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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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Dennis Hastert was Speaker of the House

by maxwell edison In reply to Clinton didn't really hav ...
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Actually, it didn't follow the procedures established in the Johnson trial.

by X-MarCap In reply to Clinton didn't really hav ...

The fact is the evidence was never allowed to be presented, and only one Senator viewed the evidence.

This is normally done in all trials. After the opening motion to dismiss, which was rejected by the CJ , there are to be opening arguments, followed by evidenciary procedures... The procedures closed after opening remarks, without a final vote...

The CJ presided over a circus, not a trial.It didn't follow the Johnson precedent, as it was a full criminal type trial.

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Let him run his full term

by jardinier In reply to Impeachment Call

When Cheney's puppet, Bush, invaded Iraq three years ago, all the world except for about 150 million Americans realised that he was running his own agenda which was NOT necessarily in the best interests of either America or the world.

And yet there were enough ignorant, besotted Americans to re-elect him in 2004.

He has already destroyed whatever goodwill the once great nation of America had in the eyes of the world.

With almost three years still to run in office, he may succeed in sending America bankrupt.

With the steadily declining quality of presidents over the last few decades, America has really hit rock bottom with this guy, so there is nowhere to go but up.

America needs a wake-up call to remind the people of what the country used to be.

For the sake of America, and the sake of the world, I hope the good people of America make a better choice at the 2008 election.

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Amen

by OnTheRopes In reply to Let him run his full term

and Amen.

The economy in my local immediate area is in deep trouble mostly due to long-standing economic policies put in place by our elected officials. There are some job openings for unskilled workers but they're at subsistence level wages.

One of the companies I was contracted to has just sold. The new owners came in, fired all 73 employees, and is keeping them on as temp's until they fill out a new application for employment and pass a urine and hair drug screen by this afternoon at 2:00.
Twelve people have not filled out apps. so if they're let go they can get unemployment. The new owners expect to lose over half of the people. The one's they're going to keep, even if they have 20 years in, will be offered their same old jobs for less money and reduced benefits. There's not many places they can go if they choose to keep their jobs.

There are four other large plants that easily come to mind within a 20 mile radius that have announced closings or major staff reductions, mostly due to products made in China.

Consumer debt has reached record levels here. Somebody has to pay that back. Without jobs...

I just keep saying, it's going to get to be a lot worse before it get's better.

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You have subsistence jobs?

by Too Old For IT In reply to Amen

Even those are leaving here in droves.

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Not enough to go around

by OnTheRopes In reply to You have subsistence jobs ...

Young people even have a hard time getting a job at the fast-food restaurants because management seems prone to choose from the large pool of senior applicants trying to support their retirement or Social Security.

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You betcha!

by NickNielsen In reply to Not enough to go around

It's called "reliability." Young people don't seem to have a problem calling in sick whenever they don't feel like going to work. Enough absences and poof! "We won't need you after Friday."

My son learned this lesson the hard way.

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Not sure that we can afford 3 more years.

by deepsand In reply to Let him run his full term

It is possible that such would result in irrepairable harm to both the US and the world.

By the time we hit rock bottom we may be unable to go up; or, there may be no up to go to.

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We cannot afford stupidity, or furriners to disuade us.

by X-MarCap In reply to Let him run his full term

Much of the world's problem is that we have toppled what was supposed to be the 4th most powerful army in less than a week. We routed out a dictator. What can stop the US from doing what it desires?

Only the US itself can reign in the US.

Sandy, I think you are all wet on this, still.

Once it is understood that Congress (as usual) was stupid in it's knee jerk reaction to **1, and the the resolution in which Bush was given direction to prosecute the apprehension and suppression of terrorists was too broad and gave him too much lattitude, and people place the blame where it belongs, (on Congress) the US can make progress.

Congress was stupid as any committee is. A committee is many bodies and only one brain. At the time that brain was Angrey and wounded. We may start to get some cleared thoughts, but not until we get a strong and successful third political party. A party for the moderates, not either side's extremists.

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A third political party?

by jardinier In reply to We cannot afford stupidit ...

It won't happen, period.

What you need is a better quality of candidates for the presidency. How you will achieve this, I have no idea. It is a weakness embedded in the US process for electing a president.

The two other leaders of the COW which invaded Iraq -- Tony Blair and John Howard -- are, simply, more capable and more honest leaders than Bush. While America is getting ever deeper and deeper into debt, the Australian Government is producing a healthy surplus each year.

Your constitution needs revising and updating.

As John Howard sent troops to Iraq, then what happens in the American leadership is pertinent to certain "furriners" -- especially Australians.

Quite frankly your electoral system sucks. Because Australia is such a young country -- we only became a Federation in 1901 -- our constitution is still quite up to date.

I think that if certain Americans stopped worshipping your outdated constitution, and if more Americans took a real interest in what is happening at home and abroad -- and if they demonstrated a willingness to become part of the solution rather than part of the problem by VOTING -- then maybe you would have a chance to turn the tide.

Repeatedly Americans say in these discussions that the majority of Americans are not interested in keeping up with the news. They watch Fox, if anything at all, and if it is not on Fox it didn't happen.

Please don't blame foreigners for a situation which America has gotten into all by itself.

America is probably Australia's most important ally. It is not in our interest to see America self-destruct.

The only "Australian" who is contributing to the decline of awareness in America is Rupert Murdoch, who is no longer an Australian anyhow as he changed his citizenship years ago.

Australians will continue to post their opinions in these forums, and if you don't like it, then at least try and understand that in the longer term we want only what is best for the USA.

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