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Ear to the Ground

Bush to Seek Warrants for Wiretaps

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Posted on Jan 18, 2007
Sad Bush
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President Bush has finally agreed to allow a secret court to oversee the NSA’s wiretapping program, which had been operating without warrants for years. The administration’s capitulation after 13 months of stubborn resistance might have something to do with pending congressional investigations and legal battles.


New York Times:

WASHINGTON—The Bush administration, in a surprise reversal, said on Wednesday that it had agreed to give a secret court jurisdiction over the National Security Agency’s wiretapping program and would end its practice of eavesdropping without warrants on Americans suspected of ties to terrorists.

The Justice Department said it had worked out an “innovative” arrangement with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that provided the “necessary speed and agility” to provide court approval to monitor international communications of people inside the United States without jeopardizing national security.

The decision capped 13 months of bruising national debate over the reach of the president’s wartime authorities and his claims of executive power, and it came as the administration faced legal and political hurdles in its effort to continue the surveillance program.

The new Democratic-led Congress has pledged several investigations. More immediately, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales is expected to face hostile questioning on Thursday from the Senate Judiciary Committee on the program. And an appellate court in Cincinnati is scheduled to hear arguments in two weeks on the government’s appeal of an earlier ruling declaring the program illegal and unconstitutional.

Some legal analysts said the administration’s pre-emptive move could effectively make the court review moot, but Democrats and civil rights advocates said they would press for the courts and Congress to continue their scrutiny of the program of wiretapping without warrants, which began shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

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By Collielady, January 18, 2007 at 10:58 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

He’s scared, as well he should be, now that Congress has changed hands.  The neocons were so certain that they would keep their power forever.  Now they’ve got lots of backpeddling to do.  It’s too late.  The Dems are here to investigate this Constitutional crisis.  This Administration should be very afraid.

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By Jackie T. Gabel, January 18, 2007 at 7:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

RE: “The Justice Department said it had worked out an “innovative” arrangement with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that provided the “necessary speed and agility” to provide court approval to monitor international communications of people inside the United States without jeopardizing national security.”

>>> Let us be clear on this.

The FISA court has always been fast and subservient; virtually never denying anything while issuing warrants retroactively in some cases. So, why not just do it legally? Simple, the surveillance process frequently scoops loads of data indiscriminately. Some of this data may, in the FISA review process, pass before a judge, not necessarily a witting player in your intelligence operation. The chance of this judge catching a glimpse of a communication between your own agents, moles, patsies, hit squads or whatever is too risky. That risk increases dramatically when you’re running literally hundreds of such operations and agents in and out of the country and planning who knows what…what? Probably a lot of what that’s illegal.

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By suziq, January 18, 2007 at 5:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is a total distraction!!!  The president will eat a little crow so we don’t notice what is really going on!!  Something else is up that Bu$hCo wants to keep from the public.  The Libby trial?  The escalation of troops?  Iran/Syria? G’tmo?  News organizations divert your eyes and look in another direction for the real story.

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By relayer, January 18, 2007 at 2:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Don’t pat yourself on the back too soon - a little deeper digging is in order.

Quoting the front-page article in today’s LA Times:

“(US Atty. Gen. Alberto R.)Gonzales said the administration already had obtained ‘orders’ from a special court…”

and

“Gonzales and other officials refused to divulge details of the orders that the FISA court adopted Jan.10.”

So, another case of publicly appearing to bow before pressure while simultaneously providing secret ‘orders’ that make a mockery of the supposed compliance with the will of the people.

How about finding out for us exactly what those secret ‘orders’ entail? Then perhaps this story might be relevant; otherwise, you’re just cheerleading another disinformation campaign.

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By John in Bear, January 18, 2007 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This one issue is enough for impeachment.  The President knowingly violated the law.  He then went on national TV and lied about it. As I recall, this exact scenario brought down Richard Nixon - break the law with an illegal wiretap, then lie about it - end of story.

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By Quy Tran, January 18, 2007 at 12:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Finally the chimpanzee has to bow down under human law. Animal rules are for animals only.

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By Rodney Matthews, January 18, 2007 at 11:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The threat of oversite and impeachment has Bush obeying the law,impeach him for all those other occasions.

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By new billionaire pending, January 18, 2007 at 11:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

too late, boy. i’m suiing you for that entire bush family fortune. that fortune ill gotten thru slave beatings, nazi party financing and propagandizing ( to the present ), kennedy killing, cia blackmailing, killing and buggering, watergating and waterboarding…
you tapped my phone. that means i get all your money. what a break for the human race.
and while you’re in prison, yoiu’ll be bored to death as your only entertainment will be your empty brain and violent sex ( your small and soft and rich, so you’ll be on the victim side of that. although I suspect you’ll enjoy it-you’ve been begging for it all your life ).

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By Bob Pattalochi, January 18, 2007 at 10:00 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bush is probably lying again.  NSA and Pentagon are most certainly expanding their illegal and secret spying.  How can we verify?

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By Big Al, January 18, 2007 at 7:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Finally a glint of good news.

It hardly matters, though, since the Bush/Israeli war against Iran will be the death of our republic anyway.

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