. If this is how the right thinks we should fight terrorism, fine. See you in November.

The question is not how many needles may be in that hay stack, but the opportunity costs of this particular effort. We could also go door to door. In fact, I don't see any rhetorical trick in this post that wouldn't equally apply to the door-to-door anti-al Quaeda strategy.

Specter

The NYT article is quite contradictory in nature. First they say that the NSA leads were all dead ends and then they say that there are cases both here and overseas that the program helped to capture suspects.

It's kind of like Teddy "Splash" Kennedy saying today that he pays $100 per year to OWL, but is not a member, but he is going to quit the club as soon as possible.

For a really in-depth analysis of this whole article check out A.J.Strata.

Gary Maxwell

See you in November

You bet ya. Iwill be in the voting booth and so will the 65% of Americans who bleieve the program is required or doesn't go far enough. What you got, stuffed ballot boxes? Can I persuade you to make it a referendum on impeachment? How about If I say please?

Gary Maxwell

Gary Maxwell

Specter

Hmmmm....let's see...

Chuck said:
Uh... they were spying on totally innocent people (in violation of the FISA

First off chuck - where did you get the list of who was being monitored? From Al Gore? From Eric Lichtblau? Who has the list?

Second - gee...I thought that people who were talking to terrorists were not entirely innocent. I guess they were just calling to order a pizza from the middle east - or maybe they took calls from terrorists because they had heard that the terrorists had free money that they wanted to put into the innocent civilian's account.

Finally - where do you live? I want to make sure that all of the tanker trucks coming into your area next election day are checked for forged ballots....lol

clarice

SLightly off topic, but look at a couple of the ACLU plaintiffs. http://americanthinker.com/comments.php?comments_id=4219

And damn, Hitchens for beingone of them. He should know better.

maryrose

Specter:
I read A. J. Strata and found it really helpful. Thank God someone is stepping up and getting rid of the red tape layers and Gorelick walls" I wonder how she likes being called a wall", kinda like wallflower but in a different context. I saw one of the guys on TV that the ACLU is representing in their lawsuit. He's not sure he's been tapped but he thinks he and one of his students who was overseas dicussing the students interviews with different questionable people were targeted. Again it's all just supposition. What kind of legal case is that?

Larry

Judge Napolitano said on Fox this AM that harm must be demonstrated to give the case standing. Hitchens et al haven't a prayer of showing they were harmed, so it's all just typical ACLU BS.

Lew Clark

The real proof of the pudding for anyone with an IQ above room temperature is that they can't (after the program has been in place for 4 years) find one innocent person that has been harmed by these intercepts. Hello! Don't you think NSA would have picked up some really juicy stuff coming out of DNC Headquarters to hookers in Las Vegas by now. The truth is, NSA is very, very interested in terrorists talking to terrorists and everything else is so many ones and zeros. You can talk slippery slope all day, but until one innocent person slides I'm gonna support all reasonable efforts to keep my home town looking just like it is which is absent nasty mushroom clouds.

Syl

If I were a terrorist, I'd buy up a bunch of Pizza places and hold meetings in the kitchen.

TM

I don't see any rhetorical trick in this post that wouldn't equally apply to the door-to-door anti-al Quaeda strategy.

Well, if the Times breaks the story about the classified door-to-door program and the President defends is as an important tool in the anti-terror strategym I guess we can attempt to debate its merits.

Meanwhile, the President is defending this program,as is the head of the NSA.

Bill Frist said it has produced useful intel, and so has Jane Harman. Or at least, she said this:

I have been briefed since 2003 on a highly classified NSA foreign collection program that targeted Al Qaeda. I believe the program is essential to US national security ...

Hey, she could be lying, or a useful Bush dupe. Or the Times might be a bit off-track here.

clarice

For a while after 9/11 the CIA seconded a counter intel agent to work at the FBI to help the agency transition over from LE to counter terrorism. This article confirms what he told me:They aren't making the transition. They aren't able to.

kim

I'll play, Chuck. Who's there?
================================

Dwilkers

Yeah I love that "virtually all". Well gee that means its a total waste.

I guess its obvious the laws we passed in the 70's don't really cover the security issues we face today or the communication technologies that have emerged. It would be better if we could pass new laws laying out reasonable rules for how the intelligence community should approach the problem - clearly we cannot have suicide bombers and head choppers running around the country and just ignore them. Monitoring communication between people in the US and terrorist organizations is not an unreasonable thing for our security apparatus to be doing IMO.

Everyone on the left sees every issue like this through their Bush prism though and it seems like it is impossible for people to put that aside even for the basic security of the country.

Truzenzuzex

chuck:

The question is not how many needles may be in that hay stack, but the opportunity costs of this particular effort. We could also go door to door. In fact, I don't see any rhetorical trick in this post that wouldn't equally apply to the door-to-door anti-al Quaeda strategy.
Well, everybody else has had fun with this post, so I'll just pile on.

From the 9/11 Commission report, section 13.3 "Unity of Effort in Sharing Information":

In the 9/11 story, for example, we sometimes see examples of information that could be accessed-like the undistributed NSA information that would have helped identify Nawaf al Hazmi in January 2000. But someone had to ask for it. In that case, no one did. Or, as in the episodes we describe in chapter 8, the information is distributed, but in a compartmented channel. Or the information is available, and someone does ask, but it cannot be shared.
Clearly, the NSA has the authority to monitor the communications of known and suspected terrorists overseas. That legal authority doesn't simply end if the other end of the conversation happens to be in the USA.

It remains to be seen what sort of information was gathered by the NSA within the US. So far, nobody that I know of has credibly claimed that the NSA or the FBI has targeted a US person for monitoring without a FISA warrant.

One of the biggest criticisms by the 9/11 Commission was that the diverse intelligence and law enforcement agencies were not cooperating with each other. Now, the Times (and you) seem to suggest that the pendulum has swung too far the other way.

I understand why administration opponents would want to claim lawbreaking by the President. I even understand logical fallacies evidenced by the straw man you created in your post. But what really vexes me is the suggestion that our poor little law enforcement divisions are overworked by an abundance of leads - leads, mind you, that have apparently be prioritized for the FBI by the NSA.


Pofarmer

Chuck said "Uh... they were spying on totally innocent people (in violation of the FISA), and then they took the people that should be protecting us and sent them on so many wild goose chases. If this is how the right thinks we should fight terrorism, fine."

Yes Chuck

I prefer that we fight terrorrism by looking for and finding the terrorrists BEFORE they strike us. That will require a lot of work and some dead ends. The old way of arresting them after they strike holds very little allure for rational people. If the NSA wants to listen in on my international calls to my sister in Mexico, fine. If they wanna listen in to me talking to a hay broker in Springfield, fine. But, I seriously doubt they are. They haven't the man power for that, and probably just barely touch the surface of what they need to be tracking.

Paul

The Brooklyn Bridge plot being foiled is enough of a result for me - my daughter lives in NYC. The Times is accidentally helping the Bush administration. Every story portrays them as aggressive in the battle against terrorists. Saying they're "too agressive" isn't going to sell.

As for phone calls being intercepted, that's not going to outrage people either. If you use a cordless phone, your neighbor may be listening. If you're on a cell phone, ditto. Seems most calls I make start with a machine telling me the call may be monitored for Q/A purposes anyway. Maybe those corporations should outsource the programs to the NSA.

cathyf

Instapundit links to a free version of a WSJ legal roundup on the NSA program. It's worth a read.

cathy :-)

Patrick R. Sullivan

I'm inclined to think Rachel Meeropol--Julius and Ethel Rosenberg's granddaughter--COULD make a legitimate claim to having been surveilled by the NSA.

And, I hope she was.

Jim E.

"Everyone on the left sees every issue like this through their Bush prism though and it seems like it is impossible for people to put that aside even for the basic security of the country."

What about Bob Barr, Grover Norquist, David Keene (of the American Conservative Union), Paul Weyrich, Christopher Hitchens, and the head of the 2nd Amendment Foundation? Are they partisan anti-Bush folk who don't care about the security of the country? They don't have a knee-jerk defense of Bush's warrentless wiretaps.

I've personally sat in an audience and listened to Asa Hutchinson explain how looking for drug smugglers helps combat terrorism. Seems we might want to know how the NSA classifies "suspected terrorist connections" before mocking anyone who dares question the wiretap thing.

Jim E.

"I'm inclined to think Rachel Meeropol--Julius and Ethel Rosenberg's granddaughter--COULD make a legitimate claim to having been surveilled by the NSA. And, I hope she was."

First, I'm not even sure what this comment refers to. Second, the happiness about the possibility of her being surveilled without a warrent is totally, completely stupid. Should we surveil grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren of wrongdoers, too? What about nieces and nephews? Cousins? Second-cousins? In-laws?

Florence Schmieg

Here's another concern. Let's say after all the investigations, etc. we decide to do away with this program. Of course, the NY Times et al will trumpet this around the world. Then, any sensible terrorist will be more likely to carry through with an attack than if he thought he might be monitored reasoning, accurately, that the political climate in the U.S. would keep even a hawkish administration under restraint.

I heard Hitchens explain his thinking on Tucker Carlson's show last night. He trusts Bush but not other potential administrations with these powers. Theoretically, I agree. But I live in a real world, not a theoretical one so...let the intercepts continue. And who would trust Congress to move forward quickly on anything? We would be picking dead bodies off the street while they would still be arguing.

Syl

The Times is just trying cover its b*tt by claiming the program is useless anyway, so what's the harm in reveailing it.

And these people suing because they're sure they've been surveiled and it's causing them harm because they can no longer freely talk to certain people for research or whatever. They're claiming their First Amendment rights have been trampled on because of surveillance.

First, there's no proof any of these individuals have even been surveiled.

Second, it's not the surveilance that 'harms' them, it's the knowledge of it that does. So they should sue the New York Times instead.

cathyf
I've personally sat in an audience and listened to Asa Hutchinson explain how looking for drug smugglers helps combat terrorism. Seems we might want to know how the NSA classifies "suspected terrorist connections" before mocking anyone who dares question the wiretap thing.
Well, I would note that while the NSA is listening in on phone calls to/from the most important opium-producing region in the world, there is no sign that they are paying attention to the folks who are merely arranging drug transactions...

cathy :-)

Gabriel Sutherland

Anyone concerned about the plaintiffs in the ACLU case should note that Jared Diamond is one of the plaintiffs. Diamond worked for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq.

I'd like to read something from Hitchens explaining his attachment to the case. I realize that he is still a Trotskyite, ardently opposed to Islamcism, but he still knows when to bite back at the state. As one that makes frequent calls to Iraqis, especially Kurds, he has reason for concern.

Lowell Bergmann must be doing a Frontline story about the NSA leak. He rarely gets a NY Times byline because he doesn't report for the NY Times. Expect a collabortive piece for Frontline sometime this year.

Jim E.: Why shouldn't the NSA target drug smugglers? If the issue has to be terrorism than that really skirts the point of the NSA. It's mission is to collect information from foreign communications in order to process threats to US national security. Are we to assume that windfall profits from drug smuggling, production, distribution, etc, are not potential threats?

The US government already has a prime example in the Bank of Credit and Commerce International that reflects the coordination between narcotics, arms and munitions, and terrorism.

Dwilkers

"What about Bob Barr, Grover Norquist, David Keene (of the American Conservative Union), Paul Weyrich, Christopher Hitchens, and the head of the 2nd Amendment Foundation? Are they partisan anti-Bush folk who don't care about the security of the country?"

I'm afraid you missed my point Jim. As I said, I think it would be best if the laws regarding domestic surveillance were updated. The point was, I don't think you could do that now due to the level of Bush hate. I'm not saying it is impossible for someone to have a principled dissent from the policy, I am just doubting that that's what is going on for folks on the left.

Look this is just stupid. Does anyone think we shouldn't be monitoring communication between the US and known terrorist organizations in an attempt to foil terrorist attacks? I think few would make that argument.

So what we're really talking about here is process - IE, how we do it, and what safeguards are in place. I'd say a good way might be to have a bipartisan panel review the program monthly, and have it constantly evaluated and updated, issue corrections as necessary.

Of course, that's perilously close to what they've been doing if what we've been told is true. And Gonzales said they approached congress about changing the law and were told it wouldn't fly. <--- That is what is affected by the prism I'm talking about.

Absent some abuse - like Nixon's bugging anti-war protesters - this program is perfectly appropriate and needed.

Jim E.

"The point was, I don't think you could do that now due to the level of Bush hate. I'm not saying it is impossible for someone to have a principled dissent from the policy, I am just doubting that that's what is going on for folks on the left."

Ah. Principled concern by righties, irrational Bush hate by lefties. I think I understood you loud and clear.

"Gonzales said they approached congress about changing the law and were told it wouldn't fly. <--- That is what is affected by the prism I'm talking about."

Since Republicans control both houses of Congress, your point of blaming Bush hatred makes no sense.

"Absent some abuse - like Nixon's bugging anti-war protesters - this program is perfectly appropriate."

The program is totally secret. While we know it exists, we actually know very little about it. I think we have reasonable reason to be concerned about whether or not it has been abused, and we shouldn't belittle attempts to learn more about it as Bush hatred. While I share your description of Nixon's antiwar surveillance as "abuse," I doubt many others on this website would agree with you on that point.

Gabriel Sutherland

I think it is important to note that the NSA story has become an obsession for some people because of their nixonian complex. Some people have already created the Nixonian mold for Bush, they are just waiting for the stories to come out so they can force the President into it.

Nixon became the poster child for abuse of legal authority in terms of surveillance powers. Republicans took most of the blows because Republicans were in control of the executive branch most often. However, the Democrat party is not absent the same criticisms. Presidents Johnson, Truman, and Roosevelt all used executive powers for their own personal benefit. The fact that each had their own war should not go unnoticed as it is war that creates the best political cover.

kim

Speaking of BCCI, one wonders what Kerry thinks about this whole thing?

JimE. You don't trust Bush, I do, and also Rice. Beyond that I'm not so sure; I'll just have to depend on the virtue of the leaders America attracts.

And of course the judgement of the polity upon those virtues.
===============================================

Jim E.

kim wrote: "You don't trust Bush, I do."

We're a nation of laws, not men (and women). What if you *didn't* trust Bush? What the heck is the point of having laws if it comes down to ad hoc decisions on who we trust to act with zero oversight?

GS wrote: "The Democrat party is not absent the same criticisms. . . . The fact that each had their own war should not go unnoticed as it is war that creates the best political cover."

Exactly. So why did AG Gonzolez go on Larry King Line and basically argue that "Clinton did it, too"?? That's not good enough. (Not to mention factually incorrect.) The next president -- Dem or Rep -- can point to Bush's precedent if they ever get into hot water for illegal activity. All they'll have to say is: "I did 'X' to protect our country, and Bush broke laws, too." Surely you recognize that such responses shouldn't go unchecked.

Sue

We trust Bush (and any president, for that matter) to sit with his finger on the button. We trust Bush (and any president, for that matter) to give the go-ahead to blow AQ types to smithereens without oversight. We trust Bush (and any president, for that matter) to be able to tell our military to shoot down a commercial airliner if it presents a danger. I could go on, as to what we trust Bush (and any president, for that matter) to do without congressional oversight or prior judicial review.

So far, all I've seen are allegations.

kim

JimE, I agree the legislature has shirked its responsibility. Look at Jay Rockefeller, self-confessing for posterity his ignorance and impotence, which were both self imposed and deserved.
=============================================

Gabriel Sutherland

Jim E.: I try and parse statements based on their intended outcome. Clearly, getting AG Gonzales on Larry King to say "Clinton did it" is an action to deflect political criticism. The Hill then starts talking about the careless White House using tactics to redirect blame.

The White House is buying airtime. I'd hope that at least JOM readers would be familiar with WH attempts to redirect rather than confusing them with WH coverups. Plamegate ring any bells?

AB

Re: Trusting the Executive:

"It would be a dangerous delusion were a confidence in the men of our choice to silence our fears for the safety of our rights:... confidence is everywhere the parent of despotism--free government is founded in jealousy, and not in confidence; it is jealousy and not confidence which prescribes limited constitutions, to bind down those whom we are obliged to trust with power... In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."
--Thomas Jefferson's Statement in opposition to the Alien and Sedition Act, 1799.

Sue

they believe...they feel...they are concerned...they think...

Allegations. Not one person has come forward, beyond Russell Tice (who has baggage, regardless of what Risen claimed). Even Tice said I think, I feel, I am concerned, I believe, Bush committed a crime. If a crime is being committed...let them come forward and put a name to anonymous...

Sue

ONLY 20,915 COPIES OF JAMES RISEN 'STATE OF WAR' HAVE SOLD SINCE RELEASE

I wonder if that is important? In the grand scheme of things?

kim

So, AB, why is Jay Rockefeller, so abusing the Spirit of Jefferson, to be trusted with power?
================================================

kim

Surely, Sue, there are more than 21,000 people in the US who think they are the target of domestic surveillance.
==============================================

Sue

One would think so...especially after the hype it has received. Apparently there are more people concerned with catching terrorists than impeaching Bush.

kim

That's a shocking turkey. What's with the media experts at the Times and the publisher?
========================================

Gabriel Sutherland

Sue: Of course the sales figures are important.

“We had concerns. It was originally moved up to Jan. 3 because the Times story had broken and there was large book-seller and media demand,” said Free Press publicist Carisa Hays, adding that the initial print run is going to be 250,000 copies. “Our phone was ringing off the hook.” Source

It means the consumer will soon be able to purchase this book for the price of the Sunday edition of the Times.

maryrose

I agree with Sue, it comes down to a matter of trust. When you vote a president in you intrust him with your safety and security. Many on the left or proclaimed democrats didn't vote for President Bush and therefore might not trust him to protect them. I am CERTAIN if their candidate had won this story would never had been released by the NYT. The previous president had a second term riddled with scandal. This is all about trying to tar President Bush with the same brush.

danking70

I can only imagine the flood of leaks if the Bush Administration ever tried to use the NSA or Executive Powers for personal benefit.

Even Noah would be impressed.

All we have now is bad comparisons to Nixon (add that to the Vietnam/Quagmire meme), wild speculation, innuendo, and lots of "I think I may have been spied on" allegations.

I think Dot Blockers is an appropriate name to use. Intelligence continues to say that another attack is "inevitable". What will be the answer to the next "Why weren't the Dots connected"?

Jim E.

Did John Aschcroft sign off on the NSA wiretaps program?

kim

Until in the hospital then his deputy's uncertainty led to further legal justifications. I'm not sure of that.
========================================

AB

When you vote a president in you intrust him with your safety and security.

Just for Maryrose - and for all those "Constitutional originalists" out there - a repeat, we'll try a different emphasis this time:

"It would be a dangerous delusion were a confidence in the men of our choice to silence our fears for the safety of our rights:... confidence is everywhere the parent of despotism--free government is founded in jealousy, and not in confidence; it is jealousy and not confidence which prescribes limited constitutions, to bind down those whom we are obliged to trust with power... In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."
--Thomas Jefferson's Statement in opposition to the Alien and Sedition Act, 1799.

Question 1: When did conservatives become such lily livered yellow bellies ?

Question 2: Why do conservatives have so little respect for and loyalty to our Constitution?

Question 3: Did any conservatives take American history in high school or did they just forget that the guiding principle of the founding fathers was to implant mechanisms against the natural tendency of men to seek the comfort of a King?

maryrose

Thomas Jefferson owned slaves. His words are not the be all and end all of our trust in our constitution and the leaders we have duly elected. Review your history of Jefferson, Adams and also Aaron Burr. Jefferson's hands are not always clean; however he was at one time our elected president. A democratic president right now might have a different view of our current situation. Clinton, Berger, Allbright, all saw terrorists attacks as police actions to be prosecuted through the court systems. They were defensive and reactive and happy with their Gorelick wall. Presisent Bush is proactive, on theoffense. His way works better for me.

boris

Ben Franklin did NOT say:

"Any society that would give up a
little privacy to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."
And Patrick Henry did NOT say:
"Give me Privacy or give me Death"
And Thomas Jefferson did NOT say:
"The tree of privacy must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
And NOBODY said:
"Let the Privacy Bell ring out throughout the land !!

For all men are endowed by the Creator with the inalienable Right to Hide, Privacy, and the pursuit of Discreetness. "

So let's not confuse the issue with such nonsense.

Gabriel Sutherland

According to recent reports, Ashcroft did sign off on this alleged illegal program. DAG Comey had reservations and rebuffed attempts to get him to sign off on it.

Administration officials did visit Ashcroft in the hospital to get his signature.

boris

If Congress passes some mandatory sentencing bill ...
but a judge disregards and issues a lesser sentence .

Liberals would not rise up in outrage claiming the judge “BROKE THE LAW” and “IMPEACH THE BASTARD” would they?

No, never ever. But to continue ...

It goes to the Supreme Court and SCOTUS declares the mandatory sentencing bill unconstitutional. In the eyes of liberals does that make them “FASCIST DICTATORS”? Of course not.

In effect the highest judicial authority instructed the rest of the judicial branch to disregard the will of congress using a formality everyone is familiar with. No biggy.

The Executive has equal authority within it’s branch to instruct it’s instruments of national force to disregard the will of congress in areas specific to the exercise of constitutional power. The fact that a familiar formality is not used is simply irrelevant.

Rick Ballard

"It means the consumer will soon be able to purchase this book for the price of the Sunday edition of the Times."

True, but can you wrap a fish with it? Line a bird cage without much effort? House train a puppy? Does the the paper quality lend itself to ease in starting fires? On a utility basis the Sunday NYT has a much higher value than the book. Unless it's printed on perforated absorbent paper in roll form and even then...

Rick Ballard

MaryRose,

If John Hwang is funneling PLA or Lippo cash to your re-election campaign the Gorelick wall really isn't a bug - it's even more than a feature.

sue

Maryrose,

That isn't exactly the point I was trying to make.

Irregardless (I know it isn't word, Steve, just in case) of whether we trust the president to be the commander in chief, the stories are nothing but allegations of possible, might be's, could be's, what ifs.

The Ace

Question 1: When did conservatives become such lily livered yellow bellies ?

Question 2: Why do conservatives have so little respect for and loyalty to our Constitution?

Question 3: Did any conservatives take American history in high school or did they just forget that the guiding principle of the founding fathers was to implant mechanisms against the natural tendency of men to seek the comfort of a King?


Posted by: AB

There are a lot of moronic comments come from the left here, but these take the cake.

Per #1, so I guess we should ignore terror threats? Or maybe just take them as seriously as you (civilian, total ignorant) say?
Or as Rep. Jane Harman, ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Dec. 21:


As the Ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, I have been briefed since 2003 on a highly classified NSA foreign collection program that targeted Al Qaeda. I believe the program is essential to US national security and that its disclosure has damaged critical intelligence capabilities.


Per #2, Article II of the US Constitution is part of it, or as the Ninth Circuit decided United States v. Buck, 548 F.2d 871 (9th Cir. 1977)


Foreign security wiretaps are a recognized exception to the general warrant requirement

Per #3 you have demonstrated a very fundamental ignorance of the topic per your "education."


-----------------------------

To the moonbat who said:
Uh... they were spying on totally innocent people (in violation of the FISA),

Please inform the class how you know this?
Did you work for NSA, DIA, or DOJ?
Since the answer is no, your statement is invalid.

sue

Gabriel,

What I understood was Comey had reservations, the program was halted, the concerns were addressed, the program was restarted. It is my understanding Comey signed off. Am I wrong?

sue

AB,

If only you could get so worked up over true erosions in our civil liberties.

maryrose

Sue,
You are right, this lawsuit is all about maybe's might be's and could be's. Some guy named Larry [can't remember his name } is a college professor and is convinced he's being tapped on his overseas calls. It's all supposition. Whatever happened to the greater good of the country. If you are talking to the wrong people, then stop and you won't be tapped.

AB

Sue, what would be the "true" erosions that I should be getting worked up over?

Boris: "The Executive has equal authority within it’s branch to instruct it’s instruments of national force to disregard the will of congress in areas specific to the exercise of constitutional power."....Huh? A leeeeetle elaboration might be appreciated, as to the legal justifications of that whopper.

As we were reminded on Monday, previous imperial presidencies used their 'extraordinary powers' to spy on the likes of MLK for purposes of blackmailing him and/or driving him to suicide. However, your childlike faith in this president - without so much as a shred or pretense of evidence - is a touching homage to mankind's historic tendency to servile worship of authority.

Ace, the representative of modern day Republican debate tactics (ridicule, belligerance, derision and half baked "truths" designed not to enlighten but to muddle) - If we were talking about "foreign" wiretaps, we would not be talking.

Maryrose, I understand there are many Americans who seek to return to an imagined childhood of infinite security. However, our nation was carefully designed, with genius, to counteract that very natural, but corrosive, tendency.

Your arguments, all told, embody the finest elements of both feudal and fascist philosophies. It is all very well that you do not respect our Constitution and that you seek to worship a King in democratic clothing. However, it is a disgrace to our nation, to our history and to our once proud legacy as a brave, free people.

Extraneus

I would add that by 1799, Jefferson was a highly partisan figure, stabbing Adams in the back through proxies as his Vice President and burnishing his revolutionary legacy in preparation for a presidential run against Adams in 1800 while pretending to be uninterested. In 1798, Vice President Jefferson wrote the Kentucky Resolutions, for example, in which he argued that any state had a "natural right" to nullify federal actions it deemed unconstitutional, not quite oblivious to the threat his writings posed to the union. I doubt there are any fans of the Alien and Sedition Acts here, but some of Jefferson's writings during this politically-charged timeframe probably aren't his idealistic best.

Harry Arthur

Your arguments, all told, embody the finest elements of both feudal and fascist philosophies. It is all very well that you do not respect our Constitution and that you seek to worship a King in democratic clothing. However, it is a disgrace to our nation, to our history and to our once proud legacy as a brave, free people.

fascist...

worship a King...

disgrace...

once proud legacy...

USW

Nope, no "Republican debate tactics" there.

No hyperbole either.

sue

AB,

If I were you, I would be worked up over alleged abuses by Bush and the NSA. You ain't got anything else...all hope now rides on this story...at least until the next scandal is alleged. Onward, forward...'06 and beyond. ::grin::

boris

In my example comparing Executive branch authority with Judicial I wrote:

The Executive has equal authority within it’s branch [Equal to SCOTUS authority within the judicial branch] to instruct it’s instruments of national force to disregard the will of congress in areas specific to the exercise of constitutional power.
That is based on the spearation of powers in three equal branches.

The example implies the president has the authority to instruct the NSA to disregard certain elements of FISA, just as SCOTUS has the authority to instruct judges to disregard an unconstitutional sentencing bill. If SCOTUS declared FISA, or the relevant portion unconstitutional nobody seriously questions that the NSA program would be legal. But that implies SCOTUS has more authority over the entire government than the president has within the executive branch.

That is a gross misunderstanding of the separation of powers. The formality of declaring a law unconstitutional is an exercise of authority within the judicial branch. That it has the effect of apparently applying to the entire government is the source of the (intended) confusion. In almost all cases the SCOTUS is the final authority on enforcement of law regarding citizens and criminals. Extrapolating that authority over the executive branch is a (deliberate) mistake.

AB

Sue, understood. You have nothing, you just like bandwagons.

Extraneus, actually, I think pretty much ALL of you are Alien & Sedition Act fans, though you manage incredibly to remain in denial over it.

Harry, sometimes hyperbole is all you need. This is NOT a complicated issue. Either you believe in a Nation of Laws or you believe in a Unitary Executive, i.e. an elected King. Are you comfortable with a President who secretly, unilateraly decides by himself the Constitutionality of our laws rather than faithfully executing the legislation of the co-equal branch of government? If so, please explain how our Constitution was able to withstand the recent past when we had ICBMS armed with nuclear warheads aimed at us by the USSR, but they must be sacrificed now to the demands of religious fanatics armed with boxcutters and laptops. Notwithstanding the foolishly belligerant screen names of so many rightwing bloggers, it is astonishing to watch the collective cowering of their blindly loyal partisans.

kim

AB, your hyperblole's gone out of bounds. What about the legislature? They were in touch. The judiciary was in touch. Bush crossed t's and dotted i's, and apparently with more attention to detail than Clinton did. You're right, this is a power that can be misused. It hasn't, and something needs to be changed before it is. In the meantime, as your legislators dally, what would you do to defend your nation?
=============================================

AB

Agreed, Boris. Extrapolating that authority to the executive would be a mistake. Where then does the executive get the power to disregard the will of the Congress?

SCOTUS does not wield power over the entire government through its constitutional interpretations any more than Congress does by writing legislation binding on the entire government.

kim

Get it clear, AB, Bush acted within the law as interpreted. The interpretation is controversial, but you've shown no damage from his actions, and benefit is shown. Would you be foolish in the pursuit of law?
======================================

kim

Get your law chasing events, as it should and has done historically. Your path is clear. Fix the law.
============================================

boris

Extrapolating that authority to the executive would be a mistake.

So already starts the lying and twisting ...

What was written:

Extrapolating that authority over the executive branch is a (deliberate) mistake.

BTW since when do members of congress take disputes over their “rules of government” to the Supreme Court ??? Imagine SCOTUS ruling on the constitutionality of the filibuster.

The executive and congress are elected branches. Their interpretation of the constitutional authority of thier respective branches is ultimately decided by the voters. Not SCOTUS.

As a practical matter there is no mechanism for courts or congress to take control of NSA or remove control from the president without also removing the president’s ability to protect the country or wage war. Defunding NSA would be political suicide, and impeaching the president would not prevent Dick Cheney from continuing the program. The saying “possession is nine points of the law” is a far better guide to what the branches can do and have the authority to do than all the straw stuffing dummies wasting bandwidth claiming the president CAN’T DO what he is in fact doing.


Patrick R. Sullivan

'First, I'm not even sure what this comment refers to. Second, the happiness about the possibility of her being surveilled without a warrent is totally, completely stupid.'

Someone who probably is in contact with Al Qaeda, is what it is about. Google 'Rachel Meeropol' and you can find out why.

sue

AB,

No, I have lots. That you would have to ask the question means you could care less about the erosion of civil liberties unless you perceive Bush and/or conservatives eroding them.

kim

You've adpoted a most common topic when debating with weak arguments; you find it gratifying to demolish arguments that haven't been made.

In your head, you've created an army of slaves to executive power. Remember the right numbers libertarians among their midst, something the left can't brag on. There are a number of us that are very suspicious of datamining and what it can do primarily to privacy and secondarily to any number of other civil rights. But you are overreacting here to an executive honestly uninterested in power for its own sake. You have shown no harm from Bush's actions, and the use of this technique has prevented attacks, but may not be able to stop all attacks. You are foolishly and vainly trying to keep privacy immune even from emergencies.
=======================================

sue

AB,

You also don't understand the unitary executive. It has nothing to do with being King. ::grin::

boris

The NSA is part of the executive branch. The power of the executive is rather sweeping within it's own branch, just as the power of the SCOTUS is rather sweeping within the judicial branch. So what?

I claim that in my own house I can butter my toast any way I like and drink orange juice any time I want. That sweeping authority does not empower me to tell you how to butter your toast or when you can drink your orange juice. So drop the stupid "absolute unchecked power" BS.

Patrick R. Sullivan

ABC News is just reporting that one of the terrorists killed in that strike against a dinner party in Pakistan was the guy in charge of the Al Qaeda training camp where they killed dogs with poison gas. I wonder if the NSA info had anything to do with getting him.

Jim E.

I know exactly who Rachel Meerpol is, jackass. I thought you wanted her surveilled due to who her grandparents were (your original, idiotic point).

Now she's "probably" in contact with Al Quada? What a bunch of bed-wetters.

sue

Jim E.,

Read the petition filed. Then get back to us.

kim

Dogs have ghosts, too.
=======================

Appalled Moderate

Boris:

You have the sweeping power to do what you like in your house. But if you turn your high powered binoculars on what's going on in my bedroom, I 'm callin the law on your sweeping authority!

As for the rest of your constitutional analysis -- I guess you figure the watergate tapes case was wrongly decided....

BurkettHead

The plaintiff in the ACLU suit is Larry Diamond, not Jared Diamond. The petition is here:

http://www.aclu.org/images/nsaspying/asset_upload_file137_23491.pdf

Gabriel Sutherland

BurkettHead: Thanks for that correction. The plaintiff in the ACLU suit is Larry, not Jared, Diamond. However, Larry Diamond was an adviser to the CPA.

BurkettHead

The Center for Constitutional Rights petition (featuring Rachel Meeropol) is here:

http://www.ccr-ny.org/v2/legal/govt_misconduct/docs/NSAcomplaintFINAL11706.pdf

Gary Maxwell

How do any of these plaintiffs get standing to sue? Dont you have to show some harm first?

sue

"Amid the whirlwind of different accounts of the events of the last few years, George Tenet has been noticeably silent," says Burnham. "I am thrilled that Tenet has decided finally to speak out and illuminate recent history. This book will be a vital contribution to our understanding of the current state of America's engagement with Al Qaeda, as well as a clarification of the past and some of the momentous decisions and actions taken by the intelligence services on our behalf."

http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/060118/20060118005543.html?.v=1>As if rogue agents writing and leaking weren't enough...

BurkettHead

You don't have to have standing or show harm to sue (hence these petitions), just to survive a motion to dismiss. And I don't think they can allege that they were the victims of surveillance and make the US prove that they weren't. The burden of proof is on the plaintiff, not the defendant. I expect we'll see the results before shortly.

From what I understand, Prof. Turley has a case where his client might have been the subject of the NSA program & Prof. Turley is raising the issue. He might actually get into these issues on that case.

boris

I guess you figure the watergate tapes case was wrongly decided....

I figure you guess wrong.

high powered binoculars on what's going on in my bedroom

gross

Congress cannot deny NSA access to the switches for reasons of national security FISA notwithstanding. Once NSA has access their obligation to comply with FISA is purely self imposed. Congress can piss and moan till the cows come home.

maryrose

AB
Executive ignore the will of Congress"
You are kidding me right? The Congress doesn't know what's up because they have chosen not to pursue any action on this program because it's a political and re-election loser. What democrat in Congress has asked Bush to stop the program. We've heard some grumblings and munblings but as usual no democratic plan to do anything differently. Part of that is per Jane Harman the program is necessary and BTW is working. Also Jim E calling names like Hillary and pandering gets you nowhere in the red states. Do you think plantation owners will vote for Hill in 08, think again.

Appalled Moderate

Boris:

Where are you getting your analysis from? The way I take it is that the execuive branch can tell its employees to do whatever, and the judiciary has no power stop it. I'm unfamiliar with that line of reasoning, and I am curious where you are getting it from.

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