Judge Slams Administration For Ignoring Orders In Warrantless Wiretapping Case

from the new-administration,-same-story dept

We've covered the Al-Haramain case for a while, as it's the one case where there's actual evidence of a party being the subject of warrantless wiretaps by the administration. So far, the judge has continued to allow the case to go forward despite objections from both the previous administration and the current one. On Friday, the judge in the case got angry enough to scold the administration for failing to obey court orders related to the case and continuing to make arguments that had already been rejected. As such, the judge appears to be considering a sanction prohibiting the government from opposing liability for such warrantless wiretaps. This whole situation continues to baffle me. There's absolutely no reason why the federal government should need a warrantless wiretap, unless it knows that it has no probable cause and simply wants to spy on people for the sake of spying. If it had a real reason to wiretap, it could get a warrant. If it was urgent, wiretap laws have given the government a window to ask for a warrant immediately after setting up the wiretap. There's no reasonable explanation for denying the basic checks and balances to avoid abuse, and it's disappointing that both administrations have continued to try to avoid any discussion over the matter, and are improperly framing it as a matter of national security for which they don't need to answer.


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  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2009 @ 5:04am

    It's Bush and the republicans fault! Once we elect Obama, change we can believe in, and democrats control both houses, everything will be different...

    oh... wait.. that already happened???

    WTF!

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2009 @ 5:06am

    One of the reasons for warrantless wiretaps is to avoid having the order in public records is a way that the information might flow back to the party being monitored. Every court action is documented and noted, filed, and documented along the way. Even with the strictest of guidelines, this information can get out.

    The question may also be that there is a warrant, but it is issued by that "secret court" that is sometimes mentioned but rarely discussed. The potential is the administration(s) are more than willing to take it on the chin rather than reveal the work of that court, at least for now.

     

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  3.  
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    Freedom, May 27th, 2009 @ 5:09am

    Sad day ....

    What is particularly interesting in this case is that the government did overhear major evidence of terrorist activities during the warrant less wiretape.

    It kills me to think that people that want to do the US harm are using our legal system against us. With that said, our laws in this regard are meant to prevent abuse of power. Which don't kid yourself, will and does exist and today it just affects the terrorists, tomorrow it will affect you and me.

    Ironically, both Bush and Obama support this warrant less/illegal wiretap - one being a far right fear monger and the other being a fascist. Interesting how both administrations have done major power grabs - one thru fear, the other with a smile of the perfect salesman. In the end, more control/power in the government hands - yeah Republicans; yeah Democrats!!

    One thing to think about for those that think this is okay - history teaches us if nothing else that every right we give up to the government, can only be gotten back through bloodshed. What is so easily given is soooo much harder to win back.

    Freedom

     

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  4.  
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    Ima Fish, May 27th, 2009 @ 5:12am

    "This whole situation continues to baffle me."

    Mike, you answered your own question:
    it's the one case where there's actual evidence of a party being the subject of warrantless wiretaps

    The government does not want a paper trial of who is being spied upon. They want to conduct their spying operations completely in secret, without any oversight, judicial or otherwise. And that should scare the fuck out of us!

     

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  5.  
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    Freedom, May 27th, 2009 @ 5:13am

    Re: Secret Court???

    >> The question may also be that there is a warrant, but it is issued by that "secret court" that is sometimes mentioned but rarely discussed.

    Awesome - secret courts, trust us - we are the government and would never do any wrong, national security issues - nothing to see here.

    I feel so much better now!

    Freedom

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2009 @ 5:34am

    Re:

    That court has been around for a while now and is fairly well known. Its not a secret court, its a court that handles Secret (as in the clearence level) cases. Its notoriously been criticized as being a rubber stamp for the government, but you have to ask yourself why BOTH administrations don't want to even have to ask them.

    I mean, they already can do it and then within 72 hours AFTER the fact get a warrant from it (or the evidence isn't admissible) so really this is just them not wating to have to do the remaining paperwork. Either laziness or maliciousness, either way it needs to stop.

     

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  7.  
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    JJ, May 27th, 2009 @ 5:35am

    Blue Party/Red Party

    I thought people were cottoning on to the fact that there is no difference between republicans and democrats...they are two corrupt factions of the same party.

    Want change you can believe in...Vote for the Pirate party.

     

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  8.  
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    Kevin, May 27th, 2009 @ 5:57am

    "Secret Court"

    Guys, it's call the FISA court, and there's nothing secret about it's existance. The secret is what it approves and denies, and that classified evidence can be shown to the court to get a wiretap without worry that it becomes public record. If the US governments wants to wiretap someone on the basis of national security, they can go through the FISA court to get a warrant without creating a public paper trail. They can also, in emergency situations, set up the wiretap first and THEN go to the FISA court for the warrant. There is absolutely no legal, constitutional, or otherwise legitimized reason for the government to want or need warrantless wiretapping. The only "benefit" that warrantless wiretapping provides is that the government doesn't prove a legitimate or legal need for the wiretap.

     

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  9.  
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    Rob R., May 27th, 2009 @ 6:16am

    Re:

    It does.

     

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  10.  
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    Jack Sombra, May 27th, 2009 @ 6:24am

    "With that said, our laws in this regard are meant to prevent abuse of power. Which don't kid yourself, will and does exist and today it just affects the terrorists, tomorrow it will affect you and me."
    It does not just affect terrorists, it affects anyone that any official decides to class as a terrorist, regardless of any evidence to back up such a classification

    If the USA ever gets a Gov. that decides to openly reveal the activities of the last 10 years I think a lot of people are going to be very surprised how many people with no connection to terrorism were classified as terrorists for simple connivance sake

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2009 @ 6:48am

    warrentless = blanket

    if you have a bunch of supercomputers scanning all the lines you cant exactly get specific warrants

    substitute "blanket" for the word "warrantless" and it is clearer why both administrations insist on warrantless

     

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  12.  
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    ridder, May 27th, 2009 @ 8:17am

    Re: Sad day ....

    Freedom: "What is particularly interesting in this case is that the government did overhear major evidence of terrorist activities during the warrant less wiretape."

    What "major evidence"? Specifics?

     

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  13.  
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    photon11111, May 27th, 2009 @ 8:44am

    Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
    Benjamin Franklin

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous12, May 27th, 2009 @ 9:20am

    One of the reasons for warrantless wiretaps is to avoid having the order in public records is a way that the information might flow back to the party being monitored. Every court action is documented and noted, filed, and documented along the way.

    WRONG. FISA court is secret. Try again. I should just repeat that 1,000 X because there is no legitimate come back here. The re-written FISA provisions passed by Congress, and granting telco immunity, is probably un-constitutional too, BTW. Also while the President's actions of wiretapping terrorist suspects may have been necessary, the warrantless part was not. That was ill-advised, and probably beyond the scope of the President's authority. I don't think he should be prosecuted for it, like some, but, it does set bad precendent. The entire system needs to be re-examined, but that's not likely to happen any time soon. Interesting tid-bit, the government lied, and it is plainly documented, in the original state's secrets case decades ago. The US Supreme Court ruled the state's secrets privilage legal, based on faulty original ruling. In fact, the precendent in law is based on fully proveable false evidence in the original (decade's past) case. The entire system needs to be reworked, through LAW not some mythical non-existant "state's secrets privilage" found NO WHERE in the Constitution.

     

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  15.  
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    Jason, May 27th, 2009 @ 9:29am

    Re: Sad day ....

    Umm, btw facsist=far right fear-monger. I think you may have meant to use a different word.

     

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  16.  
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    Tgeigs (profile), May 27th, 2009 @ 9:48am

    Re:

    You would think so, except that no one really paid all that much attention when massive amounts of Hoover's COINTELPRO operation was released...

     

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  17.  
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    KJ, May 27th, 2009 @ 9:49am

    fascist

    Jason, you really need to go grab a basic history text book and look up what fascist really means, because you don't have a clue.

     

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  18.  
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    Tgeigs (profile), May 27th, 2009 @ 9:53am

    Re: Re: Sad day ....

    "Umm, btw facsist=far right fear-monger. I think you may have meant to use a different word"

    That is commonly true, but one of the less used aspects of fascism is government and business under the same control. In fascist Germany, it was government taking over business. In America, it's business taking over government.

    "The first stage of fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism, because it is the merger of state and corporate power" - Benito Musolini

     

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  19.  
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    Freedom, May 27th, 2009 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re: Sad day ....

    >> What "major evidence"? Specifics?

    From http://zombietime.com/al-haramain_surveillance/

    //A Saudi charity known to finance terrorist activities opened a branch in Oregon. The U.S. government tapped the phones of the Oregon branch and heard evidence that they were helping to finance terrorist activities as well...//

    Freedom

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous12, May 27th, 2009 @ 10:31am

    @Freedom: That the target in question was most likely legitimate does not change the fact that the means and methods were not. The question isn't should the terrorists get away with things, but rather,are we doing things correctly with checks and balances? The answer is no.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymoose, May 27th, 2009 @ 11:15am

    It's not about spying on anyone -- it's about spying on everyone

    ...a warrant requires a target. But that's not what they're doing. They've turned Echelon inward, and are hoovering up literally all communications of everyone; and looking for patterns within that.

    They know they can target an individual very easily. This is about general surveillance, signal in the noise, and pattern tech.

    This is an easy one.

     

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  22.  
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    Tgeigs (profile), May 27th, 2009 @ 11:26am

    Re: It's not about spying on anyone -- it's about spying on everyone

    Couldn't agree more.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    SRJCollege@gmail.com, May 27th, 2009 @ 2:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Sad day ....

    zombietime.com is your source? Seriously...?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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