November 11, 2007

Top intelligence official testifies Americans need to change their definition of privacy to what government says it is

Intel official: Expect less privacy - Yahoo! News

WASHINGTON - As Congress debates new rules for government eavesdropping, a top intelligence official says it is time that people in the United States changed their definition of privacy.

Privacy no longer can mean anonymity, says Donald Kerr, the principal deputy director of national intelligence. Instead, it should mean that government and businesses properly safeguard people's private communications and financial information.

Kerr's comments come as Congress is taking a second look at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

November 7, 2007

first Bush veto overturned by Congress

Republicans Join Vote to Override Water Bill Veto - New York Times

(Senate vote pending)

November 1, 2007

3 Guilty 7 Acquitted in Madrid Bombings

7 Are Acquitted in Madrid Bombings - New York Times

Does this buttress the administration's arguments to keep terrorism suspects in an alternate "legal" universe?

The counterterrorism experts said the verdicts reflected the challenges faced by police forces and judges as they seek to imprison those accused of international terrorism: the preponderance of circumstantial evidence rather than concrete proof; problems with evidence translated from Arabic and with evidence collected by other countries; unreliable witnesses; and the absence of confessions — none of the 28 defendants confessed.

“It is a point of pride to be able to try people in a courtroom, with full constitutional guarantees,? Fernando Reinares, an expert in international terrorism at the Royal Elcano Institute, said. “But in Spain there is space for debate about whether we need to adapt our judicial legislation and culture to confront international Islamist terrorism.?

October 26, 2007

Resistance to Attorney General Pick

Resistance to Attorney General Pick - New York Times

Judiciary Committee is not letting Mukasey slide by with vague answers about torture and executive power. (Earlier in the Committee Mukasey claimed he did not understand "waterboarding" well enough to say whether it was torture.)

U.S. and Turkey Thwart Armenian Genocide Bill

U.S. and Turkey Thwart Armenian Genocide Bill - New York Times

Congress gave into the pressure and tabled this ill-timed bill.

October 18, 2007

Spy Bill Compromise

Senate and Bush Agree On Terms of Spying Bill -

October 16, 2007

Sure, take his/her records...we won't tell.

Verizon Says It Turned Over Data Without Court Orders - Verizon also disclosed that the FBI, using administrative subpoenas, sought information identifying not just a person making a call, but all the people that customer called, as well as the people those people called. Verizon does not keep data on this "two-generation community of interest" for customers, but the request highlights the broad reach of the government's quest for data.

From January 2005 to September 2007, Verizon provided data to federal authorities on an emergency basis 720 times, it said in the letter. The records included Internet protocol addresses as well as phone data. In that period, Verizon turned over information a total of 94,000 times to federal authorities armed with a subpoena or court order, the letter said. The information was used for a range of criminal investigations, including kidnapping and child-predator cases and counter-terrorism investigations.

Verizon and AT&T said it was not their role to second-guess the legitimacy of emergency government requests.

Jet fixes abroad seen as a threat

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers are warning that the Transportation Security Administration is leaving airplanes vulnerable to sabotage by terrorists who may have access to the planes in repair shops overseas.

TSA chief Kip Hawley faces questions today on the agency's failure to write security regulations for repair shops as Congress ordered nearly four years ago. Hawley will testify before House and Senate panels looking broadly at aviation security.

For Mukasey, a quiz about independence at Justice

For Mukasey, a quiz about independence at Justice

Mukasey's confirmation hearing is tomorrow, Wednesday, Oct 17, before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Interesting questions are bound to be posed on torture, wire-tapping, extraordinary rendition, and if he is capable of thinking independently of Bush.

October 14, 2007

U.S. Military Technology Being Exported Illegally ot Iran

U.S. Military Technology Being Exported Illegally Is a Growing Concern -

Pentagon investigators thought they had discovered a major shipment of contraband when they intercepted parts for F-14 Tomcat warplanes headed to Iran, via FedEx, from Southern California. Under U.S. sanctions since its 1979 revolution, Tehran had been trying for years to illegally obtain spare parts for the fighters, which are used only in Iran.

October 13, 2007

Former CEO Says U.S. Punished Phone Firm

Former CEO Says U.S. Punished Phone Firm -

excerpt: "Nacchio's account, which places the NSA proposal at a meeting on Feb. 27, 2001, suggests that the Bush administration was seeking to enlist telecommunications firms in programs without court oversight before the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon. The Sept. 11 attacks have been cited by the government as the main impetus for its warrantless surveillance efforts.

'The allegations could affect the debate on Capitol Hill over whether telecoms sued for disclosing customers' phone records and other data to the government after the Sept. 11 attacks should be given legal immunity, even if they did not have court authorization to do so."

October 10, 2007

Congress, White House and Turkey

White House And Turkey Fight Bill On Armenia -

Parker may be interested in this.

Attack of the Nonbinding Resolutions

White House And Turkey Fight Bill On Armenia -

A nonbinding resolution that would label as "genocide" the deaths of Armenians more than 90 years ago during the Ottoman Empire has gained majority support in the US House, but the President as well as all living Secretaries of State and others are lobbying the House to not pursue this because it will hurt America's relations with Turkey, a key ally. The US is seeking to keep Turkey from launching attacks into the Kurdish north of Iraq and needlessly hitting them at this sensitive spot would not make it easier to convince the Turks not to attack Iraq.

October 9, 2007

More Torture Memos (Editorial)

More Torture Memos -

October 1, 2007

Webb/Clinton resolution on Iran

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Senator for New York: Senator Clinton Announces Co-Sponsorship of Webb Legislation Prohibiting the Use of Funds for Military Operations In Iran

Will congressional opposition keep the Bush administration from launching strikes against Iran?