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Christiane Amanpour
Posted by: Jon Henke on Friday, January 06, 2006

I have no idea what to make of the story that Christiane Amanpour may have been the subject of Surveillance; a lot depends on details that are as-yet unavailable. Tom Maguire offers this argument...
Let me help - even though Ms. Amanpour was not "targetted", as per the NSA denial, she may well have been caught up in the surveillance *IF* she received a call *from* a phone that was being monitored for AL Qaeda connections.
Maguire also points to an official denial that Amanpour or other journalists were "targeted for surveillance" and observes that "even though Ms. Amanpour was not "targetted", as per the NSA denial, she may well have been caught up in the surveillance *IF* she received a call *from* a phone that was being monitored for AL Qaeda connections." So it's a very loophole-ridden denial.

The legal issues surrounding warrantless surveillance aside, though, I think the administration is probably on pretty strong PR ground with this particular story.

Projected defense: "We regret the necessity, but Ms Amanpour was in contact with terrorists. US journalists may only see members of Al Qaeda as "sources", but the US government regards them as terrorists and threats to the people of the United States."

Actually, given the public distaste for/distrust of journalists, that sounds like quite a winning PR campaign.
 
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"Facts as yet unavailable" and yet being pushed this hard... usually ends up meaning rumor mongering. And the usual suspects are grabbing this one like a drowning man grabs anything that looks like it MIGHT float.

 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitheads.blogspot.com
We regret the necessity, but Ms Amanpour was in contact with terrorists.

Change contact to collaboration...
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://

I was thinking about this issue in a larger context this morning.

The President sees himself as having extra powers as a commander-in-chief at war.



Here’s my summary of the powers he views as belonging to the commander-in-chief:



1) warrantless searches of fully domestic activities of US Citizens


2) holding US Citizens without due process for as long as he likes


3) torturing those held in custody



Does that bother any of his (neo or not) libertarian supports here? I mean, the war on terror could last as long as the cold war, and the next president might not be as trustworthy as this one (could we trust Hillary with these powers?).

 
Written By: Chuck
URL: http://
You’re new here, huh, Chuck? Leaving aside the inaccuracies contained in your premises (e.g. "warrantless searches of fully domestic activities of US Citizens" is simply incorrect), if you nose around the archives of QandO you’ll find lots of cogent criticism of the very issues you’ve highlighted.

As for the topic of the post, I’ve often wondered why we didn’t have someone tail, or otherwise surveil, those reporters in the theater whom we know have contacts with the enemy. Seems like a no-brainer to me.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
Does that bother any of his (neo or not) libertarian supports here?

Why don’t you read the blog in some detail before questioning whether "any" of us are bothered by these things?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Yeah, I was already thinking on the credibility front that I trust the administration before I trust CNN or NBC. And that is from a gummint hating libertarian.
 
Written By: Phelps
URL: http://donotremove.net
Does that bother any of his (neo or not) libertarian supports here?
Some of us. I’ve criticized that stuff sharply in recent posts.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net

You are right, I should have been more clear. It seems to me that a surprising number of the comments to the articles are not bothered by this. The attitude there seems to be, "hey this is a war, if we want to win it we are going to have to give up a few liberties." I agree with that, but it seems like we’re talking about more than just taking off our shoes in the airport here.


BTW, I don’t think it is simply incorrect to say that the NSA is conducting "warrantless searches of fully domestic activities of US Citizens". Maybe I’m missing some nuance, but I think that’s the basic idea. How have I got it wrong? I have seen a lot of the spin has tried to paint these as international calls to US citizens, but it is granted that those do not require a warrant. If that is truly all that is at play, then there isn’t a story here.


In light of the secrecy at play, it is hard to say for sure, but it appears that NSA is playing 6 degrees of Osama bin Laden with their wire tapping.


BTW, one sure indication that I’m "new around here" because I can’t quite get the formatting right.

 
Written By: Chuck
URL: http://
BTW, I don’t think it is simply incorrect to say that the NSA is conducting "warrantless searches of fully domestic activities of US Citizens". Maybe I’m missing some nuance, but I think that’s the basic idea. How have I got it wrong? I have seen a lot of the spin has tried to paint these as international calls to US citizens, but it is granted that those do not require a warrant. If that is truly all that is at play, then there isn’t a story here.
You got the first part wrong and the second part right (although I’m not sure about what the "spin" is).

There have not been any allegations that I know of regarding domestic calls/emails — only those that were international. The NYT Risen/Lichtblau story that initiated this brouhaha stated thus (emphasis added):
Under a presidential order signed in 2002, the intelligence agency has monitored the international telephone calls and international e-mail messages of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States without warrants over the past three years in an effort to track possible "dirty numbers" linked to Al Qaeda, the officials said. The agency, they said, still seeks warrants to monitor entirely domestic communications.
Specifically, it is being suggested by some that the NSA warrantless surveillance of such communications is illegal where there is a domestic caller/correspondent on one side.

IMHO, the law states otherwise, but there is some interesting and persuasive legal analysis (regarding a clear conflict with FISA, for example) to support the notion of illegality.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
For edification, here is some excellent analysis by Orin Kerr at Volokh Conspiracy. Excerpt:
Legal Analysis of the NSA Domestic Surveillance Program: Was the secret NSA surveillance program legal? Was it constitutional? Did it violate federal statutory law? It turns out these are hard questions, but I wanted to try my best to answer them. My answer is pretty tentative, but here it goes: Although it hinges somewhat on technical details we don’t know, it seems that the program was probably constitutional but probably violated the federal law known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. My answer is extra-cautious for two reasons. First, there is some wiggle room in FISA, depending on technical details we don’t know of how the surveillance was done. Second, there is at least a colorable argument — if, I think in the end, an unpersuasive one — that the surveillance was authorized by the Authorization to Use Miltary Force as construed in the Hamdi opinion.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
Thanks for making things clear, MichaelW.
I was wrong, "warrantless searches of fully domestic activities of US Citizens" was inaccurate. I do make an effort to keep my facts straight and didn’t this time. I read "domestic spying" and assumed it was distinct from international spying because the targets were domestic. The spying WAS on international communications, but the interception was on domestic switches. My bad, I was mis-informed and said something that has not been reported.
(Here’s a Times article that refers to the activities as "domestic spying": http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/24/politics/24spy.html?pagewanted=1&ei=5070&en=74f23f3595b52d62&ex=1136696400)

In regard to my original post, I guess even the "corrected" spying issue, the habeous corpus and torture issues, and, taken all together, the unlimited commander-in-chief issue, seem like enough to put a libertarian off President Bush. Then add in the debt bloat and the pandering to the religious right, and I can’t find anything to really like about him, from a libertarian perspective. (I’m not trying to put words in your mouth or thoughts in your head - I say this as someone who supported Libertarianism for a while.)
It seems to me that the support for him comes from foreign policy, which I think he is executing poorly, and tax cuts, which I think he is doing recklessly, and which is not the same as decreasing the size of government.

PS - perhaps it is my browser, but my posts don’t look the same during the preview and after they post, so, sorry again for so much white space previously.
 
Written By: Chuck
URL: http://
Ah, so Chuck uses the NYT as a source. I would only use them as bird cage filler. But then I might have to worry that PETA would say I was abusing the bird.

That’s not quite right. PETA would thank me for educating the bird, but I would think that I was abusing it.
 
Written By: David R. Block
URL: http://

 
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