Engaged Buddhism/Current Events         cuke interview with Frank Anderton

Frank Anderton writes:

Illegal Surveillance!

The issue of illegal surveillance of U.S. citizens by our own government is one of the more pressing and important issues that we face today. It is important enough to me that I am spending part of a Saturday afternoon writing and sending this email to virtually everyone whose email address I have! I spent two and a half years of my military service overseas doing the kind of surveillance that is happening to us in our own country today. The difference between that and what the NSA (and other government agencies) are doing today is that when I was in that line of business the surveillance was being conducted outside of the U.S. and not, so far as I know, to Americans. But I have a pretty good idea of what is happening now and how it is being done.

Section 215 of the Patriot Act gives the FBI the power to require "the production of any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items) for an investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities. The function of 215 is to authorize "Access to records and other items under the foreign intelligence surveillance act." (A copy of Section 215 is attached; it may have been modified since this version but it has not weakened the powers of PAT). Title VII, Section 702 (and other relevant sections of the Foreign Service Intelligence Act) requires FBI agents to swear in an affidavit before a FISA court (which is not open to the public, as are the proceedings of our civil and criminal courts) that the surveillance being proposed is for the purpose of collecting intelligence-related information about terrorism by reading our mail, listening to phone conversations, reading faxes, etc. Once this simple affidavit is made, a FISA letter (essentially a warrant) is issued to the agent, authorizing the surveillance sought.

In my opinion, parts of FISA and the Patriot Act violate the First and Fourth amendments to the Constitution, regarding freedom of speech and freedom from illegal search and seizure. I believe each and every opportunity to repeal these sections of FISA and PAT should be seized and acted upon relentlessly until they are repealed. This is only a beginning, but it's a good one. We need to take back the freedoms that were so egregiously eroded after 9/11, and repealing sections 215 and 702 is essential in doing this.

I have only touched on a small part of the matter in this letter, in the hopes that it will serve as a beginning, however small, to righting the wrongs of PAT and FISA. If you don't understand the legal aspects of these issues, or want more information, it's available Online.

Thank you,


(ACLU information follows)


This is how we'll win back our privacy

Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Action <>
ACLU Action
Click here to sign the petition

We came within 7 votes of reining in the NSA. Sign the petition now and tell Congress we wont stand for any more NSA dragnet surveillance. 


Do not forward: The links will open a page with your information already filled in.


Dear Friends,

7 Votes. That’s how close we came Wednesdaynight to rolling back the NSA’s massive dragnet surveillance program. 

With tens of thousands of calls, signatures and emails from ACLU supporters—and more from key partners—we helped push an amendment sponsored by Rep. Justin Amash that would have reined in the NSA to the brink of passing. 

Our friends in Congress said that their phones were ringing off the hook on Tuesday andWednesday, and that it took a last-ditch effort—and some serious back-room dealing—by opponents of the bill to keep it from passing. 

This is great news. It means that for the first time ever, we have a critical mass of allies in Congress (205, in fact!) who we can call on to stand up for our privacy the next time we have a chance to rein in the NSA. And that chance is coming soon. Here’s how we’re going to get there: 

First, we need all hands on deck. Sign the petition now telling Congress that we need them to roll back the surveillance state. Then share it widely among your friends—on Facebook, on Twitter on Reddit… everywhere. 

We’re making a big push over the next few weeks while members of Congress are back in their home districts to show them that Americans from across the political spectrum want to roll back the surveillance state. Every single signature we can add to this petition helps build our case. 

We’re also going local. Don’t be surprised if local ACLU affiliates are in touch in the coming days and weeks asking us all to crank up the pressure on our representatives while they’re back home. 

And at the same time, we’re challenging the NSA surveillance program in federal court—we believe their massive spying operations are unconstitutional and our lawyers are working hard to prove it. We held the opening hearing in ACLU v. Clapper yesterday, but this case may take a long time to litigate. 

So our best chance for rolling back the surveillance state now is the collective action of thousands and thousands of ACLU supporters. Sign the petition now to tell Congress that they need to dismantle the secret surveillance state. 

Now we know that we can win this fight, but we’ve got to step it up. Let’s get started today. 

Anthony for the ACLU Action team