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Institutionalized Spying on Americans

By Stephen Lendman

This article reviews two police state tools (among many in use) in America. One is new, undiscussed and largely unknown to the public. The other was covered in a December article by this writer called Police State America. Here it's updated with new information.

The National Applications Office (NAO)

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) established a new domestic spying operation in 2007 called the National Applications Office (NOA) and described it as "the executive agent to facilitate the use of intelligence community technological assets for civil, homeland security and law enforcement purposes within the United States." The office was to begin operating last fall to "build on the long-standing work of the Civil Applications Committee (CAC), which was created in 1974 to facilitate the use of the capabilities of the intelligence community for civil, non-defense uses in the United States."

If Your Hard Drive Could Testify ...

By ADAM LIPTAK, New York Times

A couple of years ago, Michael T. Arnold landed at the Los Angeles International Airport after a 20-hour flight from the Philippines. He had his laptop with him, and a customs officer took a look at what was on his hard drive. Clicking on folders called “Kodak pictures” and “Kodak memories,” the officer found child pornography.

The search was not unusual: the government contends that it is perfectly free to inspect every laptop that enters the country, whether or not there is anything suspicious about the computer or its owner. Rummaging through a computer’s hard drive, the government says, is no different than looking through a suitcase.

Filibuster, Buster

Dodd is filibustering spying.

Who will filibuster the occupation of Iraq?

Who will continue to pretend that it isn't possible?

Fourth Amendment Back in the Hands of Harry "Edward Scissor" Reid

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.

4th Amendment Only for the Wealthy Now

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.

Elliot D. Cohen: The Fate of a Free Presidential Election in 2008 May Now Depend on the Senate

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.

Elliot D. Cohen: Senate Judiciary Poised to Pass Total Information Awareness Bill

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.

They're Tapping into the Entire Internet

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.

The Questions I Wish We Were Asked

By Chris Dodd,

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.

Senate Panel Balks at Telecom Immunity


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.

Time for Another Primary Challenge for Jane Harman

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.

Bush FCC Poised to Reward AT&T Verizon AGAIN for Their Part in Domestic Spying

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.

I Will Not Confirm Mukasey

By Senator Chris Dodd,

"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."

Four down, six to go

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.

Three New Backers of Dodd's Filibuster for the Fourth Amendment and Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton!

A Message from Chris Dodd

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.

Bush's Spying Hits Americans Abroad

By Robert Parry,

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.

White House Spy Docs Show Surveillance Was Illegal, Senator Feingold Charges

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.

Reid Tries To Shut Down Dodd’s Hold

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

[Urge others to join him here.]

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.

Speaking Events


May 30 NYC here and here and here

August 27, Chicago


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