Tag: NSA wiretapping (page 2)

ACLU Files Motion With FISA Court Demanding Release of Court Opinions

The ACLU today filed a motion today with the FISA Court (text here, pdf) demanding that the secret court release its opinions that led to the new FISA legislation.

In the first effort of its kind, the American Civil Liberties Union will today file legal papers with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) requesting that it disclose recent legal opinions discussing the scope of the government's authority to engage in secret wiretapping of Americans

"Publication of these secret court orders is vitally important to the ongoing debate about government surveillance," said Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU's National Security Project. "Virtually everything we know about these orders we've had to learn from executive branch officials, but executive branch officials are plainly not disinterested parties in a debate about the appropriate reach of executive branch surveillance. The public has a right to first-hand information about what the court permitted and what it disallowed."

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FISA Amendment Allows Collection of All Our International Calls

Great read today, in the Nation: Data Mining Our Liberties. Aziz Huq examines the recently passed "Protect America Act of 2007." The Brennan Center says:

Azi believes the law "is a dramatic, across-the-board expansion of government authority to collect information without judicial oversight," and "an open-ended invitation to collect Americans' international calls and e-mails."

Huq breaks down how and why this law came into being and notes that, in truth, the law actually does not expire in 6 months. Ultimately it gives the Administration "power without responsibility" and "allows the government to spy when there is no security justification."

Just a few of the points:

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Dems Cancel Intelligence Hearing , Push for FISA Changes Before Recess

Update: Myths and Facts About FISA.


Republicans have been pushing to amend FISA before the August recess. A hearing of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence at which Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell was scheduled to testify today has been canceled.

Yesterday, for the first time, McConnell briefed Sen. Arlen Specter on the NSA program. While Specter hasn't discussed what he learned at the briefing, after it he labeled attempts to impeach or bring perjury charges against Alberto Gonzales "premature."

We need to slow down this train. FISA doesn't need to be gutted or amended. It needs to be followed.

"FISA was enacted to ensure that no president could unilaterally decide who to secretly and indefinitely wiretap under the guise of national security. These bills would allow terrorism to be used as a pretext for undermining our basic Fourth Amendment rights. Congress should not pass the bills which give the president a blank check to violate the rights of innocent Americans."

Congress should just say no to gutting FISA.

Update below: FISA action may not be off the table after all:

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Comey, Ashcroft and the Hospital Wiretap Visit

Former Deputy Attorney General James Comey testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee today. Marcy Wheeler live-blogged it over at Firedoglake.

The MSM is reporting on Comey's testimony regarding Alberto Gonzales' and Andrew Cards' 2004 hospital visit to former Attorney General John Ashcroft to get him to sign off on an extension of Bush's warrantless NSA electronic surveillance program.

I covered that extensively here and here in January, 2006, including reporting from the New York Times and Newsweek.

Think Progress has the transcript of today's Comey testimony.

Did Comey add anything today to the story that wasn't previously known? Is it really as shocking as Charles Schumer makes it sound? Or should Schumer have done something about it back in 2006 when the story was widely reported and we were all complaining about it?

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Waas on Gonzales, Bush and the NSA Wiretapping

Murray Waas has a new article in the National Journal, Internal Affairs, in which he reports that the aborted DOJ probe probably would have targeted Attorney General Alberto Gonzales:

Shortly before Attorney General Alberto Gonzales advised President Bush last year on whether to shut down a Justice Department inquiry regarding the administration's warrantless domestic eavesdropping program, Gonzales learned that his own conduct would likely be a focus of the investigation, according to government records and interviews.

Had it not been quashed, a Justice Department inquiry into the domestic eavesdropping program would likely have examined the actions of Alberto Gonzales.

Bush personally intervened to sideline the Justice Department probe in April 2006 by taking the unusual step of denying investigators the security clearances necessary for their work.

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