13 May 2006

US: The Largest Target In The War On Terror

The nation with the largest number of individuals under the umbrella of suspicion? The United States. Tens of millions of US citizens, trillions - I said trillions of calls being tracked. Mr. Maniacal's President's largest effort in his "Imma gonna get me sum evil-doers" plan is right here at home. He might be the only sitting President to be at war with his own country. But hey, this guy is all about pushing the envelope.

The 2001 Joint Resolution Authorizing The Use Of Military Force (AUMF)

To authorize the use of United States Armed Forces against those responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States.

IN GENERAL- That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

Just before the Senate acted on (AUMF), the White House sought one last change. Literally minutes before the Senate cast its vote, the administration sought to add the words "in the United States and" after "appropriate force" in the agreed-upon text. This last-minute change would have given the president broad authority to exercise expansive powers not just overseas - where we all understood he wanted authority to act - but right here in the United States. It wasn't granted.

See: Power We Didn't Grant

While we were still collecting our dead from the 9-11 attacks, the occupier the oval office was trying to structure his "war powers" to include using this country and its people as personal playthings in his war games.

I read somewhere yesterday that we are on "outrage overload". I think that is such an accurate description. We may find it easier to just put our heads in our hands and resign ourselves to complete powerlessness when it comes to this administration. Instead, it is my hope that we will take a deep breath, remind ourselves that this will require arduous review of all the information, and to remind ourselves that our greatest display patriotism is to make a firm commitment to support the protection of US citizens and our democracy.

The following represents the requisite study in determining whether US citizens have legal and Constitutional protections against the actions of this administration:

Fourth Amendment

Unanimously, the Court has held that at least in cases of domestic subversive investigations, compliance with the warrant provisions of the Fourth Amendment was required. The Government's duty to preserve the national security does not override the guarantee that before government could invade the privacy of its citizens it must present to a neutral magistrate evidence sufficient to support issuance of a warrant authorizing that invasion of privacy. This protection was even more needed in ''national security cases'' than in cases of ''ordinary'' crime, the Justice continued, inasmuch as the tendency of government so often is to regard opponents of its policies as a threat and hence to tread in areas protected by the First Amendment as well as by the Fourth. Rejected also was the argument that courts could not appreciate the intricacies of investigations in the area of national security nor preserve the secrecy which is required.

FCC
Communications Act (47 U.S.C. 222)
Stored Communications Act (18 U.S.C. 2702(c), 2703 (c).)

The Federal Communications Commission is an independent federal agency responsible directly to Congress. Established by the Communications Act of 1934.

Under this Act, telephone companies are prohibited from giving out information regarding their customers' calling habits: whom a person calls, how often and what routes those calls take to reach their final destination. Inbound calls, as well as wireless calls, also are covered. The Federal Communications Commission, the nation's top telecommunications regulatory agency, can levy fines of up to $130,000 per day per violation, with a cap of $1.325 million per violation.

FISA

While the law provides several means for the government to obtain records showing what phone numbers were called or dialed by a particular phone number, in every instance, either a subpoena or court order is required. If the NSA used a pen register or trap and trace device in real time, it was required to obtain an order from the FISA court, either under the specific pen register provisions, 50 USC 1841 et seq. or under the provisions for electronic surveillance generally, 50 USC 1801 et seq. Under the electronic surveillance provisions, the NSA would have to show the court that the person whose calls were being targeted was an agent of a foreign power. Under the pen register provision, the NSA would have to show the court that the information was relevant to an ongoing terrorism investigation. Despite the low standard for a pen register, it is unlikely that the FISA court would have approved wholesale pen registers on every phone in America. If the NSA obtained stored records, rather using a real time pen register, it would have to obtain an order from the FISA court under section 215 of the Patriot Act. It is important to note that the Patriot Act specifically provided that the FBI did not need a court order, but could use a National Security Letter - a form of administrative subpoena - to obtain such records. The Congress specifically withheld such subpoena authority from the NSA.

Article II of the U.S. Constitution (Executive Power)

The administration also argues that the program is authorized by the President's Article II role as Commander in Chief, relying upon the notion that the Commander in Chief can conduct a war, including authorizing domestic surveillance, as he sees fit. The President's Article II power is not exclusive; his conduct remains subject to regulating statutes enacted pursuant to Congress's Article I authority, such as FISA. The very existence of FISA shows the intent to keep the President in check, to regulate and limit his executive power.

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is a leader in taking action. They filed a class-action lawsuit against AT&T on January 31, 2006, accusing the telecom giant of violating the law and the privacy of its customers by collaborating with the National Security Agency (NSA) in its massive and illegal program to wiretap and data-mine Americans' communications.

THE LATEST ON THAT LAWSUIT - Yesterday - The United States government filed a "Statement of Interest" in the Electronic Frontier Foundation's (EFF's) class-action lawsuit against AT&T, announcing that the government would "assert the military and state secrets privilege" and "intervene to seek dismissal" of the case.

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3 comments:

Gun-Toting Liberal said...

Excellent roundup on our dictatorial theocracy, Megan! Great work, and please keep it up. Blog ON, and stay on 'em!!!

new illuminati said...

perhaps in the current climate people are too scared to acomment on this topic...
keep up the Great Work!

C'est Moi said...

G-T-L, you are my favorite fan! "dictatorial theocracy...you got that right, my dear!

new illuminati, thank you. Maybe that is it. Of course I wondered---was it too much? Was it too long in factual information? Was it too strong? (I am my toughest critic). Maybe it is just what many don't want to hear anymore about.

Thank you for stopping by...and commenting.