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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

    Surveillance Program Violated the Law

    Specter Says Surveillance Program Violated the Law
    International Herald Tribune

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 The Republican who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee said today that he believed the Bush administration had violated the law with its warrantless surveillance program and that its legal justifications for the program were "strained and unrealistic."

    The program "is in flat violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act," said the chairman, Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who will open committee hearings on Monday.

    But the deputy director of national intelligence, Gen. Michael Hayden of the Air Force, who oversaw the program when he headed the National Security Agency, defended it from assertions that it had cast too broad a net, intercepting the calls of perhaps thousands of innocent Americans, and produced only modest results in pursuit of the Qaeda terror network.

    "It's about speed," General Hayden said on ABC. "It's about hot pursuit of Al Qaeda communications."

    Senator Specter said that his committee was trying to secure testimony from former Attorney General John Ashcroft and other former Bush administration officials, including some who are said to have questioned the legality of the program in its initial years.

    Democrats have urged Mr. Specter to ask the administration to waive executive privilege to allow former officials to testify candidly.

    For now, the only administration witness scheduled to appear is Mr. Ashcroft's successor, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

    Mr. Gonzales and other administration officials have asserted that a president's inherent powers and the authority for the use of force that Congress granted after Sept. 11, 2001, gave President Bush ample powers to permit eavesdropping without warrants from the special court set up by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

    Senator Specter said that he would ask Mr. Gonzales to seek the FISA court's own assessment of whether the program is legal.

    The senator, who has clashed with the administration before, said that it was clear to him that the law had been violated. The program, he said on NBC, "is in flat violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act." But it remained to be seen, Mr. Specter added, whether that statute is inconsistent with the Constitution.

    Of Democratic calls to subpoena notes of administration deliberations about the legality of the program, Senator Specter said he would not immediately move to do so. But "if the necessity arises," he added, "I won't be timid."

    Mr. Specter's strong language reflects sharp concerns among many in Congress - mainly Democrats, but also some Republicans - over the legality of the program, the administration's decision to circumvent the FISA court rather than ask Congress to change the law, and whether the administration kept Congress adequately informed.

    General Hayden, asked about a Washington Post report today that intelligence officers had eavesdropped on thousands of Americans on overseas calls before dismissing "nearly all" of them as potential suspects, said that he was "not quite sure why that would be the metric of success."

    He insisted again that the program was carefully focused.

    Speaking on the Fox network, General Hayden said the program was aimed only at people for whom there was, if not probable cause, then evidence "in that probable cause range" to believe they had links to Al Qaeda.

    But citing the secrecy of the program, the general was circumspect in answering other questions.

    Asked whether any of the eight members of Congress who had regularly been briefed on the program had expressed concern or objections - as some say they did - he replied, "I certainly never left the room believing we had to do anything differently."

    Last week, the CIA director, Porter Goss, complained that unauthorized disclosures in the news media had harmed national security, but the general was less pointed in his comments today. Asked whether national security had been harmed by The New York Times's disclosure of the warrantless N.S.A. program, - General Hayden said that it would be "very, very difficult for me to answer that."

    The Post reported that fewer than 10 American citizens or residents a year had aroused sufficient suspicion during warrantless eavesdropping to justify interception of their domestic calls, a further step requiring a warrant from a federal judge.

    Vice President Dick Cheney has said the secret program may have saved thousands of American lives, but provided no details.

    A Republican senator, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, said that the program did not need to snare large numbers of terrorists to prove its worth. "One case of identifying one sleeper cell can mean a matter of life and death," he said on CBS. "It's not academic."

  2. #2
    coontie is offline Vashudeva; Ferryman - doing the work...
    Join Date
    Jul 2005

    Re: Surveillance Program Violated the Law

    Interesting SJA, as I read you post I glanced at my desk calander to verify
    the date. THe desk calander's theme is of the Tao Te Ching
    (pronounced: Dow-Day-Shing) interpreted as: "The Art Of War". It
    was written by the phlisopher Sun Tzu several thousand years ago during
    the Dynasty (reign) of the "Yellow Emperor".
    During his reign, the then Chinese nation, under his authority, began to
    evolve from uncivilized and barbaric ways to become a more stable and
    civilized nation.

    The "Art Of War" is really a paradox. The schemes, precepts expressed
    were actually used for war tactics and planning, but in the modern world
    it has also emerged that the sound thinking here suggest ideals and
    practices that can be applied, exercised in a nations government's
    practices as well in an individuals way of life.

    Upon reading the statements given, if one reflects upon the intelligence
    contained therein, one can see how this amounts to true wisdom. Not
    apparent a first glance, taking the words literally, but reflecting upon
    them; like seeing into the depth of water on a pond, where the light
    reflects mirror like - one can see that, or with intent discerning can
    see beyond this, into what lies below the surface.

    Had to say all of this to put things in perspective, in regard to your
    Thread; the words that are on this calander page for today are:
    "So what enables an intelligent government and a wise military to
    overcome others and achieve extraordinary accomplishments is
    FOREKNOWLEDGE." I would say quite a coincidence in respect to
    the thread title and one of the main issues at hand in our country

    As I earlier expressed, I agree with the President and others that the
    survillance being carrried out by NSA (and probably others, unbeknown
    to us) is certainly needed and necessary. We certainly don't want to
    learn we're being attacked when 'they're coming over the walls'; as
    in the circumstances of the now infamous 9/11 debacle.

    On the other hand, we as a democratic nation to not want our
    government to be allowed Carte-Blanc license to do as they please
    including coming into our homes without proper cause and warrants.
    Same is true of private conversations and activities.

    However, We have, as a nation, certainly crossed over into a new realm of
    history. After that day, nothing that was before will ever be the same
    again. And due to the fanaticism of a lot of whom we are dealing with
    ware bound and brought to exercise extraordinary measures, practices,
    thinking, which heretofore hasn't been done.

    A lot of people don't realize it, but we are actually involved in another
    all-out war. It didn't happen as these things usually develope. Some
    have used the 'Pearl Harbor' incident prior to our war with Japan
    as an example of what has occured; we were attacked unexpectedly.
    Therefore, there is a, so to speak 'shock reaction' which amounts to
    some swift, often not totally (appears later) rational actions and responses.
    It's like being hit and immediately hitting back, without thought as to
    the provocation of the attack.

    So it is now with our government, it took us to Afghanistan, Iraq and
    all of the war talk we've all heard. And finally, we hear that there is
    secret survelliance being practiced by NSA with permission of the

    Well, obviously, there is a purpose for secrecy; to gain knowledge that
    otherwise would not be known. In a Poker Game one cannot be sucessful
    if one always displays their cards as they are dealt to them. We're
    now in a BIG-TIME Poker game and the stakes are our national survival.
    And that is NOT over-dramatizing the situation. I really believe we might
    have already seen the beginning of the 3rd World War and we have
    already suffered a suprise, preemptive strike from the enemy.

    Saying all of this, the only thing I see that should have been done by
    the President was to invoke the War Powers Act. Then he would have
    BODIES, INSTITUTES to do what IS necessary and appropriate to protect
    our national souverignity through gaining foreknowledge.

    He still can do this and should.

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