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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


Seitan Worshipper: "Yahoo - McConnell seeks to boost U.S. spy powers"

A little spying's good, a lot must be better

Thanks to Seitan Worshipper for this find!

Ya know, it's unbelievable: These guys can't be subpoenaed/indicted/imprisoned fast enough.

McConnell seeks to boost U.S. spy powers

WASHINGTON - President Bush's spy chief is pushing to expand the government's
surveillance authority at the same time the administration is under
attack for stretching its domestic eavesdropping powers.

National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell has circulated a draft
bill that would expand the government's powers under the Foreign
Intelligence Surveillance Act, liberalizing how that law can be used.


The changes McConnell is seeking mostly affect a cloak-and-dagger
category of warrants used to investigate suspected spies, terrorists
and other national security threats. The surveillance could include
planting listening devices and hidden cameras, searching luggage and
breaking into homes to make copies of computer hard drives.

Yeah, today it's suspected "enemy combatants," tomorrow, it's anyone
who's gone to a peace rally or signed a petition against the abuses
of this Administration.

According to officials familiar with the draft changes to FISA,
McConnell wants to:

_Give the NSA the power to monitor foreigners without seeking FISA
court approval, even if the surveillance is conducted by tapping
phones and e-mail accounts in the United States.

"Determinations about whether a court order is required should be
based on considerations about the target of the surveillance, rather
than the particular means of communication or the location from which
the surveillance is being conducted," NSA Director Keith Alexander
told the Senate last year.

_Clarify the standards the FBI and NSA must use to get court orders
for basic information about calls and e-mails — such as the number
dialed, e-mail address, or time and date of the communications. Civil
liberties advocates contend the change will make it too easy for the
government to access this information.

_Triple the life span of a FISA warrant for a non-U.S. citizen from
120 days to one year, allowing the government to monitor much longer
without checking back in with a judge.

_Give telecommunications companies immunity from civil liability for
their cooperation with Bush's terrorist surveillance program. Pending
lawsuits against companies including Verizon and AT&T allege they
violated privacy laws by giving phone records to the NSA for the

_Extend from 72 hours to one week the amount of time the government
can conduct surveillance without a court order in emergencies.

And I wonder *who* gets to define "emergencies," hmmm?

How is it that the Brits, the Spanish, the Italians, the MOROCCANS
fer crissakes, can figure out how to thwart would-be suicide bombers
and other homicidal assholes with a political axe to grind without
destroying their peoples' civil liberties, but our great Daddy-
wannabes here can't seem to manage? Or is that the plan?
[Rhetorical, I know.]

Four suspected bombers killed in Casablanca

See also the WaPo story about innocents getting dragged in:

Ordinary Customers Flagged as Terrorists

- posted by Seitan Worshipper

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