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What the heck

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Local Rebel
Member Ascendant
since 12-21-1999
Posts 5742
Southern Abstentia

75 posted 02-13-2006 12:42 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA):

Electronic surveillance
Generally, the statute permits electronic surveillance in two scenarios.

Without a court order
The President may authorize, through the Attorney General, electronic surveillance without a court order for the period of one year provided it is only for foreign intelligence information [2a]; targeting foreign powers as defined by 50 U.S.C. §1801(a)(1),(2),(3) [4] or their agents; and there is no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party.[5]

The Attorney General is required to make a certification of these conditions under seal to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court[6], and report on their compliance to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. [7]

Since 50 U.S.C § 1802 (a)(1)(A) of this act specifically limits warrantless surveillance to foreign powers as defined by 50 U.S.C. §1801(a) (1),(2), (3) and omits the definitions contained in 50 U.S.C. §1801(a) (4),(5),(6) the act does not authorize the use of warrantless surveillance on: groups engaged in international terrorism or activities in preparation therefor; foreign-based political organizations, not substantially composed of United States persons; or entities that are directed and controlled by a foreign government or governments. [8] Under the FISA act, anyone who engages in electronic surveillance except as authorized by statute is subject to both criminal penalties [10a] and civil liabilities. [11a]

With a court order
Alternatively, the government may seek a court order permitting the surveillance using the FISA court.[9] Approval of a FISA application requires the court find probable cause that the target of the surveillance be a "foreign power" or an "agent of a foreign power", and that the places at which surveillance is requested is used or will be used by that foreign power or its agent. In addition, the court must find that the proposed surveillance meet certain "minimization requirements" for information pertaining to US persons[10].

Where I think the administration has made a salient argument Ron is that it takes the AG quite some time to issue permission and reams of paperwork have to be done before he (or she) can or will approve the type of surveillance that can be done for up to 72 hours without permision of the FISA court.

Again -- if that's the problem -- why didn't they ask the Congress to fix it for them in 2001?

It was amended just recently in 2004:


Lone wolf amendment
In 2004, FISA was amended to include a "lone wolf" provision. 50 U.S.C. §1801(b)(1)(C). A "lone wolf" is a non-US person who engages in or prepares for international terrorism. The provision amended the definition of "foreign power" to permit the FISA courts to issue surveillance and physical search orders without having to find a connection between the "lone wolf" and a foreign government or terrorist group.[13]

If the executive can do anything he wants as long as we're in a time of 'war' (which is now forever) -- why bother with all these laws anyway?
Member Empyrean
since 06-05-99
Posts 26302
Ft. Lauderdale, Fl USA

76 posted 02-13-2006 01:55 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Perhaps you should make your own position more clear, Mike. Does it matter to you if the law was broken?

My position, Ron, is not to deal in hypotheticals. My position is that the law was not broken. There are those on this thread whose inference is that Bush is guilty and we are all losing our freedoms due to his actions. It's very easy, and a bit of escapeism, to simply say, "Well, I don't know but what if........" and then take off on any tangent one wishes, such as loss of freedom, the country's loss of morality, Bush assuming the role of dictator or anything else. Why not - if it's all hypothetical?  You prefer to say "what if..." and I prefer to deal in actuality. Do I feel the means justify the ends? LOL...not even congress will touch that one. When faced with the "doomsday" scenario example of torturing one man to save they lives of thousands, they simply refuse to answer and avoid it like the plague.

What is my position? my position is that, immediately following 9/11 the congress gave Bush almost full carte blanche to take whatever actions necessary to insure the security of the country. Bush immediately chose to wiretap overseas calls whenever it was determined there was a possibility they could be terrorist-related. Did he check with Congress first? No..why should he have? This was right after 9/11. He wanted to know if the terrorists were communicating with agents in the United States. Did he feel the need to wait 72 hours or however long it would take to get approval for something that would unquestionably be approved? No - he was doing his job. I feel, as do many Americans, I believe, that it was an excellent plan. I would expect him to be applauded for it. You may not believe me but, if Clinton had been president at the time and implemented the same procedures in the same way, I would have applauded it also.....and you KNOW how I feel about Clinton.

Gonzales quote to the Judiciary Committee:

Throughout the hearing, Gonzales kept coming back to two key points: That the president has the authority to order the warrantless eavesdropping program under the Constitution as commander-in-chief; and that, after Sept. 11, Congress authorized the president to use all necessary force to prevent future attacks. Gonzales defended those points in his opening statement. He said only international communications are authorized for interception.

And he said the program is triggered "only when a career professional at the NSA has reasonable grounds to believe that one of the parties to a communication is a member or agent of al Qaeda or an affiliated terrorist organization.

"As the president has said, if you're talking with al Qaeda, we want to know what you're saying," Gonzales said.

I see nothing wrong with that, Ron. I think it was a clear-headed decision, the right one, and one that was not unlawful. Democrats are using it as they have used many other things in the past - throw it against the wall and see if it sticks. If it doesn't, forget it and move on to something else. They have thrown it out for public opinion, effectively destroying the program if that matters to them - which I'm sure it doesn't - and when public opinion says "So what?", I expect to see it dropped from view as another thwarted attempt to discredit the administration.
Member Patricius
since 06-19-2003
Posts 13093

77 posted 02-15-2006 09:16 AM       View Profile for LeeJ   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LeeJ

Thank you Deer and all others who go along with this.  After posting this thread, I had a discussion with head of security at work, and he explained to me, that Bush didn't break any law...not if he stayed within the guidlines, he had the full right to do what he did.  

Bush is not interested in listening to my telephone converstion or yours, what he is interesed in is curbing attacks on us by getting hold of information before the act is put into place.  

Denise, thank you also for your input...opinion and gathered information.

Again, I'm not in favor of this Administration, quite frankly I deem them as an embarrasement to the US and think that Bush will go down in history as the worst President of the US, and let me remind you, I'm registered Independent.  I think both sides are corrupt and our government serioulsy needs a good house cleaning.

But on this subject, I stand firm on what Bush did, until specific information/proof renders that he did break the law.  

Again, sometimes you need someone who is not afraid to need leaders who are not afraid to make a decission, in time of war, and in these times of a threat of another attack.  Until this country wises up and gets all the illegals out of this country...rising up a brand new set of immigration rules adhered to...we've got to do something.  And the proof of what I speak of might ring loud and clear, if there is another attack on us.  Folks, they are right here in this country...and with all that is going on now, regarding the cartoon of their God, it's just starting to get warm, I'm afraid.  We can debate this issue to the cows come home...those against Bush will find reason to abolish him, those for him, will find reason to send him forth...due to our divided country of repuplicans and democrates....we've become a miserable bunch of people who claim each of our sides are right/forth right...they are not.  

A country is only as good as it's leaders...and prospers by it's leaders or fails by it's's a trickle down effect...unfortunately...this country, right now is a mess, and it's been happening, little by little all along.  So we can keep on fighting between us, or get our act together and demand our government set forth some new parties...give us good people to vote for.  

And for any one of you guys, who want proof, written proof, there's plenty out there, look at who does our manufacturing, sews our cloths, manufactures our automobiles, furniture, even medications...not to mention, technology...we're a declining nation folks, and we'd better do something about it...not continue to be divided, by two parties, it's what they is dividing us, we the people, instead of pulling us together...
we need to humble ourselves a little more and not be afraid to face the facts...or vote for a party, simply b/c our fathers did or b/c we're afraid of dishonoring our party b/c we switch?  I mean, we could really all make one heck of a statement if we all registered could still vote for the person of your choice, but one thing for wouldn't then, feel obligated to defend a party you voted for...yanno?

If we had more parties to choose from, it would most certainly force our politicians a little more to be honest ones...

I'll get off my soap box now...

[This message has been edited by LeeJ (02-15-2006 11:06 AM).]

Member Rara Avis
since 08-02-99
Posts 9130
Purgatorial Incarceration

78 posted 02-15-2006 10:23 AM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

Ron, it seems to me you may be mistaking caution with blind acceptance. Putting it in the terms of foregoing ideals in lieu of accepting a law broken is too black and white.

I stand by the statement of mine you quoted, but you garnered it a bit out of context. You'll also find in my statements where I wholeheartedly agree that if it is determined President Bush has broken the law, he should be made to answer for it.

Ideally, he would have requested and been granted the power to fulfill his mission with the law behind him (this is based on the assumption that his actions are illegal, which it seems to be the opinion of the overwhelming majority, including the ABA). It didn't happen and something that I feel is necessary was done. Does that mean it's just an easy step to the next broken law? No, of course not. You might argue that, like Anakin Skywalker, it's a little easier the next time to accept some unjust action, or to commit one more crime against the Republic, but that's fiction and this is real. People don't accept the Dark Side so easily. Some can actually recognize a legitimate time to “break the law.”

Like any action, however, one must also face the proverbial music. I don't think Bush will end up in front of a firing squad (realistically or metaphorically), but I have no doubts whatsoever that he will be forced to answer for his decisions. I uphold that, I will always uphold that - even if I agree that the actions were in our best interest.

What we have to wonder, though, if when he faces the music, he'll be sentenced to a hunting trip with Cheney!
Member Patricius
since 06-19-2003
Posts 13093

79 posted 02-15-2006 11:08 AM       View Profile for LeeJ   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LeeJ

hehehehe, Christopher, now that's funny....

not so funny for the attorney friend I'm afraid.  

did you notice how light the media made out of this inncident?  At first they said he was lightly sprayed with buckshot.  Didn't make sense to know some of that buckshot had to penetrate?????

but that's another thread, isn't it?
Marge Tindal
Deputy Moderator 5 ToursDeputy Moderator 1 TourDeputy Moderator 1 TourDeputy Moderator 1 Tour
Member Empyrean
since 11-06-1999
Posts 43042
Florida's Foreverly Shores

80 posted 02-15-2006 03:58 PM       View Profile for Marge Tindal   Email Marge Tindal   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Marge Tindal's Home Page   View IP for Marge Tindal

Member Rara Avis
since 08-02-99
Posts 9130
Purgatorial Incarceration

81 posted 02-15-2006 05:08 PM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

rofl Marge. that's great!
Member Seraphic
since 08-22-99
Posts 23002

82 posted 02-19-2006 08:19 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Yeah, that is hilarious, Marge!


Checks and balances are a good safeguard, to be sure. But I think that sometimes the President/Commander in Chief has to be given a little extra latitude (which I think the Constitution gives and which I think the Congress gave him right after 9/11 [whether they meant to or not, they essentially did when they gave him the authority to prevent another attack by any and all means necessary]. So Congress was using its checks and balances power. Some of them just don't like the outcome of it now. Or they are just playing politics by using the 1978 domestic spying law in order to try to convince the public that he broke the law and are hoping for his impeachment, when in fact the other issues (the Constitution and the empowerment of Congress after 9/11) override the domestic spying law.


No, I didn't think you were trying to put anyone or anything into a corner. No, I don't think Bush broke the law, because of the reasons above. I'm not saying that if he did break the law that it wouldn't matter. Absent the powers granted to the President during times of war and absent the vote of Congress following 9/11, he probably would have been in violation of the letter of the 1978 law. And if he were in violation, even at that point, I would think that you would have to weigh out the situation when considering possible sanctions against him if the evidence indicated that he acted out of a moral imperative for the greater good of the country. Especially if by the time Congress was finished with grandstanding, filibustering, and obstructing, we'd all be blown to smithereens!   
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