Motherfuckers. All of them. Fuck them all. That's it, I'm moving to Canada. Oh wait, I already have!
Bush Signs Law to Widen Reach for Wiretapping
By JAMES RISEN
Published: August 6, 2007
WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 President Bush signed into law on Sunday legislation that broadly expanded the government's authority to eavesdrop on the international telephone calls and e-mail messages of American citizens without warrants.
Congressional aides and others familiar with the details of the law said that its impact went far beyond the small fixes that administration officials had said were needed to gather information about foreign terrorists. They said seemingly subtle changes in legislative language would sharply alter the legal limits on the government's ability to monitor millions of phone calls and e-mail messages going in and out of the United States.
They also said that the new law for the first time provided a legal framework for much of the surveillance without warrants that was being conducted in secret by the National Security Agency and outside the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the 1978 law that is supposed to regulate the way the government can listen to the private communications of American citizens.
“This more or less legalizes the N.S.A. program,” said Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies in Washington, who has studied the new legislation.
Previously, the government needed search warrants approved by a special intelligence court to eavesdrop on telephone conversations, e-mail messages and other electronic communications between individuals inside the United States and people overseas, if the government conducted the surveillance inside the United States.
Today, most international telephone conversations to and from the United States are conducted over fiber-optic cables, and the most efficient way for the government to eavesdrop on them is to latch on to giant telecommunications switches located in the United States.
By changing the legal definition of what is considered “electronic surveillance,” the new law allows the government to eavesdrop on those conversations without warrants latching on to those giant switches as long as the target of the government's surveillance is “reasonably believed” to be overseas.
For example, if a person in Indianapolis calls someone in London, the National Security Agency can eavesdrop on that conversation without a warrant, as long as the N.S.A.’s target is the person in London.
Tony Fratto, a White House spokesman, said Sunday in an interview that the new law went beyond fixing the foreign-to-foreign problem, potentially allowing the government to listen to Americans calling overseas.
But he stressed that the objective of the new law is to give the government greater flexibility in focusing on foreign suspects overseas, not to go after Americans.
“It's foreign, that's the point,” Mr. Fratto said. “What you want to make sure is that you are getting the foreign target.”
The legislation to change the surveillance act was rushed through both the House and Senate in the last days before the August recess began.
The White House's push for the change was driven in part by a still-classified ruling earlier this year by the special intelligence court, which said the government needed to seek court-approved warrants to monitor those international calls going through American switches.
The new law, which is intended as a stopgap and expires in six months, also represents a power shift in terms of the oversight and regulation of government surveillance.
The new law gives the attorney general and the director of national intelligence the power to approve the international surveillance, rather than the special intelligence court. The court's only role will be to review and approve the procedures used by the government in the surveillance after it has been conducted. It will not scrutinize the cases of the individuals being monitored.
The law also gave the administration greater power to force telecommunications companies to cooperate with such spying operations. The companies can now be compelled to cooperate by orders from the attorney general and the director of national intelligence.
Democratic Congressional aides said Sunday that some telecommunications company officials had told Congressional leaders that they were unhappy with that provision in the bill and might challenge the new law in court. The aides said the telecommunications companies had told lawmakers that they would rather have a court-approved warrant ordering them to comply.
In fact, pressure from the telecommunications companies on the Bush administration has apparently played a major hidden role in the political battle over the surveillance issue over the past few months.
In January, the administration placed the N.S.A.'s warrantless wiretapping program under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and subjected it for the first time to the scrutiny of the FISA court.
Democratic Congressional aides said Sunday that they believed that pressure from major telecommunications companies on the White House was a major factor in persuading the Bush administration to do that. Those companies were facing major lawsuits for having secretly cooperated with the warrantless wiretapping program, and now wanted greater legal protections before cooperating further.
But the change suddenly swamped the court with an enormous volume of search warrant applications, leading, in turn, to the administration's decision to seek the new legislation.
I wonder when all this madness will end. In my mind, there is very little separating George Bush from Hitler. I'm so sick of his totalitarian ideas! Christian my ass!! He thinks he's the center of his own religion. I wish I could move my family away from all of this. No other country wants Americans moving in…I mean really doesn't that make us political refugees of a sort?
The only reason for staying is to try to uphold the "we the people", too much apathy in this country. People seem to have forgotten that we are supposed to be the ones who make the choices. I'd love to see a good old fashioned uprising of Americans to drive the point home…although according to the new laws we'd all be arrested as terrorists.
I just hope that people have learned from this. I can't live through another Republican conservative president.
sorry, this is a bit off topic, I just think that the taking away of basic freedoms is getting out of control…this bill proves it.
Oh fuck. And you were doing so well on this front before…
In this country, phone tapping evidence cannot be used in court, which means that there is absolutely no way of getting a warrant to tap people's phones. Instead of this preventing phone tapping, however, it just means that the authorities can tap your phones without having justified it in the first first place (as the US government is now allowing in the states), but the evidence is worthless anyway. Ridiculous fucking system.
We should run these countries, not the morons who do.
The funny thing is, my conversations have the potential of being tapped when I'm up in Canada simply because it's an international phone call and that's what they're monitoring. Though, I don't know why they would care much about Canada since Canada is pretty cool. Still.
I wouldn't compare Bush to Hitler. He is more of a McCarthy than an Hitler (as McCarthy was the force behind the red scare, Bush is the force behind our fear of "terrorists." Terror and Communism are both very vague names for vast, undefinable "foes.")
I am not afraid of terrorists. I am afraid of conservative, supreme, rule. Terrorists are real, however, they are also propaganda to scare Americans into giving the government total control. So tired of propaganda…
I really believe that when this is all over, Bush should be tried for war crimes…along with his administration. Is that realistic? NO , because the world is fucked up, unfortunately.
I'll stop now. I respect your opinion btw.
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