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Obama Maintains Right to Tap Overseas Phone Calls

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posted on Feb, 14 2011 @ 05:57 AM
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*that's the title of the article

Obama Maintains Right to Tap Overseas Phone Calls


The Obama administration's Justice Department has asserted that the FBI can obtain telephone records of international calls made from the U.S. without any formal legal process or court oversight, according to a document obtained by McClatchy Newspapers.

That assertion was revealed _ perhaps inadvertently _ by the department in its response to a McClatchy Newspapers request for a copy of a secret Justice Department memo. Critics say the legal position is flawed and creates a potential loophole that could lead to a repeat of FBI abuses that were supposed to have been stopped in 2006.

The controversy over the telephone records is a legacy of the Bush administration's war on terror. Critics say the Obama administration appears to be continuing many of the most controversial tactics of that strategy, including the assertion of sweeping executive powers.


Out with the old .. in with the new .. just like the old.
('spose we really can't call Obama 'new' anymore)

I can understand tapping phone calls overseas if there is suspected terrorist activities by one of the parties involved. But this doesnt' seem to need any kind of reasoning. I'm sure the FBI probably has too much going on to listen in on every phone call. If they listened to mine they'd be bored!
But still ... this is just a continuation of Bush43 policies.

So what is this really?

- Obama got in and found out Bush43 was RIGHT (and he himself was wrong) about doing this so he continued it?

- Obama got in and is so impotent that he can't follow through on cleaning out abuses in the system?

- Obama got in and decided it was a great way to spy on his political enemies so he's allowing it?

- Obama has nothing to do with this .. it's a FBI and Justice Dept problem? So complaints about Bush43 and Obama on this matter are misplaced?

- Other?

Whatever .. it's the same ol' same ol' ...




posted on Mar, 19 2011 @ 01:11 AM
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Originally posted by FlyersFan
...

- Obama got in and found out Bush43 was RIGHT (and he himself was wrong) about doing this so he continued it?
...


Wrong about what?

Did he ever say we shouldn't tap these kinds of phone calls?

Refresh my memory. I'm failing to find the info online. Thanks!



posted on Mar, 19 2011 @ 10:42 AM
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Originally posted by incrediblelousminds
Did he ever say we shouldn't tap these kinds of phone calls?
The problem is not with tapping “these kinds of phone calls” (international calls made from the US), but with the way the executive branch, under Bush, tapped them, and is now, under Obama, asserting that it can and perhaps is already tapping. There are existing wiretapping laws stipulating how it must be done, and the executive branch can’t just ignore them.

Concerning your question, here is a Q&A Obama did with the Boston Globe in December 2007—

1. Does the president have inherent powers under the Constitution to conduct surveillance for national security purposes without judicial warrants, regardless of federal statutes?

The Supreme Court has never held that the president has such powers. As president, I will follow existing law, and when it comes to U.S. citizens and residents, I will only authorize surveillance for national security purposes consistent with FISA and other federal statutes. ...

10. Is there any executive power the Bush administration has claimed or exercised that you think is unconstitutional? Anything you think is simply a bad idea?

... Warrantless surveillance of American citizens, in defiance of FISA, is unlawful and unconstitutional.

If Obama wants to tap phone calls he must follow the law, a law he said he would follow and that doing otherwise would be unconstitutional.


Originally posted by FlyersFan
Obama got in and found out Bush43 was RIGHT (and he himself was wrong) about doing this so he continued it?
Obama got in and found out he likes the almost-absolute power previous administrations worked to expand. Bush was wrong, and Obama is wrong.


Originally posted by FlyersFan
Obama has nothing to do with this .. it's a FBI and Justice Dept problem? So complaints about Bush43 and Obama on this matter are misplaced?
Even if Obama wasn’t involved with the decisions, or didn’t sanction these practices, it’s still his fault for not knowing what people in his administration are doing or advocating, and not stopping it when he found out about it.



posted on Mar, 19 2011 @ 10:44 AM
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Thanks for your concern barry. At least we're all safe now with you in control.
(that eye rolling feller of mine isn't smiling.)



posted on Mar, 19 2011 @ 12:40 PM
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reply to post by aptness
 


Thanks for that. I appreciate how you did your research.

But is he in violation of FISA by doing this? I see no evidence that is the case. The Patriot Act, which is still legal, and is an amendment to FISA, appears to make this legal. SO it appears the OPs claim that Obama was 'wrong' isn't based on anything Obama ever said, or a change of opinion on Obama's part.

I'm more than willing to accept being mis-informed, so if that is the case, please educate me. Thanks!
en.wikipedia.org...



posted on Mar, 19 2011 @ 09:54 PM
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Originally posted by incrediblelousminds
But is he in violation of FISA by doing this? I see no evidence that is the case. The Patriot Act, which is still legal, and is an amendment to FISA, appears to make this legal. SO it appears the OPs claim that Obama was 'wrong' isn't based on anything Obama ever said, or a change of opinion on Obama's part.
As far as I can tell, Obama hasn’t, personally, said this was his opinion, but what I was addressing, and what the article posted in the OP is talking about is an Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) memo issued on January 2010 saying the FBI “under certain circumstances” could request phone records “without legal process or qualifying emergency.”

The OLC memo in question has apparently not been disclosed yet, but this information was caught after being referenced in a heavily redacted part of a report by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Justice, issued on January 2010, where in pages 264 and 265 (pages 277 and 278 of the pdf) states the following—

However, after reviewing a draft of the OIG report the FBI asked the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) for a legal opinion on this issue. When making the request for an OLC the FBI stated that [censored].

On January 8, 2010, the OLC issued its opinion, concluding that the ECPA "would not forbid electronic communications service providers [censored]. In short, the OLC agreed with the FBI that under certain circumstances [censored] allows the FBI to ask for and obtain these records on a voluntary basis from the providers, without legal process or a qualifying emergency.
The Inspector General report, further down, notes—

For the reasons discussed below, we believe the FBI's potential use of [censored] to obtain records has significant policy implications that need to be considered by the FBI, the Department, and the Congress.
In footnote 283, it also warns that—

The FBI has stated that it does not intend to rely on [censored]. However, that could change, and we believe that appropriate controls on such authority should be considered now, in light of the FBI's past practices and the OLC opinion.

In response to your broader question, I believe the Department of Justice’s position to be inconsistent with existing legislation, yes.

FISA specifies, codified in 50 USC 1802(a), how surveillance may be done without court order and who can be targeted.

It says “the President, through the Attorney General, may authorize electronic surveillance without a court order ... to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year if the Attorney General certifies in writing under oath that ... the electronic surveillance is solely directed at ... the acquisition of the contents of communications transmitted by means of communications used exclusively between or among foreign powers” or “the acquisition of technical intelligence, other than the spoken communications of individuals, from property or premises under the open and exclusive control of a foreign power,” and that “there is no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party.”

The ECPA (Electronic Communications Privacy Act) mentioned in the Inspector General report, states that communications may be voluntarily divulged by providers “to a law enforcement agency ... if the contents ... appear to pertain to the commission of a crime,” or to “to a governmental entity, if the provider, in good faith, believes that an emergency involving danger of death or serious physical injury to any person18 USC 2702 (b)(7) and (8), respectively.

It also states that customer records may be voluntarily divulged by providers “to a governmental entity, if the provider, in good faith, believes that an emergency involving danger of death or serious physical injury to any person requires disclosure without delay of information relating to the emergency” 18 USC 2702(c)(4).

So in light of this, the OLC opinion, under Obama, stating that the “FBI [can] ask for and obtain these records on a voluntary basis from the providers, without legal process or a qualifying emergency,” doesn’t seem to be consistent with existing legislation (FISA, ECPA).



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