Justice Dept. Proposes Expansion of DOMESTIC Surveillance
Posted 21 April 2007 - 08:15 PM
Justice Department Proposes Vast Expansion of Domestic Surveillance
The Department of Justice has recommended ( http://www.usdoj.gov...07_nsd_247.html ) legislation ( http://www.fas.org/i...sa-proposal.pdf ) that would give the agency new authority to conduct surveillance within the United States under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The proposal would also remove current obligations communications providers have to safeguard the privacy of customer information. The American Bar Association has recommended that, rather than expand FISA, the Congress should establish new safeguards that limit the administration's domestic spying program. More at EPIC FISA page and EPIC FISA Orders 1979-2005 page. (Apr. 13)
This thing's a lot more slimy than I originally thought.
Here's the alert from C.D.T:
"Administration Seeks Warrantless Domestic Surveillance Authority
Last week, the Administration released a draft bill that would amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to permit large-scale warrantless surveillance of Americans. Described as a "modernization" effort, the legislation would result in a huge step backwards in efforts to re-establish reasonable checks and balances on government spying. The dense and complicated draft was over a year in preparation. CDT will be releasing an analysis of the bill by the end of this week. April 17, 2007
CDT Analysis: Administration Proposal [PDF] April 19, 2007
It would behoove you to make an effort to read that analysis link - it's the only way you're going to get a clear picture of exactly what this proposal would change - and how.
Reduced to its' most basic description, this change to the way things are done - or not - supposedly via the FISA court gives the government everything they could ever possibly want in the way of warrantless, totally-without oversight-or-recourse data-mining of every single citizen in the United States.
It needs to be opposed by everyone - in no uncertain terms and in every possible way.
If possible, its' scope exceeds that of even the infamous 'patriot' act (no wonder they put a year's worth of thought into its' wording).
Read it. Think about what it allows. It's positively chilling. Pete
Posted 22 April 2007 - 09:42 AM
It's a quick, easy way for you to let your Rep and Congressmen/women know that you haven't forgotten about illegal surveillance of legitimate, innocent American citizens, that you don't want those programs expanded and that you do want all current surveillance programs exposed and subject to rigorous over-sight.
Please take the time to fill it out and send it. And make sure you go ahead and receive the email alerts - this stuff moves too fast not to. Thanks
Posted 10 May 2007 - 10:01 AM
* Action Alert - Tell Congress Not to Let Telcos Off the
Hook for Illegal Spying
The Bush Administration is pushing legislation that could
let telecommunications providers off the hook for illegally
assisting the NSA's domestic spying program, and one of
your Senators is on the key committee that can stop it.
Take action now and defend your rights:
In January 2006, EFF filed suit against telco giant AT&T
for violating its customers' privacy and helping the NSA
spy on millions of Americans' telephone and Internet
communications. Congress is now considering a bill proposed
by the Administration that could threaten cases like EFF's.
That proposal appears intended to not only gut current
privacy safeguards but also give blanket immunity to anyone
who collaborated with the government's spying.
While no Congressional representatives have sponsored the
Administration's proposal so far, we're hearing that the
proposal could be attached to the intelligence budget
authorization that the Senate Intelligence Committee will
likely consider on May 17.
http://www.aclu.org/...rs20070501.html and especially read the letter they sent:
Posted 12 May 2007 - 02:10 PM
"House Affirms No Domestic Eavesdropping Without Warrant
WASHINGTON, DC -The American Civil Liberties Union today cheered an amendment to the House Intelligence Reauthorization Bill that would prevent illegal domestic wiretapping by the government. The amendment, by Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ), will reaffirm the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) as the only legal means of collecting electronic intelligence surveillance. The amendment was passed late last night by a vote of 245-178.
"Congress has signaled that it will not allow the president to continue the National Security Agency’s illegal eavesdropping," said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU’s Washington Legislative Office. "Passage of the Schiff/Flake amendment is Congress drawing a line in the sand. This amendment reaffirms that FISA is the law and it needs to be followed."
Congress originally passed FISA to provide the exclusive authority for the wiretapping of people in the United States in foreign intelligence investigations to protect national security. As the Senate Report noted, FISA "was designed . . . to curb the practice by which the Executive Branch may conduct warrantless electronic surveillance on its own unilateral determination that national security justifies it."
Passage of this amendment makes clear that the House will not capitulate to separate legislative proposals by the Administration that would give the NSA the freedom to snoop into innocent Americans lives. While the Administration claims that its proposed FISA changes would "modernize" the law, in truth they would gut the judicial oversight mechanisms carefully crafted to prevent abuse, while expanding the scope of communications that can be intercepted under FISA. The ACLU noted that, despite many recent hearings about "modernization" and "technology neutrality," the administration has not publicly provided Congress with a single example of how current FISA standards have either prevented the intelligence community from using new technologies, or proven unworkable for the agents tasked with following them.
"We applaud Congressmen Schiff and Flake for their work to uphold the rule of law," said Michelle Richardson, ACLU Legislative Consultant. "Today is the first move towards Congress growing a backbone. We hope that the Senate will follow their lead and not be swayed by the administration and Department of Justice’s unconstitutional attempts to eviscerate FISA."
While this is a "victory" of sorts, one has to ask oneself how many "warrants" the FISA court has refused in its' entire existence - and whether the warrants granted in the future will actually be done on an individual, case-by-case basis.
Or if whether instead, entire programs of surveillance (involving hundreds or thousands of citizens') will be granted or refused.
But it's a whole lot better than nothing. Time will tell - and besides, it hasn't even been voted on yet. The amendment may not even stand. Pete