Obama Adminstration Sides With Bush Administration In Opposing Warrantless Wiretap Lawsuit

from the too-bad dept

Earlier this month, we noted that a court was allowing an important lawsuit over warrantless wiretapping by the last administration to move forward in the courts. The case was an odd one, involving the accidental leak of a classified document that effectively admits that the law was broken. However, since the document is classified, the court system and everyone involved in the case has to perform one of the stupidest legal dances ever in order to pretend that no one has seen a document that they've all seen. The whole thing is a bit farcical. Not surprisingly, the Bush administration vehemently opposed letting this case move forward -- but many weren't sure how the Obama administration would deal with it. Well, now we know. They've put forth a filing in the case effectively agreeing with the Bush administration that the case should not move forward. There may be political reasons for doing so, but it's unfortunate that it looks like the new administration is playing the same game as the last administration when it comes to burying the details on the almost certainly illegal warrantless wiretapping program.


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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 5:30am

    so much for change...

     

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    Charles, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 5:50am

    People are setting themselves up for disappointment if they are expecting anything other than more of the same.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 6:44am

      Re:

      Pretty much. While I do think Obama will make SOME change, politicians don't give up power. Obama is smart and he won't either. People seem to want to vote for a "White Knight", full of zeal and ideals about justice, rather than a smart leader. Too bad fairy tales don't come true.

       

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      angelwolf71885, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 8:36am

      Re:

      well thair was hope...but you know what thay say

      hope in one had shit in the other and see witch one fills up first..

      guss we know witch one fills up first...
      as soon as i git approved for soc sec ( enlarged heart and pace maker )

      im saveing up and im abndoning this country..
      im tired of the bull shit that comes out of it..

      south east asian arcapellago here i come..

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 1:38pm

        Re: Re:

        I'm on social security. Trust me, you won't be able to save enough to get anywhere. The system is not set up to even let you live comfortably, unless you move into a nursing home and sign over your monthly income.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 5:55am

    There's a reason things are classified typically. I'm fairly liberal but I agreed with the Bush Administration on this before and I agree with the current Administration too.

    We have a virtual democracy where we trust our elected officials to decide things for us. Sad but true.

     

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      Monarch, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 6:00am

      Re:

      Please get the fallacy of democracy out of your head. The United States has never been and is NOT a democracy. It is a Representative Republic. Representative Republics are not even close to a true Democracy.

       

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        Xerloq, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 7:36am

        Re: Re:

        You need clarification. A republic is simply any government without a hereditary monarchy. A democracy is a government in which all vote on every issue. While certainly not the latter, all of the US leaders are chosen through the democratic process, but the Founding Fathers understood that true democracy usually ends up in mob rule, so they added layers of separation (like representation, electoral college, etc.) to prevent "majority" rule. They also tweaked the definition of majority (2/3rds or 3/4ths in some cases) to prevent mob rule.

        The US is a representative democracy that is also a republic.

         

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      Mike (profile), Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 6:11am

      Re:

      There's a reason things are classified typically. I'm fairly liberal but I agreed with the Bush Administration on this before and I agree with the current Administration too.

      We have a virtual democracy where we trust our elected officials to decide things for us. Sad but true.


      In business, "insider information" (i.e., classified information) is no longer considered classified once it's been leaked and people know about it. I don't see why that shouldn't apply here as well.

      Yes, there is a reason things are classified -- but once that info is leaked, and in this case shows illegal activity by the gov't, then it's no longer classified, and should be perfectly usable in a court case to show the illegal behavior occurred.

       

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        chris (profile), Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 8:09am

        Re: Re:

        In business, "insider information" (i.e., classified information) is no longer considered classified once it's been leaked and people know about it. I don't see why that shouldn't apply here as well.

        the government is not a business, no matter how profitable it may be. this is a law enforcement and potentially an intelligence issue, where the rules of business do not apply.

        the american intelligence community (military, national, even law enforcement) has long maintained "secrets" that have become common knowledge.

        jimmy carter admitted that the US uses spy satellites like 30 years ago, yet the intelligence community continues to states that they can "neither confirm or deny the use of satellites". the term they prefer to use is "airborne reconnaissance" which implies planes, drones, and "perhaps" satellites.

         

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          Faceless Minion, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 9:45am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Do the words "give me liberty or give me death" mean nothing at all to you? If they truly are meaningless, then please see your spinless way out of the country that was founded on such principles, and go to a place more suited for your kind.

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 9:24am

      Re:

      by Anonymous Coward - Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 5:55am
      There's a reason things are classified typically.


      Yes... look at history and all those "classified" documents that eventually become unclassified and they show all that they did was classify it to cover up the embarrassment of higher ups.

      Don't fall into the fallacy and false trust that what they say is true. When it comes to politicians and sales people you should always assume they are lying until it can be proved otherwise.

       

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    Monarch, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 5:55am

    I knew it wouldn't take long for evidence to surface that show's Obama is not the Messiah that so many want to believe he is.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm hoping he is better than Dubya was.., would be hard to be worse. But come on, he voted to give the telcos immunity. More and more this will come to light, and his so called open administration will fold up around him.

     

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      AZITDad, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 9:14am

      INteresting

      I find it fascinating that no one remembers Pres. Carter and what a tailpipe sucking loser he was as our President. You all think Bush was bad, you should have been around in the 1970's. Inflation rose to 12% (today it is 3%), Gas Rationing, Iran Hostage Crisis, just to name a few.

      You people keep singing songs about Obama and he hasn't done ANYTHING! There is no way he can measure up to your expectations! Get over yourselves.

       

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      Matt, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 10:30pm

      Re:

      Take your misinformed trolling elsewhere. It's not wanted here (by people without BDS, that is).

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 5:58am

    So is it time for a revolutionary war yet? when the goverment makes classified all the information that tells how they are breaking the law just so no one can find it. who oversees what is done behind closed doors if only the people in that room ever see the paper work? I'm not saying go to war but the people need to put the government on notice that we are sick and tierd of all the coruption and we are willing to do what our forfoathers did. FIGHT.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 6:00am

    If you want change, Then stop waiting for it to be given to you and get a move on - Losers!

     

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    S. Park, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 6:41am

    It's all about to change...

    CHANGE! CHANGE BABY! CHANGE! IT'S ALL GOING TO CHANGE! YAH!

    As King Solomon said many thousands of years ago...

    There is nothing new under the sun...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 6:54am

    I was wondering how long it would take before the truth cam out.

    i have to admit i expected it to take longer than that.

     

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    Murdock (profile), Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 7:20am

    So not everything changes...

    Oh no, Obama side with Bush on one thing so far. All his "change" speak is out the window! Lets not forget that he just directed our torture bases closed, is setting a plan for withdrawal from Iraq is re-enforcing troops in Afghanistan and is opening relations with the middle east... but oh no, nothing has changed in the 4 days he's been in office.

     

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      Esahc (profile), Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 7:35am

      Re: So not everything changes...

      While I disagree with this decision, he has done more for transparency in government in the day or two than the Bush administration has done in 8 years.

      http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/01/on-day-one-obama-demands-open-government

       

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        Xerloq, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 7:47am

        Re: Re: So not everything changes...

        Disclosure does not equal transparency. The memo issued is merely a rewording of the same purpose of the 9/11 memo from Ashcroft. Two things could happen here: 1) There's so much information released that Joe Public won't know what to do with it and the 'secrets' are still kept; 2) All the boring, non-consequential stuff is released, but suddenly more information becomes 'classified.'

        No change so far, and it's not an order, but a memo.

         

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      Xerloq, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 7:42am

      Re: So not everything changes...

      Guantamo's closing is mostly symbolic as most of the operations are simply moving to other locations. There are issues as to what to do with the detainees - some of their countries don't want them back, or would kill them if we sent them back. There are loopholes - the CIA is prohibited from running prisons, but not the military, and nothing stops either from having an 'administrative presence' at prisons run by other countries friendly to the US with more lax definitions of torture. It's not all butterflies and rainbows.

      The one thing Obama has proven himself good at is PR, but as a PR guy I can say you can't trust most of what we say.

       

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    d0n0vAn, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 7:28am

    ...I think a General Government [is] necessary for us, and there is no Form of Government but what may be a Blessing to the People if well administered; and I believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism as other forms have done before it, when the People shall become so corrupted as to need Despotic Government, being incapable of any other.

    --Benjamin Franklin

     

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    JB, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 7:36am

    I don't see what's wrong

    Who cares if they are 'illegally' wiretapping conversations? Don't get involved in things that would make you of interest to the government and you won't have to worry about anything. The only problem I see is that they aren't able to cover every conversation to be able to pick out all those considering heinous acts. Tap my phone for all I care, I'm not breaking the law and I'm not threatening the government.

     

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      chris (profile), Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 8:02am

      Re: I don't see what's wrong

      The only problem I see is that they aren't able to cover every conversation to be able to pick out all those considering heinous acts.

      there are two phases to every intelligence operation: collection and analysis. it's easy to collect intelligence (bugs, taps, cameras, radar, etc.) but analyzing it is far more involved. it takes trained personnel hours to go through relatively small amounts of intel.

      if you want to monitor everything, it would take billions of man hours, which translates to tons of money.

      Tap my phone for all I care, I'm not breaking the law and I'm not threatening the government.

      how do you know that?

      so you agree with every single person in every administration that comes into power?

      at some point everyone disagrees with their government, or at the very least, disagrees with someone in their government. if the government is watching you, at some point you are going to do something they don't like and they will take action against it. that's the problem.

      if you are tapping phones to stop terrorism, then the government needs to prove that the people being tapped are under reasonable suspicion of being involved with terrorism.

      if what the government is doing is right, then they shouldn't have a problem explaining it to the people and there is no need for secrecy.

       

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      dave (profile), Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 8:03am

      Re: I don't see what's wrong

      Our great grandparents (if you are an American descendant) died to protect their rights. Your such a pussy to give them up so easily - wanna know why the world sucks so much today? It's because of jerks like you.

       

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      methylamine, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 8:21am

      Re: I don't see what's wrong

      JB, you're being sarcastic, right? Please? Because seriously, I don't think you're that stupid a piece of offal. Really. You couldn't be. Right?

       

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        JB, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 9:51am

        Re: Re: I don't see what's wrong

        Actually, I was being extremely sarcastic.

        I personally believe that there are reasons that the NSA would need to have immediate access to intelligence present in a phone conversation for someone of interest to them. Yet, I also believe that privacy is a constitutional right that should be sacred. The issue to me seems to lie in the border between protecting America and protecting its rights. When you break the law, are you not essentially forfeiting your right to privacy? Everyone deserves to be treated as innocent until there is some evidence to the contrary, yet how can authorities collect damning evidence if the accused and accomplices are made aware of the information gathering?

        Imagine what might happen if you had a pretty good lead that someone was making bombs at a location and you were forced to go through very public channels to get legal grounds for searching the location. Now, I highly doubt you could be granted instantaneous access and the accused or accomplices could be tipped off through the public channel that you were about to search the location. The accused then removes all evidence from the location thus rendering your investigation sterile.

        Whereas, if you were allowed to begin the search while simultaneously seeking legal grants, you would have a much higher probability of acquiring evidence and potentially saving lives.

        I'm not saying it's perfect, but there should be some way for checks and balances to be effective while maintaining the rights of Americans and not impacting investigative work.

         

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          Xiera, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 10:39am

          Re: Re: Re: I don't see what's wrong

          I really *don't* see what's wrong. To me, government should exist to provide for society only what individuals are unable to provide for themselves. One of these things is a national defense; another is national security. Protecting citizens by enhancing national defense and security is a top government responsibility and should preempt privacy.

          That said, the courts will need to be smart enough to recognise when this law is being abused and when it's being properly used. As long as the national security of the country is the focus of investigation, it is being used appropriately.

          And I just don't understand what the objection is. What are the chances that anyone here would actually be tapped? I don't know, maybe there are domestic terrorists here, but I'd say it's very unlikely that the people here are jeopardising national security. It is extremely unlikely that your right to privacy is going to be violated.

          @Faceless Minion: It's "give me liberty or give me death" (as you have it written), not "give me liberty and give me death". I would rather a few people lose their right to privacy than an entire nation be at risk of attack. At some point, the right to life has to supersede all other rights, and the government is the only body with the power to protect that right.

           

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            dave (profile), Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 12:22pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: I don't see what's wrong

            You deserve neither liberty or safety. You deserve someone telling you what to do all the time - you're a pathetic use of space.

             

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      Cipher-0, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 8:53am

      Re: I don't see what's wrong

      That would depend entirely on what the government considers at the time to be 'threatening the government'.

       

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        Xiera, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 10:41am

        Re: Re: I don't see what's wrong

        I would imagine there needs to be (if there isn't already) a precise definition for "threats to the government", or, more appropriately, "threats to the nation".

         

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    mslade, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 7:37am

    Psh change?

    No way. This guy is just Bush 2.0. If you expected change, you were begging for disappointment. Look at how he's already taken bold steps to shut down Guantanamo in a very short window. That is SO Bush, always trying to shut down Guantanamo.

    And the way Obama sided with the Bush administration on this exact issue before he even took office totally doesn't change the fact that I'm shocked and am going to treat it like actual news.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 7:49am

      Re: Psh change?

      Agreed! He even flubbed his Oath of Office when he didn't wait for the Chief Justice to finish the phrase before he butted in. But he might not be Bush 2.0 as Clinton 2.0.

       

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        Daniel, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 8:15am

        Re: Re: Psh change?

        No, the Chief Justice "flubbed" the Oath and since he had already been practicing it threw him off when it was said wrong. Get your facts straight.

         

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    Glitch, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 8:39am

    Please do your own research... PLEASE!

    Since most people won't do their own research these days...

    Obama did not want the free pass in there. He voted for the FISA bill so that ALL future taps would need to at least go through the FISA court and be on the record somewhere to be made public years later. Before this Bush was claming that taps like this were legal and he, as president, had the right to request them. As Obama said...

    [the 2008 FISA bill] restores FISA and existing criminal wiretap statutes as the exclusive means to conduct surveillance making it clear that the President cannot circumvent the law and disregard the civil liberties of the American people. It also firmly re-establishes basic judicial oversight over all domestic surveillance in the future. It does, however, grant retroactive immunity, and I will work in the Senate to remove this provision so that we can seek full accountability for past offenses.

    http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/06/20/obama-mccain-reluctantly-endorse-surveill ance-deal/

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 9:10am

    What we don't know can hurt someone

    Without an understanding of the content of the classified document(s) or the information gathered in the tap, we can't determine why they are suppressing, restraining, or postponing this court action. It might well be that if the case goes forward, lives will be put in danger.
    Outing an undercover agent could result in some very nasty events, for instance, and if they even divulge the nature of the classified documents, who knows how damaging it might be.
    It would be irresponsible to jump to the conclusion that they are defending illegal action by the government until all the facts are available.
    The fact that two opposed governments with differing attitudes about this have both thought it wise to suppress makes me think it is a lot less simple than the article implies.

     

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    Overcast, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 9:23am

    Out with one puppet, in with the next.

    It's still the bankers, high profile lawyers, and corporations that really push the agenda for the Government.

    No 'change' will come about when the hands pulling the strings remain unchanged.

    Neither of the parties are really very different; they are more or less just different wings or factions of the 'Big Government Controls You Party'.

     

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    Zack, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 10:20am

    Change?

    So much for change,huh?Too bad.........sad really........

     

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    Moderation, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 10:33am

    I don't agree that the NSA needed to go above and beyond the current legal means, but I also don't want private sector companies being sued for obeying the orders of the president. There must be a better way.

    I agree that what the phone companies did was wrong, but the reasons behind what they did were not their fault.

     

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    Paul, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 11:59am

    Get over yourselves

    Good lord, some people act as if letting the NSA listen in on phone traffic looking for terrorists who want to put a nuclear bomb in Manhattan as if it some sort of dictatorial consolidation of power. Get over yourselves people.

    It is one of the few effective ways to protect our families and our cities in an asymmetrical war. It used because it works. If you have examples of the information being used for anything else other than actually protecting American citizens, let me know. Otherwise just shut up and let the commander in chief do his job.

    ps: I'd like to have been a fly on the wall at Obama's first security briefing. It might explain some of the positions he is taking.

     

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    TDR, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 12:10pm

    There should be no secrets in the government. At all. Everything it does should be completely open to public scrutiny and analysis. Along those lines, the CIA should be shut down, for it has long outlived its usefulness and its abuses are far too many to count. We should also have the prime directive, a law of non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations. Part of our troubles come from all the messing around our government's been doing in other countries because it thinks it has the right to be the world's police force. It's only natural people in other countries would resent that.

    Government needs to be stripped down to the bare minimum needed to function, with the direct vote of the people able to veto any action, judgement, or legislation put in place by the government. And no spending should be able to be done by the government without a majority count in the direct vote of the people, as it would ultimately come from our pockets. The greater the power of a political office, the shorter the term should be, to minimize the potential damage that can be done. And consecutive terms should not be allowed. No income or educational requirements for office, but strict adherence to the original constitutional guidelines, that anyone of any economic level from any party or no party can have a realistic chance at being elected.

     

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    Beta, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 2:56pm

    @Xiera: "...I just don't understand what the objection is. What are the chances that anyone here would actually be tapped?... It is extremely unlikely that your right to privacy is going to be violated."

    I for one defend the rights of others, for reasons I might not be able to explain to your satisfaction. And what in the wide world makes you think that the authorities spy only on guilty people?

    "I would rather a few people lose their right to privacy than an entire nation be at risk of attack."

    1) If this precedent stands, ALL Americans lose their right to privacy. Get it?
    2) Get used to the idea that you will not always be able to sacrifice OTHER PEOPLE'S rights to protect yourself, or to give up only the rights that you aren't using. (Incidentally, are you one of those people who always wants to raise other people's taxes?)
    3) Your entire nation will be at risk of attack whether the government is allowed to violate the rights of the citizens or not. ALL nations are ALWAYS at risk of attack, you just have to be realistic about how big that risk is and what you're willing and able to do about it. (Hint: if "you're not likely to be spied on" is a sound argument, then so is "you're not likely to be bombed", even though that's scarier.) If you will not tolerate any risk at all then you will roll over for anyone who reminds you that the world is not perfectly safe.
    4) Not everything that's billed as Making You Safer actually makes you safer. If you are not prepared to examine these "for your own good" initiatives with a critical eye, then I have a tiger-attack-preventing rock to sell you.

     

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    Paul, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 4:27pm

    Get out of your bubble

    It seems most people who have commented here have chosen to ignore the fact that we are currently at war with people who want to kill you and your family. And you are hung up on the minutia of minor details of the very fringes of possible government intrusions (which by the way there haven't been any).

    If the Taliban or Al Queda or their ilk read these comments, they'd likely laugh their arses off.

     

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    Dan, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 7:34pm

    Wake up

    There's a reason wiretapping had judicial oversight, because it was abused by our government. They were monitoring dozens of American citizens who were not a threat to our country. Including Martin Luther King. All FISA did was make sure that didn't happen again.

    As far as the war on terror goes, it's a farce. Terrorists are like roaches, you can kill one, but there's a hundred more in hiding. For a president to claim war time powers now means that they will be claiming war time powers 30 years from now. It's like declaring war on murder, you'll catch a few, but you'll never catch them all.

     

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    shaman, Jan 24th, 2009 @ 3:24am

    The war on terrorism is beginning to sound a lot like the war on drugs that our government declared 30 years ago. Drug dealers, like terrorists, are cockroaches - easy to kill one but 100 more waiting ( tips hat to Dan ). Although the war on drugs has been proven to be an utter failure, our government continues to pour money into it, and where there is a great deal of money flowing, SOMEONE is making a tidy profit.
    Similarly, our government is pouring money into this war on terror with the same result: SOMEONE is making a tidy profit, regardless of who wins or loses.
    The blatant abuses of big business ( whose goal is to fatten the bottom line ) and their proven influence on government policy, should have us asking: Where is the money going? Who is making the profit from this? Do you think the telco companies did this for free? Was this used as a domestic spying program for a corporation(s) to gather info on competitors, at the expense of average American's privacy?
    If the average American had the lobbying power (money) that BIG business has, he would also enjoy the same privacy (non-transparency) that the corporations do.
    Remember that our government is only one of the players at the poker table, when it comes to running this country.

     

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    TDR, Jan 24th, 2009 @ 7:59am

    Of course, one must keep in mind that many of the alleged "terrorists" are on the CIA payroll. It's a trick that goes back as far as the Roman Empire - create the enemies you need, then use them as a focal point to divert public attention away from what you're really doing.

     

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    Prisoner to Taxes, Jan 24th, 2009 @ 10:09am

    None Of Us Really Knows....

    I can only imagine the "Oh my God!" thoughts running through any new President's head when the curtain is pulled back and he sees all the information that only the President is allowed to know.

    I'm sure that Obama, like every President before him, was shocked when secrets were revealed. Secrets that none of us peons will ever know. If he sides with Bush on the open wiretapping issue, there is probably a pretty good reason.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2009 @ 12:04pm

    This could be wrong, but knowing that eventually everything collected by the Government becomes public record, um...

    In 50 years when it's de-classified under Freedom of Information Act, won't it be great to have a conversation with your grandchildren explaining to them what "Bump and Grind" meant when you talked about it on the phone in your teen years? Yeah, by that time, your phone calls will be available as a leaf on Ancestry.com!

    Ha ha ha! You dirty old man!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2009 @ 2:22pm

    Sensational headline, BUT...

    When I first read the Wired article I shared Mike Masnick's reaction that "it's unfortunate that it looks like the new administration is playing the same game as the last administration when it comes to burying the details on the almost certainly illegal warrantless wiretapping program."

    This morning I had the pleasure of reading a much more in-depth and subtle counter-analysis of where the lawsuit stands and what the Obama position means legally:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/1/24/4422/57021/124/688403

    In short:

    "The January 23rd memorandum to the court does not 'side with Bush,' except in the very narrow sense that the Obama Administration seems to agree that the appeal of the January 5th decision should happen before the case goes to trial.... regardless of whether and how the Obama Administration defend this one case, there are sound arguments for letting the appellate courts decide how to handle classified information in FISA-related cases."

    "But Obama wants to ensure courts get procedures right doesn't make for a properly cynical headline."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2009 @ 2:34pm

    And then there's this post, which makes this whole thing seem even more benign:

    http://legalpad.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/01/wired-misses-legal-niceties-of-administra tion-change.html

    "Government trial lawyer Alexander Haas filed two case management statements on Thursday, but accidentally filed the first one citing George W. Bush as the president. Haas seemed to realize his error, filing the same document again but writing... 'President Obama is substituted in his official capacity as a defendant in this case' under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, section 25(d)..... So Obama's name has to be in there, whether he likes it or not."

    "And second, as Al-Haramain attorney Jon Eisenberg pointed out at today's hearing, none of Obama's political appointees to the Department of Justice have assumed control yet, not even would-be Attorney General Eric Holder Jr."

    The implication here is that Obama's administration hasn't taken over the case yet. In the meantime, the paperwork and previous legal motions continue.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2009 @ 7:37pm

    Observations

    Spying on reporters who have committed no wrongdoing is unconsitutional as evidenced by Nixon.

    Spying on Americans who have committed no wrongdoing is also unconsitutional.

    Who is going to fix this? If Barack says it's legal, I have a lot of problems with this, because the events as I recall were:

    1) Obama is against FISA.
    2) Madame Rothschild, a good friend of Hillary Clinton drops as Chair of DNC on thoughts that Barack would be too "Liberal", endorses McCain
    3) Thousand-point drops in DOW.
    4) Obama Meets with Nick Rockefeller, and changes view on FISA
    5) As Senator from Illinois, Barack votes Pro-FISA as McCain abstains from vote
    6) People become mad at Barack's inability to stand for principal
    7) Barack sees drop in electability, McCain edges up
    8) Some jackass sends emails offering ideas
    9) Barack issues next-day press eats up soundbyte of you have to Get MAD and in their face
    10) Barack regroups, pushes other ideas including economy
    11) Barack speaks with Buffett
    11) Barack meets in DC to understand Economic Crisis
    12) Barack wins Electoral Vote
    13) Article mentioning a need to embrace American idealism.
    14) Barack Inaugurated
    15) Russel Trice goes on Kieth Olbermann's "Countdown" to discuss, in a two-part series the depth of the Wiretap issue. Part One and Part Two
    16) Sen. Nick Rockefeller, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee admits he wouldn't be surprised if others wiretapped him.


    17) When it comes to the bailout....
    People want to have a memorandum from the President that offers their jobs back, their credit accounts up to date, and allow them to contribute positively to society while not having to worry about external political things.

     

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    steve dosh, Jan 24th, 2009 @ 8:52pm

    . .this . .

    It's been a week already ? l o l . Things will change and have already ( No mo' G I T M O and freedom of choice for Women , worldwide ) . The irony for me is that Mike Powell was Bush's F C C guy ( son of Colin Powell ) and they A L L jumped ship on him ( rearranging deck chairs on the Bush Titanic ) A G Conçalvez was wrong and this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hepting_v._AT%26T will be re visited and dealt with =)

     

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    Nw, Jan 24th, 2009 @ 11:49pm

    oh well

    Meet the new boss--
    Same as the old boss!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2009 @ 12:02am

    Can you read my mind?

    The good old days, the honest man;
    The restless heart, the Promised Land,
    A subtle kiss that no one sees;
    A broken wrist and a big trapeze.

    I got a little fight.
    I'm gonna turn this thing around.

    Oh well, I don't mind, if you don't mind.
    'Cause I don't shine if you don't shine
    Before you go, can you read my mind?

     

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    Pete Tinker, Jan 25th, 2009 @ 1:12am

    NEW SECRET WEAPON FOR OUR TROOPS! IT'S PIXIE DUST -- AND IT DEFIES GRAVITY!

    Flying soldiers would have an incredible tactical advantage

    LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. -- For years, the United States military has been exploring various ways of improving its arsenal. Only recently, however, did Weekly World News learn exclusively of the existence of a top-secret branch called the Magic Militia.

    "We seek out materials and weapons with supernatural properties that can give us an edge," said Sgt. Frank Wand.

    In July, the Magic Militia managed to collect a potentially invaluable tool that would dramatically increase the military's offensive power. Weekly World News learned of it because, coincidentally, this newspaper happened to be tracking the discovery as well.

    "We've obtained a small amount of pixie dust," confided Sergeant Wand. "I can't tell you the precise location from which it was recovered. Suffice to say we flew our choppers toward the second star on the right and then straight on till morning. We took some casualties from pirates, but the pixie herself was dispatched with a carefully hidden bomb."

    The pixie dust was brought to Langley under heavy guard where top scientists began to examine its unique properties. Dr. Al Chemy first tested the dust on lab mice. After he sprinkled a small amount on the rodents they began to bounce all over their cages -- the sides and the top.

    "They also sneezed a lot," he said. "The mice were able to defy gravity," Dr. Chemy went on. "If we can duplicate this powder we could overcome all kinds of limitations on the battlefield. Tanks could sail over obstacles too difficult to drive across. Jeeps wouldn't have to worry about getting sand in the engine when crossing desert terrain. Swampland and jungles would no longer be an impasse."

    But the dust is considered to be most valuable to the infantry.

    "Imagine thousands of troops soaring through the skies just by 'wishing it,' " said Sergeant Wand. "Flying soldiers would have an incredible tactical advantage before and during combat operations."

    Unfortunately, scientists have not yet succeeded in replicating the small amount of pixie dust they've obtained.

    "We made a prototype powder which permits flight but not control," said Dr. Chemy. "It seems there's a component to pixie dust which allows the flyer to will himself to move in one direction or another. In fact, just getting the volunteers down has proved to be quite a problem. We've had to use butterfly nets and bolos, which are very undignified."

    While the pixie dust is being prepped, the Magic Militia is also searching for a crystal ball.

    "It would save a lot of American lives if we could spot the enemy in their lair and take them out," said Ward. "While we've been over the rainbow and back, we've had no luck so far."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 25th, 2009 @ 1:30am

    #59 exists only for Biden.

    Catholics have dark humor dealed to them like two spades.

     

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    Idiot monger, Jan 25th, 2009 @ 3:06am

    Idiots, surounded by idiots

    They don't come here. Why would they read this blog?

     

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    Javi Sanchez, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 11:37am

    Obama/Bush Administration

    I am a Spaniard who has just lived here for 18 months in two separated terms (High School Year 98/99 and currently -August/May 08/09-). Don't know much about politics and law work here (i'm not even sure now how they do it in my own country), just know a couple of things:
    First of all is that there is no perfect government, something that ya can apply also to the field of relations or love. You just have to try to look for the one that matchs better with what ya are looking for, expect or desire.
    Second, i believe we need a whole change in the politic system, begining specially with the 2 strong partys model. We need new ideas, a new way of working for the people of our countries, to promote, strengthen our education and scale of values, and of course new politics who really work to change the world and for the real issues that worry people worldwide (a fair and better distribution of the wealth, the hunger, the enviorement, cultural diversity, the wars, the employments, justice...) In my opinion people should have more power over their government big decissions, like a veto, and politicians shouldn't stay for money years in admnistration unless proved as a good, honest and hard ass worker one, supported by most of the people. The reason if ya stay for too long on the system, as fouled and viced as it is right now, you'll be corrupted. I also consider we need younger politicians, who haven't experienced that and who are idealistic and believe is still possible to change the world.

    I have hope, as many others, in Barack, is not gonna be the Messiah and his fortune will depend on how good he'll do in solving the economic chaos, but he seems well intentioned and in his few days in the administration, making real what he promissed: Guantanamo, to bring back the troops as soon as possible, to change the energy model, to reduce contamination and bet on natural and renewables sources, more transparency in his administration (not whole, as we are discussing here), frezze the salary of the governments big positions (over 100.000 dollars)... For sure is gonna change the vission the rest of the world has lately from America and its leaders, and for sure is gonna be better president than Bush (which is not hard).

    Thanx for your time and Attention

    Javi Sanchez

    PS= And for those who don't trust Obama and the rest, an advice or recommendation: As my best friend Schulzy says "Vote for Ron Paul" (i would have done it too, but i'm not a citizen)

     

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    Javi Sanchez, Jan 26th, 2009 @ 11:46am

    Bush Obama Administration

    By the way, i forgot to say that Obama also promissed (let see if accomplish it) to fight against the big lobby's influence (multinationals -oil, weapons, pharmacy..-, religion -jew, abortion, cells- something that really has been fucking up this country and others for so damn long)

     

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