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NYT Abandons Reporting for Assertion

oldreliable67

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Note: The title of this thread is borrowed unabashedly from the NationalReviewOnline. NRO and Powerline are both reporting on the differing coverage of the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing yesterday on the NSA surveillance program.

The Washington Times reported it this way:

"A panel of former Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges yesterday told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that President Bush did not act illegally when he created by executive order a wiretapping program conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA).
The five judges testifying before the committee said they could not speak specifically to the NSA listening program without being briefed on it, but that a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act does not override the president's constitutional authority to spy on suspected international agents under executive order.

"If a court refuses a FISA application and there is not sufficient time for the president to go to the court of review, the president can under executive order act unilaterally, which he is doing now," said Judge Allan Kornblum, magistrate judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida and an author of the 1978 FISA Act. "I think that the president would be remiss exercising his constitutional authority by giving all of that power over to a statute." "


Powerline wonders if Eric Lichtblau of the NYT attended a different hearing. The Times' story is headlined "Judges on Secretive Panel Speak Out on Spy Program." and says:

"Five former judges on the nation's most secretive court, including one who resigned in apparent protest over President Bush's domestic eavesdropping, urged Congress on Tuesday to give the court a formal role in overseeing the surveillance program.

In a rare glimpse into the inner workings of the secretive court, known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, several former judges who served on the panel also voiced skepticism at a Senate hearing about the president's constitutional authority to order wiretapping on Americans without a court order. They also suggested that the program could imperil criminal prosecutions that grew out of the wiretaps."


As John at Powerline writes, these reports can't both be right. Lichtblau has a huge personal investment in the assertion that the NSA program is illegal, which begs the question, is his commitment to that proposition causing him to slant his reports on testimony before a Senate committee? Or, conversely, did the Washington Times go too far in characterizing the judge's approval of the NSA program?

Nationreviewonline obtained a transcript of the proceedings and concludes that "New York Times reporter Eric Lichtblau appears to have asserted something in his wiretapping story today that just isn't supported by his own reporting, much less a transcript of the hearing." One of the key passages in the transcript is as follows:

"[Judge] KORNBLUM: I think — as a magistrate judge, not a district judge — that a president would be remiss in exercising his constitutional authority to say that, "I surrender all of my power to a statute." And, frankly, I doubt that Congress in a statute can take away the president's authority — not his inherent authority but his necessary and — I forget the constitutional — his necessary and proper authority."

NRO concludes that Lichtblau's assertion that "several former judges who served on the panel also voiced skepticism at a Senate hearing about the president's constitutional authority to order wiretapping on Americans without a court order." is false and that "the transcript indicates that the exact opposite is true."
 
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oldreliable67 said:
"A panel of former Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges yesterday told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that President Bush did not act illegally when he created by executive order a wiretapping program conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA).
The five judges testifying before the committee said they could not speak specifically to the NSA listening program without being briefed on it, but that a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act does not override the president's constitutional authority to spy on suspected international agents under executive order.




Another smear campaign down the crapper. Now what do we impeach him on?
 

aps

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I'll have to read a transcript of the hearing before I draw a conclusion. I have a very hard time thinking that judges on the FISA court would provide an opinion on this topic. In fact, I will e-mail a judge that I formerly worked for who is on the FISA court and ask him the probablility of judges providing opinions on this topic. I don't see it happening.
 
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aps said:
I'll have to read a transcript of the hearing before I draw a conclusion. I have a very hard time thinking that judges on the FISA court would provide an opinion on this topic. In fact, I will e-mail a judge that I formerly worked for who is on the FISA court and ask him the probablility of judges providing opinions on this topic. I don't see it happening.
It's already happened, aps. Are you suggesting the NYT just made it up? It no doubt stings the NYT as much as it does you.
 

aps

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KCConservative said:
It's already happened, aps. Are you suggesting the NYT just made it up? It no doubt stings the NYT as much as it does you.

Well, KC, I am not getting the same thing out of the NYT article that these other two websites did. I'm still going to send him an e-mail and see what he says. Somehow if he tells me that judges would NOT comment on the legality of the NSA program, guess who I am going to believe.
 
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aps said:
Well, KC, I am not getting the same thing out of the NYT article that these other two websites did. I'm still going to send him an e-mail and see what he says. Somehow if he tells me that judges would NOT comment on the legality of the NSA program, guess who I am going to believe.
Tell us, when the Times takes shot at the president you hate, do you call and ask your buddies before believing it? You're completely transparent, aps. Deny this news story, if you like. No sweat.
 

aps

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KCConservative said:
Tell us, when the Times takes shot at the president you hate, do you call and ask your buddies before believing it? You're completely transparent, aps. Deny this news story, if you like. No sweat.

Huh? KC, I have a hard time believing that if the judges genuinely indicated an approval of the program why this would not be on the cover of every fricken newspaper? I have done multiple google searches and can come up with almost nothing. Notice what the Kansas City Star says. I have no idea if they are reputable, but they certainly didn't draw the conclusion that the judges said that Bush had the authority.

Judges favor reviews of NSA program
Senate bill would mandate oversight

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Five federal judges gave a boost Tuesday to legislation that would bring court scrutiny to the Bush administration’s domestic spying program.

At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing headed by Sen. Arlen Specter, a Pennsylvania Republican, the judges reacted favorably to his proposal that would require the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to conduct regular reviews of the four-year-old program.

The New York Times three months ago revealed the existence of the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping.

The judges stressed that they were not offering their views on the NSA operation, which they said they knew nothing about.

But the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has operated capably for 28 years, they said, and is fully able to protect civil liberties and give the administration all the speed and flexibility it needs to execute the war on terror. [Gee, I wonder why they would say that if they genuinely thought that Bush had the authority to conduct warrantless surveillance]

The administration has argued that the president has inherent war powers under the Constitution to order eavesdropping without warrants.

“I am very wary of inherent authority” claimed by presidents, U.S. Magistrate Judge Allan Kornblum testified. “It sounds very much like King George.”

http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascitystar/news/politics/14209753.htm

I'm a little bit surprised by the "King George" comment.
 

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The five judges testifying before the committee said they could not speak specifically to the NSA listening program without being briefed on it, but that a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act does not override the president's constitutional authority to spy on suspected international agents under executive order.


The contrast in accounts is startling. However, I feel the above quote is key. These judges don't know the extent of the program because they have not been briefed. Therefore their opinion is just that, an opinion. A complete and correct assessment of the program cannot be obtained until the facts are known.

And that is my opinion. :)
 

aps

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AndrewC said:
The contrast in accounts is startling. However, I feel the above quote is key. These judges don't know the extent of the program because they have not been briefed. Therefore their opinion is just that, an opinion. A complete and correct assessment of the program cannot be obtained until the facts are known.

And that is my opinion. :)

Ahhh, thank you, Andrew. I totally agree. It would be a violation of ethics if these judges gave their opinions on the NSA spying. But, shhhhhhhh, don't tell the cons that. ;)
 

oldreliable67

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aps said:
It would be a violation of ethics if these judges gave their opinions on the NSA spying.

Actually, these are former FISA court judges. I suppose if former Supremes can opine about various things, former FISA judges can certainly express their opinions as to the legality of the NSA surveillance program.

The transcript comes from a subscription service, so I don't if it will available in total, but there is a partial here.
 

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aps said:
I'll have to read a transcript of the hearing before I draw a conclusion. I have a very hard time thinking that judges on the FISA court would provide an opinion on this topic. In fact, I will e-mail a judge that I formerly worked for who is on the FISA court and ask him the probablility of judges providing opinions on this topic. I don't see it happening.

They have done so here before the congress and in thier actual court rulings

In 2002 the FISA Court of Review stated "All the ... courts to have decided the issue held that the president did have inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches to obtain foreign intelligence ... We take for granted that the president does have that authority."
 

Stinger

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AndrewC said:
The contrast in accounts is startling. However, I feel the above quote is key. These judges don't know the extent of the program because they have not been briefed. Therefore their opinion is just that, an opinion. A complete and correct assessment of the program cannot be obtained until the facts are known.

And that is my opinion. :)

They don't need to know the details only what the president has authorized in his presidential directive and as one judge noted every president before has issued similar directives concerning warrantless wiretaps of foeign intelligence.
 

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Stinger said:
They don't need to know the details only what the president has authorized in his presidential directive and as one judge noted every president before has issued similar directives concerning warrantless wiretaps of foeign intelligence.


By claiming not to have detailed knowledge of the program, they are admitting to not knowing exactly what was authorized. Without factual information, an informed opinion cannot be reached. Also, what was authorized and what actions have been taken may be very different. The only way to determine the legality of this program is to have complete factual information.
 

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aps said:
Ahhh, thank you, Andrew. I totally agree. It would be a violation of ethics if these judges gave their opinions on the NSA spying. But, shhhhhhhh, don't tell the cons that. ;)

I heard on an Akron news station they were five former FISA
court judges, not current.
 

aps

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XShipRider said:
I heard on an Akron news station they were five former FISA
court judges, not current.

Ship, someone pointed that out to me. So that was my boo boo.
 
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