CALEA

looseheadprop has a post at FDL that deserves more attention. Particularly this paragraph:

In 2005, in response to a petition dated March 10, 2004 by the DOJ and FBI, [Ed. note, if you only have time to click on one link—this is it!] the FCCissued a report and Order that said that CALEA applied tofacilities-based broadband Internet access providers and providers ofinterconnected (with the PSTN, Public Switched Telephone Network)Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VOIP) services. There’s a great wiki here.   BTW, the hospital room confrontation between Comey and Ashcroft happened on March 10, 2005. [sic, MarkC is right, this should read 2004]

She makes a really interesting catch: DOJ, FBI, (whose heads on that date, were James Comey and Robert Mueller, then in the thick of a squabble with the Administration over "the Program") and DEA asked the FCC to issue a report stating that CALEA applied to things like cable providers, in addition to telecommunications companies. They submitted that request on the very same day as the hospital confrontation–when DOJ was fighting with the Administration over the legality of its illegal wiretap program. The FCC obliged DOJ’s request for a ruling the following year, thereby legally expanding the universe of communications providers who could be compelled to let the Feds into their networks. The coincidence of timing suggests that one legal issue that Comey may have believed needed to be fixed was the laws pertaining to cable-based communications systems. Or, it could just be a coincidence of timing.

At this point, I’ve got more questions than answers about the potential coinkydink. These are:

  • If part of the problem with the program was that prior to the FCC ruling, they were illegally requiring the participation of cable companies (companies like Time Warner and Comcast), then why haven’t we seen any discussion of the cable companies in any of the reporting on this?
  • The DEA participated in the request to the DEA. But we know from Mueller’s notes from the time that the DEA wasn’t included in any of the high-level meetings on the program. Does this rule against the coincidence being meaningful?
  • To what degree do the various FISA amendment bills explicitly or implicitly include cable providers I think it’s fairly implicit in the SSCI bill’s definition of Electronic Communication Service Provider:

(D) ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION SERVICE PROVIDER- The term `electronic communication service provider’ means–

      `(i) a telecommunications carrier, as that term is defined in section 3 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 153);

    `(ii) a provider of electroniccommunications service, as that term is defined in section 2510 oftitle 18, United States Code;

      `(iii) a provider of a remote computing service, as that term is defined in section 2711 of title 18, United States Code;

    `(iv) any other communication serviceprovider who has access to wire or electronic communications either assuch communications are transmitted or as such communications arestored; or

      `(v) an officer, employee, or agent of an entity described in clause (i), (ii), (iii), or (iv). [my emphasis]

But why not say it directly?

Anyway, those are my initial thoughts. And yours?

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  1. Anonymous says:

    One of the reasons perhaps for the â€vagueness†is that it is intended to cover the entire future universe of communications as well as the existing universe.

    Stuff like WiFi and Bluetooth, and whatever the technoids dream up in the future.

    Folks may argue that WiFi for example, is merely another radio-like technology that needs no warrant to capture because it is â€wirelessâ€, but it is one thing to grab bits and pieces of WiFi communications out of the air, and it is another to place monitoring systems at the WiFi provider’s site and grab â€all†WiFi communications.

    The â€vagueness†of the FISA Updates is deliberate and meant to legalize the placement of monitoring technology at the hub of any communications provider’s network regardless of the communications technology used now and into the future.

  2. Kathleen says:

    Marcy, LooseHP,, I am visiting two of my daughters in Boulder Colorado. Tomorrow night on University of Colorado’s campus Former attorney General John Ashcroft will be speaking, there will be a question and answer session afterwards. What are your suggestions for the most critical questions to ask?

    My questions. Which program were Gonzales and Card there to get you to sign?

    You were ready to resign along with James Comey, Mueller and others if this program were pushed through by the Bush administration. Can you tell us why?

    What would be your suggesstions? I may get some friends to ask questions also.

  3. emptywheel says:

    Kathleen:

    â€Did President Bush call your wife directly to tell her that Gonzales and Card were coming to the hospital room, or did Dick Cheney make the call?â€

  4. Kathleen says:

    Goo check out â€New Follow Up†website for articles about Amdocs and Comverse Infosys and the â€supposed†back door into the data mining being conducted on phone calls and internet communications. I have been posting articles about this back door or the possibility that these systems were infiltrated by another nation over at FDL for over a year.

    LooseHP is mentioning this back door over at Firedoglake.

    looseheadprop, you know about Comey. He didn’t seem to have any problems sticking it to Padilla even though Padilla was never tried for any of the crimes that Comey alleged. Anyway where do you think he drew the line along with other DOJ hardliners like Ashcroft and Goldsmith? Was it vacuuming up the call details? Or data mining it? Could the government also have sucked up the content to go back to if data mining showed a certain percentage possible positive hit? Was it the most likely targets of these operations: politicians, government employees, journalists, businesspeople, and professors, not to mention ethnic Americans?

    I wonder still what it would take to force such a group of anti-civil libertarians to threaten to resign? And all I come up with is a program that would end up surveiling people like them, people of their social and economic class. Because if it was just about the ordinary schmucks of this world, like Padilla, I don’t seem them being overly concerned.

    No, I think was over using CALEA to give the feds a back door into the Internet. HAving the ISPs let thim packet sniff our email.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Kathleen – I am with EW, the who called the wife question is exactly the one to ask, and one he might even answer. I love your other questions, but only have a faint hope he would answer them.

    EW – Why the DEA? Not that I am supporting any of them having at my privacy, but at least you can make a case for the FBI and DOJ being involved in terrorism cases, but the DEA? There is no reason they need general terrorism intercept capabilities; if they are involved in a particular case they can be read in or involved on a case by case basis. I figure I am missing something, but on the surface, this just looks like setting up a police state for general domestic crime.

  6. Jeff says:

    This page on the history of this stuff, and the linked pdfs, indicate that the request for FCC action on CALEA was underway earlier in 2004 – which probably means that the precise coincidence of events on March 10, 2004 might well be just a coincidence, though it could well be, I suppose from a quick look, that the initiation of action around January 2004 was one dimension of the fight over TSP and its legal basis. The petition itself is explicit in talking about surveillance of terrorists along with criminals and spies.

  7. Kathleen says:

    Thanks EW and other with EW. I will ask that question you know far far more than I do about this. I will fit my peasant questions in with my friends if they get up their nerve and ask a question.

    Are my other questions worthwhile asking? If not..what would I have my daughters or several friends who will be going ask after the phone call question?

  8. KLynn says:

    O/T a little… SInce FDL posted the â€diggs†on the site, I have had problems connecting to the blog. Has anyone else had problems? I get many â€server not responding†messages and when the page does load it is in a default font and the right column of ads and links posts below the thread. It seems to be worse each day this past week.

    I have a Mac and use Safari with high speed internet. Every other site I visit comes up fast (seconds) without any default fonts. FDL has taken up to 10 minutes to load…

    So I would LOVE to read LHP’s post, but I cannot…

  9. Anonymous says:

    Klynn – I also use Mac with the latest updated Safari and routinely (but curiously not always) have the same problem with FDL, but not other sites; however, my issues started well before the â€Diggs†thing. I have found that by clicking on my FDL bookmark, waiting a couple of seconds, and then clicking again, the site then loads normally. Don’t know if it will work for you too….

  10. KLynn says:

    bmaz, I should have known you were a Mac person! Thanks. I’ll try your suggestion. It is curious that it’s just FDL…

  11. JohnLopresti says:

    Kathleen, Besides the affrontery of many questions we all could ask, though certainly lhp and ew could frame most expertly, I would take a historian’s approach and ask for a few bon mots from Mr. Ashcroft concerning his internal reflections at the Mukasey swearing in ceremony recently; and I would ask Ashcroft about whether Ashcroft, Freeh, Mueller exchanged any ideas about the importance of reuniting a sadly fractured DoJ quickly given all its recent scandals and the still outstanding incentives in many quarters of government to concentrate even more unilateral power in the AG’s office and white house. I would ask him to state some specific example, and elaborate upon how the Mukasey leadership will help repair the DoJ in a timely way. The trouble with the Q+A format is it is a guaranteed dilution of your own interests, as your question is presented in writing and is edited by people favorable to promoting the speaker’s agenda; and the result usually is substantially less than interlocution, resembling more some stale and carefully devised talking points advisors have assembled for cookiecutter interactivity as a surrogate for real town meeting repartee. It would take a Democratic party member to try to brook that gap and actually interact with one’s questioner, a format in which Ashcroft likely would be uncomfortable.

    Ashcroft is going to answer that people’s freedoms, independence, and privacy all need trimming, and everyone needs to improve their own moral life; to me those are his own internal paradigms and fairly immutable in terms of his innate modality of expressing his thinking. But asking him to verbalize some basic elements of a conversation he might have held with Freeh and Mueller, maybe adding Schumer to that, would be an interesting and fairly easy topic on which he could opine. There are a lot of unilateral barriers in Ashcroft’s mental construct that are hypersensitive to any indication the intent of a question is based on libertine ideals; yet, the problems which have beset DoJ resemble more an unprincipled decay than principled leadership, so I think he is exposed, and his moral framework would recognize the interrogatory is originating on grounds comparably as moral as his own terms of reference. Ashcroft was on the leading edge of the BushCo effort to halt of telcos; some interesting questions could be formulated there, as well.

  12. P J Evans says:

    bmaz

    After all the upgrades to FDL this year, I can’t load it at all on dialup. (It stalls while loading the front pages, somewhere usually in the top post.)
    So I’m not there weekends and evenings, unless I’m visiting friends with high-speed connections.

    (BTW, I’m having the pleasure of returning a DCCC fundraising letter.)

  13. phred says:

    KLynn, fwiw, I also use a Mac and Safari and haven’t had any trouble loading FDL. I use Software Update regularly. Have you done that lately? It might help. Otherwise I don’t have any good suggestions for you.

  14. cboldt says:

    – After all the upgrades to FDL this year, I can’t load it at all on dialup. –

    It’s not â€pretty,†but it works great … I use ’lynx’ for most of my web browsing. Plain text, skip the images, no popups, etc. Very light bandwidth use. It loads FDL just fine.

    lynx for Windows

  15. drational says:

    I am wondering whether this CALEA petition was a way to introduce legal precedence to cover for already ongoing activity.

    In other words, unbeknownst to many at the FBI, DEA and DOJ, there had already been a decision to compel TelCos to allow access to VoIP and Broadband for â€terrorist†surveillance under â€the Programâ€. In early January 2004, when some of the (il)legal issues of the Program were being uncovered, Comey/Goldsmith/Mueller may have tasked underlings at the DOJ/FBI (and DEA) with trying to get the FCC to broaden the CALEA definition.

    These guys were petitioning under the guise of garden variety crime fighting, but the ultimate purpose was to get some precedential cover for the ongoing â€program†surveillance.

    The March 10 petition is signed by:
    John G. Malcolm (Deputy Assistant Attorney General,DOJ Criminal Division), Patrick W. Kelley (Deputy General Counsel, FBI), and Robert T. Richardson (Deputy Chief Counsel, DEA). Considering the level of compartmentalization of â€the Programâ€, there is no way in hell these folks were all read into â€the program†as it pertained to â€terrorism†surveillance.

    So possible timeline:

    1. Early January , Goldsmith finds out that US gov has already compelled TelCos to build in NSA access to Broadband and VoIP, and data mining (packet inspection +/- actual wiretapping) of these communications had commenced for â€terrorismâ€.

    2. Early January Goldsmith asks, on what legal basis were the TelCos compelled to allow access. Answer CALEA. Goldsmith says â€oops, there is no legal basis in CALEA for VoIP or broadbandâ€.
    Comey/Mueller task the underlings to push this forward as a crime issue.

    3. March 2004; â€The Program†reauthorization is coming up. Since there is still no legal basis for having compelled access to broadband and VoIP, there is panic.

    The petition for expedited rulemaking is submitted to FCC.

    FCC balks at issuing immediate decree, and instead holds hearings:

    The Commission declined to issue a declaratory ruling, finding instead that it was necessary to compile a more complete record on the factual and legal issues surrounding the applicability of CALEA to broadband Internet access services and VoIP services, and thus issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking.

    4. March 10, 2004.
    The showdown occurs. Part of the legal issue may be the broadband/VoIP compulsion was done without legal basis.

    So:
    In reviewing the legal basis for the compulsion, DOJ found no existing law for forcing the TelCos to provide mining access to VoIP or broadband (Which CALEA did for Telecommunications defined under the Communications Act of 1934).

    However, the Administration had already forced service providers to let the Government install devices to access all sorts of communications not covered under existing law.

    The March 2004 CALEA petition might have been a sideways approach aimed at broadening CALEA to cover ALREADY INITIATED activity, but do so under the radar of criminal enforcement.

    In this scenario, Comey and Goldsmith could be concerned about the letter of the law irrespective of civil liberties. They may have been simply concerned that the TYPE of communications captured was not established by law.

    TelCos that allowed illegal Government intrusion into communications could be held liable for any government abuse (USE or misuse of the acquired data).

  16. Anonymous says:

    Phred – As you undoubtedly know by now, I am not much of a digital expert. I can’t figure out what is causing my symptoms, but I don’t think it is the FDL site itself, although all their add on goodies and video may exacerbate the problem. I use the update regularly, and just last week loaded the new OSX update (Tiger, am going to wait out the initial bug fixes before switching to Leapord). Also use the latest Safari Beta 3. Still have the issue. What could have happened to my software chain to cause this?

  17. phred says:

    bmaz, wish I could help, but I have no idea why you’re having trouble. I’m not so handy at these sorts of problems either. I’m running OS 10.4.11 and Safari 3.0.4. Hopefully someone else around here has a more of a clue than I do…

  18. Anonymous says:

    Phred – OS 10.4.11 and Safari 3.0.4 here too, on a pretty new Intel MacBook. Thanks anyway. Must be the NSA……

  19. Mary says:

    I don’t think that CALEA and cable providers was a triggering event with the hospital episode and I think that this is partly evidenced by the fact that DOJ/AG started signing off again on â€teh program†fairly well in advance of final FCC ruling.

    I do think there is a relationship in that I think that the Goldmsith review of â€teh program†highlighted a lot of different weak areas that could be shorn up with better lawyering and that was one.

    Of course, I still think the showdown involved whether or not the DOJ was going to go forward, knowingly in violation of the FISC orders re: firewalls or whether they were going to fix reviews so that the firewalls could actually be effective, as per the court’s orders.

    I guess if I were asking Ashcroft and thought he might answer, I’d ask if FISC Chief Judges put up firewalls, as reported, to keep information from â€teh program†out of FISC and if those firewalls were nonetheless breached by DOJ.

    Or, if he thinks that DOJ lawyers are not required to follow orders from a court if they conflict with the President’s interpretation of the law or conflict with how the President want’s to proceed.

  20. looseheadprop says:

    To answer everyone DEA questions. CALEA applies to ALL law enforcement including the local cops.

    Having DEA be co-petitioners is a beard, makes it look like just regular law enforcement stuff. They could have as easily had pittsburgh PD as a co-petitioner.

    Except that DEA does what Shrub tells them to do.

  21. looseheadprop says:

    OK

    Drational said what I have been trying to say, only better.

    Drational is expressiong the theory I am trying to get across

  22. looseheadprop says:

    Mary,
    I actually think there were multiple problems, very broad problems, but I am trying out the theory that this one, because it seems so clear from the statutory language (which expressly excempted information technology) that this might have been that clear cut, black and white issue that forced/ allowed them to draw a line in the sand

  23. Mary says:

    lhp – I think that is a good approach (looking for something very clear as the trigger) but I don’t think it was the CALEA FCC interpretation. I agree with you that it would give a clear statutory language issue and trigger and I would be sold on it if it fit other facts that have come out better.

    First, to the extent the petition was already filed on the day of the hospital confrontation, some of the language from the latter meeting with the President and the line ups to resign don’t, IMO, make sense. At that point, DOJ had already requested the â€fix†for that issue. So the President’s direction to â€go fix it†and the line up of people to resign don’t make sense. If that Petition started the fix in motion, then why the brouhaha and what was left to fix?

    If the brouhaha was bc they were still being asked to â€sign off†in advance of the FCC ruling – well, they did that anyway bc the reports seem to indicate about a 60 day (IIRC) period when the WHCounsel signed off on â€teh program†instead of the AG. That’s an arbitrary time for the sign offs to change if you try to tie it to actions by the FCC on the petition. Also, since â€teh program†continued, even without the AGs signature, I have to think there was something at NSA that made them feel comfortable continuing.

    All of which is why I stay with the fact that what was happening was that there wasn’t enough oversight/procedure/program to actually comply with the FISC required firewalls and FISC knew it. The only ones DIRECTLY affected by that, though, were the DOJ (AG’s crew AND FBI both included). NSA and WHCounsel were not going into FISC with applications that could be impacted. So NSA went ahead illegally spying and WHCounsel – who wasn’t before the FISC directly in any fashion to be reprimanded and wasn’t subject to DOJ authority – went ahead with the certifications.

    I also think that the only thing that would have a â€forgiving†time frame, for something that on the one had is so important people are ready to line up and quit – – but on the other hand isn’t a big deal for 60 days of the program continuing without the fixes being in place – – would be an interaction with the FISC whereby the court was told: We’re sorry about the firewall breaches, we won’t do it again, we have fixes we are working on so it won’t happen again and we really didn’t mean to disobey the FISC orders and we’re going to be better boys and girls now, so please give a a reason amount of time to fix the problem.

    Could just be that I’m hyperfixated on the violations of court orders approach though and so I’m over-excluding another very good possiblity.

  24. Anonymous says:

    As I’m firmly in the camp that â€something†core happened that lead to the leadership of the DOJ and FBI threatening resignation, I’m finding the postings about just what that core â€something†actually is to be most interesting.

    Mary, you argue a very good case that the FISC was central to the events!

    I’m also of the opinion that simple â€principles†were not the justification.

    The romantic in me would love it to be about â€principles†but the cynic in me, and the realist in me, tends to believe that something more tangible was in play. Such as Court orders that could land several someones in the pokey.

    Can’t wait for the shoe to fall in the forest. Will it make a sound?

  25. KLynn says:

    Phred & bmaz,

    I have a G4 Quicksilver running OS 10.4.11 and Safari 3.0.4 so I should have â€enough†to load FDL. I am not sure why, but this past week, my loading FDL has gotten much worse. bmaz, tried your trick with bookmarks and it worked to a degree. When I tried to post a comment, the â€server stopped responding†message came up again… It seems all three of us have â€enough†to be able to load the site.

  26. Mary says:

    btw – the link to the joint petition from the EFF site goes to a 404 page.

    Was that always the case? Or someone bothered by the attention from lhp?

  27. Mary says:

    Really? When I click on the hot link in the post,â€petition dated March 10, 2004…†that takes me to the EFF site, but not the petition. Then the EFF site has a hot link for the petition that just takes me here:

    http://www.askcalea.com/docs/2…..a.jper.pdf

    which is a 404 page.

    Hmmm. I’ll have to see what I can pull up tomorrow. I’d like to see the petition itself fwiw.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Without discounting LHP’s hypothesis, I have always thought the specter of FISC questions/threat of sanctions was likely the prime motivation for the â€DOJ Revoltâ€. It is somewhat farcical to call it much of a revolt, as little righteous correction of the Administrations egregious policies resulted. Mary makes some good points, but it is possible that the two thoughts are not mutually exclusive.

  29. Rayne says:

    I’m with Mad Dogs, leaning towards a triggering event.

    In re: the DEA — not relevant to this discussion per se but it could explain why Blackwater has been considered for outsourcing of DEA work. Sync that up with Blackwater’s new â€Total Intelligence†subsidiary…

  30. LarrySLC says:

    I’ve had to use Camino to load FDL for the last week or so. New IMac with OS 10.4.11, same problem with Crooks and Liars. Couldn’t get Salon to load this morning with Safari either.
    Marcy, I’ve been lurking since the Libby trial, but this site is the closest thing to a religion (or addiction) that I’ve got. Love and light to all (except the shitstain).

  31. Anonymous says:

    Sorry Mary, but you were right on the 404 page. Same thing here. I was only going to the EFF page, but from there you can’t get to the petition. My bad. *g*

  32. Anonymous says:

    LarrySLC, Salon was a different problem. Glenn Greenwald noted that they were disappearing comments due to a â€Salon server maintenance†thingie.

    More likely it was techies like me screwing things up. *g*

    Sorta like: â€I thought you were going to do it. Well I thought you did it. Uh oh…we’re in deep doo-doo now!â€

  33. Anonymous says:

    Rayne,

    I believe the DEA hookup is because this Administration has done 2 things:

    1. Concluded that drug running/smuggling is a prime financial tool for terrorist organizations.
    2. Designated DEA as a â€Intelligence & Security Services†agency.

    Tis likely that the DEA has continually and routinely tripped over drug/terrorist connections in their own massive wiretapping efforts.

    Hence, the DEA is another one of Junya’s frontline organizations in the War on Terra.

  34. mrw says:

    I worked on AT&T’s Private Line Network (PLN) before CALEA was put in place in April 1994. CALEA in 1994 did not cover cable, period. CALEA to put it simply was intended to add hardware to manufactured telecommunication items for tracing. Software needed a hard register for unique ID. Before CALEA, the only way to track calls domestically was via ’vacuum machines’ placed on each one of AT&T’s nodes national network by the NSA. I should know. I showed them how to use them.

    Things changed in 1995. AT&T disappeared, basically. Its government contracts in DC, which again I worked on, were split up. A certain foreign country got the contract for the WH, Pentagon, and Capitol. They quickly threw up a US subsidiary to quell the intel community screams once it was discovered but before it became widely known, yet they handle those telecommunications systems today under a US subsidiary umbrella. Why doesn’t anyone know, or knew then? Jones, Lewinsky, Oklahoma, and OJ Simpson. The Clinton Chronicles. All those dramas, which I am cynical enough to believe were created, stoked, or manipulated for diversionary purposes. The ’ole Goebbels routine. Even the BCCI scandal disappeared under the radar then.

    NARUS was brought in as a gigantic vacuum cleaner for AT&T’s calls — ostensibly for packet traffic analysis — based out of SF and, incidentally, functioning in the same building that the AT&T/NSA whistleblower referred to. NARUS was able to identify and STORE packet info on a staggering scale before it got to the NSA nodes. [The question to ask is what has NARUS done with the info.] But even NARUS’ bragging rights about this has been scrubbed from archive.org. Of course, none of this packet info would be useful without the incredible heads-up CALEA afforded these designers even then. NARUS, until it changed its B o D, CEO, and US status was owned by the same certain foreign country that initially got the WH, Pentagon, and Capitol contract as well.

    The only thing CALEA didn’t cover was cable and VOIP because there was no need for customer service info, which adds a layer of granularity to the identification of telecommunications customers and locations. Now they need it? When there are portable cell phone systems in Europe that are completely untraceable? As well as the original ones Bell Labs in 1992 developed that no one can tap? So check the nationality of the biggest Ecstasy dealers worldwide and it might give you a clue to the DEA interest if you can think cynically enough.

    I dont want to get engaged in a continuing discussion about any of this here, but I will say that EW is on the right track, as are many many people writing on this board. Ditto FDL.

    I’m trying to remember the initial name of the WH, Pentagon, and Capitol telecommunications carrier. It began with Fox-something, and changed very quickly. When I first heard it over 11 years years, I remember my lip curling. I wouldn’t let the Brits or Canadians have control over the highest offices of our national government telephone system. Why is there even the slightest question that some other country could even be considered for it? I know firsthand how easy it is to sit thousands of miles away and tap every word that’s said. Like listening to a radio. All you need is what CALEA gave these people.

  35. mrw says:

    One more thing: Rahm Emanuel was Clinton’s WH advisor in 1995. He is responsible for getting the telephone system changed at the WH.

  36. anwaya says:

    Jim â€so what if I stole the business†Pickrell, in FCC v Brand X before the Supremes, sought ’to have upheld a 2000 decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that cable modem service was a â€telecom service,†subject to various regulations, and not an â€information service,†as determined by the Federal Communications Commission’, according to and other reports. He lost, so cable companies don’t have to behave like Common Carriers and let small ISPs have access as they have (or have had, so far) access to DSL.

    It may be that the cable co’s can point to this decision and say that laws about telcos don’t apply, because they don’t provide a telecommunications service, even when they’re providing access to the tubular interwebs.

  37. anwaya says:

    Jim â€so what if I stole the business†Pickrell, in FCC v Brand X before the Supremes, sought ’to have upheld a 2000 decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that cable modem service was a â€telecom service,†subject to various regulations, and not an â€information service,†as determined by the Federal Communications Commission’, according to this and other reports. He lost, so cable companies don’t have to behave like Common Carriers and let small ISPs have access as they have (or have had, so far) access to DSL.

    It may be that the cable co’s can point to this decision and say that laws about telcos don’t apply, because they don’t provide a telecommunications service, even when they’re providing access to the tubular interwebs.

    (sorry ’bout the previous mis-matched bracket)

  38. mrw says:

    P.P.S. –The system that Emanuel ditched was about three or four years old at the time and cost $8 billion (for the entire federal government.) They just basically brought in a new steward for the WH, Pentagon, and Capitol sections of it and gave them the keys to the kingdom.

  39. pdaly says:

    mrw, the phone system changes you mention above: are they for both the landlines and the cellphones?
    Someone mentioned earlier in this thread or in LHPs thread at FDL that the original company was Foxcomm

  40. Mary says:

    MadDogs – thank you for those links. I don’t have time to look at the Petition until later, but looking at the other page you linked still has me thinking that the CALEA effort was a housekeeping effort, but not the trigger for the hospital showdown.

    A letter from FBI went out in late January (about right timing for the reviews going on by Goldsmith et al and a determination that this was an area where they could, administratively and without asking for legislation, get a some colorable claim to a new tool).

    The joint petition was filed on March 10th. Supposedly the signoffs were done at 45 day intervals, so it could be that it was right after one was signed that there was a push to get the regulatory fix in the works. But showdown or not, that petition was in the works and had already been filed. Apparently no one shut the program down over waiting to filed and no one threatened walkouts then. And the â€fix†that Comey wanted was somehow accomplished within about 60 days of the showdown, which doesn’t fit with the regulatory actions taken on the petition.

    It also doesn’t make sense that the program continued on the signaturs of WH counsel and, despite the willingness of the DOJ guys to walk off the job if the AG authorized the program, they didn’t feel compelled to walk off the job with the WHCounsel authorizing the program while DOJ was waiting on their â€fix†to be completed. That, again, to me says the problem could well have been a DOJ/FISC problem and DOJ lawyers were being torn between their duty to follow Exec branch and their duty to follow court orders. WHC, NSa – those guys were not â€before†the FISC. FBI (Mueller’s involvement) and DOJ lawyers were and Mueller and Ashcroft had to sign off on some of the FISC applications. FISC Chief Judge, according to the Leonig story, was so angry about their firewall breaches (oddly enough, in the spring of 2004) that the words perjury were being bandied.

    Anyway – there are holes with that theory too, but I think it fits best so far. And may also explain how the Gonzales investigation got reopened and why he went bye bye. If he did, in â€odd†case of the delayed emergency surveillance situation, initiate surveillance that was not authorized under FISA AT ALL and that was done despite express earlier rulings of FISC judges that the type of surveillance he was initiating could not be done, then suddenly FISC had a situation they didn’t have during the hospital showdown. The weasel who was defying their court orders and rulings WAS in front of them.

    They could start making some large noises about contempt or other charges and give the admin some unpleasant choices vis a vis its AG. They’d back off of contempt and other kinds of charges only if OPR investigated. WHich meant OPR would have to have clearances on the program. Which meant OPR would have the clearances to also pursue the old referral. And FISC might have even said it would stop processing applications from Gonzales if he made misrepresentations to them. About this time might have been when Lambert was getting unusally talkative about how well the old system worked (including his FISC orders issued from his car) and how bad Bush’s system is and also spinning the stories of how willing FISC had been – AND WOULD BE – to kick a liar out of their court.

    Gonzales inexplicably stepping down might have had a FISC â€explication†if the court was considering blocking him from appearing before it.

    In the end, I haven’t seen anything from any of the Bushleague lawyers that makes me believe in them taking affirmative, Constitution and law protecting, actions but for the threat of a courts power over them competing with the Executive’s power over them. Even there, they’ve been grinningly reckless with little things like telling the truth in multiple filings with court all over the country the last several years. Anything they thought they â€could†get away with, they tried to get away with (and often have – the disposition of the el-Masri suit, whereby the DOJ has successfully defended its right to solicit through execution the kidnapping and disappearing and torture of an innocent person, all piggy backed on DOJ’s successful defense of the right to torture others who have been blackholed until they give tortured â€statements†that can be used to arrest Americans on American soil, all for the purpose of disappearing an American into years of torture with no charges ever arising from the original warrant – – how will it ever really go lower than that? I really can’t think about the facts and implications much, or I get so sad. To think there are not just one or two, but hundreds and thousands of people willing to openly work towards those kinds of goals and pat themsleves on the back over them – and they are the ones given power and put in positions of public trust and they go home proud of what they’ve done. It’s almost too much to think about America’s justice system being at that point.

    mrw – thanks for the info.

  41. Kathleen says:

    O.K just read through all the comments. Thanks John for your suggestion can you summarize for me? Because this is my summary of what you would ask Ashcroft â€How will Mukassey improve the DOJ’s standing?

    I am going to ask Ashcroft Marcy’s suggestion †Was it President Bush who called your wife to let your husband know that Gonzales and Card were on their way, or was it Vice President Cheneyâ€

    My other question would be â€why were you all threatening resignationâ€

    Reading through the comments made me feel confused, I truly am a soccer mom, peasant activist trying to understand all of the corruption that has taken place during the Bush administration and trying to be vigilant. I feel like a peasant amongst some trained big brains here at Next Hurrah, but I am not afraid to ask questions based on my understanding of important events I will read the comments again to clear out the cobwebs.

  42. Kathleen says:

    MMW is that true that Rahm Emmanuel was responsible for changing the phone system in 1995? Where does Amdocs fall into play here. According to several articles I have read Amdocs (an Israeli based telecommunication company had access to 95% of all USphone billing. And that there system may have been compromised by another country)

    Dplay I believe that was LHP who mentioned that Foxcamm was the original company

  43. Anonymous says:

    Kathleen – You are doing fine; don’t worry and keep it up!

    Mary – Exactly. You are much more detailed in your reasoning, but that is precisely my thought process so far as well.

  44. JohnLopresti says:

    Kathleen, yes, that is ok. The concept I had was to see if the three or four interesting guests at that swearing in ceremony had any explicit discussion about what they hoped Mukasey could do. It was my impression Freeh was there as a mute endorsement, but nevertheless, a supportive presence figuratively at what has to be the beginning of a difficult term for Mukasey; other folks had insights considerably divergent from this view of mine, and I defer to their elaboration in that other thread.

  45. Kathleen says:

    I asked Former Attorney General John Ashcroft EW’s question â€did President Bush call your wife directly to tell her that Gonzales and Andrew Card were on the way to the hospital†I then asked â€or was it Vice President Cheney or David Addington†He answered as he peered down at the stage â€I was under sedationâ€.

    His talk at the Univ of Colorado was focused on 9/!!, terroist and how we will deal with this â€paradigm†shift in the threat to the U.S. He was still pushing we are the best country in the world â€we’re number one†propaganda. Repeating that the reason that they hate us is due to our liberty. Sure the opposite of what Micheal Scheuer(the resigned head of the Osama bin Laden unit who has said they hate us because of our policies, military bases and the unbridled support of Israel no matter what they do.

    Ashcroft and Scheuer’s thinking are miles apart.

    The Univ of Colorado audience were rowdy and disrespectful at times. This left less time for pertinent questions.

    †I was under sedation†Yeah right

  46. Rayne says:

    Nice work, Kathleen. Tells us that the next question is directed at what his wife told him AFTER sedation, yes?

  47. Mary says:

    Thank you Kathleen.

    Btw, Thinkprogress has a blurb up about Ashcroft’s session that I thought you might find interesting since you were actually there – you can see how it comports with what you experienced. Thanks again for asking the questions (sounds like he was very uncomfortable with the thought of giving an answer) and sharing your first hand account.

    http://thinkprogress.org/2007/…..erboarded/

  48. phred says:

    Great job Kathleen. He may have been under sedation, but I bet he remembers clearly what his wife said to him about that phone call. And the chance that they didn’t discuss it after he was up and about? Zip. He knows. Dishonest hacks, every last one of ’em.

  49. hauksdottir says:

    Thanks, Kathleen!

    By being evasive, and not answering your question, he clearly shows that whomever made that phone call is a) still-powerful and b) in a heap of trouble when the truth is fully unveiled. He didn’t lie and say â€I don’t rememberâ€, but he did scuttle out from under the lens.

    This appears to be a good pressure point. Most of these guys are on speaking tours.

  50. jdmckay says:

    Mary at 12:01


    To think there are not just one or two, but hundreds and thousands of people willing to openly work towards those kinds of goals and pat themsleves on the back over them – and they are the ones given power and put in positions of public trust and they go home proud of what they’ve done. It’s almost too much to think about America’s justice system being at that point.

    It’s the â€hundreds and thousands of people willing to openly work towards those kinds of goals†that disturbs me more than W’, Cheney et al. EG. a few crooks can be isolated/prosecuted, while a chorus of ’em becomes a constituency.

    I frequently attend Federalist Soc meetings sponsored by law school here (UNM/ABQ) just to see what they’re up to. Guests from Claremont Institute, Republican NM judiciary, CATO, AEI and several others have spoken at these events… much to the delight of group’s sponsoring students.

    The ideas grounding & motivating â€working towards those kinds of goals†are espoused regularly.

    AFAIC, from what I’ve seen they are being institutionalized.