Various items

Link to C-SPAN segment on FISA, YearlyKos panel on blogs/media, and falsehoods from Bush defenders.


Glenn Greenwald
August 7, 2007 11:47PM (UTC)

(updated below - updated again)

I may not be able to post today due to a whole host of obligations. The video of the C-SPAN segment I did this morning along with pro-Bush lawyer David Rivkin on the new FISA bill is now posted on their website (the segment begins at roughly 47:15). Think Progress has some clips of that video along with commentary.

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As many of you know, the online streaming of the blog/media panel in which I participated at Yearly Kos cut off right after Mike Allen, Jill Filopovic and Jay Carney spoke, and right as I was beginning. Salon's Video Dog now has the video clip of my initial remarks, but I'm still attempting to locate someone who has a video of the entire panel, and will post the link to it once I find it.

Finally, it is always worth noting how willing some Bush defenders are to go on television and say things which are completely and indisputably false. This is from PBS' Online News Hour last night with Judy Woodruff, from former National Security Lawyer Bryan Cunningham:

It's important to understand what this is directed against. It is directed against purely foreign-to-foreign communication, where you have a terrorist or another threat to U.S. national security overseas communicating with someone else overseas, where the communication may happen to pass through the United States.

Later on, he accused Kate Martin, one of nation's most knowledgeable FISA and privacy experts, of lying because she said (accurately) that the new FISA law permits warrnatless eavesdropping of international calls to and from the U.S.:

JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let's take your point. Bryan Cunningham, let's take Ms. Martin's point that what is now going to be possible is that communications where Americans are involved -- not as a target -- but even if they are participating in a phone call or an e-mail communication with someone overseas, who is being targeted.

BRYAN CUNNINGHAM: Well, I hate to inject some facts into this discussion, but let me read to you, Judy, from the statute. It is only directed at a person, quote, "reasonably believed to be located outside of the United States." Only George Orwell or someone with a partisan motive could read that in the reverse to mean communications inside the United States. I'd like Ms. Martin to point me to a word in this legislation that talks about communications where a person is located inside the United States.

The whole point of the current FISA controversy is that Democrats wanted to enact a bill to allow warrantless eavesdropping of foreign-to-foreign calls, but the Bush adminisration's bill permits warrantless eavesdropping of foreign-to-U.S. calls. Nobody disputes that. Moreover, unlike for the "Terrorist Surveillance Program," there is no requriement in this law -- literally none -- that the person being surveilled be connected to terrorism in any way or even by an agent of a foriegn state or terrorist group. Any person -- even the most innocent -- can be subjected to warrantless surveillance under this new law.

To say -- as Cunningham did -- that this bill is "directed against purely foreign-to-foreign communication," to say that it only applies to "terrorist[s] or another threat to U.S.," and to accuse Martin of lying for stating that the bill allows surveillance of calls to and from the U.S., is exactly the sort of outright falsehoods that are spewed routinely (and rarely corrected) as part of our political debates.

UPDATE: The video of the book event hosted today at Cato Institute for A Tragic Legacy is now posted here. I think the event is really worth watching.

I realize this is a lot of video content but since I am not posting today, it's an excellent day for it. As an enticing preview, I conducted an interview today with Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution about his views on the war and his trip to Iraq. I will post the transcript in a couple of days along with some thoughts about it.

UPDATE II: Via Atrios, there is also this.

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