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Spies Like Us

Here's a court decision that'll probably cause the members of various political lunatic fringes to act out like petulent two-year-olds:

Spy court rejects ACLU petition; refuses to release wiretap docs

The nation's spy court said Tuesday that it will not make public documents regarding the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, in a rare public opinion, said the public has no right to view the documents because they deal with the clandestine workings of national security agencies.

The ACLU asked the court to release the records in August.

Writing for the court, U.S. District Judge John Bates refused:

'The identification of targets and methods of surveillance would permit adversaries to evade surveillance, conceal their activities, and possibly mislead investigators through false information,' Bates said.

It's good to see that someone over in D.C. has a functioning cerebrum, eh?

P.S. - Judge Bates was nominated to the federal bench -- yeah, you guessed it -- by President George W. Bush.


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Comments (21)

And of course when Presiden... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

And of course when President Clinton was in the Oval Office, Bates position on making executive documents public was completely different. From the links you thoughtfully supplied..

As a prosecutor in Starr's office, Bates successfully argued that the White House had to turn over documents related to then-first lady Hillary Clinton...

"When that guy was working for Ken Starr, he wanted to go open the dresser drawers of the White House," said Leahy, in an interview with Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne. "I guess it's a lot different when it's a Republican vice president."

After Bush successfully nominated him to a seat on the appeals court in Washington, Bates ruled that the General Accounting Office (its first law suit in it 81 year history) of Congress did not have the right to demand that Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force turn over records of its closed-door meetings. (even who attended and what was discussed)

If you want secret task forces, secret government, Bates is your man unless of course its a Democrat in the Oval Office, then you can go for 'the dresser drawer'.
Steve, So you want ... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

So you want to make our intelligence data and gathering method publicly available so that the terrorists can know about them?
What did Hillary do concerning national security at the time? Was it how the Clinton administration dealt harshly with American women/children at Waco? Or how they tried to deport Elian Gonzalez back to Cuba? Leahy was the guy who was leaking intelligence information. That 's why you quoted him I guess.

Anyway, the ACLU is such an un-American organization even by liberal standard. They are trying to harass/attack the Boy Scout and working on behalf of the terrorist sympathizers. I guess liberals want tax-payer support of deliberately offensive "speech" (under the guise of art). So ACLU 's harassment of the Boy Scott should raise a huge red-flag with honest liberals everywhere.

Oh, I think the liberals ju... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Oh, I think the liberals just want to cover up all the known corruption of the Clinton again: like the Chinese money connection, Sandy Berger 's stealing of classified papers, and Bill's sexual harassment.

you're offering up a bogus ... (Below threshold)

you're offering up a bogus comparison, steve. the context of the 2 cases is entirely different. i'd ask if you didn't realize that. but then you would have to admit that either you are an idiot, incompetent, or just a liar.

An irrelevant comparison, S... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

An irrelevant comparison, Steve C.

Personally , ke_future, I'd... (Below threshold)

Personally , ke_future, I'd go with incompetent idiot, but that's just me.

Clancy ~ I disagree; Crickm... (Below threshold)

Clancy ~ I disagree; Crickmore's not an idiot (at least as he acted in this case). His attempt to conflate entirely different situations is intended to confuse the issue and deceive the reader, so "liar" is closer to accurate.

Yeah, but what about the ch... (Below threshold)

Yeah, but what about the children?

Steve, you're always ignora... (Below threshold)

Steve, you're always ignorant in your answers but this time you outdid yourself. Your comparisons are pathetic.

Nice try though. One day you may make some sense.

Steve Crickmore - And the ... (Below threshold)

Steve Crickmore - And the award for the most disingenuous post (to be kind, tis the "season" ya know) since the banishment of Lee Ward from these parts goes to.... Steve for this BS: "And of course when President Clinton was in the Oval Office, Bates position on making executive documents public was completely different."

If you all would clutch the... (Below threshold)
nogo war:

If you all would clutch the 4th Amendment as close as you clutch the 2nd...
speaking of the 4th...you all have any problem with our Govt knowing how many guns you own...and exact model?

We all want it both ways...not going to happen.
Either you believe in the 4th or you don't.

Crickmore, your attack is c... (Below threshold)

Crickmore, your attack is completely incompetent. Not merely because the issue was completely different but because Bates' role was different. It was his job to advocate for the independant prosecutor's position, not make a judicial ruling, in the Clinton case.

This is just typical of the juvenile partisan prattling we've been subjected to as a result of the Clinton presidency. Enormous harm has been done to our political discourse as a result.

I should add..you have a ri... (Below threshold)
nogo war:

I should add..you have a right to buy and own as many guns you want. However, as we have surrendered so much of the 4th in the past 6 years, is it a stretch that under this same court assumption, our Govt has the right to know what kind and how many?
After all.it is not really a privacy issue in our post 9/11 nation.

nogo war, your claim: <bloc... (Below threshold)

nogo war, your claim:

However, as we have surrendered so much of the 4th in the past 6 years...
is just complete nonsense.

Fourth Amendment protections have in fact expanded, including in the last 6 years. Claiming otherwise is simply and objectively false.

SPQR -Welcome to B... (Below threshold)


Welcome to Bizzaro-World. Reality does not matter to Nogo - he's 'reality-based' when it comes to politics. Actual reality is what he says it is, and that you question him simply shows how deluded a Kool-aid drinker you are.

I agree with you. I don't worry about the government - there's too many people watching and screaming about possible, potential, 'maybe they're thinking about it!' sort of stuff. I worry more about my privacy with on-line search engines and various 'people search' services than I do about my privacy from the government.

JLawson, indeed it is incre... (Below threshold)

JLawson, indeed it is increasingly impossible to maintain any privacy of individuals with the electronic information age.

But nogo war's comments just annoy me greatly. It is the same BS being repeated day after day and it is just completely nonsense. Every year, Fourth Amendment law expands, not contracts. Nogo war's comments are just completely false and if he sincerely believes it, just shows the wild ignorance that people of his ilk substitute for actual thought.

Hey to the several critics ... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Hey to the several critics of my first comment, there may be legitimate national security concerns that can't be redacted, but my point was that Bates with his history of judgments, particularly with his ruling on the Cheney energy task force, everything conceivably eould becomes a national securty case, probably even Bush's Christmas card list. Bates,even makes part of the opposition case.

Without access to those judicial rulings, the public has no idea what government's surveillance powers are," ACLU lawyer Jameel Jaffer said. "It shouldn't be a controversial proposition that the public has a right to know what the court believes the scope of FISA is."

Bates acknowledged that the public would benefit from seeing the documents. The decision-making process would be understood, he said, and public oversight could help safeguard against government abuse. But the dangers of releasing such sensitive materials far outweigh that public benefit, Bates said.

So even the judicial rulings are secret. everything is classified....Bates is comfortable with this, '"quite frankly it is beyond debate". Yes, it is true Bates is acting as a judge no longer working for Ken Starr, but his decisions are alwys solidly in line with the interests of the party and the executive that nominated him..even if some of his questions show some independence.
Crickmore, the bottom line ... (Below threshold)

Crickmore, the bottom line is that you make no argument at all that his ruling is wrong. You just engage in cheap ad hominem.

SPQR..the bottom line is t... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

SPQR..the bottom line is there is very little to go on one way or the other, since we can't look at 'the decision-making' of the The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court or even what decisions they are making. I guess we should be lucky we got this by Bates, 'a rare on-the-record opinion.'..That's why I'm looking at his previous opinions rather than just accepting it as given.

As for counter terrorism in general, I tend to be a little more cynical and agree with Sibel Edmonds..."If counterintelligence receives information about terrorism that implicates certain nations, semi-legit organizations or the politically powerful in this country, then that information is not shared with counterterrorism, regardless of the consequences. In certain cases, frustrated FBI agents have cited "direct pressure by the State Department."
It is very murky world out there and the Executive obviously would want to see the public blaming lets say for the case of simplication, Afghanistan, Iran or Iraq rather than Pakistan, Turkey or Saudi Arabia for having a hand in terrorist activities on American interests..This is where having secret courts and so on would be very useful for the conduct of foreign policy..

Steve, Going on the... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Going on the record, Leahy is a disgraced senator for leaking classified information. THe ACLU is a disgraced anti-American organization. Those are the records of those who brought the charges. And Clinton corruption is a matter of record as well. And the liberal left cover up and making excuses for Clinton corruption is a matter of record also. So based on the record, the comparison is less than honest.

I really fail to see how th... (Below threshold)

I really fail to see how the ACLU is an antiamerican organization... It fights to protect the civil liberties guaranteed by the bill of rights and the constitution. Sure, some of the cases they have fought were on the side of unsavory people or organizations... but their rights were being infringed upon. One such right is the right to Habeas Corpus - a right that all of the so called enemy combatants in Guantanamo have been denied for years. I must ask, if they are SO obviously guilty, why can they not be charged and tried by a jury, and allowed the chance to defend themselves?

The ACLU has also fought to keep religion and government separate. One such example is the Scopes trial. Religion has no place in government funded schools, and as such, creationism has no place either.

I like my civil liberties, and I don't like when the government tries to take them away from me. America is nothing without our civil liberties. And the ACLU only tries to make sure that they endure.






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