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September 7, 2007 in "clean" remark, administration policy, Alberto Gonzales, American Right to Privacy, an actual good Republican, Attorney General, Cheney to Invade Iran, Cheney's map, Chicago Skyway, Constitution, Constitutional admendments, CorpWatch, credibility, Death of Democracy, Do Something!, Economic collapse, FBI, FOIA, Fourth Amendment, Green Berets, Harlem, Homeland Security, Indiana toll road, Karen Peterson, Kent Couty Levy Court, Largest flotilla off America, Lloyd Bentsen, National High School Graduate Test, National Security Letters, New Castle County, Newark, poor get poorer, Republican intimidation, Secret Government Searches, Senator Adams, Spying on American Citizens, Star Trek I, State of Denial, State of Union address, tranquility, Wall Street Journal | Leave a comment
Daily Kos and Tommywonk featured excerpts from Dr. Goldsmiths upcoming book, The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgment Inside the Bush Administration.
Before Goldsmiths arrival, things were much shadier. “Goldsmith claims that Addington (Vice President’s Legal Counsel) and other top officials treated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act the same way they handled other laws they objected to: “They blew through them in secret based on flimsy legal opinions that they guarded closely so no one could question the legal basis for the operations,” he writes. Goldsmith’s first experienced this extraordinary concealment, or “strict compartmentalization,” in late 2003 when, he recalls, Addington angrily denied a request by the N.S.A.’s inspector general to see a copy of the Office of Legal Counsel’s legal analysis supporting the secret surveillance program. “Before I arrived in O.L.C., not even N.S.A. lawyers were allowed to see the Justice Department’s legal analysis of what N.S.A. was doing,” Goldsmith writes.
“By shielding its legal theories under a cloak of secrecy, the Administration hoped to insulate their radical positions from any form of review. Just as the Administration is attempting to use the ‘state secret privilege’ to stop any court from reviewing or ruling upon its domestic surveillance, it used “strict compartmentalization” to prevent internal review. The reason is simple, if Machiavellian: If one can prevent dissenters from access to the legal theories, it is that much easier to dismiss their concerns. If one can stop courts from ruling, there’s no one to say you were wrong.”
(Expect the book out on September 17th. It is a fitting day…..being the last day Gonzales is in office………)
This is the process of closed government in action, proving that there needs to be more transparency in all branches of government. Power corrupts absolutely, unless of course, everybody is watching. Power independent of party ideology will continue to function the same as long as secrecy is allowed.
It doesn’t matter if the party is democrat or republican. It matters not whether it is in the highest reaches of government, or in our levy courts and county councils. FOIA needs to be applied to all government agencies to prevent abuses such as the above.
Government in this nation is a function of its people. It is nothing but a tool. How many of us would trust a plumber who charged us $3000 to work with tools we could not see?
You can harp on this administration, if you want, but the real issue is more than symptomatic. The real issue is that our Constitution has been hijacked by both Dick Cheney and Thurman Adams…………..
Transparency is the key.
August 30, 2007 in administration policy, America's morals, American Right to Privacy, Bloggers, Columbia, CorpWatch, credibility, Death of Democracy, e mail, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Exchange of ideas, FBI, FOIA, Fourth Amendment, Green Berets, Harlem, Henry Hyde, Homeland Security, intelligence sharing, Justice Department, Largest flotilla off America, Lloyd Bentsen, Mayor Baker, Michael Chertoff, national defense, National High School Graduate Test, national intellectual wealth, National Security Letters, NSA, poor get poorer, Republican intimidation, Secret Government Searches, Senator Bonner, Spying on American Citizens, Star Trek I, Uncategorized, washington post, Wilmington News Journal | 4 comments
“This surveillance system lets FBI agents play back recordings even as they are being captured (like TiVo), create master wiretap files, send digital recordings to translators, track the rough location of targets in real time using cell-tower information, and even stream intercepts outward to mobile surveillance vans.
FBI wiretapping rooms in field offices and undercover locations around the country are connected through a private, encrypted backbone that is separated from the internet. Sprint runs it on the government’s behalf.”
Documents recently released to the EFF’s FOIA, suggest that the FBI’s wiretapping engineers have succeeded in tapping into our standard digital communication’s systems. As Randy Single writes in Wired, the FBI has quietly built a sophisticated, point-and-click surveillance system that performs instant wiretaps on almost any communications device, according to nearly a thousand pages of restricted documents newly released under the Freedom of Information Act. The redacted documentation leaves many questions, however. In particular, it’s unclear what role the carriers have in opening up a tap, and how that process is secured.
“The real question is the switch architecture on cell networks,” said Matt Blaze, a security researcher at the University of Pennsylvania . “What’s the carrier side look like?
“Nothing ever gets connected or disconnected until I say so, based upon a court order in our hands,” Cadenhead says. “We run the interception process off of my desk, and we track them coming in. We give instructions to relevant field people who allow for interconnection and to make verbal connections with technical representatives at the FBI.”
The nation’s largest cell-phone providers — whose customers are targeted in the majority of wiretaps — were less forthcoming. AT&T politely declined to comment, while Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon simply ignored requests for comment.
FBI Agent DiClemente, however, seconded Cadenhead’s description.
“The carriers have complete control. That’s consistent with CALEA,” DiClemente said. “The carriers have legal teams to read the order, and they have procedures in place to review the court orders, and they also verify the information and that the target is one of their subscribers.”
Despite its ease of use, the new technology is proving more expensive than a traditional wiretap. Telecoms charge the government an average of $2,200 for a 30-day CALEA wiretap, while a traditional intercept costs only $250, according to the Justice Department inspector general. A federal wiretap order in 2006 cost taxpayers $67,000 on average, according to the most recent U.S. Court wiretap report.
To security experts, though, the biggest concern over DCSNet isn’t the cost: It’s the possibility that push-button wiretapping opens new security holes in the telecommunications network.
Documents show that an internal 2003 audit uncovered numerous security vulnerabilities in DCSNet. In this internal audit, (pg 61/112pdf), commenced after discovering that no security audit had been concluded for four years, pointed out some very basic security breeches. Some were the direct results of budget cuts, such as limiting technical staff. Others were the result of putting high tech toys in front of those too green to understand the full implications…..The security assessment titled Operation Mayday, uncovered this nugget. Problem:
“Zipdrive attached to FBINet machine.
Recommended Action: Complete Trilogy User training. Remind users not to attach unauthorized devices to network. Remind users not to install unauthorized software. Treat future instances as security violations and report through appropriate channels with increasingly severe penalties for
Remember, this accesses all your bank documents as well as your deepest, intimate conversations…..which due to lack of oversight over the past four years, if cached, is now open forever to the world……Other samples of Katrina-like misconduct or ineptitude: Problem:
Outdated or no disk encryption on laptop
Recommended Action: Install PointSec on all machines unless excepted. Provide written justification to SecD for consideration of any exceptions.
Problem-: Baton Rouge RA, CART laptop has no disk encryption.
Also in the report:
1. There is no anti-viral software loaded on the DCS-3000 machines. If malicious
code, viruses, and/or executables are introduced, there will be potential for risk to the system or compromise of data, thereby compromising evidence contained therein.
• Verified Closed: McAfee 4.5.1 installed with Virus updated 05/05/2006
• Verified Closed: Passwords require eight characters, complex etc.
3. Successive failed logon attempt lockout is not enabled. Without a lockout policy,
an unauthorized user would have infinite attempts to gain access to the system.
• Verified Closed: Accounts lock out after three attempts and must be reset by
5. Workstations associated with the system do not enforce adequate user permissions. Improperly configured machines do not adhere to the least privilege principle. This practice could potentially give a user access and rights not warranted for by their position.
In particular, the DCS-3000 machines lacked adequate logging, had insufficient password management, were missing antivirus software, allowed unlimited numbers of incorrect passwords without locking the machine, and used shared logins rather than individual accounts.
The system also required that DCS-3000′s user accounts have administrative privileges in Windows, which would allow a hacker who got into the machine to gain complete control.
The flaws are appalling and show that the FBI fails to appreciate the risk from insiders. The system is insecure, essentially because the people who designed it and run it have an insecure attitude about the nature of threats to the system. Outsiders may be stopped by VPNs, firewalls, etc., but insiders may wander around the system nearly at will. Not so different from the situation that set up the Vodaphone/Greece fiasco.
As Steve Bellovin from Columbia points out:
“Instead of personal userids, the FBI relies on log sheets. This may provide sufficient accountability if everyone follows the rules. It provides no protection against rule-breakers. It is worth noting that Robert Hanssen obtained much of the information he sold to the Soviets by exploiting weak permission mechanisms in the FBI’s Automated Case System. The DCS-3000 system doesn’t have proper password security mechanisms, either, which brings up another point: why does a high-security system use passwords at all? We’ve know for years how weak they are. Why not use smart cards for authentication?”
Any wiretap system faces a slew of risks, such as surveillance targets discovering a tap, or an outsider or corrupt insider setting up unauthorized taps. Moreover, the architectural changes to accommodate easy surveillance on phone switches and the internet can in itself, introduce new and frightfully dangerous security and privacy holes.
So where does our safety lie? In a bill of goods sold to us and to Congress in order to protect us from “phantom” terrorists, we have allowed anyone and everyone to compromise our personal privacy. Most particularly, those very ones we trusted to defend us from our enemies………
August 29, 2007 in "k" a delaware poet, 04 Election Results, 1st Kuwaiti, 41st district, administration policy, an actual good Republican, Asshole Party of Delaware, Azlmay Khalilzad, Bechtel, black power, blood for oil, Blue Water Wind, Boeing 757-200, Boston Tea Party, breast feeding, Bridgeville, British accents, Bruce E. Grooms, Bud Cummings, Bush, Charlie Copeland, Cheney to Invade Iran, Chuck Hagel for President, Cleavage Shots, Cliff Barnes, CO2, coal energy, Colbert Report, Conservative Movement, Constitution, credibility, Da Plane, Death of Conservatism, Death of Democracy, Declaration of Independance, Delaware, Delaware Bloggers, Delaware builders, Delaware Growth, Delaware on line, Delaware photography, Delaware wind power, delaware's finest, deldot, Dick Cathcart, Dick Cheney, Do Something!, Dori Conner, Economic collapse, Elections 08, Electronic Frontier Foundation, ethics, Exchange of ideas, Fall of Rome, FBI, Filipinos, Finding solution through give and take, FOIA, Fourth Amendment, FSP, Gallop poll, Getting Rid of Hannity, Governor Minner, greed is good, Green Berets, green frog theory, growing up, gwb43.com, Haliburton, Harlem, Hillary Clinton, Homeland Security, Hyperbole, I. Lewis Libby, If this is goodbye, Impeach Bush, Impeachment, In God We Trust, Incumbant Party of Delaware, Indian River, iran, Iraq, Iraqi Oil Bill, Iraqi oil exploitation, Iraqi reconstruction, Iraqi troop surge, Iraqi War Deaths, Isreal, Jeb Bush, Jesus and the Condemned women, John McCain, Julius Ceasar, Karen Peterson, Karl Rove, Largest flotilla off America, letter writing skills, Lloyd Bentsen, Lotus Eaters, Malkin, manipulation of youth, Media bias, Memorial Day 2007, Mercury, Michael Hayden, middle east democracy, Mike Castle, Mike Protack, Mike's Musings, Millsboro, Mini Cooper, Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney, moving on, Nancy Pelosi, National High School Graduate Test, New American Century, New Castle County, Newark, news blackout, no bid contracts, no child left behind, NSA, On the Brink, open government, Outside the Perimeter, overdevelopment, parental responsibility, Paris Hilton, Patriot Act, Patriotism, per person cost, political humor, poop, poor get poorer, Population explosion, Presidental Pardons, Presidential Library, privatise Delaware's Interstate 95, Privatised Toll Roads, professional advice, Progressive Democrats of Delaware, Rehoboth Beach, Republican intimidation, Republican Majority Leader, Republican National Committee, Republican soul, rich get richer, Rockridge Institue, Rodney King, Rumsfield, Russian Military, S.B. 03, school prayer, Secret Government Searches, Senator Bonner, Senator Tom Carper, Sherry Williams, silver bullet, Sith Lord, slave labor, snow, Spying on American Citizens, Star Trek I, Star Wars, State of Denial, Sussex County, Sustainable Energy Utility Report, Swift Boat campaign, Tax policy, taxes, The Colossus of Rhody, thought models, Tony DeLuca, torture, tranquility, Trillion Dollar War, Trust in the political process, Uncategorized, Vermont, Veterans, Vietnam, Von Steuben, war protests, WDEL, WHYY, Wilmington News Journal, wind farms, WMD's, Wright Brothers first flight | Leave a comment
photo by SUCHAT PEDERSON, News Journal
August 21, 2007 in administration policy, America's morals, American Right to Privacy, British accents, Bruce E. Grooms, Cheney to Invade Iran, credibility, Do Something!, Electronic Frontier Foundation, ethics, Exchange of ideas, FBI, fiber optic hubs, FOIA, Fourth Amendment, Green Berets, Harlem, Henry Hyde, Homeland Security, I. Lewis Libby, intelligence sharing, Lady Byrd Johnson, Lloyd Bentsen, moslem fundlementalism, National High School Graduate Test, political humor, poor get poorer, Republican intimidation, Secret Government Searches, Senator Bonner, Spying on American Citizens, Star Trek I, taxes, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
Comment rescue: this comment showed up near the bottom of a discussion involving the eavesdropping hearing in San Francisco August 15.
First some background. An Arab charity was being pursued by the Justice Department. During the trial, the defense was handed a file consisting of all the wiretapped conversations. When the Justice Department realized they had handed a document over that was illegal at that time (today it is not) they asked for it back. Of course the defense refused, but a separate hearing decreed the file was covered under secrecy and could not remain outside the government’s possession.
Now it is starting to sound slightly bizarre, I know. The hearing progressed without the evidence and the government used the lack of evidence, to argue dismissal of the case.
The last word was this, spoken by the government attorney.
It’s entirely possible that everything they think they know is entirely false.
That should be it…….right? With no evidence there is no case. Most of us shrugged our shoulders and settled for the inevitable. But one person did not. And thanks to that smart soul, the government’s house of cards, could still fall.
Let me just post the comment:
The government inadvertently produced a classified document that proves the plaintiffs were under surveillance. That document was ordered to be returned. But the plaintiffs still saw it and (presumably) the court saw it as well when it ordered it to be returned.
Then the government lawyer says to the court:
It’s entirely possible that everything they think they know is entirely false,
Excuse me, but the attorney has a duty of candor to the tribunal. He is not allowed to lie to the court. He is allowed to characterize the evidence and to argue for a position, but he is not allowed to flat out lie.
He crossed the line. But what do you expect from the DoJ?
The point missed by all in and out of the court was that the attorney lied. Lying is illegal in ANY court. Don’t take my word for it, ask Scooter Libby?
What is at stake is whether our Justice system can survive this important case. For it sets a dangerous precedent if allowed to continue forward. If lying is allowed for the excuse of National Defense, then it is just a “slippery slopes’ slide” towards lying to protect a government official who is involved in security matters, or lying to protect someone who knows something that could be, in the atmosphere of the courtroom, stretched to cover any secret knowledge of a government function. We are suddenly in East Germany, 1959.
A line needs to be drawn. Lying cannot be condoned. Future Grand Jury fact finding investigations? Only if the witnesses or their lawyers are both ignorant and stupid………..
If the Ninth Court makes a decision that is unfavorable to the Muslim charity, then telling the truth becomes subjective. Sometimes it’s required; other times it is not.
What this does for our nation is provide a bulwark for shenanigans to permeate among our highest offices. Why not perform an illegal function, a future government official, might decree: No one can stop me if it done in secret……….
If “Truth” itself is to remain a viable force within America’s Justice system, then it needs to be honored right here in this Court case.
The book was given. It was seen. It exists. Either the government needs to admit its existence…….(they don’t have to show it)…………..or if the information seriously does jeopardize security (highly unlikely)…….the case needs to be dismissed. And all charges relating to the plaintiff, need to be dropped…………..
Just as criminals sometimes have to walk to keep our justice system honest, so must this charity………
I shake my head. I never, ever thought that my nation’s Justice Department would act like they’re in original Star Trek episode, and I would ever in my lifetime get to see “Truth” go on trial………….
August 20, 2007 in administration policy, Allan Loudell, American Right to Privacy, Bill Clinton, bill of rights, Bob Woodward, Cheney Coup, CIA, credibility, Dick Cheney, e mail, Fantasy Island, FBI, Green Berets, Harlem, Hogan's Heros, Iraqi War Deaths, Largest flotilla off America, Michael Hayden, money in politics, national defense, NSA, open government, Paul Wolfowitz, per person cost, Republican intimidation, Rockridge Institue, Secret Government Searches, Spying on American Citizens, Wilmington News Journal | 2 comments
Cheney allowed civilian wiretaps before 9/11. What? Wasn’t that illegal? Apparently that was overridden by the Vice President.
Wait a minute. Didn’t the NSA have apparatus that listened for various words such as “Jihad” or “terrorist”? Yes, it did, but as soon as that was discovered to be coming from an American, the tap was dropped and the name of the person was expunged. The NSA was following the letter of the law…….
In fact, as the Bush administration was coming in, the Clinton administration, in their freshman orientation guide for incoming republicans, said in their packet Transition 2001. “Warning to the incoming administration: the agency in its quest to compete on a technological level with terrorists who have access to state-of-the-art equipment, some American citizens would get caught up in the NSA’s surveillance activities. However, in those instances, the identities of the Americans who made telephone calls overseas would be “minimized,” one former NSA official said, in order to conceal the identity of the American citizen picked up on a wiretap.”
Or so was the intent. “What we were supposed to do, was delete the name of the person,” says a former NSA encryption analyst. “Even during the Clinton years, the computers would accidentally pick up some of the key words said by Americans.” The analyst deleted those name in the reports he sent the senior analysts.
That changed in 2001. Under orders by Cheney the names were included. Furthermore, Cheney sent back orders that those persons were to continue to be surveilled 24/7. What disturbed this analyst was that some or most of these terrorists he was ordered to listen to, worked in the White House or State Department.
In a revealing statement, another analyst says: “There was a real feeling or paranoia emanating from the Vice President’s Office, and I don’t think it had to do with anything with the threat of terrorism……”
According to James Bamford, author of the best selling books The Puzzle Palace and The Body of Secrets, before 9/11 the agency was not poking as hard among regular citizens as it does now. That all changed after 9/11. However a strong case for selective spying on government officials, seems to be the focus of the Vice President during the summer before 9/11.
If you remember it was that summer(2001) that the NSA took the unprecedented step or opening its doors to reporters. The director even said on Nightline : “
“We’re a foreign intelligence agency. We try to collect information that is of value to American decision-makers, to protect American values, America–and American lives.”
American values? Isn’t that one of the code words used by the neo-cons? American values such as the destruction of the social net, establishment of an untouchable rich caste, and the wearing down of our Armed Services through unnecessary deployments?
But in answer to that question: he continues:
“We aren’t off the leash, so to speak, guarding ourselves. We have a body of oversight within the executive branch, in the Department of Defense, in the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, which is comprised of both government and nongovernmental officials. You’ve got both houses of Congress with–with very active–in some cases, aggressive–intelligence oversight committees with staff members who have an access badge to NSA just like mine.”
(Hasn’t that all changed, as of August 11th?)
Today that spokesperson is head of the CIA.
So while the official voice who I believe is still today trustworthy and genuine, was speaking still on the Clinton platform of government within the law, his superior. the VP, was going behind his back to wiretap illegally.
Final thought: remember when Paul O’Neil left the administration fuming and 24 hour later 180′d and clammed up? Inner beltway speculation was that they got to him somehow.
We now know how…………………
Bottom line, before there was a war……there was an illegal act instigated by the Vice President…….Are we safer than we were under Clinton?
“I see nothing…….nothing!….”
August 16, 2007 in administration policy, American Right to Privacy, bill of rights, Bob Woodward, Bush, Cheney Coup, Cheney to Invade Iran, Cheney's map, CIA, Constitution, Constitutional admendments, credibility, Delaware, Do Something!, FBI, FOIA, Fourth Amendment, Green Berets, Harlem, Homeland Security, intelligence sharing, John Daniello, Karl Rove, Largest flotilla off America, Lloyd Bentsen, Michael Chertoff, money in politics, Nancy Pelosi, National High School Graduate Test, Newark, open government, Paul Wolfowitz, poor get poorer, Republican intimidation, Rockridge Institue, Secret Government Searches, Senator Frank Church, Spying on American Citizens, washington post | 2 comments
Frank Church Quotes
“At the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left, such [is] the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.
“If this government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology…
“I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.”
Where’s a real patriot when you need one?
This was resurrected in part due to this article from the Wall Street Journal
In brief, the decision, made three months ago by Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell, places for the first time some of the U.S.’s most powerful intelligence-gathering tools at the disposal of domestic security officials. The move was authorized in a May 25 memo sent to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff asking his department to facilitate access to the spy network on behalf of civilian agencies and law enforcement.The U.S.’s top intelligence official has greatly expanded the range of federal and local authorities who can get access to information from the nation’s vast network of spy satellites in the U.S.
In recent years, some military experts have questioned whether domestic use of such satellites would violate the Posse Comitatus Act. The act bars the military from engaging in law-enforcement activity inside the U.S., and the satellites were predominantly built for and owned by the Defense Department.
Access to the satellite surveillance will be controlled by a new Homeland Security branch — the National Applications Office — which will be up and running in October.
“You are talking about enormous power,” said Gregory Nojeim, senior counsel and director of the Project on Freedom, Security and Technology for the Center for Democracy and Technology, a nonprofit group advocating privacy rights in the digital age. “Not only is the surveillance they are contemplating intrusive and omnipresent, it’s also invisible. And that’s what makes this so dangerous.”
August 16, 2007 in administration policy, Alberto Gonzales, American Right to Privacy, Attorney General, bill of rights, Bloggers, Chicago Skyway, Chuck Hagel for President, credibility, Dick Cheney, Electronic Frontier Foundation, FBI, fiber optic hubs, FOIA, Fourth Amendment, Green Berets, Harlem, Henry Hyde, Indiana toll road, Mayor Baker, Michael Chertoff, National High School Graduate Test, On the Brink, open government, Paul Wolfowitz, per person cost, poor get poorer, Republican soul, Rockridge Institue, Secret Government Searches, sesame street, Spying on American Citizens, Trust in the political process | Leave a comment
Thanks to fellow live bloggers: Ryan Singel and David Kravets for their words and images.
Based on the judges question, an apparent victory may be at hand……..
The hearing involves two cases: one aimed at AT&T for allegedly helping the government with a widespread data-mining program allegedly involving domestic and international phone calls and internet use; the other a direct challenge to the government’s admitted warrant-less wiretapping of overseas phone calls.
In questioning of the governmental witness, this exchange occurred.
Judge Harry Pregerson suggests the government is asking the courts to “rubber stamp” the government’s claim that state secrets are at risk “Who decides whether something is a state secret or not? … We have to take the word of the members of the executive branch that something is a state secret?”
Garre counters that the courts should give “utmost deference” to the Bush administration.
Judge Pregerson: “What does utmost deference mean? Bow to it?”
Fifteen minutes later, this exchange occurs.
Judge McKeown asks whether the government stands by President Bush’s statements that purely-domestic communications, where both parties are in the United States, are not being monitored without warrants.
“Does the government stand behind that statement,” McKeown asks.
Garre: “Yes, your honor.”
But Garre says the government would not be willing to sign a sworn affidavit to that effect for the court record.
Blogger’s opinion: Pregerson, by his record, is the most liberal judge on the panel, and he clearly thinks the government is just looking for a blank check for their secret program. But the other two judges aren’t thrilled either. They seem perplexed that the government attorney can’t swear under oath that the Bush Administration isn’t warrant-lessly spying on domestic phone calls.
Proceed to the second case:
Whether the foundation’s lawyers were spied upon, which is the subject of the case, “Is itself a state secret,” Bondy argues. Expanding on that theme, the government argues that the Al-Haramain case needs to be thrown out because the secret document that the government accidentally gave the foundation is so secret that it is outside of the case.
The government claims that the plaintiff’s memories of the document can’t be allowed into the case because the only way to test them is against the “totally classified” document.
This leads to this exchange :
Judge McKeown on the TOP SECRET/TOTALLY document: “I feel like I’m in Alice and Wonderland.”
Eisenberg: “I feel like I’m in Alice in Wonderland, too.”
Al-Haramain lawyer Eisenberg argues that the government’s rationale for dismissing the cases on state secrets grounds doesn’t apply to his clients, since they already know they were surveilled from seeing the secret document.
Judge Margaret McKeown and Judge Hawkins seem unconvinced that the Al-Haramain case can continue without relying on a top-secret document that can’t be used in court.
Eisenberg also offered that the government could have the case dismissed simply by proving the court that they got a warrant.
But the panel seemed unpersuaded that the document can be used at all and generally seemed to be sympathetic to the government’s position.
Bondy, the government’s attorney, finished by reiterating that giving out any information on the alleged surveillance would help the enemy: “We just cannot confirm or deny whether they were surveilled.”
Bondy, for the government, gets the last word and neatly sums up the case for the three judges. Al-Haramain Foundation attorneys, he points out, “think or believe or claim they were surveilled.”
“It’s entirely possible that everything they think they know is entirely false,” he says.
August 15, 2007 in American Right to Privacy, Attorney General, bill of rights, Bob Woodward, Bush, Cheney Coup, Cheney's map, Chicago Skyway, Constitutional admendments, credibility, Death of Democracy, Delaware, Dick Cheney, Electronic Frontier Foundation, FBI, fiber optic hubs, FOIA, Fourth Amendment, Harlem, Henry Hyde, National High School Graduate Test, Paul Wolfowitz, per person cost, poor get poorer, Secret Government Searches, Spying on American Citizens, Star Trek I | 2 comments
Tomorrow, on August 15, in Courtroom 1, 3rd Floor, 95 Seventh Street, San Francisco, two arguments will be heard. The court has scheduled one hour of arguments for Hepting v. AT&T, and 40 minutes for Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation v. Bush. Both are the last defense our Constitution before it becomes meaningless. What is at stake is this timeless question: does our government exist for the benefit of its people,…. or do our people exist to benefit the state…….
Serious stuff. The government’s defense is that due to the material being secretive, both cases should be thrown out. This will be the exact opposite and counteract the 218 years of tradition, that if the search and seizure procedure was not obtained under a legal warrant, then all evidence illegally acquired should be thrown out.
The Constitution under Article II gives the Executive Branch almost unlimited power to do whatever it deems is necessary to protect the entity of the United States of America. But the Bill of Rights, sponsored by George Mason, were all intended to amend the Constitution, in order to ensure that our government did not overstep its bounds and force itself on the daily private lives of its citizens.
The arguments at stake, come down to this: which part of the Constitution trumps the other part? The main body or the Amendments. By the nature of its definition and historical precedent, the very nature of the amendments is to change or modify the meaning of the body of the Constitution. The amendments trump the body.
The result of using logic diagrams to figure out the proper verbiage or core interpretation of the law, gives us this nugget.
The Executive Branch can do whatever it needs to do to protect the United States, as long as it does not affect the rights of individual American citizens.
Failure to do otherwise can have catastrophic consequences for individual hard working Americans.
If ones employer is surreptitiously slipped some information about ones work habits, to pressure or discredit that said individual, it matters little whether that information is truthful or erroneous, for just having it come from the Federal government, gives it some credibility among most Americans. And if any attempt is made to defend oneself, because it was done in secret, one can offer no physical proof that it ever occurred at all.
And the second case before the court, is just one such an example of this type of occurrence. In a fact finding discovery the defense was actually handed a book with all the wiretap information gleaned from the government’s illegal wiretaps. Under a subsequent court order, they were ordered to give it back, after the government sheepishly realized it had handed over illegal evidence. That dossier was an illegally acquired document at that time. Now it would be quite legal.
Here is the real issue, according to the EFF: the real soldiers in the war on terror.
“At issue here is whether the courts have any meaningful role to play in protecting Americans’ privacy from Executive branch abuses of its surveillance powers,” said EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. “If the claim of ‘state secrets’ is allowed to shut down litigation, then the courts will never be able to exercise their Constitutional duty to hold the White House accountable for illegal and even unconstitutional abuses of power.”
This is going all the way to the supreme court. Seeing how this Bill was railroaded through Congress without even being read in full, one wonders if this anticipated challenge to the NSA occurring tomorrow in the courts of San Francisco, was one of the underlying reasons its previous attorneys got fired?
August 14, 2007 in Al Gore, American Right to Privacy, Biden for President, Bill Clinton, bill of rights, Bloggers, Bob Woodward, Boston Tea Party, breast feeding, British accents, Cheney Coup, Cheney's map, CO2, Constitution, Constitutional admendments, credibility, Death of Democracy, Delaware Liberal, Delaware on line, Dick Cheney, e mail, Elections 08, Elks Neck Landing, Exchange of ideas, Executive Privilege, Fantasy Island, FBI, fiber optic hubs, FOIA, Fourth Amendment, Gallop poll, Harlem, Hillary Clinton, In God We Trust, Iraqi oil exploitation, Jim Sadowski, Justice Department, Karl Rove, Largest flotilla off America, Mayor Baker, Men in Black, Millsboro, Nancy Pelosi, National High School Graduate Test, Newark, NSA, Obama, On the Brink, open government, Paul Wolfowitz, per person cost, political humor, poor get poorer, Rep. "Bud" Cramer, Republican intimidation, Rockridge Institue, Rodney King, school prayer, Secret Government Searches, Senator Bonner, Senator Joe Biden, Senator Tom Carper, Sith Lord, South Portland Maine, Spying on American Citizens, Star Trek I, The Colossus of Rhody, Trillion Dollar War, Tyson-Holyfield match, Uncategorized, War on Drugs, William Wallace, Wilmington School Distirct | 1 comment
Whether coincidental or happenstance, the local blog scene has become mysteriously quiet since the signing of the wiretap law just before last weekend. Only Jason has defied the danger, and out of professional courtesy, I do not think he should face MR. CHENEY alone.
In one of my comments on another forum, I was (politely) told that I did not know what I was talking about when I was discussing wiretapping. Although I knew a lot from sources close to the business, after my weekend research on today’s methods (post internet), I came to the conclusion that they were right. I really did not know what was going on………..
No one is talking facts, making it doubly hard to investigate. Based on information culled strictly from the public domain, here is what I could find so far.
Granted the old wiretapping descriptions were out of date. As fiber optics invaded America, switches were placed at all network hubs, allowing for the passing of all information through the government’s hands during it’s journey en route from sender to recipient. These hubs were all on American soil, and therefore, under the old laws, required some type of oversight by FISA or another court, to issue a “wiretap” or other intelligence gathering device.
Had we suspected that a Saudi Arabian national, withdrawing money from an ATM in South Portland, Maine, just up the street from the Mobil station right there at the exit off 95, was about to commit a dastardly act that would change the future of this country forever, getting court approval in real time, would be difficult, if not impossible.
As Bonner “leaked” on national television, (where’s the outrage? Oh, he’s republican) a federal judge had declared such practices illegal. Why? Was he too, one of “them” liberals? No he just decided that the propensity for the system’s misuse, far outweighed it’s gain to society.
What could be more important than saving American lives?
That is a good question and needs a lengthy answer…. American lives are important…..In fact, the primary reason that most Americans are against Cheney’s Trillion $ war going on today, is that they feel it is squandering lives……American lives. But whenever lives are being sacrificed for a real purpose, Americans feel much differently, as polls taken during the Afghanistan campaign readily show…….
So there must be something hidden that is so controversial or so big, that Americans place a higher value on it, than they do saving lives. One questions, what could that be?
William Wallace says it best in “Braveheart“: Freedom!
I can see everyones eyebrows raise. Are we jumping the gun here? What reasonable person could expect an elected official of the United States government to spy on, control, and imprison their own citizens?
Apparently that is the fear that most Americans share. It is for that reason alone why everything must be kept secret and hidden from public scrutiny. For within this administration, everyone is scared to death that the public will someday find out……..
If you are hearing this for the first time, as I did last Saturday, it shows that their clamp on this intelligence and information about this story is working. But across the web and in various newspapers, are enough leads that put this picture in perspective.
Here is what we know. The technology out there is equal to what is available on most PC’s today. It is just the size and scale that blows everyone’s mind. Apparently everything that is ever said, written, posted, e-mailed, filmed, in the entire world, is being saved. Most of this will never be touched. We know this capacity exists: for how often has a commercial enterprise solicited us due to a pattern detected based on our personal trends? And how often have we football watchers been correctly told, based on probability, just where the quarterback is going to throw the ball, and guess where he then throws it to?
This coupling of voice recognition, the entire library of data, and a massive scale of sorting computer software all together under one roof, leads to a profile on every single American citizen at the touch of a button.
If we elected saints as our political saviors, we wouldn’t care. Sure, find the bad guys; just leave the good guys alone. But unfortunately instead of saints, we chose to elect republicans who we have found can be trusted far less than God, as our coins and old bank building in Millsboro, so declare is our intention. Our founding fathers were quite lividly adamant that any government should NOT have unlimited powers of search and seizure. So with today’s technology, our family jewels are safe within our home, but our private thoughts and conversations are not……..
So what is wrong with listening in on private conversations…….I do nothing wrong……and I’ve got nothing to hide……listen all you want, damn it….. That is the defense we hear from right wing nuts whenever they defend this invasion of anyone’s privacy. To stupid people that may make sense. But it only takes a small amount of intelligence to realize how readily that ability can be abused.
Tom Carper, along with many democrats voted for the unlimited use of this technology, done legally at the discretion of the Executive branch itself with no one watching…..This is the same guy who once took great effort to dress up as Commodore McDonough and speak to little school kids about the greatness of this country……Can anyone reasonably expect that such a cognitive switch which jumps away from America’s true ideals to those of a totalitarian state, was NOT coerced by some type of blackmail?
What dirt do they know on Tom Carper? He should count his blessings…..for he is one of the lucky ones. Were he squeaky clean, he could have shared the same fate as Tim Johnson…..or Jon Corzine…..or Paul Wellstone. Speculation to be sure, but it goes to show to those who implicitly trust their leaders, just what can happen when government is given the free hand to spy on their citizens.
But let’s take a more realistic example. One that occurs worldwide today. Over at Delaware Liberal there is a lot of anger focused on the current administration. That blog has become a better source of news than delawareonline, or its printed companion, the News Journal. Of course if you want obituaries, you should still buy the paper. But major news stories are broken day’s ahead of the controlled media, and create firestorms of public opinion that are detrimental to the establishment of the Cheney ideals, which are even occasionally sponsored in part by the republican party.
So how to stop it? This might work. An anon post describing some to the conversations that took place last February could just be enough. It would take a strong Hillary at one’s side to say that did not create any problems. And where would those conversations come from? Apparently they are stored, right now, along with those of every reader, pulled at will with a couple of keystrokes next to your name………..
Yes this technology can corral terrorists…..but it can also be used to know what Biden will say in the next debate, who sold Obama his cocaine when he was young, and whether Hillary is or is not returning the favor her husband gave her during the previous scandal. It can be used to silence witnesses: find and expose whistle blowers, thereby killing them. It can be used to publicize a politician’s health problems, say erectile dysfunction, or blackmail those who don’t ask, and don’t tell.
It can be used to find which of an opponents supporters are “still on the fence” and get to them first. Why do you think Karl Rove resigned the first business day just after the law was passed? Being good for six months, this ability to eavesdrop on each and every Democratic or republican candidate will, unlike Watergate, be legal to well after all the big primaries have all been settled.
Lawsuits against reporters who won’t reveal their sources? A thing of the past, for this law now makes all those irrelevant. There are going to be a lot of dead people turning up soon.
This power can be used in political appointments to insure that only a “yes sir…as you wish sir”…mentality becomes firmly entrenched within the decision making process of our executive branch, and all previously conflicting conversations that have so far kept our country from driving over a cliff, become no more…..
It can also make average citizen afraid to write criticisms such as this…..never to be heard again. Based on what I have seen so far, Jason turned out to be the only one with a “Bravehart” enough to continue….. (my apologies if I missed someone). Yeah…..it affected me. (Call me Robert Bruce.) But like Nathan Hale, before me, I too now decide to walk up to the gallows, put the noose around my neck, and plainly speak my words of wisdom, which hopefully will far outweigh anything I could have done to help this nation, had I cowered and remained silent…………………..
August 4, 2007 in 1st Kuwaiti, administration policy, Alberto Gonzales, America's morals, Attorney General, Azlmay Khalilzad, Baghdad embassy, Bechtel, Bill Kristol, Bob Woodward, Bruce E. Grooms, Bush, Chalabi, Cheney Coup, Cheney to Invade Iran, Chicago Skyway, Chuck Hagel for President, CIA, Cleavage Shots, CO2, Columbia, credibility, Da Plane, Death of Democracy, Delaware, Delaware Bloggers, Dick Cheney, Do Something!, Donald Rumsfield, Elections 08, Electronic Frontier Foundation, ethics, Exchange of ideas, Father's Day, FBI, Finding solution through give and take, German Reunification, Green Berets, Harlem, I. Lewis Libby, If this is goodbye, Impeach Bush, Impeachment, Indian River, Indiana toll road, iran, Iraq, Iraqi Oil Bill, Iraqi oil exploitation, Iraqi reconstruction, Iraqi troop surge, Iraqi War Deaths, John McCain, Karen Peterson, Karl Rove, Michael Chertoff, middle east democracy, Millsboro, Missouri, Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney, money in politics, moving on, Nancy Pelosi, national defense, New American Century, On the Brink, overdevelopment, Paul Wolfowitz, per person cost, Republican intimidation, Republican soul, Rodney King, Rumsfield, Secret Government Searches, Sen. Richard Shelby, Senator Bonner, Sith Lord, Soviet Union collapse, Spying on American Citizens, Star Trek I, Star Wars, tranquility, Uncategorized, Vermont, Von Steuben, washington post, Wilmington News Journal, wind power | Leave a comment
Unconfirmed talk is that international terrorist chatter is as high as it was in August of 01, just before the planes came………Definitely expect an attack within 90 days we are told. Code Red.
Wasn’t it a former Pennsylvanian senator named Santorum who said last week that what ultraconservatives needed to push their agenda forward is another terrorist attack like 9/11? What?
Isn’t that what Mitch McConnell is currently peddling around Congress, this heightened level of chatter? But who is the source? Silence…..Is there any independent confirmation? Silence…… The only answer the public hears is a rumble from the gut of Chertoff. ……..Feed me……
The fear every American has, is not from the random violence of a terrorist, who supposedly will fight the sharks and swim across the ocean to get here, but of our own self-appointed president, declaring martial law, stripping us of our rights, in order to stay in power forever. What better method than to use a massive terrorist attack to push ones agenda…… It worked the last time, right?
This time I am not so sure it would work. If one has an employee who makes the same mistake twice, big time, one fires his ass. A terrorist attack is definitely big time. And whose ass did we entrust the last time to make us safe? And now miraculously those same people are telling us that Al Qaeda is as stronger than it was in the summer of 01?
That doesn’t make me scared. It really pisses me off! How on earth can the greatest country in the world, be completely powerless to contain Robin Hood and his band of merry men, climbing over moon rocks while carrying a kidney machine? Bottom line is that they can’t…. unless not finding him is being done on purpose.
“What is most troubling is that no one in a position of authority is trying to get to the bottom of this.
If GOP leaders like Dennis Milligan (R-Ark) and former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa) possess information that could protect the American people from another terrorist attack, the CIA should interrogate them using the techniques our Vice President has approved,” Fetzer observed. “Let’s water-board them and subject them to sexual humiliation. After all, that’s what we are doing to prevent attacks abroad. Why aren’t they being used here? Chertoff appears to be making no effort to get to the bottom of this. Bush can’t claim to be ‘the security president’ if he won’t keep us secure.”How much money have we sunk into Iraq, where according to every nation’s intelligence agencies, there were NO terrorists before we started. How many bridges could we have inspected and repaired in this country if we had used that money less foolishly?……..
If we have an administration that allows us another terrorist attack, this time killing between 30,000 and 300,000, we need to impeach that administration; not give them more power. What the hell have we been spending our children’s money on? and they are telling me that terror is worse now?…. than it was before 9/11?
And they want us to trust who? Should another attack occur, an attack more viscous than 9/11, the ugly truth is that such an attack could only occur because one man fell asleep at the wheel: George W Bush. America will be furious. They will not reward him with powers of tyranny, they will impeach!
Cheney’s diversion in Iraq provided a lull in the war on terrorism. Had we finished Afghanistan first, maybe made a couple or secret raids across the border into Pakistan, there would be no Al Qaeda. But no, we are now being warned of an eminent attack………..
If the unthinkable occurs and we are attacked, America must get it’s own house in order first before striking back. America must replace its 2 leaders with ones who are competent,… so that when our time comes to return the favor to Al Qaeda………we won’t make the same mistake twice………..
Bush can’t claim to be ‘the security president’ if he won’t keep us secure