Thursday, August 17, 2006

NSA eavesdropping program ruled unconstitutional

Nice to see at least one branch of government still functions as it should (sometimes), since the other two clearly suck.

The government argued that the program is well within the president's authority, but said proving that would require revealing state secrets.

Wow, that's a convenient defense. Worse, though that the judge didn't just laugh at this argument but instead reasond that "the Bush administration already had publicly revealed enough information about the program for [her] to rule." So, if they had just kept their secret better, they'd be allowed to continue doing whatever the fuck they want? No wonder they hate the New York Times.

I was getting a little worried that I hadn't heard the term "activist judge" enough lately. This should get that back out there.

Of course no one will care very much about this ruling since some guy was arrested in a 10 year old murder case.

Well, whatever, I'm sure this will mean we'll stop catching all those terrorists we've been catching lately. whether it's those guys with no plane tickets who were going to blow up planes, or those guys who bought too many cell phones at once with only the lousy excuse that they could sell them for a profit of $18 each, or that woman who had notes from Al Qaeda* and some vaseline or something (or not). But that's ok with me, since I feel a lot safer now that people can't bring hair gel on planes.

* Do you want to be a terrorist? If so, check this box □. Sincerely, Osama.

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24 comments:

Storm said...

First you are wrong.
In this article it is the ACLU that claimed Taylor could rule not Taylor herself. On a separate note I thought Judges were reasoned persons that did not laugh at either party since they are impartial.

"The ACLU said the state-secrets argument was irrelevant because the Bush administration already had publicly revealed enough information about the program for Taylor to rule."

You are correct that it could mean that we would catch less terrorists. Except this Judge's Opinion was already contravened a and the order to cease was blocked pending an appeal.

As for the reference about the mistake at the airport and the fluid I think most Americans would rather that mistake then a blow up plane.

Agreed it is great they are "close" to solving the 10 year old case but this should not be the focus

The State Secret defense is lame however the "we may have been harmed" in some way arguement is going to sink this case. This type of case requires the plantiff to show they have been harmed.

When this case is thrown out, will you then give up this silly debate that there is something wrong with knowing what known terrorists are plotting against this country? I will tell you what I'll make you a deal right here right now if this case is ultimately upheld then I will concede the point and vote for one demo in the next election. Here is the catch you have to agree if the case is throw out you will concede the point and move on (I am not even asking you to vote this way or that).

Storm said...

You did make one point worth discussing. How did the New York Times get the story? When did they know what and from who? How many agents were compromised and their lives placed in greater harm?

Oh thats right, several Congress members were briefed about the so called secret program. You do not think one of those members would have dared to leak a story about an ongoing security operation? Do you?

Robert Bayn said...

I can hear right wing talking points already:

"this is a liberal activist judge"


I guess the answer never is, spying on American citizens is wrong? I mean if the government can do whatver they want, why don't we stop calling our country a Democrarcy and call it what it really is, a Totalatarian government.

John Howard said...

Uh, Storm, obviously Taylor agreed with the ACLU that she could rule, since shem you know, ruled.

We are not going to catch less terrorists because the government can't spy on people without warrants. This is the point that you right wingers just don't get. The only reason not to get a warrant is because you are doing something that a warrant would be denied for, which is the scary part of this program. No one is going to deny a warrant to listen to suspected terrorists.

I'm not going to concede that it's ok to spy on people without any oversight, because that is just stupid and unAmerican. I really don't get how you can argue that this is about listening to terrorists. If that's the case, why not get a warrant and do it legally? There is obviously something else going on. Use some common sense. It's not about giving rights to terrorists, it's about not taking them away from the rest of us. A program without oversight, even if I trusted that the intentions were 100% noble (which I don't), is way too ripe for abuse.

I don't care who leaked the story. If this administration is so concerned about leaks, there are more important ones they could be worried about. They only care about leaks when it hurts them politically. And, how could any agents be put in danger by leaking that the government is listening to phone calls? Ridiculous.

Storm said...

I never desscribed this Judge as a Liberal activist. I know some of you like to lump all of us conservatives together but the truth is rarely so simple. Why would I consider liberals bad? Lincoln would likely be considered a liberal. The women suffragists would definetly have been liberals. And the Republican congress that passed the Civil Rights Act would be said to have been following a liberal agenda. No I am arguing the merit of her legal arguement not a description of her.

Storm said...

Uh, Storm, obviously Taylor agreed with the ACLU that she could rule, since shem you know, ruled.

You can massage your statement if you want but you misquoted your own source. This matters because you have taken an opinion converted to a quasi fact by changng the speaker from a civilian organization, the ACLU to the presiding Judge. More importantly the ACLU is the plantiff in this case so of course the plantiff is going to always argue the validity of the case. Your misquote has another problem how could a Judge refute a defense before hearing the defense?

Storm said...

Comment on second paragraph by JRH

"We are not going to catch less terrorists because the government can't spy on people without warrants." I am not sure what to even do with this statement. Is your point that you want the US Governent to catch less terrorists? Or that spying is not effective? or are you saying by not spying we will still catch the same number? Are you saying the program is not effective? Btw by agreeing we are not going to catch less you are infering we are catching some right now.


"This is the point that you right wingers just don't get. The only reason not to get a warrant is because you are doing something that a warrant would be denied for," OK let's stop right here. To begin with you are wrong. Warrantless searches are done every day in America and they are legal. The reasons have nothing to do with the reasons you claim. Please look up the term exigent circumstances.

"which is the scary part of this program. No one is going to deny a warrant to listen to suspected terrorists." Exactly the point. Terrorists are receiving or calling here shouldn't we know why?
Have you ever obtained a warrant? I have and even if you have not I am sure you can imagine it takes longer than a phone call to prepare a warrant. The answer here is simple the Judge could agree to start pulling 12 hour shifts so she can be in the NSA monitoring room when the calls are made.

Storm said...

Comment on third paragraph by JRH

"I'm not going to concede that it's ok to spy on people without any oversight, because that is just stupid and unAmerican. I really don't get how you can argue that this is about listening to terrorists. If that's the case, why not get a warrant and do it legally? There is obviously something else going on. Use some common sense. It's not about giving rights to terrorists, it's about not taking them away from the rest of us. A program without oversight, even if I trusted that the intentions were 100% noble (which I don't), is way too ripe for abuse."

There was oversight, member of Congress were briefed. Yes the government wants to know you plan meet Aunt Sally for Dinner on Thursday. The government has neither technology nor the manpower to listen in on all Americans the concept is laughable.

Storm said...

Comment on third paragraph by JRH

"I'm not going to concede that it's ok to spy on people without any oversight, because that is just stupid and unAmerican. I really don't get how you can argue that this is about listening to terrorists. If that's the case, why not get a warrant and do it legally? There is obviously something else going on. Use some common sense. It's not about giving rights to terrorists, it's about not taking them away from the rest of us. A program without oversight, even if I trusted that the intentions were 100% noble (which I don't), is way too ripe for abuse."

There was oversight, member of Congress were briefed. Yes the government wants to know you plan meet Aunt Sally for Dinner on Thursday. The government has neither technology nor the manpower to listen in on all Americans the concept is laughable.

Storm said...

comment on 4th paragraph by JRH

So it was ok to leak this story even though it endangered persons in the field and basically ll of us because someone printed the name of some agent working in a back office which btw would have gone unnoticed had the media not made such a big deal about it. Incidentally, the name of anyone owning real property is already available through property records. If someone wanted to know her name all they had to do was look up him in the property tax records. A 10 year old could perform such a search.

Storm said...

Finally you do know the order to cease the program was never put into effect.

Oddly enough the ACLU is not requiring the Judges order to be implemented. Can you explain why? Yes the Whitehouse has started an appeal and threatened to get an injuction to stop the implentation of the Judges rule but apparently the ACLU has agreed to wait for the appeal. Why?

Storm said...

Sorry for all the posts but as always when we disagree I give one point and your go off on 4 other tangents.

I simply said this, I believe the Judge is wrong in this case and I believe this so strongly that I will make you an offer regarding the ultimate outcome of the case.

I never mentioned her likely liberal leanings and nothing about her grand standing.

John Howard said...

Storm, you can pretend to be some kind of expert on warrants if you want, but your comment shows an appalling ignorance of the law. If it is time sensitive, they can get the warrant retroactively. Surely you know that. And since you must, then you're just being intentionally difficult. And again, you say it's terrorists calls, but how do you know that? You assume the government is telling you the truth, I don't. I thought you Republicans didn't trust the federal government.

John Howard said...

There is no oversight, briefing some members of Congress does not constitute oversight. I doubt they are listening to all Americans, as you're right they don't have the resources to do that. But how do we know they aren't listening to political opponents? Maybe they aren't, but how do we know? I'm sure you realize that this administration isn't above using their power for political purposes. And even if you trust this one, what about the next one? Unchecked power is bad. It's that simple.

John Howard said...

Storm, it was ok to leak this story because the government was breaking the law.

And your comment on the Plame leak shows that you get all your info from right wing radio shows. Her name and existence weren't secret, her status as an undercover agent was.

John Howard said...

The Judge is not wrong, regardless of the ultimate outcome.

Storm said...

JRH

Officers routinely make warrantless searches during every day. They do not seek permission later from a Magistrate or Judge. There is a provision in the Federal System to which you are referring that provides for filing paperwork within 3 days after the search. A concept I frankly do not grasp. What is the Judge going to go back in time.

The check you describe is 2 two fold. The first is if you are harmed by the search you can seek redress in court. The 2nd refers to criminals and it is this if Police violate search law then the evidence will be suppressed at trial. I am not being difficult I am stating a fact, warrantless searches are done every minute of every day. Routinely these searches are challenged by the Defense and some are eventually handled by the Supreme Court.

Point #1 is why this case will be thrown out. The parties can not show any harm.

And yes I am an expert on Warrants. Have you not yet figured out I am not a member of the entertainment industry?

John Howard said...

Storm, these aren't warrantless searches, they're warantless wiretaps, and if a judge decides they are not merited three days later, then they can order them to stop the wiretap. I would assume also that anything they gained from the wiretap at that point would be inadmissable.

You seem to be arguing that the government should be able to do whatever they want, and only not be able to use the evidence if they are challenged in court and found to have violated the law. That's ridiculous. Especially in this case where the potential abuses could easily be things that would never be involved in any trial anyway. I'm sure you're right that warantless searches are done all the time, but it's still against the law and unconstitutional, and it should remain that way. Are you saying that it shouldn't? That's how it seems.

Whether or not the parties in this suit can show harm may get it thrown out ultimately, but that doesn't mean that the program is not illegal and unconstitutional, which it clearly is, even upon the most cursory examination of it.

Storm said...

JRH I am truly amazed at your lack of understanding with respect to the legal system. Warrantless searches are not illegal. Both by legislative process and court case law. You are using symatics with respect to warrantless wiretaps vs say a warrantless search of a vehicle. The search of the vehicle actually poses more of any inconvenience for the individual being searched.

Ok the 3 day thing. No phone call lasts 3 days therefore the concept is moronic. The wiretap is complete withing mintues and therefore the ruling of judge as to its validity at that time is really a moot point. Most State's have full disclosure laws which means the prosecution would have to reveal the wiretap to the defense at which the defense attorney to argue the legality of the wire tap.

If terrorists were static creatures that used the same phones every time your arguement might work with respect to wire taps lasting for days. In reality the tap begins when the phone call is received therefore in a practical sense it would be impossible to obtain a warrant ahead of time unless you knew when the terrorist was going to call the USA.

You repeatedly use in your arguement that the mere fact there may be abuses of the system (harm to someone)therefore it should be illegal. Agreed in as much as I wonder if Clinton was not tapping terrorits with the Echelon who was he tapping? However and here is the point should logic requires law enforcement to cease all operations based on that standard. Let me illustrate, every day in America Officers make traffic stops. The stops harm the individual in the sense that they are delayed. Some of these traffic stops undoutebly should not taken place and after conducting their investigations the officers release the drivers taking no enforcement action--by your definition of a search should and should not be all traffic stops should be outlawed because clearly we have harm done to the driving public

Storm said...

There was one more thing, you keep repeating another refrain something about because I agreed that as presented the wiretap program sounds legal therefore I think government should be allowed to do whatever it wants. This is serious miscalculation and could not be more wrong. My agreement on one point does not by definition mean I agree with all the government does in the law enforcement area. I simply do not agree we should find any one guilty of an offense without proof. This is the essential problem with your position, you have concluded those in the program are criminals even though you have no proof of wrongdoing. You simply say it is illegal and therefore everyone from the President on down is a criminal such a statement befuudles the mind and clearly is a false sweeping generalization. We both know the law has room for interpretation and previous Administration have engaged in warrantless wiretaps for purposes that are less clearly stated therefore there is more to the law than simply "It is wrong". BTW this is why the plantiff has to show harm what we really are saying is no victim no crime. You claim there are victim but none has surfaced. The best ACLU could come up with is maybe they lost the ability to make some contacts in some regions in the World this regions all happen to be places where terrorists are known to operate. Wait lets read that again the ACLU claims they might not have been able to call persons residing in area where terrorists operate--does that confirm the program targets regions where terrorists live and operate?????

John Howard said...

The program is clearly illegal. The fact that it's secret hampers any efforts to prove its illegality as well as making it difficult to challenge. When I accuse you of letting the government do whatever it wants, I mean with respect to listening to people's phone calls, since that's the subject we're discussing. Clearly you think there should be no oversight or limit to the government's power in this regard. At least that's what your arguments tell me.

How are victims supposed to come forward if no one knows that they are a victim? By that logic, if I go out and peep into my neighbor's windows every night, I'm not comitting a crime until I get caught. I may not be able to be prosecuted without proof, but I can definitely be told that what I'm doing is illegal without any proof that I'm actually doing it. Your argument implies that a law is not a law until someone proves it was broken. That's what we're arguing about, whether or not the program is against the law, not whether the ACLU was wronged or not.

Storm said...

Your premise although compelling has it is root something different than what we are discussing.

First the fact that the peeping tom is by statute definition harming someone. The peeping tom knows he is engaged in a crime even if there are no witnesses and even if the victim does not know.

But let's say I agree with you for a minute. Is the alleged peeping tom guilty because someone else says he is guilty or because the victim can identify the subject and after a trial he is found guilty? Basically what I am saying is liberals jump to the conclusion and call for resignations and impeachments just on the assumption that the peeping tom was in fact peeping even though they do not know where and when he was peeping and even if he was.

Secondly, let's assume for a mintue that police could find terrorists by looking in windows
(just for fun). And let's suppose that the police said well we only look in windows of suspected terrorists. Would you not have to find the window of someone the police looked into to begin the case or just assume that it is always illegal for police to look in all windows regardless of the evidence? Such a premise is moronic. Surely we have to find a way to agree that police should be able to tap some calls. We can not just throw our hands up and say oh well.


BTW as long as a police officer is standing in a place traveled by normal public traffic such as your front porch. He/she can use either normal or enhance vision devices (binoculars)to peer in your windows. This would of course would normally preclude bedroom windows. Unless of course the officer has additional information such as a call for service in connection with a 911 hangup which would then expand his/her rational for looking in other windows. Where am I going with this? Back to the original point additional evidence coupled with exigent circumstances always provides law enforcement with greater scope.

Storm said...

Sorry my post was too long.

JRH I say the following not out of meanness but out a geniune concern regarding both your grasp of the topic and legal arguements. Please do not be offended..

JRH it is like you are trying to debate me on the existance of warrantless searches as though it is a matter of opinion. Warrantless searches are a matter of fact. You can argue that they should all be outlawed and you can try to gather sufficient support to overturn all warrentless searches but the fact is over 200 years through legislative, executive, and judicial processes We The People have created a system that grants limited powers to officers to conduct warrantless searches. This is fact not opinion. Look in google under Probable Cause combined with exigent circumstances and you should find what I am talking about if not let me know and I will point in the right direction.

It is with great sincerity I point this out because I believe strongly that if one such as yourself who actually reads is unaware of the legal basis being discussed then perhaps we, YOU and I, should be more concerned about the quality of the educational system in general and the understanding of the general public of the law. For when the public no longer knows the law, it is then that those without integrity can subjugate the populace.

Storm said...

Oh one finally point, your posts seem to indicate your conclusion that I support unfettered wiretapping by the government. No No No is that clear enough. I am saying that just because the government is engaged in wiretapping does not mean someone has committed a crime. I am saying I understand that when we seize a terrorist who has a cell phone with numbers in the memory and one of those numbers is used that the person calling maybe a terrorist and maybe calling another terrorist to commit a crime (this would be Probable Cause) also that the call will last for an undetermined period and be an undetermined time (exigent circumstance). Since you and most likely your audience have never written a warrant let me explain. In a warrant application, the officer has to state with certainty when evetns are to take place and to describe the place to be searched. In this case to get a search warrant the officer would likely have to tell the judge not only the name of the owner of the phone number calling but also who was using it at a minimum. Additionally the officer would have to stipulate when the conversation was to take place because most search warrants have a time limitation on them. Impossible on all counts.

Perhaps more members of Congress could be briefed if that would satisfy your outrage, but I ask you how many secret programs go on documented every day and yet you are not concerned. Understandibly most are likely missions in other countries but what if say the government had information about drug trafficing (all americans involved) and they studied the video photoage from traffic cameras or the camers on Mytrle Beach would you be just as offended after all government was peeping on you and you did not know it and where not affected by it?

Please do not fall for the same conclusion again. I am merely saying we must find some middle ground on this someway that we can know what terrorist are plotting and still ensure We The People are free of unreasonable searches and seizures.