Court Says President Bush Violated Wiretapping Laws With Warrantless Wiretap

from the wow dept

In a huge ruling, a court has said that the US government violated wiretapping laws in eavesdropping on phone calls without a warrant.

If you haven't been following the fight over the legality of warrantless wiretapping, this case, involving lawyers working with the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, is extremely important. When it was revealed that the Bush administration was wiretapping phonecalls without a warrant, lawsuits were filed -- but the "problem" was that the parties (such as the ACLU) that filed the lawsuits didn't have "standing" because they had no evidence that they, personally, were impacted by the warrantless wiretapping. This created a ridiculous Catch-22 situation. As long as the government hid its illegal activities and never said who it spied on, it could spy on anyone illegally. No one could bring a lawsuit, since there was no proof that they had been impacted by the illegal spying.

Then the feds screwed up. They accidentally sent the evidence of wiretapping some lawyers for the Al-Haramain group to those lawyers. Suddenly there was evidence. But, of course, the government tried to cover it up. For a while it claimed that even though it had revealed that it had illegally spied on these lawyers, and everyone knew it, since those documents were classified, everyone had to pretend that it was still a secret and no one knew about it. This resulted in a series of positively ridiculous hoops that lawyers had to jump through to bring the case, without actually using the document.

Thankfully, even as the Obama administration continued to support the Bush's administration's position that this lawsuit should not move forward, the courts disagreed and allowed the case to move forward although the document in question wasn't allowed to be used.

However, the judge, who was clearly annoyed by the administration's stalling tactics, said that even without the document, there was enough evidence that the federal government violated wiretapping laws:
"Plaintiffs must, and have, put forward enough evidence to establish a prima facie case that they were subjected to warrantless electronic surveillance," U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled, in a landmark decision. Even without the classified document, the judge said he believed the lawyers "were subjected to unlawful electronic surveillance" (.pdf) in violation of the Foreign Terror Surveillance Act, which requires warrants in terror investigations.
Beyond that, the judge called the administration's method of dealing with the case as "argumentative acrobatics," and even suggested that those suing could ask for monetary damages.

This is a huge victory against illegal government surveillance. There is simply no excuse for the government to violate its own laws, especially when it comes to infringing on the privacy rights of American citizens. There is a well-established process for obtaining legal wiretap warrants. There is no excuse for going around that process, other than that the government knows it's doing something wrong. Thankfully, the judge recognized that in this case.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Joe Zavcer, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 12:48pm

    Common Sense

    At least some parts of our government work the way they were intended to by the founders.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 12:52pm

    Will this really change anything?

    Hurray for justice! I'm glad to see that their are still courts in this country that recognize the privacy, but what good can this ruling really do.

    What I mean is, if the government admits that it is doing something illegal and nothing is done to stop it then what good is a ruling that says, "yes, what the government did was illegal."

    Forgive give my lack of faith, but in my lifetime I haven't been given much to have faith in.

     

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  3.  
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    Joe Chaucer, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 12:53pm

    Re: Common Sense

    Yeah, George Washington was big on legit wiretapping.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Kin, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:04pm

    Watch it!

    No, it did not say the president did this. Be factual, not libelous! It is a great ruling, but let us be truthful not vengeful!

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    DH's love child, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:09pm

    Re: Watch it!

    No, they said the president authorized it. And the new president still doesn't think that the old president did anything wrong in that regard.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:10pm

    Re: Watch it!

    REVENGE!

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:14pm

    What a namby pamby.

    You either need to give our gov't the tools to fight terrorism or you need to capitulate to terrorists. You can't have it both ways.

     

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  8.  
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    Tim, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:17pm

    Illegal Surveillance

    I find it hard to believe people do not think what was done is wrong? At what point do we as American citizens stop handing over our freedom's out of fear?
    I will say I don't think it was the 'government' that did something wrong, but specific people; and that anyone with knowledge and the ability to stop it should be brought up on criminal charges. Same with the torture that went on. The people responsible should be held accountable.

     

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  9.  
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    yozoo, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:20pm

    the Bush Administration

    ahh the days of lies, corruption, incredible spending and blindly ideological leadership . . . good memories, but this hangover is a killer!

     

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  10.  
    icon
    :Lobo Santo (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:22pm

    Re: Namby Pamby

    I'd rather give everybody guns and training in how to use them. This whole nanny-state business is for the birds.

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    DJ, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:24pm

    Re: Re: Common Sense

    "Yeah, George Washington was big on legit wiretapping."

    Hey good job on failing to realize that the Founders intentionally wrote the Constitution with progress of technology in mind so that the document would still apply even to technology that wasn't even dreamt of in their time.
    Just thought you needed a little positive discouragement.

     

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  12.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:25pm

    Re: Watch it!

    No, it did not say the president did this. Be factual, not libelous! It is a great ruling, but let us be truthful not vengeful!

    The President is a defendant in the lawsuit and lost. While the current President has been substituted, the actions were done under the previous president.

     

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  13.  
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    robphelan (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:25pm

    Re:

    This is probably the most ridiculous statement i've seen in a long time - right there with Bush saying "either you're with us or against us".

    It is NOT black & white.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    Bush, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:26pm

    yozoo

    Do you miss me yet?

     

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  15.  
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    A Dan (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:27pm

    Re:

    We Have Met The Enemy and He Is Us

     

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  16.  
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    senshikaze (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:28pm

    Re: the Bush Administration

    not going to get better anytime soon. we just traded one sin for another.

     

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  17.  
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    CDL, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:29pm

    incredible spending

    @ yozoo - incredible spending? You obviously aren't paying attention to the current administration. Obama spent in the first year what it took Bush 4 years to do (according to the Treasury Department reports on the budget). If you thought the Bush administration spent a lot of money, you ain't seen nothing yet!

     

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  18.  
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    L.R. Jones, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:29pm

    Bush article & wiretapping

    I have been waiting for someone, anyone to go after Bush and his two henchmen. With all the U.S. laws and international laws broken by Bush, the man should have been in jail years ago. He invaded a sovereign country for the sole purpose of overthrowing it's recognized legal government. He should have been brought to trial for that. Then there's the matter of crimes against humanity, the thousands of Iraqis civilians that died in his "war". The murder of over 5,000 of our finest young troops in his "war". War has not been legally declared since Pearl Harbor. That takes the President and the Congress to declare war.
    lrj

     

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  19.  
    identicon
    DJ, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:30pm

    Re: Re: Watch it!

    "...the Obama administration continued to support the Bush's administration's position...."

    "And the new president still doesn't think that the old president did anything wrong...."

    Holy crap! are you suggesting that the two are different in chosen party affiliation only? No......... gee who'd've thought that?
    (I'd sign off my sarcasm, but I'm not really all that sarcastic here)

     

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  20.  
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    aurum79, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:31pm

    tirewapping ?

    Whats all this crazy talk about tirewapping? We tea partiers know the only way to learn whether your tires are secure is to wap them. Problem is, if you use your riffle butt for tirewapping, you just don't know if your riffle sights are intact.

     

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  21.  
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    DJ, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:33pm

    Re:

    !!!!!NO!!!!!!

    Those who would sacrifice essential liberties for a little temporary safety deserve NEITHER liberty NOR safety.
    -- Benjamin Franklin

     

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  22.  
    identicon
    DJ, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:35pm

    Re: Re:

    Or how about this one:

    Give me liberty or give me death!
    --Patrick Henry

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    DJ, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:36pm

    Re: Re: Namby Pamby

    too true.
    (see Patrick Henry quote below)

     

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  24.  
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    hegemon13, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Re: Watch it!

    And continued under this one...

     

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  25.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:37pm

    Re:

    "You either need to give our gov't the tools to fight terrorism or you need to capitulate to terrorists. You can't have it both ways."

    Interstingly, you can. All you have to do is give the government the power to break the law to fight terrorists. Then you capitulate to the new terrorists, the government you gave all those illegal powers to.

    Yay! Finally we get it both ways!

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    DJ, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:39pm

    Re: the Bush Administration

    Love the metaphor. Unfortunately the hangover doesn't start until the drinking stops.......
    We're still drinking, we just switched the liquor for beer (or vice-versa, not sure which).

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    Joe Friday, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:39pm

    Re:

    They have the tools to fight terrorism. Plenty of them. The problem is that the previous Administration knew that they didn't have enough to get a sustained wiretap on these groups, so they just did it on the sly. The Obama Administration doesn't want to press forward not because he supports illegal wiretapping, but because when this investigation points directly at the office of the President, then it makes the entire office look bad. It's definitely a black mark against our country. But if we don't follow our own rules when we are going after the bad guys, then what does that say about our rules and our country? EVERYONE deserves the right to a fair trial. EVERYONE deserves the rights that our Constitution gives us. EVERYONE deserves to be treated fairly by our Justice System. And NOBODY, not even the President, is above following those rules.

     

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  28.  
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    hegemon13, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:43pm

    Re: Watch it!

    They have the tools. No one is stopping from using wiretaps, and no one is asking to take that tool away. They are already allowed to place the wiretap up to three days BEFORE filing for a warrant, so there are absolutely no obstacles to monitoring for terrorism.

    All we ask is for is oversight and a paper trail that can be used to track down abuses. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever that we cannot provide the tools without also providing oversight. The ONLY reason that an administration would seek to eliminate oversight is because they plan to do something unethical or illegal. The oversight of a special, secret, rubber-stamp court does absolutely NOTHING to hinder actual monitoring of potential terrorists.

     

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  29.  
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    Anony1, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:43pm

    You either need to give our gov't the tools to fight terrorism or you need to capitulate to terrorists. You can't have it both ways.


    Nice trolling. If you're not a bridge dweller, a little FYI, your argument is considered a LOGICAL FALLACY, specifically, it is called a FALSE DILEMMA OR FLASE DICHOTOMY. This means you present the world as if there were only two options, when in fact, there are more. You can provide the tools to fight terrorism without breaking the law, and still not "capitulate" (fancy vocabulary there!) to terrorism. Go try to get a highschool education at a real school, and try again. Try taking some basic courses in Logic. You're pathetic. GO JUSTICE!

     

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  30.  
    identicon
    hegemon13, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:44pm

    Re: Re: Watch it!

    Crap, this was supposed to go one post down, as a reply to the AC below.

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    hegemon13, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:44pm

    Re:

    They have the tools. No one is stopping from using wiretaps, and no one is asking to take that tool away. They are already allowed to place the wiretap up to three days BEFORE filing for a warrant, so there are absolutely no obstacles to monitoring for terrorism.

    All we ask is for is oversight and a paper trail that can be used to track down abuses. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever that we cannot provide the tools without also providing oversight. The ONLY reason that an administration would seek to eliminate oversight is because they plan to do something unethical or illegal. The oversight of a special, secret, rubber-stamp court does absolutely NOTHING to hinder actual monitoring of potential terrorists.

     

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  32.  
    icon
    Esahc (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:45pm

    Re: Re:

    Only the Sith deal in absolutes.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Anony1, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:46pm

    Be factual, not libelous!

    Go look up libel laws on public figures and eat a little crow while you're at it. Also, he (Mike) is being factual.

     

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  34.  
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    hegemon13, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:47pm

    Re: incredible spending

    I think that was yozoo's point...that we aren't any better off now.

     

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  35.  
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    Richard Davis, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:47pm

    wiretapping

    "You either need to give our gov't the tools to fight terrorism or you need to capitulate to terrorists. You can't have it both ways."

    -Anonymous Coward

    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    Benjamin Franklin

    Anonymous Coward: Educate yourself and learn what a false dichotomy is.

     

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  36.  
    icon
    chris (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:47pm

    Re: Re: Namby Pamby

    This whole nanny-state business is for the birds.

    same here! the nanny state is for sissies. POLICE STATE FOR THE WIN!!!

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward II, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:48pm

    I'd comment, but I'm afraid I'd get on the watch list and be wiretapped and have my emails intercepted. Gotta run, a black Suburban just pulled up with a man holding a handheld antenna and has it pointed at my house. OMG!

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:48pm

    Re: Re: the Bush Administration

    We're still drinking, we just switched the liquor for beer (or vice-versa, not sure which).

    Neither. It's laced Kool-Aid.

     

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  39.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:52pm

    Re: incredible spending

    "incredible spending? You obviously aren't paying attention to the current administration. Obama spent in the first year what it took Bush 4 years to do (according to the Treasury Department reports on the budget). If you thought the Bush administration spent a lot of money, you ain't seen nothing yet!"

    And you know, it'd be different if all that increased spending was for all these domestic initiatives that they're theorizing are going to end up coming back to us monetarily at some point.

    But his MILITARY BUDGET increased over Bushes. And he said we were getting OUT. WTF? What the hell is the point of being a Republican or a Democrat anymore?

     

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  40.  
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    Matthew Searle, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:52pm

    HA If only the American People New...

    This makes me laugh as people are surprised that the Government did something like this. The Government has done stuff like this since the beginning of time and will still continue to do it through out the rest of our lives.

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    DJ, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:53pm

    Re: Re:

    Absolutely!
    "EVERYONE deserves to be treated fairly by our Justice System. And NOBODY, not even the President, is above following those rules."

    "a nation of laws and not of men" -- John Adams (couldn't find the whole quote, sorry)


    Be careful to whom you assign the term "everyone", though. While the Declaration of Independence does state "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights", the United States Constitution applies to legal citizens of these united States only (I'm going back to the plural, since the singular is corrupted). And no I don't want to start debating immigration. That ball of wax is f'd up too, though.

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    Jimmy, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:54pm

    Re:

    So you think allowing the constituion and privacy rights to be shredded is ok as long as the problem to be solved is big enough ? Where does it end ? Why not rip up the constitution and allow the government to do whatever they want to maintain control. Everytime u turn around a new law is inacted which treads on our rights. You have to wear a seatbelt so insurance companies can protect their profits. You should reserch the number of wiretaps the FBI conducted againts everyday americans using the patriot act. They used it to investigate everyone and anyone for any reason. Don't take my word for it. Go check for yourself. You honestlt think the government cares about your well being. They care about money and power and how to get it and protect it at any cost.

     

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  43.  
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    DJ, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: the Bush Administration

    That too.

     

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  44.  
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    JP, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 1:59pm

    Re: by Anonymous Coward

    Really?

    That was the entire point of the this arbitration. The government already has the tools to fight terrorism. They don't need more. Federal law clearly states that in order to obtain a warrant for a wire tap a judge must sign an order, which can even be done in secret. They can even apply for a warrent up 72 hours AFTER the tap takes place. Thus allowing for illegal taps, so long as they can prove the neccessity after the fact.

    Hell, you could tap someone, arrest them based on that evidence (at this point obtained illegally), begin the prosecution (not that the system works that fast), and then get the warrant.

    You make the same argument as those that favor more gun laws. We don't need more laws we need to enforce those in place, which are perfectly able to accomplish what needs to be done.

     

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  45.  
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    JD (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 2:01pm

    Re:

    What a ridiculous statement. If the DOJ really felt they had a valid reason for the write-tap, they could have gotten a judge to agree to it in a matter hours (if not minutes). Not doing so was a gross violation of existing law.

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    DJ, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 2:03pm

    Re: HA If only the American People New...

    "Government has done stuff like this since the beginning of time"

    There was a brief 100-150 year stint, here in America, when this sort of thing didn't happen. That's the first time in history when a government was, at least mostly, free from corruption. This country became more powerful than ANY OTHER COUNTRY IN HISTORY -- possible exception of Roman Empire, but that was wrought with corruption -- and we did it in, relatively speaking, the blink of an eye.
    So let's see:
    First system of government to reach power WITHOUT suprressing it's people
    or
    S.O.S
    Which would you rather have?

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    Disgruntled Bureaucrat, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 2:04pm

    I miss the good o'l days. Had Al Gore not invented the Internet, we could have continued to get away with these kind of things -- doh!

     

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  48.  
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    drkkgt (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 2:05pm

    Re: Re: incredible spending

    I keep telling people, we aren't a two party system anymore, we are a multi-denominational party. In other words, what denominations are you willing to pay me to go your way.

     

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  49.  
    identicon
    Dan, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 2:05pm

    Re: the Bush Administration

    Yeah, because none of that is happening right now :rollseyes:

    People really need to quit with this team mentality. Your guys aren't saints.

     

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  50.  
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    Dan (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 2:12pm

    It doesn't amount to anything

    So someone finally won a case in court. Whoop-tee-do!

    It won't matter in the slightest. Current government is not going to abide by any punishment or change the law so it no longer happens. Obama and the current congress are in it as deep as Bush was.

     

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  51.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 2:17pm

    Re: Re: HA If only the American People New...

    "There was a brief 100-150 year stint, here in America, when this sort of thing didn't happen."

    I'm sorry, but that isn't a fact. Some think so, some read into history hints that certain multinational banking interests, the same ones that control things today (including both parties), also controlled them then too.

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 2:20pm

    Re: Re:

    "You're either for voting for this bill, or you are satisfied with the status quo"

    Same stuff...different day.

     

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  53.  
    identicon
    Pt, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 2:21pm

    Spending habits...

    In case some of y'all missed it; the budget for 2009 was G.W. Bush's budget and was estimated at 2.7 trillion dollars...ergo the spending was his, not the current President's. The 2010 budget is the current admin's budget and is estimated at 2.381 trillion dollars. U.S. debt, however, was increased from 12.87 to 14.08 trillion dollars. There is no current plan on how to decrease the debt, factor in the deficit trade and the bank bailouts and...???

     

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  54.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 2:27pm

    Re: Spending habits...

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe your numbers are including defense and discretionary budgets, which together account for somewhere around 33% of spending....

     

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  55.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 2:35pm

    from the wow dept?

    Wow? Were you really surprised? Were ppl living under a rock? I tried to tell ppl.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qy3eOCkLVaw

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9WStvRc0rQ

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    KB, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 2:36pm

    re: Democracy

    "Land of the Free"... I've always loved that one...

     

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  57.  
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    The Mad Hatter (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 2:54pm

    Wow

    I have to admit I wasn't expecting the Judge to be so forthright. The Administration will of course try to appeal, however I think that they won't get anywhere this time.

     

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  58.  
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    The far side, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 3:06pm

    They do not need to wiretap anyone

    This Judgement only makes public how dumb the previous administration acted, the real truth here is that they did not need to wiretap anyone legally or illegally, the truth here is that they have international resources that can legally do the wiretapping for them then share the information. This is done all the time and what ever info that obtained from the illegal wiretap was nothing compared to what they received from their international resources. With the tech they have today physical wiretapping is not necessary and it can be done from outside our country. So all of you youngsters grow-up and get the story truthfully, every time you use a wireless phone, or cell phone or voice over IP telephone or just local telephone service. That call passes through a switch (computerized and connected to the internet) which can be hacked by international resources then automatically translated and passed to our government past administration or current administration. The only way to protect your self is to practice personal security.

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 3:22pm

    Re:

    If you look at what happen the terrorist gave the government as much warning as they could. They made a video saying they were going to attack. They had already attacked the same building multiple times in the past. Flight school instructors told the FBI about their fears of these guys. Maybe next time the terrorist could just send them an outlook appointment

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    Anony1, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 3:24pm

    This Judgement only makes public how dumb the previous administration acted..and how THIS administration continues to act in the same manner. Please remove partisan blinders. It looks like you're about to steer off the road...intellectually speaking.President Obama and his administration either truely believe that the past policy was/is correct in order to defend national security, or they are defending it for political cover. You decide which is worse...

     

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

  61.  
    icon
    slander (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 3:27pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "The King is a fink!"
    --Sir Rodney the Chicken-Hearted

     

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

  62.  
    identicon
    Mark, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 3:28pm

    Re:

    Posting as 'anonymous' makes you look like a tool, teabagger.

     

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

  63.  
    identicon
    jun, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 3:32pm

    Wiretapping

    If you don't want another 9/11 to happen then it's OK to wiretap suspected terrorist for national security.

     

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

  64.  
    icon
    sirlivealot (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 3:50pm

    Re: Re:

    I'm amazed you were not even more sarcastic and spiteful in your reply.

    Kudos.

     

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

  65.  
    identicon
    Anony1, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 4:09pm

    by Mark
    Posting as 'anonymous' makes you look like a tool, teabagger.

    by jun
    If you don't want another 9/11 to happen then it's OK to wiretap suspected terrorist for national security.


    Troll, troll, troll, troll....troll. Off to your left on your tour of techdirt, you'll notice a band of trolls. Please do not feed the trolls, and enjoy your stay at techdirt park.

     

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

  66.  
    identicon
    Anony1, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 4:09pm

    by Mark
    Posting as 'anonymous' makes you look like a tool, teabagger.

    by jun
    If you don't want another 9/11 to happen then it's OK to wiretap suspected terrorist for national security.


    Troll, troll, troll, troll....troll. Off to your left on your tour of techdirt, you'll notice a band of trolls. Please do not feed the trolls, and enjoy your stay at techdirt park.

     

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

  67.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 4:15pm

    Re: from the wow dept?

    Wow? Were you really surprised? Were ppl living under a rock? I tried to tell ppl.

    The wow was directed at the ruling, not the actions. Surprised the judge was willing to make that ruling.

     

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  68.  
    identicon
    John, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 4:29pm

    Re: Watch it!

    But if the media just reported the facts...they wouldn't have as many readers. Without sensationalism where would they be?

     

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

  69.  
    identicon
    Chris Pratt, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 4:44pm

    Re: incredible spending

    Are you on crack? Bush took us from a $5 trillion surplus to a $12 trillion deficit. He broke the debt clock in Time Square, even. And, you're trying to claim that Obama has spent more money??? Your assertion is more ridiculous than something out of Glenn Beck's mouth, and that's saying something.

     

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  70.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 4:48pm

    I love Walker. He does not tolerate bullshit very well.

     

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  71.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 5:04pm

    We had a $5 trillion surplus? Only 10 years ago? Really? Hmmm, I remember walking past the National Debt sign in NYC and I never remember it being a surplus.

    Accounting is a pretty funny thing, you can make it look really nice if you don't worry about it reflecting the true standing.

     

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  72.  
    identicon
    George Walter, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 5:27pm

    9/11 - a government killing and defrauding its people so it can do what it wants.

    Cheney should rot, as should Bush and the rest of them.

     

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

  73.  
    identicon
    Joshua, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 6:52pm

    You either need to give our gov't the tools to fight terrorism or you need to capitulate to terrorists. You can't have it both ways.

    False Dichotomy. Liberty is not the opposite of safety.

     

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  74.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 6:59pm

    Re:

    We had a $5 trillion surplus? Only 10 years ago? Really? Hmmm, I remember walking past the National Debt sign in NYC and I never remember it being a surplus.

    The one in the Fox News lobby, eh?

     

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

  75.  
    identicon
    Dohn Joe, Mar 31st, 2010 @ 8:08pm

    He Still Won't Go To Jail

    Betcha that the war criminal responsible will still avoid jail time...we're so selective about which dictators we punish. Maybe if he grew a silly-looking mustache...

     

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

  76.  
    icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 8:57pm

    Re: Illegal Surveillance

    It's funny to compare the anger at:

    i) the healthcare bill, legislation that may level the playing field, make more people healthy, keep poor kids healthier, stop people from financial ruin because of bad luck...and yes, have costs. It's a socialist solution to a social problem. Now us sensible people can understand how terrible an idea the above is, but it was democratically derived: The people gave the dems a majority in three branches, and those three branches subsequently voted. The democratic process was followed, and it was done according to rule of law. (But you don't have to like it.)

    and

    ii) our government spying on us sans warrant. It's illegal. There was a legal way to do it, which wasn't used. There has been a cover-up. It's clearly spelled out as a no-no in the constitution.


    What I don't get is the backwards reactions to these two issues.

     

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

  77.  
    icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 9:06pm

    Re: They do not need to wiretap anyone

    How do I know if my tinfoil hat will stop the "International Resources" (i.e. the Queen, the Vatican, the Gettys, the Rothschilds, and Col Sanders)?

     

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

  78.  
    icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Mar 31st, 2010 @ 9:12pm

    Re:

    Remedial help 4 u:

    Deficit - an annual negative gap between treasury revenues and expenses
    Surplus - an annual excess of revenues above expenses
    Debt - a cumulative sum of annual deficits or surpluses

    Knowledge is a pretty funny thing, you can make yourself look pretty dumb when you don't have it.

     

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

  79.  
    icon
    Liquid (profile), Apr 1st, 2010 @ 5:04am

    Re: He Still Won't Go To Jail

    yeah but the question you have to ask your self. Do you really want Binladin to be made a martyr to a group of religious fanatics? Once he's dead it will only rally their cause even further.

     

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  80.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2010 @ 6:24am

    Re:

    I could not agree more

     

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

  81.  
    identicon
    RIRedinPA, Apr 1st, 2010 @ 7:08am

    Re: Um, there are tools...

    go to a judge and get a warrant to wire tap to your hearts content...

     

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

  82.  
    icon
    weneedhelp (profile), Apr 1st, 2010 @ 7:31am

    Re: Re: from the wow dept?

    "The wow was directed at the ruling, not the actions. Surprised the judge was willing to make that ruling."

    Even the passing idiot could have realized what was being done was illegal. I am not surprised at all. I was surprised no one did anything when the extent of what was being collected was exposed. Thanks EFF. Americans are asleep at the wheel.

    Thanks for clearing up my mistake mike.

     

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

  83.  
    icon
    Jason (profile), Apr 1st, 2010 @ 9:36am

    Re: Wiretapping

    Sure. go ahead and wiretap them.

    Just follow the law in doing so.

     

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

  84.  
    icon
    Segodnya (profile), Apr 1st, 2010 @ 11:33am

    Re:

    Nonsense. You proclaiming that there are two mutually exclusive options does not make it so. There are other choices in addition to those two, and one of them is that the government should follow its own laws. In this case, the FISA law provides a court for national security wiretaps, and that law even allows the government to start the wiretapping today in emergencies and then apply for the warrant tomorrow.

     

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

  85.  
    icon
    Segodnya (profile), Apr 1st, 2010 @ 11:52am

    Re: Re: They do not need to wiretap anyone

    Your tinfoil hat will not stop the international resources. The resources are known as the UK-USA agreement and has to do with the establishment of a surveillance pact. Since 1952 the National Security Agency, its British counterpart (GCHQ) and the analogous services of New Zealand, Australia, Canada and various others have surreptitiously spied on ALL electronic communications. The legality of the program has been suspect all along; various US Attorneys General have refused to sanction what the NSA does because they know full well that the vacuum cleaner approach to electronic surveillance is ILLEGAL. Look up Project Minaret, Project Shamrock, and some of the other crap the NSA has been involved with over the years. The main reason it remains so highly classified is because they know it's ILLEGAL.

     

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

  86.  
    icon
    Segodnya (profile), Apr 1st, 2010 @ 11:58am

    Re: Re: incredible spending

    We never had a $5 trillion surplus. In fact, we have not had a surplus in this country in decades. President Clinton claimed to have established one, but his administration in fact counted the money in the so-called "Social Security Trust Fund" against the debt. It's sort of like telling the bank on your loan application that you have X in the bank, but failing to tell them that X is already pledged as collateral on some other loan.

     

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

  87.  
    icon
    Dark Helmet (profile), Apr 1st, 2010 @ 12:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: They do not need to wiretap anyone

    Let's not forget the Echelon SIG/INT system....

    And going back into history for some fun references on how this all stems from Nazi science, Project Paperclip....

     

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

  88.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2010 @ 9:24pm

    Re: Re: Illegal Surveillance

    What I don't get is the backwards reactions to these two issues.

    That's because you aren't looking at things from their perspective. Try sticking you head up your ass and you'll see why things look backwards to them.

     

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

  89.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 1st, 2010 @ 9:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: incredible spending

    We never had a $5 trillion surplus...blah blah blah...Clinton... blah blah blah...debt...blah blah blah...

    Somebody else already tried to point out the difference between "deficit", "surplus" and "debt" to you, but I guess it was over your head.

     

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

  90.  
    icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Apr 1st, 2010 @ 11:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: They do not need to wiretap anyone

    ...nor the secret ingredients they put in the chicken that makes me crave it fortnightly.

     

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

  91.  
    identicon
    Kathy Jones-Kristof, Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 12:26pm

    Illegal Survelliance

    Bush and his co-horts should be indicted for their illegal practices, and hopefully convicted.

     

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

  92.  
    identicon
    Mel, Apr 2nd, 2010 @ 2:18pm

    Thank goodness the courts are getting it right

    As the subject says.... It's about darn time. I love that this was won on a legal argument about the filings, not on whether wiretapping is right or wrong. http://bit.ly/b6pi4E

     

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


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