LEGISLATION TO MENTION:
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendment Act of 2008 (The most treasonous
part is Title II)
What does this bill do:
retroactive immunity to any participating telecommunications companies for the
illegal wiretapping program illegally set into motion by President Bush shortly
after Sept 11, 2001
Attacks our Fourth Amendment Right
to Privacy by allowing the NSA to copy and data-mine the entire AT&T
backbone (phone calls, Internet traffic, emails, faxes)
Companies alleged to have participated:
AT&T, Verizon, BellSouth (which has now merged with AT&T)
and Sprint. T-Mobile and Nextel are now guilty by association, as they are part
of Verizon and Sprint, respectively.
Bush Wiretapping Program Violates Federal Laws and the
Constitution, Says ACLU (11/14/2006)
"There are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the
Constitution. So all ‘inherent powers’ must derive from that
Constitution," Judge Anna Diggs Taylor said in a widely quoted opinion.
Judge Taylor found that the program violated the Foreign Intelligence
Surveillance Act (FISA), which was passed in the 1970s to curb executive abuses
that included spying on civil rights leaders and Members of Congress. FISA
requires a warrant before the executive can wiretap Americans. Judge Taylor also
found that the program violated the separation of powers because it circumvented
Congress’s power to regulate presidential authority, and that it violated
Americans' rights to free speech and privacy under the First and Fourth
Amendments of the Constitution. The government appealed the decision to the
Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which granted a stay of the decision pending
STATEMENTS BY CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES
Rep Jerrold Nadler - “It denies people who’s rights were violated their fair day in court, and it denies the American people their right to have the actions of this administration subjected to fair and independent scrutiny.”
Rep Dennis Kucinich - “Under this bill, large corporations and big government can work together to violate the United States Constitution…”
Rep Russ Holt - “…bought into the flawed assumption of the Bush Administration that because we live in a dangerous world, we must now redefine the Fourth Amendment, and thus the fundamental relationship between the government and its people.”
Rep Jay Inslee - “This bill says if the telecommunication companies violated America’s privacy, willfully, knowingly, knowing it was illegal, we are giving them immunity. Where is the excuse for that?”
JUDGE ANNA DIGGS TAYLOR
---“…challenge to the legality of a secret program (hereinafter “TSP”) undisputedly inaugurated by the National Security Agency (hereinafter “NSA”) at least by 2002 and continuing today, which intercepts without benefit of warrant or other judicial approval, prior or subsequent, the international telephone and internet communications of numerous persons and organizations The TSP has been acknowledged by this Administration to have been authorized by the President’s secret order during 2002 and reauthorized at least thirty times since.
JUDGE VAUGHN WALKER
Tash Hepting v AT&T Corp, Case No C-06-672 VRW, Judge Vaughn Walker, presiding
“More importantly, unlike the clandestine spy arrangements in Tenet and
Totten, AT&T and the government have for all practical purposes already disclosed that AT&T assists the government in monitoring communication content.”
“Considering the ubiquity of AT&T telecommunications services, it is unclear whether this program could even exist without AT&T’s acquiescence and cooperation.”
“Because the alleged dragnet here encompasses the communications of “all or substantially all of the communications transmitted through [AT&T’s] key domestic telecommunications facilities,” it cannot reasonably be said that the program as alleged is limited to tracking foreign powers. Accordingly, AT&T’s alleged actions here violate the constitutional rights clearly established in Keith. Moreover, because “the very action in question has previously been held unlawful,” AT&T cannot seriously contend that a reasonable entity in its position could have believed that the alleged domestic dragnet was legal.”
THE KEITH DECISION
United States v the United States District Court
A landmark US Supreme Court Decision upheld unanimously that domestic surveillance targeting, specifically warrantless wiretaps, were an unconstitutional violation of the fourth amendment of the Constitution.
This was a ruling originally set down by a judgment rendered by US District Court Judge Damon Keith and later upheld by the Supreme Court.
QUOTES FROM NEWSPAPERS
New York Times, Dec 16, 2005, Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts
“President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials.”
Los Angeles Times, Oct 13, 2007, Pre-9/11 wiretap bid is alleged
Qwest was approached about the program in February, 2001.
USA Today, May 11, 2006, NSA has massive database of Americans' phone calls
According to this article, of the big telecom companies involved, only Qwest refused the NSA request for help in illegally wiretapping it’s customers, siting the illegality of handing over the information without warrants.
“The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY”
The three telecommunications companies are working under contract with the NSA, which launched the program in 2001 shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the sources said.
Last year, Bush said he had authorized the NSA to eavesdrop — without warrants