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June 20, 2006

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Frederick Hamilton

Professor Stone,

It would appear that Judge Posner and you are pretty much on the same page with a domestic intelligence agency. I suspect the same page the vast majority of Americans are on. We citizens deserve to have a federal government that protects us within the context of the threats we currently are exposed to. It makes no sense to pretend there aren't terrorists within this country that would like to kill as many of us as they can and as brutally as they can. I can't imagine the Congress setting up a domestic intelligence agency and not putting in place the necessary language and checks to insure our freedom and liberty as Americans.

I do take issue with your assessment of the NSA intercepts of foreign calls. If anything turns out to be unconstitutional, it will likely be the FISA law, not spying on international terrorists with whom we are at war. My review of all the arguments on both sides of this issue gives the nod to those constitutional arguments that FISA cannot trump the Presidents ability to catch, apprehend or kill international terrorists we are at war with and who want to kill you and I at any and all times. Judge Posner is correct. The Constitution is not a suicide pact and the authority to spy on the enemy is not subject to FISA. I understand the FISA court has said as much.

Kimball Corson

Why could not an independent FISA-like court preapprove, in secret, of course, any search algorithm to be used, have also a collateral magistrative investigatory GAO-like arm or division to insure proper application of the algorithm and use of the information obtained, and additionally, the legal power to publicly disclose any improper use of any information obtained and any improper and unapproved algorithm variations. Combine public disclose with a cause of action by those whose rights have been violated against those individuals violating them and Administration violating them and this combination of sanctions can come to take the place of the exclusionary rule as an enforcement mechanism. Executive privilege in these quarters would have to be precluded by law, but a system like this might work to serve the interests of all.

Kimball Corson

One very serious problem with what I suggest is does this Republican, rubber-stamp Congress have the intellectual integrity and fortitude to act quickly and responsibly in this quarter. I seriously doubt it. This Congress cannot even complete its investigations out of political fear of what it might learn. It hallmark is stalling and breaching promises to proceed. It would too likely do what the Administration wants, which is to be left alone to do what it wants without any interference. With such irresponsibility all around, we should be loath to give up much at all in the way of our civil rights.

GARY

Your statement that the FBI "has never developed the skills necessary for effective domestic intelligence" is simply wrong.

Many with a sense of history remember the terror imposed on the African American population by the KKK. Do you rember the KKK lynched people, burned a school bus, and blew up a church in Birmingham killing kids at choir practice?

Rember the green bombs? The KKK planted green bombs in another Birmingham church. Because of its intelligence gathering ability, the FBI discovered and disarmed the bombs saving numerous lives.

At that time the most senior and best FBI agents were assigned to domestic intelligence. The Soviet Union was in fact a threat. Most of what they did is probably still classified, but rest assured they did a great job.

In the town where I live there were once 4 FBI agents assigned to intelligence gathering - KKKK. Now there are no FBI agents assigned here. No informed person can doubt that the FBI intelligence gathering abilities had a lot to do with making America a better place for Black folks to live.

Maybe of late the FBI has not done much in the way of intelligence gathering. If they had, we should not know about it. But at least have the decency to acknowledge the excellent work of hundreds of skilled dedicated FBI agent who risked their lives so that you can live in America, rather than dumping on them

Gary

Reader

Prof. Stone:

Thanks for setting a good example. These are very touchy, inherently contentious issues, and there aren't many out there right now who are addressing them without falling into either personal invective or irony on the one hand, or empty "objectivity" or "balancing" on the other. I really appreciate your using your leadership position so responsibly.

A Reader

New York Document Scanning

I don't see any reason why law enforcement or domestic intelliange gathering agencies should be free of the burden of seeking a search warrant to discourage violations of civil liberties.

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