Congress gives Bush administration more eavesdropping leeway
WASHINGTON (CNN) — The House late Saturday night approved the Republican version of a measure amending the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act by a vote of 227-183, with most Republicans and conservative Democrats supporting the bill.
President Bush demanded Congress expand his surveillance authority before leaving for vacation.
The White-House backed legislation closes what the Bush administration has called critical gaps in U.S. intelligence capability by expanding the government’s abilities to eavesdrop without warrants on foreign suspects whose communications pass through the United States.
Lawmakers have been scrambling to pass a bill acceptable to the White House before they leave for a monthlong summer recess.
President Bush had threatened to veto any bill that Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell said did not meet his needs.
The Senate approved its Republican-sponsored bill Friday night. Immediately after that vote, a Democratic-sponsored bill failed to reach the 60-vote majority.
Saturday night’s vote followed fireworks in the House, where an angry group of Republicans accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of delaying a vote on the bill, the president’s legislative priority.
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Bush Abolishes Fourth Amendment
By Lee Rogers
Aug 3, 2007, 12:25
George W. Bush has continued his efforts to destroy the United States Constitution and transform the office of the President into a dictatorship. Today, George W. Bush has issued a new executive order similar to a July 17th, 2007 executive order that allowed the government to potentially seize the property of anybody who they determined without due process was undermining the Iraqi war and reconstruction effort. The language in that executive order was so entirely broad in scope that the executive order even applied to war protesters and political dissidents who might be indirectly undermining the Iraqi war reconstruction effort. This new executive order is similar in nature and uses broad language to allow the government to seize the property of anybody who they believe is attempting to undermine the sovereignty of Lebanon or its democratic processes and institutions. This executive order essentially makes both the Fourth and Fifth Amendments null and void.
Executive Order: Blocking Property of Persons Undermining the Sovereignty of Lebanon or Its Democratic Processes and Institutions
The first part of the executive order states that Bush is declaring a national emergency to deal with people who might be undermining Lebanon’s government or democratic institutions. Below is the first part of the executive order.
I GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, determine that the actions of certain persons to undermine Lebanon’s legitimate and democratically elected government or democratic institutions, to contribute to the deliberate breakdown in the rule of law in Lebanon, including through politically motivated violence and intimidation, to reassert Syrian control or contribute to Syrian interference in Lebanon, or to infringe upon or undermine Lebanese sovereignty contribute to political and economic instability in that country and the region and constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, and I hereby declare a national emergency to deal with that threat.
Bush has already issued a directive stating that he will effectively be a dictator in the case of a broadly defined catastrophic emergency, so the language in this executive order stating that he is declaring a national emergency is quite disturbing. It is ridiculous that he would declare a national emergency for a situation pertaining to a country on the other side of the world like Lebanon. How does Lebanon have anything to do with our national security that would justify declaring a national emergency to deal with a potential break down in the rule of law in Lebanon? This is especially true considering the war on terror and the threat of Al-Qaeda is now a proven fraud. These statements in this executive order by Bush are clearly insane.
The executive order continues.
I hereby order:
Section 1. (a) Except to the extent provided in section 203(b)(1), (3), and (4) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(1), (3), and (4)), or in regulations, orders, directives, or licenses that may be issued pursuant to this order, and notwithstanding any contract entered into or any license or permit granted prior to the date of this order, all property and interests in property that are in the United States, that hereafter come within the United States, or that are or hereafter come within the possession or control of any United States person, including any overseas branch, of the following persons are blocked and may not be transferred, paid, exported, withdrawn, or otherwise dealt in:
(i) any person determined by the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Secretary of State:
(A) to have taken, or to pose a significant risk of taking, actions, including acts of violence, that have the purpose or effect of undermining Lebanon’s democratic processes or institutions, contributing to the breakdown of the rule of law in Lebanon, supporting the reassertion of Syrian control or otherwise contributing to Syrian interference in Lebanon, or infringing upon or undermining Lebanese sovereignty;
(B) to have materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services in support of, such actions, including acts of violence, or any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order;
(C) to be a spouse or dependent child of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order; or
(D) to be owned or controlled by, or acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of, directly or indirectly, any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order.
(b) I hereby determine that the making of donations of the type of articles specified in section 203(b)(2) of IEEPA (50 U.S.C. 1702(b)(2)) by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section would seriously impair my ability to deal with the national emergency declared in this order, and I hereby prohibit such donations as provided by paragraph (a) of this section.
(c) The prohibitions in paragraph (a) of this section include but are not limited to (i) the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any person whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order, and (ii) the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.
Sec. 2. (a) Any transaction by a United States person or within the United States that evades or avoids, has the purpose of evading or avoiding, or attempts to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.
(b) Any conspiracy formed to violate any of the prohibitions set forth in this order is prohibited.
The text listed above is similar to the language used in the July 17th, 2007 executive order. Much of this new executive order is no different in the fact that due process is not even mentioned which the Fifth Amendment guarantees before an individual’s property is seized. This could include seizing the property of war protesters, political dissidents and anybody else who the government can easily identify as indirectly aiding the undermining of Lebanon’s government and their so called democratic institutions through the far reaching scope of the language.
Below is the full text of the Fifth Amendment which specifically states that a person’s property cannot be taken without due process.
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
One of the most disturbing parts of the executive order comes in Section 4 where Bush actually makes a statement regarding people who might have a constitutional presence in the United States. Below is the section.
Sec. 4. For those persons whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to this order who might have a constitutional presence in the United States, I find that, because of the ability to transfer funds or other assets instantaneously, prior notice to such persons of measures to be taken pursuant to this order would render these measures ineffectual. I therefore determine that, for these measures to be effective in addressing the national emergency declared in this order, there need be no prior notice of a listing or determination made pursuant to section 1 of this order.
What is so horrible about this part of the executive order is that Bush states that the individual’s Constitutional rights are null and void because he claim’s that the ability to transfer funds or assets instantaneously would make the executive order ineffectual. He states there doesn’t need to be prior notice of a listing or determination made by the government to justify why they took somebody’s property. This effectively gives Bush the ability to take property without providing justification and without a warrant. This is a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment which requires a warrant and probable cause before property is seized.
Below is the full text of the Fourth Amendment.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
This executive order does not reference anything about the government obtaining a warrant or having probable cause. If the government dictates that an individual is undermining the government of Lebanon or its so called democratic institutions than they can confiscate the individual’s property.
This new executive order is horrible and gives the executive branch of the government more unconstitutional powers. Bush essentially abolished the Fifth Amendment with the July 17th, 2007 executive order and now he has essentially abolished the Fourth Amendment in this new executive order. George W. Bush is clearly hell bent on destroying the Constitution through unconstitutional executive orders and directives. Bush is trying to legislate through the executive branch to dismantle the Constitution and give the President the authority of a dictator. He needs to be impeached and put on trial for all sorts of criminality. He swore an oath to defend the Constitution yet he has done everything to destroy it.