Obama Administration Quietly Expands Bush’s Legal Defense of Wiretapping Program

Bush Obama

via The Raw Story

In a stunning defense of President George W. Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program, President Barack Obama has broadened the government’s legal argument for immunizing his Administration and government agencies from lawsuits surrounding the National Security Agency’s eavesdropping efforts.

In fact, a close read of a government filing last Friday reveals that the Obama Administration has gone beyond any previous legal claims put forth by former President Bush. 

Responding to a lawsuit filed by a civil liberties group, the Justice Department argued that the government was protected by “sovereign immunity” from lawsuits because of a little-noticed clause in the Patriot Act. The government’s legal filing can be read here (PDF). Continue reading

Intelligence Court Rules Bush Surveillance Program is Legal [video below]

via AOL

President George W. Bush has won a major victory for his legacy building efforts in his final days in office as a special intelligence appeals court has ruled that the Bush Administration’s much derided Terrorist Surveillance Program is legal. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review made the ruling in late August,bush_surveillance but it is only being made public now. Specifically, the court ruled that Congress acted within its authority in 2007 when it passed the Protect America Act, which codified the existing Bush Administration program with minor, cosmetic changes. The terrorist surveillance program, as the Bush Administration calls it, operated in secret for close to four years, from right after the September 11th attacks until the New York Times revealed the existence of the program in December, 2005.

Since then, President Bush and Administration officials have come under withering criticism from Democrats, civil liberties activists, and Administration opponents. The critics accused the Administration of domestic spying, listening in on the conversations of ordinary Americans, abuse if power, and criminal violations of privacy laws. The Administration has steadfastly maintained that the program was legal, necessary, and effective; countering its critics by pointing out the president’s inherit powers under Article 2 of the Constitution to command the conduct of war. The decision validates the Administration’s claims about the program, and proves that critics’ interpretation of the law has been wrong all along. As the president prepares to leave office, the Administration has been highlighting its accomplishments. Chief among those has been keeping America safe from attack for the past seven and a half years. The terrorist surveillance program has played a big part in accomplishing that, despite attempts by Democrats and the left to discredit the program and the Bush Administration’s exercise of its authority. To his critics’ chagrin, the court’s ruling will bolster President Bush’s efforts to explain his legacy in his post-presidential years, and it could be the first of many similar validations of Bush Administration policies and decisions. Continue reading

Wanted: 850 New FBI Agents

I wonder why they’re hiring all these new alphabet boys? Maybe got something to do with the fact they’ve got the whole country wiretapped. There must hundreds of thousands of secret indictments on the way.

via CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Despite a bleak economic environment featuring wide-ranging layoffs and rising unemployment, the nation’s premier law enforcement agency is touting “one of the largest hiring blitzes in our 100-year history.”art_fbi1

The FBI posted openings for 850 special agents and more than 2,100 professional support personnel. Officials say it’s the largest FBI job posting since immediately after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The FBI’s unexpectedly large number of job openings results more from attrition and a wave of retirements than from growing government appropriations, Bureau officials told CNN.

The FBI routinely advertises openings for individuals with critical skills in computer science and language fluency. But John Raucci, assistant director of the FBI’s Human Resources Division, says current needs are much more wide-ranging. Continue reading

Rhambo Under Fire, Receiving Death Threats

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Notoriously known for his filthy mouth, can you imagine with the taped convo between Rhambo and Blago sounds like.

via ABC

The president-elect’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, said today he wouldn’t go to the Chicago presidential transition offices in order to avoid reporters trying to ask him whether he had contact with Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich about the Senate seat vacated by Barack Obama’s election.

A spokesman for Emanuel said he later showed up at the office, apparently able to sneak out of the house without being seen by reporters waiting to ask him questions.

Meanwhile, late today a spokesperson for Emanuel confirmed in an email that an Associated Press story saying that he is not a target of the investigation is “accurate.” Questions remain, however, over his contacts with Blagojevich and his staff, and Emanuel has still not said whether or not he’s been contacted by the FBI for questioning.

Back at his home, Emanuel appeared “beet-red,” according to an ABC News cameraman who was invited inside by Emanuel to use his bathroom this morning. Continue reading

FBI Admits To Widespread Snooping

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The Director of the FBI, Mr. Robert Mueller testified before a Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday (3/5) and alluded to the fact that the feds may have improperly accessed several thousand Americans phone, bank and Internet records in its sweeping investigation of terrorists home and abroad.  The abuse of “national security letters” the devices needed to obtain sensitive data on suspects without the approval of judges have been ongoing for several years according to research done by Congress.  After the Patriot Act was enacted in 2001 there have been an unprecendented amount of requests enabling the FBI to snoop into the lives of Americans.  Here is an excerpt from the explosive article from the New York Times:

Speaking before the FBI chief, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., urged Mueller to be more vigilant in correcting what he called ”widespread illegal and improper use of national security letters.”

”Everybody wants to stop terrorists. But we also, though, as Americans, we believe in our privacy rights and we want those protected,” Leahy said. ”There has to be a better chain of command for this. You cannot just have an FBI agent who decides he’d like to obtain Americans’ records, bank records or anything else and do it just because they want to.”

To read the rest of this article CLICK HERE

They got your phones tapped, what you gonna do?

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While Americans were busying snatching up the last items on their Christmas shopping lists, the U.S. Senate was one step closer to protecting various cellphone/wireless carriers who allegely collaborated with the US Goverment in their illegal phonetap/spy program.  They are passing legislature that will protect these companies from any further legal action.  The greenlight not only extends to wiretapping of phone services but also internet connections.  Here’s what they had to say: “The language is crafted broadly enough to shield not only traditional telephone companies and Internet service providers, but e-mail providers, search engines, and instant-messaging services too. And the legal shield would apply not only to corporate cooperation with programs run by the National Security Agency, but also any activities at the CIA, the Defense Department, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the State Department, the Treasury Department, Homeland Security and other intelligence-related organizations.”  To read the full story about this invasion of your privacy read HERE.

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