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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
'Don't Worry, Be Happy'
WASHINGTON — In 1988, singer and songwriter Bobby McFerrin penned a Grammy-winning tune, "Don't Worry, Be Happy." When it comes to collecting intelligence on America's enemies, McFerrin's pleasant a cappella song is now the theme song for Democrats in the House of Representatives.
On Feb. 14, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi decided to send the members of the House home on vacation instead of having them vote on extending the Protect America Act, a measure that already had passed in the U.S. Senate 68-29. The bill, among other things, provides civil immunity for private companies that assist U.S. intelligence agencies in intercepting terrorist communications to, from or through the United States. With the House adjourned, the PAA expired — and Americans became instantly more vulnerable.
As might be expected in the midst of a presidential election year, Republicans and administration officials immediately went to the airwaves and print to decry Pelosi's decision. Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell took the unusual step of appearing on Fox News Channel to point out that termination of the PAA "introduces a level of uncertainty that is going to be very difficult for us."
Now, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., who backed the bill in the Senate, assures us that he's "going to work something out" with his House colleagues, but he refuses to speculate about how long that might take. Meanwhile private-sector telecom executives, wary of legal assaults from shareholders and "public interest" groups, are understandably reluctant to assist U.S. officials in breaking into terrorist communications. Concerns about what we may be missing — and the immediate risk of a major terrorist attack — go well beyond Washington politics.
Given the enormous flow of global voice and data communications, any interruption or delay in collecting "signals intelligence" jeopardizes the ability of analysts to determine and disseminate whether, where, how and when a terrorist organization may be planning an attack. That's what happened in the months leading up to 9/11 — and the kind of vulnerability the PAA was designed to redress. Here's why U.S. and allied defense, security and intelligence officers are so worried about being deaf and blind right now:
On Jan. 28, Libyan terrorist Abu Laith al-Libi, No. 3 in al-Qaida, was killed by a missile strike in Pakistan's Waziristan province. The weapon is widely presumed to have been fired from a U.S. unmanned aerial vehicle. On Feb. 27, Ayman al-Zawahri, No. 2 in Osama bin Laden's worldwide organization, vowed vengeance in a 10-minute video placed on radical Islamic Web sites: "No chief of ours had died a natural death, nor has our blood been spilled without a response." What that response might be we may never know until after it has happened.
And that's not all.
On Feb. 12, Imad Mughniyah, the man responsible for murdering and kidnapping hundreds of Americans in Lebanon and elsewhere, was killed when his car exploded in Damascus, Syria. Both Israel and the United States have been blamed for the terror chieftain's death. Since then, Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah has promised to "avenge our martyred brother." Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, has vowed "retribution," and Ayatollah Khomeini has pledged "destruction on the illegal Zionist entity and their supporters."
Two days after Mughniyah's fiery demise, the Iranians canceled a previously scheduled "private discussion" with U.S. officials in Baghdad about the situation in Iraq. On Feb. 20, at a rally in Bandar Abbas, Iran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad described Israel as "filthy bacteria" and lashed out at nations that have allowed it to grow. Then Feb. 23, the theocrats running Tehran warned of "firm reprisals" against any country trying to impose new sanctions on Iran for proceeding with their nuclear program. Since then, the Iranian regime has confirmed that the March 2 visit by Ahmadinejad to Baghdad will be "historic for the changes it will bring to the region."
That's just what these "leaders" are saying in public. What they may or may not be saying in private about plans for attacks against American citizens we may not know until it is too late. For that, we can thank Madam Pelosi and her decision to postpone action on the PAA.
Those who claim that this delay won't hurt us should heed the warning proffered this week by Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin, the chief of Israeli military intelligence. Testifying before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Feb. 26, the normally tight-lipped general forecast: "Hezbollah will likely time its reprisals for the 40th day of mourning for its commander, Imad Mughniyah. That will be March 22-23."
Terror leaders such as those in Afghanistan, Pakistan or Tehran, who want to know our secrets, need only subscribe to The Washington Post or The New York Times. For the United States, the mission of finding out what our enemies are planning to do to us before they have a chance to do it always has been a challenge. That task has become far more difficult because of the Democrats running our House of Representatives. "Don't worry, be happy," indeed.
 

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Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell took the unusual step of appearing on Fox News Channel to point out that termination of the PAA "introduces a level of uncertainty that is going to be very difficult for us."

What McConnell also said:

Let me make one other point just â€" very important. The entire issue here is liability protection for the carriers.

If what they were doing was LEGAL, why do they need retroactive amnesty ?

What makes anyone with a brain think that if the Feds had a WARRANT, the telco's would need amnesty ?

''If the warrant request is justified. Ah, there's the rub. And that's what the administraiton is fighting over. This is not about Protecting America. This is about replacing the PAA with the PAAA--Protect AT&T and Administration Act. This is about retroactive amnesty--this is about covering up the illegal wiretapping of Americans by the Bush administration.''

It's not about terrorists, if it was truly about 'protecting America', then Bush wouldn't have said he would veto any extension of the law, and his boot licking lackeys in Congress wouldn't have indicated they would PREVENT any extension of the law.

This is all about simply covering their asses, even the Bush administration has now backtracked, indicating there IS no immediate threat.'

NPR: Mr. McConnell, the Bush administration says that if the Protect America Act isn't made permanent, it will tie your hands, intelligence hands, especially when it comes to new threats. But isn't it true that any surveillance underway does not expire, even if this law isn't renewed by tomorrow?

MCCONNELL: Well, Renee it's a very complex issue. It's true that some of the authorities would carry over to the period they were established for one year. That would put us into the August, September time-frame. However, that's not the real issue. The issue is liability protection for the private sector.

You could, of course, also read the statute:

`ADDITIONAL PROCEDURE FOR AUTHORIZING CERTAIN ACQUISITIONS CONCERNING PERSONS LOCATED OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES

`Sec. 105B. (a) Notwithstanding any other law, the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General, may for periods of up to one year authorize the acquisition of foreign intelligence information concerning persons reasonably believed to be outside the United States.

That's the part that McConnell was referring to in the first quote.

Nothing changed at all. Not a damn thing.

That includes this administrations incessant fear mongering, their shills like North who perpetuate it, and knuckleheads like jabba who disseminate it.

The biggest problem with FISA is not that it requires a warrant first, because it doesn't. It's not that it is 'cumbersome', because it isn't. It's not like FISA requests aren't routinely granted, they are

The biggest problem with FISA that Bush has is that it requires the 'unitary executive' to demonstrate on some very minimal level that there is a valid reason with a minimal expectation of acutally providing some useful intelligence, as opposed to simply taking the route of I'll do what I damn well please.

North, and others in the right wing echosphere pander to the ill informed, uninterested, and lazy minds that dominate the modern day Republican Party.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah. There was "no perceived threat" on 8/20/01 either. Covering their asses is a required prerequisite for anyone cursed with working with the left handed gropies. (spelling is accurate)
 

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You are either not reading the statue, not listening to McConnell's statements, or trolling.

And , of course, as per usual, you're wrong.
There most certainly was a 'percieved threat' on 8-20-01.............you need to do you homework before you post such inaccuracies.

I see why you're a Republican.........uninterested and ill informed, but in your case I'll give you an exemption on the 'lazy mind'........one which I don't extend to the 'base' of your party.

""I know the whole "law" thing has bypassed the administration for so long that they probably don't really even remember it's there, but anyway, there are actually things called "court orders" that can compel entities, even private ones, to do things that the government needs them to do. And there's this great bonus for the companies built in that we can call "liability protection." See, if they do it "legally," with a "court order," they're protected from suits. Wow, what a system!'''

Or you could read what the Hite House put out a week or so ago, which clearly shows how they pander to the lazy brain types that dominate the republican Party.

From carpetbaggerreport:

I mentioned the other day that I’ve looked, in vain, for a reasonable and compelling defense of the Bush administration’s position on the FISA revisions. So far, I haven’t come up with much. In fact, I haven’t come up with anything but bogus talking points predicated on misleading assertions.

John Cole asked the other day, “Why are they lying about it? I just do not get it. Do they really see some sort of political gain? Or are we finally at the end of the rope, they cannot win any arguments, so the minority party and this failed President have only lies and bullying tactics to show that they are somehow relevant?� I’m afraid the answer is yes. (And this is the latest installment of simple answers to simple questions….)

But we’re in luck. The White House released an official “Myth vs. Fact� sheet yesterday, detailing the merits of the administration’s argument. Finally, I thought, a single resource summarizing the details that will bolster the Bush gang’s odd position. If anyone can articulate the president’s position effectively, it’s bound to be the White House staffers themselves, right?

So, what did the vaunted Bush communications team come up with? Try this gem:

MYTH: If any new surveillance needs to begin, the FISA court can approve a request within minutes. In the case of an emergency, surveillance can begin immediately and FISA approval can be obtained later.

FACT: Reverting to the outdated FISA statute risks our national security. FISA’s outdated provisions created dangerous intelligence gaps, which is why Congress passed the Protect America Act in the first place.

Um, guys? In this case, the “fact� does not disprove the “myth.� In fact, it’s a non sequitur. The White House presented a “myth,� apparently in the hopes of disproving it, and then didn’t point to any evidence that actually undermined the veracity of the original claim, which, inconveniently, happens to be accurate.

As Brian Beutler explained, “If the claim in the myth is, in fact, inaccurate, then the fact should read: ‘The FISA court can not approve a request within minutes, and emergency surveillance cannot begin immediately.’ Or something. But, of course, the ‘myth’ is true, and, as you can see, the ‘fact’ is a rather large heap of irrelevant bullshit.�

I always thought the point of a “Myth vs. Fact� sheet was to disprove claims that aren’t true. Then again, what do I know — I also always thought the point of an executive branch was to faithfully enforce the law, too.

Lest anyone think I’m cherry-picking one dumb mistake from the White House’s list, there are, of course, additional whoppers.

MYTH: The future security of our country does not depend on whether Congress provides liability protection for companies being sued for billions of dollars only because they are believed to have assisted the Government in defending America after the 9/11 attacks.

FACT: Without the retroactive liability protection provided in the bipartisan Senate bill, we may not be able to secure the private sector’s cooperation with current and future intelligence efforts critical to our national security.

That may sound nice, but this “fact� is plainly false. This administration, or any future administration, can secure the private sector’s cooperation with a court order.

MYTH: Even if the critical tools provided by the Protect America Act expire, the authorizations already in place to monitor terrorist communications will leave the Intelligence Community with all the tools it needs to continue current surveillance and begin new surveillance on any terrorist threat.

FACT: If Congress lets the Protect America Act expire without passing the bipartisan Senate bill, the Intelligence Community’s ability to obtain vital foreign intelligence information, including the location, intentions, and capabilities of terrorists and other foreign intelligence targets abroad, will be weakened.

Every objective analysis suggests this “fact� is wrong.

MYTH: Accepting another temporary extension of the Protect America Act would not endanger our Nation’s security.

FACT: Further temporary extensions of the Protect America Act would create uncertainty and unacceptable risks to our national security.

Does this make any sense? A continuation of the status quo is unacceptable, because some people might think that status quo may change someday. If you say so.

Remember, these aren’t just off-the-cuff comments from an uninformed press secretary, winging it during a briefing. This is an official statement from the White House.


wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have a hard time reading 'statues'. Even 'The Thinker' looks constipated to me.
Pssst. I am not a Republican, I am not a Democrat either altho I used to be. Then I aged to 40.
Any one with perception could have been aware of the threat. I mean they had already taken one shot at the Trade Center.
Trouble is I personally believe someone dropped the ball early on and our agencies were busy playing 'My territory.' Nothing like a bunch of empire builders to miss the action.
Too bad your have such a fixation on the Republican Party. It blinds you to the threat from the left. And don't waste your time telling me it is non-existent. I personally believe both parties have more than enough scum bags in positions of power, but I believe the Republicans are less a threat than the socialists to the country's survival.
Don't you ever tire of insulting the intelligence of any and everyone that will have a dialogue with you and doesn't believe as you do? Silly question, obviously no.
 

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Not really....... wink: ....... after all...............I think I posted a relevant rebuttal of North's bullshit.

Not that it was hard or anything................... :mrgreen:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I suspect your bullshit and perhaps Ollies are an equality. You attitude of, since it wasn't my idea it's bullshit, is running out of legs.
 

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Suspect all you want, North is lying when he says .............well amost anything, but in this case.......'— and Americans became instantly more vulnerable'. Flat out lying, and there is simply no question about that, even the Bush administration has backed off their initial claim after being questioned about it, but not Ollie. Nope, for him no lie is too large to print, no bucket of neocon crap too heavy to lift. Reduced to being a water boy for the right, he dives into the cesspool gleefully, regurgitating whatever talking point he is told to. Just another fear mongering talking head of Fox, who panders to the ill informed lazy brains who dominate you party's base. Appealing to the medula oblongata crowd, North is the lowest form of commentator life. An unapologetic ball washer with zero ethics, zero standards, zero morals. As is shown in the column you posted, he will say anything he is told to, with little if any regard for the truth.

His lack of respect for both the constitution and rule of law was on display for all to see. He was a disgrace to the armed services, and all of the decent individuals who served honorably in them. He was, and is not today by any stretch of the imagination a 'patriot'. He was and is, by every definition a convicted felon.

The guy is garbage, a felon, and a traitor. He should have been hung after his comviction to send a message to his ideological brethren, the 'no values crowd' the 'no law crowd' that North belongs to.
Then maybe we wouldn't have the latest crop of liars in White House.

You've got a thing for liars, don't ya jabba. wink: That's why you like Ollie so much, isn't it ?

'Running out of legs,what a joke. In this case, I have what are known as 'facts', and you and Ollie have what are known as 'lies'. When you read his OP/ED next time, try and separate Opinion from Fact.



Go read the statute................I know it'll be hard ..............no pictures and all............... :mrgreen:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Get serious, you have YOUR facts == YOUR opinion. Not necessarily in that order.
Isn't it amazing that Ollie gets invites to speak here and there and is considered one of the most effective speakers on the Academic circuit. That really does surprise me considering the level of silliness endemic in the institutions of higher learning in this country.
I don't really give an RA if you like him or not, you probably resent the fact that he gets paid rather well for his opinions and factual reportage.
Doing the Goebbels act and shouting the big lie all the time is tiresome.
 

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Skorzeny said:
Doing the Goebbels act and shouting the big lie all the time is tiresome.
I agree, and you should stop doing so.

February 25, 2008 The Honorable Mike McConnell Director of National Intelligence Office of the Director of National Intelligence Washington, DC 20511 Dear Director McConnell, Each of us has worked professionally with you in the past. We are writing you today to express our concerns over the recent debate on terrorist surveillance. We appreciate your willingness to engage Congress and the Executive Branch in an active conversation about the tools needed by the intelligence community to protect America from foreign enemies. We are concerned, however, that recent comments have distorted rather than enhanced this conversation. Collectively, as you know well, we have spent decades in government working on these critical issues, including directly dealing with the FISA process. In our opinion, the following issues are in much need of clarification to ensure an educated debate by Congress and the general public. The sunset of the Protect America Act (PAA) does not put America at greater risk. Despite claims that have been made, surveillance currently occurring under the PAA is authorized for up to a year. New surveillance requests can be filed through current FISA law. As you have stated, "Unlike last summer, there is no backlog of cases to slow down getting surveillance approvals from the FISA court. We're caught up to all of it now." As court orders are received, telecom companies are required to comply. Also, existing NSA authority allows surveillance to be conducted abroad on any known or suspected terrorist without a warrant. It is unclear to us that the immunity debate will affect our surveillance capabilities. You stated on Fox News Sunday February 17 "the entire issue here is liability protection for the carriers" and that with the expiration of the Protect America Act, the telecom companies "are less inclined to help us." As mentioned above, the authorizations of surveillance under the sunset PAA still run for a year and they provide clear legal protection to any cooperating communications carrier. For new targets that are somehow not covered by the existing authorizations, the FISA court can issue an order, which the telecom companies are legally obliged to follow. Telecommunications companies will continue to cooperate with lawful government requests, particularly since FISA orders legally compel cooperation with the government. Again, it is unclear to us that the immunity debate will affect our surveillance capabilities. The intelligence community currently has the tools it needs to acquire surveillance of new targets and methods of communication. As in the past, applications for new targets that are not already authorized by the broad orders already in place under the PAA can be filed through the FISA courts, including the ability to seek warrants up to 72 hours retroactively. Despite this fact, the President claimed on February 16 that as a result of PAA not being extended by Congress "the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence will be stripped of their power to authorize new surveillance against terrorist threats abroad." It remains unclear-in light of the law-how the President believes surveillance capabilities have changed.
Both the House and Senate have legislatively revisited FISA whenever requested by the Executive Branch and have diligently engaged in oversight of the process. In fact, FISA has been modernized nearly a dozen times since 9/11. The Administration has made it clear it believes this entire debate hinges on liability protection. As previously stated, it is unclear that liability protection would significantly improve our surveillance capabilities. It is wrong to make this one issue an immovable impediment to Congress passing strong legislation to protect the American people.

Then as now, what remains paramount is that differences in any legislation be amicably and methodically reconciled in order to ensure our intelligence community has the tools it needs to monitor those who seek to harm us without upending civil liberties. It is the duty of the Executive Branch to inform this process. America's security cannot be captive to partisan bickering and distortions.

It is our hope that as this debate moves forward, your comments and clarity on this issue will best represent the men and women who employ these tools every day to keep America safe.

We appreciate your leadership and your consideration of our views.

Sincerely,

RAND BEERS
RICHARD A. CLARKE
DON KERRICK
SUZANNE SPAULDING

It's worth pointing out that the Republicans and President Bush are the ones opposed to the 30 day extension, if it is sooooooo effective and sooooo intergral a part of our nations security, why would they oppose it ?
 
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