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Thread: The Airline Bomb Plot - the politics of wiretapping

  1. #1

    The Airline Bomb Plot - the politics of wiretapping

    Very interesting article about a terror plot in '06 and how those sniveling, cowardly bastards were caught. Comments?

    [QUOTE]April 10, 2008
    The Airline Bomb Plot
    By Daniel Henninger

    Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain brought their presidential campaigns to the Petraeus-Crocker hearings on Iraq this week. An Iraq-based reporter appearing on one of the cable networks in the evening said the hearings struck him as oddly decoupled from the daily reality of war for the Iraqi people and U.S. troops there. Yup, never hurts to pinch yourself hard on entering presidential campaign space right now.

    The three candidates addressed Gen. David Petraeus in tones of high gravitas equal to the thin altitude of the American presidency. Sen. Obama colloquied with Gen. Petraeus about the status of al Qaeda in Iraq ��" asking whether the terrorist organization could "reconstitute itself" and said that he was looking for "an endpoint."

    Here's another hypothetical: Would this conversation be different today if in August 2006 seven airliners had taken off from Terminal 3 at Heathrow Airport, bound for the U.S. and Canada and each carrying about 250 passengers, and then blew up over the Atlantic Ocean?

    It is a hypothetical because, instead of the explosions, British prosecutors this week presented their case against eight Muslim men arrested in August 2006 and charged with conspiring to board and blow up those planes.

    The details emerging from that case are quite remarkable and will be summarized shortly. Pause to reflect on the ebb and flow of public debate that has occurred over how free societies should order themselves after two airliners full of passengers knocked down the World Trade Center Towers on Sept. 11 in 2001.

    The view that 9/11 "changed everything" did not hold up under the weight of our politics. Divisions re-emerged between Democrats and Republicans, in office and on the streets. These fights reignited over the Patriot Act, Guantanamo and the warrantless wiretap bill (or "FISA" revision). These arguers stopped to stare momentarily at their televisions when Islamic terrorists committed mass murder in the 2004 Madrid train bombing and the 2005 London subway bombing.

    One sometimes gets the feeling that our policy debates over national security and the journalism that travels with them float, as it were, at 30,000 feet above the reality of the threat on the ground. A novelist or filmmaker, alert to the personal demons that drive modern terror, would with fiction better clarify what is at stake. Start with the details of the eight defendants now on trial in England.

    The names of the accused plotters, all men in their 20s, are Abdullah Ahmed Ali, Assad Sarwar, Tanvir Hussain, Mohammed Gulzar, Ibrahim Savant, Arafat Khan, Waheed Zaman and Umar Islam. They lived around London, in Walthamstow, Leyton, Plaistow and Barking. Most are Pakistanis.

    Abdullah Ahmed Ali was caught on a wiretap telling his wife that he wished to bring his baby son along on the suicide mission. She resists. His suicide video, intended to become public after the planes blew up and shown at trial, promises "floods of martyr operations against you" and "your people's body parts decorating the streets."

    Waheed Zaman studied biomedical science at London Metropolitan University. In his video Zaman says, "I have been educated to a high standard. I could have lived a life of ease but instead chose to fight for the sake of Allah's Deen [religion]."

    Umar Islam mocks complacent Brits: "Most of you too busy, you know, watching Home and Away and EastEnders, complaining about the World Cup, drinking your alcohol." This would be fascinating as one nut's reason for murder. It is instead the basis for an ideology to justify blowing up thousands.

    The prosecution said a computer memory stick on one of the men at his arrest listed the targeted flights. They were: United Airlines Flight 931 to San Francisco; UA959 to Chicago; UA925 to Washington; Air Canada 849 to Toronto; AC865 to Montreal; American Airlines 131 to New York and AA91 to Chicago. The first flight would depart at 2:15 p.m., the last at 4:50 p.m., allowing all to be aloft and out of U.S. or British airspace when they fell.

    The private intelligence-analysis agency, Stratfor, concludes from the trial that "al Qaeda remains fixated on aircraft as targets and, in spite of changes in security procedures since 9/11, aircraft remain vulnerable to attack."

    The men planned to take the bomb pieces onboard for assembly: empty plastic bottles, a sugary drink powder, hydrogen peroxide and other materials to be detonated with the flash on disposable cameras.

    [B]The arrests of the men, who say they are innocent, were the result of broad and prolonged surveillance. For months, the suspects were bugged, photographed and wiretapped.[/B]

    Here in the U.S., our politics has spent much of the year unable to vote into law the wiretap bill, which is bogged down, incredibly, over giving retrospective legal immunity to telecom companies that helped the government monitor calls originating overseas. Even granting there are Fourth Amendment issues in play here, how is it that Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama cannot at least say that class-action lawsuits against these companies are simply wrong right now?

    [B]Philip Bobbitt, author of the just released and thought-provoking book, "Terror and Consent," has written that[/B] [B]court warrants are "a useful standard for surveillance designed to prove guilt, not to learn the identity of people who may be planning atrocities."[/B] Planning atrocities is precisely the point.

    "Atrocity" is a cruel and ugly word, but it has come to define the common parameters of the world we inhabit. It is entertaining to watch the candidates trying to convince the American people of their ability to be presidential. It would be more than nice to know, before one of them turns into a real president this November, what they will do ��" or more importantly, will never do ��" to stop what those eight jihadists sitting in the high-security Woolwich Crown Court in London planned for seven America-bound airliners over the Atlantic Ocean.

    Daniel Henninger is deputy editor of The Wall Street Journal's editorial page.
    Page Printed from: [url]http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/04/the_airline_bomb_plot.html[/url] at April 10, 2008 - 08:17:28 AM PDT [/QUOTE]

    Some people might dismiss this as mere fear mongering, but I don't understand how it can be construed as such if this was an actual plan that was supposed to take place.
    Last edited by JetsFan2012; 04-10-2008 at 12:15 PM.

  2. #2
    Who is against wiretapping? Nobody that I know. The only dispute is whether you need a warrant to do it. Under FISA laws special courts were set up to issue warrants and if something had to be done on an emergency basis it could be done and then the warrant could be issued retroactively.

    Of course Bush said he didn't have to obey the law.

    This is a bs bogus issue that has nothing to do with making us safer so yes this kind of stuff is fear mongering.

  3. #3
    [QUOTE=Queens Jet Fan;2473766]Who is against wiretapping? Nobody that I know. The only dispute is whether you need a warrant to do it. Under FISA laws special courts were set up to issue warrants and if something had to be done on an emergency basis it could be done and then the warrant could be issued retroactively.

    Of course Bush said he didn't have to obey the law.

    This is a bs bogus issue that has nothing to do with making us safer so yes this kind of stuff is fear mongering.[/QUOTE]

    I know plenty of people who are against wiretapping because they see it as an invasion of privacy, another example of the rape of the Constitution, the ever-progression of Amerika, the police state, etc etc.

    Why dismiss it a bs bogus issue? It single-handedly prevented a massive terror attack that would have killed over a thousand people.

  4. #4
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    [QUOTE=pauliec;2473781]I know plenty of people who are against wiretapping because they see it as an invasion of privacy, another example of the rape of the Constitution, the ever-progression of Amerika, the police state, etc etc.

    Why dismiss it a bs bogus issue? It single-handedly prevented a massive terror attack that would have killed over a thousand people.[/QUOTE]

    NO ONE IS AGAINST WIRETAPPING...

    SANE PEOPLE ARE AGAINST ILLEGAL WIRETAPPING

  5. #5
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    [QUOTE=Tanginius;2473856]NO ONE IS AGAINST WIRETAPPING...

    SANE PEOPLE ARE AGAINST ILLEGAL WIRETAPPING[/QUOTE]

    +1

  6. #6
    [QUOTE=pauliec;2473781]I know plenty of people who are against wiretapping because they see it as an invasion of privacy, another example of the rape of the Constitution, the ever-progression of Amerika, the police state, etc etc.

    Why dismiss it a bs bogus issue? It single-handedly prevented a massive terror attack that would have killed over a thousand people.[/QUOTE]

    Name one prominent figure that is against wiretapping. You say you know many so this shouldn't be hard.

  7. #7
    [QUOTE=Tanginius;2473856]NO ONE IS AGAINST WIRETAPPING...

    SANE PEOPLE ARE AGAINST ILLEGAL WIRETAPPING[/QUOTE]

    Are these sane people the same people that would rather see New York nuked than see a terrorist waterboarded?

  8. #8
    [QUOTE=DeanPatsFan;2473880]Are these sane people the same people that would rather see New York nuked than see a terrorist waterboarded?[/QUOTE]

    Who ever said they would rather see NY nuked??

  9. #9
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    [QUOTE=Tanginius;2473856]NO ONE IS AGAINST WIRETAPPING...

    SANE PEOPLE ARE AGAINST ILLEGAL WIRETAPPING[/QUOTE]

    What illegal wiretapping?

  10. #10
    [QUOTE=jets5ever;2473890]What illegal wiretapping?[/QUOTE]

    Uhh.....wiretapping a conversation with one party being an American and having no warrant to do so is illegal.

  11. #11
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    [QUOTE=kennyo7;2473911]Uhh.....wiretapping a conversation with one party being an American and having no warrant to do so is illegal.[/QUOTE]


    not exactly... as FISA allows for retroactive warrants after the wiretapping has been done... but in order to get a warrant (retroactively or not), the Gov't has to prove it's case that a warrant is necessary... so if they can't (they shouldn't have been listening as they don't have enough justification to throw away the 4th and 5th Amendments)


    and therein lies exactly the reason that the Bush administration "case" for revising FISA is complete BS... they claim it's too cumbersome and outdated and takes too long and you can miss communications. NO YOU CAN'T... you can listen in AND THEN get the warrant after the fact. Their real issue with it is you actually have to have a valid reason to listen in... and also that their campaign contributers in the telecom industry need retroactive immunity for breaking the law and trampling on the US Constitution for assisting Bush's illegal wiretapping

  12. #12
    [QUOTE=Tanginius;2473942]not exactly... as FISA allows for retroactive warrants after the wiretapping has been done... but in order to get a warrant (retroactively or not), the Gov't has to prove it's case that a warrant is necessary... so if they can't (they shouldn't have been listening as they don't have enough justification to throw away the 4th and 5th Amendments)


    and therein lies exactly the reason that the Bush administration "case" for revising FISA is complete BS... they claim it's too cumbersome and outdated and takes too long and you can miss communications. NO YOU CAN'T... you can listen in AND THEN get the warrant after the fact. Their real issue with it is you actually have to have a valid reason to listen in... and also that their campaign contributers in the telecom industry need retroactive immunity for breaking the law and trampling on the US Constitution for assisting Bush's illegal wiretapping[/QUOTE]

    Of course, but a warrant is required. Even if its obtained 72 hours retroactively

  13. #13
    [QUOTE=kennyo7;2473952]Of course, but a warrant is required. Even if its obtained 72 hours retroactively[/QUOTE]

    legally the govt has 72 hours to listen to whomever they want while they ask for the warrant.

    That works for me just fine. although if it was up to me they could have 10 days to retroactively apply for the warrant.

  14. #14
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    [QUOTE=Jetfan_Johnny;2473959]legally the govt has 72 hours to listen to whomever they want while they ask for the warrant.

    That works for me just fine. although if it was up to me they could have 10 days to retroactively apply for the warrant.[/QUOTE]


    Man the misinformation on this topic never stops...

    the government does NOT have the 72 hours to listen to whomever they want blah blah blah

    the government NEEDS a warrant to wiretap domestically (both caller and # being called must be in US)

    the government CAN wiretap a call going to or coming from a foreign country where the other party is in the US. they can do this with a pre-approved warrant, or they can listen in if they believe they can prove that they can get a warrant. From when the call begins, the government has 72 hours with which to get a retroactive warrant or else the wiretap is invalid and illegal and violates the FISA Act, the 4th & 5th Amendments among other laws both local, state and federal



    then again, you could be put into office by your daddies friends in a non-violent coup d'etat, walk around the world effing everything up and acting like you are the Emperor at which point you can decide that the 4th and 5th amendments are too much of an inconveinence and just start breaking the law and illegally wiretapping

  15. #15
    [QUOTE=Tanginius;2473984]Man the misinformation on this topic never stops...

    the government does NOT have the 72 hours to listen to whomever they want blah blah blah

    the government NEEDS a warrant to wiretap domestically (both caller and # being called must be in US)

    the government CAN wiretap a call going to or coming from a foreign country where the other party is in the US. they can do this with a pre-approved warrant, or they can listen in if they believe they can prove that they can get a warrant. From when the call begins, the government has 72 hours with which to get a retroactive warrant or else the wiretap is invalid and illegal and violates the FISA Act, the 4th & 5th Amendments among other laws both local, state and federal



    then again, you could be put into office by your daddies friends in a non-violent coup d'etat, walk around the world effing everything up and acting like you are the Emperor at which point you can decide that the 4th and 5th amendments are too much of an inconveinence and just start breaking the law and illegally wiretapping[/QUOTE]

    Tang is one of my very favorite Democrat posters (yes, I said Democrat :P).

    His posts are often full of links, facts and solid backing for his arguments.....

    ....right up to the point where he jumps right over the cliff of leftists conspiracy mad tin-foil-hat wearers headfirst.

    The dichotomy is amazing. Fact, Fact, Fact, Link, Poll, Fact, Fact, MAD CONSPIRACY THEORY!

    It never stops being entertaining.

  16. #16
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    [QUOTE=Warfish;2474038]The dichotomy is amazing. Fact, Fact, Fact, Link, Poll, Fact, Fact, MAD CONSPIRACY THEORY!

    It never stops being entertaining.[/QUOTE]

    Well, maybe the part about the coup d'etat was a bit tin-foil-ish...but everything after that, [I]effing everything up and acting like you are the Emperor at which point you can decide that the 4th and 5th amendments are too much of an inconvenience and just start breaking the law[/I], is right on the money...


    He's probably not gonna like that you called him a democrat...:P

  17. #17
    [QUOTE=PlumberKhan;2474050]Well, maybe the part about the coup d'etat was a bit tin-foil-ish...but everything after that, [I]effing everything up and acting like you are the Emperor at which point you can decide that the 4th and 5th amendments are too much of an inconveinence and just start breaking the law[/I], is right on the money...[/QUOTE]

    He doesn't act like an Emperor in any form, as almost any even casual observer of history could show.

    And if he's so wantonly crushing amendments, it sure seems our Legislative and Judicial branches are really letting us down in the whole "Checks and balances system", since such blatant and wanton abuse should clearly warrant said checks and balances taking effect.

    He has stepped over a certain interpritation of those amendments. One I have some agreement with, mind you, but still an interpritation. Trouble with so much of our founders language, is so mu7ch of it must be interprited, rather than simply adhered to. Anyone who thinks the founders intended these amendments to include foriegn communications into the U.S. via telecommunications is reaching. The courts today may find that it applies to that, but the founders never could (or would) have considered that as valid.

  18. #18
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    [QUOTE=Warfish;2474065]He doesn't act like an Emperor in any form, as almost any even casual observer of history could show.

    And if he's so wantonly crushing amendments, it sure seems our Legislative and Judicial branches are really letting us down in the whole "Checks and balances system", since such blatant and wanton abuse should clearly warrant said checks and balances taking effect.

    He has stepped over a certain interpritation of those amendments. One I have some agreement with, mind you, but still an interpritation. Trouble with so much of our founders language, is so mu7ch of it must be interprited, rather than simply adhered to. Anyone who thinks the founders intended these amendments to include foriegn communications into the U.S. via telecommunications is reaching. The courts today may find that it applies to that, but the founders never could (or would) have considered that as valid.[/QUOTE]


    Point taken...but I see we are in agreement about him "effing everything up"...


    ;)

  19. #19
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    [QUOTE=Warfish;2474038]Tang is one of my very favorite Democrat posters (yes, I said Democrat :P).

    His posts are often full of links, facts and solid backing for his arguments.....

    ....right up to the point where he jumps right over the cliff of leftists conspiracy mad tin-foil-hat wearers headfirst.

    The dichotomy is amazing. Fact, Fact, Fact, Link, Poll, Fact, Fact, MAD CONSPIRACY THEORY!

    It never stops being entertaining.[/QUOTE]


    haha glad I can amuse you :D


    and I'm not a Dem, I'm a liberal... a social libertarian... a green... but I'm no Dem. I voted for a Dem exactly twice, once for Gore and for a Dem Senator. Local races here you have to vote one wing or the other of the major party so that don't count. If you go by my voting record, I'm probably 60% Libertarian, 30% Green (not as many candidates), 5% Dem and 5% other

    I always vote for the candidate, NOT the party... hence my brief stint as a GOPer so that I could vote for the best candidate in 2008 not named Al Gore, that being The Good Doctor Ron Paul



    oh and btw, that was the correct usage of Democrat :D

  20. #20
    [QUOTE=PlumberKhan;2474074]Point taken...but I see we are in agreement about him "effing everything up"...


    ;)[/QUOTE]

    Absolutely and without question. I've said it a million time my friend, Bush IS the worst president (and without fail the worst speaker) in a very very long time. He has managed to mismanage almost everything he's touched in his time, and the War is no exception. I have no love of Bush whatsoever.

    [QUOTE=Tanginius;2474075]haha glad I can amuse you :D

    oh and btw, that was the correct usage of Democrat :D[/QUOTE]

    Thats what we're here for right? Entertainment and enlightenment. You provide both.

    Now, if only I could figure out the terminology so I could insult you correctly for a chnge. :P
    Last edited by Warfish; 04-10-2008 at 03:17 PM.

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