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FBI Raids Home of Suspected NSA Leaker 608

During the hours that Congress was debating codifying the Bush administration's wiretapping by revising the FISA law, the Department of Justice was raiding the home of former Justice official Thomas M. Tamm to identify the person who first brought the illicit program to light: "The agents seized Tamm's desktop computer, two of his children's laptops and a cache of personal files... the raid was related to a Justice criminal probe into who leaked details of the warrantless eavesdropping program to the news media... James X. Dempsey of the Center for Democracy and Technology said the raid was 'amazing' and shows the administration's misplaced priorities: using FBI agents to track down leakers instead of processing intel warrants to close the [purported surveillance] gaps."
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FBI Raids Home of Suspected NSA Leaker

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  • "FBI Raids Home of Suspected NSA Leaker ".

    Oops - NSA, not NASA.

    (Will NASA diaper jokes ever go out of style? That too depends ... :-)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @02:34AM (#20138985)
    James X. Dempsey of the Center for Democracy and Technology said the raid was 'typical' of the administration's misplaced priorities: using any government branch to track down anyone they percieve as disloyal instead of processing intel warrants to close the [purported surveillance] gaps."

    Fuckers. Its not enough for them to lose the election. We should be seeing jail time for this sort of overreaching corruption.
    • by Unixfreak31 ( 634088 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @02:41AM (#20139009)
      While most of the people on slashdot will agree with you. And quite possiably others who are heavy into politics and keeping up with there goverment like they should. I think a big part of the problem is joe blow average doesnt keep up with what his/her goverment is doing for/to them. Untill people do the people in office will abuuse power the temptation is VERY hard to resisit. So if you want to change things like this talk with your neighbors and get people back into politics the people can make a change.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Thomas Jefferson would agree. We all need to educate our fellow citizens on the potentially dangerous directions in which our government is going. Frankly though it would be best if they came to these conclusions on their on. Which means we need to note the evidence without appearing to be a member of some fringe or nutcase element ourselves and ask their opinions in much the same way as polls are often done to present the cases the media, political parties or activists want to present. Of course they may o
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by xENoLocO ( 773565 ) *
          And therein lies the corruption in a two party system. *Everybody* should have to pencil in their party on their voters registration.

          Makes me wonder why someone who leaks info in favor of Bush gets a pardon...
      • That is the weakness of representative democracy. The people must be "eternally vigilant," just as Thomas Jefferson warned. As soon as the people become apathetic, and no longer care to be involved in the process, the process itself is then open to be usurped by the so-called "representatives." It really is not difficult to understand. So why is it being allowed to happen? Personally, I believe the answer lies in "Panem et Circenses."
        • by joe_adk ( 589355 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @04:42AM (#20139483) Homepage
          For those who don't know: Panem et Circense []
        • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @09:40AM (#20141099) Homepage Journal

          As soon as the people become apathetic, and no longer care to be involved in the process, the process itself is then open to be usurped by the so-called "representatives."

          It's actually worse than that. Ideally, the people should have a kind of public virtue, and virtue, as Aristotle teaches, lies in moderation. Democracy doesn't work when the people hate the government, nor does it work when they are infatuated with it. Accountability is the midpoint between paranoia and automatic trust. The government shouldn't do everything, but what it does, it should do robustly: if you stare the beast, you don't end up with good government, you end up with a ravenous beast.

          People ought to be involved in government, but not to the point where it becomes an instrument of their irrational passions. And human nature being inconsistent as it is, it is quite possible to be apathetic, angry, fearful and infatuated all at the same it.
        • by HunterZ ( 20035 )
          Personally I don't think it's a problem of vigilance versus apathy. I think it's a fundamental flaw in the representative democracy system. There's just too many people, and they're too easily manipulated by the mass media. Unless you make it a major hobby to keep up with politics and do lots of independent research, you're going to have your opinions handed to you by *someone*.

          It's just like religious control in the Dark Ages, except swap out the Bible with the truth, and the church with a combination of g
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            I wholeheartedly agree with you; I was focusing more upon how we let it get to the point that it has. We, as a whole, let our vigilance lapse long ago; otherwise, we would have enacted a multitude of necessary changes. You are right in that it generally does not matter who you vote for, or indeed whether you vote or abstain. The plurality voting system does an absolutely horrible job of representing everyone in a populous nation. Of course, full representation happens to be one of the main tenets of represe
  • Phew! (Score:5, Funny)

    by illegibledotorg ( 1123239 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @02:40AM (#20138999)
    I feel safer, already.
    Thank God we're finally catching these damned terrorists. I hope he hangs.
  • by A beautiful mind ( 821714 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @02:46AM (#20139023)
    Actions like these are the difference between a fascist dictatorship and a democracy (yes, even though the USA is a republic, it is also ment to be a democracy so don't bring it up thanks).

    Saying that "The State" is right no matter what, is fascist. Currently the government is purging or minimalizing the non-fascist elements within the state. Of course they're doing it on the path of least resistance, so they're keeping up the veil of the justice system, but with the swampy legal system, far reaching laws and by simply ignoring basic rights (habeas corpus, etc.), without means to challenge the state it is a mere facade.
    • I think that the Patriot Act is still in effect. This means that the USA is still operating under a limited State of Emergency. The situation is not 'normal' at all.
      • Ferinstance: TITLE II--ENHANCED SURVEILLANCE PROCEDURES Sec. 201. Authority to intercept wire, oral, and electronic communications relating to terrorism. Sec. 202. Authority to intercept wire, oral, and electronic communications relating to computer fraud and abuse offenses. Sec. 203. Authority to share criminal investigative information. Sec. 204. Clarification of intelligence exceptions from limitations on interception and disclosure of wire, oral, and electronic communications. Yada
      • by rbanffy ( 584143 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @07:14AM (#20140095) Homepage Journal
        It's been observed that any dictatorship requires a permanent state of emergency or war. Based on this, all kinds of law and basic rights can be disrespected based on the higher requirement of national security. If it lasts long enough, the whole society can also be shaped in ways that suppress as much as possible any willingness or ability to resist. While the US is not a dictatorship and many Americans can see what is wrong, what can happen (yes - it can get far worse than it is now) and take some action - organizing themselves, registering as voters and voting (please, by all means, _do_ vote - it's _your_ government, not something imposed on you)

        I would recommend extreme care on the next elections.

        Remember "checks and balances". You need a whole lot more of them.
        • by griffjon ( 14945 ) <GriffJon&gmail,com> on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @09:06AM (#20140777) Homepage Journal
          I don't think we should even wait for the next elections; Bush and Dick have done so much outside the scope or in flagrant violation of their oaths of office that we should impeach the lousy SOBs. It's another 531 days before they leave office. Not that I'm a big Pelosi fan, but she wouldn't be actively ripping up the Constitution; and the hearings themselves would bring so many skeletons out of the closet that the neocon movement would just crumble.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by goldspider ( 445116 )
            On the other hand, she (and other Democratic congressional leaders) have done little to change the course of our country since they gained control of congress. They have the "power of the purse," yet have done nothing with that power to correct our course.

            If I were you, I wouldn't expect any miracles to happen within the next few years, regardless of who is in the White House.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by QuantumG ( 50515 )
      "Fascist" is such a poorly defined word as to be useless to any form of argument short of these meant to invoke an emotional response.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by labnet ( 457441 )

        "Fascist" is such a poorly defined word

        Yes, but the OP confined its meaning well when he said

        Saying that "The State" is right no matter what

        and inferring Bush and Co are on a supress all oposition below the threshold of reaction from the general populace. It will be interesting if they manage to rig the coming election so they can continue their PNAC agenda. I also find it interesting that anyone with a clue thinks the currrent regime is off the rails, but there seems to be no major backlash?? Why is this so? Is the media really that controlled, is it apathy, or is really not a problem,

        • Is the media really that controlled, is it apathy, or is really not a problem, and internet chat is just amplifying not much?
          I think it's just apathy.
        • by arhavu ( 701524 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @07:20AM (#20140111)
          From an outsider's point of view (I'm from Finland myself), it seems that one of the problems is that everything in the US gets turned into a dichotomy between the democrats and the republicans. It seems that every time somebody tries to bring up a valid point about the way things are run or working within the government, someone else will counter that by claiming the original argument simply stems from party affiliation. And everything is easily reduced to partisan bickering (sort of what Jon Stewart complained about on Crossfire). I see that happening here on Slashdot a lot as well. Every time there's a discussion about politics, it seems pointless to me to read it, because I know it will only degrade into two camps insulting each other and not really discussing anything. Especially with the divisive issues like gun control, etc, but also in general. There never seems to be a possibility of a third viewpoint, of a compromise. Hell, there's only two parties anyway, so naturally there can be only two possible solutions to any problem, right?

          I think that's one reason why the current government gets away with so much. To an outside observer, especially from a northern European democracy, it seems really amazing that there's isn't more of a backlash, especially in the media. Even my father, whose a very mild-mannered man commented on the Scooter Libby pardon, sorry, 'commute', 'it's like it's some kind of a banana republic!'

          Then again, there is the apathy. And the money. But I really do think that the two-party system and the mentality it brings is hurting the country.

          • by Critical Facilities ( 850111 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @09:31AM (#20141015)
            As an American, I could not agree with you more. It's very unfortunate that a large portion of the voting public (those that can even be bothered to stand in line to vote in the first place) feel that their only option is to vote for one party or another. I believe that a large part of this problem is the ridiculous, antiquated Electoral College. It is precisely this sliding scale which makes it possible for political candidates to play the odds and take advantage of various "hot button" issues.

            There is nothing more incensing to me than to watch the various political ads preceding any election as it becomes quite apparent how truly stupid the candidate(s) believe the voting public to be (heck I guess it's working, so they must be partly right). Being able to swing votes your way by trying to convince the public that your opponent is in huge favor and would prefer to kill babies (for example) is the type of "mudslinging" and polarizing ideas that get presented in these advertisements. It's unfortunate that a lot of the voters don't realize that they're being manipulated by allowing their personal religious beliefs to cloud their thinking and are putting WAY too much trust into people who would stoop to that level.

            I would love to see the expulsion of the Electoral College, and I'd love to see some serious reform for campaign advertisement and debates. I'd prefer a much more level playing field. I'd like to see a situation where these things are controlled so that a grass-roots candidate is able to have the same visibility as a veteran of "the game". The elections shouldn't come down to essentially who has the most money to spend on advertising and who can hire the best "muckrakers" to dig up crap about their opponent(s), it should come down to who comes the closest to what everyone wants. I concede that if this ever happens, we'll have to listen to some real whacko's, but I'd much rather sit through a ridiculous speech of impossible campaign promises from some "nobody" than I would from 2 or 3 "somebodys" realizing that I HAVE to choose one of the 2-3.
      • On the contrary, Mussolini defined it rather well. He actually wrote the entry on fascism for the "Encyclopaedia Italiana" in 1932. Others have used it widely and innappropriately since then, but that doesn't change its true meaning. Here's a small excerpt from Mussolini's entry that gives some context:

        ... fascism combats the whole complex system of democratic ideology, and repudiates it, whether in its theoretical premises or in its practical application. Fascism denies that the majority, by the simple fact that it is a majority, can direct human society ...

        The entire entry, titled "What is Fascism?", is available online in a myriad of places. It is somewhat lengthy, but I suggest reading it in its entirety.

        As for this situation, and the GP's label, I would say that it fits rather nicely Mussolini's definition.
    • by reporter ( 666905 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @03:28AM (#20139181) Homepage
      The American official who leaked the warrantless wiretapping program to the media is a hero, not a culprit. Such leakers are people with conscience. The leaker was likely shocked by the gross violation of civil rights (which the warrantless wiretapping program trampled) and gave vital information about the wiretapping program to the media. The media then informed the American public.

      Without the leaker, we -- the American public -- would still be in the dark. Without the leaker, our government would still be conducting warrantless wiretapping. The leaker actually helped to strengthen our democracy. He did not endanger it.

      Yet, why is Washington trying to send the leaker to federal prison? This massive raid by the FBI smacks of Russian-style fascism.

      • by Dragonslicer ( 991472 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @09:19AM (#20140901)

        Without the leaker, our government would still be conducting warrantless wiretapping.
        You haven't been watching the news lately, have you?
    • I agree that this is a very dangerous step for the US. For the past few years, all the actions that the US government has taken against its people has really turned me off to the possibility of living in the US. Currently, I'm in Germany, where I feel much freer than I do in the US.
    • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @05:18AM (#20139597)
      Almost all fascist dictatorships in the 20th century actually rose to power through democratic means. Hitler was the appointed chancellor of the German Reich [], his party won the elections of 1934. A similar process worked for Italy (Mussolini was appointed prime minister of Italy []) and Austria (Dollfuß [] was the elected chancellor of Austria).

      Don't think fascist regimes come to existance through coup d'etats or civil wars, like many communist regimes did. Most of them grew from a combination of a flawed democratic process and fear in the population that a civil war or anarchy is imminent, and the general feeling, especially in the leading classes, that a fascist regime is still better than the uncertainty of an absence of government.
  • Can I hold my breath for 1 year, 4 months, and 24 days?
    • by billstewart ( 78916 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @03:44AM (#20139259) Journal
      The Bush/Cheney Administration has spent the last 6+ years building an organizational, legal, and technical infrastructure for Executive Branch power, including anything from wiretap infrastructures to the Patriot Act to stuffing the courts and Justice Department with pro-executive-power people,
      and getting states, banks, credit companies, airlines, etc. to do massive data collection. And it's not like it started with them - the FBI wiretap enthusiasts like Louis Freeh, the NSA anti-public-crypto people, the Echelon project, etc. all date to the Clinton or GHWBush/Reagan administrations or earlier.

      It's going to take a *long* time to tear down that stuff and turn this back into America again, and most of that won't happen unless we replace the current Executive Branch with one that's actually committed to doing it. Most of the major candidates aren't talking like that - certainly Hillary and Rudy and John Edwards and McCain and Romney don't have a history of wanting to do that, and you're pretty much down to Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul before you'd get to anybody who'd talk about that kind of concept as a campaign strategy. Perhaps if the Democrats not only win the White House but also increase their control of the Senate and House they'll have some willingness to do that after a couple of years.

      For now, though, Homeland Security Anonymous Spokescritters report that Enhanced Terrorist Surveillance Program has been reporting increased frequency of terrorist chatter saying "Booga Booga", so if you're even suggesting that we decrease wiretapping then you're a threat to national security and our precious bodily fluids.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Ephemeriis ( 315124 )

        The Bush/Cheney Administration has spent the last 6+ years building an organizational, legal, and technical infrastructure for Executive Branch power, including anything from wiretap infrastructures to the Patriot Act to stuffing the courts and Justice Department with pro-executive-power people, and getting states, banks, credit companies, airlines, etc. to do massive data collection.

        Granted, the US Government has been moving in this direction for quite some time now. Each administration seeks additional p

  • Because I don't kmow (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pembo13 ( 770295 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @03:24AM (#20139161) Homepage
    Could someone tell me ho legal this is? Seems to me that police type groups shouldn't be able to pursue what could easily be construed as a vendetta.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by pearlgauss ( 1138441 )
      The problem with this disclosure is that it involves release of "communications intelligence activities", and that is covered by 18 U.S.C. 798(a)(3). And to make matters more interesting, it is quite easy to make the statute apply to the newspapers that first broke the story:

      (a) Whoever knowingly and willfully communicates, furnishes, transmits, or otherwise makes available to an unauthorized person, or publishes, or uses in any manner prejudicial to the safety or interest of th
    • If you break a law in an attempt to show someone else breaking a law, you are still subject to whatever the penalties are for the law that was broken. It may be that during your trial, the court decides that you had no choice but to break the law and not hold you to it. It may also be where the evidence is so obvious that it isn't likely you would lose in court so they never go after you.

      In this case, the Whistle blower's policies might not pertain to matters of national security and matters that are top se
    • If they've got warrants, it's legal*, just dirty. Or if they've got FISA court permission. If they were doing a strictly partisan political attack against Democrats, it might be dirty enough to actually be illegal, but investigating a former Administration official for possibly leaking military secrets is ostensibly the responsible thing for them to do.

      If the information that was allegedly possibly leaked had been enough for somebody to actually prosecute some Executive Branch people (whether FBI or Pent

  • Am I the only one (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jon287 ( 977520 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @03:43AM (#20139255)
    Who is really REALLY afriad of a "national emergency" that requires a "temporary extension of the current administration" happening in the next year or so? And not just in the sarcastic "it would figure" kind of way, but a "it might actually happen, then what?!" kind of way.
    • Re:Am I the only one (Score:4, Informative)

      by cosmocain ( 1060326 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @03:50AM (#20139287)
      two [] words []...
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Strictly speaking the Enabling Act (aka "Law to Remedy the Distress of the People and the Nation") equivalent was the Patriot act (aka "UNITING AND STRENGTHENING AMERICA BY PROVIDING APPROPRIATE TOOLS REQUIRED TO INTERCEPT AND OBSTRUCT TERRORISM").

        The systematic placement of Bush cronies throughout the government was the like the period 1933-37.
        The extension of the 'Enabling act' twice corresponds to the extending of the Patriot act.
        The burning down of the Reichstag, is the burning of the twin towers.
        So far
  • Can you feel that chill too?
  • Wow (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ta bu shi da yu ( 687699 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @03:46AM (#20139269) Homepage
    I was researching the USA PATRIOT Act for Wikipedia, and all those people like Orin Kerr insisted that the changes to FISA wouldn't lead to abuses. Guess we can see what a hollow promise that was.
  • to "The Gestapo have Landed".

    Are we ready to impeach yet?
  • Your government only wants to protect you. Unpleasant ideas are the enemy of the state. Relax, be happy, consume.
  • by Alain Williams ( 2972 ) <> on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @03:56AM (#20139315) Homepage
    Kiddie porn, music files, unlicensed software ? Who knows ? Of course no one will believe Mr Tamm when he says that this stuff was not on his PC when it left his house.

    The purpose of the raid is as much to deter others who are thinking of exposing government wrongdoing as it is to punnish Mr Tamm.

    • Wow, that's quite some speculation there! You believe that the government will plant illegal stuff on his computer--and that this will be made public, and that he'll claim ignorance of it? Well, let's just see! The brilliant thing is that most/many people DO have illegal things on their computers, so your prediction (if it can be called that) is really quite silly! We'll see though...

      The long and short of it is, leaking classified info is a crime. See Valerie Plame case. Good or bad, still a crime. Maybe th
      • The long and short of it is, leaking classified info is a crime. See Valerie Plame case. Good or bad, still a crime.

        OK, so who was indicted for leaking the info on Plame?

        Oh yeah, nobody was.

        What's your point?

        • The point was, it was investigated as a crime!

          Ultimately it was decided that no crime took place (other than Libby's perjury/obstruction/what not) but you'll note that there was an investigation which took place over many months. That's how investigations go!
  • It's a good thing our government has it's priorities straight and is punishing those that make the right choice and blow the whistle on illegal activities instead of encouraging those in key positions of power to bend, and break, the law whenever it benefits the party in power. Leaking information to foreign governments: bad. Leaking information about illegal activities occurring regularly in a program with no judicial or congressional oversight to the national media: good. Whoever actually leaked the inf
  • Happens everywhere (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Flying pig ( 925874 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @04:16AM (#20139391)
    After the Metropolitan Police in the UK kept us all so much safer by shooting an innocent Brazilian electrician seven times in the head while he sat in an Underground train, then claimed that they shot him while he was jumping over a barrier to escape them, wearing a nonexistent padded jacket to conceal a bomb, a journalist made the mistake of exposing this. He was promptly subjected to police harrassment, including having his girlfriend locked up without charge with no access to food or water, and given a blanket infected with lice.

    However, there is a difference between the US and the UK. The last time the Met became really corrupt, the Hertfordshire Police Force was called in to investigate them. (Disclaimer: Guess where I grew up.) Even so, it happened, and a significant number of Met officers were exposed. This is one example of why separate and independent police forces with local rather that national accoujntability are such a good idea.

    The problem is, who will investigate the FBI? That seems to be the fundamental weakness of the US system. In the UK, MI5 and MI6 have no powers of arrest. They have to get in regular police to arrest suspects. Although clunky, this provides a check and balance. If the FBI is corrupted or ordered by the Administration to do corrupt things, who is to stop them?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Slashamatic ( 553801 )

      MI6/SIS is foreign only whilst MI5 are domestic. If someone from overseas comes to the UK then 6 is supposed to hand the problem over to 5 as they have no infrastructure for UK based ops. Note that there is a certain healthy rivalry between the services which limits their power. Five do have officers out and about (most famously at places like Heathrow) and they actually work through so-called Special Branch rather than the regular police. If five tell SB to do something that they think is illegal, then SB

    • Who will investigate FBI? Congress? Justice Department? the head of national Intelligence? etc...

      With regards to the reporter you're talking about... Think about it another way--if YOU were being investigated and somebody leaked details of the case, the investigation, your personal information, etc--details that could one day make or break your case in court, details that were in no way confirmed or guaranteed--would you want the leaker investigated? It's good that in this particular case the reporter got i
      • It's good that in this particular case the reporter got it right--but what if he had received incorrect information that unfairly damned people? What about a right to privacy?
        The police force, as a public entity, has no right to privacy.

  • shows the administration's misplaced priorities: using FBI agents to track down leakers instead of processing intel

    Just like not everybody at your work is a CEO, not everybody at the FBI processes Intel.
  • Step 1) Put the technological infrastructure in place
    Step 2) Place your political friends and allies in charge of the infrastructure
    Step 3) Reduce measures to control abuse of they system by claiming it's in the interests of "national security"
    Step 4) Undermine the efforts of your political enemies with your newfound power
  • by chefmonkey ( 140671 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @05:35AM (#20139685)
    What's the big deal? I mean, the last time the president hunted someone down on a political vendetta regarding a leak, he ended up commuting the sentence before a single minute of jail time was served. Or are we cynical enough to think that he did that only because Scooter Libby is a Republican?

    Oh, wait. Yeah, I guess we are.
  • by hachete ( 473378 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @06:39AM (#20139941) Homepage Journal
    The article reminds of the case of the guy who was the anonymous whistle-blower for Abu Grahib. In a NY times article, he tells how he first felt paranoid about his fellow guards but worse was to come when Rumsfeld congratulated him on the Abu Grahib whistle-blowing in front of a crowded canteen. Even though the whistle-blower received a letter of apology after, I share his disbelief that Rumsfeld - a control-freak and a stickler for detail - was unaware of the consequences of his actions.

    The whole tenor of this administration - from Bush downwards - is one of petty and mean-mindedness. It will be good when they go, for they do nothing but poison the American body politic and bring it into dis-repute.
    • Radio 4 interviewed the man who exposed the situation in Abu Graib, it was on the radio this morning so you can listen to it online. []

      30 minutes, nice broadcast. Sounds like he's getting support from the US government but Rumsfeld screwed his whole life up by announcing his name to the world. People harassed his wife and his wife's sister (apparently they couldn't spell Iraq right when they graffitti'd her house, spelling it "Iroc" ...) and so the whole family had to get
  • by tiqui ( 1024021 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @07:51AM (#20140265)
    Individuals simply do not have the right to expose secret programs even if they do not like them. If you are angry about this but support the prosecution of Scooter Libby then you have some explaining to do ( particularly when Scooter leaked NOTHING; it was Bush critic Richard Armitage in the State Department who did the actual Valerie Plame leaking ) If this guy really did the leak, then he hurt national security by tipping-off enemies. It matters not if most enemies assumed we were listening; if even ONE enemy did not think of it but was clued-in by the leak then harm was done. If he leaked but the program ultimately is found to be an illegal program and people involved in the program are sent off to jail, then the leaker should get leniency as Scooter got a break... but even if you like this leak, it is still NO LESS ILLEGAL to DO the leak.
  • by DanielMarkham ( 765899 ) * on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @10:13AM (#20141533) Homepage

    I understand that, of late, the game is rigged on /. Bush and his cronies are all fascists, keeping a war alive in order to keep up oppression, yadda, yadda, yadda.

    But I honestly wonder how much of this response is based on what we think of as being "right". This guy was right because he exposed an "illegal" program. He narked on a program we don't like, therefore he is a hero.

    But who is to determine what an illegal program is? Should each federal employee sworn to secrecy decide on his own whether something is legal or illegal?

    I can hear the "heck yeah!" calls right now. You will say it was obvious that it was illegal. He had a moral duty to leak.

    The problem with these moral arguments is that one can always take another tack -- perhaps it was legal. Or rather, perhaps it was illegal, but known to all branches of the government, which was working to make it legal. Or perhaps it was legal all along. The way we figure out whether something is legal or not is we have a charge, we have a trial, and we have a verdict.

    If the employee sued the government for illegal acts (using the FISA court), then I would agree he was acting on his morals. But to hide behind anonymity, make his own decision for the entire country, and then claim to he a hero? Heck no. I will not condone such actions, EVEN if they are for a greater good. If we can't keep secrets, we're screwed. End of story. I'd rather have illegal acts by a country that has dedicated public servants, than each servant deciding on his own whether he likes a program or not.

    This is the problem with the highly-charged partisan BS we have going on. It's not just that Bush had a program, it's that it was BUSH. Heck -- he's like the devil or something. We must stop him before he gets to the children! In an atmosphere like that, each side plays to the public servants to do the "moral" thing. The system just won't work like that, guys. We got a lot more problems than one president or program going on here.
    • Legalities (Score:5, Informative)

      by Tony ( 765 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @11:59AM (#20142879) Journal
      Uhm... the bills signed into law determine what is "legal" and "illegal." Something isn't legal just because the president says it is.

      There were laws put in place regulating surveillance. These laws are very clear in what is allowed, and what is not. This program completely ignored those laws, and sidestepped the oversight mandated by those laws. There are laws regulating what can and cannot be secret. This program fell outside the bounds of all those established laws.

      It isn't partisan BS. This is between those who believe the US is based on the Constitution, and those who believe the President should hold powers above all others.

      And public servants should do the "moral" thing in any administration, even the nicest, bunny-loving, thriving economy, no-war-abroad President. We should all do the moral thing, including monitoring the activities of the government (including the President), and holding them to a higher standard of ethics. They are, after all, representing all of us. Their actions reflect our own morality by proxy.

      This is only a partisan issue because the PR has spun it into a partisan issue. If this had happened during the Clinton years, those who defend the current president would've been at the head of the lynch mob. Let's stop caring to which party these immoral, selfish sons-of-bitches belong, and start holding them all accountable.
  • by AK Marc ( 707885 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2007 @12:19PM (#20143171)
    James X. Dempsey of the Center for Democracy and Technology said the raid was 'amazing' and shows the administration's misplaced priorities: using FBI agents to track down leakers instead of processing intel warrants to close the [purported surveillance] gaps.

    Oh, I'm all for using FBI agents to track down people that leak information. There was recently someone that leaked the name of a covert operative to the media in a time of war. Based on the timing and the identity of the person exposed, it appeared to be politically motivated. Please use the FBI to track down things like that. However, for someone that exposes an illegal government activity, knowing that the whistle blowing protections are really honey pots, what are they expecting to do with him? Have the FBI track him down to give him a medal? He did what the FBI should have been doing.

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton