Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 7, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

THE SIMMERING FROG....As we all know, President Bush believes he has the right to eavesdrop on calls between the United States and foreign countries at his sole discretion without a warrant, without probable cause, and regardless of the requirements of federal law. But if he has that inherent authority, why not also eavesdrop on purely domestic calls? Back in January, a reporter asked General Michael Hayden this question and Hayden said simply, "that's where we've decided to draw that balance between security and liberty."

In other words, the president could eavesdrop on domestic calls too if he felt like it. On Thursday, the administration confirmed this point of view:

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales left open the possibility yesterday that President Bush could order warrantless wiretaps on telephone calls occurring solely within the United States a move that would dramatically expand the reach of a controversial National Security Agency surveillance program.

...."I'm not going to rule it out," Gonzales said.

....Gonzales previously testified in the Senate that Bush had considered including purely domestic communications in the NSA spying program, but he said the idea was rejected in part because of fears of a public outcry.

This is exactly why a public outcry is important. Once the public accepts the idea that domestic-to-international calls can be tapped at the whim of the administration without a warrant and without bothering to show probable cause they're a lot less likely to be upset at the prospect of domestic-to-domestic calls being tapped too. The frog is simmering.

Kevin Drum 2:05 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (170)

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The only public outcry that matters is turning over either Congress or the Senate in November. They don't care about anything other than that, and nothing else will stop them.

Posted by: HankP on April 7, 2006 at 2:07 AM | PERMALINK

Totally OT but I'm freakin' out:

What the hell is this?

Oh, well, that doesn't work in preview so try this:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1610556/posts

Posted by: JoJo on April 7, 2006 at 2:17 AM | PERMALINK

Too, too late. The far too loyal opposition already sleeps.

Posted by: notthere on April 7, 2006 at 2:18 AM | PERMALINK

OT

Just in case you are looking:

http://feingold.senate.gov/contact_opinion.html

Great site for feedback, communications.....

Feingold in 2008?

Posted by: AC on April 7, 2006 at 2:19 AM | PERMALINK

Call your senator and ask him/her to support Sen. Feingold's resolution to censure President Bush, S.RES.398. It has been cosponsored by Sens. Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA).

Thomas Website Summary Page

The Capitol Switchboard is 202-225-3121, and from there you can ask for any senator or member of Congress.

Posted by: Joel Rubinstein on April 7, 2006 at 2:20 AM | PERMALINK

America's civics teachers have let us down.

I know, I know. Too far. But I can't shake the feeling.

Posted by: HRlaughed on April 7, 2006 at 2:25 AM | PERMALINK

The Senate is one house of the Congress. The other is the House of Representatives. The country needs at least one to be controlled by the Democrats by next January.

Posted by: hopeless pedant on April 7, 2006 at 2:27 AM | PERMALINK

I'm beginning to wonder if Bush will be the first president laughed out of office. There seems to be a certain coalescing of public opinion taking place.

Posted by: Myron on April 7, 2006 at 2:57 AM | PERMALINK

Boring. Did you realise you are stuck with Bush for 3 years?

Posted by: McA on April 7, 2006 at 3:07 AM | PERMALINK

So are you. Enjoy.

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 7, 2006 at 3:13 AM | PERMALINK

Did you realise you are stuck with Bush for 3 years?

Link?

Oh, and JoJo, what are you freaking out about? That a few dozen idiots who are all in basic agreement but don't realize it wasted a whole day and just stood around all proud of themselves?

Posted by: Irony Man on April 7, 2006 at 3:19 AM | PERMALINK

Shouldn't we all try to have erotic conversations so that the FBI, etc. at least have some entertainment while they are wasting their time on dead ends? Oh, nevermind, the AG may arrest us for indecency. Guess they get to hear about my dad's bum leg instead.

Posted by: gq on April 7, 2006 at 3:23 AM | PERMALINK


GONZALES: I'm not going to rule it out.

Since they've had no problem publicly ruling out many of the things it later turned out they were doing, this statement from Gonzales can almost certainly be interpreted to mean, "We've been doing this for years."


Posted by: jayarbee on April 7, 2006 at 3:33 AM | PERMALINK

Of course they are tapping your domestic calls -- maybe ours too. What would stop them -- their innate respect for the rule of law and the Constitution?

Posted by: CathiefromCanada on April 7, 2006 at 3:38 AM | PERMALINK

So are you. Enjoy.

Posted by: brooksfoe on April 7, 2006 at 3:13 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not American. :)

Posted by: mcA on April 7, 2006 at 3:44 AM | PERMALINK

Wish there was a transcript. There's a video webcast here. Schiff's main question and answer periods are at about 39 minutes, and 4 hours and 20 minutes into the tape.

The question being discussed, and all of Gonzales' answer, is at about 43 minutes into the tape.

Schiff's press release is here, and I suspect it was the source of most of the newpaper story.

Posted by: tbrosz on April 7, 2006 at 3:54 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not American. :)

No, but you are a citizen of an American puppet state.

Posted by: zxcv on April 7, 2006 at 4:21 AM | PERMALINK
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales left open the possibility yesterday that President Bush could order warrantless wiretaps on telephone calls occurring solely within the United States

This isn't, by itself, fascism, but it's certainly one of its tools. And this is the country we're living in today.

Posted by: bad Jim on April 7, 2006 at 4:22 AM | PERMALINK

There is no limitation -- no end -- once you claim/cede the power to ignore and violate laws with impunity in the name of "national security".

There is no logical distinction between ignoring the FISA act for international calls of "U.S. persons", and ignoring the Title III domestic wiretap laws (and the Fourth Amendment), when the rationale for this violation is that it was "necessary" for "national security". The rationale knows no limit; is susceptible to no limitation.

See James Madison's Memorial And Remonstrance:

3. Because it is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of Citizens, and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The free men of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and enta[n]gled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle. We revere this lesson too much soon to forget it. Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects? that the same authority which can force a citizen to contribute three pence only of his property for the support of any one establishment, may force him to conform to any other establishment in all cases whatsoever?

See also clause 15....

This is so, like, "old hat". The Founders knew the score, but Dubya's hoping that today's people are too dumb and/or too frightened to remember.

Worse that being just an encroachment on actual liberties, Dubya has also asserted the right to judge himself in placing himself as the sole arbiter of the "necessity" as well as the legality. Seems like they covered that little situation in a document of Jefferson's nine years before this one.

Cheers,

Posted by: Arne Langsetmo on April 7, 2006 at 6:59 AM | PERMALINK

jayarbee: Since they've had no problem publicly ruling out many of the things it later turned out they were doing, this statement from Gonzales can almost certainly be interpreted to mean, "We've been doing this for years."

Exactly. This is their way of warming us up for when the truth comes out.

Posted by: shortstop on April 7, 2006 at 7:13 AM | PERMALINK

I often wonder if the proto-fascists running todays America are descended from the British Loyalists who refused to fight and even tried to stop independence for their own country during the Revolutionary war. How sad for them to pine for monarchy during the last 200 years suffering so horribly under freedoms yoke? How sad for the rest of us that King George I has actually managed to cut huge sections of the Constitution out with barely a whisper of outrage?

His head should be set on the Golden Gate bridge and his limbs fed-ex'd to the four corners of America as a warning to all other would-be despots who are planning our destruction from within.

Posted by: Eric Paulsen on April 7, 2006 at 7:40 AM | PERMALINK

Before you guys start peeing in your pink panties, read the whole transcript. Gonzales qualifies his statement by giving the example of conversation between known Al Queda operatives who might be discussing the plan for destroying us.

Don't let your hatred of GWB force you to lose your common sense.

Posted by: tbrosz on April 7, 2006 at 8:08 AM | PERMALINK

I am afraid we are in full tumble down the slippery slope. Does John Yoo have tenure from Berkley yet?

There has been no limit on the President since Republicans and Democrats in congress bought the notion that the war on terror is a real war without end and his "war powers" trump everything. We should all fear for our nation and for our liberties.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 7, 2006 at 8:15 AM | PERMALINK

Simmering? Stick a fork in it. Madison, Monroe, Adams, Hamilton and Jefferson have had their live's works effectively wrecked. While they roll in their graves Stalin and Mao sport afterlife woodies.

Posted by: steve duncan on April 7, 2006 at 8:16 AM | PERMALINK

This is blatantly unConstitutional: a bald-faced violation, no question, of the 4th Amendment. THIS sort of thing was EXACTLY what the Founders were addressing when they ratified the Bill of Rights, and in particular, the 4th Amendment. This is as unConsitutional as one can get, equal to jailing citizens without charge or denying access to courts. This is yet another knife through the very heart of what this country was supposed to be.

Tied to this is insane framing of a so-called "war on terror". As many have repeated and repeated, you cannot fight a war against a concept, a tactic, particularly when you use that very same tactic to fight it in the first place! Framing it as a "war" which, by definition, can NEVER be won, they (the GOPers and BushCo) enshrine supermagical powers into the Executive the likes of which the Founders intentionally denied. The Executive was designed and intended to be inferior to the Legislative. The Executive was to have VERY limited powers of very limited scope. The Executive was properly relegated to the second article of the Constitution, leaving the first and primary source of diffuse power to the Legislative, ala giving it precedence in article one of the Constitution.

Bush/Cheney and the GOP are dreaming a fevered dream whenever they try to claim supermagical powers without end for the President. The President is supposed to be weak.

Our education system needs some serious revamping. Civics needs to be taught early and often. The true nature of our Republic needs to be pounded into children's heads early and often to ensure that when they become adults they understand what, exactly, the Founders were devising and why.

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on April 7, 2006 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

Yup, no matter what your political stripe, you have to agree that freedom has been struck a blow and totalitarianism given a wink by Bush.

They have the technology to do all sorts of things. Why do they need to diminish freedom?

Posted by: Bob M on April 7, 2006 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

"Before you guys start peeing in your pink panties..." Posted by: tbrosz (tbrosz@helicalrocket.com)

This was the fake tbrosz, methinks. Hold yer fire.

PM

Posted by: Patrick Meighan on April 7, 2006 at 9:08 AM | PERMALINK

Take a step back and look at the situation.

Congress has ceded to the President the power to conduct warrantless surveillance; to secretly incarcerate; to torture or to "render" suspects to governments that will torture; to selectively leak national security intelligence in order to cover up for policy mistakes and win re-election.

We are giving George Bush the powers of a despot, and this will have dire consequences that reach far beyond this presidency.


Posted by: pj_in_jesusland on April 7, 2006 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

Glad to see you joining the enlightened, but unwashed among us, Kevin. What's next? Censure?

Posted by: Baldrick on April 7, 2006 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

"Before you guys start peeing in your pink panties, read the whole transcript. Gonzales qualifies his statement by giving the example of conversation between known Al Queda operatives who might be discussing the plan for destroying us."

If that were the case, why would the Administration be unable or unwilling to get a warrant for evesdropping? This is bogus, tbrosz. It is your blind Bush-worship that prevents you from acknowledging it.

Posted by: Joel on April 7, 2006 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

Hmm. Within 24 hours, one news story reports that the AG asserts Bush can eavesdrop on domestic calls, if he wants. A second news story reports that Bush authorized the outing of Valerie Plame as a political attack against her husband.

So. The AG asserts that Bush can do anything he wants. Libby confirms that Bush will authorize attacks on those he regards as enemies. And we have five years of evidence that anyone who challenges Bush becomes his enemy. Swell.

Spectacular sunrise this morning in Minnesota. The eastern sky was saturated with red. It reminded me of the folk forecast: "Red sky at morning, sailors take warning." All the signs were there. We can anticipate some rough weather ahead.


Posted by: PTate in MN on April 7, 2006 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

A few tactical bombing raids on suspected/alleged Iranian nuclear development sites and all this will be moot in the public's mind. Nothing like the promise of a fresh kill zone to take one's eye off the ball.

Posted by: steve duncan on April 7, 2006 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

It's odd how the Bush team can't adjust to what's happened to them. For a long time, they abused the good will of the public, which in general gave them the benefit of the doubt in controversial matters. No more. Now the basic public assumption is that they are dissembling or even lying, that their judgment is bad, and that their motives are not good, seeking only to enhance their own power. So the president can't just skate by anymore by saying, "I'm doing what I think is best," because most folks don't believe him, most think his idea of what's best is likely to be wrong, and most think he's really more interested in increasing his own power than anything else.

If they were a reasonable outfit, they'd try to do things to convince the public they were telling the truth, were competent, and were trying to uphold the constitution and the laws. But they barely even pretend to address these problems. It's a disaster for them.

Posted by: David in NY on April 7, 2006 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

"Too, too late. The far too loyal opposition already sleeps."

Does this mean that some reptiles, like Joey Lieberman, sleep with their eyes wide open?

Posted by: koreyel on April 7, 2006 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

"Once the public accepts the idea that domestic-to-international calls can be tapped at the whim of the administration without a warrant and without bothering to show probable cause"

If 9/11 and video threats of continued violence against the U.S. isn't "probable cause" enough for you then there is no convincing you. *shrug* No matter what the Prez. does is going to be wrong to you so why bother even discussing it?

Posted by: Lurker42 on April 7, 2006 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

Well this is strange. I thought the lefts contention all along was that Bush WAS "domestic spying". Now you're saying that he only has been eavesdropping on foreign-domestic calls but MAY include "purely domestic-domestic" calls. So which is it? Could you have been playing the "fear" card all along, telling the public that he is domestic spying?

What a crock of shit.

Posted by: Jay on April 7, 2006 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

....Gonzales previously testified in the Senate that Bush had considered including purely domestic communications in the NSA spying program, but he said the idea was rejected in part because of fears of a public outcry.

Yes. Not because it would be wrong, mind you, but because it might make them look bad.

"Fears of a public outcry" equals "We'd really like to do this in secret but we're afraid people would find out about it."

Posted by: Alek Hidell on April 7, 2006 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

Um Alek, do ya think it might have been important to listen to any phone calls between Moussaoui and Atta while they were both here?

Or is violating the civil rights of murderers too important to you?

Posted by: Jay on April 7, 2006 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

Simmering frog?

Posted by: Hollywood Liberal on April 7, 2006 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

If 9/11 and video threats of continued violence against the U.S. isn't "probable cause" enough for you then there is no convincing you. *shrug* No matter what the Prez. does is going to be wrong to you so why bother even discussing it?

Lurker -- you forgot to change your name to fake Al before posting.

Posted by: Political Squirrel on April 7, 2006 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

"playing the "fear" card"

Well said Jay.

Posted by: Lurker42 on April 7, 2006 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Bush/Cheney and the GOP are dreaming a fevered dream whenever they try to claim supermagical powers without end for the President.

Nice to see you Praedor.

Posted by: ckelly on April 7, 2006 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

Lurker42,

The fact is, fighting terrorism and upholding the rule of law are complementary, not contradictory. There are many, many options within the rule of law to aggressively and effectively fight terrorism.

But that fight -- the legal fight -- begins with sound leadership, good judgment and good administrative skills. That's what we are currently lacking in the White House.

Excellent post above by David in NY. Most of us gave the President the benefit of the doubt after 9/11, until we realized he was abusing our trust.

Posted by: pj_in_jesusland on April 7, 2006 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

If 9/11 and video threats of continued violence against the U.S. isn't "probable cause" enough for you then there is no convincing you.

I don't understand. Probable cause of what?. That there is probable cause to believe that there are groups out there willing to use the tactic of terrorism against any target, Western or not? Duh. Same old same old. What I do NOT see is how this one event can be as probable cause to tap ANYONE without any probable cause that they are involved in such attacks. THAT is what probable cause is for, a reasonable argument that shows a likelihood that person x is involved in illegal act y. It is NOT a means to give carte blanche to simply spy on anyone and everyone without vetted reason.

It is not good enough that BUSH or CHENEY thinks there's probable cause to spy on all the communications of Jane Hamsher (firedoglake) because...just because she is "agin" much of what they want to do (to people). There must be a disinterested, reasonable third party involved (the courts and/or Congress) to ensure that the Executive isn't wandering off the reservation.

Ever hear of the 4th Amendment? I suggest you take about 15 minutes, ASAP, to sit down and read over the Bill of Rights, paying particular attention to the 4th Amendment, thoroughly. Consider the words and their meaning in the context of the Bill of Rights. Then consider it in context of what they had experienced and, thus, how the Constitution and Bill of Rights were a response to their direct experience.

C'mon, leave the keyboard and read. You REALLY need to.

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on April 7, 2006 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

The Bush administration addresses its critics.

Posted by: anonymous on April 7, 2006 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

I suppose some people are going to be like Lurker42, willing to give up their civil rights forever because there are dangers from terrorists. Those kinds of dangers existed before September 11, of course (ask people in Oklahoma City or even your grandparents who remember Pearl Harbor), but we managed to preserve limited government and civil rights for all. So it's clear that the scaredy-pants like Lurker42 aren't correct that we have to change the principles established by Madison, Jefferson, Hamilton and their colleagues just because of a single event. The dangers we face can be met within Constitutional limits, and the fears of those like Lurker42 are no basis for ignoring the Constitution's limits on the government's power.

Anyway, Lurker42's notion of what probable cause is apparently arises from complete ignorance of what the Constitution's Framers meant and what the courts have always read it to mean. Probable cause means specific reason to believe that a person is engaged in some crime. If as Lurker42 seems to think, it meant that the mere possibility that a very bad crime could occur again gives the government the power to invade the rights of everyone, regardless of connection to illegal activity, there would be no point to the Constitutional limitations on government at all.

Posted by: David in NY on April 7, 2006 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

And by the way, the degree of troll agitation on this issue shows that it has struck a deep nerve. They know this is the end for Bush; it may take a while, but it's all over. And they can't contain their irrational, ad hominem, attacks any more.

Posted by: David in NY on April 7, 2006 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

Anything will go provided there is some excuse of national panic. The only integrity to stop this would be the administration's and I think we well know that they have no limits. So there we go. Forget all the amendments. In fact, forget the constitution. Welcome, King George the Third. We have not seen you on these shores for a while.

Posted by: jonathan on April 7, 2006 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum: This is exactly why a public outcry is important

...

Once the public accepts the idea that domestic-to-international calls can be tapped at the whim of the administration...they're a lot less likely to be upset at the prospect of domestic-to-domestic calls being tapped too

And I wonder how one would go about ensuring the public and their representatives do not accept that idea? Hmmm...

Of course according to Kevin, actually holding the Administration to account via censure amounts to "political theater"...

Kevin must enjoy playing three-card monte...

The walkback continues...the good news is Kevin is willing to change his mind eventually...we will welcome you with open arms Kevin...

Posted by: justmy2 on April 7, 2006 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

David in NY: "And by the way, the degree of troll agitation on this issue shows that it has struck a deep nerve. They know this is the end for Bush...."

An encouraging insight. I hope you are right!

Posted by: PTate in MN on April 7, 2006 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

"This is the end for Bush" - David.

No shit. That's what usually happens to all second term Presidents.

Can anyone tell me why you had your collective panties in a bunch over "domestic" spying when in fact you now realize that it has been "foreign-domestic" spying which EVERY president has had authority to do? Was it the fear card you were playing to further your maniacal obsession with Bush?

The difference here is between a real or imagined threat. Guess which threat the lefts is?

I suggest the left focus's on the rampant racism in the Capital Hill Police dept. That's a subject more in line with your skills. Leave the big issues to the grown ups.

Posted by: Jay on April 7, 2006 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

"Simmering frog?"

This phrase has to do with the idea that if you place a frog in water and very slowly increase the temperature, even though the water may reach the point of boiling, the frog will not jump out. It fails to notice the harm of incremental increases until it is too late.

I think this is an apt comparison. Although I feel like there are a few frogs who have jumped out of the pot, to the remaining amphibians it's just the nicest warmest bath they've ever had.

Posted by: Kermit on April 7, 2006 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

pj_in_jesusland & Praedor Atrebates

Yeah, yeah, yeah we've been through all this before. Nothing has changed. I still side with the president and you don't. Your reasons are yours and my reasons are mine. I'm quite familiar with the constitution, thank you, and I agree with the prez. that he DOES have the inherent authority to listen in on ENEMY conversations. I agree with checks and balances and as I've said numerous times that under the circumstances the checks and balances should have been conducted quietly instead of displaying to the world a completely in-cohesive government. The boisterous manner in which the democrats handled this told me that doing the right thing is not in their interest but making the prez look bad was/is.
Now if you want to call this mindless flag waving, go ahead. But frankly, in times of war I think the country could use a little flag waving now and then.

Posted by: Lurker42 on April 7, 2006 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

The walkback continues...the good news is Kevin is willing to change his mind eventually...we will welcome you with open arms Kevin...

Speak for yourself. I left these realms for a while because of Kevin's lack of ethics or principle. Once someone has shown their true colors as he has, it is impossible to trust them any longer. YOU can welcome him back with open arms but me? I'll stand back and watch him closely because he has proven that he cannot be trusted. He's just one knee-jerk away from turn-tailing and running back to looneyland.

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on April 7, 2006 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Lurker42 -- no one disputes the president's powers to listen in on the conversations of someone he has reasonable cause to believe is an "enemy"; if he does it he just has to get approval of a court beforehand or within 72 hourse of establishing the wiretap. That's what the law and the Fourt Amendment happen to require. What's your problem with that.

The position you're taking is that he can wiretap you or me or anybody else without showing probable cause to believe we're enemies. How can you justify that?

Used to be that people on the right favored limited government.

Posted by: David in NY on April 7, 2006 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

This post is a wonderful example of moonbat bait. Written solely to bring in moonbats wanting reinforcement of their world view.

Here's what interests me: is Kevin even remotely aware of the facts? Is this being done simply to stir up the unwashed masses, or is he truly ignorant of what is going on?

Posted by: conspiracy nut on April 7, 2006 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

In this age of high tech communication, with the ability to instantaneously pinpoint locations of said bad people. Why not just arrest them on the spot. Since there are only so many terrorists then the threat should quickly be neutralized. If not then someone is dropping the ball or the doctrine is fatally flawed.

Posted by: allen kayda on April 7, 2006 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

And there it is folks. Praedors comments clearly demonstrates that unless you walk in lockstep with the left, there is no room for you in the loony bin.

They are of a single mind and will not tolerate difference of opinion. A lot like fascism.

Posted by: Jay on April 7, 2006 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

Jay,

Why, when events of such importance manifest themselves, do conservatives become fixated on things like "panties?" You and tbrosz -- "peeing in pink panties," "getting panties in a bunch . . ."

Your attempts to trivialize and avoid dealing with historic events like Bush's systematic abuse of presidential power make conservatives sound out of touch.

Perhaps derisive comments play well with the 33 percent of the incorrigible populace who still support President Bush, but they do make you sound shallow and repetitive, like callers on Rush Limbaugh's talk shows.

Posted by: pj_in_jesusland on April 7, 2006 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not American. :) Posted by: mcA on April 7, 2006 at 3:44 AM

Neither are the Iraqis and look how well that worked for them.

Hey, aren't there a lot of Muslims in Malaysia?

Why so there is, 52% of the population is Muslim.

Hmmm, with George in charge, you might be in trouble after all.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on April 7, 2006 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Alek: "Fears of a public outcry" equals "We'd really like to do this in secret but we're afraid people would find out about it."

And his comments yesterday equal "This is going to come out eventually, so y'all start getting used to the idea and when everything finally blows wide open, we can cry, 'Old news!'"

Posted by: shortstop on April 7, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

Bush was really let down by his advisors, they should have explained to him that the FISC court and the FISC court procedures are specifically designed to protect the President of the United States from accusations of political abuse of intelligence wiretaps.

By going around the court, Bush has left himself exposed. Now its too late. His political capital is in deficit and he is drawing down on a lot of GOP capital as well.

Posted by: Nemesis on April 7, 2006 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

"I'm not American. :)"

So explain to me again why you give a shit?

Posted by: brewmn on April 7, 2006 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

And there it is folks. Praedors comments clearly demonstrates that unless you walk in lockstep with the left, there is no room for you in the loony bin.

Jay why would I care about anything you say you dirty communist.

In future please do not address me.

Posted by: folks on April 7, 2006 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

But frankly, in times of war I think the country could use a little flag waving now and then.

We're at war? With whom? When did Congress declare this war? When will Bush call for a draft and for Americans to give up their tax cuts so we can fund this war?


Posted by: Stefan on April 7, 2006 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

pj, you just have to call a spade a spade, or in other words drama queens. Which the far left clearly is.

Isn't it a wonder how Bush's continued declining poll numbers gave him a larger margin of victory in '04 than '00? Isn't it a wonder how members of Congress are briefed frequently on the NSA program and yet the far left continues to ignore that fact? If there is "systematic abuse' of presidential authority, I would expect those charges to be brought forthwith. So, bring it on.

If you have no solid evidence, I would suggest ridding the Capital Hill Police dept. of the racism that is so clearly evident.

"He played upon our fears" - Gore

Maybe that should have been:

"I played upon your fears"

Posted by: Jay on April 7, 2006 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

I am a clean communist, having just showered.

Posted by: Jay on April 7, 2006 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

I am a clean communist, having just showered.

All the perfumes of Arabia...

Posted by: shortstop on April 7, 2006 at 11:00 AM | PERMALINK

"or within 72 hourse of establishing the wiretap"

I will grant you that.
That still doesn't excuse the way congressional democrats handled it. Not during a time of war. If we ever need to present a unified front to the world it is when we are at war.

"Used to be that people on the right favored limited government."

Still are but during war the commander in chief needs every bit of authority and ever resource at his/her disposal.

Posted by: Lurker42 on April 7, 2006 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK
Isn't it a wonder how Bush's continued declining poll numbers gave him a larger margin of victory in '04 than '00?

Bush's poll numbers didn't decline from '00 to '04, overall, they went up.

Now, they were declining most of that period, but the spike at 9/11, and to a lesser extent at the beginning of the Iraq war, made them go up overall.

Now, admittedly, since '04 Bush hasn't gotten much in the way of spikes, and has only experienced the long-run shrinking base of support, which doesn't offer much hope to Republicans running in '06 who'd really like a popular President to tie their fortunes too. But the premise of your question is a lie.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 7, 2006 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

I agree with checks and balances and as I've said numerous times that under the circumstances the checks and balances should have been conducted quietly instead of displaying to the world a completely in-cohesive government.

No, incorrect. Checks and balances "conducted quietly" are an open invitation to abuse, as you can simply hide your misdeeds. We're a democracy, dependent on the consent of the governed, and the American people have a fundamental right to know what's being done in their name.

Who cares if "the world" sees a "completely incohesive government"? (Do we care about what the rest of the world thinks or don't we? I can never keep up). What you call chaos I call the healthy interplay of opinions and arguments, the open and free back and forth that keeps us on our toes and keeps our discourse healthy. A quiet government is a dangerous government.

Posted by: Stefan on April 7, 2006 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

Really cm, so Bush's approval rating of 86% in 2001 went up from there in 2004. Wow.

Or did you lie?

Posted by: Jay on April 7, 2006 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

Well, none of the trolls has been able to explain why the president can't get a warrant when he's got reason to believe some enemy is worth spying on. That pretty much reduces them to frothing about the Capitol Police Department and other such irrelevancies or maybe to ad hominem attacks on Kevin.

I say that, as a political matter this issue strikes deep. Bush is done and so is the Republican Congress that backs him (although even somebody like Sensenbrenner has more sense than our trolls, since he attacked Gonzales yesterday; maybe even the wacko right congressfolks have turned against the administration).

Posted by: David in NY on April 7, 2006 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

A quiet government is a dangerous government.

Right on, but unfortunately this government's only quiet when it's hiding information we have a need and right to know. The rest of the time, it won't shut the hell up with its simultaneous blustering and boo-hooing.

Posted by: shortstop on April 7, 2006 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

tbrosz? said: 'Before you guys start peeing in your pink panties, read the whole transcript. Gonzales qualifies his statement by giving the example of conversation between known Al Queda (sp?)'

So let me get this straight. To some on the right as long as you can give an example of a crime being committed in the past it is okay to throw out any part of the constitution that you feel is inconvenient to your deterrence of said crime in future? If you feel the constitution is no longer useful is needs to be changed or repealed not ignored. If it was a conversation between know Al Qaeda members why would listening with a warrant be less effective. You guys do realize that they don't have to keep the warrants in their ear, right?

Posted by: bushburner on April 7, 2006 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

Not during a time of war. If we ever need to present a unified front to the world it is when we are at war.

Once again we are not at war.

Still are but during war the commander in chief needs every bit of authority and ever resource at his/her disposal.

Once again, Bush is not our commander-in-chief -- he is the C-in-C of the military, not of American citizens.

Here's Section 2 of the Constitution: "The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States; he may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices, and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment."

Posted by: Stefan on April 7, 2006 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

This post is a wonderful example of moonbat bait. Written solely to bring in moonbats wanting reinforcement of their world view.

Here's what interests me: is Kevin even remotely aware of the facts? Is this being done simply to stir up the unwashed masses, or is he truly ignorant of what is going on?

Posted by: conspiracy nut on April 7, 2006 at 10:44 AM

Sorry nut the only thing that brings us out is a heated discussion on what color of goat skin tents the socialist swedes are living in this year.

Posted by: Neo the commissar on April 7, 2006 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

Still are but during war the commander in chief needs every bit of authority and ever resource at his/her disposal.

Every resource? So why aren't Republicans lining up around the block to enlist and fight in Iraq and Afghanistan? Why isn't the right-wing clamoring to pay more taxes so the government can fund this mythical war instead of borrowing its costs from the Communist Chinese?

Posted by: Stefan on April 7, 2006 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

I am still waiting for the answer of why the left would play upon the fears of the public telling them that Bush was domestic spying when now we realize that it has been strictly foreign-domestic intercepts.

why oh why oh why?

Could it be disingenuous Bush hatred?

Posted by: Jay on April 7, 2006 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

Cut 'n Run Jay on April 7, 2006 at 10:57 AM:

Isn't it a wonder how Bush's continued declining poll numbers gave him a larger margin of victory in '04 than '00?

Cut'n Run Jay, the current year is 2006.

Isn't it a wonder how members of Congress are briefed frequently on the NSA program and yet the far left continues to ignore that fact?

If it is a fact, then please cite your source so everyone here can examine it, Cut'n Run Jay...Otherwise, shut your damn piehole.

If there is "systematic abuse' of presidential authority, I would expect those charges to be brought forthwith.

If that happened, you'd still dispute the validity of those charges, Cut'n Run Jay.

So, bring it on.

Famous last words, Cut'n Run Jay.

Posted by: grape_crush on April 7, 2006 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

How could I dispute the validity of those charges grape? oh excuse me, what charges?

"shut your pie-hole"
oooooh, watch out people, an angry liberal, yikes!

Posted by: Jay on April 7, 2006 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

Still are but during war the commander in chief needs every bit of authority and ever resource at his/her disposal. Posted by: Lurker42 on April 7, 2006 at 11:01 AM

So your saying that if we're at war the president becomes a dictator.

I mean, you did say, "every bit of authority and ever (sic) resource" which is the DEFINITION OF A DICTATORSHIP.

Sorry, but please point to the section of the Consitution that says that the President has unlimited power during war. Don't see any exceptions in my copy.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on April 7, 2006 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

none of the trolls has been able to explain why the president can't get a warrant when he's got reason to believe some enemy is worth spying on
Oh, but they have. You moonbats just keep ignoring everything that doesn't agree with the voices in your head.

And let me guess, you're wondering why nobody but other moonbats take you seriously, right?

Posted by: conspiracy nut on April 7, 2006 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

Sorry Jay but violating the civil rights of anyone is too important to me. You just don't get it - do you?

Posted by: ckelly on April 7, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

But frankly, in times of war I think the country could use a little flag waving now and then.

What county are we at war with again? I must have missed it.

According to Condoleezza Rice a few months back, there were less than two hundred Al Qaeda members left. Certainly a superpower with three hundred million people and the world's most powerful military isn't warring with a couple hundred guys?

War is what happens between nation-states. Al Qaeda is a crime syndicate. No, not even that; it's a loose group of disaffected guys who want to use terror tactics to destabilize governments and societies around the world, including their own.

Just because people are traumatized doesn't mean we're at war, and just because bin Laden wants Americans to give up their liberties and the protections of the Constitution doesn't mean we should.

Posted by: Windhorse on April 7, 2006 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

Don't let your hatred of GWB force you to lose your common sense. Posted by: tbrosz

Tbroz lecturing on common sense is like a whore lecturing on chastity

Posted by: DJ on April 7, 2006 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

Jay: The original New York Times made it clear that all that was known was that there was spying on domestic citizens who made overseas calls. Lots of people think it's reasonable to call that domestic spying; apparently you don't, but suit yourself. It was also apparent at that time, and seems to have been confirmed by Gonzales, that the government's actions go well beyond that, to spying without warrants upon entirely domestic transactions. Certainly the government contends it has the power to wiretap domestic conversations without warrants.

You're so voluble about the "left," it would be nice to hear your own position. Does the president ever have to seek a warrant for wiretapping? If so, when? And if he doesn't, why, for heaven's sake, not?

I say the trolls are worried, by the way. This isn't playing well in Peoria or anywhere else.

But really, Jay, what's your position?

Posted by: David in NY on April 7, 2006 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

War is what happens between nation-states. Al Qaeda is a crime syndicate. No, not even that; it's a loose group of disaffected guys who want to use terror tactics to destabilize governments and societies around the world, including their own. Just because people are traumatized doesn't mean we're at war, and just because bin Laden wants Americans to give up their liberties and the protections of the Constitution doesn't mean we should.

The right-wing is currently claiming that we're "at war" mrely because American troops are in combat elsewhere in the world (a standard they never applied to Clinton in the 1990s when our forces were fighting in Somalia, Bosnia and Kosovo, however).

However, if you look throughout our history and count up the instances in which American forces were in combat with some power somewhere (including all the Indian wars, the numerous Caribbean and Latin American incursions, the Cold War, etc. etc.) then there's been almost no year since the founding of the Republic, according to that standard, during which America has not been "at war."

If we're supposed to give up our liberties every time our forces are in the field then we may as well give them up entirely -- which, presumably, is what the Right actually wants.

Posted by: Stefan on April 7, 2006 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

There is no constitutional right to privacy. For good or ill this is a fact. If the president determines that the US government needs to gather to domestic intelligence data, the constitution doesn't preclude doing so. In fact, I would imagine Republicans would generally argue that his oath of office compels him to do so in the face of a threat to the nation.

Also, you shouldn't doubt that a majority of Americans would support such powers if there were another terrorist attack. People would rather be safe than have privavcy.

And really, isn't it more honest to simply say that intelligence will be gathered, rather than setting up some sort of rubber-stamp warrant and approval process. Has FISA ever refused a request? Demanding "judicial oversight" of intelligence activities doesn't in the end change the facts on the ground.

Posted by: Tom on April 7, 2006 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

Dr. Morpheus:
"Sorry, but please point to the section of the Consitution that says that the President has unlimited power during war. Don't see any exceptions in my copy."

Sorry, but please point to the section of my post that says that the President has unlimited power during war.
Right back at ya there Doc.

Posted by: Lurker42 on April 7, 2006 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

Jay.,
What's next blowin spitballs at us and it's genuine bush hatred the little bastard earned every molecule of it too.
So when you gonna head out to Iraq and paint schools and hand out candy bars to the troops and little kids. Maybe you could dress up as uncle sam. Perhaps give a few speechs introduce the masses to rap music and nascar. Hand out free copies of Basic Instict 2. Damn boy after awhile you can get on a motherf##kers nerves man.

Posted by: boy george on April 7, 2006 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

The dirty secret in the Bush administration is that the fear of publicly making the argument that FISA itself is unconstitutional.

All of their arguments about the AUMF and the President's inherent war powers logically lead the Bush White House to the conclusion that Congress exceeded its bounds in passing FISA.

But aside from Yoo and a few fellow travelers, that won't make this argument. They know they'll lose in both the courts of justice and public opinion.

For more background, see:
"The Republicans Constitutional Crisis"

Posted by: AvengingAngel on April 7, 2006 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

I am still waiting for the answer of why the left would play upon the fears of the public telling them that Bush was domestic spying when now we realize that it has been strictly foreign-domestic intercepts.

why oh why oh why?

You're not waiting any more, Jay; see my prior post. The answer is that your whole twisting of the debates has been disingenuous and designed to avoid the issues. How about answering my question now. When, if ever, does the president have to get a warrant to wiretap someone?

Posted by: David in NY on April 7, 2006 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

Tom-- Actually, the Constitution does preclude his doing so, most notably in a portion popularly known as the "4th Amendment." It hasn't been repealed, yet.

I agree with you that most Americans are scared and/or stupid enough to let the President do just about anything as long as they think it will protect them from the Bad Men.

Posted by: Jeff in Texas on April 7, 2006 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Also, you shouldn't doubt that a majority of Americans would support such powers if there were another terrorist attack. People would rather be safe than have privavcy.

"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." -- Benjamin Franklin.

Posted by: Stefan on April 7, 2006 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

What did Bush and Cheney tell Fitzgerald when they were interviewed together by him(not under oath) early in the investigation? Did they obstruct justice? Did they mislead a government agent? If they admitted that they had authorized the leak it seems to me the investigation would have come to a halt.

Posted by: fred on April 7, 2006 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

Jay,

You confirm my worst impressions about today's conservatives.

Bush's election margin does not justify his abuse of power. Remember, under the rule of law the ends do not justify the means. The fact that Republicans were able to cling to the White House in 2004 does not validate any of Bush's policy decisions. The only thing his margin of victory validates is his election strategy.

Let's consider that for a minute. Scooter Libby's recently disclosed court documents show conclusively that President Bush, with the help of his staff, deliberately manipulated national security intelligence prior to the 2004 election in order to cover up the fact that the President made serious mistakes in assessing the pre-war Iraqi threat.

If the information we now have had been available in 2003-2004 -- for example, if Bush had just been honest about the source of the leaks -- there's an excellent chance that Bush's pre-election support would have been in the same range as his current approval ratings and Kerry would be President.

The issue is not about fear, as much as you try and confuse things. It's about honesty, good judgment and the rule of law, no matter how you and other conservatives try to trivialize these important issues.

While you are busy fixating on panties, calling spades "spades" and manipulating fear, the 70 percent of the people who no longer approve of the job Bush is doing will be studying Amendment 4 of the Bill of Rights -- you know, that "leftist" one about people being secure from unreasonable searches and seizures. The one that's supposed to protect citizens from despotic powers.

By the way, if Democrats win in November, will that "prove" the President was wrong all along? By your logic, election margins can give us the answer to these questions.

Posted by: pj_in_jesusland on April 7, 2006 at 11:28 AM | PERMALINK

This is AWESOME!

I can't wait until Hilary Clinton is president and has all these great tools.

I can only imagine how crazy lunatic Republicans will be when they say "But Hilary and Bill Clinton did this and that" and I can say "Sorry guys. We're at war and the President has to do what needs to be done as a matter of national security."

AWESOME!

Posted by: Jay Severin Has A Small Pen1s on April 7, 2006 at 11:29 AM | PERMALINK

"The NY Times made it clear". Do you always believe what is printed in the NY Times?

I trust our elected officials, which includes a 7 member review panel of the Senate to do the right thing. That's why we elect them. Should Bush have adhered to the 72 hour FISA warrant process? Maybe. But unconventional times sometimes requires unconventional methods. I also trust that IF they are any illegal activities in this program, trusted officials will bring it to light, that includes the three Democrats on the oversight panel. Unless and until that happens, all the hysteria surrounding this program is unfounded.

Posted by: Jay on April 7, 2006 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

The ignorance on this thread is amazing and again emphasizes the depth of our trolls' desperation. To wit: "There is no constitutional right to privacy. For good or ill this is a fact." Even Alito and Roberts conceded that there was such a right in the text of the Constitution's Fourth Amendment. There is no doubt whatsoever that there is a right to privacy conferred by the Fourth Amendment, and Tom is utterly wrong to state otherwise.

Posted by: David in NY on April 7, 2006 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

Lurker,
... every bit of authority and ever resource at his/her disposal. Posted by: Lurker42 on April 7, 2006 at 11:01 AM

Or don't you remember what you just posted?

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on April 7, 2006 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Lurker42: Sorry, but please point to the section of my post that says that the President has unlimited power during war.

Still are but during war the commander in chief needs every bit of authority and ever resource at his/her disposal. Posted by: Lurker42 on April 7, 2006 at 11:01 AM

Posted by: Stefan on April 7, 2006 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Bush is a lame duck and Abu his cabana keeper. True dictators would piss in their open mouths.

So if this isn't just some more flaccid rolling around by the lazy shit-pig ' political animal' Kevin Drum then what about the looming Hillary/donkee show threat in 08?

Her rapist, liar, criminal, degenerate, Marc Rich pardoning, husband tried their rotten criminal damndest to install CLIPPER spy chips in every computor and she, herself squarked up a storm at the slightest hint of acountability ( Damn the PAM plan slam 2003 ) This women is a fascist menace.

Posted by: professor rat on April 7, 2006 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

Cut'n Run Jay on April 7, 2006 at 11:12 AM:

How could I dispute the validity of those charges grape? oh excuse me, what charges?

Apparently the phrase 'If that happened' is beyond your comprehension, Cut'n Run Jay. And actually, Dubya would step down before he is impeached. Just like Nixon.

oooooh, watch out people, an angry liberal, yikes!

Oooooh, watch out people, a lying 'publican; don't Cut'n Run Jay start humping your leg!

Posted by: grape_crush on April 7, 2006 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

Your very lives are held within my fingers
I snap them and you cower down in fear
You spineless things who belly down to slither
To the end of the world you follow to be near

(Tyrant) Capture of humanity
(Tyrant) Conqueror of all
(Tyrant) Hideous destructor
(Tyrant) Every man shall fall

Mourn for us oppressed in fear
Chained and shackled we are bound
Freedom choked in dread we live
Since Tyrant was enthroned

I listen not to sympathy
Whilst ruler of this land
Withdraw your feeble aches and moans
Or suffer smite from this my hand

My legions faithful unto death
I'll summon to my court
And as you perish each of you
Shall scream as you are sought

(Tyrant) Capture of humanity
(Tyrant) Conqueror of all
(Tyrant) Hideous destructor
(Tyrant) Every man shall fall

"Tyrant" - Judas Priest

Posted by: Red on April 7, 2006 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

um, jay? do you, yknow, keep up with the news? the administration, in the form of gonzales, yesterday CONFIRMED what has been assumed, about monitoring purely domestic conversations.

rest of you, remember when bush joked about how inconvenient democracy was -- all those rules and things -- and how much easier it would be to be a dictator?

Posted by: dmg on April 7, 2006 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

I know I'm just wasting words here, and I really should save myself the work, but I suppose there's a chance that one or two of you moonbats might actually be able to breathe through your nose. You can dig around for your own links, you're not worth that much effort, but these are the words of the FISA court in Sealed Case No. 02-001

The Truong court, as did all the other courts to have decided the issue, held that the President did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information. ... We take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the Presidents constitutional power.
And this is a section from United States v. Truong that was referenced
For several reasons, the needs of the executive are so compelling in the area of foreign intelligence, unlike the area of domestic security, that a uniform warrant requirement would, following [United States v. United States District Court, 407 U.S. 297 (1972)], unduly frustrate the President in carrying out his foreign affairs responsibilities. First of all, attempts to counter foreign threats to the national security require the utmost stealth, speed and secrecy. A warrant requirement would add a procedural hurdle that would reduce the flexibility of executive foreign intelligence activities, in some cases delay executive response to foreign intelligence threats, and increase the chance of leaks regarding sensitive executive operations.
You may now put your fingers back in your ears and cover your eyes up so you can go back to your knee-jerk reactionary Bush bashing.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on April 7, 2006 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

I trust our elected officials...

Tom Delay was an elected official.

Posted by: ckelly on April 7, 2006 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK
What did Bush and Cheney tell Fitzgerald when they were interviewed together by him(not under oath) early in the investigation? Did they obstruct justice? Did they mislead a government agent? If they admitted that they had authorized the leak it seems to me the investigation would have come to a halt.

What they (per Libby) authorized is not the Plame leak, but a related and contemporaneous release of (supposedly specially de-)classified information from the NIE regarding Iraq's WMD.

So, if they had admitted that, it wouldn't necessarily have stopped an investigation into the Plame leak.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 7, 2006 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

The 4th amendment is not a guaranty of privacy. It says nothing about monitoring communication. Moreover, the qualifier of "unreasonable" is open to interpretation. I'm sure some would argue that when the nation lies under threat of violence that "reasonable" can be interpreted very loosely.

Posted by: Tom on April 7, 2006 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

Jay, I think we all agree with this: "I also trust that IF the[re] are any illegal activities in this program, trusted officials will bring it to light, that includes the three Democrats on the oversight panel." So why are all the Republicans stonewalling an investigation? Why won't Gonzales tell Rep. Sensenbrenner what the administration is doing? Why aren't you demanding that the administration cooperate with the feeble investigations there are, so that this can all be cleared up? Why don't you just admit that there's no reason not to get the warrants, given the flexible FISA structure?

Cripes! If Bush has violated the law (as I think he has, though opinions may differ), then Congress ought to find out and censure or impeach him. Right?

Posted by: David in NY on April 7, 2006 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

"What county are we at war with again"

To all of you who don't or don't WANT to think we are in the midst of a war. If you haven't seen, read, or heard enough to convince you then *shrug* I'm not going to be able to convince you. As I said in my first post in here today, "I don't know why you even bother to discuss it.". You already have it all wrapped up in your mind.

Posted by: Lurker42 on April 7, 2006 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

While the geniuses here are barking at the fake tbrosz, did anyone bother to look at the actual exchange I posted?

Posted by: tbrosz on April 7, 2006 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

I trust our elected officials, which includes a 7 member review panel of the Senate to do the right thing. That's why we elect them.

Lie.

See, e.g the text of Senate Intelligence Committe Senator Jay Rockefeller's July 17, 2003, letter to Cheney, in which Rockefeller clearly raised his objections to the limited extent of the briefings he received on the wiretapping program. Rockefeller stated:

"Clearly, the activities we discussed raise profound oversight issues. As you know, I am neither a technician, nor an attorney. Given the security restrictions associated with this information, and my inability to consult staff or counsel on my own, I feel unable to fully evaluate, much less endorse these activities....Without more information and the ability to draw on independent legal or technical expertise, I simply cannot satisfy lingering concerns raised by the briefing we received."

More from Media Matters:

Additionally...claims that "the leaders of Congress were fully and completely and repeatedly briefed" on the wiretapping program and that "[n]o politician among those who has been thoroughly briefed on this claims that the briefings were insufficient and vague" are contradicted by the statements of several Democrats -- Rockefeller included -- who say they received briefings on the program, but that the briefings were inadequate. For example, Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a December 21, 2005, statement that she was "deeply concerned by reports that this [wiretapping] program in fact goes far beyond the measures to target Al Qaeda about which I was briefed." Also, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) has said there were "omissions of consequence" in the briefings he received in 2002 and 2004. And former Sen. Bob Graham (D-FL), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee at the time Bush first authorized the program, has claimed that he was never informed "that the program would involve eavesdropping on American citizens." Further, a December 23, 2005, New York Times article noted that Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) -- along with Harman and Graham -- "have all suggested in recent days that they were not provided with a complete accounting of the program, and that they might have raised objections if they had understood its scope."

Moreover, Graham and Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee -- along with aides to Rockefeller and Reid -- have all said that the briefings did not constitute written reports about the program, which are required of the White House under the National Security Act of 1947 (as amended in 2001).

A January 18 report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service concluded that the Bush administration's limited notification of Congress about the domestic surveillance program "appear[s] to be inconsistent with the law."

http://mediamatters.org/items/200603210002

Posted by: Stefan on April 7, 2006 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Um, what is there about the words foreign intelligence activities that conspiracy nut cannot understand?

Posted by: David in NY on April 7, 2006 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK
And really, isn't it more honest to simply say that intelligence will be gathered, rather than setting up some sort of rubber-stamp warrant and approval process.

It might be, if it were actually a rubber-stamp rather than a substantive review that assured that foreign intelligence was being gathered rather than the Constitutional rights of Americans being abridged.

Has FISA ever refused a request?

Yes, though only extremely rarely before this administration; of course, the fact of review itself limits the kind of cases where the authority will be sought to be used.

Demanding "judicial oversight" of intelligence activities doesn't in the end change the facts on the ground.

It does change the "fact on the ground" of routine abuse of resources created and funded by Congress for foreign intelligence gathering by the exectutive for domestic political purposes in violation of the Constitutional rights of Americans -- the "fact on the ground" under Nixon that motivated the passage of FISA in the first place.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 7, 2006 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

Keep them eyes covered up David, you don't want to learn anything.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on April 7, 2006 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

"The frog is simmering."

Mmmmm....frog.

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on April 7, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

professor rat on April 7, 2006 at 11:32 AM:

Never mind that..CLINTON! Clinton-Clinton-Clinton-Clinton-Clinton-Clinton-Clinton-CLINTON!

Man...And we get slammed for 'Bush hatred'...At least the guy's still in office. Barely.

Posted by: grape_crush on April 7, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

You can't, I repeat, CAN'T use 'we're at war' as an excuse to break the law because WE STARTED THE WAR!!!!! It tells future presidents that if they want to break the law and throw the constitution in the trash, all you have to do is start an illegal war.

We didn't want this war. He is NOT a war president.

My god, the hangers-on are RIDICULUOS!

Posted by: Michael on April 7, 2006 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Tom: The 4th amendment is not a guaranty of privacy. It says nothing about monitoring communication.

200 plus years of constitutional interpretation tends to disagree with you, there. The courts have explicitly held across the board that the 4th Amendment covers "communications."

Moreover, the qualifier of "unreasonable" is open to interpretation. I'm sure some would argue that when the nation lies under threat of violence that "reasonable" can be interpreted very loosely.

"Unreasonable" is not the only word in that clause. Even if the threat is reasonable it must then still require a warrant which "shall issue...upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." That's the entire issue here, that the law requires a warrant and that Bush has been systematically breaking the law for years.

Posted by: Stefan on April 7, 2006 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

At least they don't have to mess with all that time-consuming language translation with domestic-to-domestic calls. Just flag some words in common use and start hauling people away for questioning.

Posted by: Gaia on April 7, 2006 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Tell it to the Supreme Court, Tom, all nine of them.

The Fourth Amendment protects privacy, including communications by telephone. Take a look at Katz v. United States, if you like. Of course you probably think the government is permitted to burst into your house and examine the contents of your computer because its not a "paper." The Supreme Court and the rest of us think that the words were used to protect communications generally, paper being the primary mode of communication at the time of enactment.

Posted by: David in NY on April 7, 2006 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Aw, my little cabbages, y'all calm down now. Really, the hardened Bush supporters have lost this one. They know it--just look at the flailing hysterics, attempts to misdirect, traveling goalposts and outright falsehoods.

Watch the free show--the longer they keep this up, the worse their numbers are with voters--but no need to get yourselves upset over it. Republicans have dug their own grave with Americans and if you step aside, they'll finish throwing themselves into it.

Posted by: shortstop on April 7, 2006 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK
I know I'm just wasting words here, and I really should save myself the work, but I suppose there's a chance that one or two of you moonbats might actually be able to breathe through your nose. You can dig around for your own links, you're not worth that much effort, but these are the words of the FISA court in Sealed Case No. 02-001
Your rather selective quotation obscures the limited significance of that statement, here it is with the relevant context you chose to omit:
We take for granted that the President does have that authority and, assuming that is so, FISA could not encroach on the Presidents constitutional power. The question before us is the reverse, does FISA amplify the Presidents power by providing a mechanism that at least approaches a classic warrant and which therefore supports the governments contention that FISA searches are constitutionally reasonable.

That is, whether the President had "inherent authority" was not an issue in that case, what was the issue was whether FISA provided new power to the President.

The first time you posted this, it may have been a clever effort to spin a dictum to say more than it does. The many times since then, though, its just been persistent dishonesty.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 7, 2006 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

...traveling goalposts...Posted by: shortstop on April 7, 2006 at 11:50 AM

Hey, wasn't Tom Petty and George Harrison in that band?

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on April 7, 2006 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

Jay makes it clear that he has not bothered to read anything on this issue other than wingnut talking points. Let me try to clear through some of the mud he has thrown onto this issue.

First some background. For this discussion, there are four types of phone calls: 1) foreign to foreign, 2) foreign to domestic, 3) domestic to foreign, and 4) domestic to domestic.

Types (1) and (2) can be tapped without a warrant. This is perfectly legal under FISA, and no one is claiming that the executive does not have this power. Note however, that when wingnuts complain about this issue, they almost always refer to type (2), as Jay does. Hannity is also guilty of this. It's a strawman; it's a lie. This is *not* domestic spying.

Type (3) is what GWB is claiming he can tap without a warrant, although FISA clearly states in black letter that he cannot. This is domestic spying, as the call was originated by someone in the US. It's the same as if someone in the US had mailed a letter to someone in another country, and the gvmt opened and read the letter before it left the country.

Type (4) is what the AG is hinting GWB could tap without warrant. This has most assuredly already happened as part of GWB's project to tap (3), because as often happens, one of the legs of a call that originates and ultimately terminates domestically, may very well go outside the country.

Of course, the bottom line is that there is simply no reason that GWB cannot obtain a warrant within 72 hrs of initiating a tap, except a) incompetence, or b) corruption. Take your pick.

Posted by: Disputo on April 7, 2006 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

To all of you who don't or don't WANT to think we are in the midst of a war. If you haven't seen, read, or heard enough to convince you then *shrug* I'm not going to be able to convince you. As I said in my first post in here today, "I don't know why you even bother to discuss it.". You already have it all wrapped up in your mind.

No, please, convince us. After all, this is a forum for discussion. If you think we're at war, then please explain who exactly we're at war with?

Posted by: Stefan on April 7, 2006 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

Hey, wasn't Tom Petty and George Harrison in that band?

Heh. Don't forget Creepy Roy Orbison. But the hardened Bush supporters (I don't know who made that up, but I love it) are indeed goin' to the end of the line, as the song says.

Posted by: shortstop on April 7, 2006 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

The Fourth Amendment protects privacy, including communications by telephone. Take a look at Katz v. United States, if you like.

Just to amplify what David in NY says, here's an excerpt from Justice Stewart's majority opinion in Katz v. United Staes, 389 U.S. 347 (1967):

"The Government's activities in electronically listening to and recording the petitioner's words violated the privacy upon which he justifiably relied while using the telephone booth and thus constituted a 'search and seizure' within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment....[W]herever a man may be, he is entitled to know that he will remain free from unreasonable searches and seizures. No less than an individual in a business office, in a friend's apartment, or in a taxicab, a person in a telephone booth may rely upon the protection of the Fourth Amendment."


Posted by: Stefan on April 7, 2006 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

Types (1) and (2) can be tapped without a warrant. This is perfectly legal under FISA, and no one is claiming that the executive does not have this power.

Depending on what you mean by "foreign" (i.e., whether it is by the nature of the participants or their location) either only a subset of (1), in the former case, or a subset of (1), (2), and (3) in the latter case can be tapped without a warrant under FISA. It is certainly not the case that all calls of type (2) may be monitored without a warrant under FISA.

Specifically, surveillance cannot be conducted without a warrant under FISA if there is a "substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party" (50 USC § 1802(a)(1)(B).

Further, even the unwarranted surveillance allowed under FISA requires a range of particular procedures to be followed. see, generally 50 USC § 1802.

Type (3) is what GWB is claiming he can tap without a warrant, although FISA clearly states in black letter that he cannot.

This is incorrect. The Administration has never claimed that it is restricting its surveillance outside of FISA to calls originating outside of the US, but has claimed that involves only calls where one endpoint is outside of the US. That includes both type (2) and type (3).

Type (4) is what the AG is hinting GWB could tap without warrant. This has most assuredly already happened as part of GWB's project to tap (3), because as often happens, one of the legs of a call that originates and ultimately terminates domestically, may very well go outside the country.

This is correct. Indeed, NSA officials have already stated that it has "accidentally" happened in the course of the program.


Posted by: cmdicely on April 7, 2006 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

As I pointed out on the day the NSA program was revealed, it is not plausible that the administration would stop tapping someone's phone when they hung up from an international call and made a domestic call! If they have a legitimate concern that the US person has an Al Queda connection, then they would certainly have a desire, and frankly a responsibility, to continue the surveillance. Clearly, they would need a warrant under our laws and constitution. Is Hayden lying when he says "we drew the line"? It would seem more plausible that he is lying than that they stop listening if they think that there really is an Al Queda connection.

Of course, pundits (who know less about data mining than some of us) will say that nobody is "listening" or "wiretapping". They will contend that this is an automated keyword search or some such nonsense. Pure smokescreen! Either your phone calls are being monitored or not. I would suggest that there is some likelihood that they are. Now we have to deal with it.
peace,
jim

Posted by: jim preston on April 7, 2006 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely
You trying to convince me, or you? The FISA court indicated the Truong decision is valid. And that view is pretty much supported by the fact that if the left could build an actual case, they wouldn't have to expend all their energy hyperventilating.

Did you read the full testimony of the former FISA judges that got hauled in front of Congress? The only thing the left has is hyperventilating.

Posted by: conspiracy nut on April 7, 2006 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

To all of you who don't or don't WANT to think we are in the midst of a war.

Naming the thing is important, Lurker. Don't confuse a metaphor with the thing itself.

Colonial skirmish for what you're doing in Iraq. For what you're doing (or not doing) with Al Qaeda something else. Certainly not something affecting me here at an internet cafe in Doha.

Posted by: #@!!%mm-hmm!!! on April 7, 2006 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop burps:

"Really, the hardened Bush supporters have lost this one."

Yeah, just keep telling yourself that, freckles. We'll continue to point out that the public response to this alleged gross violation of civil liberties has been one gigantic yawn.


"You will be outraged at Bush. You will, you will, you will. Anyone who is not outraged will be put up against a wall and shot."

Posted by: GOP on April 7, 2006 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK
You trying to convince me, or you?

Neither. I'm just pointing out another area of your persistent dishonesty to the crowd. I wouldn't mind if you owned up to it and changed your behavior, but I have no real expectation of that happening.

The FISA court indicated the Truong decision is valid.

It made no decision on that question as it was not before the Court at all.

And that view is pretty much supported by the fact that if the left could build an actual case, they wouldn't have to expend all their energy hyperventilating.

No, that supposed "fact", even if it were a fact, wouldn't support the view you suggest.

Did you read the full testimony of the former FISA judges that got hauled in front of Congress?

What in it do you think supports your case?

The only thing the left has is hyperventilating.

Seems to me, the only thing you have is retreat to vague subjective generalities when your specific errors and misrepresentations are pointed out.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 7, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

You sound reasonably calm for the moment, GOP. Your partners in crime here--not so much. I'm seeing a lot of scrambling for toeholds and zero yawning. What's up with that?

Oh, seen Bush's numbers this morning? What do you think they'll be by Monday--any ideas?

Posted by: shortstop on April 7, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Point A: AG Gonzales claims the president has the right to do domestic wire-taps, if he wants.

Point B: This debate is occuring in the context of the Valerie Plame case: The evidence suggests that President Bush is someone who believes it is a-okay for the POTUS to authorize a vicious attack to silence a citizen who dared threaten his authority.

Conclusion C: Bush is likely to authorize domestic spying in order to attack his political enemies. He is not a person who can be trusted to defend the Constitution. He is not a person who can be trusted to lead the USA.

Posted by: PTate in MN on April 7, 2006 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

While I most certainly agree that this administration has no qualms with tapping purely domestic calls, I think this is a move to cover their asses on the domestic-international tapping. There will be a strong backlash on this latest revelation so they will appear to "give ground" by saying that they'll agree only to tap domestic-international calls. It's just a way of making the domestic-international tapping look rational in comparison. This way, they'll get what they always wanted while appearing to have met us half way.

Posted by: Bern on April 7, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

This is exactly why a public outcry is important.

That is exactly what Feingold's censure resolution is about -- not self-puffery, not political theater, not jump-starting a presidential campaign. It's about public accountability and it is WAY overdue.

Dems, are you listening?!?

Posted by: JP on April 7, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

What county are we at war with again? I must have missed it. - Windhorse

Eurasia, we have ALWAYS been at war with Eurasia!

Posted by: Eric Paulsen on April 7, 2006 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Eastasia has ALWAYS been our ally!

Posted by: Eric Paulsen on April 7, 2006 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Lurker42: Sorry, but please point to the section of my post that says that the President has UNLIMITED POWER during war.

My earlier post:

Still are but during war the commander in chief needs every bit of authority and ever resource at his/her disposal."

Yes, I remember what I posted in fact it's right here. The authority and resources at his/her disposal are not unlimited.
I swear and you guys are college educated??? I'de get my money back if I were you because you got ripped off.

Posted by: Lurker42 on April 7, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

The Bush Administration is at war with the rest of the human race. And they actually think they're winning - proof that the walls in that bunker are incredibly thick...

Posted by: dr sardonicus on April 7, 2006 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

Jay, try as a might, I just can't figure out your point. Before it was called domestic (presumably because the people under surveillance are in the US) and now we find out it's really domestic because it's actually being done to purely domestic communications. And this proves something about liberals in your fevered mind?

In any case, it must be tough being so afraid all the time.

Posted by: es on April 7, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

um, last I heard, only Congress could declare war. And Congress has not actually declared war on Iraq, just gave Bush permission to instigate a police action. So where is Bush a wartime president?!

Posted by: lou on April 7, 2006 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK
um, last I heard, only Congress could declare war. And Congress has not actually declared war on Iraq, just gave Bush permission to instigate a police action. So where is Bush a wartime president?!

There is no such thing as a "police action" by one countries armed forces against another country's armed forces, its simply a polite euphemism for a notionally minor war.

There is no requirement for magic words in a pretty clearly a conditional declaration of war.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 7, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Er, a whole bunch accidentally got snipped out of the middle there. That should have been:

"There is no requirement for magic words in a declaration of war; the AUMF directed at Iraq was pretty clearly a conditional declaration of war."

Posted by: cmdicely on April 7, 2006 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

"There is no requirement for magic words in a declaration of war; the AUMF directed at Iraq was pretty clearly a conditional declaration of war."

Yes, but that war, directed at Saddam Hussein's regime, is over. We are now nominally allies of Iraq. So if we're not at war with Iraq, whom are we at war with?

Posted by: Stefan on April 7, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

As we all know, President Bush believes he has the right to eavesdrop on calls between the United States and foreign countries at his sole discretion without a warrant, without probable cause, and regardless of the requirements of federal law.

IIRC, it is not settled law and/or opinion that BushBoy has the right to wiretap any conversations without a warrant, right?

I thought, after the grace period for things too hot to get a warrant before the wiretaps, that any such eavesdropping required a FISA court warrant. And then only those involving foreign contacts in some manner. FISA does not cover foreign to foreign, right?

Have I lost the trail of the new reality?

Posted by: jawbone on April 7, 2006 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK
IIRC, it is not settled law and/or opinion that BushBoy has the right to wiretap any conversations without a warrant, right?

FISA contains a black-and-white authorization for certain wiretaps without a warrant, and the FISC decision holding surveillance complying with the FISA rules as presumptively Constitutionally reasonable seems to make it reasonably clear that there is some authority in this regard.

Posted by: cmdicely on April 7, 2006 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

That's what gets me. This isn't a simmering frog or a slippery slope. This is slowly pulling down the panties of a held-at-knifepoint Lady Liberty.

"Not going to rule it out" my foot. "Idea rejected" my sweet black ass.

They've already been doing it, and this fol-de-rol is just to mitigate the political damage as word of it comes out. The watchdog-turned-lapdog media found out about the Int-Dom surveillance before Nov 2004. That's why Bush started doing the "any time you hear about wiretaps..." spiel. Then they SAT ON IT (like good little whores).

AAARARHGHHGH...

We need this egg cracked open. Whether independent investigations, or simply congress doing their jobs, or for FUCK'S SAKE more whistleblowers who realize what they're doing to their fellow citizens is beyond the pale.

Posted by: Mushuweasel on April 7, 2006 at 6:37 PM | PERMALINK

They who can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.

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