ACLU alert on new Ashcroft plan

Fang-Face stands on a soap box and makes this call to action: "On March 18th the ACLU e-mailed an alert about a new threat from John Ashcroft. The alert, along with tips and assistance on opposing this new threat, can be found at the ACLU web site. Keep in mind that patronizing the site of a group that opposes Bush will mean that you are soft on terrorism, law abiding, homeland security, and a close personal pal to Osama Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein both."

Not satisfied with the new snooping powers granted by the PATRIOT Act, the Department of Justice is now asking the Federal communications Commission to allow law enforcement the power to regulate the design of Internet communications services to make them easy to wiretap.

If implemented, the new request by Attorney General John Ashcroft would dramatically increase the government's surveillance powers and set a precedent for opening the entire Internet to law enforcement. By forcing technology companies to build "backdoors" in their systems for wiretapping, the Ashcroft plan would also create weaknesses that hackers and thieves could use to invade your privacy and steal personal information like credit card numbers.

The government already has more than enough power to spy on individuals suspected of wrongdoing. This measure is the equivalent of requiring
all new homes be built with a peephole for law enforcement agents to look through.

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Ever Vigilant

"Clinton gets a wiretapping bill that covers new technologies", New York Times, 10/9/94

Re:Clarification

This was probably CALEA (Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act). I'm not sure where this stands now.

Clarification

The Reno Justice Department and FBI were pushing for this in the late 1990's. That certainly doesn't make it ok or the right thing to do. I suspect the ACLU knows that if they put Ashcroft's name on it then it will sell better.

Re:Clarification

Or maybe they put Ashcroft's name on it because he's the one pushing for it this time around. It must really tick off you bushites that you can't keep on blaming Clinton for everything.

Re:Clarification

Nah, doesn't tick me off a bit. I'm just putting a little context and clarification to the information. You are for full disclosure of information, aren't you? Anonymous.

Yawn.

You know the routine. Blake has provided a wonderful feature. . .

Re:Clarification

I'm just putting a little context and clarification to the information.

Your context is a half truth. Here's the whole context. The Clinton/Reno pair attempted to implement a highly intrusive and probably unconstitutional measure to monitor the private activity of web surfers. It was not implemented. The Bush/Ashcroft pair, demonstrating that they have no capacity to learn from the lessons of history, have resurrected it.

I'm willing to bet that Bush supporters who still blame all of the U.S.'s current problems on Clinton will turn a blind eye to their "hero" attempting to implement a Clinton program, or will praise it fulsomely as a much needed measure to protect their cowardly asses.

Oh, and by the way, you aren't intimating in your message that Anonymous shouldn't have full first amendment protection of anonymity, are you?

Here's
some more context on that Clinton/Bush thing
. Feel free to point out how Pitt can't possibly make any sense because his political leanings tilt in the wrong direction.

In truth, however, September 11 became a political football on September 11.
Conservative columnist Andrew Sullivan, in the immediate aftermath of the
attacks, blamed the Clinton administration. "The decision to get down and dirty
with the terrorists, to take their threat seriously and counter them
aggressively, was simply never taken," wrote Sullivan. Senator Orrin Hatch
referred in 1996 to the terrorist threats, threats which compelled Clinton to
attempt the passage of a comprehensive anti-terrorism bi ll that would have gone
a long way to stopping 9/11, as "Phony threats." After September 11, he joined
the 'Blame Clinton' chorus.

During his administration, Clinton offered legislation that would give the
Treasury Secretary broad powers to ban foreign nations and banks from accessing
American financial markets unless they cooperated with money-laundering
investigations that would expose and terminate terrorist cash flows. The
legislation was killed by Texas Republican Senator Phil Gramm, who was chairman
of the Banking Committee. At the time, he called the bill "totalitarian." It was
revealed later, of course, that Gramm killed the bill because it would have
blocked Enron officers from laundering stolen stockholder money through the same
offshore conduits the terrorists were using. Gramm, from Texas, was beholden to
Enron, and killed the bill at their behest. Of course, he joined the 'Blame
Clinton' chorus after the attacks, and never mind the facts.
--William Rivers Pitt, 9/11 Nonsense, 17 March 2004

According to an editorial in the New York Post, John Kerry is to blame for
the attacks of September 11. Yes, you read that right. John Kerry did it. The
article, written by Paul Sperry and titled "The Warning Kerry Ignored," claims
that Kerry was given a warning some months before the attacks of security
problems at Logan Airport, where two of the planes originated, and failed to
handle them properly. He sent the warning, received from an FAA agent in Boston,
to the Department of Transportation's Office of the Inspector General. According
to this FAA agent, and according to Sperry , this wasn't good enough. Because of
Kerry's failure, the article argues, 3,000 people are dead.

Hm.

The Bush administration received a blizzard of warnings before September 11
that something huge was about to happen. The security agencies of Germany,
Israel, Egypt and Russia delivered specific warnings about airplanes being used
as bombs against prominent American targets. FBI agents were raising alarms in
Minnesota and Arizona. Donald Kerrick was a deputy National Security Advisor in
the late Clinton administration. He stayed on into the Bush administration. He
was a three-star General, and absolutely not political. He has reported that
when the Bush people came in, he wrote a memo about terrorism, al Qaeda and
Osama bin Laden. The memo said, "We will be struck again." As a result of
writing that memo, he was not invited to any more meetings. No one responded to
his memo. He felt that, from what he could see from inside the National Security
Council, terrorism was demoted.
--William Rivers Pitt, 9/11 Nonsense, 17 March 2004

Richard Clarke was Director of Counter-Terrorism in the National Security
Council. He has since left. Clarke urgently tried to draw the attention of the
Bush administration to the threat of al Qaeda. Richard Clarke was panicked about
the alarms he was hearing regarding potential attacks. Clarke is at the center
of what has since become a burning controversy: What happened on August 6, 2001?
It was on this day that George W. Bush received his last, and one of the few,
briefings on terrorism. According to reports, the briefing stated bluntly that
Osama bin Laden intended to attack America soon, and contained the word
"hijacking." Bush responded to the warning by heading to Texas for a month-long
vacation. It is this briefing that the Bush administration has refused to
divulge to the committee investigating the attacks.

There was not a single Republican member of Congress who ever raised a single
question or put a query to the Clinton National Security Council about its
efforts against terrorism before the attacks. When the Clinton team left office,
their National Security group conducted three extensive briefings of the
incoming Bush people. The attitude of the Bush people was, essentially,
dismissive, that it was a "Clinton thing." Condoleezza Rice has admitted that
the massive file on al Qaeda and bin Laden left for her by outgoing National
Security Advisor Sandy Berger went completely unread until the attacks had taken
place. This happened despite the fact that Berger told her during one such
briefing, "I believe that the Bush Administration will spend more time on
terrorism generally, and on al-Qaeda specifically, than any other subject." One
FAA agent delivered a security warning that was forwarded to the proper agency
by the Senator who received it. Meanwhile, dozens of alarm bells were blaring in
the White House, and especially in the Oval Office, about impending attacks
using airplanes against prominent targets. This particular chapter of the 9/11
blame game would be uproariously hilarious if it were not so completely absurd.
--William Rivers Pitt, 9/11 Nonsense, 17 March 2004

Re:Clarification

Ah, truthout.org there is objectivity at its finest. I suspect if I cited something from some nutty right wing website the you would accept it as truth.

Oh, and by the way, you aren't intimating in your message that Anonymous shouldn't have full first amendment protection of anonymity, are you?

First Amendment? I didn't realize that I was the government. I didn't realize that lisnews.com was run by the government. Maybe we should have the cracker-jack staff at truthout.org to investigate?

Re:Clarification

Here's a truth for you. One of the principles of leadership is: you're in charge, it's your fault.

Here's another truth. Clinton wasn't the president when the towers came down, Bush was.

Here's a third truth: the first amendment protects us from each other as much as from Big Brother.

Re:Clarification

So it was Bush's fault that the twin towers came down? I thought it was the guys who hijacked the planes and flew them into the twin towers.

Did your truthout.org site tell you that? You really need to come up for air from truthout.org, I think it is giving you the vapors.

You know, the first amendment to the United States Constitution states that "Congress shall make no laws .... abridging the freedom of speech ...". This applies to the states also. It doesn't say "pchuck shall make no laws abridging the freedom of speech". Nor does it say "Lisnews.com shall make no laws abridging the freedom of speech". Nor does it state that "Fang-Face shall make no laws abridging the the freedom of speech". What does the Canadian first amendment say?

Re:Clarification

The intrepid "pchuck" seems to have a lot of time on his/her hands. It's simple: Reno was evil. Ashcroft is evil. It's just flip sides of the same coin.

Re:Clarification

I'm grading papers. It is a task that I don't enjoy but have to do. Lisnews breaks up the monotony.

Should we?

Chuck - You musn't be too hard on Fang's sources. This is all he knows. Why use an index when a hack web puddle can be used?.

Question. Should any of us from academe tell him about the academic success of students that include this type of piffle in a bibliography???

ACLU & terrorism back in 1996

Speaking of 9/11. Your beloved ACLU weighing in on behalf of hijackers with Clinton’s Anti-Terrorism bill back in 1996.

"Terrorism bill pits safety vs. privacy"
Computerworld10/7/96

You get to the airline ticket counter and provide identification. Then the clerk taps in to a vast database which has details about your marital status, travel habits and income to see if you have been flagged as a potential terrorist……

….The proposal calls for airport security personnel to develop the passenger profiling database from information supplied by airlines and other, unspecified sources. A "civil liberties advisory board" would oversee the project.

But the American Civil Liberties Union and Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR) in Palo Alto, Calif., complained that there are no guarantees that information such as medical history and political affiliation wouldn't be in the database. Karen Coyle, Western regional director for the CPSR, said unscrupulous airline employees might use the information for monetary gain.

Re:Clarification

The failures in intelligence and security are the result of the Bush adminstration, not the Clinton administration. It doesnt' surprise me that you can't understand that. Perhaps you should take a break from the ideology of whatever wrong-wing sources you patronize as well.

Re:ACLU & terrorism back in 1996

Bill Clinton is only responsible for Bill Clinton's screw ups. Not for the screw ups of George Bush and his administration. And you're trying to blame this on the ACLU now is rather amusing. Especially as the piece you quoted pointed out that what concerned the ACLU was private medical information. Care to explain, how exactly, it proves that I'm a terrorist because I had my tonsils or appendix out when I six or seven years old? And criminalizing a person for his wrong-wing political affiliation? I'm sure the Republicans would like that.

To reiterate:

In truth, however, September 11 became a political football on September 11. Conservative columnist Andrew Sullivan, in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, blamed the Clinton administration. "The decision to get down and dirty with the terrorists, to take their threat seriously and counter them aggressively, was simply never taken," wrote Sullivan. Senator Orrin Hatch referred in 1996 to the terrorist threats, threats which compelled Clinton to attempt the passage of a
comprehensive anti-terrorism bill that would have gone a long way to stopping 9/11, as "Phony threats." After September 11, he joined the 'Blame Clinton' chorus.

During his administration, Clinton offered legislation that would give the Treasury Secretary broad powers to ban foreign nations and banks from accessing American financial markets unless they cooperated with money-laundering investigations that would expose and terminate terrorist cash flows. The legislation was killed by Texas Republican Senator Phil Gramm, who was chairman of the Banking Committee. At the time, he called the bill "totalitarian." It was revealed later, of course, that
Gramm killed the bill because it would have blocked Enron officers from laundering stolen stockholder money through the same offshore conduits the terrorists were using. Gramm, from Texas, was beholden to Enron, and killed the bill at their behest. Of course, he joined the 'Blame Clinton' chorus after the attacks, and never mind the facts. --William Rivers Pitt, 9/11 Nonsense, 17 March 2004

Moreover, there is this nasty piece of business.

Clinton: Bush Had Urgent Warnings on Al-Qaeda By Philip Shenon The New York Times Saturday 20 March 2004

WASHINGTON - Senior Clinton administration officials called to testify next week before the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks say they are prepared to detail how they repeatedly warned their Bush administration counterparts in late 2000 that Al Qaeda posed the worst security threat facing the nation - and how the new administration was slow to act.

They said the warnings were delivered in urgent post-election intelligence briefings in December 2000 and January 2001 for Condoleezza Rice, who became Mr. Bush's national security adviser; Stephen Hadley, now Ms. Rice's deputy; and Philip D. Zelikow, a member of the Bush transition team, among others.

One official scheduled to testify, Richard A. Clarke, who was President Bill Clinton's counterterrorism coordinator, said in an interview that the warning about the Qaeda threat could not have been made more bluntly to the incoming Bush officials in intelligence briefings that he led.

At the time of the briefings, there was extensive evidence tying Al Qaeda to the bombing in Yemen two months earlier of an American warship, the Cole, in which 17 sailors were killed.

"It was very explicit," Mr. Clarke said of the warning given to the Bush administration officials. "Rice was briefed, and Hadley was briefed, and Zelikow sat in." Mr. Clarke served as Mr. Bush's counterterrorism chief in the early months of the administration, but after Sept. 11 was given a more limited portfolio as the president's cyberterrorism adviser.

Of course, I'm sure that you'll just dismiss everything as invalid since it offends your hypersenstivities. It must be so handy to live in such a state of denial. That doesn't change reality, however, and the reality is: Bill Clinton was not president when the towers came down, George Bush was. You may cry and snivel about that until your dieing day if you wish.

By the by, there is more to that article, particularly about how the Clinton officials are facing some rather hard questions about how vigorously the Clinton administration pushed anti-terrorism measures. That still doesn't defray Bush's responsibility.

Please read carefully

Clinton's culpability:

  • Clinton's refusal to accept Sudanese extradition of Bin Laden in 1996. Timothy Carney, US ambassador to Sudan confirmed it, saying it had serious implications regarding the U.S. embassy bombings in 1998, and that "the U.S. lost access to a mine of material on bin Laden and his organization." Vanity Fair
  • Mansoor Ijaz. This go-between for Clinton worked with the UAE to deliver Bin Laden to the US. Clinton opted to go "back channel" with Arab leaders instead. LA Times

    >>They said the warnings were delivered in urgent post-election intelligence briefings in December 2000 and January 2001 for Condoleezza Rice, who became Mr. Bush's national security adviser; Stephen Hadley, now Ms. Rice's deputy; and Philip D. Zelikow, a member of the Bush transition team, among others.

    Help me Fang. The Kenyan and Tanzania embassies were bombed in August in 1998. Clinton retaliates by bombing an aspirin factory, albeit by mistake. He fingers CIA for bad intel, but we all understand how this can happen. Right? His war on terrorism from this point is two-pronged. Blow up chemical factories in Khartoum
    during federal depositions by Ms. Lewinsky and do nothing. When Lewinksy "blows" over so does his resolve to fight terrorism. If he had any to begin with.

    Clinton the Anti-Terrorist.

    National Review 9/2/2002

    In an article headlined "Could 9/11 Have Been Prevented?" Time
    Indeed, even a cursory look at the Clinton administration's record on terrorism raises questions about the article's premise. For example: If there was indeed such a plan, why did the Clinton team wait so long to come up with it?

    In the past, former Clinton officials have said that they moved into fully engaged anti-terrorism mode after the August 7, 1998, bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. More than 200 people, including twelve Americans, were killed, and an investigation quickly showed the attack to be the work of Osama bin Laden. In an interview with National Review last year, Daniel Benjamin, a former National Security Council official, said the Africa bombings were a turning point in the administration's response to terrorism. "I and a whole lot of people basically did very little else other than Osama bin Laden for the next year and a half," Benjamin said.

    At the time, top Clinton officials vowed a long, tough campaign. "This is, unfortunately, the war of the future," Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told reporters on August 21, shortly after the U.S. fired cruise missiles at al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan. "This is going to be a long-term battle against terrorists who have declared war on the United States." Other officials, including President Clinton, said similar things.

    So why, when by their own account the war unquestionably began in August 1998, did Clinton administration officials wait until December 2000, a few weeks before leaving office, to come up with a plan to fight it? Why was the plan created so late that it could not be implemented but was instead presented to the incoming Bush administration with the admonition, "Here -- do this"? There's no answer in the Time story.

    In addition, the Clinton defenders' account is plagued by some internal contradictions. For example, Time says the Clinton administration was constrained from taking action in the aftermath of the Cole bombing because "the CIA and FBI had not officially concluded [that bin Laden was behind the attack] and would be unable to do so before Clinton left office." But the article also documents the frustrations of John O'Neill, a top FBI official who had "run afoul of Barbara Bodine, then the U.S. ambassador to Yemen, who believed the FBI's large presence was causing political problems for the Yemeni regime." Time says that "when O'Neill left Yemen on a trip home for Thanksgiving, Bodine barred his return." It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the Clinton administration, for whatever reason, made the investigation more difficult and then claimed it could not act against al-Qaeda because the investigation had not yielded conclusive results.

    It didn't quite make sense, and indeed, after the Bush White House denied the Time story, some former Clinton officials began to pull back on some of its claims. Now, one of them -- who asks not to be named -- says Time didn't have it quite right. "There were certainly ongoing efforts throughout the eight years of the Clinton administration to fight terrorism," the official says. "It was certainly not a formal war plan. We wouldn't have characterized it as a formal war plan. The Bush administration was briefed on the Clinton administration's ongoing efforts and threat assessments."

    That's pretty much what the Bush White House says happened. So why make all the headline-grabbing charges in the first place? More than anything, the article's appearance is evidence of the dogged determination of former Clinton officials to portray their administration as tough on terrorism. Sometimes that public-relations campaign has involved positive defenses of Clinton's record, and sometimes it has involved attacks on the Bush White House. The Time piece was the most spectacular example yet of the latter; it was, in Saxby Chambliss's words, "a full-bore shotgun blast at the Bush administration." And even though it missed, there will no doubt be more. For their part, Bush officials say they don't want to "get into this game." But they'd better get used to it.

  • Re:Please read carefully

    Bush is not responsible for Clinton's screw ups. Clinton is not responsible for Bush's screw ups. Yet the first thing the Bushites did was to blame Clinton, and they're still doing it. One more time: Clinton was not president when the towers came down, Bush was. By the principle of leadership I cited a few messages ago, Bush was in charge, it's his fault.

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