Video: Bush on NSA data-mining

posted at 2:47 pm on May 11, 2006 by Allahpundit

Here he is. Breitbart has the transcript. Plenty of commentary and links here and at Michelle‘s.


Update (Bryan): Newsbusters says this whole story was already reported months ago. I’m the first to bash Bush where he deserves it, such as on immigration, but this NSA “revelation” looks like a re-tread scandal to me. Congress, predictably, doesn’t even realize it’s getting worked up over yesterday’s outrage.

Update: The American Thinker has excerpts of Hayden’s comments on the dat-mining program from a speech he made on January 23rd. Well worth reading.

Update: Jay Stephenson reports on another institution’s appalling abuse of personal information. Leftists, avert thine eyes.


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Plain enough.

fluffy on May 11, 2006 at 2:53 PM

I’ve posted lots of criticism on this site. On this one, however, I’m with you, Mr. President.

dman on May 11, 2006 at 3:03 PM

“As a general matter, every time sensitive intelligence is leaked, it hurts our ability to defeat this enemy.”…

Minutemen vigilantes, or terrorists, Mr. Bush?

bucktowndusty on May 11, 2006 at 3:16 PM

The left is using the NSA as the poster boy (ala Haliburton) to say that civil liberties are being violated.

THESE DAYS, LIBERALS THINK KEEPING SECRETS IS A CIVIL LIBERTY!!

You only need worry about the NSA if you’re a member of Al-Queda.

Let the NSA do it’s job before we all get blown to pieces.

Richard Davis on May 11, 2006 at 3:50 PM

The president needs to be on television every day pointing fingers at the treasonaous traitors working again him and this country. Then Tony Snow needs to come out and reiterate the points.

Go on offense, guys, and start prosecuting these leakers.

JammieWearingFool on May 11, 2006 at 3:52 PM

Nothing has happened on U.S. soil since 9/11, but the left still does anything it can to undermine our security.

But they’ll be the first ones screaming that Bush didn’t do anything if we get hit.

JammieWearingFool on May 11, 2006 at 3:53 PM

But they’ll be the first ones screaming that Bush didn’t do anything if we get hit.

I shudder to think how many of them are hoping for it to happen.

Pablo on May 11, 2006 at 4:04 PM

Am I the only one not surprised by this? Has no one else ever watched Law & Order on TV? If you have ever heard the detectives there talk about “pulling the LUDs” on a suspect, you have heard them talk about exactly what the NSA is being accused of doing. LUDs are Local Usage Details, phone records of what numbers were called and the length of those calls made from a certain number. You will also notice they don’t talk about getting a warrant to get this information, they just call the phone company.
How exactly is this any different? Is the NSA supposed to be less able to do its job, protecting the country, than the police are able to do theirs, protecting the people from crime?

Taishar on May 11, 2006 at 4:20 PM

What exactly do the phone records comprise of? If it is just phone numbers being compared, then those are simple PHONE NUMBERS. Nothing else. You cannot hear what is being discussed simply by recording a phone number. A wire tap is different, that permits a person to actually HEAR a conversation.

The desire to handcuff the Pres is TOO STRONG.

Too many on the left simply pooh-pooh the fact that nothing has happened since 9/11-they claim that it does not mean a thing.

I hope that the Pres stops playing nice and orders a MANHUNT for the source that leaked this new info and prosecutes to the full extent of the law.

If it is determined that actual phone calls within the country are being tapped into WITHOUT a warrant (extigent circumstances notwithstanding), then of course, this has to be brought before the court.

But, we are at war. I should think that the Pres is walking carefully considering how everything he does is scrutinized to the delight of the enemy and for needs of hardcore dems and RINOs.

Notice how this story was released just in time for CIA confirmation hearings.

I am standing with the Pres on this one.

The False Dervish on May 11, 2006 at 4:39 PM

How exactly is this any different?

This time, Bush is Hitler. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Pablo on May 11, 2006 at 5:49 PM

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I was always under the impression that the order of our unalienable Rights (as drafted in the Declaration of Independence) is as follows: “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”. If left up to the liberals, it would be (civil) liberty (especially the civil liberties of those that want to destroy our country and everything we stand for – oh yeah, and kill us too), the pursuit of happiness (to any length, as long as you don’t hurt others), and the right to choose on life (if you want to terminate any innocent life or your own, go ahead, but never mess with the life of a convicted criminal – they are off-limits).

Rick on May 11, 2006 at 6:16 PM

I question the timing.

shirgall on May 11, 2006 at 6:19 PM

Our government MUST be able to acquire intelligence. They’ve always done “it” to some degree. Our freedom and security rely on our knowledge of our enemies. The left criticized Bush for not being able to stop 9/11….now they’re crying that he’s trying to stop future attacks. Treason is being rewarded with Pulitzer prizes in my fine country. My President is furious that the media is giving our secrets away for political gain(look at the timing today) and he should be. You should be. The Brits are proud of stopping three attacks using technology, yet we allow anyone to crawl into our southern states. WTF ?????
Pablo, maybe you were joking. If not, dont cry to ANYONE if there is another attack, dont ever talk about 9/11 again, dont expect any protection from the US Government. You have lost your mind.

200 million Americans allow more information out of their homes thru their ISP’s daily than all their phone calls could produce in a month.
All the spiders, cookies, hacks, etc collect more than you want to know about. But lets bitch about a government trying to protect us against an enemy training in our backyard to kill us, …to violently kill us.

shooter on May 11, 2006 at 6:31 PM

‘”It is our government, it’s not one party’s government. It’s America’s government. Those entrusted with great power have a duty to answer to Americans what they are doing,” said Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont.’

This from Leaky Leahy who was booted off the Senate Intelligence Committee for revealing/leaking classified information….all for political gain.

And that ineffective Miss Lindsey Graham of South Carolina saying something stupid like “I’m clueless….” Yeah, you are, you weenie. Who the hell elected this “milquetoast”?

doingwhatican on May 11, 2006 at 6:41 PM

Yes, I’m supporting his position on this, but the end of his speech is almost heart breaking. It’s like an admission to our enemy that, given the circumstances of a wayward CIA, insatiable journalists, and wanton ACLU, we do so want to defeat you, but we never will.

“…every time sensitive intelligence is leaked, it hurts our ability to defeat this enemy.”

Where is our ability to use existing law to return us from such blatant lawlessness? The first dozen offenders to get life in prison or execution for treason would radically reduce the leaking of sensitive intelligence. After all, we are at WAR! Dammit.

JodyBlonde on May 11, 2006 at 7:01 PM

Arlen Specter and Lindsay Graham (republicans?) don’t waste time to start slamming the program. Just whose side are they on? The terrorists?? What ever happened to “loose lips sink ships” ??
Why don’t these jokers realize we are at WAR !!!

gary on May 11, 2006 at 8:01 PM

Arlen Specter and Lindsay Graham are Traitors.

Remember, it was these two guys that were pushing AMNESTY for 12 million Illegal Aliens and trying to give them a free college education at taxpayer expense.

I believe the MSM Press is hauling this story out as a cover so that when the Senate tries to pass an Amnesty bill next week, the coverage will be minimal.

Do not be fooled, this is old news.

ScottyDog on May 11, 2006 at 8:35 PM

Its just the media tipping off their allies to go to unregisterd cell phones and QWest.

Oh… and who is the MSM’s allies? The terrorosts!

CrazyFool on May 11, 2006 at 10:31 PM

When are the liberals going to realize that America wants and needs the NSA to do its job. I still don’t think that many in Congress do not realize how smart and ruthless our enemy is. We couldn’t connect the dots before 9/11 because of the same people who are protesting the work of the NSA. It’s politics before our national defense.

d1carter on May 12, 2006 at 12:25 AM

I heard a commentator on the radio today (Hugh Hewitt?) say that the stuff we are REQUIRED to provide to the IRS EVERY YEAR is far more personal and intrusive than knowing the phone numbers that you call. I agree.

gmoonster on May 12, 2006 at 1:23 AM

Does this protection of private info also include the Minute Men?

iamericanright on May 12, 2006 at 2:54 AM

You reveal alot more about yourself with your activity on the internet.

If you’ve nothing to hide…..

doingwhatican on May 12, 2006 at 4:09 AM

This really is disgusting. While shameful, I’ve come to expect liberal Dems and MSM “journalists” team up to hurt Bush on these kinds of stories no matter the national security implications.

But it’s so discouraging when our own falls into line with the loonies and treasonous. That blanking Arlen Specter continues to damage Bush everytime he opens his mouth, even though the President supported him for Judiciary Chairman.

The Republicans have allowed some of these judicial nominations to languish for 5 YEARS, afraid to push a fight with the Dems, as if they see no compelling reason to get some conservative judges on the bench.

I think the Republicans are more comfortable in the minority role, which they will be shortly. They really don’t get it.

right as rain man on May 12, 2006 at 7:43 AM

If You’re Dialing Al Queada…You should be caught!

Do whatever you have to do my govt. until the war is over.

Reality Check on May 12, 2006 at 9:53 AM

The Democrats will sacrifice anything to get back into power, even if that means undermining the NSA. The Repubs are punch-drunk and so much spin over the years means they have lost the plot.

Great White on May 12, 2006 at 9:54 AM

Tell me el Presidente Jorge Arbusto, does intelligence shared with the Mexican Government on the activities of our border guardians hurt our country?

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on May 12, 2006 at 9:56 AM

If you ask me this is just the MSM’s way of trying to distract people from the issue of illegal amnesty. The people of this country won’t go for their spin so they try to change the topic.
We won’t go for this one either.

Cpilot on May 12, 2006 at 11:41 AM

I am glad they are monitoring the calls, I would be disappointed if they weren’t.

It’s good to see the NSA doing thier job of gathering intelligence.

Penn on May 12, 2006 at 12:57 PM

This is a blatant attempt to mislead the public into thinking that our civil liberties are being eroded by Bush. This is a NON-ISSUE — created by the media to bash Bush.

In 1979, the Supreme Court ruled that “it is not a search for the police to use a pen register at the phone company to determine what numbers were dialed in a private home.” Smith v. Maryland, 442 U.S. 735, 743-744, 99 S.Ct. 2577, 61 L.Ed.2d 220 (1979)). In this case the police, WITHOUT A WARRANT, requested the phone company (which complied with the request) to install a “pen register” to record the numbers dialed from the telephone at petitioner’s home.

There was no expectation of privacy in the numbers dialed — only the contents of the conversations — which is the same issue in the newest “NSA scandal.”

Check out the case at http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=442&invol=735

Greg on May 12, 2006 at 3:24 PM

I think they are many who as I do: I hope that the Security/Ops branches are doing a great job behind the scenes, and are not hindered by leaks. I don’t need to know everything. It comes down to trust-I trust that the government is doing the best it can through different agencies to keep another 9-11 from happening in our country. The liberal position seems to be that we can’t trust the federal government at all when we have Republican leadership. But we are supposed to blindly trust Democrats when they are in power?

Doug on May 13, 2006 at 1:43 AM

Better stop using the mail system. The envelope has far more information on you then what the NSA gets. In fact you only should communicate face-to-face, in a bathroom with the toilet running.

(And I won’t get into those business reply cards where people write the credit card numbers and SSNs on the back….)

CrazyFool on May 13, 2006 at 10:13 AM

Jammie and Pablo are correct. The lefties complain when we protect ourselves and prevent another attack but they will complain even more if (God forbid) we ever get hit again. And yes they ARE hoping we do. They’d gladly sacrifice another 3,000 lives if it meant they’d get back the White House and majority in Congress.

I was at work when Saddam was captured. A lib co-worker said “Oh great, now Bush is gonna get re-elected!” She’d rather see Saddam on the run so as to hurt Dubya’s re-election chances. I bet everytime a liberal reporter (redundant) says “An American soldier was killed in Iraq today” he/she has to fight to contain their glee. Inside, they’re thinkin’ “YES!! One less Republican voter! One more drop in Dubya’s poll numbers!”

The left hates Bush more than they hate the wackjobs trying to kill us. ALL of us.

Tony737 on May 13, 2006 at 10:35 AM

You only need worry about the NSA if you’re a member of Al-Queda.

How can you possibly know this? Do you run the NSA? Are you willing to swear on your mother that you’ll never use the information collected for malevolent purposes?

The simple fact is that the people who run our government, whoever they may be, whatever party they call their own, will always be unworthy of this kind of power over American citizens. Your endorsement of this kind of domestic spying hinges upon something that has never, and will never be true: that all government officials and employees are benevolent, trustworthy individuals with no ulterior motives, whatsoever.

You were painfully aware of this fact when Bill Clinton was in office, but seem to have forgotten it in the post-9/11 exaltation of “safety” as an essential freedom.

“Safety” is far from a component of freedom. In most cases, it is antithetical to it. If your goal was to maximize your safety, well, you’d be zipped up in a straight jacket in a solitary confinement padded room in a maximum security prison. To maximize safety, you have to minimize freedom. At the end of the day, you have a choice as to what your political philosophy has as a goal: safety or freedom. You may be able to get away with slight compromises… i.e. having to present a photo ID at the voting booth, but when you’re cheering the government for spying on the phone logs of every single law-abiding American, you’ve clearly ruled in favor of safety over freedom.

A lot of the flak Bush and the NSA are getting about this may indeed be coming from the Left (who, ironically, are usually the biggest fans of the “safety over freedom” concept), but don’t let your disgust for them blind you to the incremental surrender of your freedom.

Mark Jaquith on May 13, 2006 at 5:29 PM

Mark Jaquith: It is not that simple. We restict freedom when we impose martial law, set curfews. We are in a war. There are times when the one in charge needs to have the authority to do what he needs to do, then defend it later. There is an accountability process going on here. There was negotiation between the phone companies and the government. The program has worked for security and foiled terror plots, there is ongoing accountability. Now if the Repubs used this into to track phone calls of democrats that would be improper — or vice versa. But I have heard no improper use of the information thus far. But the program never should have been leaked. Now every thief, immigrant, Al Queda, and other terrorist know to use Quest. The debate over what is proper should be happening in government circles. I want my tax dollars fighting Al Queda, not co-defending Verizon, Bell, and others who in good faith are trying to protect the country.

Why this outcry, but no outcry when the former first lady was collecting FBI files for malicious political purposes? We have a civil war going on that is more dangerous than the war on terror, and this civil war is being fought against this country by a core group of people who have NO regard for law and order, and a greater priority for thier own personal power than for the good of the country.

CountryDoc on May 13, 2006 at 11:03 PM

The simple fact is that the people who run our government, whoever they may be, whatever party they call their own, will always be unworthy of this kind of power over American citizens.

Exactly what power is that, Mark? The power to look at stuff? As long as the phone companies keep the records, they also have that power. Don’t like it? Write letters. Speak in person. Don’t make phone calls.

You make a phone call, there’s a record of it. It may be a phone call to you, but it’s a business transaction to them. Proceed with that knowledge in mind, and you can be just as private as you like. In the meantime, I like the idea that when we find a jihadi phone # we can analyze the calls made to and from it and find out who the guys friends are and who their friends are.

Now, if a call has been placed to my hypothetical pizza shop, and perhaps I have a *gasp* financial relationship with said jihadi (‘cuz we sold him a pie), am I really supposed to give a damn that the FBI/NSA might look at me long enough to figure out that there’s not much to look at after all? Maybe they stop by with a pic and ask me if I know the guy and what I know about him. Have my liberties been violated? If so, how?

spying on the phone logs” may be the silliest phrase I’ll see all day.

Pablo on May 14, 2006 at 8:27 AM

Lengthy post disappeared…sigh.

Mark, “spying on the phone logs” may be the silliest phrase I’ll read all day. Exactly what liberty do you think this program takes away, and how so? How are you less free if the govenment has access to records the phone company is already keeping anyway? How does this knowledge falling into even the most devious hands erode your personal freedom?

Pablo on May 14, 2006 at 8:46 AM

Pablo: Your blog may yet appear. I have waited 3-4 hrs for a post I submitted to appear. It is probably some form of censorship going on (just kidding). I am going to start writing my posts in Word, spell checking them, and then pasting them into the comment box. Be paitient …

CountryDoc on May 14, 2006 at 9:34 AM

We restict freedom when we impose martial law, set curfews. We are in a war.

This is not a traditional war against a defined enemy. It’s a war against a concept… a concept that is unlikely to go away no matter how hard we combat it (and you have to ask yourself, do we want to eliminate Islamic radicalism, or just its violent outbursts?). This war, and its resulting reductions in freedom, could very well be indefinite. Bush said himself that we’re never going to win this war, in the traditional sense. There will be no signing of a treaty, no sudden restoration of our freedoms. If we want our freedoms to be restored, we have to be continuously holding them close, so that our leaders must work hard to justify their removal, and assure use that the removal is temporary.

There is an accountability process going on here. There was negotiation between the phone companies and the government.

The negotiations were one-sided, at least according to Quest executives. The government basically told them “turn over the logs, or you can kiss any chance of getting a government contract goodbye.” Quest executives looked at the law, and very prudently decided that turning the logs over to the government would be illegal, likely based on this law:

a provider of electronic communication service or remote computing service shall disclose a record or other information pertaining to a subscriber to or customer of such service (not including the contents of communications covered by subsection (a) or (b) of this section) to a governmental entity only when the governmental entity–

(i) uses an administrative subpoena authorized by a Federal or State statute, or a Federal or State grand jury subpoena;
(ii)obtains a warrant issued under the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure or equivalent State warrant;
(iii)obtains a court order for such disclosure under subsection (d) of this section; or
(iv) has the consent of the subscriber or customer to such disclosure.

Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986

Pablo,

Mark, “spying on the phone logs” may be the silliest phrase I’ll read all day. Exactly what liberty do you think this program takes away, and how so?

The privacy of my electronic communications, as guaranteed by the ECPA.

How are you less free if the govenment has access to records the phone company is already keeping anyway?

My communications are no longer private. I can’t order a pizza without the government receiving notice. It’s not illegal for the phone company to have those logs.

Mark Jaquith on May 14, 2006 at 7:51 PM

The privacy of my electronic communications, as guaranteed by the ECPA.

Mark, my question cannot be answered with a noun. Your’re also wrongly conflating the communication itself with records of the communication having ocurred. The communications themselves are unmolested by this program. The SCOTUS has found that you have no expectation of privacy regarding such records. And according to the Telecommunications Act of 1996 the records are owned by the serving companies, are not private and can be used by authorized governmental agencies and law enforcement.

I can’t order a pizza without the government receiving notice.

That’s not exactly true, is it? And if it were, so what? You can still make the call, right? You can still order the pie, right? How does someone knowing about it restrict your liberty?

“I don’t like it.” does not equal “My liberty has been infringed upon.”

If you want to talk about lost liberties, let’s talk about them. But first I need to know what they are, and “The government knows…” does not qualify as liberty lost.

Pablo on May 15, 2006 at 6:27 AM

I’ll keep mine short and sweet. Leakers and collaborators should be indicted. The President should protect us through any means at his disposal where the War on Terror is concerned. Americans killed by terrorists don’t get a second chance. Your liberty does NOT trump security.

Cary on May 15, 2006 at 11:28 AM

CountryDoc, as you said:
“Now every thief, immigrant, Al Queda, and other terrorist know to use Quest.”

I don’t know, that’s why I’m asking, doesn’t Quest’s refusal to cooperate with the government constitute violation of the law Mr. Clinton signed back in ’94 (I think)?

JodyBlonde on May 15, 2006 at 12:27 PM

This is the damage the MSM has done:
Hypothetical:I’m a member of an Al Qaeda Sleeper cell within the United States. The MSM has again provided myself and my fellow members with Classified information on how United States Intelligence Agencies searches for us. This newly released information makes our job of planning Terrorist strikes more easier as it has made us cautious when trying to contact our leaders outside the United States.

Loose lips sink ships means nothing to the MSM anymore:|

Brah on May 15, 2006 at 12:45 PM

IMAO, the Feds should be carefully considering pursuit of criminal prosecution against the leakers and their mouthpieces.

Jaibones on May 15, 2006 at 1:42 PM

The Democratic Party and their friends in the MSN have become nothing more than A fifth collum. The left-wing kooks have taken over the Dems. Someone from Move-on.Org said, “it’s our party we bought it we own it, it’s our party now.”

birdman on May 15, 2006 at 2:37 PM

For those of you who do not remember it was President Clinton who signed into law the bill that makes it legal and possible for the data mining to happan…..The was passed by a voice vote in the Democratic controlled legislature in 1994…..What this means is that Senators Kennedy, Leahy, Byrd, Biden etc. all voted for this act….

It is amazing to watch them ask where did President Bush and the NSA get the authority from???? How come the MSM and their allies were not outraged then? Prosecute leakers who endanger our security…..

robo on May 15, 2006 at 4:24 PM

Robo how true which says alot of the Democrats doesn’t it? Their Hypocrites to the core! As for the Leaks, FBI, CIA, NSA employees should be made to sign something like the Official Secrets Act as the employess of Britains MI5 & MI6 have to.

Brah on May 15, 2006 at 7:05 PM

You wouldn’t take the tools of an electrician and then demand with fervent vitriol that s/he do the job in half the time, would you? The authorities need reasonable access to information in order to detect and stop criminals BEFORE they commit crimes.
If someone is going to shoot you, your moral right to protect yourself does not begin when your attacker pulls the trigger, it begins when he decides to cause you harm. It’s better to keep him from killing than to punish him for having killed. Yet proving his intention is much more difficult than proving his crime. In order to do this, the authorities require reasonable access to information that could incriminate villians.

Milano on May 15, 2006 at 7:40 PM

Pablo,

Your’re also wrongly conflating the communication itself with records of the communication having ocurred. The communications themselves are unmolested by this program.

No I am not. Read the ECPA.

a provider of electronic communication service or remote computing service shall disclose a record

or other information pertaining to a subscriber to or customer of such service

[e.g. a phone number, which is a uniquely identifying piece of information that corresponds directly to a customer -- ed] (not including the contents of communications covered by subsection (a) or (b) of this section) [ergo this is talking not about the contents of the communication, but about something less... something like a phone log with uniquely identifying information -- ed] to a governmental entity only when the governmental entity

[etc]

That’s the law. That’s the law AFTER the SCOTUS decision, a law which was specifically constructed to bridge the gap that the SCOTUS decision addressed. (see).

Unless you can find me a SCOTUS decision that invalidates that ECPA (i.e. after the fact), it’s still valid law.

And according to the Telecommunications Act of 1996 the records are owned by the serving companies, are not private and can be used by authorized governmental agencies and law enforcement.

With a warrant or subpoena! Why do you think Qwest refused? Why do you think they refused when the government threatened to never give them another government contract if they did? Because there was no warrant or subpoena, so it was against the law, as they read it.

I can’t order a pizza without the government receiving notice.

That’s not exactly true, is it? And if it were, so what? You can still make the call, right? You can still order the pie, right? How does someone knowing about it restrict your liberty?

If the government gets records of Verizon calls, then it is true. And I didn’t say it prevented me from making the call… it prevented me from making the call and having that record be private from the government. My electronic communications have expectations of privacy and freedom from government search without due cause as outlined in the ECPA, as a clarification of the fourth amendment.

“The government knows…” does not qualify as liberty lost.

Depends on how they got the information. By itself, no, it doesn’t qualify. If my phone company turned over a pen register (i.e. call log) without warrant or subpoena, then it does qualify as liberty lost as guaranteed by the fourth amendment and as elucidated by 1986′s ECPA.

Cary,

Your liberty does NOT trump security.

“And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m SECURE.”

“The land of the SECURE and the home of the brave.”

“Life, SECURITY, and the pursuit of happiness”

I do not like your vision of America. Sounds like an America without guns, an America without freedom from governmental insight into every aspect of private lives. Security, frankly, is the goal of communists, socialists, and other such people who long ago sold out freedom in favor of lesser virtues.

Milano,

The authorities need reasonable access to information in order to detect and stop criminals BEFORE they commit crimes.

This has never been the job of the government or the police. Their job is to investigate crimes that have already taken place. When you call 9/11, you have no legal expectation that anyone will show up. Go buy a gun. The government isn’t your private bodyguard.

Mark Jaquith on May 16, 2006 at 4:39 PM