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Fri Jun 28, 2013, 02:57 PM

Let's Be Clear, say Legal Experts, What NSA Is Doing Is 'Criminal'

Let's Be Clear, say Legal Experts, What NSA Is Doing Is 'Criminal'
In plainly worded NYT op-ed, a retort to claims that NSA programs pass Constitutional muster
Published on Friday, June 28, 2013 by Common Dreams * by Jon Queally, staff writer

Despite a vast selection of elected US officials from both parties and an outsized portion of the US media who have accepted the assurances from the Obama administration and the National Security Agency that the domestic spying programs revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden are someone "legal" under US statute, two legal scholars penned a sharply worded New York Times op-ed on Friday demanding better attention must be paid to the reality of what the disclosures truly show and that the programs be described as what they are: "criminal."

Jennifer Stisa Granick, director of civil liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, and law professor Christopher Jon Sprigman from the University of Virginia contend in their article, The Criminal NSA, that those supportive of government claims are simply "wrong" and that what we know about the programs is that they betray both "the letter and the spirit of federal law" designed to protect US citizens from government snooping of their private communications.

"No statute explicitly authorizes mass surveillance," they write.

"Through a series of legal contortions, the Obama administration has argued that Congress, since 9/11, intended to implicitly authorize mass surveillance. But this strategy mostly consists of wordplay, fear-mongering and a highly selective reading of the law. Americans deserve better from the White House — and from President Obama, who has seemingly forgotten the constitutional law he once taught."

Looking specifically at the two most damning revelations reported on by the Guardian newspaper so far—the vast collection of cell phone "metadata" from nearly all US citizens and the Prism program, which allows for vast collection of internet communication data from some of the online platforms most used by Americans—the two legal experts say that in both cases the NSA has employed "shockingly flimsy" legal arguments to defend their practices.

TO READ REMAINDER OF ARTICLE: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/06/28-5

The NYTimes article referenced here can be seen at this link:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/28/opinion/the-criminal-nsa.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=opinion&

I posted this NYTimes article yesterday, here:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10023117199

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Reply Let's Be Clear, say Legal Experts, What NSA Is Doing Is 'Criminal' (Original post)
99th_Monkey Jun 2013 OP
Catherina Jun 2013 #1
arely staircase Jun 2013 #15
reusrename Jun 2013 #40
arely staircase Jun 2013 #43
reusrename Jun 2013 #58
arely staircase Jun 2013 #60
reusrename Jun 2013 #63
arely staircase Jun 2013 #65
Martin Eden Jun 2013 #85
rhett o rick Jun 2013 #86
think Jun 2013 #101
nashville_brook Jun 2013 #2
Hydra Jun 2013 #3
frylock Jun 2013 #12
truedelphi Jun 2013 #4
bvar22 Jun 2013 #9
99th_Monkey Jun 2013 #14
nadinbrzezinski Jun 2013 #5
randome Jun 2013 #17
questionseverything Jun 2013 #96
questionseverything Jun 2013 #97
randome Jun 2013 #105
Whisp Jun 2013 #6
AnotherMcIntosh Jun 2013 #7
msanthrope Jun 2013 #11
wtmusic Jun 2013 #19
msanthrope Jun 2013 #23
wtmusic Jun 2013 #30
msanthrope Jun 2013 #31
wtmusic Jun 2013 #35
msanthrope Jun 2013 #38
wtmusic Jun 2013 #39
msanthrope Jun 2013 #41
wtmusic Jun 2013 #42
msanthrope Jun 2013 #45
wtmusic Jun 2013 #46
msanthrope Jun 2013 #47
wtmusic Jun 2013 #50
msanthrope Jun 2013 #66
wtmusic Jun 2013 #67
msanthrope Jun 2013 #68
wtmusic Jun 2013 #69
msanthrope Jun 2013 #70
wtmusic Jun 2013 #71
msanthrope Jun 2013 #73
wtmusic Jun 2013 #74
msanthrope Jun 2013 #87
randome Jun 2013 #88
wtmusic Jun 2013 #90
msanthrope Jun 2013 #106
wtmusic Jun 2013 #89
questionseverything Jun 2013 #93
questionseverything Jun 2013 #95
msanthrope Jun 2013 #104
wtmusic Jun 2013 #107
wtmusic Jun 2013 #109
msanthrope Jun 2013 #110
wtmusic Jun 2013 #111
cstanleytech Jun 2013 #24
wtmusic Jun 2013 #26
cstanleytech Jun 2013 #28
wtmusic Jun 2013 #32
cstanleytech Jun 2013 #33
wtmusic Jun 2013 #36
cstanleytech Jun 2013 #57
wtmusic Jun 2013 #62
eomer Jun 2013 #37
AnotherMcIntosh Jun 2013 #51
zeemike Jun 2013 #8
LWolf Jun 2013 #44
Thinkingabout Jun 2013 #10
MisterP Jun 2013 #13
Ichingcarpenter Jun 2013 #16
Douglas Carpenter Jun 2013 #18
Corruption Inc Jun 2013 #20
baldguy Jun 2013 #21
Warren Stupidity Jun 2013 #78
baldguy Jun 2013 #80
Warren Stupidity Jun 2013 #81
cstanleytech Jun 2013 #22
AnotherMcIntosh Jun 2013 #52
Warren Stupidity Jun 2013 #83
cstanleytech Jun 2013 #94
Douglas Carpenter Jun 2013 #25
forestpath Jun 2013 #27
Herlong Jun 2013 #29
marions ghost Jun 2013 #34
marions ghost Jun 2013 #48
woo me with science Jun 2013 #54
marions ghost Jun 2013 #55
blackspade Jun 2013 #49
woo me with science Jun 2013 #53
Harmony Blue Jun 2013 #56
99th_Monkey Jun 2013 #64
wildbilln864 Jun 2013 #59
cantbeserious Jun 2013 #61
sibelian Jun 2013 #72
Recursion Jun 2013 #75
Democracyinkind Jun 2013 #76
99th_Monkey Jun 2013 #77
DCBob Jun 2013 #79
HereSince1628 Jun 2013 #82
DCBob Jun 2013 #84
wtmusic Jun 2013 #91
WillyT Jun 2013 #92
99th_Monkey Jun 2013 #100
limpyhobbler Jun 2013 #98
99th_Monkey Jun 2013 #99
sulphurdunn Jun 2013 #102
99th_Monkey Jun 2013 #103
sulphurdunn Jun 2013 #108

Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 03:02 PM

1. Of course it isn't. Why else would a constitutional lawyer President classify it so extraordinarily?

It's absolutely illegal, no matter how many blue links pretend otherwise.

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Response to Catherina (Reply #1)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 04:21 PM

15. or federal courts say it isn't?

you do realize all sorts of lawyers have opinions, but the only ones that count are the judges who interpret the law and the constitution officially?

I think what the NSA is doing is an intrusive unnecessary overreach.

but it simply is not illegal, because the courts say it isn't.

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Response to arely staircase (Reply #15)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 05:37 PM

40. What courts?

 

No one has ever had standing to challenge this in court.

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Response to reusrename (Reply #40)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 05:48 PM

43. The FISA court that issued the warrant that Snowden leaked clearly thinks it is

or it wouldn't have issued it. Look, I don't like it either, and if I were a judge I probably wouldn't rule it legal. But I'm not, others are, and have said it is. The Patriot Act needs to be repealed or drastically altered. But courts are not going to declare this illegal.

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Response to arely staircase (Reply #43)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 09:48 PM

58. I really disagree.

 

The victims are not represented in the FISA court. No one has ever been able to challenge the constitutionality of the law. It most likely will be struck down now. And there does seem to be a sealed finding that the FISA court did on at least one occasion find it illegal.

The real problem here, IMHO, is the creation of secret courts. There is nothing like this authorized in the Constitution. Maybe with Snowden's release the ACLU can finally get some plaintiffs into open court, although I seriously doubt it.

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Response to reusrename (Reply #58)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 09:55 PM

60. I don't like secret courts either. But I can understand them for certain warrants.

I think the instance you are talking about was a time or two they turned down the government's request for a warrant as lacking sufficient evidence. I have heard it discussed how few have been turned down vs approved - but I really don't know how that compares to regular Federal District Courts. I think most warrants are usually approved because the cops know they have have their shit together before going to the judge.

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Response to arely staircase (Reply #60)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 10:13 PM

63. I think it is becoming clear how the FISA court acts.

 

First there are the warrants that are used to acquire metadata from the various corporations. But there are also individual warrants to monitor individual communications.

There seems to be a lot of confusion about the order of things. The analysts can look at anything in their database (which includes recordings of all our conversations and emails) with little or no oversight. I think it works something like this:

1) Yes, they do need a separate warrant in order to access content of individual phone calls/emails.

2) Yes, the analyst has legal authority to access content of individual phone calls/emails of anyone, on his own, without first getting a separate warrant.

These are consistent statements. The FISA law allows 72 hours after the fact to seek the warrant.

My understanding is that the analyst has legal access, on his own authority, once he has been verbally authorized by either the Attorney General or the Director of National Intelligence. I think the analyst only need fill out a form in order to take a peek at anything.

At least this is my current understanding of the law and the policy. These analysts, once verbally approved, might might be compared to the robosigners we found in the banking fraud.

There is one important difference; unlike the illegal robosigners for the banks, Congress, the Adminstration, and the Courts all seem to have made this process perfectly legal.

If you start to parse the Q&A information with this timeline in mind, it starts to reveal an amazing consistency. Many of the contradictory claims evaporate.

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Response to reusrename (Reply #63)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 10:29 PM

65. thanks for that info.

like I said I don't like secret courts, but can at least understand the argument for them in the case of issuing certain warrants - though I think a criminal defendant's attorneis should later be able to challenge them - meaning access to what they were based upon.

I think the collection of metadata on everyone is an overreach, but could possibly be convinced it was ok, if the only way to access it is with a separate warrant and there were absolute safeguards against it without one. This 72 hours of do what you want doesn't pass the smell test to me. That seems like a clear 4th amendment violation. I would like to hear the other side of it though. But it just seems to me that if you have Ahmed the courier's number calling some US phone, can't you wake up a FISA judge in the middle of the night? Get down there and show him that and get a separate warrant? Why does that take three days? Hell local cops can wake up the stae district judge and get a warrant for a suspected meth lab in the middle of the night.

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Response to arely staircase (Reply #43)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 08:19 AM

85. Snowden's arrest warrant and the survelliance program are separate legal issues

A law against leaking classified information is not a ruling on the constitutionality of the program Snowdon revealed.

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Response to arely staircase (Reply #43)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 09:28 AM

86. " But courts are not going to declare this illegal." Strange logic.

Higher courts often overrule lower courts. The FISA court is a joke, a disgrace to the court system. The warrants issued clearly violate not only the Constitution of the USofA but they even violate the FISA law.

For example, NSA and FISA are intended for FOREIGN surveillance, hence the F in FISA. The warrant the Guardian released was a FISA court warrant that gave authority to the NSA to gather data on all Americans. Blanket surveillance is not allowed under the FISA law and certainly not allowed by our Constitution.

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Response to arely staircase (Reply #15)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 02:40 PM

101. Even the Rubber Stamp known as FISA has ruled that the NSA has violated the constitution

But the ruling is classified so we really don't know the who, how, what, where and whens of the illegal activity.

Therein lies the rub....

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 03:09 PM

2. proud to be 5th rec

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 03:16 PM

3. Waiting for the gang to show up and tell us how this is all legal

Even the notoriously loose with the law FISA court apparently found the NSA in violation of the 4th Amendment.

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Response to Hydra (Reply #3)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 03:57 PM

12. more kill the messenger posts..

evidently, these two are only looking to make bank on the lecture circuit.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 03:16 PM

4. Chinese officials were asolutely scathing in their response to

Obama's demands re: Snowden.

So much so that I felt embarrassed for the President, something I didn't think was possible.

Ecuadorian President was equally critical. And Ecuador is willing to give up on a trade plan that exists between the USA and Ecuador, and that gives that nation a preferred status price wise on its produce shipped to the USA.

Anyone in this nation who thinks that a government spying on its people is okay needs to remember Germany 1933-1945. Or East Germany, 1948 to 1989.

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Response to truedelphi (Reply #4)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 03:53 PM

9. The World is laughing at the hypocrisy.


The noblemen who were to carry his train stooped low and reached for the floor as if they were picking up his mantle. Then they pretended to lift and hold it high. They didn't dare admit they had nothing to hold.

So off went the Emperor in procession under his splendid canopy. Everyone in the streets and the windows said, "Oh, how fine are the Emperor's new clothes! Don't they fit him to perfection? And see his long train!" Nobody would confess that he couldn't see anything, for that would prove him either unfit for his position, or a fool. No costume the Emperor had worn before was ever such a complete success.


excerpt from Hans Christian Andersen : The Emperor's New Clothes


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Response to bvar22 (Reply #9)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 04:19 PM

14. The world is indeed laughing at US, or worse.

We need to get back to being "the good guys", which requires that
we fucking ACT like the good guys, the city on a hill, a beacon of
liberty, etc.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 03:20 PM

5. I wait with baited breath for us to be corrected



This is spreading, this disease...

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Response to nadinbrzezinski (Reply #5)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 04:24 PM

17. What 'disease'? Do you refer to the dreaded 'cognitive thinking malady'?

There is no evidence that mass surveillance occurs. It seems like a simple matter to me. Show me the evidence and I'll change my position.



I'm always right. When I'm wrong I admit it.
So then I'm right about being wrong.


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Response to randome (Reply #17)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 01:00 PM

96. ....

The President's interview with Rose is excerpted at length, below:

Program 2015, (the President) said gets data from the service providers like a Verizon in bulk, and basically call pairs.

"You have my telephone number connecting with your telephone number. There are no names. There is no content in that database. All it is, is the number pairs, when those calls took place, how long they took place. So that database is sitting there," he said.

"Now, if the NSA through some other sources, maybe through the FBI, maybe through a tip that went to the CIA, maybe through the NYPD. Get a number that where there's a reasonable, articulable suspicion that this might involve foreign terrorist activity related to al-Qaeda and some other international terrorist actors.

Then, what the NSA can do is it can query that database to see did this number pop up? Did they make any other calls? And if they did, those calls will be spit out. A report will be produced. It will be turned over to the FBI. At no point is any content revealed because there's no content," Obama explained.


PLEASE NOTE HOW WE AS A NATION HAVE GONE FROM,PROBABLE CAUSE TO REASONABLE CAUSE TO ARTICULABLE SUSPION

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Response to questionseverything (Reply #96)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 01:06 PM

97. ...


It gets run through the system, split into two parts, and stored until data-mining finds an "articulable suspicion", and another agency is alerted and seeks a FISA warrant. The content isn't looked at until a warrant is issued, we are told, but the content (acquired by the universal collection 2015 program) -- which must be minimized under 702 if not obtained with a proper FISA warrant -- is retained in a compartmentalized state. The content is isolated electronically (encrypted) from the metadata - that's how Bill Binney explained the process. The President also admits that's how the process works, here:

STEP 1: "2015" sweeps up the content and metadata into a database:

"You have my telephone number connecting with your telephone number. There are no names. There is no content in that database. All it is, is the number pairs, when those calls took place, how long they took place. So that database is sitting there," he said.

STEP 2: The NSA encrypts the content, stores the content, and profiling software start crawling through the metadata looking for links to foreign bad guys. NSA managers can deencrypt and put it back together again if the profiilng and datamining software shows there's an "articulable suspicion." FBI obtains a FISA warrant.

"Now, if the NSA through some other sources, maybe through the FBI, maybe through a tip that went to the CIA, maybe through the NYPD. Get a number that where there's a reasonable, articulable suspicion that this might involve foreign terrorist activity related to al-Qaeda and some other international terrorist actors.

Then, what the NSA can do is it can query that database to see did this number pop up? Did they make any other calls? And if they did, those calls will be spit out

STEP 3: NSA sends the reassembled data over to CIA or FBI:

A report will be produced. It will be turned over to the FBI. At no point is any content revealed because there's no content," Obama explained.

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Response to questionseverything (Reply #97)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 03:27 PM

105. I don't get your objection.

If the NSA gets a tip from the FBI that someone overseas is planning a crime, you think the NSA should simply say, "Go pound sand, FBI dude."?

Why the hell do we have law enforcement if they're not allowed to investigate anything?



I'm always right. When I'm wrong I admit it.
So then I'm right about being wrong.


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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 03:21 PM

6. where they in touch with Snowden for some answers we don't have yet? n/t

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 03:24 PM

7. If anyone is looking for a specific statute (and some appologists have demanded that others

 

provide them with a reference to a code section that has been violated), they won't find it in the linked articles.

Some legal scholars may ultimately identify specific statutes instead of pointing more generally to our Constitution, and democratic principles that our country has valued for more than 200 years, but they haven't done so yet.

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #7)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 03:56 PM

11. You've claimed to be an attorney. Could you cite the statutes broken? When you were an attorney,

handling matters for clients, did you insist that the government be specific as to the statutes broken?

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #11)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 04:27 PM

19. USC Title 18 Part I Chapter 119 § 2511

"...(1) Except as otherwise specifically provided in this chapter any person who—
(a) intentionally intercepts, endeavors to intercept, or procures any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept, any wire, oral, or electronic communication...shall be punished as provided in subsection (4) or shall be subject to suit as provided in subsection (5)."

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2511

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #19)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 04:40 PM

23. Oh lordy....read your first sentence. Then read sub-section (2)--



(e) Notwithstanding any other provision of this title or section 705 or 706 of the Communications Act of 1934, it shall not be unlawful for an officer, employee, or agent of the United States in the normal course of his official duty to conduct electronic surveillance, as defined in section 101 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, as authorized by that Act.

(f) Nothing contained in this chapter or chapter 121 or 206 of this title, or section 705 of the Communications Act of 1934, shall be deemed to affect the acquisition by the United States Government of foreign intelligence information from international or foreign communications, or foreign intelligence activities conducted in accordance with otherwise applicable Federal law involving a foreign electronic communications system, utilizing a means other than electronic surveillance as defined in section 101 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, and procedures in this chapter or chapter 121 and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 shall be the exclusive means by which electronic surveillance, as defined in section 101 of such Act, and the interception of domestic wire, oral, and electronic communications may be conducted.

And...

(h) It shall not be unlawful under this chapter—
(i) to use a pen register or a trap and trace device (as those terms are defined for the purposes of chapter 206 (relating to pen registers and trap and trace devices) of this title); or

(ii) for a provider of electronic communication service to record the fact that a wire or electronic communication was initiated or completed in order to protect such provider, another provider furnishing service toward the completion of the wire or electronic communication, or a user of that service, from fraudulent, unlawful or abusive use of such service.


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Response to msanthrope (Reply #23)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 04:59 PM

30. Lordy, yourself. (e) and (f) refer to foreign intelligence, not domestic.

(h)(i) refer to pen registers. The relevant code:

"18 USC § 3121 - General prohibition on pen register and trap and trace device use; exception

(a) In General.— Except as provided in this section, no person may install or use a pen register or a trap and trace device without first obtaining a court order under section 3123 of this title or under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1801 et seq.). "

Snowden alleges said warrants were not obtained.

(ii) is immaterial.

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #30)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 05:04 PM

31. But he provided the warrant. The one to Verizon. If he's got other info, he should release it.

Further, of course we are talking about foreign intelligence. But that does not mean all information originates outside of US borders.

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #31)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 05:12 PM

35. Eric Holder determined he could keep anything they picked up as a boo-boo.

"Documents obtained by the Guardian have revealed for the first time the top secret procedures detailing how the US National Security Agency can gather and use surveillance data. The guidelines, which were approved by the secret FISA court and Attorney General Eric Holder on the 29th of July, 2009, show that while the NSA is required to "minimize" the collection of data suspected to belong to US citizens, "inadvertently acquired" domestic communications can still be kept under certain circumstances without a warrant."

http://www.theverge.com/2013/6/20/4449738/leaked-documents-reveal-the-nsas-top-secret-rules-for-warrantless-surveillance

This is all stuff Snowden has already released, and is blatantly illegal.

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #35)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 05:27 PM

38. Absolutely they can. I'll give you a hypo.

Let's say Agent Mike subpoenas the bank records of citizen A.

Bank sends records of citizen B. This is a mistake.

FBI agent open records, takes a perusal, and notices several transactions at $9,900. He also notices it's the wrong citizen.

Can the FBI keep that information? Pursue it? Of course they can. Is this a violation of the 4th amendment? No.




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Response to msanthrope (Reply #38)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 05:31 PM

39. Not analogous

Here's an appropriate analogy:

Several citizens who are customers of Bank (B, C, D, and J) are suspected of wrongdoing.

Sensing a pattern, and being somewhat prone to feelings of paranoia, Agent Mike ignores the normal channels.

"Fuck it," he says. "Give me all of your records, and I'll only look at the ones I need."

Illegal.

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #39)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 05:39 PM

41. Nonsense. Agent Mike needs a warrant (like the one produced by Mr. Snowden.) The problem is that

with Snowden providing the warrant, you can't claim this is a 'warrantless search.'

Now, a better question would be --- what are the limits of said warrant?

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #41)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 05:46 PM

42. The FISA court is not entitled to authorize interception of ANY domestic calls.

The Verizon warrant illegally authorizes collection of calls:

(ii) wholly within the United States, including collection of local calls.

This authorization is not only completely outside the scope of the FISA court but of the Act itself (it's called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act for a reason).

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #42)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 06:04 PM

45. You are conflating two different things--domestic calls to foreign entities and calls that

are wholly domestic.

You are also conflating recording the content of those calls with the record that the calls were made. Metadata would be the latter.

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #45)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 06:12 PM

46. No, I'm not.

"Scope and limits

For most purposes, including electronic surveillance and physical searches, "foreign powers" means a foreign government, any faction(s) or foreign governments not substantially composed of U.S. persons, and any entity directed or controlled by a foreign government. §§1801(a)(1)-(3) The definition also includes groups engaged in international terrorism and foreign political organizations. §§1801(a)(4) and (5). The sections of FISA authorizing electronic surveillance and physical searches without a court order specifically exclude their application to groups engaged in international terrorism. See §1802(a)(1) (referring specifically to §1801(a)(1), (2), and (3)).

The statute includes limits on how it may be applied to U.S. persons. A "U.S. person" includes citizens, lawfully admitted permanent resident aliens, and corporations incorporated in the United States.

The code defines "foreign intelligence information" to mean information necessary to protect the United States against actual or potential grave attack, sabotage or international terrorism.

In sum, a significant purpose of the electronic surveillance must be to obtain intelligence in the United States on foreign powers (such as enemy agents or spies) or individuals connected to international terrorist groups. To use FISA, the government must show probable cause that the “target of the surveillance is a foreign power or agent of a foreign power.”"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Intelligence_Surveillance_Act

Indiscriminately intercepting the calls of every U.S. citizen fails miserably under this criterion, and as I noted in another post this whole "metadata" issue is a distraction (whether the content is read or interpreted is not material to interception).

onedit: I was wrong that FISA does not permit interception of wholly domestic calls - IF the “target of the surveillance is a foreign power or agent of a foreign power.” The upshot is the same, and the reason why the administration is grasping at straws with their oopsy-daisy defense.

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #46)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 06:34 PM

47. Wikipedia? Ok. And thank you for admitting that you were wrong about FISA interception. nt

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #47)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 07:02 PM

50. I'm admitting no such thing

and you'd make a lousy lawyer.

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #50)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 11:17 PM

66. I am a lawyer...which is why I am laughing at your cite of Wikipedia. nt

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #66)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 11:44 PM

67. There's a number at the end of the quote in Wikipedia

called the footnote indicator, and it refers to a "footnote" at the foot (bottom) of the page.

The footnote lists the source of the quote. In this case it also links to a PDF of the named report, "Confrontation or Collaboration: Congress and the Intelligence Community".

http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/files/IC-book-finalasof12JUNE.pdf

Granted this is an interpretation of the corresponding legal statutes but it comes from Harvard Law School, which has a pretty good rep.

What law school did you go to? Usually they teach you that stuff.

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #67)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 12:02 AM

68. It is not from Harvard Law. It is from the Kennedy School of Government and the Belfer Center and

since it bears a 2009 copyright, it does a poor job reviewing the practical effects of the FISA Reauthorization Act of 2008, does not take into account any court cases stemming from that legislation, and of course, does not address the FISA extensions of December 2012 and the concomitant Congressional debates.

My law school taught me not to confuse Harvard Law with the Kennedy School. Nor do I need Wikipedia to interpret statute I can read myself.

Oh--and FYI--the poster you stepped in for once made the same mistake of questioning me about my law degree--and when I was done with him in that thread, he self-deleted his nonsense. Check it out....


http://www.democraticunderground.com/1014322938

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #68)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 12:10 AM

69. Good. Since I've got you in a less dismissive mood now

what is it specifically that you believe authorizes the government to intercept and store the communications of every American in violation of the Wiretap Act and FISA, seeing as it does indeed target those who are not agents of a foreign power?

Congressional debates are interesting, but as you know they don't constitute law. And there have been no court cases since then which are germane to the blanket interception of millions of emails.

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #69)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 12:15 AM

70. Prove that the government intercepts and stores the communications of every American. nt

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #70)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 12:36 AM

71. None of this is new.

"AT&T’s internet traffic in San Francisco runs through fiber-optic cables at an AT&T facility located at 611 Folsom Street in San Francisco. Using a device called a “splitter” a complete copy of the internet traffic that AT&T receives – email, web browsing requests, and other electronic communications sent to or from the customers of AT&T’s WorldNet Internet service from people who use another internet service provider – is diverted onto a separate fiber-optic cable which is connected to a room, known as the SG-3 room, which is controlled by the NSA. The other copy of the traffic continues onto the internet to its destination.

The SG-3 room was created under the supervision of the NSA, and contains powerful computer equipment connecting to separate networks. This equipment is
designed to analyze communications at high speed, and can be programmed to review and select out the contents and traffic patterns of communications according to user-defined rules. Only personnel with NSA clearances – people assisting or acting on behalf of the NSA – have access to this room.

AT&T’s deployment of NSA-controlled surveillance capability apparently involves considerably more locations than would be required to catch only international traffic. The evidence of the San Francisco room is consistent with an overall national AT&T deployment to from 15 to 20 similar sites, possibly more. This implies that a substantial fraction, probably well over half, of AT&T’s purely domestic traffic was diverted to the NSA. At the same time, the equipment in the room is well suited to the capture and analysis of large volumes of data for purposes of surveillance."

https://www.eff.org/files/filenode/att/presskit/ATT_onepager.pdf‎

This is based on the sworn declarations of two men who worked there.

https://www.eff.org/ja/document/marcus-declaration
https://www.eff.org/ja/document/klein-declaration

AT&T was one provider; besides Verizon there evidence the NSA approached every major US communications provider with a similar request. It's not proof, it's strong evidence.

Let's make this easier - what is it about the NYTimes article referenced in OP that you find lacking? I'm assuming you disagree with their conclusions:

"Even in the fearful time when the Patriot Act was enacted, in October 2001, lawmakers never contemplated that Section 215 would be used for phone metadata, or for mass surveillance of any sort. Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., a Wisconsin Republican and one of the architects of the Patriot Act, and a man not known as a civil libertarian, has said that “Congress intended to allow the intelligence communities to access targeted information for specific investigations.” The N.S.A.’s demand for information about every American’s phone calls isn’t “targeted” at all — it’s a dragnet. “How can every call that every American makes or receives be relevant to a specific investigation?” Mr. Sensenbrenner has asked. The answer is simple: It’s not. "

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #71)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 01:09 AM

73. None of this is proof. You've made a fantastical claim--that the communications of all Americans

are stored somewhere. Where is this happening, right now? A broken link to a pdf from a presskit isn't proof. As for your 'declarations'--well, they didn't convince a judge, did they, when they were originally filed in 2006?

Sensenbrenner and the Patriot Act? You do realize that as part of House Judiciary, pursuant to section 502, Sensenbrenner got reports from the Attorney General on Section 215 FISA surveillance every six months, right? So the bullshit he's spewing simply isn't believable to anyone who can read.

Again--do you have proof of your claim?



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Response to msanthrope (Reply #73)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 01:42 AM

74. Wow - you haven't been paying attention.

I'm serious - this is absolutely nothing new. James Clapper publicly admitted last Sunday the monitoring of communications of millions of Americans:

"Back at an open congressional hearing on March 12, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) asked Clapper, “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” Clapper replied, “No sir … not wittingly.” As we all now know, he was lying.

We also now know that Clapper knew he was lying. In an interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell that aired this past Sunday, Clapper was asked why he answered Wyden the way he did. He replied:

“I thought, though in retrospect, I was asked ‘when are you going to … stop beating your wife’ kind of question, which is … not answerable necessarily by a simple yes or no. So I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful, manner by saying, ‘No.’ ”

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/2013/06/fire_dni_james_clapper_he_lied_to_congress_about_nsa_surveillance.html

I don't know whether it's stored somewhere; Snowden claims it is. But it doesn't even matter - it's been intercepted, and the interception is illegal.

As far as Sensenbrenner's statement, it seems extremely gullible to me to believe that an organization like NSA, if they were indeed illegally wiretapping mllions of Americans, that they are going to reveal that to a U.S. Senator.

These people are vigilante scumbags.

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #74)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 11:33 AM

87. Apparently I have been paying better attention. You have made the fantastical claim that all

communication of all Americans is being collected and stored somewhere. You claim that millions of Americans are being 'illegally wiretapped.' s

You've provided not a shred of evidence to support these notions. Depositions from 2006, a pdf, and Snowden's bullshit do not prove this.

As for James Clapper, again--what does that prove? You say he lied to Congress. Okay....how does that prove your claim that the communication of all Americans is being collected and stored somewhere? That millions of Americans are being 'illegally wiretapped'--is an entirely fantastical claim with no basis in evidence. Metadata collection by companies is not illegal. The FISA warrants--not illegal.

FYI--are you serious? James Sensenbrenner isn't a Senator. And I didn't need to go law school to figure that out. Do you really, really, think that the Republican Rep who introduced the Patriot Act on the House floor and who gets briefed on Section 215 of the Patriot Act (FISA data collection) by law every six months per section 502 is credible when he makes public claims about what he did, and didn't know? He's on House Judiciary--and they get briefed, by law.

You think the claims of a House Manager for the impeachment of President Clinton is a credible source on anything? You have got to be kidding. That man led the charge in the House to impeach the last Democratic President in order to bring Congressional business to a halt and help the 2000 election. You want to talk gullible? I think falling for the same dog and pony show the Repukes pulled 15 years ago certainly is.

You've got nothing. And quoting a Republican who led the charge to impeach the last Democratic President as your 'proof' does not bolster your claims.

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #87)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 11:37 AM

88. But Snowden said he "saw things"! He said stuff! How much clearer do you need it to be?




I'm always right. When I'm wrong I admit it.
So then I'm right about being wrong.


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Response to randome (Reply #88)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 11:52 AM

90. How odd that you discount eyewitness testimony.

That's otherwise known as "denial".

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Response to randome (Reply #88)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 03:27 PM

106. James fiucking Sensenbrenner. Next up...Tom Delay on DOJ overreach....nt

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #87)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 11:46 AM

89. And I've provided evidence. In 12 posts here, all you've provided is attitude.

I'm going to backtrack, because you're studiously avoiding responding to my question about the NYTimes op-ed: What is it about the NYTimes article referenced in OP that you find lacking? I'm assuming you disagree with their conclusions.

The authors are Jennifer Stisa Granick, Director of Civil Liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, and Christopher Jon Sprigman, Professor at the University of Virginia School of Law. It's fine if you disagree with them; you'd better have some good reasons or most people would find these two sources more reputable than someone who calls herself a lawyer on the Internet.

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #89)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 12:49 PM

93. excerpt from the ohio free press follows

The most massive spying program the world has ever seen came into existence as a temporary legal fiction conjured by David Addington, a man Colin Powell reportedly described like this: “He doesn’t care about the Constitution.”

The never-read memos the NSA's report refers to are both privileged and classified. They may also have been destroyed when a fire broke out in the office of the Vice President in late 2007. What is known is that when constitutional scholar Obama speaks of the legality and congressional oversight of these programs, he does not do so from a position of knowledge.

The last 11 and a half years have seen a parallel expansion of surveillance programs and a papering over of their never tested legal justifications. We now know that those justifications are themselves secret and quite possibly destroyed. They can however be reduced to the simple phrase “Because Dick Cheney said so."

Somewhere, perhaps in the charred remants of an office fire now long discarded, is the justification for the Chief Executive of the United States to violate his oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. The Constitution is not only has been murdered, the charred remains of the instrument of it's demise are burried in an secret unmarked grave.

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #89)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 03:22 PM

104. So you've moved on from a House impeachment manager to an NYT op-ed?

Awesome.

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #104)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 05:15 PM

107. If it's too daunting, no problem. nt

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #104)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 09:23 PM

109. I guess you were wrong.

All voice content is being collected and stored, as well as metadata.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/prism-collection-documents/

Comments?

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #109)

Sun Jun 30, 2013, 05:36 AM

110. Slides? From a guy charged with espionage? That's your proof? nt

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #110)

Sun Jun 30, 2013, 12:04 PM

111. Those are screenshots of the Prism user interface.

Please tell me you're not going to believe he manufactured those, and the government going through global paroxysms to nab a computer nerd with bad graphics skills. Pretty please?

You're smarter than that.

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #19)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 04:43 PM

24. But does the law consider the metadata of what phone number called

x phone number at x time at x date or does that only deal with the audio aspect only of a conversation that takes place not being allowed to be intercepted? Also I assume if you have a warrant be it from a regular court or FISA court it makes it legal to intercept a call usually doesnt it?

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Response to cstanleytech (Reply #24)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 04:50 PM

26. Yes, it does. All data. nt

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #26)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 04:54 PM

28. And ????????

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Response to cstanleytech (Reply #28)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 05:05 PM

32. And...it's prohibited.

Again...

"(a) intentionally intercepts, endeavors to intercept, or procures any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept, any wire, oral, or electronic communication; ..."

Note that the law does not specify the communication must be read or interpreted - only that it be intercepted. Snowden maintains all the communications were saved, and I believe that's likely.

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #32)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 05:06 PM

33. Even with a warrant its prohibited?

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Response to cstanleytech (Reply #33)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 05:12 PM

36. See #35. nt

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Response to wtmusic (Reply #36)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 09:39 PM

57. Ugh, I think that the court is just going to have to resolve this as it looks like a mess.

Of course that assumes the courts even want to get involved in this and if they do who knows what SCOTUS will rule

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Response to cstanleytech (Reply #57)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 10:06 PM

62. Read the NYT article, the case against the NSA couldn't get much clearer.

Failure to investigage (and prosecute) this case is tacit acknowledgement and approval, and it will only get deeper than this.

The government claims that under Section 215 it may seize all of our phone call information now because it might conceivably be relevant to an investigation at some later date, even if there is no particular reason to believe that any but a tiny fraction of the data collected might possibly be suspicious.

Using that justification that could seize any of your personal property or conduct a search of your premises. What does it take to get people to wake up?

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Response to AnotherMcIntosh (Reply #7)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 05:14 PM

37. The NY Times article does point to FISA and to the Patriot Act.

It looks clear to me (though IANAL) that FISA was violated. It says that electronic surveillance is allowed only as authorized by FISA and it specifies criminal penalties for electronic surveillance not authorized by FISA.

I don't have time right now to look at the Patriot Act, maybe you'd like to do that. These laws aren't all that hard to read. Granted there may be issues and nuance a non-lawyer won't get but there's no need to not even look up the basics - the laws are readily available.



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Response to eomer (Reply #37)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 07:32 PM

51. Thanks. 18 U.S.C. § 2511

 

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 03:51 PM

8. But remember 911 changed everything.

So now if the government does it, it is not a crime.
They channeled Nixon and he said it was OK.

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Response to zeemike (Reply #8)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 05:48 PM

44. If only America

had not ALLOWED 9/11 to change anything.

I was a lone wolf then.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 03:54 PM

10. Well, are any of these legal experts on the Supreme Court or is this group some of the same

legal experts who will tell lies at any time and any place? It is fairly easy to understand the Fourth Amendment and this is will carry this collection of information through this process. Keep on trying, maybe you can come up with a better reason next time.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 04:14 PM

13. bbbbut the Sino-Russo-Bolivarian-Greenwaldian Axis!!!!

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 04:23 PM

16. kick ....n/t

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 04:25 PM

18. knr

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 04:27 PM

20. The sad thing is that about 1/2 our population loves criminal acts

They'll support criminal banks, torture, killing civilians, jailing reporters and pretty much anything they're told to support by their propaganda masters. Part of the reason is plain stupidity but the other most insidious reason is that they too are corrupt.

Americans sell war and don't really care about any reasons for war. We sell propaganda as fact. We believe almost any lie our government tells us. We repeat the lies as gossip to fill up the uncomfortable time we have to spend with other people whom we can't stand to even be in the presence of. Worse of all, we sell any f-ing thing we can to make enough money to keep up with every corrupt segment of our culture such as real estate, gas prices, food inflation and for-profit medical corruption.

We're corrupt to the core as a nation now, but thankfully a lot of people are choosing to not partake in it anymore. I see a lot of people like that right here on DU which is why I read posts such as yours.

REC!

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 04:36 PM

21. And I'm sure you can provide the case law that supports this opinion.

You know, like an actual judgement in a court of law?

Otherwise this op-ed has as much legal force as the wishful thinking of "sovereign citizens" claiming that speed limits and money don't exist.

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Response to baldguy (Reply #21)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 07:26 AM

78. are you claiming that an op-ed doesn't have legal force?

I'm claiming that is a truly pathetic argument.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #78)


Response to baldguy (Reply #80)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 07:57 AM

81. Well that was a cheap shot. I had no say in what my parents named me.

Obviously an op-ed has no legal standing. Nobody claimed it did, other than you while setting up a ridiculous strawman to attack. I'm sorry I had to explain the obvious to you, it must be infuriating to you to have things explained to you by somebody as stupid as I am.

You have a nice day now defending the authoritarian state and its mass surveillance program.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 04:36 PM

22. Problem is though that SCOTUS has not stepped in and said it was criminal.

And until that happens the program will probably continue until congress either decides not to provide funding for it or the senate and congress pass laws banning the collection of said metadata by the government.

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Response to cstanleytech (Reply #22)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 07:35 PM

52. Congress already prohibited this: 18 U.S.C. § 2511

 

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Response to cstanleytech (Reply #22)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 07:58 AM

83. SCOTUS doesn't "step in" to anything.

You should do a little research on how 4th amendment cases over national security issues generally can't even get into the lower courts, let alone the USSC.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Reply #83)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 12:49 PM

94. I am well aware that the courts usually take a hands off approach to such cases

which is why I mentioned the congress and the senate in my post.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 04:48 PM

25. another kick

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 04:50 PM

27. K&R

 

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 04:58 PM

29. The Patiot Act

 

I'm willing to say it is egregious, but how much of this has been permitted because of 9/11?

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 05:09 PM

34. This is a really good article

--has an excellent explanation of the PRISM program--check it out at the link.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/28/opinion/the-criminal-nsa.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=opinion&

The writers do not mince words:

The Fourth Amendment obliges the government to demonstrate probable cause before conducting invasive surveillance. There is simply no precedent under the Constitution for the government’s seizing such vast amounts of revealing data on innocent Americans’ communications.

The government has made a mockery of that protection by relying on select Supreme Court cases, decided before the era of the public Internet and cellphones, to argue that citizens have no expectation of privacy in either phone metadata or in e-mails or other private electronic messages that it stores with third parties.

This hairsplitting is inimical to privacy and contrary to what at least five justices ruled just last year in a case called United States v. Jones. One of the most conservative justices on the Court, Samuel A. Alito Jr., wrote that where even public information about individuals is monitored over the long term, at some point, government crosses a line and must comply with the protections of the Fourth Amendment. That principle is, if anything, even more true for Americans’ sensitive nonpublic information like phone metadata and social networking activity.

We may never know all the details of the mass surveillance programs, but we know this: The administration has justified them through abuse of language, intentional evasion of statutory protections, secret, unreviewable investigative procedures and constitutional arguments that make a mockery of the government’s professed concern with protecting Americans’ privacy. It’s time to call the N.S.A.’s mass surveillance programs what they are: criminal.


edit--to add link

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 06:50 PM

48. And what's worse, writes The Nation's Jonathan Schell

--is that what Americans until recently assumed unthinkable has now become commonplace:

The first thing to note about these data is that a mere generation ago, they did not exist. They are a new power in our midst, flowing from new technology, waiting to be picked up; and power, as always, creates temptation, especially for the already powerful. Our cellphones track our whereabouts. Our communications pass through centralized servers and are saved and kept for a potential eternity in storage banks, from which they can be recovered and examined. Our purchases and contacts and illnesses and entertainments are tracked and agglomerated. If we are arrested, even our DNA can be taken and stored by the state. Today, alongside each one of us, there exists a second, electronic self, created in part by us, in part by others. This other self has become de facto public property, owned chiefly by immense data-crunching corporations, which use it for commercial purposes. Now government is reaching its hand into those corporations for its own purposes, creating a brand-new domain of the state-corporate complex.

Surveillance of people on this scale turns basic liberties—above all the Fourth Amendment, which protects citizens against unreasonable search and seizure—into a dead letter. Government officials, it is true, assure us that they will never pull the edges of the net tight. They tell us that although they could know everything about us, they won’t decide to. They’ll let the information sit unexamined in the electronic vaults. But history, whether of our country or others, teaches that only a fool would place faith in such assurances. What one president refrains from doing the next will do; what is left undone in peacetime is done when a crisis comes. (Commondreams)

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Response to marions ghost (Reply #48)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 09:00 PM

54. Great post.

Thank you.

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Response to woo me with science (Reply #54)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 09:08 PM

55. Back atcha

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 06:53 PM

49. +1000000000000000000000

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 07:36 PM

53. +10000000000. K&R

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 09:08 PM

56. This is an eye opening post

and something that can't be hidden away.

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Response to Harmony Blue (Reply #56)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 10:19 PM

64. I agree. With 75 recs and so many posts, it's still not ANYwhere on the home page,

not even down under "General Discussion", which is where I posted it.

whatever.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 09:50 PM

59. k & r! nt

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Fri Jun 28, 2013, 09:57 PM

61. + Infinity - The American Democracy And Constitution Has Clearly Died

eom

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 12:38 AM

72. K+R

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 01:45 AM

75. Things would be better if they were illegal, unfortunately, this is the law that got passed

and, before I'm accused of Obamabotery, the law that Obama voted for. We need to fix that law.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 02:32 AM

76. By the logic of some in this thread, legally, the Nazis were justified in doing what they did.

I know Godwin and shit, but - no german court under Hitler ever ruled any part of the enabling act or actions taken under it as illegal. Therefore....

I just don't get this line of argumentation.... Frank Church is rolling in his grave...

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Response to Democracyinkind (Reply #76)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 04:57 AM

77. As much as I hate bringing up the Nazis

because it's so commonly used anymore to try to prove all kinds of erroneous points,
and/or it CAN be a mistaken for a cheap shot or an obvious over-exaggeration) but in
this case afraid that in this case it is neither, unfortunately. Thanks for your post.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 07:28 AM

79. "two legal scholars"

I suspect I could find a hundred who would say it was legal.

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Response to DCBob (Reply #79)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 07:58 AM

82. I think more could be found who say it was illegal, however, is populist media support

of the program actually the determinant of constitutionality?

I'll stipulate that ratification of the constitution by elected bodies is related to the democratic process that produced the ratifying bodies.
And it is true that constitutions may be amended and those amendments are ratified by said elected representatives...

I'd even stipulate that the media probably influences the opinions of those who vote to ratify it...

But, it seems to me that strength of an argument about correctness re how a law squares with a particular version of the constitution isn't actually a matter to be determined by some magic number of pundits or the balance of opinion of those who weigh in on the topic.

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Response to HereSince1628 (Reply #82)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 08:10 AM

84. perhaps but..

its just that the headline says "legal experts"..implying a consensus... which it is not.

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Response to DCBob (Reply #84)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 12:07 PM

91. Of course there's a great way to counter it

and that is to explain why they're wrong. Not a lot of that going on here.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 12:38 PM

92. HUGE K & R !!! - Thank You !!!


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Response to WillyT (Reply #92)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 02:33 PM

100. thanx for the kick. ~nt

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 01:25 PM

98. k&r. thanks for posting this. nt

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Response to limpyhobbler (Reply #98)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 02:33 PM

99. u r most welcome . ~nt

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Original post)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 02:57 PM

102. Millions of people have

been incarcerated and murdered through the perfectly legal suspension of their human rights. In most cases this happens when "is it right?" gets trumped by "is it legal?"

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Response to sulphurdunn (Reply #102)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 03:16 PM

103. Very good point. Snowden is going with what he "believes is right"

And, especially in light of the US constitution and Snowden's oath of office.

Each employee takes a solemn oath to support and defend the Constitution.

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Response to 99th_Monkey (Reply #103)

Sat Jun 29, 2013, 09:04 PM

108. Yes,

and the 4th Amendment is unambiguous about the specificity of warrants. Secret courts that issue blanket warrants to secretly search and seize anything are clearly unconstitutional, claims of national security notwithstanding.

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