Patterico's Pontifications

8/8/2007

L.A. Times Looks to Scare Readers Over New FISA Legislation

Filed under: Dog Trainer,General,Terrorism — Patterico @ 12:05 am



An L.A. Times article is titled Bush administration defends spy law. The deck headline reads: “The White House rejects claims that the new measure allows electronic ‘drift nets’ to snare U.S. citizens.” It leads with this sentence:

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration rushed to defend new espionage legislation Monday amid growing concern that the changes could lead to increased spying by U.S. intelligence agencies on American citizens.

The phrase “increased spying by U.S. intelligence agencies on American citizens” suggests that we already face widespread deliberate electronic surveillance targeting citizens; this legislation will just lead to more of it. I am aware of no evidence showing a systematic and deliberate targeting of citizens for domestic eavesdropping. But innuendo is innuendo. If we insisted on tying it to fact, it wouldn’t be half as fun!

I also love the phrase “amid growing concern.” I have discussed before what it means when a newspaper uses a phrase like “growing concern”:

I have warned you that such language is a signal that the paper agrees with the criticism. When the paper disagrees with criticism of a [politician], it is portrayed as an attack by political opponents. When the paper agrees with the criticism, the criticism becomes a mysterious and disembodied (but ever-growing) entity. Doubts grow. Criticism emerges.

So when there is a “growing concern” over something — why, it must be legitimate!

And any defense of a program that causes “growing concern” to good men like newspaper reporters and editors . . . well, any such defense must be dishonest — right? So it’s best to portray it as, say, a cynical P.R. campaign — as today’s article portrays the Bush administration defense of the new changes:

In a public relations push to counter criticism of the new law, senior administration officials cited a combination of legal barriers and resource restrictions that they said would keep the government from sifting through e-mails and phone calls of Americans without obtaining court warrants first.

The article continues:

But officials declined to provide details about how the new capabilities might be used by the National Security Agency and other spy services.

Gee, if officials won’t provide details about how the government plans to use a terrorist and foreign intelligence surveillance program . . . there must be something suspicious going on, right?

And in many cases, they could point only to internal monitoring mechanisms to prevent abuse of the new rules that appear to give the government greater authority to tap into the traffic flowing across U.S. telecommunications networks.

Note the clever way that the article repeatedly suggests that the new legislation allows the government to spy on citizens. The phrase “the traffic flowing across U.S. telecommunications networks” is evocative of a regime that routinely targets purely domestic communications.

In fact, that is not the case. The changes in the law are designed to help target foreign communications. The article mentions that this is the Bush position — but it’s part of a P.R. campaign!

In summary, according to the opening few paragraphs of the article, the administration denies the legislation could “snare U.S. citizens.” But there are “growing concerns” about “increased spying by U.S. intelligence agencies on American citizens” — so the Bushies have to do a “public relations push.”

Nothing but straight news, presented down the middle, at your local Dog Trainer.

Imagine if the first three paragraphs were rewritten, how different the story could sound. On the left is the real story; on the right is how it could be re-written in a more balanced and less biased fashion:

Bush administration defends spy law

The White House rejects claims that the new measure allows electronic ‘drift nets’ to snare U.S. citizens.

Bush administration defends spy law

The White House says that the new measure is designed to help the government effectively monitor international foreign intelligence.

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration rushed to defend new espionage legislation Monday amid growing concern that the changes could lead to increased spying by U.S. intelligence agencies on American citizens.

In a public relations push to counter criticism of the new law, senior administration officials cited a combination of legal barriers and resource restrictions that they said would keep the government from sifting through e-mails and phone calls of Americans without obtaining court warrants first.

But officials declined to provide details about how the new capabilities might be used by the National Security Agency and other spy services. And in many cases, they could point only to internal monitoring mechanisms to prevent abuse of the new rules that appear to give the government greater authority to tap into the traffic flowing across U.S. telecommunications networks.

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration offered arguments in favor of new legislation Monday designed to streamline procedures for monitoring international foreign intelligence communications.

Seeking to counter critics’ claims that the legislation continued to allow spying on U.S. citizens, senior administration officials cited a combination of legal barriers and resource restrictions that they said would keep the government from sifting through e-mails and phone calls of Americans without obtaining court warrants first.

Officials stated that they could not divulge particular details about how the new capabilities might be used by the National Security Agency without providing a blueprint to terrorists. However, they noted that the procedures they used to determine whose communications may be monitored are subject to review by a special court called the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, as well by internal monitoring mechanisms designed to prevent abuse of the new rules.

62 Responses to “L.A. Times Looks to Scare Readers Over New FISA Legislation”

  1. I do believe it was (finally) on this bill that the Democrats in Congress stopped calling it the ‘domestic spying’ program [when they were voting for it]. Apparently the LAT didn’t get the memo yet.

    Lord Nazh© (899dce)

  2. Is there cause for fear? We still have a rubber-stamp Congress giving more authority to an AG even Patterico says should be gone, who along with McConnell, can bypass the FISA court for any communication they claim is restricted to international telecommunications. But data mining in country continues to be protected, if you believe them.

    I don’t think latimes is fearful enough. Your lede graph lacks punch and is not genuine with castrated phrases like ‘offered arguments in favor of’ when compared to the more accurate; ‘”rushed to defend” their demand that Congress give them more power.’

    Semanticleo (4741c2)

  3. This post ties in very well with the “dangling AG”. Why does the President even need legislation, other than an appropriations bill for funding, to spy on our enemies? No Congressional action will save the program if it engages in unconstitutional domestic spying so it is meaningless in that sense. FISA is nothing more than a deliberate self-cripling at a time when information is more vital than an array of ICBMs. That the President had to go to Congress now to beg them to loosen the handcuffs is a political failure –he should have worked with the previous Republican Congress to repeal FISA — and illustrative of the way he has been ill-served by his legal team at the Justice Department.

    nk (48899d)

  4. I think it’s refreshing to see journalists being so open in their bias. Now, if we could only get them to admit it.

    Rob Crawford (240cf9)

  5. And considering the alacrity with which US newspapers spill the beans about 100% classified intelligence programs, what the holy hell makes them think the WH is going to just GIVE them info?

    Scott Jacobs (90eabe)

  6. Miss Cleo – How goes that case of PRE traumatic stress disorder?

    Isn’t it interesting how this is all laid at the feet of President Bush, as though the dumb evil genius could unilaterally control Congress.

    This article completely absolves Pelosi and Reid of their actions in passing this legislation, which might be the first thing they have done that I agree with.

    JD (06a9d8)

  7. We still have a rubber-stamp Congress giving more authority to an AG even Patterico says should be gone, who along with McConnell, can bypass the FISA court for any communication they claim is restricted to international telecommunications.

    Gonzalez is not the issue here, and I highly doubt that he’s doing any of the listening. Whether you approve of the guy in charge has no bearing on the fact that the entire department, from top to bottom, has work to do.

    BTW, are you going to be running with that “rubber stamp (Democrat) Congress” appellation come Nov ’08? They really have failed you, haven’t they?

    Pablo (99243e)

  8. It’s already known the USG broke the law. The Administration wants retroactive immunity for the telcos

    When Congress returns in September the Intelligence committees and leaders in both parties will need to complete work on the comprehensive reforms requested by Director McConnell, including the important issue of providing meaningful liability protection to those who are alleged to have assisted our Nation following the attacks of September 11, 2001.

    “those who are alleged to have assisted our Nation” How’s that for Bushspeak?

    It’s not the press’ job to roll over and play dead Pat, any more than it’s a defense attorney’s job to let you steamroll him.
    It’s the press’ responsibility to be suspicious and these days they’re doing a bad enough job of it. They bather about Iran and Syria like they used to about Iraq, but still little Mention of Saudi Arabia or Pakistan, our “friends.”
    Your friends in the White House are making the country less safe and have been for a long time. And you defend them. Every time you marshall “facts” they get shot down as spin. When you can’t spin it you move on to something else.

    This site is getting sillier. And the your pet trolls, pat’s dittoheads, who can’t think of anything better to than shout like 5 year old bullies in the sandbox. It’s pathetic Pat.

    AF (4a3fa6)

  9. “Every time you marshall “facts” they get shot down as spin.”

    No, not every time, just far too often.

    AF (4a3fa6)

  10. AF – Congrats. You were close to the topic, which is a vast improvement for you.

    JD (06a9d8)

  11. JD, make a fucking argument and back it up.

    AF (4a3fa6)

  12. I shall not engage with a vile lying liar such as yourself, AF. You make up BS positions to argue against, you proficiently copy and paste others arguments to topics not quite germaine, and all in all, are just a run of the mill troll, unworthy of response, just like alphie, Miss Cleo, etc … So, I will just mock you. But thanks for the suggestion.

    JD (06a9d8)

  13. It’s the press’ responsibility to be suspicious and these days they’re doing a bad enough job of it.

    Well, some of them are.

    Suspicious, yes. Partisan, no.

    Pablo (99243e)

  14. To you and the rest of pat’s pet trolls “not quite germane” refers to any argument that constrdicts your own. I made a comment and posted a link. Respond to it or not it’s up to you.

    AF (4a3fa6)

  15. AF is making Al Qaeda’s arguments and nothing else. If anybody has a Hellfire missile feel free to respond otherwise ignore him.

    nk (48899d)

  16. AF, your claim that the USG broke the law remains without foundation. Your link does make the claim but like you without any foundation.

    So your comment “JD, make a fucking argument and back it up” falls under the usual hypocrisy.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  17. “This site is getting sillier. And the your pet trolls, pat’s dittoheads, who can’t think of anything better to than shout like 5 year old bullies in the sandbox. It’s pathetic Pat.”
    Comment by AF — 8/8/2007 @ 5:11 am

    If you don’t like the company, AF, you can find another sand box to play in.

    Patterico, there must be an article we missed. As I remember it, everything was supposed to be just fine with going through the FISA court, and President Bush wanted to go around it just because of his own megalomanic and diablical schemes. We were assured that the FISA court would be happy to give a ruling at 3 am to allow an interception of terrorist communications that were routed through US service for part of its travels, right? Did that, um, turn out not to be exactly the case?

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  18. Robin, an allegation is proof of guilt in AF’s world.

    Pablo (99243e)

  19. MD in Philly, the LA Dog Trainer reported that a FISA judge rejected an application with a narrower interpretation of FISA than other judges had made. Hence the amendment.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  20. Robin, thank you for the update. I missed the details of that and was hoping to bring out a discussion of why FISA wasn’t working out so well after all. In maintaining consistency, do I assume the Dog Trainer applauded the efforts of the one noble justice willing to stand up to the “evil Emperor”?

    On a related topic (hit the gong, bring out the hook, whatever if I’m out of line). I heard an interview yesterday with someone just releasing a book on the CIA (sorry, don’t remember the title). It describes how CIA operations took a turn for the worse during the Carter and Clinton presidencies. This lead to the observation that “intelligence has suffered when Democrats have been in the White House”. :-)

    Tenant is reported to have said that the CIA “was in chapter 11″ by the end of the 90’s, and Woolsey and Deutsch (sp?) both left the CIA in protest of the overly aggressive dismantling of it due to the “peace dividend”.

    Reportedly the CIA is looking to replace/recruit 1/3 of its workforce. The question is, will someone who has made public comment critical of the CIA regarding “Plamegate” by more or less likely to be hired for a position than someone “neutral”.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  21. MD in Philly, are you refering to Sabotage: America’s Enemies Within the CIA by Rowan Scarborough ? Haven’t read it yet, but discussion of it has been interesting.

    I think Patterico wrote a posting about the FISA leak a few days ago, if not its not hard to find. Washington Post and Dog Trainer both wrote stories on it.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  22. Yes, that’s the book. (I think, I know that’s the author).

    Thanks. I’ll look for Patterico’s post. (My bad, although PP is on my top 3 blogs to read, I don’t always get to it- or any of them).

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  23. You know, you shouldn’t have seen the Bourne ultimatum; and written that editorial. It’s
    the dystopian extension of the L.A. Times view.
    A Guardian reporter, is tracked panopticon-like
    because they suspect he’s meeting with a source
    that will provide him with the dirt on the “Black
    Briar” program; which includes assasinations, renditions, experimental interrogations, et al.
    run by a power mad deputy director.He is taken out by an off the shelf assassin. His source; a ‘dissident’ NOC operating from a Madrid brokerage, is taken out by car bomb in Tangiers; by someone who looks like an AQ minion. Bourne, prevents the assasin from taking out his assasin.
    Pamela Landy, a rival in the last film; leads Bourne to the operations base of Black Briar; in
    a NY office buildings; another building holds the
    training conditioning center for assasins; which uses techniques like water boarding to create
    Bourne & associates; which apparently was developed long before 9/11. Was Ward Churchill the assistant screenwriter.

    narciso (c36902)

  24. The internet’s most dishonest pundit was on CSPAN the other day flogging this same FEAR meme about the TSP and other electronic data mining programs. He looked liked he was tweaked out on speed, all twitchy and beady-eyed. Maybe that’s normal for him.

    Further proof we do not have a liberal media in this country I guess.

    daleyrocks (906622)

  25. daleyrocks – “The internet’s most dishonest pundit” does not really narrow down the field very much.

    JD (06a9d8)

  26. It seems the pertinent question here is whether or not this new bill allows warrantless surveillance of all international communication. After having looked over the bill, though I am not a lawyer, I can’t see how this could possibly be interpreted as anything but a blanket legalization of sed wiretapping. Marty Lederman said it better than I could:

    The key provision of S.1927 is new section 105A of FISA (see page 2), which categorically excludes from FISA’s requirements any and all “surveillance directed at a person reasonably believed to be located outside of the United States.”

    For surveillance to come within this exemption, there is no requirement that it be conducted outside the U.S.; no requirement that the person at whom it is “directed” be an agent of a foreign power or in any way connected to terrorism or other wrongdoing; and no requirement that the surveillance does not also encompass communications of U.S. persons. Indeed, if read literally, it would exclude from FISA any surveillance that is in some sense “directed” both at persons overseas and at persons in the U.S.

    The key term, obviously, is “directed at.” The bill includes no definition of it.

    As I understand new sections 105B and 105C, even if the surveillance is “directed at” foreigners, and therefore is no longer governed by the existing FISA requirements, if the DNI and AG wish to authorize “acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning persons reasonably believed to be outside the United States,” they will still have to do at least two things:

    (i) meet certain minimization requirements (page 3); and

    (ii) make a one-time submission to the FISA Court (see page 9) of the “procedures by which the Government determines that acquisitions conducted pursuant to section 105B do not constitute electronic surveillance” (i.e., are not covered by FISA). (The procedures would have to be updated and resubmitted annually.) In other words, the DNI and AG would have to explain to the FISA Court how it is that they determine that a certain category of surveillance is not “directed at a person reasonably believed to be located outside of the United States.”

    The FISA Court would then be required to determine whether those procedures for satisfying the “directed at” exemption “are reasonably designed to ensure that acquisitions conducted pursuant to [the surveillance] do not constitute electronic surveillance.” In making this already deferential determination, “[t]he court’s review shall be limited to whether the Government’s determination is clearly erroneous.”

    The DNI and AG would also have to certify (page 3) that a “significant purpose” of this new, non-FISA-compliant surveillance “is to obtain foreign intelligence information.” This doesn’t exclude the possibility that another purpose — another significant or predominant purpose, even — could be to obtain information not related to “foreign intelligence.” Moreover, there would be no real way of enforcing even this modest certification requirement. It would come before the FISA Court, if at all, only indirectly, if someone receiving an order for assistance — i.e., a serivce provider — challenges the legality of the directive they’ve received, in which case a FISA judge must determine whether the directive to the service provider is unlawful (page 7).

    Can anyone really argue that Bush , Cheney, and Gonzales aren’t going to interpret this bill in the broadest way possible?

    Russell (f446ff)

  27. Russell – Why would anybody argue that? I would hope that any President, Republican or Democrat, would do so.

    JD (06a9d8)

  28. JD – Gleen!

    daleyrocks (906622)

  29. So, can we now scratch C-SPAN off of the list of objectivity? If they are interviewing the Gleens, then even they have been corrupted. Did they have a lens wide enough to fit Glenn, Gleen, Elllers, Thomas, McEllerson, and all of the other various sockpuppets into one shot?

    JD (06a9d8)

  30. I wasn’t aware that C-Span broadcast from Brazilian bathhouses.

    JD (06a9d8)

  31. Russell, yes, anyone can argue at least that your fears are illusionary.

    Certainly Lederman’s claim “Indeed, if read literally, it would exclude from FISA any surveillance that is in some sense “directed” both at persons overseas and at persons in the U.S.” has no basis in any interpretation of the text. Its a silly leap.

    The section really codifies an argument that has long existed and is supported by several court decisions – that intelligence electronic surveillance of persons located outside of the United States is not something that can be statutorily limited anyway as being in the executive’s inherent authority. It is certainly well outside of the Fourth Amendment.

    So if you have an argument that is more specific and more credible, please make it.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  32. It is certainly well outside of the Fourth Amendment.

    To put it another way, if you aren’t in this country, you really don’t have a reasonable expectation of privacy…

    Scott Jacobs (90eabe)

  33. There is a nice short piece today at the American Thinker explaining some of the insanity of the hyperventilating anti-TSP rhetoric.

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/08/fisa_follies.html

    daleyrocks (906622)

  34. The American Thinker piece is completely ridiculous. This debate was never about removing the obstacle for warrantless surveillance where foreign-foreign communication is routed through a US-based fiber-optic switch. Even Russ Feingold agreed that was a clear problem that needed to be fixed immediately. This problem was fixed in the original bill sponsored by the Democrats. That is not the issue.

    The issue is whether or not this bill permits warrantless surveillance of US-foreign communication. The relevant section, so far as I can determine:

    SEC. 105A. Nothing in the definition of electronic surveillance under section 101(f) shall be construed to encompass surveillance directed at a person reasonably believed to be located outside of the United States.

    That’s it. Later on, there’s some stuff about how the DNI and Attorney General have to certify that they’re extra-sure these people are actually outside the US, but that seems to be the key section.

    So the NSA doesn’t need a warrant for surveillance “directed at” some person “reasonably believed” to be outside the US. I see nothing there that would prohibit US-foreign warrantless surveillance. What does “directed at” mean? Beats me, but is anyone going to seriously argue that John Yoo and David Addington aren’t going to stretch the meaning of this bill as far as they possibly can?

    This seems to be a pretty simple question to answer, and one where left and right aren’t agreeing on the simple facts. Are there some lawyers out there who can answer this question definitively?

    Russell (a32796)

  35. Russell, if the NSA does not need a warrant for such surveillance, then you should not have a problem with the section. The rest of your comment makes no sense, what specifically is the problem – other than vague and irrelevant references to John Yoo.

    Otherwise, the bill does what is claimed for it.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  36. Russell #34 (and Scott #32),

    There is a diminished right of privacy at our borders for foreigners and U.S. citizens both, and that extends to telecommunications. FISA, as I understand it, attempted to go beyond the protection granted by the Fourth Amendment but created a cumbersome and awkward layer of secret judicial bureaucracy. I don’t see that if I, a U.S. citizen, can be constitutionally strip-searched and my luggage ransacked without a warrant when I cross the border that my international telephone calls cannot be monitored as well. And if the NSA wants to pay an interpreter to translate my discussions with my sister-in-law about the relative benefits of Benefiber or Metamucil for keeping our kids regular … well … it’s an issue for taxpayer advocates and not civil libertarians.

    nk (48899d)

  37. Um…

    So, my question was what does this bill say? I was watching an argument on the Newshour, and there was some Bush guy on there saying that this bill emphatically doesn’t legalize warrantless surveillance of all US-foreign communication, and there was someone else saying the opposite. To my mind, it looks like Bush and his allies in the press are lying, but since I’m not a lawyer, I was unsure.

    Does that make sense?

    Russell (a32796)

  38. Russell, no that doesn’t make sense. A person whose name you don’t know claims that the bill does something, and his word convinces you that the Bush administration is lying. No, that does not make sense.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  39. Robin – That makes perfect sense. That is their default position.

    Russell – It is no longer a domestic call if one party to the call is not in the US, thus no expectation of privacy.

    JD (0c5b67)

  40. THere’s plenty of spying against U.S. citizens going on. Always has been. Depart from the doxa and you’re “fair game.”

    I am a grduate of New York’s High School of Music and Art — class of ’64. The “Red Squad” had a car parked in front of the building (it was up on Morningside Heights then, adjacent to CCNY) and we had great fun running up to the car to ask the officers “just a question” — which of course would cause them to gun the ignition and speed away as quickly as possible. But they would be back the next day — to snap all our pictures.

    During the Vietnam era I protested the war, and as a result my family’s phone (we lived in Queens) was tapped. When I moved to the city the tap was taken off — but by that time the war was over.

    More recently the Secret Service has been to visit mden for quoting Christopher Marlowe on the ‘net.

    But I’m sure none of this troubles you the teeniest little bit, Patterico.

    David Ehrenstein (09779f)

  41. You folks need an emetic to pass that butt plug which torments and distracts you when you fiddle
    with your brand of ‘logic’. Arguing over whether the interception of overseas calls is kosher for this amended FISA is similar to a few scatatologists debating whether it is flea scat or fly specks in the rat dung. You really think they are not listening to everything domestic and foreign?

    Check out this BUSHISM (classic!)

    “When Congress returns in September the Intelligence committees and leaders in both parties will need to complete work on the comprehensive reforms requested by Director McConnell, including THE IMPORTANT ISSUE OF PROVIDING MEANINGFUL LIABILITY PROTECTION TO THOSE WHO ARE ALLEGED TO HAVE ASSISTED our Nation following the attacks of September 11, 2001.
    http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/08/20070805.html

    I LOVE IT. ALLEGED TO HAVE ASSISTED——
    IF WHAT THEY’RE DOING WAS, AND IS LEGAL, WHY THE NEED FOR PROTECTION. carry on.

    Semanticleo (4741c2)

  42. Ignoring trollish behavior.

    ras (adf382)

  43. I don’t know about everyone’s digestive tracts, but in my world if you’re passing a butt plug through the use of emetics, something is very, very wrong.

    Pablo (99243e)

  44. passing a butt plug through the use of emetics

    Sounds painful.

    Paul (a47125)

  45. You really think they are not listening to everything domestic and foreign?

    I soitanly hope they are, Ollie. Do you think that because you’re using propagating electromagnetic waves and not sound waves that it is any different from shouting to your neighbors across the street? You want privacy? Travel to where your correspondent is and whisper in his ear.

    nk (48899d)

  46. I thought that the black helicopters were supposed to be watching David and Cleo. Tapping phones is for pikers.

    JD (b830c0)

  47. Re #41,

    An “emetic” is a medication used to induce vomiting-not to keep a “butt plug” in. If you’re planning to descend to this level of debate, using the correct terms will enhance what little credibility you have.

    As far as substantive discussion of the matter at hand is concerned, I think that even a blind squirrel (Democratically-controlled Congress) finds an acorn now and then-the revision to FISA now allowing surveillance of conversations where at least one party is overseas is long overdue. I’m certainly not an attorney, but extending 4th Amendment protections to people overseas makes about as much sense to me as prosecuting a guy smoking marijuana in Amsterdam for violating US drug laws.

    flightdoc (3c6b36)

  48. I soitanly hope they are, Ollie. Do you think that because you’re using propagating electromagnetic waves and not sound waves that it is any different from shouting to your neighbors across the street? You want privacy? Travel to where your correspondent is and whisper in his ear.

    Are you serious?

    Phone calls have been accepted as private for ages, and I think they should be.

    Patterico (2a65a5)

  49. Patterico – Once a foreign call reaches the border, and is being handled via electronics located within the US, is not the expectation of privacy reduced if not negated, much like a border crossing?

    JD (b830c0)

  50. “Phone calls have been accepted as private for ages, and I think they should be.”

    I don’t know what the laws are like in your neck of the woods, but in many, calls made over radio — i.e., cell phone, cordless — are treated as less private than landline.

    Public owns the airwaves and all that.

    According to the Volokh Conspiracy, cell phone calls may be protected from interception, but not cordless calls. Click for details.

    Are cell phone and cordless phone calls legally considered private or were you just referring to landline calls?

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  51. Sorry, Patterico, but let’s be practical. Our enemies use technology to conspire more easily to attacks us and we use technology to counter it. A lot of the “civil libertarian” arguments on this issue seem to me to be that even if bank robbers use automobiles and machine guns the police must chase them on horseback with cap and ball pistols.

    And I was yanking Semanticleo’s chain just a little bit. But not all that much.

    When it comes to wireless communications, I don’t know how much of a reasonable expectation of privacy there is. Anybody with a scanner can pick up our cell phone or wireless home phone conversations. My “shouting across the street” analogy is not all that bad. Should everyone else in the neighborhood cover their ears? Could I pose naked in my living room window and accuse passersby of being Peeping Toms?

    I agree that as a general rule, the government should not unreasonably spy on its citizens without probable cause. But when my voice is broadcast across the world is it really “spying” just because I have a little machine that converted my sound waves into radio waves?

    nk (48899d)

  52. Well,

    Reading over the actual bill, S.1927.ENR

    http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c110:S.1927.ENR:

    It looks like if Abu Gonzales says you’re outide the Untited States, you are outside the United States.

    Then the government can snoop through all your cell phone calls and e-mails at will.

    On the plus side, the cell phone companies and e-mail providors get paid for turning your stuff over to the governemnt.

    alphie (015011)

  53. Ok Robin, I give up. I was simply trying to get at what the bill actually means. I can’t say it any clearer.

    Any other takers? It seems we can’t really have a debate about this if we can’t agree what the bill actually enables.

    Russell (084691)

  54. Russell – I am no lawyer, but to me, and based on the reading that I have done, it means that if there is a reasonable belief that a communication of a targeted person is from a foreign number, than a warrant is not required. It codifies the fact that foreign to foreign communications are not applicable under FISA and that domestic to foreign and foreign to domestic calls require the above referenced standards.

    JD (06a9d8)

  55. “An “emetic” is a medication used to induce vomiting-not to keep a “butt plug” in.”

    Thanks, flightdoc, but it was meant as bait for the local trollops who regularly shit out their mouths.

    Sorry you got caught in their gillnet.

    Semanticleo (4741c2)

  56. Sementicleo – As opposed to the bile that flows from your fingers?

    JD (06a9d8)

  57. Just leave it alone, JD.

    nk (48899d)

  58. nk – I know. My bad.

    JD (06a9d8)

  59. JD, totally off-topic:

    Q. How do you fit a 300 lb. woman into a size 6 dress?
    A. Take the “c” out of “truck” and “f” out of “way”.

    nk (48899d)

  60. nk – Leo’s not that heavy is she? No wonder she’s depressed.

    Weightist!

    daleyrocks (906622)

  61. No, no, no! Nothing at all to do with that. I was lightening up with a joke. BTW, do you get it?

    nk (48899d)

  62. Phone calls have been accepted as private for ages, and I think they should be.

    As a legal issue and a matter of privacy, yes. In the real world, not so much. Ever had a call where you could hear someone else’s call? Remember party lines? How about cordless phones? Ever pick up a neighbor’s signal? Or how about those phones that lineman carry, which they can connect to any pair they like, one of which may be your line?

    Telephone lines aren’t nearly as secure as most people think they are/should be and they’re terribly easy to tap into.

    Just as you shouldn’t put anything you don’t want the world to know into an email, you can’t expect that the privacy of your telephone conversations is sacrosanct.

    Pablo (99243e)


Powered by WordPress.

Page loaded in: 0.4651 secs.