The NYT reports:
A federal judge in California said Wednesday that the wiretapping law established by Congress was the “exclusive” means for the president to eavesdrop on Americans, and he rejected the government’s claim that the president’s constitutional authority as commander in chief trumped that law.
The judge, Vaughn R. Walker, the chief judge for the Northern District of California, made his findings in a ruling on a lawsuit brought by an Oregon charity. The group says it has evidence of an illegal wiretap used against it by the National Security Agency under the secret surveillance program established by President Bush after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The Justice Department has tried for more than two years to kill the lawsuit, saying any surveillance of the charity or other entities was a “state secret” and citing the president’s constitutional power as commander in chief to order wiretaps without a warrant from a court under the agency’s program.
These actions continue the notion of a unitary right to spy domestically.
The immunity issue would not directly affect this lawsuit because Al-Haramain is suing the government, not the phone companies. But the nearly 40 other lawsuits against phone companies that Judge Walker is overseeing would almost certainly have to be dismissed if immunity is signed into law, legal analysts say.
A right to review evidence after a long period of time, not during an emergency but through a perpetual state of war condition, is still an issue in freedom loving America.
In addition a program called “Terrorism Liaison Officer” or TLO program is reported on:
The Denver Post notes the continued development of spying on citizens by Homeland Security:
What we’re advocating for is developing a standardized process that can be put in place across the country so that frontline police officers (and others) are trained to recognize behaviors associated with certain activities related to terrorism,” he said.
Major city police chiefs are participating.
Civil libertarians questioned why firefighters, paramedics and corporate employees – such as Xcel Energy and railroad officials in Colorado – are drafted into the effort. They say public trust in emergency responders will suffer.
The emerging TLO system “empowers the police officer to poke his nose into your business when you’re doing absolutely nothing wrong. It moves the police officer away from his core function, to enforce the law, into being an intelligence officer gathering information about people,” said Mike German, a 16-year FBI agent now advising the American Civil Liberties Union.
My experience with the spotty quality of spying…er, reporting information…is serious, and know it can get quite personally oriented. If the FBI cannot train their own professionals in the use of emergency letters of information, how in the world will the police chief do so? And why? That Amtrak conductor is watching you…or the phone repair guy.
And if the reporting is secret you will never know what is in the file, nor why, nor how long it is kept, nor who has access. About like my credit file…maybe a free report every few years to correct for gossip and malice makes it more palatable. So far TLO is small…but remember NYC police spying and how it was used.
I did make a connection that if you keep guns as a deterrent to a government tyranny, please explain how you support this kind of reporting as well? Where is the NRA when you need them?
Update: Ask the Pilot on the expanding role of TSA as well, even if they don’t get respect.