This Week Sunday with George Stephanapoulos:
The leaders of the Senate and House Intelligence committees defended the National Security Agency’s phone and internet surveillance programs revealed last week, saying that the programs are “within the law” and have been critical in thwarting potential terrorist attacks.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said on “This Week” Sunday that the NSA phone surveillance program revealed in reports last week is limited in scope to viewing phone records, not listening to private conversations, while reiterating that court orders are required for further information.
“The program is essentially walled off within the NSA. There are limited numbers of people who have access to it,” Feinstein said on “This Week.” “The only thing taken, as has been correctly expressed, is not content of a conversation, but the information that is generally on your telephone bill, which has been held not to be private personal property by the Supreme Court. If there is strong suspicion that a terrorist outside of the country is trying to reach someone on the inside of the country, those numbers then can be obtained. If you want to collect content on the American, then a court order is issued.”
“The National Security Agency does not listen to Americans’ phone calls and it is not reading Americans’ emails. None of these programs allow that,” added Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., chair of the House Intelligence Committee.
Both Feinstein and Rogers said that the phone and internet surveillance programs has been instrumental in stopping terrorist attacks, citing the 2009 terror plot by Najibullah Zazi, the Colorado resident who was arrested in Sept. 2009 after plotting to bomb the New York subway system. Feinstein said the program also helped to track the case of David Headley, a Pakistani-American who traveled to Mumbai to scope the Taj Mahal Hotel for an attack.
“I can tell you, in the Zazi case in New York, it’s exactly the program that was used,” Rogers said, later adding, “I think the Zazi case is so important, because that’s one you can specifically show that this was the key piece that allowed us to stop a bombing in the New York Subway system.”
Feinstein said she would be open to public hearings on the surveillance programs, and said that the Senate Intelligence Committee has made information on the programs available to all senators. But she noted the difficulty of being fully public without disclosing classified information.
“The instances where this has produced good – has disrupted plots, prevented terrorist attacks – is all classified, that’s what’s so hard about this,” Feinstein said. “So that we can’t actually go in there and, other than the two that have been released, give the public an actual idea of people that have been saved, attacks that have been prevented, that kind of thing.”
“If you tell our adversaries and enemies in the counterterrorism fight exactly how we conduct business, they are not going to do business the same ever again,” Rogers added. “It makes it more difficult.”
Dianne Feinstein should have been removed for office years ago. Her private companies profited from her directions of defense contracts now and during the Gulf and Iraq Wars.
She is less than white trash.
Now the other side of the story…
This abuse of the Patriot Act must end
President Obama falsely claims Congress authorised all NSA surveillance. In fact, our law was designed to protect liberties
In his press conference on Friday, President Obama described the massive collection of phone and digital records as “two programs that were originally authorized by Congress, have been repeatedly authorized by Congress”. But Congress has never specifically authorized these programs, and the Patriot Act was never intended to allow the daily spying the Obama administration is conducting.
To obtain a business records order like the one the administration obtained, the Patriot Act requires the government to prove to a special federal court, known as a Fisa court, that it is complying with specific guidelines set by the attorney general and that the information sought is relevant to an authorized investigation. Intentionally targeting US citizens is prohibited.
Technically, the administration’s actions were lawful insofar as they were done pursuant to an order from the Fisa court. But based on the scope of the released order, both the administration and the Fisa court are relying on an unbounded interpretation of the act that Congress never intended.
The released Fisa order requires daily productions of the details of every call that every American makes, as well as calls made by foreigners to or from the United States. Congress intended to allow the intelligence communities to access targeted information for specific investigations. How can every call that every American makes or receives be relevant to a specific investigation?
This is well beyond what the Patriot Act allows.
President Obama’s claim that “this is the most transparent administration in history” has once again proven false. In fact, it appears that no administration has ever peered more closely or intimately into the lives of innocent Americans.
Notice the pattern? As with the second amendment, the TSA strip searching granny and little kids, ObamaCare, banning foods and other issues, liberals have this habit of false dichotomies banning or controlling everything to the nth degree to solve a problem experienced by the few. The Equality of Outcome meme always seems to indiscriminately target everyone and the least likely to claim their solution is the most fair. How is disadvantaging everyone more fair than selectively targeting those with the problem? Brute force with ham handed precision managed by the clueless incompetent is somehow better than the judicious use of power and resources by the competent few? By indiscriminately targeting everyone, they have in fact intentionally targeted US Citizens which the Patriot Act prohibits.
So once again, liberals wielding the power of government spending billions of dollars violating everyone’s rights to achieve negligible results that could have otherwise been accomplished with competence costing far less with a limited invasion of rights. Every act of terrorism in the US during Obama’s time in office still occurred despite this massive invasion of privacy. So much for that 100% security mentioned by Obama.
In light of Sensenbrenner’s piece above, is Snowden a traitor? Or is he a whistleblower? Given Sensenbrenner’s take, it was Obama who acted illegally not Snowden.
The punchline – Note the bolded section, who is really at the center of this controversy… Attorney General Holder! So did he write yet another brief deceiving the Court in order to get what he wanted without regard to the law? Isn’t this the real issue????? You notice from the James Rosen, voter intimidation case, Fast & Furious to the Gulf drilling moratorium, etc. there is a pattern of deception against the Court. In every case either Holder himself or some administration lawyer has ignored long standing legal procedure to deceive the Court for a result that normally would not be acceptable.
What authorized investigation did Holder sign up the NSA for? An investigation of the entire country? Since when is the FISA court authorized to allow an indiscriminate fishing expedition on US citizens by monitoring whom everyone is calling and emailing or snail mailing for that matter? Yeap, you read that right in the Ricin mailing case, every piece of mail via the US Postal Service is scanned (the outside, not the contents).
Does anyone find it curious that such a massive drag net of info serves no specific investigatory purpose? Explain to us how “probable cause” can be argued in the NSA case when the police can not search your person for just walking down the street UNLESS they have probable cause? Congrats we are all now potential terrorist suspects. The precedence you ask? Why journalist James Rosen, knowingly falsely accused by Attorney General Holder of violating the Espionage Act. He had to deceive and shop 3 judges just to get the warrant.
When Holder wrote the brief to the FISA Court for the NSA to spy on us all, what was the probable cause/proof and the supposed charges leveled against all of us? Before we begin to defend anyone, we need the facts and Obama and his minions (Holder) purposefully and repeatedly hid the facts to prevent such reasoning. We as conservatives are being asked by Obama to make an emotional decision based on national security, that should be an immediate RED FLAG. When Obama defended his snooping constructed by Holder he told a lie, he claimed EVERY member of Congress was informed, NOT SO, only those on the Intelligence Committee and they were bound by secrecy requirements. Even Senator Udall, a Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, attempted to oppose this action but due to the cloak of secrecy imposed by Obama no one had enough information to rationally make a decision on the validity of the program instituted by Holder to the FISA Court. In typical Obama (liberal) fashion, Congress was handed a fait accompli and then made jointly responsible for his decision, that is another RED FLAG.
Here is how the deception was continued:
Udall voted against the bill after the U.S. Senate failed to include an amendment he and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) offered that would have required the Director of National Intelligence to provide information to Congress, including:
A determination of whether any government entity has produced an estimate of the number of U.S. communications collected under the FISA Amendments Act;
An estimate of such number, if any exist;
An assessment of whether any wholly domestic U.S. communications have been collected under the FISA Amendments Act;
A determination of whether any intelligence agency has ever attempted to search through communications collected under the FISA Amendments Act to find the phone calls or emails from a specific American, without obtaining a warrant or emergency authorization to do so; and,
A determination of whether the National Security Agency has collected any type of personally identifiable information on more than 1 million Americans. (The Director of the National Security Agency has stated that “the story that we have millions or hundreds of dossiers on people is absolutely false,” but has declined to answer follow-up questions about this statement.)
Notice every portion of the proposed amendment would have exposed this NSA operation?