Intel and “Boots on The ground”

Commenter Ron Wright got shut out of the comment thread on the NSA below (what happened to you folks, anyway? One person pisses in the punchbowl and suddenly everyone lowers their standards…sheesh!) with a long comment he’s posted up at HSPIG where he opens with:

Moderator’s Note: This is a work in progress. I’m posting it here to generate discussion on this topic. If we are to be the “boots on the ground here,” we must know the rules by which to play.

It’s worth going over and discussing.

8 thoughts on “Intel and “Boots on The ground””

  1. Politically, we have to either come to some framework for using a Super-Bletchley Park which is why Al Qaeda failed here while succeeding in the UK, Spain, Turkey, Jordan, Tunisia, India, where a superior tradition of fighting domestic terrorism existed; or deal with the alternative.

    If civil liberties concerns trump technology, money, and brilliant men’s ability to stop Al Qaeda, ordinary people will both know about this soon enough (because the brilliant men will tell us they could have stopped it) and provide the alternative.

    It is self-evidently true that if there are no Muslims in the US and no Muslims allowed in, we will be safe from terrorism. Everyone knows this even if it’s not discussed. Foreclose the way of technology backed by large institutions with various checks and balances and the ugly old human way of being safe comes into play.

    The Liberal Elite over-estimates the ability to parlay it’s Media and Dem Party control over ordinary people’s behavior when their lives are at stake. A “Beslan Plus” or super-9/11 will result in the MOU to be pretty simple: the Reconquista in modern form. Which sadly in my estimation is where we are heading due to failure on a fundamental political level. The Liberal Elite overestimates it’s control over the populace and wrongly views bin Laden as another Brezhnev. I can’t tell you how many Dems have said that bin Laden can’t repeat 9/11 and is basically done, and that we can “achieve containment” with him. That civil liberties absolutes trump every other concern and “don’t be afraid” etc.

    Disaster all around and likely the MOU will be Ferdinand and Isabella’s. Isolationism has always been a strong current in this nation. Until and unless a strong dose of rationalism and appreciation for the current situation comes into the Democratic Party and Media I see no other path. Which is sad because the money, technology, and brilliant men offer a way to avoid this while still protecting our essential civil liberties.

  2. In March of 2005, Canadian & UK authorities were able to arrest a cell of terrorists and break up a plot to bomb a sports stadium using an ammonium nitrate explosive. They did this by using the very same type of unwarranted wiretapping Bush authorized, which is legal in the 2 countries. If the Canadian & UK authorities had been restricted from using this type of surveillance, many thousands of British citizens might now be dead. Think about it.

  3. FISA Court – “Speedy” as Molasses!

    HT Strata-Sphere

    A.L. Many thanks for the post.

    A great piece over at Strata-Sphere about the mechanics of the FISA court and the LL’s and MSM’s meme about it would be simple to comply with the law.

    In peace time perhaps but in time of war with this enemy we are now engaging, it’s “pie in the sky” idealism. The enemy is free to shove it up our “as–” where the sun doesn’t shine, multiple times before the process can cycle once!

    The reality is the process is very slow and has built in bureaucratic stagnation and risk aversion.

    This is a must read about the “speedy” process of the FISA Court. Speedy is damn right – like molasses on a cold winter’s day!

    In the federal frame of reference I guess this is a swift flowing river.

    Unfortunately the enemy’s decision making cycle is probably well over 1 ghz faster.


  4. Here is another wouldabeen post from yesterday which was blocked by the freeze on the NSA thread.

    “The New York Times story is a characteristic “made-up” story – one which has nothing new in it but is promoted as though it did.”


    By DAVID BURNHAM, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES (NYT) 1051 words Published: November 7, 1982

    A Federal appeals court has ruled that the National Security Agency may lawfully intercept messages between United States citizens and people overseas, even if there is no cause to believe the Americans are foreign agents, and then provide summaries of these messages to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

    Because the National Security Agency is among the largest and most secretive intelligence agencies and because millions of electronic messages enter and leave the United States each day, lawyers familiar with the intelligence agency consider the decision to mark a significant increase in the legal authority of the Government to keep track of its citizens.

    Reverses 1979 Ruling

    The Oct. 21 decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit involves the Government’s surveillance of a Michiganborn lawyer, Abdeen Jabara, who for many years has represented Arab-American citizens and alien residents in court. Some of his clients had been investigated by the F.B.I.

    Mr. Jabara sued the F.B.I, and the National Security Agency, and in 1979 Federal District Judge Ralph M. Freeman ruled that the agency’s acquisition of several of Mr. Jabara’s overseas messages violated his Fourth Amendment right to be free of ”unreasonable searches and seizures.” Last month’s decision reverses that ruling.

    In earlier court proceedings, the F.B.I. acknowledged that it then disseminated the information to 17 other law-enforcement or intelligence agencies and three foreign governments.

    The opinion of the three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals held, ”The simple fact remains that the N.S.A. lawfully acquired Jabara’s messages.”

    The court ruled further that the lawyer’s Fourth Amendment rights ”were not violated when summaries of his overseas telegraphic messages” were furnished to the investigative bureau ”irrespective of whether there was reasonable cause to believe that he was a foreign agent.'”

    I have owned the following book since it was first published twenty years ago: The Puzzle Palace : Inside America’s Most Secret Intelligence Organization, by James Bamford.

    From the Amazon editiorial review of this book:

    “In 1947, the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand signed a secret treaty in which they agreed to cooperate in matters of signals intelligence. In effect, the governments agreed to pool their geographic and technological assets in order to listen in on the electronic communications of China, the Soviet Union, and other Cold War bad guys–all in the interest of truth, justice, and the American Way, naturally. The thing is, the system apparently catches everything. Government security services, led by the U.S. National Security Agency, screen a large part (and perhaps all) of the voice and data traffic that flows over the global communications network. Fifty years later, the European Union is investigating possible violations of its citizens’ privacy rights by the NSA, and the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a public advocacy group, has filed suit against the NSA, alleging that the organization has illegally spied on U.S. citizens.

    Being a super-secret spy agency and all, it’s tough to get a handle on what’s really going on at the NSA. However, James Bamford has done great work in documenting the agency’s origins and Cold War exploits in The Puzzle Palace. Beginning with the earliest days of cryptography (code-making and code-breaking are large parts of the NSA’s mission), Bamford explains how the agency’s predecessors helped win World War II by breaking the German Enigma machine and defeating the Japanese Purple cipher. He also documents signals intelligence technology, ranging from the usual collection of spy satellites to a great big antenna in the West Virginia woods that listened to radio signals as they bounced back from the surface of the moon.

    Bamford backs his serious historical and technical material (this is a carefully researched work of nonfiction) with warnings about how easily the NSA’s technology could work against the democracies of the world. Bamford quotes U.S. Senator Frank Church: “If this government ever became a tyranny … the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government … is within the reach of the government to know.” This is scary stuff. –David Wall”

    This book describes how the NSA intercepts electronic communications between the U.S. and foreign countries.

    I was aware of these matters years before Bamford’s book was published.

  5. FYI, the federal citation for the Jabara case here is:

    Jabara v. Webster, 691 F.2d 272 (6th Cir. 1982).

    Mr. Jabara was a Detroit attorney of Arab ancestry who sued then FBI Director William Webster and others, including officials of the National Security Agency, for federal civil rights violation concerning their obtaining and use of warrantless National Security Agency intercepts of his telephone calls overseas which were provided to the FBI, and for violation of the federal privacy act – 5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(7).

    Jabara won summary judgment in the district court. The 6th Circuit reversed on appeal.

    Jabara did not contend that the NSA violated any of his rights by intercepting his overseas phone calls & telegrams. He alleged that the NSA violated his rights by providing the information obtained by the intercepts to the FBI without the FBI obtaining a search warrant for the information. The parties agreed that the contents of the intercepts did not show that Jabara was a foreign agent, and that the government had no information whatever tending to show that Jabara was a foreign agent.

    The 6th Circuit found that Jabara did not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in the content of his messages once they were in the NSA’s possession, specifically that he could not reasonably expect the NSA not to share that information with other agencies.

    It is my initial opinion, upon a quick reading of this case, that the NY Times article erred in stating that the 6th Circuit found that the NSA’s intercepts of Jabara’s messages was constitutional. The 6th Circuit simply found that because Jabara did not challenge its constitutionality, “… we may therefore take it as a given that the information was lawfully in the hands of the NSA.”

    So the NY Times article in 1982 about this case may establish that the NY Times invented phony indignation last week over non-news about NSA intercepts, but the Jabara v. Webster ruling itself did not address the constitutionality of the NSA’s intercepts.

  6. OK Here we go again!

    OK. I’ve taken a couple of deep breaths . . .

    Here’s a post I just sent to some of my contacts re this article. I rarely resort to lettered profanity but this just takes the cake.

    Please excuse me A.L.



    HT Memoerandum

    OK folks this takes the cake. Whatever happened to the saying, “loose lips sinks ships.” STHFU!

    This is becoming very trite but THIS COUNTRY IS AT WAR!

    So what if someone has a radiation monitor in a driveway/parking lot or other generally common public area BFD!

    If it was me I would walk around with a personal radiation monitor and pretend to be the “cable guy” or some other suitable ruse to get access where the potential/suspicion that the enemy has secreted this material.

    EXCUSE ME – if there was significantly more than a background level of natural radiation I would have every alphabet soup agency converge on the premis like, “stink on poop.” I would consider this a genuine “exigent circumstance” under the recognized exceptions to the s/w requirement of the 4th Amendment.

    WTF are people thinking. Have they ever watched FOX’s 24 Hours to know the iminent threat posed by such material?

    I’m sorry this is not worthy of academic debate. Common sense would dictate secure the radiological material and then sort out the pieces later.

    This is the danger I’ve been harping about for two years the traditional LE/criminal justice paradigm is ill prepared to deal with the enemy in the GWOT with regard to rules of engagement.

    There comes a point in which the LL, MSM, armchair pundits, and the ivory tower legal eagles need to take a backseat and let common sense reign.



    EXCLUSIVE: Nuclear Monitoring of Muslims Done Without Search Warrants
    Posted 12/22/05

    By David E. Kaplan
    In search of a terrorist nuclear bomb, the federal government since 9/11 has run a far-reaching, top secret program to monitor radiation levels at over a hundred Muslim sites in the Washington, D.C., area, including mosques, homes, businesses, and warehouses, plus similar sites in at least five other cities, U.S. News has learned. In numerous cases, the monitoring required investigators to go on to the property under surveillance, although no search warrants or court orders were ever obtained, according to those with knowledge of the program. Some participants were threatened with loss of their jobs when they questioned the legality of the operation, according to these accounts.


    Read More


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