Tag Archives: barack h. obama

The People’s Voice On FISA

13 Jun

FISA?I’m willing to stipulate that the data mining reforms the Obama administration put into effect are more sophisticated than the previous clumsy, illegal, unconstitutional, and immoral eavesdropping regimes. Yet, there’s one weak link: the FISA court. Ron Fournier asks, “Why does a secret federal court almost always side with the government’s requests to seize information.” Penza responds:

The problem might arise from the nature of FISA itself: it is a non-adversarial process where only the government presents information and where that information is not subject to challenge. In a regular investigation, there is at least some potential for the target of the investigation to cry “foul” and bring information to the court that undermines the government’s basis for pursuing the investigation. Regular warrants can be challenged as overbroad, overly intrusive, or not supportable by probable cause or even reasonable suspicion. No such mechanism exists in FISA. Indeed, this is a feature not a bug because doing so in the regular way would alert targets that they have been detected, making it more difficult to track and counter an organization like al-Qaeda.

But a mechanism could be added to adjust the FISA process to introduce some check on the government’s ability to obtain a rubber stamp from a court without compromising its ability to hide its activities from the targets of national-security investigations. And no, the best such process does not lie in allowing egomaniacs like Snowden and Greenwald to have veto power over what the government is allowed to do. Rather, it lies in introducing an adversary — call it an ombudsman or a public defender — into the FISA proceedings as an institutional skeptic, empowered to participate in FISA proceedings to challenge the government’s requests as overbroad or not supported by reasonable suspicion.

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The NKoreans Obama And Xi Abandoned

12 Jun

Obama-Xi SummitStephan Haggard does a standup job analyzing the results of the Sunnylands summit between Xi Jinping and Barack H. Obama.

The interesting feature of Xi Jinping’s response was the modified version of the “peaceful rise” foreign policy line, which emphasizes standard liberal arguments: that globalization and the pursuit of economic well-being and opening and reform will require cooperation on the international stage. Emphasis throughout Xi’s response was on the variety of channels to be tapped, including a specific mention of deepened mil-mil relations that Obama also sought to underline. Xi made reference to constructing a “model of major country relationship [sic],” the apparent new characterization. But also lurking was the reference to “the Chinese dream of the great national renewal” and the uncertain shape that Chinese nationalism would take during the Xi years.

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Donilon made it clear at the outset that the meetings should be seen in the context of the US rebalancing to Asia, now clearly the favored formulation over “pivot.” Although a changed relationship with China was a piece of the rebalance from the start, that piece sometimes got lost amidst the other actions the US felt it needed to take to counter a period of clumsy assertiveness in Chinese foreign policy over the last three years.  Donilon traced the process of getting to the summit, which included a sustained effort at high-level re-engagement through visits by Secretaries of Treasury and State Lew and Kerry and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Dempsey. (Chuck Hagel delivered the somewhat more forward, tough-cop messages at the Shangri-La dialogue in Singapore).

On North Korea, the denuclearization message has been standard fare among major media outlets. But, it’s clear Beijing and Washington are agreeing to disagree, and that their clients, North Korea and South Korea, followed their protectors’ lead.

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Klayman Sues Security State

11 Jun

Compliments Between FriendsLarry Klayman, et al., has filed a suit against the president, Barack H. Obama, Eric H. Holder, Keith B. Alexander (DIRNSA), and Lowell C. McAdam (CEO, Verizon).

This is an action for violations of the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments to the U.S.Constitution. This is also an action for violations of privacy, including intrusion uponseclusion, freedom of expression and association, due process, and other illegal acts.Plaintiffs bring this action on behalf of themselves and all other similarly situated consumers,users, and U.S. citizens who are customers and users of Defendant Verizon Communications(“Verizon”).

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