Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Impeachment?

It seems that the White House is bracing for a possible impeachment move in Congress over the NSA wiretapping.

27 Comments:

At 1/25/2006 09:40:00 AM, Blogger Willis said...

good!!

 
At 1/25/2006 10:16:00 AM, Blogger nova_middle_man said...

Let the facts come out in the hearings

 
At 1/25/2006 10:17:00 AM, Anonymous Freddie said...

The Demies keep digging their hole deeper and deeper.

 
At 1/25/2006 10:31:00 AM, Anonymous Rtwng Extrmst said...

Freddies right. As well as for the republicans that support them. A hearing on this will basically make the NSA useless with the leaks that will come out and will drastically reduce our effectiveness in knowing our enemies activities. Impeachment or not (and I think it's ludicrous to even consider it) hearings on this matter will greatly improve the enemies capability to attack us.

 
At 1/25/2006 10:32:00 AM, Anonymous Rtwng Extrmst said...

Please excuse my poor grammar in the last post. I was too quick to hit the button.

 
At 1/25/2006 11:44:00 AM, Blogger James E. Martin said...

Any 4 year old with an internet connection and most certainly an international terrorist knows that the us can wire-tap anyone anywhere in the world. The only thing that was leaked was that it was being done in violation of US Law, which it clearly was.

What is interesting is that the white house would have only been denied a warrant if they were just randomly tapping phone calls, which I fear they were doing.

 
At 1/25/2006 01:22:00 PM, Blogger Willis said...

rtwng: If your pal Bushy could just follow the rules, then we wouldn't need to have hearings on the issue.

It's too bad he can't. Really, it is. He must now be held accountable.

 
At 1/25/2006 02:20:00 PM, Anonymous Rtwng Extrmst said...

NOVA,

You obviously have no knowledge of how this is done. This is not about wiretapping. This is about intercepting the electromagnetic spectrum. To my knowledge there is no targeted wiretapping (random or otherwise) going on against US citizens. The President is not authorizing this for "grins". He is intercepting the command, control, and communications of this foreign enemy. If that enemy is communicating with individuals in the US, it is not illegal for him to do so.

BTW, this is also a position that has been defended (and used) by the last two Democrat administrations (Al Gore was a part of one, despite his recent less than honest protestations).

The problem with viewing this as wiretapping is that by nature, wiretapping is targeted, however intercept of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum is not and by its nature you end up intercepting all manner of things (including general radiative background noise, radars, etc.). You cannot target it other than by bands of EM spectrum. There is no way to go to a judge with probable cause for EM spectrum. You just can't do it.

This is also about the President and his sworn duty to protect our country from all enemy's foreign and domestic. He has the obligation to do these things.

If you take the position that you and others on the left are in accusing the President of breaking the law, it would also have then been illegal for the Union to intercept the telegraphs of the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Similarly were Castro to invade Miami tomorrow and were his generals on the ground to decide to use our own infrastructure against us, according to your view it would be illegal for our intelligence services to intercept them. Thereby highly increasing the liklihood of victory for the enemy.

When are you people going to recognize that we are at war with an enemy who is trying to take the battle to our own homeland? The Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are no longer a buffer for us. Hypothetically, If a future terrorist attack were to be shown to have been avoidable had our intelligence services just bothered to "connect the dots" of communications between the enemy overseas and their contacts here, there would be hell to pay for the administration (and rightly so).

Stop falsely trying to make this an issue about rights of US citizens, as this is not what's at stake. What is at stake is the ability of this President to conduct a victorious war over an enemy that wants nothing less than to destroy us all.

 
At 1/25/2006 05:15:00 PM, Blogger Willis said...

rtwng: Bush hasn't shown me, or anyone else, any proof that this program is targeting terrorists and terrorists alone. Bush (and his administration) have lied/misled before, and there is no way I'm going to trust him on this one. Absent proof, I will assume he is spying on people like me, and other Americans, because that is what makes most sense.

And you will protest, I'm sure, that he can't reveal proof because that would give aid and comfort to the enemy, or some such nonsense.

My answer is, I don't care. I don't trust him, and absent proof, I will assume he is spying on regular Americans.

 
At 1/25/2006 05:47:00 PM, Anonymous Rtwng Extrmst said...

Willis, I figured your response would be like that, and seeing as you're a lost cause, my comments were only directed at NOVA democrat.

 
At 1/25/2006 06:24:00 PM, Blogger Willis said...

Lost cause?? Well, if questioning authority and not accepting things at face value makes me a lost cause, then I'll take that as a compliment.

GWB could say anything, and you would believe him, wouldn't you??

 
At 1/25/2006 06:55:00 PM, Anonymous Rtwng Extrmst said...

Nope, and he doesn't have to say it for me to believe it about the NSA program. I happen to know alot of very committed professionals at NSA and they would never put up with someone abusing the rights of US citizens no matter who they are that might want them to.

 
At 1/25/2006 07:33:00 PM, Blogger Willis said...

Well, however nice people they may/may not be, I need the judicial branch to keep documentation on this sort of thing. Even if it turns out that he was only spying on terrorists, measures need to be taken to document who is spied on in case questions arise again.

Also, a program this secretive was probably also kept a secret to most workers in the NSA. I've worked in some high security federal buildings before, and there was alot of information I wasn't privy to.

 
At 1/25/2006 07:34:00 PM, Anonymous Al Gore said...

gosh, I sure hope we protect the rights of people in the US communicating with Al Queda.

Terrorists have rights too!

 
At 1/26/2006 12:28:00 AM, Blogger Willis said...

Apparently, 52% of Americans favor impeaching Bush over this wiretap thing.

ZING!!! Let's get the ball rolling!!

 
At 1/26/2006 12:35:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, nobody here knows ANYTHING about what was actually going on, or is going on, or what has been revealed or not revealed.

The "leaks" themselves have involved at least three DIFFERENT programs, only one of which is the one Bush says is highly classified. The government has revealed almost nothing about these programs, because they are all still classified. In an abundance of "openness", the president has acknowledged more than I think he should have, but it is also clear that some of what has been revealed is a lot LESS than what has been published.

The NSA head had to hold a press conference to note that the major claims of the NY Times actually involved two programs, both of which were already within the perview of the NSA and were done by the NSA head simply as a procedural shift.

If there is "wiretapping", we don't know about it, because it is classified. There are communications intercepts, as there have been for years. Echelon was a Clinton-era program, and you can "learn" about it on Alias if you like fiction. But we do intercept communication at hubs, through satellites, and in other ways for which there is NO mechanism to select specific phone numbers to "hear' or "not hear".

For years NSA has used general blocking methods, and then during review has filtered out any obvious domestic contacts they inadvertently obtained. This has been a long-standing practice of the NSA, and is the only way you could do this.

They broadened the parameters on their blocking methods after 9/11 since it was clear they had missed important information. That means they have MORE inadvertent stuff they have to get rid of.

Imagine you are panning for gold, and now you switched to a finer filter, so there's more crud you have to sift through, but gold isn't getting through anymore.

FISA is useless for monitoring pathways -- you'd have to get a warrant listing EVERY phone in the world, since they could all theoretically make a call that appeared on a pathway.

The sad thing is, every person who is in congress is smart enough to know this, and every one that isn't has a phone, and can call the NSA and get this information, or they could just watch the briefings.

However, you can't use itfor political advantage if you learn the truth. Unfortunately, a small majority of Americans actually figured this out and support what is happening, despite the media's attempt to make this into a gestapo-state issue.

In the 2004 election, Senator Kerry faulted the President because hundreds of thousands of intercepted communications were sitting at the NSA waiting to be filtered to weed out inadvertent information before being distributed. He said they should get moving and go through those intercepts. He NEVER said that those intercepts violated the law and should be destroyed.

Because before the election, he knew better, and thought the better political move was to blame Bush for not listening enough. Now Bush is accused of listening too much.

Fortunately, Bush keeps doing what we need to do, regardless of whether it seems politically expedient or not.

If it can be proven that Bush misused his office to intercept communications of his political foes for partisan purposes, he should be impeached and thrown out of office. But that goes for ANY president.

And the congress has an obligation to oversee the executive branch operations, and to put to rest the scurrilous allegations the Bush had a partisan purpose behind this anti-terrorism program, lest the NSA be distracted from protecting us from the next 9/11 attack.

Charles

 
At 1/26/2006 12:47:00 AM, Blogger criticallythinking said...

Willis, I'm not sure why you won't trust a person who had to stand publicly before the nation and get people to vote for him, but you seem happy to trust 5 people appointed to office who are accountable to nobody.

Even when it is shown that, in all the years it has operated, the FISA court has only protected an individual's privacy 5 times.

Of course, that doesn't reflect the thousands of times they never HEARD a case because it would be too hard to put it together, like in the case of the 20th hijacker, Mossauoi. (I know I didn't spell that right).

Since the left has yet to prove that Bush lied about any of the big things that they claim he lied about, or to show that anything that the administration got wrong was do to a deliberate act, rather than simple mistakes, your use of those 'lies' to conclude that he could still be lying is unsupported.

However, it could be that he is "spying" on americans, although not in the way you suggest. And if the american people, through their representatives, decide that his actions went too far, they should vote to cut off funding to stop it.

But I have seen no rational factual suggestion that Bush has purposely "spied on americans" for any reason OTHER than to catch the terrorists before they strike again. There is a rational argument to be had about HOW MUCH the government should be allowed to listen to in that attempt, but that argument is NOT a rational basis for impeachment.

Impeachment should be for Presidents who commit crimes against the country, not for those who may overstep the bounds of liberty in the attempt to fulfill their obligation to keep us secure in our homes and possessions.

And while I'm a privacy buff, I would rather have the government analyzing ALL foreign calls for clues to terrorism, than have them breaking down my door. The first only effects me if they use that information for nefarious purposes, while the 2nd is a direct assault on me and my family.

God Almighty already knows everything I do and say and think -- but he doesn't seize my property, rifle through my drawers, or subject me to strip searches.

So, show me a case where the information mined from a foreign telephone switch is given to the FBI and used to arrest someone for robbing a bank, and I'll reconsider the claim that such "eavesdropping" is a violation of our rights to privacy.

Until then, I've got to turn over all my financial information to Uncle Sam now, just to keep out of tax jail (now THAT is an unreasonable search and seizure).

 
At 1/26/2006 12:53:00 AM, Anonymous Rtwng Extrmst said...

Charles,

Good post. However:

"The sad thing is, every person who is in congress is smart enough to know this"

I have to differ with you on this one.

Also, Willis, per a previous post about believing GWB. When he gives me a reason to doubt his honesty, I will begin to not believ him.

 
At 1/26/2006 01:10:00 AM, Blogger Willis said...

ct: I don't trust anybody. But the fact is, the Supreme Court cannot be impeached, while the president can. For this reason, questioning Supreme Court judges is ultimately pointless.

The reason you have seen no evidence either way is that this program is classified. The Bush administration has leaked things to the media to help their public image, yet you will notice that no details have been leaked to the media regarding this secret spy program.

IF this secret spy program had actually caught a terrorist, or helped to catch a terrorist, I guarantee we would know about it by now. We've heard nothing but the same empty assertions by Bush, Gonzales, and Cheney that they only spied on terrorists, without any actual proof.

If they had evidence to support their assertion that this was a beneficial and necessary program, we would have had it by now. We'd have the names of terrorists in jail, caught by this spying. We'd have accounts of what they were planning to do.

We have none of that.

So, using common sense, I'm pretty sure that this program was secretive for a reason: because he WASN'T spying on terrorists. After all, since FISA is no more than a rubberstamp court anyway, why avoid it?? You can spy for 3 days before getting a warrant, and if spying on the person is even remotely justified, FISA will give you the green light.

Why ignore FISA?? Documentation, and legality. Even FISA wouldn't support Bush spying on his political enemies. Even though FISA is secret, it documents its proceedings, and those documents can be supoenaed (sic).

What is sad is that, without a guy like Arlen Specter doubting the legality of this program, Bush wouldn't even be scrutinized. But, thanks to Specter, we will have hearings, and ore facts will come to light. Hopefully, those facts will back up my assertion, and at least be clear enough to paint a picture of what was really going on.

 
At 1/26/2006 09:41:00 AM, Blogger James Young said...

Willis, thank you for illustrating your lack of knowledge of the Constitution, and history.

Of course members of the Supreme Court can be impeached. Art. III, sec. 1 ("shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour"); Art. II, sec.4 ("The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors"). Indeed, impeachment has been PRIMARILY used against Federal judges.

 
At 1/26/2006 12:05:00 PM, Blogger Willis said...

Interesting. Has it ever happened?

 
At 1/26/2006 01:28:00 PM, Blogger James Young said...

Yes. In 1805, Justice Samuel Chase was impeached by those who disagreed with his judicial decisions, though --- like the Great Prevaricator --- he escaped conviction in the Senate.

Efforts were also made to impeach Justice William O. Douglas; Abe Fortas was considered a likely candidate, probably causing his resignation; and some conservatives suggested impeaching Earl Warren in the 1960s.

Here endeth the lesson.

 
At 1/26/2006 01:34:00 PM, Blogger Willis said...

Well, that leaves some hope.

 
At 1/26/2006 02:28:00 PM, Blogger James Young said...

Oh, I don't know, willis. Impeaching Ginsburg, Breyer, Stevens, and Souter would seem mean-spirited at this point.

 
At 1/26/2006 02:52:00 PM, Blogger Willis said...

fpm Young's sense of humor is inadequate.

 
At 1/26/2006 03:07:00 PM, Blogger James Young said...

ql Willis' needs to grow one.

 
At 1/26/2006 04:23:00 PM, Blogger Willis said...

fpm Young is emulating my use of abbreviation. I guess I've had an influence on him!

 

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