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NSA Spying Comes Under Attack 324

Posted by Zonk
from the get-out-of-my-head dept.
maotx writes "The NSA's no-longer-secret surveillance program came under a two-pronged attack this week on both political and legal fronts. Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania threatens to cut funding to NSA's spying program if President Bush's administration does not come clean on how it works. Separately, two hearing dates have been set for a lawsuit that seeks to prove that AT&T illegally cooperated with the NSA and violated federal wiretapping laws in doing so. Sen. 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.'"
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NSA Spying Comes Under Attack

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  • by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedyNO@SPAMtpno-co.org> on Friday April 28, 2006 @04:05PM (#15223346) Homepage
    The public doesn't care. They have their Idol, they have their gas guzzingly SUV. What do they care that the president is the one breathing heavy on the other end of the line.

    Personal liberties? What are those?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 28, 2006 @04:05PM (#15223348)
    So if Arlen Specter ran with George Bush as his Vice President, would they be Bush 'n Specter?
  • People Do Not Care (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thebdj (768618) on Friday April 28, 2006 @04:06PM (#15223359) Journal
    Sen. 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.'

    Sadly, like most things in the US, all that will build up is public apathy. This is the same apathy we see every year with laughingly low voter turnouts. Many people in America are perfectly happy not knowing what is going on and sadly enough have no clue the NSA has been spying on Americans. Those who do know are often perfectly happy to say, "They are only listening to the terrorist. They are just trying to keep up safe."

    The majority of people in America are too stupid to know what this means or just do not care what it implies. If they feel a bit safer, they are more then glad to hand over every last civil liberty, until we are nothing more then a military state. Our country has come a long way since Ben Franklin said, "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
    • The majority of people in America are too stupid to know what this means or just do not care what it implies.

      I find people often live up to the expectations you have of them. While I do not disagree that the US population seems to be largely complacent, I find idle complaints about others irksome. All you have to do is your part. Are you voting, writing your Congressperson, etc? Do everything you can and be a model for people to admire. I cannot imagine that speaking ill of your fellow citizens (&
    • by iminplaya (723125) <iminplaya.gmail@com> on Friday April 28, 2006 @04:42PM (#15223677) Journal
      The majority of people in America are too stupid...

      You're cutting them a lot of slack. That would assume some innocence on their part. I contend that they are just as despicable and corrupt as the people they elect. They vote for their own personal interests. They vote against their neighbors' or the community's, or the nation's, or the world's...if it collides with their agenda. They feign ignorance to avoid responsibility for their actions, or in this case, their votes. Is their version of "plausible deniability". This is why some people say, "There are no innocents.", and I tend to agree. The only thing that is saving us is the gridlock they create. That's the only thing that make a democracy better than a direct dictatorship.
    • by thedletterman (926787) <thedletterman&hotmail,com> on Friday April 28, 2006 @05:18PM (#15223972) Homepage
      This will likely be an unpopular opinion here, but there's a few things that irk me about the above reference. 1. Benjamin Franklin never said "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.", It was written by Richard Jackson. Benjamin Franklin himself denied writing this phrase in a letter to David Hume dated a year after the book that attributed the phrase to him. Franklin's nearest quote to the same effect holds quite a different meaning: "Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power" [1] [wikiquote.org] 2. "This is the same apathy we see every year with laughingly low voter turnouts" - This statement is patently absurd [2] [washingtonpost.com] 3. People who frequently pen, "The majority of people in America are too stupid..." are typically intellectually insecure, obnoxiously arrogant, or both. In either regard, they presume to perform with superior judgement to the common sense, which is the antithesis of democracy. 4. "Many Americans sadly enough have no clue the NSA has been spying on Americans." There's 2.2 million webpages on the internet dedicated to reporting the NSA spying efforts. I don't have access to Lexis Nexis anymore or I would happily tell you how many front pages the story has made. The idea that people are 'unaware' of this is stupid. Unlike you, they understand the need to obtain valid intelligence information to fight a war. [3] [google.com] 5. The Clinton administration claims that it can bypass the warrant clause for "national security" purposes. In July 1994 Deputy Attorney General Jamie S. Gorelick told the House Select Committee on Intelligence that the president "has inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches for foreign intelligence purposes." [4] [cato.org] What I would rather argue, is which of security or privacy are a more essential liberty, and in fact, is privacy even essential. The Constitution requires reasonable privacy, not absolute. Privacy is not essential for freedom, other than the fact it requires accountability. so you are no longer free to be unaccountable for your actions, given the times, would it be reasonable or even prudent to allow this? There's a big difference between the NSA spying, and say, Bill Clinton using illegal wiretaps to spy on Senators. How many people survived the Rose Law firm scandal by the way?
      • ...they presume to perform with superior judgement to the common sense, which is the antithesis of democracy.
        You are correct, it is the antithesis of democracy. Too bad (for your argument) that the US government is not a democracy, but a republic, in which we elect a small number of people who we hope will govern with superior judgement to the common sense.
      • Okay, Go here [wikipedia.org] and tell me that at 60% isn't sad. Look at some of the other countries, only Japan came in lower in recent history. This apathy does occur elsewhere, but you should have a line more like that German one. There is no good excuse for not voting, yet everyone has one.

        The need to obtain valid intel to fight a war? If they are tapping the lines of American citizen telephones without the issuance of a warrant and without probably cause, they are breaking the law. This war on terror is total B
      • by tshak (173364) on Friday April 28, 2006 @06:39PM (#15224484) Homepage
        Privacy is not essential for freedom

        Free speech is essential for freedom. Anonymity is essential for free speach. I can not excercise free speech if I'm worried about the government recording everything I say. When I am engaged in some form of private communication my privacy is my freedom. Whether Franklin originally wrote it or not, I will proclaim: "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
    • I think voter turnout has more to do with the fact that all the choices suck. I haven't voted in years for exactly that reason. I honestly did not care who got into office because they all sucked equally.
    • by biowonk (968524)
      you're right. And when i read things like the NSA spying and all the other groos BS from this admin I can help but remember a "poem" from Pastor Martin Niemöller referring to the Third Reich in WWII Germany:

      First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out-- because I was not a communist;
      Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out-- because I was not a socialist;
      Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out-- because I was not a trade unionist;
      Then they c

    • by leoxx (992)
      I'm not American but I don't think it is stupidity that makes people ignore these things, I think it is laziness. It is much easier to ignore stuff that doesn't impact you on a daily basis than to actively deal with it.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The constitution was designed to protect us from the mob rule of people that simply don't care about being spyed on as they "have nothing to hide." If it was up to "the people" we'd get rid of most of the bill of rights and our natural freedoms. Politicians pandering to the people got us into this mess, I suspect pandering to them now isn't going to help. Sometimes defending constitutional principle demands standing up against the people, but few dare tell the electorate what they need to hear because they
  • by KarMann (121054) <karmannjro.yahoo@com> on Friday April 28, 2006 @04:13PM (#15223418) Homepage
    They didn't mention this bit [ap.org], however:

    "Institutionally, the presidency is walking all over Congress at the moment," Specter said. "If we are to maintain our institutional prerogative, that may be the only way we can do it."

    Specter made clear that, for now, the threat was just that.

    "I'm not prepared to call for the withholding of funds," he told reporters later.

    So for Specter's part, it's pretty much just posturing, or else maybe he kinda sorta meant it, until some of the boys from the administration came to have a friendly little chat with him.
    • by SatanicPuppy (611928) <Satanicpuppy@g m a i l .com> on Friday April 28, 2006 @04:26PM (#15223536) Journal
      Hey, remember that this guy is a fricking Republican. He doesn't need to posture...He's got nothing to lose if his party stays in power.

      What he's doing is saying, "Hey! President Jackass! Things are going to get ugly around here if you don't start keeping us in the loop! This ain't the House, where they gotta depend on your ass for fundraising! Half of us aren't up for re-election until 2010! So tell us what's going on with this NSA crap, or we may just create us a little gridlock."

      Specter is one of the last old school republicans in congress...I can remember when I thought he was a jackass rather than one of the only rational senators.
       
      • Specter is one of the last old school republicans in congress...I can remember when I thought he was a jackass rather than one of the only rational senators.

        I can't decide if that says something about you, Specter, or the ratio of jackasses to rational Senators...
      • Specter is one of the last old school republicans in congress...I can remember when I thought he was a jackass rather than one of the only rational senators.

        I don't know the guy, but I'm familiar our own politicians... Leopards don't often change their spots.
        Is Specter now a rational senator, or still a jackass who just appears rational compared to the new generation of überjackass senators?
        • by SatanicPuppy (611928) <Satanicpuppy@g m a i l .com> on Friday April 28, 2006 @05:59PM (#15224261) Journal
          It's kinda like Bush senior. I hated Bush senior. God I wanted him out of office. I thought his policies sucked, I thought he didn't give a damn about the american people, I thought his economic policy was hilariously incompetent. Thought he took too many vacations.

          But today, I can look back on him and think, "Well yea, he wasn't the best...But I didn't fear for the country with him in charge." No I didn't agree with him, but I could see where he was coming from, and I could see that he was making decisions based on strong evidence. I may not have agreed with the decisions, but I could see how someone might agree with them.

          There are two types of unwinnable arguments. In one, you're arguing with someone, and you end up having to agree to disagree. They believe what they believe, and it's not crazy, it's just not what you believe. Their analysis is rational, you both agree on all the facts, you just come to different conclusions based on the facts.

          Then there are the people whose descisions are based on things besides rational thought. They add too much weight to facts that are incidental to the point, they make leaps of logic (faith?) that are unwarranted by the strength of their premises. They argue based on their personal beliefs and feelings rather than on the actual facts, and they misrepresent the facts to support their beliefs.

          Having seen far too much of the latter in the last 10 years, I am heartened and refreshed when I come across the former.

          Pretty sad.
      • Another is that Senator Arlen Specter (R-YesItIsAllAboutMe) is, in fact, posturing. He's thumping his proverbial chest, posing for the cameras, currying favor with GWB's opponents because of Bush's low approval numbers.

        Another is that Specter knows there is nothing hinky going on with the NSA stuff, that it's all within the President's Constitutional authority, and wants to have that shown in a public forum -- a forum which, by pure coincidence, would feature Senator Specter prominently.
  • Heads should roll! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheSpatulaOfLove (966301) on Friday April 28, 2006 @04:14PM (#15223422)
    The only way the attitudes will change is if impeachment is successful and heads roll along the line. Til then, the mouth-breathers will continue to support this administration and their crimes.

    Blowjobs & hiding it from your wife (and the public) or raping civil liberties, massive debt, illegal wars and profiteering - Which do you think is more of an impeachable offense?

    • Blowjobs & hiding it from your wife (and the public) or raping civil liberties, massive debt, illegal wars and profiteering - Which do you think is more of an impeachable offense?

      None of the above? No one has been impeached for any of that, and most of the alleged misdeeds above aren't even illegal. The more impeachable offense is the one which is illegal. Perjury is illegal, and in the case of Bill Clinton, highly provable. Until you can explain to me which laws Bush broke, with a sufficient amount
      • I think technically, Clinton WAS impeached, he simply wasn't removed from office.
      • Okay. How about treason? Nah, too high an offense and despite the fact I could write you a very good argument for how his actions against the American people amount to treason, I doubt many people would see it my way. Okay. Try this one. Conspiracy? You ask to commit what offense. AT&T broke wiretap laws in order to help the NSA spy on Americans. Now, the NSA was acting on orders of the commander in chief to do whatever necessary, the law be damned, to spy on people who are "suspected terrorist."
        • You ask to commit what offense. AT&T broke wiretap laws in order...

          Listen, if your entire argument the president should be impeached rests on the fact that the wiretaps were illegal, then alright. I think you have a legimate case to be made. The problem is they have never been shown and found to be illegal in a court of a law. You are absolutely right that nothing will happen, simply because it's such a large grey area that going after the president on this issue, and not knowing the outcome, is poli
          • When I read your post I wasn't exactly sure of what to make of it. I'm in agreement about the treason thing, though. It's a word that gets used in the most hyperbolic of rhetoric and I don't think it applies oftentimes.

            The argument that the NSA wiretapping program has never been proven to be illegal is a bit of a red herring. The point of fact is that it will never get a hearing, nor can it, because it's secret. The real issue is the bypassing of the FISA court and the reporting rules, but there is an acc

          • by WNight (23683)
            What you fail to see is that the wiretaps *are* illegal, as seen in many many cases against not-presidents. The fact that this president may not directly be found to be personally responsible, or immune to the charges for one reason or another doesn't change this.

            For instance, driving through an intersection at high speeds against the light is a crime, unless by a police officer who is responding to a crime, etc, etc... Let's say the cop drives through an intersection with sirens on, on his way to get donut
      • Until you can explain to me which laws Bush broke, with a sufficient amount of evidence, you have no business brining up the "i" word.

        So I assume, then, you would support an investigation of the most egregious potential violations?

        After all, you seem to think the six-year witch-hunt that was Whitewater was appropriate (as evidenced by your statement of support for clinton's impeachment,) certainly you must agree that the allegations against Bush are far more serious--and if an investigation proves them out

        • Because you aren't the first conservative I've run across to say "prove what laws he broke" to me--but when I ask them "So based on the credible evidence we have, should there be an investigation by Congress?"

          First of all, assuming I am conservative because I realize the difference between doing something provably illegal (perjury) and "massive debt" or whatever other nosense the GP posted, is really your first mistake. As for an investigation, I'm all for it. If he broke a law, impeach him. I have no pr
          • irst of all, assuming I am conservative because I realize the difference between doing something provably illegal (perjury) and "massive debt" or whatever other nosense the GP posted, is really your first mistake.

            My assumption was actually based on your supportive statement on the Clinton impeachment. Second, I also assumed it based on your astro-turfing for Bush: "Prove what laws he's broken" is a Republican Party talking point designed to deflect media attention away from how actively BushCo is prevent

            • So far in this entire topic, I've been labeled a conservative for asking for a link to support someone's position that the US government is kidnapping families, raping children, and murdering US citizens. Now, it's because I realize the difference between perjury, a crime, and a bunch of nonsense that is ... in many cases, not even criminal. For instance, the original poster claimed "profiteering", which is just nebulous nonsense... its "not even wrong".. and, my favorite, "massive debt" which isn't even a
    • by chill (34294)
      Blowjobs & hiding it from your wife (and the public) or raping civil liberties, massive debt, illegal wars and profiteering - Which do you think is more of an impeachable offense?

      Lying about it under oath was the impeachable offence. Clinton could have simply said "None of your business. Next question." or, just to show his balls, "Yep, I did her several times. Hell, I even told her to bring some friends!" and it wouldn't have been criminal.
      • Another way he could have gone about it was the thing he actually did: on the question of whether he had sex with Lewinsky, he asked for a definition of having sex, and when the definition the lawyers of the opposition gave did not include receiving oral sex - he could answer perfectly truthfully that he didn't have sex with her using that definition.

    • The only way the attitudes will change is if impeachment is successful and heads roll along the line.

      The only way attitudes will change, is if the 99% of the people who vote, change their mind about outrageously-powerful federal government being a good thing.

      People like to whine about Bush, but just a year and a half ago, he got about half the votes. And the other half voted for Kerry! Almost nobody voted in support of the constitution. I hear lots of tough talk and bitching, but when people get into

  • Uh (Score:3, Funny)

    by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Friday April 28, 2006 @04:15PM (#15223433)
    cut funding to NSA's spying program if President Bush's administration does not come clean on how it works

    They watch stuff and record it.

    Do I get a consulting fee?

  • by Medievalist (16032) on Friday April 28, 2006 @04:17PM (#15223456)
    Since we aren't allowed to see all the laws governing the behaviour of the NSA, why should we assume that their spying is illegal?

    Bigger Issues? How about:
        This government says it can seize US citizens and subject them to secret military tribunals.
        This government says it can make you not a citizen by simple declaration without evidence.
        This government says it can rape, torture and murder suspected terrorists.

    Now add all that up: Any US President can say you are a terrorist, kidnap your whole family in the middle of the night, and have your kids raped to death in front of your wife to make her tell where you are hiding. And Gonzalez will say it's all legal, if anyone ever finds out about it.

    That's the Novus Ordo Seculorum of George W. Bush and his Congress. As Orwell predicted, a hobnailed boot stamping on a human face. Do you right-wingers seriously want to grant total power to whoever's in the White House? What about if it's your evil arch-nemesis Hillary, or some Kennedy apparatchik?
  • Prediction: (Score:4, Informative)

    by jbeaupre (752124) on Friday April 28, 2006 @04:21PM (#15223495)
    I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that the 'wiretapping' isn't actually 'phone wiretapping.' It's going to be something else. What? Who knows.

    Why?

    circumstanstial evidence:

    1) It was references as "communications." That could be friggin anything.
    2) internal legal opinion saying spying method was legal when wiretapping already has well established rules. importance? Someone is probably splitting hairs, but getting such an opinion probably means they found a loophole. i.e. it's not a phone or something minor like that.
    3) how it's played out in the press: "Bush is spying illegally" "No we're not" "Yes you are, your wiretapping" "What we're doing is legal and we're not going to tell you about it for technical reasons that might give it away." "So you are wiretapping" "Uh, guess you caught us, blah blah blah" importance? It may or may not be wiretapping, but the administration is happy to let everyone argue that it is. Can everyone say 'diversion?'

    I have my guesses what it could be, but I'm staying mum. Why? Because it might actually be legal and doing some good and if I guess right, the eye of Sauron starts lookin' my way out of spite. Unlikely, but not worth it.

    So in conclusion, uh, you didn't read anything. It was all a dream....
    • While your 3 points were indeed informative I find the moderation of your post as "Informative" kind of ironic giving that you admit in the last few lines that you're withholding your true inferences. ;)

      BTW: for anyone else who cares to connect the dots, jbeaupre's point that the spyed-upon covnersations are referred to as "communications" + they presumably may not fall under (phone) wiretapping laws + the recent revelation that AT&T likely set up a massive internet tap for the NSA points to his likely

      • Indeed. While IANAL, I don't think that intercepting unencrypted communications on a public network such as the Internet constitutes an 'illegal wiretap'. And we already know that the CIA and the FBI have had various projects to scan the internet (Carnivore, etc.), so why not the NSA too? All the more reason to make sure that your private communications on the Net are encrypted appropriately. (Remember, the NSA can't break strong encryption, that's why they won't let you give it to foreign countries)
  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Friday April 28, 2006 @04:25PM (#15223534)
    Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania threatens to cut funding to NSA's spying program if President Bush's administration does not come clean on how it works.

    Too bad we can't cut funding for all "black" projects in the Department of Defense while we're at it.

    • "Too bad we can't cut funding for all "black" projects in the Department of Defense while we're at it."

      Yes why not? After the previous administration proved, we give it all to the Chinese anyway...

    • Too bad we can't cut funding for all "black" projects in the Department of Defense while we're at it.

      So you really believe that no NSA, no CIA, no DIA, no secret government research at the national labs is better for the country?
      • So you really believe that no NSA, no CIA, no DIA, no secret government research at the national labs is better for the country?

        I believe that I'm unable as a citizen to decide if such programs are "better for the country", or that my elected representatives are able to on my behalf- if even their existence is a total secret.

        The USA spends more on military/defense than almost any other nation in the world, both in total, per capita, and percentage-wise (of total budget.) I believe in some regards we're

  • I got all excited (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Phoenix666 (184391) on Friday April 28, 2006 @04:26PM (#15223538)
    until he retracted his comments. cutting the purse strings would be a nice way to force this little police state program into the light. god, let's hope the democrats win a majority in the fall. the republican party is out of control.
  • FISA Court Anyone? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Siberwulf (921893) on Friday April 28, 2006 @04:30PM (#15223572)
    How is it that every time one of these "NSA Surveillance" articles pops up, nobody chimes in about FISA [fas.org] Court? (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act)

    All you tinfoil hat people need to read this pdf document [fas.org].

    Some talking points:
    Page 3: "In so doing, the Court of Review recognized that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, "as did all the other courts to have decided the issue, held that the President did have authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence information."

    More Page 3: ""perhaps most crucially, the executive branch not only has superior expertise in the area of foreign intelligence, it is also constitutionally designated as the pre-eminent authority in foreign affairs. The President and his deputies are charged by the constitution with the conduct of the foreign policy of the United States"

    Page 4: In addition, substantial authority indicates that the President has inherent constitutional authority over the gathering of foreign intelligence--authority that Congress may not circumscribe. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review suggested that, even after FISA, the President possesses inherent constitutional Authority that FISA could not limit.

    The list of quotes goes on
    So, for all you people wondering why the hell nobody has got any legal dirt on all these 'illegal activities', you need to read your history book. Its come up before, FISA court shot the president down, FISA court of review shot FISA court down, and the Supreme Court Won't even hear the case because its been settled already. This is all democratic dragging through the mud.

    /rant off
    • by loqi (754476)
      In addition, substantial authority indicates that the President has inherent constitutional authority over the gathering of foreign intelligence

      So, then please explain to us laymen:
      A. Why that applies to domestic wiretapping.
      B. Where the "inherent constitutional authority" to violate the Bill of Rights comes from.
    • by CaymanIslandCarpedie (868408) on Friday April 28, 2006 @05:03PM (#15223845) Journal
      Classic A=B and C=B therefore Z=A thinking. Court says president and do foreign wiretapping...everyone agrees this court has final say...therefore president can do domestic wiretapping!

      you need to read your history book.

      I like reading as much as the next guy, but I prefer to reference documents such as the constitution, federalist papers, etc more than a brief submitted by the AG explaining why his boss can do whatever he wants.

      For anyone thinking the above was taken from some scholarly dissertation on the subject, it is actually taken from everyone's favorite civil liberties crusader (NOT) AG Gonzolez's response to congress about the NSA wire tapping (that means VERY unbiased look at the issues ;-).
    • by killjoe (766577) on Friday April 28, 2006 @05:05PM (#15223871)
      What i don't uderstand is why Bush would circumvent a kangaroo court designed to rubber stamp what he wants anyway? It's not like any of the judges on the FISA court care about the constitution or the US citizens. They are there simply to put a patina of legality on whatever Bush wants to do.

      As for your legal analysis: It seems many highly esperienced legal professionals disagree with you. These professionals include law professors, judges, and other lawyers. I don't think I will simply accept your word on this matter.

      I was going to say we should let the supreme court handle it but they don't really care about the constitution either. Really the court system is a joke now isn't it.
    • by DragonWriter (970822) on Friday April 28, 2006 @05:34PM (#15224093)

      First, a bit of pedantry, its not the "Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court", it is the "Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court" which is set up by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

      But more substantively, the ruling you cite refers back to a Fourth Circuit ruling prior to the adoption of FISA (which, therefore, discusses what powers the President has when Congress has not acted) and then makes some comments about inherent power that have little precedential weight because the issue of the degree and extent of Presidential authority to act without or contrary to Congressional dicates was not at issue in the case before the FISC. Instead, the issue was whether FISA has expanded Presidential power.

      Though, for some reason, everytime this issue gets brought up in any internet forum, some defender of the administration trots this out as if it conclusively proved something.

  • by toby (759) * on Friday April 28, 2006 @05:38PM (#15224117) Homepage Journal
    I've said it before and I'll say it again ... the EFF is out there gunning for YOU [eff.org] on this one (and others [eff.org] - you can expect them to vigorously fight on your behalf against the newly proposed Super-DMCA [slashdot.org]).

    Never a better time to donate or join [eff.org].

  • First you get your ass smacked by the government for being a monopoly. The, a super-secret branch comes in and tells you that you must cooperate or . You do so, then another branch of the government walks in and says "THAT'S ILLEGAL!".

    I bet AT&T/SBC's collective head is spinning. Talk about taking it from both ends.

    It's humorous to see a big corporation in the same situation millions of Americans find themselves in every day when it comes to government stupidty - completely helpless.
  • Its about him bashing the current administration.

    Dont fool yourself into thinking otherwize.
  • Translation (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DanTheLewis (742271) on Friday April 28, 2006 @06:05PM (#15224297) Homepage Journal
    The NSA's no-longer-secret surveillance program came under a two-pronged attack this week on both political and legal fronts. Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania threatens to cut funding to NSA's spying program if President Bush's administration does not come clean on how it works. Separately, two hearing dates have been set for a lawsuit that seeks to prove that AT&T illegally cooperated with the NSA and violated federal wiretapping laws in doing so. Sen. 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.'"

    Translation from Washington speak: Sen. Specter delayed real action on the President's illegal spying program again, citing lack of public concern and public indignation. "I've got my finger in the wind, but I can't tell which way it's blowing," the Senator said.

    Don't expect Specter to go anywhere with this inquiry unless he is dragged there kicking and screaming. He's just threatening to threaten to be a threat.

    Thank the EFF for suing AT&T. It could take a long time (remember SCO v. IBM?) but at least someone could get arrested. The fine for FISA violations is up to $10000 per violation, so AT&T might be in for the punishment of a life time for colluding with the illegal program.
  • ha! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vboulytchev (862494)
    Wiretap the Congressmen, the real criminals :)
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday April 28, 2006 @07:46PM (#15224835)
    Let's be reaonable here. A proposal, even a "good" one, has only a chance to pass when the majority of the ones voting is in favor.

    Now, if I KNOW my proposal has no snowball in hell chance, I can propose whatever I want. I could propose to freeze funding on military, if I feel the general population is against more weapons while I know that the majority of the congress is in favor of spending for guns. Even if I want to buy more artillery myself.

    That way I get good press (remember, elections in Fall), people will believe that I'm the "good" guy, the voting itself isn't covered in the news and everything stays the same.

    Except that the general population thinks that I (or "we", as in, "my party") wants to do what they want. While doing what we want.

I'm all for computer dating, but I wouldn't want one to marry my sister.

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