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Thread: Bush calls for expansion of spy law

  1. #1
    Elite Member nwgirl's Avatar
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    Default Bush calls for expansion of spy law

    Bush Calls for Expansion of Spy Law

    By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer

    6 hours ago UPDATED 5 HOURS 18 MINUTES AGO
    FORT MEADE, Md. - President Bush said Wednesday he wants Congress to expand and make permanent a law that temporarily gives the government more power to eavesdrop without warrants on suspected foreign terrorists.

    Without such action, Bush said, "our national security professionals will lose critical tools they need to protect our country."

    "It will be harder to figure out what our enemies are doing to train, recruit and infiltrate operatives into America," the president said during a visit to the super-secret National Security Agency's headquarters. "Without these tools, our country will be much more vulnerable to attack."

    The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act governs when the government must obtain warrants for eavesdropping from a secret intelligence court. This year's update _ approved just before Congress' August break _ allows more efficient interceptions of foreign communications.

    Under the new law, the government can eavesdrop without a court order on communications conducted by a person reasonably believed to be outside the U.S., even if an American is on one end of the conversation _ so long as that American is not the intended focus or target of the surveillance.

    In requesting the change, the Bush administration said technological advances in communications had created a dire gap in the ability to collect intelligence on terrorists.

    Such surveillance generally was prohibited under the original law if the wiretap was conducted inside the U.S., unless a court approved it. Because of changes in technology, many more foreign communications now flow through the U.S. The new law, known as the Protect America Act, allows those to be tapped without a court order.

    Civil liberties groups and many Democrats say the new changes go too far. Democratic leaders in Congress set the law to expire in six months so that it could be fine-tuned; that process now is beginning on Capitol Hill.

    Democrats hope for changes that would provide additional oversight when the government eavesdrops on U.S. residents communicating with overseas parties.

    Sen. Jay Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said lawmakers understand the need to update the law, but also the need to protect the rights and liberties of Americans.

    "For over five years, the president carried out a warrantless surveillance program that ignored the law and the role of court oversight," Rockefeller said. "Today, the president continues to seek unchecked surveillance powers that many of us in Congress cannot support. The fact is, the Protect America Act did provide authority for collection, but it did not include sufficient protections for Americans. There's no reason we can't do both," Rockefeller said.
    "The president needs to step up to the plate and show that he is willing to work with Congress to get this important legislation passed."

    Bush timed his visit to Fort Meade to press his case.

    "The threat from al-Qaida is not going to expire in 135 days," he said, "so I call on Congress to make the Protect America Act permanent."

    He also urged lawmakers to expand the law, not restrict it. One provision particularly important to the administration, but opposed by many Democrats, would grant retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies which may have helped the government conduct surveillance before January 2007 without a court order.

    Bush was joined at the podium in an NSA hallway by Vice President Dick Cheney, National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell and others.

    The president received private briefings from intelligence officials and mingled with employees in the National Threat Operations Center. While cameras and reporters were in the room, the large video screens that lined the walls displayed unclassified information on computer crime and signal intelligence.

    Along one wall at NSA is a sign that says, "We won't back down. We never have. We never will."
    NEWS - Comcast.net
    Warrentless wire tapping is against the law, isn't it? So how can it be expanded? And Bush needs to show he's "willing to work with Congress"? I think he's shown all along just how willing he is to work with anyone that doesn't cow to him - he just ignores them and does what he wants.
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."

  2. #2
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    warrantless wiretapping IS against the law, except that now it's been MADE law. Before, they could spy on you and then later egt a retroactive warrant that provided SOME kind of papertrail.. now they dont even need that.

    They can spy on you, they can break into your house and search it, they can read every pice of mail, e-mail, online board scribblings, listen to any phone conversation and then show up at your door, throw a black hood over your face and ship you off to Syria to be tortured and executed... all without any kind of oversight, redress, or system set up for you to fight what they do.

    You live in a country that can do anything it wants to you. You're powerless, you have no privacy, and you have no recourse.

    What do you call a government that ensures you have no privacy, no rights as a citizen, and no freedom?

    A Fascist government, that's what.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Congress should vote this down. Bush is so power hungry. Enough is enough. Can't wait until this bunch is out of the White House.

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    Hit By Ban Bus! AliceInWonderland's Avatar
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    oh big fuckin' suprise!

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    ^ I know. So disturbing thouigh.

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