December 22, 2005 4:05 PM PST

Just how extensive is NSA's spy program?

A week after a domestic-spying scheme by the National Security Agency was disclosed, the details remain shrouded in secrecy.

President Bush forcefully defended the operation in a press conference on Monday, but offered few clues about how it worked in practice. Neither did Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, except to say that "it is probably the most classified program that exists in the United States government."

But some technologists and civil libertarians, using clues that dribbled out in press briefings and news articles, are concluding that the operation involves widespread monitoring of millions of e-mail messages and telephone conversations that cross any U.S. border.

Some officials have hinted that the eavesdropping has spanned technology far more advanced than telephones.

"The clues are piling up that vacuum-cleaner style dragnets are what's at issue," John Gilmore, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said in a mailing list message on Thursday. "Perhaps they've pointed the NSA vacuum cleaner straight into all U.S.-based international telecommunications."

The longstanding purpose of the NSA is what intelligence agencies call "signals intelligence." In practice, that means vacuuming up data that can be gleaned through eavesdropping on microwave links, satellite signals, and fiber and copper underwater cables. In the past, NSA officials have assured jittery politicians and the public that its massive, supersensitive electronic ear is not aimed at U.S. citizens.

Now, however, questions are bubbling up about whether Bush's secret order authorized the NSA to aim that ear at Americans when at least one party to the conversation was in another country.

Gilmore suspects that the NSA may have assembled a database of every phone call that enters and leaves the United States, coupled with similar automated storage of at least the "header" information of e-mail messages. (Header information includes the To:, From: and Subject: lines.)

As evidence for that belief, he points to a paragraph in a New York Times article on Tuesday. It cites unnamed officials as saying the NSA system can identify "hot numbers"--the telephone numbers of suspects. Although the article doesn't go any further, Gilmore suspects the same spotting scheme applies to e-mail message as well.

It's happened before. The NSA's Project Shamrock, for instance, involved opening all telegrams that entered the U.S. or traversed the country. Reforms initiated by the Senate's Church Committee in the 1970s were an attempt to curb the NSA's increasing domestic surveillance.

For its part, the Bush administration and its allies deny the charges. "A massive indiscriminate net including thousands of domestic or U.S.-to-U.S. connections is wrong," Rep. Peter Hoekstra, a Michigan Republican who heads the House Intelligence Committee, told reporters Wednesday.

"It deals only with international calls," said Michael Hayden, former NSA director and current principal deputy director for national intelligence. "It is generally for far shorter periods of time. And it is not designed to collect reams of intelligence, but to detect and warn and prevent about attacks."

Some officials have hinted that the eavesdropping has spanned technology far more advanced than telephones. In defending the administration's decision not to seek court orders for spying, Gonzales referred to the influence of "changing technology" and the "new kind of threat" that groups like al-Qaida pose.

So does a 2003 letter (click for PDF) to Vice President Dick Cheney, written by Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a Democrat from West Virginia, and made public this week. In it, Rockefeller wrote that he's not "a technician" but is worried about "the direction the administration is moving with regard to security, technology, and surveillance."

A quick political outcry
The situation has incited fury among some members of Congress, with Democrats particularly vocal, and may have been responsible for derailing full reauthorization of the Patriot Act before 16 of its sections expire on Dec. 31.

In the U.S. House of Representatives, a group of Democratic leaders urged House Speaker Dennis Hastert in a letter to hold hearings and to appoint an independent panel to investigate the matter. Sen. Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, has already announced plans for hearings.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California has also asked NSA to declassify a letter she sent to its intelligence director--along with the administration's response--in hopes of shedding public light on her concerns.

A large part of the dispute centers around why Bush did not abide by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA), which requires the government to obtain a court order before carrying out electronic surveillance. In order to receive the warrant, prosecutors must go to a secret court and demonstrate probable cause that the party it wants to monitor is a "foreign power" or an "agent of a foreign power."

The law sets the bar higher for spying on U.S. citizens, largely because of the Fourth Amendment, which reiterated that U.S. persons--including citizens and certain other permanent residents--cannot be subject to unreasonable searches and seizures.

The Bush Administration has admitted that it did not seek warrants from the FISA court for this surveillance program, but says that it's not legally bound to do so. "The president has the inherent authority under the Constitution, as commander-in-chief, to engage in this kind of activity," Gonzales said this week.

But from a technical perspective, FISA was written in a way that permits only individuals to be targeted. It doesn't envision a dragnet. So the questions, and speculation, will continue.

CNET News.com's Anne Broache contributed to this report.

87 comments

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My fellow Americans....
No need to worry. Just work, spend, turn on the tube, eat your bread and watch your favorite circus. Just be happy. You'll be ok. The sound of boots in the hallway will be no cause for alarm. It's the knock at your door that will really suck!
Posted by (62 comments )
Reply Link Flag
HuH?
"Just work"? I would if I could find a job that hasn't been outsoursed.
"turn on the tube"? I have time for that but all I get are Republican traitors trying to convince me the economy is good.
"eat your bread"? Yup, that's about all I can aford now that I don't have health care.
"the sound of boots"? Thank God! Maybe they'll put me somewhere warm and comfortable with food.

OK Republican traitors, call me a whiner now.
Posted by GrandpaN1947 (187 comments )
Link Flag
No probable cause.
The only possible reason for the President for not abiding by FISA is that they did use a mass dragnet, vacuuming up all international transmissions.

Because FISA warrants can be obtained retroactively, and are also hidden from the person on the receiving end of the wire tap or email grab, if the President has probable cause on an individual basis - as are his claims - he would not have needed to circumvent the law.

Also there would have been no issues concerning the speed or secrecy following FISA regulations.

The President absolutely does not have the authority to circumvent the Constitution.

This was written to prevent these sorts of abuses of power. The idea is that we don't have a King who can simply order anything he wants to be done, but that we have a system of laws that all citizens, including the President must follow.

Apparently Chairman Bush believes he has the right to do anything he pleases, including

1/Restricting the travel of law abiding Americans, just because they have the same name as someone who is a terrorist suspect
2/Spying on any American citizen he chooses to spy on, without probable cause.
3/declare war on countries that are of no threat to the American people.
4/Lie to the American people
5/Order his administration to reveal the names of CIA agents
6/Ignore threats to our national security in favor of juicy contracts and positions of power to those that financed, or otherwise supported his Presidential campaigns.
7/Is not subject to accountability in any form whatsoever. In other words, American citizens are not entitled to know what he doing and why. Anyone, particularly the media, that questions anything he or his cronies do are then labelled politically biased.

There is are so many more examples of corruption and abuse of power that are probably waiting for the official secrets act to be revealed - if the Republican haven't found a way of circumventing this law by then (who wants to bet terrorist threats are tool they will use to try this).

I therefore suggest we rename the Presidency, and from now on we should refer to him as Chairman Bush in recognition of our transformation from a democracy to that of a communist dictatorship.
Posted by ajbright (447 comments )
Reply Link Flag
NO PROBABLE CAUSE.
That's not entirely accurate. The dragnet on all Arabic name/
speakers in the USA and their contacts was entirely foreseeable
and was foreseen by Al Quida, just as the Mosque radiation
monitoring missions were predictable and predicted. They were
ready for that and would wait a few days, wash and change their
clothes before heading mosqueward after handling radioactive
material. (I hung out with Al Quida guys back in 1997, until they
creeped me out & tried to rob me.) They mentioned expecting
just those tactics, even as I assured them that no such
infringements would be possible in America, even America at
war. But doing the predictable thing, though, could yet and may
have already yielded useful information via the enevitable slip-
up. I'm sure that if the FBI-NSA hangs out at that big South side
Mosque long enough, they'll catch the command structure that
launched the Washington sniper, or the blackouts, the shuttle
shoot down, the incideous political fifth columnists of the fourth
estate.
God gave each of us a free will, so we all have the authority to
circumvent the US Constitution. I think George W's dad
assassinating JFK back in 1963 was unconstitutional, too, but
nobody's called him on it yet, either. Don't even mention the
dozens of Dallas JFK witnesses the Bush-led plumbers snuffed,
or Bobby, or Martin, or George Wallace, or Ronald Reagan all
getting shot by people just waking up from BUSH republican
intoxications. VforVendetta.com REMEMBER, REMEMBER THE
22ND NOVEMBER!
Posted by TogetherinParis (318 comments )
Link Flag
Probable Cause Standard
The FISA court uses a different standard for probable cause. "Any Evidence" is the standard, for instance calling a number in Bagdad, or being called by a number in bagdad. No proof of a crime or of being an agent of a foreign power is required, other than contact with them. To my knowledge, no FISA warrant has ever been denied, leading many to call it "the rubber stamp court". So why would Bush need to bypass it?
Posted by (6 comments )
Link Flag
want them to listen?
Add this: plutonium implosion trigger
to all your conversations.
Posted by davebarnes (40 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Let me add
Agreed. In arabic.
Posted by rkadowns (18 comments )
Link Flag
Quick thoughs over my observations...
1) Another entry of evidence that terrorism is an enemy to
freedom.

2) I'd image now the NSA knows as much about me as Google
does, maybe.

3) Lots of speculation about something the administration
admits too. Counter productive, today.

4) We are all armchair 'constitutional' lawyers now, until the next
issue.

5) Who is the traitor leaking confidential information? Who will
be held accountable if someone dies because of this leak?

6) '06 elections.

7) Some laws must be broken on occasion. Will the President be
investigated? Are democrats pleased about the leak?

8) American WWII concentration camps; NSA eavesdropping.
Same or different? Necessary or not.

9) America is loosing it's identity, moral compass, survival
instincts, greatness, strength.

10) America is fighting two wars today.

11) We will defeat ourselves. Divided we will fall.

12) Christians; Nick Burg
Posted by rkadowns (18 comments )
Reply Link Flag
No Traitor
the individual you so cavilierly refer to as a "traitor" is said to have gone to the media because he felt the searches were illegal and that the administration was using a classification level to hide that fact. that, too, is illegal. so, to call someone a traitor because he reveals the illegal actions of a misguided administration (one that thinks a vague law to combat terrorism over-rides constitutional protections) is a reflection of a desperate attempt to put the genie back in the bottle. it won't work. U.S. citizens aren't as stupid as the conservatives who espouse this crap think, a fact that i hope they remember the next time they go to the polls.

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Link Flag
Here's a Thought ...
Since you seem to be so concerned we (as Americans) are in danger of fading due to our weakness, how about you start advocating for a way that we can REALLY prove our mettle:

We have soldiers in the deserts and mountains of the Middle East, who we constantly laud for their willingness to 'die for our freedom'. And yet, my freedom is not found anywhere in the Middle East, and what freedoms I do have here in the USA are being eroded daily anyway ... because we claim the fight is actually here.

Putting aside the incongruity of that, my point is since the battleground for our freedom is likely right here at home, why don't we civilians step up to the plate? Shouldn't WE be just as willing to die for our freedom - even more so, since as civilians we actually get to use it (soldiers & sailors on duty sure don't have much)?

I'm not saying we should all start packing heat, and hunt down the terrorists ourselves. I'm saying that we should tell our president and congress and courts, in no uncertain terms, that we want the maximum amount of freedom this country provides. That we expect no less than to have our way of life preserved, first and formost, since once that's gone there's nothing left worth fighting for anyway. And if exercising that freedom happens to cost me my life, because some terrorist slips the blockade and survailance at the borders and beyond (where they should be and can do the most good), then I will expect only that my government do whatever it can to bring him/her/them to justice, and for me to get a State's burial in Arlington.

Look, I am more willing to risk my life in order to live as an American, than to be in a quasi-criminal status in my own country for the rest of my life, for the purposes of a 'safety' that even Bush and Co. don't claim to promise. Since they're always telling us, "We know there's gonna be another attack - it's just a question of when...", then what exactly is the point of all this anyway?

Call me crazy. Call me irresponsible. I just want to get on planes with shoes on my feet again.
Posted by bcsaxman (69 comments )
Link Flag
criticism of intelligence gathering by nsc
The Bush admin. critics can't have it both ways! One minute the Dems are critical about the lack of or the accuracy of our intelligence, the next minute, the same people criticize our intelligence network doing the necessary things to stay ahead of the terrorists. I say "god bless the NSC and give 'em hell 'W'.
Posted by bushy and proud of it (1 comment )
Link Flag
Not a question of legal or illegal
What makes Bush's eavesdropping so disturbing is not about
whether it is legal or not. What IS disturbing, is the fact that
FISA's requirements for obtaining warrants allow up to 3-days
FOLLOWING the search to obtain a warrant. Bush and his
administration didn't even do that. So the question is: Why
would Bush's administration not obtain search warrants after the
fact...specifically, if it were so easy?The probable answer is that,
some of the searches conducted could be shown to be illegal.
This is what is scary about the entire situation. Special Powers
during war do not make the president a dictator nor do they
omit him from answering to the united states constitition and
our check and balance system. Terrorist have achieved there
goals; they have been able to change our wonderful democracy
and have succesfully attacked and infringed upon our civil
liberties.
Posted by Jdm26c (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Could it also be
That by obtaining warrants it would have made it next to
impossible to keep anything secret making the whole process
futile?

Ahh. I'm torn. I hate the thought of big brother spying on me,
(not that I think "I" was spied on specifically.) however I also hate
the thought that those that performed the acts on 9-11 were
aliens working from within and instructed to carry out their
orders through the very communications systems we Americans
invented.
Posted by rkadowns (18 comments )
Link Flag
Ahh, little George believes, he is an emperor!
Oh well, looks like Bush Jnr, believes he is an emperor, or he must be getting some very bad legal advice!

Section I of the constitution says "Section 1. All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives."

The oath of office "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Which means that no President in the exercise of his executive powers, even in wartime can presume, subsume and or overide any congressional law so duly authorised at anytime in the term of his presidency literally!

Oh well,looks like it is now the time, to impeach junior Bush, and sack the attorney general Gonzales, for exceeding the authority of his office! and send those dysfunctional lawyers who believe, that the President, is above and beyond the law, to the wall!

On the presidents desk, a bound volume of all congressional laws the directly relate to and control his office, should be on his desk!
Posted by heystoopid (691 comments )
Reply Link Flag
More like the Feuer
I don't know when American is going to wake up and realize that this so called conservative administration is really the dawn of the American Fascist Party. They have been working at solidyfing into a single party system ever since they united under the current Arrogant cowboy.

Conservative = Fascism
The Dept Of Homeland Security = Gestapo
Patriot Act = Putsch
Posted by aaroberts (82 comments )
Link Flag
The NSA's Domestic Spyfest
I've got lots of details about the tightening noose from my 1997
rant.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://orwellian.org/Cryptography_Manifesto.txt" target="_newWindow">http://orwellian.org/Cryptography_Manifesto.txt</a>

Example excerpt:

# "Moynihan Says U.S. Killed His Anti-Spy Measure"
# By Irvin Molotsky, The New York Times, September 11, 1985
#
# Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan charged that the CIA and
State Department
# had killed a measure he had introduced aimed at protecting
American
# citizens from having their telephone conversations
intercepted by foreign
# agents in this country.
#
# The Senator's bill would have made telephone call
interception by foreign
# agents illegal and would have provided for their expulsion.
#
# The Chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence
opposed the measure
# as unnecessary and could lead to disclosing "sensitive
intelligence
# sources."
Posted by George Orwellian (19 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Clinton used the same NSA spy program. but you'll forgive THAT.
You'll most likely forgive clinton for having used that very same spy program during his unfortunate administration. But bush, not a chance in hell. Hell, clinton even authorized Physical searches. Bush doesn't even do that.
Posted by BPrince6 (14 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Get your facts straight
Clinton used the program within the boundries of the law which. He used the secret court to approve said wiretaps.

Bush, the leader of the this Administration of Arogance, knew what the law was and did not get any kind oversight from the FISA court.

The fact of the matter is the court had almost 20,000 requests for wiretaps over it's 20 year history and only turned down five. The administration can wiretap someone and submit for review 3 days after they're already wiretapping and in the case of an emergency situation they can wait 14 days.

The ONLY reason the Bush Administration didn't get authorization is because they feel they're above the law... as I said, this is the administration of arogance.
Posted by aaroberts (82 comments )
Link Flag
Just the facts' mam!
The reality is Karl Rove, has always very deliberately supplied fiction, misinformation and other useless information designed to mislead, via third parties, for deniability reasons, which dates back to the days of junior bush's grope to become governor of the state of texas!

In this particular case, he carefully chose to omit key sections of Clinton &#38; Carter's Executive action authority, in that it was limited by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act!, which is detailed in the missing pieces, not given to Drudge!

Removal of that information, and handed onto Drudge to publish, gives a total different spin on the facts, and makes it seem, that they authorised deliberate domestic spying on all US Citizens, not on selected foreign powers as intended!

Oh well, beware anything that Karl R., supplies, for it's only ever intended to be total and absolute propaganda and nothing else!, it is like the old saying "the ends justify the means!, and the means justifies the ends!"
Posted by heystoopid (691 comments )
Link Flag
No Such Agency Monitoring The worst kept secret in DC
All of you need to read the Puzzle Palace or various other books about the NSA. The agency has been monitoring ALL communications coming into and going out of the USA since who knows when.

Those calls, faxes, or emails you made to your boyfriend/girlfriend while he/she was overseas, yes those ones, and NSA computer reviewed them, and kicked them out for further analysis by an employee. They were all laughing during their lunch break!
Posted by bkedersha (66 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Thank You for This Article
i've been puzzling over why in the world the administration just didn't go to the fisa court for warrants, even after the fact. now i suspect i know why. kudos, cnet, for offering a plausible explanation.

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
ArsTechnica Ran This Story ...
... two or three days ago. It's excellent, much more informative. Go here for the story on the technology involved:

The new technology at the root of the NSA wiretap scandal
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20051220-5808.html" target="_newWindow">http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20051220-5808.html</a>

And go here for one of the best commentaries you will ever read, by the same author, as to why this is a stupid thing for our government to do:

NSA wiretap followup: Why computer-automated mass surveillance is a bad idea
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20051220-5813.html" target="_newWindow">http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20051220-5813.html</a>

I can't give these pieces a high enough recommendation. Its a shame there's no 'Internet Pulizer'.
Posted by bcsaxman (69 comments )
Reply Link Flag
not so fast
I have not suggested that President Bush is a Felon, nor have I
suggested that he believes what he is doing is wrong. The truth
is I worded my previous comment a little unclear. So how about
this: President Bush and his administration are not aqcuiring
easily attainable RETROactive warrants. On the famous legal
grounds "I am the President, and I'll do want I want." Truth is, I
would not give a ****, if he aquired retro active warrants. Well
everybody is right he's not spying on anybody specific, he's
using keywords. Does anyone think terrorists in the U.S. use the
words Bomb, al qaeda, or I am a terrorist. No, the use other
codewords. Words that you and I use everyday, on phones, and
in e-mails. Yes, protect the country. Yes, monitor
communications. Yes, let a JUDGE view what you have been
doing. I don't care if it's going to be public record, as long as it
is going to be judge record. Is it clear now?
Posted by Jdm26c (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Suck It Up, Lefty. Paranoia is unhealthy.
This, and every other MSM article I've read on the NSA, reflects an obvious fact: The writer knows nothing about the subject; and if he did, he couldn't print it. So we are fed drivel. There are two general issues: Presidential authority and NSA scope of operations.

1. The Presidential authority issue will fade after time and energy wasted educating the lefties on what the law really says, which they will ignore. Facts have never impeded fanaticism.

2. This is a direct copy from the NSA Mission Statement on <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.nsa.gov:" target="_newWindow">http://www.nsa.gov:</a>

"The foreign signals intelligence or SIGINT mission allows for an effective, unified organization and control of all the foreign signals collection and processing activities of the United States. NSA is authorized to produce SIGINT in accordance with objectives, requirements, and priorities established by the Director of Central Intelligence with the advice of the National Foreign Intelligence Board.

NSA is uniquely equipped to deal with the national REQUIREMENT to monitor SIGINT. Note also that there are some new national requirements to merge information under the umbrella of Homeland Security. Some of the nice clean operational lines between the FBI, CIA, DIA et al are blurred out of necessity to create and respond to an integrated global intelligence picture (which by definition MUST include the US), a change that grew out of 9/11 with the full involvement and recommendation of the Congress (and by extension, we the people).

Note that the NSA is technically a CIA asset, and as such is fundamentally looks outward. However, because of its unique capabilities, it would logically become involved in some activities that cross national boundaries. Would you have them ignore the half of a phone call from Bin Laden that terminated inside the US? Of course not. And to the extent that they can filter out irrelevant communications, they will. The kind of stuff the flakes are worried about is literally "noise" as far as the NSA is concerned, and if there were a perfect way to eliminate it all up front, they would - making their job a lot easier.

Think about this for a moment. I know I'm asking a lot from the rabid left, but please. An al qaeda operative in New York picks up a disposable cell phone and places a direct call to a "monitored" location like, say, Bagdad. There is no way to know ahead of time either who is calling, what cell phone number will be used, or who specifically might be called. A warrant to listen in on all such calls would never be issued a priori (too broad), so what's an NSA to do in order to satisfy its mission statement? Listen and evaluate. Good on them.

The FISA court is nothing more than an attempt by ACLU contributors to insert court control and involvement into what is an executive prerogative *with existing legislative oversight*. The court adds nothing and is by its nature completely ineffectual. What, exactly, can it say if a "wiretap" (or maybe 1,000 "wiretaps") is reported two days after the fact? Bad boy! Don't ever monitor that specific connection again! Ridiculous. So suck it up, Dims. We need this activity, and you aren't helping.
Posted by parich1776 (13 comments )
Reply Link Flag
everything is so simple now!
I see now! So we should just trust that everything this president
is doing is always in our best interest. Unfortunately, I do not
have a ton of faith in Bush. Being with his excellent track record
and everything. What is sad, is that there are some major idiot
Democrats who attack bush for anything and everything, thereby
making even ligitimate claims look silly as well. Just a couple
more things though. Were there WMD's in Irag? Is Osama bin
Laden and Iraqi? Did Sadamm fly a plain into the World Trade
Center? No, so forgive me if I don't believe every utterance out
of Bush's mouth. In this light, why not keep idiots like me happy
and file some paperwork to make me sleep a little better at
night, while we are stuck in a wonderfully well conducted war
which was going to take six months. God, I'm such a crybaby
when it comes to my president lying to me.
Posted by Jdm26c (5 comments )
Link Flag
Paranoia: read my rant regarding the NSA
You've gotten fundamental facts wrong. The NSA already has full
Federal Appeals Court permission to listen to overseas phone
calls.

Bamford does indeed know something about the subject, of
course. That's another claim you've gotten wrong.

I tell ya what, slog through my unwieldy documentation on the
matter, all of it, then come back and tell me what you think of
my concerns (my "paranoia").

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://orwellian.org/Cryptography_Manifesto.txt" target="_newWindow">http://orwellian.org/Cryptography_Manifesto.txt</a>

Excerpt:

# "Moynihan Says U.S. Killed His Anti-Spy Measure"
# By Irvin Molotsky, The New York Times, September 11, 1985
#
# Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan charged that the CIA and
State Department
# had killed a measure he had introduced aimed at protecting
American
# citizens from having their telephone conversations
intercepted by foreign
# agents in this country.
#
# The Senator's bill would have made telephone call
interception by foreign
# agents illegal and would have provided for their expulsion.
#
# The Chairman of the Select Committee on Intelligence
opposed the measure
# as unnecessary and could lead to disclosing "sensitive
intelligence
# sources."
Posted by George Orwellian (19 comments )
Link Flag
Haven't you heard about Carnivore?
It amazes me that anybody who is interested enough about this subject to write an article on it does not mention the Carnivore program used by the FBI (supposedly it has been discontinued, but if you believe that....)

Is it because Carnivore was the brain child of Janet Reno and Bill Clinton and the jist of this article is the erosion of our civil rights under the Bush administration?

Your civil rights have been eroding for a long long time. Welcome to the U.S. police state brought to you courtesy of both the Democrats and the Republicans.
Posted by tlasater (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Impeach This Guy and Censure the entire Congress
I can live with a President and Congress whose policies I disagree with. However, what I cannot live with is an Executive administration that runs roughshod over civil rights in the name of protecting US citizens and that violates established international law. I also cannot and will not abide a congress that abdicates it's duties and responsibilities by passing legislation that gives the President the power to protect the citizens of the United States by any means. With that single act the Congress of the United States gave the President Dictatorial power.
Random searches of law abiding citizens in public, wire taps and eavsdropping on other electronic communication, just to mention a few violations by this government of our rights. It saddens me beyond words to say that I honestly believe that the terrorists have already won. The truly sad thing is that it isn't the terrorists that have violated America's civil liberties but our government.
Posted by mariusthull (67 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Don't you get it?
There's a fundamental chicken and egg issue in intelligence gathering and related activities. How does one know, for example, that a person walking through Grand Central Terminal wearing a backpack is "innocent?" Answer: One can't. The apparent liberal alternative of preference is to assume everyone is innocent until the next 9/11 is committed. Is that REALLY your solution to global terrorism? Or do you just deny terrorism exists and blindly hope there are no negative consequences to burying your head in the sand?
Posted by parich1776 (13 comments )
Link Flag
Marius Marius Marius...
Marius,

What rights of yours has President Bush and the current administration taken? I would submit to you that they have taken none of your rights. I agree with you that we are not to be spied upon. But what evidence is there that Bush and staff have done this? Besides, why would they *want* to spy on you in the first place? Are you making phone calls to known Al Queda leadership?

If you want to impeach this president because he signed off on spying on international phone calls, then you'll have to do the same for other previous presidents as well because they've all done the same thing.

The terrorists have not already won, but with the Democrats blocking progress in this war, they're going to! What we need is for these anit-American liberal Democrats to get behind the troops, this President, and unite for the common cause: America.
Posted by andyengle (74 comments )
Link Flag
Go here it's a very enlightening radio show
Go to this website and listen to the show for December 20, 2005.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.wbcb1490.com/irvshows.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.wbcb1490.com/irvshows.htm</a>

I don't work for the show or any of the advertisers.
Posted by mariusthull (67 comments )
Reply Link Flag
further reading
Everyone might want to look into this book

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?userid=nM3enilCpe&#38;isbn=031600023X&#38;itm=1" target="_newWindow">http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?userid=nM3enilCpe&#38;isbn=031600023X&#38;itm=1</a>
Posted by mariusthull (67 comments )
Reply Link Flag
There is sure to be more then meets the eye
There is sure to be more then meets the eye on this story. First of all, from personal experience I can say the NSA would not run a program like this without good reason, nor would lawyers in the Dept of Justice (even Republicans) have a blatent disregard for the statues and executive orders dealing with the collection of foreign intelligence on American soil.
It may be that they are relying on word games, saying that since Al Quida isn't a nation/foreign power the same rules don't apply.
Just as important is that the New York Times waited one year to develope the story and doesn't seem to be telling all it knows. Maybe there is such a thing as responsible journalism.
Bottom line, bad things happened at the hands of the CIA and FBI in the 60's and 70's. Those people are gone and you've got a generation that honestly want's to protect the US, even from misguided politicians.
Remember though, even parinoids have enemies. When do we decide its ok to watch these people? When there is a mushroom cloud over New York?
Posted by Wulfen (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
And you still think Democrats have a chance ?
Wake up, dreamers !
Posted by My-Self (242 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I think Democrats have a good chance
Democrat doesn't mean dumb, nor does it mean that we agree with everything every senator and representative says and does, even when they're a majority. I think the media hype stirs up its own zephyr and a lot gets reported inaccurately and/or without supporting context, don't you? Believe me,
the Democrats I'm in contact with have both feet on the ground and can think for themselves. Sorry to say that doesn't seem the case, especially with southern evangelicals. So, don't underestimate that there's intelligence among us Democrats. It would be a fatal mistake in any election.
Posted by ddjbear (1 comment )
Link Flag
Did they knew about other attacks
One thing I would like to know is that, if the program is so good that they were listening to all our conversations and monitoring all the emails
Then why did they not prevent the attacks on Spain, subway train station, Madrid bombing and most recently attacks in the United Kingdom. With all these things and past accusations against the administration that they knew about the 9/11 attacks, I think they also knew these attacks and they did not wanted to prevent it for their own political Sick reasons. And they did wanted public to be panic, so they can use their powers and policy what ever they deem fit. Our administration is for sure (or I should say think is corrupt) Bush is very very aggressive and self center person. He did make the image of USA to other countries as arrogant and selfish with double standards. USA use to be not like that, People all over the world liked the country and our people.
Also Vice-president Dick Chaney, Rums field, Condoliza Rice they are all oil people.
In my point if view White House had used all the powers what the congress had given them and more to obtain their goals. As long the NASA goes they had done what ever the administration told them to do. I bet you they knew about the Rafiq Hariri assassination. If it was up to President Bush he would be like Roman emperor and would tell the whole world what to do. Look what they have done to UN, and who is our ambassador to the United Nation. The administration even wants to fully embellish the United Nation. Well I think I had gone far enough against the administration, lets hope they dont put me somewhere, and where I cant even see the day light. One thing we need to do is to use our votes very carefully and chose what the best is for The Great USA. If we dont do that, that day is not far when United States of America will be name only mentioned in History books. American people are the greatest people on earth; we need to do same with the administration.
Posted by shawn003 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Bush made the point for us.
The patriot act and other simliar provisions are simply not needed, except to legitimize rouge behavior. The government and those in the know are going to do what ever they want from misleading voters to labeling elementry children 'hostile' on the watchlist for protesting the war. If you are just going to what you want when you want you don't need the restrictive laws. Because your obviously are in the right, maybe God told you so, or your billionare partner just needed to know what to get you for the holidays it doesn't matter. What matters is in order to protect you and your rights from terrorist, they must first strip those 'true' freedoms in order to replace them with an illusion of freedom that will help protect you from yourself.
Posted by Luke_Cage (33 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Oath of Office
When a member of the military, or a politian gets sworn in, they
take an oath of office swearing that they will "support and
defend the Constitution of the United Staes against all enemies,
foriegn and domestic...." What that tells me is that if there are
terrorists in the US (Domestic) making calls overseas (Foriegn)
our Government has the right to monitor them if they are using
that information to protect the citizens of the US. The Preamble
of the US Constitution, "We the People of the United States, in
Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure
domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote
the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to
ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this
Constitution for the United States of America" requires that the
first order of business is "the common defense". In other words,
if terrorists are operating in the US, calling, or communication
with their fellow terrorists somewhere else in the world, it is our
Government's duty to protect and defend us. I am not a terrorist
so I really do not have to worry about what communications
transmissions of mine are being monitored. In fact, I feel safer
because I know that the government is being vigilant and who
knows how many other "9/11's" were prevented by their actions.
I lost friends at the WTC, and I smelled the acrid smoke of the
Pentagon burning. It hasn't happened here in the US since, and
maybe people that live in the Left Coast don't get it because it
was 3,000 miles away. Much of what President Bush is being
criticized for doing was done by Presidents Carter and Clinton
without any mention of it. We all know the left is angry because
they lost, and hate Bush-end of story. Sorry but that is a lame
argument. God forbid Hollywood, or Seattle, or Boulder is hit by
a Terror Attack of some kind, because the Government wasn't
allowed to use all the tools at there disposal. These same people
would be marching on Washington accusing Bush of not doing
his job and blaming it on his being a Republican or a
Conservative who doesn't care about the Liberals. Sorry, you
can't have it both ways. Civil Rights as the left defines them, are
meaningless when you are dead, or face a horrible death due to
Nuclear, Biological or chemical attacks by a faceless Islamo-
Fascist terrorist. We have been at war since 1993 when the first
WTC bomb went off, we just didn't react to it appropriately. It is
not a mere criminal case, it is a military action. What are we
supposed to do, get the ACLU to Sue Osama Bid-Ladin and Al-
Queda? Get real people. I'd rather have my life, and the lives of
my friends and family than worry about who is listening in to my
conversations, or looking at my e-mails.
Posted by Paul Christensen (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Interesting concept!
Interesting concept, for within the constitution, are the bill of rights, which sets forth a specific set of freedoms and entitlements! Further , as the constitution, also states congress has the right to create laws governing the country, you by defending the nation, are formally required to respect and defend all those laws as well, for they are an integral part of the system!

Thus, whilst this oath appears simple!, it is indeed very far reaching and all encompassing!

Thus by spying, on all citizens of this country, in effect, logically you are breaking your oath to defend the constitution, for your are ignoring it's domestic control laws created thus!

Therefore , the logical conclusion is, that any person , who breaks this oath to defend the constitution and all its laws created thus, to spy without probable cause on any citizen,in the remote possibility, that they are a potential terrorist, is breaking the domestic laws!, is a person without any respect for honour period!

But then again didn't Benjamin Franklin, once say, to the effect, that to surrender all basic rights and freedom for the illusion of safety , deserve neither!

As to where, the real threat to life, limb and property lies, read the preventable death statistic's, together with the annual insurance payout costs to storm damages in NORTH AMERICA!, it can be very illuminating!

So thus, a CAT 5 storms, of the type like Hurricane Katrina, can and does create more widespread havoc and destruction, then any terrorist attack ever will!

Ahh! choices, don't you love them so!
Posted by heystoopid (691 comments )
Link Flag
Insecure is the right wing...
Every time someone calls the right wing on something they do that is clearly wrong (and it happens daily), they have to turn to name calling. It's as though you have nothing more to offer to a conversation than kiddy insults. That's why liberals always say that it's a matter of insecurity. Right wing folks are scared of anything they don't understand and that's why they lash out. It's fear! Afraid to stand up for yourself. Afraid to be men! Afraid of your own sexuality. Sooo sad.
Posted by SOFALIPS (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
If I am on vacation in another country reading my email.....
So how exactly does this "international" monitoring work? If I am on vacation in Mexico reading my Yahoo email, is that monitored? Is it IP subnet related? So, if I go to a website that is out of the country....oh...I don't know....english.aljazeera.net Is that when I am monitored for viewing pages there?

Ever hear of globalization? Well, there are lots of reasons for any of us to conduct business overseas. Most specifically internet. What if my new fangled Voice over IP phone provider is in Bangledesh and I am calling my brother in California? Is that monitored? Is it OK for it to be monitored. Aren't I in America?

Just curious how careful they are to know who are the "citizens" and who are tne "foriegners" in this highly globalized world. And on an internet where email "headers" can be forged. You know, there is really only one reason why I don't use encryption in my email communication. Because the NSA would think, hmmm ... encryption, they must be looked into. They obviously are under suspicion if they don't want anyone to know their business.

Next month will be interesting.

Good night, and good luck.
Posted by WannaKnow11 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
US citizen Outside US
FISA says that who you communicate with outside of the US is not privileged, and may be intercepted by any means. This means phone numbers, e-mail headers, etc. Encrypting your messages will just lead to further scrutiny. If and only if you have contacts with a target of interest (on the NSA watchlist) will you e-mails be read, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER YOU ENCRYPTED THEM OR NOT.
Posted by (6 comments )
Link Flag
Why is this maniac still in office?
Where is Kenneth Star when we need him? We were ready to throw Bill Clinton to the wolves over lying about an affair, yet we put up with lie after lie from this president. Lies that cost over 2000 of our sons and daughters lives and I haven't even heard the word impeachment be mentioned.
Posted by tungaiunwa (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Wake -up and smell the coffee, the rest of the world has!
My friend, go and read these two links. They might carry the answers to what you are wondering.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~hst306/documents/indust.html" target="_newWindow">http://coursesa.matrix.msu.edu/~hst306/documents/indust.html</a>

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.fas.org/man/smedley.htm" target="_newWindow">http://www.fas.org/man/smedley.htm</a>
Posted by jimbo57 (1 comment )
Link Flag
Idiot
You must mean the lies fo all the Democrats that made the same statements at the time huh?
You are truely an idiot! You know nothing of history or your own party's statements!
Posted by rlaizure5 (1 comment )
Link Flag
 

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