Monday, March 20, 2006

Chucklenutz's lawyers want to see your home, without a warrant.

Thanks to Rico, here's the US News article. Going to print tomorrow. Was hoping for a little more meat to it, but it connects the dots:

"In December, the New York Times disclosed the NSA's warrantless electronic
surveillance program, resulting in an angry reaction from President Bush. It has
not previously been disclosed, however, that administration lawyers had cited
the same legal authority to justify warrantless physical searches. But in a
little-noticed white paper submitted by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to
Congress on January 19 justifying the legality of the NSA eavesdropping, Justice
Department lawyers made a tacit case that President Bush also has the inherent
authority to order such physical searches. In order to fulfill his duties as
commander in chief, the 42-page white paper says, "a consistent understanding
has developed that the president has inherent constitutional authority to
conduct warrantless searches and surveillance within the United States for
foreign intelligence purposes." The memo cites congressional testimony of Jamie
Gorelick, a former deputy attorney general in the Clinton administration, in
1994 stating that the Justice Department "believes, and the case law supports,
that the president has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical
searches for foreign intelligence purposes."


Gorelick, huh? Wonder if that particular deputy attorney is related to Kenny G. I fucking hate Kenny G with a passion.

Some fun highlights from the article:
1) Notice how they (the administration) slickly set it up so they can try to pin it back on Clinton? How much you want to bet that's the first thing out of _________ fill in the blank Repugnacan talking heads Monday afternoon. Chris Matthews will be foaming about how "well, a Clinton official came up with it, why weren't these members of congress so angry then?"

2) Despite their claims that their illegal wiretapping is legal, seems they know it's illegal too:

White House lawyers, in particular, Vice President Cheney's counsel David
Addington (who is now Cheney's chief of staff), pressed Mueller to use
information from the NSA program in court cases, without disclosing the origin
of the information, and told Mueller to be prepared to drop prosecutions if
judges demanded to know the sourcing, according to several government officials.
Mueller, backed by Comey, resisted the administration's efforts. "The White
House was putting pressure on Mueller to broadly make cases with the
intelligence," says one official. "But he did not want to use it as a basis for
any affidavit in any court." Comey declined numerous requests for comment.
Sources say Mueller and his general counsel, Valerie Caproni, continue to remain
troubled by the domestic spying program. Martin, who has handled more
intelligence-oriented criminal cases than anyone else at the Justice Department,
puts the issue in stark terms: "The failure to allow it [information obtained
from warrantless surveillance] to be used in court is a concession that it is an
illegal surveillance."

3) We see even further the importance of a certain AG not being placed under oath YET AGAIN:

On February 6, Patrick Leahy, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee,
asked Gonzales whether the NSA spying program includes authority to tap E-mail
or postal mail without warrants. "Can you do black-bag jobs?" Leahy asked.
Gonzales replied that he was trying to outline for the committee "what the
president has authorized, and that is all that he has authorized"--electronic
surveillance. Three weeks later, Gonzales amended his answer to Leahy's
question, stating that he was addressing only the legal underpinnings for the
NSA surveillance program but adding: "I did not and could not address
operational aspects of the program, or any other classified intelligence

4) BZ, Shamir, ER, somebody correct me... isn't it in the Talmud where silence means agreement?:

At least one defense attorney representing a subject of a terrorism
investigation believes he was the target of warrantless clandestine searches. On
Sept. 23, 2005--nearly three months before the Times broke the NSA story--Thomas Nelson wrote to U.S. Attorney Karin Immergut in Oregon that in the previous nine months, "I and others have seen strong indications that my office and my home have been the target of clandestine searches."

When Nelson filed a FOIA with the NSA, he received a great form letter rejecting, containing in part the following reasoning:

However, because of the highly classified nature of the program, we can
neither confirm nor deny the existence of records responsive to your
request. The fact of the existence or non existsnce of responsiveness
records is a currently and properly classified matter in accordance with
Executive Order 12958, as amended.


Read for yourselves, folks. Let's see how they denigrate Russ Feingold this week.


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