Not Just the Telecom Immunity-But Permanent NSA Powers to Spy On Americans Without a WarrantSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


 

Not Just the Telecom Immunity-But Permanent NSA Powers to Spy On Americans Without a Warrant
 


21 June 2008 at 2:51:31 PM
salon

Via McBlogger, who has a FISA roundup, this article by Froomkin in the WaPost. Two quotes.

What kind of a country is it where, when the head of state asks you to do something that may well be illegal, but assures you that he considers it legal, you can't be held accountable for doing it?

I said this yesterday. It's really not any different than any crime with an accomplice. Someone breaks into a home and tells the people with him that it's okay, he says it's all right and they should just come help him carry out the goods. The people say, well, what happens if we are caught and we're asked why we did it? Burglar says, Not to Worry. You're With Me. And if I Say It's Okay to Burglarize that House, You'll Get Off the Hook, too. That wouldn't happen in a million years with you and me, so why is it happening with the Bush administration and the telecom companies who have, um, BROKEN THE LAW and apparently, if the Senate has its way without fighting this, will not even have to explain this in court, like YOU OR I WOULD HAVE TO DO!

And

"The surveillance powers may end up being a rare survivor of the administration's post-9/11 redrawing of national-security law. Other elements, including interrogation techniques, Guantanamo Bay and secret overseas prisons, have been challenged by the Supreme Court and Congress, withdrawn by the administration or face possible withdrawal by the next.

All very very shameful, disgusting things that this administration has done, and for which, if Congress wasn't in love with money and power, Bush would have been impeached already.

"The deal, if adopted in Congress, would bring the activities of a National Security Agency surveillance program permanently under the law. It would permit the federal government, in certain circumstances, to listen to communications of U.S. citizens without a specific warrant. It would also expand government powers to monitor communications on topics other than terrorism. Before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the government needed a warrant if it wanted to listen to any conversation involving a U.S. citizen."

You get that? The argument has been made by Bush and the Republicans over and over and over about how they needed to illegally listen in because there might be a terrrorist on the other end of the line. But this isn't just about terrorism, it's about spying on our communications whatever the topic.

In a statement, the ACLU's Caroline Fredrickson argues that, in addition to the immunity provisions: "This bill allows for mass and untargeted surveillance of Americans' communications. The court review is mere window-dressing -- all the court would look at is the procedures for the year-long dragnet and not at the who, what and why of the spying. Even this superficial court review has a gaping loophole -- 'exigent' circumstances can short cut even this perfunctory oversight since any delay in the onset of spying meets the test and by definition going to the court would cause at least a minimal pause. Worse yet, if the court denies an order for any reason, the government is allowed to continue surveillance throughout the appeals process, thereby rendering the role of the judiciary meaningless. In the end, there is no one to answer to; a court review without power is no court review at all."


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Comments

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