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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.
Here's the new House bill. It seems to have enough good in it to get it vetoed, but still has problems:
According to Glenn Greenwald:
Kate Martin of the Center for National Security Studies, one of the nation's premiere FISA experts, has issued a statement (via email) which provides, in part: "We welcome the bill by Chairmen Reyes and Conyers as an important first step towards restoring the civil liberties protections lost in August. Their bill would be a vast improvement over the current law passed at the President's urging, and it is much more protective of any of the bills considered in August." Martin goes on to emphasize, however, that even this current bill violates the Fourth Amendment by failing to require individual warrants for every international call (Russ Feingold's statement made a similar objection).
By Jason Leopold, t r u t h o u t
Recently, I sat down with attorney Jon Eisenberg who sued George W. Bush, the National Security Administration (NSA), and other federal agencies, on behalf of two Washington DC-based lawyers who allege their telephone calls were illegally monitored by the NSA in March 2004.
The lawyers, Wendell Belew and Asim Ghafoor, appear to be the only American citizens who say they have hard evidence that proves the government spied on them.
By Susan Jo Keller, New York Times
Washington - A federal judge in Oregon ruled Wednesday that crucial parts of the USA Patriot Act were not constitutional because they allowed federal surveillance and searches of Americans without demonstrating probable cause.
The ruling by Judge Anne L. Aiken of Federal District Court in Portland was in the case of Brandon Mayfield, a lawyer in Portland who was arrested and jailed after the Federal Bureau of Investigation mistakenly linked him to the Madrid train bombings in March 2004.
Following up on Jim Risen's NYT article this week reporting that Congressional Democrats appeared likely to agree to some form of retroactive immunity for telecom companies which illegally enabled the Bush administration's warrantless eavesdropping on Americans (thus compelling dismissal most of the remaining lawsuits challenging the illegality of the eavesdropping), Newsweek's Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball reported the same thing: READ MORE.
By Associated Press
A federal judge scolded the Bush administration Wednesday for responding with sometimes blanket secrecy to a request for documents on its warrantless wiretapping program.
Privacy groups and civil rights organizations sued the Justice Department last year, demanding it release documents under the Freedom of Information Act. The government refused to release most of the records, arguing that such a move could jeopardize national security and undermine terrorism investigations.
A new book by Jack Goldsmith — one of the “brightest stars in the conservative legal firmament,” good friend of John Yoo, visiting scholar at AEI, and former head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel — has published a book detailing the administration’s extraordinary efforts to expand its wiretapping program.
Help Us Run the "Congress as Sheep" Ads
Ever since a new Congress got elected last November, we’ve been waiting for it to end the violations of the Constitution and the lawless behavior of the Bush administration. Members of Congress acted, but instead of restoring our freedoms, they actually handed the Bush administration vast new powers to invade our privacy with no meaningful oversight from the courts or Congress...
From the office of Congressman Dennis Kucinich
WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 16, 2007) - Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) denounced the use of domestic spying, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, saying the new policy is an infringement on Americans' civil liberties.
The new intelligence capabilities will give law enforcement officials and others the ability to view data obtained from satellite and aircraft sensors from the nation's vast network of spy satellites. The program approved by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security will allow broader domestic use of secret overhead imagery, including seeing through cloud cover and penetrating buildings and underground bunkers.
by emptywheel, The Next Hurrah
Did you ever notice that if you take a log recording the events regarding an illegal surveillance program, and redact the heck out of it, it looks like a chronology that a dirty fucking hippy blogger might write? Below you can read what's left of Mueller's log, with my notes. The big takeaways are:
By ROBERT BLOCK, Wall Street Journal
The U.S.'s top intelligence official has greatly expanded the range of federal and local authorities who can get access to information from the nation's vast network of spy satellites in the U.S.
The decision, made three months ago by Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell, places for the first time some of the U.S.'s most powerful intelligence-gathering tools at the disposal of domestic security officials. The move was authorized in a May 25 memo sent to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff asking his department to facilitate access to the spy network on behalf of civilian agencies and law enforcement.
By David Kravets, Wired
The Bush administration said Monday the constitutionality of its warrantless electronic eavesdropping program cannot be challenged.
The government is taking that position in seeking the dismissal of federal court lawsuits against the government and AT&T over its alleged involvement in the once-secret surveillance program adopted after the Sept. 11 terror attacks. The strategy was first recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in a McCarthy-era lawsuit. It has been increasingly invoked in a bid to shield the government from legal scrutiny.
SECRECY NEWS from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy, Volume 2007, Issue No. 84 August 15, 2007
Spy satellites and other classified intelligence technologies are poised to play a greater role in domestic homeland security and law enforcement missions, challenging long-standing legal and policy barriers against their domestic use.
The Wall Street Journal reported today that the Director of National Intelligence recently authorized access to intelligence satellite products by officials of the Department of Homeland Security to help support border security.
By Nat Parry, http://www.consortiumnews.com
A little over a year ago, I wrote an article called “Washington’s Orwellian Consensus,” which faulted Congress for rubberstamping many of George Bush’s sweeping assertions of presidential power, particularly his claimed right to spy on some American citizens without warrants.
The article noted that “the near-term outlook appears to be for a consolidation of George W. Bush’s boundless vision of his own authority” – but added the caveat, “at least until the November elections.”
Americans overwhelmingly oppose George Bush's efforts to wiretap Americans' phone calls and emails without a search warrant, according to a Democrats.com telephone poll of 1,006 adults conducted by ICR. Read the results.
By Bill Press, Baltimore Sun
Use it or lose it. That's the first lesson of political power - which Democrats still haven't learned. As they proved by their vote on the National Security Agency wiretap legislation, when push comes to shove, Democrats would rather fold than fight.
A quick recap: In December 2005, The New York Times first reported that, shortly after Sept. 11, President Bush ordered the NSA to monitor international phone calls without first getting a warrant from the court, as required by the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA. As if that weren't bad enough, we soon learned that many domestic calls were also included in the NSA sweep; that only a handful of members of Congress had been informed of the program (and sworn to secrecy); and that then-Attorney General John Ashcroft had refused to sanction the White House order because he believed it was against the law.
Why Its Sweeping Amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Pose Not Only a Civil Liberties Threat, But a Greater Danger As Well
By John Dean, www.FindLaw.com
Congressional Democrats are getting a lot of well-earned heat from rank-and-file members of their party, not to mention editorial writers and bloggers, for their lack of spine in refusing to reject the Bush/Cheney Administration’s sweeping amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Just before Congress departed for its August recess, the Administration jammed through in five days - from start to finish — the dubiously titled Protect America Act (PAA) of 2007, over the protest of the Democratic leadership. The only thing good about the PAA is that it is temporary - with a six month expiration date (although surveillance programs authorized under it can operate for up to one year.)
By Marjorie Cohn
Responding to fear-mongering by the Bush administration, the Democrat-led Congress put its stamp of approval on the unconstitutional wiretapping of Americans.
George W. Bush has perfected the art of ramming ill-considered legislation through Congress by hyping emergencies that don't exist. He did it with the USA Patriot Act, the authorization for the Iraq war, the Military Commissions Act, and now the "Protect America Act of 2007" which amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
By John Gibson, FOX News
Remember the impeach Bush movement?
John Conyers, the Democrat from Michigan, was going to open hearings into a basket-load of Bush offenses. Principle among them was that Bush had violated the Constitution by secretly establishing the terrorist security program. This was the secret mission of the National Security Agency to listen to phone conversations between America and certain foreign countries where certain terrorists are known to be from.
By Michael Roston, Raw Story
The day after President George W. Bush marshaled political forces in Congress to grant him greater authority to engage in counterterrorism-related spying, the president stated that he would seek greater changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act when the legislative branch returns to work in September.
Democrats Capitulate to President Bush As Congress OKs Giving Government Broad New Powers To Conduct Warrantless Surveillance
By DEMOCRACY NOW!
Democrats Capitulate to President Bush As Congress OKs Giving Government Broad New Powers To Conduct Warrantless Surveillance on American Citizens
Attorneys and writers Glenn Greenwald and Marjorie Cohn join Democracy Now! for the hour to discuss warrantless spying, torture, the Iraq war and the future of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. Greenwald is a blogger at Salon.com and author of "A Tragic Legacy: How a Good vs. Evil Mentality Destroyed the Bush Presidency." Marjorie Cohn is president of the National Lawyers Guild and author of "Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law."
Dems in Congress Once Again Enable Bush and Cheney to Spy on Us: The GOP Three-Pronged Effort to Permanently Control America
Submitted by mark karlin on Sat, 08/04/2007 - 2:08pm. Editorials
A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL
It’s a roller-coaster ride that we all can’t seem to get off of.
Just when the Dems at least are talking tough (even if they aren’t acting tough), they let Bush and Cheney intimidate them into giving them more spying powers. This appears incomprehensible for a number of reasons, including the repeated illegal use of spying powers by the Bush Administration, perjury concerning that activity, and the generally accepted knowledge that the enhanced spying powers are meant for partisan purposes, not for fighting terrorism.
Can’t the Democrats just say "no," as in "Sorry, you have proven that you can’t be trusted with increased spying powers, in fact you are still failing to fully inform Congress and the American people about the illegal spying you have conducted in the past and are still, apparently, conducting"?..
Bush Signs Law to Widen Legal Reach for Wiretapping By JAMES RISEN Published: August 6, 2007
WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 — President Bush signed into law on Sunday legislation that broadly expanded the government’s authority to eavesdrop on the international telephone calls and e-mail messages of American citizens without warrants.
Congressional aides and others familiar with the details of the law said that its impact went far beyond the small fixes that administration officials had said were needed to gather information about foreign terrorists. They said seemingly subtle changes in legislative language would sharply alter the legal limits on the government’s ability to monitor millions of phone calls and e-mail messages going in and out of the United States.
They also said that the new law for the first time provided a legal framework for much of the surveillance without warrants that was being conducted in secret by the National Security Agency and outside the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the 1978 law that is supposed to regulate the way the government can listen to the private communications of American citizens...
The Party of Fear, the Party Without A Spine, and the National Surveillance State by JB
The passage of the new FISA bill by the Senate and now the House demonstrates that the Democrats stand neither for defending civil liberties nor for checking executive power.
They stand for nothing at all...
....The key provision of S.1927 is new section 105A of FISA (see page 2), which categorically excludes from FISA's requirements any and all "surveillance directed at a person reasonably believed to be located outside of the United States."
For surveillance to come within this exemption, there is no requirement that it be conducted outside the U.S.; no requirement that the person at whom it is "directed" be an agent of a foreign power or in any way connected to terrorism or other wrongdoing; and no requirement that the surveillance does not also encompass communications of U.S. persons. Indeed, if read literally, it would exclude from FISA any surveillance that is in some sense "directed" both at persons overseas and at persons in the U.S.
The key term, obviously, is "directed at." The bill includes no definition of it....
16 Senate Dem traitors
Evan Bayh (Indiana); Tom Carper (Delaware); Bob Casey (Pennsylvania); Kent Conrad (North Dakota); Dianne Feinstein (California); Daniel Inouye (Hawai‘i); Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota); Nancy Mary Landrieu (Louisiana); Blanche Lincoln (Arkansas); Claire McCaskill (Missouri); Barbara Mikulski (Maryland); Bill Nelson (Florida); Ben Nelson (Nebraska); Mark Pryor (Arkansas); Ken Salazar (Colorado); Jim Webb (Virginia)...
Rep. Nadler spoke too, but if he won't step up on impeachment, we won't post his empty rhetoric.