You are hereSpying
By New York Times
On Monday, the Bush administration told a judge in Detroit that the president's warrantless domestic spying is legal and constitutional, but refused to say why. The judge should just take his word for it, the lawyer said, because merely talking about it would endanger America. Today, Senator Arlen Specter wants his Judiciary Committee to take an even more outlandish leap of faith for an administration that has shown it does not deserve it.
The Bush administration has asked federal judges in New York and Michigan to dismiss two lawsuits filed over the National Security Agency's domestic eavesdropping program, saying litigating them would jeopardize state secrets.
In papers filed late Friday, Justice Department lawyers said it would be impossible to defend the program's legality without disclosing classified information that could aid terrorists.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a class-action lawsuit against AT&T on January 31, 2006, accusing the telecom giant of violating the law and the privacy of its customers by collaborating with the National Security Agency (NSA) in its massive and illegal program to wiretap and data-mine Americans' communications.
"Stop talking about impeachment!"
"Focus on the elections!"
"Win back the Congress, and then we'll have subpoena power and oversight authority!"
It seems to me that it's time to have a nuts and bolts discussion about what we're supposed to be gaining in exchange for agreeing to sit on our hands and watch what we say.
How exactly do we see subpoena power and oversight authority under a Democratic Congress actually playing out?
By Rep. John Conyers, http://www.dailykos.com
Last night, I filed an amicus brief with 71 other Democratic Members of Congress in two cases challenging the Bush Administration's illegal warrantless domestic spying.
It is very disturbing that, on the same day we learn that the NSA has been secretly collecting the phone records of tens of millions of Americans, we also learn that the Department of Justice has abruptly cancelled its investigation into the Agency's warrantless wiretapping program. These developments clearly point to the urgent need for oversight and review of this program. Congress has failed to provide this critical oversight which has led us to the courts.
By The Associated Press
Washington - The government has abruptly ended an inquiry into the warrantless eavesdropping program because the National Security Agency refused to grant Justice Department lawyers the necessary security clearance to probe the matter.
The Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility, or OPR, sent a fax to Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., on Wednesday saying they were closing their inquiry because without clearance their lawyers cannot examine Justice lawyers' role in the program.
By Onnesha Roychoudhuri, AlterNet
Posted on May 8, 2006, Printed on May 8, 2006
Five months after news of the NSA's warrantless spying program broke, and after we've learned numerous details of the program's extent, a Portland, Ore., attorney may have finally obtained hard evidence of illegal wiretaps by the government.
Thomas Nelson has been practicing administrative law for most of his professional life, but after September 11th he first began offering pro bono work for immigrants detained in broad FBI terrorism sweeps. He is currently leading a little-discussed case that may contain the first documented evidence of an illegal wiretap, and believes that as a result, he himself has been subjected to warrantless -- and therefore illegal -- wiretaps and physical searches, the kind of clandestine operation that Nixon referred to as "black bag jobs." And as a result of extreme carelessness by the FBI, Nelson may have his hands on the only solid evidence of these searches.
CCR President Michael Ratner discusses the disclosure by the office of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales that the NSA domestic spying program may include spying on communications of attorneys with their clients. This article was originally published by Salon on March 31, 2006.
It's hard to remember how shocked Americans used to be when their presidents broke the law. In a 55-page letter sent on March 24 the Senate Judiciary Committee, the office of U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales brazenly asserted that President Bush had every right to secretly order the National Security Agency to engage in warrantless eavesdropping for what it called the "Terrorist Surveillance Program." On the last page, after he essentially refused to answer most of Congress' questions about the illegal program, which had been revealed in December ("It would be inappropriate to discuss in this setting the existence or nonexistence of specific intelligence activities"), Gonzales let slip a bombshell. "Although the Program does not specifically target the communications of attorneys or physicians," his office wrote, "calls from such sources would not be categorically excluded from interception."
John Dean blasts Bush's domestic spying; Rice admits "thousands" of errors in Iraq; school officials in Tucson concede they cannot stop momentum of student protests on illegal immigration legislation; the US propaganda machine; Thom Hartmann on today's immigration battle; and more ... Browse our continually updating front page at http://www.truthout.org
Join fellow bloggers at the t r u t h o u t Town Meeting. Get perspective on today's important issues from TO's editorial team and prominent guest bloggers.
Saudi Group Alleges Wiretapping by U.S.
Defunct Charity's Suit Details Eavesdropping
By Carol D. Leonnig and Mary Beth Sheridan
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, March 2, 2006; Page A01
Documents cited in federal court by a defunct Islamic charity may provide the first detailed evidence of U.S. residents being spied upon by President Bush's secret eavesdropping program, according to the organization's lawsuit and a source familiar with the case.
Extent of Eavesdropping May Go Beyond NSA Work
By Charles Babington and Dan Eggen, Washington Post
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales appeared to suggest yesterday that the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance operations may extend beyond the outlines that the president acknowledged in mid-December.
In a letter yesterday to senators in which he asked to clarify his Feb. 6 testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Gonzales also seemed to imply that the administration's original legal justification for the program was not as clear-cut as he indicated three weeks ago.
By Suzanne Nossel, www.huffingtonpost.com
I'm assuming that it's man overboard for Dubai to take over ports in New York and other cities now that it has been revealed by the Jerusalem Post that the company supports an Arab boycott of Israel. The deal was already on the ropes, and this will push it into the deep blue.
But there could be one positive spillover from what otherwise looks like just another political foul-up for the Bush Administration. The Dubai deal has finally gotten politicians -- both nationally and in key coastal cities -- to start talking seriously about port security. Port security has been a watchword since right after 9/11, but while great plans have been laid on paper, and Bush has outlined a thorough maritime security agenda, virtually nothing has been implemented. Most Americans simply don't spend a lot of time thinking about boats, and its been tough to get political leaders to focus on unsexy imperatives like rigorous container inspection. My co-blogger Lorelei Kelly looks at some of the key steps that need to be taken here and why there's a standstill.
By Alan Gray, NewsBlaze
Scott Tooley, a Republican, and former Congressional aide and law school graduate, educated at renowned Christian universities, has filed suit against the President, Vice President and relevant federal agencies for their illegal surveillance programs.
By Richard Hoffmann, World Socialist Web Site www.wsws.org
On January 19, 2006 the US Department of Justice released a 42-page memorandum purporting to set out a legal justification for the spying activities of the Bush administration that have been undertaken by the National Security Agency (NSA).
Like statements made by the White House and the attorney general since the government’s domestic surveillance operations were revealed, the Justice Department’s legal brief is an aggressive, but spurious, attempt to establish that these operations have a basis in law. Its central plank is the contention that, since the United States is in a state of war with Al Qaeda, the president has unfettered power to conduct military operations against Al Qaeda, including spying on US citizens and legal residents within the United States.
By Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (Cross-posted at DailyKos)
You may recall that a few weeks ago I introduced a resolution of inquiry to obtain Justice Department documents about the President's domestic spying program.
Many of you are no doubt familiar with the procedure for resolutions of inquiry; however, for those who are not, a brief explanation. A resolution of inquiry requests information or documents from the Executive Branch. The Committee to which it is referred must vote on it within a specified period of time or the full House must consider it.
As a practical matter, if the Republicans want to dodge an issue, they refer the bill to Committee and then "adversely report" it, which kills it, stopping the request for documents and protecting every non-Committee Republican from having to vote on it.
Today, the House Judiciary Committee considered my resolution of inquiry on the domestic spying program. The Resolution was rejected 16 to 21, with all Democrats and one Republican (Congressman Hostetler) voting for it.
Bar association to oppose domestic spying
Chicago Sun Times February 11, 2006
BY ABDON M. PALLASCH Legal Affairs Reporter
The American Bar Association is preparing to weigh in against President Bush's eavesdropping on telephone calls going into and out of America.
Contrary to polls showing Americans divided on the issue, "our poll shows that average Americans and legal scholars alike agree that the awesome power of the government to penetrate citizens' most private communications must not be held in one set of hands," ABA President Michael Greco said Friday at group's annual midyear meeting in Chicago. "To prevent the very human temptation to abuse the power, there must be checks and balances in the form of oversight by the courts and Congress."
New York Review of Books
By Beth Nolan, Curtis Bradley, David Cole, Geoffrey Stone, Harold Hongju Koh, Kathleen M. Sullivan, Laurence H. Tribe, Martin Lederman, Philip B. Heymann, Richard Epstein, Ronald Dworkin, Walter Dellinger, William S. Sessions, William Van Alstyne
Dear Members of Congress:
We are scholars of constitutional law and former government officials. We write in our individual capacities as citizens concerned by the Bush administration's National Security Agency domestic spying program, as reported in The New York Times, and in particular to respond to the Justice Department's December 22, 2005, letter to the majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees setting forth the administration's defense of the program. Although the program's secrecy prevents us from being privy to all of its details, the Justice Department's defense of what it concedes was secret and warrantless electronic surveillance of persons within the United States fails to identify any plausible legal authority for such surveillance. Accordingly the program appears on its face to violate existing law.
Here's a short audio clip from the Alternative State of the Union event hosted by the Progressive Caucus, the Nation Magazine, and the Institute for Policy Studies. The only voice you'll hear will be that of Congresswoman Maxine Waters, speaking about Bush, and saying:
"His message tonight will not deal honestly with the mistakes that he's made. And I believe that the latest revelations about him and his spying on American citizens - no matter how he tries to frame it - are impeachable offenses. I believe that this president is not only spying on American citizens in the way that he's describing it, but to indicate in any shape form or fashion that he's been authorized by Congress to do it on the vote that was taken after 9-11 is plain dishonest. And further to try to imply that he's supported by the Constitution of the United States is even more dishonest. And so, I think that this issue that he's been caught red-handed on is really typical of who he is, how he handles this presidency, and what his leadership is all about: spying and lying. And I think it is important for us to understand that all of the other issues that we're going to talk about today - and particularly the war in Iraq - will continue to exemplify how he has lied and misled the American public."
Congressman John Conyers, Jr., Michigan, 14th District, Ranking Member, U.S. House Judiciary Committee, Dean, Congressional Black Caucus
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressmen John Conyers, Jr., Bobby Scott and Chris Van Hollen and other Members to hold a Democratic Hearing to consider the legal ramifications of President Bush's warrantless surveillance.
Former Vice President Says Legislators From Both Parties Did Not Do Enough To Stop Secret Activities
By TEDDY DAVIS, ABC News
Jan. 16, 2006 — - In an impassioned speech about President Bush's warrantless domestic wiretapping program, former Vice President Al Gore said in Washington, DC, on Monday that "the President of the United States has been breaking the law repeatedly and persistently."
BY HUGH (BUCK) DAVIS and ROBERT A. SEDLER, Detroit Free Press
Downplayed in the furor over the revelations that President George W. Bush's National Security Agency is intercepting the telephone and e-mail communications of U.S. citizens is the fact that the Supreme Court has long held that warrantless wiretapping of American citizens in the name of national security violates the Fourth Amendment. The court made that ruling in a 1972 case originating in Michigan. It's popularly known as the Keith case, after highly respected Detroit federal Judge Damon J. Keith, who rendered the initial decision deeming such wiretapping unconstitutional.
By Jason Leopold, t r u t h o u t | www.truthout.org
The National Security Agency advised President Bush in early 2001 that it had been eavesdropping on Americans during the course of its work monitoring suspected terrorists and foreigners believed to have ties to terrorist groups, according to a declassified document.
The NSA's vast data-mining activities began shortly after Bush was sworn in as president and the document contradicts his assertion that the 9/11 attacks prompted him to take the unprecedented step of signing a secret executive order authorizing the NSA to monitor a select number of American citizens thought to have ties to terrorist groups.
By JESSICA YELLIN, ABC News
Jan. 11, 2006 — Former CIA General Counsel Jeffrey Smith will testify in House hearings that there is no legal basis for President Bush's controversial National Security Agency domestic surveillance program, ABC News has learned.
ABC News has obtained a copy of a 14-page memo Smith wrote to the House Select Committee on Intelligence in which he argues that the wiretaps are illegal.
By ERIC LICHTBLAU, The New York Times
WASHINGTON — Congressional officials said Saturday that they wanted to investigate the disclosure that the National Security Agency (NSA) had gained access to some of the country's main telephone arteries to glean data on possible terrorists.
"As far as congressional investigations are concerned, these new revelations can only multiply and intensify the growing list of questions and concerns about the warrantless surveillance of Americans," said Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.
Contact: Dena Graziano 202-226-6888
Conyers and 26 Other Members Submit Resolution of Inquiry in House; Members Seek Documents from Attorney General Authorizing Secret Surveillance
Representative John Conyers, Jr., (D-MI) House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member, along with 26 other Members today submitted a comprehensive resolution of inquiry regarding the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping program on U.S. soil. If reported favorably, the resolution would instruct the Attorney General to turn over documents in his possession authorizing the warrantless electronic surveillance and the legal recommendations to do so within 14 days, subject to any necessary redactions or security classifications.