Jan 19 2007

Once More On NSA and FISA

Published by at 9:50 am under All General Discussions,FISA-NSA

Jeff over at Protein Wisdom went through the Q&A transcripts after the announcement of the new order from the FIS Court and there are numerous statements that the spying continues unabated:

QUESTION: What has changed here? What has changed that allows you now allows the FISA court to approve this on whatever basis?

SENIOR DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE OFFICIAL: I don’t know that anything has changed.

SENIOR DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE OFFICIAL: Well, it certainly was a critical and necessary in determining whether this was an alternative that was available that continued to protect national security and achieve the objectives that we’re achieving.

So, regardless of what happened, that was a critical requirement, and the President and the DNI needed to be satisfied that there wouldn’t be any significant operational impact, continue to do everything we needed to do.

QUESTION: So you’re saying you’re not doing anything different, all you’re doing is working out a way for this to be handled in a bureaucratic fashion that does not in any way impinge on what you thought needed to be done?

SENIOR DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE OFFICIAL: Let me just say it this way, the objectives of the program haven’t changed and the capabilities of the intelligence agencies to operate such a program have not changed as a result of these orders.

Clear as a bell. What this means is the Terrorist Surveillance Program was nothing more than the mechanism to transfer intel leads to the FBI in a manner that allowed them to then go to FISA if these lead were deemed serious. The TSP was a 45 day renewable executive order. It has been replaced with a FIS Court order that authorizes this process of leads from the NSA being brought to the FIS Court – contrary to the pre 9-11 tradition. No impeachment on NSA-FISA! I may have time to go through the transcript and add to this post later today.

9 responses so far

9 Responses to “Once More On NSA and FISA”

  1. Retired Spook says:

    What this means is the Terrorist Surveillance Program was nothing more than the mechanism to transfer intel leads to the FBI in a manner that allowed them to then go to FISA if these lead were deemed serious.

    Based on all the rhetoric I’ve heard and read in the last couple days, this aspect of the program is still in place. I think it’s a safe bet that the point was finally hammered into the heads of the FISC judges that the next 9/11 plot is just as likely to be uncovered by an NSA intercept (not covered by a warrant) as it is by an FBI wiretap (covered by a warrant). The judges almost certainly had to agree to go along with extremely short notice responses by black ops types to imminent terrorist threats without warrants (or at least upfront warrants) being in effect. Of course, if the Jack Bauer types foil a major terrorist plot as a result of an electronic intercept, (a) the public will probably never know about it, and (b) a warrant after the fact will be meaningless.

  2. stevevvs says:

    Lets hope this is the case.

    As for never knowing, the New York Times and the Washington Post are still up and running. I expect leaks soon, don’t you?

  3. Retired Spook says:

    I expect leaks soon, don’t you?

    Yes and no, Steve. Nothing in politics surprises me any more.

  4. colanut22 says:

    Didn’t one of the judges on FISA resign as soon as the program was outed? Does anyone know who replaced him?

  5. Carol_Herman says:

    There are no surveys on this, but in some countries “being a spook” is a front-runner, in terms of how many people get government jobs that way.

    And, I’m not just talking russia! This is true in China. True in Turkey. True, probably in Iran and Iraq. “Keeping tabs,” is one of the things lots of despots do. First off. It employs their tribes-people. And, job “security,” where one doesn’t have to do 9 to 5 work, happens to get a lot of takers.

    We just don’t see it.

    In other words?

    Probably, the “best” assignments used to be in London. Then, came DC. Being able to scoot from Boston to DC, via super speedy trains, is a common-place way to guess that most of the foreign-type passengers are working “under-da-covers.” And, not all of them are russians, either!

    How do you think foreign countries keep up with the latest? You think they depend on reports out of the UN?

    Most spies, (from other countries), are not poorly educated, either.

    And, some? Well, some with bad guy affiliations, don’t even work for governments. They work for “mafia.” (You wouldn’t guess, for instance, that the Columbian cartel isn’t “well connected?)

    There are all sorts of ways to “get connected.” Because stuff is for sale, by lawyers who tramp K-Street. Not just PR bozo’s. Serious business.

    Some organizations even have homes in the Hamptons. Or wherever it is that the rich folk, and spooks, hang out.

    And, rumors are worth money!

    That’s the stuff, once money abounds, that you should take for granted.

    And, information? I’m surprised everyone things we’re “on top of it.” Or that the Brit’s are! Ya know, the Brits were nearly run out of Moscow! Except for what happened when Kim Philby and the other rich kids (5 of them), all under the influence of the Soviets, “came to light.”

    Those who could, ran to Moscow. And, I suppose, “lived well.”

    The other business? I think you know there are people in this world who have access to more than one passport. (Just as there are drivers on our roads, who have access to driving licenses from more than one state.)

    If you add this up, you’d discover there are lots of people who are under the radar, and who are up to no good.

    And, you also have to account for the fact that most people no longer believe what’s printed as news.

    That’s what happens when large chunks of industry (like CNN), fall to a few moguls. And, stop functioning.

    When “big” companies are run from a few desks. And, only a few desks have seated personnel with clout; what do you think “follows?”

    Because information remains king.

    And, not all “surveilance is done against governments. Some is designed to work against competitors. Maybe, this idea is foreign to you? But it’s not foreign to the Chinese!

    We just never stop and think. But if I had to bet, after Bush had his “experience” with Tenet; and, after he got to speak to Arik Sharon, person-to-person, his eyes opened. Bush is not a happy camper, when people come to him short of information. Just look at how Paul Bremer got hung up to dry. “Talking to congress,” is another way to recognize dopes who are not key players. Other than that? You’re on your own. Read between the lines. Figure things out.

  6. owl says:

    Shhh….this is a blog secret that Bush did not ‘cave’ or stomped into the ground. Read or watch MSM and you will never even question it.

    I just want to congratulate Specter on his new job as second chair fiddle. It suits him much better. Darn shame to lose the good ones (like Sen Roberts) but I can easily name a gang of them that truly deserve their new status (including Warner and Collins). It must be something contagious (ego?) in the Congress that makes some of them forget that their Democratic buddies are not really looking out for their best interests and that George Bush is not actually their #1 enemy.

  7. Retired Spook says:


    I doubt you read this anywhere else, but I’ve always thought that with people like Specter, Collins, Snowe, Hagel and Warner, it’s more about being liked by their political adversaries than anything else — getting invited to dinner parties, golf outings, etc.. The Democrat Party really has no counterparts to the above mentioned Reps. The Donks pretty much march in lockstep to the tune of their leaders.

  8. Terrye says:

    I don’t expect the press to give Bush any credit, but I have been disgusted with the knee jerk reaction of some conservative blogs. Bush will not be President forever, they needed to make this thing permanent.

    Besides, it is one less thing to argue about.

  9. Barbara says:

    Some of these Republicans seem to think Bush is a miracle worker. He can’t win the war in Iraq. Like he is over there fighting personally. He can’t get some is his initiatives through congress. Like all he has to say is abra cadabra give me what I want and congress will do so. He has many uphill battles and his own party has not been with him. He has accomplished a lot when you consider the obstacles put in his path. And the press…….need I say more.