I’m not quite sure what to make of the recent news that the Bush administration (with the advise and consent of members of Congress, the Department of Justice, and the FISA court) authorized warrantless wiretapping of phone and email conversations between persons in the United States and known terrorists. Such information is obviously useful in the defense of the nation, but why were warrants not needed or acquirable? The FISA court that authorizes secret warrants for such intelligence activities almost always grants those requests. Why didn’t the president just secure warrants instead of creating a program to do such intelligence gathering without them? There is a large piece of this story missing, and I don’t think anyone can formulate a fully rational opinion either way until all the information is in. At this point it looks like POTUS has done something illegal for entirely justifiable reasons, but the jury is still out on this one. [12/19/05]

UPDATE: It has become more clear exactly what President Bush’s secret wiretapping program that bypassed FISA was doing. Apparently the NSA was monitoring phone conversations to and from certain al Qaeda telephone numbers and persons (some citizens) in the United States. The reason no warrants were acquired (or acquirable) is that there was not a specific known person in the country that was being wiretapped. They were getting information on calls relayed from international numbers to any number of people domestically. So it was more like fishing than deer hunting.
In this case, I have zero problem with this program whether it is determined to be legal or not. Whine all you want, utopians. The president is doing his job.

10 thoughts on “domespionage

  1. What piece of the story do you need? You said it when you stated he could have gone to FISA. He could have acted and ordered emergency taps without a FISA order as long as he petitioned FISA for the review. There is another FISA clause that allows 15 days without a judgement. The peice missing here is he and the administration went around the law because they are hiding something. With no check on his power in this case, who is to say he isn’t doing something illegal here? What othe law is he skirting? What else is he not telling us?I cannot see how you can defend this action, no matter what name you put it in. Do you want your blogs, phones and video rentals subject to taps? What if someone doesn’t like what you are writing and decide to take action against you – let’s say, mess with your paychecks, or have the IRS do a deep audit on you? You willing to submit to this in the name of “the war on terrorism”, I ask?


  2. I didn’t defend his actions. I said his reasons were justifiable, not what he did.But with the current amount of information about this story still unknown, I am still unsure of the purpose of the program. If he could have gotten the warrants anyway regardless of what they were for, why bother with the secret program? It makes no sense.So I’m going to wait until we have a full explanation other than “to protect the country.”


  3. WHy bother? Because it #1 is against the law #2 it leaves his power unchecked.Why bother with search warrents for police when they can prbably get them anyway, why not just let them walk into anyones house whenever they want?Why bother with due process?There NEEDS to be checks and balances in place, it is one of the corner stones for democracy. Bush is NOT King. I do not care if the intentions are good. I would rather live with a hreat of terrosism then under an absolute rule.


  4. The way YOU are wording is is question the point of FISA. I don’t think you are understanding and putting 2 and 2 together to get 4. FISA’s purpose to the check and balnce to the governments operations into spying on people or organizations. It enables some other set of legal eyes to give the green or red light to government without the need for public eyes, it works on two fronts, keeps things secret but also keeps the power in check and non-absolute.That is the first 2.Now for the second 2. Whay didn’t he go through fisa? One can only deduct from this that he and his criminal administration are doing illegal things that FISA would not allow.Your 4 is, the Bush Administartion is doing illegal things in the name of “democracy.” Bush is skirting the law and giving orders without going through the most fundamental proces that makes our democracy a deomocracy – he is ignoring the checks and balances and doing whatever he wants. THAT is more sinister and dnagerous than any terrorist around. And, he should not only be impeached and kicked out of office, but brought up on cirminal charges because of it.


  5. … I said that he should have gotten the warrants. I’m not excusing it, just understanding it. Personally, I don’t think a slight step over the line of the law in defense of national security is more “sinister and dnagerous” (sic) than subborning perjury and contempt of court in defense of marital infidelity, but that’s just me.This argument is over unless you care enough to identify yourself.


  6. How in the hell can you justify going around due process “in the name of national security (in case you haven’;t noticed was spying on americans who just happen to be anti-war organizations)’ to a person lying about a blow job? That is just pure ignorance.You want to continue to stick your head in the sand and ignore the fact we have a very corrupt administration in place for the gains of themselves and their rich oil buddies, than go right ahead and do so.


  7. As I said, this discussion is now over for two reasons: 1) You apparently can’t read. 2) You don’t care enough for your opinions to identify yourself.Comments will be now be moderated and accepted or deleted on an as-needed basis. If you don’t bother to identify yourself, you have no right to pollute my space with your wussified opinions.


  8. then why do you have the option to post anonymous. see, you don’t like what I have to say because there is truth in it so you revert back to that age old “why post anonymously” and as I always say – i don’t want spam. but your too fucking stupid top realize that email harvesting goes on via these types of sites. so no, i am not giving you an email address. period.


  9. Because if I don’t allow anonymous comments, then you would have to have a Blogger account. I don’t want to force people to do that. But you do have the option to select Other instead of Anonymous, and leave your name or URL. There is no field for an email address, dumbass. But had you even bothered to grow a pair and select an option besides Anonymous, you would have discovered that. Typical…


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