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At the NSA, "You do a lot of weird shit. But at least you don't fuck with your own people.

From here:

The more rational voices in spy discussion (hint hint media, this is your job) might ask a simple question. If this spying is really all about terrorism then isn't it the President's constitutional responsibility to go to Congress and ask that laws - like FISA - be changed to protect America? (Wasn't that where the Patriot Act came from?)

From my perspective, the reason he didn't ask for laws to be changed is quite simple. It's because what they are doing isn't illegal (i.e. it breaks a law), it's unconstitutional. To bring this program into compliance with U.S. law, he would have to change the Constitution.

Also, the question comes up that since FISA is so easy to get a warrant from -- they never fully rejected a request (something like four in 2003 had to be changed and resubmitted), and the spying could happen 72 hours before getting a warrant -- then why did Bush have to go around them? Could it be that it just wasn't practical to go through the FISA? There are many mentions of "technology" in this deal -- what if the NSA were ordered to use data mining, mass screening of email and phone conversations? Could they get warrants to listen for certain key phrases in thousands of calls per hour between the US and certain countries?

More on that here.

And more on the subject: Spooks React:

A few current and former signals intelligence guys have been checking in since this NSA domestic spying story broke. Their reactions range between midly creeped out and completely pissed off.

All of the sigint specialists emphasized repeatedly that keeping tabs on Americans is way beyond the bounds of what they ordinarily do -- no matter what the conspiracy crowd may think.

"It's drilled into you from minute one that you should not ever, ever, ever, under any fucking circumstances turn this massive apparatus on an American citizen," one source says. "You do a lot of weird shit. But at least you don't fuck with your own people."


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