Monday, December 19, 2005


L'Etat c'est Shrub

Have you contributed to DemocracyNow lately? Here's today's biggie: James Bamford: ... The NSA, on the other hand, does it wholesale, where they take entire streams of communications coming down from satellites, which can contain millions of communications, and they sort of intercept those communications with large dishes and filter the information through very quick computers that are loaded with names of people, words that they're looking for, and at one point they -- one listening post in the central part of England, for example, they intercept two million pieces of communications an hour. So that's emails, faxes, telephone calls, cellular calls and so forth. So, it's an enormous amount of eavesdropping, and Senator Frank Church, back in the mid-70s, when he was conducting his investigation of NSA, said that if NSA's technology were ever turned on the American public, there would be no place to hide. Amy Goodman:... I mean, forget the moral implications, the legal implications, the constitutional implications -- can it actually hurt efforts to protect national security? Christopher Pyle: It entirely overwhelms the agents who are doing the analysis by gushing in this much information from so many agencies on so much trivia. The whole system is based upon the assumption that the way you find a needle in a haystack is to add more hay. Martin Garbus: I think that one of the things that we should be aware of is the way the argument by the Bush administration has shifted. First, when they admitted to this wiretapping, they were saying it was wiretaps for surveillance between domestics and people overseas. Now, they’ve admitted it's the wiretapping and investigation of people within the United States, domestic calls to domestic calls. Secondly, the way the argument has shifted: The argument originally had been that the mandate, given as a result of September 11, gave the President the power to do this, as it gave him the power to do torture, as it gave him the power to restrict detainees, as it gave him the power to stop habeas corpus. The argument has now shifted. They're no longer claiming that it's that particular enactment which gives him this authority. This is a straight constitutional argument, saying that under the Constitution, he has the power to protect the United States, and he can do anything under the Constitution to protect the United States, and therefore, he now has a constitutional power, not a statutory power, and that was, again, the argument in the Nixon case.
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