The following is a brief overview of a large compilation of articles that can be found at the following URL (please read before posting if possible)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NSA_warrantless_surveillance_controversy
In 2002 the President of the United States, George W. Bush, issued an executive order which authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to conduct warrantless phone-taps of persons who were believed to be linked to al-Qaeda or its affiliates. (The complete details of this authorization are still not fully known). The NSA maintained wiretaps on international communications, including those that included U.S. participants. Such spying on U.S persons without the approval of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is believed by critics to barred under the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) but based on the personal experience of a knowledgebable, but unidentified, Intelligence Community official that is not correct.
The 2002 presidential authorization was classified, and thus the program was concealed from public knowledge until December 2005, when it was first reported on by the New York Times, which had somehow known about the program for approximately a year. Public knowledge of this program promptly led to a major national controversy over such issues as:
The legality of the warrantless wiretaps involving U.S. persons.
The efficiency of the program, and the legality of the NSA's handing-out the information to FBI 
Constitutional issues concerning the authority of Congress and the President's authority as Commander in Chief.
The possibility this program violates Constitutionally guaranteed rights.
The right to privacy.
The legality of the publication of this story by the New York Times, and the potential implications for U.S. national security arising from the disclosure of this highly-classified program.
I'd like to get your opinions on both the legalities/illegalites of the warrantless wiretaps, and the revelation of classifed evidence of said wiretaps.
P.S. please be a little more thorough than "Bush sucks" or "the NYT sucks".
This whole thing is a false debate to me. Not that it's anything new with this administration, but I like to suggest that people who buy the "we're not tapping domestic calls" line try this.
Call someone locally, on a land line. State that you're only kidding, but thatr you're planning to do something, to someone, with a certain item. You know what I mean. Actually say it, in all the proper terms. A JFK kind of thing. You know.
After all, if domestic calls aren't monitered, then there is nothing to worry about.
echelon didnt start with Clinton
I read about it from a book written in the 70s about the drug trade. Here is a link for those who have never heard of echelon
Echelon is a system used by the United States National Security Agency (NSA) to intercept and process international communications passing via communications satellites. It is one part of a global surveillance systems that is now over 50 years old. Other parts of the same system intercept messages from the Internet, from undersea cables, from radio transmissions, from secret equipment installed inside embassies, or use orbiting satellites to monitor signals anywhere on the earth's surface. The system includes stations run by Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, in addition to those operated by the United States. Although some Australian and British stations do the same job as America's Echelon sites, they are not necessarily called "Echelon" stations. But they all form part of the same integrated global network using the same equipment and methods to extract information and intelligence illicitly from millions of messages every day, all over the world.
The first reports about Echelon in Europe credited it with the capacity to intercept "within Europe, all e-mail, telephone, and fax communications". This has proven to be erroneous; neither Echelon nor the signals intelligence ("sigint") system of which it is part can do this. Nor is equipment available with the capacity to process and recognise the content of every speech message or telephone call. But the American and British-run network can, with sister stations, access and process most of the worlds satellite communications, automatically analysing and relaying it to customers who may be continents away.
Oh yeah forgot to add.
What would you say if Hillary Clinbton was prez and did the wiretapping? Would you still be ok with that?
Jan. 21, 2006, 10:51PM
Opposition to warrantless domestic spying creates a welcome alliance of liberals and conservatives.
Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle
IF there is one issue that can unite principled liberals and conservatives, it is opposition to warrantless government surveillance of American citizens. In an era marked by the constant threat of terrorism, no one questions the need to listen for terrorists' communications. But when the suspects are on American soil — particularly if they are U.S. citizens — the government is required to get court approval within 72 hours after the surveillance begins
Former Vice President Al Gore delivered what for him was a surprisingly eloquent speech Monday arguing that the country faces a constitutional crisis. President Bush claims "unitary executive authority" that gives him the right to ignore laws if necessary to protect national security in wartime.
"If the president has the inherent authority to eavesdrop, imprison citizens on his own declaration, kidnap and torture," Gore asked, "then what can't he do?"
Gore is a frustrated politician with lingering presidential ambitions and a partisan agenda. But don't take Gore's word for it. Note the words of the Founders Gore cited.
John Adams: "The executive shall never exercise the legislative and judicial powers, or either of them, to the end that it may be a government of laws and not of men."
James Madison: The accumulation of such powers in the hands of a single man or group "may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny."
At his Martin Luther King Day address, Gore was introduced by former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr, a conservative Republican and chairman of a new group, Patriots to Restore Checks and Balances. According to Barr, Bush overstepped the bounds of the Patriot Act and overrode "the protections of the Constitution and the plain language of the Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act to eavesdrop on Americans' private communications without any judicial checks and without proof they are involved in terrorism."
Grover Norquist, an influential conservative and president of Americans for Tax Reform, and David Keane, chair of the American Conservative Union, joined Barr in his call for Congress to restore checks and balances in intelligence matters.
The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution bars the government from conducting warrantless searches and seizures. The Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act recognizes the need to protect national security and gives government broad latitude to conduct electronic surveillance — so long as the surveillance of persons in the United States is subject to judicial review by a special court formed for that purpose.
U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales stated that Congress authorized warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens when it resolved to give the president authority to wage war against al-Qaida.
However, Congress is not empowered to suspend the Bill of Rights by majority vote. More to the point, Congress explicitly rejected an administration request to use military powers within the United States. Gonzales also alleged that the Clinton administration conducted warrantless searches. Has the Bush administration forgotten the president's promise to set more exacting standards of conduct than his predecessor did?
Vice President Dick Cheney, pointing to Osama bin Laden's renewed threats against the United States, rightly pointed to the need to do whatever is necessary to protect the nation from attack. This includes spying on suspected terrorists and their sympathizers. But the Constitution and the law require court approval of domestic surveillance, and neither grants a wartime exception. The so-called FISA court stands ready to issue warrants. The government has only to ask within three days of the start of a wiretap.
FBI officials complain that the warrantless spying has swamped the bureau with false tips that have led to dead ends. If true, the military necessity of spying on Americans without a warrant is imperceptible.
The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service issued an opinion that Bush's notification of four congressional leaders of the warrantless spying appears to violate the National Security Act requirement that all members of the House and Senate intelligence committees must be "fully and currently" informed.
Former CIA Director Robert Gates, now president of Texas A&M University, recently told the Chronicle editorial board that he could not imagine that the president would carefully and repeatedly review and reauthorize an illegal spying program. However, Gates said, he did not know what the intelligence community was doing or how it was doing it, and he declined to give the secret spying program a vote of confidence.
The secret nature of domestic spying is precisely the reason the Constituition and the FISA law require that some independent authority — a judge — know what's going on. Without this safeguard, the power of the executive branch would know no restraint.
The Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Arlen Specter, a Republican of Pennsylvania, will hold hearings next month on the legality of warrantless spying on Americans' international calls and e-mails. Should the committee determine that the president has acted improperly, Congress should quickly adopt stronger safeguards against the needless trampling of American liberty.
HoustonChronicle.com -- http://www.HoustonChronicle.com | Section: Editorial
This article is: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/editorial/3602298.html
Know what i would be doing if i was a terrorist right now?
I would call random people in the USA and say cryptic shit i made up Like
"The camels' teeth bite hard tonight"
I would call like pizza parlors or maybe people I dont like and say things like Are my detonators ready?
See now your going to be surveiled and every one you know is going to be surveiled.
Pretty soon you have every goverment agency looking up your ass and suddenly you end up in jail for claiming too much mileage on your 1994 tax return.
Anyway you look at it, the King's actions are illegal. There is no disputing or arguing that. The King doesn't seem to care and is surrounded by people that continue to fabricate justifications for his actions.
Sorry but I'm a Constitutionalist that believes in the principles and ideaology of it all.
Violating the thing you are supposed to protect in order to protect it leaves you with nothing in the end.
A bit like being the guard for the Emperors virigin daughter. Your job is to protect her and her purity. Then genius strikes. The best way to keep anyone from stealing her virginity is to have your way with her. There now she's safe from everyone else.
First, I'll say this:
My understanding of this particular issue (or "controversy," if you're more comfortable with that) is that if U.S. citizens (who are also "on American soil") are incidental to the suveillance, it's all good.
Second, this "sort of thing" didn't start with Bush, nor (as an earlier poster mentioned) with Clinton. It's part and parcel of a larger issue. Unless this particular piece of the puzzle is so egregiously illegal (if it was, would we even be disussing this "question"?), it does little justice to the entire puzzle to concentrate our attention on the piece.
Don't worry, I won't (take Gore's word for it), because also note the words of the Founders he *doesn't* cite:
John Adams: "Arms in the hands of citizens may be used at individual discretion in private self
defense." (A defense of the Constitution of the US)
James Madison: "Americans have the right and advantage of being armed, unlike the people of
other countries, whose people are afraid to trust them with arms." (Federalist Paper #46)
Thomas Jefferson: "On every question of construction, carry ourselves
back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit
manifested in the debates, and instead of trying what meaning
may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it conform to the
probable one in which it was passed."
How about these Checks and Balances?
(image property of Flashbunny.org)
Really? Then what was the AWB? And all the others?
I'm not saying two (or even three) wrongs make a right.......... if it is borne out that wrongs were committed in the first place. Just that these hypocrites* aren't our friends, and they don't have our best interests at heart.
* e.g. Teddy Kennedy being adamantly anti-filibuster........ until his party is in the minority.