Bush Eases Warrantless Wiretaps Stance

Bush Eases Warrantless Wiretaps Stance
Posted by CN Staff on January 17, 2007 at 12:46:07 PT
By The Associated Press 
Source: Associated Press
Washington, DC -- The Bush administration has agreed to let a secret but independent panel of federal judges oversee the government's controversial domestic spying program, the Justice Department said Wednesday.In a letter to the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court will have final say in approving wiretaps placed on people with suspected terror links.
"Any electronic surveillance that was occurring as part of the Terrorist Surveillance Program will now be conducted subject to the approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court," Gonzales wrote in the two-page letter to Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Arlen Specter, R-Pa."Accordingly, under these circumstances, the President has determined not to reauthorize the Terrorist Surveillance Program when the current authorization expires," the attorney general wrote.The Bush administration secretly launched the surveillance program in 2001 to monitor international phone calls and e-mails to or from the United States involving people suspected by the government of having terrorist links.The White House said it is satisfied with new guidelines the FISA court adopted on Jan. 10 to address administration officials' concerns about national security."The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has put together its guidelines and its rules and those have met administration concerns about speed and agility when it comes to responding to bits of intelligence where we may to be able to save American lives," White House press secretary Tony Snow said.Snow said he could not explain why those concerns could not have been addressed before the program was started. He said the president will not reauthorize the present program because the new rules will serve as guideposts.The secret panel of judges, known as the FISA court, was established in the late 1970s to review requests for warrants to conduct surveillance inside the United States. The Bush administration had resisted giving the court final approval over the Terrorist Surveillance Program, even when communications involved someone inside the country.A federal judge in Detroit last August declared the program unconstitutional, saying it violates the rights to free speech and privacy and the separation of powers. In October, a three-judge panel of the Cincinnati-based appeals court ruled that the administration could keep the program in place while it appeals the Detroit decision.Additionally, the Justice Department's inspector general is investigating the agency's use of information gathered in the spying program. In testimony last fall in front of the Senate panel, FBI Director Robert Mueller said he was not allowed to discuss classified details that could show whether it has curbed terrorist activity in the United States.Congressional intelligence committees have already been briefed on the court's orders, Gonzales said in his letter. It was sent to the committee the day before he is set to testify before the panel, which oversees the Justice Department.Source: Associated Press (Wire)Published:  January 17, 2007 Copyright: 2007 Associated Press CannabisNews Surveillance Archives
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Comment #5 posted by rchandar on January 18, 2007 at 06:21:58 PT:
What's Wrong With Americans Is...
Yes, they didn't do their homework, and they were oblivious. They elected a guy who was characteristically insensitive to the purpose and integrity of the Constitution and American democracy. No President in history has been as gluttonous in stocking up on power, and no President has been so wilfully indifferent to the maintenance of democracy.
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Comment #4 posted by Matt Stover on January 17, 2007 at 20:12:53 PT
Echelon Still Transcribes Every U.S.Communication
The National Security Administration {NSA} still transcribes and records every single phone call, email, and every other electronic communication, in America, anyway. The biggest failure of Americans, has been their having been evidently oblivious to this fact, as they think they're making a difference, in decrying so-thought, 'selective' eavesdropping.Public Broadcasting Service explained all of this, though; you might find it, there, still...They even showed then Senator Strom Thurmond, having his private residence telephone call transcribed, in real time, for instance.In other words, "Now that you've addressed the fly on the wall, America - see the elephant on the table!"
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on January 17, 2007 at 15:51:02 PT
This is how I look at about everything anymore. We are headed into a global war if we aren't careful. It won't matter if we get marijuana laws changed if we wind up wrecking the world. I like Obama but I don't have anything against Edwards. I am happy for anyone that cares about stopping this war. If he would get the nomination I would vote for Edwards.
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Comment #2 posted by Toker00 on January 17, 2007 at 15:41:39 PT
Petition Link
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Comment #1 posted by Toker00 on January 17, 2007 at 15:32:09 PT
This is kinda like AFTER the fact, huh? This is another action alert, but if you wish, I will hold off on any more for a bit. John Edwards is not my choice for anything, but I think he is sincerely trying to stop the escalation. A lot of people are. When was the last time pols screamed at us to help STOP a war? We better listen, and we should respond. This is just an opportunity.John Edwards '08Dear ,It's an honor to send my first note to you as John Edwards' new Campaign Manager. I'll take more time to introduce myself soon, but right now I'm writing you with an urgent call to action.This weekend, President Bush claimed on national TV that Congress does not have the power to stop his proposed escalation of the war in Iraq.1That's bull. I served in Congress for 26 years, and I can assure you that Congress does have the power to stop this escalation -- and it has used that power many times before, including in Vietnam, Lebanon, Nicaragua and Colombia.The test for today's Congress is simple: will they step up to the plate and use their power to stop the president from escalating the war? I can tell you one thing -- they're only going to do that if they hear from you.That's why we're going to run a full-page ad in Roll Call -- the newspaper all of Congress reads -- with John Edwards' petition against the escalation, listing the tens of thousands of us who have signed it. The petition demands that this Congress use its power of the purse to stop this president from escalating the war in Iraq -- and that's what we're going to put in the ad.Can you pitch in $25 or more to help get this critical ad in front of Congress A.S.A.P. and support our grassroots campaign?As I write this, both houses of Congress are considering how to respond to Bush's plan.Some are calling for symbolic statements that do nothing to stop the escalation. If you hear a member of Congress say "non-binding resolution," then you're really hearing them say "pass the buck."Others -- like John Edwards -- are calling on Congress to stand up and take responsibility by using its power to prevent this war from getting any worse.And some members of Congress are waiting for -- well, we don't know what they're waiting for.It's time to speak up. And it's up to us to let Congress know where the American people stand.Your contribution -- of any amount you can afford -- will help us rush this ad into production and get it on the desk of every member of Congress and their staff before they make this historic decision. And your contribution will help keep this grassroots campaign for change going strong in these critical early months.Please chip in to help stop this escalation today.It's an honor for me to work alongside so many dedicated folks like you who aren't willing to wait to make this country a better place. Together, I know we'll accomplish great things.David Bonior
Campaign Manager
John Edwards for PresidentP.S. - If you haven't yet signed the petition calling on Congress to block the escalation, click here. And please forward this email to your friends and family, and ask them to join you in speaking out.Sources:
1. "Bush: Congress Can't Stop Surge," U.S. News and World Report Political Bulletin, January 15, 2007 (Link)I'll be back in a minute with the link.Toke.
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