Domestic Spying — it gets worse

December 25th, 2005

The layers of the onion peel away…

From the STrib: The Patriot Act’s Arsenal of Intrusion

I’ve had it with all the qualified language and “questions” and hemming and hawing… “misstatements” and denial…

Here’s another STrib article with a misleading headline:

Powell supports government eavesdropping

Powell said that when he was in the Cabinet, he was not told that President Bush authorized a warrantless National Security Agency surveillance operation after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Appearing on ABC’s “This Week” Powell said he sees “absolutely nothing wrong with the president authorizing these kinds of actions” to protect the nation.

But he added, “My own judgment is that it didn’t seem to me, anyway, that it would have been that hard to go get the warrants. And even in the case of an emergency, you go and do it.”

Always the realist, Powell notes:

Powell said Congress will need to judge whether Bush is correct in his assertion that he could approve eavesdropping without first obtaining court orders.

“And that’s going to be a great debate,” Powell said.


Here’re today’s revelations from the NYT

Spy Agency Mined Vast Data Trove, Officials Report

The volume of information harvested from telecommunication data and voice networks, without court-approved warrants, is much larger than the White House has acknowledged, the officials said.

What has not been publicly acknowledged is that N.S.A. technicians, besides actually eavesdropping on specific conversations, have combed through large volumes of phone and Internet traffic in search of patterns that might point to terrorism suspects. Some officials describe the program as a large data-mining operation.

The use of similar data-mining operations by the Bush administration in other contexts has raised strong objections, most notably in connection with the Total Information Awareness system, developed by the Pentagon for tracking terror suspects, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Capps program for screening airline passengers. Both programs were ultimately scrapped after public outcries over possible threats to privacy and civil liberties.

Online v Natl Security.JPG

An April, 2002 post was on the money, asking the right questions:

Online Versus National Security

Yet here we are…

And today have the STrib asking the question: Was the president justified in spying on people without the court-approved warrants typically required in such cases?

Now, color me stupid, but why is this a QUESTION? All the folks “asked” about this seem clear it’s illegal! Yet the newspaper’s too cowed to state the obvious truth.

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