Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 11, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

WHOLESALE SURVEILLANCE....Former New York Times reporter Chris Hedges explains how the new FISA legislation will handcuff him and his colleagues:

This law will cripple the work of those of us who as reporters communicate regularly with people overseas, especially those in the Middle East. It will intimidate dissidents, human rights activists and courageous officials who seek to expose the lies of our government or governments allied with ours.

....The reach of such surveillance has already hampered my work. I was once told about a showdown between a U.S. warship and the Iranian navy that had the potential to escalate into a military conflict. I contacted someone who was on the ship at the time of the alleged incident and who reportedly had photos. His first question was whether my phone and e-mails were being monitored.

What could I say? How could I know? I offered to travel to see him but, frightened of retribution, he refused. I do not know if the man's story is true. I only know that the fear of surveillance made it impossible for me to determine its veracity.

There are (at least) two issues here. First, under the old law there were ways for reporters to be relatively sure that they could evade surveillance. Use random pay phones, anonymous email accounts, etc. After all, the government can't listen to every conversation, can they? Well, now they can, and reporters' sources know it. It's going to be a lot harder to convince them that it's safe to talk.

Second, reporters who cover terrorism and the Middle East are pretty obvious targets for NSA surveillance since they talk to lots of bad guys. This surveillance is illegal, of course, and under the old FISA law it was hard to get around this because the FISA court had to issue a warrant if NSA wanted to tap the phone of an American citizen. But now? They don't need to directly tap reporters' phones. They're listening to every piece of traffic that goes through American switches and NSA computer software is picking out everything that seems interesting — and no matter what they say, doesn't it seem likely that their algorithms are going to be tweaked to (accidentally! unintentionally!) pick up an awful lot of reporter chatter? It'll eventually be "minimized," but algorithms are infinitely malleable, they're hard for laymen to understand, and they can almost certainly be changed to accomplish the same thing if a judge happens to order modifications. What's more, it hardly matters: the new law allows NSA to hold on to all those minimized conversations forever even if a judge eventually decides the surveillance was illegal.

Welcome to the wholesale surveillance state. Enjoy it.

Kevin Drum 11:31 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (53)

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Comments

Obama heartily endorses our new police state.

Posted by: steve duncan on July 11, 2008 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK
First, under the old law there were ways for reporters to be relatively sure that they could evade surveillance.

Yeah. They could be US persons, and therefore be categorically protected against, at least, warrantless surveillance -- a protection put into FISA in direct response to the actual abuses of past administrations and to give effect to the 4th Amendement to the US Constitution -- with criminal penalties available against anyone who ordered or performed such surveillance illegally.


Posted by: cmdicely on July 11, 2008 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder how long it will be before they propose implanting RFID chips in people. Probably first in paroled felons, then everyone convicted of a crime, then everyone arrested, then everyone when they are born or enter the US. It will be billed as keeping us safe from the bad guys.

The move for a nation-wide DNA database of everyone is already underway. First it was the convicted felons, then anyone who had been arrested. It is billed as keeping us safe from the bad guys.

Posted by: anandine on July 11, 2008 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

>"It will intimidate dissidents, human rights activists and courageous officials who seek to expose the lies of our government or governments allied with ours."

Well, chalk up another 'Mission Accomplished' !

Posted by: Buford on July 11, 2008 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK
They're listening to every piece of traffic that goes through American switches and NSA computer software is picking out everything that seems interesting — and no matter what they say, doesn't it seem likely that their algorithms are going to be tweaked to (accidentally! unintentionally!) pick up an awful lot of reporter chatter?

No, it does not seem even remotely probable that this will occur "accidentally! unintentionally!", though it does seem certain that it will occur (or, even more likely, already has occurred.)

Posted by: cmdicely on July 11, 2008 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

He discussed this on Fresh Air after his book came out.

This issue is a lot like water boarding - if certain assholes in Congress think it's so great to be able to do this, how about having the FBI or the NSA tap their phones and monitor their e-mail for a month or two. We'll announce a period that this will happen. You may or may not be under surveillance, you won't know, just like the "bad guys." See how much they like the uncertainty and the restrictions - no more talking to their mistresses or lobbyists.

Posted by: Jeff II on July 11, 2008 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

"First, under the old law there were ways for reporters to be relatively sure that they could evade surveillance. Use random pay phones, anonymous email accounts, etc." - Kevin

I don't see how the new FISA law changes a reporter's prior physical ability to evade surveillance by using random pay phones, etc.?

Posted by: optical weenie on July 11, 2008 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

This Administration flouted the previous FISA law.
After a time, they openly said so -- in one of Bush's televised speeches.

Kevin, you seem to think that the Administration will feel bound to obey the limitations in this new law, even though there's no oversight mechanism --

Why in God's name would you think so?

Posted by: joel hanes on July 11, 2008 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

Something I rarely see discussed is the potential for political mischief using surveillance as a tool. Would anyone be surprised if it were revealed Bush was actively tapping every method of communication for all members of Congress, several layers of the judiciary and anyone else representing a perceived threat to the regime? Nah, word would get out, too big an operation to keep secret, right? Talk to Sibel Edmonds about that. Oh, wait, she's not allowed to talk about such matters under penalty of imprisonment. Nevermind.

Posted by: steve duncan on July 11, 2008 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

What is so incredibly stupid about this egregious violation of the 4th Amendment (besides the obvious fact that it is unconstitutional) is that any terrorist worth their salt is not going to be using a traditional telephone line to call their agents in the United States. Unlike our president, these are not stupid people - Osama bin Laden has a degree in engineering; Zaman al-Zawahiri is an MD. You think they don't know their phone conversations are going to be monitored? They are going to either employ sophisticated techniques like cryptostenography, embedding comments in the source HTML code of websites, etc. or extremely primitive means like handwritten notes delivered by pack animals.

Sheesh, we have become so stupid and foolishly blinded by fear that we are willing to surrender our basic civil liberties on things that don't buy us one nickle's worth of security.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on July 11, 2008 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

As if reporters actually report the news. Who's kidding whom?

Posted by: Rupert Murdoch on July 11, 2008 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Sheesh, we have become so stupid and foolishly blinded by fear that we are willing to surrender our basic civil liberties on things that don't buy us one nickle's worth of security.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on July 11, 2008 at 12:23 PM
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Maybe buying security from external threats isn't the goal. Maybe internal threats won't be as quick to pick up on avoidance methods as the foreign engineers and doctors surely have. You think Reid and Pelosi, the ACLU and NARAL have their communications encrypted?

Posted by: steve duncan on July 11, 2008 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Call it what it is: a police state.

Posted by: Jake on July 11, 2008 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

"Would anyone be surprised if it were revealed Bush was actively tapping every method of communication for all members of Congress, several layers of the judiciary and anyone else representing a perceived threat to the regime?"

"What is so incredibly stupid about this egregious violation of the 4th Amendment (besides the obvious fact that it is unconstitutional) is that any terrorist worth their salt is not going to be using a traditional telephone line to call their agents in the United States."

I believe these two comments illuminate the actual purpose of NSA spying, and the vote in congress reflects the fact that plenty of dirt has already been gathered and is being used to great effect.

Posted by: red@cted on July 11, 2008 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Just finished up the series "Jericho" on Netflix.

The only thing that differed from today was the fact that the televised Americans actually had the balls to do something about their fascist government. I don't see that happening any time soon in real time.

Posted by: Founding Father on July 11, 2008 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Unlike our president, these are not stupid people - Osama bin Laden has a degree in engineering; Zaman al-Zawahiri is an MD. You think they don't know their phone conversations are going to be monitored? They are going to either employ sophisticated techniques like cryptostenography, embedding comments in the source HTML code of websites, etc. or extremely primitive means like handwritten notes delivered by pack animals. Posted by: The Conservative Deflator

Actually, they aren't that stupid, but short of using, as weenie suggested, the ever more difficult to find pay phone (probably fewer in the tribal areas of Pakistan than here), their communications have been, are being monitored, cell phone and satellite phone. All forms of telephony or digital communication have to be routed through a physical transfer point and this is where they are intercepted.

Posted by: Jeff II on July 11, 2008 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

A lot of you are speculating that Bush is going to abuse the FISA legislation. Posted by: Fat White Guy

Asshole, Shrub Co. has already abused FISA. That's why there are several law suits working their way through the courts right now.

If you're going to post, try and keep up with the topic. Otherwise . . .

On second thought, just save us all the annoyance and put that plastic bag back over your head. I don't care what your mother said, just do it.

Posted by: Jeff II on July 11, 2008 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Don't for one second think that this was and UNINTENDED consequence of this legislation.

Posted by: Dave Brown on July 11, 2008 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

"All forms of telephony or digital communication have to be routed through a physical transfer point and this is where they are intercepted."

Intercepted. So what? Wasn't there information about planes-as-bombs passed on before 9/11? All the information intercepted in the world doesn't make a difference if no one LISTENS.

Surveillance is being deployed and used. Just not the way most Americans think it is. "Terrorists" don't have as much to worry about as we think they do. The only people who have to worry are the people who threaten the status quo. Doesn't matter where you come from.

Posted by: J. Edgar Hoover on July 11, 2008 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

All your base are belong to us.

Posted by: Locutus on July 11, 2008 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

Sec. 102) States that FISA and the procedures of chapters 119 (Wire and Electronic Communications Interception and Interception of Oral Communications), 121 (Stored Wire and Electronic Communications and Transactional Records Access), and 206 (Pen Registers and Trap and Trace Devices) of the federal criminal code shall be the exclusive means by which electronic surveillance and the interception of domestic wire, oral, or electronic communications may be conducted.


In order to get a wiretap/FISA order an agent must first go through a series of documented steps to justify the FISA request.....two of those steps are that a request for and analysis of either a pen register or toll records has been submitted. A pen register only documents who and when someone calls in real time. Toll records obviously are historic documents and can be obtained for several years back.

A pen register does not "record" any conversation, only numbers called and duration of call.


Posted by: majarosh on July 11, 2008 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Am I the only one who feels like we're living in a Philip K Dick novel?

Of course, the problem with collecting so much (mostly innocent) information is that an even smaller % of it actually gets read or heard, INCREASING the chance that something worth monitoring slips through the cracks, or gaping holes as the case may be.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago on July 11, 2008 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

Pardon my ignorance but something I don't understand is why foreign countries allow their citizens to be wiretapped by the US. If this is something they can not control, listening in on satellite transmissions, etc., are they not also capable of doing the same to us? Why allow your telecommunications or internet traffic to pass through any switch that cooperates with the NSA if you are France, Russia, Libya, etc.? I would think that letting the NSA monitor your communications traffic would be a real business killer for companies based in the US or with US based switching equipment trying to provide service in foreign countries. Are we listening to Chinese and Saudis negotiating oil production and supply contracts? It would be perfectly legal, right? I need an expert to weigh in here.

Posted by: Th on July 11, 2008 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

um, why can't people just use encrypted chat? you can have encrypted videoconferencing if you wanted it.

Granted, the TLAs probably can brute force decrypt you, but if everybody did it, it'd take longer.

this is why such laws are dumb. the bad guys can figure out how to get around it, and innocent people are the ones looked at by the law.

dumbasses.

Posted by: ym on July 11, 2008 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

th: Why allow your telecommunications or internet traffic to pass through any switch that cooperates with the NSA if you are France, Russia, Libya, etc.?

The big internet routers are mostly in the US. Satellite transmissions can be read by anyone with a receiver and the right software.

Posted by: anandine on July 11, 2008 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Th,
Of course it is a 2-way street.

Posted by: optical weenie on July 11, 2008 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like a great business opportunity in Europe, Asia, Latin America to develop non-US switching. Chavez could use his oil wealth to build one for Latin America, plenty of Russian billionaires who wouldn't want us listening in. Could be the rebirth of land-lines. Aren't there lots of unused fiber-optic lines run all over the place?

Posted by: Th on July 11, 2008 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Nice! The whole point of my post that you managed to ignore like a typical lefty fool. Is that the people responsible for letting FISA pass are the ones that should be held accountable for any abuses. Posted by: Fat White Guy

Look it, troll boy, I didn't ignore the "whole point" of your post, I pointed out that it was wrong. FISA existed long before Shrub was crowned emperor by the Supremes, and Shrub Co. has been abusing FISA, by some accounts, since February of 2001. It's not something new. What the current Congress is unrelated to how FISA was being ignored for the previous seven years.

Again, just fuck if you don't have anything intelligent to contribute.

Posted by: Jeff II on July 11, 2008 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

"All forms of telephony or digital communication have to be routed through a physical transfer point and this is where they are intercepted."

Intercepted. So what? Wasn't there information about planes-as-bombs passed on before 9/11? All the information intercepted in the world doesn't make a difference if no one LISTENS. Posted by: J. Edgar Hoover

Hey, Cross Dresser, you've got to read the whole post. CD wondered about surveillance (which includes "listening"), that's what I was commenting on, not analysis, which is what you meant to emphasize.

BTW, say hello to Roy and, yes, that print number with the spaghetti straps does make you look fat.


Posted by: Jeff II on July 11, 2008 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

I'm pretty sure they have already been doing all of this. Hence the hurry to retroactively immunize the telecos and bury the evidence.

Orwell was only off by about 25 years.

Posted by: t4toby on July 11, 2008 at 3:05 PM | PERMALINK

"The new statute permits the NSA to intercept phone calls and e-mails between the U.S. and a foreign location,"

This also includes every call you make to customer service, one end is in India.

It includes every email you send with a blackberry, the email is not sent directly to the person's blackberry it's first sent to an entity in canada (RIM).

It includes every bank statement, visa statement, morgage payment, phone records, etc. All those are sent via electronic communication by your phone company to their customer service sites in other countries.

When you visit web sites, a lot of the ads are served up from overseas servers. That traffic can be collected and correlated without a warrant. Providing data on every click you've ever made.

Lots of people think up these unusual scenarios with reporters, family in other countries, etc. But the reality is much more banal and much more pervasive.

No warrant. No redress.

Posted by: jello5929 on July 11, 2008 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

Is it really physically possible to monitor all these communications, at least in real time? This has to be an enormously huge amount of data to sort through. Can't imagine bad guys use phrases like "shell the green zone at 10 am July 23" in their email.
Of course, now I'll be flagged. Which is the point. Even if you can intercept all these messages, what & when are you going to deal with them?

Posted by: sal on July 11, 2008 at 3:40 PM | PERMALINK

So my question is WHY did Obama do this to the Fourth Amendment? I mean for a guy who says he believes in faith based programs and says he is a man of faith, how is it that he seems to have no faith or belief whatsoever in his oath of office, the same oath that most other members or our US congress didn't seem to mind eviscerating either on Wednesday:

The Senate Oath of Office:
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

Greenwald says that he still wants Obama to win the election but how does Barack Obama walk back the damage he's wrought and the felonies that Obama help Bush to cover-up? AND the fact that Obama helped in covering up Bush crimes technically makes Obama an accessory to Bush's crimes really. This is WHY Nancy Pelosi should NEVER have been able to say that impeachment is off the table, because it implies that Bush can commit any crime free of ever being held accountable by congress, thus making Pelosi and the Democratic House members an accomplice to anything illegal that Bush wants to do.

Obama is a constitutional lawyer, so nobody can say he did not know what he was doing. Politicians by their very nature, are so egotistical that once caught in a lie, they always seem to continue to lie themselves into political ruin. As Bush's illegal wiretapping is one of many reason as to way Bush has such low poll ratings and is seen as corrupt and didn't want anyone to know about it. So again, how does Obama live this down? All Obama seems to be able to do is get down right nasty to supporters whom want to point out the error of his ways. Over on Obama's blog, Obama tells his supporters that if his position was a "deal breaker" for them, well than so long, good-bye, go vote for somebody else.

Posted by: Me_again on July 11, 2008 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

t4toby:

Orwell probably got the year just about right. But it's taken the majority of us 25 years to figure it out. Maybe this whole nightmare started with Reagan's reelection. That proved that many liberals and progressives were partying too hearty to care much about politics.

Posted by: slanted tom on July 11, 2008 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

Personally – the Democratic Party should seriously think about withdrawing the nomination for Barack Obama – Obama really acted in bad faith and with intent to do so.

Obama did in fact LIE to his supporters and he took the lead in helping to hide Bush Felonious acts by taking up this FISA Bill. Nobody can say Obama did not what he was doing because he is a constitutional lawyer.

Posted by: Me_again on July 11, 2008 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

My teenage son could figure that one out in about 15 seconds.

Do you really think any of us here (save for mhr) believes this for a second? (Unless he's adopted, of course.)

People that have nothing to hide should have nothing to fear. Posted by: Fat White Guy

Ya. Just like "negros" arrested for driving while black. Just like all the people on the TSA's no fly list with names (but nothing else) matching someone else.

Obama did in fact LIE to his supporters and he took the lead in helping to hide Bush Felonious acts by taking up this FISA Bill. Nobody can say Obama did not sic)what he was doing because he is a constitutional lawyer. Posted by: Me_again

Few, if any, of Shrub's crimes over the last seven years have been hidden. The problem is having a Congress and a judiciary willing to pursue prosecution of them.

Posted by: Jeff II on July 11, 2008 at 4:00 PM | PERMALINK

oops:

Nobody can say Obama did not no what he was doing because he is a constitutional lawyer.

Posted by: Me_again on July 11, 2008 at 4:01 PM | PERMALINK

Algorithms? What algorithms?

How do we know that the NSA hasn't simply been using old-fashioned wiretaps directly on reporters?

Of course, anybody who really needs to keep messages secret from the NSA can use publicly-available encryption software. So the ultimate effect is that it's easy for 'terrorists' to avoid surveillance, but innocent people are going to have their privacy constantly violated.

Posted by: Whispers on July 11, 2008 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

Few, if any, of Shrub's crimes over the last seven years have been hidden. The problem is having a Congress and a judiciary willing to pursue prosecution of them.

Well the whole purpose of "telecom immunity" was to HIDE the lawsuits done by illegal wiretapping, so Bush's acts have indeed been hidden, and would have been exposed "legally" had these lawsuits proceeded.

This whole FISA Bill fiasco will cause the Democractic Party to have a very weaked candidate come November so it is really quite the travesty.

Posted by: Me_again on July 11, 2008 at 4:10 PM | PERMALINK

As far as avoiding detection of your calls goes. My teenage son could figure that one out in about 15 seconds. Buy yourself a throw away cell phone and have your source do the same thing.

Well, you stupid fucking ignorant jackass, not only is the NSA able to do voiceprint comparisons to instantly figure out who you are on your brilliant workaround, just purchasing disposable cellphones puts you under a cloud of suspicion of being a criminal or terrorist.

Because that's what happens when you try "work arounds" in a surveillance state. Hence the value of liberty, and all that, foreign as that might be to mouthbreathers like yourself.

People that have nothing to hide should have nothing to fear.

First of all, that sentiment has no place in a free society and directly contradicts both the letter and spirit of the Bill of Rights.

Secondly, because of the corrupting nature of power there is always a reason to fear. Iraq had nothing to hide and we invaded and caused the deaths over a million people. A few hundred of the prisoners in Guantanamo and the CIA's black prisons had nothing to hide and were imprisoned for years anyway until their innocence was realized and they were let go, weak and broken.

And because we are now a nation of secret laws and secret prisons and an unchecked executive we don't even know how many more people might be languishing without cause in a cell somewhere.

Under this horrible maladministration, not only has infringement on civil liberties and capricious suspension of privileges skyrocketed in the form of secret lists with no oversight, they've had no compunction ignoring the law and ethics entirely whenever it suits them.

It is precisely that tyranny the Founders anticipated, being keen observers of human nature, and why they put measures in place to prevent its exercise. Don't you realize what an anti-American boob you are for defending the transgession of those measures???

Obviously not. I believe Jeff told you to fuck off for being such a worthless preening turd. Please do.

Posted by: trex on July 11, 2008 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

Well the whole purpose of "telecom immunity" was to HIDE the lawsuits done by illegal wiretapping, so Bush's acts have indeed been hidden, and would have been exposed "legally" had these lawsuits proceeded. Posted by: Me_again

If all this is hidden and not well-know to the public, why are we discussing it here? And in any case, dumb ass, the point of telecom immunity is not to "HIDE the lawsuits," which are a matter of public record, including much of the detail as to when it all began and who it was being done by, but to give the participants immunity from prosecution in these lawsuits.

GOP needs better trolls.

Posted by: Jeff II on July 11, 2008 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

They aren't gonna listen to shit. Why bother? Besides, the accumulated transcripts or recordings or registers could get them into trouble someday. Again, why bother when they can accomplish everything without actually listening:

1) Worrying about being listened to will imbede communication and chill disclosure.
2) Since no-one can demand to see the evidence or know the methods, they can produce a "terrorist conspiracy" or anything else they want, right out of their hat, any time they need to, and who can gainsay them?

Mission accomplished!

Posted by: Mooser, Bummertown on July 11, 2008 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

Let me be contrarian for a moment. Since most electronic communication can be easily intercepted anyway, how much privacy is really lost?
Heck, any employee in my ISP can read every one of my emails and check every site i have ever browsed. I read somewhere that sending an email is like sending a post card- its not in the least secure. Ditto for cell phone conversations. We think that these communication methods are much more private than they actually are.
If we want to keep our email private, then lets master encryption techniques. I believe that PGP and others can encrypt emails so that even NSA computers can't read 'em.
Reporters are just going ton have learn encryption skills, that's all.

Posted by: stonetools on July 11, 2008 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

"People that have nothing to hide should have nothing to fear." -- Republicans, Bushit criminal enterprise, "Fat White Guy," et al.

Tell that to the Bushit criminal enterprise, fool: if it has "nothing to fear" then why does it have so much to hide?

The Fourth Amendment, based upon presumption of INNOCENCE, STILL REQUIRES a WARRANT vis-a-vis the PRESUMED INNOCENT. Your attitude totally eviscerates all of that.

Irony is, YOU TOO are subject to having "evidence" gathered against you, and edited into a form that would FRAME you of actually-false charges.

But don't worry about it: the Bushit criminal enterprise hasn't yet bothered to get a warrant to impose the war crime of torture, which cannot be made legal, and attempts to legalize which are ALSO illegal.

So, if you have nothing to hide, you shouldn't be concerned with being subjected to -- say -- waterboarding. Bushit will believe whatever you say as consequence of that, so long as it is self-incriminating. Needn't be true; only self-incriminating.

Posted by: JNagarya on July 12, 2008 at 12:22 AM | PERMALINK

Moyers report:

Advertising Age reports that U.S. media employment has fallen to a 15-year low. The Los Angeles Times alone has experienced a withering series of resignations by editors who refused to turn a red pencil into an editorial scalpel.

Well this is something I didn't know.

Posted by: Me_again on July 12, 2008 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

Moyers report:

Advertising Age reports that U.S. media employment has fallen to a 15-year low. The Los Angeles Times alone has experienced a withering series of resignations by editors who refused to turn a red pencil into an editorial scalpel.

Well this is something I didn't know.

Posted by: Me_again on July 12, 2008 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

oops, sorry for the double post.

Posted by: Me_again on July 12, 2008 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

I love that Mr. Drum gives a %$#@ now that FISA reform effects his profession. Thank you Mr. Drum for being the illustration of douchebag.

Posted by: p.8.n on July 12, 2008 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

Here's a thought. How easily could a lawyer interpret a server request from a personal computer to be an "electronic communication?" Shouldn't be too hard to use the new law to monitor internet traffic, on top of everything else.

Posted by: CitizenFace on July 12, 2008 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

Don't worry. With Obama as Preznit he'll only use it for Good Purposes (TM). We should all Put Trust in the Man with Hope (SM). How can we fail to trust our Dear Leader to protect us? Our Government Security Agencies can all be relied upon to only conduct themselves with our (the lowly citizens) best interests in mind. Can't they?

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