Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The plot thickens

(Via Drudge)

In an earlier post, I asked the question "Why did the Bush Administration resort to secret (and likely illegal) spying by the NSA rather than using the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to obtain proper warrants?"

We may have an answer to that question. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports:

Government records show that the administration was encountering unprecedented second-guessing by the secret federal surveillance court when President Bush decided to bypass the panel and order surveillance of U.S.-based terror suspects without the court's approval.

A review of Justice Department reports to Congress shows that the 26-year-old Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court modified more wiretap requests from the Bush administration than from the four previous presidential administrations combined.

The court's repeated intervention in Bush administration wiretap requests may explain why the president decided to bypass the court nearly four years ago to launch secret National Security Agency spying on hundreds and possibly thousands of Americans and foreigners inside the United States, according to James Bamford, an acknowledged authority on the supersecret NSA, which intercepts telephone calls, e-mails, faxes and Internet communications.

Kind of make you wonder who they wanted to monitor and what (or how poor) their reasons were for FISC to keep second-guessing them, hm-m-m?

Monday, December 26, 2005

Duely noted

So the House and Senate compromised on a 5 week extention of the Patriot Act, sent it to the President, and bailed for their vacation. More interestingly, they managed to do it with only a few members present. How convenient for them.

I'm not sure what this means, but I find it...curious...that both the media attention and the political furor have both magically died out. If the President hasn't yet signed the bill (and I can't find where he has), I suggest watching for a December 31st passage of a permanent renewal, followed by a quick Presidential signature.