Skip to comments.Poll: Most Say U.S. Needs Warrant to Snoop
Posted on 01/07/2006 9:57:08 AM PST by squidly
A majority of Americans want the Bush administration to get court approval before eavesdropping on people inside the United States, even if those calls might involve suspected terrorists, an AP-Ipsos poll shows.
Over the past three weeks, President Bush and top aides have defended the electronic monitoring program they secretly launched shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, as a vital tool to protect the nation from al-Qaida and its affiliates.
Yet 56 percent of respondents in an AP-Ipsos poll said the government should be required to first get a court warrant to eavesdrop on the overseas calls and e-mails of U.S. citizens when those communications are believed to be tied to terrorism.
Agreeing with the White House, some 42 percent of those surveyed do not believe the court approval is necessary.
"We're at war," Bush said during a New Year's Day visit to San Antonio. "And as commander in chief, I've got to use the resources at my disposal, within the law, to protect the American people. ... It's a vital, necessary program."
According to the poll, age matters in how people view the monitoring. Nearly two-thirds of those between age 18 to 29 believe warrants should be required, while people 65 and older are evenly divided.
Party affiliation is a factor, too. Almost three-fourths of Democrats and one-third of Republicans want to require court warrants.
Yes, we'll just ask Soodi Al-Hamad the mad bomber to hold on the line while we get a warrant.
yes, you are. this discussion involves intercepts of foreign communications amongst persons who, although inside the US, are agents of foreign powers. the 4th doesn't protect that. the 4th didn't protect aldrich ames home from being searched without a warrant when clinton ordered it.
I wonder how many of these people know about ECHELON (NSA) and CARNIVORE (FBI) during the Clinton years?
This stuff is, like, soooo pre 9/11....
you think the "people" even understand the constitutional issues on either side of this, it all depends on how the question is spun by the pollster.
I don't find the FISA court in the Constitution anywhere. It's quite possible that it is an unconstitutional interference with the powers of the Commander in Chief. IIRC it was passed after the "Watergate Coup", part of the same efforts that put the NVA in Saigon.
As to the fourth amendment, it says:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
It does not say that warrants are required in order that a search or seizure be reasonable. Warrants can be pretty darned unreasonable as well. (For example the warrant the BATF obtained to search the Branch Davidian complex, which was based on legal activities, such as reading Shotgun News, having legal demilled grenade hulls, and preaching a strange version of the Bible (and it was strange).
I think that monitoring the foreign communications of those who have been identified as having been in communications with foreign terrorists is pretty darn reasonable. The domestic communications of these same "targets" were not monitored, except under a warrant obtained from the FISA Court.
I imagine there was a leaker, but I very much doubt it was anyone currently at NSA, CIA, or even DIA. Much more likely to be a Senator or CongressCritter of the Rat persuasion.
The campaign to destroy America continues and from within our own borders.
I think in Ames case, searching his house wo/a warrant is distinguishable, based on the amount of evidence otherwise obtained, and on other facts.
The wiretapping of Ames was done WITH a warrant, and it appears that quite a bit of probable cause was obtained thereby, as well as by other searches that can be done without a warrant.
It also appears that, at the time, Congress hadn't passed a warrantless entry measure in FISA, at least accoring to Byron York's article in National Review Online.
The summary below doesn't clearly show why Clinton's FBI didn't seek a warrant for entering Ames' residence, but if the FISA court did not even have the facility to provide such a warrant, it was wise to not seek a search warrant in a court other than a FISA court.
The Ames case never went to trial, so we don't know how the courts would have ruled on the core 4th amendment justification -- although I suspect they would have found the search reasonable.
According to the affidavit supporting the arrest warrant, these activities had begun in April 1985, and continued to the time of the arrest. Ames's wife, Maria del Rosario Casas Ames, was arrested inside the residence on the same charges shortly after her husband was taken into custody. ...
The affidavit made public at the time of the arrests also confirmed that Ames had received substantial payments for the information he had provided -- money that he had used years earlier to purchase a new Jaguar automobile and a $540,000 home, with cash, in Arlington. Apparently, these seemingly large expenditures by an employee making less than $70,000 a year had not raised questions at the CIA.
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (hereinafter "the Committee") received its initial briefing regarding the case on the day the arrests were publicly announced. The facts contained in the affidavit supporting the arrest and search warrants were summarized by representatives of the FBI. ...
On the basis of the work done by the joint task force, the FBI put an investigative team together in March 1993, and tasked the team members to acquaint themselves with the facts.
This effort led the FBI to begin an intensive investigation of Ames. Under applicable Attorney General guidelines, this meant that the FBI was able to seek authority under pertinent laws and Justice Department guidelines to employ a full array of investigative techniques against Ames. For instance, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court issued orders authorizing electronic surveillance of Ames's office and residence. Other surveillance techniques used against Ames included mail cover (i.e., deriving information from envelopes addressed to and from Ames), and a clandestine monitor installed in his car to track his movements.
On June 25, 1993, the FBI conducted a search of Ames's office at the CIA. Approximately 144 classified documents were located in his work area, most of which did not relate to his official duties.
According to the CIA IG report, by mid 1993, significant information had been obtained from the relevant financial institutions, which further implicated Ames. The completed financial analysis showed that Ames had a total income of $1,326,310 that could not be accounted for through salary and other known sources.
On September 15,1993, a search of Ames's trash disclosed a torn note in Ames's handwriting which appeared to relate to a clandestine meeting planned for Bogota, Colombia on October 1, 1993.
On September 29, 1993, in a telephone conversation with his wife, Ames said that "my visit was canceled." His wife responded, "Does that mean you retrieve something?" Ames replied, "Yeah," presumably referring to new KGB instructions setting up a an alternate meeting. The following day Ames canceled his airline reservation to Bogota.
On October 6, 1993, a search of Ames's trash turned up a typewriter or printer ribbon which contained two documents which Ames appeared to have prepared in 1992. Among other things, these documents discussed CIA personnel, access to classified information, and classified operational matters.
On October 9, 1993, FBI agents conducted a search of Ames's residence in Arlington. Among other things, this search yielded (1) a typewriter ribbon which contained a note Ames had written to his KGB contact regarding a meeting in Caracas, Venezuela in October 1992; (2) a computer document which identified a mailbox at 37th and R Streets in Washington, D.C. as a signal site, and (3) a series of computer documents regarding Ames's relationship with the KGB. These computer documents included information on clandestine communications, classified CIA operations, classified CIA human assets, and information regarding the payments previously made to Ames.
On October 12, 1993, Ames spoke to his wife about leaving for work early the next morning to "put a signal down...confirming that I am coming." FBI agents followed Ames to the mailbox, and, while not observing him making a mark, they found a horizontal mark on the side of the mailbox at 7:00 a.m. the same day. Later in the afternoon, the chalk mark had been erased.
Later in October, Ames and his wife had several discussions picked up by the wiretap on his telephone related to his trip to Bogota. In particular, his wife was concerned that border officials would detect the large sums of money he traveled with.
On November 1, 1993, Ames traveled to Bogota, Colombia to meet his KGB contact. Transcripts of telephone conversations between Ames and his wife established that Ames and his handler had, in fact, managed to meet twice while he was there; on the evening of November 1 and the afternoon of November 2.
From November 1993 until the time of his arrest, Ames was kept under virtually constant physical surveillance by FBI officers anticipating yet another passage of classified information. The investigation to date, while producing clear evidence of Ames's espionage activities, had not succeeded in producing tangible evidence of meetings between Ames and his KGB handlers. But when the FBI, working with the CIA, learned in early 1994 that Ames, as part of his CIA duties, was scheduled to attend a conference in Moscow in late February, the FBI believed they could not postpone his travel yet again without alerting him, and, thus could wait no longer to make the arrest.
On the morning of February 21, 1994, FBI agents arrested Ames in his car outside his residence. His wife, Rosario, was arrested minutes later in their residence.
The discussion involves that, but also involves (without specificity) the possibility of warrantless surveillance of United States persons.
I can't imagine, if Abdul the Iraqi Terrorist calls Joe USA, and the conversation with Joe USA is interesting, that the government wouldn't start listening to Joe USA in case he was to call John USA or others inside the country.
I could be all wet - if the only calls being monitored are international calls where the international end is a terrorist, this is really a non-issue. It would mean that even though Joe USA is of interest, most of his calls are not monitored, and it is only when he makes an international call to a terrorist that we listen in. That scenario is an easy sell to civil libertarians, and is a very minor extension of FISA as drafted.
AP is full of crap. If they were to take the polls based on how the last election's political affiliations averaged then my calculations are 57% for and 43% against. My calculations divided the 8% "independents as a 5% lean Rat and 3% lean Republican.
but that warrant was to wiretap his domestic calls.
I have to speculate as to what you mean by that - that Ames' international calls were wiretapped before some date, but without a warrant?
I figure once there is a wiretap on somebody, all of the communications from that device/location are captured regardless of the destination, but again, I may be wrong. Educate me.
an int'l call can be tapped outside the united states if need be.
Yes, but I still don't grasp your point - unless my guess in the previous post was right, in which case I got the idea, but not the point.
FISA is phrased in terms of "Foreign intelligence information" (which is a common denominator); "Foreign power" (surveiellance of SOME requires no warrant); "Agent of a foreign power"; and "United States person." It doesn't talk in terms of physical location of the actors.
That is, surveillance of communication of a foreign power, conducted wholly on CONUS facilities, does not require a warrant in order to comply with FISA.
Oh, hang on. (pardon the disjointed nature of this post, LOL), are you trying to get to the point where the present surveillance is all within the boundary of FISA? ANd that Clinton's international surveillance (wo warrant) was also within FISA? Or that international surveillance is outside of FISA in some cases?
Maybe a different angle ....
Clinton did obtain a FISA warrant for some wiretapping, which you think is the domestic communications.
Clinton did not obtain a FISA warrrant for entry to Ames residence, which I say is because that tool was not available - like I can't get the police to arrest you if you reneg on a home sale contract.
And so we get down to the question about what constitutes reasonable under the 4th, where with Ames we have a clear fact pattern to work from; but with Bush and the NSA, we are just working from speculated fact patterns.
Tough issue in the long haul, how much power and trust should the people give one branch. Where and how should personal privacy boundaries be enforced? Some argue that the disussion itself is out of bounds because we are at war - I disagree with that point of view. BUt there is a conundrum embedded in that, because to have a discussion, there need to be some fact patterns! And the beat goes on.
What a load of BS. I would like to see the exact question that was asked. I bet it was loaded...
You left out one group--those who care about the Constitution.
once the domestic wiretaps (with warrant) established that Ames was an agent of a foreign power, no warrant was needed to search his house in my opinion.
some of the comprehension of FISA escapes me - because they seem at direct odds with the way the NSA routinely handles foreign intercepts (no warrants, monitoring for keywords all the time, from what I have read about some of their standard practices). Is the NSA "violating" FISA all the time? In this case, they had an even higher probably cause for intercepts - actual contact phone numbers obtained from captured terrorists and other intercepted communications.
NSA activity is outside the bounds of FISA because it is indiscriminate, and its methods and procedures are state secrets.. Those paradigms have been admitted, asserted or conceded many times in open court. Think of NSA as a bucket that has all of everybody's private communications in it - not viewed by a human, but available on request.
The government has access to that bucket. It contains all the discussions of reporters, politicians, terrorists and average citizens going about their business. Hard as it may be, abstract the technical methods away, and ask what "dipping into the bucket" should be obtainable without a warrant. If a terrorist has the phone numbers of all reporters on his computer, are all reporters fair game for wiretapping? I think that is the nature of the question. Obviously, not just regarding reporters. Terrorists come in contact with all sorts of people in their ordinary daily lives. How wide should the net be cast, without a warrant based on probable cause?
Or is it pro-terrorist to even ask that question?
I understand that it is Hard Work fighting this war on Terror but has this administration sunk to governing by polls? I remember my statistics class from college and polls can be skewwed by the way the question is asked, who it is asked of,and even by the characteristics of the way it is asked. I think Rush said that. These polls mean nothing. There are lies, damn lies and statistics. I read this week where a government report has said that what our President has done is against the constitution. As I remember from the Roberts hearings, this party believes in a strict interpretation of the constitution. What gives? How can we claim to respect the constitution and ignore the bill of rights? I am just a little confused. Can you explain this? Do I have to worry about them taking my guns next? Are they going to suspend free speech?
yes, but then what is a "wiretap". If I put headphones on and listen to your conversation, or I write a computer program to analyze that conversation and email me a summary of what you said - its really the same thing (or can be made to be).
It's not like the Bill of Rights and basic morality isn't constantly put aside either by the courts or by legislation.
Wiretapping USA citizens who are conspiring with terrorists to devastate the USA or our interests undoubtedly falls under National Security and we are without a doubt, at war. It is also my feeling that they are not citizens in a true sense because their allegiance is "void". At the very least, they are "treasonous".
When at war, the President is Commander in Chief. He runs the war. Congress can declare war but it cannot run the war.
Surveillance is without a doubt, a part of running a war. It always was and always will be. The President does not have to ask Congress for permission on how to run the war in any way, shape or form. He seeks the advice of members of the Executive Branch.
On matters of National Security as related to terrorism and particularly as it relates to US citizens, surveillance without a warrant maximizes secrecy. It in fact affords protections for erroneous surveillance and prevents misuse.
In other words, unless you're connected to a terrorist, you'll never know that you were under surveillance and "the least few possible" will even know of your surveillance. Ordinary, broad surveillance will not continue through the system to the point where it is "of interest". From millions of blips, maybe one will make it to the "point of interest".
The FISA site states explicitly that it has never provided the Intelligence Committee info on USA citizens who are tapped because it gives the terrorists an edge. (It's right on the FISA site). I think Feinstein (maybe) asked for the info at the particular hearing I was reading and that was their response.
You better get your National Security priorities right because if you don't think the terrorists are plotting as we write and if you don't think that USA citizens are involved, you're a fool.
And if you don't think that Secrecy is the Highest Priority of Intelligence and a warrant diffuses that Secrecy, then you don't know anything about Secrecy because it's all over the newspapers that there's a "BIG SECRET" that everyone should know about, i.e.,
that if you're a terrorist and a USA citizen, there's a good chance we HAD YOU under surveillance and ONLY A VERY SELECT FEW KNEW.
I'm sure terrorists got the orders to: throw away all your phones, burn your harddrives, change your vehicle, move if you have to, do whatever you have to to counter US intelligence because they don't have boots on the ground to chase you.
My mind says: "My God...What have the Dems done. They planned this to influence the 2006 elections. They're crazy."
Rockefeller, the Judge who resigned on Dec. 19, 2005, Feinstein and Hillary. I hope they all rot in hell.
How about responding to those who responded to you instead?
Yes, you are wrong.
What you are sugegsting is in effect that we tell Sami Al-Hamood teh mad bomber, "Please stay on the line while we get a warrant."
It doesn't work that way.
Unless, of course, you're phone calling terrorists.
Then you might have cause to worry.
For purposes of discussion, I propose to define the term "wiretap" as meaning the obtaining of the contents of a communication, whether verbatim or paraphrased with selected verbaitim phrases.
Do you think the outcome of the discussion turns on that definition? It seems to me the discussion is rambling and not getting to ponts of agreement and difference. What are the limits of warrantless surveillance "reasonable under the Constitutional" or "under FISA?" What should be the extent of executive power without oversight vs. the protection of the 4th amendment? Is the challenge itself an encroachment on presidential power?