Feb 12 2008

FISA-Freedom Day

Published by at 11:23 am under All General Discussions,FISA-NSA

I have written extensively on the the NY Times’ and liberal lies about the roles of the NSA and FISA in protecting this nation and how those roles had to be corrected in the wake of 9-11. The lie told by the NY Times was that the NSA was ‘bypassing’ FISA, but in reality it was not being bypassed – the NSA leads were now going to FISA for the first time to determine if these leads were worth following. My hint came at looking at the sourced of the original NY Times Story – a certain FIS Court Judge – and the fact that the one quote from that FIS Court Judge mentioned NSA ‘tainting’ the FISA process:

Two associates familiar with his decision said yesterday that Robertson privately expressed deep concern that the warrantless surveillance program authorized by the president in 2001 was legally questionable and may have tainted the FISA court’s work.

Emphasis mine of course. To “taint” is to pollute. After some investigating it was clear what really happened after 9-11, instead of the pre 9-11 habit of throwing out leads inside the US garnered from monitoring this nation’s over seas we changed the process so that those leads would be investigated by the FBI and brought to the FIS Court to determine if full up surveillance was warranted (pun intended).

What I learned was that prior to 9-11, from the process in the late 70’s to establish FISA, NSA leads were not considered valid evidence to the FIS Court. This was part of the Gorelick Wall which the FIS Court relished supporting – and even fought for its retention after 9-11. It is the only time in America’s history that the FIS appeals court has ever been in session, and it ended the judicial insurrection brewing amongst some FIS Court judges.

Clearly the story in the NY Times was an effort by some liberal FIS Court judges to effect the 2004 presidential election (prior to which is when the story was supposed to have broken but it was delayed). So for many years the far left has been rabidly chasing a myth, a fantasy. All that changed after 9-11 is that when the NSA picks up a lead in the US from their monitoring terrorists overseas it can pass that lead to the FBI to investigate, and the evidence obtained due to that NSA lead (but not the lead by itself – important point here) can be used in a FIS Court proceeding to consider a warrant for full surveillance. That’s it folks – that is the big change. And ghosts of Nixon’s second coming have some on the left panicked that these leads on potential terrorists are the end of America as we know it.

The Senate today — led by Jay Rockefeller, enabled by Harry Reid, and with the active support of at least 12 (and probably more) Democrats, in conjunction with an as-always lockstep GOP caucus — will vote to legalize warrantless spying on the telephone calls and emails of Americans, and will also provide full retroactive amnesty to lawbreaking telecoms, thus forever putting an end to any efforts to investigate and obtain a judicial ruling regarding the Bush administration’s years-long illegal spying programs aimed at Americans.

Always the drama queens those whacky liberals. Greenwald has proven incapable of grasping this issue, more comfortable swooning in fits of hyperventilating exaggerations. The fact is America cannot listen in on all the phone calls and emails of Americans without a warrant. Only those with a known terrorist under NSA surveillance can be picked up – and then they have to raise concerns inside the FBI to and the FIS Court before a warrant and full surveillance is activated. BTW, here is one of my more comprehensive and recent posts on the matter.

What has Greenwald all aflutter with the vapors is the fact Congress is going to make permanent all the temporary fixes they have put in place over the years – since the only thing that has occurred after 5 years of this ridiculous battle is terrorists have been thwarted and Nixon is still in his grave. How do I know it will pass? There is no news about the vote in the liberal media!

Update: Looks like a bad day for the delusional left:

After nearly two months of stops and starts, the Senate rejected by a vote of 31 to 67 an amendment that would have stripped a grant of retroactive immunity to the companies. President Bush has promised to veto any new surveillance bill that does not protect the companies that helped the government in its warrantless wiretapping program.

Imagine American companies working with the American government to help ensure the safety of the American people. How criminal can you get? Ed Morrissey has some thoughts on the matter.

8 responses so far

8 Responses to “FISA-Freedom Day”

  1. WWS says:

    Remember how Soothsayer, as good an example of a BDS suffering lib is I’ve seen, used to say that this was going to be the key to impeaching Bush and Cheney? I think that is behind the real rage towards this issue on the left – they really couldn’t care less about the security aspect, if this was a Clinton or an Obama advocating this they would be jumping up and down in gleeful support. The real problem for them is that they realize, once this is passed into permanent law, their hopes of some grand legalistic complaint are gone forever. Bush pushed the envelope of a slightly gray area of law, which was then confirmed by subsequent legislation. Bush will have been validated as having been correct by a Democratic Congress, and that is what the partisans truly cannot live with.

  2. kathie says:

    The Dems have demonstrated they are nothing more then secret leaking, over wrought hyperventilating gas bags trying to destroy a sitting President who is protect their asses. This is the kind of politics that the American public is soooooo sick of. I am sick of “I feel your pain” politics. Let me decide what my pain is, use your intellect to form policy please.

  3. conman says:

    AJ, there are so many inaccuracies in this post I don’t know where to begin. I’ll limit myself to the two most glaring ones.

    First, your suggestion that the statement in the FISA court order is the ONLY evidence that the NSA program is broader than that disclosed by the White House and addressed in the recently passed FISA legislation is a joke. The White House itself does not even deny this fact. When former AG Gonzales testified before the Judiciary Committee this Fall and was repeatedly asked if there are any NSA programs that involve the interception of domestic communications, he refused to provide a direct answer and simply said that the program Bush had PUBLICALLY DISCLOSED does not involve such actions. When pressed, he specifically refused to answer questions about any other possible NSA programs for secruity reasons – read the freakin transcript! There is also the whistleblowers from AT&T and Verizon involved in assisting the NSA whom recently testified to Congress that the program appears to involve intercepting all communications, domestic and international. AT&T inadvertently confirmed the existence of the NSA facility in its San Fransisco regional headquarters in a legal briefing, so I guess AT&T is now part of the liberal conspriacy? See http://www.news.com/AT38T-leaks-sensitive-info-in-NSA-suit/2100-1028_3-6077353.html?tag=st.nl. I could go on and on, but it would take me all day.

    Second, your claim that the telecomm companies were simply doing what they were told to do and got caught in the middle is completely wrong. You obviously have never read the original FISA legislation. FISA specifically addresses when and how telecomm companies are required to cooperate with the government and provide requested information. 18 U.S.C. 2511(2)(a)(ii) provides:

    “Notwithstanding any other law, providers of wire or electronic communication service. . . are authorized to provide information, facilities, or technical assistance to persons authorized by law to . . . conduct electronic surveillance, . . . if such provider . . . has been provided with. . . a certification in writing by . . . the Attorney General of the United States that no warrant or court order is required by law, that all statutory requirements have been met, and that the specified assistance is required. . .”

    The problem is not that FISA prohibited the telecomm companies from cooperating with the government, the problem is that Bush and the telecomm companies didn’t follow FISA. The Attorney General did not provide them the required certified letter and the telecomm companies (except for Qwest) didn’t request/demand it. Qwest did demand it and the government wouldn’t/couldn’t provide it. Why? Because they knew there request was not legal and the AG wouldn’t sign such a letter.

    Have you ever asked yourself why Bush was willing to veto the entire FISA legislation if it didn’t contain retroactive immunity and jeopardize our security? Do you really think it was because he was so concerned about the unfairness of subjecting them to litigation that he was willing to put the entire country at risk? It is obvioius – Bush didn’t want the public to know the full extent of the NSA program and these lawsuits were the best chance to find out.

    And yeah, you are right that the left is way too paranoid about this issue. FISA was created after we discovered that the FBI was spying on special interest groups the government didn’t like (anti-war protesters, MLK, etc.) for years. Who cares if the government selectively spys on fellow americans right? And Nixon – what is the big deal? A sitting president spying on the headquarters of the opposition party in order to gain an advantage in the election – what is the big deal, they do that all the time in Russia.

    You repeatedly claim that the NSA program does not include domestic communications, but I question that assumption as well. Whistleblowers from AT&T and Verizon involved in assisting the NSA recently testified to Congress that the program appears to involve intercepting all communications, domestic and international, which has not been discredited or disputed by the White House. Now Bush is willing to jeopardize the entire program unless Congress agrees to include retroactive immunity to the telecomm companies so all of these law suits seeking more information about the scope of the program will be dismissed.

  4. WWS says:

    Today, Conman, 67 Senators said that you were wrong and that AJ is right. That must really hurt.

    (now cue a long and tired lament about how corrupt and soulless and yada, yada, yada, heard it all before)

  5. conman says:


    Good point – I hadn’t thought about the significance of a majority of the Senate voting for something. One thing we have definetly learned over the last several years is that if a majority of the Senate thinks it is a good idea – it must be a good idea. Authorizing President Bush to invade Iraq to secure the phantom WMDs – that one has turned out really well. All that pork barrell spending and record deficiets over the last 7 years – I guess that is a good thing too? Should I go on? I guess the difference between you and I is that you completely trust that our government always does the right thing and I’m somewhat more skeptical. You know, that old conservative principle of wanting limited government and being skeptical of government efforts to expand its power. Who knew that you were a closet liberal WWS?

  6. MerlinOS2 says:

    It is interesting to watch the reaction today and this evening on the left at blogs like Kos and FDL and others even more left than that to the voting today on the FISA legislation.

    They are trying to make the best of a lopsided defeat. It is just a shame how much they have mis represented the factual points of the bill and spun and framed their presentations in their own world view rather than transparent analysis of the facts of the bill.

    Even worse is the lack of constructive criticism of their presentation by all those following their coverage of this whole legislative history.

  7. WWS says:

    See, Conman? The senate is corrupt, doesn’t represent the people, yada yada yada just like I knew you would say.

    There’s really one point to consider about the Senate vote – you and your ideas lost. End of story. All the whining in the world won’t change that, but it will continue to make you look pathetic. Better if you quit now.

  8. conman says:


    Boy, you really got me there. It is pretty obvious from your responses that you really know your stuff on this issue and put me in my place. Trust me, it hurts me deeply when someone of your obvious intellictual capacity calls me “pathetic” – I don’t know how I’ll get over it.

    Oh, by the way, I wanted to thank you for your last comment – it was a wonderful gift. I can’t wait to quote it in all my responses to your future comments complaining about the Democratic President and Congress over the next several years.