Friday, February 23, 2007

Big Brother Bush is Watching EVERYONE (Who, Me?)

According to CNet and Emigrantas, "some disturbing information about the NSA’s data collection techniques was revealed at last Friday’s

“Search & Seizure in the Digital Age”
symposium at Stanford. Paul Ohm, a former employee of the Justice Department who worked in their Computer Crime and Intellectual Property division, explained how data-gathering has changed since the federal government abandoned it’s Carnivore program a few years ago."

In addition to phone taps of anyone who is suspected of opposing the war (70% of the country), is apparently fair prey, once they have been listening for a while, if their voice recognition devices hear key terms like, 'bomb' or 'revolution' or even 'I oppose the war in Iraq', they kick in this Carnivore program.

"While Carnivore was set up to only collect data which matched certain filters, the full pipe technique (aka “the vacuum cleaner method”) is highly invasive and puts our privacy rights at risk," Emigrantas continues.

“What they’re doing is even worse than Carnivore,” said Kevin Bankston, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation who attended the Stanford event. “What they’re doing is intercepting everyone and then choosing their targets.”

They claim to be using this for our protection but once information is collected, who is to say it can't be used for other purposes? They use it to protect their political power, not our way of life. They are raping us and we say it's okay long as the reason is to protect us from rape.

Of course, they are and have been. The most disturbing part is that a large part of it is without proper and legal authorization from either the judicial or legislative branches. In fact, they still claim, via President Bush, that their work does not break the law. But has anyone actually read FISA? By now, this should be common knowledge, but I can't find one person in conversation who is aware of the simple details and clear stated consequences of breaking this "well-known law" Here, I will save you the trouble of looking for it.

According to Wikipedia:

Scope and limits

For most purposes, including electronic surveillance and physical searches, "foreign powers" means a foreign government, any faction(s) or foreign governments not substantially composed of US persons, and any entity directed or controlled by a foreign government. §§1801(a)(1)-(3) The definition also includes groups engaged in international terrorism and foreign political organizations. §§1801(a)(4) and (5). The sections of FISA authorizing electronic surveillance and physical searches without a court order specifically exclude their application to groups engaged in international terrorism. See §1802(a)(1) (referring specifically to §1801(a)(1), (2) and (3)).

The statute limits its application to US persons. A US person includes citizens, lawfully admitted permanent resident aliens, and corporations incorporated in the US.

The code defines "foreign intelligence information" to mean information necessary to protect the United States against actual or potential grave attack, sabotage or international terrorism.[5]


Electronic surveillance

Generally, the statute permits electronic surveillance in two scenarios.

Without a court order

The President may authorize, through the Attorney General, electronic surveillance without a court order for the period of one year provided it is only for foreign intelligence information [5]; targeting foreign powers as defined by 50 U.S.C. §1801(a)(1),(2),(3) [6] or their agents; and there is no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party.[7]

The Attorney General is required to make a certification of these conditions under seal to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court[8], and report on their compliance to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. [9]

Since 50 U.S.C § 1802 (a)(1)(A) of this act specifically limits warrantless surveillance to foreign powers as defined by 50 U.S.C. §1801(a) (1),(2), (3) and omits the definitions contained in 50 U.S.C. §1801(a) (4),(5),(6) the act does not authorize the use of warrantless surveillance on: groups engaged in international terrorism or activities in preparation therefore; foreign-based political organizations, not substantially composed of United States persons; or entities that are directed and controlled by a foreign government or governments. [10] Under the FISA act, anyone who engages in electronic surveillance except as authorized by statute is subject to both criminal penalties [11] and civil liabilities. [12]

With a court order

Alternatively, the government may seek a court order permitting the surveillance using the FISA court.[13] Approval of a FISA application requires the court find probable cause that the target of the surveillance be a "foreign power" or an "agent of a foreign power", and that the places at which surveillance is requested is used or will be used by that foreign power or its agent. In addition, the court must find that the proposed surveillance meet certain "minimization requirements" for information pertaining to US persons[14].

Physical Searches

In addition to electronic surveillance, FISA permits the "physical search" of the "premises, information, material, or property used exclusively by" a foreign power.

The requirements and procedures are nearly identical to those for electronic surveillance.

FISA court

The Act created the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) and enabled it to oversee requests for surveillance warrants by federal police agencies (primarily the F.B.I.) against suspected foreign intelligence agents inside the U.S. The court is located within the Department of Justice headquarters building. The court is staffed by eleven judges appointed by the Chief Justice of the United States to serve seven year terms.

Proceedings before the FISA court are ex parte and non-adversarial. The court hears evidence presented solely by the Department of Justice. There is no provision for a release of information regarding such hearings, or for the record of information actually collected.

Denials of FISA applications by the FISC may be appealed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review. The Court of Review is a three judge panel. Since its creation, the court has only come into session once in 2002.

Remedies for violations

Both the subchapters covering physical searches and electronic surveillance provide for criminal and civil liability for violations of FISA.

Criminal sanctions follows violations of electronic surveillance by intentionally engaging in electronic surveillance under the color of law or through disclosing information known to have been obtained through unauthorized surveillance. The penalties for either act are fines up to $10,000, up to five years in jail, or both.[11]

In addition, the statute creates a cause of action for private individuals whose communications were unlawfully monitored. The statute permits actual damages of not less than $1,000 or $100 per day. In addition, that statute authorizes punitive damages and an award of attorney's fees.[12]

Similar liability is found under the subchapter pertaining to physical searches.

In both cases, the statute creates an affirmative defense for a law enforcement agent acting within their official duties and pursuant to a valid court order. Presumably, such a defense is not available to those operating exclusively under presidential authorization.

Lone wolf amendment

In 2004, FISA was amended to include a "lone wolf" provision. 50 U.S.C. §1801(b)(1)(C). A "lone wolf" is a non-US person who engages in or prepares for international terrorism. The provision amended the definition of "foreign power" to permit the FISA courts to issue surveillance and physical search orders without having to find a connection between the "lone wolf" and a foreign government or terrorist group.[15]

Now that we see this clear and short law:

What part of this is difficult to understand? And why would anyone find it acceptable to give up the very things we are fighting for, in order to more successful oppose those who want to destroy our freedoms?

The big question is, who is worse for our "American" way of life the people that are already here and doing everything they can to destroy our freedoms from within, or those who just want us to get the hell out?

They say if you put a frog into a pot of water and slowly brink it to a boil, the frog will not jump out. Have we become the frogs?

I earlier reported on NSA and Co. hanging out on the web providing disinformation to shout down people on places where they find political dissent including Kos and Huffpo and every forum that you assume a sanctuary of free speech. At some point, your opposition will either cause you to go to jail for breaking unfair laws or your lack of opposition will cause you to turn America into one big jail!

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