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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 TripMaster Monkey ( 862126 ) * on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:07AM (#16103448)
    (Apologies to Jello Biafra)

    Here's a quick rundown of SB 2453:
    1) Repeal the core requirement of FISA that its procedures and the criminal Wiretap Act (Title III) "shall be the exlusive means" for conducting electronic surveillance. The bill essentially makes FISA optional overall, by explicitly deferring to the President's "inherent" constitutional authority instead.

    2) Authorize (but not require) the President to submit the current NSA surveillance program to review and blessing by the FISA courts. This review effectively would be limited to Fourth Amendment issues. The separation-of-powers issues deriving from FISA itself would not be reviewed, because Congress already would have capitulated in Step 1) above.

    3) Refer all third-party court challenges to intelligence-surveillance programs to the FISA courts, instead of the ordinary District Courts such as those of Judge Taylor in Detroit, Judge Lynch in New York or Judge Walker in San Francisco, which now have several cases before them. I am uncertain of what effect this would have on Judge Taylor's case, since she already has ruled against the program and issued an injunction.

    4) Make some fundamental changes to the definitions within FISA, most importantly removing the current provision that makes FISA apply to any intelligence surveillance acquired within the United States, regardless of who the target is. This apparently would have the effect of authorizing warrantless surveillance beyond that now reported to take place under the NSA program.

    More information can be found at Unclaimed Territory [].
  • by lightspawn ( 155347 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:15AM (#16103522) Homepage
    If you have nothing to hide, then why are you complaining, citizen? Only the tourists have to worry!

    The Eternal Value of Privacy -By Bruce Schneier []
  • by BWJones ( 18351 ) * on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:22AM (#16103600) Homepage Journal
    From where did this "Islamofascist" expression came?

    I put the word in quotes for a reason in that the label "Islamofascist" is a marketing term developed by Rove and company to help define who the enemy is in this "Global War on Terrorism", better defined by General Abizaid as "The Long War".

    OT: Abizaid gets it and understands what it is that we are dealing with with radical fundamentalism and is just the sort of person you want in the military.

  • Re:Vote! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Epeeist ( 2682 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:23AM (#16103606) Homepage
    > Neocons who are willing and able to give away all of our your Constitutional rights and freedoms

    Close but not quite, you are missing a "y". Replace "our" by your.

    To quote from one of my favourite books (The Man who was Thursday) "The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly. The rich have always objected to being governed at all".
  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <> on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:28AM (#16103659) Journal
    To be perfectly honest, I don't think you could really expect Democrats to do much better. The party has cozied up to Bush and the GOP to such an extent in recent years that they have completely lost the will to provide any real challenge to the administration beyond the occasional displeased remark, or half-hearted disagreement with a particular bill/nominee/etc.
    I'd expect backwards inbred bills with either party owning majority over all three branches. I'd be bitching just as much or more with the Democrats in the same position.

    It's the checks and balances we're now missing.
  • Re:Vote! (Score:1, Interesting)

    by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:34AM (#16103717) Journal
    I plan to vote this November.
    I am an American who (working for a foreign company) makes FREQUENT calls, faxes, and emails outside the US. Occasionally to people that might be in, or just returned from, companies the US isn't terribly happy with.

    I will be voting FOR the people that are writing/passing this legislation, because I'm convinced that the "good guys" (and we ARE them, by & large) cannot win against an insidious, merciless, and determined enemy by being Dudley Do-Right and playing with one hand tied behind their back.

    I couldn't care LESS if the government is reading my emails, listening to my telephone calls, or keeping me under direct surveillance, aside from being annoyed that they're wasting their time. Yawn.

    No, I don't believe the sky is falling, EITHER.

    This is like the FUD equivalent of Amway. Amway salespeople tell you about the thousands of people who have made million$, but they're still apparently pounding on your door to try to make a buck themselves.
    The Left tells you about how the Constitution is in tatters, how the US has become a fascist state (usually a CHRISTIAN FASCIST state, I guess that's "really" bad), and how we're all oppressed...yet they continue to preach their FUD without being picked up and shipped (without trial, of course) to one of those CIA facilities themselves. Damn, that might be too bad a use for all those unmarked black helicopters if they're not too busy. They need to get working, then.
  • by TripMaster Monkey ( 862126 ) * on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:36AM (#16103744)

    It is becoming politicized simply because one party controls the media, and the other controls the government. I see you're trotting out the old 'liberal media' chestnut yet again. How cute.

    Read this [] to see why the myth of the 'liberal media' is exactly that...a myth with zero basis in fact.
  • The real problem (Score:5, Interesting)

    by segfault_0 ( 181690 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @09:44AM (#16103822)
    The problem is that Americans are a bunch of pussies now who arent willing to die for real liberty anymore. To keep my freedoms I would be willing to die in a terrorist attack if chance put me in that position and I wouldnt look at it any different than a car wreck or an earthquake. It appears that we've been subdued with digital cable, SUVs and 70$ jeans to the point where we have completely lost our perspective on whats worth something in this life - like fostering a free and fair society for our children. I just hope those of us who agree or sit silent while this occurs realizes its our children that will pay the price - not us.
  • Re:Vote! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sethg ( 15187 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:08AM (#16104049) Homepage
    The President is tasked in a time of war to protect the country as he/she sees fit

    Bzzt! Thanks for playing. []

    The Congress shall have power... To declare war,... make rules concerning captures on land and water;... raise and support armies,... provide and maintain a navy;... make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;...

    Even in wartime, if Congress passes a law saying that the President needs a warrant to conduct a wiretap, or saying that torturing prisoners is not allowed, or saying that every Master Sargeant in the army needs to wear a hat with a flashing blue light on top, the President has to suck it up and deal.
  • by slashbart ( 316113 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:20AM (#16104142) Homepage
    Hi all

    I am Dutch, used to like the U.S., used to admire the core values that it stood for. I've spent more than a year in the States (in the late eighties), travelled through 35 states, and generally loved it, and its people. There is (used to be?) some kind of optimism, and absence of cynism with Americans, that you don't find in the Netherlands.

    I don't go to the States much anymore, so the only thing I see is the news and sites such as this, but it seems to me that the U.S. has changed terribly for the worse. It seems to be a fear based society by now.

    • The terrorist attacks on 9/11 seem to have given the Bush government the excuse they needed (lets not talk about the conspiracies), but you Americans let Bush get away with it!
    • You have no more job security it seems, which is why you are working way more than pretty much everyone else in the first world.
    • The lawsuit mania makes people scared about taking any risk whatsoever.
    • The corporations get away with breaking the law, and f**ing over their customers.

    The U.S. used to be some kind of example to a lot of Europeans, but these days, not many think that way anymore. Anyway, I'm just rambling all over the place, but I really do hope that Americans change the course their society is heading, because right now the direction seems scary (Heinlein, "if this goes on?")

    good luck, you'll need it

    P.S. I hope Bush leaves at the next elections, but the way he's amending the Constitution, I'm not even sure about that :-(

  • Re:Vote! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Damastus the WizLiz ( 935648 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:20AM (#16104144)
    Running for office is actualy an option. If there were more candidates who took the platform of representing the younger voters who was actualy one of the younger voters they might have a chance of actualy drawing them out to vote. With the proper support and campaing advertising tapping into that demographic could wield powerful results.
  • Re:Vote! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by hal2814 ( 725639 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:25AM (#16104197)
    "Retort: the idealistic voters who ignore the fact that we have a two party political system and, instead of choosing the better of the two candidates available, choose to throw their votes away and allow the conservative side to gain a numeric advantage are the real cause of all our (political) problems."

    Don't blame me, I voted for Kodos.

    The problem with choosing the "best" fit is that neither may do a single thing to represent you as a voter. There may be no "best" candidate. Personally, I vote third party as a last resort. By the time I get to that point, either a third party candidate gets my vote or nobody does.
  • by StanS ( 31710 ) * on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:28AM (#16104224)
    I realize that this is slashdot, and I will be modded down for saying this, but if you read the actual bill, the very first item states:

    (1) After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, President Bush Authorized the National Security Agency to intercept communications between people inside the United States, including American citizens, and terrorism suspects overseas.

    As far as I can remember (as a student of history) the President of the United States has ALWAYS had the ability to intercept foreign communications within the boarders of the United States (Remember Washington intercepted the communications of General Benedict Arnold and thus was able to stop him from turning over West Point to the British). The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court was put in place by congress to make sure the rights of US citizens are protected.
  • by i_want_you_to_throw_ ( 559379 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:29AM (#16104233) Journal
    ChristianFascist. Is that now the appropriate term for the Republican majority? I think so.

    It's very simple folks, just vote against ALL incumbents this year be they Democrat or Republican. Both sides are crooks and you need to have enough on each side to keep the other side "honest".

    You should probably vote against the incumbent as a general rule anyway.
  • by tom2275 ( 863625 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:35AM (#16104285)
    No, I think he means Facist like congress approving a bill to give the NSA the power to spy on Americans. "Threats" from congress are just that, only threats. And an ex-president has no power, hence the "ex." And he asked because it did make him look bad, because they had the facts wrong in the story they were telling.
  • by Yusaku Godai ( 546058 ) <hyuga AT guardian-hyuga DOT net> on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:35AM (#16104289) Homepage
    Makes him look bad? Perhaps. Whether it were true or not Clinton would probably be apeshit. But even besides Clinton, it makes up blatant, provable falsehoods about current public figures like Madeline Albright and Sandy Berger. Around here that can be considered slander, and has nothing to do with censorship.
  • by BooMonster ( 110656 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:45AM (#16104381)
    "these countries have a disturbing tendency to create people who are violently opposed to the core values of America and we don't owe them shit"

    Isn't this a description of our government? Just replace 'countries' with 'people'.
  • by Mateo_LeFou ( 859634 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @10:52AM (#16104456) Homepage

    Unless you're Catholic (like me), in which case your interpretation isn't considered absolute. Doing stuff the way some of these fundamentalists do it is one definition of 'heresy'.

    'Course if The Church's interpretation is always absolute, we come full circle to Romanofascism?

    On a side note, that "turn the other cheek thing" doesn't mean what people think it means. "by turning the other cheek the persecuted was in effect demanding equality {or perhaps being defiant to the alledged authority much like a defiant child might involk further wrath}" []

  • Re:Vote! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by slughead ( 592713 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @11:31AM (#16104871) Homepage Journal
    I don't know who is more dangerous, the "Islamofascists" who are behind terrorism or the Neocons who are willing and able to give away all of our Constitutional rights and freedoms. The thing that gets me is that I cannot see an endgame to the Neocon strategy as it is based on a continued fear and principals of isolationism. What are they getting out of the deal by giving away our rights?

    That's funny, I could've sworn the USA PATRIOT Act was approved by the senate 98 to 1, with the 98 being almost 50/50 democrats and republicans.

    Didn't I hear Howard Dean give a speech on how we 'need' national ID cards?

    I agree, everything is going to hell, but if you want to start fixing it, the first step is to strike the word 'neocon' from your statement, and replace it with 'republicrat'.

    They make you angry, they take your liberty, and then they convince you that only half of them are at fault: that's the nature of the 2-party system.

    Vote Libertarian [].
  • Re:The real problem (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Darby ( 84953 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @12:19PM (#16105459)

    Perhaps, you should put a scarlet 'V' (Victim) on your forehead so that the rest of know that we should stay away from you.

    No, he is a Citizen and a patriot.

    You are a coward and should have a big "C" branded into your forehead.
    I defy you to come up with a more canonical example of cowardice than how you just described yourself.

  • by jafac ( 1449 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @12:44PM (#16105731) Homepage
    It came from far-far-rightwing radio commentator Michael "Savage" Weiner. (yes, his real name is Weiner, but he goes by "Michael Savage".)

    I take it to mean;
    Islamofascism - the religious/cultural/political movement to establish fundamentalist Islamic rule, impose Sharia law, put all women into bhurkas and subject them to; no education, stay at home, and stoning for accused adultery, trading your daughter for a couple of goats, and hanging for accused homosexuals - you know, the whole nightmare story you read about. (as if rightwingers actually gave a crap about women's rights and gay rights).

    They equate this with fascism, which isn't actually too far from the truth, because the broadest definition of fascism is "authoritarian ruling through force or threat of violence". However, most modern definitions of fascism include an element of corporatism, which frankly, isn't possible in an Islamic republic, because the entire economy is structured differently: strict interpretations of Islamic Law forbid charging interest for loans as Usury - which is really the essential element to any modern industrialized economic power.

    "Islamofascist" is really a curious term, and a curious concept, because it exposes a problem in leftist thinking - that respect for other cultures and religions should trump respect for basic human rights of conscience. I don't think that all people who lean left, (or even who sit in the center) buy into that. Most lefties I know are appalled at the fundamentalist culture in Islam, but simply oppose use of force to change it. Some fairly brutal practices like wife-beating and female genital mutilation are deeply culturally ingrained in Islamic cultures (while not strictly being part of religious law itself - they're more like cultural traditions that were bolted on to the religion after the fact, by the men who "run the religion"; the imams who issue fatwas, etc.).

    I don't think that the left can really effectively fight against the current rightwing stranglehold on power in the west, until it comes to grips with this cognative dissonance, and puts to rest the FUD that they're "objectively pro-terrorist". In fact, I think that if the representatives of the left (politicians, and other public figures) can make it clear that secularism is about human rights, and not about letting some other religion or way of thinking completely take over, then they can also begin to argue effectively that the things that westerners find objectionable about fundamentlist Islam, are also the same things that westerners should be finding objectionable about fundamentalist Christianity, or Judaism. What we're fighting for is peaceful coexistence, not a "clash of cultures". While the amount of global friction with fundamentalist Islamists is hard to deny, and convincing them to lay off on the "convert by sword" approach is going to be very difficult - an essential element is to convince our own radical militant fundamentalist Christians to lay off and coexist peacefully (and prosperously) as well.
  • by DerangedAlchemist ( 995856 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @12:55PM (#16105838)
    Main parties are vote whores. If third party candidates start getting votes, they'll change policies. If you keep voting for them, why would they act any different? Throwing away votes is important. It shows a vote they could have really gotten unlike the apathetic masses.

    Here in Canada, the Reform party appeared and started stealing votes from conservatives. They never won, but merged with the conservatives and pulled the party far to the right. Those 'wasted' votes have had far more influence on our policies than the 'football' team voters who aren't influenced by policy.
  • by KingNaught ( 718536 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @01:02PM (#16105910)
    LOL! Beleive everything you hear from Pat Robertson and Glen Beck do yah. They hate us for a reason, and our blind inability to admit the wrongs we have done is why the whole world hates the United States. We blame all of our problems on someone else terrorists, illegal immigrents, homosexuals. They guy couple down the street isn't the reason your marrige is a failure, and the terrorists arn't the reason gas costs $3 a gallon (its greedy oil companies and american consumers that are unwilling to conserve natural resources) We are to blame for all of our own problems the sooner we admit that the sooner we can start fixing them.
  • by meringuoid ( 568297 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @01:28PM (#16106242)
    It is a proven working tactic: unite the people against a common enemy (like Argentina against England over Falklands/Maldivas island) so there is a "us vs. them" feeling

    As I read it, the Falklands invasion was a bit of a desperate move by Galtieri. As the ruler of a military dictatorship, his position depended upon the prestige of the army. He felt his control beginning to slip - people no longer respected the Argentine military as perhaps they once had. So: pick a fight with a major power, but one so far away it probably won't make too much of a fuss, over a symbolically important but otherwise bloody useless scrap of rock.

    Unfortunately for him, Thatcher's prestige was also on the slip at the time, and probably the best thing any British prime minister can ever do for their popularity is win a war.

    Now, note what became of Galtieri's regime after losing the war with the UK. If you're basing your regime on military prestige and jingoism, whatever the hell you do don't lose a war. Now, take a look at Iraq. And for that matter at Afghanistan in recent months.


  • by Asrynachs ( 1000570 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @01:29PM (#16106263)
    I'm Canadian. I don't know these people you speak of. Here's the thing. Canada isn't in the Iraq war yet muslim extremists are still tyring to behead our prime-minister and blow up our stock exchange. These people who're commiting this treason were born and raised in Canada, and are from upper class homes. They've been given all the benifits our society has to offer, they have free health care and good education and the freedom to force their wives to cover their faces in public. YET THEY'RE STILL TYRING TO KILL US! One would think that lower class inner city youths would have more reason to blow up subway stations than some upper class muslim law students.
  • by roystgnr ( 4015 ) <roystgnr@ticam.u ... edu minus distro> on Thursday September 14, 2006 @01:51PM (#16106546) Homepage
    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.

    Approval voting is less complicated than ranked voting, naturally, because it conveys less information. You only get to express a preference of one set over another set, and if your preferences are any more complicated than that, you're out of luck. I preferred Badnarik to Kerry to Nader to Bush in 2004 - clearly I should have approved of Badnarik and disapproved of Bush, but what do I do about the other two? Should I approve of Kerry to give him a better chance of beating Bush, or should I disapprove to give Badnarik a better chance of beating him? I'd have the same problem I do today: I'd have to check the preelection polls to figure out who I can "safely" vote for.

    If you want to vote "yes" for half the candidates and "no" for the other half, Condorcet (another ranked voting method with fewer mathematical problems than IRV) will let you do that - but unlike Approval voting it'll let you do that without taking away other voters' right to express a more detailed preference.
  • Re:Vote! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pizzaman100 ( 588500 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @03:44PM (#16107816) Journal
    Unless I'm reading it wrong, the parent poster's point is that until 2000, exit polling did jive with the actual result of the election. After 2000, it did not. Regardless of how flawed exit polls are, the dichotomy indicates a problem unless public behavior radically changed (and I don't think it has).

    Or the exit polls don't represent who actually voted. For example if you take an exit poll during working hours you will get a different demographic than if you take it during the evening. So the exit polls that showed Kerry winning Ohio at 5 pm on election day had a disproportinate number of democratic voters (seniors, stay at home moms, unemployed, etc). A disproportionate number of republican voters voted after 5 pm.

  • by WindBourne ( 631190 ) on Thursday September 14, 2006 @04:46PM (#16108469) Journal
    Joel Hefly (and a number of senators) pushed the idea that lobbyists should be done away with by making all of a politicians and candidates money come from the feds (or states for state level). The general idea is to not allow corporate lobbying and in return, for an election, a candidate must obtain some 5% of the voters to sign up for them. Once that occurs, the politician will be given X amount of dollars for the election to spend how they see fit . In addition, the candidates must agree to so many debates of all the candidates. That would help to break the 2 party issue as well as the high corruption that we observe.

    Sadly, even the dems seemed to shoot this idea down. I personally think that this must be a grassroot effort starting at a state level to make this happen.
  • by bulliver ( 774837 ) <(bulliver) (at) (> on Friday September 15, 2006 @03:44AM (#16111597) Homepage
    I'm Canadian.

    I'm Canadian too, and after reading your several previous posts of complete and utter bullshit I do hope you will stop representing your self as Canadian. It's fucking embarassing.

    Canada isn't in the Iraq war yet muslim extremists are still tyring to behead our prime-minister

    I can understand why they don't like him. He's a ultra-rightwing fucktard just like his counterpart to the south. And BTW, our troops are in Afghanistan, which I'm sure pisses off the extremists.

    These people who're commiting this treason were born and raised in Canada, and are from upper class homes.

    Holy argumentum in terrorem and blatant overgeneralization Batman!

    and the freedom to force their wives to cover their faces in public.

    And women connot become part of the Catholic clergy. What's your fucking point. Live and let live. Don't like it, don't fucking join them, but respect their right to practice their culture.

    One would think that lower class inner city youths would have more reason to blow up subway stations than some upper class muslim law students.

    How the hell does that stand to reason? I'm poor, can I blow up your house? Newsflash: Muslim does not mean terrorist. Arabic does not mean extremist. The terrible actions of a few people cannot mean that everybody must give up their freedoms. What about this jackass that just shot up Dawson College? Littleton CO? Shall we wage a war on 'goths'? The amount of deaths by terrorism are statistically insignificant next to death from smoking cigarettes. Still totally legal. Automobile accidents...shall we outlaw cars? Heart disease from poor diets? McDonalds is still open and advertising their wares. What exactly do you think the war on terrorism is protecting us from? It sure as hell isn't to prevent our deaths. Sure, fight the Taliban. Fight Al-Queda. But don't fucking throw all our freedoms in the toilet in the process. I suppose you're one of those dinks that thinks it's all fair and good to force us to take a colon exam just to get on a fucking plane?

    You know what: I want to live in a free society. I'll take the risk of getting wasted by a terrorist.

"my terminal is a lethal teaspoon." -- Patricia O Tuama