Sometimes I hate being right…



  • Sometimes I hate being right.

    Last week I questioned whether or not the non-FISA compliant wiretaps could be used in court.  Now it is not a matter of future cases, but of already existing cases/verdicts where there is now an effort to overturn convictions/reverse plea bargains/obtain new trials because evidence used in those cases MAY have come from illegal wiretaps.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20051229/ap_on_go_ot/domestic_spying_scholar

    “WASHINGTON - Lawyers for an Islamic scholar, a Fort Lauderdale computer programmer and an Ohio trucker want federal judges to determine whether evidence used against their clients was gathered by a secret domestic spying program.”

    Last I checked, FISA was a Constitutional law passed 28 years ago.  Bush himself has used FISA to request more than 5000 wiretaps according to a recent report in a Seatle paper.  Yet for some wiretaps he ignored FISA and wiretapped anyway.  Precedent and statute are explicit:  illegally obtained evidence, ESPCICALLY from illegal wiretaps, may NOT be used in court; no exceptions.

    This is begining to not only be an annoyance for the Bush Administration, but is becoming a CRITICAL national security issue that may well reverse whatever good President Bush may have done in the past 4 years.

    Can you say “Cluster F*ck”?


  • 2018 2017 2016 '11 Moderator

    I believe the difference is this:

    When using the evidence to put a person through a trial, one should have judicial review.  After all, convicting a person of a crime requires a court room presided over by a judge precisely to prevent an executive or legislative process to illegally imprison their domestic opponents.  However, when using the evidence only to find others who are breaking the law you do not need judicial review.

    For instance, if you wanted to put Mary Martha in jail for plotting to over throw the United States government, and part of your evidence comes from wire-taps - then you would need a warrant.  However, if you wanted to know who else Mary Martha was conspiring against, and not use the information gathered in court, but only to determine suspects, then you should not need a warrant.  This is especially true when dealing with non-nationals who are not protected by the Constitution (officially - unofficially we extend to them that protection anyway.)

    Also, bear in mind, this is probably one of the main reasons that the United States has not been hit with a major terrorist attack on it’s soil since 9/11.  It’s a very ingenious way to break terrorist cells.  Step 1)  Find a terrorist.  Step 2) Tap his/her phone.  Step 3) Break the cells s/he calls while not arresting him/her.  Step 4)  Rinse and Repeat until the terrorist is no longer trusted in the organization - then pick up the terrorist.

    Also, bear in mind, this isn’t the only evidence they are using.  It’s just a method to generate leads on who MIGHT be a terrorist.  The target MIGHT be the pizza delivery man too.  However, it sure beats not having any lead at all - right?  It’s kinda like profiling.  If a store is robbed by a middle aged white guy with brown hair, you arn’t going to question black women with gray hair, right?  Same basic principle - collect the evidence you can and cannot use in court, figure out who did it, then build a case on legal evidence to convict.



  • Such information is not admissible, and for good reason.  The prohibition against unlawful search and seizure is to prevent misconduct under police powers.  If any sort of evidence is admissible, then how can the defendent say that the incriminating evidence did not, say, belong to him, etc.?  Proper procedure is exactly what guards against this, and eroding that distinction is detrimental to the legal system.  The old adage is unfortunately true:  possession is 9/10 of the law.  If you do not safeguard procedure, then mere possession may be enough to tip the balance of evidence.

    This is all the more disturbing since the current administration is advocating such an extension of executive power, in that they have argued against showing certain suspects their files for fear of affecting national security.  This obviously puts the defendent in a really hard spot.

    Now, Jennifer’s point is a little misleading in that it rests upon a false assumption.  However, I’m not sure what it is (either why a warrant is needed in one case and not the other, or that FISA is not efficient enough).  As a procedural matter, there is no reason why an administration cannot use FISA effectively and quickly while still maintaining proper checks and balances.  Indeed, a careful reading of the text shows that the legislature is almost bending over backwards in favor of executive authority.  The actual record of implementation within the FISA court confirms this.Â

    Another assumption is that you can simply pick up and prosecute the suspected terrorist after he loses his/her utility to the organization.  However, any evidence gleaned from the wiretap, including any indirectly obtained evidence, would be inadmissible, which, depending on the case, could very well be crippling.  So, if you don’t really have any reason not to go through FISA, why wouldn’t you?  And that of course is the big question everyone is asking.



  • I still don’t understand the legal distinction between terrorism and criminal acts inside the United States. It’s just a different motivation for the same crime. That motivation may be aggravating, but it shouldn’t completely change the process.

    And Jennifer, I’m no lawyer, but isn’t all evidence that an illegal search leads to not permissiable? Not just the evidence directly gathered illegally.



  • Yanny,

    I’m not a lawyer either but I thought the use of evidence gained illegally in a trial was somewhat at the judges discresion.  It use depends on the severity of the crime, the severity of the illegallity of the evidence and so forth.  For example, if an illegal wiretap led to the arrest of an AQ cell along with a “dirty” bomb ready to go and plans to launch it in NYC literally minutes after the arrest, I don’t think any judge would let the members of the AQ cell out of prison.  The wiretap would be illegal and might be excluded, but certainly the other evidence (testimony by the cell members, the presence of the bomb, etc.) would probably be allowed in court proceedings even though this evidence is a direct result of the wiretap.



  • In 1994 the World Trade Cetners were bombed.  Truck bomb in the parking garage that was well positioned, but not quite strong enough, to topple one tower into the other.

    President Clinton’s administration acted within the law, aprehended, tried and convicted Yusef for the crime.

    It would be seven years before the United States was hit within our borders a second time with an act of foreign terrorism.

    To date, only 4 years and a few months have passed since 9-11.

    Is this lack of an attack “proof” that what Bush is doing is working?  Or is it just that they are waiting a few years to hit us again (like they waited from 94 to 01?)

    If we constitute “success” based on absense of attack within the US, the Clinton’s method of treating Terrorism as a law enforcement issue and prosecuting the offenders within the confines of the law is STILL a superior method, since his method worked from 1994 to 01 while Bush’s method only has 60% of the same time of success to date.

    If we say that ANY act of terrorism constitutes a breach of success of a given method of countering terrorism, then Clinton is WAY out ahead, since we only had 3 other foreign events from 94 to 2001 (Kobar Towers, African Emabassies, USS Cole).  Bush has had London Subways, Spanish Transit, 2 blasts in Bali, a blast in Jordan, not to mention how many hundreds of IED’s in Iraq…  all tied to the “War on Terror” and all occuring in 4 years after 9-11.

    Youir logic is flawed Jennifer.



  • Well, a lack of attack may mean several things (or, more likely, a combination of factors)

    1. The invasion of Afganistan worked.
    2. The unconstitutional crap worked
    3. A-Q doesn’t have the resources to put on a major attack more than once a decade
    4. A-Q shifted it’s focus (Iraq?)
    5. A-Q really isn’t that threatening

    Personally, I lean much more toward #3 and #5. I’m just not convinced that A-Q is a big enough organization to be any more than the boogy man in the closet



  • @ncscswitch:

    In 1994 the World Trade Cetners were bombed.  Truck bomb in the parking garage that was well positioned, but not quite strong enough, to topple one tower into the other.

    President Clinton’s administration acted within the law, aprehended, tried and convicted Yusef for the crime.

    It would be seven years before the United States was hit within our borders a second time with an act of foreign terrorism.

    To date, only 4 years and a few months have passed since 9-11.

    Is this lack of an attack “proof” that what Bush is doing is working?  Or is it just that they are waiting a few years to hit us again (like they waited from 94 to 01?)

    If we constitute “success” based on absense of attack within the US, the Clinton’s method of treating Terrorism as a law enforcement issue and prosecuting the offenders within the confines of the law is STILL a superior method, since his method worked from 1994 to 01 while Bush’s method only has 60% of the same time of success to date.

    If we say that ANY act of terrorism constitutes a breach of success of a given method of countering terrorism, then Clinton is WAY out ahead, since we only had 3 other foreign events from 94 to 2001 (Kobar Towers, African Emabassies, USS Cole).  Bush has had London Subways, Spanish Transit, 2 blasts in Bali, a blast in Jordan, not to mention how many hundreds of IED’s in Iraq…  all tied to the “War on Terror” and all occuring in 4 years after 9-11.

    Youir logic is flawed Jennifer.

    They have broken up cells and stopped attacks, there is hard proof of that.  How do you know this wiretapping was not the reason why?  And far as clinton goes, how many cells did he break up after the 94 attacks?

    Exactly when did Bush become president of the WORLD?  What your list shows me is that Bush is doing a good job as OUR president because he has stopped attacks here even though the terrorist have stepped up their pace.  They are looking for “soft” targets.  That is too bad for the countries being hit, and real attempts should be made to help our allies from getting hit… but the fact remains that we haven’t been hit.

    A large part of it is Bush.  There is one thing that the terrorist know for certain, he is not playing games.  I think they could probably mount another attack in the US similiar in scale to 911, but they don’t dare do it.  This “cowboy” regime changed 2 countries after we lost 3 BUILDINGS.  They know the military power of the US and it has the ability to crush them utterly.

    Here is a scenerio for you.  A plane crashes into a nuclear power plant in the US.  The US response after 100,000s dead is to do whatever is nec.  With the full backing of the US people and congress the military would be ordered to go into every country in the middle east from its bases in Iraq and “pacify” them, much the same way the Indians were “pacified” a few centuries ago.

    After 100k dead Americans, you would see the end of terrorism against the US one way or another.  Even if that meant genocide, and the terrorists know it.



  • Zooey, I was an advocate of using NUKES in Iraq back in 02 and 03.  But your response scares the sh*t out of ME!

    We can;t “pacify” Iraq with most of our active duty soldiers and marines there.  How in the hell are you going to “pacify” 1.3 BILLION PEOPLE with the 750,000 or so people we have in ALL of our armed forces?  And that includes the freakin Coast Guard, submariners, every guardsman and reservist, the clerks, etc.  That number is also all of our armed forces in Korea and elsewhere.  And you want them to “pacify” the Muslim world from Indonesia to Algeria???  What have you been smoking!  Hell if we carpet nuked the whole area, there would still be enough folks alive (and ready to kill us) in that area that we’d need those forces just for the “walking dead”.

    People think I have a warped view of what our military can and cannot accomplish…  you are talking the equivalent of 1 transported INF taking out Germany.  Just ain;t happening dude.

    And you don;t think those “foreign” attacks were aimed at the US?  You also have an EXCEEDINGLY narrow view of US interests, and vulnerabilities.  What happened after they hit Spain?  The US lost allied support in Iraq… the FIFTH largest ally pulled out; pulling more Americans into Iraq to fill in the gaps.

    And you say WE have not been hit since 9-11?  We lost 3000 or so people that day.  We are over 2000 in Iraq now; not to mentioned the maimed and wounded.

    What did the terrorists want to accomplish?  To destroy us right?  Well, they are working on it.  The United States has surrendered our FREEDOM in the wake of their attacks.  Ohio just passed a low that allows any police officer to stop ANYONE, ANYTIME and ask them for their ID, etc.  Does anyone else remember how the US used to criticise the Soviet Union because you had to “show your papers” anytime you traveled there?  We have “secret” government agencies breaking explicit Congressional laws listening in on voice and data streams without a warrant.  Anyone else think of the KGB and Gestapo when they hear about that?

    And what is Bush’s response…
    DON’T investigate the illegal act.  Find and destroy the whistleblower who let us know about his adminsitration burning the Constitution.

    If you want security so badly, find a Police State to live in.  I want MY United Stats back; the one with a Constitution, innocent until proven guilty, checks and balances, etc.

    I certainly don;t want some pseudo fascist theocracy that resembles Iran more than what the US used to be.



  • thanks, ncscswitch.



  • Ill tell you how you passify 1.3 billion people Switch. You nuke the living daylights out of them.

    It sounds messy, and most people wouldnt dream of such drastic measures. But if an event like what Zooey said occured, we wouldnt be playing around anymore, if some innocents get in the way, well thats to bad.



  • @marine36:

    It sounds messy, and most people wouldnt dream of such drastic measures. But if an event like what Zooey said occured, we wouldnt be playing around anymore, if some innocents get in the way, well thats to bad.

    An “incident” like Zooey is discussing is the action of a few individuals, not even members of a government.  Just individual nut balls.

    And you say that a few individuals hitting us would merit nuking the entire Muslim world???

    What if Tim McVey had parked his Ryder Truck in front of some Russian government building in Vladivostok?  Would the Russians have been justified in nuking the US for it?  At the very least, we have to seperate the actions of a government from the actions of individuals.  At least in the case of government action, the people of that nation can be held partially responsible because they ALLOWED the government to act that way, either by electing the idiot leaders, or by failing to overthrow tyranical nut cases.

    Last month a guy blew away a man and woman in their home in order to get their daughter.  The guy was a resident of Pennsylvania.  Are we going to nuke Pittsburgh and Philly because that guy was from there?  THAT is what you are advocating.

    So I guess Japan is free to attack us because of all the things our solidiers have done in Okinawa in the past several years (getting tired of reading about soldiers who can;t keep their dick in their pants and keep raping local girls, is becoming an annual event apparently).  And Libya is allowed to attack us for what we did to Tripoli in '86?  And Iraq is totally justified in hitting us since we have killed, according to the Bush Adminsitration’s estimates 35,000 of them???

    Hell, I guess you are justified in bombing MY house since I live in North Carolina and Eric Robert Rudolph is from here.  He was a terrorist, bombed clinics and the Olympics.  But he was North Carolinian, so I guess you have to nuke this state off the map and damn the innocents who live here.

    For gods sake Marine… you had a brain once before your buried it with a sand flea on Parris Island.  THINK about what you are advocating!


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