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Judge Steps Down in Protest of Bush Survelliance Program

TimmyBoy

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Hmm...somebody needs to tell Cheny that the original intention of Congress was to act as a check against the executive branch:

Judge Resigns Over Secret Surveillan
By GINA HOLLAND, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 49 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - A federal judge has resigned from a special court set up to oversee government surveillance, apparently in protest of President Bush's secret authorization of a domestic spying program on people with suspected terrorist ties.

U.S. District Judge James Robertson would not comment Wednesday on his resignation, but The Washington Post reported that it stemmed from deep concern that the surveillance program Bush authorized was legally questionable and may have tainted the work of the court. The Post quoted two associates of the judge.

An aide to Robertson said the resignation letter submitted to Chief Justice John Roberts was not being released. Robertson did not step down from his district judgeship in Washington.
Robertson was one of 11 members of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which oversees government applications for secret surveillance or searches of foreigners and U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism or espionage.

The court was established by Congress in 1978 and its members, appointed by the chief justice, do their work in private.

Quoting colleagues of Robertson, the Post said the judge had indicated he was concerned that information gained from the warrantless surveillance under Bush's program subsequently could have been used to obtain warrants under the FISA program.
Robertson's resignation was reported hours after Vice President Dick Cheney strongly defended the surveillance program and called for "strong and robust" presidential powers.

Cheney — a former member of congress, defense secretary and White House chief of staff under President Ford — said executive authority has been eroding since the Watergate and Vietnam eras.

"I believe in a strong, robust executive authority and I think that the world we live in demands it," Cheney said.
Republicans said Congress must investigate whether Bush was within the law to allow the super-secret National Security Agency to eavesdrop — without warrants — on international calls and e-mails of Americans and others inside the United States with suspected ties to al-Qaida.

"I believe the Congress — as a coequal branch of government — must immediately and expeditiously review the use of this practice," said Sen. Olympia Snowe (news, bio, voting record), R-Maine.
And remember folks, Big Brother is watching you.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051221...pfB4FkB;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl
 

Stinger

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TimmyBoy said:
Hmm...somebody needs to tell Cheny that the original intention of Congress was to act as a check against the executive branch:
Not when it comes to foreign intelligence matters as in this case, but that being said Congress was informed if they want to try and amend the constitution so that they have such authority then they should try. But it won't happen. The founding fathers knew full well that 500+ voice could never do the job. That's why they left it with the Executive.
 

Calm2Chaos

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Why should we spy on them. It's easier to locate them after they kill large innocent groups of people.

Am I wrong in what I have heard? Because my limited understand of this seems to point that the President is actually legaly allowed to do this under the war paowers act, or something to that effect?
 

aps

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Calm2Chaos said:
Why should we spy on them. It's easier to locate them after they kill large innocent groups of people.

Am I wrong in what I have heard? Because my limited understand of this seems to point that the President is actually legaly allowed to do this under the war paowers act, or something to that effect?
Calm, I think it's arguable whether he had the powers or not. If he unquestionably had the powers, this uproar would not have occurred, IMO. That's not to say he did NOT have the powers. If he was so sure, he wouldn't have had to obtain an opinion from the Justice Dept.
 

Calm2Chaos

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aps said:
Calm, I think it's arguable whether he had the powers or not. If he unquestionably had the powers, this uproar would not have occurred, IMO. That's not to say he did NOT have the powers. If he was so sure, he wouldn't have had to obtain an opinion from the Justice Dept.
OO it would have occured it's another mythical rock for the dems to throw. True or not accuse first ask questions later.

Maybe he just wanted clarification on what is alowed and what isn't. But this pocess has been going on for over a decade. Some presidents have used this without the threat of terrorism and the pretense of war
 

Stinger

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aps said:
Calm, I think it's arguable whether he had the powers or not. If he unquestionably had the powers, this uproar would not have occurred, IMO. That's not to say he did NOT have the powers. If he was so sure, he wouldn't have had to obtain an opinion from the Justice Dept.
:rofl that is the most self-serving convoluted specious logic I have seen in a long time.

>> If he unquestionably had the powers, this uproar would not have occurred, IMO.

Wrong, when the facts ever stop the NYT from printing garbage or the Dems from making baseless accusations?

>> If he was so sure, he wouldn't have had to obtain an opinion from the Justice Dept.

That is pitiful.

Not only myself but many here have posted the court cases and court decisions and the orders of previous administrations and statements of previous Justice Department officials. I have seen NOTHING that supports your side other than specious conjecture such as what you posted above.
 

aps

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Calm2Chaos said:
OO it would have occured it's another mythical rock for the dems to throw. True or not accuse first ask questions later.

Maybe he just wanted clarification on what is alowed and what isn't. But this pocess has been going on for over a decade. Some presidents have used this without the threat of terrorism and the pretense of war
I would hope that the legal experts commenting on this issue (those who agree with the president and those who disagree with the president) are sticking ONLY to the facts in this situation. I have read commentary from legal experts who say he had the power and those who have said he does not or that it is questionable. There are people who base it solely on partisan issues, but then Spector has expressed concern on this issue.
 

debate_junkie

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aps said:
I would hope that the legal experts commenting on this issue (those who agree with the president and those who disagree with the president) are sticking ONLY to the facts in this situation. I have read commentary from legal experts who say he had the power and those who have said he does not or that it is questionable. There are people who base it solely on partisan issues, but then Spector has expressed concern on this issue.
It was also reported that one of the reasons this judge stepped down was because the Chief Justice of this 11 judge panel was told of the NSA operations, and she (being the chief justice) was told she was forbidden to tell the other members of the court.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5065041

And here is the EXACT report I heard today on NPR... click the listen button to hear it.

I'll await commenting on how other presidents have told a Chief Justice that he or she was forbidden to brief the other members of said court, when it comes to wiretapping in any manner. :rofl
 

JustMyPOV

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The gathering of intelligence on foreign soil is one thing, even spying on "guests" on our soil I could understand how inherent powers during times of war could be used as a reasoning. Where the whole legality question comes up for me is whether the president has the right to act above the law with regard to procuring a warrant from a judge (or panel of judges) before gathering intelligence on US citizens.

Unquestionably, FISA seems to define the powers of the president as pertains to intelligence gathering, including provisions that allow the executive branch the flexibility of seeking warrants retroactively, as well as provisions pertaining to its use in times of war. I'm just not seeing any legitimate justification coming from the White House for not having used it in these cases. Additionally, if indeed the president required that the FISA be changed to more effectively fight terrorists, he really should have sought out said changes through the Congress. Instead, he ignored completely in implimenting this program not only the FISA law, but the Fourth Ammendment of the Constitution which expressly prohibits this sort of invasion, without warrant, of the privacy of US citizens.

FISA was created to define these powers after the Supreme Court found unanimously that the president does not have the right to gather intelligence on US citizens without a warrant, based on about two-hundred of years of precedents going all the way back to the time of the founding fathers. Here is a link to the ruling: UNITED STATES v. UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT, 407 U.S. 297 (1972)
 

aps

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Stinger said:
:rofl that is the most self-serving convoluted specious logic I have seen in a long time.

>> If he unquestionably had the powers, this uproar would not have occurred, IMO.

Wrong, when the facts ever stop the NYT from printing garbage or the Dems from making baseless accusations?

>> If he was so sure, he wouldn't have had to obtain an opinion from the Justice Dept.

That is pitiful.

Not only myself but many here have posted the court cases and court decisions and the orders of previous administrations and statements of previous Justice Department officials. I have seen NOTHING that supports your side other than specious conjecture such as what you posted above.
Ha ha ha Stinger, I love it when you call my statments pitiful and specious (did you just learn that word recently?). You're entitled to your opinion, and I am entitled to mine. I am a lawyer, Stinger, so I can read court cases and listen to discussions about what the permission to use force means. Based upon what I have read and heard, I believe the president did not have the authority to wiretap without a court order.

So on April 20, 2004, he states in a speech that when he wiretaps, he has to get a court order. At that time, he had already wiretapped without a court order. Why would he feel the need to announce that he needed a court order? Don't tell me it's because he had to keep the plan secret. He didn't have to say anything regarding wiretapping. He put the terrorists on notice that he would wiretap in order to get the terrorists. Whether he obtained a court order or not, what is the difference to the terrorist? They certainly do not know that they are being wiretapped.

Bush has something to hide, and he is defensive as hell. We reap what we sew.
 

Stinger

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aps said:
Ha ha ha Stinger, I love it when you call my statments pitiful and specious (did you just learn that word recently?). You're entitled to your opinion, and I am entitled to mine.
But you are not entitled to your own facts.


I am a lawyer, Stinger, so I can read court cases and listen to discussions about what the permission to use force means. Based upon what I have read and heard, I believe the president did not have the authority to wiretap without a court order.
Then you haven't read much.

So on April 20, 2004, he states........................
It doesn't matter what he states, the law is the law and what he did was lawful and constitutional.


At that time, he had already wiretapped without a court order. Why would he feel the need to announce that he needed a court order? Don't tell me it's because he had to keep the plan secret.
It's because he had to keep the plan secret.

He didn't have to say anything regarding wiretapping. He put the terrorists on notice that he would wiretap in order to get the terrorists. Whether he obtained a court order or not, what is the difference to the terrorist? They certainly do not know that they are being wiretapped.
Because they can sneak in throught cracks.

"In 1994, President Clinton expanded the use of warrantless searches to entirely domestic situations with no foreign intelligence value whatsoever. In a radio address promoting a crime-fighting bill, Mr. Clinton discussed a new policy to conduct warrantless searches in highly violent public housing projects.
Previous administrations also asserted the authority of the president to conduct searches in the interest of national security.
In 1978, for instance, Attorney General Griffin B. Bell testified before a federal judge about warrantless searches he and President Carter had authorized against two men suspected of spying on behalf of the Vietnam government.
That same year, Congress approved and Mr. Carter signed FISA, which created the secret court and required federal agents to get approval to conduct electronic surveillance in most foreign intelligence cases.
A Washington Post report at the time said the new FISA law permits "the government (primarily NSA with the occasional help of an FBI 'black bag job' or break-in) to continue electronic spying without a court order if it is directed solely at the premises or communications of 'official' powers, such as governments, factions or entities openly known to be directed and controlled by foreign governments."
The year after FISA became law, a columnist in The Washington Post described what could still happen to any person or group determined to be "an agent of a foreign power.""
By Charles Hurt
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
December 22, 2005

Deputy Attorney General USDJ

"The Department of Justice believes, and the case law supports, that the president has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes..........and that the President may, as has been done, delegate this authority to the Attorney General."
"It is important to understand,that the rules and methodology for criminal searches are inconsistent with the collection of foreign intelligence and would unduly frustrate the president in carrying out his foreign intelligence responsibilities."

And let's not forget the Aldrich Aimes case.

So now it is your turn, post the court decissions prohibiting the President from doing exactly what this, the previous and the one before that and the one before that and the one before that from doing it.


Bush has something to hide, and he is defensive as hell.
Yes our intelligence mechanisms, it is his sworn duty.

We reap what we sew.
Yes and if we keep up with this nonsense we'll be sorry for what we reap, a Taliban government.
 

Gill

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Judge Robertson has been in the news before this. He is a group of seven judges appointed by Clinton. They modestly called themselves the "Magnificent Seven". The Chief Judge, Norma Holloway Johnson, was to assign cases randomly to all the judges. She secretly assigned the cases involving the Clintons, including the case involving Webster Hubbell, to one of the "Magnificent Seven" judges. Some of the other judges were incensed and leaked her actions to the press and her power to assign cases was taken away. She assigned the Hubbell case to Judge Robertson.

Judge Robertson, who presided over this case, had worked in and donated money to, President Clinton's 1992 campaign. In the Hubbell tax-fraud prosecution, Judge Robertson ruled that he could ignore the ruling of the three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit and hold that the OIC did not have jurisdiction to prosecute Mr. Hubbell and the other defendants, and that it could not use tax documents subpoenaed from Mr. Hubbell. Judge Robertson used incendiary language, calling the OIC's tactics (which other circuits had approved) "scary." The D.C. Circuit agreed with these other circuits and reversed.

At the time, the OIC did not know that Judge Johnson had manipulated the assignment to get the case before Judge Robertson. I went back to the transcripts after this information became public and saw Judge Robertson's comments in a new light. The transcript reads as if Judge Robertson had decided that the case was not going to trial; he just had not decided why.

At the hearing of May 8, 1998, OIC counsel asked Judge Robertson to set a trial date, which is standard operating procedure. The judge responded that he normally does that but it would be "arbitrary" to do so here, "when we're looking at the kinds of motions that I'm sure are coming." In other words, the judge refused to set a trial date because of motions not even filed; that is not standard operating procedure. The OIC attorney replied that he had already talked to defense counsel and they were prepared to find a mutually agreeable date, to which Judge Robertson answered, apparently in surprise: "Oh." He still refused to set a date.

At the June 2, 1998 hearing, the judge again questioned whether "it makes sense for us to set a trial date," and he volunteered that any date will be written "in sand here if there are, heaven forfend, interlocutory appeals." The defendants are not entitled to interlocutory appeals but the prosecution is, so once more it appeared that the judge had already decided that there would be no trial.

On July 1, three business days after oral argument, Judge Robertson issued a lengthy written opinion. This is an extraordinarily brief time in which to formulate a decision and write it up, unless the judge had made up his mind in advance.

Perhaps it was happenstance that Judge Johnson secretly assigned the Hubbell case to Judge Robertson, a Clinton appointee. Perhaps Judge Robertson's statements in the transcript do not indicate that he, from the very beginning, had prejudged the matter and decided there would be no trial. But then another eyebrow-raiser occurred: It was discovered that Clinton-appointed judges on the D.C. district court were holding monthly caucuses from which other federal judges were excluded.

Four non-Clinton judges in the D.C. court, appointed by both Democrats and Republicans, were so upset that they anonymously told the press they questioned the propriety of these caucuses. One was quoted as saying: "We all come with political viewpoints but we try to leave politics behind. Unfortunately, the Clinton appointees have gone off on their own."
I no longer have the link to the above story but it was an editorial written by George Mason University Foundation Professor of Law Ronald Rotunda in the Wall Street Journal.
 

FinnMacCool

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I'm really not so infuriated about this, but more baffled. Is anyone actually surprised that the government is spying on us? I'm not, I've operated under the assumption that they're spying on us for years. I run my cell phone through bug checks every once in a while, I avoid saying drugs by their legal names (as in "yayo" instead of "cocaine", "herbage" instead of "marijuana" and such), I try not to mention Bush's name (or even use the word bush) and so on.
Like, yeah the government doesn't care about civil liberties, duh! It's not my fault, I didn't elect most of these people. If you all had acted like adults and not voted cause you were afraid of boys kissing other boys we might not have these problems.
When it comes to dissent, I don't think its a good idea to try and hide your views regardless of whether you might get caught or not. If I want to be critical of Bush I will be and I don't care if someones spying on me.

Besides, if the gov't was spying on me, I would probably be arrested already. I've already gotten two books on socialism, a Howard Zinn book, and Imperial Hubris. But I used my Dad's library card so if they are, they'll arrest him not me.:lol:
 
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