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Clinton’s Deputy AG Endorses Bush Terrorist Wiretapping Plan… in 1994

Posted by Bruce Carroll at 7:58 am - December 21, 2005.
Filed under: Bush-hatred,Liberals,War On Terror

Former 9/11 Commissioner Jamie Gorelick (who created the “wall of separation” that prevented sharing intelligence among the Federal government prior to 9/11) heartily endorsed “no-warrant” searches under a Democrat President in 1994. (hat tip – The Corner)

“The Department of Justice believes, and the case law supports, that the president has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes,” Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on July 14, 1994, “and that the President may, as has been done, delegate this authority to the Attorney General.”

“It is important to understand,” Gorelick continued, “that the rules and methodology for criminal searches are inconsistent with the collection of foreign intelligence and would unduly frustrate the president in carrying out his foreign intelligence responsibilities.”

Now, of course since a Republican is in the White House, Gorelick believes such wiretapping of known al-Qaeda terrorists is wrong.

“The issue here is this: If you’re John McCain and you just got Congress to agree to limits on interrogation techniques, why would you think that limits anything if the executive branch can ignore can ignore it by asserting its inherent authority?”- Jamie Gorelick, former deputy attorney general under President Clinton, in today’s Washington Post, p. A10.

Liberal Terrorist-Fighting Plan: It is okay to do when we are in power, but when Republicans are running a war, their evil ways must be stopped or it will be Judgement Day — if we believed in God.

UPDATE: Clinton Executive Order 12949 authorizing secret searches of Americans with no court order – Feb 9, 1995 Federal Register

Carter Executive Order 12139 authorizing electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order – May 23, 1979 Federal Register
(hat tip – DrudgeReport)

[RELATED STORY – Al-Qaeda Relocates to US for Spy-Free Calling – Scrappleface]

-Bruce (GayPatriot)

UP-UPDATE (from GPW): On FoxNews @ about 9:20 PST (12:2o EST), Eleanor Clift called this program “defensible.” I need a transcript (or Malco-vision)!

UP-UP-UPDATE (from GPW): At least one Clinton Department Justice Department official is not playing politics with our national security. John Schmidt, who served as associate attorney general under Clinton, writes in today’s Chicago Tribune that the president had legal authority to OK taps. (H/t: Michael Barone, appearing on FoxNews w/Eleanor.)

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84 Comments

  1. Yes, but in 1994 things were different. Clinton had to do something about terrorists because the WTC had just… been… attacked…

    Um, never mind.

    Comment by V the K — December 21, 2005 @ 7:29 am - December 21, 2005

  2. Does this mean that Democrats are hypocrites too? Would never have guessed it.

    Comment by Pat — December 21, 2005 @ 8:21 am - December 21, 2005

  3. Oh please! Lifted directly from section 1:

    Section 1. Pursuant to section 302(a)(1) [50 U.S.C. 1822(a)] of the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance] Act, the Attorney General is authorized to approve physical searches, without a court order, to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year, if the Attorney General makes the certifications required by that section.

    That section requires the Attorney General to certify is the search will not involve “the premises, information, material, or property of a United States person.” That means U.S. citizens or anyone inside of the United States.

    In the case of carter we again lead off with:

    1-101. Pursuant to Section 102(a)(1) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1802(a)), the Attorney General is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order, but only if the Attorney General makes the certifications required by that Section.

    What the Attorney General has to certify under that section is that the surveillance will not contain “the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party.” So again, no U.S. persons are involved.

    So within the last week we have learned that:

    1. Pentagon intelligence agencies and the FBI have been spying on non-terrorist organizations like campus gay rights groups and Quaker peace groups under the auspices that they are credible terrorist threats.

    2. Bush has been ignoring FISA under the premise that they needed greater agility in executing taps, even though they can apply for the taps within 72 hours of doing it under time-sensitive circumstances

    3. The program has “accidentally” captured purely domestic communications between people

    4. A FISA court judge has now quit out of outrage over this practice

    5. Those within the intelligence community are pretty ticked about this sham process and explanation too.

    There are several GOP congressmen and writers in right wing media, such as Bruce Fein in the Washington Times, who are rightfully outraged by this and not playing party politics. Your attempts to turn this into a Democrat vs. Republican game is tehrefore based on false pretenses. If you are content to give President Bush these powers then I suggest you close your eyes and imagine it in the hands of the next President, such as (god forbid) Hillary Clinton.

    Comment by Mr. Moderate — December 21, 2005 @ 8:42 am - December 21, 2005

  4. Good posts these last few days, Bruce & Dan. Nawh, great posts.

    I wish some of the strong voices here would sally forth to places like the DemUnderground, MikeyR and Johnnie-one-note-A and elsewhere to raise the flag, refute the silliness that passes on those blogs for thoughtful commentary, and take this patriotic discourse into the lions’ and lionesses’ den.

    To paraphase RR: our side needs to confront the evil lying partisans who would do this country and society harm.

    This past weekend I listened to a group of babbling Dems (self professed) on the elevator speaking about GWB and his statement that he agreed about 30k Iraqis had lost their lives in the WOT… and their point was the ambiguity in W’s statement –he doesn’t even know how many “innocent” people he’s “butchered” (their consensual words). I had a few more floors to go but I said their partisanship and use of Iraqi dead for political gain was pure evil. The conservation died quickly in the face of opposition –like all irresponsible gossip mongers, these people were cowards.

    Say thanks to the troops you pass on the street, but confront the evil in our land that is masquerading as political dissent. I think some of the WOT opponents are as reprehensible as the purveyors of kiddie porn who hide behind the 1st A and the ACLU’s skirts.

    And this last revelation about the clucking heads of the DemParty in the Senate clucking about practices endorsed by Clinton, Carter and others is an example of evil lying partisanship for cheap political gain.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — December 21, 2005 @ 8:54 am - December 21, 2005

  5. And Mr Moderate –you’re one of the cheering bystanders of those clucking, unAmerican, evil partisans. Shame on you.

    But at least you didn’t spin it back to hanging chads, the Downing Street Memo, and WMDs.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — December 21, 2005 @ 8:57 am - December 21, 2005

  6. Michigan-Matt, I remember having a discussion with a libertarian friend of mine on 9/11/2001. He said to me that this was going to be the beginning of the deconstruction of our constitutional rights and that we the people would willfully go along with it. I told him that I thought that was a cynical view and that we would have the backbone to not let our government get out of control. By evidence of the posts in forums like this, it is clear that the wing of politics that used to stand for limited government no longer does. There is then nothing to stop this process, and thus my libertarian friend was right all along. Shame on me? Shame on you.

    Comment by Mr. Moderate — December 21, 2005 @ 9:16 am - December 21, 2005

  7. 1. Pentagon intelligence agencies and the FBI have been spying on non-terrorist organizations like campus gay rights groups and Quaker peace groups under the auspices that they are credible terrorist threats.

    You mean the campus “peace” groups that have assaulted military recruiters and vandalized recruiting offices? You mean gay groups aligned with far-left, anti-American organizations like International ANSWER? Surveillance seems pretty reasonable to me.

    2. Bush has been ignoring FISA under the premise that they needed greater agility in executing taps, even though they can apply for the taps within 72 hours of doing it under time-sensitive circumstances.

    72 hours are more than enough time for a terrorists to buy, steal, or clone a cell-phone, use it, and discard it. Please join us in the 21st century when you get a chance. Trust me, electricity is much better at lighting your home than whale oil lamps.

    3. The program has “accidentally” captured purely domestic communications between people.

    You mean the program is imperfect? Obviously, it must be dismantled then. Better to let a thousand terrorists plot the next 9-11 than accidentally intercept one innocent phone call.

    4. A FISA court judge has now quit out of outrage over this practice

    And gets himself fawning publicity while he transitions to a fat pension and/or a lucrative job somewhere else. Somehow, I’m not impressed.

    5. Those within the intelligence community are pretty ticked about this sham process and explanation too.

    Yeah, “Intelligence Community” bureaucrats have been ticked ever since Porter Goss started shaking up their ineffective, navel-gazing, fat, lazy asses. Of course, the disgruntled career bureaucrats whose failures led to 9-11 are going to be unhappy that someone expects them to actually do their jobs.

    Comment by V the K — December 21, 2005 @ 9:23 am - December 21, 2005

  8. I disagree with the premise that “Quaker peace groups and gay rights groups” are so universally innocent and lamb-like that they should never have been spied on in any form to begin with.

    The Pentagon was the target of one of the 9-11 attacks, and military offices have been the target of many “peace activist” attacks over the years.

    I once knew a very nice, Woodstock-generation liberal who regaled me proudly with a story of the time she and companions bombed a campus military office. She emphasized they did it at night, made sure no one would be hurt, etc. but was thrilled that it went off and shut down the office. (And, let’s face it, someone could have been hurt.)

    I have no idea if she was being truthful, or just a wannabe. The point is: people who claim to be peace-loving, while generally innocent, are by no means universally or inherently innocent, just as with any other people.

    A few of the most ugly, vicious anti-American activists to this day walk around claiming themselves to Quaker and/or gay rights activists. The idea that the groups they are tied to would be exempt from even a single look-see by a Pentagon or NSA looking to protect itself from attacks that have happened before, does not make sense.

    Now, it’s true that in America we have government for & by the people, and civilian control of the military, so there have to be limits to NSA or Pentagon spying and self-protective activities. We must have civilian oversight, and ZERO TOLERANCE for any hint of interference in the electoral process (other than apprehending those who would criminally bomb it).

    Also, I would hope that the Pentagon has MUCH better things to do with their time, than spy on every group or citizen.

    So, I support civilian oversight on the spying, and I think it’s healthy to have these debates or ask these questions. I’m interested in FACTUAL answers to the questions. Has NSA or Pentagon spying, in fact, gotten out of control? What’s their side of the story? Did they, or did they not, plausibly link these groups to some nasty individuals, or vice versa – and then engage in reasonable spying?

    Let’s ask and answer the questions (as much as possible), not rushing to buy the overheated rhetoric of either side.

    I know, from my first-hand experiences in this forum, that Mr. Leftist is quite capable of overheated rhetoric and irrational “thinking”, so anything he says, I take with a big grain of salt.

    Comment by Calarato — December 21, 2005 @ 9:34 am - December 21, 2005

  9. I once knew a very nice, Woodstock-generation liberal who regaled me proudly with a story of the time she and companions bombed a campus military office. She emphasized they did it at night, made sure no one would be hurt, etc. but was thrilled that it went off and shut down the office. (And, let’s face it, someone could have been hurt.)

    So, she would have no problem with an Operation Rescue-type bombing an abortion clinic late at night, when no one was around, right?

    Comment by V the K — December 21, 2005 @ 9:37 am - December 21, 2005

  10. #4 and #5. Let’s see here. Political dissent is really evil in our land masquerading as political dissent. And if you oppose Bush’s handling of the war in Iraq and the WOT you are as bad as those who watch kiddie porn. I’m glad to see Bush’s stances on these issues aren’t as reprehensible as yours.

    I can’t speak about your elevator buddies, but they seemed a lot like you. Very comfortable in their own opinions, but love to squash dissent. Oh, that’s right, they were cowards, because they chose to ignore you. Anyway, I’ll take “evil partisanship” by clucking heads in an elevator, over the evil partisanship by our President any day.

    Mr. Moderate, good post. No wonder Michigan-Matt couldn’t address the content of your post.

    Comment by Pat — December 21, 2005 @ 9:40 am - December 21, 2005

  11. In particular, one of the claims from comment #3:

    “2. Bush has been ignoring FISA under the premise that they needed greater agility in executing taps, even though they can apply for the taps within 72 hours of doing it under time-sensitive circumstances.”

    That, right there, disproves Mr. Leftist’s case. 72 hours is WAY too long for these terrorist wiretaps to be useful or effective.

    When they capture some terrorist’s laptop and pick phone numbers off the hard drive – some domestic American phone numbers – they have to get the wiretaps within a single-digit number of hours, because the remaining terrorists change numbers (or means of communication) that fast.

    Comment by Calarato — December 21, 2005 @ 9:40 am - December 21, 2005

  12. This is wrong no matter who the Administration is! This was a principle taught to me at almost every Young Republican meeting I went to when I was young. Not spying on Americans is not only an American principle – it is a Republican principle. That is why so many Republicans are upstet.

    “Just because Clinton did it” is not an excuse. Lets act like gay Republicans and stand by our Republican convictions – not just bark like seals at everything the President does.

    Comment by Mike — December 21, 2005 @ 9:43 am - December 21, 2005

  13. Well, I’m glad to see that some did attempt to respond to the content of Mr. Moderate’s post.

    #9 As I mentioned in #3, some liberals (and Democrats) can be hypocrites too.

    Comment by Pat — December 21, 2005 @ 9:44 am - December 21, 2005

  14. “Not spying on Americans is not only an American principle – it is a Republican principle.”

    This makes no sense to me – until and unless you offer a plausible definition of “spying”.

    Government monitors the activity of criminals, and of mere suspects or those who happen to be in a criminal’s Contacts list, all the time. And we would all be most upset, if government did not.

    Comment by Calarato — December 21, 2005 @ 9:51 am - December 21, 2005

  15. #6 I’m not that cynical yet. Seeing that most Democrat and even 4 Republican senators want more civil liberty safeguards in the Patriot Act gives me some hope. Too bad the President has a problem with that, though.

    Comment by Pat — December 21, 2005 @ 9:53 am - December 21, 2005

  16. #12 — Oh, please. I have made more criticisms of Bush’s spending policies, his neglect of the borders, and other issues on which he is wrong than all the house lefties combined have made of democrats. When Bush is wrong, he is wrong.

    But he is not wrong on this issue. Monitoring the phone calls of suspected terrorists is the right and legal thing to do. Conducting surveillance of radical groups to help identify people who are dangerous is the right and legal thing to do. Yes, it can be abused, but apart from overheated rhetoric about Quakers there is no real evidence that it has been abused.

    So, if you don’t want to allow the government to monitor the phone calls of suspected terrorists, or allow the government to conduct reasonable surveillance of radical groups to identify likely terrorists, how do you propose to protect the country from the jihadis?

    Comment by V the K — December 21, 2005 @ 9:56 am - December 21, 2005

  17. #15 — Well, Pat, when the Patriot Act expires, and the wall goes back up between law enforcement and intelligence, and terrorists can operate with the impunity they enjoyed before 9-11 to plan attacks against the American people, you and your buddies can high-five each other and do your little Snoopy dances on the graves of the victims of the next terror attack.

    Comment by V the K — December 21, 2005 @ 10:00 am - December 21, 2005

  18. Check out this interesting tidbit in the WaPo story about the judge who resigned.

    “Robertson is considered a liberal judge who has often ruled against the Bush administration’s assertions of broad powers in the terrorism fight, most notably in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld . Robertson held in that case that the Pentagon’s military commissions for prosecuting terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were illegal and stacked against the detainees.

    Yeah, this is one of the guys Bush would have to go to to secure wiretaps of suspected terrorists.

    Comment by V the K — December 21, 2005 @ 10:03 am - December 21, 2005

  19. Mr Anything-but-Mod, nice try but it don’t hunt. This isn’t political dissent ala the great traditions of our democracy; this is cheap partisan gainsmanship at the expense of American resolve. That’s unpatriotic and evil and YOU should be ashamed to advance it, give it cover, or pad the kneelers.

    The clucking Dems in the Senate are evil –along with WeScream4HowieDean types– for they place our troops and this country’s political will in jeopardy by using political dissent, masquerading as cheap political gainsmanship, to detract from our incredible success in Iraq and Afganistan these last few days.

    And the clucking you’ve been doing on this latest issue is an excellent example. Cheap political gain, bucko.

    The people on the elevator are typical of the fast-lipped, limp wristed, Dem-a-Dogs that litter the landscape in Ann Arbor. It isn’t political dissent. It’s undermining our troops, undermining our mission in the WOT, and it’s hurting the fabric of our society. They need to be confronted and quashed. That’s what I did and I hope others will confront evil and call it for what it is… and stop giving pass-cards to those who hide behind “political dissent is noble” crap. That kind of dissent would have landed you in a military prison if Lincoln was Prez… remember that jewel the next time you spout.

    Like the porn peddlers hiding behind the skirts of the ACLU and ALA by hoisting up the 1st A flag, those who nibble and bite at the ankles of our great country for simple political gain are EVIL. You, Mr Anyting-but-Moderate, are abetting and helping them advance their disingenious evil. And like true patriots everywhere, it’s time to stop providing cover for these scumbags like CindyZeroSheehan, HowieDean, Pat-the-leaker-Leahy, Chuckie-whine-Schummer, and Carl-the-snarl-Levin.

    It is unAmerican. It is intellectually dishonest. It is for cheap poltical gain and I’m betting the American voters will see thru that tawdry veil and yank some of those politicians from office in 2006. I know they’ll be doing it with Michigan’s junior Senator Big Fish Stabenow… the newest pom pom girl for the Moonbat DemLeft.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — December 21, 2005 @ 10:06 am - December 21, 2005

  20. #5

    Matt-Michigan, you forgot the old stand-bys like Chapaquiddick and the Clinton BJ.

    What kind of Reublican are you?

    Comment by JustAThought — December 21, 2005 @ 10:07 am - December 21, 2005

  21. Thanks, V the K, I think those four Republican senators and I might just do what you suggest. Sorry if the five of us would like both protection from terrorists and protection for our civil liberties.

    Just to make clear, V the K, I don’t want thousands of people (or more) to lose their lives in a terror attack. But I also don’t want approx. 300,000,000 to lose their civil liberties either. Too bad the President can’t work out some sort of compromise so that both protections are assured.

    Comment by Pat — December 21, 2005 @ 10:08 am - December 21, 2005

  22. You guys totally miss the 72 hour thing don’t you? They are allowed to execute the tap and then get the warrent within 72 hours if they can show that there is a time sensitive reason why they couldn’t do it the other way around. There is no one slipping through anyone’s fingers if they can do immediately first. What’s Bush’s excuse now?

    Comment by Mr. Moderate — December 21, 2005 @ 10:10 am - December 21, 2005

  23. Oh… and “George Lucas foresaw all that unfolding in our dark and troubled land and that’s why he made ROTS… to confront the attack on personal liberties”… right. Get a life.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — December 21, 2005 @ 10:10 am - December 21, 2005

  24. #19 Typical non-responsive gunk. Thanks for trying.

    Comment by Pat — December 21, 2005 @ 10:11 am - December 21, 2005

  25. And I will go to Mr. Moderate’s question in more detail by citing the actual act.

    The persuant section in this case is Section 1801, Definitions, Section b, subparagraph 2.

    Many people only read paragraph 1, which excludes “United States person”. However, paragraph 2 makes it clear that the definition of “agent of a foreign power” includes “any person”, regardless of US person status, who carries out the following:

    (A) knowingly engages in clandestine intelligence gathering
    activities for or on behalf of a foreign power, which
    activities involve or may involve a violation of the criminal
    statutes of the United States;
    (B) pursuant to the direction of an intelligence service or
    network of a foreign power, knowingly engages in any other
    clandestine intelligence activities for or on behalf of such
    foreign power, which activities involve or are about to
    involve a violation of the criminal statutes of the United
    States;
    (C) knowingly engages in sabotage or international
    terrorism, or activities that are in preparation therefor,
    for or on behalf of a foreign power;
    (D) knowingly enters the United States under a false or
    fraudulent identity for or on behalf of a foreign power or,
    while in the United States, knowingly assumes a false or
    fraudulent identity for or on behalf of a foreign power; or
    (E) knowingly aids or abets any person in the conduct of
    activities described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C) or
    knowingly conspires with any person to engage in activities
    described in subparagraph (A), (B), or (C).

    In short, if there is a suspicion that you are participating in terrorism, you may be wiretapped without a warrant without violating FISA as long as the communications are international (no domestic-only).

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 21, 2005 @ 10:14 am - December 21, 2005

  26. Furthermore, this is strengthened by two amendments to FISA that I again quote (emphasis mine):

    2001 – Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 107-56, Secs. 214(b)(1), 224,
    temporarily substituted “foreign intelligence information not
    concerning a United States person or information to protect against
    international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities,
    provided that such investigation of a United States person is not
    conducted solely upon the basis of activities protected by the
    first amendment to the Constitution
    ” for “foreign intelligence
    information or information concerning international terrorism” in
    introductory provisions. See Termination Date of 2001 Amendment
    note below.
    Subsec. (b)(1). Pub. L. 107-56, Secs. 214(b)(2), 224, temporarily
    substituted “foreign intelligence information not concerning a
    United States person or information to protect against
    international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities,
    provided that such investigation of a United States person is not
    conducted solely upon the basis of activities protected by the
    first amendment to the Constitution” for “foreign intelligence
    information or information concerning international terrorism”. See
    Termination Date of 2001 Amendment note below.

    In short, those amendments make it clear that if it’s terrorism-tied, all bets are off in terms of international surveillance. By the way, Public Law 107-56 is the PATRIOT Act.

    Of course, the reason this is coming out now is because of this:

    TERMINATION DATE OF 2001 AMENDMENT
    Amendment by Pub. L. 107-56 to cease to have effect Dec. 31,
    2005, except amendment to continue in effect with respect to any
    particular foreign intelligence investigation that began before
    Dec. 31, 2005, or with respect to any particular offense or
    potential offense that began or occurred before Dec. 31, 2005, see
    section 224 of Pub. L. 107-56, set out as a note under section 2510
    of Title 18, Crimes and Criminal Procedure.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 21, 2005 @ 10:19 am - December 21, 2005

  27. oh yeah, Mr Mod… it’s easy to secure a retroactive warrant for a tap made in the last 72 hrs… that’s why Judge Robertson granted them left and right while on FISA… guess what? He granted zero (that’s a number less than one) retroactive warrants over the 21 month period as a fill-in/part time FISA judge. Zero. Compare it with 713 retroactive warrants granted in the 1st Q of 2005. Zero, moonbat protector.

    Pop that nugget in your whacked pipe and smoke it for a while.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — December 21, 2005 @ 10:19 am - December 21, 2005

  28. Hey Praddle Pat, if you had a question that would be novel.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — December 21, 2005 @ 10:21 am - December 21, 2005

  29. #21 — No citizen has lost any civil liberties because of the Patriot Act. Yeah, you can preen and say, “I don’t want another terrorist attack, but I also don’t want to get my hands dirty spying on terrorists and keeping an eye on radical anti-American groups.” Good luck with that option.

    #22 — Yeah, they can get a retro-active warrant from a judge like Robertson. Maybe other people can work up a lather about the government listening on the phone calls of suspected terrorists. I’d get in a lather if they didn’t. After all, weren’t you and Pat and all of those others whining about how Bush didn’t “connect the dots” before 9-11? And now, you guys expect him to connect the dots blindfolded.

    Comment by V the K — December 21, 2005 @ 10:22 am - December 21, 2005

  30. Oh, goody. I’m now part of Michigan Matt’s name calling crap. Thanks, Matt. At least there are many other conservative posters here with meaningful posts and don’t need to resort to useless diatribes and name calling.

    #29. How do you know for sure that no one has lost their civil liberties. Even if that’s the case, I’m listening to four Republican senators, who like me I’m assuming, don’t want another terrorist attack, but also feel it’s important to have civil liberties guaranteed. Sorry if you and the President have a problem with that.

    Comment by Pat — December 21, 2005 @ 10:30 am - December 21, 2005

  31. #29 V the K, also, I didn’t “whine” about Bush not connecting the dots before 9/11. And I also don’t expect Bush to connect the dots blindfolded either.

    Comment by Pat — December 21, 2005 @ 10:37 am - December 21, 2005

  32. #30 — You haven’t named any civil rights that anyone has lost, and there have been no documented real abuses of the Patriot Act. Nor have you identified what, specifically, you object to in the Patriot Act. You’re just mouthing talking points.

    Comment by V the K — December 21, 2005 @ 10:40 am - December 21, 2005

  33. #22 – I guess the answer, from #25 – #26, is they really don’t need a warrant.

    I also have to believe we’re talking about thousands of phone numbers here; potentially hundreds in a single 72-hour cycle. FISA Judge Robertson is going to approve them all? The mind boggles at the (im)practicality.

    Bottom line is that the President consulted with Congress on this, including Democrats, and with the Justice Department. They all approved, or at least none objected.

    You can say “Looking back, it shouldn’t be this way and we need to clarify the law, then make sure the Administration gets it going forward”. Fine. Take that position.

    But to accuse Bush of evil intent, with all the overheated rhetoric about universally peace-loving Quakers (hah hah), is irresponsible. Frankly, pathetic.

    Comment by Calarato — December 21, 2005 @ 10:45 am - December 21, 2005

  34. VdaK, it’s called “the-hypocrisy-continuum”… the Prez didn’t do enuff to prevent the terrorists on jets, didn’t have a plan to win the WOT, isn’t supporting our troops with proper armaments, has turned his back on the 1st desert war vets, and now is spying on ALL OF US IN OUR BEDROOMS just so he can defeat the popular will to allow gay marriage.

    Hypocrisy-continuum.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — December 21, 2005 @ 10:46 am - December 21, 2005

  35. I also don’t expect Bush to connect the dots blindfolded either.

    No, you just expect it to be done without wiretapping suspected terrorists, without surveillance done to identify terrorists, without sharing information between law enforcement and intelligence services. Because those are precisely the provisions in the Patriot Act that “Civil Libertarians” object to.

    Comment by V the K — December 21, 2005 @ 10:48 am - December 21, 2005

  36. You got that one right, VdaK… it’s called “the-hypocrisy-continuum”… the Prez didn’t do enuff to prevent the terrorists on jets, didn’t have a plan to win the WOT, isn’t supporting our troops with proper armaments, has turned his back on the 1st desert war vets, and now is spying on ALL OF US IN OUR BEDROOMS just so he can defeat the popular will to allow gay marriage.

    Hypocrisy-continuum. Hey HarryReid, slow down so Praddle Pat and Mr-Anything-But-Mod can hitch a ride on your fastmoving train.

    Comment by Micihgan-Matt — December 21, 2005 @ 10:48 am - December 21, 2005

  37. #14 – Yes, the monitor those activities with warrants. They do not monitor blanket political events. This is something the Fidel Castro would do, Joseph Stalin, but not something that Americans do.

    George W. Bush is going to rip apart are party like he is ripping apart our liberties. I’m sorry, but I’m just so enraged by this. Its against what the GOP stands for – and thats why you are seeing people like George Will and David Brooks – and just about every conservative pundit mad about this. I might expect this of Clinton, but not of Bush.

    Comment by Mike — December 21, 2005 @ 11:01 am - December 21, 2005

  38. #37 — No one has yet identified a single civil liberty I have lost because of Bush or the Patriot Act. And if you think the government has no business monitoring political events in which radical groups whose members advocate for violence participate, you’re on your own, pal.

    Comment by V the K — December 21, 2005 @ 11:06 am - December 21, 2005

  39. V the K, my views may be talking points as you suggest. Frankly, I never had a strong opinion about the Patriot Act either way. However, when I hear stuff about civil liberties being reduced as a result of the Patriot Act (whether warranted or not), makes me almost as nervous as another possible terrorist attack. The fact there are four Republican senators (and not just liberal/moderate ones) have expressed similar concerns is telling. And who knows there are more with concerns, but are simply following the party line (yes, just as many Democrats do). No, I cannot provide evidence of what civil liberites have been lost due to the Patriot Act, just as you cannot provide evidence that NO ONE has had their civil liberties violated, even if the burden is on me. That doesn’t make me less concerned, however.

    I see Matt-Michigan is continuing his name calling and useless diatribes again.

    Comment by Pat — December 21, 2005 @ 11:08 am - December 21, 2005

  40. No, I cannot provide evidence of what civil liberites have been lost due to the Patriot Act, just as you cannot provide evidence that NO ONE has had their civil liberties violated

    You can’t prove a negative. Since you are the one making the allegation that civil rights are being violated, you have the obligation to present proof.

    Instead, you just claim you don’t have to, because mere accusations of violations make you feel bad. You can’t name any abuses of the Patriot Act, you can’t cite any specific provision you object to, but because you feel bad, the American people have to drop their pants and wait for the next terrorist attack.

    And, frankly, I’ve been reading news reports trying to see what specifically those senators are objecting to, and none of them are naming specifics either (nor are they presenting alternatives, or compromises), which makes me suspect that this is 1% substance, 99% posturing for the media.

    Comment by V the K — December 21, 2005 @ 11:26 am - December 21, 2005

  41. GayPatriot plays the liar in the lead post here. His lies have been thoroughly refuted in any number of blogs — included among them favorites such as Daily Kos and AmericaBlog. GayPatriot = Drudge without the readership (and probably a few other features as well).

    What a sad little blogette GP has become.

    Comment by Queer Patriot — December 21, 2005 @ 11:42 am - December 21, 2005

  42. V the K, I believe in my post, I admitted the proof of burden is on me. And I understand it is very difficult to prove a negative. That doesn’t alleviate my concerns.

    I couldn’t find out what specifically was those senators’ concerns were either. If it isn’t substantive as you suggest, then I’d agree it is media posturing. If the only civil liberties that may be lost were as you mentioned in #35, I probably wouldn’t be concerned.

    In any case, if it is all right with GP and GPW, I will continue to post my opinions, even when I don’t have the same type of backup of links, etc., that others have. And if it’s all right with them, I’ll do it without the name calling that some like to do here.

    Comment by Pat — December 21, 2005 @ 11:43 am - December 21, 2005

  43. Thanks for this post. A colleague at work just sent me the following:

    Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires—a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we’re talking about chasing down terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so. It’s important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution. President Bush, at a Q and A in Buffalo, N.Y., April 20, 2004.

    I was able to counter him by cutting and pasting your post 🙂

    Comment by PatriotPal — December 21, 2005 @ 11:49 am - December 21, 2005

  44. #3 Clinton partisan apologizing using typical liberal hypocrisy and deception

    #25 RIPOSTE! DISARM! Bullshit exposed by ND30

    OMG ND30, you are SO SEXY!

    Comment by Dale in L.A. — December 21, 2005 @ 11:56 am - December 21, 2005

  45. The resignation of liberal Judge Robertson turns out to be an even bigger nothing. He’s leaving FISA, but he’s keeping his lifetime tenure as a Federal District Judge. He’s keeping his main job, his salary, his benefits, and his pension. Whoopty Frackin’ Do.

    Comment by V the K — December 21, 2005 @ 1:05 pm - December 21, 2005

  46. #37 – “Yes, the monitor those activities with warrants. They do not monitor blanket political events. This is something the Fidel Castro would do, Joseph Stalin, but not something that Americans do.”

    Bzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt! Wrong answer!

    As Bruce and others have pointed out, the government routinely monitors (“spys”) in order to gather intelligence on threats to the United States, under Democratic and Republican administrations alike.

    And again, we would all be most upset (by all the funerals we would have to attend, or our own deaths) if they did not.

    Warrants come in where criminal jeopardy is to be attached, leading to possible imprisonment.

    They do not always or necessarily come in for mere intelligence gathering on threats. Particularly not on threats of foreign origin, i.e., foreign terrorists placing calls to colleagues within our borders.

    I repeat: All of us would be most upset, by all the lives lost, if government did not do these things.

    You still have not addressed or refuted that, or provided anything except misplaced emotion. Please try again, Gregg. (Oops I mean Mike.)

    We do need limits on what the government can do with the information it gathers from general intelligence gathering or counter-terrorism.

    And we should hold government accountable if its monitoring activities become unnecessary, excessive, or (most of all) intended to influence elections.

    Let’s try and have a rational discussion about those types of limits, and whether they were violated here, OK? Spare us all the “even I’m a Republican and I’m outraged” type of useless, phony posturing.

    Comment by Calarato — December 21, 2005 @ 1:40 pm - December 21, 2005

  47. I would also like to comment that Pat does not in any way deserve to be called names. He is a friend of mine; even though our opinions are different, I respect his. Period.

    So knock it off.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 21, 2005 @ 2:44 pm - December 21, 2005

  48. ‘Plame Platoon is AWOL on New Leaks’

    Lost in all this is the fact that important secrets of national security have been willingly leaked for political (Bush-damaging) purposes.

    Where’s the outrage now? The investigations?

    Comment by Calarato — December 21, 2005 @ 4:01 pm - December 21, 2005

  49. Just to be clear on something, there is a “Pat” and a “Patrick (Gryph)” that comment frequently on this blog. They are two separate people. And yes Dale, OMG NDT30 is Sexy! 😉 Well, cute.

    Comment by Patrick (Gryph) — December 21, 2005 @ 4:35 pm - December 21, 2005

  50. OK NDXXX, let’s not make this mistake (Pat vs PatrickdaGrph) of your’s into another one of those recurrent, ad nauseum ceasless attacks ala the John-al-querry’s flipflops on gay marriage. Praddle Pat, great defender and alter-ego of Mr Moderate, misses the boat on even the fundamental questions of prudent foreign policy… that’s the “target” Pat. Not Patrick (Gryph). I wonder if Mr Mod is doing that old trick of his –multiple postings from multiple personalities to boster his view? Nawh, he wouldn’t do that. Again.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — December 21, 2005 @ 4:57 pm - December 21, 2005

  51. I wanna see a pic of NDT.

    Comment by Calarato — December 21, 2005 @ 5:35 pm - December 21, 2005

  52. Is it just me, or do justifications for shady dealings from Clinton administration officials just rub you the wrong way? If the wiretapping is legitimate, then that argument is going to have to stand on its own merits and not appeal to a group of people who proffered a nuanced definition of the word “is” as a defense.

    Comment by Other Eric — December 21, 2005 @ 5:42 pm - December 21, 2005

  53. #52 — That’s the wrong way to look at it. The point isn’t that Clinton’s use of this authority, (or Reagan’s, or Carter’s) justifies its use. The point is to expose that Democrats are lying when they say no president ever did this before, and by the way, point out the hypocrisy of them for denouncing under Bush that which was okay under Clinton.

    In a similar vein, ain’t it peculiar how the left got hysterical over the “leak” of the identity of a non-covert CIA bureaucrat, but now that classified information about a real operation has been leaked, they suddenly don’t care about leaks that really do threaten national security?

    Comment by V the K — December 21, 2005 @ 5:48 pm - December 21, 2005

  54. I agree.

    I think it’s useful to bring up, purely to take the wind out of the Democratic “outrage”. When we’re over the Democratic “outrage” phase, maybe grownup Americans (there are some) will have a rational discussion.

    Comment by Calarato — December 21, 2005 @ 5:48 pm - December 21, 2005

  55. (my comment was to #52 – though I agree with V’s)

    Comment by Calarato — December 21, 2005 @ 5:49 pm - December 21, 2005

  56. Besides which, when did the Clintons ever need the color of law to engage in shady dealings? (“No controlling legal authority” “I drank a lot of iced tea at that meeting. I must have been in the bathroom when somebody said what we were doing was illegal.”)

    Now, I trust all of you Democrats, leftists, and ROBO’s (Republicans on blogs only) who are concerned about abuses of executive power have emailed Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and demanded that they cease obstructing the publication of The Barrett Report, which details abuses of power under Clinton.

    Comment by V the K — December 21, 2005 @ 5:56 pm - December 21, 2005

  57. Doing some more reading and saw a good point: Some warrantless wiretaps are months-long. So I think it is valid to ask the question, why don’t they go to the FISA court after-the-fact, for those?

    Not saying the question doesn’t have an answer – only saying I need a better one.

    Comment by Calarato — December 21, 2005 @ 6:11 pm - December 21, 2005

  58. As one commentator has put it, “It appears to be universally recognized by the federal courts that warrantless surveillance for national security purposes is within the President’s Article II power.”

    But then why have FISA court at all? What’s it for?

    Comment by Calarato — December 21, 2005 @ 6:18 pm - December 21, 2005

  59. Calarato — #57 And maybe that is something that can be addressed in a sane, rational manner… as opposed to Barbara Boxer already planning the impeachment hearings and the MSM screaming about Bush “spying” on innocent Americans.

    Comment by V the K — December 21, 2005 @ 6:37 pm - December 21, 2005

  60. Article linked by GPW from John Schmitt, Clinton’s Associate Attorney General, is worth quoting at length:

    ‘The president authorized the NSA program in response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks…Electronic surveillance…was probably the only means of obtaining information about what [al Qaeda] was planning next…

    ‘[In the last 35 years, Federal courts] held that the president has inherent authority to authorize wiretapping for foreign intelligence purposes without judicial warrant.

    ‘[Even the FISA court agreed] in 2002 that “All the [federal courts] have held that the president did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence … We take for granted that the president does have that authority…FISA could not encroach on the president’s constitutional power.”

    ‘Every president since FISA’s passage has asserted that he retained inherent power to go beyond the act’s terms. Under President Clinton, deputy Atty. Gen. Jamie Gorelick [said previous quote from Bruce].

    ‘FISA contains a provision making it illegal to “engage in electronic surveillance under color of law except as authorized by statute.” …[But, plausibly, if] the surveillance is based upon other kinds of evidence, it would fall outside what a FISA court [would be needed for] and also outside the act’s prohibition on electronic surveillance.

    ‘The administration has offered the further defense that FISA’s reference to surveillance “authorized by statute” is satisfied by congressional passage of the post-Sept. 11 resolution giving the president authority to [beat al Qaeda, gathering all intelligence needed]…

    ‘But even if the NSA activity is “electronic surveillance” and the Sept. 11 resolution is not “statutory authorization” within the meaning of FISA, the act still cannot, in the words of the 2002 Court of Review decision, “encroach upon the president’s constitutional power.”

    ‘FISA does not anticipate a post-Sept. 11 situation. What was needed after Sept. 11, according to the president, was surveillance beyond what could be authorized under that kind of individualized case-by-case judgment. It is hard to imagine the Supreme Court second-guessing that presidential judgment.

    ‘Should we be afraid of this inherent presidential power? Of course. [But not if the] surveillance is used only for the purpose of preventing another Sept. 11 type of attack or a similar threat…’

    —————————————–

    OK, what I get from the above is:

    (1) Bush Admin. unquestionably had the authority to order warrantless wiretaps. Either from inherent Constitutional authority upheld by all courts in the past, or from Congress’ post-Sept 11 blanket resolution against al Qaeda, or both. FISA warrants not needed.

    (2) Even so, it might still have been nice to go to FISA court. BUT –

    (3) The Administration felt that the sheer number of warrants/cases in studying al Qaeda (thousands) would make such an extra, unnecessary step impractical.

    I’m still not 100% convinced the Administration was totally right. But I think it comes down to one question, which is an empirical question:

    Did they, or did they not, take the warrantless monitoring beyond what was needed to understand and defeat al Qaeda?

    Before someone says “What about the gay groups that were monitored?” – I would need to know (a) the actual extent of said monitoring; (b) whether the specific groups monitored may have had connections to International A.N.S.W.E.R., “Islamic charities”, or any other seriously anti-American or pro-terrorist groups.

    Long story short: No hysteria, please.

    Comment by Calarato — December 21, 2005 @ 7:09 pm - December 21, 2005

  61. This is another example of the huge egos that liberals have. Liberals really think this is all about them. They think George Bush is so interested in them because they’re just so fascinating. George Bush wants to know about their phone conversations, their reading habits, their text messages, and he wants to know so badly that they think he’s willing to break the law to find out. “This isn’t about national security, because Dick Cheney just made up a threat to get the sheeple to vote Republican,” they say. “It’s really about wonderful, liberal me.” Sorry to disappoint you, but unless you’re a dangerous subversive or traitor, George Bush is not interested.

    Comment by Conservative Guy — December 21, 2005 @ 11:58 pm - December 21, 2005

  62. Mr. Liberal, I’ve never said this about anyone, but you and your “libertarian friend” are fools.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — December 22, 2005 @ 12:29 am - December 22, 2005

  63. #12

    Do we know for a fact that these people were Americans?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — December 22, 2005 @ 12:36 am - December 22, 2005

  64. You know what worries the hell out of me, Pat?
    The fact that some folks are far more worried about the “rights” of those who would destroy us.

    I’m really worried that some folks don’t want our governement to “connect the dots blindfolded”, but they’re doing their damndest to make sure that that’s the end result.

    I’m really worried about folks who would much rather we surrender ourselves because supposedly don’t deserve to win.

    I’m worried about people who are demanding more attacks on our country later just so they can feel all warm and fuzzy now.

    I worry about people who whine, bitch and moan for more security, but then whine, bitch and moan about it when they get it.

    I don’t worry about somebody listening to my conversations because I have nothing to hide.

    I don’t worry about somebody listening to my conversations because I won’t give them a reason to.

    I don’t worry about the security measures that are in place because I’m not a nervous nelly conspiracy kook who believes everybody is out to get them.

    We are guaranteed life first, then liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We are not guaranteed liberty and the pursuit of happiness followed somewhere down the road by life as long as everybody feels all warm and fuzzy inside.

    The truth is that we live in a shitty world and there’s things that we have to do so more shit isn’t piled on top of us. That also includes refusing to accept the shit that liberals want to pile on top of us. Sorry, but that’s the way it goes. There’s no nice shade of gray. It has to be black and white or else. We can’t afford to be in a comfortable gray area. Those who don’t take a stand will suffer for it. We have to do whatever it takes to preserve ourselves and if that means that a few people get their toes stepped on or their senses offended, then so be it.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — December 22, 2005 @ 1:07 am - December 22, 2005

  65. #61 — That is an excellent point.

    Comment by V the K — December 22, 2005 @ 6:03 am - December 22, 2005

  66. #47, NDT, Thanks. After a couple of months of being super busy, it’s nice to come back and read your posts and many of the others. One of the reasons I come here is to see how my opinions stack up. And I have seen some good arguments for keeping the Patriot Act as it is, and it may change my opinion, just as it has changed my opinion of outing.

    #50, Michigan Matt, I don’t believe NDT made a mistake. I think it was you who made the mistake of calling people names with whom you disagree. If you don’t like my opinions, or think they are uninformed, or whatever, then you can say so in a decent, adult way, or simply ignore my posts. Unless you have an insipid, juvenile ego, I simply don’t understand the name-calling. But it’s the last time I’m calling you on it. I’ll leave it up to GP and GPW to decide on the appropriateness of your name calling and attacks on posters here, and let them decide if any of your posts should be deleted or if you should be banned from this site. Also, I have only posted on this site, and other sites that are linked from here, using the name Pat and anonymous q. When I changed, I signed both names for a couple of weeks, before completely switching over to Pat. So I am not Mr. Moderate’s alter ego. I’m sure GP and GPW can verify that. But frankly, I really don’t care what you believe any more. Other than that, have yourself a blessed day.

    #64, TGC I agree with just about everything in your post, even the points about people listening in on my conversations. I don’t believe I have anything to hide. But there are clearly innocent people who feel they do. Most most people here do cherish the right of privacy if not for themselves, but for others. For example, that’s the main reason why most everyone here is against outing. Yes, you can make the argument the possible consequences of the two situations are different, which is fine. I guess it also comes down to this. What rights are you willing to give up and/or potentially lose in order to prevent a terrorist attack. We could go full totalitarian and be safer. I assume that’s not what you want. And there are some that feel (right or wrong) that the Patriot Act does or has the potential to take away rights unnecessarily in protecting us against a terror attack. I am glad to see that there are senators who are questioning the Patriot Act to make sure the correct or better balance is struck.

    Comment by Pat — December 22, 2005 @ 9:13 am - December 22, 2005

  67. #64 I’m afraid I have to disagree somewhat TGC. There are plenty of rights I’m not willing to give up in the current environment and with the current threats as we know them. I don’t think it’s black and white. Pat’s right that I don’t want totalitarianism and I can’t imagine a threat big enough that I would. However, I still feel the Patriot Act is not infringing on my rights and I have yet to see any clear cases of abuse of it. I’m glad people are watching and that there is oversight, but right now a lot of deception is being used to villianize the president, which is just typical Democrat politics.

    Comment by Dale in L.A. — December 22, 2005 @ 12:16 pm - December 22, 2005

  68. #66: Whether a full-blown right to privacy can legitimately be inferred from the 4th Amendment right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures is a topic of discussion in conservative Constitutional law debates.

    Comment by Conservative Guy — December 22, 2005 @ 12:30 pm - December 22, 2005

  69. No offense taken, Pat. But go back for a second and reread your earlier posts and defense of Mr Mod’s silly accusations parading as reasonable opinion. You’re the ONE who rose to his defense. You’re the ONE who argued his posits were valid. Which was nothing more than MoonBatLeft rants –not atypical for Mr Mod and all the aliases.

    Me, I called it as I saw it. The little whittling, undercutting partisan gamesmanship demonstrated by the current issue of “Domestic spying on innocent Americans” hysteria is evil and subversive. And to have partisan hardcore Dems and their apologists hide behind the banner of “political dissent” and its traditions is akin to porn peddlers using the 1st A to protect the distribution of their societal harming filth. Simple. YOU took the comparison and offered dissenters are equal to porn peddlers. Like, not as.

    Now, you can climb up on that high horse of yours and praddle on like the pontiff instructing priests on “Good touch, Bad touch” policies, but it’s still swimming in the shallow end of the pool. Being wrong is no defense. On this one, you need to continue your path in understanding the error of your way and repent.

    And as I pointed out, in A Lincoln’s Presidency, the kind of political dissent you protect would have been tagged as supporting the enemies of the republic and landed “political dissenters” in prison. Right choice then; not a bad choice now. Terrorists don’t need a PR effort ’cause they have SenDemMajLeader HarryReid and his sidekick ChuckieSchummer doing the heavy lifting. If Ted Kennedy could dry out long enough to make coherent statements, he’d be deep in the mix too.

    Like W offered, this IS war; there should be no COs. Our enemies are flexible and fast learners. We can’t keep giving the keys to our arsenal (download your dirty bomb plans from Al Gore’s InterNet), free access to our borders (get the fences built, damn it), nor a lifelong pass and drivers’ ID for use in public transportation (thanks, Rev Jackson).

    And to allow SenDems to use this issue for cheap political gain is as close to treason as the yellow Demo-Dogs get. Voters need to punch their lights out on election day –and it’s going to happen in Michigan with Sen Squab Stabenow… the pom pom girl for the MoonBatLeft.

    It’s simple –political dissent aimed at partisan gain is no longer an option. We need to be Americans 1st. Everything else follows.

    Comment by Michigan-Matt — December 22, 2005 @ 12:33 pm - December 22, 2005

  70. To Pat’s point above, Matt, NDT knows exactly to which Pat he speaks, and he happens to respect and like both of them — Pat (anonymous q) and Patrick (Gryph).

    Also, Matt, I appreciate your passion on this issue. I also agree with you that much of the smoke and light being generated here is similar to the scene in Batman Begins where Raz a-Ghul is instructing Bruce Wayne in the use of explosive powders — an example of political ninjitsu being used to cover, distract from, and obscure a lamentable lack of ideas coupled with a knee-jerk hostility and hatred of George Bush.

    However, in all of these discussions, I think of the old maxim, “Every lie must have a kernel of truth to be believable”. The key in cases like this is to ferret out that kernel and to keep it in mind in one’s own reaction.

    In this case, yes, wiretapping the communications of US citizens and US-based individuals should be something akin to the death penalty and nuclear warfare — used only when the non-application of other would cost more lives or cause more damage. It should give us pause. Bringing that up as a matter for concern is important, a duty of citizenship, and — dare I say it? — patriotic.

    However, I have yet to see a single politician doing that whose statements I consider to be motivated by anything other than political ninjitsu — in other words, to give perceived advantage in a fight.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 22, 2005 @ 1:49 pm - December 22, 2005

  71. #70 – Well said.

    Warrantless wiretapping should be questioned/evaluated and should always give us pause. Unfortunately, the Democrats are way, WAY out of line with Boxer’s impeachment talk.

    Also with the wild DNC e-mails referring to this as an “explosive scandal”. In itself, it isn’t. Of course, the question of how it got leaked, by whom and why may well be a true “explosive scandal”.

    Here is a long, interesting post from Powerline going through all the legality / caselaw: http://powerlineblog.com/archives/012631.php

    The author slips in a comment that most of the NSA eavesdropping intercepts did, in fact, have FISA warrants (?) despite their not being legally or Constitutionally necessary.

    In asking why the Administration didn’t get FISA warrants (given their predilection for doing so) for every tap, the author notes:

    ‘The courts of the United States have jurisdiction within the United States and its possessions; they have no jurisdiction in, say, France or Afghanistan… The NSA intercepts target foreign terrorists overseas and sweep in all of their communications. To my knowledge, they do not “target” “particular, known United States person[s]” who are in the U.S… Based on what has been publicly disclosed, it seems likely that the NSA intercepts are picked up overseas… The answer to the question, “Why didn’t you obtain FISA orders authorizing these surveillances?” may be, “Because we couldn’t.” If the surveillance was outside the jurisdiction of the FISA court, no such orders could be issued. The administration could conclusively answer this question by disclosing where the surveillance equipment is located. But that is, of course, precisely the kind of secret information that the administration doesn’t want the terrorists to know.’

    There is a lot we don’t know!!! Another reason I despise these contemptible, hateful Leftie rushes-to-judgment.

    Comment by Calarato — December 22, 2005 @ 2:24 pm - December 22, 2005

  72. #68 — I think the key word is “unreasonable.” One would have a tough time convincing me that narrowly scoped wiretapping of phone calls originating or terminating with known Al Qaeda affiliates is unreasonable.

    Comment by V the K — December 22, 2005 @ 3:08 pm - December 22, 2005

  73. At the begining of the new era, 9/12, many started asking why we Americans aren’t sacrificing more. This was usualy couched as a method of furthering a political agena, as shone here. Well, the NSA wire tapping revelation is an example of the sacrifices that must be made if we are serious about preventing another attack on our soil. And no, this is not like watergate. In this case, several key members of congress, including Jay Rockerfeller, were briefed periodicaly about the operation. Each of those members had ample time to express their doubts behind closed doors, and if their doubts were valid, the operation would have probably been shut down. So it’s not as if there were no checks or balances in this case. Also, Bush did not just wake up one day and decide “Hey! I’ld be cool to wiretap people without court approval”. This action was set into motion with the approval of the DoJ.

    As for the legalities, I’ll leave that up to the lawyers to decide. But I’ld raather have a president who is willing to push the edge of the envelope to try and protect against a future attack, rather than one who wont step over a line or two and thus leaving us more vulnerable to attack.

    Just my thoughts

    Comment by sonicfrog — December 22, 2005 @ 7:29 pm - December 22, 2005

  74. #73

    That’s another reason why I’m unimpressed with the liberal judge quitting the FISA court in protest. Why didn’t he get pissed off and express his displeasure a long time ago?

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — December 23, 2005 @ 1:12 am - December 23, 2005

  75. Wise quotes from Ann Coulter’s new Townhall column:

    ‘Among the things that war entails are: killing people (sometimes innocent), destroying buildings (sometimes innocent) and spying on people (sometimes innocent). That is why war is a bad thing. But once a war starts, it is going to be finished one way or another, and I have a preference for it coming out one way rather than the other.

    ‘…the [War on Terror option] preferred by Sen. John D. Rockefeller: Let the president do all the work and take all the heat for preventing another terrorist attack while you place a letter expressing your objections in a file cabinet as a small parchment tribute to your exquisite conscience.’

    Comment by Calarato — December 23, 2005 @ 2:44 am - December 23, 2005

  76. #64

    But there are clearly innocent people who feel they do.

    Well it’s truly comforting to know that so many of our law makers are perfectly willing to screw our asses to the wall just to make a few people feel better.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — December 23, 2005 @ 4:06 am - December 23, 2005

  77. Check out a funny site dedicated to the absurdity and satire nature of saying “It’s All George Bush’s Fault!”

    http://www.iagbf.com
    http://www.itsallgeorgebushsfault.com

    Regards,
    Notta Libb

    Comment by Notta Libb — December 23, 2005 @ 4:23 am - December 23, 2005

  78. #69, Matt-Michigan, I appreciate your attempt for a civil, adult-like post. I’ll respond to those points that were civil. NDT addressed some of the points that echo my thoughts. Regarding Mr. Moderate, he brought out some points that were counter to GP’s opinion reqarding the Patriot Act. I thought and still think they are valid concerns. Some posters here were able to counter his points in a civil manner and I appreciate it.

    Your posts basically consist of your opinion, and if anybody disagrees with you they are evil and need to “repent.” My posts may not be super or earth shattering either, but at least I don’t resort to continuous attacks on everyone who disagrees with me and resort to name calling.

    You invited me to reread my posts. Now I’m inviting you to reread yours.

    #70 NDT, thanks again.

    Comment by Pat — December 23, 2005 @ 8:14 am - December 23, 2005

  79. It sounds to me like the president is asserting that he has the right and the responsibility to operate independently without any Congressional or Judicial oversite or knowledge whatsoever. If he is not saying this, please explain where the accountability of the president lies.

    If it is in fact a good thing that this president have complete unfettered control, will it also be a good thing when the next president and the one after that has that same control? Would it have been a good thing if Richard Nixon had had such control? Remember, he was the one who turned the FBI loose on such notorious terrorist suspects as John Lennon and Martin Luther King.

    Comment by Dean — December 23, 2005 @ 1:38 pm - December 23, 2005

  80. “It sounds to me like the president is asserting that he has the right and the responsibility to operate independently without any Congressional or Judicial oversite or knowledge whatsoever.”

    Yeah Dean – it SOUNDS TO YOU like that. But in fact, that’s not what is going on at all.

    Try a little harder! Maybe read some more articles about it.

    Comment by Calarato — December 23, 2005 @ 3:22 pm - December 23, 2005

  81. P.S. The articles I’ve quoted in this thread at various points, would be good places to start.

    “What’s going on” (in reality) is simply this:

    (1) The NSA has had a program to intercept communications of known terrorists, often involving warrants, but not always;

    (2) A longstanding principle of U.S. government, asserted by Presidents of both parties, is that the President has the authority to order warrantless taps of (a) foreign powers, and/or (b) their agents in the U.S., for purposes of intelligence gathering (NOT for the attachment of criminal jeopardy).

    Comment by Calarato — December 23, 2005 @ 3:26 pm - December 23, 2005

  82. And

    (3) President Bush DID consult with Congress on a dozen occasions, as well as FISA court on God knows how many He has not been acting independently (in the sense you mean).

    Comment by Calarato — December 23, 2005 @ 3:56 pm - December 23, 2005

  83. #79

    Actually, Dean, in this case the congressional oversite would be unconstitutional. Look it up.

    Contrary to what you’ve been lead to believe, Congress does NOT have complete control over the President. I know that chaps the ass of liberals who want to ride herd over Bush and do his job for him.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — December 24, 2005 @ 12:49 pm - December 24, 2005

  84. Things like this make you wonder how much of that “Bush Spied on Quakers” Stuff is also just paranoia and hype: Paranoid Moonbat Bush Surveillance Story Falls Apart

    The UMass Dartmouth student who claimed to have been visited by Homeland Security agents over his request for “The Little Red Book” by Mao Zedong has admitted to making up the entire story.

    Comment by V the K — December 24, 2005 @ 8:08 pm - December 24, 2005

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