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POLITICS: Bush Faces Republican Revolt Over Spying

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posted on Feb, 12 2006 @ 12:17 PM
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Originally posted by jsobecky
It does't mention anything about a warrant.


No, but read the paragraph you quoted. There are limited exceptions for law enforcement. It doesn't say what these limitations are. Let's see what we can find...

Oh, here they are.




Law Enforcement. Most state laws have specific provisions on wiretapping and eavesdropping by law enforcement officials. They can tap into a telephone where there is "probable cause" to believe unlawful activity is being conducted by obtaining a court order. Unlawful activity must involve specified felonies, such as murder, solicitation to commit murder, kidnapping, offenses involving bombings, and conspiracy to commit any of these crimes. The court order must limit the surveillance to communications related to the unlawful activity and to a specific amount of time, usually 30 days.


Read more here.

And...

Government Wiretapping Authority



There are two sources of authority for wiretapping in the US.

(1) The Federal Wiretap Act, sometimes referred to as Title III, was adopted in 1968 and expanded in 1986. It sets procedures for court authorization of real-time surveillance of all kinds of electronic communications, including voice, e-mail, fax, and Internet, in criminal investigations. It normally requires, before a wiretap can commence, a court order issued by a judge who must conclude, based on an affidavit submitted by the government, that there is probable cause to believe that a crime has been, is being, or is about to be committed. Terrorist bombings, hijackings and other violent activities are crimes for which wiretaps can be ordered. (The PATRIOT Act expanded the list of criminal statutes for which wiretaps can be ordered.) This authority is used to prevent as well as punish crimes: government can wiretap in advance of a crime being carried out, where the wiretap is used to identify planning and conspiratorial activities. Judges almost never deny government requests for wiretap orders.

(2) The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 allows wiretapping of aliens and citizens in the US based on a finding of probable cause to believe that the target is a member of a foreign terrorist group or an agent of a foreign power. For US citizens and permanent resident aliens, there must also be probable cause to believe that the person is engaged in activities that "may" involve a criminal violation.


Here is what the NSA is using. Bush is claiming that his eavesdropping program is a case of "National Security".



Both Title III and FISA allow the government to carry out wiretaps without a court order in emergency situations involving risk of death or serious bodily injury and in national security cases.


It is MY OPINION that this provision is being seriously abused and that there should be a record of all wiretapping that takes place under this provision.

I'm sure you've seen the vidoe where Bush himself assured the people that he would not be conducting warrantless searches. Yet he is. I say, if that's so, then let the record show that all the wiretaps he has conducted were a matter of National Security.

For me to trust this man, he's going to have to prove it. I only hope Congress has a way to do just that.

Intrestingly, last year, Bush amended the Electronics Surveillance Executive Order, giving the NSA the same and in some cases, more power than the CIA where Electronics Sruveillance is concerned. And who is conducting these warrantless wiretaps? Why, the NSA, of course...

Amendment

[edit on 12-2-2006 by Benevolent Heretic]




posted on Feb, 12 2006 @ 12:53 PM
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we know Bush is a lying hypocrite, Bush created the Executive order back in 2001 allowing NSA to wire-tap, specifically circumventing the FISA law. Then in Apirl of 2004, in a speech he said that wire-tapping requires a court order.

Bush only says things to appease his supporters, he rarely follows through with what he says, or acts on what he says. in fact even tho a majority of americans do not support his Social security reform he still puts it into the budget.

Look at what he does, and not what he says, then decide if he is doing what is in our best interest.

I applaud the Moderate republicans for distancing themselves from the white house and the neo-cons that have taken over our governemnt



posted on Feb, 12 2006 @ 12:54 PM
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I'm just starting to catch up on some of the replies to this thread, so pardon me if this has been beaten to death already:

originally posted by BenevolentHeretic
As far as I know there is NO indication that the eavesdropping program has contributed at all to keeping us secure.

No, but we do know that not using it has hurt us:


We already know FISA impeded intelligence gathering before 9/11. It was the reason FBI agents decided not to tap the computer of alleged 20th hijacker Zacarias Moussaoui. And it contributed to the NSA's decision not to listen to foreign calls to actual hijacker Khalid al-Midhar, despite knowing that an al Qaeda associate by that name was in the country. The NSA feared being accused of "domestic spying."
FISA



[edit on 12-2-2006 by jsobecky]



posted on Feb, 12 2006 @ 01:00 PM
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Originally posted by Jehosephat
we know Bush is a lying hypocrite, Bush created the Executive order back in 2001 allowing NSA to wire-tap, specifically circumventing the FISA law.

Well, an Executive Order started this mess and an Executive Order can just as easily end this mess. It may take a change of presidents, tho.



posted on Feb, 12 2006 @ 01:52 PM
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Originally posted by jsobecky

originally posted by BenevolentHeretic
As far as I know there is NO indication that the eavesdropping program has contributed at all to keeping us secure.

No, but we do know that not using it has hurt us:


Uh, no we don't.

A - All they had to do was get an extremely obtainable warrant.
B - Saying they didn't do it because they feared being accused of domestic spying is a cop out.
C - That's an opinion piece. That's just speculation about the FBI and NSA's reasons for their pre-9/11 behavior.
D - I'm convinced the gov't had foreknowledge of 9/11 and just let it happen.



posted on Feb, 12 2006 @ 02:22 PM
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Try, Try Again


Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
D - I'm convinced the gov't had foreknowledge of 9/11 and just let it happen.

If so, it wouldn't be the first time.



posted on Feb, 12 2006 @ 11:55 PM
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I keep telling everyone that what the NSA is doing is not wiretapping and it is not illegal. Before the activity can be curtailed by the courts there will have to be new leglislation enacted making it illegal to listen to the radio in some circumstances. The heck of it is, such a law might actually get passed. However, any law which ignores fundamental laws of physics is doomed to failure. Users of cell phones and other radio communications devices must realize that millions of people listen in all the time. They should have no illusion of privacy and no expectation of ever getting any whenever they use radio waves to communicate. Any law banning listening to radio cannot be enforced and no means exists to determine if someone is listening. The best way to get some privacy over radio is to encrypt the transmission and that is being done more and more as time passes. NSA and other intelligence & law enforcement agencies don't like the public to have use of unbreakable communications, but there isn't a darn thing they can do to stop the practice--yet.

If you decide to encrypt your calls do not fall under the illusion that you are completely safe from monitoring. Just because the words of your conversation or e-mail cannot be read does not mean your device cannot be tracked--it can. Further, patterns of communications can be analyzed and much can be discovered without ever being able to understand what is being transmitted. Ever single cell phone has a unique radio fingerprint that can be used to identify it if one wants to put out the effort to do so. In many cases the ID process has been automated already. What I'm trying to get across in the last few sentences is that it would not be prudent to believe that encrypting your calls will completely protect you because it will not.

There are much better things to occupy your time than worrying about the NSA scanning & monitoring your cell phone conversations. Of all the people doing such monitoring, the NSA is probably the most honorable of the lot. If you are not using your phone to plan illegal acts or coordinate the accomplishment of those acts then you really don't have any thing to worry about. They simply are not interested in your private affairs, even the ones that cannot completely stand the light of day.

NSA performs a vital function for our country, one that we would be wise to let happen as easily as possible. If we start curtailing how they do their job then we are also curtailing our own national safety by making it easier for evil people to plan and execute evil deeds.

[edit on 13-2-2006 by Astronomer68]



posted on Feb, 13 2006 @ 05:31 AM
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Astronomer68 what you say seems to make perfect logical sense. But then I read some of the definitions of the terms and laws, such as this:


Private communications take place where one may reasonably expect to be safe from casual or hostile intrusion or surveillance, but such term does not include a place to which the public or a substantial group of the public has access. A person commits the crime of criminal eavesdropping if he intentionally uses any device to eavesdrop, whether or not he is present at the time.


and it becomes more complicated.

I agree with your assessment of what the NSA is interested in, and the benefit they provide us.



posted on Feb, 13 2006 @ 08:30 AM
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Originally posted by Astronomer68
I keep telling everyone that what the NSA is doing is not wiretapping and it is not illegal.


Read the law (I've been posting it). As jsobecky points out it IS illegal. Just because it's easy to do, doesn't make it ok.

The radio signal is put out there for the specific purpose of listening. A private conversation is a totally different thing.

jsobecky - if I trusted the NSA and this administration to only go after the bad guys, I would be in agreement with you, but where you speak of the NSA's intent, I am not so trusting. In my opinion, there is far too much room for abuse, especially since they don't have to account for their actions.

It would be like putting a peephole in the girls' locker room wall so the male principal could check on them if there were any problems. Sure, if the principal were a man of 100% integrity and there was no chance anyone else could get in there and abuse the situation, it would be ok, for the good of the girls. But could you trust it?

If the girls aren't doing anything wrong, what are they worried about? Their privacy, that's what!

Do you trust your government and the NSA, every single person who would have access to this program NOT to abuse it?



[edit on 13-2-2006 by Benevolent Heretic]



posted on Feb, 13 2006 @ 04:23 PM
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In Nothing We Trust


Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
Do you trust your government and the NSA, every single person who would have access to this program NOT to abuse it?

My understanding is that this country was founded by men who didn't trust any form of government, and thus established a system of checks and balances intended to prevent it from getting out of control and oppressing the people it's supposed to serve.

If we lose sight of that, I think we've lost sight of a founding principle of our nation.

Congress made a law that specifically allows for electronic surveillance under certain circumstances and spells out the procedure for doing so.

Congress delegated significant power to the U.S. Attorney General to certify and authorize electronic surveillance under these laws, and he maintains that he and the President acted legally.

Congress is responsible for oversight of this process, and so far I have seen nothing whatsoever that establishes that Congressional oversight was impeded.

Nothing I have seen anywhere actually establishes that the President or NSA broke the law. If someone has proof to the contrary, please be so kind as to share it.

Absent a finding by Congress or some sort of reliable evidence of wrongdoing, this seems to be nothing more than political gimmickry, civic theater and intellectual onanism.

Ignoring History

The specifics of this made-for-media event have been beaten into the ground in a previous thread, and in almost 300 replies over 15 pages, no such evidence was provided, just rumors, innuendo and repeated allegations from a dubious whispering campaign:

WAR: Bush Allowed NSA to Spy on U.S. International Calls

I can understand discussing the “Republican revolt” in this thread, but I don't see the point of repeating a discussion which has already taken place, and I don't intend to repost what I have already posted extensively there.

My hope is that discussions about these kinds of subjects on ATS will inspire critical thinking (to leverage a catchy term being promoted by Valhall) and help members avoid being sucked in by the mass mind control machinery currently dictating “public opinion” on the issues (two flavors are offered, and you are free to choose which flavor you like, as long as it's extreme and you agree to vilify those who choose the other flavor).

Of course, members can post whatever they want, but if I wanted to hear regurgitations of political talking points, I'd listen to talk radio instead.


WARNING: Propaganda Zone. Member Skepticism Advised.



posted on Feb, 13 2006 @ 04:54 PM
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Originally posted by Majic
I can understand discussing the “Republican revolt” in this thread, but I don't see the point of repeating a discussion which has already taken place, and I don't intend to repost what I have already posted extensively there.


I don't expect you to repost anything or be involved in this thread if you don't want to. The point of discussing it again (for me) is that I was not involved in the other thread and I'm learning a lot doing the research here for this one.

I have said here that Specter's intent is to discover if indeed Bush has broken the law. It is my opinion that he has. Others believe that he has not. Some are withholding speculation. That's all good. We are examining the law.

I am not claiming that I have the proof. If I did, I would post it here, you can be sure.




Of course, members can post whatever they want, but if I wanted to hear regurgitations of political talking points, I'd listen to talk radio instead.



Then perhaps you'd better turn it on.



posted on Feb, 13 2006 @ 05:40 PM
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BH it has been pretty well established in the past that transmitting over a radio is akin to speaking in a public place. I.e., there is a presumption that the forum is public and other people can listen--and do. As far as the use of a device to eavsdrop, what that law attempts to cover is the use of artificial hearing aids such as hyperbolic microphones and dirctional amplifiers, etc. to boost/aid the ability to listen in to someone else talking. The law you cite is not intended to cover radio reception. However, several groups have been trying to get a case on this exact subject up to the Supreme Court for years--as yet to no avail. In particular, the people who build and sell radar detectors think that states, such as Virginia, that issue tickets to the users of radar detectors are themselves breaking the law by issueing such tickets. Most attorneys think that if a case ever gets to the Supreme Court they will be found to be correct and Virginia, et al, will have to cease issueing such tickets.

In any case, as I said earlier, there is no way to enforce such a law. It may make certain people feel good that such a law could be put on the books, but that's all it would do. Radio waves are going to propogate all over the universe for anyone to listen to whether lawmakers like it or not.



posted on Feb, 13 2006 @ 06:19 PM
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Turn It On, Turn It On Again


Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic
Then perhaps you'd better turn it on.

Touché.


Of course, that presumes that I actually have an interest in what the partisan talking points of the day may be, and my interest fades with each passing manufactured scandal.


So maybe I should just look at all this as a convenient summary for those of us who decline broadcast programming.


As Sean Hannity says, "Just three hours a day is all we ask."


I can skim a thread like this in about ten minutes, so I guess it's a net win.


Call me when you reach consensus on what the truth is in this case.



posted on Feb, 13 2006 @ 07:04 PM
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Originally posted by Astronomer68
BH it has been pretty well established in the past that transmitting over a radio is akin to speaking in a public place.


Of course it is. And we're not talking about the NSA tapping radio waves. We're talking about telephone conversations, something a person can reasonably expect to be private. And even cell phones use radio waves and therefore cannot reasonably be expected to be private.

I'm talking about purposefully hacking into land lines and 'tapping' telephone calls. Wiretapping. Without a warrant. By the National Security Agency of our government, under the order of the president.


Originally posted by Majic
Call me when you reach consensus on what the truth is in this case.



I sure will!


And besides, Majic, that other thread had a lot of partisan bickering and it was also caught up in the book release and everything... Personally I MUCH prefer the tone of this thread.


Reasonable, rational, logical, tempered debate. You can have that other crap!



posted on Feb, 13 2006 @ 07:26 PM
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If NSA is doing that BH I haven't read about it yet. However, if they are actually tapping land lines to listen to telephone calls then they are violating the law.



posted on Feb, 13 2006 @ 08:10 PM
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Originally posted by Astronomer68
If NSA is doing that BH I haven't read about it yet. However, if they are actually tapping land lines to listen to telephone calls then they are violating the law.


Well, I'm glad we got that cleared up.
Sorry I wasn't clear earlier. I used to work at Siemens Transmissions Systems (telephone switching) and GTE Communication Systems. It was an assumption on my part that you knew what I was talking about.

This is a pretty interesting (read frightening) read:

The NSA Program



President Bush has secretly authorized the NSA to monitor and eavesdrop on large volumes of telephone calls
...
The NSA is now tapping into the heart of the nation's telephone network through direct access to key telecommunications switches that carry many of America's daily phone calls
...
It is difficult to know the precise size of the NSA operation, but one indication of its large scale is the fact that administration officials say that one reason they decided not to seek court-approved search warrants for the NSA operation was that the volume of telephone calls and e-mails being monitored was so big that it would be impossible to get speedy court approval for all of them.
...
Today, industry experts estimate that approximately 9 trillion e-mails are sent in the United States each year. Americans make nearly a billion cell phone calls and well over a billion land line calls each day.

Following President Bush's order, U.S. intelligence officials secretly arranged with top officials of major telecommunications companies to gain access to large telecommunications switches carrying the bulk of America's phone calls.
...
Unknown to most Americans, the NSA has extremely close relationships with both the telecommunications and computer industries, according to several government officials.
...
In the Program, the NSA determines, on its own, which telephone numbers and e-mail addresses to monitor. The NSA doesn't have to get approval from the White House, the Justice Department, or anyone else in the Bush administration before it begins eavesdropping on a specific phone line inside the United States.



[edit on 13-2-2006 by Benevolent Heretic]



posted on Feb, 13 2006 @ 08:26 PM
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In the spirit of denying ignorance (my own), here's more.

NSA Spy Program



Officials with some of the nation's leading telecommunications companies have said they gave the NSA access to their switches, the hubs through which enormous volumes of phone and e-mail traffic pass every day, to aid the agency's effort to determine exactly whom suspected Qaeda figures were calling in the United States and abroad and who else was calling those numbers. The NSA used the intercepts to construct webs of potentially interrelated persons. (The Times, citing FBI sources, reported that most of these tips led to dead ends or to innocent Americans.)

Analyzing large amounts of telecom traffic would give security officials valuable information about potential adversaries, revealing the times of day that terrorist suspects tended to conduct their communications, and the means they used -- land-line phones, mobile phones, or the Internet -- according to telecommunications experts.




[edit on 13-2-2006 by Benevolent Heretic]



posted on Feb, 13 2006 @ 09:46 PM
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Well, Gonzalez set the dems straight! Since Lincoln and Washington wiretapped people's phones Bush can. Good thing those great presidents used electrical wire tapping on people's phones or Bush would be screwed!



posted on Feb, 13 2006 @ 10:19 PM
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I'm not going to disagree with you here BH. The telecommunications companies have by law been required to provide NSA with sufficient technical information about their major switching nodes that serve as gateways to overseas switches since WWII. I seriously doubt however, that NSA is physically tapping into phone lines--they don't need to. I can't go into the why's of that last statement without going into classified material so I'll just leave it out there as a blanket statement and you can take it or leave it.

I see where you're coming from now and I'll agree that what NSA is probably doing, though not in direct contravention of law, is kind of skirting the grey edges of law. Some sort of ruling by a court may well be needed to decide if what they are doing contravenes either the spirit or the letter of existing law.

I can see how the administration thinks they are well within the law and I can see how some people would think they are at least violating the spirit of the law.

[edit on 13-2-2006 by Astronomer68]



posted on Feb, 13 2006 @ 10:32 PM
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You don't think a republican congress that wouldn't do a proper investigation of Haliburton in Iraq is now going to do a proper investigation of King George, the Pirate King.


He's stealing us blind



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