Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Unwarranted Outrage (The Times blew our cover)
National Review Online ^ | 12/19/05 | James S. Robbins

Posted on 12/19/2005 12:01:30 PM PST by frankjr

I have no doubt that revelations in the New York Times that the NSA has been conducting selective and limited surveillance of terrorist communications crossing into or out of the United States will be immensely valuable to our enemies. I also have no doubt that these and similar actions can be legal, even when conducted without warrants.

How could that be? From the sound and fury of the last few days from politicians and pundits, you would think this is a development as scandalous as Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy's authorization to wiretap Martin Luther King Jr. But the legality of the acts can be demonstrated with a look through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). For example, check out section 1802, "Electronic Surveillance Authorization Without Court Order." It is most instructive. There you will learn that "Notwithstanding any other law, the President, through the Attorney General, may authorize electronic surveillance without a court order under this subchapter to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year" (emphasis mine).

Naturally, there are conditions. For example, the surveillance must be aimed at "the acquisition of the contents of communications transmitted by means of communications used exclusively between or among foreign powers." Wait, is a terrorist group considered a foreign power? Yes, as defined in section 1801, subsection (a), "foreign power" can mean "a group engaged in international terrorism or activities in preparation therefore," though the statue language would explicitly apply to "a faction of a foreign nation or nations."

But isn't international terrorism that which takes place abroad, as opposed to homegrown domestic terrorism? Not exactly: Section 1801 subsection (c) defines international terrorism as, among other things, terrorist actions that "occur totally outside the United States, or transcend national boundaries in terms of the means by which they are accomplished, the persons they appear intended to coerce or intimidate, or the locale in which their perpetrators operate or seek asylum." So if you are hiding, making plans, facilitating, attacking, or intending to spread fear inside the US, and have a link abroad, you are an international terrorist. Quite sensible.

O.K. fine, but what about the condition that there be "no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party?" Doesn't that necessarily cut out any and all communication that is domestic in origin or destination? Well, not quite. Return to section 1801, subsection (i): "United States person," which includes citizens, legal aliens, and businesses, explicitly "does not include a corporation or an association which is a foreign power."

Well sure, but does that mean that even if you are a citizen you cash in your abovementioned rights by collaborating with terrorists? Yes you do. You have then become an "Agent of a foreign power" as defined under subsection (b)(2)(C). Such agents include anyone who "knowingly engages in sabotage or international terrorism, or activities that are in preparation therefor, for or on behalf of a foreign power," and even includes those who aid and abet or knowingly conspire with those engaged in such behavior.

Wait, that includes anyone, even citizens? Yes — subsection (b)(1) is the part that applies to foreigners; (b)(2) covers everybody. And the whole point of the act is to collect "foreign intelligence information," which is defined under section 1801 subsection (e)(1)(B) as "information that relates to, and if concerning a United States person is necessary to, the ability of the United States to protect against sabotage or international terrorism by a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power."

Whoa, you say, that is way too much power for the president to wield without checks and balances! Well, true, and since Congress wrote this law, they included reporting requirements. The attorney general must report to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence 30 days prior to the surveillance, except in cases of emergency, when he must report immediately. He must furthermore "fully inform" those committees on a semiannual basis thereafter, per section 1808 subsection (a). He must also send a copy of the surveillance authorization under seal to the so-called FISA Court as established in section 1803; not for a warrant, but to remain under seal unless certification is necessary under future court actions from aggrieved parties under section 1806 (f).

This is significant, because it means that some of the same politicians who have been charging abuse of power may also have been briefed on what was going on long ago. The White House should get ahead of the story by noting which congressmen were informed of these activities, instead of allowing them to grandstand so shamelessly. It would also help if the White House released some information on how the surveillance has helped keep the country safe. What attacks were disrupted, what terrorists were taken down, how many people saved? A few declassified examples would be very useful to ground the discussion in reality rather than rhetoric.

So how do the revelations in the Times help the terrorists? Think it through — if you were a terrorist and you believed (as most people seem to) that the NSA would ignore your communications if they crossed U.S. borders, your best move would be to set up communications relay stations inside the U.S. Terrorists are well known for their ability to find and exploit loopholes in our laws, and this would be a natural. For all we know our intelligence agencies have been exploiting these types of communications for years without the terrorists knowing it. Now they will fall silent, because now the bad guys know better. So New York Times writer James Risen will sell his book, the Times will increase circulation, politicians will beat their breasts and send out fundraising letters, and who will pay in the end?

You can answer that one.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: fisa; homelandsecurity; jamesrisen; jamesrisengay; nsa; nyt; patriotleak; phonyoutrage; spying
NYT motto: Circulation before country.
1 posted on 12/19/2005 12:01:31 PM PST by frankjr
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: frankjr
Congress (especially but not exclusively democrats) is claiming, on a daily basis, that it is incompetent. How can the "he told us a dozen times but we don't know what he is talking about" mantra be considered a good political tactic?
2 posted on 12/19/2005 12:07:30 PM PST by msnimje (Political Correctness -- An OFFENSIVE attempt not to offend.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: frankjr

James Risen should be locked up.


3 posted on 12/19/2005 12:14:21 PM PST by finnman69 (cum puella incedit minore medio corpore sub quo manifestu s globus, inflammare animos)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: frankjr
Clinton used satellites over OK to do surveillance on 'perceived' right-wing groups.
4 posted on 12/19/2005 12:17:34 PM PST by johnny7 (“Check out the big brain on Brett!”)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: johnny7

I would like to see John Ashcroft respond to this as he was AG at the time this all started...bet he would be able to give a concise and direct rebuttal to all the lies swirling out there! I'm really sorry Bush replaced him with Alberto Gonzales - definitely a switch that didn't strengthen our conservative values!


5 posted on 12/19/2005 12:22:14 PM PST by princess leah
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: frankjr; SandRat; jmc1969; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Grampa Dave; Enchante; McGavin999; Southack; ...

Thanks for this post. What a well thought out concise and to the point article. To those I pinged. I don't often ping on posts, but felt this one deserves some attention in detail. I am not soliciting responses. Most of us have similiar brain waves on these things.


6 posted on 12/19/2005 12:23:30 PM PST by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Marine_Uncle

I appreciate your pings; I would have missed this!


7 posted on 12/19/2005 12:25:26 PM PST by Howlin (Defeatism may have its partisan uses, but it is not justified by the facts. - GWB, 12/18/05)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: frankjr

The NYTimes IS the enemy!


8 posted on 12/19/2005 12:26:32 PM PST by Obadiah
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Marine_Uncle
Most of us have similiar brain waves on these things.

Mine are like this when I read this stuff:


9 posted on 12/19/2005 12:27:27 PM PST by Howlin (Defeatism may have its partisan uses, but it is not justified by the facts. - GWB, 12/18/05)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: frankjr

"Is Time Warner good for America ?"


10 posted on 12/19/2005 12:27:31 PM PST by TET1968
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: frankjr


TIMES IS ON MY SIDE
Times is on my side, yes it is
Times is on my side, yes it is

Now you always say
That you want to be free
But you'll come running back (said you would baby)
You'll come running back (I said so many times before)
You'll come running back to me

Oh, Times is on my side, yes it is
Times is on my side, yes it is

You're searching for Freedom
But just wait and see
You'll come running back (I won't have to worry no more)
You'll come running back (spend the rest of my life with you, baby)
You'll come running back to me

Go ahead, go ahead and light up the town
And baby, do everything your heart desires
Remember, I'll always be around
And I know, I know
Like I told you so many times before
You're gonna come back, baby
'Cause I know
You're gonna come back knocking
Yeah, knocking right on my door
Yes, yes!

Well, Times is on my side, yes it is
Times is on my side, yes it is

'Cause I got the media
The kind that you need
You'll come running back (said you would, baby)
You'll come running back (I always said you would)
You'll come running back, to me

Yes Times, Times, Times is on my side, yes it is
Times, Times, Times is on my side, yes it is
Oh, Times, Times, Times is on my side, yes it is
I said, Times, Times, Times is on my side, yes it is
Oh, Times, Times, Times is on my side
11 posted on 12/19/2005 12:28:09 PM PST by armymarinemom (My sons freed Iraqi and Afghanistan Honor Roll students.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: frankjr
...will be immensely valuable to our enemies.

Not unless they're the only people in the world who've never heard the advice "never say anything classified over unsecure lines."

I agree, the Times would have published even if the result was harmful. I just don't think that in this case it's as harmful as it's being painted.

12 posted on 12/19/2005 12:28:26 PM PST by Grut
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: princess leah

I liked Ashcroft also.


13 posted on 12/19/2005 12:30:41 PM PST by johnny7 (“Check out the big brain on Brett!”)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: finnman69
James Risen should be locked up.

James Risen has committed a crime. Perhaps he will be locked up.

14 posted on 12/19/2005 12:30:52 PM PST by r9etb
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: msnimje; All

Another question.. If they don't know what hell is going on, then heck are we paying those morons for??


15 posted on 12/19/2005 12:32:31 PM PST by KevinDavis (http://www.cafepress.com/spacefuture)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: frankjr

As an adendum to this post, perhaps some may find the following 2003 Senate hearing on redefining some parts of the FISA, interesting reading.
http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2003_cr/s050803.html


16 posted on 12/19/2005 12:39:19 PM PST by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Grut
Not unless they're the only people in the world who've never heard the advice "never say anything classified over unsecure lines." I agree, the Times would have published even if the result was harmful. I just don't think that in this case it's as harmful as it's being painted.

You really have no basis for speculating about what may or may not be valuable intelligence from any given wiretap.

You have to know what intelligence already exists or what seemingly innocuous clues terrorist operatives may give, since they are generally not known to be geniuses. You don't know what, if any codes or lexicons had already been cracked by our guys prior to the call.

Sometimes, the mere fact that a confirmed phone call took place is enough to have value.

17 posted on 12/19/2005 12:39:52 PM PST by Maceman (Fake but accurate -- and now double-sourced)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: Howlin
"I appreciate your pings; I would have missed this!"
Roger that. I wish I had a more efficient brain. So much should be studied and analyzed, but goes by the wayside.
18 posted on 12/19/2005 12:41:36 PM PST by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: frankjr
re: "So New York Times writer James Risen will sell his book, the Times will increase circulation, politicians will beat their breasts and send out fundraising letters, and who will pay in the end? ...You can answer that one."

...BUMP!


19 posted on 12/19/2005 12:42:48 PM PST by Seadog Bytes ("Benedict Arnold was a 'war hero' TOO ...before he became a TRAITOR.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Howlin
"Mine are like this when I read this stuff:"
Well at least the x axis is not in megahertz or your brain would be jumping out of your skull at this point.
Hang in there.
20 posted on 12/19/2005 12:45:09 PM PST by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: frankjr
You can now be classified as begging to have your rights taken away.

good luck with that.

21 posted on 12/19/2005 12:50:59 PM PST by Vladiator
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: r9etb

Just like Sandy Berger!


22 posted on 12/19/2005 1:02:20 PM PST by Tannerone
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 14 | View Replies]

To: Howlin; Marine_Uncle; Grampa Dave; NormsRevenge; SierraWasp; Coop; Mo1; Peach
ROFL!!!

What a useful graphic....you would find me posting that Graphic at least Forty times a day recently....

Pinging some others just in case they hadn't got a ping as yet!

23 posted on 12/19/2005 1:05:10 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (History is soon Forgotten,)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: Maceman

Hey, Hey! Enough of that talk.

We don't need to be giving out information like that.


24 posted on 12/19/2005 1:10:38 PM PST by gogogodzilla (Raaargh! Raaargh! Crush, Stomp!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: frankjr
The NSA has been using this technology long before Bush was ever President and they're not likely to quit using it in the near term.
25 posted on 12/19/2005 1:12:28 PM PST by wolfcreek
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: All
Some links on this thread:

“Bush Spying Story” Is Four Years Old

26 posted on 12/19/2005 1:13:34 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (History is soon Forgotten,)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

LOL. I'd hate to see my brainwaves today. At least they are moving though, as opposed to the day after Thanksgiving when I was virtually comotose.


27 posted on 12/19/2005 1:14:54 PM PST by Peach (The Clintons pardoned more terrorists than they ever captured or killed.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Cap Huff

fyi


28 posted on 12/19/2005 1:14:56 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (History is soon Forgotten,)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: sauropod

rl


29 posted on 12/19/2005 1:16:33 PM PST by sauropod ("The love that dare not speak its' name has now become the love that won't shut the hell up.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: frankjr
Make no mistake about it--it isn't just the Left that will be dancing in the streets about this bit of ammunition to use against the administration. The JBS/"palaeo" Right is doing the exact same thing. Like the Left, they admire foreign dictators but but will cut their own government to ribbons for actions about one sixtieth as onerous.

Back when I was a JBS member I wrote them to express my belief that a military draft was unconstitutional, since no such thing is explicitly mentioned in the Constitution (they do adhere to the Jeffersonian theory of interpretation, after all). They wrote back to explain just why a military draft was constitutional and informed me that my anti-draft belief was libertarian rather than conservative. Well guess what? Now that we are fighting moslems rather than Communists (and Jews are perceived as benefiting) they have suddenly discovered that a military draft is totalitarian and statist (just like during World War II!), and William Norman Grigg (editor of their magazine) has been writing on LewRockwell.com attacking the draft much more than I did in my once-upon-a-time letter to them.

The utter hypocrisy of the JBS and the other "palaeos," just like that of the Left, never fails to sicken me.

30 posted on 12/19/2005 1:21:10 PM PST by Zionist Conspirator (Liberal Jews and conservative chr*stians should switch religions.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: frankjr
Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy's authorization to wiretap Martin Luther King Jr.

Just felt like repeating that...

31 posted on 12/19/2005 1:25:07 PM PST by T. Buzzard Trueblood (left unchecked, Saddam Hussein...will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons." Sen. Hillary Clinton)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
"What a useful graphic....you would find me posting that Graphic at least Forty times a day recently...."
Sometimes I wonder why I spend so much time at this site. This stuff could drive one nuts after a while. But alas.... one must attempt to stay balanced. Heh heh whatever that really means.
32 posted on 12/19/2005 1:35:04 PM PST by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Marine_Uncle
LOL!

I have to restrict my time here since I started taking medication for high blood pressure.....this stuff totally overwhelms it.....have to be content watching sport shows on the TV also.
33 posted on 12/19/2005 1:38:34 PM PST by Ernest_at_the_Beach (History is soon Forgotten,)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 32 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
"I have to restrict my time here since I started taking medication for high blood pressure.....this stuff totally overwhelms it.....have to be content watching sport shows on the TV also."
I should get my blood pressure checked some day. Not having insurance sort of is a bumber. Don't knock yourself out. Life is to preciouse to let the "goons of the world" make one miserable.
34 posted on 12/19/2005 1:46:42 PM PST by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: finnman69

Maybe the citizens of this country should take it from here. Perhaps we should file a class action law suit against the NYT and their shareholders for endangering our lives and the lives of our families.


35 posted on 12/19/2005 1:55:14 PM PST by McGavin999 (If Intelligence Agencies can't find leakers, how can we expect them to find terrorists?)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: McGavin999

BTTT


36 posted on 12/19/2005 2:00:19 PM PST by shield (The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instructions.Pr 1:7)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 35 | View Replies]

To: msnimje
How can the "he told us a dozen times but we don't know what he is talking about" mantra be considered a good political tactic?

Because the American public doesn't care enough to follow issues that take more than 1 day to develop, and with the guidance of our wonderful media sources, they'll never put two and two together.

How long did it take until a FReeper had to inform the LSM that Cindy Sheehan had already been interviewed a year earlier? Americans don't connect the dots unless its laid out in front of them - as this article does.

37 posted on 12/19/2005 2:00:31 PM PST by BostonianRightist ("Moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue." ~ Senator Goldwater)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Bummer Ernest....get that BP under control so you can get back here fast.


38 posted on 12/19/2005 2:02:24 PM PST by Dog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 33 | View Replies]

To: Marine_Uncle

That was a good read. Final nays and no shows on the bill

NAYS--4

Byrd
Durbin
Feingold
Harkin

NOT VOTING--6

Biden
Graham (FL)
Kennedy
Kerry
Lieberman
Murkowski


39 posted on 12/19/2005 2:10:53 PM PST by penelopesire
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 16 | View Replies]

To: penelopesire
"That was a good read. Final nays and no shows on the bill."
Glad you found it of some use. I found Chuck Schumer's remarks a bit interesting.
40 posted on 12/19/2005 2:38:15 PM PST by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 39 | View Replies]

To: Marine_Uncle

Thanks for the ping.

Anyone want to bet the leaker in the Pentagon or a senator's office is possibly a gay lover of Jim Risen, and Risen got drummed out because he was an open Gay?


41 posted on 12/19/2005 3:22:29 PM PST by Grampa Dave (Link to Great TV ad re rat traitors and their words re Iraq: http://www.gop.com/Media/120905.wmv)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: Grampa Dave
Wasn't aware of Risen's problem. But what I am aware of is this crap has got to stop. If the leaker is not found and put on trial, something is really going amis. We had better start seeing some action on this one.
No one is above the law. And whoever leaked the highly classified news must face a criminal charge.
42 posted on 12/19/2005 3:54:27 PM PST by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 41 | View Replies]

To: Marine_Uncle; frankjr
President Bush wins this argument hands down.The dem weenies and their fellow treasonous brethren in the old media will have the vapors for a while, but most of us here know better.

The real question is when will the President have the AG frogmarch the leakers on prime time tv to the slammer.

43 posted on 12/19/2005 3:55:23 PM PST by smoothsailing ('68'69 Nam vet-NEVER FORGET)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: smoothsailing
"The real question is when will the President have the AG frogmarch the leakers on prime time tv to the slammer."
My sentiments exactly. Hopefully with a chain and ball on each ankle. Hey, throw in a chain and ball for their neck also.
44 posted on 12/19/2005 4:01:57 PM PST by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 43 | View Replies]

To: piasa; Southack

Gentlemen you might want to repost some of your comments in the past about James Risen.


45 posted on 12/19/2005 4:31:42 PM PST by Grampa Dave (Link to Great TV ad re rat traitors and their words re Iraq: http://www.gop.com/Media/120905.wmv)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Dog; Ernest_at_the_Beach

I think some of these stories on FR is how I got my hernia. ;-)


46 posted on 12/19/2005 4:46:01 PM PST by Cap Huff
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 38 | View Replies]

To: Cap Huff

LOL!


47 posted on 12/19/2005 4:47:07 PM PST by Dog
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 46 | View Replies]

To: frankjr

bump


48 posted on 12/19/2005 7:03:50 PM PST by VOA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: finnman69

In the same cell as his sources


49 posted on 12/19/2005 9:31:38 PM PST by LiteKeeper (Beware the secularization of America)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: frankjr
Janet Reno let it slip that the Clinton administration was using satellite surveillance and that is what caught the Unibomber. It is good they caught him, but it was an illegal use of the satellite surveillance as it is not supposed to be used on individual citizens.
50 posted on 12/19/2005 9:46:16 PM PST by Ghost of Philip Marlowe (Liberals are blind. They are the dupes of Leftists who know exactly what they're doing.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson