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Federal Government Gains Increased Wiretap Authority

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posted on Aug, 5 2007 @ 03:30 PM
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It's being reported that on Satusay of August 4th, 2007, that the House of Representaives voted on the text of Senate Bill 1927 to approve increased wiretapping powers for the Executive branch and intelligence community.

I'd like to bring the following news item to your attention. The actual text of this bill (S-1927) will be will appear with a source link immediately following this article.

--------------------------------

House Approves Foreign Wiretap Bill

By CHARLES BABINGTON Sunday, August 05, 2007

WASHINGTON - The House handed President Bush a victory Saturday, voting to expand the government's abilities to eavesdrop without warrants on foreign suspects whose communications pass through the United States.

The 227-183 vote, which followed the Senate's approval Friday, sends the bill to Bush for his signature.

Late Saturday, Bush said, "The Director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell, has assured me that this bill gives him what he needs to continue to protect the country, and therefore I will sign this legislation as soon as it gets to my desk."

The administration said the measure is needed to speed the National Security Agency's ability to intercept phone calls, e-mails and other communications involving foreign nationals "reasonably believed to be outside the United States." Civil liberties groups and many Democrats said it goes too far, possibly enabling the government to wiretap U.S. residents communicating with overseas parties without adequate oversight from courts or Congress.

The bill updates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA. It gives the government leeway to intercept, without warrants, communications between foreigners that are routed through equipment in United States, provided that "foreign intelligence information" is at stake. Bush describes the effort as an anti-terrorist program, but the bill is not limited to terror suspects and could have wider applications, some lawmakers said.

The government long has had substantial powers to intercept purely foreign communications that don't touch U.S. soil.

If a U.S. resident becomes the chief target of surveillance, the government would have to obtain a warrant from the special FISA court.

Congressional Democrats won a few concessions in negotiations earlier in the week. New wiretaps must be approved by the director of national intelligence and the attorney general, not just the attorney general. Congress has battled with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on several issues, and some Democrats have accused him of perjury.

The new law also will expire in six months unless Congress renews it. The administration wanted the changes to be permanent.

Many congressional Democrats wanted tighter restrictions on government surveillance, but yielded in the face of Bush's veto threats and the impending August recess.

"This bill would grant the attorney general the ability to wiretap anybody, any place, any time without court review, without any checks and balances," said Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., during the debate preceding the vote. "I think this unwarranted, unprecedented measure would simply eviscerate the 4th Amendment," which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.

Republicans disputed her description. "It does nothing to tear up the Constitution," said Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif.

If an American's communications are swept up in surveillance of a foreigner, he said, "we go through a process called minimization" and get rid of the records unless there is reason to suspect the American is a threat.

The administration began pressing for changes to the law after a recent ruling by the FISA court. That decision barred the government from eavesdropping without warrants on foreign suspects whose messages were being routed through U.S. communications carriers, including Internet sites.

-----------------------------------

Senate Bill 1927 was approved on a roll call vote on Friday of Augst 3rd, 2007. It was then sent over to the House, where they voted on it late Saturday night (August 4th). This is as close as Congress gets to being sneaky. Did htey really think we wouldn't notice?

Before we get down to the nuts and bolts of this discussion, I'd like to show you the full text of Senate Bill 1927.

----------------------------------
Calendar No. 324110th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 1927

AN ACT
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATESAugust 1, 2007

Mr. MCCONNELL (for himself and Mr. BOND) introduced the following bill; which was read the first timeAugust 2, 2007Read the second time and placed on the calendarA BILLTo amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to provide additional procedures for authorizing certain acquisitions of foreign intelligence information and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `Protect America Act of 2007'.


SEC. 2. ADDITIONAL PROCEDURE FOR AUTHORIZING CERTAIN ACQUISITIONS OF FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 105 the following:


`CLARIFICATION OF ELECTRONIC SURVEILLANCE OF PERSONS OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES
`Sec. 105A. Nothing in the definition of electronic surveillance under section 101(f) shall be construed to encompass surveillance directed at a person reasonably believed to be located outside of the United States.


`ADDITIONAL PROCEDURE FOR AUTHORIZING CERTAIN ACQUISITIONS CONCERNING PERSONS LOCATED OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES
`Sec. 105B. (a) Notwithstanding any other law, the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General, may for periods of up to one year authorize the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning persons reasonably believed to be outside the United States if the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General determine, based on the information provided to them, that--

`(1) there are reasonable procedures in place for determining that the acquisition of foreign intelligence information under this section concerns persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States, and such procedures will be subject to review of the Court pursuant to section 105C of this Act;

`(2) the acquisition does not constitute electronic surveillance;

`(3) the acquisition involves obtaining the foreign intelligence information from or with the assistance of a communications service provider, custodian, or other person (including any officer, employee, agent, or other specified person of such service provider, custodian, or other person) who has access to communications, either as they are transmitted or while they are stored, or equipment that is being or may be used to transmit or store such communications;

`(4) a significant purpose of the acquisition is to obtain foreign intelligence information; and

`(5) the minimization procedures to be used with respect to such acquisition activity meet the definition of minimization procedures under section 101(h).

`This determination shall be in the form of a written certification, under oath, supported as appropriate by affidavit of appropriate officials in the national security field occupying positions appointed by the President, by and with the consent of the Senate, or the Head of any Agency of the Intelligence Community, unless immediate action by the Government is required and time does not permit the preparation of a certification. In such a case, the determination of the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General shall be reduced to a certification as soon as possible but in no event more than 72 hours after the determination is made.

`(b) A certification under subsection (a) is not required to identify the specific facilities, places, premises, or property at which the acquisition of foreign intelligence information will be directed.

`(c) The Attorney General shall transmit as soon as practicable under seal to the court established under section 103(a) a copy of a certification made under subsection (a). Such certification shall be maintained under security measures established by the Chief Justice of the United States and the Attorney General, in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence, and shall remain sealed unless the certification is necessary to determine the legality of the acquisition under section 105B.

`(d) An acquisition under this section may be conducted only in accordance with the certification of the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General, or their oral instructions if time does not permit the preparation of a certification, and the minimization procedures adopted by the Attorney General. The Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General shall assess compliance with such procedures and shall report such assessments to the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives and the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate under section 108(a).

`(e) With respect to an authorization of an acquisition under section 105B, the Director of National Intelligence and Attorney General may direct a person to--

`(1) immediately provide the Government with all information, facilities, and assistance necessary to accomplish the acquisition in such a manner as will protect the secrecy of the acquisition and produce a minimum of interference with the services that such person is providing to the target; and

`(2) maintain under security procedures approved by the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence any records concerning the acquisition or the aid furnished that such person wishes to maintain.

`(f) The Government shall compensate, at the prevailing rate, a person for providing information, facilities, or assistance pursuant to subsection (e).

`(g) In the case of a failure to comply with a directive issued pursuant to subsection (e), the Attorney General may invoke the aid of the court established under section 103(a) to compel compliance with the directive. The court shall issue an order requiring the person to comply with the directive if it finds that the directive was issued in accordance with subsection (e) and is otherwise lawful. Failure to obey an order of the court may be punished by the court as contempt of court. Any process under this section may be served in any judicial district in which the person may be found.

`(h)(1)(A) A person receiving a directive issued pursuant to subsection (e) may challenge the legality of that directive by filing a petition with the pool established under section 103(e)(1).

`(B) The presiding judge designated pursuant to section 103(b) shall assign a petition filed under subparagraph (A) to one of the judges serving in the pool established by section 103(e)(1). Not later than 48 hours after the assignment of such petition, the assigned judge shall conduct an initial review of the directive. If the assigned judge determines that the petition is frivolous, the assigned judge shall immediately deny the petition and affirm the directive or any part of the directive that is the subject of the petition. If the assigned judge determines the petition is not frivolous, the assigned judge shall, within 72 hours, consider the petition in accordance with the procedures established under section 103(e)(2) and provide a written statement for the record of the reasons for any determination under this subsection.

`(2) A judge considering a petition to modify or set aside a directive may grant such petition only if the judge finds that such directive does not meet the requirements of this section or is otherwise unlawful. If the judge does not modify or set aside the directive, the judge shall immediately affirm such directive, and order the recipient to comply with such directive.

`(3) Any directive not explicitly modified or set aside under this subsection shall remain in full effect.

`(i) The Government or a person receiving a directive reviewed pursuant to subsection (h) may file a petition with the Court of Review established under section 103(b) for review of the decision issued pursuant to subsection (h) not later than 7 days after the issuance of such decision. Such court of review shall have jurisdiction to consider such petitions and shall provide for the record a written statement of the reasons for its decision. On petition for a writ of certiorari by the Government or any person receiving such directive, the record shall be transmitted under seal to the Supreme Court, which shall have jurisdiction to review such decision.

`(j) Judicial proceedings under this section shall be concluded as expeditiously as possible. The record of proceedings, including petitions filed, orders granted, and statements of reasons for decision, shall be maintained under security measures established by the Chief Justice of the United States, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence.

`(k) All petitions under this section shall be filed under seal. In any proceedings under this section, the court shall, upon request of the Government, review ex parte and in camera any Government submission, or portions of a submission, which may include classified information.

`(l) Notwithstanding any other law, no cause of action shall lie in any court against any person for providing any information, facilities, or assistance in accordance with a directive under this section.

`(m) A directive made or an order granted under this section shall be retained for a period of not less than 10 years from the date on which such directive or such order is made.'.


SEC. 3. SUBMISSION TO COURT REVIEW AND ASSESSMENT OF PROCEDURES.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) is amended by inserting after section 105B the following:


`SUBMISSION TO COURT REVIEW OF PROCEDURES
`Sec. 105C. (a) No later than 120 days after the effective date of this Act, the Attorney General shall submit to the Court established under section 103(a), the procedures by which the Government determines that acquisitions conducted pursuant to section 105B do not constitute electronic surveillance. The procedures submitted pursuant to this section shall be updated and submitted to the Court on an annual basis.

`(b) No later than 180 days after the effective date of this Act, the court established under section 103(a) shall assess the Government's determination under section 105B(a)(1) that those procedures are reasonably designed to ensure that acquisitions conducted pursuant to section 105B do not constitute electronic surveillance. The court's review shall be limited to whether the Government's determination is clearly erroneous.

`(c) If the court concludes that the determination is not clearly erroneous, it shall enter an order approving the continued use of such procedures. If the court concludes that the determination is clearly erroneous, it shall issue an order directing the Government to submit new procedures within 30 days or cease any acquisitions under section 105B that are implicated by the court's order.

`(d) The Government may appeal any order issued under subsection (c) to the court established under section 103(b). If such court determines that the order was properly entered, the court shall immediately provide for the record a written statement of each reason for its decision, and, on petition of the United States for a writ of certiorari, the record shall be transmitted under seal to the Supreme Court of the United States, which shall have jurisdiction to review such decision. Any acquisitions affected by the order issued under subsection (c) of this section may continue during the pendency of any appeal, the period during which a petition for writ of certiorari may be pending, and any review by the Supreme Court of the United States.'.


SEC. 4. REPORTING TO CONGRESS.

On a semi-annual basis the Attorney General shall inform the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate, the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives, the Committee on the Judiciary of the Senate, and the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives, concerning acquisitions under this section during the previous 6-month period. Each report made under this section shall include--

(1) a description of any incidents of non-compliance with a directive issued by the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence under section 105B, to include--

(A) incidents of non-compliance by an element of the Intelligence Community with guidelines or procedures established for determining that the acquisition of foreign intelligence authorized by the Attorney General and Director of National Intelligence concerns persons reasonably to be outside the United States; and

(B) incidents of noncompliance by a specified person to whom the Attorney General and Director of National Intelligence issue a directive under this section; and

(2) the number of certifications and directives issued during the reporting period.


SEC. 5. TECHNICAL AMENDMENT AND CONFORMING AMENDMENTS.

(a) In General- Section 103(e) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1803(e)) is amended--

(1) in paragraph (1), by striking `501(f)(1)' and inserting `105B(h) or 501(f)(1)'; and

(2) in paragraph (2), by striking `501(f)(1)' and inserting `105B(h) or 501(f)(1)'.

(b) Table of Contents- The table of contents in the first section of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 105 the following:

`105A. Clarification of electronic surveillance of persons outside the United States.

`105B. Additional procedure for authorizing certain acquisitions concerning persons located outside the United States.

`105C. Submission to court review of procedures.'.


SEC. 6. EFFECTIVE DATE; TRANSITION PROCEDURES.

(a) Effective Date- Except as otherwise provided, the amendments made by this Act shall take effect immediately after the date of the enactment of this Act.

(b) Transition Procedures- Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, any order in effect on the date of enactment of this Act issued pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.) shall remain in effect until the date of expiration of such order, and, at the request of the applicant, the court established under section 103(a) of such Act (50 U.S.C. 1803(a)) shall reauthorize such order as long as the facts and circumstances continue to justify issuance of such order under the provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, as in effect on the day before the applicable effective date of this Act. The Government also may file new applications, and the court established under section 103(a) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1803(a)) shall enter orders granting such applications pursuant to such Act, as long as the application meets the requirements set forth under the provisions of such Act as in effect on the day before the effective date of this Act. At the request of the applicant, the court established under section 103(a) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1803(a)), shall extinguish any extant authorization to conduct electronic surveillance or physical search entered pursuant to such Act. Any surveillance conducted pursuant to an order entered under this subsection shall be subject to the provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.), as in effect on the day before the effective date of this Act.

(c) Sunset- Except as provided in subsection (d), sections 2, 3, 4, and 5 of this Act, and the amendments made by this Act, shall cease to have effect 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act.

←→(d) Authorizations in Effect- Authorizations for the acquisition of foreign intelligence information pursuant to the amendments made by this Act, and directives issued pursuant to such authorizations, shall remain in effect until their expiration. Such acquisitions shall be governed by the applicable provisions of such amendments and shall not be deemed to constitute electronic surveillance as that term is defined in section 101(f) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801(f)).

--------------------------------
Please take your time. Look at this slowly. It's got a number of implications for web sites like ATS, and other forms of communication that you and I use every day. This was no accident. It wasn't something that they did by mistake. If you're looking of real conspiracy, this would be it.

S-1927 appears to have good intentions, but it takes the lid off a very large can of worms. One case in point would be ATS. The Feds are known to play fast and loose with their legal definitions. Under this law, comms which originate outside the U.S. and pass through the United States, will be open to monitoring without a warrant...unless...those comms are specially associated with a U.S. citizen known to be in the U.S. at the time of transmission.

There's only one way they can know who is associated with whom. they've got to tap it, track, it, and archive it to develope a pattern. Sounds harmless? Think twice before you send me an e-mail when you're outside the U.S. Yes, I know they're supposed to be targeting hostile countries only...but...what constitutes a hostile country? My one specific worry is that this law is too broad, and therefore easily exploited without further amendment.

[edit on 5-8-2007 by Justin Oldham]




posted on Aug, 7 2007 @ 02:45 AM
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I'd like to bring the following item from MSNBC to your attention.

Bush signs bill to expand wiretap powers
Democrats concede to Bush administration on warrantless surveillance


The administration said the measure is needed to speed the National Security Agency’s ability to intercept phone calls, e-mails and other communications involving foreign nationals “reasonably believed to be outside the United States.”

The law is designed to capture communications that pass through the United States.

Civil liberties groups and many Democrats say it goes too far, possibly enabling the government to wiretap U.S. residents communicating with overseas parties without adequate oversight from courts or Congress.

The new law updates the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and it will expire in six months unless Congress renews it. Bush wants deeper, permanent changes.

“We must remember that our work is not done,” Bush prodded. “This bill is a temporary, narrowly focused statute to deal with the most immediate shortcomings in the law.”


-----------------------------------
I'm glad to see that this law expires in six months, but I do have some concerns about what I've read. For starters, the lack of oversight is still a problem to me. If they happen to accidentally monitor a U.S. citizen, they are supposed to sss the data. Really? I note with some interest that the law doesn't define who is a terrorist. It merely states that foriegn persons can be monitored if their comms go through U.S. portals.

If foriegn-to-foriegn communications are going to be monitored, how do we prevent the Attorney General from abusing this tool to spy on Americans? I know that some don't think that we need oversight for a matter like this, but...how do we ensure that this new legal precedent doesn't get twisted in to something that hurts the people it was supposed to protect?

I correspond with people in other countries all the time. If you post on ATS, you do too. I do in fact make a few overseas phone calls every now than then. Under the terms of this law, the telecom companies could be pressured to share their information as part of a spying program...and...they wouldn't have to get a warrant, or tell you that they've spied on you.

I have the suspicion that they'll use this new option to avoid any forms of oversight altogether. I want to be wrong.

mod edit to insert quote tags

[edit on 20-8-2007 by DontTreadOnMe]



posted on Aug, 9 2007 @ 02:45 PM
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I'd like to bring the following article fom Consortium News to your attention. I think addresses many of the concerns that we SHOULD have about this recent move by Congress to grant the Federal government more powers to spy on us without checks and balances.


---------------------------------


'Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death'

By Brent Budowsky
August 8, 2007


Editor’s Note: In the hours before its August recess, Congress succumbed to pressure from the Bush administration and passed a loosely written law that effectively legalizes George W. Bush's previously illegal program of warrantless wiretaps.

In this guest essay, political analyst Brent Budowsky takes Republican and Democratic leaders to task for their hasty action on legislation that could have far-reaching consequences for the liberties of Americans:

Patrick Henry’s words ring hollow after Congress passed, and the president signed, a law of enormous constitutional and security importance in an atmosphere of fear, without any semblance of serious debate. Again.

While many members of the House and Senate and leading legal scholars did not fully understand this as the roll was called, this law expands the reach of surveillance of American citizens, on American soil, communicating with those “reasonably” targeted while abroad, without protections that have long existed.


---------------------------------

Mr. Budowski's article first appeared in The Hill newspaper, but this is where I saw the full text of the article, so I linked from Consortium news. When possible, I try to find left-wing material that makes my point. Many of the things that worry us here at ATS go beyond Left or Right. They strike at the very heart of our citizenship, and they worry us because this is an all or nothing proposition. We are free, or we aren't. In this case, our leaders do not have our best interests in mind, and we need to be aware of the consequences of their actions. If we let them get away with this, we really get nothing more than what we deserve.

[edit on 21-8-2007 by DontTreadOnMe]



posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 03:04 PM
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I've been busy with other things, but I'd like to bring you some updates on this discussion.

For the sake of chronological accuracy, I'd like to show you the following article from the Washington Post, date 8/10/07.

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Why the Democrats Caved

By E. J. Dionne Jr.
Friday, August 10, 2007; Page A13

Shortly before noon last Saturday, about 20 House Democrats huddled in Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office to decide what to do about a surveillance bill that had been dumped on them by the Senate before it left town.

Many of the Democrats were furious. They believed they had negotiated in good faith with Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence. They sought to give the Bush administration the authority it needed to intercept communications involving foreign nationals in terrorism investigations while preserving some oversight.

But the administration held out for granting McConnell and Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales more power while seriously circumscribing the role of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The Senate's Democratic leadership, lacking the votes to pass a measure more to the House's liking, gave the administration what it wanted.

At one point, according to participants in the Pelosi meeting, the passionate discussion veered toward the idea of standing up to the administration -- even at the risk of handing President Bush a chance to bash Democrats on "national security," as is his wont.


-----------------------------------

It's that bit about oversight that bothers me. The overall trend in Federal growth that I'm so fond of talking about as the greatest conspiracy of our time has taken one more step...right in fron of us.

As I type this on August 15, I'm glad to see that other ATS members are talking about this. Democrats and Republicans alike sold us down the river before they went on vacation, and we need to remember that before we drown.

[edit on 21-8-2007 by DontTreadOnMe]



posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 03:58 PM
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You know Justin I keep asking my self if We the people have anyone, anybody representing us in congress anymore.

We the people has lost control of our nation and government a long time ago.

Elections in our nation are like any other holiday we just celebrate voting but we have not influences anymore on the results.

So when the supposed elected politicians in congress screw us they do not feel guilty anymore, because they are serving the highest bidder and the ones with the biggest wallet.



posted on Aug, 15 2007 @ 04:17 PM
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A lot of people are on vacation just now. August is commonly reserved for time away in many countries. I'd like to think that's one of many reasons why we haven't seen very much traffic in this thread. It's easy and--rather attractive--to think that this doesn't matter. A majority of americans are turned off by what they see as more bad behavior from Congress. the simple truth is that our own Congress has become too corrupt to ignore. We turn our backs to these people at our own peril.



posted on Aug, 20 2007 @ 09:29 PM
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I'd like to bring the following AP news item to your attention. It summarizes the most recent political maneuvers that relate to President Bush's domestic spying program.

------------------------------------


Leahy Threatens Bush Aides With Contempt

By JESSE J. HOLLAND
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A top Senate Democrat on Monday threatened to hold members of the Bush administration in contempt for not producing subpoenaed information about the legal justification for President Bush's secretive eavesdropping program.

"When the Senate comes back in the session, I'll bring it up before the committee," said Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "I prefer cooperation to contempt. Right now, there's no question that they are in contempt of the valid order of the Congress."

Leahy's committee on June 27 subpoenaed the Justice Department, National Security Council and the offices of the president and vice president for documents relating to the National Security Agency's legal justification for the wiretapping program.

White House lawyer Fred Fielding, in a Monday letter to Leahy, said that the administration needed more time.

"A core set of highly sensitive national security and related documents we have so far identified are potentially subject to claims of executive privilege and that a more complete collection and review of all materials responsive to the subpoenas will require additional time," Fielding said.


--------------------------------
So far as I know, you're seeing this article here for the first time on ATS. Conspiracy theorists have suggested that the Democrats don't actually want do anything about the Bush spying program because they'd like to use it when their gal takes office in 2008.

[edit on 21-8-2007 by DontTreadOnMe]



posted on Aug, 20 2007 @ 09:40 PM
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reply to post by Justin Oldham
 


I thank you for this thread. The capitulation of the Democrats makes it clear that the 2 political parties in Washington should be thrown out across the board without question.

The USA at the least needs a viable 3rd party or regional parties that challenge the establishment elites. It would also be nice if US Americans would demand that their Constitution be reinstated (and Alberto Gonzalez thrown in jail).

Now that Karl Rove returns to his empire having done his turn to create a Federal Empire we can imagine he will be up to far worse activities than even giving GWB his makeover for primetime.



posted on Aug, 20 2007 @ 09:50 PM
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Justin thanks for the update, I got my hopes high that something is going to happen when congress meet again.

Because I got a feeling that we are starting to see our own political system crashing down, or at least getting to that point.



posted on Aug, 20 2007 @ 11:19 PM
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I want reform just as much as anyone else, but I'm skeptical that we're going to see it any time soon. the dynamics of the overall trend that I've been monitoring strongly suggests that we won't get to fix our government until it breaks. I understand that intellectually, but I still don't want to see it come t othat. I too hope for a less radical solution.



posted on Aug, 20 2007 @ 11:30 PM
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Something is for sure Justin, we have a president and a vice president that are doing anything in their power executive power to ignore congress as much as they can, they are acting like congress dosen't exist.

That will be enough to make any constitution loving Patriotic American scare.



posted on Aug, 21 2007 @ 02:42 AM
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That's why you and I are here. A lot of people are afraid, and they'll need somebody to talk with. Conversations like this serve to show others that there is hope.



posted on Feb, 13 2008 @ 09:22 PM
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The Senate hase voted to approve an ammendment to the Foriegn Intelligence Surveillance Act. Under the terms of this ammendment, U.S. telecoms will be granted legal immunity from prosecution, in exchange for their cooperation in domestic spying cases.

A recent Associated Press article states the following:


The surveillance law has been updated repeatedly since then, most recently last summer. Congress hastily adopted a FISA modification in August in the face of dire warnings from the White House that changes in telecommunications technology and FISA court rulings were dangerously constraining the government's ability to intercept terrorist communications.

Shortly after its passage, privacy and civil liberties groups said the new law gave the government unprecedented authority to spy on Americans, particularly those who communicate with foreigners.


Congress is rushing to put new regs in place before February 15th, when that modification expires.

As if that's not enough, this article goes on to relate the following:


In a separate voice vote Tuesday, the Senate expanded the power of the court to oversee government eavesdropping on Americans. The amendment would give the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court the authority to monitor whether the government is complying with procedures designed to protect the privacy of innocent Americans whose telephone or computer communications are captured during surveillance of a foreign target.


The mechanics of the current law that is about to expire allow the government to wiretap or search the personal effects of anyone overseas, without a warrant IF if it is believed that the person in questions may be a foreign agent.

There's an ammendment in this new law mod that would require a court order before that kind of search could be conducted. As you might expect ,the Bush administration doesn't like that provision.

I'm glad to see that kind of legal shield being put in to place for the average guy, but I'm disappointed that the Bush team is pushing so hard to give the telecoms legal immunity from lawsuits related to spying.

This bill now goes to the conference committee, where it will be compaired to the House version. Compromises will be made, and the final version wil lbe sent to the President for signing.

There are some very serious implications to the immunity deal for the country's telecommunications providers. You'll never know when they are spying on you, or why. If this law passes, we should all assume that we are under surveillance.

I have recorded an ATS Member podcast to go along with this essay.

[edit on 13-2-2008 by Justin Oldham]



posted on Feb, 13 2008 @ 09:36 PM
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I read about this in the washington post earlier today.

The only legal thing we can do is write to our senators and hope they actually read what we have to say.

This surveillance expansion violates our civil liberties, the very same civil liberties this country was founded off of, the very same civil liberties that our soldiers die for, yet the senate and the rest of the government violates these same civil liberties.

It's all one big lie.



posted on Feb, 14 2008 @ 12:11 AM
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Well, hello. I think you posted just before I added the podcast link for my last post. It's really too bad that this story isn't getting very much air time. That's why I started this thread. I wanted to document this evil trend.



posted on Apr, 25 2008 @ 03:36 PM
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As the American economic situation worsens, we're likely to see an increase in Federal wiretapping. Some of that anti-terror authority will beu sed ot justify the investigation of food hoarding, and black markets. I will not be surprised if some of the language used by the mainstream media starts to sound like what we heard from the old Soviet Union.

Imagine this:

"In an effort to cut down on hoarding and black market smuggling, Federal officials have announced new monitoring measures the ensure that civilian communications networks are not used by racketeers..."



posted on Apr, 28 2008 @ 08:54 PM
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My understanding is that they haven't really been getting warrants or allowing any oversight anyway. Why try to make it all legal now? Didn't the Patriot Act give them many of these powers anyway? If they can not only check my phone records, but the phone records of everyone I've called AND everyone that they have called, isn't that enough of a violation? Hell, they're even monitoring privileged attorney-client conversations and admitting to it! I just don't see how the American people can stand for this. . .but of course, I don't follow the mainstream media alone, either. I realize that I know about this because I take the time to inform myself, but it seems that when I tell others about it, they have a laissez-faire attitude that just pains me.



posted on Apr, 29 2008 @ 04:35 PM
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Originally posted by scarlett1125
Why try to make it all legal now? Didn't the Patriot Act give them many of these powers anyway?


It's not enough for them to establish the legal precedents. To keep the power tha they've gained, they need to neutralize any possible legal challenge. It's taking them a long time to do all of this because their are many possible legal challenges.

The framers of the Constitution built in a lot of checks and balnaces. Those safeguards are not easy to get around, but they can be done away with...in time.



posted on Jun, 20 2008 @ 05:55 PM
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Originally posted by Justin Oldham
It's not enough for them to establish the legal precedents. To keep the power tha they've gained, they need to neutralize any possible legal challenge. It's taking them a long time to do all of this because their are many possible legal challenges.

The framers of the Constitution built in a lot of checks and balnaces. Those safeguards are not easy to get around, but they can be done away with...in time.


To prove this point, I'd like to call the following news item to your attention.

House Passes Telecom Immunity Bill


The measure, which could be voted on by the Senate next week, would require federal courts to dismiss surveillance lawsuits against Verizon Communications Inc., AT&T Inc. and Sprint Nextel Corp. and others if the U.S. attorney general certifies their cooperation — between Sept. 11, 2001, and Jan. 17, 2007 — was based on written assurances that their activities were authorized by the president and determined to be lawful.


This isn't a surprise. This has been expected by many ATS members. It's not something to be blamed on any one single political party. Everyone who voted for this deserves a large piece of the blame.



posted on Jun, 20 2008 @ 06:11 PM
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What actually constitutes as foreign Policy when they are recieving outside in calls into the United States. Sounds more like wiretapping Americans more less in a undercover way.

They are tracking movement of wealth?

Who has the connections to make inside takeovers?


Who chose their rights actually owes the policy to open domestic affairs investigation.

Little by little there is an inside scoop to see where this economy is being moved.

Are these major Bank organisations making all this noise through domestic affairs, to see who is not paying?

Thanks for your time and input, Justin.



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