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On NSA Spying, Yahoo Fought Law (Law Won)

Secret court bid to reject spying on foreign clients failed in 2008

(Newser) - When the government came to Yahoo with a request that Yahoo help it spy on foreign users without a warrant, the company refused and sent its top lawyers to argue the case in a secret court proceeding, sources tell the New York Times . Its argument: users' Fourth Amendment rights would...

8 Senators: Blow the Doors Open on FISA Court

Bipartisan group wants FISA rulings declassified

(Newser) - Here's one way to cut down on leaks about spy agencies' use of the super-secret FISA court—make the rulings public. Eight senators from both parties backed a bill today that would bring far more transparency to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, reports Roll Call . They want key rulings...

Court Seals It: We Live in a 'Surveillance State'

Glenn Greenwald: Justices protect Obama's 'Kafkaesque' warrantless wiretapping

(Newser) - The Supreme Court yesterday gave the green light to the Justice Department to continue eavesdropping on Americans without need of a warrant. In so doing, the court's five conservative justices agreed with the "Kafkaesque reasoning" of the Obama administration, which was borrowed and expanded upon from the Bush...

Supreme Court Rules No Challenges to FISA

Surveillance law, wiretaps stand, 5-4

(Newser) - Is the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and the warrantless wiretapping of US citizens it allows for, constitutional? We may never know, because the Supreme Court just ruled that the law can't be challenged in federal court. In a 5-4 decision, the court today agreed to a government request to...

DC Can Be Bipartisan &mdash;to Trash 4th Amendment
DC Can Be Bipartisan
—to Trash 4th Amendment

DC Can Be Bipartisan —to Trash 4th Amendment

Congress will let the feds keep spying on Americans: Alex Pareene

(Newser) - Democrats and Republicans cannot agree on a budget, how to avoid the fiscal cliff, gun control, or much of anything, but there's apparently one thing they can agree on—trashing the Fourth Amendment. Yes, despite Washington's all-consuming dysfunction, the parties have come together to renew the FISA Amendment...

Lame-Duck Congress Back as Fiscal Cliff Looms

Postal Service, Sandy relief may also be on agenda

(Newser) - Congress is back in Washington today, bracing for battle over how to avoid the fiscal cliff. Legislators have seven weeks to hit on a deal, with tax cut extensions taking center stage, notes Reuters . But analysts warn that "the longer it takes the president and Congress to negotiate a...

Yoo: Wiretaps Were Legal and Necessary
Yoo: Wiretaps Were Legal and Necessary

Yoo: Wiretaps Were Legal and Necessary

President had right to violate 'obsolete' FISA, Bush lawyer writes

(Newser) - Last week the inspectors general of the Justice Department, CIA, and other agencies suggested the Bush administration violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, singling out lawyer John Yoo for memos justifying warrantless wiretapping. Yoo defends himself today in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, writing that FISA was "an obsolete...

NYPD Clashes With Justice on Surveillance

Cops say feds blunt anti-terror efforts; AG testy in series of letters

(Newser) - The Department of Justice has firmly rejected efforts by the New York Police Department to relax restrictions on eavesdropping, triggering a war of words between the agencies’ heads, the New York Times reports. The NYPD wants broader latitude for electronic surveillance, and less red tape for its requests, but Justice...

Obama Likely to Keep Bush Intel Policies

Positions likely to be filled with pragmatists

(Newser) - Barack Obama isn’t likely to deliver the radical intelligence policy overhaul many civil liberty groups are craving, advisers tell the Wall Street Journal. Those advisers include former Republican supporters and centrist Clinton officials. “He’s going to take a very centrist approach,” said an ex-Bush and Clinton...

Send Blue Dogs to Pound, Elect Real Democrats
Send Blue Dogs to Pound, Elect Real Democrats

Send Blue Dogs to Pound, Elect Real Democrats

Conservative bloc to blame for majority's ineffective Congress

(Newser) - A Democratic Congress has bowed to President Bush on Iraq, waterboarding and FISA, and Glenn Greenwald of Salon says enough is enough. With the help of progressive bloggers, he’s campaigning against so-called “Blue Dog” Dems, hoping to teach the party’s conservatives that they will “lose seats...

Big Brother Comes to Sweden
 Big Brother Comes to Sweden 

Big Brother Comes to Sweden

New surveillance law has country partying like it's 1984

(Newser) - Don’t believe the hype: “Sweden is no cuddly liberal democracy,” writes Nathalie Rothschild for Spiked, berating her home country for “introducing the most Draconian surveillance law in Europe.” Known as the FRA law but nicknamed "Lex Orwell" by opponents, the legislation gives intelligence agencies...

Obama Playing With Fire Over FISA 'Sell-Out'
Obama Playing With Fire
Over FISA 'Sell-Out'

Obama Playing With Fire Over FISA 'Sell-Out'

He better not take his base for granted, writes Joan Walsh

(Newser) - Barack Obama was never the great reformer his supporters made him out to be, but his decision to give telecom companies immunity for spying on Americans is nevertheless "unforgivable," writes Joan Walsh in Salon. She's tired of the "political cave-ins" and says Obama better not to take...

Senate passes FISA, 69-28
 Senate passes FISA, 69-28 

Senate passes FISA, 69-28

Amendments fail

(Newser) - The Senate approved a bill today overhauling the rules on secret US government eavesdropping and granting immunity to telephone companies that helped it listen in after 9/11. The so-called FISA bill passed by a large margin of 69-28. The upper house also voted against three amendments that would have watered...

As Congress Caves on FISA, Coalition Urges Fighting Back

'Limitless erosion of core constitutional liberties' abhorrent, Greenwald writes

(Newser) - With a vote set for tomorrow on a new domestic surveillance bill that grants immunity to telecoms involved in warrantless wiretapping of US citizens, Glenn Greenwald urges Salon readers to donate to a "coalition devoted to the preservation of basic constitutional protections and the rule of law." The...

Supporters Blast Obama on His Own Website flooded with protests over FISA flip-flop

(Newser) - Barack Obama’s abrupt about-face on new FISA legislation that would grant immunity to telcos that aided the Bush administration in warrantless wiretaps has some supporters hopping mad—and they’re using the forums on the candidate's own website to protest, the New York Times reports. During the primaries Obama...

Lefties Livid Over Obama's Right Moves
 Lefties Livid
 Over Obama's
 Right Moves 

Lefties Livid Over Obama's Right Moves

'Element of distrust' as Dem tunes policy platform more toward center

(Newser) - Barack Obama’s general-election shift to the center is in full effect on issues from spy powers to taxes, and the liberal left is getting a little steamed, the Wall Street Journal reports. The Democrat's support for cutting corporate taxes, an undivided Israeli Jerusalem and—perhaps most importantly to left...

House Passes Compromise FISA Bill
House Passes Compromise FISA Bill

House Passes Compromise FISA Bill

Most Democrats oppose immunity for telecom companies

(Newser) - The House today approved a bill updating FISA law and granting qualified immunity to telecom companies that aided the Bush administration in warrantless wiretapping. A majority of Democrats opposed the bill, which passed 293-129. Nancy Pelosi supported the measure despite serious reservations because it refutes the administration's argument about "...

'Sweeping' House Deal Would Expand Spy Powers

Long-awaited compromise would offer telecoms immunity

(Newser) - House leaders brokered a long-awaited compromise on spy powers today, bringing much of the post-9/11 NSA activities—illegal at the time—under law and granting a qualified immunity to telecom companies that participated in the extra-FISA program, the Wall Street Journal reports. The “most sweeping rewrite” of spy law...

McCain Backs Bush Wiretaps: Adviser

Says candidate believes president has right to 'override' law

(Newser) - John McCain supports President Bush's warrantless wiretapping program, a top adviser writes in a letter posted on the National Review website. The adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, outlines McCain's belief that the Constitution authorizes the president to override a federal statute that requires court oversight for surveillance. The position marks a sharp...

Government's Spy Powers Up, But Terror Arrests Down

Civil-liberty groups squawk; feds say numbers don't tell whole story

(Newser) - Big Brother is watching … but hasn’t found much, the Los Angeles Times reports. Despite vastly increased domestic spying activities, terrorism prosecutions have plummeted 50% since 2002; last year alone saw a 19% drop, despite a 9% increase in eavesdropping warrants. The Bush administration, meanwhile, is pushing for even...

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