Cyborg | Designer-Babies | Futurism | Futurist | Immortality | Longevity | Nanotechnology | Post-Human | Singularity | Transhuman

U.S. National Security Agency News – The New York Times

 NSA  Comments Off on U.S. National Security Agency News – The New York Times
Jan 142016
 

National Security Agency has found way to replace program that collected Americans’ emails in bulk; it continues to analyze social links revealed by American’s email patterns, but without collecting Internet metadata within United States, and with less oversight by Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. MORE

Judge Richard J Leon of United States District Court for District of Columbia orders National Security Agency to stop collecting records for an individual Verizon customer, just weeks before program is scheduled to be shut down and replaced; says program is most likely unconstitutional. MORE

European Parliament issues strongest support yet for Edward J Snowden, recognizing him as ‘whistle-blower and international human rights defender’; designation is non-binding and while former National Security Agency contractor is currently in Russia, no countries in Europe have offered Snowden permanent asylum to date. MORE

Federal appeals court allows National Security Agency bulk phone records program to continue until it will end as decreed by bill passed by Congress, thereby avoiding definitive ruling on whether program is violation of Fourth Amendment’s constitutional protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. MORE

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward J Snowden opens Twitter account, garnering more than 160,000 followers in single hour; opening Tweet contains joke about NSA phone surveillance. MORE

Newly declassified report on NSA surveillance program under Pres George W Bush contextualizes clash in 2004 between Bush and his attorney general, who was hospitalized at time, over program’s scope and legality; bedside debate led to president retroactively authorizing collection of domestic phone records, which have since been deemed illegal. MORE

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rules NSA may continue collecting phone records of millions of Americans until new law set to ban practice goes into effect in late November 2015. MORE

Documents provided by former National Security Agency contractor Edward J Snowden reveal that AT&T’s collaboration with agency on Internet spying operations was far more extensive than that of other telecommunications companies; unique and especially productive partnership provided NSA with billions of emails as well as assistance in wiretapping of all Internet communications at United Nations headquarters. MORE

Release of 350 page document from 2010 sheds light on surveillance program established by Bush administration to counteract terrorism after September 11; call records of millions of Americans obtained by National Security Agency under secret interpretation of provision in Patriot Act was deemed illegal by appeals court ruling in early May. MORE

Obama administration announces that National Security Agency will no longer be permitted to keep old phone records used to analyze links between callers in search of terrorism suspects after Nov 29, 2015. MORE

National Security Agency sponsors dozens of free overnight and day camps around country that aim at introducing middle- and high-school-age students to cyber-security tools and techniques; camps are part of effort to reach out to potential recruits for next generation’s cybersecurity workforce. MORE

American Civil Liberties Union asks federal appeals court to shut down part of National Security Agency program that collects American phone records in bulk, move that may set up conflict between regular court system and secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. MORE

WikiLeaks releases American intelligence document containing telephone numbers of high-ranking German government officials, including Chancellor Angela Merkels top aides and senior figures from previous administrations; document, dating back to 1990s, adds to controversy surrounding United States intelligence service practices. MORE

Newly leaked material by Wikileaks revisits question of when and how much spying National Security Agency did on German government and Chancellor Angela Merkel; files also cover discussions about Germany’s position on Greek debt crisis. MORE

Embattled Brazilian Pres Dilma Rousseff plays down concerns about 2013 spying scandal during White House visit, saying she has accepted Pres Obama’s pledge that National Security Agency’s wiretapping has ended; Rousseff’s visit seems focused on courting American investment as she grapples with tanking economy at home. MORE

American Civil Liberties Union says it will ask United States Court of Appeals for Second Circuit to issue injunction to halt once-secret National Security Agency program in which records of domestic phone calls were collected in bulk; NSA was given go-ahead to resume program by Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, and ACLU request may pit two courts against one another. MORE

Mattathias Schwartz First Words column contends word ‘relevant,’ when used by National Security Agency, expands to include all information gathered in bulk collection of phone records; says use of word allows spying on citizens with impunity, since no information is irrelevant. MORE

French government reacts with modulated response to information published by WikiLeaks and media groups that United States’ National Security Agency spied on French presidents and other senior officials from 2016 to 2012. MORE

British intelligence documents provided by former National Security Agency contractor Edward J Snowden to The Guardian news media describe American drone strikes that killed Khadim Usamah, along with other such airstrikes and counter-terrorism efforts; documents raise possibility British intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters aided American targeted strikes. MORE

WikiLeaks releases documents saying United States National Security Agency eavesdropped on last three French presidents, Francoise Hollande, Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac. MORE

Harald Range, Germany’s federal prosecutor, announces that he has dropped formal investigation of accusations that National Security Agency eavesdropped on cellphone owned by Chancellor Angela Merkel, citing lack of evidence. MORE

Classifed National Security Agency documents provided by Edward J Snowden indicate Obama administration, sans public notice, has expanded agency’s warrantless surveillance of Americans’ international internet traffic to hunt for evidence of malicious computer hacking; disclosures come at time of pernicious cyberattacks, but also of increased scrutiny of legal rights for more government surveillance. MORE

Op-Ed article by Edward J Snowden expresses satisfaction that two years after he revealed extent of National Security Agency’s surveillance of American citizens, there is now wide consensus that such activities were illegal and many of them have been stopped; warns that while progress has made, right to privacy is still under threat. MORE

News Analysis; Pres Obama’s revision of National Security Agency’s phone record collection program seeks to tailor program to his own competing aims of addressing privacy concerns while preserving means of monitoring terrorist activity; in so doing, Obama has solidified his ownership of controversial program begun by predecessor George W Bush. MORE

Senate passes bill scaling back federal government’s extensive surveillance of American phone records, and Pres Obama signs it; legislation signifies significant overhaul of national security policy formed after 9-11 terrorist attacks, and is rebuke to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who fought forcefully against lessening government surveillance powers. MORE

Sen Rand Paul’s libertarian stance on national security issues, including his rather lonely fight against National Security Agency’s surveillance of American citizens, has endeared him to supporters of his father Ron Paul during former congressman’s past presidential bids; many of the elder Paul’s backers have been slow to warm to Sen Rand Paul, questioning his commitment to his father’s ultra libertarian ideals. MORE

Obama administration is pressing Senate not to substantially alter House-passed USA Freedom Act, given that authorizations for National Security Agency have lapsed and any changes to bill’s provisions would necessarily entail lengthy negotiations that could delay agency’s reinstatement. MORE

Congressional Memo; Sen Mitch McConnell, after losing battle to extend National Security Agency programs, is being forced to embrace a House-passed NSA overhaul that he fears will weaken national security. MORE

News Analysis; interviews with intelligence experts suggest that there are several available workarounds as National Security Agency grapples with temporary expiration of Patriot Act provisions that allowed it to gather phone records en masse; key aspect is ‘grandfather clause’ that maintains powers for any investigation that was begun before June 1, 2015; records can also be obtained by grand jury subpoena if necessary. MORE

Provisions of Patriot Act allowing government to amass phone records temporarily expires following caustic Senate session in which Sen Rand Paul blocked extension; revised edition of law, which will curtail some bulk data collection by National Security Agency, is likely to pass in coming week; developments reflect profound shift in American attitudes toward data collection since days following Sept 11 attacks. MORE

Republican Sen Rand Paul of Kentucky, who has been shunned and mocked by colleagues in his party, succeeds in temporarily blocking vote on renewal of section of Patriot Act that gives broad surveillance authority to National Security Agency. MORE

Battle in Congress over National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone records is being waged among different Republican factions, with defense hawks squaring off against libertarians and new members clashing with old; Senate has been tasked with creating passable compromise bill, feat likely to prove challenging. MORE

Pres Obama presses Senate to pass legislation known as USA Freedom Act, warning that allowing National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance programs to lapse will make country more vulnerable to terrorist attack. MORE

Editorial welcomes fact that provisions within Patriot Act giving federal authorities broad surveillance powers, which led to National Security Agency’s collection of bulk phone data, are set to expire; calls for thorough debate regarding such surveillance powers and underscores necessity of balancing such powers with meaningful judicial oversight. MORE

Obama administration urges Congress to reach deal on legislation governing National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone records before June 1 deadline, warning that failure to do so will leave United States vulnerable to terrorist attacks. MORE

Pres Obama issues warning to Senate about risks attendant upon lawmakers failing to renew surveillance programs authorized by USA Patriot Act; it is unlikely that lawmakers will pass extension before scheduled expiration date, which means Obama administration and National Security Agency will lack legal authority to carry out such programs for some time. MORE

Congressional leaders, with deadline looming, take unusual step of working during recess to reach agreement on changes to USA Freedom Act that would rein in National Security Agency’s phone data collection authority. MORE

Obama administration is examining how expiration of three counterterrorism laws allowing government to collect telephone and other data will affect future of effort, even as bulk collection of phone records winds down; at issue is treatment of phone records already collected by government and investigations already under way; Senate remains divided on whether to continue or replace National Security Agency’s phone records program. MORE

Senate’s failure to advance legislation on National Security Agency reform highlights discord among Republican leaders; after failing to get extension of federal government’s bulk collection of phone records program, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has found promises he made about Senates operation hard to keep. MORE

Senate rejects legislation that would revise Patriot Act to limit federal government’s bulk collection of phone records; vote, and subsequent failure of short-term measure to extend program beyond June 1 expiration date, raises likelihood that government will lose access to phone records after deadline, creating security vulnerability. MORE

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward J Snowden, facing espionage charges in United States and living in exile in Russia, is speaking by video to audiences worldwide and gaining victories both in Congress and federal court; has no apparent prospect of leaving Russia soon, as prosecutors show no inclination to offer him acceptable plea bargain. MORE

News Analysis; House vote to end and replace National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone records is striking because open debate about cost of national security has been rare in 14 years since Sept 11 attacks; highlights question of where to draw line between advantages of secrecy and demands for openness in shadow of war on terror that shows no sign of abating. MORE

House of Representatives approves, 338 to 88, bill to halt National Security Agency’s collection of data related to Americans’ phone records under Patriot Act; vote places high pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to bring Senate, which is more divided on issue, into line with House ahead of June 1 deadline. MORE

Brian McFadden The Strip comic offers up variety of real-life conspiracies that American voters should be concerned about, such as current campaign financing laws, police brutality and National Security Agency spying on Americans. MORE

Federal appeals court’s decision that National Security Agency’s bulk collection of phone records is illegal complicates bipartisan effort in Congress to overhaul program. MORE

United States Court of Appeals rules National Security Agency program that is systematically collecting Americans’ bulk phone records is illegal; three judges say Patriot Act does not cover domestic calling records; provision is set expire June 1, and ruling is liable to ratchet up Congressional tension. MORE

Editorial applauds ruling by three-judge federal appeals panel, which determined National Security Agency’s collection of Americans’ phone records is illegal; holds decision is just in time as Congress is now in debate over reauthorizing section of Patriot Act that allows government to sweep records of those suspected of involvement in terrorist acts. MORE

German Chancellor Angela Merkel finds herself in midst of domestic controversy over depth and extent of country’s role in European spying; 2002 agreement on intelligence sharing between Germany and United States is under duress after reports that German intelligence agency BND indulged in spying on corporations and individuals at behest of National Security Agency. MORE

Germany’s foreign intelligence service, knows as BND, is being accused of spying on European companies, and possibly individuals; reports say monitoring was done at request of National Security Agency, which BND denies. MORE

News Analysis; proposal to limit bulk collection of domestic telephone data, centerpiece of legislation advancing in Congress, is meeting little opposition from National Security Agency itself; lack of pushback from the agency underscores just how dubious insiders were about the program from the start. MORE

There are no additional abstracts to display.

Continued here:
U.S. National Security Agency News – The New York Times

The Coming Defeat of NATO – Washington Free Beacon

 NATO  Comments Off on The Coming Defeat of NATO – Washington Free Beacon
Oct 032015
 

Screenshot from YouTube

BY: Matthew Continetti October 2, 2015 5:00 am

The North AtlanticTreaty Organization, established in 1949, has 28 members devoted to the idea of collective security. Prediction: By the time President Obama leaves office in 2017, the NATO pledge of mutual defense in response to aggression will have been exposed as worthless. Objectively the alliance will have ceased to exist. The culprits? Vladimir Putinand Barack Obama.

Right now the world is focused on the Middle East: Russian jets and bombers, operating from an expanding air base in Syria, strike opponents of dictator and war criminal Bashar al-Assad. The Russians say they are going after Islamic Statebut theres no evidence they are doing so. Nor do they have reason to, considering the aimof Putins war is to preserve Assads rule and to expand, for the first time in decades, Russias sphere of influence into the Middle East.

Key to Putins strategy, write analysts Frederick W. Kagan and Kimberly Kagan, is the doctrine of reflexive control: establishing facts on the ground in such a way that the enemy chooses Russias preferred course of action voluntarily, because it is easiest and all the others appear much more difficult and risky, if not impossible.

Doesnt have to be this way. Moscows propaganda notwithstanding, Russia is a weak state with a deteriorating military capability, whose claim to great power status is based on its nuclear arsenal. But, by acting decisively and provocatively, Putin has found the means by which to reassert Russian sovereignty and preeminence and ward off challenges to his authoritarian regime.

Revisit Putins 2007 speech to the Munich security conference, where he said the unipolar model is not only unacceptable but also impossible in todays world. The expansion of NATO, he went on, represents a serious provocation that reduces the level of mutual trust. Then came the threat: Russia is a country with a history that spans more than 1,000 years and has practically always used the privilege to carry out an independent foreign policy. We are not going to change this tradition today.

The next year the governments of GermanyandFrance, frightened by Putins rhetoric and reliant on Russian energy and arms deals, scuttledthe U.S. attemptto offer NATO membership to the former Soviet republics of Georgia and Ukraine. Deprived of NATOs security guarantee, both of these small and poor and new democracies became open prey. Putin invaded Georgia in 2008. Hecontinues to exert influence there.

The techniques of reflexive control found their ultimate patsy in Barack Obama. When it became clear in 2013 that the president had no interest in enforcing his red line against chemical weapons use in Syria, Putin and his foreign minister Sergei Lavrov pounced. Lavrov suggested in public that Russia would assist the United States in destroying Assads WMD stockpile. Obama, whose greatest fear is a major deployment of U.S. ground forces in the Middle East, couldnt help sayingyes. Suddenly Americawas partnering with the governments of Russia and Syria (and by extension Iran) to inspect and remove the munitions. This decision not only averted U.S. interventionand gauranteedAssads survival. ItallowedAssad to gas his population in the future.

In 2014, when protests forced Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych to flee to his backers in Moscow, Putin saw an opportunity to reclaim Ukraine from the West. His military buildup on Ukraines eastern border deterred NATO from harsh reprisals when the Russian parliament annexed Crimea. The techniques of maskirovkadisinformation and deceitprovided cover for Russias arming and training and staffing of anti-Kiev rebels in the east.

Sanctions and nasty words have not exacted enough of a cost to stop Putin from instigating and perpetuating a civil war whosedeath toll is in the thousands. President Obama has overruled his advisers and refuses to provide lethal defensive arms for pro-Western Ukrainians, believing, amazingly, that helping Kiev defend itself would escalate the situation.The Ukraine conflict is now frozenPutin can switch it on and off at will. Hisgoals remain: to efface Western pretentions to ideological and military supremacy, and to replace President Petro Poroshenko with a Kremlin stooge.

Two weeks ago, in a phone call with itsprime minister, Vice President Biden signaledAmerica will support Montenegros application for NATO membership. Good for him. But we should recognize nonetheless that this move is a fig-leaf. Itobscures the fact that Obama would otherwise be the first president in a generation not to preside over an expansion of NATO. So the White House supports a strategically insignificant nation surrounded by member states. Woo-wee. Its a metaphor for this administrations lackadaisical commitment to the allianceand for Europes.

The Kremlin has noticed this ambivalence. Russian intervention in Syria is about more than propping up Assad. Russian leadership of a pro-Assad coalition that includes Iran and Iraq effectively displaces America as the most influentialexternal power in the region. Russian provocations have forced Washington to plead for de-confliction, handing Moscow freedom of action over Syrian, and possibly Iraqi, airspace. And the location of the Russian base opens an additional front in Putins war against NATO.

Less than 50 miles from the border of Turkeya NATO memberthe Bassel al-Assad airbase gives Putins air force the ability to buzz and overfly not only Turkey but also U.S. allies Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. It also would allow, write the Kagans, his aircraft to shadow the U.S. Sixth Fleet around the Eastern Mediterranean. He could force Turkey and its NATO allies to establish standing combat air patrols along the southern Turkish border. The chances of a deadly incident increase every day.

Putin is boxing in NATO. His next target is the Baltic States. Last Sunday on 60 Minutes, he explained that the reason he has called the collapse of the Soviet Union the worst thing to happen in the last century isthat, in an instant, 25 million people found themselves beyond the borders of the Russian state. His goal is to reclaim themto unify Russians living abroad in the Baltics, in Ukraine, and beyond.

Raimonds Vejonis, president of Latvia, tells the Wall Street Journal that Russian sorties over the Baltics nations are on the rise. In his full interview with Charlie Rose, Putin singled out Lithuania: More than half of the citizens have left the country, he lied. Can you imagine a situation where more than half of the Americans left the territory of the United States? It would be a catastrophe!

Try this scenario: Sometime in the next 16 months, civil unrest breaks out in one or more of the Baltic States. Its the Russian population, calling for independence from the central government and closer ties to Moscow. Fighting erupts as Russian tanks mass along the border and jets fly over Riga or Vilnius or Tallinn. They are all targets. Take Vilnius: While there are few ethnic Russians in Lithuania, it is the land bridge between Mother Russia and the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. Supplying Kaliningrad wouldbe Putins casus belli.

The Baltic authorities call on NATO to respondinvoking Article Four of the charter, which requires consultations, and possibly Article Five, requiring force.But the West is distracted. Europe is overwhelmed by crises in Greece and Ukraine, by the U.K. referendum to leave the E.U., by ongoing Muslim migration to the north. The United States is occupied by its presidential election, by Syria and Iraq and Afghanistan, by economic shocks.

The cries for assistance go unheard. The Obama administration has refused even to try to secure permanent forward bases in the Balticswhich wouldprovide a credible deterrentapparently due to the belief that providing for a real defense is provocative. We are too busy, too self-absorbed, too confused to worry about promises made years ago. Obama wont arm the Ukrainians. What makes us think hed defendthe Lithuanians or Latvians or Estonians?

Before the White House recovers from its surprise at events in the Baltics, Putin will have achieved his strategic goals and established reflexive control over the situation. PresidentObama and Chancellor Merkel and Secretary of State Kerry are sure to proclaim that the arc of history will defeat Russia, even as they accommodate themselves to Putins reality. NATO will be exposed as a covenant without the sword. And millions of East Europeans will come under Vladimir Putins thumb. Victims of the Kremlins avarice. Victims of Obamas weakness.

See the original post here:
The Coming Defeat of NATO – Washington Free Beacon

Obama Mocks Second Amendment Supporters For Crack Pot …

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on Obama Mocks Second Amendment Supporters For Crack Pot …
Oct 032015
 

During a press conference this afternoon, the president mocked gun rights supporters for supposedly spreading conspiracy theories about his desire to take away guns from law abiding citizens.

Obama described gun rights supporters as absolutists who denounced gun control as somehow an assault on freedom or communistic or a plot by me to, you know, take over and stay in power forever or something.

I mean, there are all kinds of crack pot conspiracy theories that float around there, he continued. Some of which by the way are ratified by elected officials in the other party on occasion.

He dismissed the notion that the issue of mass shootings was somehow just a mental problem.

There are hundreds of millions of angry young men around the world, most of them dont shoot, he insisted. The only thing we can do is make sure that they dont have an entire arsenal when something snaps in them.

Obama suggested that gun control supporters shouldnt vote for Democrats even if they were good on other issues they cared about.

Even if theyre great on other stuff for a couple of election cycles, you got to vote against them and let them know precisely why youre voting against them, he said.

He encouraged gun control supporters to be single issue voters, like gun rights supporters who agreed with the National Rifle Association.

The NRA has had a good start, you know. Theyve been at this for a long time, he said.

Theyve perfected what they do, you have got to give them credit they know how to stir up fear, they know how to stir up their base, they know how to raise money, they know how to scare politicians, they know how to organize campaigns and the American people are going to have to match them in their sense of urgency if were actually going to stop this.

Go here to read the rest:
Obama Mocks Second Amendment Supporters For Crack Pot …

NSA warrantless surveillance (200107) – Wikipedia, the …

 NSA  Comments Off on NSA warrantless surveillance (200107) – Wikipedia, the …
Sep 192015
 

The NSA warrantless surveillance controversy (“warrantless wiretapping”) concerns surveillance of persons within the United States during the collection of allegedly foreign intelligence by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) as part of the touted war on terror. Under this program, referred to by the Bush administration as the terrorist surveillance program,[1] part of the broader President’s Surveillance Program, the NSA was authorized by executive order to monitor, without search warrants, the phone calls, Internet activity (Web, e-mail, etc.), text messaging, and other communication involving any party believed by the NSA to be outside the U.S., even if the other end of the communication lies within the U.S. However, it has been discovered that all U.S. communications have been digitally cloned by government agencies, in apparent violation of unreasonable search and seizure. The excuse given to avoid litigation[citation needed] was that no data hoarded would be reviewed until searching it would be legal. But no excuse has been offered the initial seizure of the data which is also illegal,[citation needed] according to the U.S. Constitution.[citation needed]

Critics, however, claimed that the program was in an effort to attempt to silence critics of the Bush Administration and its handling of several controversial issues during its tenure. Under public pressure, the Bush administration allegedly ceased the warrantless wiretapping program in January 2007 and returned review of surveillance to the FISA court.[2] Subsequently, in 2008 Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which relaxed some of the original FISA court requirements.

During the Obama Administration, the NSA has allegedly continued operating under the new FISA guidelines despite campaign promises to end warrantless wiretapping.[3] However, in April 2009 officials at the United States Department of Justice acknowledged that the NSA had engaged in “overcollection” of domestic communications in excess of the FISA court’s authority, but claimed that the acts were unintentional and had since been rectified.[4]

All wiretapping of American citizens by the National Security Agency requires a warrant from a three-judge court set up under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. After the 9/11 attacks, Congress passed the Patriot Act, which granted the President broad powers to fight a war against terrorism. The George W. Bush administration used these powers to bypass the FISA court and directed the NSA to spy directly on al-Qaeda in a new NSA electronic surveillance program. Reports at the time indicate that an “apparently accidental” “glitch” resulted in the interception of communications that were purely domestic in nature.[5] This action was challenged by a number of groups, including Congress, as unconstitutional.

The exact scope of the program remains secret, but the NSA was provided total, unsupervised access to all fiber-optic communications going between some of the nation’s largest telecommunication companies’ major interconnected locations, including phone conversations, email, web browsing, and corporate private network traffic.[6] Critics said that such “domestic” intercepts required FISC authorization under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.[7] The Bush administration maintained that the authorized intercepts were not domestic but rather foreign intelligence integral to the conduct of war and that the warrant requirements of FISA were implicitly superseded by the subsequent passage of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF).[8] FISA makes it illegal to intentionally engage in electronic surveillance under appearance of an official act or to disclose or use information obtained by electronic surveillance under appearance of an official act knowing that it was not authorized by statute; this is punishable with a fine of up to $10,000 or up to five years in prison, or both.[9] In addition, the Wiretap Act prohibits any person from illegally intercepting, disclosing, using or divulging phone calls or electronic communications; this is punishable with a fine or up to five years in prison, or both.[10]

After an article about the program, (which had been code-named Stellar Wind), was published in The New York Times on December 16, 2005, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales confirmed its existence.[11][12][13]The Times had posted the exclusive story on their website the night before, after learning that the Bush administration was considering seeking a Pentagon-Papers-style court injunction to block its publication.[14]Bill Keller, the newspaper’s former executive editor, had withheld the story from publication since before the 2004 Presidential Election, and the story that was ultimately published was essentially the same as reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau had submitted in 2004. The delay drew criticism from some in the press, arguing that an earlier publication could have changed the election’s outcome.[15] In a December 2008 interview with Newsweek, former Justice Department employee Thomas Tamm revealed himself to be the initial whistle-blower to The Times.[16] The FBI began investigating leaks about the program in 2005, with 25 agents and 5 prosecutors on the case.[17]

Gonzales said the program authorized warrantless intercepts where the government had “a reasonable basis to conclude that one party to the communication is a member of al Qaeda, affiliated with al Qaeda, or a member of an organization affiliated with al Qaeda, or working in support of al Qaeda” and that one party to the conversation was “outside of the United States.”[18] The revelation raised immediate concern among elected officials, civil right activists, legal scholars and the public at large about the legality and constitutionality of the program and the potential for abuse. Since then, the controversy has expanded to include the press’ role in exposing a classified program, the role and responsibility of the US Congress in its executive oversight function and the scope and extent of presidential powers under Article II of the Constitution.[19]

In mid-August 2007, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit heard arguments in two lawsuits challenging the surveillance program. The appeals were the first to reach the court after dozens of civil suits against the government and telecommunications companies over NSA surveillance were consolidated last year before the chief judge of the Northern District of California, Vaughn R. Walker. One of the cases is a class-action lawsuit against AT&T, focusing on allegations that the company provided the NSA with its customers’ phone and Internet communications for a vast data-mining operation. Plaintiffs in the second case are the al-Haramain Foundation Islamic charity and two of its lawyers.[20][21]

On November 16, 2007, the three judgesM. Margaret McKeown, Michael Daly Hawkins, and Harry Pregersonissued a 27-page ruling that the charity, the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, could not introduce a key piece of evidence in its case because it fell under the government’s claim of state secrets, although the judges said that “In light of extensive government disclosures, the government is hard-pressed to sustain its claim that the very subject matter of the litigation is a state secret.”[22][23]

In an August 14, 2007, question-and-answer session with the El Paso Times which was published on August 22, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell confirmed for the first time that the private sector helped the warrantless surveillance program. McConnell argued that the companies deserved immunity for their help: “Now if you play out the suits at the value they’re claimed, it would bankrupt these companies”.[24] Plaintiffs in the AT&T suit subsequently filed a motion with the court to have McConnell’s acknowledgement admitted as evidence in their case.[25]

The program may face an additional legal challenge in the appeal of two Albany, New York, men convicted of criminal charges in an FBI anti-terror sting operation. Their lawyers say they have evidence the men were the subjects of NSA electronic surveillance, which was used to obtain their convictions but not made public at trial or made available in response to discovery requests by defense counsel at that time.[26]

In an unusual related legal development, on October 13, 2007, The Washington Post reported that Joseph P. Nacchio, the former CEO of Qwest Communications, is appealing an April 2007 conviction on 19 counts of insider trading by alleging that the government withdrew opportunities for contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars after Qwest refused to participate in an unidentified National Security Agency program that the company thought might be illegal. According to court documents unsealed in Denver in early October as part of Nacchio’s appeal, the NSA approached Qwest about participating in a warrantless surveillance program more than six months before the Sep 11, 2001, attacks which have been cited by the government as the main impetus for its efforts. Nacchio is using the allegation to try to show why his stock sale should not have been considered improper.[27] According to a lawsuit filed against other telecommunications companies for violating customer privacy, AT&T began preparing facilities for the NSA to monitor “phone call information and Internet traffic” seven months before 9/11.[28]

On August 17, 2007, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court said it would consider a request filed by the American Civil Liberties Union which asked the intelligence court to make public its recent, classified rulings on the scope of the government’s wiretapping powers. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, presiding judge of the FISC, signed an order calling the ACLU’s motion “an unprecedented request that warrants further briefing.”[29] The FISC ordered the government to respond on the issue by August 31, saying that anything involving classified material could be filed under court seal.[30][31] On the August 31 deadline, the National Security Division of the Justice Department filed a response in opposition to the ACLU’s motion with the court.[32]

In previous developments, the case ACLU v. NSA was dismissed on July 6, 2007 by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.[33] The court did not rule on the spying program’s legality. Instead, its 65-page opinion declared that the American Civil Liberties Union and the others who brought the case including academics, lawyers and journalists did not have the legal standing to sue because they could not demonstrate that they had been direct targets of the clandestine surveillance.[34] Detroit District Court judge Anna Diggs Taylor had originally ruled on August 17, 2006 that the program is illegal under FISA as well as unconstitutional under the First and Fourth amendments of the United States Constitution.[35][36][37]Judicial Watch, a watchdog group, discovered that at the time of the ruling Taylor “serves as a secretary and trustee for a foundation that donated funds to the ACLU of Michigan, a plaintiff in the case.”[38] On February 19, 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court, without comment, turned down an appeal from the American Civil Liberties Union, letting stand the earlier decision dismissing the case.[39]

On September 28, 2006 the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act (H.R. 5825).[40] That bill now has been passed to the U.S. Senate, where three competing, mutually exclusive, billsthe Terrorist Surveillance Act of 2006 (S.2455) (the DeWine bill), the National Security Surveillance Act of 2006 (S.2455) (the Specter bill), and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Improvement and Enhancement Act of 2006 (S.3001) (the Specter-Feinstein bill) were themselves referred for debate to the full Senate by the Senate Judiciary Committee on September 13, 2006.[41] Each of these bills would in some form broaden the statutory authorization for electronic surveillance, while still subjecting it to some restrictions. The Specter-Feinstein bill would extend the peacetime period for obtaining retroactive warrants to seven days and implement other changes to facilitate eavesdropping while maintaining FISA court oversight. The DeWine bill, the Specter bill, and the Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act (passed by the House) would all authorize some limited forms or periods of warrantless electronic surveillance subject to additional programmatic oversight by either the FISC (Specter bill) or Congress (DeWine and Wilson bills).

On January 17, 2007, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales informed U.S. Senate leaders by letter that the program would not be reauthorized by the President.[2] “Any electronic surveillance that was occurring as part of the Terrorist Surveillance Program will now be conducted subject to the approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court,” according to his letter.[42]

On September 18, 2008, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an Internet-privacy advocacy group, filed a new lawsuit against the NSA, President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Cheney’s chief of staff David Addington, former Attorney General and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and other government agencies and individuals who ordered or participated in the warrantless surveillance. They sued on behalf of AT&T customers to seek redress for what the EFF alleges to be an illegal, unconstitutional, and ongoing dragnet surveillance of their communications and communications records. An earlier, ongoing suit by the EFF may be bogged down by the recent changes to FISA provisions, but these are not expected to impact this new case.[43][44]

On January 23, 2009, the administration of President Barack Obama adopted the same position as his predecessor when it urged U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker to set aside a ruling in Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation et al. v. Obama, et al.[45] The Obama administration also sided with the former administration in its legal defense of July 2008 legislation that immunized the nation’s telecommunications companies from lawsuits accusing them of complicity in the eavesdropping program, according to testimony by Attorney General Eric Holder.[46]

On March 31, 2010, Judge Vaughn R. Walker, chief judge of the Federal District Court in San Francisco, ruled that the National Security Agency’s program of surveillance without warrants was illegal when it intercepted phone calls of Al Haramain. Declaring that the plaintiffs had been “subjected to unlawful surveillance”, the judge said the government was liable to pay them damages.[47]

In 2012, the Ninth Circuit vacated the judgment against the United States and affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the claim against Mueller.[48]

The Trailblazer Project, an NSA IT project that began in 2000, has also been linked to warrantless surveillance. It was chosen over ThinThread, which had included some privacy protections. Three ex-NSA staffers, William Binney, J. Kirke Wiebe, and Ed Loomis, all of whom had quit NSA over concerns about the legality of the agency’s activities, teamed with Diane Roark, a staffer on the House Intelligence Committee, to ask the Inspector General to investigate. A major source for the IG report was Thomas Andrews Drake, an ex-Air Force senior NSA official with an expertise in computers. Siobhan Gorman of The Baltimore Sun published a series of articles about Trailblazer in 20062007.

The FBI agents investigating the 2005 The New York Times story eventually made their way to The Baltimore Sun story, and then to Binney, Wiebe, Loomis, Roark, and Drake. In 2007 armed FBI agents raided the houses of Roark, Binney, and Wiebe. Binney claimed they pointed guns at his head. Wiebe said it reminded him of the Soviet Union. None were charged with crimes except for Drake. In 2010 he was indicted under the Espionage Act of 1917, as part of Obama’s unprecedented crackdown on leakers.[49][50] The charges against him were dropped in 2011 and he pled to a single misdemeanor.

The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) regulates U.S. government agencies’ carrying out of physical searches, and electronic surveillance, wherein a significant purpose is the gathering of foreign intelligence information. “Foreign intelligence information” is defined in 50 U.S.C.1801 as information necessary to protect the U.S. or its allies against actual or potential attack from a foreign power, sabotage or international terrorism. FISA defines a “foreign power” as a foreign government or any faction(s) of a foreign government not substantially composed of US persons, or any entity directed or controlled by a foreign government. FISA provides for both criminal and civil liability for intentional electronic surveillance under color of law except as authorized by statute.

FISA provides two documents for the authorization of surveillance. First, FISA allows the Justice Department to obtain warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) before or up to 72 hours after the beginning of the surveillance. FISA authorizes a FISC judge to issue a warrant for the electronic cameras if “there is probable cause to believe that the target of the electronic surveillance is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power.” 50 U.S.C. 1805(a)(3). Second, FISA permits the President or his delegate to authorize warrantless surveillance for the collection of foreign intelligence if “there is no substantial likelihood that the surveillance will acquire the contents of any communication to which a United States person is a party”. 50 U.S.C. 1802(a)(1).[51]

Soon after the September 11, 2001 attacks U.S. President George W. Bush issued an executive order that authorized the National Security Agency (NSA) to conduct surveillance of certain telephone calls without obtaining a warrant from the FISC as stipulated by FISA (see 50 U.S.C.1802 50 U.S.C.1809 ). The complete details of the executive order are not known, but according to statements by the administration,[52] the authorization covers telephone calls originating overseas from or to a person suspected of having links to terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda or its affiliates even when the other party to the call is within the US. The legality of surveillance involving US persons and extent of this authorization is at the core of this controversy which has steadily grown to include:

About a week after the 9/11 attacks, Congress passed the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF) which authorized the President to “use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.”

The administration has argued that the language used in the AUMF implicitly authorized the President to exercise those powers “incident to the waging of war”, including the collection of enemy intelligence, FISA provisions notwithstanding.[8]

On January 20, 2006, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee along with lone co-sponsor Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) introduced S. Res. 350, a resolution “expressing the sense of the Senate that Senate Joint Resolution 23 (107th Congress), as adopted by the Senate on September 14, 2001, and subsequently enacted as the Authorization for Use of Military Force does not authorize warrantless domestic surveillance of United States citizens.”[55][56] This non-binding resolution died in the Senate without being brought up for debate or being voted upon.[57]

Because of its highly classified status, little is publicly known about the actual implementation of the NSA domestic electronic surveillance program. Mark Klein, a retired AT&T communications technician, submitted an affidavit including limited technical details known to him personally in support of a class-action lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in federal district court in San Francisco in January 2006 on behalf of AT&T customers who alleged that they had been damaged by the telecommunications corporation’s cooperation with the NSA. The lawsuit is called Hepting v. AT&T.[60][61]

A January 16, 2004 statement by Mr. Klein includes additional technical details regarding the secret 2003 construction of an NSA-operated monitoring facility in Room 641A of 611 Folsom Street in San Francisco, the site of a large SBC phone building, three floors of which are occupied by AT&T.[62][63]

According to Klein’s affidavit, the NSA-equipped room uses equipment built by Narus Corporation to intercept and analyze communications traffic, as well as perform data-mining functions.[64]

In an article appearing in the January/February 2008 issue of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers journal of Security and Privacy, noted technology experts from academia and the computing industry analyzed potential security risks posed by the NSA program, based on information contained in Klein’s affidavits as well as those of expert witness J. Scott Marcus, a designer of large-scale IP-based data networks, former CTO at GTE Internetworking and at Genuity, and former senior advisor for Internet Technology at the US Federal Communications Commission.[65] They concluded that the likely architecture of the system created serious security risks, including the danger that such a surveillance system could be exploited by unauthorized users, criminally misused by trusted insiders, or abused by government agents.[66]

Journalist Barton Gellman reported in the Washington Post that David Addington who was at that time legal counsel to former Vice President Dick Cheney was the author of the controlling legal and technical documents for the NSA surveillance program, typing the documents on a TEMPEST-shielded computer across from his desk in room 268 of the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and storing them in a vault in his office.[67][68][69]

The NSA surveillance controversy involves legal issues that fall into two broad disciplines: statutory interpretation and Constitutional law. Statutory interpretation is the process of interpreting and applying legislation to the facts of a given case. Constitutional law is the body of law that governs the interpretation of the United States Constitution and covers areas of law such as the relationship between the federal government and state governments, the rights of individuals, and other fundamental aspects of the application of government authority in the United States.[70]

However, there are analogies between the NSA Spying Scandal (20012007) and Hewlett-Packard spying scandal (2006)[71] that may ease to predict the court outcomes. HP, in order to find the leak source of its board strategic minutes revealed to press, employed several contractors to investigate the leak issue but without engaging any external legal firm and supervisory stakeholder. Contractors, under supervision of the HP’s internal investigation team, confidentially used false pretense and social security numbers a spying technique namely Pretexting for obtaining phone records of suspicious board members and several journalists. Later on, the HP’s surveillance extended beyond the board of directors leaking issue and became a conspiracy for interest of the probe initiators; through which it was claimed that the informational privacy rights of even innocent employees and directors of the board, who had nothing to do with the board leaks, were violated.

In October 2006, HP’s chairwoman Patricia Dunn and HP’s former chief ethics officer Kevin Hunsaker and several private investigators were charged for criminal cases under California Penal Code such as

All of these charges were dismissed.[72]

18 U.S.C.2511(2)(f) provides in relevant part that “the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 shall be the exclusive means by which electronic surveillance, as defined in 50 U.S.C.1801(f) … and the intercept of domestic [communications] may be conducted.” The interpretation of this clause is central to the controversy because both sides agree that the NSA program operates outside of the procedural framework provided by FISA. The interpretive conflict arises because other provisions of FISA, including the criminal sanctions subpart 50 U.S.C.1809 include an “unless authorized by statute” provision, raising the issue of statutory ambiguity. The administration’s position is that the AUMF is an authorizing statute which satisfies the FISA criteria.

The U.S. Supreme Court faced a similar issue in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld where the government claimed that the AUMF authorized the President to detain U.S. citizens designated as an enemy combatant despite its lack of specific language to that intent and notwithstanding the provisions of 18 U.S.C.4001(a) which requires that the United States government cannot detain an American citizen except by an act of Congress. In that case, the Court ruled:

[B]ecause we conclude that the Government’s second assertion [“that 4001(a) is satisfied, because Hamdi is being detained “pursuant to an Act of Congress” [the AUMF] is correct, we do not address the first. In other words, for the reasons that follow, we conclude that the AUMF is explicit congressional authorization for the detention of individuals … and that the AUMF satisfied 4001(a)’s requirement that a detention be “pursuant to an Act of Congress”

In Hamdan v. Rumsfeld however, the court rejected the government’s argument that the AUMF implicitly authorized the President to establish military commissions in violation of the UCMJ. The opinion of the Court held:

Neither of these congressional Acts, [AUMF or ATC] however, expands the President’s authority to convene military commissions. First, while we assume that the AUMF activated the President’s war powers, see Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U.S. 507 (2004)) (plurality opinion), and that those powers include the authority to convene military commissions in appropriate circumstances, see id., at 518; Quirin, 317 U. S., at 2829; see also Yamashita, 327 U. S., at 11, there is nothing in the text or legislative history of the AUMF even hinting that Congress intended to expand or alter the authorization set forth in Article 21 of the UCMJ. Cf. Yerger, 8 Wall., at 105 (“Repeals by implication are not favored”)

Determining when explicit congressional authorization is and is not required appears by this decision to require a court to first determine whether an implicit authorization would amount to a “repeal by implication” of the governing Act.

The exclusivity clause also raises a separation of powers issue. (See Constitutional law issues below)

The arguments against the legality of the NSA fall into two broad categories, those who argue that FISA raises no Constitutional issues and therefore the NSA program is illegal on its face

Common to both of these views is the argument that the participation of “US persons” as defined in FISA 50 U.S.C.1801 renders the objectional intercepts “domestic” in nature.[73] Those advocating the “no constitutional issue” position, argue that Congress has the authority it needs to legislate in this area under Article I and the Fourth Amendment[74] while those who see a constitutional conflict[75] acknowledge that the existing delineation between Congressional and Executive authority in this area is not clear[76] but that Congress, in including the exclusivity clause in FISA, meant to carve out a legitimate role for itself in this arena.

The administration holds that an exception to the normal warrant requirements exists when the purpose of the surveillance is to prevent attack from a foreign threat. Such an exception has been upheld at the Circuit Court level when the target was a foreign agent residing abroad,[77][78] a foreign agent residing in the US,[79][80][81][82] and a US citizen abroad.[83] The warrantless exception was struck down when both the target and the threat was deemed domestic.[84] The legality of targeting US persons acting as agents of a foreign power and residing in this country has not been addressed by the US Supreme Court, but has occurred at least once, in the case of Aldrich Ames.[85]

The Administration’s position with regard to statutory interpretation, as outlined in the DOJ whitepaper, is to avoid what it has termed the “difficult Constitutional questions” by

This argument, as outlined in the DOJ whitepaper, is based on the language of the AUMF, specifically, the acknowledgment of the President’s Constitutional authority contained in the preamble; “Whereas, the President has authority under the Constitution to take action to deter and prevent acts of international terrorism against the United States”, and the language in the resolution itself;

[Be it resolved] [t]hat the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons.

The administration also adds that the program is legal under Title II of the USA PATRIOT Act entitled Enhanced Surveillance Procedures,[citation needed] although it is not relying upon the domestic law enforcement provisions of the PATRIOT Act for authorization of any of the NSA program activities.[citation needed] The President had said prior to this, that Americans’ civil liberties were being protected and that purely domestic wiretapping was being conducted pursuant to warrants under applicable law, including the Patriot Act.[87]

These arguments must be compared to the language of the FISA itself, which states:

Notwithstanding any other law, the President, through the Attorney General, may authorize electronic surveillance without a court order under this subchapter to acquire foreign intelligence information for a period not to exceed fifteen calendar days following a declaration of war by the Congress.[88]

Because the law only authorizes the President to bypass the FISA court during the first 15 days of a war declared by Congress (see “Declaration of war”), the administration’s argument rests on the assumption that the AUMF gave the President more power than was understood as absolutely implicit in any Congressional “declaration of war” at the time of the statute’s enactment. However, as a “declaration of war by the Congress” encompasses all military actions so declared, no matter how small, brief or otherwise constrained by Congress, the above citation could be seen as setting not a default or typical level of Presidential wartime authority, but instead a presumptive minimum, which might more often than not be extended (explicitly or implicitly) by Congress’s war declaration.

According to Peter J. Wallison, former White House Counsel to President Ronald Reagan: “It is true, of course, that a president’s failure to report to Congress when he is required to do so by law is a serious matter, but in reality the reporting requirement was a technicality that a President could not be expected to know about.”[89] In regard to this program, a Gang of Eight (eight key members of Congress, thirteen in this case between the 107th and 109th Congressional Sessions) have been kept informed to some degree:

Under the National Security Act of 1947, 501503, codified as 50 USC 413-413b,[90] the President is required to keep Congressional intelligence committees “fully and currently” informed of U.S. intelligence activities, “consistent with … protection from unauthorized disclosure of classified information relating to sensitive intelligence sources and methods or other exceptionally sensitive matters.” For covert actions, from which intelligence gathering activities are specifically excluded in 413b(e)(1), the President is specifically permitted to limit reporting to the so-called “Gang of Eight”.[91]

The administration contends that with regard to the NSA surveillance program, the administration fulfilled its notification obligations by briefing key members of Congress (thirteen individuals in this case between the 107th and 109th Congressional sessions) have been briefed on the NSA program more than a dozen times[citation needed] but they were forbidden from sharing information about the program with other members or staff.[citation needed]

On January 18, 2006 the Congressional Research Service released a report, “Statutory Procedures Under Which Congress Is To Be Informed of U.S. Intelligence Activities, Including Covert Actions”.[92][93] That report found that “[b]ased upon publicly reported descriptions of the program, the NSA surveillance program would appear to fall more closely under the definition of an intelligence collection program, rather than qualify as a covert action program as defined by statute”, and, therefore, concluded there was no specific statutory basis for limiting briefings on the terrorist surveillance program to the Gang of Eight.[94] However, the report goes on to note in its concluding paragraph that limited disclosure is also permitted under the statute “in order to protect intelligence sources and methods”.[95]

Thus, although the specific statutory “Gang of Eight” notification procedure for covert action would not seem to apply to the NSA program, it is not clear if a limited notification procedure intended to protect sources and methods is expressly prohibited. Additionally, should the sources and methods exception apply it will require a factual determination as to whether it should apply to disclosure of the program itself or only to specific sensitive aspects.

The constitutional debate surrounding executive authorization of warrantless surveillance is principally about separation of powers (“checks and balances”). If, as discussed above, no “fair reading” of FISA can be found in satisfaction of the canon of avoidance, these issues will have to be decided at the appellate level, by United States courts of appeals. It should be noted that in such a separation of powers dispute, the burden of proof is placed upon the Congress to establish its supremacy in the matter: the Executive branch enjoys the presumption of authority until an Appellate Court rules against it.[citation needed]

Article I vests Congress with the sole authority “To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces” and “To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.” The U.S. Supreme Court has used the “necessary and proper” clause of Article I to affirm broad Congressional authority to legislate as it sees fit in the domestic arena[citation needed] but has limited its application in the arena of foreign affairs. In the landmark Curtiss-Wright decision, Justice Sutherland writes in his opinion of the Court:

The [“powers of the federal government in respect of foreign or external affairs and those in respect of domestic or internal affairs”] are different, both in respect of their origin and their nature. The broad statement that the federal government can exercise no powers except those specifically enumerated in the Constitution, and such implied powers as are necessary and proper to carry into effect the enumerated powers, is categorically true only in respect of our internal affairs.

Article II vests the President with power as “Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States,” and requires that he “shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”.

The U.S. Supreme Court has historically used Article II to justify wide deference to the President in the arena of foreign affairs.[citation needed] Two historical and recent Supreme Court cases define the secret wiretapping by the NSA. Quoting again from the Curtiss-Wright decision:

It is important to bear in mind that we are here dealing not alone with an authority vested in the President by an exertion of legislative power, but with such an authority plus the very delicate, plenary and exclusive power of the President as the sole organ of the federal government in the field of international relationsa power which does not require as a basis for its exercise an act of Congress, but which, of course, like every other governmental power, must be exercised in subordination to the applicable provisions of the Constitution.

The extent of the President’s power as Commander-in-Chief has never been fully defined, but two U.S. Supreme Court cases are considered seminal in this area:[96][97]Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. v. Sawyer and Curtiss-Wright.

In addition, two relatively new cases, Hamdi v. Rumsfeld and Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, have clarified, and in the case of Hamdan limited, the scope of executive power to detain and try suspected terrorists as enemy combatants.

In Hamdan, the Court’s opinion in footnote 23, rejected the notion that Congress is impotent to regulate the exercise of executive war powers:

Whether or not the President has independent power, absent congressional authorization, to convene military commissions, he may not disregard limitations that Congress has, in proper exercise of its own war powers, placed on his powers. See Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, 343 U. S. 579, 637 (1952) (Jackson, J., concurring). The Government does not argue otherwise.

Whether “proper exercise” of Congressional war powers includes authority to regulate the gathering of foreign intelligence, which in other rulings[citation needed] has been recognized as “fundamentally incident to the waging of war”, is a historical point of contention between the Executive and Legislative branches.[8][98]

As noted in “Presidential Authority to Conduct Warrantless Electronic Surveillance to Gather Foreign Intelligence Information”, published by The Congressional Research Service:

A review of the history of intelligence collection and its regulation by Congress suggests that the two political branches have never quite achieved a meeting of the minds regarding their respective powers. Presidents have long contended that the ability to conduct surveillance for intelligence purposes is a purely executive function, and have tended to make broad assertions of authority while resisting efforts on the part of Congress or the courts to impose restrictions. Congress has asserted itself with respect to domestic surveillance, but has largely left matters involving overseas surveillance to executive self-regulation, subject to congressional oversight and willingness to provide funds.

The same report makes clear the Congressional view that intelligence gathered within the U.S. and where “one party is a U.S. person” qualifies as domestic in nature and as such completely within their purview to regulate, and further that Congress may “tailor the President’s use of an inherent constitutional power”:

The passage of FISA and the inclusion of such exclusivity language reflects Congress’s view of its authority to cabin the President’s use of any inherent constitutional authority with respect to warrantless electronic surveillance to gather foreign intelligence.

The Senate Judiciary Committee articulated its view with respect to congressional power to tailor the President’s use of an inherent constitutional power:

The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights and helps guard against “unreasonable” searches and seizures by agents of the government. It is solely a right of the people that neither the Executive nor Legislative branch can lawfully abrogate, not even if acting in concert: no statute can make an unreasonable search reasonable, nor a reasonable search unreasonable.

The term “unreasonable” is deliberately imprecise but connotes the sense that there is a rational basis for the search and that it is not an excessive imposition upon the individual given the motivation for and circumstances of the search, and is in accordance with customary societal norms. It is conceived that a judge will be sufficiently distanced from the authorities seeking a warrant that they can render an impartial decision unaffected by any prejudices or improper motivations they (or the legislators who enacted a law they are seeking to enforce) may harbor.

An individual who believes their Fourth Amendment rights have been violated by an unreasonable search or seizure may file a civil suit for monetary compensation and seek a court-ordered end to a pattern or practice of such unlawful activities by government authorities, although the plaintiff will need to have evidence that such a wiretap is taking place in order to show standing (Amnesty International v. Clapper). Such civil rights violations are sometimes punishable by state or federal law. Evidence obtained in an unlawful search or seizure is generally inadmissible in a criminal trial.

The law countenances searches without warrant as “reasonable” in numerous circumstances, among them (see below): the persons, property, and papers of individuals crossing the border of the United States and those of paroled felons; in prisons, public schools and government offices; and of international mail. Although these are undertaken as a result of statute or Executive order, they should not be seen as deriving their legitimacy from these, rather, the Fourth Amendment explicitly allows reasonable searches, and the government has instituted some of these as public policy.

The Supreme Court held in Katz v. United States (1967), that the monitoring and recording of private conversations within the United States constitutes a “search” for Fourth Amendment purposes, and therefore the government must generally obtain a warrant before undertaking such domestic recordings.

The Supreme Court has also held in Smith v Maryland (1979) that citizens have no Fourth Amendment expectation of privacy in the business records (sometimes termed metadata) of their communications. This means that the court can subpoena data such as the numbers that an individual has phoned, when and, to a limited degree, where (subject to Jones v. United States) the phone conversation occurred, although a full judicial warrant would be required for the government to acquire or admit audio content from the telephone call. Under Section 215 of the PATRIOT act, the FBI can subpoena some or all such records from a business record holder using a warrant applied for in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

The protection of “private conversations” has been held to apply only to conversations where the participants have not only manifested a desire but also a reasonable expectation that their conversation is indeed private and that no other party is listening in. In the absence of such a reasonable expectation, the Fourth Amendment does not apply, and surveillance without warrant does not violate it. Privacy is clearly not a reasonable expectation in communications to persons in the many countries whose governments openly intercept electronic communications, and is of dubious reasonability in countries against which the United States is waging war.

The law also recognizes a distinction between domestic surveillance taking place within U.S. borders and foreign surveillance of non-U.S. persons either in the U.S. or abroad.[99] In United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the principle that the Constitution does not extend protection to non-U.S. persons located outside of the United States, so no warrant would be required to engage in even physical searches of non-U.S. citizens abroad.

The U.S. Supreme Court has never ruled on the constitutionality of warrantless searches targeting foreign powers or their agents within the US. There have been, however, a number of Circuit Court rulings upholding the constitutionality of such warrantless searches.[100] In United States v. Bin Laden, the Second Circuit noted that “no court, prior to FISA, that was faced with the choice, imposed a warrant requirement for foreign intelligence searches undertaken within the United States.”[101] Assistant Attorney General William Moschella in his written response to questions from the House Judiciary Committee explained that in the administration’s view, this unanimity of pre-FISA Circuit Court decisions vindicates their argument that warrantless foreign-intelligence surveillance authority existed prior to FISA and since, as these ruling indicate, that authority derives from the Executive’s inherent Article II powers, they may not be encroached by statute.[102] In 2002, the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review (Court of Review) met for the first time and issued an opinion (In re: Sealed Case No. 02-001) which seems to echo that view. They too noted all the Federal courts of appeal having looked at the issue had concluded that there was constitutional power for the president to conduct warrantless foreign intelligence surveillance. Furthermore, based on these rulings it “took for granted such power exits” and ruled that under this presumption, “FISA could not encroach on the president’s constitutional power.” Professor Orin Kerr argues in rebuttal that the part of In re: Sealed Case No. 02-001 that dealt with FISA (rather than the Fourth Amendment) was nonbinding obiter dicta and that the argument does not restrict Congress’s power to regulate the executive in general.[103]

Harold Koh, dean of Yale Law School, Suzanne Spaulding, former general counsel for the Intelligence Committees of the House and Senate, and former Counsel to the President John Dean, contend that FISA clearly makes the wiretapping illegal and subject to the criminal penalties of FISA,[104] (in seeming disagreement with the FISA Court of Review finding above) and that the president’s own admissions already constitute sufficient evidence of a violation of the Fourth Amendment, without requiring further factual evidence. Professor John C. Eastman, in his analysis, prepared at the behest of the House Judiciary Committee, comparing the CRS and DOJ reports, concluded instead that under the Constitution and ratified by both historical and Supreme Court precedent, “the President clearly has the authority to conduct surveillance of enemy communications in time of war and of the communications to and from those he reasonably believes are affiliated with our enemies. Moreover, it should go without saying that such activities are a fundamental incident of war.”[105]

Orin S. Kerr, associate professor of law at The George Washington University Law School[106] and a leading scholar in the subjects of computer crime law and internet surveillance,[107] points to an analogy between the NSA intercepts and searches allowed by the Fourth Amendment under the border search exception.

The border search exception permits searches at the border of the United States “or its functional equivalent.” (United States v. Montoya De Hernandez, 473 U.S. 531, 538 (1985)). The idea here is that the United States as a sovereign nation has a right to inspect stuff entering or exiting the country as a way of protecting its sovereign interests, and that the Fourth Amendment permits such searches. Courts have applied the border search exception in cases of PCs and computer hard drives; if you bring a computer into or out of the United States, the government can search your computer for contraband or other prohibited items at the airport or wherever you are entering or leaving the country. See, e.g., United States v. Ickes, 393 F.3d 501 (4th Cir. 2005) (Wilkinson, J.)…At the same time, I don’t know of a rationale in the case law for treating data differently than physical storage devices. The case law on the border search exception is phrased in pretty broad language, so it seems at least plausible that a border search exception could apply to monitoring at an ISP or telephone provider as the “functional equivalent of the border,” much like airports are the functional equivalent of the border in the case of international airline travel…the most persuasive case on point: United States v. Ramsey, [held] that the border search exception applies to all international postal mail, permitting all international postal mail to be searched.

Evidence gathered without warrant may raise significant Fourth Amendment issues which could preclude its use in a criminal trial. As a general rule of law, evidence obtained improperly without lawful authority, may not be used in a criminal prosecution.[citation needed] The U.S. Supreme Court has never addressed the constitutionality of warrantless searches (which has been broadly defined by the court to include surveillance) targeting foreign powers or their agents, the admissibility of such evidence in a criminal trial nor whether it is permissible to obtain or use evidence gathered without warrant against US persons acting as agents of a foreign power.[citation needed]

The National Security Act of 1947[108] requires Presidential findings for covert acts. SEC. 503. [50 U.S.C. 413b] (a) (5) of that act states: “A finding may not authorize any action that would violate the Constitution or any statute of the United States.”

On August 17, 2006, Judge Anna Diggs Taylor of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan ruled in ACLU v. NSA that the Terrorist Surveillance Program was unconstitutional under the Fourth and First Amendments and enjoined the NSA from using the program to conduct electronic surveillance “in contravention of [FISA or Title III]”.[36] In her ruling,[109] she wrote:

The President of the United States, a creature of the same Constitution which gave us these Amendments, has indisputably violated the Fourth in failing to procure judicial orders as required by FISA, and accordingly has violated the First Amendment Rights of these Plaintiffs as well.

Even some legal experts who agreed with the outcome have criticized the reasoning set forth in the opinion.[110] Others have argued that the perceived flaws in the opinion in fact reflect the Department of Justice’s refusal to argue the legal merits of the program (they chose to focus solely on arguments about standing and state secrets grounds).[111]

On October 4, 2006, a panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit unanimously ruled that the government can continue the program while it appeals the lower court decision.[112][113]

On July 6, 2007 the Sixth Circuit dismissed the case, finding that the plaintiffs had no standing.

The Court found that:[114]

[T]he plaintiffs do not and because of the State Secrets Doctrine cannot produce any evidence that any of their own communications have ever been intercepted by the NSA, under the TSP, or without warrants. Instead, they assert a mere belief, which they contend is reasonable and which they label a well founded belief,…

Implicit in each of the plaintiffs’ alleged injuries is the underlying possibility which the plaintiffs label a “well founded belief” and seek to treat as a probability or even a certainty that the NSA is presently intercepting, or will eventually intercept, communications to or from one or more of these particular plaintiffs, and that such interception would be detrimental to the plaintiffs’ clients, sources, or overseas contacts. This is the premise upon which the plaintiffs’ entire theory is built.

But even though the plaintiffs’ beliefs based on their superior knowledge of their contacts’ activities may be reasonable, the alternative possibility remains that the NSA might not be intercepting, and might never actually intercept, any communication by any of the plaintiffs named in this lawsuit.

Corporate secrecy is also an issue. Wired reported: In a letter to the EFF, AT&T objected to the filing of the documents in any manner, saying that they contain sensitive trade secrets and could be “used to ‘hack’ into the AT&T network, compromising its integrity.”[115] However, Chief Judge Vaughn Walker stated, during the September 12, 2008 hearing in the class-action lawsuit filed by the EFF, that the Klein evidence could be presented in court, effectively ruling that AT&T’s trade secret and security claims were unfounded.

The majority of legal arguments supporting the NSA warrantless surveillance program have been based on the War Powers Resolution. There have not been any other noteworthy types of supporting legal arguments. The War Powers Resolution has been questioned as unconstitutional since its creation, and its adaptation to the NSA warrantless surveillance program has been questionable.

Here is the original post:
NSA warrantless surveillance (200107) – Wikipedia, the …

 Posted by at 2:44 am  Tagged with:

Second Amendment Foundation

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on Second Amendment Foundation
Sep 132015
 

By SAF Admin on September 11, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA Responding to statements made by Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes Thursday to KING 5 News that the so-called gun violence tax is not too drastic, Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation which is (read more)

Comments Off | Filed under: News & Releases|Tags: No Tags

By SAF Admin on August 24, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA The nations three leading firearms organizations joined forces today to sue the City of Seattle over adoption of a retail sales tax on guns and ammunition in what they allege is a clear violation of Washington States (read more)

Comments Off | Filed under: News & Releases|Tags: No Tags

By SAF Admin on August 21, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA Attorneys for the Second Amendment Foundation and Florida Carry have asked a circuit court judge to assess fines of $5,000 against city officials in Tallahassee for failing to repeal local gun control ordinances that conflict with (read more)

Comments Off | Filed under: News & Releases|Tags: No Tags

By SAF Admin on August 13, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and Calguns Foundation (CGF) today filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of a Santa Clara County resident, challenging the city, its police (read more)

Comments Off | Filed under: News & Releases|Tags: No Tags

By SAF Admin on July 23, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA This weeks announcement by the Obama administration that new citizens can recite the Oath of Allegiance without declaring they will bear arms on behalf of the United States is another subtle swipe at the right to keep and bear (read more)

Comments Off | Filed under: News & Releases|Tags: No Tags

By SAF Admin on July 20, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA The Second Amendment Foundation today responded to published reports that the Obama administration is pushing to prevent citizens collecting Social Security benefits from owning guns if they have problems managing their own affairs (read more)

Comments Off | Filed under: News & Releases|Tags: No Tags

By SAF Admin on July 9, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA Criminal charges have been dropped against a Nebraska man whose expensive firearms collection was seized in a case involving a misdemeanor conviction some years ago for carrying a knife that was an eighth-inch too long, and the (read more)

Comments Off | Filed under: News & Releases|Tags: No Tags

By SAF Admin on July 7, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA The Second Amendment Foundation has named Andrew Gottlieb as its new director of Outreach and Development, representing the second generation of family activism in promoting and defending the right to keep and bear arms.

Gottlieb (read more)

Comments Off | Filed under: News & Releases|Tags: No Tags

By SAF Admin on June 24, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA The Second Amendment Foundation is encouraged that a federal appeals court has ruled 2-1 that Stephen Dearths challenge of a federal law that prevents citizens living abroad from buying firearms while visiting in the United States (read more)

Comments Off | Filed under: News & Releases|Tags: No Tags

By SAF Admin on June 23, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA The auction of an 1849 Colt Baby Dragoon revolver that once belonged to the late James Brady will help the Second Amendment Foundation battle restrictive gun laws and educate the public about the right to keep and bear arms.

A (read more)

Comments Off | Filed under: News & Releases|Tags: No Tags

Follow this link:
Second Amendment Foundation

 Posted by at 5:41 am  Tagged with:

Freedomtexas.org – Texas Secession, Texas independence …

 Freedom  Comments Off on Freedomtexas.org – Texas Secession, Texas independence …
Aug 172015
 

TEXANS, ITS TIME SOMEONE SPEAKS THE TRUTH

I know that this article will catch lots of grief and criticism, but I and millions of Texans are fed up with the rhetoric, misleading reporting, and just plain naivete or stupidity of the press in the handling of Obama and the present Islamist situation we have in this world.

Every day we actually watch the truth of the Muslim world on TV. My God, when you see it, how can you not believe it? Radical Islam has declared war worldwide! Now, from Bill OReilly to our local news reporters, everyone – including the retired generals interviewed about the subject – all say the same thing: We cannot understand why Obama does not do more about the violence from Islamist radicals. We dont understand why Obama will not engage. Why does Obama want to raise taxes and continue to write mandates through executive orders that harm America? All I hear is that he is a good family man, and nice guy, and maybe he just doesnt understand.

Fellow Texans, he not only understands, but he knows exactly what he is doing! Did you read his book Dreams From My Father? He hates America! He hates a red Texas. He is a supporter of the Muslim religion. He orchestrated the Arab Spring and covered it up with a move for democracy. Those countries wouldnt know democracy if they stepped in it! It was a takeover by the Muslim Brotherhood, and was supported by Obama. The political correctness and nice guy reporting must stop, and people better wake the hell up because we are sliding into a cesspool that we will never get out of.

Obama is a socialist, Islamist apologist, America-hating radical who is pulling off what he told all of us when he got elected the first time: We will fundamentally change America. Can everyone wake up and see that he is doing exactly that?

To the Governor of Texas, the legislature in Texas, the spineless Congress in Washington DC: I know the majority of you only care about power, money, and your next elected office, but you damn well better start telling the truth about Obama, his administration, and his ultimate goal of destroying America, or as they say in the not listened too part of America, the you-know-what will hit the fan! We common everyday folks can see through this like a glass door and will not stay quiet any longer!

When the SHTF scenario begins – and it will – all of you from the press to the sitting elected plutcocrats will have no one to blame but yourselves. We all know that you will label patriots as home-grown terrorists, right wing radicals, Bible toting gun lovers, but, in reality, they are good people who saw through the BS of this government a long time ago; people who will not give up their freedom and liberty at any cost. It will be the People who understand that Obama and his minions are evil!

We in Texas demand of those who can make a difference: stand up! Take care of Texas by getting us out of this situation. The next two years of this administration will cause the fall of all the states and the US government, or worse yet, a civil war that will make the Civil War of 1861 look like a skirmish!

Can we return to a small government led by and founded on the God-given rights as laid out by our Founding Fathers? Will you say the truth of the real evil that runs DC now? Will you stop lying to the people who know that what you say are lies? If not, people of Texas, it is time to get off the couch, take firm action with our elected leaders, and do not surrender our beloved home, our Texas, to those that lie and refuse to act!

Deny this if you will, but most know it to be true. Those that know will be enough to change things. I believe that, because there is nothing else left to believe in anymore!

God Bless Texas, Cary Wise Freedom Texas

Visit link:
Freedomtexas.org – Texas Secession, Texas independence …

 Posted by at 5:44 pm  Tagged with:

Six takeaways from the NRA convention

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on Six takeaways from the NRA convention
Apr 132015
 

A pack of 2016 Republicans made their pitch for president Friday before the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Nashville, blasting the Obama administration for what they described as an erosion of freedom while punctuating their remarks with sharp enthusiasm for Second Amendment rights.

The contenders also used the principles behind gun rights to fire off criticism of President Barack Obama’s handling of national security, further signaling the influential role that foreign policy is expected to have in the presidential election.

More than 70,000 people descended upon Music City to attend the convention, but tickets to see the candidates speak in a five-hour long forum was limited to about 5,000 people.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas was the only declared candidate on stage Friday. Other potential contenders included former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

1. Candidates show off gun credentials

As tradition at the annual NRA gathering, the speakers tried to establish their own longstanding history with guns in different ways. Santorum held up his concealed carry card before the audience and boasted that his wife requested ammunition for an upcoming birthday.

Walker talked about bow-hunting, while Huckabee perused the firearm vendor hall and later listed on stage the guns he grew up with, including his first BB gun at the age of five. “I still have the same gun in mint condition,” he said.

Perry screened a video showing off his shooting skills (the same video was also shown at the 2013 NRA convention). The former governor also crowed about the gun manufacturers he recruited to Texas from other states.

For Bush, the NRA meeting was a chance to tout his record, including his A+ rating from the NRA, before a conservative crowd that’s largely skeptical of him due to his more moderate positions on immigration and Common Core.

Bush proclaimed to the audience that he’s “been with you in trenches” as an “NRA life member since 1986.” He also listed the gun rights measures he enacted or maintained as former governor, and defended the stand your ground laws in Florida that became a hot topic following the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

More:
Six takeaways from the NRA convention

 Posted by at 2:44 pm  Tagged with:

The Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom

 Misc  Comments Off on The Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom
Apr 132015
 

Libertarianism the philosophy of personal and economic freedom has deep roots in Western civilization and in American history, and its growing stronger. Two long wars, chronic deficits, the financial crisis, the costly drug war, the campaigns of Ron Paul and Rand Paul, the growth of executive power under Presidents Bush and Obama, and the revelations about NSA abuses have pushed millions more Americans in a libertarian direction. The Libertarian Mind, by David Boaz, the longtime executive vice president of the Cato Institute, is the best available guide to the history, ideas, and growth of this increasingly important political movement.

Boaz has updated the book with new information on the threat of government surveillance; the policies that led up to and stemmed from the 2008 financial crisis; corruption in Washington; and the unsustainable welfare state. The Libertarian Mind is the ultimate resource for the current, burgeoning libertarian movement.

He is a provocative commentator and a leading authority on domestic issues such as education choice, drug legalization, the growth of government, and the rise of libertarianism. Boaz is the former editor of New Guard magazine and was executive director of the Council for a Competitive Economy prior to joining Cato in 1981. The earlier edition of The Libertarian Mind, titled Libertarianism: A Primer, was described by the Los Angeles Times as a well-researched manifesto of libertarian ideas. His other books include The Politics of Freedom and the Cato Handbook for Policymakers.

His articles have been published in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, National Review, and Slate, and he wrote the entry on libertarianism at the Encyclopedia Britannica. He is a frequent guest on national television and radio shows, and has appeared on ABCs Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, CNNs Crossfire, NPRs Talk of the Nation and All Things Considered, The McLaughlin Group, Stossel, The Independents, Fox News Channel, BBC, Voice of America, Radio Free Europe, and other media.

Virginia: April 16 Hampden-Sydney College: The Libertarian Mind with Author David Boaz April 18 Young Americans for Liberty state convention, Blacksburg: http://www.yaliberty.org/convention/state/2015/va

Texas: April 22 Southern Methodist University: http://oneil.cox.smu.edu/events April 22 Americas Future Foundation, Dallas, TX: https://www.facebook.com/events/433923173452893/

Missouri April 30 St. Louis http://www.cato.org/events/cato-institute-policy-forum-st-louis-april July 7 or 8 Kansas City Public Library

Nevada July 8-11 FreedomFest, Las Vegas

Washington D.C. July 26 31 Washington D.C. Cato University http://www.cato.org/cato-university/2015

Read more:
The Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom

 Posted by at 2:43 pm  Tagged with:

Volokh Conspiracy: Paul Krugman claims there basically arent any libertarians

 Misc  Comments Off on Volokh Conspiracy: Paul Krugman claims there basically arent any libertarians
Apr 132015
 

In a recent post , famed economist Paul Krugman claims that there basically arent any libertarians out there because public opinion breaks down neatly along a liberal-conservative spectrum where almost everyone who favors government intervention in the economy is a social liberal and almost everyone who is skeptical of it is a social conservative. But Krugman cites no data to support his conclusion. And, in fact, extensive survey data contradicts it.

The relevant evidence has been catalogued by David Boaz, polling guru Nate Silver (who is far from being a libertarian himself), and economist Bryan Caplan. Depending on what measures you use, anywhere from about 10% to as many as 44 percent of Americans hold generally libertarian views in the sense that they favor strict limits on government power in both the economic and social spheres. I believe the lower estimates are more credible than the higher ones. But even the former are still a substantial fraction of the population.

Most of these people arent as consistent and thoroughgoing in their views as libertarian intellectuals are. But the same can be said of most conservatives and liberals in the general public relative to intellectual advocates of those viewpoints. At least within the Republican Party (which is a major focus of Krugmans post), the percentage of libertarians is rapidly increasing; younger Republicans are much more libertarian on social issues than their elders, while still being skeptical of government intervention in the economy.

Krugman also claims that almost no one holds views that are the opposite of libertarianism: combining social conservatism with support for extensive government intervention in the economy (he calls such people hardhats, though public opinion researchers more commonly call them populists). This too is clearly false. As Boaz and Caplan note, surveys show a substantial number of people who fall into that category. In recent years, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum both ran campaigns for the GOP presidential nomination on such a platform, and both attracted substantial support. Perhaps even more telling, George W. Bushs policies as president included a combination of social conservatism and the biggest new welfare state program in some forty years, as well as a major expansion of federal government involvement in education. Bush and his advisers clearly believed there were enough hardhats out there to make this program politically viable. In Europe, the combination of social conservatism and economic interventionism is even more common than in the US, as witness the recent resurgence of parties such as Frances National Front, which combine right-wing nationalism with support for a large welfare state. As a libertarian myself, Im no fan of hardhat/populist ideologies. But I cant deny that there are large numbers of people who support them.

Admittedly, Krugmans claim might be right if we interpret his framework literally. He defines libertarians as people who combine social liberalism with the view that there should be no social insurance. As David Boaz notes in his critique, the latter is an extreme definition that would exclude such prominent libertarian thinkers as Milton Friedman and F.A. Hayek (both of whom were willing to accept a strictly limited welfare state); it would also rule out the vast majority of those people who hold roughly libertarian views in the general population. But if Krugman means that definition literally, it would also prove there are no conservatives either. After all, very few people who consider themselves to be conservatives favor the complete abolition of the welfare state, as opposed to its restriction to levels smaller than that favored by the left. In the 2012 election, the GOP even ran on a platform attacking Obama for supposedly cutting Medicare too much.

Its also possible to try to justify Krugmans claim by arguing that most of those people who hold seemingly libertarian views havent thought carefully about their implications and are not completely consistent in their beliefs. This is likely true. But it is also true of most conservatives and liberals. Political ignorance and irrationality are very common across the political spectrum and only a small minority of voters think carefully about their views and make a systematic attempt at consistency. Libertarian-leaning voters are not an exception to this trend. But it is worth noting that, controlling for other variables, increasing political knowledge tends to make people more libertarian in their views than they would be otherwise.

Finally, Krugman is wrong to suggest that the difference between supporters and opponents of more extensive government intervention in the economy is solely or even primarily about social insurance that breaks down traditional structures of authority. In many places, early expansions of government intervention in the economy were in part intended to reinforce rather than break down traditional structures of authority, which is one reason why it was often pioneered by right-wingers like Otto von Bismarck. More recently, there are have been many forms of government intervention that tend to benefit the relatively affluent and and well-connected interest groups at the expense of the poor. If you dont want to take my word for it, read Krugmans own recent columns on zoning and farm subsidies.

In his critique of Krugmans post, Bryan Caplan suggests that Krugmans neglect of readily available evidence in this case gives us reason to doubt his reliability more generally. I dont go quite that far. As I see it, this is yet another case where a pundit gets into trouble by pontificating on issues outside their expertise.

Even if you are a brilliant Nobel Prize-winning economist like Krugman, its easy to go wrong in commenting on a subject you may not have much knowledge about. Moreover, in dealing with such issues, we are more likely to act like political fans and default to simplistic frameworks that make it easy to feel good about our own views, while dismissing those of the opposition.

In this case, postulating a simplistic one-dimensional distribution of political opinion enables Krugman to claim that virtually all of the people who oppose his views on government intervention in the economy do not, in reality, love liberty, and also to ignore the fact that many people who endorse a large welfare state also have illiberal social views. These assumptions make it easy to divide the world into good guys who want to break down traditional forms of authority and bad guys who want to maintain them. But, however comforting it might be, this approach fails to capture the true distribution of political opinion.

Read the original here:
Volokh Conspiracy: Paul Krugman claims there basically arent any libertarians

 Posted by at 2:43 pm  Tagged with:

GOP hopefuls flock to NRA cattle call

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on GOP hopefuls flock to NRA cattle call
Apr 112015
 

Updated at 6:15 p.m.

Nearly all of the 2016 GOP presidential hopefuls wereonstage Friday attheNational Rifle Association’s annual leadership conference in Nashville, a GOP cattle-call of sortsthat gavethepotential candidates a chance to trumpet their Second Amendment bona fides.

Attendees heardfrom a majority of the GOP’s first- and second-tier presidential primary contenders, former Florida governor Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, former Texas governor Rick Perry, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson and businessman Donald Trump.

Notable absences? Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, both of whom have a prickly relationship with the NRA and were not invited to attend — Paul because of his affiliation with another gun-rights group and Christie who scores low on the NRA’s scorecard. Paul told Bloomberg that it was the group’s loss, not his: “To not be invited, probably, will serve more to cast aspersions on their group than it would on me. Because my record’s pretty clear. It probably looks a little bit petty for them not to invite a major candidate because I raised money for other Second Amendment groups.”

For those candidates who made the cut, today wasa critical campaign stop. The Post’s David A. Fahrenthold reported on the role of gun rights in the GOP last month:

Even for those who dont own [guns],they are a bellwether of individual liberty, a symbol of what big government wants and shouldnt have. … As the 2016 campaign gets going, guns and hunting will inevitably be part of its political theater. That may offer a chance for longtime gun-owning candidates to stand out….Already, on the campaign trail, several contenders have used their support for guns as a way to signal broader conservative bona fides. In a party full of internal arguments, this is one thing few will argue with.

Find the speech highlights below.

Bobby Jindal

Biggest applause line: “You sometimes get the idea that president Obama and Hillary Clinton believe that these are just crazy right-wing ideas…But these are not the ideas of a right wing conspiracy. These are the pillars of our nation. And thats why I was glad to write the law in Congress after Hurricane Katrina ensuring that never again can the government seize your firearms after a disaster.”

Biggest flop: “I remember the days when Hollywood actually liked the First Amendment. Well maybe they havent read the First Amendment lately. Theyre too busy dealing with record-low movie attendance.”

Read more here:
GOP hopefuls flock to NRA cattle call

 Posted by at 6:42 am  Tagged with:

Religious Freedom Debates Make Evangelicals More Tolerant, Study Finds

 Free Speech  Comments Off on Religious Freedom Debates Make Evangelicals More Tolerant, Study Finds
Apr 112015
 

April 10, 2015|4:46 pm

Protesters against U.S. President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, June 28, 2012. The Supreme Court is set to deliver on Thursday its ruling on President Barack Obama’s 2010 healthcare overhaul, his signature domestic policy achievement, in a historic case that could hand him a huge triumph or a stinging rebuke just over four months before he seeks re-election.

When Evangelicals are exposed to arguments defending their own free speech and religious freedom, they become more accepting of extending similar rights to their political foes, a new study found.

“Rights, Reflection, and Reciprocity: How Rights Talk Affects the Political Process,” by political scientists Paul Djupe, Denison University; Andrew Lewis, University of Cincinnati; and Ted Jelen, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, will be presented this month at the Midwest Political Science Association’s annual meeting in Chicago.

The researchers sought to understand if the recent culture war battles between sexual freedom and religious freedom (see, for example, here, hereand here) would lead to greater or lesser division and intolerance among the combatants. (This paper focuses on the conservative side but they suggest they will also be studying the liberal side.)

In an article for the political science blog The Monkey Cage, the authors explain that their research “has identified a fascinating silver lining [to those culture war battles]. We find that evangelical Christians who are exposed to claims about religious rights actually become more willing to extend First Amendment rights to their ideological opponents. That is, the campaign to reinforce religious liberty might actually increase political tolerance in the long run.”

(Photo: The Christian Post/Sonny Hong)

Paul Djupe, associate professor of political science at Denison University, presenting “The Choice That Matters: Politics in the Role of Leaving Congregations,” at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., Aug. 30, 2014.

The study used a survey experiment. A sample of 2,141 respondents, including 274 Evangelicals and 1,867 non-Evangelicals, were divided into groups exposed to different messages from hypothetical political candidates and clergy. These messages were about pro-life protestors, the Obama administration’s birth control mandate, teaching creationism, and a photographer declining to work at a same-sex wedding. Each group had messages based upon either morality, free speech, religious liberty, and a less specific message that was used as the control group. The study also used a number of control measures that are common in studies of tolerance education, ideology, political interest, gender, age, and democratic norms.

The respondents were also asked to identify which groups they either “like the least” or “disagree with the most” from among these options: immigrants, Tea Party members, Muslims, homosexuals, Christian fundamentalists, or atheists. For the full sample, the non-Evangelicals chose Christian fundamentalists as their least liked group, followed by the Tea Party. Evangelicals chose atheists as their least liked group, followed by Muslims and the Tea Party.

The rest is here:
Religious Freedom Debates Make Evangelicals More Tolerant, Study Finds

 Posted by at 6:41 am  Tagged with:

Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes NSA defends Iran deal – LoneWolf Sager(_) – Video

 NSA  Comments Off on Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes NSA defends Iran deal – LoneWolf Sager(_) – Video
Apr 082015
 



Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes NSA defends Iran deal – LoneWolf Sager(_)
President Obama's Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes discusses the Iran deal on “The Lead.” – LoneWolf The Three Muskadoggies(_)

By: LoneWolf Sager

Read more:
Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes NSA defends Iran deal – LoneWolf Sager(_) – Video

 Posted by at 11:51 am  Tagged with:

Rand Paul poised to launch presidential bid

 Misc  Comments Off on Rand Paul poised to launch presidential bid
Apr 072015
 

For Rand Paul, it’s all led to this moment.

Since riding the tea party wave into the Senate in 2010, Paul has carefully built a brand of mainstream libertarianism — dogged advocacy of civil liberties combined with an anti-interventionist foreign policy and general support for family values — that he bets will create a coalition of younger voters and traditional Republicans to usher him into the White House.

The test of that theory begins Tuesday when the Kentucky senator is expected to make official what has been clear for years: He’s running for president.

The formal announcement will come at a rally in Louisville and he’ll immediately hit the campaign trail, swinging through New Hampshire, South Carolina, Iowa and Nevada — the states that traditionally vote first in the primaries and caucuses.

In a preview of his likely message, Paul’s political operation released a video saying that on Tuesday, “one leader will stand up to defeat the Washington machine and unleash the American dream.”

So far, Paul joins only Texas Sen. Ted Cruz as a declared candidate for the GOP presidential nomination. But the field is certain to grow in the months ahead with Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, Lindsey Graham and others eyeing a campaign. Marco Rubio, a Florida GOP senator, is expected to launch his campaign next week.

For now, the nomination is up for grabs with no clear front-runner. Paul came in third place at 12 percent in a CNN/ORC International Poll of Republicans. Bush led the pack at 16 percent while Walker came in second at 13 percent.

Ron vs. Rand Paul

Paul, the son of former Texas congressman and three-time presidential hopeful Ron Paul, will build on his father’s legacy as a candidate eager to bring civil liberties to the forefront of the national dialogue. He’s already used his perch on Capitol Hill to draw attention to those issues, including a 13-hour filibuster two years ago blasting the Obama administration’s drone policies and a lawsuit against the National Security Agency’s phone metadata collection effort.

But Paul, 52, will split from his father in one important way: his approach to the campaign. Where Ron Paul often focused on creating a libertarian movement, Rand Paul is planning a more strategic, less purist operation that could have a hope of competing in a general election.

Continue reading here:
Rand Paul poised to launch presidential bid

 Posted by at 6:41 am  Tagged with:

Rand Paul poised to launch presidential campaign

 Misc  Comments Off on Rand Paul poised to launch presidential campaign
Apr 072015
 

Since riding the tea party wave into the Senate in 2010, Paul has carefully built a brand of mainstream libertarianism — dogged advocacy of civil liberties combined with an anti-interventionist foreign policy and general support for family values — that he bets will create a coalition of younger voters and traditional Republicans to usher him into the White House.

The test of that theory begins Tuesday when the Kentucky senator is expected to make official what has been clear for years: He’s running for president.

The formal announcement will come at a rally in Louisville and he’ll immediately hit the campaign trail, swinging through New Hampshire, South Carolina, Iowa and Nevada — the states that traditionally vote first in the primaries and caucuses.

A poster from the Rand Paul for President campaign.

READ: Can Rand Paul escape his father’s shadow?

In a preview of his likely message, Paul’s political operation released a video saying that on Tuesday, “one leader will stand up to defeat the Washington machine and unleash the American dream.”

So far, Paul joins only Texas Sen. Ted Cruz as a declared candidate for the GOP presidential nomination. But the field is certain to grow in the months ahead with Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Scott Walker, Lindsey Graham and others eyeing a campaign. Marco Rubio, a Florida GOP senator, is expected to launch his campaign next week.

For now, the nomination is up for grabs with no clear front-runner. Paul came in third place at 12% in a CNN/ORC International Poll of Republicans. Bush led the pack at 16% while Walker came in second at 13%.

Paul, the son of former Texas congressman and three-time presidential hopeful Ron Paul, will build on his father’s legacy as a candidate eager to bring civil liberties to the forefront of the national dialogue. He’s already used his perch on Capitol Hill to draw attention to those issues, including a 13-hour filibuster two years ago blasting the Obama administration’s drone policies and a lawsuit against the National Security Agency’s phone metadata collection effort.

But Paul, 52, will split from his father in one important way: his approach to the campaign. Where Ron Paul often focused on creating a libertarian movement, Rand Paul is planning a more strategic, less purist operation that could have a hope of competing in a general election.

See the article here:
Rand Paul poised to launch presidential campaign

 Posted by at 6:41 am  Tagged with:

Analysis: Oklahoma Frat Fallout Some Speech Protected, Some Punished

 Free Speech  Comments Off on Analysis: Oklahoma Frat Fallout Some Speech Protected, Some Punished
Apr 062015
 

WASHINGTON Three times in recent days, people uttering slurs against African-Americans were quickly punished.

Yet such consequences are hardly automatic. Insults aimed at Muslims, Latinos, Jews, women and others are routinely decried but also often defended as free speech. A congressman says something derogatory about immigrants, yet remains a power in politics. An activist-preacher slurs Jews and is later an adviser to a president.

Some offensive speech is punished. Some is protected. The line changes and shifts over time.

The latest furor was triggered by a video showing University of Oklahoma Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity members singing, You can hang them from a tree but theyll never sign with me. Therell never be a (n-word) at SAE.

A few days later, Univision fired talk show host Rodner Figueroa for saying first lady Michelle Obama looked like a cast member of Planet of the Apes. Last week, a Cleveland anchorwoman returned to the air after being suspended for using a term offensive to African-Americans.

Where, asked some experts, was their right to speak freely?

When terrorists killed French journalists who satirized Muslims, President Barack Obama led the Western chorus defending a universal belief in the freedom of expression that cant be silenced because of the senseless violence of the few.

Yet speech often is silenced, or at least punished.

Hate Speech No Crime

In Oklahoma, University President David Boren quickly kicked the fraternity off campus. I have a message for those who have misused their freedom of speech in this way, he said. Youre disgraceful.

Read the original here:
Analysis: Oklahoma Frat Fallout Some Speech Protected, Some Punished

Marshall Islands will appeal in unprecedented nuclear weapons case against US

 Islands  Comments Off on Marshall Islands will appeal in unprecedented nuclear weapons case against US
Apr 052015
 

UNITED NATIONS The tiny Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands is persisting with an unprecedented lawsuit demanding that the United States meet its obligations toward getting rid of its nuclear weapons. It filed notice Thursday that it will appeal a federal judge’s decision to dismiss the case.

The island group was the site of 67 nuclear tests by the U.S. over a 12-year period after World War II, with lasting health and environmental impacts, including more than 250 people exposed to high amounts of radiation.

The Marshall Islands filed its lawsuit last year, naming President Barack Obama, the departments and secretaries of defense and energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration. Obama in 2009 called for “a world without nuclear weapons” and said the U.S. would take concrete steps toward that goal, a declaration highlighted by the committee that awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize months later.

The U.S. is a party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, a landmark agreement to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. The United Nations this month will host the treaty’s latest five-year review conference.

But the Marshall Islands claims the U.S. is modernizing its nuclear arsenal instead of negotiating in good faith on disarmament, as the treaty requires. The lawsuit seeks action on disarming, not compensation.

A federal judge in San Francisco last month granted the U.S. government’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, saying the Marshall Islands didn’t have standing to bring the case.

“Requiring the court to delve into and then monitor United States policies and decisions with regard to its nuclear programs and arsenal is an untenable request far beyond the purview of the federal courts,” the judge’s order said. It added that the authority to negotiate with foreign countries falls under the government’s executive branch, not the judicial one.

The Marshall Islands says the executive branch is the very one that has neglected its disarmament obligations for years.

“We believe the district court erred in dismissing the case,” the lead attorney for the Marshall Islands, Laurie Ashton, said in a statement announcing the appeal in the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. “The Marshall Islands, like every party to the NPT, is entitled to the United States’ fulfillment of its NPT promise.”

The statement also said the nuclear threat is “now magnified by the deteriorating relationship between Russia and the U.S., which between them control over 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons.”

Excerpt from:
Marshall Islands will appeal in unprecedented nuclear weapons case against US

Feds won't purse contempt charges against Lerner for not testifying before House

 Fifth Amendment  Comments Off on Feds won't purse contempt charges against Lerner for not testifying before House
Apr 022015
 

The Justice Department has declined to pursue contempt of Congress charges against Lois Lerner for refusing to testify about her role at the IRS in the targeting of conservative groups.

The department announced the decision in a letter Tuesday to House Speaker John Boehner, whose Republican-controlled chamber made the request to prosecute, after holding Lerner in contempt for refusing to testify at committee hearings.

“Once again, the Obama administration has tried to sweep IRS targeting of taxpayers for their political beliefs under the rug, Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told FoxNews.com.

Lerner asserted her Fifth Amendment privilege, which allows people to not testify against themselves, during a May 2013 hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and then again at a March 2014 hearing.

However, House Republicans argued Lerner waived the privilege with an opening statement she made before the committee in the May 2013 appearance. All the chambers Republican members and six Democrats officially voted in May 2014 to hold Lerner in contempt.

Ron Machen Jr., the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, said in the seven-page letter that federal prosecutors concluded Lerner did not waive her privilege because she made only general claims of innocence during the opening statement.

Thus, the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution would provide Ms. Lerner with an absolute defense should be prosecuted for her refusal to testify, wrote Machen, who was appointed to the U.S. attorney post by President Obama and left for private practice Wednesday, one day after sending the letter.

He also said he will not refer the case to a grand jury or take any other action to prosecute.

Lerner ran the IRSs exempt organizations unit when Tea Party and other nonprofit groups with conservative names applying for tax-exempt status were targeted for additional auditing from April 2010 to April 2012.

She was placed on administrative leave in May 2013 and retired four months later.

Read the rest here:
Feds won't purse contempt charges against Lerner for not testifying before House

 Posted by at 12:49 pm  Tagged with:

Feds won't pursue contempt charges against Lerner for not testifying before House – VIDEO: DOJ: No contempt charges …

 Fifth Amendment  Comments Off on Feds won't pursue contempt charges against Lerner for not testifying before House – VIDEO: DOJ: No contempt charges …
Apr 022015
 

The Justice Department has declined to pursue contempt of Congress charges against Lois Lerner for refusing to testify about her role at the IRS in the targeting of conservative groups.

The department announced the decision in a letter Tuesday to House Speaker John Boehner, whose Republican-controlled chamber made the request to prosecute, after holding Lerner in contempt for refusing to testify at committee hearings.

“Once again, the Obama administration has tried to sweep IRS targeting of taxpayers for their political beliefs under the rug, Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told FoxNews.com.

Lerner asserted her Fifth Amendment privilege, which allows people to not testify against themselves, during a May 2013 hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and then again at a March 2014 hearing.

However, House Republicans argued Lerner waived the privilege with an opening statement she made before the committee in the May 2013 appearance. All the chambers Republican members and six Democrats officially voted in May 2014 to hold Lerner in contempt.

Ron Machen Jr., the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, said in the seven-page letter that federal prosecutors concluded Lerner did not waive her privilege because she made only general claims of innocence during the opening statement.

Thus, the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution would provide Ms. Lerner with an absolute defense should be prosecuted for her refusal to testify, wrote Machen, who was appointed to the U.S. attorney post by President Obama and left for private practice Wednesday, one day after sending the letter.

He also said he will not refer the case to a grand jury or take any other action to prosecute.

Lerner ran the IRSs exempt organizations unit when Tea Party and other nonprofit groups with conservative names applying for tax-exempt status were targeted for additional auditing from April 2010 to April 2012.

She was placed on administrative leave in May 2013 and retired four months later.

Read this article:
Feds won't pursue contempt charges against Lerner for not testifying before House – VIDEO: DOJ: No contempt charges …

 Posted by at 12:49 pm  Tagged with:



Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution | Transhumanism