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View Diary: What Spitzer means to the FISA Fight [Update w. Poll] (47 comments)

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  •  This is why Dems must fight (5+ / 0-)

    OK, if Spitzer were a Republican, the contention would be twofold:

    a) the investigation was politically motivated, if not illegal, and

    b) the Feds shouldn't be using something as outdated at the Mann Act to conduct a political hit job

    Dems don't have to embrace (b), to still focus on (a).  And we've needed a "smoking gun" to get people's attention on why the Bush warrantless wiretapping program is potentially so dangerous for the nation.  We've got everyone's attention - we should be focussing it not on a question of Spitzer's guilt, or resignation - but on the broader question of what the hell is happening to our country under a Justice Department that's everything the Republican's accused Reno of being, except on steroids.

    •  Right. On. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      creeper, o the umanity

      This is the attention-getting smoking gun we need to combat the Bush spying apparatus.  

      There is a huge amount of evidence that Bush has been spying on Democrats then selectively prosecuting them based on that evidence.  Siegelman is the first example but I know there are others.

      The Dems control the NY Assembly and they are almost in control of the NY Senate.  They can control this process, and also open up a new Watergate for Bush.

      Fight, Eliot, Fight!!

      PATRIOT I+II, MCA, FISA CAPITULATION, NOW TORTURE. YOUR COUNTRY IS SLOWLY BEING DISMANTLED. WHAT R U GONNA DO ABOUT IT?

      by maxschell on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 10:49:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why? (0+ / 0-)

        Why aren't Dems fighting this, especially Dems in NEW YORK?

        If they can control the process, then why aren't they?

        This is bullshit. So is this:

        The agent said evidence collected during the probe included statements from a confidential source and an undercover officer, a review of more than 5,000 telephone calls and text messages and more than 6,000 e-mails along with bank records, travel and hotel records and surveillance.

        Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Stein said a search of Brener's apartment produced $600,000 in cash and an Israeli passport. He asked that Brener be held without bail.

        Held without bail? What is he, a flight risk? He must be--Heidi Fleiss walked out on bail when she got busted, and in her case, illegal drugs were involved!

        On second thought , let's not go to Camelot. 'Tis a silly place

        by o the umanity on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 11:05:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  great points.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DarkestHour

      I think Spitzer should lead the chant about how ridiculous this all is......  He should stay in office and do his job otherwise.  I do think he is an idiot for but SOOOO many people that are highly sucessful have self destructive tendancies.  Type A personalities fill rehabs.... I remember when I was first working as an RN at a major teaching hospital I was really surprised about how many cardiology fellows were pretty much openly cheating on their spouses until someone explained the dynamics of many of their personalities.  Hospital after hospital and year after year I have watched that similar dynamic play out.  He slept with a prostitute.  BIG FREAKING DEAL.

    •  Wiretap of Spitzer was authorized by warrant (0+ / 0-)

      The warrantless wiretap issue is vitally important, but it doesn't appear to be at issue here since a warrant was obatined for this wiretap.

      •  The wiretapping that's PUBLIC was via warrant (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        o the umanity

        But this investigation got kicked off somehow.

        Do you really believe it was because a multi-millionaire was making some cash withdrawals of about 5K?

        Personally, I'm quite suspicious that they're monitoring all bank activity down to this level (and worried if they are) - or whether a fishing expedition illegal wiretap turned up that Spitzer was doing something wrong, and an "investigation" was cobbled together to find something (funny bank transactions!) to justify getting a warrant to obtain legal evidence.

        •  Yes. Bankers are trained to notice w/ds (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          science first

          just like the ones Spitzer was making.  His textbook money laundering behavior.

          "[G]lobalization is...increasing the efficiency of resource allocation through stronger capital markets" - Barack Obama

          by burrow owl on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 11:47:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) (0+ / 0-)

          are required by law to be filed for transactions meeting certain specifications.

          Further, it is illegal to structure transactions ("structuring") to avoid reporting requirements of SARs.

          And finally it is not required to show that structuring is related to another illegal activity; structuring is illegal all on its own.

          A bank challenged the requirements to report SARs, arguing in part that such surveillance violated bank customers fourth amendment protections against unreassinable searches.

          The bank lost the case at the Supreme Court in 1974.

          •  I'm confused about this ... (0+ / 0-)

            What makes it "structuring" if there's no criminal activity being concealed?

            Suppose it's my habit to withdraw $4995 every few weeks for some non-criminal reason.  Let's say I like to gamble and that's my personal loss limit each time I go.  Would I have to demonstrate somehow that I'm not "structuring?"  Why is that anybody's business?

            Thank you Senator Dodd!

            by jrooth on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 12:27:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Money Laundering Control Act of 1986 (0+ / 0-)

              Criminalized structuring and money laundering on stand-alone basis.

              In Ratzlaf v US, decided at Supreme Coourt in 1994, Ruth Ginsburg, writing for the majority, ruled that to establish that a defendant "willfully violat[ed]" the antistructuring law, the Government must prove that the defendant acted with knowledge that his conduct was unlawful.

              You may also be interested to know that the Clinton Justice Department argued:

              "On occasion, criminal statutes--including some requiring proof of `willfulness'--have been understood to require proof of an intentional violation of a known legal duty, i.e., specific knowledge by the defendant that his conduct is unlawful. But where that construction has been adopted, it has been invoked only to ensure that the defendant actedwith a wrongful purpose. See Liparota v. United States, 471 U.S. 419, 426 (1985) . . . .

              . . . . .

              "The anti structuring statute, 31 U.S.C. § 5324 satisfies the `bad purpose' component of willfulness by explicitly defining the wrongful purpose necessary to violate the law: it requires proof that the defendant acted with the purpose to evade the reporting requirement of Section 5313(a)." Brief for United States 23-25.

              " `[S]tructuring is not the kind of activity that an ordinary person would engage in innocently,' " the United States asserts. Id., at 29 (quoting United States v. Hoyland, 914 F. 2d 1125, 1129 (CA9 1990)). It is therefore "reasonable," the Government concludes, "to hold a structurer responsible for evading the reporting requirements without the need to prove specific knowledge that such evasion is unlawful." Brief for United States 29.

              •  OK, so if I'm understanding this correctly (0+ / 0-)

                in my above hypothetical, the burden would be on the state to prove that my $4995 withdrawals were intended to avoid the reporting requirement.

                I guess I can see how the pattern could amount to probable cause for a search or wiretap, though.

                Thank you Senator Dodd!

                by jrooth on Tue Mar 11, 2008 at 01:05:58 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  But WHY did they start the taps? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jrooth

        Because some suspicious FINANCIAL transactions caught the attention of federal investigators.

        Why were they combing thru his FINANCIAL transactions?  He is a former prosecutor and smart enough to know the $ limits for cash transactions to avoid the legally mandated reporting from banks to feds.  With his money, what is suspicious about removing 5500 in cash (or transferring it to another account he owns and then removing it)?

        This thing stinks and smells like someone was specifically targetting Spitzer, on a fishing expedition looking for any kind of dirt.

        I think if you targetted high-level politicians (governors, US senators, US congressmen, etc) you could find SOMETHING on almost all of them that they would like to keep hidden - unsavory associates, campaign fund-raising quid-pro-quo, self-enriching schemes, unsavory/unpopular personal habits, etc.  

        A reasonably high percentage of ordinary citizens probably have some things they prefer to keep private and would not want exposed to family, friends, acquaintances, employers, and business associates.

        Gaining possession of this kind of information and the POWER it confers on the holder, was almost certainly the primary goal of the illegal, secret, warrantless wiretapping undertaken for the last 7 years (starting well before 9/11).  

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