You are hereSpying
By Will Easton, Activism Manager, CREDO Action
The FISA bill in the Senate continues to advance and has reached another critical juncture. The Judiciary and Intelligence Committees have passed different versions of the bill. One includes dangerous amnesty provisions for telcos and one does not. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will now decide which version will advance to the floor, and he needs to hear that any form of amnesty is unacceptable.
What's Really in the RESTORE Act [Or When Rep. Holt Noticed That Joe Klein Was a Lying Little Butthead]
By Rush Holt, Huffington Post
I was pleased to see Time Magazine columnist Joe Klein acknowledge that he "may have made a mistake" in his column attacking the House Majority ("The Tone Deaf Democrats") and misrepresenting the RESTORE Act. Unfortunately, Mr. Klein still professes confusion toward the bill's contents and continues to question whether the House should have passed it in the first place.
Justices Uphold Welfare Home Searches
By David G. Savage, Los Angeles Times
The ACLU had challenged a San Diego County policy, saying its warrantless inspections violated privacy rights. The Supreme Court refuses to hear it.
Washington - County welfare officers may conduct routine searches of the homes of welfare recipients to combat fraud under a ruling in a California case that the Supreme Court let stand Monday.
By Elliot D. Cohen, BuzzFlash
In 1972, Nixon's burglars, all members of the Committee to Reelect the President, had to risk breaking into Democratic National Headquarters to try to gain an unfair election advantage for the GOP over its Democratic opponent. Now, with Total Information Awareness in place, the Bush White House may not even have to flip a switch to have the Dems' private e-mails and phone conversations delivered to its doorstep. Unfortunately, this may only be the tip of the iceberg for the fate of free elections in America if Congress decides to grant legal status and retroactive immunity to this massive surveillance and data mining operation conducted by giant telecoms on behalf of the President.
Explain to Me Why They Should Reauthorize This Unconstitutional Bill, Even Without Retroactive Immunity
Under bill, companies could face privacy suits
By Richard Willing, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — Congress appeared headed toward a confrontation with President Bush on Thursday over House and Senate plans to require that telecommunication firms that aided the administration's warrantless surveillance program be subject to lawsuits from American customers.
The House of Representatives approved Thursday night a Democrat-sponsored foreign surveillance bill that would block retroactive immunity from lawsuits for telecoms that facilitated wiretapping or shared customer information with the federal government from the Sept. 11 attacks until this past January. The bill passed 227-189.
Senate FISA Bill Does Not Include Retroactive Immunity for Telecoms, and That Makes it OK, According to Dodd
By Tim Tagaris, Chris Dodd for President
As they say ... Breaking News from the Senate.
Forgive me if some of this is in the weeds, I'll try and make the parliamentary process as painless as possible.
1. Within the last hour, the Senate Judiciary Committee just reported out a FISA bill that DOES NOT include retroactive immunity for the telecom companies that helped the Bush Administration spy on Americans.
A BUZZFLASH GUEST CONTRIBUTION
by Elliot D. Cohen
Amid public outcry, in 2003, Congress defunded the Bush Administration's Total Information Awareness (TIA) project, a massive Orwellian technology-driven surveillance and data mining initiative. Now, it is attempting to pass through the FISA Amendments Act of 2007 (S. 2248), a bill that would affectively give legal standing and retroactive legal immunity to a major component of this project.
By Chris Dodd for President
In spring of 2006 I started seeing people put special notes to government agents in their email signature. The thinking was that if a government official was going to read your email, you might as well put a line in at the end to remind them that they were doing so illegally.
Yesterday afternoon I sat down with AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein. He's the technician who revealed that the NSA has secret rooms for sweeping up massive amounts of electronic communications on the internet - the story that prompted these sardonic email signatures.
By Chris Dodd, www.huffingtonpost.com
Tuesday night's Democratic Presidential debate in Philadelphia included some of the most serious discussions of Iraq, Iran, and global warming that we've had thus far during the campaign season. I was happy to get the opportunity to speak clearly and directly to why I believe I've offered the boldest, most honest assessments on all three of these critical issues.
By PAMELA HESS, AP
WASHINGTON (AP) — The top members of the Senate Judiciary Committee said Wednesday that the nation's courts may be the only way to determine if the White House violated wiretapping and privacy laws when it eavesdropped on Americans without court orders.
The senators remain reluctant to grant legal immunity to telecommunications companies that allegedly helped.
Legal protection for the companies is a top priority for President Bush, who has vowed to veto any eavesdropping bill that does not provide it.
By emptywheel, The Next Hurrah
Buried in this article on Democrats compromising with Republicans, I noticed this paragraph:
And as Democratic leaders push their own legislation to rein in the wiretapping program, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) has been quietly exploring avenues of compromise with Rep. Peter Hoekstra (Mich.), the ranking Republican on the House intelligence committee. Centrist Democrats hope those talks can dovetail with the Senate intelligence committee's own bipartisan measure on surveillance of suspected terrorists.
By McCamy Taylor, Democratic Underground
"America needs to hate The Phone Company." The President's Analyst
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is on a roll. Last week, he announced a plan that would keep News Corp and Billionaire Republican (and new owner of the Tribune Co.) Sam Zell from having to sell any of their media properties. All Martin has to do is make changes in the federal laws to regulate how many media properties one company can own in any market.
By Senator Chris Dodd, http://www.chrisdodd.com
"Mr. Mukasey's position that the President does not have to heed the law disqualifies him from being the chief attorney for the United States. We have seen for too long, and at great expense to our national security, an Administration that has systematically attacked the rule of law and turned our Justice Department into a political wing of the White House. I'm afraid that Mr. Mukasey as Attorney General would be more of the same."
By Senator Chris Dodd
If you haven't yet, please take a moment to call and thank Senators Kennedy, Feingold, Biden, and Cardin.
All four have indicated their opposition within the Judiciary Committee to any FISA bill that contains retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.
But that's only 40% of where we need to be to stop the provision in the Judiciary Committee.
Take a moment to make one last phone call before the weekend and ask the remaining members of the committee where they stand, and thank those who have already taken the right position.
Moveon.org and Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton!
Are you willing to go to the mat to restore the Constitution?
Just last night, we heard there are plans to disregard Senator Dodd's intention to place a hold on a FISA bill that includes amnesty for telecommunications companies.
That would be a pretty extraordinary move, but Chris Dodd has pledged to stop this horrible bill any way he can.
So if the hold is not honored, he is prepared to go to the Senate floor and filibuster.
By Robert Parry, http://www.consortiumnews.com
In August after the Democratic-controlled Congress caved in to George W. Bush’s demands for broader surveillance powers, I noted that the new authority went far beyond what was advertised and that the President could obtain year-long spying orders on Americans who ventured outside the United States.
My analysis, which was based on a reading of the law’s language, wasn’t shared by commentators in the major U.S. news media and even drew some reader criticism as alarmist for failing to take into account secret “minimization” provisions that supposedly would protect American citizens.
By Ryan Singel, Wired
Senator Russell Feingold, (D-Wisconsin), who cast the only Senate vote against the Patriot Act and now sits on the Select Intelligence committee, seems to have looked at secret spying documents given by the White House to that committee and found that they do not exonerate the government's secret spying programs or the phone and internet companies that secretly aided them.
By Jane Hamsher, FireDogLake
Well this is quite shocking:
Tim Starks of Congressional Quarterly reports that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) plans to bring the Senate’s surveillance bill up for floor debate in mid-November. That’s despite the hold that Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) plans to place on the measure — something first reported by Election Central’s Greg Sargent.
Senator Dodd Does for Illegal Spying What We're Still Waiting for a Senator to Do for Illegal War Funding
By Senator Chris Dodd
It's been a busy day, but I wanted take a moment and let you know that I have decided to place a "hold" on legislation in the Senate that includes amnesty for telecommunications companies that enabled the President's assault on the Constitution by providing personal information on their customers without judicial authorization.
I said that I would do everything I could to stop this bill from passing, and I have.
It's about delivering results -- and as I've said before, the FIRST thing I will do after being sworn into office is restore the Constitution.
But we shouldn't have to wait until then to prevent the further erosion of our country's most treasured document.
That's why I am stopping this bill today.
By Sherwood Ross
Sooner or later, a country that spies on its neighbors will turn on its own people, violating their privacy, stealing their liberties.
President Bush’s grab for unchecked eavesdropping powers is the culmination of what the National Security Agency(NSA) has spent forty years doing unto others.
And if you’re upset by the idea of NSA tapping your phone, be advised NSA likely can also read your Windows software to access your computer.
By Nick Juliano, www.RawStory.com
The Department of Defense has conspired with the FBI to "circumvent the law" in accessing hundreds of Americans' telephone, e-mail and financial records, say two civil liberties groups that released reams of new documents obtained in a contested public records request.
The American Civil Liberties Union, which has challenged the Bush Administration's post-Sept. 11 spying authority, says the Pentagon has issued 455 National Security Letters in concert with the FBI to obtain Americans' private information it is not entitled to receive.
Firm's Letter to Lawmakers Details Government Requests
By Ellen Nakashima, Washington Post
Verizon Communications, the nation's second-largest telecom company, told congressional investigators that it has provided customers' telephone records to federal authorities in emergency cases without court orders hundreds of times since 2005.
The company said it does not determine the requests' legality or necessity because to do so would slow efforts to save lives in criminal investigations.
By Ray McGovern, www.consortiumnews.com
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has admitted knowing for several years about the Bush administration’s eavesdropping on Americans without a court warrant. She said she was briefed on it when she was ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. But was she told that the illegal surveillance began well before 9/11?
Referring to her briefing in an apologia-sans-apology Washington Post op-ed on Jan. 15, 2006, she wrote: “This is how I came to be informed of President Bush’s authorization for the NSA to conduct certain types of surveillance.”
'Classified info' was not allowed at ex-CEO's trial
By Sara Burnett And Jeff Smith, Rocky Mountain News
The National Security Agency and other government agencies retaliated against Qwest because the Denver telco refused to go along with a phone spying program, documents released Wednesday suggest.