Posts Tagged ‘Law’


Surveillance Standoff

In the old days, everyone was linked to a lug nut, and Jim Kallstrom liked it that way. It was 1985, a simpler time for a cop like Kallstrom, who was in charge of setting telephone wiretaps on suspected drug dealers and mobsters for the FBI’s New York City field office. In New York, Kallstrom’s […]

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Brennan and Obama on telecom immunity

In my interview with John Brennan, the former director of the National Counterterrorism Center and an unpaid adviser to the Obama campaign, Brennan stated that he favors granting immunity to those companies that were asked to participate in covert surveillance activities after 9/11. This position differs from Obama’s. He voted to strip an immunity provision […]

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We need a new wiretapping law, eh

“All of our legal architecture is founded on the notion that telecommunications intercepts involved putting bugs in walls or hooking interception devices to pairs of copper wires.” Sound like a familiar complaint? It should, if you’ve been following the debate to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. But this quote comes from one of our […]

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Wow, they really did it.

Defying expectations, the House adjourned for recess Thursday and will let the Protect America Act expire tomorrow. Unwilling to try and iron out differences between their bill and a version passed this week by the Senate, lawmakers will take up the thorny issues of telecom liability and oversight of intelligence surveillance at a later date. […]

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Would Democrats let Protect America expire?

Comments by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer suggest that Democrats might be preparing to let the Protect America Act expire this week. They would then use the next few weeks to pass a longer-term law. Voice of America has a roundup of member positions this morning, and quotes Hoyer. Hoyer asserted to reporters that even […]

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House seems poised to approve Senate’s FISA bill

The House voted down a Democratic measure that would have extended the Protect America Act for another 21 days. Joining the unanimous Republican vote were 34 Democrats (list below). In breaking ranks, they have positioned the House to take up a Senate bill that makes major changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and which […]

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Clinton and Obama avoid future weak-on-terror ads

Sens. Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama will avoid a spate of weak-on-terror ads by John McCain or his surrogates, particularly those alleging the senators voted to deny intelligence agencies the power to monitor terrorists’ phone calls or e-mails. That’s because when time came to vote on a new intelligence surveillance law, the presidential candidates didn’t […]

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“This is the sound of settling.”

With apologies to Death Cab for Cutie. The Senate has passed a bill that amends the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and offers immunity to companies that assisted the government with electronic surveillance after the 9/11 attacks. Now it’s onto the House, which has already passed its FISA fix, without the immunity clause. What are […]

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Presidential candidates split over telecom immunity

The Senate has voted to grant immunity to telecommunications companies that assisted the government with electronic surveillance in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Here’s the roll call of votes. The immunity amendment is part of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s bill to modify the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The three senators running for president split […]

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Security risks in FISA reform

Several noted computer security experts have an interesting paper in the current issue of IEEE Security & Privacy Magazine. Rather than critique the civil liberties implications of the Protect America Act, the “fix” to intelligence wiretapping and surveillance law being debated in Congress, the experts examine potential security weaknesses in the surveillance system run by […]

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