[Clips] Thank You for Wiretapping

Perry E. Metzger perry at piermont.com
Tue Dec 20 09:14:30 PST 2005

>  From: "R. A. Hettinga" <rah at shipwright.com>
>  The Wall Street Journal
>   December 20, 2005
>  Thank You for Wiretapping
>  December 20, 2005; Page A14
>  There is no evidence that these wiretaps violate the law.[...]

Well, no evidence if you can't read. If you can read, I suggest
looking here:


That is the text of the law. It was passed in 1978 after the congress
got upset about the NSA spying without court orders, so the intent is
unmistakable. The law says "you can listen in on US citizens all you
like, but you have to request permission of a special court, the
FISC. You can start listening in on their communications up to 72
hours before asking the FISC so you can't make a claim that there was
no time to ask, but you must ultimately ask the FISC. If you do not
ask the FISC, what you do is a felony punishable by five years in
prison and a $10,000 fine, and the people you listened in on get to
sue you for civil damages, too."

You can read the law yourself. Yo do not need to believe me on it.  I
suggest strongly that people take the five minutes needed to read this
section of the law in its entirety. It is short and simple. There is
no complicated legal language in it. It is also utterly impossible to
misinterpret. Once you have read it for yourself, no spin doctor like
Bob or the Wall Street Journal can tell you what to think. No one can
pretend to you that the truth is not the truth. You will know for
yourself, without the need for the media to interpret things for
you. So, I suggest you arm yourself against people who choose to tell
you things that aren't true by reading for yourself. Again, it will
take you less than five minutes.

There are also lots of people out there who will claim to you that the
President can ignore the law. That's not true -- we have multiple
Supreme Court precedents that say otherwise. Still others will tell
you that the President's military authority lets him ignore the law in
certain ways, and again, we have Supreme Court precedents that cover

So, why are some people pretending that black is white and white is
black? Because for once, George W. Bush has actually slipped up and
committed a federal crime. That means that everyone involved is
dancing as hard as they can, trying to kick up enough dust that people
forget about lines in the law like:

   An offense described in this section is punishable by a fine of not
   more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than five years, or

They're gambling that you won't read the law for yourself, that you
won't know what it says, that you'll believe them when they say that
the truth is not the truth. They're betting on the ignorance and
foolishness of the US public, on the laziness of the public. Do not
let them win. Read the law for yourself. See for yourself that the
President of the United States willfully committed a felony and
encouraged others to do so, not to protect anyone, because the law
already allowed legal surveillance, even in emergencies, but because
the administration arrogantly decided that it was above the law.

Read for yourself. Then, call your congressman and your senators and
tell them to read for themselves. Do not let this die. Do not let it
be forgotten.


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