View Poll Results: Do you agree with the NSA tappin' phones?

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  1. #1
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    Question NSA tappin' phones?

    What's your opinion on the NSA tappin' into your life? It doesn't really bother me because I have nothing to hide; however, it is a bit personal of them to do that. But hey, what do you think?

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    What about searching your home? It doesn't really bother me because I have nothing to hide; however, it is a bit personal of them to do that.

    What about taking your guns? It doesn't really bother me because I have nothing to hide; however, it is a bit personal of them to do that.

    What about reading someone their Miranda rights? It doesn't really bother me because I have nothing to hide; however, it is a bit personal of them to do that.

    What about telling you, you can't pray? It doesn't really bother me because I have nothing to hide; however, it is a bit personal of them to do that.

    The eroding of one's rights should concern us all.

    What bothers me is there is no probable cause. There is always someone in government (and out) that think they know what is best for you and generally that is not the case.

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    I agree as long as there is reason. They will never tap mine for there is no reason.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SamuelFire
    What about searching your home? It doesn't really bother me because I have nothing to hide; however, it is a bit personal of them to do that.

    What about taking your guns? It doesn't really bother me because I have nothing to hide; however, it is a bit personal of them to do that.

    What about reading someone their Miranda rights? It doesn't really bother me because I have nothing to hide; however, it is a bit personal of them to do that.

    What about telling you, you can't pray? It doesn't really bother me because I have nothing to hide; however, it is a bit personal of them to do that.

    The eroding of one's rights should concern us all.

    What bothers me is there is no probable cause. There is always someone in government (and out) that think they know what is best for you and generally that is not the case.

    Yea, your right, but you'd be suprised at how many people it DOESN'T concern. Yea, it's eroding; and the government thinks they know best, but as strong and powerful as the NSA is, there is not much that can be done. Spying on Americans have been done for decades by the NSA, it just happened to catch up with the American people and the media.

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    The issue isn't whether the NSA is tapping phones. As pointed out,that has been done for some time. The issue is whether it is being done without warrants. Which I where I disagree. The NSA is an Executive Branch department. The Exec Branch has a special court which is available 24/7 to issue warrants and can even issue warrants RETROACTIVELY. So the argument put forth by the Bush administration that procedures are too cumbersome in this era is specious at best.

    Soooo....if the NSA can obtain a warrant virtually anytime it wants why would it be interested in tapping phones unless the purpose is something other than national security?

    That is what has me worried.

    Conservatives talk the talk about "we are a nation of laws" but somehow seem willing to give a wink and a nod to an individual they support.
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    Yeah, well the Congressmen are now a little ****ed off when what's good for the goose is good for the gander is applied to them.

    1) Like SC said, the disturbing part is they can get warrants. They're just using highly questionable legal theories to say we really don't need the warrant because of inherintent presidential power.

    It will be interesting to see how the William Jefferson search warrant issue plays out -- there are issues involved that go deep into the past right by the Constitution and into ancient tomes of English law.

    Those two issue are linked completely and inextrictably.

    2) Gaining the records of who calls who isn't "tapping."

    First, I oppose it since a blanket fishing expedition like that shouldn't happen. Hell, the companies shouldn't be keeping the records past a billing cycle IMHO.

    Second, I honestly don't believe this type of data mining is useful. It's hoping to detect a pattern, instead of starting from a specific piece of information and connecting the dots from there. Data mining isn't connecting the dots, it's looking at a Salvador Dali painting and imagining you understand what's going on.

    A couple comments I've heard on the radio on this matter made me laugh.

    One was one pundit explaining how valuable in the past Signals Intelligence was, and gave as an example how intercepted Japanese diplomatic communications (which we cracked the code) gave us an advantage in negotiations over Battleships in the years between the world wars. Great example (<--sarcasm) -- because we forced Japan to accept a lower number of battleships, they intensified efforts to develop the aircraft carrier and tactics that blind sided us. Yes, you can draw a direct line from the "success" of that signals intelligence to directing them down the path of how the won the attack on Pearl Harbor.

    The other stupid comment was that the records where "anonymous" and didn't contain personally identifying information...THERE ****ING PHONE NUMBERS.

    At any rate, once you have a specific phone call you're suspicious of, that should be proper grounds for a warrant or National Security Lettter to start following just those dots of who called who, which while still annoying is at least a much more reasonable use of government power and private information.

    Even in the business world, I'm highly leery of the "value" of data mining -- I think it's overused by companies that no longer have good salesmen and others who know their customers, and try to make up for it with "data." Unfortunately that sets up a Thomas Edison situation -- the computers will tell you people need a better Kerosene lamp; not that a whole new technology and the trillion dollar infrastructure to support the electric light from coast to coast is the risk to take.

    3) The outrage should have started back in the '90s. The phone companies received billions of dollars to build a completely remotely and readily monitorable telephone network. Requiring backdoors in any technology is simply an invitation for abuse that outweighs any perceived benefits.

    4) Also in the "stupid comments" realm is the people griping "ah, they'll now we're monitoring them now!" Hate to break it to you, if someone is stupid enough to be using the same phone numbers; to be communicating over electronics of any means...I'm not worried about them.

    Osama has understood that from the days of, "Hmmm, I talk on my satellite phone and 15 minutes later a cruise missle arrives..." (Oh if we only had Predators back then in station over the direct area )

    If you remember back to the days right before 9-11, there was an assination of the leader of the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan by a "TV Crew" that came with a bomb-laden camera. I am certain that was a coordinated activity -- either they knew 9-11 was coming or I'd be real suspicious that was the "sign" to go ahead with the plan. Obviously they knew retalition was going to come, and causing disruption in the chain of command of the enemy in your immediate vicinity would have been spot on strategy. Something like that needs no phone calls to sleeper cells; they just now in advance what to watch for the media to report.

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    I've got absolutely no problem because as said before, "I've nothing to hide." And I honestly believe that it is in the interest of national security and if we catch just one terrorist it is worth it.

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    I'll let Rush Limbaugh and his attorney explain it to you.

    Rush Limbaugh, from his radio show on December 22, 2005:“Liberals and Democrats,” Limbaugh claimed, “are only opposed to this (eavesdropping without a warrant) because they don’t want anyone finding out what they’ve been up to. … What have you folks been doing that you so desperately want to keep hidden?”


    Rush's attorney Roy Black with Wolf Blitzer on December 15, 2005: BLITZER: If Rush Limbaugh has nothing to hide and has done nothing wrong, what’s the problem with letting the prosecutor speak to the doctors and go through all the records?

    BLACK: Well, Wolf, that’s an excellent question. A lot of people ask this all the time. You know what? We have a right of privacy in this country that I think is important for us to hold onto. I mean, we could let prosecutors and police into our bedrooms, search our computers, watch us having sex. We could let them do all these things, but then we would have a police state. We would no longer have a democracy. I think it’s very important to fight these privacy battles—and Rush Limbaugh has taken on this battle of privacy with your doctor, and I think it has really been a public service for him. Not only for himself but everybody else who wants their medical records and medical treatment kept private and not to be disclosed in the press or with the police or prosecutors or anyone else who has no business being there.


    I hope this helps. If rights to privacy are good enough for Rush, they're good enough for the rest of us.
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    And I honestly believe that it is in the interest of national security and if we catch just one terrorist it is worth it.

    It's no more in the interest of national security than "gun control" is about crime reduction.

    If it's in the interest of national security, they can operate within a clear set of laws; or they can temporarily operate in a grey area while working to get the laws brought up to date. They did neither -- they went right to a shadowy world of "it's legal because...um, because we interpret the law in a way other than it's plain language and legislative intent."

    In the words of General Stark, "Live Free Or Die; Death Is Not The Worst of Evils"

    If we're so afraid of the terrorists to give a government, any government, carte blanche to look into our lives, they've already extracted a price far too high.

    ==========
    And yes, I listen to Rush a couple times a week. Which are usually the best two reasons for me to break down and buy Sirrius so I'm not stuck in AM hell in the mid afternoon

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalmatian190
    If we're so afraid of the terrorists to give a government, any government, carte blanche to look into our lives, they've already extracted a price far too high.
    Considering you have to practically disrobe to get on an airplane I would wager they have already won.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dalmatian190
    ==========
    And yes, I listen to Rush a couple times a week. Which are usually the best two reasons for me to break down and buy Sirrius so I'm not stuck in AM hell in the mid afternoon
    Got it. Love it. Haven't listened to broadcast radio in over a year.
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    once you have a specific phone call you're suspicious of
    Dal, just curious, but if you aren't tapping people's phone calls, how are you ever going to get a specific phone call to be suspicious of?
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    It doesn't really bother me because I have nothing to hide; however, it is a bit personal of them to do that. But hey, what do you think?
    I've got absolutely no problem because as said before, "I've nothing to hide."
    Um...how do you know you don't have anything to hide?? What about the another administration who thinks you DO need to be investigated without consent of the court?
    Got it. Love it. Haven't listened to broadcast radio in over a year.
    I love it...broadcast radio sucks.

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    To put a post script on this.

    The NSA is doing something illegal. The US won the war on facism, nazism, and communism following the rule of law.

    I have a hard time believing we can't prevail in the war on terrorism in the same manner.
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    Okay,after Sept. 11,Al Gore was on NBC and other outlets squawking about how if there had been monitoring of phone calls between the US and Arabic countries known to harbor terrorist,then the hijackings and deliberate pllane crashes could have been avoided.Gore was hailed by one newsie as being savvy and wise.
    However since the sitting President,who is NOT a Democrat has been doing just that,it is considered wrong,illegal and immoral.Never mind that WHERE the calls are being directed is what is being checked on,not what is being said during the calls.
    It sickens me the same people that called for the action are the ones leading the calls for impeachment and excoriation of the President for ordering monitoring of overseas phone calls to help protect this country.

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    Quote Originally Posted by doughesson
    However since the sitting President,who is NOT a Democrat has been doing just that,it is considered wrong,illegal and immoral.Never mind that WHERE the calls are being directed is what is being checked on,not what is being said during the calls.
    It sickens me the same people that called for the action are the ones leading the calls for impeachment and excoriation of the President for ordering monitoring of overseas phone calls to help protect this country.
    Doug. You are shooting fish in a barrel and missing. No one is calling for the impeachment and excoriation of the President for ordering wiretaps on phone calls. The criticism is being done because the surveillance being done is against the law.

    You know. Search and seizure and all that. It's in all the history books.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalmatian190
    And I honestly believe that it is in the interest of national security and if we catch just one terrorist it is worth it.

    It's no more in the interest of national security than "gun control" is about crime reduction.

    If it's in the interest of national security, they can operate within a clear set of laws; or they can temporarily operate in a grey area while working to get the laws brought up to date. They did neither -- they went right to a shadowy world of "it's legal because...um, because we interpret the law in a way other than it's plain language and legislative intent."

    In the words of General Stark, "Live Free Or Die; Death Is Not The Worst of Evils"

    If we're so afraid of the terrorists to give a government, any government, carte blanche to look into our lives, they've already extracted a price far too high.

    ==========
    And yes, I listen to Rush a couple times a week. Which are usually the best two reasons for me to break down and buy Sirrius so I'm not stuck in AM hell in the mid afternoon
    That is why the premise of this thread and poll is so bogus. No one gave or is giving the government of the US "carte blanche" to do anything. The NSA is not listening in on phone calls placed to and from ordinary US citizens. It is ludicrous to think that any government agency has the manpower, time and organization to do that (NOTE TO LIBERALS: 24 is not real!).

    What the NSA IS doing is participating in a program, authorized and initiated by BJ Clinton, to collect (or mine) data on calls being placed to and from known al- Qaeda telephone numbers. Unless you are communicating with the UBL boys, you have nothing to worry about. It is 100% legal and compliant with federal regulations-that is why you don't hear about it from the libs anymore.

    For the libs out there...give us the name of one person, not affiliated with a terrorist group, who has had their phone "tapped" by the US government, outside of a court order.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI
    What the NSA IS doing is participating in a program, authorized and initiated by BJ Clinton, to collect (or mine) data on calls being placed to and from known al- Qaeda telephone numbers.
    Just as I suspected. Norm is in love with Clinton.

    On a serious note. If this is being done within the confines of the law, no sweat.

    But Bush has stated the warrant process is too cumbersome in this era. Perhaps he was speaking off the cuff again. But if that is actually happening then it should be investigated and prosecuted.

    And btw. The only people I see who buy into 24 as a reality show are the conservatives on my crew.

    And then Norm does a laugher at the end by demanding info on something that he knows no can access without proper credentials. I could just as easily ask for him to prove that unwarranted wiretaps against non terrorist targets aren't happening and get the same result.

    No wonder he stood in the other line for LEO.
    Last edited by scfire86; 05-30-2006 at 03:57 PM.
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    George --

    There's a question in my mind whether or not the USA Today article was about the "focused" collection of information.

    If the NSA had a specific phone number they had questions about, they could use a National Security Letter, as I understand it, to request information on what other numbers made calls to / received calls from that number; and certainly within broad discretion of reason, you could follow those numbers and so on.

    However, the USA Today article indicated a broad scale collection of *all* numbers (from the cooperating companies), so they could be run and analyzed for patterns in the data.

    The former is "connecting the dots"; the latter is "looking at a Rhorshach test(sp?)"

    Even if you could make an argument by the collection of this information onto government computers could make "connecting the dots" quicker due to whatever computing horsepower they have, I believe it's still an overly broad collection of information that invites future abuse.

    Monitoring of overseas electronic communications has been done since the 1920s; it seems on an especially broad scale since the 1950s when every call being placed overseas started being placed through facilities NSA could monitor.

    Unfocused signals intelligence -- collect it all and analyze it how we think it might be -- is really a waste of resources IMHO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalmatian190
    George --

    There's a question in my mind whether or not the USA Today article was about the "focused" collection of information.

    If the NSA had a specific phone number they had questions about, they could use a National Security Letter, as I understand it, to request information on what other numbers made calls to / received calls from that number; and certainly within broad discretion of reason, you could follow those numbers and so on.

    However, the USA Today article indicated a broad scale collection of *all* numbers (from the cooperating companies), so they could be run and analyzed for patterns in the data.

    The former is "connecting the dots"; the latter is "looking at a Rhorshach test(sp?)"

    Even if you could make an argument by the collection of this information onto government computers could make "connecting the dots" quicker due to whatever computing horsepower they have, I believe it's still an overly broad collection of information that invites future abuse.

    Monitoring of overseas electronic communications has been done since the 1920s; it seems on an especially broad scale since the 1950s when every call being placed overseas started being placed through facilities NSA could monitor.

    Unfocused signals intelligence -- collect it all and analyze it how we think it might be -- is really a waste of resources IMHO.
    You can't focus on a number until you mine the data. How in the world would you be able to target a specific number if you do not analyze the raw data?

    So you would agree with me, then, that there is no wholesale monitoring of individual domestic telephone calls by the NSA? There is also no possible way that the NSA is monitoring routine international calls. There is simply not enough people and not enough equipment for the millions of calls that are placed.

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    Plenty of folks here in Memphis are.Every week the editorial page has either a columnist calling for impeachment or a letter to the editordoing the same.
    Going back to the legality of the surveillance,most gun owners will remember how the Clinton Administration wanted records of how was buying firearms and why to be given to the ATFE for crime prevention.That was protested widely by the gun owners in this country because it specifically picked out a group of people for investigation,whether or not they were criminally inclined.
    I am not sure how privacy when using a telephone or cell phone(which is basically a radio which can be intercepted by most scanners still)is protected by the First Amendment but I am sure someone will explain it to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by scfire86
    Doug. You are shooting fish in a barrel and missing. No one is calling for the impeachment and excoriation of the President for ordering wiretaps on phone calls. The criticism is being done because the surveillance being done is against the law.

    You know. Search and seizure and all that. It's in all the history books.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI
    So you would agree with me, then, that there is no wholesale monitoring of individual domestic telephone calls by the NSA? There is also no possible way that the NSA is monitoring routine international calls. There is simply not enough people and not enough equipment for the millions of calls that are placed.
    Why would anyone agree with this statement? Does any of us on these boards know the capabilities of the NSA?

    A few of my neighbors are engineers who work for Boeing here in Huntington Beach. They tell me the computing power to do exactly what Norm claims is impossible is very real.

    And it is reasonable to assume the NSA has access to the latest and greatest technology and folks who know how to use it.
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    and if you believe a computer can listen to your phone call to determine what is being said, oh wait, am I typing this or is it a computer?

    Careful what you type....NSA may be watching.
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    You can't focus on a number until you mine the data. How in the world would you be able to target a specific number if you do not analyze the raw data?

    Um, how do you get permission for a wire tap in a criminal case today?

    Do you identify a suspect, then determine what phone number he is using...

    Or do you collect all the phone records of everyone in the community, and try and figure out from among billions of data points what the phone number of an identified suspect is?

    Effective intelligence work depends on working the human side first, and determing the persons involved -- and working backwards from their to figure out who is connected to them.


    So you would agree with me, then, that there is no wholesale monitoring of individual domestic telephone calls by the NSA? There is also no possible way that the NSA is monitoring routine international calls. There is simply not enough people and not enough equipment for the millions of calls that are placed.

    No. I'll give you a little bit of agreement that the first part depends on how you squint; the other two sentences my flat out answer is no.

    If the NSA has collected the phone records as reported in USA Today, that is wholesale monitoring of domestic telephone calls by definition.

    It may not be monitoring of their content, but it is monitoring the activities of a person; nay a society.

    The NSA does routinely intercept international phone calls, and the equipment to record the millions of phone calls is quite readily available if you have the resources.

    If you look at a company like EMC2, which makes high capacity, high performance storage equipment the financial analysts are always a little bit confused by the company. However, their numbers make much more sense if you realize there is significant business they're doing at high volume, low profit with "black" government programs; black enough they're exempt from reporting that business on SEC filings; and while not highly profitable, they size allows them to cover their manufacturing & development costs with the government contracts and make a nice profit on commercial sales. However, the black business not being reported on the books distorts how their accounting looks, which is one reasons analysts used to say the company just wasn't performing as they expected nor could they figure out how it was expanding like it was.

    The tools and technology to collect, store, and sort this information is available.

    Heck, I'm a lot more optimistic of keyword speech recognition flagging an individual international phone conversations to be reviewed by a human ear as a fairly effective way to catch conspirators then I am in "data mining."

    It's not to say I agree with wholesale monitoring of international electronic communications. But I do believe it is done, and that's the reality of the world we live in. Had you asked me several years ago, I would've said you couldn't sort through the volume of data...I don't believe at all that is the case anymore -- the technology has improved we now have the horsepower to plow through this stuff with relatively few human ears being involved.
    Last edited by Dalmatian190; 06-01-2006 at 10:14 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalmatian190
    You can't focus on a number until you mine the data. How in the world would you be able to target a specific number if you do not analyze the raw data?

    Um, how do you get permission for a wire tap in a criminal case today?

    Do you identify a suspect, then determine what phone number he is using...

    Or do you collect all the phone records of everyone in the community, and try and figure out from among billions of data points what the phone number of an identified suspect is?

    Effective intelligence work depends on working the human side first, and determing the persons involved -- and working backwards from their to figure out who is connected to them.


    So you would agree with me, then, that there is no wholesale monitoring of individual domestic telephone calls by the NSA? There is also no possible way that the NSA is monitoring routine international calls. There is simply not enough people and not enough equipment for the millions of calls that are placed.

    No. I'll give you a little bit of agreement that the first part depends on how you squint; the other two sentences my flat out answer is no.

    If the NSA has collected the phone records as reported in USA Today, that is wholesale monitoring of domestic telephone calls by definition.

    It may not be monitoring of their content, but it is monitoring the activities of a person; nay a society.

    The NSA does routinely intercept international phone calls, and the equipment to record the millions of phone calls is quite readily available if you have the resources.

    If you look at a company like EMC2, which makes high capacity, high performance storage equipment the financial analysts are always a little bit confused by the company. However, their numbers make much more sense if you realize there is significant business they're doing at high volume, low profit with "black" government programs; black enough they're exempt from reporting that business on SEC filings; and while not highly profitable, they size allows them to cover their manufacturing & development costs with the government contracts and make a nice profit on commercial sales. However, the black business not being reported on the books distorts how their accounting looks, which is one reasons analysts used to say the company just wasn't performing as they expected nor could they figure out how it was expanding like it was.

    The tools and technology to collect, store, and sort this information is available.

    Heck, I'm a lot more optimistic of keyword speech recognition flagging an individual international phone conversations to be reviewed by a human ear as a fairly effective way to catch conspirators then I am in "data mining."

    It's not to say I agree with wholesale monitoring of international electronic communications. But I do believe it is done, and that's the reality of the world we live in. Had you asked me several years ago, I would've said you couldn't sort through the volume of data...I don't believe at all that is the case anymore -- the technology has improved we now have the horsepower to plow through this stuff with relatively few human ears being involved.
    First of all, you cannot compare the mining of telephone record data for intelligence concerning international terrorism with a conventional criminal case. It is apples and oranges and you know it.

    Second, look at this matter in the context of the federal government. They would screw up a free picnic. They do not have the talent, organization, will or desire to monitor, in any fashion, the content of telephone calls that are not part of a concentrated, targeted intelligence gathering effort.

    If you have a simple wiretap case-lees than 10 phones, approx. 30 days. The time period to get transcripts, organize the transcripts, analyze the transcripts and act on the information is weeks if not months after the order is closed. Millions of telephone calls involving millions of facilities is not practical or possible for the federal bureacracy to monitor with any efficiency.

    (Edited after second reading of Dal's post).
    Last edited by GeorgeWendtCFI; 06-01-2006 at 11:28 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI
    Second, look at this matter in the context of the federal government. They would screw up a free picnic. They do not have the talent, organization, will or desire to monitor, in any fashion, the content of telephone calls that are not part of a concentrated, targeted intelligence gathering effort.
    Would this be the same federal government that is prosecuting a two front war in the middle east?

    How convenient you just dismiss this activity as being impossible because of your preconceived notions of incompetence.

    Maybe that is your experience. Mine is different. I have met federal agents who are very astute and very capable. And I have no reason to not believe that is the norm. (no pun intended).

    Competence or ability isn't the issue. The issue is whether the NSA (or any other agency) is following the law in regards to this activity.

    I would hope that Norm (as an LEO) would appreciate the necessity of following procedures mandated by law and the Constitution in order to ensure convictions.
    Last edited by scfire86; 06-01-2006 at 07:55 PM.
    Politics is like driving. To go forward select "D", to go backward select "R."

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