Thursday, January 26, 2006

Now and Then


Bush not concerned about Bin Laden.

Bush: "So I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him. … And, again, I don't know where he is. I — I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him."


"When he says he's going to hurt the American people again, or try to, he means it," Bush told reporters after visiting the top-secret National Security Agency where the surveillance program is based. "I take it seriously, and the people of NSA take it seriously."


In June, 2002, Republican Sen. Michael DeWine of Ohio introduced legislation (S. 2659) which would have eliminated the exact barrier to FISA which Gen. Hayden yesterday said is what necessitated the Administration bypassing FISA. Specifically, DeWine's legislation proposed:

to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to modify the standard of proof for issuance of orders regarding non-United States persons from probable cause to reasonable suspicion. . . .

In other words, DeWine's bill, had it become law, would have eliminated the "probable cause" barrier (at least for non-U.S. persons) which the Administration is now pointing to as the reason why it had to circumvent FISA.


REPORTER: General Hayden, the FISA law says that the N.S.A. can do intercepts, as long as you go to the court within 72 hours to get a warrant. I understood you to say that you are aggressively using FISA, but selectively doing so. Why are you not able to go to FISA, as the law requires, in all cases? And if the law is outdated, why haven't you asked Congress to update it?

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN: If FISA worked just as well, why wouldn't I use FISA? To save typing? No. There is an operational impact here. And I have two -- two paths in front of me, both of them lawful: one, FISA; one, the President's authorization. And we go down this path because our operational judgment is: It is much more effective. So we do it for that reason. I think I got -- I think I've covered all the ones you raised.

The first two from hadenough on Eschaton threads.