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Well, it seems that GWB has been spying on DOMESTIC calls as well!

By deepsand ·
Now, why am I not surprised?


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Firestorm Over NSA Surveillance

Associated Press | May 11, 2006

WASHINGTON - Congressional Republicans and Democrats demanded answers from the Bush administration Thursday about a government spy agency secretly collecting records of ordinary Americans' phone calls to build a database of every call made within the country.

Facing intense criticism from Congress, President George W. Bush did not confirm the work of the National Security Agency but sought to assure Americans that their privacy is being "fiercely protected."

"We're not mining or trolling through the personal lives of millions of innocent Americans," Bush said before leaving for a commencement address at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College in Biloxi.

The disclosure, first reported in USA Today, could complicate Bush's bid to win confirmation of former National Security Agency director Gen. Michael Hayden as CIA director. It also reignited concerns about civil liberties and touched off questions about the legal underpinnings for the government's actions and the diligence of the Republican-controlled Congress oversight of a Republican administration.

The top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee said he was shocked by the revelation about the NSA.

"It is our government, it's not one party's government. It's America's government. Those entrusted with great power have a duty to answer to Americans what they are doing," said Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont.

AT&T Corp., Verizon Communications Inc., and BellSouth Corp. telephone companies began turning over records of tens of millions of their customers' phone calls to the NSA program shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, said USA Today, citing anonymous sources it said had direct knowledge of the arrangement.

The Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Arlen Specter, said he would call the phone companies to appear before the panel in pursuit of what had transpired.

"We're really flying blind on the subject and that's not a good way to approach the Fourth Amendment and the constitutional issues involving privacy," Specter said of domestic surveillance in general.

The companies said Thursday that they are protecting customers' privacy but have an obligation to assist law enforcement and government agencies in ensuring the nation's security. "We prize the trust our customers place in us. If and when AT&T is asked to help, we do so strictly within the law and under the most stringent conditions," the company said in a statement, echoed by the others.

Bush did not confirm or deny the USA Today report. But he did say that U.S. intelligence targets terrorists and that the government does not listen to domestic telephone calls without court approval and that Congress has been briefed on intelligence programs.

He vowed to do everything in his power to fight terror and "we will do so within the laws of our country."

On Capitol Hill, several lawmakers expressed incredulity about the program, with some Republicans questioning the rationale and several Democrats railing about the lack of congressional oversight.

"I don't know enough about the details except that I am willing to find out because I'm not sure why it would be necessary to keep and have that kind of information," said House Majority Leader John Boehner, a Republican.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham told Fox News Channel: "The idea of collecting millions or thousands of phone numbers, how does that fit into following the enemy?"

Democratic Sen. **** Durbin said bringing the telephone companies before the Judiciary Committee is an important step.

"We need more. We need to take this seriously, more seriously than some other matters that might come before the committee because our privacy as American citizens is at stake," Durbin said.

Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions argued that the program "is not a warrantless wiretapping of the American people. I don't think this action is nearly as troublesome as being made out here, because they are not tapping our phones."

The program does not involve listening to or taping the calls. Instead it documents who talks to whom in personal and business calls, whether local or long distance, by tracking which numbers are called, the newspaper said.

NSA spokesman Don Weber said in an e-mailed statement that given the nature of the agency's work, it would be "irresponsible to comment on actual or alleged operations issues." He added, "the NSA takes its legal responsibilities seriously and operates within the law."

NSA is the same spy agency that conducts the controversial domestic eavesdropping program that had been acknowledged earlier by Bush. The president said last year that he authorized the NSA to listen, without warrants, to international phone calls involving Americans suspected of terrorist links.

The report came as Hayden - Bush's choice to take over leadership of the CIA - postponed some visits to lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Meetings with Republican Sens. Rick Santorum and Lisa Murkowski were delayed at the request of the White House, said congressional aides in the two Senate offices.

The White House offered no reason for the postponement to the lawmakers. Other meetings with lawmakers were still planned.

Hayden already faced criticism because of the NSA's secret domestic eavesdropping program. As head of the NSA from March 1999 to April 2005, Hayden also would have overseen the call-tracking program.

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who has spoken favorably of the nomination, said the latest revelation "is also going to present a growing impediment to the confirmation of Gen. Hayden."

The NSA wants the database of domestic call records to look for any patterns that might suggest terrorist activity, USA Today said.

Don Weber, a senior spokesman for the NSA, told the paper that the agency operates within the law, but would not comment further on its operations.

One big telecommunications company, Qwest Communications International Inc., has refused to turn over records to the program, the newspaper said, because of privacy and legal concerns.

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Gore lost a statewide recount.

by X-MarCap In reply to I find it amazing. BFilmF ...

We know the results... He needed help manual recount and speculation to close the gap, but he lost that too. The Miami Herald paid for a manual recount of Dade and Broward county, and with Found votes, Gore still lost...

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Still all Monday morning quarterbacking.

by deepsand In reply to I find it amazing. BFilmF ...

The fact remains that the game on the field was never played in full.

And, no, there was no pending Constitutional "crisis," as the Constitution does not require the swearing in of a President by a date certain. In fact, this would not have been the 1st time that such had not occurred.

Do not fall into the trap of believing that I hold Gore to have been the winner in Florida, but only that I and others do not know, and will nver know, with certainty.

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Apology on Clinton-Gore love tendered...

by X-MarCap In reply to The Character of Villany

I will be happy to apologize. The problem is most of the anti-Bush crowd are so tainted with Gore-Clinton love it is nauseating.

Sandy, and his ilk, want to rewrite history. Apparently they don't want to hear the truth, again. Gore tried to cherry pick counties... He wanted a different standard applied to the disadvantaged areas over the more affluent areas...

The desire is to Hitler-like tell the lie over and over until it is believed by the masses... Gore still lost, Sandy... Even in Broward Co. Fla...

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Didn't vote for either

by NickNielsen In reply to Apology on Clinton-Gore l ...

During the 2000 Presidential campaign, I placed a Bush sign to the right of my front yard, a Gore sign to the left, and a banner in the middle that read "This is a choice?"

Then I wrote in the future Secretary of State.

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His character was assasinated in 2000.

by X-MarCap In reply to Physical or Character

He has been lied about more than Clinton's personal life.

Bush wasn't the one who initiated lawsuits over the 2000 election. His appeal, not lawsuit, stopped the lawsuits, and the cherrypicking of districts to recount. It has been claimed the was picked by the court, and they basically said, "Apply the same standard statewide and to every precinct. and use what process was in place before the election"

Gore still lost.

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Sadly not

by jardinier In reply to does....

It equals temporary embarrassment and shame, after which the "disgraced" former president can become a zillionaire on the lecture circuit.

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Did'nt work out quite that way for Nixon.

by deepsand In reply to Sadly not

The important distinction here is the charges against Nixon were ones of a grave and substantive nature, for which he quite likely would have been convicted had he not resigned.

Clinton, on the other hand, was acquitted of his impeachment charges.

Clinton - winner; Nixon - loser.

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Clinton didn't really have an impeachment trial.

by X-MarCap In reply to Did'nt work out quite tha ...

Only one Senator even bothered to look at the evidence. That man was Joe Lieberman. That is why he was calling for Clinton's removal.

The problem was that 42 democratic Senators had stated Clinton wouldn't be removed regardless. With the situation that Al Gore was in with the Bhuddist temple fund raising scandal, we could have had Gingrich go from speaker to President in months. No Dem would allow that.

Since there was only one Dem who looked at the evidence, and not 59 others who would look at evidence. It was a sham...

That is the current problem with our system. With three parties at 40% 35% 25% there is a possiblility of impeachment. If there was an impeachment, I'd first go after Supreme Court justices for allowing McCain - Feingold. or the New London, CT cases... Suter first, Ruth Bader Ginsberg next. Like that'll ever happen...

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by dawgit In reply to Clinton didn't really hav ...

That did in fact satisfy the US Constitution as an impeachment procedure.

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Clinton was impeached, just wasn't convicted.

by georgeou In reply to Wong

Clinton was impeached by the House; he just wasn't convicted by the Senate. After he left office, he was disbarred by the Arkansas Bar association for committing perjury.

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