Warning

 

Close

Confirm Action

Are you sure you wish to do this?

Confirm Cancel
Member Login
Posted: 1/8/2002 10:19:20 PM EDT
[url]www.latimes.com/news/local/la-010802davis.story[/url] Davis to Ask for Broader Wiretaps Security: The governor is expected to seek power for state, local police to eavesdrop on any phone used by suspects, not just specific numbers. E-mail also could be tapped By DAN MORAIN, Times Staff Writer SACRAMENTO -- Gov. Gray Davis is calling for expanded authority to wiretap Californians' phones and e-mail in the name of protecting against terrorism. As outlined Monday by his top security advisor, former FBI agent George Vinson, the legislation Davis seeks is similar to the Patriot Act signed into law by President Bush in October. The governor's aides said New York has adopted a similar statute, and proposals are pending in Arizona and Washington state. Davis is expected to announce the proposal when he delivers his State of the State speech tonight. Already, Democratic leaders in the Legislature have expressed skepticism, suggesting the plan may have difficulty winning majority support. The governor wants to grant authority to state and local police to obtain court-approved "roving" wiretaps, allowing them to listen in on any phone used by criminal suspects, rather than specific phone numbers as permitted under current state law, Vinson said. Additionally, Davis is calling for legislation that would allow state and local police to tap into e-mail communications and Internet sites, something permitted under the federal act approved after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon. Although the proposal is pegged to the threat of terrorism, the wiretap authority could be sought for any criminal investigation. California has had a statute since the mid-1990s permitting police to tap specific phones of suspects primarily in drug and gang-related investigations. But if suspects change telephones, police must apply to judges for a new warrant. Davis, who faces reelection in November, was working on what would be his fourth and final State of the State speech in his first term as governor. He has rewritten it several times, his aides said. Roughly a fourth of the latest version was devoted to public safety and terrorism. If that holds, it signals that Davis will make law enforcement positions a fundamental part of his campaign strategy. In his 1998 election campaign against former Atty. Gen. Dan Lungren, Davis emphasized his support of the death penalty and his backing from police. The state's existing wiretap law, which is far narrower than federal statutes, has not been widely used. In 2000, there were 88 court orders approving wiretaps in California. Even so, defense attorneys have challenged the use of wiretaps by Los Angeles law enforcement authorities in pending cases seeking to have convictions reversed. Vinson said the governor's goal is not necessarily to make it easier for police to obtain court orders allowing electronic eavesdropping. Rather, Davis wants to make the state's use of wiretaps more effective.
Link Posted: 1/8/2002 10:20:24 PM EDT
(continued) The proposal would permit police to "wiretap the criminal or terrorist so that if they start tossing phones, the authority to listen in on that criminal activity follows the criminal," said Vinson, who was recruited by Davis to be his security advisor after Sept. 11. "He wants to see California law enforcement modernized in their techniques in investigating terrorists," Vinson said. Davis' fellow Democrats in the Legislature were dubious. Senate President Pro Tem John Burton (D-San Francisco) noted that the federal government "already has that power." Added Sen. Richard Polanco, chairman of the Public Safety Committee, which would review the legislation, "The feds have that authority, so why does the state need it?" Senate Republican Leader Jim Brulte of Rancho Cucamonga said Davis' proposal "makes sense," and dismissed opposition voiced by Senate Democrats by saying: "Many of the Democrats in the state Legislature are significantly more liberal than Americans as a whole." Vinson said terrorism investigations will remain primarily a federal responsibility. But he said local police could open investigations using state court-authorized wiretaps, and turn the matters over to the FBI once the cases expand. At that point, the FBI could seek eavesdropping authority under the broader federal wiretap statutes. Francisco Lobaco, lobbyist for the ACLU in Sacramento, denounced the plan, saying innocent people could end up having police eavesdrop on their private communications. "If the governor's proposal mirrors the new federal law, then it will impose major intrusions into innocent people's private lives," Lobaco said. The ACLU's Web site details its opposition to expanded surveillance authority in the Patriot Act. The new federal law lowers the standard for obtaining wiretap authority, the site says, requiring judges to rubber-stamp any request law-enforcement deems "relevant to an ongoing criminal investigation." And, it says, the law extends "this low threshold of proof to Internet communications that are far more revealing than the numbers dialed to or from a telephone, and to portions of e-mail communications that cannot readily be separated from content." In his speech tonight, the governor is expected to acknowledge several family members of victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, along with police, firefighters and National Guard troops who will be in the gallery overlooking the Assembly chamber, where he will give the address. In addition to talking about terrorism and public safety, Davis likely will underscore his desire to continue funding public schools and health care for children, while not cutting state aid to local government, Davis spokesman Steve Maviglio said. Even though the state faces a budget deficit estimated to be $12 billion, Maviglio said, the governor remains intent on not raising taxes. Davis likely will refer to ideas to stimulate the economy, and is planning a news conference for Wednesday to further explain his plan. Reaction to the speech is sure to be sharper as the Democratic governor lags in public opinion polls. All three Republican opponents, former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, Secretary of State Bill Jones and businessman Bill Simon Jr., are expected to respond to the governor's remarks.
Link Posted: 1/8/2002 10:21:03 PM EDT
(continued) "Our hope is that he will not put on rose-colored glasses or try to use security challenges confronting California for his own political purposes," said Riordan advisor Kevin Spillane. "We need to have a candid discussion of how California gets out of the energy debacle and budget crisis."
Link Posted: 1/8/2002 10:27:19 PM EDT
I remember when the "Conspiracy Laws" came into being. They were to be used to attack the Mafia. I remember sitting in on a couple of days of a Mafia friends trial. (This was in the 70's.) I remember after his conviction him saying to me "Tom, today it's us - tomorrow they'll use this law on everyone." I'm sure there is no parallel here. [smoke]
Link Posted: 1/9/2002 7:49:06 AM EDT
Great! A Government Spy on everyone's computer! Maybe next they'll install cameras in everyone's bathrooms.
Link Posted: 1/9/2002 7:52:12 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Imbroglio: ...Davis seeks is similar to the Patriot Act signed into law by President Bush in October. The governor's aides said New York has adopted a similar statute, and proposals are pending in Arizona and Washington state.
View Quote
Who are the next idiots?
Link Posted: 1/9/2002 8:26:23 AM EDT
Link Posted: 1/9/2002 8:26:53 AM EDT
Well, of course he is, silly goose. [rolleyes]
Link Posted: 1/9/2002 8:29:24 AM EDT
Man, we have gots problems in Calif, when both the Democrats and Republicans agree on something. The last time that happened was the electrical power deregulation law.
Link Posted: 1/9/2002 9:43:34 AM EDT
Originally Posted By Bostonterrier97: Great! A Government Spy on everyone's computer!
View Quote
The National Security Agency already does this.
Link Posted: 1/9/2002 9:50:32 AM EDT
Originally Posted By ECS:
Originally Posted By Bostonterrier97: Great! A Government Spy on everyone's computer!
View Quote
The National Security Agency already does this.
View Quote
and very, very well. [smoke]
Top Top