Search This Blog

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

ACLU / Wiretap conversations

Bold is me

Italics is HHM

Regular script is other commenters and orginal commenter

Judge Orders that Wiretap Program must end - She has deemed that the wiretapping program is unconstitutional. This is a huge blow to the Bush Administration. They originally claimied the wire-tap program was protecting America.

What do you think? Do you think that this is constitutional if it protects Americans?

~

The American Communist Lovers Union found a judge who would issue the order. Great! The surveillance techniques that helped foil the plan to explode ten planes on 8/16 has now been "shot down" by a liberal judge. If this is not overturned the next terrorist attack that succeeds is on the ACLU, that judge, and the lib politicians who have tried to make this into a political football.

~

Great.

Damn judge had to come from Detroit.

I can't imagine any judges in New York City would approve this. Bad call, I agree with you guys. I have no problem being wiretapped if it means we catch 21 people trying to board a plan in London to bomb more plans on the way to the States.

ACLU has traditionally been pro-THEM. No surprise here.

~

So, an arrest in England, by English Law Enforcement was because of an American policy? Please explain...That last sentence might sound a little assish, but I seriously don't see how "8/16" had anything to do w/ tapping.

Also, why is this a polical hack job by a judge? Is it soooooo implausible that a judge found virtually unfounded line tapping to be unconstitutional?

We've gone for a very long time, hell, since the start of this nation without resorting to lazy law enforcement techniques. If you want a country that watches and controls your most insignificant moves, throw a wrap around your head and take a ticket to Iran.

And, like it or not, the ACLU is looking out for your best interest.


~


The ACLU is looking out for our best interests??? That's a good one! It ranks up there with "you'll go blind if you do that" and "they come from storks" and "Santa is watching you this very minute!"

However, if you are a pedophile who wants to burn the flag while shouting expletives at a military funeral just before marrying your 14 - year - old cousin, then yes, the ACLU is looking out for your best interests!


~

radar wrote:
The ACLU is looking out for our best interests??? That's a good one! It ranks up there with "you'll go blind if you do that" and "they come from storks" and "Santa is watching you this very minute!"

However, if you are a pedophile


I'll give ya that one...

Quote:
who wants to burn the flag


Surely you aren't suggesting this should be illegal...that'd be the epitome of un-American.

Quote:
while shouting expletives at a military funeral


Free speech...although it's 100% disrespectful, are you willing to to give up your rights for this group?

Quote:
just before marrying your 14 - year - old cousin


I already gave you the pedophile thing...but still, I haven't heard of them standing up for anyone out of this group, but I'm interested if you can provide a link.

Quote:
then yes, the ACLU is looking out for your best interests!


Glad we can agree... Very Happy


Still waiting for someone, anyone to give me a real scenario of how wire-tapping prevented the h2o bottle/mp3 player attack...If not, then does it not suggest that we can prevent terrorism without resorting to giving up civil liberties?


~

Does the ACLU defend pedophiles?! Of course they do, here are some recent examples -

http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=18029


http://stoptheaclu.com/archives/2006/07/09/project-proposal-for-the-ac lu/


http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060601/NEWS01/606 010463/1006


~


Okay, freedom of speech doesn't allow you to shout, "Fire!" in a crowded theater. It doesn't allow you to mail your congressman and threaten to blow up his house. Like all freedoms, your freedom to flail your fist in the air ends just before it reaches the point of my nose.

This is why the Westboro nutcases that disrupt funerals are going beyond "freedom of speech."

The flag-burning is a personal thing. I risked my life for that flag and the country for which it stands, as did my dad and as did (he recently got back from overseas) my son. Yeah, I am an old guy...

The ACLU tries to attack our religious freedoms and keep us from defending ourselves. In what way does wiretapping of conversations involving terrorists intrude on your rights, may I ask?

In Britain, their rules of engagement and detainment are less strict than ours, fortunately for them and in this case for us as well. I understand that in the case of this latest round of arrests the primary information came from human intelligence but that phone tapping was also involved.

HUMINT is the best (human intelligence) but SIGINT (signal intelligence) is absolutely necessary to ferret out the bad guys:

I was in a security agency (a branch of the NSA in fact) when I was in the military and I can confirm that human intelligence is by far the best BUT the primary source of information comes from the interception of conversations. We have been listening to the conversations of foreigners for decades, scanning for signs of belligerance and threats against our nation. I was involved in the group that was monitoring Russian conversations (back before the Iron Curtain collapsed and the Soviet Union was our greatest perceived enemy).

The Soviets pointed missiles at us and massed large armies ready to move at a moment's notice. We did the same. That is not the biggest kind of threat we face now.

Now it is small groups of people willing to die in the process of a terrorist attack, people who do not wear uniforms or remain in their home countries. How do we find them before they set off nerve gas in a subway station or blow up a jet heading into LA or even detonate a small nuclear device in Chicago? Human intelligence is still best if a possible group is identified, but signal intelligence (which includes wiretaps) is far and away the best way to find such groups in the first place.

The President was given the powers to authorize instant wiretapping of conversations that involved terrorist groups. If someone in this country is sending or receiving a message to a terrorist group overseas, don't you want us to know and hopefully even know what is being said? Do you prefer to be smugly ignorant until the next 9/11 takes place?

This liberal judge has challenged the President's authority given him by congress. I believe her ruling will be overturned. But I perceive this as a political battle and one that could bring about the death of many innocents while it plays out. This doesn't just concern me, it angers me!

Want to play politics? Fine. Want to risk lives? Risk your own first. The ACLU has simply made us more at risk to terrorists and God help them if a successful attack takes place because we are not able to detect the terror cell in time BECAUSE WE HAD NO SIGINT!


~

Have they even reported that the U.S. wiretap program led to the British bust?

~

No, they haven't released anything to my knowledge of what led to the bust...however, what is the chances of them hearing one phone call w/ some guy saying "Hey, Ahmed...you got the water bottles? ... Good, I got this new ipod, too bad I'm gonna use it to blow up a plane, I really like it...have you heard the new Red Hot Chilipeppers album? ... What? No, I'm not listening to western music...gotta go! See ya on the plane we're blowing up!"

The way I see it is that it would have to be intelegence collected through tips...someone had to tip off the authorities...I mean who woulda thought they'd use what they were gonna use?


~

Oddly enough, a lot of intelligence is gathered in that way. One piece of significance in a sea of otherwise meaningless blather. Other times a conversation is all business, short and to the point. People even use codes, but we have decryption people who live to break codes. If you listen to conversations in which one party is a terrorist, the odds are you will pick up on something of use if an operation is being planned.

The idiots who began to publicize this operation in the first place have alerted terrorists to be more careful in their phone conversations. Idiots! Yet even so a phone conversant feels almost anonymous by nature and can slip up. So yes, your scenario is exactly the kind of thing that is being scanned for and does occur.


~

(This conversation is ongoing in a group I belong to and will no doubt continue. One point to add: You cannot run to a judge to ask for a wiretap when a source suddenly gets or sends a call, the call will be over long before that. If an opportunity arises to intercept dangerous transmissions one needs instant response, which is why Congress granted the powers to the President in the first place!)

22 comments:

creeper said...

"You cannot run to a judge to ask for a wiretap when a source suddenly gets or sends a call, the call will be over long before that."

That's exactly why it's not necessary to obtain a FISA warrant before starting to monitor calls, but within 72 hours of having done so.

"If an opportunity arises to intercept dangerous transmissions one needs instant response, which is why Congress granted the powers to the President in the first place!"

No, this is why the law is structured as it is, allowing for instant response, but not getting rid of accountability. Congress did not grant the President the powers to wiretap anyone at will without any accountability.

xiangtao said...

"Santa is watching you this very minute!"

Substitute God for Santa and what's the difference?

chaos_engineer said...

What do you think? Do you think that this is constitutional if it protects Americans?

I'm not sure I understand the question. Things are constitutional if they're consistent with the text of constitution. If something isn't constitutional, then the government isn't allowed to do it, even if it would protect Americans.

That said, are we sure that allowing warrantless searches protects Americans? If so, why did the founding fathers insist on passing the Fourth Amendment? Did they hate America? Maybe they had some other reason.

To answer this question, we need to look back at the time the Fourth Amendment was passed.

It was a reaction to the excesses of the pre-Revolutionary government. Back then, King George's redcoats could just barge into your house whenever they wanted and search for evidence of a crime.

That might sound like a good idea, but what if some random redcoat had a grudge against you and wanted to make your life miserable? He could bash down your door and trash your house, and there wouldn't be anything you could do about it.

Even under the 4th Amendment, this can still happen...but it's less likely. The redcoat would have to present enough evidence to convince a judge, and he'd have to swear under oath that the evidence was valid. If you could prove he was doing a frivolous search to harrass you, then he'd be in big trouble. The 4th Amendment requires the government to be accountable to the people.


Now, we all know that's not relevant today. George Bush is a good man and we know he'd never do anything malicious. Neither would anybody else in the Executive Branch. But what about tomorrow? What if Hillary Clinton and her conspirators in the liberal media manage to steal the 2008 election. Do you want her listening in on your phone calls? Even if you aren't planning crimes, there are a hundred ways she could use your personal information to make your life miserable, and don't think she wouldn't do it.

So it's not a simple matter of "protecting Americans". Either way, some Americans are protected and others are endangered.

So we're back to my questiuon for last time. Does the government really need to do warrantless wiretaps? Keep in mind that you don't need to get a warrant for each phone call. You can get a "roving warrant" that will let you tap any phone call a suspect makes. As Creeper points out, you can even start tapping immediatly as long as you get a warrant within a few days.

Why, o why, didn't they just get a secret FISA warrant?

loboinok said...

"No, this is why the law is structured as it is, allowing for instant response, but not getting rid of accountability. Congress did not grant the President the powers to wiretap anyone at will without any accountability.

There is accountability, why do you say there isn't?

xiangtao said...

"Substitute God for Santa and what's the difference?"

Where you spend eternity.


chaos_engineer said...

"Why, o why, didn't they just get a secret FISA warrant?"

Secret? Yeah right! Ask that of our Senators that are handing national security secrets to the NYT and other MSM.

radar said...

"Why, o why, didn't they just get a secret FISA warrant?"

Chaos, your comment was great and intelligent, thank you!

I believe that the President has been granted the power to authorze these wiretaps in a wartime setting and the reason the government (the NSA in particular) is often reluctant to seek a FISA warrant is that there are too many politicians in both houses who are not willing to let secrets remain secret. I am pretty sure a certain West Virginia gentleman has deliberately leaked top secret information for political purposes and it may be there are others who are untrustworthy. It is sad, but it is real.

creeper said...

"I believe that the President has been granted the power to authorze these wiretaps in a wartime setting"

If he has been granted that power without seeking the relevant warrant, please provide a link to the relevant portion of the US code.

Or were you just making a faith-based statement with no basis in reality?

"the reason the government (the NSA in particular) is often reluctant to seek a FISA warrant is that there are too many politicians in both houses who are not willing to let secrets remain secret."

(1) In what way would this justify circumventing the law and proper chain of accountability?

(2) Have the contents of any FISA warrant ever been leaked to the public, by an Evil Senator or otherwise?

creeper said...

"There is accountability, why do you say there isn't?"

There is accountability if the law is followed as designed, i.e. if a FISA warrant is obtained. If no warrant is obtained, then there is no accountability.

xiangtao said...

Let me rephrase my question:

What makes belief in a god watching your every move and judging accordingly any less ridiculous than Santa Clause doing the same thing?

radar said...

xiangtao - point of view, again. To one man, the idea that there is no God who created everything is ridiculous. To another, the idea that there is a God is ridiculous.

If you have a stricly naturalistic point of view, then God can seem to be ridiculous. If you have a view that accepts the supernatural as well as the natural then the idea of God makes perfect sense.

Logically one is thwarted in the argument from the beginning if the two parties have such differing core beliefs. This is why God seems obvious to lobo and myself and a fairy tale to you.

Nevertheless, Santa Claus is a mythical being based on the life of a Christian named Nicholas who was a loving and giving person but in no way a deity. Because we know this, we know that Santa is most definitely not watching you or anyone else.

xiangtao said...

"Nevertheless, Santa Claus is a mythical being based on the life of a Christian named Nicholas who was a loving and giving person but in no way a deity. Because we know this, we know that Santa is most definitely not watching you or anyone else. "

I could say the same thing about Jesus

radar said...

xiangtao, if I am right about Jesus then what you say (really, what you believe) about Him is more important than whether you take your next breath. If I am wrong, it makes absolutely no difference at all.

xiangtao said...

I could say the same thing about Santa Clause (the punishment for non belief isn't quite as bad but it's the same idea.) Anyway, you missed an option:

If I'm right, it doesn't matter what you believe.
If you're right, I'm screwed.
If the Muslims are right (or the Mormons, Hindus, etc.) then we're both screwed.

The choice is not as simple as your god or no god. The majority of the world's population thinks that you are wrong.

radar said...

xiangtao, the majority of the world does think I am wrong.

I am sure neither you and I will base our belief systems on what the majority thinks!

xiangtao said...

Certainly not. My point is simply that your previous argument (Pascal's Wager) is not a valid reason to believe in god.

radar said...

xiangtao, point taken, I agree wholeheartedly. Pascal by itself is not a reason to believe in God.

xiangtao said...

So back to my original question:

You used belief in Santa Clause as an example of a ridiculous belief. What is the difference between believing in Santa and believing in God? What makes one ridiculous where the other is rational and even (in your mind) undeniable?

creeper said...

"I am sure neither you and I will base our belief systems on what the majority thinks!"

It's impossible in this instance anyway, since the majority doesn't hold a singular viewpoint. Just because the majority happens to disagree with you doesn't mean they agree with each other.

"If I'm right, it doesn't matter what you believe.
If you're right, I'm screwed.
If the Muslims are right (or the Mormons, Hindus, etc.) then we're both screwed."


If the humanists are right, who exactly loses? (please try to avoid strawman arguments in attempting to think about this - humanist is not just a synonym for atheist)

(very much enjoying xiangtao's line of questioning, btw)

radar said...

xiangtao misses the other point, which is, that his view is rational from a naturalistic point of view only. It is irrational from my point of view. That is, not to believe in God is irrational.


Constitutionality is covered in my long post above from Hindraker. The President has powers written into the Constitution which the FISA law apparently attempts to unconstitutionally restrict.

xiangtao said...

Radar, you are ignoring the question:

Why is it acceptable to believe in God but irrational to believe in Santa Clause? What is the difference?

creeper said...

"The President has powers written into the Constitution which the FISA law apparently attempts to unconstitutionally restrict."

Which powers are those?

loboinok said...

"If he has been granted that power without seeking the relevant warrant, please provide a link to the relevant portion of the US code."

fas.org.pdf

US Code

xiangtao said...

????????