Skip to main content

Awakening this morning to the astounding news that nearly two-thirds of Americans are A-OK with being spied upon, I hastily threw together a Top Ten list of talking points as to why average citizens should worry about this. The NSA's logging of millions and millions of phone calls has many more drawbacks, I'm sure, than I'm listing here. But off the top of my head, here are obvious and fundamental problems that all Americans should worry about with this program:

1.    It's inefficient. As networking analyst Valdis Krebs said, as reported on defensetech.org, "If you're looking for a needle, making the haystack bigger is counterintuitive. It just doesn't make sense."

2.    It's costly. It is, according to William M. Arkin of the Washington Post, a "multi-billion dollar program, which began before 9/11 but has been accelerated since then." An exact cost, of course, will never be pinned down because it's operating in the shadows. But it's safe to assume with this administration's track record that it's in mind-blowing, borrowed from your great-grandchildren funding territory.

3.    It's been lied about. Repeatedly. This fact alone should give pause to all Americans. Common sense should tell us that you only lie if you suspect you're doing something wrong; otherwise, come clean on the extent of the program and justify it to citizens. We can live without details of specific operations that would alert the "evil-doers." But we should not be asked to accept this level of intrustion without a full - and truthful from the beginning - account of who is being spied upon and why.

4.    It's illegal, according to constitutional scholars. And last time I checked, the president was not above the law. Setting a precedent of approved lawbreaking by any citizen - no matter how powerful - is bad for the nation.

5.    The information is not only available to the government, but to all the subcontractors involved in the program, which Arkin estimates is at least more than 100. What level of employees at each subcontracting company has access to your records and could sell the data is unknown because there is no oversight of the program.

6.    Given the state of one-party rule in this country, in which lobbyists  write their own legislation (warning: PDF) and the president signs it, it seems not unlikely this data is being shared with corporations. Letting health insurers know how often you call your doctor, your pharmacy, your physical therapist, your mental health counselor seems ripe for a situation of coverage denial.

7.    Businesses should worry that logging of phone calls to, say, a company under consideration for buy-out would be shared with a bigger GOP donor who is a competitor. Same with R & D research. Same for calls to limousine services and hookers.

8.    Given the fact that it's being touted as the largest database in the world, it's highly unlikely we're simply talking about logs of phone calls made. It's probably not targeting just who you called and who called you. Emails, instant messaging and text messaging are also possible data being tracked, according to AP.

9.    Blackmail opportunities are ripe. Government employees, politicians, employees of subcontractors - all could conceivably have information, not necessarily on you, but on ... say ... your Congressional rep that would guarantee votes and legislation not in your best interest.

10.     It's "un-American." This level of spying is just gut-level creepy, especially since there's no oversight. When people and agencies as disparate as Joe Scarborough, the ACLU and the conservative Chicago Tribune are up in arms together, there's something wrong at the basic level with such a program, and it's crying out for oversight.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:36 AM PDT.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Excellent list (14+ / 0-)

    I think one of the problems is that Democrats, once again, did not frame it quickly enough. Once the Republicans got that Orwellian term out there - 'terrorist surveillance program' - it quelled a lot of people's fears.

    I would hope that the news that tens of millions of people were being monitored will reawaken the common sense in the general population. There can't possibly be that many terrorists in America...because if there are, then our government sure as hell isn't doing their job (not that they were to begin with, but...).

    •  Absolutely right (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      trillian, SallyCat, jwgarp, 3goldens

      The average person has nothing to fear from his/her phone records being looked at -- I've nothing more than calls to my dry cleaner or vet, like scores of other folks -- so the privacy factor seems small in comparison to "terrorist surveillance" as BushCo has successfully re-named this violation of the Fourth Amendment.

      I don't care about the data-mining of my phone records. I care about the violation of the Constitution. That's where we need to make noise. Contact your Congress persons today with that as your point. BushCo has sold this as harmless and "protecting" the American people, apparently successfully from the polls. This is exactly why they're so dangerous.

      "It's the Supreme Court, Stupid!"

      by Kestrel on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:51:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  But what if that dry cleaner is up to no good? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        amilamia, NYFM, Philoguy

        "he average person has nothing to fear from his/her phone records being looked at -- I've nothing more than calls to my dry cleaner or vet, like scores of other folks" ---unless your dry cleaner is terrorists, and then your phones are tapped and then they hear your conversations with your friends about how much you hate this administration, and then all of a sudden you are an enemy combatant...

      •  The Dem answer should include a plan (0+ / 0-)

        Given that 2/3 do "approve" of this kind of thing, they must be buying the "we're safer" line.  They must be longing for some sense of someone "doing something" about the terrorist threat.

        Therefore, I'd suggest to the Dems should they ask me (which, of course, they won't!) that they include a rational and intelligent alternative in their response to this outrage, not just outrage.

        For example, point out that this is extremely wasteful if you are looking for terrorists.  Point out that there are more targeted ways of looking for "patterns" that might suggest terrorism.  And that it should be done in cooperation with Congress, not hidden from Congress -- that Congress and the executive branch need to be partners in fighting terrorism.

        I think the American people need to know the Democrats actually do have a plan to find terrorism domestically that does NOT include invasion of privacy and suspension of Constitutional rights.  And they need to make clear what that plan is.  I have heard experts talk about how the Bush administration is casting a way too wide net, that it's not necessary and could be done smarter.

        If the Dems can get on top of that, can come to be associated with a more intelligent (with some specifics) approach, it can only help.

    •  terrific summary SusanG (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SallyCat, Philoguy, LNK, Nightprowlkitty

      and it is so important to communciate this.

      Like PsiFighter37 said, the Democrats have to jump on this and frame it properly. Most people are suspicious of this President and his motives. There is no reason why this issue shouldn't have everyone's neck hair standing on end.

      I think one of the most important things to note is that this surveillance program started before 9/11. Most people don't understand this important point, which flies in the face of all of the President's public excuses for the program. After all, if he says its to catch AlQaeda, his admin didn't think AlQaeda was a threat before 9/11. And, if he says that programs like this are responsible for "keeping America safe from attack", well, that's also not true since 9/11 happened after this program was initiated.

      I cannot believe most Americans, when confronted with the facts, don't smell something very rancid coming from Washington.

      I remember a time when our President was the leader of the free world. ****** Repeat after me: "Neoconservatism has failed America."

      by land of the free on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:54:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  before 9/11 (0+ / 0-)

        That jumped out at me.... from the article, it looks like exploration for this program started in 1998, which would put it under the Clinton administration.  However, the article doesn't say exactly when "before 9/11" the actual monitoring of calls started.  Was it under Clinton or under Bush?

        It would be wrong for either administration to conduct this type of surveillance, at least without judicial oversight, in any case.  Politically, it makes a difference whether there is a "Clinton did it, too" argument.

        Actually, on second thought, it doesn't matter.  They'll say it started in 1998 under Clinton to shift blame away from Bush, regardless of whether the program was actively monitoring or not.

        And you are right, it definitely does blow up the "9/11 made it ok" excuse.

        "Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime." -- Adlai E. Stevenson

        by eebee on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:17:36 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  remember (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        amilamia

        Remember, it is very likely that it won't be just the NSA (and Duke Cunningham's friends who are the NSA sub-contractors) that will be looking at this data.

        One of the provisions of the Patriot act was to take down the wall between intelligence info and criminal investigations.

        Up till now, its probably been only the desire to keep the program secret that was keeping every Barney Fife in the country from requesting data from this data base.  If this program isn't objected to now and stopped, then its pretty much a certainty that this will eventually be wide open almost all government officials and police.

        Picture now the anquished cries of politicians looking to score points in a campaign ... our poor overworked public servants, who are trying to protect your children from evil child pornographers, don't have access to critical data that could help them protect your children because of silly red-tape rules that keep them from querying the database the NSA keeps to help protect all Americans.  We need to change this now to make sure that these dedicated public servants can do their job to protect your children.

        Remember, this is a PERMANENT data base.  That means its not just the NSA running data mining to find a terrorist today.  That means that if your someday-to-be ex-spouse's divorce attorney can get access to it five years from now, those calls you are making to that pretty blonde will still be recorded there and ready for your someday-to-be ex-spouses sleezy attorney to find at any point in the future.

        "I will not vote for or support any candidate for Congress or President who does not support a speedy end to the war in Iraq." -votersforpeace.org

        by COBear on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:42:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It is ALWAYS the framing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peraspera, John L

      Most Americans WANT our government to use technology to keep watch on the bad guys.  We want there to be a Chloe in a CTU somewhere outsmarting the bad guys with nothing more than a kick ass lap top and good old american smarts.

      Don't try to convince Americans that they don't want that.  They do.

      The problem is that people just assume that any such program has safeguards in place and oversight and checks and balances, that it is no broader than necessary, etc.  Half the people assume those things because they are worshiping a false idol.  Others assume such things because this is America and it is inconceivable that it would be done any other way. Both, of course, are wrong.  This is how it always starts.

      But, as always, there is a smart way and dumb way to approach every issue.  It be nice if the Dems would get it right.

      If you want something other than the obvious to happen - you've got to do something other than the obvious...Douglas Adams

      by trillian on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:00:18 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If its such a great idea (7+ / 0-)

      why lie about it?  Bush originally said it was much narrower in scope, focusing only on calls where at least one party is outside the U.S. or calls to/from terrorist suspects.  This is much larger in scope than what we were previously told.  

      Why did they not seek permission from whatever courts has jurisdiction (and if there are issues, why have they not sought to have them clarified with enabling legislation)?  I can think of only two reasons - 1) they know it is illegal and they would / might be turned down (or at least questioned), or 2) they are looking to expand presidential authority (either for practical, short-term reasons, or for ideological reasons).

    •  Big one - No Fly list (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LNK

      Good list, and also this explains things like the Iraq soldier who's name was confused with the author of Davinci Code and was held up for awhile..and the auothor of Bush's Brain also being on a no fly list and he could not find out how he got on that list, who put him there, and then Ted Kennedy no less...
      Why this matters to me is not JUST the violation of the Consitution, as if that wasn't bad enough, but how one gets on these lists is suddenly obvious.

      And how does one get OFF that no fly list by the way? And the list is about what, terrorist associations, right??? Nice.

      They haven't figured out that problem in Florida either, when the felons list got drawn up for elections 2000 and 2004....another fine list drawn up by this administration's buddies, with many names that were way off or simply the same or similar to felons. I wonder how that is going for the innocents wrapped up in that debacle.

    •  Framing spying (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LNK

      Why does the hackneyed nostrum 'If you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear' apply only to those being surveilled? If democracy is to have any meaning at all those spying must be as open to surveillance as the spied upon. This means, at a bare minimum, oversight by the people's representatives. Sadly, we shouldn't expect this rubberstamp GOP to exercise oversight. Oversight would certainly expose their heroic standard bearer as a, mining, trolling, creepy peeping tom.

    •  It is fucked... (12+ / 0-)

      we'll see in the coming days new polls that do not mirror this one.  The methodologies that were used were horrible.  You can't call 500 people the night that an event happens and expect those random people to even have half a clue what happened before the nightly news has even covered it.  

      The poll is fucked.

      "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." -- Galileo Galilei

      by Dittoz on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:37:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Notice what they DIDN'T ask (8+ / 0-)

      Nowhere does the poll disclose the fact that the surveillance program is ILLEGAL.  And yet most respondents probably had heard relatively little about the program by the time the survey was conducted (last night).

      I just posted a diary about this flawed poll here.

    •  It might not be (0+ / 0-)

      Remember the old adage - You can fool some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.
      This administration is expert at telling people how they feel and what to think.  They play on the fact that we are such a materialistic shallow society.  I am not surprised that 2/3 rds said they were OK with it.  After all, the administration is doing it for our own good - protecting us from terrorism and other forms of evilitude!

      The revolution starts now--in your own back yard, in your own home town

      by brit librarian on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:39:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here's the question (6+ / 0-)

      45. It's been reported that the National Security Agency has been collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans. It then analyzes calling patterns in an effort to identify possible terrorism suspects, without listening to or recording the conversations. Would you consider this an acceptable or unacceptable way for the federal government to investigate terrorism? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?

                  ------- Acceptable ------   ----- Unacceptable ------    No  
                  NET   Strongly   Somewhat   NET   Somewhat   Strongly   opin.
      5/11/06      63       41         22      35       11         24        2

      This question assumes a lot ("without listening to or recording the conversations" - sez who?). It's almost a push poll. There is also no partisan identification with the poll - how many Dems, GOP, Inds. did they reach? I see it as the WaPo editors throwing a wet blanket on a huge story. That's why I have Knight Ridder bookmarked.

      •  It's all about the framing (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lanellici

        Would you consider this an acceptable or unacceptable way for the federal government to investigate terrorism?

        You can frame anything in terms of national security and/or the fight against terrorism, and an overwhelming majority will agree with it.

        For example, "Do you agree that mating with sheep is an acceptable way for the federal government to investigate terrorism?"

        I'm sure a majority would agree.

        •  they (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lanellici

          they push the words "terrorist" and "terrorism" a lot in one question.

          How about if they asked ....

          "The US government is now keeping a database that records the details of all of your personal phone calls such as who you called and when you called them.  This means in the future, any government official will be able to query this data and get these details about your personal life.  Do you like the idea of any government official having access to these details of your life?"

          "I will not vote for or support any candidate for Congress or President who does not support a speedy end to the war in Iraq." -votersforpeace.org

          by COBear on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:20:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Citizen Spy Info For Sale!! (0+ / 0-)

            Once the numerous subcontractor employees and political operatives have the citizen spy data on file it will be open season for corporate, legal, political, medical etc. interests to gain access. Has anyone learned from history? If the Republicans keep the House in the mid-term elections this will be why. Can you imagine the political advantage of having access to all private communication? These people will murder to stay in power. Will they keep their hand out of the NSA cookie jar?

            All that matters is GOTV stupid.

            by ImpeachBushCheney on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:40:54 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Let's update the main diary (0+ / 0-)

        to show this slippery question.

        "They blamed it on the Islamic fanatics, at the time. [...] That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary."-Handmaid's Tale

        by JLFinch on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:07:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  not to mention... (0+ / 0-)
        1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bush is handling protecting Americans' privacy rights as the government investigates terrorism?

                    Approve     Disapprove     No opinion
        5/11/06        51           47               2

        that's hardly 2/3rds.  that's more like half from a much more neutral question.

        Economic Left/Right: -3.25 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.90 http://www.politicalcompass.org

        by soundonsound on Fri May 12, 2006 at 02:55:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  thinking same thing (0+ / 0-)

      Exactly what I was coming out here to post on reading the front page article.

      By definition, this poll had to be thrown together very, very quickly.  To go in one news cycle from story to reaction poll almost certainly has to involve some very shaky methodology.

      How was the question framed?  How were the people called selected?  Did the people called reflect a nationwide spread (ie, if done late, maybe east coasters weren't well represented in the poll)?

      Not to mention ... has the story even had time to sink in with the public?  You are probably getting responses from people where all they know about it is they walked by a tv that had the sound off and saw one of these cable news banners up on the screen.

      And its very likely that they haven't thought at all about the fact that all their phone records are now permanently recorded in a database, and that over time its likely that any government official will get use of this data base.

      Besides which, I haven't believed a lot of the polling that comes from corporate media for awhile now anyways.  I think sometimes they just lie and makes stuff up to get the story they want.

      "I will not vote for or support any candidate for Congress or President who does not support a speedy end to the war in Iraq." -votersforpeace.org

      by COBear on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:17:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bush is still very unpopular- (0+ / 0-)

      Democrats deserve punishment for not supporting American opposition to the Bush government.

      by LandSurveyor on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:32:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  If it's not (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ablington

      we are DOOMED.

    •  here's some polls (0+ / 0-)

      that maybe we can un-fuck up....diary.  It lists CNN, MSNBC, and FOXNEWS polls on the NSA.  Guess which is the only poll in which voters support government intrusion?

      Blogatha! The political, the personal. Not necessarily in that order.

      by ksh01 on Fri May 12, 2006 at 11:01:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  That poll is ripe for misuse (9+ / 0-)

    The questions asked give no context to the issue. They don't address the warrantlessness, the unlawfulness, and the lack of danger.

    I think the poll would have very different results if the question was asked:

    "Would you object to President Bush ordering phone monitoring on your conversations with your siblings?"

    or

    "Would you object to being the subject of a warrantless wiretap in a FBI fishing expedition"

    or

    "Would you object to the Federal government taking your personal information without cause or warrant and using it to justify warrantless wiretaps on US citizens?"

    General and Supreme Commander of the 82nd Chairborne: I've killed people for less!

    by patsprouseyo on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:36:02 AM PDT

    •  What's wrong with this poll (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tooblue, Brooke In Seattle, Data Pimp

      As someone on Slashdot pointed out, people who value their privacy may be a lot less likely to participate in a telephone poll. If so, the results can't be valid.

      •  Exactly (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SallyCat, Brooke In Seattle

        I would consider myself a mildly private person and I will never - never - pick up a call when I don't recognize the number on my caller ID.  If I don't know you and its something important, you can leave a message and I'll get back to you.

        Hence, someone like me will never get polled.

      •  Interesting theory (0+ / 0-)

        but its one of those theories that by its construct can never be proven.

        You could never poll those that refuse to be polled to find out if its true or not.

        I actually doubt the theory though. I think the people that value to their privacy are not affraid to give their opinion, they just don't want to be sold a time share during dinner over the phone.

        General and Supreme Commander of the 82nd Chairborne: I've killed people for less!

        by patsprouseyo on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:48:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Huffington (0+ / 0-)

          I remember Arianna talking about this awhile back.  

          I think the response rate for polling data is down in the 20% range these days.

          Ie, any time you see any polling data, its only the people who are willing to talk to pollsters whose opinion you are seeing.  And that is becomming a smaller and smaller group over time.

          It also raises the question of how the polling company deals with that.  To do it properly, they have to keep looking for respondents who match their statistical criteria.  That takes time and effort.  If the polling company just says 'the-heck-with-it' to meet a deadline, then the data is less useful.

          So, on a quickly over-night poll, do you think they were meticulous to keep calling until they got the right statistical mix (x number of east coasters and west coasters, y number of urban vs rural, z number of republican vs democrat, q number of old vs young), or do you think they just took the first five hundred or so who answered the phone so they could meet their deadline and go to press.

          "I will not vote for or support any candidate for Congress or President who does not support a speedy end to the war in Iraq." -votersforpeace.org

          by COBear on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:25:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I think its also in the phrasing. (0+ / 0-)
        For example question 46 was:

         46. If you found out that the NSA had a record of phone numbers that you yourself have called, would that bother you, or not? IF YES: Would it bother you a lot, or just somewhat?

        What if it was rephrased:

         46. If you found out that the NSA had a record of phone numbers that journalists critical of the government have called, would that bother you, or not? IF YES: Would it bother you a lot, or just somewhat?

        The results would be a lot different.  Does the typical American really care that much that the NSA looks at their phone records?  Probably not.  But the typical American can see how it will be abused.  And you could substitute journalist above with political opponent, peace activist, wistle blower, maybe even business executive, etc and the poll results would be a lot different.

      •  Exactly, who's going to answer those kinds (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SallyCat

        of questions yesterday after all of these revelations hit? Only people who don't care that much about the spying or people who hadn't heard about the revelations yet. That clearly skews the poll.

        FWIW, here are the results of the CNN online vote:


        Click for a larger screenshot.

      •  Undersamples fat people (0+ / 0-)

        If you watched the recent "Poll Smoking" on The Daily Show, you would know that telephone surveys invariably undercount slow moving fat people.  Therefore, this poll is flawed. QED. :/

    •  Misuse (0+ / 0-)

      That's exactly why this poll was done, though.

      I can already hear Bush saying (the man who calls polls "focus groups" every time they go against him) that he is only acting in agreement with the people, and that an overwhelming majority support his actions.

      Don't forget folks, reality ends at your front door.

    •  Media coverage influencing polls (0+ / 0-)

      I watched both ABC and NBC news last night.  While ABC was better, both basically repeated President Bush's defense of the program like it was fact.

      They also took jabs at Democrats in Congress, saying that they had been briefed on the issue years ago but didn't seem to care "UNTIL NOW" (that was NBC, showing an image of Pelosi).

      •  CBS's coverage was much more negative (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        peraspera

        on the program than ABC and especially NBC's. Andrea Mitchell's piece was an absolute disgrace in its total lack of analysis and the misleading framing (like this is no different that going through a metal detector at the airport.)

  •  I believe this phone call log is a red herring. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Coherent Viewpoint

    The real target is Internet telephony.  More here

    People are usually more convinced by reasons they discovered themselves than by those found by others.

    by BlaiseP on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:36:03 AM PDT

  •  This violates communications laws (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    McHaskel, Geotpf, peraspera, ZZZzzz

    but there are doubts that it violates our 4th amendment rights.

    A follow-up bit in USA Today http://www.usatoday.com/... spells it out in part...

    The NSA apparently has not collected the actual content of the phone conversations, just the numbers dialed. That distinction is key in determining whether the program violates the Fourth Amendment, which protects people from unreasonable government searches and seizures.

    The U.S. Supreme Court has drawn a legal line between collecting phone numbers and routing information, and obtaining the content of phone calls. In a ruling in 1979, the court said in Smith v. Maryland that a phone company's installation, at police request, of a device to record numbers dialed at a home did not violate the Fourth Amendment.

    "We doubt that people in general entertain any actual expectation of privacy in the numbers they dial," Justice Harry Blackmun wrote. He noted the court had said "a person has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties."

    The Fourth Amendment might not be at issue, but legal analysts said the NSA's collection of phone records could be legally vulnerable under federal intelligence-gathering and communication laws.

    The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, adopted in 1978, requires the government to go before a special court and obtain a warrant for electronic surveillance related to international espionage and terrorism. The statute defines the covered communication to include any information about the identity of the parties. A question now is whether that might include the phone numbers someone calls.

    That law and another criminal statute that requires warrants when authorities seek devices that record numbers dialed on a telephone could prohibit the NSA deal with the telecommunication companies. Cole said such laws generally were aimed at individuals or specific crime networks, rather than massive collections of data.

    In my gut this seems to run up against our constitutional rights - but it looks like they've violated enough laws anyway so someone needs to go to jail over this.

    Bloggin' with a bar of soap and my car window IMPEACH -8.75 / -6.10

    by Alegre on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:36:40 AM PDT

    •  Agreed-- (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Coherent Viewpoint

      All in all, great work SusanG. But be careful about implying that the database program is unconstitutional. The linked article in point four is talking about the wiretapping program, not the database.

      The Republicans will try to exploit any confusion by addressing concerns about legality with the response that the program is not unconstitutional. Last night on the News Hour:

      SEN. KIT BOND: . . . my colleague, Senator Leahy, is a good lawyer, and I believe that he knows, as any lawyer should know, that business records are not protected by the Fourth Amendment.

      The case of Smith v. Maryland in 1979, the U.S. Supreme Court said that the government could continue to use phone records, who called from where to where, at what time, for what length, for intelligence and criminal investigations without a warrant.

      [snip]

      JIM LEHRER: All right. Now, Senator Leahy, as described by Senator Bond, does that strike you as being legal?

      SEN. PATRICK LEAHY: No, and I'll tell you why: The Maryland case, in 1979 -- Kit Bond was former attorney general and is a very good lawyer. He's absolutely right. That would have allowed it.

      Since then, however, we passed several laws. We passed the so-called CALEA, ECPA, FISA, and the Patriot Act. And we make it very specific in those what you can do and can not do.

      As this was described today, I'm hard-pressed -- and most lawyers are hard-pressed -- to say what exception this would fall under one of these laws; it doesn't. And there is a strong question of legality.

      [snip]

      SEN. KIT BOND: Let me correct a number of things. . . . I've visited NSA. I have seen the steps that they take to make sure the law is followed.

      Now, as for the law, the Maryland case, the Smith v. Maryland case, said business records are not protected by the Fourth Amendment. You don't have to get a search warrant.

      And the other thing is the FISA court, the court of review in Enray Seal case [ph], said the president has the constitutional authority to conduct foreign intelligence surveillance, what this is, and they said, if the statue limits that ability, it is probably unconstitutional.

      Kit Bond is intentionally muddying the waters.

  •  Beneath the Overdog (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LNK

    "last time I checked, the president was not above the law"

    I don't know where you're checking, but this president has broken the law at every turn, since his installation by the Supreme Court in 2000. His Republican Congress has also chucked the law and the Constitution to aid and abet his crime, even destroying the system of checks and balances. The corporate media has joined the party, packaging their lies about crimes like domestic spying, so Americans think it's their duty to spout "we back the president" in poll phonecalls.

    When the president lives below the radar, he might be beneath the law, but he's never above it. But no checks would reveal that in the 21st Century.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:36:47 AM PDT

  •  Ask this simple question (5+ / 0-)

    How many terrorists have been arrested because of this program?

    Follow=up

    How much does it cost to spy on all Americans?

    2nd Follow-up

    Would that money be better spent on finding Bin Laden?

    •  CNN talkback (4+ / 0-)

      Over at CNN: Your call: Should the NSA look at phone records?
      How does the report that the NSA is building a database of Americans' phone calls make you feel?
      Creepy 75%
      More secure 25%

      select comments from the article

      [Should the government monitor phone records?] Absolutely not. They should have to uphold the Constitution. Who is Bush to be above the law?

      I am not sure where to direct my outrage. Should it be at the NSA, the Bush Administration and my soon-to-be ex-phone company for spying on me without a warrant...Or should it be my fellow Americans which, some polls say, don't care if they are spied upon?

      More and more our intelligence services are taking on the characteristics of the former KGB.

      Everybody has the right to have a secret even if it is as a stupid as a cooking recipe.

      And my favorite

      Would you believe a thief who robs you and tells you it's for your own good???

      The Place of Dead Roads
      "The City of Louisiana has dodged the bullet with Hurricane Corrina."

      by Dr Benway on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:03:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, that money would be better spent on: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SallyCat, LNK
      1. Veteran care
      1. Schools
      1. Afterschool programs
      1. Homeless
      1. Medical care for all
      1. Music and art programs in schools
      1. Inner city kids
      1. Sustainable fuel research
      1. National park maintenance
      1. Elderly care
      1. Roads
      1. Job creation
      1. National resource protection
      1. I could go on and on....

      Outside of a dog a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read ~Groucho Marx

      by bic momma on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:10:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Checking in at the ABC Poll and the MSN Poll (9+ / 0-)

    MSNBC

    Do you care if the government has your phone records?  

    • 21337 responses  

    Yes 76%  

    No  24%

    And checking back in with that ABC Poll...

    Is it okay for the government to track phone calls made by you and millions of other Americans?

    No, it is not acceptable no matter what the government says. 2,793

    Yes, if the government says it is necessary to fight terrorism. 1,018
    Total Vote: 3,811

    Phillybits - A Showcase Of Political News And Thought

    by Stand Strong on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:37:03 AM PDT

    •  CNN has the same %'s (5+ / 0-)

      as the MSNBC poll only a much larger scale.  76% to 24%

      "I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use." -- Galileo Galilei

      by Dittoz on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:38:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Notice the wording difference (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Stand Strong, isle2isle

      If you say No; it means you completely don't trust the government, almost a conspiracy theorist. More importantly you don't say yes, which is the big indictment.

      If you say Yes; you support the war on terrorism, and are support the fight against terrorists

      General and Supreme Commander of the 82nd Chairborne: I've killed people for less!

      by patsprouseyo on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:42:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Internet Polls for Entertainment Only (0+ / 0-)

      I wouldnt put much stock in those self selected internet polls.

      Despite its problems the Washington Post ABC poll linked is far more reliable indicator of public opinon than the internet polls you cite.

      While it is somewhat worse than I expected given that 44% strongly support the measure, we should not be that surprised that most of the public doesnt see this as much of a threat to privacy.

      Data mining techniques are still being developed and are not widely understood.  Most people dont realize what information might ultimately be gleaned from a list of everyone you have ever called and everyone you called called.

      The fact that information may not be highly reliable doesnt mean that it wont be used to focus on people.

      •  And that's the problem with any polls (0+ / 0-)

        there's always a group(s) of exclusion.

        Land-line phone polls neglect cell phone users.

        Online polls exclude those w/o net access.

        etc...

        Phillybits - A Showcase Of Political News And Thought

        by Stand Strong on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:53:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  'This is not a scientifically valid survey.' (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Coherent Viewpoint

          There is no doubt that all polls suffer from some problems, but that should not lead someone to conclude that some are not FAR more reliable than others.  The ABC Washington Post uses a scientifcally valid approach albeit subject to many potential methodological errors, the internet polls you cite do not, and they say so out front.

          The methodologies utilized are not even in the same ballpark, not even remotely close.  The internet polls say that on their face.  Im not saying the ABC poll represents reality or is right or is not flawed, but as evidence of public perception it is entitled to far more weight than these internet surveys which are hopelessly problematic.

  •  Federal agents Friday morning raided the home of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peraspera, Coherent Viewpoint

    "Dusty" Foggo, who stepped down this week from the No. 3 post at the CIA amid accusations of improper ties to a defense contractor named as a co-conspirator in the bribery case of former Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham.

    http://www.signonsandiego.com/...

    WOW.

    I know its off topic but the open thread is a bit old and this seemed important enough to post on the newest thread.  

  •  It was a bullshit push poll (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joejoejoe, DaveV, peraspera

    See this diary (not mine) for the details:

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

  •  The poll itself is bogus (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lennywick, Brooke In Seattle

    WE MUST ALL challenge at every opportunity the bullshit notion that any sacrifices of privacy, any compromises of civil liberties, and any degradation of constitutional balances of power are in any way helpful to fighting the war on terror.  This is not a trade-off that needs to be made, or should be made.  No evidence whatsoever has been offered to show that any of these PLAINLY UN-AMERICAN activities make us safer.  None.

    Some things are not for sale. Send the Republicans home in 2006.

    by The Termite on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:38:05 AM PDT

  •  Ask this simple question (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Geotpf

    How many terrorists have been arrested because of this program?

    Follow=up

    How much does it cost to spy on all Americans?

    2nd Follow-up

    Would that money be better spent on finding Bin Laden?

    •  Blah bad mind-walk (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Geotpf

      That allows them to justify the program even if they found only one terrorist; also allows them to reframe it as a security issue, which it isnt.

      The constitutionality and legality issue are much stronger here, and after all, they are the real threat.

      We would not have a problem if this program was done lawfully with warrants, so the "success" issue is really a losing debate for us.

      General and Supreme Commander of the 82nd Chairborne: I've killed people for less!

      by patsprouseyo on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:45:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think yourt incorrect about this (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nightprowlkitty

        If they had caught someone using this system....they woul dhave said so by now......I don't believe this program has been effective...

        I have been reading many posting and discussions about this topic and those in favour of this have 2 basic thoughts:  

        I have nothing to hide.
        If it catchs terrorists I'm all for it.

        Disprove #2 then the support for this goes away.

        I agree it shouldn't matter, but it does matter in a political way.

        •  'I have nothing to hide' (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Coherent Viewpoint, Shakludanto

          Is still a very strong justification.

          Lets be honest, if they want to say they caught 1 terrorist from it, they can trot out anyone from Gitmo as their example (whether its true or not).

          Arguing about the program on its successfullness is a losing argument. Its weak to the truth (if they have found terrorsits), its weak to fallacy (they lie about finding terrorists), but most of all its weak on its potential (we could find terrorists, or we are "hot on the trail" of them). By this course of action, you are almost begging them to pull out the "trust us" line, and unfortunately you've offered no reason NOT to trust them.

          With the constitutional/legal argument not only do you give solid reasons why they are untrust worthy, you demonstrate how they have broken the law and hurt American's rights. You also demonstrate that there are legal means to continue the same program, thus defeating the "hot on the trail" or "have caught" terrorists defense.

          You're asking us to argue them on hypotheticals opposed to the REAL AND ACTUAL damage. You're asking for a weak argument that will result in NO CLEAR VICTORY, and NO WELL DEFINED POSITION.

          General and Supreme Commander of the 82nd Chairborne: I've killed people for less!

          by patsprouseyo on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:40:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  not necessarily (0+ / 0-)

          If they had caught someone using this system....they would have said so by now

          Alleged "terrorists" are often whisked away unceremoniously to those lovely little undisclosed locations for further questioning, in the hopes that "persuasive questioning" will result in a bigger fish. So Joe Public never hears about them.  And of course, they can't be charged later, because of these dubious questioning methods.

          "Well I object to all this sex on the television. I mean I keep falling off." - Monty Python's Flying Circus

          by isle2isle on Fri May 12, 2006 at 01:47:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  (we heard you the first time) (0+ / 0-)

      Those who would trade an essential freedom for temporary security deserve neither freedom nor security. ................ Benjamin Franklin

      by redfox1 on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:52:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ignore #1 (0+ / 0-)

    It may or may not be more efficient, depending on the model they are building from the data they collect.  THIS IS NOT THE POINT.

    The point is that when they saw the national conversation going against them with TIA, Bush's people simply went ahead in secret.

    If you think you're that far ahead, then get the chips in the middle of the table!

    by theran on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:39:16 AM PDT

  •  I remain amazed (3+ / 0-)

    That people trot out the "I have nothing to hide" argument but don't seem bothered that the government is hiding things.  Let's put these two ideas together huh?

  •  Here is my plan: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    reid, Coherent Viewpoint, StrayCat

    I give up.

    1.  I will turn over my paycheck to the 5 largest corporations.  They can then decide where I live, what  I eat, how much I work and any recreation I may get to do.
    1.  I will agree to have the government record all my phone calls and e-mails.  After all, living in oppression breeds terrorism.
    1.  I will turn to the lord as my salvation to get me through those trying times.

    I think that should do it.  They have everything they want from me.

    Bush will be impeached.

    by jgkojak on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:40:03 AM PDT

  •  The Froomkin take on this poll (6+ / 0-)
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

    ...among other things

    Here's the language from the Washington Post/ABC News poll :

    "What do you think is more important right now -- (for the federal government to investigate possible terrorist threats, even if that intrudes on personal privacy); or (for the federal government not to intrude on personal privacy, even if that limits its ability to investigate possible terrorist threats)? Sixty-five percent said investigate threats; 31 percent said privacy.

    "It's been reported that the National Security Agency has been collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans. It then analyzes calling patterns in an effort to identify possible terrorism suspects, without listening to or recording the conversations. Would you consider this an acceptable or unacceptable way for the federal government to investigate terrorism? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?" Sixty-three percent said acceptable, 35 percent said unacceptable.

    But aside from creating an unfair and false conflict between national security and privacy, these questions simply aren't the most appropriate ones right now. How about asking something like this:

    * Do you feel you know enough about how this program works to reach a definitive conclusion?

    * Do you think the public should know more about this program and others like it?

    * Should the government be able to launch programs like this in secret?

    * Do you think President Bush should have asked for approval from the courts or Congress before taking this action?

    * Do you trust the Bush administration not to abuse a program like this, when there is no independent oversight?

    The Perfect is the Enemy of the Better

    by dabize on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:40:04 AM PDT

    •  The question they didn't ask (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brooke In Seattle

      The poll says the NSA has collected phone records of tens of millions of Americans, and most respondents say that's OK. But what if the question was "Do you think it's OK for the government to collect your phone records?" Ibet most people would say no.

      •  Let me correct myself (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jett, Geotpf

        Going back to the original poll, it looks like they did ask that question:

        1. If you found out that the NSA had a record of phone numbers that you yourself have called, would that bother you, or not? IF YES: Would it bother you a lot, or just somewhat?

                   -----------Yes------------ No
                   NET     A lot     Somewhat         No opin.
        5/11/06     34        24         10        66         *

    •  Oh-Oh-Oh! (0+ / 0-)

      Great Poll. Let's ask THESE questions!!!

      "Well I object to all this sex on the television. I mean I keep falling off." - Monty Python's Flying Circus

      by isle2isle on Fri May 12, 2006 at 01:55:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Today was Froomkin's best ever (0+ / 0-)

      The reader's questions at the end are superb also.

  •  ignore the polls (0+ / 0-)

    Even if (and I suspect the poll is wrong anyways) 95 percent of the country thought it was "ok," it is still wrong.

    •  Unfortunately The DLC Dems Do Not Ignore Polls (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peraspera, Nightprowlkitty

      It is erroneous polls like these that convince our brilliant DLC Dems that they should run as fast as they can from this issue. Also, they influence future thought and interest of their fellow citizens on the subject. IOW average american - is this worth my time to read more about and should I be concerned? Oh, a vast majority of Americans think it is O.K. - I don't need to worry about it or read future articles about it etc.

      These polls manipulate opinion and policy just like they are designed to do. Without a mass outcry of the American people, Congress will do nothing to stop this and will probably find a way to make it legal, thereby changing the country on a long term basis.

  •  I think the poll is asking the uninformed. (0+ / 0-)

    I'm fine with legal, warranted wire-taps of suspected terrorists.  Again, legal, warranted wire-taps of suspected terrorists.  That does not mean the gathering of all data from all phone companies of all Americans by executive decree.  If the poll asked me if I'm in favor of wiretaping suspected terrorists using warrants I'd say yes.  If the poll asked if I'm in favor of wiretaping suspected terrorists with no caveat and no other possible choice, I might still say yes, which is probably why so many Americans approve of wire-taps in this poll, IMHO.  Let's keep educating the masses that wiretaping is only legal if there's a warrant.  Period.  That's how our Constitution is written.  Period.

  •  They didn't ask the right question (0+ / 0-)

    Every call accounting/billing organization involved with telephony has the call accounting records.  They are lawful parties to the transaction.  So why would John Q. Public give a rip?

    That is why they are willing to let the call accounting record only "myth" persist.  It will blow over.

    Ask if the public cares that their emails, internet traffic, i.e. what sites they visited, what they did, and what they saw, and their voice calls being recorded for playback and analysis bothers them?  

    "When the truth is found to be lies. And all the joy within you dies." Grace Slick, 1966 -3.88, -5.49

    by dhomyak on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:41:04 AM PDT

  •  bad question wording (0+ / 0-)

    The poll did not accurately describe what was being done.  It should have read

    Do you think that the federal government should have access to a list of every phone call you ever made or received, and every e-mail you ever sent or received, even if there is no reason to suspect you or any of your contacts of any crime?

  •  Breaking News! (7+ / 0-)

    This just in:

    People who participate in a phone poll with a complete stranger are likely to not care about their privacy.

    Film at 11.

  •  That poll is a lie. I do not believe it. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jackieca, high uintas, Northstar

    Has anyone broken it down as to when taken, who was asked, and what exactly the question was?

    Bullshit 2/3 support massive warrantless surveillance.  Bullshit.

    "They blamed it on the Islamic fanatics, at the time. [...] That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary."-Handmaid's Tale

    by JLFinch on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:41:39 AM PDT

  •  We need a few examples (0+ / 0-)

    Now we need to catch them doing one of the above.  Once that comes to light, its curtains for them.

    "They blamed it on the Islamic fanatics, at the time. [...] That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary."-Handmaid's Tale

    by JLFinch on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:42:20 AM PDT

  •  The way it all works is (9+ / 0-)

    A suspected terrorist in Boston calls a local pizza place for a delivery of a medium pepperoni pizza.

    The owner of that pizza place calls his local city councilman  to complain about plans to build a road that will have an adverse effect on his business.

    That councilman calls Ted Kennedy in order to get Kennedy's support for his re-election campaign.

    Kennedy is them placed on a list of suspect individuals and is prevented from boarding an airplane.

    Thus American is kept safe from terrorist plots and Ted Kennedy.

  •  I'm speechless (0+ / 0-)

    2/3 of America supports dictatorship.  2/3 of America supports the complete abrogation of the constitution and the principle of limits on the power of government.  2/3 of America supports blatant violation of the law as passed by congress. 2/3 of America (thus, including a substantial number of people that voted against this president) support endowing George W. Bush--and any future president as well--with complete and untrammeled authority to do whatever they like, regardless of the constitution or other law of the land.  We are officially a rogue nation.

    •  Not if it is called a dictatorship. (0+ / 0-)

      Just how many terrorist are there anyway?

      Back after 911 weren't there estimates of upwards to 25,000, then revised downward to the 18,000. Not that many. And how many in US? Divide that number by the amount of dollars invested in war and NSA spying.

      I think the NO historian that wrote "Custer and Crazy Horse" said that the wars against Native Americans were the most expensive in US history, costing about $1M per dead combatant. The GWOT seems like it would be much higher.  

  •  And do they really think (0+ / 0-)

    that so-called terrorists aren't smart enough to use public phone booths?

    Pleeeeez

  •  It's the camel's nose (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    goverup1
    1. If you don't object to logging phone calls, then what is your basis for objecting to logging every e-mail address you send messages to or receive messages from, the address of everyone to whom you mail a letter, the names of stores at which you use your credit cards, the bank account numbers you maintain,  the monthly balances and your deposit/withdrawal patterns,  the names of your doctors, the websites you visit, etc.

    "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed." General Buck Turgidson

    by muledriver on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:43:02 AM PDT

  •  Great list. (0+ / 0-)

    Number three kinda reminds me of high school math tests.  If a student couldn't show their work but had the right answers they were probably cheating.  These clowns can't show any of their work.  They're cheating!

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

    by strengthof10kmen on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:43:10 AM PDT

  •  No outrage? (0+ / 0-)

    I'd imagine if there was more information in the poll, the response would be "You mean they weren't doing this already?"

    After all, "everyone knows" that if you're on the run and buy a hotel room with a credit card, the cops will be there before the next commercial.  We're all used to cross-promoting and telemarketing based on activity patterns.  In fact we've grown to expect it--we want Amazon to analyze what we've been buying and give us suggestions.  We say we don't want all our information kept in a database, until there's a problem with our phone bill.  And then there's the ubiquitous credit rating, which apparently is based off of every financial and life move we've ever done, and is available to a wide range of people.

    Basically I don't think the average person has an assumption of privacy for these kinds of records any more.

    •  So... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brooke In Seattle

      ...the writers of TV cop shows now get to decide what is legal and what isn't?

      Whether or not people think it is being done is irrelevant to the legality and "rightness" of the activity.

      But you are correct that the Law and Order TV franchise has been a very effective propaganda tool for expanding prosecutorial powers. Last week's L&O:SVU had one of the cops specifically doing a warrantless search of a database, and dismissing a colleague's concerns with "Well, I thought you want to catch him." The "him" being a pedophile, of course, the criminal no one has sympathy for.

      "What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is the exact opposite." - Bertrand Russell

      by Mad Dog Rackham on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:55:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  even MORE so (0+ / 0-)

    And last time I checked, the president was not above the law. Setting a precedent of approved lawbreaking by any citizen - no matter how powerful - is bad for the nation.

    more powerful means more boundaries are needed -- I'd be a lot less worried if a regular citizen broke the law than if the President (or whole government) did, because the latter can do a lot more damage and be a lot harder to protect yourself from...

    acm

    Those who would trade an essential freedom for temporary security deserve neither freedom nor security. ................ Benjamin Franklin

    by redfox1 on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:44:31 AM PDT

  •  Agreed... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    orgnet
    1.    It's inefficient. As networking analyst Valdis Krebs said, as reported on defensetech.org, "If you're looking for a needle, making the haystack bigger is counterintuitive. It just doesn't make sense."

    This one reminds me of the first couple times I have my students do a keyword search online. They are totally overwhelmed when they do their first search and come in with 15,896,000 hits. That's when we talk about what goes into making the search much more doable in this century.

    "Computer. End holographic program...Computer? Computer?"

    by kredwyn on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:44:45 AM PDT

  •  Interesting online poll (0+ / 0-)

    Should the government be allowed to collect phone company records in an effort to uncover terrorist activities?

     25.9%

    Yes (178 responses)

     74.1%

    No (509 responses)

    687 total responses
    (Poll results not scientific

    Notice that even with the incredibly biased question language, it still gets 3 out of 4 people answering no.

    From the Chicago Tribune's coverage of the story.

    •  Gleaned from that Article (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Subterranean
      1.  "Those companies, according to a USA Today report, provided millions of phone records to the NSA for a fee..."

      We taxpayers are PAYing to be spied on.

      1. But Russell Tice, a former NSA analyst who disclosed the surveillance program Bush was referring to, said that NSA is conducting a number of programs that violate U.S. law. The NSA employees doing that work, said Tice, a 20-year intelligence veteran who was fired from the NSA last year, know it is unlawful.  "Everyone at NSA knew what they were doing was illegal... The choice is to speak out and get fired."

      We need an "alternative employment bank" of jobs for whistleblowers who get fired.

      We need OVERSIGHT on that "number of programs"...

  •  Polls only take you so far... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Subterranean

    I mean, a large chunk of America thinks Elvis is still alive.  And 30 percent still like George Bush!

    I think American's probably think this scandal is the same one as from last December... American's were generally okay with GWB's explanation then...

    Finally, we should check out the survey instrument-- these types of questions are notoriously sensitive to question wording!

  •  The rush to feign public acceptance is appalling (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SallyCat, Tracker, land of the free

    And the mindless participation of enabling media, considering what's going on, is nothing short of repulsive.

    As just posted on this dKos, diary, (which just fell off the new diaries list) the rush to sell this 11th hour 'poll consensus' is as highly suspect as the poll itself. Apparently it was making the rounds of the morning shows, bright and early, and smelling very much like a full-court press from the Republican Palace's Department of Hooey.

    This sudden 'poll consensus' is highly suspect

    Somehow, The Washington Post managed to conduct a poll which purports to show that "63 percent of Americans said they found the NSA program to be an acceptable way to investigate terrorism." The reaction is painfully predictable. Bush followers are celebrating with glee, as though the issue is resolved in their favor and they won, while some Democrats are quivering with caution, urging that this issue be kept at arm's length lest they take a position that isn't instantaneously and overwhelmingly popular.
    .
    I have a hard time believing that less than 24 hours after this program was first revealed by USA Today, most Americans had informed themsleves about what this program is, why it is a departure from past practices, and its potential dangers and excesses, let alone had an opportunity to hear those who are opposed to the program explain why they are opposed to it. [...] (05/12/06 Unclaimed Territory / Greenwald)

    (Embedded links within excerpt excluded)
    .
    The Douchebag in Chief
    .
    .
    Are you telling me that tens of millions of Americans are involved with Al Qaeda? - Sen Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) (NYT 05/11/06)

  •  oh, and... (0+ / 0-)

    This level of spying is just gut-level creepy, especially since there's no oversight.

    I certainly agree, but you gotta guess that people who think that the NSA's activities are OK aren't feeling the creepiness in their guts...

    acm

    Those who would trade an essential freedom for temporary security deserve neither freedom nor security. ................ Benjamin Franklin

    by redfox1 on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:46:50 AM PDT

  •  Great Summary (0+ / 0-)

    Thanks.

  •  Thank You For #9 (5+ / 0-)

    This program has very little to do with national security and nearly everything to do with finding blackmail material and crushing dissent in this country.

    Gee, if the White House finds out that Tim Russert has a mistress or a phone-sex addiction, I'm sure they'd never use that information to blackmail him into pimping for the Administration in the name of saving his career and reputation.

    I have no idea if Tim Russert has a mistress or phone-sex addiction, but the scenario I just described would certainly explain a lot, wouldn't it?

    If two-thirds of this country truly has no problem with the Government acquiring our phone records without probable cause and a warrant, then the great American experiment might truly be over. Do these people have any idea that there's more to being an American than just living here and having the freedom to flip television channels to your heart's content? Talk about being weak, afraid and intellectually lazy.

    Please tell me that poll is flawed.

    I'm a man who discovered the wheel and built the Eiffel Tower out of metal and brawn -- Ron Burgundy

    by IndyScott on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:47:00 AM PDT

    •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

      This program has very little to do with national security and nearly everything to do with finding blackmail material and crushing dissent in this country.

      But getting people to wake up and realize this, that is the problem.

    •  Not jut mistress' phone calls, but... (0+ / 0-)

      What if the person calling Tim, or Keith, or any reporter, is a whistle-blower, with news the madministration doesn't want leaked? You can't tell me that, if, say, Robert Novhack publishes something negative about Bush (and not just intra-party talking points, which Novhack's columns are rife with), within a few hours, Ol' Bob's phone number isn't located and every call to that number hasn't been traced?

      I mean, that's what it's for, isn't it? Find a suspected or known baddie, and then follow every contact he/she has back along the chain? Checking every number against that reverse-number directory every pizza place has? So now there are even fewer methods for placing important information into the hands of the watch-dogs. Internet contacts are traceable, phone logs do it now, and I suspect there are, now and then, people keeping an eagle eye on certain newsmen's houses, to see who drops by for a visit.

      So they collect all the info first, and then, if anything calls their attention to a specific individual, zingo! they look 'im up, along with an army of his friends. If they need to look further, they then get the subpoena.

      I wonder if they have a similar program for snail-mail? Couldn't they note the return address for every letter or package delivered to every address? With scanning machines used for routing letters through the post office, I think it's possible to see how many letters go from zip code A to zip code J, down to the four-digit zip-code extension that identifies your particular house.

      Hmmm... I do believe someone must have already tried this, you know? Hope it's not really being done, but I wouldn't put anything past them.

      Ed

      I do not belong to an organized political party -- I'm a Democrat. [Will Rogers]

      by Ed Drone on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:16:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank You For #9 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StrayCat

    This program has very little to do with national security and nearly everything to do with finding blackmail material and crushing dissent in this country.

    Gee, if the White House finds out that Tim Russert has a mistress or a phone-sex addiction, I'm sure they'd never use that information to blackmail him into pimping for the Administration in the name of saving his career and reputation.

    I have no idea if Tim Russert has a mistress or phone-sex addiction, but the scenario I just described would certainly explain a lot, wouldn't it?

    If two-thirds of this country truly has no problem with the Government acquiring our phone records without probable cause and a warrant, then the great American experiment might truly be over. Do these people have any idea that there's more to being an American than just living here and having the freedom to flip television channels to your heart's content? Talk about being weak, afraid and intellectually lazy.

    Please tell me that poll is flawed.

    I'm a man who discovered the wheel and built the Eiffel Tower out of metal and brawn -- Ron Burgundy

    by IndyScott on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:47:03 AM PDT

  •  Thank You For #9 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Geotpf

    This program has very little to do with national security and nearly everything to do with finding blackmail material and crushing dissent in this country.

    Gee, if the White House finds out that Tim Russert has a mistress or a phone-sex addiction, I'm sure they'd never use that information to blackmail him into pimping for the Administration in the name of saving his career and reputation.

    I have no idea if Tim Russert has a mistress or phone-sex addiction, but the scenario I just described would certainly explain a lot, wouldn't it?

    If two-thirds of this country truly has no problem with the Government acquiring our phone records without probable cause and a warrant, then the great American experiment might truly be over. Do these people have any idea that there's more to being an American than just living here and having the freedom to flip television channels to your heart's content? Talk about being weak, afraid and intellectually lazy.

    Please tell me that poll is flawed.

    I'm a man who discovered the wheel and built the Eiffel Tower out of metal and brawn -- Ron Burgundy

    by IndyScott on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:47:58 AM PDT

    •  Exactly (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      StrayCat

      Since there is no oversight, we only have the administrations word that they have not used their access to this information against politicians, journalists, historians, scientists, businessmen.... the whole thing is ripe for abuse.  Just thinking about it makes my head spin.

  •  Jesus - Look at how they asked the question: (0+ / 0-)
    1. It's been reported that the National Security Agency has been collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans. It then analyzes calling patterns in an effort to identify possible terrorism suspects, without listening to or recording the conversations. Would you consider this an acceptable or unacceptable way for the federal government to investigate terrorism? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?

                ------- Acceptable ------   ----- Unacceptable ------    No  
                NET   Strongly   Somewhat   NET   Somewhat   Strongly   opin.
    5/11/06      63       41         22      35       11         24        2

    1. If you found out that the NSA had a record of phone numbers that you yourself have called, would that bother you, or not? IF YES: Would it bother you a lot, or just somewhat?

               -----------Yes------------
               NET     A lot     Somewhat     No     No opin.
    5/11/06     34        24         10        66         *

    This is a very admin-favorable question.  It expressly says "not listening".  But that's only a portion of the problem - it totally ignores the pandora's box aspect of all of this.  Jeez.

    "They blamed it on the Islamic fanatics, at the time. [...] That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary."-Handmaid's Tale

    by JLFinch on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:48:09 AM PDT

    •  Look at the question immediately before it too. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JLFinch, StrayCat
      1. What do you think is more important right now - (for the federal government to investigate possible terrorist threats, even if that intrudes on personal privacy); or (for the federal government not to intrude on personal privacy, even if that limits its ability to investigate possible terrorist threats)?

      The set up a false dichotomy: either you're for personal privacy or you're against investigating possible terrorist threats.  Then they hit the respondents with the questions you quote.

  •  Cellphone Location tracking (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooke In Seattle, Montague

    While not part of the operation discussed in the USAToday story, I suspect there's a tie-in with cell operatores databases of the physical location of cellphones, mandated under Clinton's E-911 legislation. Would one expect a telco who's rolled over for NSA on call records to withold this additional database? The systems locate you not just while placing a 911 call, but anytime the phone's powered, as it regularly chewcks in to tell the system where to send any incoming call.

    I've been working with Rep. Marlin Schneider on a Wisconsin bill to mandate deletion of these records from telco databases, for a prohibition of commercial use without an opt-in for those customers ho wish to have their location tracked, and to require a search warrant for access by State and local law enforcement. currently, only a request to the provider is required.

    I got one GOP rep to agree to sign on by asking "Do you want PETA to be able buy a record of who's been to the taxidermist in the last 6 months?"

    The 4th Amendment: It's not just for dope dealers anymore.
    Masel for Senate
    1214 E. Mifflin
    Madison, WI 53703

    by ben masel on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:48:46 AM PDT

  •  The company which sold phone histories (0+ / 0-)

    A few months back someone noted that a company, I think out of Chicago, could sell a listing of all the phone calls from any US phone number for a given period, perhaps a month or so, for around $100. Don't think the service included content on those calls. Does anyone remember this incident and who the company was? IIRC it was in one of Armando's diaries or comments to him perhaps.

    I gotta go out of town until early this evening, but I just had a conversation with a bond broker and this generally knowledgeable person just didn't conceive of scale of such NSA operations, not to mention how the use of personal information could be so destructive in the world of business.  

    I want to know the name of the company, because that could have been a clincher in the conversation. I'd also like to know where they got the info and how they can do this legally. Anyone?

  •  The very sad truth is (9+ / 0-)

    that most people just don't care unless it directly affects them in a visible way. Perhaps this very scientific poll only reached the "unaffected."

    I am of Arab heritage; my Syrian father served in the Free French army, which trained with the U.S. Army during WWII, and later became a citizen and American veteran. My mother's parents were from Syria. My parents both worked their butts off, put 4 kids through private school and college and law school, paid their taxes, and scrimped and saved. My mother has taught half the city to read and still does. We are model citizens, all. Except that our last name is Najjar.

    I am on every TSA list there is. I am routinely "randomly" selected for a luggage search. I cannot preprint my boarding pass from home. My sisters have received solicitations from the Marines asking them to consider joining up because "your language skills are needed by the government." These letters were addressed to them by their very American married names; the name Najjar never appears on the letter or the envelope, yet it is known to the military that they are Arab. (Ironically, they both married descendants of one signer of the Declaration of Independence, so their daughters qualify for membership to the DAR.)

    When I recounted these experiences at a recent high school reunion in my hometown, to classmates of mine from kindergarten on up, who well know my mother and remember my father as the nice accented man who volunteered at school bingo, the response was  - blank stares.

    Maybe they'll wake up when they hear the clicking on their phones.

  •  Goddamnit! Read the poll questions. (7+ / 0-)

    I diaried this here.  This poll is fatally flawed.  There should not be a single fucking blog mention of this poll without noting this.  Look at the questions in the order they were asked.

    1. What do you think is more important right now - (for the federal government to investigate possible terrorist threats, even if that intrudes on personal privacy); or (for the federal government not to intrude on personal privacy, even if that limits its ability to investigate possible terrorist threats)?
    1. It's been reported that the National Security Agency has been collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans. It then analyzes calling patterns in an effort to identify possible terrorism suspects, without listening to or recording the conversations. Would you consider this an acceptable or unacceptable way for the federal government to investigate terrorism? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?

    They set up a fucking false dichotomy in question 3, then hit them with question 4 (which is where the 66% comes from).

  •  Since Quest isn't complying (0+ / 0-)

    And everyone KNOWS Quest isn't complying can't we just assume that any AL Qaeda members have at this point switched their service to Quest rendering the entire program useless?

    It took them 30 years- don't give up hope after 3

    by js noble on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:54:58 AM PDT

    •  Unfortunately (0+ / 0-)

      QWest only offers plans to users within 14 states. Nice plans though. $25.00 per month unlimited US / Canada calling.

      Maybe with their recent press, they'll expand their service areas. I actually emailed them yesterday just to say Thanks.

      "Well I object to all this sex on the television. I mean I keep falling off." - Monty Python's Flying Circus

      by isle2isle on Fri May 12, 2006 at 02:17:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  That poll is horrible (0+ / 0-)

    among the worst questions I have ever seen for such a thing. Most students in statistics 1A know better than to word things the way they are worded in this poll. Not to mention a one-night poll the very same day as the event being analyzed. Stupider than stupid.

    Any news organization reporting on the WaPo poll as though its results are unquestionable should be ashamed of itself.

    And I'm not one of those people that cries "bad polling" often on this kind of public forum. In fact, I think this is a first for me.

  •  11. Undermines whistleblower laws (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Prognosticator, StrayCat

    It also undermines whistleblower laws, including the Whistleblower Protection Act, applicable to federal workers, and Sarbanes-Oxley, applicable to private sector workers, and all of the "anonymous" hotlines set up to receive disclosures.

    Has anyone wondered just how the White House learned in advance of the New York Times plan to expose the NSA surveillance program, and WaPo's planned article on CIA foreign prisons?

    Support government whistleblowers!

    by goverup1 on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:55:44 AM PDT

  •  I bet the poll's accurate (0+ / 0-)

    I'm beginning to think the public is buying into the b.s. republican rationalization that there are certain necessary evils that really won't hurt us law abiding citizens but will allow the government to protect us better. People are starting to think it doesn't matter that it's illegal because it's only a "little illegal" or "it depends on who is interpreting the law". They don't see or care about the subtle, incidious erosion of the very foundations and core of our democracy. Because they don't think it applies to them because they aren't breaking any laws. So if the government says it will help prevent terrorist acts, and talking about it or holding hearings will reveal too much useful info to terrorists, well then let's just ignore it because there are more pressing matters to discuss. I'm scared because I don't think any talking points anyone comes up with, not matter how accurate, are going to sway the masses. Most people are sheep when it comes to stuff like this.

    "Imagination is more important than knowledge" - Albert Einstein

    by Citizen Earth on Fri May 12, 2006 at 09:56:36 AM PDT

    •  it probably isn't bs (0+ / 0-)

      most of my friends didn't seem to care too much -- even with a finely tuned set of talking points i gave them.

      part of me just gives up.  i mean if americans want a dictatorship they can have one and when they wake up in misery years from now crying for mommy i'll look the otherway in whatever country i'm in and with whatever citizenship i've gained.

      i'm embarassed and ashamed by the foolishness of the American sheeple.

      and, twisting Kerry's words from yesterday:  yeah, i've had enough.  and i can't just blame "the people in charge" anymore.  i mean something is just FUCKED up if 63% of 300 MILLION people are that blind, stupid, deaf and dumb and i don't want to be associated with it.  nor do have anymore patience for it.

      Reality has a liberal bias.

      by m00nchild on Fri May 12, 2006 at 02:31:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  ABC's poll only questioned 100 people (0+ / 0-)

    How can you put any faith in a poll that only questions 100 people?  The MSNBC-TV poll was 3-1 against the govt. logging our phone calls last time I checked and it had almost 22,000 people responding.

  •  Please rescue the peak food diary (0+ / 0-)

    It's here.

    It's about what in the future may not be for dinner.

  •  Power of Data Mining Over & Under estimated (0+ / 0-)
    1. Data mining poses a greater threat to privacy than most people realize at first blush.  

    Part of the issue is that most people have any idea of the potential power of data mining as an investigative tool (of course other over estimate its utility as implied in point #1).

    However it poses a potential threat even if the data pieces by themselves dont appear to say much on their face.

    http://www.gao.gov/...

    http://www.fcw.com/...

    http://www.anu.edu.au/...

    http://writ.news.findlaw.com/...

    http://www.informationweek.com/...

  •  From the ABC article with the poll: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Heterodoxie

    Despite such concerns, however, the public continues to place a higher priority on terrorism investigations than on privacy intrusions. Sixty-five percent say it's more important for the government to investigate possible threats, even if that intrudes on personal privacy, than for it to avoid privacy intrusions if that limits its investigative ability. It was the same in January, although higher still in 2002 and 2003 polls.

    The problem here is to get the American people to understand that this program and others like it does NOT help the government investigate possible threats.  This post helps to show that.  As long as Americans feel this Administration is in any way effective in their security measures, we'll be seeing polls like this.

  •  too complicated (0+ / 0-)

    10 points is way too complicated.  there needs to be 1 point & it needs to be fairly simple & straightforward.  the essential question is:  do you want someone listening in on your phone calls?.  nevermind terrorism.  nevermind "tracking calls" vs. "listening in" on calls.  because if someone can "track" something, someone can undoubtedly "listen in."

    if you want a second talking point for the fruitcake right, here's #2:  sure, you can trust bush not to listen in on your phone calls.  but can you trust anyone else?  how about if hillary clinton were president?  would you trust her?  how about kerry?  how about dean?  how about obama?  as the chances for the next president to be a dem start increasing, this will be the point that scares the bejeezuz out of the right wing & esp. the more hypocritical than thou holly roller crowd.
    s.

    the best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity --w.b.yeats the second coming

    by synth on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:01:36 AM PDT

  •  All the poll questioning framing comments ... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peraspera

    Yes, okay, the poll was probably flawed.

    That still does not do away with the need to discuss this and find arguments that will reach the Americans who say ... yes, it's okay to be spied on. Certainly we all can agree that no matter what specific poll's methodology, we need to acknowledge that there is a proportion of Americans we need to convince.

    Can we focus on discussing the underlying issues that will convince them?

    •  Convincing them (0+ / 0-)

      People don't care about what TIVO may do with their personal viewing statistics.

      The only care THAT THEY HAVE TIVO.

      They will only wake up if one morning they discover their TIVO box has been diabled.

      Then and only then will there be hell to pay.

  •  dont believe the TEAM BUSH Hype (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hyperstation

    this morning I heard that 2/3's of our nation doesnt mind having every one of their calls fatabased by BIG BROTHER Bush....don NOT believe the corporate owned media HYPE

    logic tells you this is an impossible number since there is less then 1/3 of this country that still supports or even trusts or believes what team bush tells us these days...

    further along the LOGIC line...every poll taken on the subject of the NSA domestic spy program had our nation almost evenly split on this issue...so now we are to believe that the exposure of the depth and breath of the program, the news that tens of millions of us are now being 'collected' into the worlds largest unchecked government database has moved more of us to the WE SUPPORT THIS PROGRAM side?  oh bullshit.

    Bill Moyers said it best when he said "news is what powerful people DONT want you to hear, everything else is just propoganda"

    the claim that more of us NOW support this Big Brother domestic spy program today then a week ago is not news..its Propoganda put forth by the corporate owned media in an attempt manipulate public opinion in order to head off possible hearings where we might REALLY learn the true depth and breathe of this unchecked big brother intrusion into all of our private lives...and just how complicit those legally liable corporations have been.

    our path is clear..WE must keep making noise in the media and drown out the propoganda message from the corporate drones.

    "if all the world's a stage, who is sitting in the audience?"

    by KnotIookin on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:02:33 AM PDT

  •  SusanG, you fell for Rove's spin too! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DaveV, Heterodoxie

    I am sure if this poll's questions were framed differently, the results would be dramatically different. e.g. "Do you agree that the government needs to record every call you make?" Don't fall for the spin from the rovian WP....

    •  didn't fall for it, but educating those who did (0+ / 0-)

      Doesn't seem like she fell for his spin. She knows it's BS. She's helping us to better inform the people who have been trained to say "I don't care, I ain't got nuthin' to hide!"

      A lot of people will just hear this poll summary and say, "see, most everybody is OK with it, therefore I shouldn't be worried." I think this diary is very helpful in clearly summarizing why people should be very concerned about this program.

      I remember a time when our President was the leader of the free world. ****** Repeat after me: "Neoconservatism has failed America."

      by land of the free on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:09:46 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Spin or no spin (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SallyCat, matt2525

      There are a certain amount of people in this country -- uncomfortably large -- who think it's okay. Whether it's two-thirds or one-quarter doesn't matter.

      The point of this post is to suggest means/ways to talk about this that will work with those who think it's okay.

      •  Thank you SusanG. (0+ / 0-)

        I appreciate your post. I'm not an attorney, a political science scholar or a polished debator - just an average person. So I want to thank you for taking the time to give me a good checklist of talking points for this important issue.

  •  Railroad (0+ / 0-)

    This quantity of information could come back to bite many - Do you know who your friend's friends talk to on the phone? I don't.

    I don't do business with any of the phone companies listed but I have friends...I just don't like the overwelming feeling that guilt by association will become rampant with this database.

    And all in the name of National Security.

    Never underestimate the power of group think.

    by leftofcenter on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:04:44 AM PDT

  •  4 degrees of seperation (0+ / 0-)

    I heard (not watched, so I can't confirm) that on NPR's Morning Edition someone said it goes 4 levels deep.  With 6 degrees of seperation you can link anyone to anyone else in the world.   4 should get quite a bit then.

    This program is useless to the terrorist fight, even for Republicans, if it doesn't record phone calls at some point.  When is the point at which it starts recording phone calls?

    Surely everyone remember the mistakes on no-fly lists.  Babies, elderly, people who have no contact with anyone from their state, people who have bought "special books".  If they can make that many mistakes with the no-fly list, how many do you think they are making with this one?  It's a computer program, it just needs to start flagging phone numbers as "suspicious" and after a certain threshold, they'll start recording the phone calls.  THEY HAVE TO EVENTUALLY RECORD PHONE CALLS, otherwise the whole program is pointless.

  •  Microchip time (0+ / 0-)

    Fucking unbelievable.  Two-thirds don't MIND??!?!?!

    They had best get themselves ready to be microchipped by the government, just like a dog or a cat, because that'll be happening any day now if the citizens don't rise up and say HELL NO to this shit.

    /seething rant

  •  3, 9 and 10 (0+ / 0-)

    Those are the items that I think resonant.  Main point is you just cannot trust this crowd.  Given any amount of information about your private lives it will be misused and abused. Given they are incompetent in execution one should be very very careful in making any assumptions about how information will be used and should be extremely reticient to give it away with no oversight.  If it is of no concern why not tell Americans what is being done?  Do not be asleep at the wheel...this government has done nothing to earn your trust.

  •  What?! I want a second opinion. (0+ / 0-)

    This can't be true.  

    If it is, you know the Dems in power won't touch it with a 50-foot pole.

    "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

    by Five of Diamonds on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:10:06 AM PDT

  •  I think I have a better point (0+ / 0-)

    RICO.

    Created to combat mafia.

    Gets used in bribery case:

    http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/...

    Logan Young Jr., an investment banker, was convicted of paying a high school football coach, Lynn Lang, in order to recruit a star player to the Alabama team.  Find out more here, here,  here (subscription required),  The case proceeds into the forfeiture portion of the trial today.  We previously reported on this case here.

    Why was RICO used in this prosecution?  Would bribery charges have been sufficient?  RICO is an easy choice for prosecutors when they have two or more predicate acts that operate with continuity and are related to each other.  RICO usually allows for higher sentences.

    In family disputes:

    http://www.ipsn.org/...

    The notion that RICO prosecution is limited to complex organized crime syndicates quickly falters. Section 1961(4) provides on its face that an individual may be a RICO enterprise. 54 In Von Bulow v. Von Bulow, for example, the defendant was charged with a section 1962© violation for conducting the affairs of his wife through a pattern of racketeering activity. 55 The court held that "an individual may qualify as an enterprise within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. § 1961(4)." 56 Thus, Mrs. Von Bulow, as an individual, was a RICO enterprise. 57

    Now imagine what they can do with this data.

    Give it to IRS for tax evasion prosecution.
    Give it to some prosecutor for murder investigation.

    It's open season if NSA shares the data.

  •  not alright with me! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AMcG826, Brooke In Seattle

    today I changed my long distance carrier from AT&T to Qwest. The customer service guy told me they had been swamped with similar requests.  I don't believe those polls, they only represented something less than 1000 people, most of whom had neither been paying attention or answered questions biased toward been surveiiled for terrorist activities. Consider the source. Time for action and not breast beating.

    •  if everybody is so okay with this (0+ / 0-)

      then why in the world would they be swamped with requests to change carriers?  

      Is anybody following telecommunication stocks today?  There must be quite a rally in the AT&T pit.

      Just because you're self-righteous doesn't mean you're not a hypocrite.

      by AMcG826 on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:31:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Drops across the board (0+ / 0-)

        Though not to major. After hours trading has Verizon down 2%. AT&T, on the other-hand, appeared to break even. I'm guessing this could have something to do with the veiled threat Qwest apparently received from the NSA. AT&T Investors probably (rightly) believe AT&T is ripe for more government contracts due to their compliance.

        According to USA Today, the NSA told Qwest that not sharing the phone records could compromise national security and affect its chances at landing classified contracts with the government, two issues that play a role in Nacchio's own legal woes.
        Why Qwest Hung Up On NSA

        "Well I object to all this sex on the television. I mean I keep falling off." - Monty Python's Flying Circus

        by isle2isle on Fri May 12, 2006 at 02:40:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  This poll is pure BS (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DaveV, Brooke In Seattle

    This poll was designed so that the media whores can repeat it over and over and over again.

    You do not take a poll and expect to get meaningful results before the American public has had time to process the information.

    Watch all the weekend media whores repeat that the public is A-OKAY with this.

  •  Poll: Double Win for Bush on NSA Phone Records (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DaveV

    A new poll from the Washington Post suggests that the President Bush may be winning a double victory with his illegal NSA domestic surveillance programs. Americans seem willing to buy the White House's "tough on terrorism" hype at the expense of the law and their own civil liberties. And as an added ironic bonus, the President gets another opportunity to decry leaks that supposedly jeopardize national security.

    For the dismal details, see:
    "Poll: Double Win for Bush on NSA Phone Records"

  •  I for one (0+ / 0-)

    don't have nearly as much problem with call logs being mined by NSA as I do with the warrantless wiretapping.  But I am very concerned with the lack of oversight and illegality of both of these programs.

    For us to win the PR war on this, it is not the time to make the case that these are overly intrusive measures.  Rather the issue is that noone outside of the executive has any idea what's going on, there is no oversight, and this is all clearly against the law. It will be a huge distraction from these points to make the argument now that call logs are too intrusive.

  •  Some Other 'Poll Questions' I'm Sure They'll Ask (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brooke In Seattle
    1. Would describe George W. Bush's war on terrorism as great, super-great, or mega-great?
    1. Do you believe in George W. Bush's view that we should go after terrorists, or in John Kerry's view that terrorists aren't a threat but would make terrific windsurfing partners?
    1. Which do you prefer?: a) The Government recording your phone calls; b) The Government reading your prviate e-mails; or c) You and your children dying in a nuclear blast from a terrorist bomb.
    1. Which word/phrase do you feel best describes the Democratic Party? a) weak; b) unpatriotic; c) America-hating; or d) terrorist-loving.
    1. Do you agree with George W. Bush's view that we should use any means necessary to fight terrorism, or with Osama Bin Laden's view that the United States should be obliterated and all our citizens should be forced to endure eternal hellfire?

    Let's hope these "questions" are asked, so we can get an "accurate view" of how the American people "feel" about "The War On Terror".

    I'm a man who discovered the wheel and built the Eiffel Tower out of metal and brawn -- Ron Burgundy

    by IndyScott on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:17:55 AM PDT

  •  What to say to conservatives (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AMcG826, ppr

    Just ask the conservative.

    So it's OK for the president to have a secret program to gather information, as long as the president deems it vital to national securty.

    So lets say Hillary Clinton gets elected president in 2008. She has a secret program to gather a database of all gun owners in the US.  You know this is her secret desire, and she has the balls to do it (most conservatives would believe this :)) She says this is a matter of national security. Is this OK ??  

    The precedence has been set if you don't stop it now.

  •  The same 2/3rds that can't find Iraq on a map n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  Throw in the word 'illegal' (0+ / 0-)

    to the question about spying and then see what happens to the poll results. I bet at a minimum they reverse.  Also, when are we ever going to get that "Do you support impeachment" poll?

  •  Let's see (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    AMcG826
    1. A phone poll.
    1. In a nation where the Govt is monitoring phone calls.
    1. Where the govt feels it can arrest people without evidence or judicial review.
    1. Where the govt feels it can extradite people to countries where they can be tortured without judicial review.

    Am I the only one who's surprised that only 2/3 approve of the govt's actions?

  •  Pennsylvanians (0+ / 0-)

    Be sure to vote for Bob Casey May 16th.  Casey is a lawyer, and he has no problem with the NSA eavesdropping -- so he agrees with 66% of the electorate!  He'll make a great leader, serving the wishes of the people.

    PS - I emailed the Casey campaign a few days ago and asked where Casey stood on the Hayden nomination (before the revelations of massive spying); Hello.  Bob?  I'm still waiting...

    PPS - Great list, Susan; if Casey wins the primary, best get him to read it.  Before Hillary gets him a fundraiser with Rupert, preferably.

    (jiacinto, DelawareDem, DemocraticLuntz, Kos, annarborblue, Atrios, et al -- let 'er rip! tell me again how wonderful the golden boy is)

    A Real Democrat for a Change Chuck Pennacchio http://www.chuck2006.com

    by mrbothy on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:22:10 AM PDT

  •  We Can't Educate During Campaigns (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    turquoise

    The best we can do are to frame well and to highlight unintended consequences the voters hadn't thought of.

    But from immigration to surveillance, we've got to recognize where the voters are and not paint ourselves into corners that require an unachievable short-term voter education program.

    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 Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:23:06 AM PDT

  •  Who ARE these fucking idiots???? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IndyScott

    Honest to god, what the hell is the matter with people??

    [Deep breath. Exhale.]

    No, I'm not any calmer.

    I am so sad that people in this country have become so stupid and uninformed. It's part of the plan of the dumbing down of America, and it's working like a charm.

    I am further saddened by the way the news media takes statistics, vomits out a bullshit "story" like this, and overnight it's conventional wisdom. I used to be a journalist. If I were forced to make a living that way these days, I swear I'd kill myself in shame.

    Knowing how easily the numbers can be manipulated, I always have to look askance at statistics. But logic tells me that a survey of screwy questions asked of only 500 people is NOT REPRESENTATIVE of our larger populaton -- I don't care what you say about statistics. It's bullshit, plain and simple. And the American people are falling for it once again.

    I am edging ever nearer to the northern border. I am terrified by my own country.

  •  Just imagine (0+ / 0-)

    The government would follow you around, everywhere you go, write down anyone you talk to in the street, the café, your home. It would monitor every mile you drive, every website you visit.

    Would you say: Oh it's ok, they are only taking down my SSN and my number plate, they are not "allowed" to file my name.

    A name they can get with a mouse click or a phone call if they want to.

    Oh they are not allowed to get your name without a warrant? Of course they never ever would think about breaking the law. Not even by using those very special... ummm... inherent powers as Commander in Chief, huh.

    Just trust them

    <div style="color: navy">"There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come."</div>

    by vanguardia on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:23:52 AM PDT

  •  Talk about ineffective (0+ / 0-)

    a friend of mine got a solicitation from GWB and the Republican Party a couple of months back.  She's a big progressive Dem, so she couldn't figure how she got on their list.  And these people think they know what to do with millions of records of phone calls????

    Just because you're self-righteous doesn't mean you're not a hypocrite.

    by AMcG826 on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:24:20 AM PDT

  •  I give up (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    matt2525, turquoise

    Flawed poll or no flawed poll, a certain number of Americans are willing to be under surveillance.

    I wanted to discuss talking points to convince them otherwise, but everyone wants to discuss poll methodology.

    So have at it. I'm off to get some work done.

    I'll try another talking points post in a few days, perhaps.

    •  I agree. We cannot deny that too many of our... (0+ / 0-)

      brethren are complicit in the myriad disasters of the Bush administration. What then must we do?

      Stephen Colbert's inspiring testicles notwithstanding, I don't relish the idea of discussing this with my Republican neighbors. I will though, and these concise points help immensely.

    •  Okay. (0+ / 0-)

      It seems to me the real hurdle is breaking the majority of their innate trust in government.  Sounds strange I know.  But on issues such as this, where there is a common interest (fighting the enemy), I think the public gives the Administration more credit than it is due given their track record.  Examples abound of how this Administration is proven inept.  From catching bin Laden to Katrina.  Regardless of where their heart is--and I say this as if I’m trying to convince people who remain ignorant of the uglier motives behind this Administration’s policies--they simply can’t be trusted to: (a) not screw it up; and (b) abide by the understanding the public imagines it’s consenting too.  

      Some other objections: http://bestofthefray.blogspot.com/...

      Anyway, this strikes me as one of those issues that most people need to think about before they realize what they’re agreeing to.

  •  Just listened to five minutes of Limbaugh... (0+ / 0-)

    trying to obfuscate this issue with a listener and darned if the listener didn't hold his ground--in a slow, pedantic way that totally frustrated Limbaugh--until Rush finally hung up on him.

    If Civil Libertarians of all ilk let this slip by without at least a figurative riot or two, I don't know what's become of this country.

  •  The Constitution is void (0+ / 0-)

    under this Administration.  Our constitution is what stands between us and tyranny.  That is what is wrong with Bush's brand of wire-tracking Americans.

    I am one of the many that belive that wire-tracking, if it leads to meaningful arrests, can be a good thing.  I am one of the many that belive that our constitution and the laws that it supports can be utilized to formulate the protocols and procedures to acheive those ends.  

    I am thoroughly convinced that Bush and his team are so illiterate, lazy and deluded by their sense of entitlement that they have no notion that they are paving the way for someone truly evil to terribly abuse the privileges they claim belong to the executive branch of our government.  Wire-tracking could be a good thing, but, like almost everything else, it is a bungled and costly mess when handled by the Bush team.

  •  Maybe what the poller said was 'NSA Polling Call' (0+ / 0-)

    ...but many people though they heard "NSA Calling!"

    That could account for the early ABC poll numbers.

  •  It might be illegal... (0+ / 0-)

    ...and in fact almost certainly is, but it's not unconstitutional. That is, this particular program based on case law, does not appear to violate the 4th Ammendmment, though it DOES violate numerous congressional statues. I.E. LAWS.

    So illegeal.
  •  They aren't A-Ok with being spied on (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    turquoise
    1. They are blissfully ignorant of the issue, having tuned out all the boooring political drone in order to save brain cells for TomKitten and American Idol.
    1. Less than 24 hours after the story broke most people haven't even heard the story.
    1. I suspect many who responded were responding to the "old news" about warrantless wiretapping of foreign calls - which many did feel was A-OK since it's just those "other" people affected.

    None of which negates the need to keep the story alive and point out the implications you list.

    By the way, I saw the GMA coverage which included the shocking results followed by some "person on the street" interviews that included a fair number of "it's not OK" responses. I didn't actually count, but they seemed disporportianately high compared to the poll numbers. I had a distinct sense of the anchors and reporters taking a "let's you and him fight" position (You know, when someone comes up and whispers "Helen in the cubicle down by the water cooler was telling everyone you dress like a slob" and then stands back to watch the fun)

    Practice absurdus interruptus - Support ePluribus Media.

    by Catte Nappe on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:31:30 AM PDT

  •  that we have to explain this (0+ / 0-)

    is sorta scary in itself.

    americans are used to govt's biggest annoyance being taxes. we are lucky.

    Those were good times, as far as we knew. --Colbert

    by AmericanHope on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:34:37 AM PDT

  •  What is more creepy ? (0+ / 0-)

    The faux poll designed quickly by the media to cover up this scandal? OR The awfull truth that every American is being data mined and trolled by Big brother?

    Bush's commets yesterday reminded me of Clinton's angry "I did NOT have sex with that women" moment.

    For Bush it is:

    I did NOT spy on innocent Americans !

    Yeah. Bullshit! Clinton did have oral sex with that women and Bush DID and IS SPYING on millions of  innocent American's.

    DO these asshats really think we are that GULLIABLE?  

  •  Maybe what we should do (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    steelman

    is answer every phone call with "Fuck George Bush, hello?"

    And insert "Fuck George Bush" into every email.

    "So yeah, I was thinking that we could go to the later movie, since i have to work FUCK GEORGE BUSH, and then we can just beat a quick dinner later."

    It would do nothing, obviously, but I think it's funny.

    "If more parents home disciplined [their kids] there would be fewer people I have to smack in public." --Wilzerd Balefire.

    by TheBlaz on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:37:43 AM PDT

  •  One More Thing (1+ / 0-)

    Since they have all the data, would the NSA mind telling us what reporters Karl Rove called between the time Joe Wilson wrote his New York Times op-ed and Valerie Plame's CIA cover was blown?

    I mean, this program is all about national security, right?

    There's a certain Special Prosecutor who might be interested. Could make his job considerably easier.

    I'm sure those fine, Christian patriots in the Bush White House -- who want nothing but our safety -- will be eager to comply with this request by the end of the day.

    I'm a man who discovered the wheel and built the Eiffel Tower out of metal and brawn -- Ron Burgundy

    by IndyScott on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:40:10 AM PDT

  •  Punchdrunk America Will Feel it Soon (0+ / 0-)

    Just take a deep breath, the American Public has been sucker punched so often by this administration that it will take awhile for the blow to be felt.

    It is like a punchdrunk boxer, who is reeling under a beating, and is not immediately aware of being hit.

    But the public will get it soon that this huge database was set up clandestinely, to recognize calling patterns of innocent U.S. citizens. When those patterns were thought to be suspicious, then the wiretaps would have been conducted.

    Were the wiretaps legal, with court approval?  Of course not, because the NSA has already told Qwest that they couldnt get court approval for this program, thats why Qwest denied their request.

    Who are the victims of any subsequent illegal wiretaps?  Those aiding the terrorists.

    And we have heard many frontmen from the Bush administration tell us that dissenters are aiding the terrorists.

    Yup, the logical conclusion is that this database was set up to identify dissenters to wiretap on the pretext that they are terrorists.

  •  Lets give away all our rights.... (1+ / 0-)

    so we can recieve New Orleans quality protection.

    can we impeach him now? how about now? what about now? I hated george bush before it was cool.

    by dehrha02 on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:42:51 AM PDT

  •  you forgot one. (0+ / 0-)
    1. Let's say that the brainiacs in the NSA were able to glean something out of a massive database with the calling records of millions of Americans that have no connection to terrorism.  Less we all forget - even when confronted with overwhelming evidence of a plot ("Bin Landen Determined to Strike in U.S."), the Bush administration chose to ignore the warnings.  So all of a sudden that same administration is willing to drop everything on a hunch built from calling patterns?  

    None of this adds up.

  •  IT Perspective and Defense Tech Picture (0+ / 0-)

    The defensetech link asks which is a corporation and which is Al Qaeda. My question is, how in the world would we know?

    How do we know how terror cells scale to a grid without a labeled data model? Both models on defensetech.org could very easily be a fortune 500 companies, because you’re talking about the difference between a "hub-and-spoke network" and a "cluster network."

    We assume terrorist networks are hub and spoke, but is that a wise assumption? It is certainly possible they use cluster networks instead.

    But that isn't really the point either. If the data gathered is a phone number, and your monitoring traffic in and out of a specific number, or say 300 million specific numbers, the question is whether it useful, and whether it is intrusive?

    Well in IT, nearly every large corporation that emphasizes security, particularly financial institutions, do exactly that daily in network security.  

    If say a down level administrator identifies a single node in the network infected by malware, we can retrieve data already logged from one of our network sniffers to inspect what the potential exposure was, and to whom that exposure occurred. The data recorded gives us the IP addresses of other systems involved in the infection, and thus begins the containment to a potential problem.

    Replace IP addresses with phone numbers, replace the downlevel administrator with a FBI agent, and replace malware with terrorism and I can see how this would be very useful in an investigation. I also don't see how this violates privacy if all they are collecting is phone numbers, which I believe would be correct, since in most IT organizations IP address, port, and maybe protocol is all that is collected on a network.

    If you think about it from an IT perspective, this isn't even as intrusive as most web based marketing applications, which actually profiles you by name, IP address, email address, where you have been, what you like, etc... all of which is legal.

    From an IT perspective, this program looks smart, not stupid. People can make a big deal over this if they want, but bottom line, the other NSA program where they actually listen to calls troubles me a lot more than this one, which seems to be not only the legal approach, but the smart one as well.

  •  John at Americablog strikes again: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DaveV, turquoise

  •  This is what I think people said.... (0+ / 0-)

    Two-thirds of those polled are not worried for themselves, personally, as they have nothing to hide and are unable to extend the implications beyond the content of their own calls.

    The one-third reporting an objection are, however, capable of seeing the larger implication and impact on their constitutional right to privacy.

    "Bureaucracy defends the status quo long past the time when the quo has lost its status." --LJ Peter (-8.25/-7.18)

    by Hells Bells on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:47:36 AM PDT

  •  2/3rds say get rid of Bush - act on both! (0+ / 0-)

    Even if it is true that 2/3rds of Americans are ok with the NSA domestic calling database - which I find hard to fathom - this does not give the administration a cart blanc to continue with this absurd exercise in privacy invasion.  

    For all of those who use this logic to say Congress should not look into this encroachment, I say great - let's impeach Bush now using the same logic since 2/3rds of Americans are unhappy with him.

  •  Swing voter on general issue; agree 100% (0+ / 0-)

    I'm really open to the theoretical argument that, under certain extreme conditions, with certain extremely tight safeguards, the government might have a reason to analyze overall calling patterns, or, for example, to analyze domestic calling patterns of apparently innocent U.S. people who spend a lot of time talking to Osama bin Laden's college roommates.

    I'm not saying that I'd agree with these arguments. I would take Armando's objections, for example, extremely seriously. But at least I'd listen to the arguments.

    I'm also open to the argument that maybe it would be fair to have the phone companies set up some kind of automated system to look for phone-based criminal activity, such as illegal telemarketing operations.

    But, with respect to this particular NSA operation, SusanG is just inarguably right. I think that we really have to look hard at the motives of any Democrat who supports the Bush administration with respect to this program. It seems highly likely that any high-level Democrats who publicly back the NSA program may be being bribed or threatened by the Bush Rovies.

  •  The fact is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    turquoise
    We have a President that was installed by a few rich people and a lot of brain washed, are better yet brain dead people and a lot of Religious cult people The rich and Cult leaders wanted someone dumb enough to do their biding. So we now have a leader who was a drop out in life that thinks He is smart because mommy and daddy got him a few collage degrees The study determined the following IQs of each president as accurate to within five percentage points: A IQ 085 is where retardation begins  

    147 Franklin D. Roosevelt (D)
    132 Harry Truman (D)
    122 Dwight D. Eisenhower (R)
    174 John F. Kennedy (D)
    126 Lyndon B. Johnson (D)
    155 Richard M. Nixon (R)
    121 Gerald Ford (R)
    175 James E. Carter (D)
    105 Ronald Reagan (R)
    098 George HW Bush (R)
    182 William J. Clinton (D)
    091 George W. Bush (R)
     

    - If dumb was light Bush would be brighter than the sun Walk through VA Cemetery tour a VA hospital then say you are over taxed

    by roxnev on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:53:11 AM PDT

    •  Oh how I wish this were true. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DaveV

      However, I'm sorry to say you've been duped by your e-mail inbox. This is an urban legend of the first order and doesn't deserve a place in this or any serious discussion.

      Sorry to seem cranky, but I depend on the information I get here at dkos and expect everyone to be scrupulous about what gets posted.

  •  The poll numbers (0+ / 0-)
    flip-flopped over night. Yesterday when the story hit a local newscast presented a poll to watchers...65% responded they thought it was illegal and an invasion of their privacy. (I'm trying to find a link.)

    So, I was quite surprised to see ABC's poll this morning showing the exact opposite. It has to be the way/what of the question asked.  

    When the character of a man is not clear to you, look at his friends. Japanese Proverb

    by Esjaydee on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:53:13 AM PDT

  •  Can you say corruption.... until we expose them.. (0+ / 0-)

    Beside blackmail from republicans and NSA, they have had their corrupt dirty fingers on the phone lines, and airwaves in the last two elections that have machines and information pertaining to results from elections...Can you say corruption....

  •  NICE JOB SUSAN (0+ / 0-)

    all caps for emphasis. These points are dead on!

    Will our elected representatives use them?

    Nah, probably not, as they did not come from an overpaid, out of touch political consultant.

  •  Here's a judicial ruling (0+ / 0-)

    to be aware of: According to this judicial ruling it's legal to monitor emails UNDER the Patriot Act.

    I found this story through What Really Happened.com

    "Let us not be conservative with compassion. Be generous with compassion."

    by ilyana on Fri May 12, 2006 at 11:01:37 AM PDT

  •  Americans are a lost cause (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    steelman

    When polled, 18% of the country think the sun revolves around the earth.

    Get used to it. We live in a land full of 250lb. drooling simps who are going to let this country fall apart at the seams before they actually start paying attention. Even then, they will only "get it" if "it" is prepackaged in reality tv format. There is no such thing as long view any more. Get used to it.

  •  political Corruption is the real terrorism (0+ / 0-)

    Whle we are at it..why not surveil every Congressman to find out what they are doing?

    1.  We can get instant information on any wrongdoing they are doing.  You'll get a quick investigation without all those 'quaint' warrants.  It'll save the taxpayers huge money in legal costs and court times
    1.  Once they have found out, they'll certainly be less apt to do any wrongdoing.
    1.  It would make for a great reality show.  You could have a channel for each one.  Round the clock surveilance.  Here's the slogan.  'You watch...you decide"

    I think with the American Constitution and America threatened by these assclowns, it's a solution that's time has come.  

  •  Call AT&T (0+ / 0-)

    Call AT&T executive offices at 800 222 0400 and ask them why they've violated their privacy commitment to you.  Hear an amusing explanation of the secret laws that take precedence over our country's actual known laws.

  •  Who has Pat Roberts been calling??? (0+ / 0-)

    If we could find out the blackmail information that the administration appears to have to keep Pat Roberts in line, we could reveal it and get the Senator out of his position where he is obstructing American democracy and values from being upheld.

    If Pat Roberts was at all patriotic he would just confess his sins, resign, and hope that some other Senators can help get our country back from this administration.

  •  Here I go (0+ / 0-)

    being the devil's advocate again! But my understanding, to the extent that the practically incoherent Administration has explained it, is that the NSA technology is not like one imagines wiretapping in some film noir scene. No one at the NSA is sitting with earphones listening in on some guy explaining how his friend, Al Kay, bombed at the Company meeting, and then sending the FBI out to his house. The way I undertsand it is that the NSA uses computers to sift through patterns of calls that have certain characteristics. So one might be interested in calls that originate at a US number and go to a number in Marseilles, but only flag it for follow-up if those numbers behave in some other linked activity that suggests some kind of network. Of course, there would, I guess, have to be other filters at work on top of that kind of initial screen. For example, if two numbers are part of a coporate entity, you might guess that these are just business transactions. So I think that data-mining is a more appropriate term than wire-tapping. I don't really have too much of a problem with that kind of screening, IF THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE DOING, simply because it does not acquire specific information about an individual citizen. Used well, this kind of screening could be a very useful tool against terrorists, to the extent they exist, and perhaps oranized crime that actually does exist.

    The problem comes, I think, at the next level, when actual phone calls are being listened to within the USA. Since the number has been flagged, then a FISA warrant is a pretty simple thing, and fast. So, it seems to me that this ultimately not so much about what the NSA is doing on the front end as what is being done at the secondary level when specific action is being directed at an individual.

    Please do not construe these musings as betraying any hint of sympathy for Bushco on this or any other issue.

    Walking. It's the new driving.

    by Batfish on Fri May 12, 2006 at 11:15:02 AM PDT

  •  I don't Know About these Results... (0+ / 0-)

    I just Finished reading All The President's Men and there is a mention of poll manipulation by CRP. I think that with this party's history in Florida and Ohio I don't think that is too ridiculous of an idea.

  •  how many times do you have to say (0+ / 0-)

    al'quada in a conversation for them to REALLY start listening? Or how about Bush sucks?

  •  People should be taught from an early age... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    barefoot mailman

    the history of oppresive rule in this world.  That the very nature of the American experiment was to take the shackles of the powerless and put them onto the government's hands.  
    Every American should know what happens when people in power reach for more, and take steps to clamp down on their own people.  The fact that 29% of our populace think that this is a unique situation in world history is shameful.

  •  This poll creeps me out (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SallyCat, nbcouch

    In the same way that Bush winning (yeah, right) the election creep'd me out.
    People are fucking stupid and gullible.
    This is Bush we're talking about, and he's not to be trusted under any circumstances.

    "Rapturists. Suicide bombers. What's the diff?" Plato

    by steelman on Fri May 12, 2006 at 11:17:56 AM PDT

  •  This is great! Thanks for putting it together! (0+ / 0-)

    People here are so f'ing smart!!! :+)

    (-8.88/-7.64) Feingold in '08 | "I drink from the keg of glory, Donna. Bring me the finest muffins and bagels in all the land!"

    by Joshua Lyman on Fri May 12, 2006 at 11:19:48 AM PDT

  •  on point 10 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    turquoise

    Its not just un-American, but isn't this the kind of thing the Soviets were doing to its citizens?

    REPUBLICANES EUNT DOMUS

    by PanzerMensch on Fri May 12, 2006 at 11:20:11 AM PDT

  •  There must be alot of people without (0+ / 0-)

    TV or news radio out there in LaLa Land.

  •  nice top 5 but others are well, not so great (0+ / 0-)

    the first 5 reasons i would totally feel good about letting people know as reasons why this is a very very bad thing. however after that you are just making stuff up that may or may not be true. its all speculation... especially point #8

    i can't even begin to imagine the size of the database if all it included were phone numbers dates and times of most americans phone calls over the last 5 years. It would be huge. enormous. no need to toss in this other data to make it fit the description...

    anyways the first 5 are right on and totally valid points... moving past that is just going to make you sound like a paranoid conspiracy theorist when trying to convince someone their rights might be being violated.

  •  This post helped inspire my post today. (0+ / 0-)

    Call to ACTION: Bush Wants In Your Bedroom

    If you all get a chance, head over and see why I think that we all need to be acting on this issue on a personal level NOW.

  •  It's time for a member of Congress with guts, (0+ / 0-)

    assuming there is one, to give us American people a full accounting of what is going on in these programs.  I'm tired of the kabuki of demanding special counsel investigations, or hand-wringing about how the Democrats don't have subpoena power.  A number of Democrats have, presumably, been briefed on all or most of this.  They should tell us what they know, and they have nothing to fear from doing so.  The U.S. Constitution specifically states that members of Congress can say any damn thing they want to during a Congressional debate or speech, without any legal penalty:

    Article II, Section. 6, Clause 1: The Senators and Representatives shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States. (See Note 6) They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, beprivileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.  

  •  They probably conducted the 'poll' in Crawford TX (0+ / 0-)

    Read the details on that "poll".  It's a load of crap.  We don't know who did the polling, where they polled, what the criteria was, what questions they asked -the whole point of the "poll" was simply to produce that kind of headline on Drudge.  That's it.  That's ALL it is.  

  •  Point 1, it's inefficient, is a losing argument (0+ / 0-)

    do not go there.

    I am creeped out by the NSA, but I believe that
    it is very likely that soon (or now) the NSA will have methods capable of finding needles in very large haystacks. A poweful argument can be made that if you never throw out any hay you won't lose any needles.

    Most people do not have a problem with an invasion of privacy if that privacy is invaded in the name of safety. The problem is that in order to look for patterns that are associated with terrorists, the NSA now has data which contains countless other powerful patterns that have nothing to do with terrorism, but which nonetheless could be uncovered using similar algorithms. This is kind of data is very powerful and would almost certainly be abused.

    The best way to argue against this program is to focus on the ways in which the data can be misused, and the inevitability that it (eventually) will be.

  •  Can somebody please tell Chuck Hagel who said: (0+ / 0-)

    "Everything that the agency has done has been lawful," he said. "It's been briefed to the appropriate members of Congress."

    Illegal actions do not turn legal because you tell somebody about them.

    <div style="color: navy">"There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come."</div>

    by vanguardia on Fri May 12, 2006 at 11:31:19 AM PDT

  •  Two important talking points (0+ / 0-)
    1. The data mining will be done by computer programs, and computer programs, like their flawed human makers, are imperfect.  The data mining will turn up lists of names, and we're counting on this computer programs to generate good lists.  Scary.
    1.  What if a "terrorist" calls your phone by accident.. miss-dials you?  Suddenly you are within the scope of all of these programs.
  •  another example.... (0+ / 0-)

    of how astounded I am at the level of ignorance in this country. Again, I strongly believe this issue is being framed incorrectly. Dems need to make it so the "average" person can understand how they are being intruded upon ILLEGALLY. Come on think tanks. You better start figuring this out because the slope can't get much slicker than this.

  •  Shrivel Liberties (0+ / 0-)

    A CNN poll is asking, "Do you mind if the government monitors domestic telephone call records" neglects the main point.  And other outlets seem to be asking taking that angle, too.  The questions they should be asking are:

    "Do you mind if the President lies to you about the extent of government surveillance?"

    "Do you mind if the government breaks the law to obtain telephone call records?"

    "Would you mind if the Constitution is interpreted to permit all searches of this nature?"

    "Do you mind if your telephone company violates its privacy policy?"

    There is no such thing as a secret civil liberty; understanding our civil liberties is the first step in enjoying them.  Otherwise, they are "Shrivel Liberties."  The President claims that informing Americans about the meaningful erosion of our presumed liberties is a danger to national security.  Even in the unlikely event that his claim is true, forgoing that security is the price we pay to live in the free America we sing about, and teach our children about.

  •  So who decides what records get investigated (0+ / 0-)

    The Rethug mob , that's who.

    So anything that smacks of disagreeing with Rethugs gets flagged. And someone up thread mentioned that phone numbers is all they have yet admitted to. It likely applies to emails , blogs, instant messages, etc.

    You can be damn sure DKos is on the watch list.

    All-Ky-Da doesn't scare me. Bush and the Rethug Mob scare me.

    by CitizenOfEarth on Fri May 12, 2006 at 12:49:05 PM PDT

  •  Did The NSA Pick Up O'Reilly's Loofah Calls? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JohnB47

    Think about it: There's a fun new source of income for the Boys In The Back Room -- filtering all that data from telephone or internet communications for use as leverage in extortion and blackmail.

    I mean, really think about it: The pack of sociopaths and child molestors running the country believe that torture is okay.  And legal.  They also agree with Chimp that anything which dribbles out of his mouth carries the weight and force of law. Further, the Constitution is (let me quote the Great Leader and Teacher) "just a piece of fuckin' paper."  

    Lying to get what they want is good and okay. Lying to cover up the fact that they lied to get what they want is double-plus-good okay. Having thousands of people killed to get what they, or their pals, want is "A-OK!".

    If they're willing to do these things under cover of the War On Terra -- do you really believe all this information, gathered in a process that was illegal until Chimp said it wasn't, won't be mined for political advantage or personal gain?  

    Remember Hoover's private files, his own database kept from the 1920's until his death in the early 70's? He was a Guardian of American values, too.  He believed we were at war (with Communisim), too. And he used the information he had gathered for personal gain, too.

    And these sociopathic fundimentalist things will, too.

    Ia! Ia! Chtulu Fhtagn! (Chtulu says: Give me extra cheese, or I'll wrap my tentacles around your head and suck out your eyeballs.)

    by Nominal Chtulu on Fri May 12, 2006 at 12:50:21 PM PDT

  •  FOIA Requests (0+ / 0-)

    Hope you don't mind some input from a first time poster. This has, of course, made me incredibly angry and frustrated. My first thought was to submit a Freedom of Information Act Request (FOIA) request to request any information obtained about me from this program. Of course they would claim exemption on grounds of national security but they would have to go through some mandatory hoops.  But what if everyone concerned and angry about this filed a similar request?  It would certainly be a better guage than some of these polls claiming no one cares.
    For what it is worth you can file a FOIA request by mail, fax, or online to:
    • By postal service or other commercial delivery to:
    National Security Agency
    Attn: FOIA/PA Office (DC34)
    9800 Savage Road, Suite 6248
    Ft. George G. Meade, MD 20755-6248
    • By facsimile to 443-479-3612
    FOIA requests submitted by facsimile are limited to 20 pages and should be marked to the attention of the FOIA/PA Office.
    http://www.defenselink.mil/...

    So - hope my first post doesn't drive anyone nuts or isn't a duplicate of someone else's suggestion (haven't read every comment yet).

  •  It can't work for the described intent (0+ / 0-)

    It makes much more sense that they are monitoring regular citizens because they are collecting and using data on and against regular citizens.

    To Quote Milhouse VanHouten:
    "Why did I have the bowl, Bart? Why did I have the bowl?"

    If an undocumented immigrant dies in our military, fighting our wars, may we sing the National anthem in another language at his or her funeral?

    by mungley on Fri May 12, 2006 at 02:17:04 PM PDT

  •  RW Political, Criminal Motivated Identity Theft (0+ / 0-)

    many green, yellow, blue and now purple dogs are a majority.

    by Prove Our Democracy with Paper Ballots on Fri May 12, 2006 at 02:18:33 PM PDT

  •  Poll stinks to high heaven (0+ / 0-)

      Yesterday I saw the ABC news and heard the report by Brian Ross, and right away he mentioned that the program was probably legal.( How did he learn so fast.) He is a reporter that usually breaks new ground with his reporting, but I began to smell the rat when I heard him almost apologizing for the administration.  Next comes political analysis from that weasel yes man George Stephanopolus and he too said it was probably legal. He seemed to be a little scared in his presenation. It is the kind of fear that comes from having to sell your integrity in order to appease the management.  Anybody notice George bush say we are not trolling on his speech hours after the Usa Today news? He was downright scared and spooked,(excuse the pun) as he tried to defend the program. He cannot be trusted  anymore.  Then the poll today, ABC/washington Post poll. The loudest voices against bloggers has come from the Washington Post, because the Washington Post has its fair share of blogger outrage storms at reporting or from editorials that have proven to be wrong. And then, you have the hiring of a right wing plagarist. This is payback. Give false numbers on your poll showing false approval for the illegal spying and get rid of your new competition . The big telephone companies will escape any real scrutiny and therefore qualify to take over the internet.
    ( bloggers). Abc already tilts right and the Washington Post has already fallen right. They are both so far off balance from any truth telling objective news reporting, it is a wonder we can only guess what the truth is. Even the Congress has no idea what is going on but the reporters have first hand inside information or is it all a scam. Today, the order of the day is for the truth to become corrupted for the sake of protecting one's profitable interests. I can only speculate but I have a sneaking suspicion that something dirty is going on behind the scenes.

  •  Number 7 intrigued me (0+ / 0-)

    Think they have a record of all the calls made to and from that limo service the Dukester used. Maybe we can get some answers.   No....

  •  CNN: Should the NSA look look at phone records? (0+ / 0-)

    CNN has a story posted on it's website surveying Americans response to the NSA story. I emailed the following letter in response:

    Those who would comment that "I have nothing to hide so what do I have to fear? " in regards to illegal government surveillance ought to remember that the abuses of govenment power most often sweep up and injure the innocent. Were the Japanese Americans interned during World War Two guilty of anything? What about the lives destroyed during the anti communist hysteria in the McCarthy era? Who is deemed a threat and worthy of monitoring is often a political decision and not one of legality. Political winds shift and what is an innocent activity one day can be deemed subversive the next. That is why the Constitution of the United States provides protection of  its citizens from unwarrented governmental intrusion: Amendment IV

    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    Those who do not cry out in outrage at this violation of our most treasured freedoms do not truly understand the principles that this country is founded upon. We forget this at the risk of losing all of our freedoms.

    When they call the roll in the Senate, the Senators do not know whether to answer 'Present' or 'Not guilty.' - Theodore Roosevelt

    by acupunk on Fri May 12, 2006 at 04:27:20 PM PDT

  •  This is what happens (0+ / 0-)

    when people stop giving a damn about anything.

    This is what happens when we get too self-absorbed, too trusting, too ignorant as a nation.  The average person needs to stand up and tell this administration and the Republican leadership to go Cheney themselves, and vote every last one of them out of office.

    This is also why a GOTV operation is crucial, because Republicans know if they don't cheat, they'll get killed.

    There is hardly a political question in the United States which does not sooner or later turn into a judicial one. -5.25, -4.67

    by wolverinethad on Fri May 12, 2006 at 10:51:50 PM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site