Sep 19 2007

Risk Of Unwarranted Death By Terrorism

Published by at 8:39 am under All General Discussions,FISA-NSA

Major Update: Seems the Dems are starting to fold again, knowing damn well they could never politically survive the exposure of what happened prior to 9-11 and why Bush modified how NSA intercepts can now disseminate leads on possible terrorists in country to the FBI:

Democratic leaders have now largely accepted the idea of warrantless surveillance of international calls as long as the target is foreign, but they have been arguing that a special court should play a stronger role in reviewing the surveillance after it has been conducted, to make certain that Americans are not being caught up in the program.

Again we see the misdirected focus of the liberal media and dems. The only check should be to make sure no innocent Americans are unreasonably investigated. We WANT those guilty of colluding with al-Qaeda to attack us ‘caught up in the program’. And it is this kind of freudian slip which reminds everyone no one would be safe if liberals had the helm of this country. – end update

The FISA debate going on in the nation is sometimes idiotic when we look at what happened in leading up to 9-11. And it is also idiotic in the face of current practices for surveillance. The courts are trying to become generals in the war and they lack the necessary abilities in the required areas of national security, which is glaringly obvious. They are more concerned with getting their theory of law instantiated into the legal process than the ramifications of their foolish ideas about law and society. Law degrees do not convey omnipotence or perfection. They simply note the holder has passed the requirements to now practice in that field. The holder is still human – they are still error prone and can make major bonehead mistakes.

Prior to 9-11 we were spying on our enemies. This is not new and not unconstitutional. We knew al-Qaeda had more desires on America than embassies in Africa and a Navy vessel in Yemen. So we monitored them – which is what we have always done. And, sadly, we detected al-Qaeda’s highjackers here in the US prior to 9-11. We did this through the talents and tools at the NSA. This was admitted to by General Hayden, then head of the NSA and now head of the CIA, back in 2006 when the Democrats started folding on the NSA-FISA issue:

On January 23rd, General Michael Hayden spoke to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Hayden informed us that his office has been operating under an executive order (EO#12333 from 1981) that gave the NSA the tools it is currently using — meaning the NSA wasn’t suddenly unleashed to go marauding every American’s privacy by George W. Bush.
“I [Hayden] testified in open session to the House Intel Committee in April of the year 2000. At the time, I created some looks of disbelief when I said that if Osama bin Laden crossed the bridge from Niagara Falls, Ontario to Niagara Falls, New York, there were provisions of U.S. law that would kick in, offer him protections and affect how NSA could now cover him.”
He admits that we knew that Mohamed Atta and his crew were in the US. But he says that “we did not know anything more” because prior to 9/11 “Mohamed Atta and his fellow 18 hijackers would have been presumed to have been protected persons, U.S. persons, by NSA “.

We knew folks. We had them on our radar. But we did not know WHY they were here yet. We just knew they worked with really bad folks back in the Middle East because they stayed in contact with them (of course now, since the Dems and the NY Times blew this program by exposing its secret nature al-Qaeda has taken steps to neutralize our monitoring efforts). Why did this happen? It happened because someone thought a good process to protect America from the next President Nixon would be to blind ourselves to any threats in our country. We were safe across our oceans and their were few, well controlled WMDs in 1978 when FISA was created. The risk, at the time, seemed minimal and the solution was simple. Well, it was a simple-minded solution. The essence of this process I found in the Congressional Record of the Church Committee which birthed FISA:

The interception and subsequent processing of communications are conducted in a manner that minimizes the number of unwanted messages. Only after an analyst determines that the content of a message meets a legitimate requirement will it be disseminated to the interested intelligence agencies. In practically all cases, the name of an American citizen, group, or organization is deleted by NSA before a message is disseminated.

Internal NSA guidelines ensure that the decision to disseminate an intercepted communication is now made on the basis of the importance of the foreign intelligence it contains, not because a United States citizen, group, or organization is involved. This procedure is, of course, subject to change by internal NSA directives.

Emphasis mine of course. The fact is we had Atta and others because they were calling back to the Middle East for direction and assistance and to give status on their horrific plans. But all the NSA could do is say they were here. The information on where and at what number and under what name could not be passed to the FBI to investigate. This was the silly rules that violate even today’s surveillance warrant process.

I have said many times, and there is no debate, that the way a warrant works in the US is the named TARGET of the warrant is listened to over all listed means (phone, email, etc) and ALL information related to those who CONTACT the target is retained. You cannot target a contact. In other words you cannot start listening in on the calls of someone who called the original target. But you can give the FBI or local law enforcement the tip that says, “check this person out, we picked them up on a surveillance and we think they may be implicated”. The person is checked out and law enforcement goes and gets another warrant if the CONTACT is now a suspected TARGET.

In the real world outside DC the NSA has always had the authority under our constitution to monitor our enemies – it is not even a question in war time. That is equivalent to a blanket warrant on our enemies as TARGETS. Therefore these prime TARGETS and their CONTACTS should be dealt with the same way as surveillance is inside the US. When information is gleaned on a CONTACT who communicates with a legal TARGET, then that information gained in that communication should be fair game for law enforcement to follow up on. Why else would we monitor criminals to detect their criminal organizations? Why treat terrorists to BETTER protections than a drug lord or mafia kingpin>

I won’t even pretend to make the logic work on that one. The media has already exposed enough of the NSA-FISA workings to allow al-Qaeda to adapt. That has increased their likelihood of successfully killing Americans. While some liberal, fantasy-living judges are worried about risk of unwarranted surveillance, most of us are worried about the risk of unwarranted death by terrorism. Here are the top 7 liberal myths about FISA-NSA which expose how the liberals are playing a dangerous political PR game to try and win more votes (I guess they own the dead voter votes already, why not more). Some examples of the silliness:

1. MYTH: The Protect America Act of 2007 eliminates civil liberty protections under the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

FACT: The new law simply makes clear – consistent with the intent of the Congress that enacted FISA in 1978 – that our intelligence community should not have to get bogged down in a court approval process to gather foreign intelligence on targets located in foreign countries. It does not change the strong protections FISA provides to Americans in the United States – surveillance directed at people in the United States continues to require court approval as it did before.

To spell this out to the fact challenged liberals in English, it means we can use any information gained when someone in the US contacts Bin Laden where ever he may be hiding, as we would any ordinary surveillance effort here in the US. It means we can tell the FBI someone at this location, at this address (email, phone, etc) and using this name contacted Osama asking for the green light to execute their plan. It means the FBI can investigate this person or persons and, if they find something worrisome, they will go to FISA and get a warrant. ONLY THEN will that person in the US be subject to surveillance of their communications. Up until this point it was only their contact with a legal target (aka a known terrorist) that were subject to listening – basically because we were listening to a legal target. No different from all other surveillance operations in the US.

3. MYTH: The Protect America Act allows the government to target Americans in the United States under the guise of surveilling a person located overseas – a practice known as “reverse targeting.”

FACT: “Reverse targeting” was, and remains, prohibited by law.

Don’t listen to the Chicken Littles on the left. They are either uninformed alarmists or dangerous manipulators looking for political gain. In either case we cannot let our national security be dictated by them. And sadly the media keeps repeating these lies and untruths, again either from ignorance or deceit:

The new law eased some of the restrictions on government eavesdropping contained in the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, to let the government more efficiently intercept foreign communications.

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

Such surveillance was generally prohibited under the original FISA law unless a court approved it. Bypassing court approval is one of the most controversial aspects of the new Protect America Act, which will expire in January unless Congress extends it.

Emphasis mine again. Actually, the monitoring of the calls, as I noted from the Congressional record, were not prohibited. The contents of the call could be disseminated as long as the details that could lead to the person in the US were deleted. It was a naive and dangerously stupid PROCESS. We knew we were being attacked, but once in country the legal eaglets determined our enemies should be free to roam amongst us. FISA court submissions run in the hundreds of pages and take more than 72 hours to develop. But in the days of cell phones and laptops and PDAs a terrorist could be two states away in 6 hours.

No one wants our generals to be replaced with judges (any more we want judges replaced with generals). Living within your constitutional bounds can be frustrating, but Congress and the Courts to do no execute wars or our national defense. We elect and empower only one Commander-in-Chief. We do not have an unelected committee of judges as President nor do we let the squabbling and impotent Congress run our nation’s defenses. The reason is these debating societies we find in courtrooms and the halls of Congress are not set up to react and protect. They are designed to pontificate and weigh (and too many times bend to special interests and fringe ideologues with lots of money). There has never been any proof of a violation of the NSA-FISA efforts to defend this nation. There are WAY too many people involved in the effort to let a blatant misuse happen (errors are made by people folks, get over it – or just look at ourselves honetly at least).

Any changes to hinder the NSA in detecting and foiling attacks on us must have a justification much stronger than “it could be abused”. Any power can be abused. The one example that comes to mind is when Wesley Clark, then head of NATO forces in the Balkans ordered British forces to take an airport held by the Russians. It was a blunder headed order that could have led to open hostilities. The Brits declined to be so stupid. That is power being misused. There is no equivalent example that MIGHT give a reason to expose Americans to higher chance of death by terrorism. But so far the democrats have not proven any reason we should go back to the good old days when al-Qaeda murderers, once in our country, could rely on legal idiocy to keep them hidden from law enforcement. Will we once again tell the NSA to delete the ‘who’ and the ‘where’ from intel so we end up with a warning that someone, out of the 300 million people in America, somewhere in the 9.1 million square kilometers (or 3.6 million square miles) that is America, is preparing to attack us. With that kind of vague knowledge we might as well surrender to al-Qaeda right now – which seems to be the prime goal of all Democrat ‘policies’ these days. Someone needs to make the case why we should protect the identity and location of someone contacting Bin Laden or Zawahiri. Someone needs to make the case why it is OK to let 3000 people die horrible, frightening deaths as a way to protect someone from the remote possibility from an abusive administration using the NSA for personal gain. I would prefer someone PROVE there is a case of abuse before we let another 3000 people die uselessly. Legal theory is fun to debate – no one should have to die over it.

For those who want to KNOW what has happened to FISA here is a great document which highlights all the changes to FISA since 9-11. Any can see the changes are not as Orwellian as the leftist alarmists claim. Then again they never read anything – their just sock puppets.

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “Risk Of Unwarranted Death By Terrorism”

  1. dhunter says:

    Be extra careful to delete any details that could be traced to someone here in the states after all we wouldn’t want to catch a traitorous congress person or two giving instructions to AlQaeda.

  2. […] criminal suspects and not as a group of enemy combatants on a mission of mass destruction, as was admitted by then head of the National Security Agency, General Michael Hayden: On January 23rd, General Michael Hayden spoke to the National Press Club in Washington, […]