April 27, 2006 4:14 PM PDT

NSA spying comes under legal, political attack

WASHINGTON--President Bush's no-longer-secret surveillance program employing the National Security Agency came under a two-pronged attack this week on both political and legal fronts.

First, a key Republican senator said Thursday that he was contemplating pulling the plug on the NSA spying program by cutting funding--unless, that is, the Bush administration comes clean on how the program works and whether it complies with privacy rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.

"When you're withholding funds, here you're talking about real authority," Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told reporters at a press conference at the U.S. Capitol. Specter said he met with Bush on Wednesday but was unable to find common ground.

Second, on Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker in the northern district of California set two hearing dates over the next two months for a lawsuit that seeks to prove that AT&T illegally cooperated with the NSA and violated federal wiretapping laws in doing so. One date is May 17 and the other is June 21.

At issue in the AT&T lawsuit, filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is not only the company's actions (it has repeatedly declined to answer questions from CNET News.com). It's also over whether EFF will be able to unseal allegedly confidential documents it obtained, including a sworn statement by a retired AT&T telecommunications technician describing a "dragnet surveillance" scheme.

AT&T has asked the judge not only to keep the documents sealed and away from the public's eyes, but also to force the digital-rights group to return them. "We're waiting to see what happens," Lee Tien, an EFF senior staff attorney, said Thursday.

In Washington, the political situation is becoming even more complicated than the legal one. The Senate Judiciary Committee has convened four hearings this year related to the terrorist surveillance program that could be spying on an untold number of Americans' phone conversations and e-mails.

But the committee has still not obtained enough information to do its job, which is to judge the constitutionality of the program, and neither has the intelligence committee, which the administration is legally obligated to brief on such matters, Specter said.

"Is the president doing anything wrong?" Specter asked. "We don't know, because we don't know what the program is."

There's no doubt that the program is going on in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, a 1978 law that requires a secret court to approve investigative wiretapping before it occurs, Specter said. What remains murky, he added, is whether the president's constitutional powers as commander-in-chief would justify the program's existence without a court order.

"Here you have a lot of taps going on in America, in violation of a statute," Specter said. "They may be necessary, they may be vital, but there needs to be a determination of that...to ensure they're not a violation of privacy without probable cause."

Specter introduced a bill in March that would explicitly require the FISA court to sign off on all future and existing surveillance programs. That measure, along with two other bills regulating electronic surveillance, remains under debate in committee.

Specter emphasized that he doesn't want the issue to fade into the background, saying that he'd like to see "public concern and public indignation build up." He said it's possible he would also propose a separate bill to withhold the funds and plans to study how such a tactic has or has not been used in other times of controversy, such as during the Vietnam War.

The tactic may be largely symbolic, though, unless other Republicans join him or Democrats manage to retake the House of Representatives in the fall 2006 elections.

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15 comments

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More undisclosed surveillance programs?
To my knowledge, Attorney General Gonzales has never denied
that more programs are in place. The official statements are
always carefully crafted, fence-sitting, non-incriminating
statements.

He also -- as this and other stories have reported -- hasn't
given any useful details about how the program works.

The idea suggested on news.com a while ago still makes
practical sense:

1. Tap near-shore data relay centers with cooperation from the
telephone companies.
2. Record a great deal or all of the data.
3. Mine the data for suspicious patterns or keywords without
direct human evaluation.
4. Pass the most probable "bad activity" data to analysts.
5. Do tapping targeted at flagged individuals as necessary.
6. Destroy data and identitying information that is later
determined to be 100% useless.

Sound right?
Posted by mgreere (332 comments )
Reply Link Flag
They are using a Narus
A bunch of detail about the machines allegedly installed by the NSA at AT&#38;T's SFO switching offices here: <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/4/8/14724/28476" target="_newWindow">http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2006/4/8/14724/28476</a>

Basically, they are using a Narus system capable of semantically monitoring 2.5Gb/second, a virtual data vacuum that can look for specific meanings in all kinds of data (including VOIP) and save entire user sessions for later review.

Scary stuff.
Posted by bewert (1 comment )
Link Flag
Penn do the right thing
Penn as a republican, I'm asking you to please do the right thing, and vote this idiot out of office.
Posted by carolinagc (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
I wonder if he's related to Phil
I thought Arlen Specter was supposed to be the President's puppet. Isn't agreeing to be that, how he got his seat?
Posted by casper2004 (267 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Does anyone remember the Bill of Rights?
It's obvious that too many high school students either skipped or slept through their Civics class. Senator Specter is upholding his Constitutionally mandated responsibility to preserve and protect the people from illegal government intrusion. The Bush Administration and its apologists are willing to overlook any statute in the name of "protecting us from terrorism." What they refuse to admit is no one in this country is above the law! As far as I'm concerned, they have become the terrorists from which we need protection.
Posted by cardinalbird2 (13 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Where is the outrage
I'm grateful that Spector isn't going to let this go, it is unfortunate
that more of his colleagues don't seem to understand the
Constitution.
Posted by (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
All politicians do it
I think Senator Specter is just giving us lip service to make it look like he actually cares.
Posted by casper2004 (267 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Spying as a violation of Property rights
Perhaps "Outrage" is better defined to be "Paranoia" (sp?).

If there is a discussion/criticism of a subject, it's necessary for all who want to have a dialogue to agree on a definition of that subject. In the case of "Property" (in terms of the "Bill of Rights usage) the definition I accept and use is: "Property" is an individual's life, and all non-procreative derivatives of that life. (originally defined by Andrew J. Galambos). Using that definition as a base, I can extend it to mean that my thoughts, ideas, creations, and actions (including what I say or write) are MY Property. The concern for "outrage" in terms of "spying" on what I've done with my Property should really be whether or not my property can be used to harm me. I think that's why people appear to be "outraged" - the fear of what gov'mint will do with what they know about me through their spying. Personally, (in a perfect society), I should not get upset about anyone knowing what what I think or say. Assuming I can be assured that knowledge won't be used to harm me. That's the rub - will what I say/do be used against me?! I naively believe that my communications are not threatening to anyone. So I don't get to the "Outrage" state. That's me and almost every other American. However, I don't think any sane (rational) person would not want to know what hurt is being plotted on them. Since the purpose of "Government" is to protect "Private Property", I WANT them to know about threats to me and mine. I accept spying in that light, so I'm not "outraged" by my (protective) Government's spying on my behalf - I'm not ashamed of what I say or do, are you?
Posted by dgarbis (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Spying as a violation of Property rights
Perhaps "Outrage" is better defined to be "Paranoia" (sp?).

If there is a discussion/criticism of a subject, it's necessary for all who want to have a dialogue to agree on a definition of that subject. In the case of "Property" (in terms of the "Bill of Rights usage) the definition I accept and use is: "Property" is an individual's life, and all non-procreative derivatives of that life. (originally defined by Andrew J. Galambos). Using that definition as a base, I can extend it to mean that my thoughts, ideas, creations, and actions (including what I say or write) are MY Property. The concern for "outrage" in terms of "spying" on what I've done with my Property should really be whether or not my property can be used to harm me. I think that's why people appear to be "outraged" - the fear of what gov'mint will do with what they know about me through their spying. Personally, (in a perfect society), I should not get upset about anyone knowing what what I think or say. Assuming I can be assured that knowledge won't be used to harm me. That's the rub - will what I say/do be used against me?! I naively believe that my communications are not threatening to anyone. So I don't get to the "Outrage" state. That's me and almost every other American. However, I don't think any sane (rational) person would not want to know what hurt is being plotted on them. Since the purpose of "Government" is to protect "Private Property", I WANT them to know about threats to me and mine. I accept spying in that light, so I'm not "outraged" by my (protective) Government's spying on my behalf - I'm not ashamed of what I say or do, are you?
Posted by dgarbis (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Electronic Elephants Endanger Our Freedom
Electronic Harassment - Endangers Our Freedom, Our Families &#38; Our Future

There is compelling evidence classified electronic and sonic weapons technology developed by the U.S. Government is now in the hands of hate groups and organized crime.

These covert weapons are being used secretly and silently to harass loyal Americans, strangle their businesses and gain control of their assets.

So long as this technology remains classified, responsible government agencies cannot protect American citizens, families and businesses from these threats.

See www.ElectronicElephants.com [1] for further details and lists of reputable resources and links describing the electronic weaponry threat and asking Congress to investigate and stop it.

How Did This Happen? - The U.S. Government does not build bombers or battleships. It contracts with outside private companies to procure products and programs. Most military research and development remains classified unless there are compelling reasons to make it public.

Some of this electronic harassment technology has leaked from the hands of these private contractors. The U.S. Government does not want to admit the threat exists or that they have lost control of the technology.

Why Is It So Hard To Detect? - Most bio-affective sonic and electro magnetic frequencies lie in the extremely low frequency range of 5 to 300 cycles per second which mimic and parallel the electronic functioning of the human nervous system.

Since there are relatively few legitimate commercial uses for these extremely low frequency transmissions, test equipment to detect and prove their use is not currently available in the market today for a reasonable price.

What Are The Effects Of These Weapons? - It is well known and well documented that extremely low frequency sonic and electromagnetic frequencies can disorient and disrupt human functioning, cause memory loss and confusion. Some frequencies can induce heart attack or stroke. Recent publicity about active denial technologies indicate they can cause pain, serious injury and death.

This classified, covert technology is now in the hands of organized crime and hate groups. The implications and impact on our freedom and future are horrifying.

www.ElectronicElephants.com

Retrieved from "http://www.wikithepresidency.org/index.php/Electronic_harassment"
Posted by TargetElephant (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Electronic Elephants Endanger Our Freedom
Electronic Harassment - Endangers Our Freedom, Our Families &#38; Our Future

There is compelling evidence classified electronic and sonic weapons technology developed by the U.S. Government is now in the hands of hate groups and organized crime.

These covert weapons are being used secretly and silently to harass loyal Americans, strangle their businesses and gain control of their assets.

So long as this technology remains classified, responsible government agencies cannot protect American citizens, families and businesses from these threats.

See www.ElectronicElephants.com [1] for further details and lists of reputable resources and links describing the electronic weaponry threat and asking Congress to investigate and stop it.

How Did This Happen? - The U.S. Government does not build bombers or battleships. It contracts with outside private companies to procure products and programs. Most military research and development remains classified unless there are compelling reasons to make it public.

Some of this electronic harassment technology has leaked from the hands of these private contractors. The U.S. Government does not want to admit the threat exists or that they have lost control of the technology.

Why Is It So Hard To Detect? - Most bio-affective sonic and electro magnetic frequencies lie in the extremely low frequency range of 5 to 300 cycles per second which mimic and parallel the electronic functioning of the human nervous system.

Since there are relatively few legitimate commercial uses for these extremely low frequency transmissions, test equipment to detect and prove their use is not currently available in the market today for a reasonable price.

What Are The Effects Of These Weapons? - It is well known and well documented that extremely low frequency sonic and electromagnetic frequencies can disorient and disrupt human functioning, cause memory loss and confusion. Some frequencies can induce heart attack or stroke. Recent publicity about active denial technologies indicate they can cause pain, serious injury and death.

This classified, covert technology is now in the hands of organized crime and hate groups. The implications and impact on our freedom and future are horrifying.

www.ElectronicElephants.com

Retrieved from "http://www.wikithepresidency.org/index.php/Electronic_harassment"
Posted by TargetElephant (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Electronic Harassment
I am currently the victim of electronic harassment. I have gotten to know but am unable to stop the perpetrator. He is a pediphile that began using the device to obtain easy (visual and psychological) access to children. Why he came to me I can't say (I'm not a child). I need help. No one can tell me how his device works but I am suffering the effects of everything this device is capable of. I understand that criminal elements have obtained this from contractors, either legally or illegally, or they hack into systems using passed around access codes. Why does it seem as though our law enforcement system is so utterly ignorant of this problem? Where do I go for help? Anyone with any information please email me at calminthestorm_eh@yahoo.com.
Posted by calminthestorm (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
electronic harassment
i have been a target of electronic harassment for 5 years with the accompanying neurophone capbility. and from what the "monarchs recruits" (neighbors) are saying VIA NEUROPHONE i have been under silent attack for 28 years. do your research on monarch mind control. the undetectable mind control slave. people are targeted as children around the age of 3. i have been trying to receive help. the group that has been targeting me claim they have the fbi under illegal surveillance and are capable of using the silent subliminal message capability on them. they have all kinds of psychological tactics of trying to frustrate their targets. but you have to stay strong and fight. never back down.
Posted by jollygoshdarn (3 comments )
Link Flag
electronic harassment
it has become a global problem. The group that is harassing me via neurophone has claimed that they have used the mind reading, REMOTE VIEWING capability to access information from CIA, FBI agents to be able to order computer software, access to files, disguises, and all their intellectual property. they know every secret of the FBI, and CIA. Anyone who threatens their safety. Why is the federal government allowing this to go on. It can not be that hard to stop. All they have to do is target the criminals or the persons that are being targeted with the same type of surveillance and use the same capabilities to find the PERPETRATORS. People's lives are being ruined. They are extreme CON ARTIST, with them stealing vital intellectual property from the AGENCIES they can make phone calls, send e-mails as "agents" (identity theft by the theft of intellectual property) and kill cases and deteir information from getting to the appropriate hands. If you look at www.surveillanceissues.com website it says they can intercept e-mail, phone calls, and etc.
Anominity for attempting to notify the authorities and agents is no longer an option once you have been targeted by the criminals. meaning that the criminals know where the victim goes to report the crimes, who they speak to and everything they are going to report. they have plenty of time to CRAFT an alternate story. and alot of them are using a "cover". claiming to be licensed and bonded investigators to have a plausible reason for investigation, but in reality it is ALL GANGSTALKERS attempting to EXTORT, BLACK-MAIL, AND RUIN YOUR LIFE.
Posted by jollygoshdarn (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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