Saturday, 10 August 2013

Let There Be Amnesty!



No amnesty to anyone for any reason period.

http://www.rightsidenews.com/2013081033027/editorial/rsn-pick-of-the-day/let-there-be-amnesty.html

 

Let There Be Amnesty!

10 August 2013

Written by Mark Krikorian

The Plan B of the open-borders crowd would dispense with the Constitution

There's still a real chance that the Captain Schettinos of the House Republican brain trust will rescue Obama's presidency by passing an amnesty. But some in the open-borders crowd are getting nervous about John Boehner's ability to achieve Obama's objectives.

Their fear is that this session of Congress will end with no amnesty bill on the president's desk, or with one whose criteria they consider too draconian. Their fallback strategy? Have Obama amnesty the illegal population by administrative fiat.

Fawn Johnson at National Journal writes (emphasis added):

Immigration-reform activists aren't supposed to talk publicly about a Plan B. They can't, or won't, answer questions from the media about what they will do if no bill passes this year to legalize the undocumented population. But as August wears on and there is no clear sense of what the House will do on immigration, some are starting to speak out. . . .

The idea behind the "other track" is to freeze the current undocumented population in place through an administrative order, give them work permits, and hope for a better deal under the next president, with the hope that he or she is a Democrat.

Actually, the call for an amnesty decree isn't even all that quiet. Nelson Peacock, until recently head of congressional relations for DHS, published an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times last week arguing Obama's threat of an amnesty proclamation "might just be the trump card he needs to bring House Republicans to the negotiating table."

The idea of Obama's just decreeing amnesty has been floating around since the beginning of this administration. In 2009, I was on a radio talk show where one of the other guests brought it up, approvingly, and it was one of the options presented in a February 2010 memo drafted by Janet Napolitano's office. But the president was always cautious, saying repeatedly that he had no authority to legalize illegal immigrants. In the president's first years in office, his exercise of "prosecutorial discretion" in immigration policy, while illegal in its breadth, didn't cross the line to granting work authorization and thus de facto legal status.

Then came the 2012 presidential campaign. Hispanic enthusiasm for the president was flagging and his advisers were genuinely concerned about losing the election. The administration needed, in the words of CUNY political scientist Stanley Renshon, "the immigration equivalent of astrophysics' Big Bang Theory of the universe's creation to reassure, energize, and consolidate his support in this electorally important ethnic group."

And so was born Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. While the name implies nothing but a postponement of enforcement, the program, announced in June of 2012 and initiated in August, provides de facto permanent amnesty for illegal aliens who came before their 16th birthday. Far from being simply a matter of immigration agents' looking the other way, this "deferred action" status provides a work card, a (legitimate) Social Security number, a driver's license, travel documents allowing the holder to leave and return to the U.S., and eligibility for affirmative-action benefits, the Earned Income Tax Credit (a form of welfare run through the IRS), and many state and local welfare benefits.

Nor is there anything temporary about it. The program is modeled after something called Temporary Protected Status, which provides the above-mentioned benefits to illegal aliens who don't qualify as refugees but whom we don't want to deport because of natural disaster or civil strife back home. TPS's raft of deadlines and registration requirements might suggest that it's really just a short-term fix, a hiatus that is followed by renewed enforcement. To borrow from James Taranto's tweets, HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!

As you might have guessed, no one has ever been sent home because his "temporary" protected status expired. No one. Liberian illegal aliens were granted TPS in 1991 because of civil war back home, and it was renewed for 16 years. Then the Bush administration discontinued the status in 2007 (the war having ended four years earlier), only to turn around and grant them "Deferred Enforced Departure," which is the same thing under a different bureaucratic label.

In short, the 500,000 illegal aliens who have been amnestied under Obama's "deferred action" decree are never, ever going to leave. Their amnesty is permanent and irrevocable.

So, might we expect another amnesty "big bang" if the normal workings of the legislative branch fail to yield the result Obama demands? It's unlikely that the administration would simply launch "a larger registration program that reaches the entire legalization population," in the words of the February 2010 memo. Such brazen defiance of the constitutional order could risk impeachment.

But including other groups, incrementally, in the Deferred Action amnesty is a less audacious way of achieving the same unconstitutional objective. Peacock, the former DHS official, suggests in his L.A. Times piece that Obama could unilaterally amnesty "those with a longtime presence in the United States or those with U.S.-citizen family members." National Journal's Johnson is more specific in listing candidates for the next administrative amnesty: "parents of 'Dreamers' or parents of children who are citizens because they were born here, people who are employed, people who are caregivers, and so on."

Another means of accomplishing the same thing would be to grant Temporary Protected Status to all Mexican and Central American illegal aliens (some 80 percent of the total), based on unstable conditions in their countries. Alternatively, the administration might send the message that any illegal alien applying for asylum will be approved, waiving the statutory one-year deadline after arrival to file such applications. This last is suggested by this week's release of nine DREAMer illegal aliens who left the country and then demanded reentry as a publicity stunt. They were released from detention Wednesday to pursue their (manifestly unfounded) claims for asylum.

Whatever the pretext, the supporters of amnesty are clearly moving toward support for extra-constitutional measures if, in the words of the National Journal piece, "Congress can't get the job done." The implicit suggestion is that, with regard to immigration, the nation is in a state of emergency that justifies the chief executive to rule by decree. If Congress permits such policies to pass without opposition, the consequences will resonate far beyond today's immigration debate.

Center for Immigration Studies, Mark Krikorian.

Mark Krikorian, a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995.

 



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Knock Knock! The Feds are at Your Front Door



I give no one amnesty period.

Knock Knock! The Feds are at Your Front Door

Posted on August 7, 2013

One of my Facebook friends commented on a recent article I wrote about reports of a high school text book re-writing history, asking if it was strange that he wasn't even mildly surprised. I replied, "Nothing surprises me anymore." But, I spoke too soon.

So, what's next? Social Engineering. Remember that scene in the Matrix where all the people of the world are lying unconscious in some tubes that look like they're filled with formaldehyde, living virtual existences? (Was that The Matrix?) That's the thought that's coming to my mind. The Department of Housing and Urban Development is now allowing the federal government to, get this, track diversity in American neighborhoods and then create policies to change neighborhoods that they decide are "discriminatory."

"Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing" is what they're calling it.

This one is a doosey. The government overreach we've seen seeping into every part of country's laws and policies has become the Obama Administration's trademark and legacy. In the name of equality, this administration has attempted to control and dictate how American people are supposed to live – from going after our right to bear arms, to forcing companies to go against their religion and finance abortions for employees, to making universal healthcare the law of the land, and on and on…

This housing thing is chilling. Not because diversity is a bad thing. I lived in Miami, Florida, for goodness' sake. I'm no stranger to it. I love it! But, the chilling thing is that the government has gotten so bloated with power that it now thinks it has the authority to dictate where people will live or not live- all in the name of…you guessed it – equality.

To quote an old teacher of mine, "I've said it once, but I'll say it a thousand times." You can't care for the poor by forcing other people to do things. That's what the government is doing – forcing taxpayers to pay for their healthcare, foodstamps, housing – and now, forcing Americans out of their homes in order to improve lives of those living in poverty. Good deeds are not good deeds if they involve stealing from others or forcing them to do things against their will!

We should ALL care about poverty. We should ALL be helping the poor and showing compassion to the needy ON OUR OWN or through the church.



Read more: http://youngpatriots.com/2013/08/knock-knock-the-feds-are-at-your-front-door/#ixzz2bZteIqQw



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Moron Obama: Americans Not Trusting NSA Is Like Michelle Not Trusting I Did The Dishes




 

Obama: Americans Not Trusting NSA Is Like Michelle Not Trusting I Did The Dishes

August 9, 2013 by Sam Rolley 

President Barack Obama held an hour-long press conference Friday, addressing reporters' questions about a range of issues. But the main focus of the event was the ongoing controversy over the National Security Agency's spying on American citizens.

The President announced a handful of modest steps he claims his Administration is taking to alleviate public concerns about the surveillance agency's activities, including working with lawmakers to ensure better Congressional oversight and possible changes to the process the government uses to justify data collection.

"I'm also mindful of how these issues are viewed overseas because American leadership around the world depends upon the example of American democracy and American openness," Obama said from the White House. "In other words, it's not enough for me, as president, to have confidence in these programs. The American people need to have confidence in them, as well."

Obama vowed that he intends to work on ways to tighten a provision of the Patriot Act – known as Section 215 – that allows the government to obtain business phone data records.  The President also suggested that his Administration would organize a panel of outsiders comprised of former intelligence officials, civil liberty and privacy advocates to review surveillance programs and suggest changes.

Rejecting the idea that NSA leaker Edward Snowden is a patriot, the President said that his Administration had already called for a review of the Nation's surveillance practices in May. But, the President said that "there's no doubt that Mr. Snowden's leaks triggered a much more rapid, and passionate, response than if I had simply appointed this review board."

Obama went on to insist that the NSA programs "are operating in a way that prevents abuse," even without the reforms he announced.

"The question is," Obama said, "how do I make the American people more comfortable?"

The President continued with an analogy, "If I tell Michelle that I did the dishes–now, granted, in the White House I don't do the dishes that much, but back in the day–and she's a little skeptical. Well, I'd like her to trust me, but maybe I need to bring her back and show her the dishes and not just have to take my word for it."

Obama said that if the American people "examined exactly what has taken place, how it has been used, what the safeguards were," that there would be no concern.



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Obama clicked heels three times; declared war(s) over




http://www.jewishworldreview.com/dave/weinbaum080913.php3

 

August 9, 2013

Obama clicked heels three times; declared war(s) over

By Dave Weinbaum

Instead of going before the country with a White House speech or a presser, Dorothy, AKA President Obama, flew in AF1 to la la land to appear to a grateful Jay Leno. In case you don't yet understand Obama's modus operandi, he's always and forever in campaign mode. When things get hot, he goes where he won't be questioned too closely, especially feeling comfortable with showbiz's Auntie Ems. Thus, Dorothy has supplanted the entire White House Press Corp. I don't know why--their questions weren't all that tougher than Leno's and Jay has a sense of humor.

Too bad al-Qaeda refused to see The Wizard of Oz. The Jihadists threw out the scripts Obama kept sending them from his first appearance on Al Arabiya to his overseas apology speech tour starting in a much healthier Cairo in 2009. Under the reign of Dorothy and the Wicked Witch of State, Hillary, things have changed mightily. Seems the bad guys in Northern Africa have been replaced by awful guys with Hillary and Obama's aid, using our pocketbooks to pay for it. As the stage-for-happy-endings go, the Islamists simply won't be controlled by the sugarplums and lollipops offered by these philosophical know-it-alls.

Those who fail to shepherd the
herd tend to want to bar-b-q it.

All those "phony scandals" are stewing, cooked and stirred in the cauldron of Hillary's failure to secure our embassies. Some are bubbling up with volcanic volume so as to cause a schism in their already cracked credibility.

Why do they fear the Benghazi boondoggle above all others? Because this one will blow up directly in Dorothy's and the Wicked Witch's faces.

Don't get me wrong. Other scandals appear have some meat in them, especially the IRS. Congress has connected Obama's winged legal monkeys to the tax collectors. They've been spotted flying back and forth from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to the Wicked Witch of Tax discrimination, Lois "The Fifth" Lerner. Coincidentally, these meetings with the chimp lawyers take place just before Lerner has ordered the crushing of some poor, unsuspecting Tea Partier, trying to apply for tax-exempt status like all the political Progressive Piranhas have gotten.

Remember the campaign slogan from the man with the Ruby Slippers, "Osama bin-Laden is dead and GM is alive." Then the Overseas Contingency Operations that all sane Americans and citizens of the world knew as the War on Terror were all but declared a victory and we were well on our way out of the good Obama Afghanistan war and the bad Bush Iraq war.

Boy, did the Benghazi attack throw a scare into them! LIONS AND TIGERS AND BEARS, OY VEY!

Instead of leveling with the American people, thus risking the Regime's reelection, Obama and Hillary decided to lie, looking for credibility in all the wrong places — even getting allied with a CNN debate moderator, who served as Obama's tag team partner against Romney.

Early on they sent out UN Ambassador Munchkin Susan Rice to lie about a Mohammed-mocking movie being the cause of what everyone in the Mideast knew to be an organized terrorist attack on Benghazi. Both Obama and Hillary lied to the relatives of our dead patriots — face to face.

Further, our Commander-in-Chief Dorothy Obama and the Wicked Witch of the State Department were both MIA. Speculation is that some of the missing hours from these two miscreants were filled in with none other than the real Wizard of Oz, Valerie Jarrett. It was reported that Jarrett gave the stand down order that left our Ambassador and three other Americans languishing through 8.5 hours of torture and murder. I don't remember her on the ballot, do you?

Now, out of nowhere, we find out from Liar's Central that there's a threat out there so massive and scary, we've had to close all our embassies in the Mideast a nd most of Africa, claiming the NSA program is what saved us. I'm confused — didn't they tell us the Islamists were decimated? If the Regime was telling the truth there'd be no way they could pose as a credible threat, much less forcing us to close 21 embassies in the Mideast and Northern Africa.

Then we get word that the leader of the group of Benghazi terrorists has been indicted — just like Bubba indicted Osama bin-Laden in the late 90's. Anyone remember how that worked out? So instead of capturing him and interrogating him, he'll be free to roam in all the terrorists hang outs, just like Osama did. If they did catch him and got him extradited (a big if), he'd lawyer up and shut up; seemingly what Obama wants all of us to do. They wouldn't have a case unless he confessed because the crime scene was destroyed by a failure of the FBI to secure it.

A couple of things we know now that we didn't before:

 

  • Benghazi is the scandal Hillary and Obama are most afraid of. Remember, we still don't know where Obama or Hillary were during that 8.5 hour attack.
  • If these people told you that two plus two equaled four, you might want to get a second opinion.
  • They will do anything, screw anyone and attack everyone who's a threat to their power.

In fact, this charade of governing has taken the country way off the yellow brick road. Most of the country has fallen asleep in the poppy fields.

Time to wake up, America! Demand your Congress to expose these power mongers as they continue to tyrannize us.

Time to throw a huge bucket of water on all of them.

 



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How the NSA uses phone records




 

How the NSA uses phone records

By Dana Priest, The Washington Post

http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/breakingnews/ci_23829690/how-nsa-uses-phone-records

 

Posted:   08/09/2013 10:12:02 AM PDT

Updated:   08/09/2013 10:12:05 AM PDT

 

National Security Agency's (NSA) surveillance programs. (AP) (J. Scott

Applewhite/)

 

WASHINGTON - On the third floor of the E. Barrett Prettyman courthouse in

downtown Washington, judges assigned to the Foreign Intelligence

Surveillance Court place their palms on a biometric hand scanner mounted

next to the entrance door. Then the judges and their staff enter a code into

door's electronic cipher lock.

 

Inside a secure vault - one impenetrable to any sort of technical

eavesdropping - the judges review some of the Justice Department's most

sensitive requests for access to private communications information,

including the phone records of tens of millions of Americans, a collection

that has generated significant criticism since it was disclosed in June.

 

The court is staffed year-round, and on an emergency basis, to authorize

surveillance by the U.S. intelligence community. Although much attention has

been focused on the court's approval of the NSA's so-called metadata phone

records program, interviews with intelligence officers and experts, public

statements and recently declassified documents indicate that the

authorization marks the beginning of a long - and, U.S. officials say,

carefully regulated - process.

 

That process, they say, often starts thousands of miles away. During a night

raid in Kandahar, Afghanistan, U.S. Special Operations commandos might seize

a computer belonging to a terrorist cell leader, for instance, and find an

electronic phone book on it. An NSA linguist listening to intercepted phone

calls from a terrorist in Yemen might hear him talking repeatedly to the

same person about a bomb. A Saudi intelligence service might provide the

cellphone number of a new, English-speaking al-Qaida courier to the CIA

station chief in Riyadh.

 

In each case, the numbers would trigger a search of the NSA's vast

collection of Americans' phone records - even local calls.

 

The program that collects metadata has been referred to in shorthand as the

"215 program" after the section in the law that governs it. It is a search

for a needle in a haystack of unimaginable proportions, and administration

officials can point to few successes.

 

The NSA maintains a separate collection program, known as PRISM, that was

exposed in June and has been at times conflated with the metadata program.

But PRISM is focused not just on terrorism but any foreign intelligence

matter. It is especially used to pursue foreign terrorism suspects, foreign

espionage cases and investigations involving weapons of mass destruction,

and it routinely sweeps up the content of e-mail and social media exchanges

involving American citizens, according to documents and interviews.

 

There is still much confusion about each program, even among people who have

been briefed on them, and even among officials involved in carrying them

out. What follows is an explanation of the 215, which has generated the most

controversy and the most dedicated effort at reform in Congress.

 

Every 90 days, Justice Department lawyers ask a federal judge to renew the

authority to collect the phone records of all Americans by reissuing what is

known as a "215 order," after the section in the USA Patriot Act that

government lawyers have determined permits the collection of such records.

That blanket order allows NSA analysts to search the phone database for

links between foreign terrorists and their U.S.-based contacts.

 

But to begin a particular search, analysts must submit a request to their

superiors showing why there is a "reasonable, articulable suspicion" that

the number belongs to a member of a recognized terrorist organization. A

reasonable, articulable suspicion is lower than the standard of "probable

cause" used in criminal investigations to obtain a warrant or make an

arrest. But the suspicion has to be based on facts that a reasonable person

would accept.

 

The analysts' 215 requests go to one of the 22 people at the NSA who are

permitted to approve them - the chief or the deputy chief of the Homeland

Security Analysis Center or one of 20 authorized Homeland Security mission

coordinators within the Signals Intelligence directorate's analysis and

production directorate.

 

Once a request is approved, it is given to one of the Signal Intelligence

directorate's 33 counterterrorism analysts who are authorized to access the

U.S. phone metadata collection.

 

When one of the analysts attempts to log into the database, the computer

verifies whether the analyst has permission to do so. Edward Snowden, the

NSA contractor who leaked details of the program, would not have had such

authority.

 

An analyst's search of the metadata begins with a foreign number: the number

the NSA intercept was targeting in Yemen; the number the Saudi intelligence

liaison took from the detainee; numbers found in the computer in Afghanistan

that show calls to Europe or the United States.

 

The analyst then queries the database to see if it contains the number. In

2012, the database was queried 300 times by an NSA analyst.

 

If the database finds a U.S. phone number, the analyst will begin a "link

analysis" chart of all the numbers connected to the original number and

metadata about the calls, such as their date, time and duration. The

metadata also includes a phone's routing information, telephone calling card

numbers and other identifiers internal to each phone.

 

It does not include the content of the calls or the names of the phone

subscribers. It does not contain information about the phone's location .

 

An analyst, for example, might find what appear to be 10 U.S. phone numbers

- based on area codes or other identifiers - linked to the original number.

The analyst will then use tools such as reverse telephone directories,

public search engines and other NSA databases of foreign phone numbers.

 

Intelligence experts said other factors that could make a phone interesting

to analysts are the frequency of calls linked to the initial number or the

timing of calls, before or after attacks, for example.

 

Of the original 10 U.S.-based phone numbers identified, only two might

remain interesting to the analyst. Using those two numbers, the analyst

searches for all the calls made or received by those two phones. This is

called a "hop." The process often stops at the second hop but can go to a

third if the second yields more numbers of interest.

 

Whatever numbers survive after the NSA analyst's search are passed to the

FBI for further investigation. The NSA gave the FBI 500 numbers in 2012.

 

The FBI's job at this point is to find out whether any of those U.S. numbers

should be investigated further for links to terrorist organizations or

supporters. To do this, the FBI queries its own databases for numbers that

are linked to existing bureau cases; or linked to overseas phone numbers

known to be associated with other terrorist suspects; or show other foreign

connections that raise questions.

 

The FBI can also search publicly available information, including court

records, social media and certain commercial databases, which can give

subscribers a person's Social Security number, past residences and much

more.

 

If the FBI wanted to go further, such as obtaining a person's bank or credit

card records, it would require a court order, warrant or subpoena and then

an assessment or investigation probably would occur.

 

Each NSA database search is audited afterward by compliance officials at the

agency. How many phone numbers are searched is reported every 30 days to the

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. Every 90 days, a small team from

the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National

Intelligence spends a day at NSA looking over 215 documents and questioning

analysts. Cursory reports on 215 activity are sent to Congress every year.

The last one was eight sentences.

 

The government says there have been no willful abuses of the system, only a

few mistakes. No information has been released about those instances.

 

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Lavabit, Silent Circle shut down e-mail: What alternatives are left?




http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/lavabit-silent-circle-shut-down-e-mail-what-alternatives-are-left/2013/08/09/639230ec-00ee-11e3-96a8-d3b921c0924a_story.html?wpisrc=nl_headlines

 

Lavabit, Silent Circle shut down e-mail: What alternatives are left?

By Hayley Tsukayama, Published: August 9

Privacy- and security-focused Web services have seen some extra time in the spotlight since The Washington Post and The Guardian first broke their stories about government surveillance.

Not all of that attention, however, has been good.

As my colleague Andrea Peterson wrote, the Lavabit e-mail service used by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden announced Thursday that it would shut down, implying heavily that it had received some sort of government request for information. Hours later, my colleague Timothy Lee reported that another firm, Silent Circle, said it would preemptively shut down its service to avoid ending up in the same position.

That could leave those looking for alternatives to wider commercial services such as Gmail, Outlook or Yahoo Mail in a bit of a lurch. There are alternatives out there. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties organization, suggests the paid service Autistic/Inventati, invitation-only Riseup, and Swiss-based MyKolab as alternatives for people looking to secure their e-mail accounts. The group also has recommendations for e-mail clients that you can use on your computer, including Mozilla Thunderbird, which has an optional add-on for encrypting mail.

(For other tips finding and using privacy- and security- focused services of all stripes, check out this list, which Lee put up in the days following the first reports of the NSA surveillance programs.)

There have already been concerns that the existence of these surveillance programs may hurt U.S. businesses, particularly cloud providers. In fact, European Union Vice President Neelie Kroes said the programs could have "multibillion-euro consequences" for American firms.

But while these closures probably don't mean that much to the average consumers — who probably were not going to head to these specialized services for their everyday e-mail needs anyway — they are raising some concerns. Silent Circle said specifically that it hadn't actually received any "subpoenas, warrants, security letters, or anything else by any government" before shutting down, which leads to the troubling conclusion that the threat of action alone was enough to take an option off the market.

Related stories: The Switch: Another e-mail service shuts down over government spying concerns The Switch: Snowden's e-mail provider is closing, cannot legally say why Five ways to stop the NSA from spying on you Follow The Post's new tech blog, The Switch, where technology and policy connect.

 



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Obama Claims Broad UnConstitutional Powers






 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obama-administration-asserts-broad-surveillance-powers/2013/08/09/ff429504-0134-11e3-96a8-d3b921c0924a_print.html

Obama administration asserts broad surveillance powers

By Ellen Nakashima and Robert Barnes, Published: August 9

The Obama administration on Friday asserted a bold and broad power to collect the phone records of millions of Americans in order to search for a nugget of information that might thwart a terrorist attack.

In a 22-page "white paper," the Justice Department for the first time detailed its legal rationale for a massive National Security Agency data collection program that it claimed is both constitutional and subject to federal oversight.

The report, which echoes assertions the administration has made to Congress, said the law and subsequent court decisions bestow broad power on the government to seek telephone records "relevant" to investigations of suspected terrorism.

"Relevance," the paper stated, is "a broad standard that permits discovery of large volumes of data in circumstances where doing so is necessary to identify much smaller amounts of information within that data that directly bears on the matter being investigated."

The release of the white paper appeared to do little to allay the concerns of critics in Congress and the civil liberties community who say the surveillance program violates Americans' right to privacy. Last month, the House narrowly defeated a proposal to terminate it. The closeness of the vote,
217 to 205, was surprising but gave fresh momentum to lawmakers who have been trying to rein in the collection effort.

"The president must acknowledge what a clear majority of Americans know: Our government has violated the law by collecting the communications of millions of innocent U.S. citizens," said Rep. Rush D. Holt (D-N.J.), who wants the collection to end and has also criticized another major NSA surveillance program that targets communications of foreigners.

The administration's definitions defy "any previous interpretation of the law," said Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union. "The way the government is interpreting relevance, anything and everything they say is relevant becomes relevant."

"The release of this document is too little, too late in light of a massive public outcry over a secret surveillance program that has affected millions of innocent Americans," Romero said.

Critics say the program amounts to a "dragnet," collecting massive amounts of what the report called "telephony metadata" detailing records of telephone calls. Included is information about the telephone numbers involved in calls, when the calls were made and how long they lasted. The content of the call is not revealed.

The information is important, the government said, to allow special NSA analysts to look for calls linked to recognized terrorist groups. But critics say U.S. officials have not demonstrated that the program is necessary to prevent terrorist attacks. And they say that the white paper makes clear that the law does not directly authorize the bulk collection of Americans' phone records.

The government, however, said it believes Congress intended a broad concept of relevance when it passed Section 215 of the Patriot Act in 2001 and later amended it. That law authorizes the government to collect "any tangible things" when there are "reasonable grounds to believe that the tangible things sought are relevant to an authorized investigation" to obtain foreign intelligence information or to protect against international terrorism.

Some lawmakers have said that when they passed the law they did not think that they were authorizing the bulk collection of virtually all Americans' phone records. How could that, they said, be relevant to an authorized investigation?

But the Justice Department's report said the law was reauthorized twice after Congress had been informed in classified briefings how the law had been interpreted by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and how it was being implemented.

The white paper said there were several reasons to believe Congress had in mind "particularly broad" standards when writing the law allowing the investigations.

For instance, the law said government need only show there is "reasonable grounds to believe" that the records sought would be relevant to the investigation. Its intent was to prevent threats to national security, not establish liability or guilt for something that has already occurred.

It noted that Congress in 2006 "specifically rejected proposals to limit the relevance standard" to encompass only records relating to people suspected of terrorist activity. Some lawmakers, however, have renewed proposals to restrict the surveillance.

The government said the records searches are not unlike a government agent copying an entire computer hard drive to later review it for specific evidence, and it cites a case in which a doctor was subpoenaed to produce 15,000 patient files considered relevant to a health-care fraud investigation.

The report conceded that such cases might not permit the "bulk collection" of the sort carried out under the NSA program. However, it asserts, "the relevance standard affords considerable latitude, where necessary, and depending on the context, to collect a large volume of data in order to find the key bits of information contained within."

Elizabeth Goitein, co-director of the Brennan Center for Justice's Liberty and National Security Program, said the Justice Department did not make its case.

"I think a lot of Americans would say if the government isn't investigating a specific crime, then it has no business collecting every American's records," she said.

Goitein said the public would be better served by the release of the 2006 opinion by a surveillance court judge, Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, that authorized the bulk collection. That ruling is still classified.

The administration is considering whether it can release the opinion. Officials have said extricating the legal analysis from classified material is difficult. But privacy advocates say now that the program's existence has been declassified, the public ought to be able to see the court's legal analysis.

"The court has a responsibility to address counter­arguments and contrary case law," Goitein said. "We don't see that in this white paper because the government is just advocating for its position."

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court hears applications for surveillance orders in secret, and the only the party that generally appears before it is the government, which is represented by a Justice Department lawyer.

"In a situation where you don't have an advocate on the other side, I would hope that the court would have taken it upon itself to consider some of the contrary arguments," Goitein said. "I'd like to see the court consider the fact that what the government was proposing to do went far beyond what it has been authorized to do under a 'relevance' standard in any other context."

 



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Spanish skyscraper missing elevators in monster goof: ‘Standard for the Future’ or sign of current decline?








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How To Make Hush Puppies, The Greatest Fried Food Of All Time








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Obama to begin importing 2,000 Syrians, permanently





creeping posted: "How many mosques will be needed for the first 2,000 alone? How many when they eventually bring their husbands, siblings, cousins, and other family members? How many millions of your taxpayer dollars will be needed to support them all?  via Foreign Policy "
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Obama to begin importing 2,000 Syrians, permanently

by creeping

How many mosques will be needed for the first 2,000 alone? How many when they eventually bring their husbands, siblings, cousins, and other family members? How many millions of your taxpayer dollars will be needed to support them all?  via Foreign Policy With conditions continuing to deteriorate in Syria, the Obama administration is making a […]

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