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View Diary: HUGE: Illegal wiretaps may threaten terror cases!! (148 comments)

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  •  Another excerpt (4.00)
    In a Virginia case, Edward B. MacMahon Jr., a lawyer for Ali al-Timimi, a Muslim scholar in Alexandria who is serving a life sentence for inciting his young followers to wage war against the United States overseas, said the government's explanation of how it came to suspect Mr. Timimi of terrorism ties never added up in his view.

    F.B.I. agents were at Mr. Timimi's door days after the Sept. 11 attacks to question him about possible links to terrorism, Mr. MacMahon said, yet the government did not obtain a warrant through the foreign intelligence court to eavesdrop on his conversations until many months later.

    Mr. MacMahon said he was so skeptical about the timing of the investigation that he questioned the Justice Department about whether some sort of unknown wiretap operation had been conducted on the scholar or his young followers, who were tied to what prosecutors described as a "Virginia jihad" cell.

    "They told me there was no other surveillance," Mr. MacMahon said. "But the fact is that the case against a lot of these guys just came out of nowhere because they were really nobodies, and it makes you wonder whether they were being tapped."

    'You can't begin to imagine how effective the Big Lie is.' N. Mailer 'TNatD'

    by jorndorff on Tue Dec 27, 2005 at 07:00:00 PM PST

    •  I don't want to go off into LIHOP land... (none)
      but I will just throw this out there because it occurred to me after reading your post.  Does anyone know if the illegal wiretaps were underway before 9/11?  If so, if nobodies like this attorney's client were being tapped, what is the likelihood that the conversations of the 19 were being tapped?
      •  the timeline (none)
        would indicate no, BUT before the patriot act the CIA and FBI could not share some information without a warrant ( since the CIA could do things that the FBI could not ).  It's probably that the CIA's information was opened up to the FBI who used it for criminal prosecution.

        Personally I see this also as illegally obtained information since it's using the CIA to get around domestic spying as well since they can get warrants with just a simple certification that the information is persuiant to an ongoing investigation.  To then share this information with the FBI should be blocked without a warrant.

      •  Don't you remember? (none)
        Bush wasn't interested in terrorism until after we were terrorized.  

        In 2001 it was all about the tax cuts, baby.  

        •  well... (none)
          that's kind of the point...i.e. did he know and/or should he have known, and did nothing about it.  in other words, did the gov't have the info from wiretaps in addition to all the other info we know it had?
          •  My personal view? (none)
            Based on Clarke's book and an article from Time in 2002 (I have the paper copy but couldn't find the link quickly) which expands on the Clarke points - I think they just didn't think terrorism was any big deal in 2001.  

            Even more, I think it was precisely because the outgoing Clinton staffers told them that al-Queda was such a big deal, that they didn't take the the threat of terrorism seriously. As in, "Oh, what do those guys know, anyway?"

            For that reason, I would guess there weren't a whole lot of terror-related wiretaps going on prior to 9/11.

            •  That's the other poster's point, I think (none)
              He SAYS these wiretaps are terror-related, but we have to take him at his word.

              Do you think his purposes were only to root out terror suspects?

              I don't take anything in this so-called War On Terror at face value.  There are probably sooo many things not being done that would be very simple and fairly inexpensive, but aren't being done because they wouldn't benefit anyone Bush and Co. know, and Halliburton can't build anything to do it.

              It wouldn't surprise me one bit if the wiretapping being done wasn't a continuation of something already being done, but now with a brand new justification.  Though I don't know, I don't really remember anything about Bush's 2001 except lots of vacations.

              Guess it's good to know that 9/11 didn't change *everything*...   </snark>

              "There's no question that the minute I got elected, the storm clouds on the horizon were getting nearly directly overhead." - GWB, 5/11/01

              by Stymnus on Tue Dec 27, 2005 at 08:35:13 PM PST

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              •  Duffy's words make me shake my head (none)

                But Mr. Duffy said: "This is a limited program. This is not about monitoring phone calls designed to arrange Little League practice or what to bring to a potluck dinner. These are designed to monitor calls from very bad people to very bad people who have a history of blowing up commuter trains, weddings and churches."

                If they know that they only monitor people, who have a history of blowing up computer trains, weddings and churches, how about they would just arrest them? What is there to monitor AFTER the fact? I mean ...
        •  It still is (4.00)
          about the tax cuts, and the no bid contracts, and the legislation benefitting corporations, and the GOP power grab, and the cuts in entitlement programs (aka undoing of the New Deal.)  It's a feeding frenzy.  Nothing has changed really.  The war and terrorism are simply making the job easier for them.  

          "Let him that would move the world first move himself." --Socrates

          by joanneleon on Tue Dec 27, 2005 at 08:12:00 PM PST

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          •  Aristocratic Survivalism (none)
            They know that everything's gonna change soon enough that now's the time to be grabbing everything in sight Just In Case.

            We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

            by Gooserock on Tue Dec 27, 2005 at 10:01:51 PM PST

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    •  FBI (none)
      The FBI can LEGALLY wiretap and listen in on conversations.  They get information from all the intel agencies - CIA, DIA, NSA plus other police agencies (like Interpol).  Is there some real reason  the lawyers think it was NSA, or are they just hoping it was?
      •  Right (none)
        But can they without a warrant? If they didn't seek a warrant until months later (as the article suggests), how was it conducted? One possibility is the NSA program, although another agency operating outside of FISA could well have been the culprit.

        Alternatively, the government could have suspected him by association through phone records or financial records. Something outside of surveillance altogether. Either way, his defense deserves to know the details.

        'You can't begin to imagine how effective the Big Lie is.' N. Mailer 'TNatD'

        by jorndorff on Tue Dec 27, 2005 at 08:03:54 PM PST

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        •  True, but according to your (none)
          information, much of this happened before 9/11. If I remember, Bush was too busy on his vacations to be ordering wiretaps. Hey, wasn't it Able Danger that was snooping around back then?
          •  Maybe, maybe not (none)
            It well have been based on the expedited analysis of intel shortly after 9/11. Just because the FBI was at his door days afterwards doesn't mean necessarily that the FBI or any other agency were watching him beforehand. There are, as I noted, alternative means for suspecting someone of questionable ties.

            A program like Able Danger is another possibility, which would again get into a very sketchy area of warrantless surveillance.

            'You can't begin to imagine how effective the Big Lie is.' N. Mailer 'TNatD'

            by jorndorff on Wed Dec 28, 2005 at 04:43:20 AM PST

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