NSA SPYING UPDATE….The Bush administration finally briefed a House subcommittee Wednesday on the NSA’s domestic spying program. Blue Dog Democrat Bud Cramer apparently came away impressed:
“It’s a different program than I was beginning to let myself believe,” said Alabama Rep. Bud Cramer, the senior Democrat on the Intelligence Committee’s oversight subcommittee. “This may be a valuable program,” Cramer said, adding that he didn’t know if it was legal. “My direction of thinking was changed tremendously.”
On the other hand, the current and past presiding judges of the FISA court have some issues:
Twice in the past four years, a top Justice Department lawyer warned the presiding judge of a secret surveillance court that information overheard in President Bush’s eavesdropping program may have been improperly used to obtain wiretap warrants in the court, according to two sources with knowledge of those events.
The revelations infuriated U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ? who, like her predecessor, Royce C. Lamberth, had expressed serious doubts about whether the warrantless monitoring of phone calls and e-mails ordered by Bush was legal….Both judges expressed concern to senior officials that the president’s program, if ever made public and challenged in court, ran a significant risk of being declared unconstitutional, according to sources familiar with their actions.
Curiouser and curiouser. Not just illegal, unconstitutional.
UPDATE: On the positive side, the Wall Street Journal reports that the recent surge in wiretaps has been great for businesses that help telecoms companies respond to law enforcement requests. Gotta love the Journal, always finding the business angle the other guys miss…..