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Re: How Prosecutors Wiretap Wall Street
From: Valdis.Kletnieks () vt edu
Date: Sat, 07 Nov 2009 12:24:55 -0500

On Fri, 06 Nov 2009 23:42:45 CST, Paul Schmehl said:
communications as well.  Under existing law (if you believe that FISA 
applies) they would have 72 hours maximum to submit the necessary 
paperwork and obtain the necessary approvals to go before the FISA court 
and obtain a warrant.  Otherwise they would have to cease all 
surveillance.  Meanwhile the terrorists aren't going to sit around waiting 
for the warrant to be issued to continue their plans.

Actually Paul, you have that bass-ackwards, and it's important.

They are allowed to start wiretapping immediately, and then have 72 hours
*after they already started listening* to find a FISA court judge and
do the paperwork.  So yes, the terrorists don't wait for a warrant, and
the NSA doesn't need to wait either.

So let's see.. You're the NSA. You develop a person of interest.  You start
wiretapping the crap out of this guy.  You now have 72 hours to call the FISA
judge you almost certainly have on speed-dial. The request will almost
certainly be granted (one source list 18,761 FISA warrants requested from 1978
up to the end of 2004, of which *4* were rejected - but then granted after
modification).

But even *that* is apparently too onerous.  The only reasonable conclusion is
that you wanted to wiretap people that even the fairly lenient FISA rules
wouldn't get you a warrant. And that's important, because the entire reason the
FISA court was created in 1978 in the *first* place was because Nixon got
caught using government agencies to illegally spy on political enemies and
activists.




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