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December 20, 2005


He was for court orders before he was against them.

I think we have a word for this....

"Nothing has changed, by the way"

That's not "technically true." It's a LIE.

You made it on the front page Daily Kos! Congrats.

Well, it's sort of technically true with reference to the Patriot Act, which is what he was discussing. It did not change the fact that court orders were required in order to perform wiretaps under the world's existing understanding of US law. His (secret) dictate did.

But regardless of whether the "nothing has changed" statement might be accurate under some strained parsing, the statement is exceptionally misleading.

I guess the phrase "technically true" means different things to different people, because I don't see how these statements are true at all. Sure, in one sense, he is telling the truth that we "must do" these things to get wiretaps. But in a more real sense, because wiretaps were done without doing those things; his statements are false. Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see how these statements are true at all.

I guess the difference is that the things he said we "must do" are necessary to stay on the legal side of things, but that wasn't a qualifier he made. Again, he said that wiretaps required a warrant, and yet that clearly wasn't true.

The fact that you don't classify the above examples as "lies" makes me think that all constitutional scholars have somehow missed the "President may do whatever they like" article of the constitution. Funny that.

These statements are egregious because they show that Bush was aware of the judicial ovesight requirement that he was circumventing in his repeated presidential order.

"Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so."

I believe that quite clearly qualifies as a lie.

"Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so."

Morpheus: "I believe that quite clearly qualifies as a lie."

NO NO NO....they DID talk about getting a warrant. they just DIDN"T BOTHER! see its not a lie.

The "need" and "must" are technically true in a legal sense-- if you don't get the court order, the taps are illegal, right? It's the same sense in which the statement "you have to drive 55 through here" is correct in a legalistic sense, even if you are going 100 mph at the time.

But I like the quotes that refer to "whenever we talk about wiretaps" and "whenever you hear about wiretaps"-- those quotes are technically true, because we didn't hear about, and they didn't talk about, the wiretaps that were done WITHOUT a court order. See? No lies here. Just the most dishonest and misleading administration in history.

Great work compiling the profound words of our "Current Leader" on the subject of wiretaps.

For your next project, could you compile his comments on that piece of paper called the Constitution?

Excellent job. Good work.

Saying that Bush was referring only to the Patriot Act, as Bush apologists are, is a lot like Clinton supporters arguing that he meant "no vaginal intercourse" -- but the stakes, of course, are immensely higher here. Future generations will be incredulous that Clinton was impeached and Bush was not.

He's quite clear to me that Bush says whatever's convenient to say at the time just to get people off his back. Probably some residual problem he had with his parents when he was little, but then, if he got caught in a lie, what was his punishment? Probably nothing.

He's clearly lied to the public, in my opinion. And he did because he probably thought he could get away with it just like he did when he was young. There's no two ways around it. And he lied it repeatedly. Case closed.

Do you realize that the "chronology of technically true but misleading statements by President Bush" does not "imply court orders are required for all government wiretaps"
Of the seven statements only one, April 20, loosely implies this, but when placed in context with the rest of the statements you should conclude that the NSA does not require warrants to conduct wiretaps.
The reason is he distinctly is speaking of law enforcement. The NSA is not law enforcement. Read the NSA mission statement, strategic plan, and leadership structure, you will see the NSA is a military asset.
The Authorization to Use Military Force granted on Sept 14 2001 by congress granted the president “all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations or persons [the president] determines planned, authorized, committed or aided” the attacks of Sept. 11. This clearly grants him authority to use a miliatry asset, such the NSA, to conduct wiretaps on suspected terrorists operated inside the US.
It is not a matter of Semantics, only a matter of understanding the difference between military and law enforcement.

See the problem with Mr. Peters analysis is that a military asset cannot be used in the United States, unless there is an uprising or civil disorder, in which case, the National Guard is mobilized to help control the good order. Using the NSA against known terrorists, inside U.S. borders may be ok, but roving wiretaps against non terrorists, for example, average U.S. citizens, is why there is the FISA law and the
FISA Court. It should not excape Mr. Peters attention, but one of the FISA judges quit in protest of Bush's illegal spying, quoting, in part, that, if there was an urgent need to conduct surveillance, Bush guys could have gone back to the Court and retroactively asked for a warrant to justify the search. If this is so, why are people so willing to hold with Bush's view of plenary power without any check by the Judicial branch, whose job it is to ask for some justification for the warrant. Of course, if you are gong to spy en mass against the whole nation, obviously, you want to take Bush's position, that he has unbridled authority. But then, when you check his record of actions, he has a totally mad view of his position.

Excellent documentation of Bush's previous assurances that court orders were obtained for wiretaps. It exposes Bush as the disingenous liar he is and shows his utter contempt for the rule of law.

This is excellent. Thank you very much for this, I'm sending as many people as possible here to read it.

Well done, my friend. One of the instances when bloggers really grasp the story well in advance of the rest of the "news".


"For years, law enforcement used so-called roving wire taps to investigate organized crime. You see, what that meant is if you got a wire tap by court order -- and, by the way, everything you hear about requires court order, requires there to be permission from a FISA court, for example."

Topic of this speech....

"President Bush Calls for Renewing the USA PATRIOT Act"

I'll openly admit that I'm probably from the opposite side of the political spectrum from most of you. But unlike some sites on both sides of the aisle, it looks like courtesy is the rule here. So I'll take a swing.

If I am subject to a law-enforcement wiretap (I'm talking garden-variety, pursuant to a warrant), and you call me or I call you, your end of the conversation is going to be monitored. You, however, are not the target of the monitoring, and it's unreasonable to suggest you've been "spied" on. I'VE been spied on, but it's all legal. A wiretap allows the monitoring agency to monitor all incoming and outgoing communications to or from the target, regardless of who the other party is.

To suggest that this works differently when the NSA wiretaps a terrorist (let the term include "suspected terrorist" and "terrorist associate") is to say that while the NSA can monitor all other communications of that terrorist without a warrant, if a call goes out to, or comes in from, the United States, the NSA either has to shut down the wiretap for the duration of the call, or (if they can go back in time) get a separate warrant covering each distinct U.S. person who calls or is called by the actual target of the surveillance. In other words, when monitoring an overseas terrorist who is not subject to Constitutional protections, we would actually have to get MORE warrants to cover all his communications than is required when monitoring a garden-variety domestic criminal. (That ignores the fact that such warrants would have to be gotten in real time, since you have no way of knowing in advance who the target is going to call or be called by. And, of course, that's impossible.) This strikes me as an absurd result. In a court, if a law can be construed two ways, and one of those ways would require an absurd result, the court will construe the law the other way -- because the assumption is that the legislature would not intend an absurd result.

I will grant that your side has slam-dunk, hands-down, no-question won the argument when you can show that the NSA, after monitoring communications to and from a targeted overseas terrorist, and having intercepted a call to or from a person in the U.S., subsequently targeted the U.S. person's OTHER communications (that is, made the U.S. person a target of surveillance in his own right) without getting a warrant. That hasn't even been alleged, let alone demonstrated.

I read an article this morning praising the high-mindedness of a FISA judge who refused to grant the FBI a warrant to monitor exactly that kind of U.S. person, because the probable cause for the warrant arose through the NSA program -- that is, this U.S. person called or was called by a targeted overseas terrorist, and the government determined that the content of that call justified targeting the U.S. person directly.

Rather than show the FISA judge's high-mindedness, it makes me seriously doubt her judgment. But more to the point, it shows that even in the context of fighting terrorism, when the government has wanted to target a U.S. person for surveillance, they've gone to court and gotten a warrant.

It doesn't bother me in the slightest that Bush would speak in absolutes about court orders for wiretaps when a) the context was domestic law enforcement and the PATRIOT Act, and b) the NSA program, a national-security (as opposed to law enforcement) program was highly, highly classified. In order for me to buy the "Bush lied" argument, he'd have to have explicitly addressed military intelligence in those statements, because I don't think a reasonable person would construe them to include military operations.

So, "Nothing has changed" seems perfectly accurate to me: When a warrant is required by law, the government requests one before beginning a wiretap; when a warrant isn't required (such as for the NSA to collect intelligence on overseas terrorists), they don't.

If anyone can point to unambiguous language addressing the situation where a foreign target of an intelligence wiretap calls or is called by a U.S. person, and can show where any law clearly requires a warrant for each person who communicates with such a foreign target, I will concede the argument. But there's a pretty high burden of proof on anyone who's claiming that such a ridiculous result is mandated by law, and nobody I know of has even remotely approached meeting it.

i think that bush could not do this just because hes president

Do people think there will be any problem when a 'warrant' is needed? Maybe some laws have now changed in such a way, that now even a traffic-police-rookie can print-out a 'warrant' on his PDA, sign it and use it.

Or something like that...

He opened the laboratory. Ginnie, http://www.medstudents.co.uk/johansson >scarlett johansson interview all the cushion was too. Cmon big guy.

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