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United States Government Privacy Politics

National Intelligence Director Seeks Expansion of Spy Powers 346

Erris writes "The Bush administration is seeking even less judicial oversight for their spying efforts both here and abroad. An AP story is discussing proposed changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act proposed by National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell. 'The changes McConnell is seeking mostly affect a cloak-and-dagger category of warrants used to investigate suspected spies, terrorists and other national security threats. The court-approved surveillance could include planting listening devices and hidden cameras, searching luggage and breaking into homes to make copies of computer hard drives.' One of their specific goals is prosecution immunity for communications companies who comply with the program, a sheild for groups that violate privacy laws in turning over information to the NSA. The article notes that 'Critics question whether the changes are needed and worry about what the Bush administration has in store, given a rash of allegations about domestic surveillance and abuse of power.'"
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National Intelligence Director Seeks Expansion of Spy Powers

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 12, 2007 @02:01PM (#18705403)
    LOL This is all bullshit. Everyone only knows this kind of stuff only happens in China.
  • by king-manic ( 409855 ) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @02:03PM (#18705427)
    I'm a 100% sure that no matter what the actual events are the police report / fbi report will state you assulted the police officer without provocation after they had identified themselves. I can also promise that unless you are white, protastant, and affluent that you will be severely beaten if you managed to hurt that officer in anyway. Possibility of being murdered and then passed off as a guilty party is also there. These promises were valid before 9/11 as well.
  • by IvanTheNotSoBad ( 977004 ) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @02:08PM (#18705529)
    From TFA:

    Give the NSA the power to monitor foreigners without seeking FISA court approval, even if the surveillance is conducted by tapping phones and e-mail accounts in the United States.

    "Determinations about whether a court order is required should be based on considerations about the target of the surveillance, rather than the particular means of communication or the location from which the surveillance is being conducted," NSA Director Keith Alexander told the Senate last year.

    Clarify the standards the FBI and NSA must use to get court orders for basic information about calls and e-mails -- such as the number dialed, e-mail address, or time and date of the communications. Civil liberties advocates contend the change will make it too easy for the government to access this information.

    Triple the life span of a FISA warrant for a non-U.S. citizen from 120 days to one year, allowing the government to monitor much longer without checking back in with a judge.

    Give telecommunications companies immunity from civil liability for their cooperation with Bush's terrorist surveillance program. Pending lawsuits against companies including Verizon and AT&T allege they violated privacy laws by giving phone records to the NSA for the program.

    Extend from 72 hours to one week the amount of time the government can conduct surveillance without a court order in emergencies.
  • by j-turkey ( 187775 ) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @02:10PM (#18705575) Homepage

    Wow, that's a first. The Bush administration usually just assumes expanded powers with less oversight, and then claim that they had those powers in the first place (followed by blaming the whistle blowers).

    Anyway, I sure hope that they don't get expanded powers with less oversight. Maybe it's based on my predisposition to distrust the Bush administration, but they sort of earned that on their own over time. It seems to me that these guys are the reason why we have oversight. Actually, if you look at history, FISA was designed to protect us from the Bush administration (indirectly, of course). Some of Bush's cabinet members also served in President Nixon's cabinet. Many of FISA's provisions were written because of the Nixon administration's abuses against American citizens. The same guys that were screwing us over then are running the show now, and are claiming that we don't need to be protected anymore -- the same guys. I sure hope that they don't get what they're asking for.

  • by SoCalChris ( 573049 ) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @02:28PM (#18705849) Journal
    Why don't you ask Randy Weaver how that worked out for his family? _others/randy_weaver/1.html []
  • Re:flamebait (Score:2, Informative)

    by Doctor-Optimal ( 975263 ) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @02:30PM (#18705871)

    We are the greatest country precisely because of our tradition of limiting government intrusion on our privacy and our right to protest the actions of the government. I'm not even a minarchist or anything (left wing statist, actually) and I can see this.

  • What a crock (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 12, 2007 @02:38PM (#18706011)
    The current FISA court is basically a rubber stamp anyways, and it's not like us ordinary citizens have any oversight over it. Not that the Bush Administration or NSA bothered with FISA warrants (FISA warrant requests were minimal compared to during the Clinton administration).

    I await the flock of RINOs accusing me of political mudslinging and or hating America.
  • by jackbird ( 721605 ) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @03:15PM (#18706689)
    Did you respond when Clinton shot crusie missles at people to distract people from the intern whose vagina he stuck cigars in?

    Considering "people" was Osama Bin-fucking Laden, I'd say good for him.

  • by FatSean ( 18753 ) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @03:51PM (#18707243) Homepage Journal
    Shit, Cheney was on Rush's show regurgitating that old lie about Iraq having Al-Quieda connections just last week.

    If you cling to something in the face of evidence against are complicit.

    I understand WHY some people willfully delude themselves into thinking the excuses for war are still valid...but that doesn't make it right.

  • by demachina ( 71715 ) on Thursday April 12, 2007 @11:01PM (#18713491)
    "...the most obvious sign of rot..."

    You left out one. It appears the Bush administration has spent the last 6 years filling the ranks of the executive branch with completely incompetent people, whose main qualifications were being "good Bushies" and rabidly born again Christians. People who had it as a primarily goal to inject their religious views, like a dagger, in to the heart of the supposedly secular U.S. government. The Washington Post recently had an op ed on Monica Goodling, one of Alberto Gonzales' top aides, who recently plead the fifth and resigned over the U.S. attorney scandal. Her law degree is from Pat Robertson's Law school, Regent University which is a 4th tier law school. Regent has apparently been very successful at placing academically marginal lawyers in the Bush administration. Apparently more than a few top career lawyers in the Justice department, from top flight law schools, have been forced out or left in disguest as the Justice Department has been twisted in to a Christian enclave by Ashcroft and then Gonzales.

    Patrick Henry College is another rabidly Christian college being used to train born again Christians who are then fast tracked in to top positions in the Bush administration to futher cement domination of a secular government by people who, are entering government in order to shape it to their religious views.

    There is a pretty good chance that the Executive branch, especially places like the Justice Department and the Pentagon will be so mortally damaged by the incompetence and religious fixations of the Bush administration that they may not recover for years, or maybe decades, or maybe ever.

    I'm all for everyone having freedom of choice in their religious beliefs, but religion really has no place in government. Government should be completely secular and no one should be entering government if they are planning on injecting their religious views in to their job. No one should be getting a government job because of their religious views. This is a principal that Christians should hold as dear as anyone. Once you go down this road you can end up in a place where a "Baptist" government persecutes "Methodists". Religious persecution has frequently been born of state entanglement with religion which is a key reason the founding fathers were so keen on the separation of church and state. Many of the religious refugees who colonized America came to America to escape religious persecution by states who failed to separate church from state. Unfortunately a huge number of Christians have decided separation of church and state was designed to suppress religion. It is in fact very much designed to preserve their religious freedom by preventing the state from favoring one religious sect over another.

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