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Former FISA Judges: Bush's warrantless wiretaps completely legal


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1. Actually, I am quoting Benjamin Franklin. I by no means base my argument on this - which is that this program is contrary to the Contitution and specific laws of the United States governing wiretapping.

You mean misquoting Franklin.

2. Yes, which is important to establish. The idea that somehow because we havent been attacked in 5 years that these programs are successful is foolhardy. Obviously, we had robust capability before and the attacks still slipped through. I would like to see some evidence this can help before we rest out laurels in an unproven system.

I'm not stating that information technology is soley responsible for preventing attacks that may or may not have occurred since 9/11, merely that it's a useful tool that shouldn't be abandoned.

Were the systems that predate 9/11 illegal and unconstitutional or not?

3. Specifically, they have far more utility to a totalitarian government than to one with benign intentions. Again, how does keeping these call logs help protect us, again?

Asked and answered. I have better things to do than reword my previous arguments.

4. I'm concerned that it will not work for it's 'declared' purpose, but will instead remain and continue accumulating data until sometime in the future when a political leader perhaps uses it for personal gain. You know, checking on the opponent's phone calls - just this once, honest!

That's fair. Bill Clinton used FBI files as dirt sources for his political enemies, so the precedent is there. (To be completely fair, I'll allow that every President in US history has used the powers of his office to dig up dirt to one degree or another. If there were Presidents who didn't they are probably a minority.)

The Democrats lack the numbers to force the issue. How are they going to impeach when they cant get enough votes for a special prosecutor? Besides, they are spineless.

Did I say impeach? I'm saying that anyone who feels that they've been wrongly targeted by this program, from Joe Citizen to Howard Dean, can bring a suit to the Supreme Court to attempt to prevent the government from misusing their phone records or tapping their calls. The Democrats are in the best position to get the info needed to press such a suit but they don't. At the very least, they could apply for an injunction.

Besides, the Senate Republicans under Clinton proved that impeachment is a losing strategy twice over - it doesn't have much of a practical effect against a President who is unwilling to step down, and it turns off the voters.

7. Yes, of course it does have potential for misuse, but not in a way that will destory the fabric of society. If you search, you will find numerous vendors selling just such items, and news articles announcing various governments deploying them. Personally, I dont care if someone james my cell phone but I do care if they have my phone records. Especially since the jammer could be proven to save lives. You can hardly say the same about the Call Registry.

You say that now, but you'd feel differently in an emergency situtation where you're unable to send or receive vital telephone calls because some rich dude wants his peace and quiet.

8. Fair enough. If someone could advance a reason why we need the program, perhaps I could consider it. As of now, I see no evidence this does anything to help anyone stay safe.

Alright then. The status quo is likely to remain until November 2006. If the Dems retake Congress they can pressure the lid off of the NSA's programs, if they so desire, to expose it's successes and failures. I say we wait until then.

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