You are hereSpying
By Sarah Olson, t r u t h o u t | www.truthout.org
Judge Anna Diggs Taylor, of the US District Court in Detroit, Michigan, handed the American Civil Liberties Union and their supporters a stunning victory yesterday when she ruled the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping program was unconstitutional. Taylor ruled the secret program violated the First and Fourth Constitutional amendments, as well as the separation of powers principle. She also ruled the surveillance program was not sanctioned by the Authorization of the Use of Military Force, nor was it protected from judicial scrutiny by the State Secrets Act as the Department of Justice had argued.
By USA Today
For the past five years, the Bush administration has operated as if the horrific events of 9/11 not only changed fundamental aspects of national security and public safety, but also changed the very nature of government.
President Bush has unilaterally declared what parts of new laws he wishes to enforce. He has created military tribunals unauthorized by Congress. And, perhaps most ominously, he has authorized eavesdropping on phone calls to and from the USA without court orders.
By Ray McGovern
t r u t h o u t | www.truthout.org
Who can forget the chutzpah of President George W. Bush as he bragged to Bob Woodward, "I'm commander in chief.... That's the interesting thing about being president ... I don't feel like I owe anybody an explanation."
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Wrong, Mr. President. You and Vice President Cheney seem to have missed "Constitution 101." And you seem to have laughed off admonitions against hiring lawyers eager to give an obsequious nihil obstat to whatever you want to do. You have allowed the likes of David Addington, Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo to do what Senator Chuck Hagel (R-Nebraska) has accused you and your advisers of doing regarding Iraq - "making it up as they go along." It's enough to make you believe Shakespeare may have been right about lawyers.
By Associated Press
A federal judge in Detroit has ruled that the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance program violates the Constitution.
U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in Detroit became the first judge to strike down the National Security Agency's program, which she says violates the rights to free speech and privacy.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on behalf of journalists, scholars and lawyers who say the program has made it difficult for them to do their jobs. They believe many of their overseas contacts are likely targets of the program, which involves wiretapping conversations between people in the U.S. and people in other countries.
National Security Whistleblowers Coalition
Contact: Sibel Edmonds, National Security Whistleblowers Coalition, email@example.com
Government Begins its Witch Hunt Targeting Whistleblowers
On Wednesday, July 26, Russell Tice, former National Security Agency (NSA) intelligence analyst and a member of National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC), was approached outside his home by two FBI agents who served him with a subpoena to testify in front of a federal grand jury. NSWBC has obtained a copy of the subpoena issued for Mr. Tice’s testimony and is releasing it to the public for the first time. The subpoena directs Mr. Tice to appear before the jury on August 2, 2006 at 1:00 p.m. in the Eastern District of Virginia. Mr. Tice “will be asked to testify and answer questions concerning possible violations of federal criminal law." [To view the subpoena click here].
By JIM IRWIN, Associated Press
DETROIT - The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed a complaint with state regulators against AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. on Wednesday, accusing the telecommunications giants of giving private details about Americans' telephone calls to the National Security Agency.
The ACLU, which has filed suit in Detroit seeking to end the NSA's warrantless domestic surveillance program, said it wants the Michigan Public Service Commission to determine whether the phone companies violated customers' privacy rights.
Good afternoon, mushy-headed defeatists!
(Don't mind the good-natured jab! That's just what Glenn Greenwald thinks you are if you think the good folks in the Bush "administration" aren't quaking in their boots in the wake of the Hamdan decision.)
Just thought I'd bring you up-to-date on the short life of the Hamdan decision. You may recall that two weeks ago we learned that the "administration" denied that Hamdan appliedto the NSA's spying programs, and a bit later, that they denied that Hamdan applied to torture, too.
Today, we learn that Hamdan doesn't apply even to the central holding of Hamdan.
U.S. agent reported on '05 rallies against military recruitment
By Demian Bulwa, San Francisco Chronicle
A federal Department of Homeland Security agent passed along information about student protests against military recruiters at UC Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz, landing the demonstrations on a database tracking foreign terrorism, according to government documents released Tuesday.
The documents were released by the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a Freedom of Information Act request on behalf of student groups that protested against recruiters who visited their campuses in April 2005.
By the New York Times
This is how President Bush keeps his promise to deal with Congress in good faith on issues of national security and the balance of powers: He sends the attorney general to the Senate Judiciary Committee to stonewall, obfuscate and spin fairy tales.
Testifying on Tuesday after months of refusing to show up, Alberto Gonzales dodged questions about President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping operation. He refused to say whether it was the only time that Mr. Bush had chosen to ignore the 1978 law on electronic eavesdropping. In particular, he would not say whether it was true that the government had accumulated large amounts of data on Americans’ routine telephone calls. “The programs and activities you ask about, to the extent that they exist, would be highly classified,” Mr. Gonzales intoned.
By The Bill of Rights Defense Committee
The President’s warrantless wiretapping program violates the Fourth Amendment prohibition against wiretapping Americans without a warrant, which must be obtained by showing a judge there is a valid reason for the search. Yet, instead of holding the president accountable, Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter has teamed up with the White House to draft S. 2453 (nicknamed the “Cheney-Specter bill”), which would legalize the illegal wiretapping program and any other current and future secret programs the administration wants to use to spy on Americans—without ever having to secure a single warrant.
By Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, ACLU
You may have read headlines calling the Cheney-Specter bill on surveillance oversight a "compromise." But make no mistake, this deal is nothing short of a complete capitulation to the Bush administration.
The bill includes legalized assaults on our civil liberties worse even than the sweeping powers ceded to the government by the Patriot Act, and would write into law what is now the administration's belief that the president can wiretap any American he wants without any check.
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Tuesday that President Bush personally blocked Justice Department lawyers from pursuing an internal probe of the warrantless eavesdropping program that monitors Americans' international calls and e-mails when terrorism is suspected.
The department's Office of Professional Responsibility announced earlier this year it could not pursue an investigation into the role of Justice lawyers in crafting the program, under which the National Security Agency intercepts some telephone calls and e-mail without court approval.
By Glen Greenwald
Yesterday's post regarding Arlen Specter's complete (and hardly unexpected) cave-in to the administration on the NSA scandal, it is now clear that the bill does not have an express amnesty provision in it (see Update II). But every other possible bad thing can and should be said about this bill. Marty Lederman has an excellent and very thorough statutory analysis of the whole travesty, explaining that Specter "introduces a bill, with Administration blessing, that gives the Administration everything it ever wanted, and much, much more."
Jack Balkin's post is also very much worth reading, in which he concludes: "Barely two weeks after Hamdan, which appeared to be the most important separation of powers decision in our generation, the Executive is about to get back everything it lost in that decision, and more."
By KATHERINE SHRADER, Associated Press
The White House has agreed to support a bill that could add a new layer of judicial oversight to the Bush administration's controversial eavesdropping program, Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter said Thursday.
The legislation would authorize the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to review the constitutionality of the National Security Agency's most high-profile monitoring operations, said the Pennsylvania Republican.
By Larry C Johnson
When the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Los Angeles Times reported that SWIFT data was being used to track terrorist finances, Dennis Lormel, the former head of the FBI's terrorist financial investigative unit, helped lead the charge accusing the media of undermining our nation's security. Rule of thumb, PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN GLASS HOUSES SHOULD NOT THROW ROCKS.
I don't really think Dennis is a traitor, but, if we use the standard that the Bush White House applied only to the New York Times, he probably is. Take a look at Chapter One of Ron Suskind's new thriller, The One Percent Doctrine, which features none other than Mr. Dennis Lormel. Suskind writes:
By Thom Hartmann, CommonDreams.org
Every time Democrats and progressives speak out about George W. Bush's spying on Americans without mentioning that he may also be spying on Democrats, they're playing into Karl Rove's "National Security Frame" and actually strengthening Republican electoral chances in November.
To short-circuit this, Democrats need to invoke the ghost of Richard Nixon.
By Eric Lichtblau and Scott Shane, New York Times
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said Sunday that the Bush administration briefed the panel on a "significant" intelligence program only after a government whistle-blower alerted him to its existence and he pressed President Bush for details.
The chairman, Representative Peter Hoekstra, Republican of Michigan, wrote in a May 18 letter to Mr. Bush, first disclosed publicly on Saturday by The New York Times, that the administration's failure to notify his committee of this program and others could be a "violation of law."
By Declan McCullagh, CNET News.com
The FBI has drafted sweeping legislation that would require Internet service providers to create wiretapping hubs for police surveillance and force makers of networking gear to build in backdoors for eavesdropping, CNET News.com has learned.
FBI Agent Barry Smith distributed the proposal at a private meeting last Friday with industry representatives and indicated it would be introduced by Sen. Mike DeWine, an Ohio Republican, according to two sources familiar with the meeting.
By NEDRA PICKLER, ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON -- The White House possibly broke the law by keeping intelligence activities a secret from the lawmakers responsible for overseeing them, the House Intelligence Committee chairman said Sunday.
Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., said he was informed about the programs by whistleblowers in the intelligence community and then asked the Bush administration about the programs, using code names. Hoekstra said members of the House and Senate intelligence committees then were briefed on the programs, which he said is required by law.
By David Cole and Martin S. Lederman, http://www.acslaw.org/node/2897
An article from the symposium issue of the Indiana Law Journal on War, Terrorism and Torture: Limits on Presidential Power in the 21st Century. The symposium was convened by the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy and the Indiana University School of Law–Bloomington on October 7, 2005.
As the title suggests, the authors undertake the effort of framing the legal debate on the NSA’s domestic surveillance program, also providing, as they say, “four documents that, taken together, set forth the basic arguments concerning the lawfulness of the secret NSA surveillance program. The debate outlined by the four documents raises important issues about statutory interpretation in the face of claims of constitutional conflict, executive power during times of war, fundamental privacy rights of Americans, and ultimately, the rule of law in the war on terror.” They conclude: “The question that these documents raise is not whether suspected al Qaeda members’ phone calls should be monitored, but whether wiretapping of Americans in pursuit of that objective should be done pursuant to law, or pursuant to secret orders issued by the President in contravention of law. Our view is that if the President finds federal law inadequate in some measure, the proper course is to ask Congress to change it. What the President cannot do in our democracy is order that the law be violated in secret.”
If you haven't already added Jane Mayer's New Yorker profile on David Addington, Cheney's Chief of Staff and chief architect of the administration's "legal theories" on the "war on terror" to your Must Read List, you should do so immediately. I thank my fellow Next Hurrah blogger emptywheel for bringing it to my attention.
This article, especially in combination with the recent PBS Frontline presentation, "The Dark Side," makes a solid and quite explicit case for something that many have been arguing for a long time, namely that the current administration's constitutional affrontery is a direct outgrowth of our collective failure to definitively and directly repudiate and exterminate the expansionist views of executive power represented by the Watergate and Iran-Contra scandals.
The legal mind behind the White House’s war on terror
By JANE MAYER, http://www.newyorker.com
KEY EXCERPT: John Murtha, the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, put a provision in the Pentagon’s appropriations bills for 2005 and 2006 forbidding the use of federal funds for any intelligence-gathering that violates the Fourth Amendment, which protects the privacy of American citizens. The White House, however, took exception to Congress’s effort to cut off funds. When President Bush signed the appropriations bills into law, he appended “signing statements” asserting that the Commander-in-Chief had the right to collect intelligence in any way he deemed necessary. The signing statement for the 2005 budget, for instance, noted that the executive branch would “construe” the spending limit only “in a manner consistent with the President’s constitutional authority as Commander-in-Chief, including for the conduct of intelligence operations.”
June 30 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. National Security Agency asked AT&T Inc. to help it set up a domestic call monitoring site seven months before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, lawyers claimed June 23 in court papers filed in New York federal court.
The allegation is part of a court filing adding AT&T, the nation's largest telephone company, as a defendant in a breach of privacy case filed earlier this month on behalf of Verizon Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp. customers. The suit alleges that the three carriers, the NSA and President George W. Bush violated the Telecommunications Act of 1934 and the U.S. Constitution, and seeks money damages.
Inslee Ammendment on NSA Spying "Thank and Spank"
"Thank and Spank" Action for Schiff-Inslee Amendment on NSA Spying
By PETE YOST, Associated Press
A Supreme Court ruling striking down military commissions seriously weakens the foundation of the Bush administration's domestic surveillance program, critics said Friday.
A congressional resolution President Bush relied on in creating commissions is a key rationale for the National Security Agency to listen in on phone calls without first obtaining a judge's permission.
It's not surprising that an expert hired by EFF should produce an analysis that supports the group's case against AT&T. But last week's public court filing of a redacted statement by J. Scott Marcus is still worth reading for the obvious expertise of its author, and the cunning insights he draws from the AT&T spy documents.
An internet pioneer and former FCC advisor who held a Top Secret security clearance, Marcus applies a Sherlock Holmes level of reasoning to his dissection of the evidence in the case: 120-pages of AT&T manuals that EFF filed under seal, and whistleblower Mark Klein's observations inside the company's San Francisco switching center.
The Total Information Awareness program was killed in 2003, but its spawn present bigger threats to privacy.
By Jonathan Turley, http://www.latimes.com
JONATHAN TURLEY is a law professor at George Washington University.
THE DISCLOSURE this week of a secret databank operation tracking international financial transactions has caused renewed concerns about civil liberties in the United States. But this program is just the latest in a series of secret surveillance programs, databanks and domestic operations justified as part of the war on terror.
By Catherine Komp, The NewStandard
While dozens of lawsuits challenging the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance of Americans slowly move through the courts, the Senate Judiciary Committee is poised to consider legislation that would effectively legalize the practice.
Civil-rights advocates and constitutional-law experts say several proposed bills attempt to "whitewash" executive wrongdoing before Congress has the opportunity to conduct hearings and gather the facts surrounding the National Security Agency's involvement in warrantless wiretapping and telecommunications data mining.
By ERIC LICHTBLAU and JAMES RISEN, New York Times
WASHINGTON, June 22 - Under a secret Bush administration program initiated weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, counterterrorism officials have gained access to financial records from a vast international database and examined banking transactions involving thousands of Americans and others in the United States, according to government and industry officials.
By Kim Zetter, http://www.salon.com
Salon exclusive: Two former AT&T employees say the telecom giant has maintained a secret, highly secure room in St. Louis since 2002. Intelligence experts say it bears the earmarks of a National Security Agency operation.
In a pivotal network operations center in metropolitan St. Louis, AT&T has maintained a secret, highly secured room since 2002 where government work is being conducted, according to two former AT&T workers once employed at the center.