Scarecrow at Firedog Lake:
After telling Congress and the public that the reason they needed to revise FISA was to ensure they could spy on foreign-to-foreign communications that might be routed through US facilities (to close an alleged loophole created by a FISA court ruling that such surveillance required a warrant), the White House went for broke. The New York Times now reports that the Administration actually had very different reasons to make wholesale changes in FISA:
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.
. . .
“This more or less legalizes the N.S.A. program,” said Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies in Washington, who has studied the new legislation.
Under just some of the revisions, NSA can spy on any call you make to or receive from another country (or a place the AG reasonable believes is to/from another country), without a warrant, as long as Alberto Gonzales and the Director NSA claim they reasonably believe it involves “foreign intelligence.” There doesn’t have to be any connection with a foreign power with whom we are war or terrorist group. Just you and your foreign friends is enough. The FISA court may examine the overall process in some undefined, rubberstamp way, but it cannot consider the reasonableness of your individual case. Any pretense that the 4th Amendment applies is gone.
which of course makes it unconstitutional and therefore illegal.
not that the courts will offer any relief.
well, they tried.
and cheneyBu$hco was allowed to ram this through our Democratic congress.
i share the widespread pain of those bewildered by our party's treachery.
Glenn Greenwald from Unclaimed Territory:
It is staggering, and truly disgusting, that even in August, 2007 -- almost six years removed from the 9/11 attacks and with the Bush presidency cemented as one of the weakest and most despised in American history -- that George W. Bush can "demand" that the Congress jump and re-write legislation at his will, vesting in him still greater surveillance power, by warning them, based solely on his say-so, that if they fail to comply with his demands, the next Terrorist attack will be their fault. And they jump and scamper and comply (Meteor Blades has the list of the 16 Senate Democrats voting in favor; the House will soon follow).Jack Balkin fron Balkinazation:
The Party of Fear, the Party Without A Spine, and the National Surveillance State
Behind the current events is a more troubling trend. As Sandy Levinson and I have written, we are in a gradual transition from a National Security State to a National Surveillance State. We pointed out that although the Republicans got first crack at constructing many features of this emerging state, it would be a bipartisan effort. The only issue will be what kind of national surveillance state we would have, and whether government would put in place the appropriate checks and balances to protect civil liberties, prevent the multiplication of secret laws and secret methods of enforcement, and restrain an increasingly ambitious executive.
So far the answers to this question have not been reassuring. Whether controlled by Republicans or Democrats, Congress seems willing to bestow more and more unaccountable power to the President of the United States. The Democratic Party, which has long prided itself on its support for civil liberties, seems altogether to have lost its soul, and the Republican Party, which long contained a strong element of libertarianism and respect for individual freedom-- particularly in economic matters-- has given up any claims to providing a counterweight to a deluded and incompetent President.
we need Democrats who believe in the democracy we believe in.
this country has devolved into a police state.
and they are listening to every key stroke we type.
"ANGER, he smiles, towering in shiny metallic purple armour
Queen Jealousy, envy waits behind him
Her fiery green gown sneers at the grassy ground
Blue are the life-giving waters taken for granted,
They quietly understand
Once happy turquoise armies lay opposite ready,
But wonder why the fight is on
But they're all bold as love, yeah,
they're all bold as love.
Yeah, they're all bold as love
Just ask the axis ... "
~ Jimi Hendrix
but the Fourth Amendment SHALL Rise AGAIN.