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Senators: FBI rules could target innocent people

Senators: FBI rules could target innocent people

AP
August 20, 2008

Proposed rules to help the FBI catch terrorists could lead to innocent Americans being spied upon by government agents or informants “all without any basis for suspicion,” a group of Democratic senators said Wednesday.

The rules, known as the attorney general guidelines, have not been approved or even publicly released yet, but four Democrats joined a growing chorus of lawmakers raising concerns after being briefed on what the guidelines say.

Among their fears: Americans could be targeted in part based on their race, ethnicity or religion — or free speech activities protected by the Constitution.

“As you know, attorney general guidelines were first implemented in the wake of the FBI abuses of the 1960s and 1970s, and serve as one of the most important bulwarks against future abuses,” the senators said in a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

The four Democrats — Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island — indicated they remained concerned even after assurances from officials during the Justice Department briefings.

The lawmakers asked Mukasey to hold off finalizing the rules to allow a public review.

“Given the importance of these guidelines, providing a period of time for public comment would be a reasonable and responsible way to move forward and achieve the best possible end result,” the Democrats wrote.

Earlier this week, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and the panel’s top Republican, Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, also called for delaying the guidelines.

Justice spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said the department will review the requests. Citing remarks earlier by Mukasey about the new rules, the spokesman said an investigation would not be opened based solely on a person’s race, ethnicity or religion.

“The guidelines will require all activities to have a valid purpose,” Roehrkasse said, adding that the rules will “include robust and effective oversight measures.”

The guidelines are expected to be finalized next week. They do not require congressional approval.

First reported last month by The Associated Press, the rules are intended to update policies governing investigations as the FBI shifts from a traditional crime-fighting agency to one whose top priority is protecting the United States from terrorist attacks.

Currently, the FBI must have evidence or allegations of wrongdoing before opening an investigation of U.S. citizens or legal residents from other countries. As described by some law enforcement officials, the new policy would let agents open preliminary terrorism investigations after mining public records and intelligence to build a profile of traits that, taken together, were deemed suspicious.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the rules, said factors that could trigger an inquiry would include travel to regions of the world known for terrorist activity and access to weapons or military training, along with the person’s race or ethnicity.

Following their briefings, the four Democrats said the guidelines would:

_Let the FBI use “a variety of intrusive investigative techniques” with no evidence of possible wrongdoing. The techniques could include: long-term FBI surveillance, interviewing neighbors and work-mates, recruiting informants and searching commercial databases for information on people “all without any basis for suspicion.”

“We are particularly concerned that the draft guidelines might permit an innocent American to be subjected to such intrusive surveillance based in part on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, or on protected First Amendment activities,” the senators wrote.

_Allow the government to collect foreign intelligence information inside the United States without current legal protections for U.S. citizens or legal residents. The senators noted that the broad term “foreign intelligence” would cover any information relating to the activities of a foreign government, organization or person.

_Allow the information gathered to be broadly shared among government agencies. “We have serious questions about the scope of information sharing as it relates to U.S. persons who are under no suspicion of wrongdoing,” the senators wrote.

 



4th Amendment Destroyed: FISA Spy-Bill Passes

4th Amendment Destroyed: FISA Spy-Bill Passes
ACLU Announces Legal Challenge To FISA Law To Follow President’s Signature

ACLU
July 9, 2008

Today, in a blatant assault upon civil liberties and the right to privacy, the Senate passed an unconstitutional domestic spying bill that violates the Fourth Amendment and eliminates any meaningful role for judicial oversight of government surveillance. The FISA Amendments Act of 2008 was approved by a vote of 69 to 28 and is expected to be signed into law by President Bush shortly. This bill essentially legalizes the president’s unlawful warrantless wiretapping program revealed in December 2005 by the New York Times.

“Once again, Congress blinked and succumbed to the president’s fear-mongering. With today’s vote, the government has been given a green light to expand its power to spy on Americans and run roughshod over the Constitution,” said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union. “This legislation will give the government unfettered and unchecked access to innocent Americans’ international communications without a warrant. This is not only unconstitutional, but absolutely un-American.”

The FISA Amendments Act nearly eviscerates oversight of government surveillance by allowing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) to review only general procedures for spying rather than individual warrants. The FISC will not be told any specifics about who will actually be wiretapped, thereby undercutting any meaningful role for the court and violating the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable search and seizure.

The bill further trivializes court review by authorizing the government to continue a surveillance program even after the government’s general spying procedures are found insufficient or unconstitutional by the FISC. The government has the authority to wiretap through the entire appeals process, and then keep and use whatever information was gathered in the meantime. A provision touted as a major “concession” by proponents of the bill calls for investigations by the inspectors general of four agencies overseeing spying activities. But members of Congress who do not sit on the Judiciary or Intelligence committees will not be guaranteed access to the agencies’ reports.

The bill essentially grants absolute retroactive immunity to telecommunication companies that facilitated the president’s warrantless wiretapping program over the last seven years by ensuring the dismissal of court cases pending against those companies. The test for the companies’ right to immunity is not whether the government certifications they acted on were actually legal – only whether they were issued. Because it is public knowledge that certifications were issued, all of the pending cases will be summarily dismissed. This means Americans may never learn the truth about what the companies and the government did with our private communications.

“With one vote, Congress has strengthened the executive branch, weakened the judiciary and rendered itself irrelevant,” said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. “This bill – soon to be law – is a constitutional nightmare. Americans should know that if this legislation is enacted and upheld, what they say on international phone calls or emails is no longer private. The government can listen in without having a specific reason to do so. Our rights as Americans have been curtailed and our privacy can no longer be assumed.”

In advance of the president’s signature, the ACLU announced its plan to challenge the new law in court.

“This fight is not over. We intend to challenge this bill as soon as President Bush signs it into law,” said Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project. “The bill allows the warrantless and dragnet surveillance of Americans’ international telephone and email communications. It plainly violates the Fourth Amendment.”

 

Constitutional expert Turley on FISA bill: ’The fix is in’

Raw Story
July 9, 2008

http://youtube.com/watch?v=MsRQtL64-Vc

Read Full Article Here

Senate Rollcall Vote for H.R. 6340
Obama: Yes, Hillary: No, McCain: Skipped
http://senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll..ongress=110&session=2&vote=00168

Bush wins passage of spy bill to protect telecoms
http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSWAT00975320080709

Traitors In Senate Approve Surveillance Bill
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/2..Ar4mXNDa49uWmlkRl2iTP_hv24cA

Judge Walker ruled, effectively, that President George W. Bush is a felon
http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2008/07/09/alharamain_lawsuit/

Report: Because of Bush obstinance, civil liberties board exists ‘in name only’
http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Re..sh_obstinance_civil_0709.html

Domestic spying quietly goes on
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/nation/bal-te.fisa07jul07,0,2783557.story

As FISA nears toward vote, Feingold warns against immunity
http://rawstory.com/news/2008/As_F.._vote_Feingold_0708.html

 



Homeland Security Wants to Install Permanent Checkpoint

Chertoff To Turn Vermont Into Nazi Germany

Lee Rogers
Rogue Government
April 9, 2008

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is continuing their agenda to turn the United States of America into a 21st century version Nazi Germany. According to a report from WCAX, the Department of Homeland Security is seeking to setup a permanent internal checkpoint in the middle of Vermont so they can look for illegal immigrants, drug dealers and terrorists. These types of checkpoints are a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment which prohibits the government from conducting searches and seizures without a warrant. In addition, the DHS is attempting to use the illegal immigration issue as a way to justify the establishment of this checkpoint. This is another example of the government capitalizing on a problem they created in order to implement a phony solution. The government has given all the incentive in the world for Mexicans to come here illegally and has done little to empower the border patrol agents on the U.S. Mexico border to stop them. In fact, they’ve actually done a great deal to ensure that the agents do not do their job. The U.S. actually gave a drug trafficker immunity to testify against border patrol agents after the agents shot the drug trafficker while he was attempting to bring drugs over the border. Both of the border agents are now sitting in prison and the decider George W. Bush has decided not to pardon them. It is laughable that the DHS wants to setup an internal checkpoint in the middle of Vermont under the guise that they are attempting to stop illegal immigrants, drug dealers and terrorists when they have set policies to discourage border patrol agents from doing their job on the U.S. Mexico border.

Senator Patrick Leahy from Vermont questioned DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff about the proposed checkpoint during his testimony in front of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary on Oversight of the Department of Homeland Security on April 2nd, 2008. Below is a blurb taken from the Brattleboro Reformer on the exchange between Leahy and Chertoff.

Sen. Patrick Leahy chastised Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff Wednesday for his agency’s plan to build a permanent immigration checkpoint in central Vermont, wryly exclaiming that Chertoff should just “federalize Vermont.”

The interaction comes as the Bush administration is proposing a $4 million project to build fixed facilities within 100 miles of the Canadian border to conduct random vehicle checks for illegal immigrants, drugs and weapons, according to Leahy.

“So what you’re saying is in a little state like mine everyone should be stopped going down that interstate, no matter whether they’re going to visit a sick relative at the VA hospital?” Leahy prodded Chertoff in a Judiciary Committee hearing.

“We’re all sort of presumed guilty until proven innocent,” the Vermont Democrat added. “It sounds like Big Brother gone awry.”

Chertoff said, “Here’s the bottom line. Having checkpoints make sense.”

He said drug dealers and child molesters have been captured at similar checkpoints.

It is amazing that Chertoff would actually have the nerve to say that having internal checkpoints is a sensible approach. Chertoff is advocating something that is illegal and forbidden by the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution. Not only that, but when a government sets up internal checkpoints within its own borders that is a sure fire sign that tyranny has come. The Nazis setup a system of internal checkpoints during World War II Germany and demanded citizens furnish the appropriate papers when questioned by government agents. The DHS is already attempting to setup a National ID card system through the implementation of the Real ID Act. It is clear that they want Real ID complaint identification cards to serve as America’s equivalent to the papers that the Nazi’s made their citizens carry.

Amazingly the criminals in the U.S. Supreme Court have already ruled that sobriety checkpoints are within the bounds of the Constitution. As a result, police are allowed to setup checkpoints and go on fishing expeditions to look for drunk drivers. This combined with the DHS attempting to setup this particular internal checkpoint and the implementation of the Real ID Act is more proof that this country is turning into a 21st century version of Nazi Germany.

This country is gone. When we have a government agency that is trying to setup an internal checkpoint under the guise of searching for drug dealers, terrorists or illegal immigrants it is clear that tyranny is here. There are more effective ways to deal with the illegal immigration problem but the only solutions the government brings forward are phony ones that serve their agenda. Setting up an internal checkpoint in the middle of Vermont is entirely idiotic and insane. Chertoff should be removed from office for this attempt to violate the Constitution with internal checkpoints as well as the countless other violations of the Constitution that the DHS has been involved in during his tenure as DHS Secretary. Not only that, but he also has an uncanny resemblance to the evil Skeletor character in the 1980s cartoon He-Man. Imagine all the children he scares each time he appears on the TV. All jokes aside, Chertoff needs to be fired immediately otherwise the enslavement agenda at the DHS will continue.

 



NRA Helps To Destroy The 2nd Amendment

NRA Helps To Destroy The 2nd Amendment

Lee Rogers
Rogue Government
December 20, 2007

The U.S. Senate recently approved by voice vote a draconian piece of gun control legislation that will add mentally defective people to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The legislation which was already approved by the U.S. House of Representatives now will get sent to George W. Bush where he will likely sign the bill into law. The bill was proposed in response to the Virginia Tech rampage killing in which 32 people were killed by a deranged individual with a history of psychotropic drug use. The legislation will effectively disarm people who the government declares to be mentally defective. The legislation provides no exemptions for military veterans diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or people diagnosed with bogus metal disorders based off of junk science. People are allowed to protest their status as a government declared mental defective through a government proceeding. However, this means that individuals are guilty until proven innocent if they are caught wrongly in the system. The most disgusting part about this whole situation is the fact that the National Rifle Association (NRA) a so called pro second amendment lobbying group supported this legislation. The NRA has shown with their actions that they are actually a gun control lobby instead of a pro second amendment lobby. All gun owners who are affiliated with the NRA should choose to end their association with this fraudulent pro second amendment lobby.

Mentally ill individuals have been forbidden from owning firearms for awhile now but states lacked the funding to integrate these people into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. This legislation provides the funding to give the government a mechanism to include mentally ill individuals into the system. Although the establishment cronies are selling this legislation as a reasonable step to keep everyone safe, it should be noted that this is a complete lie. Making it more difficult for people to own firearms does not help keep the public safe. Countries with draconian gun bans like the United Kingdom and Austrailia have seen a dramatic increase in crime as a result of their policies. The reason being, is that if you disarm the law abiding citizens the only people who will be armed will be criminals and government officials. Police can’t be everywhere to stop all crimes, therefore an individual given the right to defend themselves can take action on their own to prevent crime without intervention from the police.

The legislation does not provide exemptions for military veterans returning from the Middle East who have been diganosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. As a result, military veterans could end up getting caught in this system unable to purchase a gun. The human body is not meant to sustain multiple combat tours in life threatening situations and this has given rise to the number of veterans who are being diagnosed with this disorder. Soldiers are being sent over to Iraq on third, fourth and even in some cases fifth tours which has contributed to this. What all of this means is that individuals with military experience will be less likely to obtain guns which will limit people with in-house operational experience within the military to effectively rebel against the system.

Amazingly, the U.S. Senate approved this horrific gun control legislation by voice vote. Clearly, these people are too cowardly to put their name on the record stating that they actually voted for this legislation. This is proof that the establishment hates the freedoms provided to the people by the Constitution and are willing to do whatever it takes to destroy them. The Congress should be talking about eliminating the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, not passing legislation making it more powerful.

Even more ridiculous is that the NRA actually supported this legislation. What sort of pro second amendment lobby is the NRA if they openly support legislation that will give the government additional powers as to who can and cannot own a firearm? What sort of pro second amendment lobby is the NRA if they openly support legislation that will give the government powers to maintain a list of people saying they are guilty of being a mental defective forcing people to prove their innocence? Amazingly, opposition to the bill was removed after they agreed to allow people to challenge their mental defective status if they find themselves on a list. Considering the ineffective and bureaucratic mess the Federal government is, it will no doubt take a considerable amount of money and time to remove your name from this government list of mental defectives if you happen to find your name on the list. New disorders and illnesses are continually being invented based off of junk science which by fiat is expanding the number of people who are being given the mental defective label. It is hard to believe that the NRA thinks that this bill represents common sense when it is anything but.

In the Soviet Union the Communists used psychiatrists to label political opponents and anti-establishment intellectuals as mentally ill in order to lock them up in mental institutions. When the state starts labeling people as mental defectives in order to enfringe upon people’s rights, that opens up pandora’s box. What’s frightening about this is that the definition of a mental defective appears to be entirely vague. The government could at one point take the Soviet Union philosophy of labeling political opponents with a mental illness because they disagree with the government’s policies.

This legislation also opens up the door for the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives which in the past decade has grown substantially in size. The ATF will be the agency used by the government to enforce the insane policies set forth in this legislation. With these additional policies, they will no doubt use the additional personnel and resources that they now have at their disposal.

There is no question that without the NRA’s support this legislation would not have passed. The NRA has now proven themselves without question to be a pro gun control lobby and an enemy of the second amendment. The legislation which has now been approved in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate will now be sent to George W. Bush where he will likely sign the legislation into law. The supreme court is also set to make a historic ruling on the second amendment pertaining to the lower court ruling which overturned the Washington DC gun ban. Considering what happened here with this legislation, we may unfortunately see the supreme court rule against the second amendment as well. The second amendment is being shredded into a million pieces and it is time people start getting mad at these criminal traitors in Congress for continuing their agenda of destroying the Bill of Rights.

How Many More Will Die in ‘Gun-Free’ Zones Before the Media Start Asking Why?
http://mydiscountstation.com/blog/?p=207

Gun Owners Group Condemns “Treacherous” Passage Of Anti-Second Amendment Legislation
http://infowars.net/articles/december2007/211207Zelman.htm

Gun Owners Get Stabbed In The Back — Veterans Disarmament Act on its way to the President
http://www.gunowners.org/a122007.htm

Gun Owners of America Summary of Gun Control
http://www.freemarketnews.com/WorldNews.asp?nid=52811

Congress Slams Second Amendment
http://afp.google.com/art…R3u4k7KDnXmHNXPzo-Q

 



Senate Passes Gun Control Bill

Senate Passes Gun Control Bill

Reuters
December 19, 2007

Congress, prodded by the deadliest shooting rampage in modern American history, passed legislation on Wednesday designed to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill.

Without objection, the Senate and House of Representatives approved the measure, which would bolster background checks for gun buyers, and sent it to President George W. Bush to sign.

The measure would be the first major new gun-control law in more than a decade. It was drafted after a deranged gunman killed himself and 32 others in April at Virginia Tech university.

The product of months of talks, the bill was finally agreed to as lawmakers prepared to wrap up their work for the year and head home for the holidays.

“Together, we have crafted a bill that will prevent gun violence, but maintain the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens” to bear arms, said Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy of New York, a chief sponsor of the bill. Her husband was killed and son injured in 1993 when a gunman opened fire on a train.

The 4 million-member National Rifle Association, which has helped stop numerous gun-control bills as one of the nation’s most powerful pro-gun lobbying groups, backed this one.

“This is good public policy,” said NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam.

Americans are among the world’s most heavily armed people, and the country has one of the world’s highest murder rates.

There are an estimated 250 million privately owned guns in the United States, which has a population of about 300 million. About 30,000 people a year die from gun wounds.

Congress has long been reluctant to tackle the politically explosive issue of gun control. But it did so after it was disclosed that the Virginia Tech gunman had once been deemed by a judge to be dangerous and the information never reached a background check system for gun buyers.

The legislation would provide financial incentives for states to provide mental health and criminal records to a database used for federal background checks on gun buyers.

UPDATING DATABASE

The 1968 Gun Control Act prohibits anyone found by a court to be “a mental defective” from possessing a gun. It also bars felons, fugitives, drug addicts and wife beaters.

But because of state privacy laws and fiscal restraints, most states have failed to fully report such records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.

McCarthy said: “Today, we are one step closer to making sure the National Instant Background Check System does what it was it was designed to do — keep guns out of the hands of convicted felons, individuals subjected to restraining orders, those charged with domestic violence and individuals deemed mentally ill by a court of law.”

The House initially passed such a bill in June. But the Senate refused to go along with it until a few changes were made. One would require the government to pay legal fees if a person who claims to have been wrongly listed in the background system wins an appeal.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat and a sponsor of the bill, said: “Nothing can bring back the lives tragically lost at Virginia Tech, and no legislation can be a panacea, but the bill we pass today will begin to repair and restore our faith in the NICS system and may help prevent similar tragedies in the future.”

AP Report On Gun Control Bill Passage
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uslatest/story/0,,-7166091,00.html

Media In Japan Calls For Gun Control
http://afp.google.com/article/AL….L_ZAPLkW-ZoPw

UK gun crime up more than 20% since handguns were banned 10 years ago
http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/crime/article3255689.ece

 



U.S. Senate Rejects Habeas Corpus Measure

U.S. Senate Rejects Habeas Corpus Measure

RTE
September 19, 2007

The US Senate has decided not to consider a measure to give Guantanamo detainees and other foreigners the right to challenge their detention in the courts.

The draft legislation needed approval by 60 votes in order to be considered in the Senate, which is narrowly controlled by Democrats. It received only 56, with 43 voting against.

Congress last year eliminated the right to habeas corpus for non-US citizens labeled ‘enemy combatants’ by the government.

The Bush administration said this was necessary to prevent them from being set free and attacking Americans.

The move affected about 340 suspected al-Qaeda and Taliban captives held at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba.

It could also affect millions of permanent legal residents of the US who are not US citizens, according to one of the sponsors of the bipartisan measure, Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont.

Senator Arlen Specter, another sponsor of the bill and a Pennsylvania Republican, noted that the right to habeas corpus was a protection against arbitrary arrest enshrined in the US Constitution and dating back to the English Magna Carta of 1215.

Later this year, the US Supreme Court is expected to hear arguments from lawyers for Guantanamo prisoners challenging the law that restricted the right to habeas corpus.

Dodd, Leahy reintroduce Habeas Corpus Restoration Act
http://thinkprogress.org/2007/09/17/dodd-leahy-reintroduce-habeas-corpus-restoration-act/

Bush’s New Rules Allow The CIA To Violate Geneva Conventions
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2007/08/25/military_cites_risk_of_abuse_by_cia/

 



Cheney Removes Himself Again From Executive Branch

Cheney Removes Himself Again From Executive Branch

National Journal
August 21, 2007

Less than two months after Dick Cheney reversed course on the claim under a congressional threat and much ridicule, the vice president is once again severing himself from the executive branch of government — this time to defy a subpoena.

In June, Cheney’s lawyers whipped out a novel — and almost certainly wrong — claim that as the Senate’s tiebreaker, his office actually belongs in the legislative branch. At the time, he was resisting an executive order renewed by President Bush that their offices hand over reports on classified data to the National Archives. Red-faced officials eventually said they would back off of the bizarre claim.

But yesterday it resurfaced, in a letter [PDF] to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy.

Asking for more time to produce documents related to a domestic surveillance program, Shannen Coffin, the VP’s counsel, writes that the “committee authorized the chairman to issue subpoenas to the Executive Office of the President and Department of Justice, but did not authorize issuance of a subpoena to the Office of the Vice President.”

That is just… weird. Any constitutional lawyer worth his or her salt will tell you this line of argument ends badly for Cheney. (As Leahy noted in his written response, “Both the United States Code and even the White House’s own Web site say so.”) A bigger question, though, is: Why pursue this claim at all?

Congressional subpoenas are deflected from the Bush administration like bullets bouncing off Wonder Woman’s bracelets. The arguments that the Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenas don’t apply to Cheney’s office because a) lawmakers didn’t follow “congressional custom” and send a notification letter first, and b) by the way, we’re not part of the executive branch to begin with, seem prima facie weak, in both senses of the word.

Even more strangely, Coffin separates the VP’s functions between “executive” and “legislative.” What? Bush’s hand might occasionally brush against a piece of legislation. Sometimes, he will even sign such a thing. Does that make him part of the legislature? (See Balkinization’s Marty Lederman for a dissection of that argument.)

The simpler route, it seems, would have been to follow the crowd and reject the panel’s request for documents by citing executive privilege.

Plus, the administration has better standing here. It’s hard to imagine any court, save maybe the 9th Circuit, that wouldn’t be swayed by the administration’s “national security” claims on domestic wiretapping and every other program involved in counterterrorism. Yes, Bush admitted two years ago that the U.S. was conducting domestic electronic surveillance without seeking warrants. But since then, the administration has stonewalled on just about everything related to security, from the surveillance program to the treatment of detainees.

Still, the president has made some important concessions, which should count in his favor if the goading and baiting from Congress actually escalates into something that matters. In January, Bush announced that the National Security Agency surveillance program would be brought under the purview of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, meaning warrants would again be required for all domestic wiretapping. (In May, however, officials said Bush had a constitutional right to bypass the FISA court.) And earlier in the administration, the White House reshaped the program to make it palatable to DOJ, which considered the original program unconstitutional.

We only know that, of course, because of testimony former DOJ officials have given to Congress in the attorney firings scandal. This fight is in some ways about the past — how the administration gathered intelligence stateside before Congress and the media began to wonder what it was up to. A few newspaper headlines might give the impression that Leahy’s about to cite Cheney for contempt, but that is highly unlikely. White House “officials” are one thing, but a sitting president or vice president is a whole other ball of wax. Arlen Specter, ranking Republican on the committee, has indicated he will resist taking the White House to court.

If history’s a reliable guide, all the administration’s secrets will come out eventually — just not while Bush is still in office. It’s hard to believe that even the most ardent critics don’t know on some level that their battle is a losing one. Jameel Jaffer, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project, says he doesn’t expect the administration to grant his organization’s request to view recent FISA court rulings.* However, the court has taken the unprecedented step of ordering the administration to respond to the ACLU’s brief by Aug. 31.

Related News:

Congressman Inquires About Domestic Spying
http://rawstory.com/news/2007/Congressman_seeks_details_about_spy_satellite_0822.html

US Intelligence Eavesdrops On Thousands Of Calls
http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=070822225555.27u4vq6s&show_article=1

Leahy: Barking Up the Decidership Tree
http://adereview.com/blog/?p=7

Cheney’s Office Says It Has Wiretap Documents
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/conte…moreheadlines

Leahy: Cheney Told GOP-Led Congress It Was ‘Not Allowed To Issue Subpoenas’
http://thinkprogress.org/2007/08/20/cheney-leahy-subpoena/

Leahy Threatens Bush Aides With Contempt
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/huff-wires/20070820/democrats-subpoenas/

Terror law puts Britons at risk of surveillance by US agents
http://observer.guardian.co.uk/world/story/0,,2151942,00.html

Concern Over Wider Spying Under New Law
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/19/washington/19fisa.h….4b&ei=5087%0A

Bush Approved Use of Spy Satellites on Citizens
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/cont….1502430_pf.html

Secret spy court orders Bush to respond to request for information on secret ruling
Neo-Cons: Make Bush Dictator Of The World
Think Tank Calls For Bush to Be Dictator For Life
Fed Uses Fall of Rome to Make Point About State of America
U.S. To Expand Domestic Use of Spy Satelittes
Recent law may allow new level of spying

Conyers: FBI director notes prove Bush officials tried ‘to goad a sick, medicated Ashcroft’ to approve warrantless wiretapping
U.S. Seeks To Dismiss E-Mail Spying Case
U.S. Defends Surveillance to 3 Skeptical Judges
U.S. Turns U2 Spy Plans on America
Leahy Sets Deadline for White House on Wiretapping Docs
Bush Gets 6 Months Big Brother Dictator Powers
Bush Granted Orwellian Spying Powers
Bush Confirms He Will Seek More Dictatorial Power
Senate Website Witholding Spy Law Roll Call
Six Months Till Permanent Spying Architecture
Bush Signs Law to Widen Legal Reach for Wiretapping
House Approves Wiretap Measure
Exclusive: Bush Again Expands Dictatorial Power
Senate passes Bush-backed spy bill
The Myth of ‘Executive Privilege’
Bush Abolishes Fourth Amendment
Court secretly struck down Bush spying: report
Cheney Says He Is A ‘Unique Creature,’ Refuses To Say He Is Part Of Executive Branch
A Push to Rewrite Wiretap Law
Democrats Scrambling to Expand Eavesdropping
Ex-VP Mondale Accuses Cheney of Power Grab
Bush Takes Over Federal Science
Will Bush cancel the 2008 election?
MSNBC: House OKs wider wiretap powers
Bush Likely to Prevent Aides’ Testimony
Bush’s Martial Law Plan Is So Shocking, Even Congress Can’t See It
Total Hypocrisy Of New Bush Executive Order
Keith Olbermann on the Executive Order
Congressman Denied Access To Federal Post-Terror Attack Plans
Bush To Congress We Can’t Be Charged
Bush Abolishes Fifth Amendment
Gonzales Helped Cover-Up Bush DUI
Exclusive: For Alberto Gonzales, a Decade of Scandals, with a Child Molestation Cover-Up to Boot
White House says spying broader than known: report
Bush Administration’s intelligence chief acknowledges ‘series’ of other ‘secret surveillance activities’
NSA Spying Part of Broader Effort
Bush Calls For Easier Wiretapping Rules
Leahy Issues Subpoena For Rove
Gonzales Contradicts Prior Statements, Confirms Existence Of Other Spying Programs
FBI Wants Its Own Stasi
Gonzales: I’m Sticking Around To Fix Problems
Rove blamed for Attorney firings in Gonzales hearing; Specter raises prospect of impeachment
Lawsuit Against Wiretaps Rejected
Non Executive Entity Cheney To Assert Executive Privilege
Government agency says Bush overreaches on executive privilege
Bush Won’t Supply Subpoenaed Documents
White House Stonewalling May Force Congress to Charge President with Criminal Offenses
Washington Democrat Adds Voice to Cheney Impeachment Drive
Dems Call White House Out on Subpoenas
Bush White House Refuses to Answer to Subpoenas
CAUGHT ON TAPE: Cheney Claims VP is ‘An Important Part’ Of Executive Branch
White House/Cheney Subpoenaed
Subpoenas will be issued if the White House does not comply
CNN: Cheney No Longer Part of the Executive Branch?
Cheney Backs Off Claim That He’s “Fourth Branch of Government”
Dodd Tells Crowd in Rochester Impeaching Cheney Won’t Help
Cheney and Bush Claim Dictator Powers
Cheney role as power broker in spotlight again
NBC: Has Dick Cheney Gone Too Far?
President Bush Claims He’s Exempt from Security Oversight too
Cheney Declares VP Not Part of Executive Branch
Cheney Exempted His Office From Executive Order Protecting Classified Information
ABC News: Cheney Power Grab: Says White House Rules Don’t Apply to Him
Cheney Blasted For Declaring Himself Autonomous
Cheney Defiant on Classified Material
Hitler 1938, Cheney 2007?
George Bush’s Power Grab: Authorizes Martial Law Provisions
Jerome Corsi on C-SPAN: Bush Dictator Powers
Bush Re-Authorizes Martial Law Provisions
Bush To Be Dictator In A Catastrophic Emergency
Bush Anoints Himself as the Insurer of Constitutional Government in Emergency
New presidential directive gives Bush dictatorial power
Ron Paul: U.S. Close to Dictatorship