Monday, January 02, 2006

Full Speed Ahead

After 9/11, Bush and Cheney pressed for more power and got it. Now, predictably, the questions begin. Behind the NSA spying furor.
Has Bush Gone Too Far?
The President's secret directive to let the NSA snoop without warrants sets off a furor

In the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, White House officials were haunted by two questions. Were there other terrorists lying in wait within the U.S.? And, given how freely the 19 hijackers had been able to operate before they acted, how would we know where to find them? It didn't take long before an aggressive idea emerged from the circle of Administration hawks. Liberalize the rules for domestic spying, they urged. Free the National Security Agency (NSA) to use its powerful listening technology to eavesdrop on terrorist suspects on U.S. soil without having to seek a warrant for every phone number it tracked. But because of a 1978 law that forbids the NSA to conduct no-warrant surveillance inside the U.S., the new policy would require one of two steps. The first was to revise the law. The other was to ignore it.
In the end, George Bush tried the first. When that failed, he opted for the second. In 2002 he issued a secret Executive Order to allow the NSA to eavesdrop without a warrant on phone conversations, e-mail and other electronic communications, even when at least one party to the exchange was in the U.S.--the circumstance that would ordinarily trigger the warrant requirement. For four years, Bush's decision remained a closely guarded secret. Because the NSA program was so sensitive, Administration officials tell TIME, the "lawyers' group," an organization of fewer than half a dozen government attorneys the National Security Council convenes to review topsecret intelligence programs, was bypassed. Instead, the legal vetting was given to Alberto Gonzales, then White House counsel.

Washington Post

NSA Gave Other U.S. Agencies Information From Surveillance
Fruit of Eavesdropping Was Processed and Cross-Checked With Databases

This will give defense attorneys good reason to challenge the government's cases against their clients.

ReddHedd has a great post explaining why...

The legal doctrine of "fruit of the poisonous tree" is fairly basic in its premise: if the information being used in a case was obtained through illegal means, then any other information gathered via that illegal action is also tainted by the poison from the initial illegal action...

(related posts)

Our President Is A Liar
Bush Lied Again
FISA Court Judge Quits over Bush's Despotism
Bob Barr: The president violated the law
Do Not Pass Go!
The President is a Criminal.
Report: Bush eased domestic spy rules after 9/11


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