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The New York Times reports on the both the breadth and ineffectiveness of Bush's illegal spying program.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 16 - In the anxious months after the Sept. 11 attacks, the National Security Agency began sending a steady stream of telephone numbers, e-mail addresses and names to the F.B.I. in search of terrorists. The stream soon became a flood, requiring hundreds of agents to check out thousands of tips a month. But virtually all of them, current and former officials say, led to dead ends or innocent Americans.

Officials describe a flood of email addresses, telephone calls, and names which were sent to the FBI by the NSA.  Thousands of such pieces of information were sent a month. Multiply that by the dozens of months the program has been in existence, and the far-reaching scope of Bush's domestic spying becomes frighteningly clear.

While Bush has been telling Americans that the program was "limited" and targeted those with "known" links to Al Qaeda, that simply is not true.  The NSA accessed "large amounts of phone and Internet traffic seeking patterns pointing to terrorism suspects."  It would then take volumes of information and shovel it over to the FBI, who wasn't told why the person was targeted or how they were connected to terrorism, just that they were suspected of having those ties. It was the FBI then that was sent out blind to the field, following up on thousands of names of American citizens, interviewing them and examining their private lives.

Did such a wide net yield results?

President Bush has characterized the eavesdropping program, which focused on the international communications of some Americans and others in the United States, as a "vital tool" against terrorism; Vice President Dick Cheney has said it has saved "thousands of lives."

But the results of the program looked very different to some officials charged with tracking terrorism in the United States. More than a dozen current and former law enforcement and counterterrorism officials, including some in the small circle who knew of the secret eavesdropping program and how it played out at the F.B.I., said the torrent of tips led them to few potential terrorists inside the country they did not know of from other sources and diverted agents from counterterrorism work they viewed as more productive.

"We'd chase a number, find it's a school teacher with no indication they've ever been involved in international terrorism - case closed," said one former FBI official, who was aware of the program and the data it generated for the bureau. "After you get a thousand numbers and not one is turning up anything, you get some frustration."

The law enforcement and counterterrorism officials said the program had uncovered no active Qaeda networks inside the United States planning attacks. "There were no imminent plots - not inside the United States," the former F.B.I. official said.

The administration keeps pointing to the arrest of Iyman Faris, the Ohio truck driver who set out to bomb the Brooklyn Bridge, as a successful result of the program. But the administration's claim is dubious. If the government really had wiretapped Faris' phone and discovered he was a terrorist and planning to attack us, then why didn't the government present any of that phone evidence at trial? Could it be because they were afraid it would be inadmissible, or they would have to disclose how they received it?

Here is another disturbing revelation from the article:

Officials who were briefed on the N.S.A. program said the agency collected much of the data passed on to the F.B.I. as tips by tracing phone numbers in the United States called by suspects overseas, and then by following the domestic numbers to other numbers called.

Do those "other numbers called" include domestic phone calls? If so, that means that the calls were purely domestic.  Were those calls intercepted pursuant to Bush's order or pursuant to the law? This is a critical question that needs to be answered.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 07:51 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  EZ writer just diaried this (none)
    here; adding it to the discussion here.
  •  socratic did this image, let's see... (none)

         Well, it's not showing up. But it's a FISA card, a la Visa; maybe socratic can provide a URL that works better, my apologies...

  •  Chimpeachment (none)
    The Republicans better do a cover your ass set of hearings, or the chimp will be impeached in January 2007. Our hopes have been crushed before, but the sleazy train is about to crash and burn.

    "I like guys who got five deferments and never been there and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done."

    by trifecta on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 07:56:16 PM PST

    •  I believe (none)
      that Reid was informed of the "domestic" spying and that the Judiciary branch was informed as well. And it is the Judiciary branch's job to make sure the President's decisions and actions are Constitutional. Therefore, if what he really did was not constitutional; it was overlooked by a liberal supreme court. That makes me hesitate in the validity in the arguement that this is enough to get him impeached.

      Goggalor88
      A Young Conservative

      •  And do you believe in (none)
        Santa and the Tooth Fairy too?

        Does the devil wear a suit and tie, Or does he work at the Dairy Queen- Martin Sexton

        by strengthof10kmen on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 09:09:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  What? (none)
        Did th eSupreme Court hear a case about this already? Did I miss that? and BTW the court is an activist conservative one.

        So Reid was 'told' about this program. I guess that makes it legal then? If you tell someone?

        Did the White House tell th ewhole story? Every bit of it/ Or did they lie about portions of it as is their habit?

        Wiretapping without a warrent on American citizens is illegal dude. No matter what the reason.

        And dod you actually read the diary here?

        I am getting a headache, its late and I don't have all night. Its illegal.

      •  No (none)
        They were informed of wiretapping on suspected terrorists, not the unwarranted wiretapping of countless American citizens.

        The American taxpayers wouldn't object to free transportation for certain government officials if they'd go where we wish they would.

        by PatsBard on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 09:18:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Over simplification. (none)
        Certain congressional leaders were told, after the fact, that something was happening, but they were not allowed to discuss it or debte it.  Also, they were not given significant information and their concerns about its legality were ignored.

        I have never heard that any court was told about it.  Can you supply some backup information on this?

        Whether it is impeachable depends, 100%, on whether the Democrats regain the House of Representatives.

        The end is near for those who wait.

        by tc59 on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 09:27:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Standing (none)
          Who would have brought the case?  Some American who didn't know he was being spied on?  Some minority Senator or Congressperson who were apparently too afraid to talk about it becaus Bush classified the case and weren't told the whole truth in the first place?  Although the latter should have spoken out regardless of the consequences.

          This national security crap is revolting.  It is only meant to cover-up crimes against against the American people, Bush's unConstitutional usurpation of more power or Bush's imcompetense.    What member of al Qaeda wouldn't think his/her phones and emails weren't monitored?

          But I think it's wrong to think the resorces wasted o this program would have been used productively elsewhere to protect the US (checking out library reading records).  Just more community groups to spy on.  Homeland Security, the FBI, the CIA, the NSA and the the military should be scrapped.  It would save us a lot of money without endanering the national security one iota and without mass manufacturing jihadists.  National security could be rebuilt in an efficient manner at 1/10 of the the size and cost.

          "Be just and good." John Adams

          by aztec on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 01:53:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Doesn't it concern you (none)
        That since you've logged on here at dKos where us libruls give 'comfort to the enemy' now you are on THE LIST?
        At your young age.
        Such a Pity.
      •  Judiciary informed? (none)
        It's been reported that two judges, federal district court judges each of whom happened to be chief judge of the FISA court at the time, were informed of the program.  That's not informing the judiciary, and it's certainly not informing the "liberal" Supreme Court.

        And we don't know to what extent they were informed about the program.  Since the congressional briefings are said to have been sketchy, the briefing of these two judges likely was as well.

        We don't know what the reaction of the first of them, Royce Lamberth, was.  Since it hasn't been reported that he protested, he probably did not.

        However, the second judge, Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, did protest, and as a result the warrantless snooping was suspended for a while.  (We also know that two of the congresspeople informed, Senator Rockefeller and Congresswoman Pelosi, wrote letters expressing misgivings about the program.)

      •  Here's a mental excercise for you (none)
        Take all the stuff Bush does, but imagine President Hillary Clinton did it.

        Spying on Americans without warrants, without judicial review or the consent of Congress?

        Detaining any American he/she chooses, without being charged with a crime, or due process of law, or a lawyer or trial? Can you tell me you'd love it if Hillary did that?

        How about getting thousands of our soldiers killed, while spending (a projected) 1-2 Trillion dollars, so that Iraqis can vote in a Iran-style radical islamic republic, in the midst of civil war?

        How about cutting and running from Afganistan?

        How about appointing Mike Brown to make life and death decisions during emergencies? Remember when Americans died because of that? Yay for Bush!!

        Yay President Bush! Destroying the liberties you claim to protect! Shitting on the Constitution that you swore to defend! Yay!

        Bush Wants Absolute Power To Run A War He Lied To Start.

        by bejammin075 on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 05:28:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Don't give them ideas (none)
      Guys he is joking, how could we possible impeach such a fine Murikan.

      Impeach? Naahh!

      W you are doing a heck of a job!

      They hate us for our freedom as you so frequently proclaim.  Now that that is gone, why should THEY hate us?  Brilliant!

      Dailykos.com; an oasis of truth. -1.75 -7.23

      by Shockwave on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 11:04:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ineffective? (4.00)
    That's assuming the spying is intended to catch terrorists.  I'd maintain the program is very effective--at compiling dossiers on, and terrorizing, the rest of us.
    •  I second that thought. (4.00)
      Keeping track of problematic people would be easy if you hide it under a deluge of data.

      What we really need to find out about is what people were tracked persistently and who received the reports on them.

      •  Also (4.00)
        remember that the White House specifically ordered the NSA not to destroy domestic calls that ended up meaning nothing, as is standard.  That means that since 9/11, NSA is filling warehouses of hard-drives with phone records.

        "In the beginning the universe was created. This has been widely criticized and generally regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

        by LithiumCola on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 08:04:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oops (4.00)
          I didn't have that quite right . . . here's what I was thinking of, from The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

          First, in 2002, according to extensive reporting in The New York Times on Friday, it secretly authorized the National Security Agency to intercept and keep records of Americans' international phone and e-mail messages without benefit of a previously required court order. Second, it has permitted the Department of Defense to get away with not destroying after three months, as required, records of American Iraq war protesters in the Pentagon's Threat and Local Observation Notice, or TALON, database.

          "In the beginning the universe was created. This has been widely criticized and generally regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

          by LithiumCola on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 08:12:37 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  To be more precise, Data Warehouses (none)
          I estimate that they need to capture less than 200TB per day (200 Terabytes = 200,000 Gigabytes) to get everyone's phone calls, emails, credit card transactions and clickstream.  They can afford that with pocket change.

          Problem is, what do you do with it?

          How much do you keep offline, near online and online?

          What ad-hoc queries do you do?

          What criteria?

          People whose phones show up in 3 or more twice removed downstream phone lists from phones receiving incoming calls from Karachi between 1/2/05 and 1/31/05 and who blog and have more than $50K in available credit?

          Next thing you know they got the whole FBI involved in wild goose chases.

          Dailykos.com; an oasis of truth. -1.75 -7.23

          by Shockwave on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 11:18:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Think it may have something to do (4.00)
      with the no-fly lists of people? Any of those people (some of them Bush Administration critics) get data mined?

      "God alone knows how many times our bellies, by the refusal of one single fart, have brought us to the door of an agonising death." -- Montaigne

      by Spaz Cadet on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 08:06:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Remember the Denver Activists? (none)
      Was it really that "No Blood for Oil" bumpersticker that got those three people in Denver ejected from Bush's Social Security Destruction Tour - or had their phone conversations been illegally monitored?  Inquiring minds want to know...
  •  They get an "A" (none)
    in incompetence.

    I hope this gets connected to the pass that Alito will surely give to the administration with his view of a unitary executive.

    inspire change...don't back down

    by missliberties on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 07:58:05 PM PST

  •  Incredible reporting work by NYT (4.00)
    I just can't help but wonder why they've decided to take their
    Fourth Estate role seriously, after so much inept GOP talking points steno reporting.

    "What does the Lord require of you but to do justice and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?"-- Micah 6:8

    by Mad Mom on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 08:00:13 PM PST

    •  Same reporters, new editorial bent (none)
      I bet.  The obloquy of the world is finally starting to sting.

      Swagger is out.  Conscience is in.  PIty they needed the cover of popularity.

      Are we still routinely torturing helpless prisoners, and if so, does it feel right that we as American citizens are not outraged by the practice? -Al Gore

      by soyinkafan on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 08:14:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I had to look up the (4.00)
        definition of the word
        ob*lo*quy

        Pronunciation: (ob'lu-kwē), [key]
        --n.,
        --pl. -quies.

        1. censure, blame, or abusive language aimed at a person or thing, esp. by numerous persons or by the general public.
        2. discredit, disgrace, or bad repute resulting from public blame, abuse, or denunciation.

        Interesting link --thanks
        •  YrWelcome. I enjoyed looking it up, too. (none)
          And Rushdie has Bush pegged.  Maybe Al Gore finally shamed enough people today to get our national redemption started.  I hope so.

          Are we still routinely torturing helpless prisoners, and if so, does it feel right that we as American citizens are not outraged by the practice? -Al Gore

          by soyinkafan on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 10:29:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Lowell Bergman (none)
      It's interesting that Lowell Bergman, a frequent contributer to the NYT but not a full-time reporter there, is now on the story.
    •  New York Times (none)
      The New york Times. I wonder if it's true.
    •  Well, isn't it a big paper? (none)
      I don't think we can just paint the NYT with one broad brush. It's a large operation. Some are shills, some are reporters. It's up to us to decide what we are going to believe.

      Bush Wants Absolute Power To Run A War He Lied To Start.

      by bejammin075 on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 05:33:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have a Muslim neighbor. (none)
    I've spoken with her. If she has used non-English in an overseas phone call then I am probably on the list.
    •  We have a "Christian" president (none)
      He's committed to the destruction of America as we know it. I guess that makes anyone who voted for, donated money to, met, knows, or worked, went to school or did business with him a potential target of investigation.

      That should keep the NSA busy enough for the next couple of decades to keep them from doing unimportant things like, say, protecting us from actual terrorists.

      "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead

      by kovie on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 08:34:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually (none)
        I read somewhere that it has only been used around 34 times, and each time on known Al Queda linked international callers.

        Goggalor88
        A Young Conservative

        •  You have been listening to Rush again (4.00)
          Sorry, but I heard is not used here. Go to redstate.org to live out some reality that you wish was true.

          They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve to be known as Republicans

          by Jlukes on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 09:24:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  what kind? (none)
          Are you:

          1.  A funny troll?

          -or-

          2.  A serious troll?

          Very curious.

        •  And where might that be? (none)
          If you want to go up against the mighty NY Times then you're certainly welcome to. They're all too often wrong and many of us here have done this when it was called for. But we, um, tend to do so with FACTS, not vague "I read this somewhere" allegations that mean zero.

          And personally, I don't think it's possible for conservatives to have a real youth. I think they skip straight to the bumbling middle age that they so desperately aspire to.

          While on the other hand it's a well-known fact that liberals cannot grow old in spirit.

          I think I read it somewhere...

          "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead

          by kovie on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 09:56:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Bird Poop (none)
          Don't get too grossed out by the name of this treat, it tastes deee-licious!

          What you'll need:
          5 cups of your favourite crunchy cereal
          3 cups of rice crisp cereal
          2 cups of skinny pretzels (you may need break them in half if they are long)
          an entire bag of white chocolate chips
          2 1/2 cups of mini marshmallows

          With all the cereal in this recipe you could probably get away with eating pigeon poop for breakfast!

          What to do:
          Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl
          Melt the white chocolate in the microwave for about 1 minute
          Pour the melted chocolate over the dry ingredients and spread on wax paper to cool.
          Once your masterpiece is cool, break into chunks that look like icky pigeon poop

          Place your snack in a spot where you would likely spot bird poop so that when you pop it in your mouth, people will squeal!

        •  Fascinating!!!!! (none)
          Well, go assault the New York Times again based on what you heard somewhere--wherever that was, probably at Little Green Footballs.

          Oh yeah--if it were only 34 times, then why did your Dear Leader feel the need to bypass the court created specifically for that purpose?

          I can just imagine a someone on trial for serial killing sitting in a courtroom: "Oh, come on, it was only a dozen or so!  It's not like I was committing genocide or anything!"

          Yeah, that'll work.  Your Leader has deliberately violated a duly enacted law of congress and has unlawfully arrogated unprecedented executive powers--and we will do our best to make sure that he pays the price, and nothing like his ilk ever threatens our democracy again.

        •  Soooo.....why not get a warrant? (none)
          It's the LAW to get warrants to spy on Americans. And not just a law, but a Constitutional law, designed to preserve checks and balances, and to prevent unreasonable search and seisures by the Executive branch.

          If BushCo has info that particular people are linked to Al Qaeda, why can't he just get the warrants like the LAW requires? Remember the "Rule of Law" thing?

          The FISA courts were setup exactly for this purpose.

          Can you imagine ANY situation where Bush could go to the courts with info that an American is linked to Al Qaeda, and they deny the warrants? Can you? If so, please explain such an exceedingly unlikely situation. Remember that Bush can get the warrants retroactively, and that the court historically approves 99.9% of warrants.

          Bush Wants Absolute Power To Run A War He Lied To Start.

          by bejammin075 on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 05:39:43 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  What you read was Bush's talking point (none)
          Just because Bush said it, doesn't make it true.

          For example: Bush says he's serious about national security and protecting Americans. If that's the case, how do you explain Bush's decision to hire Mike Brown to manage the life and death decisions of America's emergency response system, even though Mike Brown was totally unqualified, and proved it during Hurrican Katrina?

          Remember when we got hit on 9-11, and Bush hardly ever met with the anti-terrorism people during his whole time in office?

          Remember when Bush was briefed, 1 month before 9-11 that "OBL Determined to Strike Within US," and he went on vacation for a month?

          Remember when an American CIA operative (whose job was to hunt WMD connections) had her cover blown by people in the White House, because they wanted to silence her husband, who was pointing out that Bush lied about WMD?

          Remember when our military might was wasted in Iraq, because Bush lied us there? Remember when thousands of our soldiers died, because of Bush's deadly lies?

          Remember just a few weeks ago, when Bush said that Congress had the same intelligence he had? You do know that that is total bullshit right?

          On matters of national security, the only thing you can trust Bush to do is lie about it

          Bush Wants Absolute Power To Run A War He Lied To Start.

          by bejammin075 on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 05:57:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Unimportant (none)
        I wouldn't call it unproductive shredding and destroying the lives of every Bush supporter.  They are a lot greater threat to America to any terrorists.

        "Be just and good." John Adams

        by aztec on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 02:09:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  fear of association (none)
      Your comment reminded me of what many East Germans say was the hardest part about growing up in an authoritarian state.  That was the fear to associate with others because you never knew if they were an informer or not.  Now we have the same thing here, my relatives in the U.S. have all made "jokes" about being afraid to talk to me--just how funny is it though?
  •  Just as I've always thought (4.00)
    There is no significant internal threat from terrorism. If there were, we would have seen something. The reason there has been no follow-up to 9/11 has nothing to do with BushCo's efforts. It's that there really is no threat. It's a huge scam designed to steal gigantic amounts of money from the taxpayer. Grrrrrrr!!!!
    •  I do not by that there is not a threat. (none)
      9/11 did happen and could happen again. The problem is that the idiots in charge are making it worse by creating more hatred of America in the world with thier arrogance, and insane policies.

      They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve to be known as Republicans

      by Jlukes on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 09:27:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It took a huge 5-year effort (none)
        by Bin Laden to pull this off. You only get one. It's like Pearl Harbor. It's not like there aren't terrorists in the world, but there's 5/8 of fuck-all in the USA, unless you count the Tim McVeigh wannabes lurking out there. It's still a scam in my book. Taking off my fucking shoes at the airport is not stopping any terrorism. It's a joke.
        •  bin Laden doesn't have to do anything (none)
          He succeeded already.

          With BushCo in charge, all he has to do is sit back and laugh while America implodes.

          The American taxpayers wouldn't object to free transportation for certain government officials if they'd go where we wish they would.

          by PatsBard on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 10:06:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  100% correct... (none)
            Why would Al Qaeda attack the US now?  

            To stir up Islamic sympathies?  
            - George Bush's overreach into Iraq already did that.  Another attack might change that.

            To damage the US economy?
            - We're already spending hundreds of billions in Iraq. We're actually spending our money in Iraq recruiting terrorists for Bin Ladin.  This in a previously untapped Al Qaeda market.

            To damage the US psychologically?
            - You can tell by W's actions he's already scared.  You can tell by the red state votes that they are scared.

            To damage the US's reputation?
            - George's actions have turned (near) world wide sympathy into hatred.  Another terrorist attack might change that.

            What is Al Qaeda's motive for striking us now?  We're playing into their hands.

        •  How great is the risk of terrorism on US soil (none)
          I agree with you that there is a small risk on US soil.

          I also agree that they have already stolen more of my rights than I think they should have at airports and elsewhere.

          ...but not your own facts.

          by slouise217 on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 11:33:48 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I agree... (none)

        Real security can be done, but nobody bothers. You want a secure society, there are ways to do that, it's a lot of little things adding up to big things.

        1. All communications are encrypted. All phone calls, internet access, cell phones, etc... They all use VPN or something similar, and are encrypted while they travel to the phone company's central office. Once there, they are tappable, but there will be no cell phone cloning or other identity theft by just pulling info out of thin air.

        2. Scanners. All non-living packages of every sort get X-ray fluorescence scanning. This would detect guns, drugs, and virtually any type of weapon or bomb. It would detect nuclear materials in even the smallest quantities. This would be used on ships, airplanes, and border crossings. This would dramatically reduce the porous nature of the borders, and make it harder to move materials without getting caught.

        3. All planes are fly by wire, with autopilots. The autopilot will not, under any circumstances, let the plane enter a restricted zone. If that means that the plane crashes into the ocean rather than attempting to land in the middle of manhattan, then so be it. This is just stupid, people don't fly planes, computers fly planes. Flying into a building, or any other obstacle, is never the correct response to any situation, so why allow it at all?

        4. Money, keep track of it far better. This would also help to catch tax cheats, drug dealers, arms dealers, terrorists, and virtually any other sort of unsavory character.
  •  Not Surprising (none)
    The technophiles have pushed "silver bullet" fixes over human intelligence (humint) for quite a while now.  For examples, more spy satellites while cutting the numbers of agents, translators, historians, etc.

    I think we can safely say it's been a bad investment.

    There's no technological substitute for intelligence, experience, and judgement.

    •  I think there's an untold story (4.00)
      of the push for vacuum-style data gathering from within the federal govt. Whenever the technology is around to do something, people will want to use it. All these programs were ready to go quite quickly after 9/11. Must be an algorythmic paradise for certain well-placed geeks trying to come up with the right AI to get the right outputs. All the "dead ends" are just that system working itself out and perhaps to give the non-geeks something to do while the real uses/abuses of these new data-mining techniques are perfected.
      •  I think you are correct (4.00)
        Data mining is still in its infancy. We are, moreover, mere babies when it comes to the science/art of digitally matching voice sounds to trigger words; the Russians could dance in circles around us.  

        What this program has been doing is set up the listening posts,  at the doors that the telcomm industry is mandated to hold open under the CALEA legislation. They are having tech problems with VoIP (voice over the internet) because of it's packet configuration. The legal problems of VoIP are immense also, because of the volumn of data, and the translation/slough off the bad info problems.

        This (illegal) program is emblematic of the the future, expect all calls to be monitored, because the switching places are networked, so that if one goes down, a call could be routed say through Canada and back. The choices are warrent/no warrent.

        Never let go of the fact that what Bush admitted to was illegal, and is still illegal. Justification of the illegality because we are in the infancy, crude, broadbrush stage of the technology is no excuse.

        •  what's CALEA? (none)
          can you relieve my ignorance?
          •  CALEA (none)
            is the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act. In 1994 it was passed, making telcomm companies provide a back door for law enforcement to use, should they ever need it. CALEA is technology neutral, which means, they think that it applies to VoIP(Voice over the internet) as well.  The legal part of VoIP is much more complex than standard telcomm (both landbased and roving)and they are working it out with the FCC, hearings as late as last August.

            http://www.askcalea.net/

          •  CALEA (none)
            Communications  Assistance for Law  Enforcement  Act, passed in 1994, at the instigation of the Clinton Justice Department.

            SEC. 207. TRANSACTIONAL DATA.

            (C) A provider of electronic communication service or remote computing service shall disclose to a governmental entity the name, address, telephone toll billing records, telephone number or other subscriber number or identity, and length of service of a subscriber to or customer of such service and the types of services the subscriber or customer utilized, when the governmental entity uses an administrative subpoena authorized by a Federal or State statute or a Federal or State grand jury or trial subpoena or any means available under subparagraph (B).'; and

              (2) by amending the first sentence of subsection (d) to read as follows: `A court order for disclosure under subsection (b) or (c) may be issued by any court that is a court of competent jurisdiction described in section 3126(2)(A) and shall issue only if the governmental entity offers specific and articulable facts showing that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the contents of a wire or electronic communication, or the records or other information sought, are relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation.'.

            10/5/1994 6:03pm:
            On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by voice vote.
            10/5/1994 6:03pm:
            Motion to reconsider laid on the table Agreed to without objection.
            10/6/1994:
            Received in the Senate, read twice.
            10/7/1994:
            Passed Senate without amendment by Voice Vote.

            A Senator YOU can afford
            $1 contributions only.
            Masel for Senate
            1214 E. Mifflin St.
            Madison, WI 53703

            by ben masel on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 09:11:05 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  zapmama presents a modern-day truth (4.00)
        "Whenever the technology is around to do something, people will want to use it."  It's called the technological imperative, and I first saw it in 1968.  It explains a lot of things, like why our fighters are so bloated and in fact why our defense program is so bloated.  Then again, we have Velcro and LSD.  Go figure.

        I found out today we're going wrong/We're going wrong... Jack Bruce

        by moltar on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 12:07:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Just think how many innocent people were (none)
    checking out Al Qaeda sites just out of curiosity and ended up on those lists.
  •  Hey, G-10! (none)
    That president of ours just can't seem to get anything right.
  •  How typical (4.00)
    It's incompetent and evil all at the same time. Even when they're doing something massively wrong, they're doing it massively wrong.

    "God alone knows how many times our bellies, by the refusal of one single fart, have brought us to the door of an agonising death." -- Montaigne

    by Spaz Cadet on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 08:04:46 PM PST

  •  Push the ineffective frame, hard (4.00)
    Play up the Keystone Kops and trashing the constitution at the same time?
    •  I agree although I wish it were ... (4.00)
      ...easier to persuade more people that behavior such as invading a sovereign country under false pretenses is morally wrong, not just that invading a sovereign country without adequate planning or troops or equipment is incompetent. Likewise with spying. The program was illegal and morally wrong, why does it take the fact that it didn't pan out to persuade people it shouldn't have been done?
      •  An Inspector Clouseau frame? (4.00)
        As for morally wrong, how many GOP-ers cheat on their taxes? Or their spouses? We may believe incompetence is a lesser sin than evil but to demoralize the wingers, portraying Bush as a bumbling Frenchman might be what wins.
      •  People seem less willing to... (none)
        overlook thuggery done by "their team" when it doesn't appear to be effective or have a purpose. For many people, as long as there's a chance of it helping "the team", pretty much anything can and will be overlooked.

        -- What really makes America, America?

        by mike101 on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 08:38:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  "Do you really want (none)
      Inspector Cluesou tapping your phone?"

      "In the beginning the universe was created. This has been widely criticized and generally regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

      by LithiumCola on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 08:22:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mr. Bush had this to say 17 Dec 2005: (4.00)
    In the weeks following the terrorist attacks on our nation, I authorized the National Security Agency, consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution, to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations. Before we intercept these communications, the government must have information that establishes a clear link to these terrorist networks.

    I guess it all depends on what your definition of "clear" is.

    •  Maybe they play (none)
      Six Degree of Kevin Bacon.

      "In the beginning the universe was created. This has been widely criticized and generally regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

      by LithiumCola on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 08:22:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wonder (none)
        ...how many degrees you have to go to connect any one innocent individual to Osama bin Laden.

        "Merry Christmas in your $*&# face, $*(&ers!" - Bill O'Reilly

        by dji on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 08:34:35 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not far. (none)
          He has a huge family, many of whom are important upstanding figures in our own communities.  There's hardly an important university in this country that hasn't had an important Bin Laden donation.
      •  Probably 2 or 3 degrees gets pretty far (none)
        I mean, on 9-11, Poppy Bush was eating lunch with Osama's brother. I think one of the business partners that bailed out Junior Bush's financial failures was a Bin Laden too. That's 1 degree of separation from Bush. Imagine what you could do with just 2-3 degrees of separation?

        I'll probably be on a list somewhere for saying shit like THE NUMBER ONE KILLER OF AMERICAN TROOPS IS BUSH'S LIES

        Yeah, fuck you Mr. President. Eat shit.

        Bush Wants Absolute Power To Run A War He Lied To Start.

        by bejammin075 on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 06:07:54 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Def. of intercept & communications (3.50)
      Sadly, it's long been legal to look at numbers dialed, and email headers, as distinct from contents, without warrants.

      A lot of the writing on this program has failed to draw a clear distinction.

      A Senator YOU can afford
      $1 contributions only.
      Masel for Senate
      1214 E. Mifflin St.
      Madison, WI 53703

      by ben masel on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 08:45:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The one single good thing about Bush (none)
      Is that no one has the guts to tell him how stupid he really is.  He doesn't seem to understand that the president is always on the record.  He's like a defendant who is off the reservation and shooting his mouth off to the dismay of his lawyer.

      He keeps putting this stuff out there on the record, not just amusingly mangled aphorisms but statements about matters with legal connotations, shooting from the hip on subjects he only dimly undertands, and eventually he is going to have to eat those words.

      Orwell was an optimist.

      by RepackRider on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 12:35:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I disagree. (none)
        ... to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations

        Notice he didn't say "to only intercept  the international communications....."  So he may have also authorized them to intercept other calls for all he's saying.

        Oh, there's more...

        Before we intercept these communications, the government must have information that establishes a clear link to these terrorist networks.

        As for the other intercepted communications, eh, we ask the night watchman.

        I'd say they know he's on the record. Cucking frooks.

      •  Disagree too (none)
        To manage the whole network of lies, Bush has to be aware of it, and heavily coached to avoid saying certain things. He is stupid, but he knows what's up, and he gets the best coaching that money can buy. Combine that with only having very rare and staged public appearances, and you get the Bush that we know and love.

        Bush Wants Absolute Power To Run A War He Lied To Start.

        by bejammin075 on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 06:11:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The most crucial thing of all (4.00)
    is that it swamped agents who were supposed to be fighting the war in terror, distracting them from their real jobs: KEEPING US SAFE.

    It was illegal; it failed -- with the possible exception of prividing cover for spying on nuisances  like our own dear Markos and Armando -- and it endangered our nation.

  •  Who knows who got trapped... (none)
    how would one find out. FOIA request? And how will this info be used in the future? We need independent investigation into this. Instead we'll get a Senate coverup.
    •  FOIA request would probably be ... (none)
      ...denied on grounds (even if bogus grounds) of
      (1) (A) specifically authorized under criteria established by an Executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy ...

      {snip}

      (7) records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the production of such law enforcement records or information (A) could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings, (B) would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication, (C) could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, (D) could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source, including a State, local, or foreign agency or authority or any private institution which furnished information on a confidential basis, and, in the case of a record or information compiled by a criminal law enforcement authority in the course of a criminal investigation or by an agency conducting a lawful national security intelligence investigation, information furnished by a confidential source, (E) would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions if such disclosure could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law ...

      •  Option D is important to keep a watch on (none)
        In COINTELPRO (I was a witness in a case that was part of it) there were a significant number of instances of 3rd parties selling info to the government. Unprincipled and illegal, these parties were basically blackmailing people into spying then reporting so that the 3rd parties could turn a buck.  It sounds like a conspiracy, which is exactly what it was.

        I strongly feel that there must be a judge weighing in on each warrent for wiretapping. There must be always full disclosure of the origination of the evidence and charges against you. Always.

        The secret third party submission of 'evidence' is especially dangerous, and should be illegal.

      •  But the denial can't be challenged (none)
        in court until the FOIA is requested and refused. And that would typically require a large news agency willing to put the legal funds into standing up for the principal of it. If the information was illegally gained, then uncovering it is in the interest of the American people, and fair game for the watchdog press.
  •  Called customer service - ...yikes (none)

    With all of our customer service jobs being outsourced, there are probably alot of people being sucked into these lists by having their call routed overseas.
  •  Iyman Faris says "Bomb what?" (none)
    Iyman Faris, the Ohio truck driver who [allegedly] set out to bomb the Brooklyn Bridge, wasn't going to NY to bomb the bridge. No, someone had sold him a deed and he thought he owned it.

    Nevermind.

  •  NSA Spying (4.00)
    Interestingly, when the President authorizes warrantless spying in violation of a standing law, would that not mean that any evidence collected as a result is inadmissable in court?  So any criminal case against an alleged or suspected terrorist would be thrown out.

    That said, it's likely that the administration has no intention of bringing these cases to a court of law, in spite of Bush's frequent refrain that he's "bringing terrorists to justice." Clearly, this administration doesn't believe in the rule of law, something that is the basis of our democracy. There is not justice; there is just rendition to foreign prisons where torture is allowed and, indeed, encouraged. That is not the way we do things in this country, nor should it be.

    It's high time that we bring Bush and Cheney to justice. They are criminals who deserve to be sent to prison.

    http://drewlbucket.blogspot.com

    http://drewlbucket.blogspot.com

    by Drew Lillie on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 08:15:48 PM PST

  •  Quantity vs. Quality (none)
    Chatter, they called it before 9/11. Unless there is an enormous amount of resources to apply, it's impossible to analyse a huge amount of wiretap recordings without generating false leads that waste resources. That's why they call it intelligence, and it is one reason the FISA system exists.

    It is impossible to trust that unchecked power will not be abused. Every part of history I recall suggests uncontrolled power will always be abused.

  •  he doesnt deserve our trust.. (none)
    Bush says trust me...ahh wonder how many innocents he has killed today...you can not give someone that lies and abuses, power..he doesnt deserve our trust..
  •  Two points (none)
    Their warrantless spying started BEFORE 9/11, according to the NYT's lameass, capitalism before patriotism reporter Risen, so their argument needs to be restructured to fit this new data.

    Also, why are there so many dumb fuck Americans who refuse to understand the ramifications of this scandal? I now truly appreciate why so many find Americans to be stupid and obnoxious.

    I pledge Allegiance to the U.S.A. and not to the Repugs who stole it, two nations under a God awful president, divisible, with Liberty and Justice for a few

    by ejbr on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 08:18:07 PM PST

  •  I worry about getting too far out on (4.00)
    the ineffective claim.  The real issue here is that the program is ILLEGAL.  They will try to beat down the 'ineffective' argument by saying intelligence is a complicated procedure.  Even if they netted something noteworthy, it doesn't make the program any more legal.

    Yeah, I'm trying out this blogging thing, too.

    by MLDB on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 08:22:26 PM PST

  •  This is a huge story (none)

    And they (the WH, Fox News, etc) are still spinning it like they only listen in on "suspected terrorists" - which could mean just about any of us!  

    What a freakin' waste of time and money, like everything else Bush has done.

  •  Spying began immediately after 9/11 (none)
    not in 2002!!

    Bush is NOT America!

    by annefrank on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 08:45:35 PM PST

  •  After Fallujah... (4.00)
    I sent an angry e-mail to the White House stressing the criminality of the attack on Fallujah. I also pointed out the lack of accountability for 9-11 intelligence failures, the lies leading up to the Iraq War and the absurdity of tax cuts during wartime.

    Lo and behold, I received a visit from the Secret Service. I agreed to meet with them in the presence of my attorney. Later that same week my cousin arrived from Italy. We had been communicating by e-mail and telephone. Upon his arrival he was strip searched at U.S. Customs.

    Two weeks later, while having a coffee at Starbucks, 4 undercover F.B.I. agents? accompanied by one of the Secret Service agents made their presence known to me. They didn't approach or speak to me. They were just being spooks?

    What the f#&!?

  •  New story up at NYT (none)
    two groups--the Center for Constitutional Rigths and the ACLU--  are planning to sue Tuesday to stop the program.  Check out some of the plaintiffs!

    Also named as plaintiffs in the A.C.L.U. lawsuit are the journalist Christopher Hitchens, who has written in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; Barnett R. Rubin, a scholar at New York University who works in international relations; Tara McKelvey, a senior editor at The American Prospect; the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; Greenpeace, the environmental advocacy group; and the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the country's largest Islamic advocacy group.

    link

    Chris Hitchens, I'll buy you a drink, you sodden apologist turned malcontent. Our Week of Coordinated Ass-kicking has begun in style!

  •  Drink up (none)
    Pass the Kool-Aid, please.
  •  Am i just imagining (none)
    or is there a real potential for something large here? I glimpsed the NYT article  before I came over to Kos and was delighted to see it front paged. Thanks g10.  Inefficient Evil. If we can't sell this as something we don't want as a nation, we're in big trouble.
  •  I really feel that until we can get (none)
    this investigated by an Independent counsel we will
    not get far.  

    There is no way that the Republicans are ever going to
    turn around and nail all the top admin and they are all
    guilty of this mess. I say that regardless of Sen Spector's
    statement.

    Don't blame me, I am still trying to figure out what is on the Blue dress :) eaglecries

    by eaglecries on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 09:09:05 PM PST

  •  Chris Matthews annoys me (none)
    He does interviews on this practically every day.  And always he's asking:  "Shouldn't we be listening for anyone talking about Lincoln Tunnel, or other likely terrorist targets?"

    The premise of this is ridiculous.  After 9/11, the authorities sorted out communications which presaged that attack.  None of them mentioned the World Trade Center or the Pentagon.  That's exactly why everyone was left guessing what the target for the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania was.

    Anyone seriously planning an attack is going to be talking in code.  And is going to be constantly vigilant about how they communicate.  Anyone looking for someone talking about the Lincoln Tunnel (as per Mr. Matthews) is going to land on this message instead, which is a complete waste of time for anti-terrorist surveillance.

    Back in college, I learned that the Bolsheviks, when ready to make their move for takeover in Russia, passed around the following coded message:

      My aunt is with my uncle in Kiev, and the blueberries are ripe in the fields.

    So, is the NSA screening everything for blueberries, too?  Matthews is smarter than his questions.  Lazy, complacent.  Hardball?  Hardly!

    •  Not quite right (4.00)
      What he said was that in the first days 'after' 9/11 we should've been listening for words like 'Holland Tunnel', World Trade Center, Empire state building,", etc.

      But what the dimwit doesn't realize is that in the days after 9/11, virtually 99.99% of all conversations included these words.

      The problem with Tweety is that he never recovered from Bush in the flight suit, or the bullhorn moment.

      Those pictures are embedded in Tweety's head, and thusly, Bush will always be his secret stud!

      "Ultimately, there is only one problem: the time-bound mind itself." Eckhart Tolle

      by steelman on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 09:35:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not meant as a quote... (none)
        ...but as a composite of what I've heard him say on numerous occasions.  Different permutation each time.  I still stand by what I said about the blueberries.

        In the days after 9/11 we were thinking about hijackers anyhow.  I'm having trouble getting my mind around someone crashing a plane into a tunnel, whether it be Holland, Lincoln or Chesapeake Bay.

        Speaking of the latter, authorities have banned birdwatching from the bridge parts of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge/Tunnel.  Well, you can still do it - but you have to apply ahead of time for a security check, and pay $50 an hour for a security official to accompany you.  Some kind of protection against terrorism.  Birders with telescopes along the border near Niagara Falls have had numerous run-ins with the authorities as well, some rather unpleasant.  Niagara Falls being the northernmost inland open water, it attracts interesting far northern birds during the winter months.  So it attracts birders, too.  But if you're outside with a scope, you must be a terrorist?

    •  RIPE, man! (none)
      The blueberries are RIPE! RIPE!

      How could anyone who heard that not recognize what was about to happen? No wonder Kerensky fell. Incompetence!

      "When I came to this town, my eyes were big blue stars. Now they're big green dollar signs." - Jean Arthur, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"

      by brooksfoe on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 11:12:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  They should be screening for aspens n/t (none)

      Democrats give you the Bill of Rights; Republicans sell you a bill of goods!

      by barbwires on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 10:10:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Gonzales on Larry King tonight (4.00)
    reiterated that "we only spied on people with ties to terrorists" and wehn asked if Gore was right asking for an investigation, he said "there's nothing to investigate.  Lawyers in the DOJ and the administration have already determined that this is legal."  Basically proves Gore's point right there.

    To avoid throwing a brick thru my TV, i switched to Wil & Grace reruns

    The end is near for those who wait.

    by tc59 on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 09:19:54 PM PST

  •  Incompetence, I say! (none)
    INCOMPETENCE!

    I think this is something that the American people would respond to. Thousands of warrantless phone taps and for what? Nothing. Worse than nothing - diverting thousands of FBI agents manpower that could've been used towards productive ends.

    People did respond to a certain extent to ILLEGAL, but the Republicans are good at muddying the waters, even when they should be crystal clear. Was it legal, well, not very legal, but the constiution, blah blah blah.

    INCOMPETENT is much easier to understand. They turned up nothing. What was so urgent that they couldn't possibly go to courts, even retroactively, to get a warrant for? Nothing. Well, that's a good reason.

    Next they'll be arguing that the fact that they turned up nothing is just proof that we're winning the war on terror. Must be no terrorists left.

  •  Cherry picking an article (none)
    What the diarist didn't bother to post was some information that appeared later down in that article...

    Intelligence officials disagree with any characterization of the program's results as modest, said Judith A. Emmel, a spokeswoman for the office of the director of national intelligence. Ms. Emmel cited a statement at a briefing last month by Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the country's second-ranking intelligence official and the director of the N.S.A. when the program was started.

    "I can say unequivocally that we have gotten information through this program that would not otherwise have been available," General Hayden said. The White House and the F.B.I. declined to comment on the program or its results.

    The differing views of the value of the N.S.A.'s foray into intelligence-gathering in the United States may reflect both bureaucratic rivalry and a culture clash. The N.S.A., an intelligence agency, routinely collects huge amounts of data from across the globe that may yield only tiny nuggets of useful information; the F.B.I., while charged with fighting terrorism, retains the traditions of a law enforcement agency more focused on solving crimes.

    "It isn't at all surprising to me that people not accustomed to doing this would say, 'Boy, this is an awful lot of work to get a tiny bit of information,' " said Adm. Bobby R. Inman, a former N.S.A. director. "But the rejoinder to that is, Have you got anything better?"

    Several of the law enforcement officials acknowledged that they might not know of arrests or intelligence activities overseas that grew out of the domestic spying program. And because the program was a closely guarded secret, its role in specific cases may have been disguised or hidden even from key investigators.

    Ya know if you're going to go on a tirade, at least be honest about it.  If the NY Times or WaPo posted an article like the diarist just posted, leaving out relevant counterpoint, this blog would be all over them about their biased point of view and ignoring other parts of the real "story.

    Article link.

    •  ok, if this IS routine at NSA (none)
      ...it's no wonder they suck.

      9/ll

      WMD

      Osama

      Zawahiri

      What, me find terrorist?

      "When I came to this town, my eyes were big blue stars. Now they're big green dollar signs." - Jean Arthur, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"

      by brooksfoe on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 10:19:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  typical RW talking point (none)

      There's always Big Secret information They got out of everything that has been hidden from you/us, which will be used at the appropriate moment.  We simply have to trust Them and their magical powers and omniscience, because They always get something.

      That's fucking stupid 'faith-based' delusion.  I've gotten it from right wingers for years and years- about Iraq's WMDs* particularly.  "They know more than they're telling us."   What are these idiots going to say when a billion-dollar illegal fishing expedition turns up zilch- 'uh, never mind, sorry, you get nothing for the billions we wasted'?  They never do.  Because the next step is federal investigation.

      It takes an investigation or lawsuit to get "operations" like this to honestly report that they turned up nothing worth further pursuit.

      Renewal, not mere Reform.

      by killjoy on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 10:24:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  why post the unsubstantiated (none)
      RW talking points when every piece of evidence points in the other direction?

      The link is there for the people to read the whole article for themselves.

      •  RW talking point? (none)
        "Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the country's second-ranking intelligence official and the director of the N.S.A. when the program was started."

        this is a guy you are going to accuse of carrying GOP water?  Where's your proof of that?  Where is even an insinuation of that?

        If you're going to say his opinion is tainted, then we're all just fucked.  We might be all fucked anyway, but I don't see any reason to believe that this is just blowing smoke.

    •  The quotes you bolded don't (none)
      diminish Georgia10's points.

      For example:
      "I can say unequivocally that we have gotten information through this program that would not otherwise have been available," General Hayden said.

      If you've been following this, you'd know Hayden is supporting the Bush position. So how does this quote support the Bush view? It doesn't. Look at the words. They got info that they would not have otherwise. So what? Was that info useful? He doesn't say. He uses words like "unequivocally" and you are awed.

      Here's my point: Hayden could have said the EXACT same thing about going to furtune tellers for the info. It's a nothing statement.

      They could have had a program to ask monkeys and dogs and cats for info, and Hayden could say the exact same thing. Look at the words.

      Bush Wants Absolute Power To Run A War He Lied To Start.

      by bejammin075 on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 06:34:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Which part of (none)
        we have gotten more information do you not understand.
        •  OK, let me walk you through it very slowly... (none)
          Imagine, hypothetically speaking, that the NSA starts a program to use fortune tellers with Tarot cards to gather information. Hundreds, nay, thousands of Tarot card readers. And throw in hundreds of palm readers, a brigade of self-proclamed phychics, and a regiment of astrologers. And they do their thing, and come up with all kinds of leads, or "leads" if you will. The information would, of course, be pure crap and totally useless.

          And then General Hayden could stand at a podium and say about the above program:

          "I can say unequivocally that we have gotten information through this program that would not otherwise have been available," General Hayden said.

          The words General Hayden used don't mean shit.

          Bush Wants Absolute Power To Run A War He Lied To Start.

          by bejammin075 on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 12:49:16 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  the NYT is a better paper (none)
    without Judith Miller.

    If you don't visit my website, you are aiding the terrorists. Why do you hate America?

    by OrangeClouds115 on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 09:49:51 PM PST

  •  Pattern analysis (none)
    the NSA sought to analyze communications patterns to gather clues from details like who is calling whom, how long a phone call lasts and what time of day it is made
    Your honor, we need a warrant to wiretap this number because there were these other calls made on other numbers lasting about the same amount of time at about the same time of day, and you can see how dangerous and frightening that is, because, well because, well... Oh fuck it. We don't need no warrants.
    •  if only (none)
      we could get the terrorists to blog more. Then we could catch them by just analyzing their posts! They're probably big-time trolls.

      But no, we have to actually go out and walk around and talk to people and learn to speak Arabic and put on these damn fake mustaches. What a pain.

      "When I came to this town, my eyes were big blue stars. Now they're big green dollar signs." - Jean Arthur, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"

      by brooksfoe on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 10:23:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Don't duck jury duty (none)
    No, this isn't non sequitur.  At least until King George is able to deprive the citizens of the benefits of trial by jury, the jury box is the last line of defense against unlawful prosecution.  If you're on a jury and the prosecution presents evidence gathered by unlawful means, then you must acquit.  
  •  9/11 brought so much pain and agony (none)
    for Americans and although we speculate that Bush LIHOP or MIHOP - let's just say he didn't have anything to do with it.  But the spying - we know he did it on purpose because he told us and then he dug the knife deeper into our psyches by TELLING us the spying would continue.  He brought us pain - not healing.
    Yes - Bush is more of a threat than Osama because the trauma we experienced from 9/11 is secondary to the added burden of always wondering if you're really alone when you think you're alone - and what information could be used against you in a system where the rights of the people are trampled by this fascist regime.

    Bush is NOT America!

    by annefrank on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 10:42:10 PM PST

  •  but not all was wasted (none)
    But virtually all of them, current and former officials say, led to dead ends or innocent Americans. - NYT

    Fortunately, though, a few of the leads led to some innocent non-Americans. We rounded 'em up and shipped them off to Slovakia for torturing.

    "When I came to this town, my eyes were big blue stars. Now they're big green dollar signs." - Jean Arthur, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington"

    by brooksfoe on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 11:14:58 PM PST

  •  Anyone who is working on the wiretap issue (none)
    as a reporter - should have a good, long, hard look at http://www.thisiswiretap.com from Chris Floyd of the Moscow Times - who happens to be an expatriate American - and one who cares deeply and sharply for his country.
  •  Just Watched the Gore Speech (3.25)
    And all I can say is "wow."  I wish I knew where that Al Gore was in 2000.  It seems that the strictures of running as a Democrat for President made Al Gore into that wooden, ineffectually guy we saw.  Seeing him today, I can't even believe it's the same person.  He had passion and belief--he had a strong and burning desire to make you understand his point.

    I didn't like Al Gore that much when he ran for President.  He shied away from Bill Clinton (which I didn't agree with, because I felt the impeachment and all that bullshit was just crap politics from the Republicans) and he seemed to try to censor himself to the point where he seemed like a puppet instead of a vibrant leader.

    Now, when he's said he won't run for President again,  he finds his voice.  Why is it that the best of our leadership seems to come from those who aren't running for President?  It's not like John Kerry had no spine.  When he was demonstrating against the Vietnam war, he had the fire and passion that I saw from Gore tonight.  When he ran for President, he sounded like he was being pulled in a hundred directions.

    The singularity of focus that the Republicans show is what makes them look "strong."  Why is it that our leaders show it only when there is no election to win?

    Al Gore impressed me today.  He was the first Democrat I've seen speak so forcefully and publicly about why the actions of this administration are more of a "grave and gathering threat" to our democracy than Saddam Hussein or Osama Bin Laden could ever be.

    The new revelations that the New York Times has made clear about this program of warrantless wiretapping are unfortunately not surprising.  The capricious and foolhardy use of power by this administration is sadly typical.

    After the 2000 election, I was mad.  I had gotten kicked out of school for bullshit reasons about 2 weeks before the election and I gave every moment I had to volunteering for Al Gore.  I may not have believed that much in Al then, but my folks had convinced me that George Bush was a grave threat to our nation.

    Now I know they were absolutely right.  Probably more than even they thought at that point.  After I returned to school, the professor of my "Rhetoric and Persuasion" class asked us to write a speech trying to emulate the voice of a famous speaker we admired.  I have always admired Dr. King.  His speeches have always moved me and made me believe.

    My favorite speeches came from a book of sermons that was sold at the King memorial in Atlanta that I visited my senior year of high school.  The book was called "Power to Love."  One of those sermons was about God's most difficult command--that we love our enemies.

    I poured over the text of many speeches by Dr. King, trying to find something I could write about.  I finally fell upon that particular sermon, thinking that it would do me good to put aside my hatred and anger towards George Bush and his enablers in the Supreme Court.  I wrote a speech that was probably not half as good as Dr. King would have written (and never anything he would have said) saying that America needed to put the pain and anger of the 2000 election behind us.

    I know now that I was wrong.  Dr. King would never have uttered such words.  I got an 'A' on the speech not because my professor agreed with me (I assume he didn't because I saw him later at Democratic events) but because I had written a decent speech.  I wish I had gotten an 'F.'  I did not summon up the words of Dr. King, I summoned up the words of my cowardly side that just wanted to live and let live.

    In that case, I was entirely wrong.  There was no place for George Bush and his enablers in America in 2000, and there is no place for them now.

    George Bush is the greatest threat to America there is.  Osama bin Laden pales in comparison.  George Bush is attempting to destroy our nation for his own aggrandizement.

    So Dr. King, I apologize for trying to twist your great gift of language and rhetoric to somehow excuse Mr. Bush.  I apologize for wasting my time excusing the unconscionable actions of the Supreme Court.  I'm sorry that I ever even believed you would have stood for the disenfranchisement of black voters and the wholesale abandonment of our democratic system that the 2000 election was.

    Because if that election had gone the way the people decided, we would not be at this precipice.  We would not be looking into the abyss of autocratic government that we face today.

    I'm a Deaniac.  I came to this site in the first place through my initial research into Howard Dean after I first watched Howard's speech at the 2003 Democratic Committee winter meeting.  I always believed in the good doctor, and I do today.

    But today, I learned that I believe in Al Gore too.  I hope he will assume new prominence in our party.  He is the kind of principled and passionate leader our party needs.

    Thank you, Al Gore, for saying what clearly needed to be said (10 points if you can pick out the movie reference there :-))

    Never say die.  We're in the right, no matter how much they think they are!

    James

    whoring my blog like it's my job!

    by jjhare on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 11:21:36 PM PST

  •  Iyman Faris wasn't trying to bomb the (none)
    Brooklyn bridge. He was planning on cutting its support cables with a cutting torch, presumably over some month when no one was looking. He was an inept idiot, not a diabolical terrorist.

    -6.88/-5.64 * You know what's happening. Fight it.

    by John West on Mon Jan 16, 2006 at 11:53:00 PM PST

    •  That's an important distinction (none)
      The news has been flogging the Iyman Faris thing, but they've been lying about the details.  I don't get US news TV here, but I was home over the holidays and on CNN they replayed a segment all day with the anchor woman talking about wiretapping, and how they caught this guy trying to BLOW UP the Brooklyn Bridge...I wish I knew her name, but I kept hearing them replaying the segment of her saying he was trying to BLOW UP (you could hear the bold italics in her voice when she was saying this) the Brooklyn Bridge, but Fearless Leader foiled the evil plot with Libertytapping.  

      Finally I got sick of it and explained to my aunt and grandmother that Faris was a weirdo who was trying to cut the bridge down with a blowtorch, and that this newslady surely knew that and was just lying her ass off.  In hindsight, I guess it's just as likely that she really didn't know what she was talking about, given that knowing stuff isn't considered a qualification for news media anymore.

      I wonder if Media Matters ever picked up on that, or if it's too small to hit their radar.  I guarantee you though that it's having a big impact on public sentiment.  My family were already pretty well against the wiretapping even given the tone of that report, but they'd never suspected there was anything off in the incidental factual content.  I mean, don't you wonder how many people are sleeping tight right now, content that the government nabbed some terrorist villain in the act of BLOWING UP the Brooklyn Bridge, and all because they don't realize how much the factual content of their news has been dicked around?  Even a reasonably intelligent person could be suckered in with that kind of reporting.

      It amazes me that we even have dissenters at all in America, given the state of the media.

      The Wages of Sin is about $5.15 an Hour

      by hz on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 02:17:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  VERY important - please fix the diary! (none)
        John and hz have nailed it.  If I could suggest, please fix the diary so DKos is not responsible for continuing to spread this horrible piece of misinformation.

        Faris was moron.  I wish he had attempted to take a blowtorch to the bridge.  It would have been great film/PR to show how retarded these wackos are.

  •  "Huge and ineffective" (none)
    why does that phto of Cheney in NO come to mind when I read this diary title?
  •  IMPB (none)

    "shhhh...do you smell something" -ghostbusters

    by David in Burbank on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 12:58:33 AM PST

  •  Ineffective if ineffective means no attacks (2.50)
    "NYT: Bush's Spying Program Huge, Ineffective"

    This headline is only true if ineffective means preventing terrorist attacks inside the US.  

    Where is the outrage from the leftists over the leak of this spy program in the name of national security?  Leftists couldn't stop saying 'national security' when they were calling for an investigation into who leaked Valarie Plame's name, an agent who hasn't been undercover for 6 years.  This leak actually does compromise national security, and libs are mute.  Why?  Is it their choice of scoring political points over the safety of our nation?  

    •  Well...there was that one day (none)
      in September, back when we already had FISA. I'd guess you'd consider that attack a wake up call to be more aggressively incompetent. But, hell, keep your fingers crossed-- that seems to be this administration's approach.

      The stork has brought a son and daughter for Mr. and Mrs. Mickey Mouse

      by hhex65 on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 02:19:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Now you're just being silly. (none)
      If this leak jeopardizes national security, then that would suggest that potential terrorists don't think that the government can listen to their phone calls and monitor their email.   They might be terrorists, but they're certainly not stupid.

      What this leak jeopardizes is the president's sense that he can violate any law, if he claims it furthers the cause of protecting the nation.

      And speaking of, what data do you have that suggests that this program has prevented attacks here in the US?  The lack of attacks since 2001 is no evidence, because we went over 5 years between the first World Trade Tower attack and the second.  Is your evidence that Bush said so?  Well, that's no evidence either, because he's said lots of things that turned out to be misleading or just plain wrong.

      And you cannot compare the leaking of Valerie Wilson's CIA status with the NSA leak.  In her case, the leak, a violation of the law, was done for petty political gain.  In the NSA case, the leak is a violation of law, but was done to try to stop an even more egregious violation of the law, a breach of the protections guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.  The NSA case is exactly the reason the whistleblower laws were enacted.  Note that Libby has not claimed protection under the whistleblower statutes.  That would strongly suggest that he and his lawyer know that there was nothing remotely good-intentioned about it.  The NSA leakers are claiming such protections.

      Stop being silly.  Think these things through, for yourself.  Stop listening to the right wing noise and look at the data yourself.

      -9.25, -7.54

      Who's a guy got to deny having sex with to get impeached around here?

      by Marc in KS on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 04:33:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  if thats a critical question.... (none)
    than you are not hungry.  Just pointing out how freaking out over everything helps to push the left further from poor people.  In all of this we need to remember hungry and sick people....

    "Global deaths due to hunger in one year= 8,760,000"

    by Sausalito on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 03:58:29 AM PST

  •  Scream at the NYTimes (none)
    public@nytimes.com

    Byron Calame @212 556 7652

    Gore's speech deserved more than a two paragraph mention in conjunction with an article titled "Lawsuits over Eavesdropping"

    That was the only mention I could find of it in the NY Times - unless they buried in somewhere in sports

    Pass the word

  •  I'm in the camp of (none)
    emphasizing, in framing this for people who don't haunt political blogs, that the emphasis should be on the incompetence first, the illegality second.

    The average American thinks that Bush is doing a heckuva job at fighting terrism, remember. And the number of people who would justify Bush's illegal wiretapping (if it served the fight on terrism) is frightening. I honestly think that a scary number of people don't give a shit that it's illegal, as long as terra is being thwarted.

    But if you frame it to these same people that Bush's wiretaps are not only illegal, but are thwarting efforts against terrism, that actual terrists are possibly slipping through because of the sheer volume of non-terrist people having to be culled through because of the vast amount of wiretap info being collected, well, people might start to care then.

    So basically, it's illegal, and maybe that'd be OK if it was doing anything worthwhile (which is not my personal view - I'm wearing the Trucker Cap of the Average American Here). But it's also highly ineffective, because Bush is listening to so many people that he's likely missing catching some terrorists because he's too busy listening to people like us.

    Yeah, it's illegal, but there are people who will excuse that. What they won't excuse, I'm thinking, is Bush fucking up the War on Terra because of his wiretapping of too many Americans to keep track of actual terrorists.

  •  Did such a wide net yield results? (none)
    Sure it did.

    It kept the FBI busy while G WB Admin was out turning the world on its head.

    Katrina Changed Everything - A New Era Demands New Policies

    by ROGNM on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 05:18:47 AM PST

  •  NSA Intercepts (none)
    "large amounts of phone and Internet traffic seeking patterns pointing to terrorism suspects."

    This is not a wiretapping operation like we see on TV, with a guy putting alligator clips on a phone line.  It's a datamining project a la TIPS.  That's why they couldn't get FISA warrents.  Gigantic fishing expedition.  

    And that's why Bush lied about it, the sheer scale of the operation. When the red staters find out that he OK'd federal monitoring of say, 55% of the communications traffic in Bend, Oregon or Couer d'Alene, Idaho, it will hit the fan!

    When the redstaters find out that the feds have simply kept all that data, they will be enraged.  They might even do something about it.

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