Balkinization  

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Oversight Without Oversight

JB

Remember how the Bush Administration's NSA surveillance program was supposed to be directed only against terrorists and not against ordinary loyal American citizens? Apparently, not so much.


Comments:

Holy crap, read that comment by the unnamed "intelligence official" who defends this by saying that all US government employees should expect to have their phone conversations monitored. My God, just when I think I can't be shocked by this administration anymore...
 

Marty:

1) It is expected that the military is spot monitoring communications over military channels or by military personnel in order to ensure operational security. There is nothing at all new or unusual about this. The soldier engaging in phone sex was lucky he was not disciplined. BTW, glennnyc, the military also screens the troops mail and can inspect their quarters without notice.

2) I sure as hell hope that the NSA is screening nearly all telecommunications coming in and out of the Middle East war zone. During a war, that is the purpose of ELINT.

3) NGOs overseas in this region have no right to privacy or any other civil liberty under our law. Indeed, given their frequent working relations with the enemy, we should seriously consider targeting their communications so we can locate the enemy. If this inhibits their working relationships with the enemy, so much the better.
 

BTW, Bart, the person I quoted did not say that troops should expect to have their calls monitored, he said government employees. I am sure those who join the military understand that they become government property; I don't think government employees were aware they did so. I sure wasn't when I clerked, for example.
 

As a matter of manners, it bears mention that the byline says "JB" not "Marty". Details count.
 

Bart: Try reading the article before commenting.
 

What? But that's impossible, a wiretap requires a court order. My President told me so. Are you saying my President is a liar? Or misled me? Or told less than the full truth in some way? Repeatedly?
 

Sorry Jack, I jumped the gun and assumed this was one of Marty's hundreds of posts on this subject and did not check your initials below.
 

glennnyc:

Civilian contractors using military telecommunications have no more right to privacy than the troops. Think of an employer checking the internet surfing of its employees.
 

Bart, your lack of couth is exceeded only by your lack of couth. There's no point apologizing to one of your hosts if it's turned into a drive-by insult (which you will manfully disclaim, to no effect) to another of your hosts (both of whom have shown amazing forbearance in not having your forcibly removed for your disruptive behavior over the years).
 

" ... which you [little Lisa's bro] will manfully disclaim, to no effect) ...."

Robert, I object to your use of "manfully."
 

Shaq, not sure if you're teasing me or not. No offense meant.
 

well maybe it is just me... but I for one am happy they are distracted by the phone sex.... perhaps that means they will leave the rest of us alone.... at least until we can jail the war criminals and civil rights violators.
Also this is the most response I have seen from our congress on the subject. Maybe Bush has finally hit a nerve?

And finally, why does anyone bother to respond to Bart? Mosquito bites really stop itching when you stop scratching them.
 

"Bart":

1) It is expected that the military is spot monitoring communications over military channels or by military personnel in order to ensure operational security. There is nothing at all new or unusual about this. The soldier engaging in phone sex was lucky he was not disciplined. BTW, glennnyc, the military also screens the troops mail and can inspect their quarters without notice.

Maybe that's the problem with "embedding". If you're a journalist, you'll get f**ked. But I don't think all the journalists were embedded.

2) I sure as hell hope that the NSA is screening nearly all telecommunications coming in and out of the Middle East war zone. During a war, that is the purpose of ELINT.

Whatever your hopes, "Bart", doesn't affect the legality or propriety of such.

3) NGOs overseas in this region have no right to privacy or any other civil liberty under our law. Indeed, given their frequent working relations with the enemy, we should seriously consider targeting their communications so we can locate the enemy. If this inhibits their working relationships with the enemy, so much the better.

"BartSpeakā„¢": Aid workers (pl n): One step away from Terra-ists and at the least undoubtedly "enemy combatants" deserving of absolutely no legal protections or rights. Many undoubtedly served on boards with William Ayers. 'Nuff said.

Cheers,
 

"NGOs overseas in this region have no right to privacy or any other civil liberty under our law."

Bullanddistraction.

No American citizen in America gives up their right to be free from unwarranted American governmental surviellance when they are talking to anyone, anywhere. That much more so when they are talking to another American overseas.

There is no part of the Constitution that says, "Hey, the Fourth Amendment doesn't apply to US Citizens in the US if they communicating with other US Citizens who are members of an NGO"
There's no "loss of civil liberties from joining" clause and no "loss of civil liberties for ASSOCIATING with Americans who are also aide workers" clause.

What absolute bull and what a transparent effort at misdirection. It couldn't have taken you more than two seconds flat to wash out as the prestidigitationist at the 2nd grader's birthday party.

BTW, I'll take it on faith that a Col. who is on base and calling his wife part way into a lenghty deployment could be "disciplined" for having phone sex with her, but if so, who made up that stupid rule?

orshouldIevenhavetoask
 

"US military officers, American journalists and American aid workers".

Of course, if you read the article, you know that.
 

Robert,
The "you" in the quoted portion of your comment was not you. So any tease intended was not of you but of "you" who is not "manly; brave, resolute, strong, etc" as defined in the Webster New World Dictionary, despite the fact that "you" who is male.
 

Shaq,

I thought so, but, heck, better safe than sorry. I generally try to avoid sexism as I would any other invidious ism.

Peace.
 

arne:

NGOs overseas in this region have no right to privacy or any other civil liberty under our law. Indeed, given their frequent working relations with the enemy, we should seriously consider targeting their communications so we can locate the enemy. If this inhibits their working relationships with the enemy, so much the better.

"BartSpeakā„¢": Aid workers (pl n): One step away from Terra-ists...


Not at all. As I posted, NGOs routinely enter into working relationships with terrorists in territory where terrorists operate and provide protection money or supplies to the enemy. Otherwise, the NGOs themselves would be targeted.

The quote from the Doctors Without Borders spokeman is revealing in this regard:

A spokesman for Doctors Without Borders, Michael Goldfarb, said: "The abuse of humanitarian action through intelligence gathering for military or political objectives, threatens the ability to assist populations and undermines the safety of humanitarian aid workers."

There is no complaint that their privacy was somehow being violated, but rather DWB is afraid that if we use DWB telecommunications to track down the terrorists with whom they are working, the terrorists will turn on them.
 

Mary:

No American citizen in America gives up their right to be free from unwarranted American governmental surviellance when they are talking to anyone, anywhere

Sorry, but that has never been the law.

If you are using military telecommunications in a foreign theater of war like these calls from the Green Zone, you can assume you may be surveilled. These are not common carrier lines where you have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

This is why reporters and others often use their own satellite phones.
 

Bart writes:
Civilian contractors using military telecommunications have no more right to privacy than the troops.


And variations on that theme. My question is: is there an actual substantive legal precedent for that (a real one). Also, how do we know they were monitoring only military lines? I would assume not, if they wanted actionable intelligence.

one of Marty's hundreds of posts on this subject
Google finds 190 articles by Marty on this site.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

"Bart" DePalma:

The quote from the Doctors Without Borders spokeman is revealing in this regard:

A spokesman for Doctors Without Borders, Michael Goldfarb, said: "The abuse of humanitarian action through intelligence gathering for military or political objectives, threatens the ability to assist populations and undermines the safety of humanitarian aid workers."


This is indeed smart and essential; to keep humanitarian assistance independent of either side. This is essential to allow such groups to work without being attacked by either side; if they join with combatants, you should expect they will be treated like combatants and shot at by the other side.

This goes for other non-partisan operations as well. On of the reasons that Saddam Hussein gave for not allowing the U.N. weapons inspectors back in after Clinton had told them to leave in 1998 is that it came out that the U.S. had been trying to get CIA and/or other intelligence assets into Iraq by inserting them into U.N. inspection teams. Not a good move for either the U.N. or the U.S....

I know, "you're either with us, or you're with the Terra-ists...." That suffices for RW 'thought'.

There is no complaint that their privacy was somehow being violated, ....

HTF are they going to know they're being spied on when Dubya says they aren't being spied on, and U.S. laws prohibit such? If they don't know, they can't very well complain....

... DWB is afraid that if we use DWB telecommunications to track down the terrorists with whom they are working, the terrorists will turn on them.

DWB is "driving while black". Doctors Without Borders is "MSF".

If you're looking for Terra-ist supporters to turn in to the local Gestapo, "Bart", I will freely admit that my wife and I have given funds to MSF.

Cheers,
 

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