View Full Version : BREAKING: Bush White House to be subpoenaed by wiretap lawyers

Cloak & Swagger
08-29-2006, 11:30 AM
BREAKING: Bush White House to be subpoenaed by wiretap lawyers


Published: Tuesday August 29, 2006

Two attorneys representing claimants in a lawsuit over wiretapping by the National Security Agency will subpoena the White House today, RAW STORY has learned.

Bruce Afran and Carl Mayer, who represent hundreds of plaintiffs in lawsuits against Verizon, AT&T, and the US Government, will announnce today that they are serving both the Bush administration and Verizon with subpoenas.

The announcement is due to arrive at 4:30 PM, outside of Verizon headquarters in New York, RAW STORY has confirmed.

The subpoenas come on the heels of two federal court decisions that were seen as blows to the Bush Administration warrantless spying program.

Earlier this month, federal judge Anna Diggs Taylor ruled the entire program unconstitutional and illegal; another federal judge in San Francisco rejected the Bush Administration's attempt to dismiss these lawsuits by claiming they breach national security.

Mayer explained that the subpoena seeks to learn "whether the Bush administration has unlawfully targeted journalists, peace activists, libertarians, members of congress or generated an 'enemies list.'"

Afran told RAW STORY he expected the White House to again claim that the state secrets doctrine forbade it from answering the subpoena, but called the claim "Absolute nonsense."

"That's an invitation for presidents to write their own rules and we've had judges multiple times say that state secrets is not a defense," he explained, adding, "We hope the White House will realize the need to cooperate."

08-29-2006, 11:47 AM
I was hoping for good news on my birthday. :)

Cloak & Swagger
08-29-2006, 12:03 PM
Happy B-day.
Go DIGG the story here: http://digg.com/politics/White_House_to_be_subpoenaed_by_wiretap_lawyers

08-29-2006, 12:27 PM
State Secrets my ass.

08-29-2006, 12:28 PM
Oh never mind...

Senate moves to expand Bush power to tap: Soon...

Cloak & Swagger
08-29-2006, 12:47 PM

08-29-2006, 02:32 PM
Senate moves to give Bush more power to wiretap


Brian Beutler
Published: Tuesday August 29, 2006

A bill that expands President Bush's ability to wiretap American phones and conduct other forms of domestic surveillance will likely appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee next Thursday, RAW STORY has learned.

The bill, which was written by judiciary chairman Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), and which has been widely and publicly excoriated by Democratic members of the committee, contains provisions—such as the institution of program-wide warrants, and warrants that do not expire for a year—that would weaken the strict limits that currently govern the FISA courts.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was written nearly 20 years ago and offers guidelines about the legal use of wiretaps on phones inside the United States. It includes provisions for the use of courts to issue warrants if the government’s case against a suspect meets legal scrutiny.

The judiciary committee originally sought to bring the NSA wiretapping program into compliance with FISA, but in practice, critics claim, Specter’s FISA amendments actually give the president freedom to expand his wiretapping activities.

A statement released by the office of Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) states that Specter’s bill “gives him even more power than he has asserted under his illegal NSA wiretapping program.”

A different bill, written by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and cosponsored by Specter will also appear before the committee Thursday. Its provisions would do more to limit the NSA program than Specter’s, and would even mandate that the program face judicial review.

But a Senate aide who works closely with Specter tells RAW STORY that, “The White House said they would veto any bill that includes a provision for judicial review.”

“I can’t say that the bills work hand in hand,” an aide told RAW STORY adding that, though Specter’s bill does not make judicial review mandatory, “it makes it optional.”

Specter’s bill, written as a result of that threat, makes concessions to the White House that go beyond Feinstein’s legislation, which itself represents a diminution of the 1978 FISA statutes. FISA, for instance, allows 15 days of warrantless surveillance in the event of a declaration of war.

Senator Feinstein’s bill extends that allowance to include the 15 days after a Congressional authorization of the use of force. Senator Specter’s bill deletes the exception altogether.

“Basically," one aide told RAW STORY, "the White House said, ‘you can trust us, you have our word that we will submit the program for judicial review. Just don’t make it mandatory for us.’”

Senator Feinstein has come out against the new legislation, intimating that it would legalize the NSA program that was recently declared unconstitutional by a federal judge in Michigan. If passed by Congress, Specter's bill could potentially influence the outcome of White House appeals that may ultimately put the program before the Supreme Court.

In an op-ed cowritten with Senator Feingold in the San Francisco Chronicle, Senator Feinstein said, “every time the Supreme Court has confronted a statute limiting the commander-in-chief's authority, it has upheld the statute."

Feinstein continued:

"Congress explicitly banned wiretapping individuals in the United States without a court order, except in limited circumstances such as emergencies, when it passed FISA in 1978. That means the president's power to wiretap Americans without a warrant would be viewed very skeptically by the Supreme Court. If Congress were to pass Specter's bill, however, the legal analysis would be much more deferential to the president. By repealing the ban on wiretapping without a warrant… Congress would help the president make his case.”

Senator Specter, who unlike Senators Feingold and Feinstein does not sit on the Intelligence committee, and who therefore is privy to less information about the NSA program, had been critical of its apparent violation of FISA in the past.

When asked at a press conference recently if it was frustrating to now be in a position to write legislation for the courts without knowing the details of the wiretapping program, he responded, “Is it frustrating? Yes, but I'm used to that… From the very start, I said, I don't have to know what the program is, but the court has to know what the program is. There has to be judicial review before you can wiretap. That's been the tradition.”

08-29-2006, 02:39 PM
one step forward, five backward

08-29-2006, 03:31 PM
I wanna tie his shoelaces together!