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The Fine Print On Wiretapping Review 151

Posted by Zonk
from the always-read-before-you-sign dept.
notarus writes "Congress' new bill to 'force' the wiretapping program to be reviewed by FISA has some very doublespeak provisions. One nice line: 'Nothing in this Act shall be construed to limit the constitutional authority of the President to collect intelligence with respect to foreign powers and agents of foreign powers.'"
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The Fine Print On Wiretapping Review

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  • by Umuri (897961) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @06:52PM (#15725989)
    So, if i'm to understand that correctly, if you use the grey area rule a bit, that can be construed as to allow anyone exemption if they were considered an agent of a foreign power... And terrorists are certainly a foreign power.. so if they wanted to say i'm a suspected terrorrist, then i'm obviously connected to a foreign terrorist cell, and i'm free game for no legal protection? Or am i just missing something....
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 15, 2006 @06:59PM (#15726007)
      I don't think you're missing anything. The question is, what can we do to stop these maniacs?

      Seriously, is there any way to stop them before they've entirely subjugated any tiny bit of control we still have over the behemoth that governs us?

      They don't even flinch when they're accused of torture; instead, they argue they have the "right" to torture suspects. They don't even blink when they're caught spying on the communications of millions of innocent Americans; instead, they say they're doing it to protect us, and they blame the whistleblowers for undermining them.

      What can you do to stop a criminal who accuses his victims? It's like a murderer who, when his crimes are exposed, calls for the exposers to be jailed for bringing grief to the families of the dead. This government has no remorse, and doesn't seem to even understand what it's doing -- unless it's all intentional, which is that much worse.

      Is there any way to end the rampage before we're all locked up to protect us from "terrorists"?
      • Think about it this way. Terrorists could easily and covertly (almost to the point of undetectability) kill millions of citizens without losing any lives on their own part. They're just too stupid to figure out how. As long as they're dumbasses, we're pretty much safe.
      • They are rich people. They are incapable of understanding what they are doing because they do not live with the consequences. Unfortunately, we seem to like to elect people that are nothing like us.

        The beatings will continue.
      • The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. -- Thomas Jefferson Yes, there is something we will do when we decide we have had enough. We will exercise our 2nd Amendment rights in the manner in which they were originally envisioned.

    • But American citizens couldn't possibly be agents of a foreign power - if they were it would be treason, and there are laws in place for that already.

      Doesn't protect the random Middle-Eastern citizen from being swept off the street while vacationing in Europe, though.
      • It is possible to be a terrorist without being a traitor, as in the case of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh (sp?).

        It is possible to be a traitor without being a terrorist. I can't think of any examples off the top of my head, so if someone could provide one, I'd appreciate it.

        This bill has nothing to do with someone of Russian, Arabic, Chinese or anyother descent calling some relatives in a hostile country with schematics of a fighter jet. It's all about the government changing the rules so that, w

    • > And terrorists are certainly a foreign power

      So what foreign power was Timothy McVeigh?
      • by Anonymous Coward
        > So what foreign power was Timothy McVeigh?

        He was Iraqi. Just like the 9-11 hijackers, duh!

        I bet you feel stupid now!
    • "Terrorists" aren't a power, nor are they foreign. They're just a classification of people that cause terror. This is done by causing relatively minor but very visible destruction or harm, then relying on the panicky nature of "sheeple" to take over and spread general fear that "maybe it'll happen to me too". A "power" is a country that has a standing military. "Foreign" is any country that isn't yours. So in the context of this decision the USC has made, the president (and therefore the rest of the executi
      • by Anonymous Coward

        "US citizens who aren't into the "spy scene" are in no danger from this particular law."

        I think the point that the OP was making is that if someone's being investigated, they're not necessarily guilty of the crime. They might turn out to be entirely innocent; the investigation is based on some suspicion of guilt, and its purpose is to ascertain guilt or innocence.

        Now, if you are being investigated as a "terrorist" under these rules, you instantly lose your legal rights. It doesn't matter if you've never h

    • "And terrorists are certainly a foreign power.. "

      Nothing could be further from the truth. The vast majority of terrorist attacks are perpetrated by citizens of the nation where the attack occurs.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      We are talking about communications. If you are communicating with an agent of a foriegn power then you have no fourth amendment protection.

      If you are unjustly accused of being an agent of a foriegn power, or communicating with one, and the government has not issued a wiretap warrant signed by a judge, then guess what? The case against you is tossed out.

      People have this idea that the Constitution protects them from search or siezure by police. It does not. It protects you from having those items siezed
      • "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

        If they don't have a warrant and they monitor your calls, they are in violation of the law and should be tried. Period. I'm a little antsy about retroactive warrants, but I at
      • "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. "

        In other words: The people do have a constitutional right preventing unreasonable searches and seizures. No warrant to perform a search may be issued without probable cause. A
    • And terrorists are certainly a foreign power.

      Come again? [wikipedia.org]

      They were looking for arabs before he got caught for a traffic violation, you know...
    • So, if i'm to understand that correctly, if you use the grey area rule a bit, that can be construed as to allow anyone exemption if they were considered an agent of a foreign power... And terrorists are certainly a foreign power.. so if they wanted to say i'm a suspected terrorrist, then i'm obviously connected to a foreign terrorist cell, and i'm free game for no legal protection? Or am i just missing something....

      Even worse....

      What if you are a Travel Agent working in the US (w/o US citizenship). Or an e
    • This act doesn't modify any existing restrictions, but I think that you are right in that they will claim it exempts on a default basis. Every frickin' one of them is a weasel, otherwise they wouldn't keep skulking around the henhouse.
    • The proposal as quoted wouldn't apply to AMERICAN CITIZENS who decide to commit a terrorist act, would it? Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
  • Bend over (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rts008 (812749) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @06:53PM (#15725991) Journal
    Hoefully this won't pass, but I would almost bet it will.
    We can safely bet it will not be vetoed by POTUS!
    • Re:Bend over (Score:4, Informative)

      by 9x320 (987156) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @07:11PM (#15726042)
      Hm... how can Congress say that the president may have inherent constitutional authority to spy on Americans when the Supreme Court already disagreed in East District of Michigan v. Nixon? That ruling was before FISA even came into existance, but considering this is about "inherent constitutional authority," FISA's existance can be disregarded in that consideration.
      • Re:Bend over (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Saturday July 15, 2006 @07:32PM (#15726105) Homepage Journal
        East District of Michigan v. Nixon

        Don't you understand? It's a different world! 9/11 changed everything! The US has never ever ever faced an enemy as dangerous to its very existence as AlQaedaSaddamHusseinHezbollahSomeGuyDownTheStreetW hoSaidBushSucks! 9/11! The Nixon administration? 9/11! That's a different world you're talking about! 9/11!

        Oh, and in case you forgot, 9/11! 9/11! MP3 pirates! 9/11! Child porn! 9/11! 9/11!
        • by SethJohnson (112166) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @07:59PM (#15726172) Homepage Journal


          Like you, I'm getting pretty fed up with this excuse for trampling on the constitution and human faces in secret prisons scattered worldwide. While 9/11 was certainly a horrific tragedy, it certainly doesn't represent a threat of such proportions that we need to sidestep the trivialities of the constitution to preserve the continued existence of America.

          While it's a completely different conflict, consider the threat that the Civil War posed to the country. 9-11 was baby crap compared to how close America came to disolving during the Civil War.

          So, yeah, America has been guided through some spectacularly difficult times by that Constitution. And these neocons who are second guessing the original authors of the document, well, I wouldn't exactly put them on the same shelf of great thinkers occupied by the likes of Ben Franklin.

          Seth
          • by Anonymous Coward
            > 9-11 was baby crap compared to how close America came to disolving during the Civil War.

            Well duh, it was a civil war.

            But Lincoln restored Habeas Corpus when the civil war ended. When is the war on terra going to end?
            • Technically, under the conditions of Congress's 2001 authorization, it goes on for as long as any single member of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda have not perished, surrendered, or been captured. I'd say that'd be at least sixty years.

              Even then, they could extend it even more, I suppose. It says 'authorization to use military force against the people, organizations, governments, or parties that caused the September 11, 2001 attacks and the people, organizations, governments, or parties that help or protect them.
          • So, yeah, America has been guided through some spectacularly difficult times by that Constitution.

            If you're actually referring to the US Civil war, the US Constitution wasn't so much of a guiding hand in that conflict, but a major point of contention. Ask a northerner why they fought the Civil War, and they'll tell you "slavery". Ask a southerner, and they'll tell you "states rights".

            Truth be told, they are both correct, but in the analysys, the southern states had the stronger constitutional position

          • America DID dissolve. When Congress adjourned in Spring of 1861, the Federal Republic under the Constitution of The United States was put to bed.

            When Lincoln appointed FakeCongress on 4-July-1861, he put a pretty face on what has been a military dictatorship.

            Show me when FakeCongress was replaced with a real congress, and the wartime emergency government actually replaced. I can't find the paperwork.

          • <DevilsAdvocate>
            Why in the hell can't we use 9/11 as any excuse what so ever to trample on the rights of terrorists who are out to destroy *us* and *our* way of life!
            </DevilsAdvocate>

            The true irony here is that we destroy our way of life in the reckless pursuit of these Emmanuel Goldsteins; Warrantless spying on Americans by an agency barred in its charter from having any domestic operations [google.com], America joining the ranks of countries who disregard the Geneva frickin' Conventions [google.com], Citizens - fore [google.com]

        • 7/4 changed everything.
      • how can Congress say that the president may have inherent constitutional authority to spy on Americans when the Supreme Court already disagreed in East District of Michigan v. Nixon?

        What part of "foreign powers and agents of foreign powers" wasn't clear? This whole article, and the fact that it's on slashdot is stupid. Of course such a line would be inserted into any bill. Congress CAN NOT ever pass a law that limits the powers of the president if those powers are allowed by the constitution (including

  • by Beryllium Sphere(tm) (193358) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @07:05PM (#15726021) Homepage Journal
    The devil is in the details, and he's plotting busily away.

    For one thing the bill allows FISC to issue, not individual warrants, but permission for exactly the kind of driftnet fishing expedition that's never been legal against US citizens.

    Then comes the real land mine. If someone does challenge a domestic spying program, this bill says FISC can "dismiss a challenge to the legality of an electronic surveillance program for any reason". Think about that: "any reason". Not "any legal reason", not "any rational reason", not "any reason related to national security". This simply means the court can throw out any complaint without a hearing just because it wants to.

    "...foreign powers and agents of foreign powers" makes this sound much better than it really is. Just remember that if spying on "agents" doesn't allow enough abuse to satisfy the people behind this, they'll interpret it as "suspected agents". After that, it will somehow expand to "alleged agents" and then to "possible agents", meaning everybody. Then they'll be able to bug the Democratic Party [wikipedia.org] as before, only this time it will be legal.
    • One senator saying he's backing this does not a law make :)

      the bill still has to go before the congress, and then the senate then to committee then to the president's desk :)

      maybe zonk was sleeping on the job because the submitters commentary, the parent comments, etc had nothing to do with the content of any article about this news i could find :)
    • Read the whole article, it's important....
      br> You must be new here.
    • "Read the whole article" indeed. It's an EDITORIAL

      Then comes the real land mine. If someone does challenge a domestic spying program, this bill says FISC can "dismiss a challenge to the legality of an electronic surveillance program for any reason". Think about that: "any reason". Not "any legal reason", not "any rational reason", not "any reason related to national security". This simply means the court can throw out any complaint without a hearing just because it wants to.

      ...please.
    • by gettingbraver (987276) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @08:06PM (#15726182)
      This administration does not want another Daniel Ellsberg [wikipedia.org] leaking today's equivilant of the Pentagon Papers [wikipedia.org]. Especially after reading this [boston.com].
    • To be fair, a number of centrist journalists think that mass-internet-filtering for data is likely to be legal in the future. Clearly, it's a useful tool in tracking criminals. Clearly, it's easy to abuse as well, but it may be possible to have enough oversight to ensure that it's used only for just purposes, and that abuse can rarely occur (eg. just scanning the "outside of the envelope", for instance).
  • Usual Suspects (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196)
    The NY Times coverage [nytimes.com] of SPECTRE's [wikipedia.org] latest BushCo ex post facto whitewash says

    the deal would put the court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, in the unusual position of deciding whether the wiretapping program is a legitimate use of the president's power to fight terrorism.

    Lichtblau says the FISA Court's position would be "unusual". The FISA Court [cornell.edu] is the ONLY venue that is ALWAYS in the position of deciding whether US persons are legitimate wiretap subjects. It's position is not just not "unusual"

    • Wake up, mods, the parent is mot a troll.
      • These anonymous fascists aren't "asleep". There's no one left with the excuse that they don't notice Bush's tyranny. They're in on it, even though they're probably just getting screwed like the rest of us. They're part of the big chunk of Americans who call themselves "Conservatives" but are really just sicko authoritarians [google.com]. Like the TrollMods who mod me down when I discuss Bush's torture and murder in our Terror War gulags. They hate America, they hate me, they hate themselves. It's a nightmare, but no one
    • Moderation -1
          100% Troll

      TrollMods actually want Bush to spy on them like a tyrant.
  • Courts (Score:1, Redundant)

    by 9x320 (987156)
    Hm... how can Congress say that the president may have inherent constitutional authority to spy on Americans when the Supreme Court already disagreed in East District of Michigan v. Nixon? That ruling was before FISA even came into existance, but considering this is about "inherent constitutional authority," FISA's existance can be disregarded in that consideration.
  • ...the great sage (and government employee) Gomer Pyle: "Surprise, Surprise, Surprise."
  • by headkase (533448) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @07:28PM (#15726093)
    Searching for "Laws fall silent in times of war" led to this page [umkc.edu]. Putting it in context, barring further violence US politics hopefully will begin to lose some hysteria and in another 5 years and we can get back to more pressing issues such as whether or not such and such president got or did not get a bj and whether we ought to impeach the bastard. And he didn't inhale.
    • You mean if a former president can be the first lady ;)

      Nope, not an 'offical' endorsment. afterall, she wouldn't want my 'official' endorsment anyways. depending on how the next few weeks pan out, we might be a little closer to knowing if hillary actually stands a shot at a presidential bid or not though.

      anyways, keeping annoying criminals locked up is important :)

      rehabilitating criminals is important too :) if we just throw them in there and make them work, or let them teach each other how to do more crim
  • legal analysis (Score:5, Insightful)

    by herbiesdad (909590) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @07:34PM (#15726108)
    i knew the law degree would come in handy some time. ok, sorry, but you guys have it wrong. the quoted language is to clarify that congress is making no attempt to divest the president of the rights he has in that office pursuant to article ii of the constitution. any efforts by the congress to limit the executive powers expressly granted to the president in article ii are illegal because they implicate a breach of separation of powers. along the same lines, the president could not pass a resolution or treaty that would take away legislative powers from the congress. i take no position on the proposed legislation.
    • How dare you bring such a "legal analysis". It has no place here, this is Slashdot; a utopian non-RTFM collective.
    • Re:legal analysis (Score:2, Insightful)

      by alphaFlight (26589)
      exactly! laws that violate express grants of power in the constitution are some of the easiest for the supreme court to strike down as unconstitutional.
      it was refreshing to find your post.
  • FUD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Evets (629327) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @07:41PM (#15726127) Homepage Journal
    I see all the political propoganda going around these days as nothing more than FUD. The text of the bill isn't even in TFA, so without doing some legwork (which I'm sure someone here will do), you really have no idea what is in the bill.

    It's certainly within the power of congress to present a bill that would reduce the effectiveness of a previously passed bill.

    My take on this is that anything going through congress should be thought through with the mindset that terrorism is not a factor. Terrorism today is like the war on drugs or the war on communism. It never ends and it's a tool used by the powers that be to do things to the citizenry that would under normal circumstances be impossible. If you strip away the fundamental principals of society to deal with a problem, then the solution is worse than the problem.

    We are dealing with three things here - 1) we live an an information age society that is fundamentally different than the one's which gave birth to the majority of our laws and 2) we have a general populous that is ignorant of that which makes our society great. The third thing is that political maneuvering is based on a polling structure that encourages answering without any pontification or even any background information. Sure, we would all like to live in a well thought out society, but we can't even force the issue of working in a well thought out environment. We can blame our congressman for making bad decisions, but a better solution would be to become involved to the point where we were helping governmental decision making in general better.

    I certainly see that government will always push the limits of it's own power and understand that laws which grant power to the government should be written with a conservative (conservative, not right-wing) mindset. But I also can see that lawmakers have a different perspective than the general populous. They sometimes have a better historical perspective. They sometimes have access to information that the general public does not which factors into their decision making, and they sometimes have motivations completely unrelated to a particular bill that push them to vote one way or another. In the end, they have to live with their decisions just as much as we do. If their track record is so bad, then why is the re-election rate upwards of 90%? Surely it couldn't be pure apathy on the part of their detractors.
    • by kfg (145172) *
      2) we have a general populous that is ignorant of that which makes our society great.

      Girls Gone Wild?

      KFG
    • Re:FUD (Score:3, Informative)

      original bill [eff.org]

      changes as of 6.14 [eff.org]

      The bill is S. 2453. Working title is National Security Surveillance Act of 2006.

      There are a couple of other bills worth noting. One is S. 2455 (Terrorist Surveillance Act of 2006), sponsored by Senators DeWine and Graham. The other is S . 3001 (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Improvement and Enhancement Act of 2006) sponsored by Senators Specter and Feinstein.

      I've been following these bills since their introduction. I knew that one or more of them would
    • Re:FUD (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ortcutt (711694) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @10:39PM (#15726559)
      What about the track record of the Republican-led Congress or Bush administration gives you any indication that they are concerned about civil liberties or even with the most effective means of combatting terrorism? Everything tells me that they'd rather just let the President off the hook and authorize whatever he wants to do. It is also short-sighted to see this as FUD. There are reports about what the bill will contain and many people are rightly concerned that the safeguards put in place by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act aren't eroded. This is not premature. If we wait until the t's are crossed and the i's dotted on Specter's FISA-Gutting-Act, it's going to be too late to respond to this travesty.
    • "I certainly see that government will always push the limits of it's own power and understand that laws which grant power to the government should be written with a conservative (conservative, not right-wing) mindset. But I also can see that lawmakers have a different perspective than the general populous. They sometimes have a better historical perspective. They sometimes have access to information that the general public does not which factors into their decision making, and they sometimes have motivation
    • There is a difference between a conservative mindset and what the current 'so-called' conservative leaders are doing. This stretches beyond an ignorant assertion of the classic 'more informed public servant' knowing the needs of the people better than the people.

      This spans a repeated disregard for any legality or responsibility that doesn't fit their ideals or agenda. This is not about having representatives and an administration that 'knows' better than the people this is about authoritarian worship, along
  • by CurtMonash (986884) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @07:59PM (#15726171) Homepage
    Let's be real. Government WILL wind up with huge amounts of information about us, and the technological means to filter it. Financial transactions, electronic communications, travel -- all of those are trackable in theory, and anything trackable can be stored and mined. Over the next couple of decades, that theory will increasingly become fact.

    We need laws that protect us DESPITE this inevitable progression. I.e., since freedom will lose on the battlefield of what information government has access to, we need to find ANOTHER battlefield where freedom can win. And the only viable candidate I see is to greatly strengthen laws controlling what government can DO with data, even if it possesses same.

    This winds up being a system design issue, as tough as the flip-side problem of "How will government integrate all that information to get at it anyway." So we need to start solving it right away, just like the integration problem is already being worked on, then get that solution out into the public consciousness.

    I think I've made a good start at http://www.monashreport.com/2006/06/06/freedom-eve n-without-data-privacy/ [monashreport.com], but it's just a start. A lot more is needed.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The quote is just boilerplate, designed to save everyone the expense of a court case.

    The fact is, nothing in any Act can constrain the executives authority to conduct foriegn intelligence data gathering. That is a prerogative of the Executive, as enumerated in the Constitution, as interpreted (repeatedly) by the Supreme Court. An amendment to the Constitution is required. First, we establish that foreign intel gathering is seperate from domestic gathering for purpose of applying 4th amendment:

    Katz v. Uni
  • FISA != SCOTUS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jlowery (47102) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @08:27PM (#15726219)
    IANAL, but surely FISA has no business determining if something is constitutional. Specter has come up with a poorly negotiated compromise that weakens two branches of government to the point of being hobbled. I really, really hope that consequences are fully thought out by our congress and senate before they agree to this power-grab. I'm hopeful, not expectant.
    • Well, other courts besides SCOTUS can rule on constitutionality. Any court lower than SCOTUS can be appealed, of course, but the way that the Supremes make constituionality decisions is often by affirming (or quashing) the decision of a lower court.

      No, there's a more troubling thing here than an attempt to dilute the reach of SCOTUS: In the US, in general, courts don't do prior review. They rule only on "actual cases and controversies" -- meaning they don't green-light legislation ahead of time. Partly
    • Re:FISA != SCOTUS (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Darby (84953)
      I really, really hope that consequences are fully thought out by our congress and senate before they agree to this power-grab.

      Oh good god, the naivety of people is really driving me fucking nuts these days.

      Of course they thought it through. That's *why* they're fucking doing it, you simpleton.

      Grow up, pull off the rose colored glasses and deal with the reality you're in, not the delusional fantasy world you wish you were in.

      Are you that out of touch with reality that you actually believe they'll fuck it up
  • by mybecq (131456) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @08:38PM (#15726239)
    Nothing in this Act shall be construed to limit the constitutional authority of the President

    The Legislative body doesn't have that power anyway.
    • Right. Its implicit based off the existing organization of our government as prescribed by the Constitution. The fact that the author felt it necessary to illustrate the point in writing leads me to believe that something is amiss...
  • While I think this bill is a horrible infringement of the rights of citizens, I think the example line used in the summary is a poor choice. All that line seems to do is explicitly say that Congress isn't trying to intrude on the President's inherent constituional powers and authority. That line doesn't really say what powers they believe the President has but in the end, even that doesn't matter because its up to the courts to figure all that out. My guess is that someone put that line in for two reasons
  • Can't our esteemed beloved leader Mr. Bush just sign this bill from Congress into law with a signing statement saying that he doesn't necessarily have to follow it?

    That's really how things work, right? Check and balances are a throwback to pre-21st century America: they're quaint and cute, but they don't actually apply.
  • by GISGEOLOGYGEEK (708023) on Saturday July 15, 2006 @11:57PM (#15726782)
    The President has no constitutional authority to allow the wiretapping program, the doublespeak in the article means nothing. ... Of course since no american judge has the balls to knock down the constitution breaking laws Bush has passed such as the patriot act, Bush is effectively above the constitution. He needs no further authority since you dumbasses won't hold him accountable.

    So the arguement is moot.

  • by lionchild (581331) on Sunday July 16, 2006 @01:06AM (#15726935) Journal
    One nice line: 'Nothing in this Act shall be construed to limit the constitutional authority of the President to collect intelligence with respect to foreign powers and agents of foreign powers.'

    So, um...what's the whole point of this act, if the President can simply decide that this doesn't apply to what he's doing? Are we just paying our Congressmen to generate laws and paperwork that have no meaning or way for enforcement?

    Whatever happened to a system of checks and balances? Geez.
    • The system of checks and balances remains firmly in place. Congress cannot unilaterally override the Constitution. The language is actually probably boiler-plate to help avoid a Constitutional challenge of the new law.

      As for the President we've already seen that the courts can and will override the Executive branch when they claim Constitutional privledges (Hamdan v Rumsfeld). In that case they said "go back to the Legislative branch to get clarifying law, until then we say this is beyond your Constituti
      • Yeah. If it did not have that it would be a dead duck in any Supreme court, not just this one. Might as well write a law that lets congress pick judges or declare war.

        Besides, quite a few of the sentors who went and got the breifing did not come back with "they are doing domestic wiretapping" they just wanted it under this law. Which, because it was international calls it is OK not to have a warrent.
      • This would seem, to the layman like me, that the Executive branch has gone back to the Legislative branch, who in turn said, "Here's an Act with no teeth, you do what you want in the name of anti-terrorism, because this Act can't be construed to limit your powers in that reguard."

        If this language is boiler-plate, we need new boilers.
  • by arrrrg (902404) on Sunday July 16, 2006 @01:42AM (#15726998)
    I'm surpised nobody has posted an EFF link yet. Here's the summary & link from BoingBoing [boingboing.net]:

    Cindy Cohn, EFF's stellar Legal Director, sez, "Senator Specter and the Bush Administration today announced that they have reached a deal to send all of the cases concerning the illegal NSA wiretapping (including EFF's) to the secret FISA court. This is being spun in the press as a big concession by the Administration but in truth it's an abomination -- the FISA court acts in secret and doesn't even hear argument from both sides. This bill will likely move fast, so we only have a limited window to try to stop it. Here's s direct link to EFF's action center [eff.org] to let you write to the relevant Congressional committees."

    It takes less than 30 seconds to send an e-mail to your congresscritter, and it's really the least you can do if you really care about this issue.
  • by crhylove (205956) <rhy@leperkhanz.com> on Sunday July 16, 2006 @05:20AM (#15727359) Homepage Journal
    A. They don't count our votes.
    B. They don't work for us.
    C. They ignore the constitution.
    D. They probably killed Kennedy and faked 9/11.
    E. How is any of this a surprise?
    F. Halliburton
    G. Profit!

    Are these the droids you were looking for?
  • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Sunday July 16, 2006 @02:24PM (#15728702)
    its just that simple. in the 50's there was the mccarthy 'commie hunts'. fix that and the world will be safe again.

    60's had vietnam. fix that and the world will be safe again.

    70's had watergate. fix that...

    80's and 90's had war on drugs. if we can fix that, all our problems will be solved.

    skip to the '00 century and we now have 'war on terror.

    and guess what, it won't be won, it won't fix ANY of our problems and next decade (god willing) we'll have forgotton all about this silly gov power-play and we'll have a BRAND NEW chicken-little thing to run around saying 'the sky is falling', etc.

    people - there IS no reason to keep giving gov more and more power. give it more power and we seem to get no new returns on our investment. soon, the gov has its fun and then goes off to choose another plaything.

    this is just how the world works. and no, nothing got any better for winning or attempting to win any of these 'battles'. because they are not winnable and if it takes 10 or 30 years, we WILL finally realize that.

    not everything in life is a 'war on ...'.

Little known fact about Middle Earth: The Hobbits had a very sophisticated computer network! It was a Tolkien Ring...

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