Thursday, May 11, 2006

two cents on the New NSA scandal

So, the NSA is recording what number is calling what number, and (apparently) how long the call lasts, without warrant. This one's simple, folks. It's illegal.

Recording what number is calling what number is called a pen register. To establish a pen warrant requires a warrant. The standards for getting the warrant are NOT the normal fourth amendment protection, but rather that the phone might be connected to an ongoing crime.

A number of defenders will focus on the last sentence - it's connected to terrorism, a crime. The key fact, however, is that no warrant was requested even on these grounds.

No warrant, no legal basis for the pen register.

Still, I think the ACLU suit is brilliant. They're not attacking the NSA or the administration. Nope, those sort of attacks have been successfully delayed and frustrated far too long by claims of national security. This one bypasses those completely. They're attacking the telephone companies for violations of a 1937 communications act. And they're doing it as a class action suit. Money talks, and this one's going to SHOUT. And they don't have to expose a darn thing about 'national security'. So no quelling by the administration.



Anonymous Prince Hydrajak said...

While clearly illegal and impeachable.... I would have no problem with the database AS DESCRIBED, if only the admin had gone to a court to get some sort or warrant... or at least had the congrass pass a law authorizing it.

5/12/2006 3:55 PM  

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