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President Bush orders National Security Agency to spy on Americans

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Guest LAW

I do not have a problem with cameras, wire tapping, or data mining as long as it follows the law. The problem I have is that our government has the power to use monitoring tools for other purposes that the general public does not know about. There has been so many coverups in our history from both sides of aisle. Currently, what was said at the Hayden nomination hearings, wire tapping is only the tip of the iceberg of what the government is doing. And even worse is the problem that most members in the US Senate Committee on Intelligence did not even know what was going on until the New York Times broke the story. Even Republican are complaining about it. There is no checks and balances here. So the better debate is whether americans citizens should tolerate a government that is really controlled by a select few to monitor a great many.


This issue is important to both Republicans and Democrats.


Amendment IV of the Bill of Rights


The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

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Guest blingbling

We cannot lose our freedoms. There has to be another way. This is the true definition of a slippery slope meaning that giving one freedom in a process is likely to lead to more lost freedoms.


Q In his news conference with John Howard, was the President giving kind of a back-handed confirmation of the stories that the NSA is compiling telephone --


MR. SNOW: No, he wasn't. If you go back and listen to the answer he gave you, he was talking about foreign-to-domestic calls. The allegations in the USA Today piece, which we'll neither confirm or deny, are of a different nature. So, no, he was not giving a back-handed confirmation.


Q Well, he said they're very aware of what is taking place, and he said the question he's asking about has been fully briefed to members in the United States Congress.


MR. SNOW: Well, what he's talking about is that all intelligence matters conducted by the National Security Agency -- and we've said this many times -- have been fully briefed to a handful of members of the Senate Intelligence and House Intelligence Committees and to the leadership.


Q So he's neither confirming or --


MR. SNOW: He's not -- no, you're not getting any advance on previous news on that question.


When I was young I believed that Laws were created for all people to follow. Now I realize law is only meant for those who don't have the power to break it. Why don't we just put a crown on Bush's head and be done with it.

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Guest human_*

Law I actually agree with you THAT there SHOULD BE OVERSIGHT of these programs, and that these programs should NOT be Abused by either side, or USED as a Political tool.


The problem that I have with these programs is that they are too broad ranged.


From everything I have read either in the newspaper or online is that instead of targeting known groups

“in order not to look as if they are profiling" that the NSA or any other Law Enforcement group HAS to treat all groups as the same. <~~ this type of philosophy "of targeting all" creates a system ripe for abuse.


I do not have a problem with cameras, wire tapping, or data mining as long as it follows the law. The problem I have is that our government has the power to use monitoring tools for other purposes that the general public does not know about. There has been so many coverups in our history from both sides of aisle. Currently, what was said at the Hayden nomination hearings, wire tapping is only the tip of the iceberg of what the government is doing. And even worse is the problem that most members in the US Senate Committee on Intelligence did not even know what was going on until the New York Times broke the story. Even Republican are complaining about it. There is no checks and balances here. So the better debate is whether americans citizens should tolerate a government that is really controlled by a select few to monitor a great many.


This issue is important to both Republicans and Democrats.

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Just to set the record straight, California Democrat Nancy Pelosi acknowledged she was briefed about the warrantless surveillance back in 2001.


To: National Desk


Contact: Jennifer Crider of the Office of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, 202-226-7616; Web: http://democraticleader.house.gov


WASHINTON, Dec. 17 /U.S. Newswire/ -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on President Bush's December 17, 2005, radio address during which he disclosed that he had provided authority to the National Security Agency to conduct unspecified activities. The President also disclosed that leaders of Congress had been briefed on his action.


"We all agree that the President must have the best possible intelligence to protect the American people, but that intelligence must be produced in a manner consistent with the United States Constitution and our laws. The President's statement today raises serious questions as to what the activities were and whether the activities were lawful.


"I was advised of President Bush's decision to provide authority to the National Security Agency to conduct unspecified activities shortly after he made it and have been provided with updates on several occasions.


"The Bush Administration considered these briefings to be notification, not a request for approval. As is my practice whenever I am notified about such intelligence activities, I expressed my strong concerns during these briefings."


Below is a letter that Pelosi wrote in October 2001 when she was Ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, was declassified at her request in January 2006, along with the response from Lieutenant General Michael Hayden, then the NSA Director.



October 11, 2001


Lieutenant General Michael V. Hayden, USAF


National Security Agency

Fort George G. Mead, Maryland 20755

Washington, D.C. 20340-1001


Dear General Hayden:


During your appearance before the committee on October 1, you indicated that you had been operating since the September 11 attacks with an expansive view of your authorities with respect to the conduct of electronic surveillance under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and related statutes, orders, regulations, and guidelines. You seemed to be inviting expressions of concern from us, if there were any, and, after the briefing was over and I had a chance to reflect on what you said, I instructed staff to get more information on this matter for me. For several reasons, including what I consider to be an overly broad interpretation of President Bush’s directive of October 5 on sharing with Congress “classified or sensitive law enforcement information” it has not been possible to get answers to my questions.


Without those answers, the concerns I have about what you said on the 1st can not be resolved, and I wanted to bring them to your attention directly. You indicated that you were treating as a matter of first impression, [redacted ] being of foreign intelligence interest. As a result, you were forwarding the intercepts, and any information [redacted ] without first receiving a request for that identifying information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Although I may be persuaded by the strength of your analysis [redacted ] I believe you have a much more difficult case to make [redacted ] Therefore, I am concerned whether, and to what extent, the National Security Agency has received specific presidential authorization for the operations you are conducting. Until I understand better the legal analysis regarding the sufficiency of the authority which underlies your decision on the appropriate way to proceed on this matter, I will continue to be concerned.





Ranking Democrat





18 October 2001


The Honorable Nancy Pelosi

Ranking Member, House Permanent

Select Committee on Intelligence

H-405, The Capitol

Washington, DC 20515


Dear Representative Pelosi:


Thank you for the opportunity to clarify any ambiguity that may have arisen as a result of my briefing on October 1 to members of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.


In my briefing, I was attempting to emphasize that I used my authorities to adjust NSA’s collection and reporting.


[redacted] ] Again, thank you for allowing me to clarify this matter.



Lieutenant General, USAF

Director, NSA


Just a quick note on what is a redacted statement. In the documents listed, identifying information has been deleted (redacted) to the extent necessary to protect the personal privacy of individuals discussed in the letter. Public access to this personal information contained in the electronic copies of these documents posted on this web site is being denied pursuant to Exemption 6 of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. §552 (B)(6), and the Department's implementing regulations at 34 CFR 5.71(a). This FOIA exemption requires agencies to withhold information the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.


After reading the above I then went to Congresswoman Pelosi's web site and read her view on 'Protecting Our Country and Our Constitution' section.


We can strengthen our homeland security while protecting privacy and traditional civil rights and liberties. Our country can be secure while continuing to be a beacon for democracy around the world. The Administration must take strong measures to protect security across the board while maintaining respect for constitutional guarantees in the areas of privacy, due process, and the right to counsel.


If the above communication are all accurate and her belief on our constitution is correct, then I can only assume that Pelosi supports NSA's wiretapping. Otherwise, she would have made a huge issue out of it way before the Times story broke. It is hard to determine how much Rep. Pelosi knew, but I would surmise much more than we do now. Maybe this is why she does not want to impeach the President.


If the Democrats retake the House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi will almost certainly become the first female Speaker.

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Guest Governor Howard Dean, M.D.

As the director of the National Security Agency, Michael Hayden oversaw the creation of the massive domestic spying program revealed last week. Now George Bush wants him to run the CIA.


After yesterday's hearings, it's obvious that Hayden's involvement in the NSA's domestic spying program disqualifies him from heading the CIA. His answers to questions from Congress and from the press have been evasive at best and downright false at worst. The Bush administration's chronic pattern of misleading the American people about the full extent of its domestic spying activities was on full display yesterday, and the American people deserve better.


We can't be fooled by the rhetoric from the Republicans: domestic spying is not a partisan issue. Democrats will do what it takes to keep America safe, and support tracking down al-Qaeda and preventing future attacks, but we want the President to follow the law. Domestic spying is one more Bush-imposed chink in the constitutional armor that shields Americans' fundamental rights from over-reaching by the government.


When the Senators meet to decide on Hayden's confirmation, they must hear the voices of their constituents. We want to deliver the voices of 100,000 Americans who oppose this nomination. Will you add your name?




Some Republicans will try to pretend that this is just another political fight. But Americans of every political viewpoint are rightfully disturbed by the misleading answers they've heard in response to questions about Hayden's activity at the NSA.


Republicans in the Senate and the House have already expressed concern about this nomination. The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee called Hayden "the wrong person at the wrong place at the wrong time" and one Senate Intelligence Committee member, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, called the Hayden nomination "a major problem".


Please add your name and circulate this message to your friends. It's up to every one of us to stand up and demand answers:




We need a CIA chief committed to protecting Americans without misleading them. Hayden, through his involvement in the domestic spying program, has shown that he cannot.


We cannot stand for that.

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Guest I think its not right to spy on

I think it is very wrong to spy on Americans and take the prvicey of are American people and I hope that will never happen at all. I do not like president bush at all I think he is a bad person and a bad judgment of character on his decisions he makes for the American people. We need a better president for the United States of America that’s my opinion about Mr. Bush.

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I think it is wrong to spy on americans and take away the privicey of people and then make tthe directer of the National sucurity a top cia person. I think it is asame to have a president that has a bad Jugement of chracter in him. I hope the american people get a better president soon and I do not Like president bush at all and I am happy that he will not be are president everagain thats my opineion on mr. bush.

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Leaked: AT&T NSA documents


The federal court in San Francisco barred the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), its representatives and its technical experts from discussing or disseminating these documents, but did not include whistleblower Mark Klein or the press in the gag order.


EFF's suit accuses AT&T of illegally handing over its customers' telephone and Internet records and communications to the National Security Agency (NSA). The evidence at issue was filed as support for EFF's motion for a preliminary injunction against AT&T, seeking to stop the company's ongoing violations of the law and the privacy of its customers.


We believe that all AT&T customers have had their privacy violated by AT&T's actions. And importantly, bringing the case as a class action the only sure way to make sure AT&T is prohibited from continuing these illegal actions. A class action ensures that an injunction against AT&T would apply throughout the country, not simply in the district in which the lawsuit was filed. Finally, we hope that the risk of serious statutory damages ($1,000 per subscriber under the ECPA and up to $10,000 per subscriber under the Telecom Act) will provide sufficient incentives for AT&T and the other telcos to push back on the feds with respect to this illegal program and in the future.


Here is Mark Klein's statement in its entirety.


AT&T's Implementation of NSA Spying on American Citizens


31 December 2005


I wrote the following document in 2004 when it became clear to me that AT&T, at the behest of the National Security Agency, had illegally installed secret computer gear designed to spy on internet traffic. At the time I thought this was an outgrowth of the notorious Total Information Awareness program, which was attacked by defenders of civil liberties. But now it's been revealed by The New York Times that the spying program is vastly bigger and was directly authorized by President Bush, as he himself has now admitted, in flagrant violation of specific statutes and constitutional protections for civil liberties. I am presenting this information to facilitate the dismantling of this dangerous Orwellian project.





AT&T Deploys Government Spy Gear on WorldNet Network


-- 16 January, 2004


In 2003 AT&T built "secret rooms" hidden deep in the bowels of its central offices in various cities, housing computer gear for a government spy operation which taps into the company's popular WorldNet service and the entire internet. These installations enable the government to look at every individual message on the internet and analyze exactly what people are doing. Documents showing the hardwire installation in San Francisco suggest that there are similar locations being installed in numerous other cities.


The physical arrangement, the timing of its construction, the government-imposed secrecy surrounding it and other factors all strongly suggest that its origins are rooted in the Defense Department's Total Information Awareness (TIA) program which brought forth vigorous protests from defenders of constitutionally protected civil liberties last year:


"As the director of the effort, Vice Adm. John M. Poindexter, has described the system in Pentagon documents and in speeches, it will provide intelligence analysts and law enforcement officials with instant access to information from internet mail and calling records to credit card and banking transactions and travel documents, without a search warrant." The New York Times, 9 November 2002

To mollify critics, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) spokesmen have repeatedly asserted that they are only conducting "research" using "artificial synthetic data" or information from "normal DOD intelligence channels" and hence there are "no U.S. citizen privacy implications" (Department of Defense, Office of the Inspector General report on TIA, December 12, 2003). They also changed the name of the program to "Terrorism Information Awareness" to make it more politically palatable. But feeling the heat, Congress made a big show of allegedly cutting off funding for TIA in late 2003, and the political fallout resulted in Adm. Poindexter's abrupt resignation last August. However, the fine print reveals that Congress eliminated funding only for "the majority of the TIA components," allowing several "components" to continue (DOD, ibid). The essential hardware elements of a TIA-type spy program are being surreptitiously slipped into "real world" telecommunications offices.


San Francisco the "secret room" is Room 641A at 611 Folsom Street, the site of a large SBC phone building, three floors of which are occupied by AT&T. High-speed fiber-optic circuits come in on the 8th floor and run down to the 7th floor where they connect to routers for AT&T's WorldNet service, part of the latter's vital "Common Backbone." In order to snoop on these circuits, a special cabinet was installed and cabled to the "secret room" on the 6th floor to monitor the information going through the circuits. (The location code of the cabinet is 070177.04, which denotes the 7th floor, aisle 177 and bay 04.) The "secret room" itself is roughly 24-by-48 feet, containing perhaps a dozen cabinets including such equipment as Sun servers and two Juniper routers, plus an industrial-size air conditioner.


The normal work force of unionized technicians in the office are forbidden to enter the "secret room," which has a special combination lock on the main door. The telltale sign of an illicit government spy operation is the fact that only people with security clearance from the National Security Agency can enter this room. In practice this has meant that only one management-level technician works in there. Ironically, the one who set up the room was laid off in late 2003 in one of the company's endless "downsizings," but he was quickly replaced by another.


Plans for the "secret room" were fully drawn up by December 2002, curiously only four months after Darpa started awarding contracts for TIA. One 60-page document, identified as coming from "AT&T Labs Connectivity & Net Services" and authored by the labs' consultant Mathew F. Casamassima, is titled Study Group 3, LGX/Splitter Wiring, San Francisco and dated 12/10/02. This document addresses the special problem of trying to spy on fiber-optic circuits. Unlike copper wire circuits which emit electromagnetic fields that can be tapped into without disturbing the circuits, fiber-optic circuits do not "leak" their light signals. In order to monitor such communications, one has to physically cut into the fiber somehow and divert a portion of the light signal to see the information.


This problem is solved with "splitters" which literally split off a percentage of the light signal so it can be examined. This is the purpose of the special cabinet referred to above: Circuits are connected into it, the light signal is split into two signals, one of which is diverted to the "secret room." The cabinet is totally unnecessary for the circuit to perform -- in fact it introduces problems since the signal level is reduced by the splitter -- its only purpose is to enable a third party to examine the data flowing between sender and recipient on the internet.


The above-referenced document includes a diagram showing the splitting of the light signal, a portion of which is diverted to "SG3 Secure Room," i.e., the so-called "Study Group" spy room. Another page headlined "Cabinet Naming" lists not only the "splitter" cabinet but also the equipment installed in the "SG3" room, including various Sun devices, and Juniper M40e and M160 "backbone" routers. PDF file 4 shows one of many tables detailing the connections between the "splitter" cabinet on the 7th floor (location 070177.04) and a cabinet in the "secret room" on the 6th floor (location 060903.01). Since the San Francisco "secret room" is numbered 3, the implication is that there are at least several more in other cities (Seattle, San Jose, Los Angeles and San Diego are some of the rumored locations), which likely are spread across the United States.


One of the devices in the "Cabinet Naming" list is particularly revealing as to the purpose of the "secret room": a Narus STA 6400. Narus is a 7-year-old company which, because of its particular niche, appeals not only to businessmen (it is backed by AT&T, JP Morgan and Intel, among others) but also to police, military and intelligence officials. Last November 13-14, for instance, Narus was the "Lead Sponsor" for a technical conference held in McLean, Virginia, titled "Intelligence Support Systems for Lawful Interception and Internet Surveillance." Police officials, FBI and DEA agents, and major telecommunications companies eager to cash in on the "war on terror" had gathered in the hometown of the CIA to discuss their special problems. Among the attendees were AT&T, BellSouth, MCI, Sprint and Verizon. Narus founder, Dr. Ori Cohen, gave a keynote speech. So what does the Narus STA 6400 do?


"The (Narus) STA Platform consists of standalone traffic analyzers that collect network and customer usage information in real time directly from the message.... These analyzers sit on the message pipe into the ISP (internet service provider) cloud rather than tap into each router or ISP device" (Telecommunications magazine, April 2000). A Narus press release (1 Dec., 1999) also boasts that its Semantic Traffic Analysis (STA) technology "captures comprehensive customer usage data ... and transforms it into actionable information.... (It) is the only technology that provides complete visibility for all internet applications."


To implement this scheme, WorldNet's high-speed data circuits already in service had to be rerouted to go through the special "splitter" cabinet. This was addressed in another document of 44 pages from AT&T Labs, titled SIMS, Splitter Cut-In and Test Procedure, dated 01/13/03. "SIMS" is an unexplained reference to the secret room. Part of this reads as follows:


"A WMS (work) Ticket will be issued by the AT&T Bridgeton Network Operation Center (NOC) to charge time for performing the work described in this procedure document....

"This procedure covers the steps required to insert optical splitters into select live Common Backbone (CBB) OC3, OC12 and OC48 optical circuits."

The NOC referred to is in Bridgeton, Missouri, and controls WorldNet operations. (As a sign that government spying goes hand-in-hand with union-busting, the entire (Communication Workers of America) Local 6377 which had jurisdiction over the Bridgeton NOC was wiped out in early 2002 when AT&T fired the union work force and later rehired them as nonunion "management" employees.) The cut-in work was performed in 2003, and since then new circuits are connected through the "splitter" cabinet.


Another Cut-In and Test Procedure document dated January 24, 2003, provides diagrams of how AT&T Core Network circuits were to be run through the "splitter" cabinet. One page lists the circuit IDs of key Peering Links which were "cut-in" in February 2003, including ConXion, Verio, XO, Genuity, Qwest, PAIX, Allegiance, AboveNet, Global Crossing, C&W, UUNET, Level 3, Sprint, Telia, PSINet and Mae West. By the way, Mae West is one of two key internet nodal points in the United States (the other, Mae East, is in Vienna, Virginia). It's not just WorldNet customers who are being spied on -- it's the entire internet.


The next logical question is, what central command is collecting the data sent by the various "secret rooms"? One can only make educated guesses, but perhaps the answer was inadvertently given in the DOD Inspector General's report (cited above):



"For testing TIA capabilities, Darpa and the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM) created an operational research and development environment that uses real-time feedback. The main node of TIA is located at INSCOM (in Fort Belvoir, Virginia)…."


Among the agencies participating or planning to participate in the INSCOM "testing" are the "National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, the DOD Counterintelligence Field Activity, the U.S. Strategic Command, the Special Operations Command, the Joint Forces Command and the Joint Warfare Analysis Center." There are also "discussions" going on to bring in "non-DOD federal agencies" such as the FBI.


This is the infrastructure for an Orwellian police state. It must be shut down!

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Guest aclu.org

The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of Michigan appeared in federal court today to argue that the Bush administration's warrantless spying program is unconstitutional and should be stopped. This was the first time a court heard arguments on the legality of the National Security Agency program.


"Under our Constitution, no one is above the law, not even the president," said Ann Beeson, Associate Legal Director of the national ACLU, who argued today's case. "The government's arguments that the president, alone, can decide to spy on Americans without a warrant are fundamentally un-American and contradict the vision of the founders of our democracy."


However, the government argued that ACLU's defense of the constitution and checks on presidential power were "extreme." In response, Beeson said, "If our view of the separation of powers is extreme, than the Constitution is extreme."


Representing a host of prominent journalists, scholars, attorneys and national nonprofit organizations who say that the NSA program is disrupting their ability to communicate effectively with sources and clients, the ACLU charged that the program violates Americans' rights to free speech and privacy under the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution. By circumventing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, the ACLU argued that the program violates separation of powers principles and encroaches on Congress' power to regulate the president's authority to spy on Americans. FISA, which was passed by Congress in 1978, requires the executive branch to obtain a warrant before engaging in electronic surveillance of Americans.


"The government today repeated its Orwellian argument that national security prevents any judge from reviewing the legality of the NSA program," said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. "The spying program has no oversight or checks and balances and seemingly no limits. This means that the government can not only monitor any Americans' phone calls or e-mails, but can even search their homes and businesses without a warrant."


The ACLU filed the lawsuit in January against the NSA in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan. Following today's arguments on the legality of the program, Judge Anna Diggs Taylor has scheduled a second hearing on July 10 on the government's request to dismiss the case on state secrets grounds.


"The government is trying to shut this case down, without any legal review, because it simply knows that this program is illegal," said Kary L. Moss, Executive Director of the ACLU of Michigan. "To avoid any oversight, the government is trying to hide behind the once-rare state secrets privilege. Fortunately, everything we need to argue this case is already available in the public domain."


In addition, the ACLU recently filed formal comments reminding the Federal Communications Commission of allegations that AT&T and BellSouth illegally provided customer information to the NSA, and pointing out that under existing law the FCC cannot permit the pending merger between those two companies to proceed without investigating the merit of those allegations. ACLU affiliates in 20 states have also filed complaints with Public Utility Commissions or sent letters to state Attorneys General and other officials demanding investigations into whether local telecommunications companies allowed the NSA to spy on their customers.


Attorneys in the case are Beeson, Jameel Jaffer, Melissa Goodman and Scott Michelman of the national ACLU, and Moss and Michael Steinberg of the ACLU of Michigan.


Background on the case, including profiles of the plaintiffs, is online at www.aclu.org/nsaspying

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Guest Reid Cherlin

In a letter to Attorney General Gonzales today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler renewed his call for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program.



When Congressman Nadler first called for a special counsel in December of last year, the Administration responded by tracing its authority to carry out illegal wiretapping to Article II of the Constitution, and to Congress’s Authorization of the Use of Military Force (AUMF) in 2001. However, the Supreme Court firmly rebuked the President when it held in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, in June of this year, that the Administration’s claims were insufficient to justify military tribunals for detainees in Guantánamo. Therefore, it would seem that this specious reasoning cannot justify illegal wiretapping of American citizens, either.



“The Hamdan decision clearly eviscerates reliance on Article II ‘inherent’ power or on the AUMF to justify the President’s clear and obvious violations of the FISA Act,” Congressman Nadler wrote to Gonzales. “I, therefore, reiterate my demand that you appoint a special counsel to investigate and, if necessary, prosecute the President and other members of the Administration if it is found that they violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (50 USCA §1809) . . .”



The full text of Congressman Nadler’s letter follows.




July 26, 2006



The Honorable Alberto Gonzales

Attorney General

Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, D.C. 20530



Dear Attorney General Gonzales:



I write to renew my demand that a special counsel be appointed to investigate the President’s secret directive that authorizes domestic eavesdropping on United States citizens, without a warrant, by the National Security Agency (NSA). This unprecedented intelligence gathering policy is clearly prohibited by law.



You may recall that I first asked that a special prosecutor be appointed in a letter dated December 19, 2005. The Administration instead justified the actions of the President and others in the Administration in ordering the warrantless wiretaps in clear violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by claiming “inherent” Presidential power under Article II of the Constitution and by claiming that Congress implicitly authorized such action in the Authorization of the Use of Military Force (AUMF) resolution dated September, 2001.



The President’s reliance on the same two sources of alleged authority to enable him to establish military tribunals to try Guantanamo detainees was specifically rejected by the Supreme Court in the Hamdan case. The Hamdan decision clearly eviscerates reliance on Article II “inherent” power or on the AUMF to justify the President’s clear and obvious violations of the FISA Act in approving warrantless wiretaps of American citizens in the United States.



Therefore, the analysis in my December 19, 2005 letter would appear to be irrefutable, and places on you the unavoidable duty to appoint a special counsel. I, therefore, reiterate my demand that you appoint a special counsel to investigate and, if necessary, prosecute the President and other members of the Administration if it is found that they violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (50 USCA §1809) which provides that a person who “engages in electronic surveillance under color of law except as authorized by statute” is “guilty of an offense . . . punishable by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than five years, or both.”



FISA further states that:



“(1) Notwithstanding any other law, the President, through the Attorney General, may authorize electronic surveillance without a court order under this subchapter to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year if the Attorney General certifies in writing under oath that – . . .


(B) there is no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is party;” (§1802)



No such certification has been acknowledged.



It is unconscionable that the President would authorize the NSA to spy on Americans without legal authority, in violation of the Constitution and of the law – and that he states brazenly that he will continue to do so. His refusal to accede to the warrant process – and, therefore, to the Fourth Amendment – is an affront to the Constitution and the American people.



Neither the President himself, nor anyone else in the White House, can authorize an order to spy on Americans without a warrant. Since the President stated that the Attorney General and the White House counsel were part of the decision to initiate this eavesdropping, they cannot carry out an investigation.


The President and his Administration must be compelled to obey the law and to cease violating the President’s Constitutional duty to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”



I strongly urge you to appoint a special counsel to investigate these actions by the President and his associates. Only in this way can we hold the President and the Administration accountable and protect American liberties.






Jerrold Nadler

Member of Congress

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A federal court ruled that the Bush administration’s program to monitor the phone calls and e-mails of Americans without warrants is unconstitutional and must be stopped. This is the first ruling by a federal court to strike down the controversial National Security Agency surveillance program.


Yesturday's ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor agreed that the NSA program violates Americans' rights to free speech and privacy under the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution, and runs counter to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) passed by Congress. Judge Taylor also rejected the government's argument that the case could not proceed because of state secrets, saying that facts about NSA wiretapping have already been conceded by the government.


"By holding that even the president is not above the law, the court has done its duty under our Constitution to serve as a check on executive power," said ACLU Associate Legal Director Ann Beeson, who argued the case before Judge Taylor. "Throwing out the Constitution will not make Americans any safer."


In her ruling, Judge Taylor dismisses the government's argument that the president "has been granted the inherent power to violate not only the laws of the Congress but the First and Fourth Amendments of the Constitution, itself."


"There are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution. So all ‘inherent powers’ must derive from that Constitution," wrote Judge Taylor.


Judge Taylor will next consider a request from the government for a stay pending the government's appeal to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. The ACLU will oppose the motion, but has agreed to a short temporary stay until the court can rule on the government's request. That hearing is expected to be held on September 7th.


Beginning in 2001, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to conduct electronic surveillance of people within the United States, including U.S. citizens, without a warrant. The ongoing surveillance program has been in direct violation of FISA, which requires the executive branch to obtain a warrant before engaging in electronic surveillance of Americans.


The national ACLU and the ACLU of Michigan brought the lawsuit on behalf of prominent journalists, scholars, attorneys and national nonprofit organizations who say that the NSA program is disrupting their ability to communicate effectively with sources and clients.

Judge Taylor noted that impact in yesturday's ruling, citing scholars such as New York University professor Barnett Rubin, who recently returned from Afghanistan where he was conducting interviews for a policy report for the Council on Foreign Relations.


"In order for me to provide analysis and updates for the American public and officials who are concerned about Afghanistan, I need to be able to have confidential communications," Professor Rubin said. "My experience in Afghanistan convinces me that illegal programs such as warrantless NSA spying and the detentions at Guantánamo actually undermine national security."


Kary L. Moss, Executive Director of the ACLU of Michigan, said, "Judge Taylor said today - "there are no hereditary kings in America, and today's decision just vindicates the rights of the people for the people."


The White House has stonewalled congressional attempts to investigate the administration's circumvention of FISA. President Bush personally blocked an investigation by the Justice Department regarding the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program. Although Congress lacks a full understanding of the facts, several bills have been introduced that would reward the government's illegal actions by changing the law to legitimize the programs.


The case, ACLU v. NSA, was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Attorneys in the case are Beeson, Jameel Jaffer and Melissa Goodman of the national ACLU, and Moss and Michael Steinberg of the ACLU of Michigan.

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Guest monkeywrench

We have spent a fortune on collecting everyone's telephone data. And what have we achieved by all of this?


For the war on terror: almost nothing. For surveillance of the american people, for being able to track americans who might decide to revolt in the future if the neocons continue to get their way: plenty.


And that is the real goal. The paranoia of these people must be witnessed up close to be believed; everyone who does not toe their line is suspect, and that includes you and me.


Also, keep in mind that DARPA, the Pentagon's research department, is working on non-lethal crowd control weaponry such as high-amplitude audio devices and narrow-beam microwave "guns" – both of which can make life so uncomfortable that you'll wish you were dead – to handle large unruly crowds. Since this administration cares not one bit about killing just about anyone in Iraq, why should we believe that these non-lethal weapons are for our foreign enemies?


Oh, yeah, and don't forget that Halliburton has been given more than $250 million to build detention centers around the country – our country – with their function "to be determined by future scenarios" (I wonder if this is how the Nazis referred to the building of camps at Aushwitz, Buchenwald and elsewhere?)


Yesser, folks, with the Patriot Act, loss of Constitutional freedoms, constant fear-mongering, internal spying, etc., etc., etc. it is beginning to add up – and the total could be a total loss for innocent americans. That's you and me.

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Guest PointofRays

I dislike Republicans as much as anyone, but this kind of finger-wagging overlooks the broader issue, which is the enormous influence of the U.S. military-industrial complex and our viciously materialistic, self-obsessed culture.

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A conservative watchdog group says the judge who declared President Bush's warrantless surveillance program unconstitutional may have a conflict of interest because she sits on the board of a foundation that has given money to the chief plaintiff in the case.


Judicial Watch, which advocates judicial accountability, said it discovered U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor's monetary tie after reviewing her financial disclosure statements.


The judge is the secretary and a trustee for the nonprofit Community Foundation for Southeastern Michigan. The foundation's Web site shows it gave $45,000 to the American Civil Liberties Union to back a gay rights project. The ACLU has challenged the warrantless surveillance program.


"There has to be an appearance that justice is being fairly administered," Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said Tuesday. "The court's role in awarding a grant to the ACLU and whether or not that is an issue is something that needs to be fully examined."


Taylor declined to comment, as did the Justice Department, which is asking the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati to overturn Taylor's ruling issued Thursday.


ACLU of Michigan Executive Director Kary Moss said the group did not know about the judge's affiliation with the nonprofit but added she did not think it is a "big story."


"We don't think recusal would have been necessary," Moss said.


The foundation released a statement Tuesday saying Taylor is one of 50 volunteer members of its board of trustees, which oversees grant-making decisions.

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Guest ACLU

Following reports that Baltimore peace groups have been targets of illegal spying, the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland today filed public information requests with federal and state authorities. The ACLU said it is concerned that the disturbing national trend of government surveillance of political and religious groups may also be happening here in the "Free State."


"It is fundamentally un-American for the government to invade the privacy of peaceful political and religious groups under the guise of fighting terrorism," said Susan Goering, Executive Director of the ACLU of Maryland. "Such illegal surveillance by the Bush administration and law enforcement agencies abuses our trust and threatens our freedom."


The ACLU requests were filed under the Maryland Public Information Act and the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and seek any documents relating to plans and programs to monitor, conduct surveillance, question, interrogate, investigate and collect information about the groups. Across the country, the ACLU has filed numerous lawsuits based on troubling evidence of unconstitutional government spying revealed as a result of similar information requests.


Jonah House, Baltimore Pledge of Resistance, Baltimore Emergency Response Network, and American Friends Service Committee all believe they have been targets of federal monitoring by the National Security Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the FBI''s Joint Terrorism Task Force, in coordination with local law enforcement, for their planning and participation in campaigns of non-violent protest, including a demonstration outside of the NSA's Fort Meade, MD headquarters in October 2003. In fact, media reports have revealed internal NSA documents showing that the agency used law enforcement, including the Baltimore Police Department, to track members of the anti-war groups as they prepared for protests outside the Fort Meade facility. The documents reportedly identified a special "Baltimore Intel Unit" that engaged in the spying.


The groups said they are particularly concerned by the NSA's actions in light of revelations that President Bush secretly authorized the agency to engage in warrantless electronic eavesdropping and physical surveillance of Americans.


"It is evident as people of faith and people who subscribe to democratic principles that we have a responsibility to speak out regarding our own convictions," said Sister Ardeth Platte, a Dominican Nun with Jonah House, a faith-based Resistance Community dedicated to non-violence. "We believe that the government is engaging in illegal and immoral actions, and if they are monitoring our non-violent and loving work, they are further undermining our democracy and human rights."


Nationally, documents obtained by the ACLU through FOIA requests have revealed that the FBI is using its Joint Terrorism Task Forces to gather extensive information about peaceful organizations. The targeted groups include advocates for the environment, animal rights, labor, religion, Native American rights, fair trade, grassroots politics, peace, social justice, nuclear disarmament, human rights and civil liberties.


This June, the national ACLU filed a lawsuit to force the government to turn over records after media reports revealed evidence that the Pentagon was secretly collecting information on protest activities, antiwar organizations and individuals who attended peace rallies. That lawsuit, filed on behalf of ACLU affiliates in Florida, Georgia, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and Washington, charged that the Defense Department is refusing to comply with national FOIA requests seeking records on the ACLU, the American Friends Service Committee, Greenpeace, Veterans for Peace and United for Peace and Justice, as well as many local groups and activists.


Lawyers from the Washington, D.C. office of the law firm Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe have partnered with the ACLU of Maryland in drafting the requests and reviewing any documents that are obtained.

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Guest ACLU

The American Civil Liberties Union continues its campaign to end illegal wiretapping by the National Security Agency. Below are a series of updates on pending cases and related actions:


ACLU v. NSA - In a case filed on behalf of journalists, lawyers and academics, the ACLU obtained an injunction requiring the President to shut down the illegal NSA spying program. In the first and so far the only court opinion on the legality of the warrantless wiretap program, a district court declared the program unconstitutional and called for an immediate halt to this abuse of presidential power. The government has appealed the lower court’s decision and there will be a hearing before Judges Alice Batchelder, Ronald Gilman and Julia Gibbons the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on January 31. Ann Beeson, Associate Legal Director of the ACLU, will argue on behalf of the organization.


Terkel v. AT&T - The ACLU of Illinois filed a lawsuit on behalf of author Studs Terkel and other activists who challenged the disclosure of customer records by AT&T to the NSA as a violation of federal statutes protecting privacy in electronic communications. The court agreed with the government that allowing the records disclosure claim to proceed would jeopardize national security. However the court declined to permanently bar the claim and allowed the case to be amended to also challenge the disclosure of the content of calls. The ACLU of Illinois then filed an amended complaint which has been consolidated in California with more than 40 cases from around the country posing similar challenges. The cases are now before Judge Vaughn Walker of the District Court of the Northern District of California.

Harvey Grossman, Legal Director of the ACLU of Illinois, along with EFF attorneys, has been appointed co-lead coordinating counsel for all the cases that have been consolidated in California and co-class counsel for all of the cases against AT&T


ACLU v. AT&T and Verizon - The three ACLU affiliates in California, Northern California, Southern California and San Diego, filed a lawsuit under state law in the California courts against AT&T and Verizon to stop them from participating in the NSA’s illegal wiretapping program. This case was also transferred to the federal court in San Francisco, along with Terkel and the other federal cases against the telecommunications companies. On December 21, 2006, ACLU California affiliates presented argument to the federal judge arguing that their case should be transferred back to the California state court. We are waiting for a decision on this issue.


Hepting v. AT&T - The Electronic Frontier Foundation brought a class-action lawsuit against AT&T for turning over the content of customer information and for disclosing customer records as part of the NSA warrantless wiretapping program. The U.S. government tried to get the case dismissed, arguing that allowing it to proceed would harm national security. A federal district court in California decided that the claim challenging AT&T’s provision of the content of calls to the government (but not the records claim) should be allowed to proceed. The government is now appealing that decision to the 9th Circuit in California.

As noted above, Harvey Grossman, Legal Director of the ACLU of Illinois, along with EFF attorneys, has been appointed co-lead coordinating counsel for all the cases that have been consolidated in California and co-class counsel for all of the cases against AT&T.


ACLU takes on Public Utility Commissions - The ACLU has asked PUCs in 24 states to investigate the phone companies and their compliance with the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program.

In Maine, Connecticut, Vermont, and Missouri the government filed federal lawsuits to prevent PUCs, at the ACLU's urging, from investigating the program. The government also filed a separate lawsuit in New Jersey to stop subpoenas about the program. The phone companies have moved to consolidate and transfer the cases to California. At a hearing in Florida before the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation scheduled for January 25, the Maine affiliate will argue that the cases should remain independent.

The ACLU continues to pursue PUC complaints in numerous other states with the intent that they will initiate further investigations as more information about the illegal program comes to light through Congressional hearings

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Guest Caroline Fredrickson

After proposals to alter portions of a surveillance bill were released by the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday, the language released yesterday still allows the government to spy on Americans without a warrant, allows massive collection of private communications without any prior court review and allows a secret court to draft secret surveillance procedures. Senators have the opportunity to do more to bring government surveillance in line with the Constitution.


“As deliberations continue next week, the Judiciary Committee must not allow telecom immunity to be a part of the final bill. Stopping this crucial and historical litigation in its tracks will mean that we will never know the facts about the warrantless wiretapping program. The cases brought against the telecoms are legitimate and deserve to have a full and public airing. Americans deserve their day in court.”

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Guest Marthena Cowart

Twelve nonprofit organizations concerned with oversight and transparency in government sent a letter to all United States Senators urging them to oppose an eleventh-hour secrecy provision added to the Conference Report on the FY 2008 Transportation-HUD Appropriations bill. The provision, cited as Section 193 in the bill, would severely limit the ability of congressional authorizing and budget committees to provide proper oversight in the federal budgeting process. The House already approved the conference committee version yesterday, and the Senate is set to vote on the legislation by the end of the week.


The provision, if passed, will have multiple implications – among them, curtailing the ability of lawmakers to restrain earmarks, and their ability to abide by the Congressional Budget Act. The provision would deny congressional committees and, potentially, public access to the fiscal year budget justifications for the Department of Transportation, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and numerous independent agencies until after May 31 of each year. The House and Senate transportation appropriations committees would be the only committees allowed to view the budget justifications prior to that date.


Signatories include National Legal and Policy Center (Ken Boehm, 703-237-1970); Government Accountability Project (Mark Cohen, 202-408-0034); Citizens Against Government Waste (Leslie Paige, 202-467-5334); Sunlight Foundation (Gabriela Schneider, 202-742-1520 ext 236); Open the Government.org (Patrice McDermott, 202-332-6736); Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Washington (Naomi Seligman Steiner, 202-408-5565); Americans for Prosperity Foundation, Ed Frank, 202-349-5871; National Taxpayers Union (Pete Sepp, 703-683-5700); National Freedom of Information Coalition (Charles Davis, 573-882-5736); American Association of Law Libraries (Mary Alice Baish, 202-662-9200); and Freedom of Information Oklahoma (Joey Senat, 405-744-8277).

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Guest AL



Last year, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) worked to ensure that "budget justifications" for appropriations bills are made "available to the public at the same time they were made available to appropriators." But in the just released House and Senate Conference report for the Transportation-Housing and Urban Development spending bill, a provision has been slipped in that "would ban the public from having timely access to budget information for the Transportation Department." The secrecy language "was not included in either the House or Senate versions of the bill," but the conference report "prohibits the public release of that information until several months after appropriators have received it." "The public has a right -- and a need -- to know not only what the administration is proposing in its budget but what agencies have proposed and their arguments for doing so," said Patrice McDermott of OpenTheGovernment.org. The "result is that many spending bills may be marked up before the public ever has a chance to examine an agency's detailed justifications and descriptions of its budget requests."


H.R. 3074 - Transportation and Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Bill



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Guest John Conyers, Jr.

In recent weeks, there has been lot of conflicting information floating around about efforts by House Democrats to protect the country by adopting rules for intelligence gathering that are both flexible and constitutional. This week, President Bush suggested that my legislative alternative to this summer's hastily-enacted Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) reform, the "Protect America Act," would take away important tools from our intelligence community. He characterized as "obstruction" the skepticism that many of us have about granting amnesty to telecommunications carriers who may have cooperated in warrantless surveillance. I was disappointed that the President did not propose any concrete steps to improve our capabilities or protect our freedoms -- he just repeated his demand for immunity.


This comes close on the heels of a recent controversy concerning the House Democrats' FISA legislation stemming from Joe Klein's column in Time Magazine on November 21st, in which his Republican sources seem to have spun a tale that led Mr. Klein to characterize our efforts as "more than stupid."


I believe that it is time for a comprehensive and detailed response to the President's accusations of obstruction, the misinformation in the Time Magazine column, and the debate over warrantless surveillance. Below is that response. Please let me know what you think, and feel free to pass along to your friends and colleagues.


Joe Klein's recent column deriding the House-passed FISA legislation, along with his subsequent stumbling efforts to clarify its intent, and Time Magazine's failure to publish the protests my Democratic colleagues and I had regarding its many inaccuracies are only the most recent manifestation of disinformation put forth concerning the Bush Administration's warrantless surveillance program and legislative efforts to modify the law. As the lead author, along with Silvestre Reyes, of the RESTORE Act, allow me to set the record straight once and for all.


First, contrary to GOP and media spin, the RESTORE Act does not grant "terrorists the same rights as Americans." Section 105A of the RESTORE Act explicitly provides that foreign-to-foreign communications are totally exempt from FISA – clearly, this exception for foreigners such as members of Al Qaeda does not apply to Americans. In cases involving foreign agents where communications with Americans could be picked up, Section 105B of the legislation provides for liberalized "basket warrant" procedures by which entire terrorist organizations can be surveilled without the need to obtain individual warrants from the FISA court. Again, this new authority is aimed at foreign terrorists, not Americans.


Mr. Klein appears to base much of his criticism of our bill on our use of the term "person" to describe who may be surveilled, based on the suggestion of a Republican "source" that this risks an interpretation that terrorist groups would not be covered. The truth is that under FISA the term person has been clearly defined for almost thirty years to include "any group, entity, association, corporation, or foreign power." It is also notable that both the RESTORE Act, and the Administration's bill passed this summer, contain the exact same language that Mr. Klein questions, yet we've never heard an objection to the Administration's bill on this score.


Second, I must strongly disagree with Mr. Klein's assertion that the Speaker "quashed ... a bipartisan [compromise] effort." As the Chairman of the Committee with principal jurisdiction over FISA, the House Judiciary Committee, I am aware of no effort to prevent bipartisan compromise on this issue. As a matter of fact, last summer, beginning in July, Democrats tirelessly negotiated with Director of National Intelligence (DNI), Mike McConnell, to develop consensus legislation to address the Administration's stated concerns about our intelligence capability.


We addressed every one of the concerns Mr. McConnell raised. He said he needed to clarify that a court order was not required for foreign-to-foreign communications -- our bill did just that. McConnell said he needed an assurance that telecommunications companies would be compelled to assist in gathering of national security information – our bill did that. The DNI said he needed provisions to extend FISA to foreign intelligence in addition to terrorism – the bill did that. He asked us to eliminate the requirement that the FISA Court adjudicate how recurring communications to the United States from foreign targets would be handled – the bill did that. McConnell insisted that basket warrants be structured to allow additional targets to be added after the warrant was initially approved – again, the bill did that. When this legislation was described to DNI McConnell, he acknowledged that "it significantly enhances America's security.''


Yet, suddenly, on the eve of the vote, Director McConnell withdrew his support after consultation with the White House. If the media wanted to identify over-the-top partisanship, they could begin by citing the declaration of David Addington, Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff, that "We're one bomb away from getting rid of that obnoxious FISA Court," and DNI McConnell's assertion that by merely having an open debate on surveillance, "some Americans are going to die."


Third, the RESTORE Act legislation is badly needed to provide accountability to the Bush Administration's unilateral approach to surveillance. The warrantless surveillance program has been riddled with deceptions that only began to come to light when The New York Times first disclosed the existence of the program in 2005. The program itself appears to directly violate FISA and the Fourth Amendment, as a federal court, the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, numerous Republican legislators, and independent legal scholars have found.


The Administration has also mischaracterized the existence, degree, extent and nature of the program itself as well as how much information it has shared with Congress. For instance, compare the President's speech in 2004 with his admission that there was indeed a program of warrantless surveillance. When high-ranking DOJ officials found the program lacking, the White House went to absurd, if not comical lengths, to convince a dangerously ill and hospitalized Attorney General Ashcroft to overrule them. Even today, the Administration continues to obscure its own past misconduct with extravagant claims that the "state secrets" doctrine bars any legal challenges whatsoever - a position that has been rejected by the Court of Appeals.


The Administration's hastily enacted legislation, signed this summer, is little better. Instead of being limited to the stated problem of foreign-to-foreign electronic surveillance, it could apply to domestic business records, library files, personal mail, and even searches of our homes.


Against that backdrop, it is clear we need a new law with the critical oversight provisions included in the RESTORE Act, such as requiring the Administration to turn over relevant documents to Congress, mandating periodic Inspector General reports, and acknowledging that the Administration is indeed bound by FISA.


Finally, the Administration has yet to explain why offering retroactive immunity to telephone giants who may have participated in an unlawful program is vital to our national security. Under current law, the phone companies can easily avoid liability if they can establish they received either an appropriate court order or legal certification from the Attorney General. Asking Congress to grant legal immunity at a time when the Administration has refused to provide the House of Representatives with relevant legal documents for more than eleven months is not only unreasonable, it is irresponsible.


Civil liberties and national security need not be contradictory policies, rather they are inexorably linked. Perhaps nowhere is this interrelationship more true than in intelligence gathering, where information must be reliable and untainted by abuse to be useful. So when we discuss FISA, the first thing we need to do is drop the partisan rhetoric, and stick to the actual record. Under the RESTORE Act, the intelligence community has the flexibility to intercept communications by foreign terrorists without obtaining individual warrants, and the Court and Congress are given the authority to perform their constitutional oversight roles. The only parties who lose in this process are the terrorists, and those who want the executive branch to have absolute and unreviewable power.


Rather than being, in Mr. Klein's words, "well beyond stupid," the RESTORE Act offers a smart and well balanced approach to updating FISA and reining in the excesses of an unchecked executive branch.

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Guest White House Press Secretary Dana

10 Days And Counting – Congress Should Act Now To Ensure Our Intelligence Community Has The Tools It Needs To Protect Us From Foreign Terrorists


"The Protect America Act expires in just 10 days, yet after nearly six months of delay, Congress has still not taken the necessary action to keep our Nation safe. The terrorist threat we face does not expire on February 1. For the sake of our national security, Congress must act now to send the President a bill that keeps a critical intelligence gap permanently closed and provides meaningful liability protection for companies that may have assisted in efforts to defend America following the 9/11 attacks."

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Guest dcaclu.org

On the eve of Groundhog Day, the American Civil Liberties Union warned the Senate not to doom itself to repeat history with its upcoming debate on warrantless wiretapping. Both the House and Senate passed a 15-day extension to the Protect America Act in response to President Bush’s claims that the "flow of vital intelligence" would be disrupted if Congress could not meet the February 1 deadline. Last night, the Senate reached an agreement on the rules of the debate which will take place Monday and Tuesday.


The following may be attributed to Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:


"The Senate stands on the verge of making a huge mistake by endorsing the administration’s massive, untargeted and warrantless surveillance and the illegal actions by the telecoms. At this point, we're asking the Senate to stand up to the administration and pass a bill that gives priority to the constitutionally protected privacy interests of all Americans - not to the nefarious power grab of an administration now bordering on the brink of irrelevance. There are several amendments that could improve the bill, including those to strip immunity out and prevent bulk collection of communication.


"Our demands are simple: stay true to your oath to protect the Constitution. Stand up against an overreaching executive branch and don’t grant blanket immunity to huge corporations that sold out Americans’ privacy. What have we come to when we have to plead with our members of Congress to look out for our interests over the president’s?


"Unfortunately, this debate has been set up to fail civil liberties and the Constitution. What’s happened to the outraged majority of last August? Where is the indignation our leaders felt after being ‘forced’ to pass the Protect America Act? If senators actually go against the will of the American people and pass this bill, not only will we never get the truth behind the domestic spying program, we will have watched our Congress sanction it."

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On Tuesday, the Senate, with the backing of 18 Democrats and every Republican, defeated attempts by Sens. Chris Dodd and Russ Feingold to hold the telecom companies accountable for their past illegal conduct.

Sen. Barack Obama voted for your freedom. Sen. John McCain voted against you. Sen. Hillary Clinton did not vote.


Democratic leaders in the House refused to vote on the Senate bill.


The House passed its own version of the surveillance law in October and it does not include telecom immunity. Democrats want to negotiate a compromise with the Senate when lawmakers return from a 10-day recess.


Here is a little background about the technology.


SS8 Networks, headquartered in Milpitas, Calif., is an independent provider of carriergrade, regulatory-compliant electronic surveillance solutions that have been deployed on all continents for the largest wireline, wireless, cable, VoIP and satellite service providers. These voice and data installations can already intercept more than 500 million subscribers, and serve over 10,000 law enforcement agents. SS8’s expertise in communications forensics ensures that intercepted traffic is securely targeted, seized, stored, transferred and analyzed, so that evidentiary chain of custody is

maintained for successful criminal prosecution.


These solutions are typically divided into three key functions: access, mediation and collection. The access function comprises existing network elements that are provisioned to provide call detail records or call content for target individuals. Alternatively, passive probes may be used where no such capability exists on the access element. The mediation (or delivery) function is used for warrant provisioning, communicating with the access elements and probes and formatting call data for delivery to the law enforcement agency (LEA). The collection function equates to products deployed by LEAs for the appropriate collection and analysis of call records and content.


VoIP Service Providers Must Comply with CALEA


The FCC has ruled that (FCC 05-153, In the Matter of: Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act and Broadband Access and Services) determined that VoIP Service Providers are required to provide access to law enforcement agencies for the purposes of lawful interception.


In 2005, A Petition for Review was filed.




Pursuant to 47 U.S.C. § 402(a), 28 U.S.C. §§ 2342(1) and 2344, and Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 15(a), American Library Association, Association of Research Libraries, COMPTEL, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Pulver.com, and Sun Microsystems, Inc., hereby petition this Court to review the "First Report and Order" of the Federal Communications Commission in In the Matter of Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act and Broadband Access and Services, ET Docket No. 04-295, RM-10865, FCC 05-153, summarized in the Federal Register on October 13, 2005, at 70 Fed. Reg. 59664 (the "Order").1 A copy of the Order is attached. Venue is proper in this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2343.


Petitioners seek relief from the Order on the grounds that it exceeds the Commission's statutory authority and is arbitrary, capricious, unsupported by substantial evidence, and contrary to law. Petitioners request that this Court vacate the Order and the Final Rules adopted therein and grant such other relief as may be appropriate.


It is interesting to see a major American Security Conference ISS was held in DUBAI last year.


Founded in 1980, TeleStrategies is the leading producer of telecommunications conference events in the United States. Since its launch, the firm has produced over three hundred industry events attracting over 10,000 telecommunications professionals globally.


Crowne Plaza Hotel



Hotel Front Desk: 971-4-3311111 | Hotel Fax: 971-4-3315555


Pre-Conference Training Seminar


Sunday, 25 February 2007

8:00-16:00 hrs


Understanding Telecommunications Technologies for Law Enforcement Agents, Intelligence Analysts and Non-Telecom Engineers

Presented by:

Dr. Jerry Lucas, President, TeleStrategies (PhD, Physics)

Dr. Matthew Lucas, VP, TeleStrategies (PhD, Computer Science)

This one day, pre-conference training seminar provides a technology primer for Law Enforcement Agents, Intelligence Analysts, Vendors and Non-engineers, who need to understand the basics of today’s telecommunications networks and services provided in order to support lawful interception and counterterrorism programs.


Four ISS World Tracks:


Conference Track 1

Lawful Interception Technology and Solutions Track


Conference Track 2

Investigative Analysis Technology Development and Solutions


Conference Track 3

Lawful Intercept Regulatory Development and Telecom Operators Compliance


Conference Track 4

Law Enforcement and Intelligence Analyst Training and Product Demonstrations


Keynote Sessions


Monday, 26 February, 2007


Welcoming Remarks


Tatiana Lucas, ISS World Program Director


Lawful Intercept Industry Overview


Tony Rutkowski, President, Global LI Industry Forum and VP VeriSign


Lawful Intercept Guru Roundtable



Dr. Jerry Lucas, President, TeleStrategies


Chris MacFarlane, President, ETI Connect


Carlo Rogialli, CTO, RCS


Alessandro Guida, Solutions Architect, ATIS-Systems


Tony Rutkowski, VP, VeriSign

Dr. Andrew Watson, Technical Director, Detica


Praveen Kankariya, Chairman, Clear-Trail


Andrea Formenti, CEO and Founder, AREA ( Italy)


Government Keynote Panelists



Funsho Fayomi, Assistant Director, Legal Services, Nigerian Communications Commission


Masoon Shukair, Commissioner, Telecom Regulatory Commission, Jordan


Shamsul Jafni Shafie, Head Information and Network Security Department Content, Malaysian Communication


Mohamed Ali Eid, Director General, Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, Somalia

Basil Udotai, Esq., Office of the National Security Adviser, Cybercrime Working Group , Nigeria

Gen. George Boustani, Ex Executive Committee Member of Iterpol, Lebanon

To attend Track 4 you must be a sworn Law Enforcement Officer, Intelligent Analyst, Homeland Security, Justice, Interior or other Government employee with counterterrorism or criminal investigation responsibilities.


Conference Track 4

Law Enforcement and Intelligence Analyst Training and Product Demonstrations


To attend Track 4 you must be a sworn Law Enforcement Officer, Intelligent Analyst, Homeland Security, Justice, Interior or other Government employee with counterterrorism or criminal investigation responsibilities. Government picture ID required for entry to the Track 4 Training and Product Demonstrations rooms. Certificate of training completion will be available upon request.


Monday, 26 February, 2007


How to Run Successful Security Awareness Programs for LEAs

This talk will examine how a formal comprehensive security awareness training structure adds value to the versatility, adaptability and overall effectiveness of LEA agents.


Mathieu Gorge, Managing Director, VigiTrust


Speaker Recognition and Topic Spotting

Siemens will provide an overview of their sophisticated Intelligence Modules with emphasis on Speaker Recognition for voice recordings and Topic Spotting for emails and other text files.


Manfred Bendisch, Product Line Management, Voice & Data Recording, Siemens


Introduction to Key Cyber-Terrorism Concepts-items LEA Staff Should Always Keep in Mind

It is useful to reassess LEAs understanding of basic concepts relating to the fight against such threats: what constitutes Cyber-terrorism, how do attacks take place, against whom. What are governments doing at local and international levels. What is the industry doing and is it doing its part to protect Critical Infrastructure for its citizens?


Mathieu Gorge, Managing Director, VigiTrust


Data Mining and Behavior Analysis

The Siemens Intelligence Platform offers a multitude of investigation tools to the analyst. This session will present two of them - Data Mining and Behavior Analysis - and their application in Intelligence Gathering.


Manfred Bendisch, Product Line Management, Voice & Data Recording, Siemens


Information Hiding, Steganography and Detection

Definition and History, Digital Media, Basic Principles, Users, Comparison with Watermarking, Steganography, Requirements, Covers, Evaluation and Benchmarking, Detection, Attacks, Examples of Techniques, Demos (Audio and Image Files).


Prof. H. Al-Ahmad, Head EE Department, ETISALAT University College


Direct Memory Imaging of Damaged and PIN Locked Mobile Phone Handsets

Forensic Telecommunications Services Ltd. will provide an introduction to their unique capabilities for imaging directly from embedded memory chips in mobile phone handsets. The system also automatically translates the binary data into human readable text ready for evidential use.


Shaun Hipgrave, Director and Operations Manager, Forensic Telecommunication Services


Tuesday, 27 February, 2007


Advanced Targeting Methods for IP Traffic Analysis and Investigations in Tactical Environments

In a world where a telephone call is not a telephone call any longer, and users roam everywhere in wireline and wireless networks, clever targeting techniques must be used in order to grant the investigative action effectiveness.


Carlo Rogialli, CTO, RCS


Identifying, Managing, Controlling Computer Fraud & Security Threats

Guidance Software EnCase® solutions provide the foundation for both law enforcement and corporate enterprise investigations that enable corporate, government and law enforcement agencies to conduct effective computer investigations of all types while maintaining the forensic integrity of the data.


Frank Wyse, EMEA Technical Manager, Guidance Software


ATIS Interception Management System – AIMS

This presentation will highlight the benefits of a unified platform to interface with multiple networks and services.


Nagui Erian, Business Development Manager, ATIS-Systems


Live Demo of Next Generation Lawful Interception Platform


Praveen Kankariya, Chairman, Clear-Trail


ATIS Intelligence Platform

ATIS Intelligence Platform - how to find answers when you don't know what you are looking for.


Alessandro Guida, Solution Architect, ATIS-Systems


Cyber Forensics: Playing Digital Detective

This presentation provides an insightful overview and demonstration of computer digital forensics, identify key players, and define what tools are needed and what you will need to know as a Certified Fraud and Forensic Examiner.


Jon R. Hansen, VP Sales and Business Development, AccessData


The ZEBRA System

The Zebra records all of the call content presented to it, making it possible for law enforcement agencies to reconstruct events leading up to a major incident and exploring all possible scenarios.


André Scholtz, Director, Business Development, VASTech

Marius Ackerman,Technical Director, VASTech


The Group 2000 LIMA Lawful Intercept Solution


Frank Dikker, Manager, Group 2000


Wednesday, 28 February, 2007


ATIS KLARIOS Intelligent DATA Search and Analysis

The ATIS Klarios® application provides simple and intuitive tools for the purpose of analysing (condensing) large amounts of data . This session will focus on and demonstrate a new approach to simple interactive querying and data presentation.


Alessandro Guida, Solution Architect, ATIS-Systems


LVIS Loquendo Voice Investigation System

LVIS is an easy-to-use, turnkey software solution allowing investigators to retrieve biometrics from recordings of telephone conversations. In some cases, Loquendo technology can even work in a real-time environment.


Luciano Piovano, Loquendo


Challenges for LEAs and Intelligence Agencies


Karanvir Singh, Managing Director, Kommlabs Dezign Pvt. Limited


MCR System: An Integrated Platform for Optimized LI ( Live Demo for LEAs)

AREA will present MCR System (Monitoring Center & Recording System), a single software application for LI of voice, fax, video and data, including a graphic tool designed to analyze recorded data and manage all LEAs admin tasks.


Emanuele Marcozzi, Product Manger, AREA


PenLink Tracking of Targets through Location Based Technology:

“Users can define a geographical area of interest and be alerted automatically when a target or targets enters said area”


Derek Teten, Market Developer, Pen-Link


Practical examples of Lawful Intercept

This speech will discuss the options available to authorities to intercept web traffic (both HTTP and encrypted traffic), the technology required and placement options. Examples will be used that include blocking pornographic content across the Middle East, Internet Watch Foundation blocking of child pornography in Europe and sites that promote terrorism. The depth of functionality will be discussed for individual URL blocking, reverse lookups, HTTTPS blocking and updates. Options for logging, blocking Skype and peer-to-peer traffic and collating traffic logs will be discussed.


Craig Hicks-Frazer, VP , Blue Coat Systems


SIC4WIFI - Interception in Wireless LAN Networks

This system, which can be used totally independently as a standalone solution or can be deployed in combination with an interception centre, allows the identification, recording and analysis of wireless LAN sessions in any environment.


Klaus Weigmann & Simon Thewes, Directors, Sales & Marketing, Syborg


SIC - Monitoring Centre for Voice and Data

Presentation of the SYBORG INTERCEPTION CENTRE, the solution for lawful interception of voice and data. SIC integrates all the functionalities which today's investigators need to handle interception of voice and of narrow band and broadband sessions.


Klaus Weigmann & Simon Thewes, Directors, Sales & Marketing, Syborg

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Guest The White House

ISA Fact Check: Setting the Record Straight on Speaker Pelosi

Despite Speaker Pelosi's Misleading Claims, FISA Is No Substitute For

The Bipartisan Senate Bill; Speaker Pelosi's Continued Refusal To

Permit A Vote On The Senate Bill Is Weakening Our Ability To Protect

The Country From Terrorist Attack



House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claims that "under FISA, the Attorney General can approve surveillance in minutes. Surveillance can begin immediately and approval of the FISA Court can be obtained within three days." (Nancy Pelosi, "Statement On FISA Negotiations," 2/22/08)


* Contrary to Speaker Pelosi's misleading statement, FISA's requirements, unlike those of the Protect America Act and the bipartisan Senate bill, impair our ability to collect information on foreign intelligence targets located overseas. In their letter to the House Permanent Select Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes, Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Mike McConnell explained, "FISA was designed to govern foreign intelligence surveillance of persons in the United States and therefore requires a showing of 'probable cause' before such surveillance can begin. … The process of compiling the facts necessary for such a determination and preparing applications for emergency authorizations [approved by the Attorney General] takes time and results in delays." (Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Director Of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, Letter To Chairman Of The House Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence, 2/22/08)


* Attorney General Mukasey and DNI McConnell also explained that "our intelligence professionals need to be able to obtain foreign intelligence from foreign targets with speed and agility." "If we revert to a legal framework in which the Intelligence Community needs to make probable cause showings for foreign terrorists and other national security threats located overseas, we are certain to experience more intelligence gaps and miss collecting information."


* Attorney General Mukasey and DNI McConnell further explained that "because of the hurdles under FISA's emergency authorization provisions and the requirement to go to the FISA Court within 72 hours, our resource constraints limit our use of emergency authorizations to certain high-priority circumstances and cannot simply be employed for every foreign intelligence target."


Speaker Pelosi also misleadingly states that "the FISA Court can approve surveillance orders quickly." (Nancy Pelosi, "Statement On FISA Negotiations," 2/22/08)


* Attorney General Mukasey and DNI McConnell have made clear that the FISA Court requires a showing of probable cause before it will authorize surveillance and satisfying the probable cause requirement will result in unacceptable gaps and delays in monitoring communications of foreign terrorists overseas. "Imposing this requirement in the context of surveillance of foreign targets located overseas results in the loss of potentially vital intelligence by, for example, delaying intelligence collection and thereby losing some intelligence forever." (Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Director Of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, Letter To Chairman Of The House Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence, 2/22/08)


* Attorney General Mukasey and DNI McConnell also stated that "it makes no sense to require a showing of probable cause for surveillance of overseas foreign targets who are not entitled to the Fourth Amendment protections guaranteed by our Constitution." "[Probable cause] makes sense in the context of targeting persons in the United States for surveillance, where the Fourth Amendment itself often requires probable cause and where the civil liberties of Americans are most implicated."


Speaker Pelosi misleadingly asserts that "there is no backlog of cases to slow down getting surveillance approvals from the FISA court." (Nancy Pelosi, "Statement On FISA Negotiations," 2/22/08)


* Attorney General Mukasey and DNI Mike McConnell reported, "we have lost intelligence information this past week as a direct result of the uncertainty created by Congress' failure to act." (Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Director Of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, Letter To Chairman Of The House Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence, 2/22/08)


* The Intelligence Community and Department of Justice have worked over the past week with our private partners – whose assistance is essential to our intelligence collection efforts – to mitigate this problem caused by Congress' failure to act, but we have nonetheless missed intelligence information that we could have been collecting to protect the country. "We appreciate the willingness of our private partners to cooperate despite the uncertainty [caused by Congress' failure to pass long-term FISA modernization]. Unfortunately, the delay resulting from [efforts to gain the cooperation of the private sector after Congress failed to act] impaired our ability to cover foreign intelligence targets, which resulted in missed intelligence information." (Department of Justice and Office of The Director Of National Intelligence, Statement Regarding Cooperation With Private Partners, 2/23/08)


Speaker Pelosi also misleadingly claims "under FISA, telecommunications companies can be compelled by the FISA court to help with surveillance and have legal protection for compliance." (Nancy Pelosi, "Statement On FISA Negotiations," 2/22/08)


* The Attorney General and Director of National Intelligence explained that, "[e]ven prior to the expiration of the Protect America Act, we experienced significant difficulties in working with the private sector because of the continued failure to provide liability protection for such companies." "These difficulties have only grown since expiration of the Act without passage of the bipartisan Senate bill, which would provide fair and just liability protection. Exposing the private sector to the continued risk of billion-dollar class action suits for assisting in efforts to defend the country understandably makes the private sector much more reluctant to cooperate. Without their cooperation, our efforts to protect the country cannot succeed." (Attorney General Michael Mukasey and Director Of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, Letter To Chairman Of The House Permanent Select Committee On Intelligence, 2/22/08)


* According to a statement from the Department of Justice and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence: "[A]lthough our private partners are cooperating for the time being, they have expressed understandable misgivings about doing so in light of the on-going uncertainty and have indicated that they may well discontinue cooperation if the uncertainty persists." "Even with the cooperation of these private partners under existing directives, our ability to gather information concerning the intentions and planning of terrorists and other foreign intelligence targets will continue to degrade because we have lost tools provided by the Protect America Act that enable us to adjust to changing circumstances." (Department of Justice and Office of The Director Of National Intelligence, Statement Regarding Cooperation With Private Partners, 2/23/08)


* As our Nation's intelligence professionals have explained, "other intelligence tools [like FISA] simply cannot replace these Protect America Act authorities. The bipartisan Senate bill contains these authorities, as well as liability protection for those companies who answered their country’s call in the aftermath of September 11." (Department of Justice and Office of the Director Of National Intelligence, Statement Regarding Cooperation With Private Partners, 2/23/08)

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Guest Congressman Jerrold Nadler

Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-08), chair of the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties today spoke on the House floor in favor of H.R. 5349, which would extend the Protect America Act for 21 days. His prepared remarks follow:


“Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 5349, a 21-day extension of the existing FISA Act to provide Congress the time to work out the differences between the two houses on this very important matter.


“It’s a question of our nation's security, and it is a question of our nation's values. We must not be stampeded into action when there is no need. This Administration has the ability to monitor terrorists, and extending current law for 21 days will not remove that ability.


“What this debate is really about is whether national security wiretapping should be subject to judicial and Congressional oversight as the bill that we passed last November, the Restore Act, provides, and as traditional American values insist on, or whether the Administration, any Administration, can be trusted to police itself, and whether American citizens’ liberty should be subject to the unreviewable discretion of the Executive, as the Protect America Act and the Senate passed bill provide.


“Also at stake is the question of so-called telecom immunity. We know what they are asking. They’re asking that the lawsuits against the telecommunications companies for participating in the warrantless surveillance program allegedly in violation of the FISA law be foreclosed.


“Now, there are only two possibilities. There are two narratives. Either the telecom companies nobly and patriotically assisted the Administration in protecting Americans against terrorism -- that's one narrative -- or the telecom companies knowingly and criminally participated in a criminal conspiracy in violation of the law, aiding and abetting a lawless administration to violate Americans' liberties and privacy rights against the Constitution and against the FISA act.


“I believe it is the second. But it's not up to me or up to anybody else here to decide that. That’s why we have courts; courts determine questions of law and fact. People are out there who believe their rights were violated. They brought lawsuits. Let the lawsuits continue. Let the courts decide whether the telecom companies acted properly or acted in violation of the law. It is not the job of Congress to foreclose that judgment.


“If we pass telecom immunity and if we fail to control the state secrets privilege that has been abused by the Administration to prevent the courts or the Congress from reviewing what they have done, there will be no mechanisms in the courts or in Congress to know, let alone to control, what the Executive is doing.


“The separation of powers established by the Constitution to protect our liberties will have been destroyed. That way lies the slow death of liberty. It must not be permitted. We’ve been told by this Administration, ‘trust us.’ I’m not in a very trusting mood these days. Nor should we ever trust any Administration without judicial and Congressional oversight. So it's up to us to pass a 21-day extension

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