Thursday, August 09, 2007

FISA, CSPAN and the Facts

Many of the problems with the new expansion of previously illegal warrantless surveillance are provided clearly and plainly in a discussion on CSPAN with Glenn Greenwald and former Reagan appointee Dave Rivkin. For one thing, Rivkin has that faulty memory so famous among Reganites about the cabinet-level officials indicted in the 1980s.

I saw this yesterday and was impressed with how well Greenwald lays out many key issues -- such as the new law does not require a person being 'listened to' actually be a terrorism suspect. And a point I've been hitting on too, that until this law was passed, the President and his staff have been conducting illegal surveillance. Years of breaking the law just don't seem to matter. And there is the retroactive protection of phone companies who illegally provided records to the illegal program.

It's a very intense discussion, including the call-ins. Here is a snippet, but the entire 48 minute discussion can be accessed here at CSPAN's archives and is must-see TV--

UPDATE: A very interesting article in Salon (reg. required) takes a look at the expanding technologies available for surveillance and the many ways it is used under the current administration. Check it out.

Here is a brief excerpt:

"Military, intelligence agency and police work is also coming together in numerous "fusion centers" around the country in a joint program run by the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security that has received little public attention. At present, there are 43 current and planned fusion centers in the United States where information from intelligence agencies, the FBI, local police, private sector databases and anonymous tipsters is combined and analyzed by counterterrorism analysts. DHS hopes to create a wide network of such centers that would be tied into the agency's day-to-day activities, according to the Electronic Privacy Information Center. The project, according to EPIC, "inculcates DHS with enormous domestic surveillance powers and evokes comparisons with the publicly condemned domestic surveillance program of COINTELPRO," the 1960s program by the FBI aimed at destroying groups on the American political left."

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