CommunityFDL Main Blog

Question of the Day


BREAKING:  Pete Williams just said on MSNBC that the FBI has executed search warrants for the home and office of Dusty Foggo.  I’m sure there will be lots more on this — and I’ll let you know when we get it.  For everyone who thought Fornigate would go away, looks like it may be heating up.  (And FYI, still no news on the G/J and Fitz today.  I promise, we’ll update when we hear anything.)   

If President Bush truly believes that he’s saving us all from terrorists by collecting phone and e-mail data on millions of Americans, daily, and that such collection is lawful and saves lives and prevents future attacks and all the other things that he and his Administration surrogates have said about it…

…why not follow the laws and get a warrant?

It needed to be asked. 

You have 72 hours after the fact if you find something that requires further investigation — and yet you bypass the FISA courts and their oversight.  You have laws a regulations which are supposed to prevent a wholesale spying operation without there being some probable cause for it — and which requires that any non-criminal, non-trigger data collection be deleted after 90 days.  Have you been deleting that information George?  We have an imperial presidency, and it is time for the members of Congress to stand up for the Constitution and the nation, and stop cowering in the corner.

A huge thank you to Sen. Pat Leahy and Sen. Dick Durbin, who did just that yesterday.  (You can see a video clip of Leahy here — link is near the top of the page.)  Huge thank you to the Democratic members of the House Intel Committee who have signed off on a letter condemning this latest disclosure.  (C&L has the letter.)  And another thank you to Sen. Russ Feingold, who called it for what it is — the President’s "arrogance and abuse of power."  (NYTimes)

The NYTimes is also reporting that Sen. Specter is now saying that subpoenaing James Comey and John Ashcroft, even though they appear to have knowledge and qualms about the NSA spying program, "would not be fruitful."  I think Sen. Specter deserves to know how you feel about that — feel free to call him at  202-224-4254 or FAX at  215-597-0406 or call the Congressional switchboard at 888-355-3588 (toll free) and they’ll direct your call to his office.  (There was a reason that Specter was the first recipient of our Rubber Stamp Republican Congress delivery.  More to come on our next round of deliveries soon, I promise.)

While you are on the phone, call your own elected representatives and tell them how you feel about being spied on illegally by the NSA without them getting a warrant.  About them having records of your phone calls, your mom’s phone calls, your grandma’s phone calls, that call you got from your mom when your dad had his heart attack, that call you got from your friend at work when she saw your husband out with some hussy and thought he was cheating on you but it turned out to be a drunken associate from work that he was just giving a ride home to so she wouldn’t drive drunk…you know, every call you’ve ever made for the last five years…plus every call everyone else has ever made.

All in a database that never gets deleted.  Even when the bulk of the information is about people who have not broken the law in any way.  Talk about un-American.

Glenn has an update on his legal analysis of the illegal NSA domestic spying without a warrant, and some polling analysis.

A business reporter leads with "Did the NSA Break the Law?" in a Forbes article that hits the question whether or not the telcoms broke the law in releasing information about customers, and whether they are liable for doing so.  Very, very interesting stuff — and something that will be talked about for quite a while, no doubt.

And Taylor asks a very good question:  what makes anyone think they are stopping only with tracking phone calls?  List of gun owners, anyone? 

One last thing, I used a photo of the VLA (Very Large Array) on a post yesterday because I didn’t have time to do a longer search for an NSA operations photo (Fi was home from preschool).  This offended a couple of our Astrophysicist readers — because the VLA is used exclusively for scanning space, not for scanning earth communications.  (If you’ve seen the movie Contact with Jodie Foster, you know what I’m talking about — although I do recommend the Carl Sagan book instead of the movie, just fyi — loved the movie, loved the book even more.)  Anyway, to make it up to those readers, I want to take a moment to let everyone know about a fantastic program that we do here at our house:  SETI at Home.  It’s a great program which allows the SETI researchers to harness unused time on your computer to do data analysis — and it could be your computer which finds that first contact with someone else out there in space.  Please check out the website and consider signing up — it’s a useful way to put your own computer to use for scientific study.

Previous post

The GOP corruption continues - Kentucky style

Next post

Getting a Search Warrant? How Quaint!

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com