Hastert may remain House speaker, for now a Reuters headline. It seems to me that since Denny Hastert is the House Speaker, the qualifier, “for now” is somewhat disingenuous. The headline didn’t need that qualifier at all.
Two different headlines from the same news service, different datelines, on the same event. Once again it’s Reuters:
Dateline Cincinnati: Eavesdropping can continue pending appeal: court
The U.S. government can continue to eavesdrop on Americans’ overseas phone calls and e-mails until its appeal of a judge’s ruling outlawing the surveillance is decided, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled on Wednesday.
Dateline Chicago: Court says eavesdropping program can continue
The government can continue to listen in on phone calls and e-mails overseas until its appeal of a federal judge’s ruling outlawing the eavesdropping program is decided, the U.S. Appeals Court in Cincinnati ruled on Wednesday.
Of course, both stories are misleading as the NSA program looks at who was calling who, not listening to phone calls. These aren’t wiretaps at all. Calls aren’t listened to. Phone records of what overseas calls (initiated by the overseas party or initiated by the party on American soil) are being made, dates and durations. No one’s calls are being listened to or recorded. This is not “domestic wiretapping”, it’s not listening to American’s phone calls, it’s noting that 555-2345 keeps calling a number in Kabul. And that that number keeps calling 555-2345. The government may discover that 555-2345 is calling Grandma on a monthly basis to keep in touch. It may be that the number in Kabul is calling 555-2345 (in, say, Santa Barbara) and is also calling 555-3456 in Cincinnati, and 555-5678 in Topeka. And it just could be that none of the three are related to the number in Kabul (it’s not Grandma!) Maybe it’s a call from Kabul and the recipient immediately calls a number in Pakistan. Maybe Kabul can’t call Pakistan directly but Santa Barbara can help them out.
Patterns, people. That’s what the NSA program looks for. Once a pattern is established a WARRANT can be requested.
The Associated Press headline, Court temporarily OKs domestic spying, isn’t any better although the opening graf is a bit better:
CINCINNATI-The Bush administration can continue its warrantless surveillance program while it appeals a judge’s ruling that the program is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.