Effect Measure

If I commit a crime against and possibly damage who knows how many American citizens I sure hope Congress comes to my rescue and gives me retroactive immunity:

The Senate voted Tuesday to shield from lawsuits telecommunications companies that helped the government eavesdrop on their customers without court permission after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

After nearly two months of stops and starts, the Senate rejected by a vote of 31 to 67 a move to strip away a grant of retroactive legal immunity for the companies.

President Bush has promised to veto any new surveillance bill that does not protect the companies that helped the government in its warrantless wiretapping program, arguing that it is essential if the private sector is to give the government the help it needs.

About 40 lawsuits have been filed against telecom companies by people alleging violations of wiretapping and privacy laws.

The Senate also rejected two amendments that sought to water down the immunity provision. (AP via New York Times)

Bush demands this immunity but this isn’t strictly a Republican – Democrat thing. Plenty of Republican conservatives are dismayed about this while too many Democrats seem determined to protect their telecom campaign contribution income. A bipartisan amendment co-sponsored by Republican Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island that would have shifted the onus from the telecoms to the government failed. So did one sponsored by the truly vile Democratic Senator from California, Diane Feinstein. She wanted to give the secret court overseeing surveillance inside the US the power to dump lawsuits, not make it automatic. Arguably better than blanket immunity, but only arguably. And I won’t argue for it. West Virginia Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller has also played a despicable part in trampling on our constitution rights. I hope they both face nasty primary challenges but I doubt it will happen.

As the lopsided vote (31 to 67) shows, plenty of Democrats voted for this monstrosity. At some point I hope they have to answer for it. Republicans, of course, form the backbone of the Get Out of Jail Free legislation — as usual. This hideous legislation expires on February 15 unless reauthorized by Congress and that is exactly what it looks like Congress will do. The House version doesn’t have the immunity provision of the Senate version, but no one is very confident the two versions will be reconciled by eliminating the immunity provisions for AT&T and their ilk.

The Democratic Congress doesn’t have a free hand because of its slim majority in the Senate but this wasn’t based on a slim majority. This was a shameful cave-in by too many Democrats.

Disappointment is too mild a word.

Comments

  1. #1 another
    February 13, 2008

    Can we at least expect calm acquiescence from our conservative friends when President Obama decides to wield this unlimited power to spy on American citizens?

  2. #2 herman
    February 13, 2008

    First I want to apologize to Revere for posting here. Secondly, I want to say hello to Randy. Randy is very special. He knows bird flu is slowly evolving into a mass killer of humans better than anyone.
    Revere knows very well we now live under a fascist totaliarian dictatorship, an oligarchy. When Revere was in an airport in Italy, he said in a post, no more blood for oil.
    The homegrown terrorist act has been passed by the House, and is very close to being passed by the Senate. When this law is passed by the Senate, and signed into law by the President, our fate will be sealed. Because this law states very clearly you can be imprisoned, if is can be proved your thoughts were terrorist. How do you disporve this?
    Your thoughts, and your peaceful protests will be criminalized. Please read this law. You will not believe what it specifies.

  3. #3 Shannon
    February 13, 2008

    If your Senator voted for this piece of horse**** then he/she should be voted out of office. Considering the whistle-blowers testimony there is absolutely no excuse whatsoever in passing this betrayal of American values. Pelosi is way too fond of playing nice-she should grow a spine. Some things ARE worth fighting for and this one ranks near the top.

  4. #4 PFT
    February 13, 2008

    Hillary did not vote, Obama voted against, McCain for it.

    The moral hazard here is companies know they can depend on government to protect them if they follow orders to do something illegal against the citizens, who are their customers, and they did so before 9/11, not just after.

    The only one punished was the Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio who refused to spy on citizens w/o a warrant before 9/11 and who has been convicted on charges for insider trading where the evidence could very well have been acquired by illegal spying, or not. Insider trading. Give me a break, how common do you think that is. Message, cooperate or else. Congress may be under simular duress. Its called state terrorism.

  5. #5 Dylan
    February 13, 2008

    Doubt that this is at all “legal.”

    The Senate, nor any other body, or individual, is legally constituted to abrogate rights that you yourself may not surrender…under the Constitutional guarantee of The Bill of Rights.

    You simply do not get to set The Bill of Rights aside, for yourself or others, for the sake of “convenience.” By virtue of the Constitution, you may not “give” them away, and no governmental body may usurp them.

    Period.

  6. #6 pauls lane
    February 13, 2008

    So what exactly are you folks angry about? The fact that lawsuits against telecoms cannot be filed or that the government is eavesdropping on terrorists? Herman you need to post here, perhaps these public health scientists and practioners can help you with your extreme paranoia and delusions. I’d tell you I’d pray for you, but that subject isn’t very popular around here.
    Shannon, the Dems have a problem. Their problem is they are percieved as being soft on national security. Now whether this perception is correct or not is not the issue (I happen to think Dems for the most part are a bunch of pansies – but again that is not the issue). The intelligence agencies have opened up to the American people and said we need this warrantless wireless tapping. Most Americans believe this. They made their case to the American people and lots of Dems in Congress heard this and understood what they heard, ya know? So you want Nancy to grow a spine or commit political suicide? It would be fine by me if she grew that spine (haven’t seen a Dem with a spine in years by the way) because then she just might be committing political suicide, perhaps not for her personally, after all she represents San Fran where intelligent life is difficult to find, but perhaps for her party. Can you not see how much fun the Republicans would have if Nancy grew that so called spine and somehow had this bill killed? Some things are worth fighting for, this ain’t it. And it just FUCKING slays me to hear talk of a Dem growing a spine, when the Dems were hoping against hope that civil lawsuits would stop the telecoms from cooperating with the government. Cowards all. I’d have more respect if they voted their convictions but damn it to hell I am not sure they have any.

  7. #7 pauls lane
    February 13, 2008

    Dylan don’t be an ass. Preach your theory to the citizens of Washington DC and explain how their 2nd Amendment rights have not been usurped by the government.

  8. #8 revere
    February 13, 2008

    pauls: Have you ever criticized a Republican? Or are you just a Party hack?

  9. #9 pauls lane
    February 13, 2008

    revere – this election is killing me. I dislike McCain, who is really a Dem. I might have to write-in.

  10. #10 Dylan
    February 13, 2008

    “Dylan don’t be an ass.” – pauls lane

    They don’t all get to be legally armed with pistols, or assault weapons? That constitutes a loss of rights? In what was — several years ago — the “murder capitol” of the US?

    How so?

    How about howitzers? Machine guns? Rocket launchers? What’s the cutoff point, with you?

    That’s the extent of your argument? That’s it? All guns for all people? Regardless of the outcome?

    You don’t grasp the very obvious difference between your argument, and mine?

    Pretty feeble (let’s make that “brainless,” shall we) argument, on your part, in my opinion.

  11. #11 pauls lane
    February 13, 2008

    PFT – “The moral hazard here is companies know they can depend on government to protect them if they follow orders to do something illegal against the citizens, who are their customers, and they did so before 9/11, not just after.”

    Where the fuck is your proof?

  12. #12 pauls lane
    February 13, 2008

    No Dylan I don’t grasp the difference. Last I checked the 2nd amendment is still in the Bill of Rights. Perhaps you need to re-write your initial comment and perhaps say, “You simply do not get to set The Bill of Rights aside(EXCEPT FOR THE 2ND AMENDMENT), for yourself or others, for the sake of “convenience.” By virtue of the Constitution, you may not “give” them away, and no governmental body may usurp them (EXCEPT FOR THE 2ND AMENDMENT).

    Period.”

    Sound better to you Dylan? Clod.

  13. #13 M. Randolph Kruger
    February 13, 2008

    Heres my first comment on it guys…stop with the name calling. Thats first.

    With all due respect to Revere who I disagree with most things on…He has this one hands down. It was and is a slippery slope we step out on about this kind of stuff and the EXACT same thing happened in WWII. It took the abuses of power in the sixties by the government of these rights to put these folks back in their boxes.

    Thats the reason we have courts and these people have legitimate lawsuits. Its doubtful they’ll ever be heard now. But we also HAD to give these people some kind of cover because it WAS government stomping on the rights of the people. The right to privacy is one of the first and foremost in the Bill of Rights. But, the entire group of rights allows for redress for someone being hurt by government. Were these people really hurt? There are plenty of loopholes but the abiding rights of the country overrides the rights of the individual in times of national crisis. Again, were they really harmed?

    One foot needs to be on solid footing and the other on the slippery slope when these things happen. The you avail yourself of the system if you are wronged.

    No name calling guys. It takes too much away from this.

  14. #14 Dylan
    February 13, 2008

    “Sound better to you Dylan? Clod.” – pauls lane

    You failed to address the salient points of my enquiry. They were really very, very simple. And you clearly do not understand the distinctions, here, yet. Obviously. I assume that this is because you cannot.

  15. #15 pauls lane
    February 13, 2008

    MRK – I still don’t know what these folks here are angry about – the eavesdropping or that the thought of millions of dollars of telecom money might not somehow benefit them?

  16. #16 pauls lane
    February 13, 2008

    Dylan, you bright fellow! I don’t have to address any of your enquiries because you see, you have admitted that you believe distinctions exist! You believe that there are distinctions in the 2nd amendment; but apparently none in the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, and 10th, well until such time as something in the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th or 10th becomes bothersome to you. The odd thing here Dylan is that apparently Congress sees a distinction in the 4th right now and so does lots of your fellow Americans. Your right to privacy just ain’t what its cracked up to be, huh? Sorta like those folks in DC who can’t even have a gun in their own home. Well I’ll tell you what I am going to do about this, I’m thinking of buying more stock in the telecoms. No need to worry about pesky lawsuits. Sounds like an opportunity to me.

  17. #17 M. Randolph Kruger
    February 14, 2008

    I am all for the right of the government to eavesdrop…If there is a reason to. On the other hand we dont have one shit box load of people that are actively out in this country under the domestic terrorist guise.

    But this goes both ways. You look at the possibility of someone going postal and yes, then it makes sense. We get mental pictures of some guy with a bunch of rags on his head and sorry, I served with a couple of those towel heads and I wouldnt want them anything but on my side. Baddassedmamajama’s. A certain Capt. Al Dousari was probably the best soldier I had ever seen and he could take a tank apart with his bare hands. Mean.

    9/11 caused a knee jerk that should have happened during WJC’s watch and to our detriment. They knew who the threat was, they knew where they were. In fact they were offered up OBL on two occasions that I know of. This is the reference that I always make political correctness. Cant be seen snatching foreign nationals now can we? That same OBL had and has warrants for his arrest in his home country of Saudi Arabia and long before 9/11. Charge? Domestic terrorism.

    So we run up against the pendulum swing. Are we swinging too far to the right or not far enough. If there are no attacks or they are interdicted then we are far enough. If there are, then we use the military to tamp them down as I like to say because our ability to hit them is based upon intel.

    The progressives and Dems have a quandary on their hands. They are all about rights of the people and not the government. The conservatives and Republicans do too as they are about the rights of the government and the people. Both in this gig above are moving hard right. They are doing it in the face of public opposition. Why would anyone looking at re-election want that on their hands?

    My guess is that they know something and without a government takeover of the communications systems they have to give the TELCO’s of the US and world a big blanket to hide under. Fear not though, it will be revisited as the threats ease and they will. They did in the late sixties and seventies because of Johnson and Nixon and the ever present J. Edgar. But funny, the Clintons did it while they were in the White House on their political enemies and no one is after them for invasion of privacy. Invasion of privacy is also a civil matter for the better part unless it is linked to a conspiracy to violate and that includes the government. So now you have the law getting ready to be passed.

    Now really who are the terrorists?

  18. #18 carl
    February 14, 2008

    With respect to Dylan’s post: You are correct that the Senate cannot aborgate a Constitutional right by statute but that is not what is at issue. What is at issue is the right of private parties to sue other private parties for violations of law. Constitution is irrelevant here, Bill of Rights would only be at issue if the parties were trying to sue government not private telecoms. That ability of one private party to sue another is a statutory matter and the Senate is entirely within the Constitution to aborgate that. Tragedy here is the one private telecom that did the right thing & abided by the law (Quest) and refused to turn over everything to NSA got screwed on subsequent government contracts. Lesson for telecoms; got along with violations of law and we will fix it later, abide by the law and we will f*uck you up.

  19. #19 revere
    February 14, 2008

    carl, Dylan: I believe carl is right about this. Civil suits are not a constitutional issue but a combination of common law and statute. They are a mechanism to resolve a dispute between private parties that is legally binding. On the other hand, if a constitutional right has been abrogated that could be considered an element in the damages that require redress and might be an important consideration to the trier of fact that is deciding the issue. I’m not a lawyer so this may not be correct. The blind leading the blind.

  20. #20 US Stu
    February 14, 2008

    This is an example of a new situation conflicting with old laws. Now that we have the potential threat of terrorists operating inside the US (they could be citizens), so just spying on foreign communications doesn’t work. Now you need to have a widespread domestic surveillance program to catch them, but this is a HUGE problem. With the current technology, you probably need real-time capabilities in order to figure out who is even a threat, if you wait for a court to review each case the intel is stale. And you have to rely on foreign intel or other means to even identify the terrorist, so you can then obtain the warrant.

    That’s the law enforcement POV. My POV says that you just have to accept a degree of risk in order to preserve civil liberties, making the FBI’s job easier isn’t worth gutting the Constitution. Then again, if we start having a big upswing in terror acts in the US then you probably have to rethink things since a quasi state of war exists.

  21. #21 Interrobang
    February 14, 2008

    So what exactly are you folks angry about? The fact that lawsuits against telecoms cannot be filed or that the government is eavesdropping on terrorists?

    Actually, the people here are mad because the government was using the warrantless wiretapping to eavesdrop on American citizens. Get that? American citizens. Domestic telecom traffic. That could mean they were eavesdropping on terrorist suspects who were placing calls to each other from within the US, but it could also mean that they were eavesdropping on their political opponents (which we know they’ve been doing by various means for years), members of groups they don’t happen to like (which we also know they’ve been doing by various means for years), to random people whose (lawful) activities they might want to know for whatever illegal reason.

    (I actually suspect that a friend of mine falls into this latter category; we were almost certain that his Manhattan number was tapped at one point. His “crime”? Being politically visible, on the political left, and having invented something as a teenager that the NSA was very interested in. The surveillance state has been quite watchful of that particular friend for quite some time now.)

    American citizens. You might be on the list next. You never know, and that’s the problem.

  22. #22 Interrobang
    February 14, 2008

    Forgot to mention: On the other hand, if they were eavesdropping without a warrant on terrorist suspects operating domestically, if they had any evidence for that worth a damn, they could get a warrant, even 48h after the fact.

    So this is almost certainly a dodge to let the Bush Administration coerce the telcos into allowing them to spy on their political opponents, dissidents, and other people they don’t happen to like, without actually having to face any legal consequenses. Because even with “suspected terrorists,” if they actually had any evidence to go on, other than “your skin is the wrong colour and we’ve seen you in a mosque where the second cousin’s brother’s roommate of someone we don’t like goes,” they’d be able to get a legal warrant.

    Anybody defending this in any way shape or form is, as far as I’m concerned, asking to be disappeared, sometime down the line.

  23. #23 pauls lane
    February 14, 2008

    Revere, you say, “On the other hand, if a constitutional right has been abrogated that could be considered an element in the damages that require redress and might be an important consideration to the trier of fact that is deciding the issue.” Not sure that I understand what you are trying to say. As far as I know, your constitutional rights pertain to the government and government only. In other words, my private employer strips me of my 1st, 2nd, 4th etc., amendment rights everyday. I have no redress. Even government employees are stripped of their rights when the government is acting in the role of employer and not of government. A private individual may sue a telcom for some alleged criminal act, but I don’t think bringing the 4th amendment into the civil suit is going to matter all that much because the telcom isn’t under any obligation to protect or not violate your constitutional rights. I think I am saying this right and I may have misunderstood what you were trying to say.

  24. #24 pauls lane
    February 14, 2008

    Interrobang – where the hell is your proof of anything you just posted?

  25. #25 revere
    February 14, 2008

    pauls: I guess you don’t understand me because you don’t understand the law. You don’t sue for criminal complaints. The government prosecutes criminal complaints. You sue for civil damages. If you claim someone has damaged you you can sue for redress of those damages (or torts, as wrongs are called in the law). If the damage involves a loss to you, e.g., loss of privacy you may succeed — or you may not.

  26. #26 pauls lane
    February 14, 2008

    revere – I meant criminal act that could lead to a civil suit and you knew damn well what I meant.

  27. #27 jen_m
    February 14, 2008

    The District of Columbia is a terrible choice for discussing constitutional guarantees and protections, given its entire reason for existence is (per James Madison’s The Federalist No. 43) “the indispensable necessity of complete authority at the seat of government.”

  28. #28 Steph
    February 14, 2008

    I’m not paid to post here. I just want to know if anyone else is? Especially pauls lane – do you get paid to troll? This is a serious question.

  29. #29 pauls lane
    February 14, 2008

    Steph I don’t consider it trolling. Revere quotes a newspaper article, adds his two cents, which is fine, its his blog. Everyone else comments and basically agrees with revere, so everyone is patting each other on the back about how brilliant they all are, and I simply disagree. I disagree with their viewpoints and I disagree about how brilliant they all are. So if by trolling you mean posting comments that disagree with the majority here, then I guess I am trolling, but I don’t get paid. I might get a little hot under the collar and come across as somewhat harsh and for that maybe I should apologize. You want a blog with comments that agree with the authors all the time?

  30. #30 jen_m
    February 14, 2008

    I’m not paid to comment anywhere.

    I disagree with you, pauls. I don’t think I’ve seen much mutual congratulation here in the past few months – occasional compliments to Revere, sure, but not praise for the commenters. And any comment section that contains both herman and Mr. Kruger cannot be said to be in agreement about anything.

  31. #31 pauls lane
    February 14, 2008

    jen-m you take me literally, I was speaking figuratively about everyone patting each other on the back. Clearly, most of the comments other than myself, agreed with revere. Now granted there are some who believe the sky is falling because of this legislation and revere isn’t quite that bad, but they still agreed with revere. I have absolutely no idea what Mr. Kruger thinks or doesn’t think because I cannot understand his comments. He agrees with the government in this case and then he doesn’t. Who knows?! As for Herman, well if you’ve read my comments you know what I believe about him.

  32. #32 M. Randolph Kruger
    February 14, 2008

    jen-m The Supremes have ruled on more than one occasion that the rights of the government to control and combat “the public enemy” outweigh that of the individual. During the sixties when I was just becoming aware of Vietnam in the 9th grade and kids only two-three years older than I was were being shipped off having won the draft, I wanted us to kick the shit out of the Vietnamese and get the hell out of there. From 68 on when my brother was flying choppers and got shot down an unprecedented 6th time providing close air support I was all for government taking down the hippie freaks, weathermen, panthers etc. They were afforded the right to wire tap, infiltrate, and basically do everything the Gestapo did… under the guise of the law.

    Then we got Watergate. Out and out spying on other than the above. It was also being done by the Administration. It had been done by J. Edgar for his own use and occasionally every Prez since the 50’s when the NSA was formed. Shadow government? Even Roosevelt did it on private citizens specifically Commies and left wing groups. So it wasnt so slippery, it just was accepted practice.

    Finally in the 60’s when everyone was in question as to their loyalties with 1/2 of the country against the other half, the police forces of cities and towns started exercising warrants based upon wire taps. The information that these guys were gleaning without a warrant was absolutely astounding. So they implemented laws that SPECIFICALLY prohibited the wiretaps and that included the President without a warrant. FISA became a new name. NSA became the people who asked for and got taps on foreign nationals, couldnt do it on US citizens because they got rights… Uh-Huh.

    Enter Echelon. http://home.hiwaay.net/~pspoole/echelon.html

    Since it was illegal to tap the phones, computers and fax machines of US citizens on our soil they simply tipped on up to Canada and put a listening station in up there. Now they can listen in on about all of the phone conversations anywhere in the world, nearly all of the fax communications and damned sure all of the computer traffic. Takes a while to break it down into readable formats but there it is. So to do a warrantless tap by current law they are allowed to listen in on ANY conversation, wire transmission at any time. Within say a minute or two, they have to terminate said tap unless there is credible evidence that something is going on. YES they can listen longer if they have other evidence sources but its all going to be admissible in court.

    Now mind my command structure was the USAF Command and Control for quite a few years until I stepped into other areas. But let me give you an idea of the power that is brought to bear. A phased array receiver grid by US law was put into S. Florida in the 1960’s and upgraded across the years. Some of the Floridians know about FAT ALBERT that was tethered in Key Marathon. That balloon could literally pick up the phone conversations by the exchange they were using… You know, the xxx-0000. The xxx is what they had and once you get that, you can listen to anything. A certain foreign leader that I heard was cussing about Carter and how his girl friend wasnt being so receptive with him being 60 at the time and she was only 19…. He has a beard. And all of this literally from 160 miles away with no physical contact to his phone lines.

    So with this in mind Revere is right and both of us are wrong. They dont need to wire tap anything. If they need information they can sit like those black comm vans you see on TV in Canada, Australia and the UK and listen to anything and everything they want. Are we harmed? I really, honestly dont know. In the wrong hands you end up with doors getting kicked down and people shot when they raise a weapon to defend their home and property just as they did in Waco. In the right hands you get Sheik Khalid. Thats the reason for the courts and also the reason we are always on the slippery slope and hanging on by a fingernail when it comes to the rights of the average US citizen. Tail Gunner Joe McCarthy used the FBI for his “oversight” committee just as Waxman has and is. Its so very easy to step over the line, and its far easier to just get the warrant. But no, we just cant have that in todays society because they are too quick for government be it Pablo Escobar, Castro, OBL, or one of the other groups and they have rights.

    Those rights are specifically designed to keep government at bay right up until something happens like 9/11. Then government has their way. The Dems AND Republicans are pushing this law thru very quickly and I have to think its for a reason. If its not, it will be gone within five years because thats all it took for them to change it when Nixon got caught.

    Steph….. trolling is a relative term. I dont think that pauls is doing this to bait anyone. He has legitimate points and since I am one of the few conservatives here he adds to things that I try to get people to understand. Lefties are like that. They try to drown you out with everything but information. Using the word troll would indicate that its off subject and it isnt. Failure to understand that the above posts ALL make direct and indirect reference to the subject. We all get off on tangents because like a pyramid, you have to take it apart block by block sometimes.

    For instance, they are talking about retroactive protection of comm corporations now. Well two of the big proponents were Hillary and Obombme until the shit hit the fan about lawsuits. They sue both the USGOVT and the TELCO’s. Well in fact they are now suing me and you, AND they have to tell what and how they did it. Last thing that they want you to know is how they do anything so, hello Congress. This telephone call may be monitored for quality assurance….heard that one before? And Congress then understands that government has overstepped its bounds and they have to have protection for the government and law enforcement. What else could they do? If they sue only the TELCO’s then they in turn sue the US Government.

    Bout the same thing happened in the sixties. The pendulum has swung. It will swing again.

  33. #33 jen_m
    February 14, 2008

    Hey, Mr. Kruger, I didn’t even voice an opinion about this whole business – just objected to pauls lane’s complaint that we are all members of a mutual admiration society, and observed that DC is a special case when it comes to applying the Constitution.

  34. #34 M. Randolph Kruger
    February 19, 2008

    The Supremes have just let stand the rejection of the appeal by the ACLU
    http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D8UTLREO0&show_article=1

    Warrantless wiretaps and eavesdropping are now very much legal. They got batted down in fact just a little while ago. Not even Ginsberg took this one up.

    Okay, so what to do? I want government ot have the right to do it. But now you have to get the procedural laws codified and not someone who wants to spy on their political opponents. There HAS to be balance.

    Here is my best recommendation and I would support any Dem or Republican who would put it up or something like it. First there has to be a reason for eavesdropping and wiretapping on US soil. Second, there has to be more credible evidence of wrongdoing on the front end. In other words, eavesdropping should NOT be the primary reason for the activity. Third, when there is credible evidence of wrong doing it should reach a level that it should be given to a grand jury and a sealed indictment issued. This gives the prosecution the right to investigate everything and by law continue wiretaps and eavesdropping. If the grand jury fails to indict, they must find more credible evidence and return for the indictment. It cannot continue until more evidence is collected. That means that you cant continue it as the grand jury would protect the rights of the individual. That criteria should be maintained at medium levels to render the indictment. Finally, time limit and this should go to a court. The statutes of limitation and initiation of arrest should be limited to 18 months or less. If they have them, they have them. They can request an extension if there is clear and credible evidence of continuing wrong doing. Especially if there is evidence that it will do harm to our national interests, our people, property or our soldiers.

    In other words, you can continue with the sealed indictment surveillance of these people to gather as much as possible evidence. But you cant jump the gun and queer something up for the NSA, CIA, DIA just because you want to go to court. In that particular case if you have to, you can snatch them and that also means in a foreign land. That is permitted by the law now under our national security laws. They just disappear and they get an attorney when they land at Gitmo. They CANNOT be waterboarded if they are under indictment by a US civil court and that includes military tribunals.

    The penalty for losing in any of these courts is the death penalty by the way.

    And Jen_M. You are right. You are basically at the whim of the district under their laws. Talk about terrorism.