Re: The Balance Between National Security and Privacy?

In article, Linc Madison at wrote on 5/14/06 11:10:

>> I am curious as to what people think of the issue of national security >> vs. privacy in light of the recent revelations. > It's very, very simple: the NSA and other arms of the Executive Branch > should spy on terrorists *within* the laws passed by Congress, and > *with* judicial oversight. Under the Constitution, the President lacks > any and all authority to order anything different. > The NSA program of listening to the content of telephone conversations > in which at least one party is a "U.S. person" (not necessarily a > citizen, nor even necessarily a permanent resident) is absolutely and > unequivocally illegal and unconstitutional. "In time of war" the > Constitution doesn't cease to exist, nor do its limitations on police > powers. Neither the U.S.A. P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act nor the Authorization to > Use Military Force (AUMF) gave the Executive any such powers -- nor > could they, since the powers arrogated by the administration are > beyond Congress' authority to grant. The administration has even > admitted that the reason they did not ask Congress to modify the law > to permit this surveillance program is that they did not believe that > the Congress would comply. In other words, "We figured you would > probably say no, so we just did it without asking." > The other NSA program, of collecting telephone call records, is a bit > more tricky, since it is (supposedly) not intruding into the content > of the calls. There is considerable reason to believe that the telcos > violated their own legal obligations to their customers (the privacy > clauses in their contracts) by turning over the records without a > court order, but the violation of the law -- if any -- by the NSA was > certainly far less egregious than in the wiretap case. The Supreme > Court has ruled that you do not have a legitimate privacy claim to the > records of what numbers you called and for how long. Police have often > sought call records as part of an investigation, although those > searches were much more limited and much more closely tailored to the > individual cases. > Of course, the other element in both schemes is the effectiveness and > wisdom of the program. I don't know who first said it, but, "We're > looking for a needle in a haystack, so wantonly piling on more hay > might not be the best plan." We do need more data about the terrorists > and their plans, but far more than that, we need more intelligent > collection of data. There have been published reports that the FBI has > been really steamed because the vast majority of the leads produced by > the NSA's illegal espionage program have been wild goose chases -- a > complete waste of the Bureau's resources without making America the > slightest bit safer. Simply put, we don't have the resources to make > use of the data we already have, so going after mountains of unsifted > raw data isn't the best use of our capabilities. > But even if the programs produce some results, the question remains, > at what cost? I'm not at all pleased at the idea of the government > snooping through my private communications, or even knowing who I > called and when. Do I have something to hide? Hell yes! Every single > one of us has something to hide. Just because some activity is legal > doesn't mean that it's in my interests for the world to know about it, > and the line between the government's knowing about it and the world's > knowing about it is altogether too thin. > Beyond that, our government has a long history of misusing such > powers. The FBI wiretapped Martin Luther King because he was a > subversive -- in other words, an "uppity n***er" -- even though he was > acting completely within the law. President Nixon spied on his > political enemies for purely partisan reasons. The Fourth Amendment is > there for good reason, to protect

The only Good Spammer is a dead one!! Have you hunted one down today? (c) 2006 I Kill Spammers, Inc. A Rot in Hell Company the lives of innocent, law-abiding

citizens from unwarranted intrusion by the government. To allow > President Bush to ignore those protections, as he undeniably has, is > the essence of treason. > Linc Madison * San Francisco, California * > * primary e-mail: Telecom at LincMad dot com > Read my political blog, "The Third Path" > DO NOT SEND UNSOLICITED E-MAIL TO THIS ADDRESS. You have been warned.

I can remember many years ago while still working for GTE, I was helping out in a business office filing bills for UCLA dorms, when a court order came down to copy a companies bill. We were told to make copies and send the bills up to the legal department and file the copies. I had always thought that some sort of order hadto be given from a court to get information. Just look at the stink that was made here in the Riverside, Ca. area when Sprint would not give out the location of a car that had been stolen with a child in it. Sprint wanted a court order before releasing the data, and finally did give it to the police after the phone owner give written permission.

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Steven Lichter
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