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Senate Committee Votes to Authorize Warrentless Wiretapping 927

LividBlivet writes, "The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that not only authorizes, but extends, US warrentless wiretapping. No accountability. No oversight. No definition of 'terrorist.' No record of who voted for what. Great way to devolve a democratic republic into a fascist theocracy. Me worried? Yea." Here is the text of SB2453, the National Security Surveillance Act (PDF). Confusingly, the committee also voted out two other bills, one of which "all but declares the warrantless wiretapping illegal," according to Wired.
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Senate Committee Votes to Authorize Warrentless Wiretapping

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  • by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:16AM (#16103528)
    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 case you'd forgotten.
  • by kevin_conaway ( 585204 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:26AM (#16103648) Homepage

    See Thomas [] for more information.

    Section 7 contains the information about Congressional Oversight

  • Re:Vote! (Score:5, Informative)

    by GogglesPisano ( 199483 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:35AM (#16103741)

    > What are they getting out of the deal by giving away our rights?

    To quote Orwell's 1984:

    'The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?'
  • Re:Vote! (Score:3, Informative)

    by IAmTheDave ( 746256 ) <> on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:49AM (#16103893) Homepage Journal
    When is the last time you were directly threatened by a "islamofacist"?

    Um... September 11, 2006 []. Unless you don't consider that a direct threat to ME, although having been in NYC on THE 9/11, even without a patriotic nod towards "they attacked all of America", I was directly effected by the destruction of the WTCs.

    And being that 9/11/2001 actually happened, the threats of 9/11/2006 shouldn't be taken so lightly.

    That said, I'm appalled by the very foundations of this bill, and Congress's relative uselessness in the past 6 years to stand up to an administration that feels it is granted dictatorship privledges by 9/11 - which if you believe certain people was probably either organized or at least ignored by them to being with.

    But yeah, al-q is real, and so were the London, India, USS Cole (sp?), etc. bombings - so not taking threats seriously - and personally - is pretty damned stupid.

  • by hacker ( 14635 ) <> on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:53AM (#16103936)
    Is he really defending it, even when he's openly called the Constitution just a goddamned piece of paper! []?
  • warrAnt not E (Score:3, Informative)

    by 1u3hr ( 530656 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:02AM (#16104002)
    Illiteracy rules Slashdot.
  • Re:Read the PDF (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:04AM (#16104019)
    Section 9(c) of the proposed legislation reads "Section 102 of FISA (50 U.S.C. 1802) is amended to read as follows...Notwithstanding any other law, the President through the Attorney General, may authorize electronic surveillance without a court order under this title to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods up to 1 year..."

    In Section 3, "electronic communication" is defined as "any transfer of signs, signals, writings, images, sounds, data, or intelligence of any nature transmitted, in whole or in part, by a wire, radio, electromagnetic, photo electronic or photo optical system, cable, or other connection furnished or operated by any person engaged as a common carrier in providing or operating such facilities for the transmission of communication."

    The bill may authorize FISC to review the surveillance, but it apparently does not *require* the President to submit to such review since he'll be able authorize surveillance on his own anyway.
  • Re:The law is dead (Score:3, Informative)

    by Young Master Ploppy ( 729877 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:23AM (#16104176) Homepage Journal
    "The short answer is that if you want to be reasonably safe from terrorism, deport all Saudi and Egyptian nationals from the United States and bar them from getting visas. "

    Fine, then that just leaves Timothy McVeigh and his ilk. Oh yes, and those London Tube bombings last year? They were carried out by fully-fledged British nationals. And pretty much all of the IRA bombings throughout the 70s and 80s. And the SOHO nailbomber. And....

    You know, it's knee-jerk generalisations that blame everything on a group of society that lead to that group of society feeling marginalised, victimised, and unjustly discriminated against - in fact, the perfect breeding ground to become radicalised and extremist.

  • Nixon/Bush Legacy (Score:5, Informative)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:43AM (#16104363) Homepage Journal
    More precise headline: "Senate Committee Republicans Vote to Authorize Warrantless Wiretapping".

    More accurate headline: "Senate Committee Republicans Vote Bush as Emperor Nixon II"

    The FISA law that Bush broke, that his Republican Congress is now scrambling to drop from the laws, was written to outlaw the warrantless wiretapping that Nixon's CIA/NSA abused. Now that Bush is obviously incompetent/malevolent/dangerous, the Republican Party is handing him even more power than Nixon had.

    I note that Bush's father [] was the chair of the Republican Party during Watergate, then the 1st ambassador to China, then head of the CIA while the Church Committee [] was detailing Nixon's CIA's abuses. After Bush Sr left the CIA, Congress passed the FISA to stop it from spying on Americans without due process. Now Bush Jr has admitted doing exactly that for the last 5 years.
  • Re:Vote! (Score:2, Informative)

    by ChristTrekker ( 91442 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:44AM (#16104375)

    I almost did (for Congress). Why didn't I? Family and financial pressures. It's not cheap to run for federal office (especially as a third party, without the backing of a big party machine), nor is it easy on the family to be gone a minimum of 7 months of the year, weekend trips home notwithstanding.

  • Re:Vote! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Catbeller ( 118204 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:48AM (#16104417) Homepage
    "That said, I'm convinced there were shennanigans from both sides in 2000 and 2004 -- but taking exit polls as fact is fundamentally flawed."

    Statistically, no. They were never flawed. The polls match the vote results, as statisticians know what they are doing, and history backs me up. Not to mention that the elections in Chechnya were anulled and redone because the exit polls didn't match the counts -- and the polls were right, and the votes WERE manipulated in the first election as the second election (far better monitored) changed the results enormously.

    The idea that exit polls are flawed came from the Republicans in 2000 on those talking head shows, trying to explain away the obvious fact that someone rigged the election results in the contested areas, as those were the only places where statistics magically stopped functioning. The networks threw up their hands at their own exit-poll operations, which were fantastically accurate until they hit Florida in 2000, and decided rather than conclude that statistic work and vote counts were fishy, that Republicans were right and statistics somehow didn't work anymore ipso facto. Bullshit, of course. But the Republicans were in power in both the government and their own network boardrooms, and butting heads with them has been shown not to be a good career move.

    So now we don't have exit polls. Hooray! Now there is absolutely NO evidence if someone electronically rigs an election, no backup system as we used to have. Exit poll stats don't match outcome, stats therefore are "flawed", therefore get rid exit polls, end of problem. This is magical thinking, and works well in the US which is a magic-based nation, anyway.

    Exit polls were never "flawed", as their performance has shown for over a decade. Someone has fucked us in the collective asses, and then used the outcome to remove the assfucking detectors.
  • by QCompson ( 675963 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:50AM (#16104431)
    I thought there was a formal declaration of war against Iraq.

    There was never a formal declaration of war against Iraq. Congress authorized the use of force against Iraq, and thus it has become an extended military engagement, but there was never a formal declaration of war.
  • Re:Vote! (Score:3, Informative)

    by psykocrime ( 61037 ) <mindcrime@cp p h a c k e r . c o .uk> on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:54AM (#16104497) Homepage Journal
    When is the last time you were directly threatened by a "islamofacist"?

    Yup, me neither.

    Gues we know the answer to that question, then.

    Yes, exactly. Statistically speaking, you're more likely to be shot to death by a domestic police officer, than die as the result of a terrorist attack []. And many times more likely to die in a car accident or as a result of a fall.

    Terrorism IS a real threat, but if you look at the "big picture" it's hardly a significant one for any given individual. I expect most
    people need fear being struck by lightning more than they need fear terrorism.
  • no instant runoff (Score:2, Informative)

    by ChristTrekker ( 91442 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @11:06AM (#16104614)

    Good grief, not another IRV supporter. Where do you all come from?

    Try reading about Condorcet voting. Mathematically superior in most ways. If you take the time to really scrutinize IRV, you'll find that it just disguises the problem by giving the illusion of choice - in the end, you still almost always end up with a two-party system.

    IRV isn't even monotonic, for crying out loud. The only thing IRV has going for it is "it's easy" - but heck, plurality voting is easy, and look how screwed up our political system is based on that decision.

  • by Shawn is an Asshole ( 845769 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @11:09AM (#16104637)
    What you posted sounds very much like the lyrics to this Anti-Flag song. It was written soon after 9/11.

    The Anatomy of Your Enemy
    by Anti-Flag on "Mobilize"

    10 easy steps to create an enemy and start a war:
    Listen closely because we will all see this weapon used in our lives.
    It can be used on a society of the most ignorant to the most highly educated.
    We need to see these tactics as a weapon against humanity and not as truth.


    First step: create the enemy. Sometimes this will be done for you.

    Second step: be sure the enemy you have chosen is nothing like you.
    Find obvious differences like race, language, religion, dietary habits
    fashion. Emphasize that their soldiers are not doing a job,
    they are heartless murderers who enjoy killing.

    Third step: Once these differences are established continue to reinforce them with all disseminated information.

    Fourth step: Have the media broadcast only the ruling party's information
    this can be done through state run media.
    Remember, in times of conflict all for-profit media repeats the ruling party's information, therefore all for-profit media is state-run.

    Fifth step: show this enemy in actions that seem strange, militant, or different.
    Always portray the enemy as non-human, evil, a killing machine.


    Sixth step: Eliminate opposition to the ruling party.
    Create an "Us versus Them" mentality. Leave no room for opinions in between.
    One that does not support all actions of the ruling party should be considered a traitor.

    Seventh step: Use nationalistic and/or religious symbols and rhetoric to define all actions.
    This can be achieved by slogans such as "freedom loving people versus those who hate freedom."
    This can also be achieved by the use of flags.

    Eighth step: Align all actions with the dominant deity.
    It is very effective to use terms like, "It is god's will" or "god bless our nation."

    Ninth step: Design propaganda to show that your soldiers
    have feelings, hopes, families, and loved ones.
    Make it clear that your soldiers are doing a duty; they do not want or like to kill.

    Tenth step: Create and atmosphere of fear, and instability
    then offer the ruling party as the only solutions to comfort the public's fears.
    Remembering the fear of the unknown is always the strongest fear.


    We are not countries. We are not nations.(enemy)
    we are not religions. We are not gods. We are not weapons. We are not ammunition.(enemy) We are not killers.We will NOT be tools.

    Mother fuckers
    I will not die
    I will not kill
    I will not be your slave
    I will not fight your battle
    I will not die on your battlefield
    I will not fight for your wealth
    I am not a fighter
    I am a human being

  • by teh_chrizzle ( 963897 ) <kill-9 AT hobbiton DOT org> on Thursday September 14, 2006 @11:24AM (#16104789) Homepage
    this is grossly over simplified, but this is a slashdot post, not a dissertation...

    there are essentailly two extremes of government, government for the good of the state (fascism) and government for the good of the people (communism). these two types are represented by the classical philosophies of the republic, and democracy.

    the founding fathers believed that those two extremes are flawed and our consitution was founded on the idea of a "moderate" government called the "democratic republic".

    the central philosophy is that the government should work for the good of the state AND for the good of the people. often times, those two goals are at odds with eachother and the result is not a "happy medium" but more of series of backlashes.

    one by product of this philosophy is that the populace sees both communists and fascists as enemies, and looks to attribute either aspect to groups perceived as a threat.

    the term "islamofascist" is a simple way of saying "we feel threatened by islamic extremists because they remind us of fascists". obviously, militant islamic extremism is not a state, and does not govern for the good of that state. americans often use those terms to describe or ridicule groups or philisophies. terms like "grammar-nazi" or "fashionista" are common in american editorial writing.
  • Re:Umm, they were (Score:2, Informative)

    by TheConfusedOne ( 442158 ) <> on Thursday September 14, 2006 @11:58AM (#16105218) Journal
    Article 2, Section 2, Clause 1. The President is given the role of Commander in Chief.

      The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to Grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

    Discussion about the clause is here: ticle02/07.html#3 []
  • by Shajenko42 ( 627901 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @12:34PM (#16105616)
    Only solution to the spoiler problem is to change to approval voting. That way, those who are worried about "throwing their vote away" will vote for the third party plus their main party choice.

    Approval voting is the least complicated of all the voting systems that gives a fair result. IRV is far too complicated for the type of people who will accidentally vote for Buchanan.

    To implement it, we have to get the local races to use it first. So go to a town hall meeting once in a while and bring up approval voting. It's the only way it will ever happen.
  • Re:mod parent up (Score:4, Informative)

    by plague3106 ( 71849 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @12:51PM (#16105797)
    The two-party system exists because it is implicit to our Constitution. Period. If you don't get past this fact we are lost.

    Really? Back this up. I think you have problems with reading comprehension.

    Rampant gerrymandering.

    Certainly a problem.

    The primary system

    What do you find wrong with this?

    Lack of "Ranked Voting".

    Not sure how this would help..

    The electoral college.

    So you say the constitution supports only two parties, then turn around and bash it. Sorry, but you can't pick and choose.. The electoral college is there for a very good reason: to help undermine mob rule.

    The unrepresentative Senate.

    The Senates original purpose was to represent the STATE GOVERNMENTS. For that purpose, it is fine. If you look back in history, you'll see the feds started grabbing way more power than they were supposed to. The fed government was supposed to be weak.

    The weak party system.

    I don't think any kind of 'party system' is dicated anywhere in law.

    Lack of a modern parliamentary system.

    Not sure what you mean by this..

    Buckley v Valeo (money = free speech).

    I'm not sure you understand the purpose behind the ruling in that case..

    The removal of only one or two of these structural problem would likely be a catalyst for much greater change.

    I would like to think so, but I don't think that those problems alone will fix things.
  • by Darkforge ( 28199 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @12:56PM (#16105851) Homepage
    Their stated goal is often times to have a islamic government, like Saudi Arabia, or Iran. I would argue that these are definately fascist governments. Fascists typically are authoritarian (check), highly nationalistic (in an islamic state the nation is suposed to represents the religion - so check), and anti-communist (see the Taliban.)

    Agreed; +1. And don't forget racism! They'd throw every Jew in Israel into ovens, except they can't afford the infrastructure.
  • Re:Vote! (Score:3, Informative)

    by daigu ( 111684 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @03:36PM (#16107719) Journal

    You have a curious set of opinions. How do you maintain the CIA misled the President in light of the significant [] evidence [] to the contrary?

    I don't ask myself why the Republicans came to power. I know why. They have money, disciplined communications and a coherent strategy. Democrats sadly lack all three of these elements. Not that I care much for Democrats either. I consider both Democrats and Republican as belonging to the same party - neither of which represents my interests.

  • by doublem ( 118724 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @04:11PM (#16108106) Homepage Journal
    You might want to look up FISA. The moment the wiretap involves citizens, lawfully admitted permanent resident aliens, or corporations incorporated in the US, a warrant requirement is invoked.

    The Bush Administration is in trouble for two reasons.

    First, there are wiretaps that were placed, that meet the criteria for a FISA warrant. These warrants were never procured.

    Second, in the AT&T information gathering, data about American Citizens was sent to the NSA without a warrant.

    If the law had been followed and warrants procured, none of this would have been an issue. People would have been pissed about the AT&T debacle, but at least it would have been legal if ominous.

    The key piece of information here, is that US Citizens were among the parties being spied upon, yet no warrant was procured.

    So yes, there are times when even the NSA needs to get a warrant, and they've been ignoring that requirement.
  • by doublem ( 118724 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @05:31PM (#16108914) Homepage Journal
    You can bring up all the pre FISA examples you want. None of it changes the fact that, under current law, the NSA wiretaps and the AT&T data collection were both illegal. WWII isn't really relevant, because it was long before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978.

    I'm puzzled at your insistence that the NSA doesn't need wiretaps, as FISA specifically outlines when they do and do not need wiretaps. Surveillance_Act []

    The article above doesn't discuss the NSA specifically, but one of the points of the debate is that the warrant restrictions in FISA apply to the NSA.

    You can read more about the controversy here: illance_controversy []

    "Under the program, the NSA conducts surveillance on phone calls placed between a party in the United States and a party in a foreign country, without FISA court authorization, which critics assert (and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales acknowledged[5]) is outlawed by the text of FISA"

    I recommend doing some research. If you want to defend the Bush administration, you really should be using accurate information. The White House itself admits that what they did is outlawed by FISA. Bush's contention is that as President, he should have more power than FISA grants.

    The really amusing thing is, most of the Republicans in office now were there during the Clinton administration, and they most of them cried bloody murder when Clinton wanted to amend FISA so the warrants could be procured up to 72 hours after the wiretap was placed.

    To be blunt, I was pretty pissed at that move myself, as it was a nasty power grab that should not have been permitted to stand.

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