Alberto Gonzales


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Just in case you thought it couldn’t be worse — Attorney General Gonzales has recently been saying the Bush Administration could extend its wiretapping to all phone calls.

And yet, it can get worse.  Now it’s come out that the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has filed a brief that claims AT&T has been forwarding internet traffic directly into the hands of the NSA.

I guess no warrant is needed, if a corporation is doing the government’s dirty work, huh?

Some relevant comments I have found, by random people:

And you wonder why the feds have no problem with the AT&T monopoly getting back together? Can we file this under the “You-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-your” department?

It has been intimated in the press that George W. Bush’s illegal wire tapping went much deeper than has been admitted to. This is it. All Internet and Voice communications in the United States of America is now or was at some point being recorded by the NSA. It makes sense and it was certainly not just AT&T. Sure you can write that it was only a selected few messages or phone conversations that actually were brought to the attention of real people at NSA, probably measured in the tens of thousands out of many millions of people. But the computers, which were programmed by people, went through every message of every conversation. It is the only way to wiretap the internet in a centralized way without actually physically tapping wires.

When George Walker Bush says they only intercepted messages of terrorists and terrorist associates, it is a lie. They intercept everything and sorted it out later. What he is trying to assure you of is that they don’t really care about what you had to say unless you are plotting terrorism, which is probably largely true. But how long until such a powerful tool is directed towards lesser threats? We already know that during the 90’s NSA intercepted foreign communications regarding a civilian airbus deal were used by US government to help Boeing win European civilian contracts. How was that for a national security purpose? I am sure they went through mental hoops to think what they were doing was right. And before the mid 1970’s the FBI used domestic terrorism as an excuse to wiretap political civil rights and anti war activists when there was no reasonable expectation that these groups or individuals would resort to violence in support of their causes.

You know what the irony in this is? We make hideous fun of countries like China where this kind of thing is standard operating procedure, but when we do it, it’s supposedly to protect us from the terrorists. How does something like this come about?

There seem to be two kinds of people. Those who are willing to give up rights that don’t seem that important to them in exchange for a little extra “security” and those who don’t want to give up their rights under any circumstances.

The first group needs to wake up and realize that once you give your rights away, they are not coming back. This stuff only goes one way. The government will take every inch that is given to them (and then some) and never yield. It may not seem like such a big deal to have a national id card or to give up a few small rights (only criminals should care!), but it is a slippery slope. This is all going to snowball unless people stop it from happening now. Our rights will be slowly eroded until we’re living in a police state with no freedom.

I’d much rather risk being blown up by terrorists to be free than be safe, dumb, fat, and happy with no freedom

The FISA Law covers “electronic surveillance” and that includes email. The government is therefore prohibited from domestic eavesdropping without a warrant or FISA court order.

did anyone notice also that a republican committee recently shot down the net neutrality bill that wouldve stopped AT&T from abusing their position to extort more money from web companies?

The April 2006 edition of Atlantic Monthly has a fascinating article ( http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200604/nsa-surveillance ) about what the NSA is already doing. A subscription is required to read the whole article, though.
It’s a good read for techies since it explains (in general terms) how and what the NSA is collecting. It’s also an excellent primer for anyone who still believes that since he’s not doing anything wrong he doesn’t mind being watched.

It seems I could go on and on and on . . . .

From: senator_allen@allen.senate.gov

Dear James:

Thank you for contacting me regarding President Bush’s nomination of Alberto Gonzales to become the next Attorney General of the United States.  I appreciate your concerns and value to opportunity to respond.

I applaud President Bush’s nomination of Alberto Gonzalez. He is the embodiment of the American dream, a man whose hard work, legal sense and intellect have already lifted him to some of the highest positions of trust in our nation. I look forward to his confirmation hearings and a fair vote before the U.S. Senate. I am confident that he will make an outstanding U.S. Attorney General.

Once again, I appreciate you contacting me regarding this matter and hope you will not hesitate to contact me again about issues important to you.

If you would like to receive an e-mail newsletter about my initiatives to improve America, please sign up on my website (http://allen.senate.gov).  It is an honor to serve you in the United States Senate, and I look forward to working with you to make Virginia and America a better place to live, learn, work and raise a family.

With warm regards, I remain

Sincerely,

Senator George Allen