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February 16, 2006



Two questions for Republican partisans:

Would you tolerate, defend, approve of the expansions of executive power this administration is claiming if it was a Democratic administration?

Are you convinced that these expansions of executive power will never in the future benefit a Democratic administration, and if so, why?

If you think there is no or little possibility, in a nation that has historically preferred divided government and has seen large political swings occur within relatively short time periods, of Democratic electoral success in the future, on what is that thought based?

What changes to the political rights of your fellow Americans would you be willing to tolerate to ensure one party rule into the future?

I'd really appreciate anyone willing to give genuine, thoughtful answers to these questions, rather than simple name-calling.
I believe there are some basic political principles that ALL concerned US citizens should be able to agree upon, no matter what party affliation they claim -- and that concern for those principles apply to these issues. Anyone willing to give provides some answers simply as one American to another?


An update on the Paul Hackett business.

The Unbeliever

As one American to another, esmense, I'd sing the Democrats' praises all the day long if they collectively got up and said "We believe we should be aggressively pursuing anti-American terrorists, and to that end, we'll be intercepting calls that those terrorists make into the United States". However you led with a bit of a strawman--

Would you tolerate, defend, approve of the expansions of executive power this administration is claiming if it was a Democratic administration

because the adminstration is not expanding executive power, it's simply asserting the same power it's held since the ink on the Constitution was still wet, i.e., the power (nay, the solemn obligation) to conduct wars against foreign enemies.

If the Dems manage to blunder their way into the White House--and I seriously hope it won't be the current generation of Dems who do so, else the nation will face more serious problems than mere partisan rancor--then I'd fully support them using this power in the same exact way Bush has been using it... and hopefully he/she wouldn't "pull a Clinton" and purposefully use it against their political opponents.

(It occurs to me that as an independant, I may not be qualified to answer a question aimed at "Republican partisans", but oh well.)


Any republican partisans want to respond to the democratic partisan without calling names?

We put up with 8 years of a Clinton administration that claimed those same executive powers. And 4 years of the Carter administration claiming them. I'm sure we will survive if the democrats ever get themselves together a winnable candidate again.


esmense, that's been discussed here quite a bit. Yes, we're all frightened out of our wits that Hillary might one day become President, since none of us trust her character. As for the NSA business, it appears to be be a doomed partisan point-scoring attempt by Democrats who don't have the guts to even oppose the program. Otherwise, it's a complicated legal grey area to the actual experts, statements from all the amateur blowhards notwithstanding, and previous presidents including Clinton claimed the same authority. As for me, I'm not too concerned because I think if something like this were ever actually abused, there are enough good Americans in the NSA who could go the legal whistleblower route, as opposed to the treasonous leakers who willingly compromised national security and I hope will be dealt with accordingly.


Of course, I can't speak for the H. Clinton fans here, or anyone else for that matter, but I'm pretty sure at least some us think she has some character issues.


I think we should cut a deal with the democrats. We won't run a Bush as president if they won't run a Clinton. We need new blood, on both sides.


It find it ironic that either a Bush or a Clinton has been in the whitehouse for the last 20 years thought we didn't have an aristitcratic goverment


Extraneus --

Our system of checks and balances was intended by the founders to ensure that the citizens of this great country would never be reduced to having to helplessly "trust the character" of ANY individual who may hold the reins of power -- either political power or bureaucratic power (as in the NSA officials you have placed your hopes in).

Tolerating the removal of those checks is foolish, and a direct betrayal of the freedoms that those founders fought for and bequeathed us.

Neither Clinton or Carter pushed to remove those checks, and to escape accountability, to the same degree that the Bush administration has in these matter -- but, if you object to the extent to which they did push the limits (as you appear to and as I do), then you certainly can't assert their behavior as a rationale for why the Bush administrationn should be allowed to indulge in even worse behavior (which you appear to be doing.) Dangerous erosions of, or attempts to circumvent, the checks to abusive power built into our system should be condemned no matter who is doing the circumventing.

By the way, I am no more a fan of Jimmy Carter than anyone else here -- considering him the worst president to serve in all my adult life (which is really saying something when you consider that that sad list of less-than-praise-worthy presidents includes both Johnson and Nixon). But I don't see where bashing him (or Clinton for that matter) has any point in a conversation about abuses that are taking place now.

A citizen's responsibility to honestly and critically appraise office holders, their actions, policies and short-comings and the implications those have for the country's well-being can't be limited partisanly. If the only politicians and political actions you ever criticize or find worrisome all reside in one party, you aren't acting as a citizen -- you're simply acting as a devotee and fan.

robert lewis

Hey, asshole Lou-ser Grant- I know this will be hard for your tiny brain to comprehend - but:

"Anything said against Joe was to get the facts out to refute the proven lies he was spewing in his attempt to undermine the war effort."

ANYTHING said - using any asset or resource of the government - against Wilson in retaliation for his 1st amendment guaranteed right to ctiticize is ILLEGAL. Don't blame me - I didn't write the freakin' law. But that's what the law is.

Declassifying shit in order to smear Wilson with it is "using an asset" of the government for impermissible retalitory purpose. Jesus - this blog is crawling with morons.


I find it ironic that either a Bush or a Clinton has been in the whitehouse for the last 20 years thought we didn't have an aristitcratic goverment


staggerlee --

Well, we've only had ONE Clinton in power in the last 20 years and the assumption that a second Clinton will get the Democratic nomination in 2008 is just a Republican fantasy at this point.

If another Bush (Jeb) gets nominated by the Republicans perhaps an argument can be made that that party is more interested in aristocratic, rather than democratic, government -- but I think that likelihood is also slim.

Frankly, I think the majority of people -- who tend not to be rabid partisans -- are fed up with both families at this point and would like to see some fresh faces on offer from both sides of the political spectrum. The big money guys, on the other hand, do like to invest in "brand" names. And that could help keep these tired dynasties on display far beyond their "use by" date.


Declassifying shit in order to smear Wilson with it is "using an asset" of the government for impermissible retalitory purpose.

Declassify the truth to expose lies is permissible and legal. Falsly having someone charged with embezzling and fired would be wrong, but based on the white house travel office in 93, not illegal or impermissible.

Jesus - this blog is crawling with morons.

Stand up and walk then.

JM Hanes

"Refute the facts, JM. I did."

You drop in with a laundry list of off topic talking points laced with insults and then pretend to expect engagement? All you've actually done is provide a sterling example of everything you claim to despise, yourself.


But I don't see where bashing him (or Clinton for that matter) has any point in a conversation about abuses that are taking place now.

I didn't bash either one of them. I pointed out they claimed the same inherent authority that Bush is claiming.



They are using as one of their arguments against GW using his presidential power, that that will
mean Dem Presidents will have this
in future, as if this is a threat/foretelling of doom.

Doesn't that imply that they are fully aware of the crimes of the Clintons and admit the Dem's proclivity to misuse power?

That's what I am reading. What happened to the "what me worry"
Dem Power supporters?



If you really believe that abuse of power is limited by and/or can be determined by the partisan affliation of particular politicans you are extremely naive. Thankfully, our founders weren't such naifs.

They are the ones who saw a "foretelling of doom" in unchecked executive power, and set up a system that provides safeguards against the potential abuse of power. Undoing those safeguards makes us, as citizens, vulnerable to the temptations to abuse power that are inherent in all of human nature -- not just one or another particular partisan half.

If you take your citizenship seriously, you should be prepared to defend PRINCIPLES -- rather than just defending one political player or one party over another.

Barney Frank

Maybe I missed it but just exactly what checks and or balances is it that Bush is trying to eliminate? Perhaps if you elucidated them people might be able to better judge your arguments.
Personally the only branch I see overreaching its defined powers much is the judiciary.
And I consider the usurpation of individual and state rights by the national government in toto, to be a far greater threat to the constitution than Clinton or Bush having a tug of war with congress over say, how many members of congress are briefed on some intel program.


"I pointed out they claimed the same inherent authority that Bush is claiming."

The authority for warrantless spying? The authority to determine whether to apply or ignore legitimate law as passed by Congress? Please make a factual case for these assertions, rather than just asserting.

Rick Ballard

"The authority for warrantless spying?"

'Spying' - the collection of intelligence during wartime - would seem to fall under the Article II powers of the President.

Oops! - You're of the opinion that an airline flight which originates in Paris and lands in NYC is a "domestic" flight, right? So when Achmed in Waziristan calls Mohammad in Dearborn, a warrant is needed because of the 'domestic' nature of the call?

"The authority to determine whether to apply or ignore legitimate law as passed by Congress?"

The AG did a nice job of explaining the Executive's rationale concerning that issue. Should you feel that his explanation is insufficient, you should start a letter writing campaign to your Congressperson. Make very strong suggestions in your letter that this is an "impeachable matter" so that the Congressional staffer reading your letter will immediately know where to file it.

You may wish to actually read some posts from the archives here in order to understand just how old and well plowed the ground truly is wrt your "arguments".



If I believed that GW had exceeded his Constitutional powers, I would
use that argument.

I would not use the threat that the
Dems will have all this power someday, so you "cult" supporting
GW better think twice.

I am not an attorney - but think it
is your side that opened this door.


Actually, they claimed the authority for warrantless physical searches also, but who is quibbling here?


Its not just warentless domestic spying that worries me its the loss of privacy period. for exe.


Daley wants security cameras at bars
By Judy Keen, USA TODAY
CHICAGO — Surveillance cameras — aimed at government buildings, train platforms and intersections here — might soon be required at corner taverns and swanky nightclubs.

Mayor Richard Daley wants to require bars open until 4 a.m. to install security cameras that can identify people entering and leaving the building. Other businesses open longer than 12 hours a day, including convenience stores, eventually would have to do the same.

Daley's proposed city ordinance adds a dimension to security measures installed after the Sept. 11 attacks.

The proliferation of security cameras — especially if the government requires them in private businesses — troubles some civil liberties advocates.

"There is no reason to mandate all of those cameras unless you one day see them being linked up to the city's 911 system," says Ed Yohnka of the Illinois American Civil Liberties Union. "We have perhaps reached that moment of critical mass when people ... want to have a dialogue about how much of this is appropriate."

Milwaukee is considering requiring cameras at stores that have called police three or more times in a year. The Baltimore County Council in Maryland ordered large malls to put cameras in parking areas after a murder in one garage last year. The measure passed despite objections from business groups.

"We require shopping centers to put railings on stairs and install sprinkler systems for public safety. This is a proper next step," says Baltimore County Councilman Kevin Kamenetz, who sponsored the ordinance.

Some cities aren't going along. Schenectady, N.Y., shelved a proposal that would have required cameras in convenience stores.

"The safer we make the city, the better it is for everyone," says Chicago Alderman Ray Suarez, who first proposed mandatory cameras in some businesses. "If you're not doing anything wrong, what do you have to worry about?"

Nick Novich, owner of three Chicago bars, worries about the cost. "Every added expense ... puts a small business in greater jeopardy of going out of business," he says. Daley says cameras will deter crime, but Novich says, "That's what we're paying taxes for."

Colleen McShane, president of the Illinois Restaurant Association, says the proposal, which Daley announced last week, is an unfair burden on small businesses. "This is once again more government intrusion," she says.

Some business owners say cameras make patrons feel safer. Cameras are in all 30 Chicago bars, clubs and restaurants owned by Ala Carte Entertainment, spokeswoman Julia Shell says: "It's far more cost-effective for us to have them than not to have them."

By spring, 30 Chicago intersections will have cameras to catch drivers who run red lights. More than 2,000 cameras around the city are linked to an emergency command center, paid for in part by federal homeland security funds.

The newest "smart" cameras alert police when there's gunfire or when someone leaves a package or lingers outside public buildings. The system is based on the one in London that helped capture suspected terrorists after last summer's subway bombings.

Chicago is installing those sophisticated camera systems more aggressively than any other U.S. city, says Rajiv Shah, an assistant professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago who studies the policy implications of surveillance technology. Recording what people do in public "is just getting easier and cheaper to do," he says. "Think of your camera cellphone."



Ever read "Bodyguard of Lies"?

Of course it was a bit easier for
the Brits to round up and turn the
Axis spies on their island.

But I sure hope that some of the info Ali is getting from Ahmed is
from Ali with Jack Bauer holding his phone!

Ha!Ha! It is Friday!


larwyn --

I didn't make an argument or an assertion (about who might abuse power) -- I asked a question of a specific audience; "partisan Republicans."

My question still has been unanswered -- would those who are comfortable with this administration's expansion of executive power be equally comfortable with those expanded powers in the hands of a different administration of the opposite political party?

There is no assumption in that question that one party or the other would be more likely to abuse those expanded powers. (But that assumption, which I consider to be a naive assumption, does seem to be inherent in your response to my question.)

Since you seem to be convinced that expanded powers in the hands of Democrats spells "doom" -- why would you support setting a precedent for those expanded powers?

The only assumption I make is the same assumption as that made by the founders -- that a lack of significant institutional checks on power is a temptation to abuse of power. Like them, I believe that that temptation is inherent in human nature, not in political affiliation.


By the way, that question doesn't really require more than a simple "yes" or "no" answer.

If you answer "yes" then I would assume your support for the Bush administration's expansion of executive power is based on principle. If you answer "no" then, if seems to me, you may need to re-examine your support for the administration's actions.


"this administration's expansion of executive power"

esmense, have you stopped beating your mate?

Clearly we do not see this as an

We will go out in rain/snow and vote to keep all the powers of
the Commander-in-Chief in the hands
of the party that is proven to
care about National Security.


There has been no expansion of powers. There has been a crumbling of a wall. Myself, I would have hoped a democrat would have torn down the wall, but since a democrat didn't, I have to be content that a republican did.

JM Hanes

"The authority to determine whether to apply or ignore legitimate law as passed by Congress?"

I happen to be concerned about possible & potential abuses of civil liberties myself, most particularly in regard to suspensions of habeas corpus where citizens are concerned -- a point I wouldn't normally feel compelled to make, since regular posters here, unlike our recent visitors, don't normally assume they already know what I think.

With that proviso, I would point out that it's not the White House which has asserted the authority you cite. That particular characterization of the issue seems to emanate from what you would have to call a single side of the political spectrum. If you read the AG's congressional testimony, you'll find he asserts that the program is, in fact, in compliance the law which, if I recall correctly, he points out contains language refering to surveillance not otherwise authorized (or something similar).

My own observation is that those on one side of the spectrum assume the kind of violation you've described above, while those on the other side are debating the merits of the legal issues in play -- which admittedly does require acknowledging that there are actually legal issues in play.

I note that you yourself make no particular factual case for the assumption that FISA restraints on executive power constitute "legitimate law." If the restrictions actually represent a constraint on constitutionally mandated executive powers, then such legislation would not be legitimate at all. Establishing whether that is, or is not, the case, of course, falls within the purview of the Supreme Court, and it seems that the precedents involved to date leave considerable room for speculation as to what that opinion might ultimately be.

On a personal note, I've always found it particularly annoying when Democrats/liberals cry foul over the mere mention of either Clinton by any perceived adversary -- especially when they feel no such compunction about analogizing to any and all previous administrations themselves. How on earth can any rational discussion of U.S. policy -- whether foreign or domestic -- jump directly from Bush I to Bush II as if the intervening 8 years simply didn't exist?

Now I happen to think that in its own way, Clinton's foreign policy was, with a very few exceptions, worse than Carter's. Rather than defending it, however, his presumed supporters simply won't discuss it. Any argument I might make is automatically discounted as playing the "blame Clinton" card -- usually accompanied by the kind of cult-of-Bush remarks AB so generously supplies -- despite the fact that if we were discussing domestic policy, I'd be much harder on the current administration than the last. If I prefer discussions in TM's niche, it's because I've found there is more actual discussion going on. The bulk of the polemic hereabouts is supplied by drop-ins who show up with guns ablazing and then return from whence they came, complaining -- with utterly unintended irony -- about a refusal to engage!


Personally, I've always found the left's motives on this "great constitutional topic" somewhat dubious. When coupled with all their other acts from Wilson's right on down to Gore's most recent disgraceful exhibition of dhimmi submission, they've built up a large body of evidence suggesting that they oppose anything that might help us defeat the Islamist threat, which they clearly aren't too concerned about, and are more than willing to harm our efforts besides. To me, that makes them part of the problem, and is what invites the "alliance with bin Laden" arguments they were so exercised over a few weeks ago. I'd actually prefer to see more than the pariah Lieberman on the Democrat side take them on, even if it lead to their being politically competitive in terms of national security.

Barney Frank

Precisely extraneous. I'd much prefer a Demo party that returned to JFK, Hubert Humphrey or Scoop Jackson principles and actually had a chance of being elected than the current one which while it has a hard time getting elected by its very nature is pulling the Republicans further left. Despite the allegations of the loony left I imagine the large majority of people here are disgusted by the binge spending going on in DC, and the prescription drug boondoggle, among many other criticisms to be made. But when I read NRO or Powerline I see in house debates about issues. When I read Kos I see in house, foul mouthed, tow the new party line or you'll be purged bloviating.
The fact is it is temporarily good for the Republican party for the Dems to be heading for a padded cell, but in the long run its bad for the country.


You stated very well the attraction of the comment thread at this site. I am not a lawyer,
and it is terrific to follow the
arguments among the "regulars".
I learn a lot.

But then......they pounce and I long for the family holiday solution, when everyone shows up,
you set a childrens' table.

I then realized what happens here
is exactly what happens at those
gatherings. The KIDZ finish fast
and soon come to harass the adults
who would like to savor those last
bites of food and sips of wine.

Maybe it will be another site's turn next week.


I agree, Barney. Where's Gephart?


A few weeks ago there was no real terrorism threat and republicans were using 'terrorism' to scare pants-wetting scardy cats. Now we see Bush is a threat to America for selling our PORT SECURITY to terrorist-supporting Arab companies.

go figure.


ESMense; I answer your question- Yes
Whoever is president should have this authority because it is a tool in fighting terrorism. I'm hard-pressed to determine how it could be abused. The only abuse I've seen happened when over 300 FBI files of republicans turned up in the White House with no reasonable explanation as to how or why they got there. Also Rose Law Firm records which mysteriously disappeared for 2 years and then miraculously reappeared in some closet. Whatever happened to all the records in Hillary's law partner's office after his death? If she does get elected I hope they are a little bit better at keeping files and records in their proper place . Oh and definitely do not instruct anyone to try and sneak records or papers out of the National Archives even if they do fit in their socks, pockets or underwear.

JM Hanes


I'm not sure I know anyone who doesn't share at least some of your concerns about privacy. Unfortunately, the kind of witch hunting that followed 9/11 has put our politicians in an untenable position. Having excoriated officials of every ilk for failing to connect the dots before the fact, we have tasked them with preventing future calamaties -- a completely different mandate from law enforcement as we know it. Yet, even though walls between agencies and lines in the sand between domestic and foreign surveillance are undeniably at the heart of the original failure, we're crying foul at any and every potential or putative breach.

The fundamentals here, however, are not just confined to security. Our legislators need to start spending far less time grandstanding in gotcha public hearings and a whole lot more addressing privacy issues in the kind of comprehensive fashion the new data-mining age requires on all fronts.

Having declared victory on the Social Security front, the Democratic quiver is sorely in need of arrows, and privacy seems tailor made for the opposition party. They could parlay identity theft, which conveniently scares everybody, not just the old folks, and the evils of everyday corporate data-mining into a knock-out platform plank.

Shoot, they could be pushing privacy legislation that (incidentally) shores up Roe, and they could even conceivably refresh their flagging foreign policy credentials in an entirely different arena just by taking a high profile stance on internet censorship as an identifiable party position on privacy. Throw in domestic censorship by the FCC for bonus points -- even Republicans get pissed off when nervous station managers interfere with their viewing pleasure by canceling Saving Private Ryan or bleeping Masterpiece Theater.

Unfortunately, Democrats seemed suicidely determined to duke out almost everything in a National Security context, á la NSA, despite painful, repeated, demonstrations that Republicans own this turf. 90% of voters could decide Iraq was a mistake tomorrow, and they still wouldn't vote Democratic if that's the primary issue on the table.

JM Hanes


Think of it as entertainment -- folks like AB obviously do! Besides, even some of the folks who start out slumming occasionally end up sticking around for the conversation despite themselves, which is probably a net plus -- although I'm not always sure for whom.


larwyn:Could you please supply us with the
timeline that would show exactly when the Bush administration

truer words have not been spoken

Dee Touchette

Terrorism... What terroism??? You Americans get duped everytime.. I bet you all feel completely unsafe.. Why not build an antiterroism shelter in your basement??...
Too much money in this country and too few brains.

Keep your mouths shut for a change and do some thinking.


Yeah, social security, the aging ponzi scheme, and national security at the expense of an illusory privacy. What seers these liberals be.

the Unbeliever
My question still has been unanswered -- would those who are comfortable with this administration's expansion of executive power be equally comfortable with those expanded powers in the hands of a different administration of the opposite political party?

Aww, I don't count just becaues I'm an independant? I answered you directly under your original post, but now I'm feeling ignored...

Perhaps you'd get clearer responses if you stopped phrasing your question coupled with the strawman of "expansion of executive powers". Most of us here see the President's intercepts of international calls as a natural extension of his Article II powers, and are therefore comfortable with any President wielding that power, regardless of party; in fact, we would demand that such powers be exercised in the defense of our country.

The real Constitutional question is about the ability of Congress to limit the President's power or appropriate it outright, a la FISA. You keep extoling the virtue of checks and balances, but you seem to be ignoring a very basic fact--that system requires each of the three branches of government to vigorously defend their own territory. When the Executive and the Legislative squabble over power, that's not a sign of weakness or of an authoritarian power grab; that's a sign that the system is alive and working well. Just because you side with the Legislature on this case doesn't mean the Executive is some bogeyman that's trying to gobble up your rights.

And keep in mind, Congress is not even talking about ending the NSA program for Constitutional reasons; they just want to control it as it keeps running. Of course the Executive is fighting this encroachment! You haven't provided any rationale why we should stop supporting the Administration and start supporting Congress (which leaks like a sieve, in case you forgot) in this power struggle; tell us, why are you so eager to strip war power from the Executive and give it to the Legislature? Would you continue to hold this position once a Democrat enters the White House?


I think you may have hit a nerve, Mr. Maguire.


Geez...I gotta laugh at the people who claim that selective targeting of international phone calls linked to known terrorists numbers is a threat to invasion of privacy. Compare that limited program to Clinton's Echelon and then come back - they gathered and analyzed - at least on an electronic basis to begin with - virtually every piece of electronic communications into and out of the country. Echelon vs. NSA is the same as Elephant vs. flea.

Now I know you will say, but they complied with FISA and all laws. So you have rationalized through your "legal analysis". Yet when someone points to the same type of legal analysis with reference to the new NSA program, you say they are wrong and call them names. What a brain trust the looney's represent.

As I've said before - the NSA issue will never make it to the courts. The reason is not a legal one, but a political one. The MAJORITY of the people in the country (not just a PLURALITY) think it is ok for the government to take these kind of actions. The harder the left pushes against it, the more they drive voters away. Why do you think that the dems on the Senate Intel committee caved on hearings? I know - AB will say it is because it is controlled by the Republicans. But the only dem I've heard speak out against not having hearings is Rocky - and he's got a reason to deflect attention from investigating who made the leak to NYT. Just another blank shot from the left....and I spun couterclockwise and got hit....lol


Dee, did you like the feeling of safety you had when Bill Clinton was President? Times were great, the stock market was rising, the sun rose and Arafat beamed. Get organized and remind people of the good ol' days and get someone like him elected again. Paradise can be yours.


Good point, kim. Don't forget the Clinton era Y2K stockpiles still in the basements of America, Dee. No need to build new terrorism shelters when we have our peacetime COBOL-date problem programming shelters left over from the days when there were no other problems in the world. And Kim Jong Il was just a fun-loving pagent host for our dancing Secretary of State.


Gorelick, Berger, Clarke, Beers, Wilson; I've invited them all to a hoedown in my newly constructed anti-terrorsm shelter, masquerading as a Hall of Infamy. Trivialize my security, will ya'? Make common cause with a perversion of powerful spirituality? Live in Hell, no need to worry about ending there.


I don't feel unsafe.. We got it pretty good.. much better than most places in the world. Never felt unsafe one day of my life.. all through the cold war propaganda that has warped this country.. all through the color code scare tactics.. We have messed up plenty of people around the world with our greed.. It does come back to haunt us.. we can't have it our way all the time. But the joke is that we are now turining it inward and really messing ourselves up...


As I said earlier, dissent thrives in secure times. I'm glad you feel secure. So do I.



quick question:

How can you be so sure of the extent of the program when the administration refuses to tell congress, let alone the public, of the full extent of the warrantless spying? You just trust GWB and Al Gonzales at their "word."

I suppose you think the patriot act has been limited to terrorism investigations as well?

Slippery slope my friend. The strange thing is I'm the lefty who tolerates big government and strong federal power. But this program even bothers me. As a righty y'all should be grabbing your guns and organizing your militias. So much for intergity


If they tell us the full extent of the warrantless spying, why bother having it? You think 'us' are the only ones listening?

Jim in Chicago

Um, didn't they tell Congress the full extent this week, and isn't that what caused at least one dem -- forget who, story was all over, check it out -- to scratch its head, and go, "er, uh, that certainly clears things up".

I'll be sure to keep it in mind that there's a slippery slope tho. If I get a call from an Al G agent, that is.


Jim, if you listened to the congressional hearings you would know that Gonzoles declined on numerous ocassions to give details into the scope of domestic spying, including refusing to answer if any intra-national communications had been surveyed without a warrant. Congress simply does not know the extent of the program, nobody outside the Executive branch does.


Whatever the extent of the spying, it is all ostensibly already legal with a warrant, which, to my understanding of FISA, includes extremely broad surveilance powers. Therefore, you are not cluing in terrorists about conduct the government couldn't already engage in with a warrant. The terrorists are already on notice of our governemnet's ability to spy on them. Terrorists are not engaging in and relying on probable cause determinations in deciding whether or not to use their cell phones.


So now that they've not released any information to the enemy, what is the upshot of all this? The trial of Risen and the NYT?

Jim in Chicago

Rrrright, lazerlou, which is why congress is dropping their investigation.

"It's a different program than I was beginning to let myself believe," said Alabama Rep. Bud Cramer, the senior Democrat on the Intelligence Committee's oversight subcommittee."

That's what I was talking about.

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