Did The Justice Department Lie to the Supreme Court…And Get Away With It?

US-DeptOfJustice-Seal_svg

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty (rafflaw)- Weekend Contributor

Thanks to the disclosures made by whistleblower Edward Snowden, we now know how far our government went to hide the warrantless surveillance by the NSA. “If you blinked this week, you might have missed the news: two Senators accused the Justice Department of lying about NSA warrantless surveillance to the US supreme court last year, and those falsehoods all but ensured that mass spying on Americans would continue. But hardly anyone seems to care – least of all those who lied and who should have already come forward with the truth.

Here’s what happened: just before Edward Snowden became a household name, the ACLU argued before the supreme court that the Fisa Amendments Act – one of the two main laws used by the NSA to conduct mass surveillance – was unconstitutional.

In a sharply divided opinion, the supreme court ruled, 5-4, that the case should be dismissed because the plaintiffs didn’t have “standing” – in other words, that the ACLU couldn’t prove with near-certainty that their clients, which included journalists and human rights advocates, were targets of surveillance, so they couldn’t challenge the law. As the New York Times noted this week, the court relied on two claims by the Justice Department to support their ruling: 1) that the NSA would only get the content of Americans’ communications without a warrant when they are targeting a foreigner abroad for surveillance, and 2) that the Justice Department would notify criminal defendants who have been spied on under the Fisa Amendments Act, so there exists some way to challenge the law in court.

It turns out that neither of those statements were true – but it took Snowden’s historic whistleblowing to prove it.” RSN

Maybe I am still naïve, but would any of us have the same ability to lie in sworn documents to the Supreme Court and not have consequences?

The two Democratic senators mentioned in the RSN article linked above are Mark Udall and Ron Wyden.  The case in question is Clapper v. Amnesty International which was a case brought to challenge the constitutionality of the law which authorized the now infamous NSA warrantless wiretapping.  The majority opinion as quoted above, relied on the alleged facts that the plaintiffs could not prove that they were actually spied upon.  When Mr. Snowden made his historic disclosures it became obvious that the Justice Department had “fibbed” to the Supreme Court. We previously discussed the Clapper case here.

Did the Justice Department come clean when Snowden blew his whistle?  I think you can guess the answer to that questions.  According to the New York Times, the letter that Senators Udall and Wyden sent was written because the Justice Department did not admit to the untruthful statements that were relied upon by the Supreme Court majority, even after the Snowden disclosures.

“It emerged that the Justice Department was not notifying defendants in situations when warrantless surveillance had led in turn to a wiretap order on an individual that produced evidence used in court. Mr. Verrilli fought an internal battle last summer to change the practice, and prosecutors have been belatedly notifying defendants, who have clear standing to challenge the constitutionality of the spying.

And in August, it surfaced that the N.S.A. was also systematically scanning Americans’ cross-border emails without warrants and saving copies of any messages that contained discussion of a surveillance target. That meant the plaintiffs did not necessarily have to be in contact with an intelligence target for their communications to be intercepted without a warrant.” New York Times

As the New York Times articles suggests, we don’t know if Solicitor General Verrilli knew that he was not stating the truth when he argued the Clapper case in front of the Supreme Court.  Of course, what the Justice Department has done since Mr. Verrilli found out the truth about the NSA’s wireless wiretapping procedures and the Justice Department’s feeble attempts to notify criminal defendants who were spied on, indicate that it is “cover your backside” time in the Justice Department.

“In its December letter, the Justice Department argued that its description of the law had been accurate and noted that “based on a recent review” it had adopted a less constrained interpretation of its duty to notify defendants and had changed its practice. It has also defended itself in related court filings.

The department has argued as well that it was appropriate not to tell the court about scanning Americans’ international emails and saving those that discussed targets, because that activity had been classified at the time and was not relevant to the legal question before the court — whether the plaintiffs had standing.

But Mr. Udall and Mr. Wyden argued that the fact that the information was classified at the time did not make it acceptable to mislead the court into believing Americans’ international messages must be to or from a target to be collected without a warrant.” New York Times

If I understand the Justice Department’s December response, they are arguing that since they have changed their procedures to comport with their earlier claims and since the extent of the NSA spying program was classified at the time of the Supreme Court hearing they didn’t have to tell the Supreme Court of the United States the truth!

While I am not very confident that the Roberts Court would have found for Plaintiffs, even if the Snowden disclosure were made prior to the decision, at least the legal team for Plaintiffs could have made the argument to the Court.  And some criminal defendants who were being tried using secret evidence would have been able to contest the legality of the evidence in court.

What does it say about the NSA that they would lie about their massive spying program to the Supreme Court? What does it say about a Justice Department that still claims that their lies and untruthful statements in briefs to the Supreme Court were really not lies because the country was not supposed to know about the truth?  As an attorney who has communicated with clients overseas, the Snowden disclosures are troubling, to say the least.

To paraphrase a famous politician, Who is going to jail?   Would any defense attorney be able to make these same claims that the Justice Department is making after it is disclosed that their truthiness is in question?   Do you think the Justice Department should face sanctions or consequences for their false statements?  Should the NSA’s officials that provided the false information to the Justice Department face any consequences?  I, for one think that anyone who knowingly makes false statements to the Supreme Court should be called on the carpet.  What do you think?

I want to send a shout out to Bob Esq. who called this story to our attention!

“The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.”

144 thoughts on “Did The Justice Department Lie to the Supreme Court…And Get Away With It?

  1. If they were baseball players they would be prosecuted but there is a very different set of laws for folks like Clapper and Holder and the rest. They can lie to Congress, lie to the courts and pretty much commit murder with impunity. As if that weren’t tragedy enough in a country that was founded by men whose goal was to create a country that would not allow anyone to be above the law, the very people charged with oversight of these men have said nothing. Except for the two Democratic Senators, the DEMOCRATS have remained inexplicably silent. If the DEMOCRATS lose the midterms it won’t be because of ACA it will be because of President Obama’s utter disregard for the humans in this country and his willingness to turn a blind eye torture, spying, lying to congress and the courts as well as the destruction of the middle class and the deadly silence from the DEMOCRATS on these issues. Obama had an opportunity to turn this mess around but he decided to double down and to throw health care into the hands of the insurance companies. Sure we got a few scraps but the billions they will get are unimaginable.

    There is just a different set of laws for some people.

  2. Perjury and contempt are for the little fellow. Now perjury is kinda of a dicey one as the utter must be under oath. And hold it as a truth knowing its false. I kinda think with FISA we have that 9 headed monster, that gets uglier and uglier.

  3. Amendment IV
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall NOT be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
    Is that sooooooo hard to understand, dear NSA?
    What part of “NOT” don’t you understand?
    Heck, it’s not even in code!

    http://www.democracynow.org/2014/5/13/collect_it_all_glenn_greenwald_on
    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/united-states-of-secrets/

  4. Of course this is only one turd in a large punch bowl of liars, cheats and knaves. Of course they should be held accountable, but I see no icicles on the edges of hell from here. It is obvious we need massive change in the country, but I doubt anyone can find the time. Budweiser, Law and Order, and acquiring more things do not leave enough time to concern ourselves with such mundane matters. I weep for my country.

  5. Did The Justice Department Lie to the Supreme Court…And Get Away With It?
    = = =
    Come on raff,
    You know it’s never when the Obama does it.
    Tortures Gitmo detainees with forced feeding beyond the term he’d said he’d have it all closed down…
    They kill people based on metadata, not what someone has been convicted of…
    Spy on Americans with warrants…

    What’s withholding evidence of the crime… When Obama does it.

  6. This is the point where I ask that everyone engage their Representative and take part in their Government… Or… give $50k to Koch brothers to do it for your lazy azz.

  7. raff,
    This Administration grants Federal trials to foreign nationals that are accused of plotting with Al Q… and withholds such conveniences for Americans. Why be surprised that the same Admin thinks the Fourth Amendment is but an inconvenience.

    Due Process is for innocent Americans and foreign suspects…
    … NOT for suspected Americans or the accused and spied upon.

  8. The security apparatus has now been caught lying to both the legislative and judicial branches of our government and NO accountability is to be found. There exists a secret court (FISC) completely separate from our legal system whose Constitutional interpretations affect every citizen.
    The active erosion of Constitutional principles and the checks and balances of a three branch government can now be clearly seen. Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    The death knell of our country has officially sounded.

  9. Congressman Mike Rogers famously said, “If you don’t know that you’re being spied upon, then your Right hasn’t been violated.”

    Not one person dared to correct him by questioning as to HOW one is to protect one’s self FROM such violations if he colludes to cover up the facts, himself, against his Oath of Office?

  10. Which was granted to us as a Nation first…
    … The Fourth Amendment, or FISA?

    Which was constructed during actual WAR TIME on our land, and which came about because of an “out of control Admin” violating Fourth Am. protections?

    Now, which is happening again?
    ~ Fourth Am violations?
    ~ Actual wartime on our land?

    How many more years must we be told that there is war on our land when in actuality that was one large event 14 years ago and real Fourth Am violations are only being enshrined into current policy?

  11. He’s so sure of himself… but not with THIS metadata…
    … Ya, sure Mike. THAT metadata you kill with, and the other you spy with?

    If metadata is now, ‘evidence of a crime’ we need to go back and look at what metadata is and what the NSA does with it and more.

    They play back telephony from a month ago… That’s CONTENT not metadata.
    They capture texts… That’s CONTENT not metadata.

    So, which is it Mike? Content or metadata? Two legs or four?

    Former NSA boss: “We kill people based on metadata”

  12. Not to mention they capture person to person video calls… That’s CONTENT not metadata.
    They are working on facial recognition… Is your face CONTENT or is it metadata.

    Metadata has become their Orwellian code word for CONTENT… All of it.

  13. Very good piece. This is the most secretive and crooked WH in my lifetime. In my lifetime, Nixon has been the worst President IMO. Obama is poised to put Tricky in 2nd place.

  14. Question:
    Why won’t the Republican lead House impeach on these grounds?

    Prolly for the same reason the Dems folded under Bush…
    … Accumulated POWER in one branch of Government.

    People don’t amass POWER unwilling to use it…

  15. Nixon’s plumbers broke into the Watergate office complex and absconded with a file from a cabinet. OMG!

  16. “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.”

    “Those are not death panels.” Not death panels at the VA??? Seriously?

    “They attacked the embassy because of the video.”

    “I didn’t use the video to salvage my election campaign one month out.”

    “I didn’t do it” isn’t testimony and I’ll take the 5th now, thank you.

    “I didn’t use the IRS to illegally counter my election opposition.” Oh, hell no!

    “It’s legal for me to legislate from the executive branch.” “I don’t need no stinkin’ Congress.”

    “Natural born citizen doesn’t require both parents as citizens, especially the father (when rights were patriarchal). **

    First African-American President – First half African-American and first half President (ineligible yet elected).

    “I’m Commander in Chief – I don’t know nothin’ about the VA death panels and I didn’t respond to the attack on a Presidential level Ambassador and his military support team.” Commander in freaking chief. WHAT? Joke in chief.

    “I’m a community organizer (professional collectivist, i.e. thug/beggar/drug user) who attended college via affirmative action” (Oops, that one’s true).

    **
    Ben Franklin Dec. 9, 1775 “… I am much obliged by the kind present you have made us of your edition of Vattel. It came to us in good season, when the circumstances of a rising state make it necessary frequently to consult the law of nations. Accordingly that copy, which I kept, (after depositing one in our own public library here, and sending the other to the College of Massachusetts Bay, as you directed,) has been continually in the hands of the members of our Congress, now sitting, who are much pleased with your notes and preface, and have entertained a high and just esteem for their author…”

    Law of Nations (French which Founders spoke) § 212: Natural-born citizens are those born in the country of parents who are citizens – it is necessary that they be born of a father who is a citizen. If a person is born there of a foreigner, it will be only the place of his birth, and not his country.

  17. Max-1
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    1, May 18, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    Humph… and it’s a good one. Lot’s of tidbits in it.
    Life ring, anyone?

  18. John,
    Posts sometimes get held up in moderation or tossed into junk.
    Maybe someone can help. I can’t, and as you see, am victim of it, myself.

  19. Max, The Rep overreached w/ Clinton and I think they’re reticent to go after the first black President. That would be RAAAACIST!

  20. Max-1

    Censorship, I like it. We’re starting to play hard ball in America. I can’t wait to see what happens when the opposition fields a team. “May you live in interesting times.”

  21. Nick,
    What? White men can’t jump?
    I guess if you have no game, go after the gamer?

    The GOP go after Obama all the time.
    How can you forget BIRTH CERTIFICATE?

  22. Please read Licensed to Lie:Exposing Corruption in the Department of Justice. And just wait until Leslie Caldwell gets rolling again–the “terror of a prosecutor” who proudly destroyed Arthur Andersen and 85, 000 jobs only to be reversed by the Supremes 9-0 for blatant lack of criminal intent.

  23. John,
    There is no censorship here. The WordPress spam filter is a hungry beast that gobbles more than it should. I found Max-1 ‘s comment. I am looking for yours.

  24. The Supreme Court lied to America. Concerning Obamacare, there is no possible “interpretation” that private industry may be conducted by the government, either directly or indirectly, so the SCOTUS generated a disingenuous fallacy that Obamacare was a “tax.”

    The Preamble told us the intent of the Founders as they formed a context for America. It limited government to security and infrastructure and our endeavors, businesses and industries, conducted in the private sector without governmental interference, were our “blessings of liberty.” It “promoted general welfare” and deliberately excluded individual welfare, which later became known as redistribution of wealth. The SCOTUS has the Constitution confused with the Communist Manifesto, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” That may sound good but it is insurrection.

    The SCOTUS defrauded America. The SCOTUS knew that Obamacare would have never made it through Congress as a tax. WHAT? Congress did not pass Obamacare as a tax, denied that it was a tax and did not argue before the court that Obamacare was a tax. The SCOTUS did not objectively decide Obamacare, it arbitrarily accommodated its comrades in the Progressive movement and decided subjectively on ideological grounds, which is criminal abuse of power, dereliction and negligence.

    Understanding that each citizen can buy insurance on the open market, Obamacare is pure redistribution of wealth and that is antithetical per the Preamble and unconstitutional under the right to own private property. Private property is money which is then used to pay tax which is then used to operate the government, not to redistribute. The right to private property is obviated if private property is confiscated and made public for the purpose of redistribution (eminent domain requires compensation leaving zero for redistribution – epic fail unless the Treasury unconstitutionally prints worthless dollars – Oops! It does). For the government to pay a citizen’s insurance bill, or any portion thereof, is redistribution of wealth just like public school and college.

    The SCOTUS went on to tell America to watch how it votes. Seriously? You’re freaking public servants, not royalty. Oops! They really are elitists and royalty aren’t they?

    P.S. It’s time to impose penalties, as voted by Congress, on any SCOTUS that varies from the Constitution and intent as expressed by the Preamble. We can all read the simple English of the Preamble and Constitution as elementary school students can.

    That’s my opinion and I’m stickin’ to it!

  25. Nick,
    The proof is in the GOPudding running the House.
    What impeachment? For what? What Bush did and Obama does?
    LOL

  26. Nick,
    I cut all ties to the Democratic Party in ’08 entirely because of the charade.
    Pelosi’s appeasement of a war criminal and Constitutional thief. Spit!

    Kinda glad Mr Conyers might not make it on his home ballot… IMO.
    He should join his wife Monica behind bars for all I care.

    I hold them in high contempt as every bit I hold the GOP in contempt.
    Each day they ALLOW our Democracy and Nation to become spoiled on their watch is another day history accounts for their undermining of OUR RIGHTS they SWORE an OATH to the People to protect.

  27. John,
    there is no possible “interpretation” that private industry may be conducted by the government, either directly or indirectly
    = = =
    One possibility, as in the case of mass data collection at the bequest of our president to be done through the ‘cooperation’ of utility companies. With immunity, of course…

    In common vernacular, it is called FASCISM.
    The intermixing of Government and business interests.
    AT&T makes money from the Govt by spying on me.

  28. Great article. It is very troubling what is considered “the norm” these days, especially in Eric Holder’s DOJ. I respect these senators for speaking truth to power. If a project is classified, the acceptable answer is “I can neither confirm nor deny any knowledge of X.” It does not give carte blanche to lie to the Supreme Court, because that offends the separation of powers.

    The only way to stop these abuses of power and coverups is for high ranking people to start going to jail. Everyone seems to be made of Teflon in politics, and the law does not apply to them, only the rest of us.

    It is the media’s duty to shine a light on wrong doings such as this, and yet too many outlets remain silent. They filter their stories through their personal political views, when their profession demands unbiased reporting of all news. They simply remain silent about issues that hurt Democrats, and that is a mistake. They spent more time talking about Solange Knowles than Lois Lerner taking the 5th, and the implications to the “not a smidgeon of corruption” comment. And they’ve given no air time at all to the latest discovery that the IRS also targeted conservative donors.

    Wrong is wrong, no matter which party does it. NSA spying, the DOJ lying to the Supreme Court, and the use of the IRS as a weapon against American political opponents is outrageous, and it is news. What is wrong with the media to stay dark? It took a FOIA from a conservative watchdog group to get White House emails released proving they changed the talking points to remove terrorism and any failure of party. Why didn’t that FOIA come from the media?

  29. Everyone should write to their representatives and express their displeasure with the abuses of our government against its own people. We should not remain silent, even if the media chooses to.

  30. John,
    What country of origin was George Washington born in?
    America wasn’t founded yet. How was it he could be Natural born in a Nation that hadn’t existed yet? … And George Washington’s father. Was he an American?

  31. Max-1

    “No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President.” The requirement was that one need be a citizen at the time of the adoption of the Constitution, which allowed anyone born before the formation of the US to be President.

  32. Max, We both despise the duopoly and respect Ralph Nader. Not too shabby. Many people hide their agreements w/ me because, well..they despise me. I’m always looking for agreements. Glass half full guy.

  33. Karen, My House representative and one of my US Senators are ultra liberal. They are openly gay, NTTAWWT. I surmise you’re in the same boat as me in the Peoples Republic of California.

  34. Nick,
    Isn’t communicating WITH your Representatives one aspect about being plugged in? Sure, showing up at the voting booth is one angle, so is communicating with the elected Officials. Who do they work for when we don’t tell ’em how to do their jobs? Never give up, even if you hate openly gay legislators…

  35. “Hate openly gay legislators.” I should have known better to try and engage w/ you. You join my list of shunned.

  36. And what? Send me to the closet?
    Why is your Legislator’s sexuality important to you that it’s mention is necessary when voicing your displeasure in him as a reason you’ll not engage? You made it relevant by bringing his sexuality up, did you not?

    Hate is such a harsh word, I’m sorry.
    Please, understanding needs to go both ways.

  37. Rafflaw,

    Excellent catch; since the story has gotten next to zero media coverage.

    I miss the old days when threads generally stayed on topic.

  38. Even Liberal representatives cannot ignore the displeasure of a majority of their constituents. This behavior in government persists because we, the people, allow it to.

    When you mentioned that your rep was openly gay, were you referring to the formidable Democratic voting bloc that is GLAAD?

    The trend has been for the Left to ignore serious transgressions by their politicians, while being quick to condemn the Right. When, really, calling the government out should be bipartisan. None of us should excuse wrongdoing in government, no matter what our personal political beliefs.

  39. Impeachment would be the correct thing but right now the Senate would never convict. And if the Republicans take the Senate in the midterms and they impeach, Joe Biden becomes President. Do you think Hillary wants that?

  40. Color of Law and Obfuscation (compounded by willful blindness) have become the norm, instead of the exception, of our Dept. of Justice.

    They forget who they swore an oath to and what they are required to defend.

    We should remind them with a very harsh hammer of justice.

    Especially so, given that NO ONE is Too Big to Jail!

  41. I think that the plaintiffs in the NSA case in the Supreme Court should refile it based on revealed government lies. The government will be estopped to deny certain things.

  42. So many great comments here….Justice Holmes, Karen, and others. It is sad that this story was not the headliner on the major networks’ evening news broadcasts. And, to add to the discussion of talking to our elected reps…..no evidence that it will make one shred of difference. I have personally written, emailed, and visited my congresspeople and am left feeling that I was, at best, dismissed. So what can We The People actually do about this? Our options at the poll booths do not seem to offer a solution. Is there a brave attorney out there willing to take a massive “class action” type of lawsuit on behalf of us little guys and find a creative way to actually get it heard? This post brings awareness to the masses….which is needed….and a few others have bravely written articles and texts but I would venture to guess that most people still don’t realize this is going on. And if they do find out….what solution is there to affect change? I apologize but I am teetering on the brink of despair and hopelessness when it comes to our government. As Cody says above….I weep for my country.

  43. wellcallmecrazy – I think only the plaintiffs can do something about it legally. The DOJ is out of hand lately because of its leadership and the leader of its leadership. You would think that progressives and liberals would be up in arms and storming the White House over this, but since their guy is in office, they are going to take one for the team.

  44. Karen S: “Even Liberal representatives cannot ignore the displeasure of a majority of their constituents.”

    Of course they can and they frequently DO with, unfortunately, the same frequency that Conservative representatives do.

  45. kraaken – well, they give lip service to the constituents and them screw them over until it is time to get elected again. John McCain is a perfect example although he is really a RINO.

  46. WE liberals told you Right Wing that when the shoe of the Patriot Act was going to be on the other foot, that you would NOT like it…..
    WE were told to shut up, we want to be secure….

    Of course I don’t like this, However, It is silly to think that it would be any different under any other president is fooling themselves…..

    and PLEASE let’s stop pretending that Obama started this mess.

  47. justagurl – I don’t pretend that Obama started it, but he is in charge of the mess now and he owns it.

  48. The TIME to stop this was BEFORE it got started….

    and NONE of us wanted the NSA…. But, the Right Wing wanted it under Bush…. We Left HATED it…..

    Now there is just NO WAY that it is going to end…..

    Too bad you can’t put toothpaste back into the tube….
    and ONCE the Feds start spying on the citizens, that is NOT going to stop either…..

    ——————————————————————————-

    Obama’s Director for National Intelligence, James Clapper, has declassified new documents that reveal how the NSA was first given the green light to start collecting bulk communication data in the hunt for Al-Qaeda terrorists after 9/11.

    President Barack Obama’s administration has for the first time publicly confirmed “the existence of collection activities authorized by President George W. Bush,” such as bulk amounts of Internet and phone metadata, as part of the “Terrorist Surveillance Program” (TSP).

    The disclosures are part of Washington’s campaign to justify the NSA’s surveillance activities, following massive leaks to the media about the classified programs by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

    Clapper explained on Saturday that President George W. Bush first authorized the spying in October 2001, just weeks after the September 11 attacks.

  49. “Did The Justice Department Lie to the Supreme Court…And Get Away With It?”

    I’d be more surprised if someone from the Obama administration told the truth…just once.

  50. Paul, I don’t disagree with you…..
    However….
    The time to have stopped this was AS it was getting started….
    NOT 8 or 10 years later…

    It would be NO different if McCain was in Office or Romney….

  51. Raff,

    I’ve got a couple of questions…

    Where did Mr. Snowden show that the content belonging US citizens was being collected by the NSA without a warrant?

    Can you give a definition of “papers and effects” that includes metadata?

    Can you tell me what law was violated by the NSA programs in question?

    How about a definition of “surveillance” that covers the collection and analysis of metadata?

    Or a definition of “espionage” that doesn’t cover Mr. Snowden’s actions?

    I think if you “do the math” on your assumptions, so to speak, your argument doesn’t add up…
    ;-)

  52. Slarts,
    As to number 1, “The N.S.A. is not just intercepting the communications of Americans who are in direct contact with foreigners targeted overseas, a practice that government officials have openly acknowledged. It is also casting a far wider net for people who cite information linked to those foreigners, like a little used e-mail address, according to a senior intelligence official.

    While it has long been known that the agency conducts extensive computer searches of data it vacuums up overseas, that it is systematically searching — without warrants — through the contents of Americans’ communications that cross the border reveals more about the scale of its secret operations. ” NYT
    (linked above) That same article states that Snowden hinted at the collection process and led reporters to this story.

    I did not discuss whether Snowden is a spy, but rather labeled him a whistleblower because I believe his disclosures were necessary. The issue of how the information disclosing the allegedly illegal activity was obtained does not diminish the false statements made to the Supreme Court who apparently relied upon them.

    The Fourth Amendment is a start, and the FISA Act as amended since the collectors went farther than authorized. Also, the Justice department filings contained untruthful statements as discussed above and those untruthful filings may be violations of the Federal Law along with possible perjury if they were sworn to in court.

    I don’t understand your second question. By the way, I know my math will rarely add up, but I believe the sources linked do reflect that the Justice department made false statements to the Supreme Court. By the way, how many is a couple?? :)

  53. justagurl–wherever,

    “and NONE of us wanted the NSA…. But, the Right Wing wanted it under Bush…. We Left HATED it…..”

    Are you stating the NSA started under Bush?

    You should have stayed in Sweden.

    Don’t trip on your heels.

  54. Well, Ladies & Gentleman –

    dig into this…..

    Holder came out (again) saying NO one is too big to jail;
    but we have over 100 crimes in our cases related to my RICO lawsuit
    (Haas v Romney Los Angeles Fed Court 2:13-cv-7738)

  55. Well, Ladies & Gentleman –

    I’m contemplating suing Holder/DOJ for lying to the public.

    Court just signed an Affidavit swearing my case is in bad faith.

    I’ve got confessions to lying under oath – DELIBERATELY – to a Chief Justice

  56. Well, Ladies & Gentleman –

    I’ve got confessions to lying under oath – DELIBERATELY – to a Chief Justice

    who said (in Transcript) – I don’t want to here you (about the fraud)
    and concludes

    She has to get back to Tweeter.

  57. I’m tired of this “Color of Law” willful blindness
    (and the censor bots/police too)

    So, I’m going to sue and take the ignore you stage that has become the ridicule stage – and turn into the fight you (moi) stage.

  58. There was a good story on Frontline last week describing the origins of the NSA citizen spying program. The program was quite engaging. The administration official that instigated the over-reach was Vice President Cheney. Later, it became embraced by President Bush, not too much later that is, and Ultimately President Obama.

    It seemed to me anywhere along the way the three could have reigned in this domestic spy program but they chose to keep it running.

    The big worry here, that most people who are willfully ignorant of what is going on with the NSA, is it only takes a change of intentions to transform the NSA program to be the worst police state in history. The practices of the Stasi would not come close by comparison.

  59. justagurl – as it was set up, I was nervous about it, but it was carefully set up to capture foreign phone calls into the United States. I was nervous about that, but could see a purpose at the time. I do not see its current purpose.

  60. Slartibartfast – if you assume a secret court with secret warrants, how can you be sure they did not have a right to bug what ever they wanted. In saying this, I am not saying or agreeing that they should have. I think there should be no secret courts and no secret warrants, but we do have them for some damn reason.

  61. Unbelievable – the source of the NSA started in 1917. It has changed several times over the years into it current form.

  62. Iran Contra, Watergate, the first that come to mind. Lying under oath and to the country, and federal bodies is nothing new. Each time it is gotten away with, it emboldens the next guy and the next administration. Blind justice and government seems to be an oxymoron.

  63. leejcarroll – I think lying to the country goes back to the American Revolution. It is part of what makes us what we are. ;)

  64. Yeah exactly as Justagurl said, good luck getting the toothpaste back in the tube. My state’s Senator Feingold was right. But nobody listened to him, now the rightists are squawking. Justagurl also made another terrific point, if McCain were to have won the presidency not only would it have been no different, we would’ve been in several more wars by now.

  65. Annie – with a good liberal/progressive in office there is no excuse for the NSA except to use it for personal use, like the IRS. Obama has the power to pull the plug at any time. Saying that McCain would have done the same thing does not change things, it only makes it worse. How in all good conscience can you accept Obama supporting the NSA?

  66. Paul, It’s the “Yeah but, Bush” syndrome. Let’s be honest, on this topic, and MANY other, there ain’t a lick of difference between the 2 parties. This is a duopoly and they just shift a little either way by who is in power. As I have said on thread regarding this topic, if the govt. collects information, people outside the govt., particularly political operatives, will get it and use it for nasty reasons. You can bet the ranch on that!

  67. I would suggest that anyone who cares about the truth –

    Read “Presidential Puppetry” by Andrew Kreig.

    Mr, Kreig is an attorney at law, scholar, fellow, national press club guy, former reporter at Hartford Courant who has lived in D.C. across the street for DOJ for 20 years.

    He’s worked for Hillary’s campaigns;
    but pulls no punches (as a former Golden Gloves boxer).

    The Presidential Puppetry book (remember, by an attorney) is mind-boggling.

    It’s only 2.99 on Kindle

  68. Laser – I will put the book on my list. I am too cheap to buy books, but I do have a library where they let me borrow them. :)

  69. Wow Paul – the Jack Benny syndrome confession makes your proffer exceptional –

    Thanks.

    (p.s. – nothing wrong with being prudent & frugal and Jack Benny really wasn’t the “cheap” skate his stage persona made him out to be).

  70. Raff,

    The upshot of my second question is that there is no Constitutional protection of metadata.

    You need to clearly delineate the difference between metadata and content to discuss this matter appropriately.

  71. Annie, also good point… Had McCain won, we would be in MORE wars…
    and most likely building more Nukes due to Putin’s BS as of late….

    and this is why I LAUGH when people say that Obama is a Liberal …
    Obama is just a tish to the Left of Bush…..
    he is Pro Choice… Pro Gay equality… he is less HARD line Christian….
    he supports Green Energy… and Health Care for all……
    he did TRY to end Gitmo….. But, the Republicans pushed back….

    aside from those things…
    I HATE many of the policies that Obama has continued….
    he is HARLY a Liberal Lefty….

    I just keep thinking that maybe there is MORE to this than we know….

    Obama was so against this BEFORE he was elected…

    I would LIKE to know what changed his mind…. is he unable to end this due to the Right wing being on board with it????
    Has it helped the USA avoid terror attacks, and that is why he learned it was useful???

    I do wish that our Government was MORE open….
    at the same time, we can’t go giving away ALL our secrets to our enemies….

  72. Yes Justagurl,
    Exactly. I too have wondered what the heck happened to him to make him take this hard right turn regarding civil liberties.

  73. Annie and Justagurl – he is getting the telephone intercepts. Why would he want to stop it? He has a direct line into the heart of the Republican Party. Not sure how they are going to ice him out of the info for 2014, since NSA is getting the intercepts.

  74. Paul, It’s Chicago politics. For all the grace, eloquence, and intelligence, Obama is still a Chicago precinct captain @ his core. A slimier lot there is not.

  75. Paul,
    Please provide some evidence that the Obama Administration is using the NSA intercepts for political purposes. Thanks.

  76. on 1, May 19, 2014 at 3:49 pmPaul Schulte
    “Annie and Justagurl – he is getting the telephone intercepts. Why would he want to stop it? He has a direct line into the heart of the Republican Party….”
    **********************
    Ho hum Paul, very ho hum. I missed the part in your linked article in which it showed how Obama was using the NSA info to access a “direct line into the heart of the Republican Party”.

  77. I get the feeling that some people watch WAYYYY too many movies….

    Now, I am NOT going to pretend that I know how this all works….

    BUT, LOGIC tells me that somebody in the NSA takes this info and just compiles it and the ONLY time Obama sees it is if there is a possible terrorist attack being communicated…..

    I do NOT think that Bush or Obama sits there as the info comes in and listens and reads it…..

    and Paul…. YOU said he was using it against Republicans….

    The article you posted talks about other countries heads of state….

    where does it say that he is using it against the Republican Party????
    Or even his political foes in the USA ??

  78. Annie and justagurl – I don’t watch enough, but if you can tap Merkle’s phone you can tap the phone of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

  79. One only must extrapolate. Obama is nothing if he is not the consummate politician. Information is his life blood.

  80. The Fourth Amendment bans the “search” in the first place unless a government official with police powers obtains a warrant from a judge under oath (afidavit) where the official risks perjury charges. This focuses taxpayer funded resources on real suspects instead most Americans.

    It doesn’t matter how they use, it is unconstitutional to collect it in the first place especially spying on U.S. Citizens.

  81. Paul, more ho hum, we all already knew this. Your links STILL do not address how the NSA info is being used directly against the Republican Party. Now you are doing pirouettes on those skates.

  82. Administrations from Ronnie RayGun down to Baracks Everywhere Obummer have violated the First and Fourth Amendments by spying on people they swore they would not

    If you made a phone call today or sent an e-mail to a friend, there’s a good chance what you said or wrote was captured and screened by the country’s largest intelligence agency. The top-secret Global Surveillance Network is called Echelon, and it’s run by the National Security Agency and four English-speaking allies: Canada, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

    The mission is to eavesdrop on enemies of the state: foreign countries, terrorist groups and drug cartels. But in the process, Echelon’s computers capture virtually every electronic conversation around the world.

    How does it work, and what happens to all the information that’s gathered? A lot of people have begun to ask that question, and some suspect that the information is being used for more than just catching bad guys.

    (Footage of satellite; person talking on cell phone; fax machine; ATM being used; telephone pole and wires; radio towers)

    KROFT: (Voiceover) We can’t see them, but the air around us is filled with invisible electronic signals, everything from cell phone conversations to fax transmissions to ATM transfers. What most people don’t realize is that virtually every signal radiated across the electromagnetic spectrum is being collected and analyzed.

    How much of the world is covered by them?

    Mr. MIKE FROST (Former Spy): The entire world, the whole planet–covers everything. Echelon covers everything that’s radiated worldwide at any given instant.

    KROFT: Every square inch is covered.

    Mr. FROST: Every square inch is covered.

    (A Tale of Coup Cities – 4). Echelon began circa 1971.

    Not lying is not within their capabilities.

  83. SO! Senator Feinstein isn’t too emotional after all, hmmm? I think I can safely say most of us believed her when she said her committee was being spied on.

  84. Nick,

    Ron Paul said, contemporarily, there Is no difference between the Republican and Democrat candidates. He said both of them, if elected, will only “nibble around the edges” putting on a show of the “changes” they would bring about.

    They “nibble around the edges” while Rome burns.

  85. Annie,
    Senator Feinstein didn’t even know about the Cisco Systems intercept by the NSA to implant and tamper with their proprietary equipment… No clue until the Greenwald/Snowden article last week. Clearly, A) She’s afraid to call out the liars and follows their lead because, you know, the most transparent Admin, EVER, or B) She’s showing a sense of incompetence about being Chair of the Senate Intel Committee or C) both.

    I’m going with both.
    No clue, whatsoever…

  86. Ross,
    Correct. The search, itself, is illegal with a “proper” warrant.

    NOTE:
    Had our Legislators been doing their jobs and fulfilling their Oaths of Office, this would not even be an issue… But it is and our Congress “act” like they need to “restore” our “freedoms”. Again, they wouldn’t have to “restore” anything had they done their jobs in the first place. Now they say, trust us.

    I’ve been calling my Representative weekly. His staff never has an answer for me. Today, BOTH his local and DC office have no answer as to any statement re. SPYING and the USA Freedom Act. Not a word to convey to his constituents.
    I constantly express my condolences for having to work in an office where their boss fails to communicate with his staff. “It must be difficult working for a man who does not have answers for his staff to convey to his constituents.”

  87. Kevin Kesseler,
    The NSA has ALWAYS claimed that the metadata is what they collect.

    Is the ability to PLAY BACK PHONE CONVO a month later metadata or content?

  88. Max,

    That comment was from me (posting from my phone and accidentally used a meatspace sock puppet of mine…). As long as the content (the audio of a phone call or the body of an email, for example) is only examined pursuant to a warrant, the NSA is free to do whatever they want with any metadata (i.e. the parties on the call, the time it occurred and its duration) they can get their hands on.

  89. if the supreme court decides they have been lied to, what recourse do they have. In other words, do they issue a bench warrant or would they have to go through the DOJ?

  90. Pete – thanks for getting back to your old identity. The new one was psychologically difficult for me to type. :) I am not sure what the SC can do. Given that this administration has defied everyone, they could act like President Jackson and defy the the SC.

  91. pete – I suppose they could refuse to accept any cases from the administration until they got into line.

  92. Justice Holmes,

    “Obama had an opportunity to turn this mess around but he decided to double down and to throw health care into the hands of the insurance companies. Sure we got a few scraps but the billions they will get are unimaginable.”

    Point of information:

    The SCOTUS “threw healthcare into the hands of the insurance companies.”

    The SINGULAR American failure has been the SCOTUS. The Founders knew that the executive and legislative branches would run amuck so they created the judicial to be a great big NO! The SCOTUS was to be the living word of the Constitution, not arbitrary, subjective and contemporary “decisions” made by ideologues.

    Can you say Justice, Tranquility, Common Defense, General Welfare (deliberately excluding individual welfare)? Our “blessings of liberty” are our endeavors, businesses and industries conducted in the free markets of the private sector. Have you seen any “blessings of liberty” lately? How about private property rights? They were confiscated as public property and used for redistribution.

    Oops! Obama got a great big erroneous YES out of the sycophantic SCOTUS, subjectively based on the agenda of its ideological soul mates, including the accommodative “it’s a tax” declaration.

    Ask yourself if the Founders intended for any industry, other than infrastructure (i.e. General Welfare), to be operated, to any degree, by the government. It’s called nature or Capitalism or freedom and it means the government stays out of it and leaves it to the free people to run their free businesses. Come hell or high water, winners or losers. Self-reliance.

    Whew! That felt good – cathartic.

    Please excuse me.

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