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The real problem with FISA: They've got all our email. (Foreign-to-foreign is pure disinformation.)

Remember how Bush's illegal and unconstitutional warrantless surveillance program was originally about wiretaps? And then morphed into being about foreign-to-foreign communication? Well, that was all disinformation. Turns out it's all about email. Your "papers," as the Fourth Amendment has it. WaPo:

At the breakfast yesterday [Kenneth Weinstein, assistant attorney general for national security] highlighted a different problem with the current FISA law than other administration officials have emphasized. Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell, for example, has repeatedly said FISA should be changed so no warrant is needed to tap a communication that took place entirely outside the United States but happened to pass through the United States.

But in response to a question at the meeting by David Kris, a former federal prosecutor and a FISA expert, Wainstein said FISA's current strictures did not cover strictly foreign wire and radio communications, even if acquired in the United States. The real concern, he said, is primarily e-mail, because "essentially you don't know where the recipient is going to be" and so you would not know in advance whether the communication is entirely outside the United States.

Just as we said from the very beginning.

10-to-1, 100-to-1, these fascist weasels decided to suck up all email, just to get some of it right away. And the odds are that they archived it all, on the chance that some of it would be useful later (especially if privatized).

After all, Bush's illegal and unconstitutional program of warrantless surveillance of all email began before 9/11, so it has nothing to do with "terror" at all (except the terror of Our Betters that somewhere, somebody might not be subject to their control). And the program really does suck down all Internet data. That's why AT&T built a secret room with a splitter in it that does just that.

NOTE I think the guy to call on this is Steny Hoyer. He's at least made the right speeches on this, he's at least held up the FISA abomination so far, and he's been made aware that his good behavior so far had been noticed and appreciated. Here's his number: (202) 225-4131.

Appendix I
For your reference, here is the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution that we used to be governed by:

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's as plain as day to anyone who isn't an administration flak or a Conservative Movement weasel or a fascist -- sorry for the redundancy -- that email is precisely a 20th Century version of what the Founders called "papers."

UPDATE Ryan Singel of Wired, who's been all over this, has more:

DNI Michael McConnell [snicker], the serial exaggerator who claims to be a non-political straight shooter, himself kept saying the NSA lost 70 percent of its capabilities after the ruling.

If that's the case, that means that 70 percent of what the NSA does is collect emails inside United States telecom infrastructure and service providers.

No wonder NSA was running out of electrical power. Whole lotta spyin' goin' on.

UPDATE Jeralyn is on this too.

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FeralLiberal's picture
Submitted by FeralLiberal on

I hope the archives are kept intact until the Dems are completely in power. That means someone, somewhere may have a record of the "missing" emails from the White House and RNC.

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

This White House has politicized every aspect of government. There's no reason to believe they haven't used their illegal spying for political gain. Why some democrats don't seem to be more wary of this, I don't know. Because ten or twenty years from now when everything comes out, Democrats are going to end up looking stupid. Really stupid. And the American public is going to be pissed. Really pissed.

On the upside, perhaps all those missing RNC and White House emails got captured and archived...

"Do what you feel in your heart to be right -- for you'll be criticized anyway. You'll be damned if you do, and damned if you don't. " - Eleanor Roosevelt

hypnot's picture
Submitted by hypnot on

I'll hazard some more guesses:

Instead of being dispersed on the computers of the individuals to whom you intended to communicate, your e-mails are concentrated in a "government" location and probably mirrored throughout the public and private sectors.

Not only are your e-mails preserved and concentrated; because the "government" is the custodian, they are subject to copying and alteration. (Do you have to be prompted to wonder what that could mean under a compromised system of justice?)

The task of amassing and analyzing all your e-mails is so vast that it must be divided among technicians and analysts whose qualifications and ethics vary.

Once all your e-mails have been concentrated and cataloged in one place, it is easy to transport them within the United States and outside.

One obvious question: In what way has this unconstitutional and illegal project not made us, individually and as a nation more vulnerable?

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Go back and listen carefully to what Hoyer said in that speech. He set access to some requested documents as the barrier to giving Bush the powers he asked for. That's the only precondition in his whole speech, although he talks around the rest of the issue in concerned tones.

The House now has the documents, so Hoyer's condition is satisfied. He and his BlueDog-BushBitch buddies have now joined with the Republicans, and they will approve the new spying bill with everything Bush has asked for. Hoyer is a sneaky, slimy, vicious manipulator who is interested in one thing only and that is the advancement of Steny Hoyer. He is not your friend, and he never will be.

It seems to be the popular thing to blame Pelosi, but there is nothing she can do to stop the cabal without laying open the Democratic presidenial candidate to charges of selling out American security. She has no good choices, but that isn't her fault. The blame is properly on the Republicans, the BushBitches, and your buddy Hoyer - and the people who elected them.

A. Citizen's picture
Submitted by A. Citizen on

....emails 'sucked up and archived...' might have the following addresses on them:

sf.nancy@mail.house.gov

democraticleader.house.gov

reid.senate.gov

You get the idea. I'm sure that these archives have their own server at the RNC, FBI, NSA and WH and that those whose emails were snagged from not only these public addresses but from every address they use are aware of this fact.

It doesn't take much imagination to envision the infidelity, criminality and just plain stupidity these emails would reveal about our Democratic Party 'LeaderShip'.

This is yet another reason why we need to crush this administration's henchmen with federal jail time and elect new Dem 'Leadership' who've take to using PHP and other encryption.

If you are in public life and are not encrypting your email you are dumber than shit.

A. Citizen

Peace, Health and Prosperity for Everyone.

chicago dyke's picture
Submitted by chicago dyke on

people who do all the dirty work and actually manage the files.

rove and the rest will fade back to the slime from which they came, and not be at the center of public life forever. there is a limited amount of time reading pelosi's emails provides them with a benefit. it's the shadowy world of post-government life, and the people who populate it, who worry me.

i just can't stop thinking about the "hookers and limos" culture at DHS, or the utterly trashy mr. hotmilitary stud. it seems to me there are plenty of national-grade republican leaders who are just clowns, idiot and incompetent and not all that interested in much more than getting their dicks sucked. so i don't believe many of them are "doing" much of the spying and theorizing. but the people just behind them, or just beneath them in the govt/security hierarch...

i don't forget that right now, and for some few years, private contractors are basically carving out little kingdoms of debauchery in iraq. and they have gov't clearances. what happens if some of those people decide to "come home" and repeat what they're doing in iraq? it would be the easiest thing, as a veteran of the occupation, to use that access to do all sorts of damage to your domestic enemies. shudders at how easy those two go together

anyway, we haven't seen the full extent of this yet. that much i'm sure of.

kelley b's picture
Submitted by kelley b on

It's more than what the Republicans or Blackwater/ DynCorp/ CACI types might do with the information to their political or business enemies.

It's who, say, the service guy who works on the system at 2AM in the morning might download to keep his bookie from sending a collector to kneecap him.

Or his bank from foreclosing on his mortgage.

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Above us, only sky