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Remember last year when we were working so hard against the FISAAA? Remember how the progressive blogosphere and a too small minority of Democrats in Congress argued that this legislation gave away far too many critical civil liberty protections?

Well, guess what:

WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency intercepted private e-mail messages and phone calls of Americans in recent months on a scale that went beyond the broad legal limits established by Congress last year, government officials said in recent interviews.

Several intelligence officials, as well as lawyers briefed about the matter, said the N.S.A. had been engaged in "overcollection" of domestic communications of Americans. They described the practice as significant and systemic, although one official said it was believed to have been unintentional....

The Justice Department, in response to inquiries from The New York Times, acknowledged Wednesday night that there had been problems with the N.S.A. surveillance operation, but said they had been resolved.

Yeah, right. Unintentional. All the problems resolved. And I've got a bridge to sell you.

The intelligence officials said the problems had grown out of changes enacted by Congress last July in the law that regulates the government’s wiretapping powers, and the challenges posed by enacting a new framework for collecting intelligence on terrorism and spying suspects.

While the N.S.A.’s operations in recent months have come under examination, new details are also emerging about earlier domestic-surveillance activities, including the agency’s attempt to wiretap a member of Congress, without court approval, on an overseas trip, current and former intelligence officials said....

Notified of the problems by the N.S.A., officials with both the House and Senate intelligence committees said they had concerns that the agency had ignored civil liberties safeguards built into last year’s wiretapping law. "We have received notice of a serious issue involving the N.S.A., and we’ve begun inquiries into it," a Congressional staff member said.

Separate from the new inquiries, the Justice Department has for more than two years been investigating aspects of the N.S.A.’s wiretapping program.

As part of that investigation, a senior F.B.I. agent recently came forward with what the inspector general’s office described as accusations of "significant misconduct" in the surveillance program, people with knowledge of the investigation said. Those accusations are said to involve whether the N.S.A. made Americans targets in eavesdropping operations based on insufficient evidence tying them to terrorism.

And in one previously undisclosed episode, the N.S.A. tried to wiretap a member of Congress without a warrant, an intelligence official with direct knowledge of the matter said....

The official said the plan was ultimately blocked because of concerns from some intelligence officials about using the N.S.A., without court oversight, to spy on a member of Congress.

Spencer traces down the 27 possible members who could have been the target of the NSA.

As both Digby and Glenn point out, it's hard to be too surprised by this. But a lot of us are getting awfully sick of playing the "I told you so" game. But, hey, at least these revelations mean that the Senate Intelligence Committee will investigate the NSA on warrantless wiretapping, something that they didn't manage to accomplish previously.

The program needs to be shut down. That's what President Obama can do. And the FISAAA legislation that he and so many other Democrats capitulated on last year, telling us not to worry, that they were looking out for our best interests, that needs to go, too.

Update: Much more background in Magnifico's diary.

Update II: Greg reminds us of when we were all called loony nutjobs by Republicans for imagining that this was precisely what was happening.

Here, for instance, is Senator Kit Bond in June 2008, denouncing Senate Dems sounding the alarm as explicitly motivated by a desire to help foreign terrorists:

"It’s disappointing that as Americans across the country celebrate our Independence Day, some in the Senate are willing to gamble with their security in order to protect foreign terrorists in foreign countries.”

Meanwhile, Josh Orton digs up video of Senator Orrin Hatch at around the same time, denouncing those raising concerns about wiretapping as outright lunatics:

“Painting this type of picture only feeds the delusions of those who wear tin foil hats around their house and think that 9/11 was an inside job.”

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 10:38 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Dark City Rules!!!! n/t (7+ / 0-)

    "Stay close to the candles....the staircase can be treacherous" (-8.38,-8.51)

    by JNEREBEL on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 10:40:08 AM PDT

  •  The abuses of this group are far to much to (14+ / 0-)

    be swept aside.  They need to clean house and start from the beginning.

    'Media' is the plural for 'mediocre'. - Rene Saguisag

    by funluvn1 on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 10:40:18 AM PDT

    •  Getting fed up (4+ / 0-)

      with being told the same old same old is now, somehow, okay.

      •  Too Much money! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ATT gets load of free cash spying on people, paid by tax money. And ATT is paying Feinstein. (She has to be removed. She has her finger in all major cases. Telcos, military contracts, weapons, bechtel, etc. She is bad news)

        The entire thing is gigantic scam.

        Then there are hardware vendor, security contractors, suppliers, etc. We are talking about massive amount of money. Why stop the party now when the going is so good.

        This is Total Information Awareness program. backed by Negroponte, Cheney and gang.

        They think people doesn't know they are spying and can keep it a secret. Everybody knows.

        •  Help Update wiki (0+ / 0-)

          NSA warrantless surveillance controversy

          (help keep track of detail information, and also watch who is erasing/trying to hide things from the public)


          so far we know (with smoking gun doc) they are spying on:

          1. congress person
          2. press
          3. US diplomats (who bolton didn't like)
          4. Lawyers (Oregon case, all case against Bush)
          5. Peace activists (expect major class action lawsuit)
          6. everybody's phone, email, bank transaction, anything digital, on fiber optic and airwave)
          7. Major pro bush corporations court cases. Did Bush use spying to help court cases?
          8. Who authorize illegal TIA, and how they hide it?
          9. Who receives majority of the money, information products. ( we know they can do whatever they want without legal restrain)

          Big questions:

          Did Bush spied on Kerry campaign?
          Did the spying product shared with other country intelligence service (Israel, Italy, UK)
          Did the product illegally being used to "rig" the market?
          Did spying occurs against political rival, that causes election to tilt
          Did, spying occur on court cases? (tainted jsutice)

    •  Congress (15+ / 0-)

      Why is the unconstitutional wiretapping of a member of Congress worse that the unconstitutional wiretapping of any other American?

    •  Take a DEEP breath... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I decided to comment here because I want this to be read early in the thread.  I would like to make a couple of suggestions:

      1.  Everyone needs to slow down on this
      1.  We probably shouldn't dig into this too deeply
      1.  There are probably strigent requirements for this activity
      1.  99.9% of the information probably isn't useful to any one/agency
      1.  If I had to guess, the information collected is not the problem; who has access to it is
      1.  I've said enough...

      I will say that for a paint job on a car to be good, all of the old paint and some metel will have to be removed

      •  hahahahaha! (9+ / 0-)

        "3. There are probably strigent requirements for this activity"

        Good one.

      •  If 99.9% of something is useful to (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        milton333, buhdydharma

        no-one, then collecting it is a problem, even if we're talking about a landfill.

        There's been a lot of useless collecting lately.  Just think of all those CDO's and other "novel products" collected by the Wall Street brokers.  Useless!

        Why is it a problem?  Because it takes time, a limited resource in all our lives, and every minute wasted can't be retrieved.  We've already spent a decade of the 21st century accomplishing nothing and going nowhere.

        How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

        by hannah on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 11:23:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Good Point... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          however, one may have to look through the entire haystack to find that one, pesky poisoned needle...

          •  Hard to do when there's no haystack and (0+ / 0-)

            no evidence of a needle.

            The thought process being followed seems to be that if you build a haystack, there's bound to be a needle.  You know, sort of like "if you build it, they will come."  It's all wishful thinking and the time sequence is reversed.

            Given the number of former "intelligence" experts who've gone into the electronic surveillance business, it's my considered opinion that much of the emphasis on collecting and assessing electronic data is driven by an interest in generating more industry traffic.  They've gotten contracts for system upon system, none of which communicate or work as promised.  I think the Justice Department has gone through at least three complete revisions.  The latest scheme is to rely on photographic imaging of documents to make them all compatible.  Then the security coding will probably make them incompatible again.
            Remember Duke Cunningham's friend Wilkes' scam to re-program the Panama invasion document collection that the Pentagon said had already been digitized and cataloged to their satisfaction?
            There's a whole cadre of Wilkes'--sort of a companion piece to the generals who "consult" for military hardware companies.  Software and electronics are a lot more profitable 'cause they keep having to be replaced.  The climate plays havoc with electronics.  

            Maybe that's why so many people don't want to hear about climate change?  What's it going to do to the dream of dominance via electronic monitoring and controls?

            How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

            by hannah on Fri Apr 17, 2009 at 02:26:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  A deep breath we are neck deep in shit (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        With due respect I think standing by and taking deep breaths is the last thing we need to do.

        Separate from the new inquiries, the Justice Department has for more than two years been investigating aspects of the N.S.A.’s wiretapping program.

        As part of that investigation, a senior F.B.I. agent recently came forward with what the inspector general’s office described as accusations of "significant misconduct" in the surveillance program, people with knowledge of the investigation said. Those accusations are said to involve whether the N.S.A. made Americans targets in eavesdropping operations based on insufficient evidence tying them to terrorism.

        And in one previously undisclosed episode, the N.S.A. tried to wiretap a member of Congress without a warrant, an intelligence official with direct knowledge of the matter said....

        The official said the plan was ultimately blocked because of concerns from some intelligence officials about using the N.S.A., without court oversight, to spy on a member of Congress.

        We have been taking deep breaths for years under Republican rule. When they were in the majority for years look what happened. Torture, illegal wiretaps, wars, black helmeted police to stop legal protests. They tried to tear up our Constitution and Bill of Rights. We need to let that breath out in long screams of action. The NSA, the Republicans have acted against our interests.

        We should be mad as hell and should work together so we do not have to allow our liberty and rights to be thrown out in the name of a so called war on terror. Senators, write the President, speak up demand the end to Bush adminstration laws. We are Americans, we have rights and obligation to protect and fight anyone or any agency who works to take them away.

      •  Not to mention (0+ / 0-)

        The Private sector has the data anyway. The government just cant legally use it. though crooks can. I think you getting as crazy with this as republicans and guns.

  •  I'd rather look forward (6+ / 0-)


    (-7.0, -6.4) "I said, 'Wait a minute, Chester, you know I'm a peaceful man.'" Robbie Robertson

    by NearlyNormal on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 10:41:46 AM PDT

  •  Seconded (7+ / 0-)

    Shut it down.  Permanently.  

    Hey Pelosi, want to help your ratings?  Ban domestic surveillance of citizens...reinforce the 4th Amendment with statutory language.  

    "Seeing every side of the argument causes paralysis." - (paraphrased - Abbie Hoffman).

    by angry liberaltarian on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 10:41:54 AM PDT

  •  Pick the one furthest to the left (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda, Minerva, hardtoport

    and you should stand a good chance of getting it right.  My guess would be George Miller.

  •  For someone (15+ / 0-)

    who was absolutely, completely, and inarguably right about this all along, I do grow weary of pointing this out.

    Are you on the Wreck List? Horde on Garrosh.

    by Moody Loner on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 10:42:47 AM PDT

    Recommended by:
    TomP, CityLightsLover
    •  not gonna happen (0+ / 0-)

      This is "software and database" hooked up to public infrastructure,

      They can hide and run the program anywhere in the world. Computing power is so cheap. Think of it like deep computer virus in the system. You can't get rid of spying software.

      The only way is to know how it works so we can avoid it. (eg. not the technical aspect, but the Political-secret organization-military contractor nexus.)  Obviously this program is sustained by huge amount of money and political backing.

      •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

        There are at least a couple of collection points on the west coast (for Asia), at least a couple on the east coast (Europe and Africa), and at least one in Florida (South America).  The Mexicans have similar capabilities, which we probably paid for, and probably give us a copy all of their stuff, as probably do the Brits.  We probably also have a deal with India to get a copy of everything that they have.  (I don't know that India does copying off of the cable that they are on, but they are on the east end of the cable network that includes the Middle East countries.  Draw your own conclusions about the possible side deals to the US-India nuclear deal.)  BTW, the Chinese use the same hardware and software for the "Chinese Firewall."  The hardware is American built, but the software comes from an Israeli company.

  •  Expected blue dog response to your post (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mcjoan, cybersaur

    How much you want for that bridge?

    We must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

    by Minerva on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 10:43:46 AM PDT

  •  overcollection (9+ / 0-)

    So that's what they call spying these days.

    Aslo - "concerns" - almost makes you laugh if you could laugh while being outraged.

    because of concerns from some intelligence officials about using the N.S.A., without court oversight, to spy on a member of Congress.

  •  I would love to leave my office (9+ / 0-)

    door open when I leave the house. But I know that if I do, when I return my 4 month old Yorkie will have gone in there and the damage would be:

    significant and systemic, although one official said it was believed to have been unintentional....

    If we leave the cookie jar open, someone will take the cookies. Period. It is a given.

    "I haz thinkz, therefore I is."

    by Rumarhazzit on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 10:44:47 AM PDT

  •  Richard Nixon would have loved these powers (9+ / 0-)

    which should tell us all we need to know about them.

    I'm a progressive conservative: no tea-bagging outside of gay marriage!

    by Bobs Telecaster on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 10:45:29 AM PDT

  •  Couldn't agree more. Mcjoan. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cybersaur, Krush, hardtoport, RenMin

    Shut it all down.  Reminds me of the Watergate scandal - what we did know led to all kinds of speculation and fear about what we did not know.

    Hey, Republicans, the whole world is watching.

    by TAH from SLC on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 10:45:32 AM PDT

  •  Obama betrayed us on this issue (8+ / 0-)

    when he reneged on his promise to support a FISA filibuster.

    He - and Congress - have a chance to redeem themselves.


  •  My bet would be on the CODEL with the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RenMin, CityLightsLover

    fewest R's after their names!  The one led by Nancy Pelosi was probably the target of the NSA.

  •  So our fate rests in the hands of (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, fromer, hardtoport

    Senator Dianne Feinstein?  Uh-oh.  Well, you go to battle with the army you have....

  •  you're thinking about this backwards... (10+ / 0-)

    have the NSA spy on ALL members of Congress.

    then put it on twitter.

    it's what our discourse deserves.

    Dear Mr. President, There are too many states nowadays. Please eliminate three.
    P.S. I am not a crackpot.
    -Abe Simpson

    by fromer on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 10:47:52 AM PDT

  •  Yep (6+ / 0-)

    It is hard to imagine what Obama thinks is being gained by not shutting it down.  If the various staffers as NSA and CIA will be too miffed or embarrassed to do their jobs should Obama expose their rampant disregard for our laws and traditions, then we need new staffers. What we do not need is an Obama Administration following meekly in the footsteps of King George.

    •  How to shut it down? (0+ / 0-)

      There are too many people and group profiting from this spying program. It's a gigantic and lucrative enterprise.

      Shutting it down without those who control the project start stabbing people on the back is the problem.  It's political problem.

  •  If we don't shut this down (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, Simplify, hardtoport, RenMin

    it will shut us down.

    Congressional blackmail has always been a suspicion.
    How could all that dirt they have collected for all these years not be used for political advantage?  The next shoe to fall be that somebody had been leveraged  by threat of disclosure of information gained through NSA  surveillance.

  •  How to shut it down (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bluedoc, hardtoport, RenMin

    Start letting it be known that right wing governors, senators, militia-types, militant religionists, etc. are under heavy surveillance . . . they'll probably stage a lot of "bug-bagging" rallies which could inspire Republican congresspeople to vote to shut it down. These types never believe in Constitutional rights for others, only for themselves.

    Yes, I know, a lot of Dems, including Obama, voted for it too.

    My other solution is to bug everybody and publish it on the web. I got nothing to hide, except some bad poetry. Hell, let's let the whole world be transparent to each other. Yr only as sick as yr secrets.

    "If religion is the opiate of the masses, then fundamentalism is the amphetamine." Miz Vittitow

    by MillieNeon on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 10:49:45 AM PDT

  •  "The Little People's Civil Rights" (8+ / 0-)

    were/are expendable. Congress critters, however, may feel differently about their own!

    On behalf of my entire state, I apologize for Evan Bayh!

    by CityLightsLover on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 10:50:26 AM PDT

    •  how much embarassing material on congress (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RenMin, CityLightsLover

      was captured, like say divorce fodder.

      Dear GOP&Conservatives If all you have to offer are Cliches and Hyperbole then STFU. Thanks XOXOXO

      by JML9999 on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 10:53:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's basic rights; not civil rights. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hardtoport, CityLightsLover

      Civil rights have to do with our functions as citizens (voting, holding office, serving on juries, etc.)

      It's our inalienable rights that are being alienated.

      The Constitution is structured to see that doesn't happen, but there's no guarantee.  That's why even Justice Kennedy makes reference to the possibility that citizens have to enforce the law.  
      When was the last time you heard of a citizen's arrest?  The law enforcement "professionals" have been doing their best to make us forget that.  They don't even find it convenient to answer citizens' questions.

      It's hard to make agencies accountable when you can't get them to account for their activities.  The only leverage Congress has is to withhold the money.

      How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

      by hannah on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 11:11:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The recent report release is quite a tell. (7+ / 0-)

    It basically says there was some over exuberant activity, some "inadvertent" "over collection."  Knowing how government agencies CYA, what this means is in reality it was HUGE overstepping of the law.

    FISA needs to be reworked back to what it was in its original state.  No data, no evidence, and no credible argument has ever been advanced that said it was inadequate.  The only requests (72 hours post) that were rejected were rejected for minor flaws and were resubmitted with corrections and passed.

    The current FISA is as toxic and putrid as the "Patriot" Act.  Both are a merdsmear on the US Constitution and need to go!

    "When a true genius appears in this world, you may know him by this sign that the dunces are all in confederacy against him." -- Jonathan Swift

    by AllanTBG on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 10:50:35 AM PDT

    •  "overcollection" = crimes carrying prison time (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      3goldens, cybersaur, AllanTBG

      Per the original Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act — and this is still on the books:

      U.S. Code: Title 50,1809 - Criminal sanctions
      A. Prohibited activities
      A person is guilty of an offense if he intentionally:
      (1) engages in electronic surveillance under color of law except as authorized by statute; or
      (2) discloses or uses information obtained under color of law by electronic surveillance, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through electronic surveillance not authorized by statute.

      B. Defense
      It is a defense to a prosecution under subsection (a) of this section that the defendant was a law enforcement or investigative officer engaged in the course of his official duties and the electronic surveillance was authorized by and conducted pursuant to a search warrant or court order of a court of competent jurisdiction.
      C. Penalties
      An offense described in this section is punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than five years, or both.

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 11:14:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Feinstein's pledge to have hearing within a (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda, hardtoport, RenMin

    month is a great example of the old saying:  "Hit dog hollers".  Congress got "hit" by the NSA and now they are hollering!  As for the rest of us, they aren't so much concerned.

  •  ;lkj (0+ / 0-)
    so gee - HANDS OFF THEIR DAMN GUNS, but dammit i might be typing words that - what, shoot people? you gotta watch me??

    just another stupid threatening holdover from the 'watch what you say' administration. unless these priorities get truly straightened out, you can bet i'll keep 'typing potentially bad things' to the world.

    i'm not glenn beck, i don't have a fucking tv show, and i don't spout stupid stupid secessionist/reactionary/'violent-right' bullshit.


  •  Ridiculous. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cowalker, milton333, hardtoport

    I wish that I could say that I was shocked by this, but it was a completely predictable outcome.  I have to wonder if Senators consciously save up all of their skepticism for public works projects and the social safety net.

    It just seems like very often any proposal put forth to actually help people gets met with skepticism while anything that will predictably drain money from the coffers or infringe on civil liberties is met with an easy agreeableness.

    a consensual hallucination experienced daily by billions

    by electricgrendel on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 10:51:24 AM PDT

  •  My diary speculating on this here: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OLinda, RenMin

    I want to know WHICH MEMBER of Congress it was.  That needs to be made public.

  •  Shut it down bitches! (0+ / 0-)

    The Seminole Democrat
    A blue voice calling from the deep red

    by SemDem on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 10:53:00 AM PDT

  •  My theory is it might have been Denny Hastert (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cowalker, RenMin

    Bush's NSA spied on.

    After all, he very likely committed treason with the country he's now a lobbyist for: Turkey.

    But of course Bush let him go for political reasons.

  •  It's Unamerican. Shut it down. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Yoshimi, cybersaur
  •  I'm shocked, truly, that action begins when it's (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jxg, OLinda, 3goldens, JML9999, RenMin

    a member of congress that is (in danger of) being spied on, and not a common citizen.

    Shocked, I say.

    I sure wish my government gave me as much privacy as they demand I give them.

    by Daddy Bartholomew on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 10:54:54 AM PDT

  •  Not to Disillusion Anyone (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cowalker, jxg, milton333, Arctor

    But I don't think Obama wants to shut it down.

    I hope I'm wrong, but so far he hasn't been good at all about these surveillance state issues.

    Maybe he's playing 11-dimensional chess and is waiting for selected leaks like this to build up public support for shutting it down.  I hope so.  But I don't see any evidence for that other than wishful thinking.

    "[W]e shall see the reign of witches pass over . . . and the people, recovering their true spirit, restore their government to its true principles." Jefferson

    by RenMin on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 10:56:05 AM PDT

  •  Feinstein is hopeless, of course. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KLM, Yoshimi, Arctor, RenMin

    One would hope Obama would do the right thing.

    But I ain't holdin' my breath.

    When does summer start?

    by Bob Johnson on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 10:57:00 AM PDT

  •  Am I offbase here or am I correct in sensing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cowalker, 3goldens

    that the advent of "digital" and satellite communication has changed the nature of "wiretapping"?

    Landlines had to be actually "tapped" because of the mode of transmission while digital "wiretapping" involves a different technology altogether from what I understand.

    Just as the FCC was able to regulate the can no longer regulate broadcasts because of the different mode of transmission of signals via cable.

    I may be wrong but I am wondering if the change in technology hasn't made the previous laws obsolete since the transmission forms are different.

    I know about the monitoring stations that are set up to filter information but I don't know how private citizens can protect our perceived "privacy" any more.  We can be tracked by every electronic device imaginable, from a GPS in our cars or cameras, from satellite images (down to our own back yards), via the internet, via cell phones, credit card purchases, etc.  It isn't like the transmission mode of a few years back...and it may be much harder to control privacy with the advent of newer technology.

    Anyone out there have any ideas on this?

    "As long as the world shall last there will be wrongs, and if no man objected and no man rebelled, those wrongs would last forever." -- Clarence Darrow

    by Bluedoc on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 10:57:42 AM PDT

  •  Not a Diane fan (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    But then, I'm reading Lord of the Flies again.
    In Sacramento.

    Feinstein is the walking rich-girl epitome of what's wrong with the Senate.

    I was born with nothing and still have almost half of it left.

    by SecondComing on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 11:00:44 AM PDT

  •  Good Luck. Feinstein's response to me last year (6+ / 0-)

    Here's Feinstein's response to me last July when I wrote to implore her not to support Telco immunity and the FISA Amendments Act of 2008's expansion of spying power:

    Thank you for writing to me again about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). I understand how strongly you feel about the bill. Unfortunately, we disagree on the impact of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008.

              I believe that this legislation will end past mistakes of warrantless wiretapping by bringing all surveillance under the law and before the FISA Court. The law contains new protections for Americans' privacy rights, including the requirement for a court order to authorize any surveillance directed at a U.S. person anywhere in the world. At the same time, the law allows the government to conduct surveillance on non-U.S. citizens overseas that may wish to do us harm.

              Once again, I appreciate the efforts you have taken to share your opinion with me on FISA. While our views differ on this legislation, hearing from California constituents like you helped keep me informed during consideration of this important bill, and I hope that you will continue to maintain contact with me.

    Sincerely yours,
    Dianne Feinstein
    United States Senator

    Apparently not.

    •  New laws aren't the most important thing, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      it's enforcing the existing ones.

      Although repealing most of the relevant new laws passed over the last eight years would be a big help.

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 11:16:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So does that include the 17 socialists (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cowalker, RenMin

    that Bachus said were in the House?

    "You know what's more refreshing than having a President who speaks in complete sentences? A President who behaves like a responsible adult."

    by londubh on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 11:00:52 AM PDT

  •  It is odd that this is the one thing that (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cowalker, Van Buren, RenMin

    the teabaggers didn't express concern over.

    I always used to say to my Republican friends, do you know that these "anti-terrorist tools" that you have no issue with under Bush will someday be in the hands of a Democratic president.

    It never bothered them... I could only assume that they never imagined a Democrat getting elected again.  Maybe that is why they are so freaked out?

    •  Not really (0+ / 0-)

      The tea baggers don't have principles. They have authoritarian talking points. Their republican leaders have told them that illegal domestic spying is doubleplusgood and they accept that at face value. I mean, this is the crowd that was protesting non-existent tax increases afterall. Those chuckleheads haven't the foggiest clue what's in the Constitution beyond the 2nd Amendment. Hell, they'd probably give that up too if Rush Limbaugh ordered them to.

      How's that "permanent republican majority" thing working out?

      by cybersaur on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 12:39:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Overcollection" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Let's not mince words, Mr. Spy agency, J. Edgar Hoover wannabe.

    Please take the camera out of my bedroom, willya? It bugs me.

    I was born with nothing and still have almost half of it left.

    by SecondComing on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 11:07:33 AM PDT

  •  ACLU press relase (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, cybersaur, melpomene1

    NSA Spies On Americans Outside The Law (4/16/2009)

    Agency Skirts Broad Powers Authorized By Congress
    CONTACT:  (202) 675-2312 or
                         (212) 549-2666 or

    WASHINGTON – The National Security Agency (NSA) has been intercepting Americans’ emails and phone calls in recent months to an extent that exceeded even the overbroad limits permitted under the controversial spying legislation passed last summer. According to the New York Times, the NSA’s “overcollection” of American’ communications has been “significant and systemic.”

    The criminal trial is America's finest, most enduring contribution to the Rule of Law. We betray our core principles when we needlessly cast it aside.

    by mrobinson on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 11:09:17 AM PDT

  •  I'm very glad you front-paged this! (0+ / 0-)

    I came across it yesterday and was hoping it would see the light of day.


    William Casey "We will know that we have succeeded when everything the public believes is false"

    by Inky99 on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 11:10:12 AM PDT

  •  So what if it really was unintentional? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, cybersaur, Inky99, melpomene1

    That would just mean that it is utterly out of control and seriously needs to be shut down.

    "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

    by Alice in Florida on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 11:10:13 AM PDT

  •  Pardon me Senator Feinstein, but with your record (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, Simplify, melpomene1

    I would ask: Within what month will you hold (closed-door)hearings? Perhaps the "month" you refer to will be December, 2017 or something? Enough of letting our Democrat leaders placate us with the usual "jaw-flapping" outrage that leads nowhere. I'm calling out Rep. Conyers, Senators Leahy, Levin, Durbin and Speaker Pelosi, as well as others too numerous to mention who seem to feel the nation has all the time in the world to restore our civil liberties and hold those who violated our constitution accountable. Enough empty promises, do something or we should do everything in our power to replace them.

    Where is the restoration of habeus corpus Senator Leahy? Where is the Senate Armed Services Committee report on torture, Senator Levin? You suggested it would be made public three weeks ago? Until somebody gets off the pot, I'm saying all our Democratic leaders are utterly full of shit! I pray even just one of them would prove me wrong, please!

  •  Support the ACLU suit (6+ / 0-)

    ACLU Challenges Unconstitutional Spying Law - take action, see video

    In July 2008, Congress capitulated to the White House's demands and scare tactics by passing the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, giving the NSA even more power to spy on Americans without warrants than it exercised under its illegal surveillance program. The ACLU is asking the court to protect the privacy rights of all Americans and declare the FAA unconstitutional.

    The criminal trial is America's finest, most enduring contribution to the Rule of Law. We betray our core principles when we needlessly cast it aside.

    by mrobinson on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 11:13:40 AM PDT

  •  Plantiffs fighting for our rights (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Bios of FAA Challenge Plaintiffs

    Amnesty International USA
    Dan Arshack
    Global Fund for Women
    Global Rights
    Chris Hedges
    Human Rights Watch
    International Criminal Defense Attorneys Association
    Naomi Klein
    Scott McKay
    The Nation
    David Nevin
    PEN American Center
    Sylvia Royce
    Service Employees International Union
    Washington Office for Latin America

    The criminal trial is America's finest, most enduring contribution to the Rule of Law. We betray our core principles when we needlessly cast it aside.

    by mrobinson on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 11:17:40 AM PDT

  •  How are we going to monitor ANYBODY? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm really interested in ideas. I hear lots of "stop signals intellilgence altogether" but no solutions.

    With him from the beginning, with him until the end.

    by brooklynbadboy on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 11:19:33 AM PDT

    •  Warrants (0+ / 0-)

      The complaint isn't that signals intelligence is being collected. The complaint is that it is being collected in a way that is clearly outside of the law and the Constitution. The solution is to continue the program in compliance with the law.

      How's that "permanent republican majority" thing working out?

      by cybersaur on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 01:02:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Please President Obama, give us back our (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    4th Amendment.  This is cowardice.  In 1812 a foreign enemy marched to our nation's capitol and burned it down.  We didn't have to soil ourselves in fear and ditch the freedoms that define American liberty in order to win that conflict and we sure as hell don't need to today.  A brave patriot looks squarely at those who wish us harm and says: "We are going to destroy you and we won't betray a single one of our principles to do it."  You seem to understand that with regard to torture.  It applies to domestic spying too.  The terrorists are capable of doing damage to building and of taking american lives and for that I want them dead, but they are not capable of dismantling the constitution and taking away our liberty.  Unfortunately, the last administration was all too quick to do it for them out of exactly the kind of fear that terrorists seek to induce.  Please, don't be a party to the same.  Shut it down!

    Picture a bright blue ball just spinnin' spinnin' free. It's dizzy with possibility.

    by lockewasright on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 11:20:18 AM PDT

  •  honest question: (0+ / 0-)

    what procedure can we put in place to obtain warrants on people who may need to be surveilled?

    I understand both sides of the argument. One is the legal and constitutional side. I get that we need to follow it. On the other hand, in some ways i think this differs slightly from a normal criminal investigation in that there may be people who, for example, may be affiliated with a potentially dangerous organization.  You don't know exactly how - take Timothy McVeigh for example or any of the other lunatics like him.

    i'm wondering how to balance something like that respecting out laws but recognizing that the numbers of people like that may be so great, how do you deal with it? How do you get enough info to be able to meet the burden of evidence required to get the warrant? Must we wait until they do something overtly or ????

    I hope people recognize that i;m not trying to start a flame war here. Its a sincere question.

  •  JFK (0+ / 0-)

    Sadly, Obama is really quite similar to JFK--great ideas and ideals, poor follow through.  Hopefully he gets 2 terms to add substance to the style.  I'm still willing to give him time because I realize how fucked up everything is at this moment.

  •  Pentagon Closes Office... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, IngeniousGirl, bamadad

    Another peice of good news... The shut down another part of the Bush Propaganda machine.

    Pentagon Closes Office Accused of Issuing Propaganda Under Bush
    (New York Times, April 16, 2009, Pg. 12)
    A Pentagon office responsible for coordinating Defense Department information campaigns overseas has been abolished in an effort by the Obama administration to distance itself from past practices that some military officers called propaganda. Military and civilian critics said the Pentagon’s office for support to public diplomacy overstepped its mandate during the final years of the Bush administration by trying to organize information operations that violated Pentagon guidelines for accuracy and transparency.

    "I think it's the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately." -- George Carlin, Satirical Comic,(1937-2008)

    by Wynter on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 11:28:24 AM PDT

  •  There you go again (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The Congressman made contact, either directly or by phone, with someone who was under surveillance. That's why the surveillance was extended to the congressman. The article says so. So this is not a "failure" of FISAA or "illegal", as you make it out to be. Not that being legal makes it right, no, I am not saying that.

    BTW, the list of 27 is not even close. The more interesting possibility is Keith Ellison. He didn't visit the ME in 05 or 06 but took 2 trips in 07, one in March. And while in Iraq he visited "with two sheiks, who oversee several hundred thousand congregants".
    Oh, and he is a muslim. If he was the guy they spied on, then the only muslim in Congress was who NSA spied on.

  •  it wasn't just Republicans (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    calling us loony nut jobs.  

    Steny Hoyer = a slam dunk argument for term limits

    by jlynne on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 11:50:03 AM PDT

  •  To Kit Bond (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cybersaur, IngeniousGirl

    It's disappointing that as Americans across the country celebrate our Independence Day, some in the Senate are willing to give up our independence in order to protect a false sense of security.

  •  "Issue" is Who's spying on Whom, for What Purpose (0+ / 0-)

    Personally, I have no problem with the Obama administration "spying" on rightwing extremists who use violent, hateful, traitorous rhetoric, deliberately collaborating with insurgent fascist elements, inciting, or otherwise directly participating in anti-democratic, counter-revolutionary anti-American activities, or who are involved in looting the national treasury and sabotaging the economy...including congress critters, or anyone else.

    Such swine should be rounded up and harshly prosecuted for their sedition and crimes against humanity.

    On the other hand, legitimate critique and reasonable opposition, of course, should not be targeted.

    Such criteria should be determined democratically, by a super-majority of progressive representatives, however, and certainly not by Blue Dogs or Republicans.

    I am so sick of people saying "oh, nooooes!  Then we would be just like them!", as if this would somehow be some kind of "oppressive" and "communist" or "fascist" imposition on our "freedoms".

    Nobody should be "free" to be a traitor, a nazi, or a criminal rip off capitalist pig.

    I see no "slippery slope" there, as long as it's done in a genuinely democratic manner, according to rational, reasonable criteria.

    Of course, the sticking point is the democratic part, heh...

    I think 2010 and 2012 will be the watershed for just how democratic the US can be, and whether we advance, socially and economically, or continue to slide back two steps for every step forward.

    To whatever extent surveillance powers are used to advance personal gain, over and against the public interest (as the Republicans and their collaborators are so notorious for doing) that too should be considered a traitorous, anti-democratic act, subject to the harshest penalties.

    But I see no reason to submit to the psychotic paranoid "self-defense" impulses of the right, in their ruthless campaign to ignore, subvert and over- throw the popular democratic will of our great nation.

    People should take notice, that the most virulent, hostile, absolute opposition to the Patriot Act has come from the extreme right, in particular, those who are most adamantly calling for a violent "revolution" (counter-revolution) "against the government and the left".

    They, of course, do not wish to be suppressed and held accountable for their many treasons.  While the Act was obviously designed by the right, to suppress the left, heh, the most extreme elements on the right are opposed to it, because they recognize what a powerful tool it could be, in the "wrong" hands.

    But the U.S. is now, by a very large majority, staunchly against racism, sexism, eco-rape, capitalist ripoffs and imperialist war.  That's where the criteria should be based, in the popular democratic will.

    Up until now, the criteria has been to surveil, harass, intimidate, attack, imprison and murder anyone who resists the right, anyone who stands up for human rights, labor rights, social and economic justice and peace to save the planet, anywhere in the world, including here.

    That, clearly, must be reversed, not only in terms of "spying", but in virtually every other aspect of domestic and foreign policy.

    What we need is a "slippery slope" to democracy, instead of the present one, to fascism.

    "...a printing press is worth 10,000 rifles..." Ho Chi Minh

    by Radical def on Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 12:08:17 PM PDT

  •  all due respect (0+ / 0-)
    but there's a bit of revisionism going on, when all you're talking about is how we were all called nutjobs by republicans, to wit, I refer you to this diary by Kos, back in July
    and take a read of some of the comments by site members, when Obama was criticized for his FISA vote.

    Sorry folks, it wasn't just Rethugs on this one.  There are some members who need to look in the mirror.

  •  Obama and Civil Liberities and the Constitution (0+ / 0-)

    I've said it before and I'll keep on saying it, this guy is an unmitigated disaster. He is WORSE than GW and Darth Vader in regard to civil liberties,(Bagram decision) Upholding the constitution,(NSA spying, torture memos) the rule of law, (prosecuting all those in the previous Administration who broke the law, violated the constitution and their oath of office and violated international law). He lied about transparency as this Administration is at least as secretive as the last and maybe more so. He's hired basically a full slate of ex Goldman Sachs execs who have promulgated at least as bad and arguably worse economic policies(bailout, TARP, Bank Toxic Assets, Mortgage, etc.) than GW's Paulson. The only way these guys will actually get the economy under control will be by pure happenstance and not as a result of the shit Geithner, Summers, wall street loving policies. This government(of Obama) seems a wholly owned subsidiary of big Financial Banks, Wall Street firms and others in the financial industry. And mark my words, wait until you see the health plan this Republican in Democratic clothing will end up putting forward. Anybody want to bet whether it's actually a universal plan or some crap moderate/blue dog compromise that gives them political talking points but doesn't really do shit to move this country to REAL universal health care.

  •  tools (0+ / 0-)

    Ah the sweet mewlings of torched progressives. How can this be? The lightworker is supposed to be one of you.

    In your zeal to defeat the evil BushHilter progressives could not be troubled to ask who the man from Chicago really is. Well now you really know: Obama is a man of infinite ego and very low personal character. He lied to you. He lies to everyone. But I don't hold it against you. He said the right things, he was charismatic, he wasn't using you to get elected?

    But he was.

    The old definition of a neo-con is a liberal who got mugged. Barack loves to pose and say impressive sounding words but all signs are pointing to a man completely unprepared for the office. His weakness on foreign policy is going to cause a lot of wars.

    This is who he really is. He is about power. His power. You were a means to that power but if he does not believe in what you do; you lose.

    The "netroots" may vote again for Barack in 2012 but you will be holding your nose if and when you do. See now you know who he is.

    As the economy begins to slow down into the fall, as the stimulus fails, car and house sales further plummet (mind you I don't want those things to happen), the scale of America's mistake will become self evident and full blow buyers remorse will begin to set in.

    You helped make this mess. Shut up and enjoy the odeur.

    Progressives are chumps. You get played by your elected candidates and foreign dictators.

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