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On Dec. 20th, I made a formal request to the NSA "...for any records, including electronic intercepts, that include or are related to the following names, screen names, e-mail addresses and/or phone numbers...", those being all the ones I have used in the last 10 or so years. This was done at the same time I wrote a comment urging others to do so, as can be seen here http://www.dailykos.com/...

Today I received a letter from one Louis F. Giles, Suite 6248, NSA, Fort Meade, MD 20755-6000. Mr. Giles is the Director of Policy for the Central Security Service of the National Security Agency.

Mr. Giles denied in full my request.

More on the flip...

From Mr. Giles letter:
As you know, the President of the United States "authorized the National Security Agency [(NSA)], consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution, to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations." The President also noted that, "[t]his is a highly classified program that is crucial to our national security."

Rest assured that safeguards are in place to protect the civil liberties of U.S. citizens. However, because of the highly classified nature of the program, we can neither confirm or deny the existence of records responsive to your request. The fact of the existence or the non-existence of responsive records is a currently and properly classified matter in accordance with Executive Order 12958, as amended. Thus your request is denied pursuant to the first exemption of the FOIA, which provides that the FOIA does not apply to matters that are specifically authorized under criteria established by an Executive Order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign relations and are properly classified pursuant to such Executive Order.

Moreover, the third exemption of the FOIA provides for the withholding of information specifically protected from disclosure by statute. Thus, your request is also denied because the fact of the existence or non-existence of the information is exempted from disclosure pursuant to the third exemption. The specific statutes applicable in this case are Title 18 U.S. Code 798; Title 50 U.S. Code 403-1(i); and Section 6, Public Law 86-36 (50 U.S. Code 402 note).

Mr. Giles goes on to advise me of my right appeal within 60 calendar days, which I most assuredly will do.

First, tomorrow, I will fax this letter to my Senators and my Representative and ask them if this is their vision of a representative government. And ask them if Judge Alito would support their vision of said government if elevated to the Supreme Court.

So what we have here is a citizen, a voter, being denied any knowledge of records concerning himself due to Executive Order 12958 regarding national security. Along with three laws, those being: 18,798. Disclosure of classified information; 50,403-1. Central Intelligence Agency; and 50,402. National Security Council.

Note, this is not a request for cryptanalysis information, as in Gilmore vs. NSA, in which this memo states

First, Public Law 86-36, NSA's authorizing statute, provides that "nothing in this Act or any other law . . . shall be construed to require the disclosure of the organization or any function of [NSA, or] of any information with respect to the activities thereof . . ."

No, this is a simple FOIA request to see if my fucking name has been vacuumed up in BushCo's computerized wiretapping efforts of the last several years. After all I have sold my Exerscape software in several foreign countries, such as Britain, Brazil, Germany, the Czech Republic, Spain and Israel. I've been e-mailing and telephoning them multiple times. Plus I've been participating in discussions with a progressive attitude, all over the Internet.

And BushCo's answer is: we don't have to tell you.

WE DON'T HAVE TO FUCKING TELL YOU IF WE HAVE ANY RECORDS PERTAINING TO YOU IN OUR GIANT DATABASE. PERIOD. UNDERLINED.

So tell me, how in the fuck would the fact that they had a record of any of my conversations somehow disclose a capability of the NSA? Of course, I have no and have never had any contact with anyone remotely related to al Qaeda, so maybe its because if they do, they've been vacuuming.

But what's truly amazing is that sentence The fact of the existence or the non-existence of responsive records is a currently and properly classified matter in accordance with Executive Order 12958, as amended. Bush has decided, unilaterally, that any record the NSA has of me, an US citizen, is classified. So go fuck yourself.

I've about fucking had enough of this bullshit. It's going too far.

How about you?

UPDATE--after a rather short, restless night, I am determined to follow this further. So you will hear more, I'm sure. To help me do this, to cover paperwork costs, research time, and, maybe, even some legal advice, I've set up a Paypal account for donations. I'm just a poor, starving entrepreneur with this fitness product line I call Exerscape, that is stubbornly trying to hit it big, as my wife reminds me when she catches me on DKos ;)

Anyway, if you feel so inclined, you can make a donation to bewertlegalfund@gmail.com via Paypal.

Thanks for all the tips, comments and recommends. Now I've got some research to do, and I saw that some late night reader has already made a good start on it in down their in the comments.

Keep looking over your shoulder--BushCo may want to more about you, yet another evil Kossack!

Originally posted to bewert on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 09:12 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip jar, better title ideas (4.00)
    All accepted. I really don't want this to die a quick DKos death.

    Thanks!

    "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

    by bewert on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 09:13:59 PM PST

    •  Freedom: DENIED (4.00)
      Freedom of information, indeed.
    •  I just requested my file also (4.00)
      I'm sure I have one since I was one of the first ones in Crawford with Cindy and gave her my tent to use.  The SS took lots of pictures of me and my kid and my car.

      I'm a dangerous character!  Watch out!  I have juice boxes and wet wipes in my bag!

      The Christian Right is neither Witness Every Day

      by TXsharon on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 07:48:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  A request: (none)
      For those of us who cannot seem to follow the directions the US Government has provided (golly, why are they so convoluted?), I wonder if you or any other enterprising person might provide a step-by-step guide to filing a FOIA request? A SIMPLE one?
      •  Hi, MaryScott (none)
        What, no F words? I'm disappointed!

        They have forms, here's a direct link to the NSA form
        and one to the FBI FOIA information page http://foia.fbi.gov/

        The FBI is supposed to work with the NSA, although I can't imagine they get all the NSA info. I'm going to send them an FOIA request, too.

        You go to the form and enter your contact info, then they ask you to describe the records you seek and provide any other pertinent info. In m case I said:

        Any records, including electronic intercepts, that include or are related to the following names, screen names, e-mail addresses and/or phone numbers:
        Bruce Ewert
        bewert
        bewert-exerscape.com
        bewert-gmail.com
        801-281-59--
        801-944-13--
        801-944-80--
        541-312-23--
        541-408-29--
        (NOTE: Some data is redacted here in DKos)

        That is all the contact info I could remember for the last ten years or so.

        The NSA also has a PA option for records with personal identifiers. The above link is for any records with certain keywords, etc. which is what I was most interested in considering they seem to be vacuuming up lots of info and datamining it. I have to investigate the PA option further.

        The FBI is more complicated, as you have to mail or fax it, no simple online form for personal information.

        "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

        by bewert on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 03:46:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Simple, short, well-organized, informative (none)
        Try this:
        A Citizen's Guide On Using The Freedom Of Information Act And The Privacy Act of 1974 To Request Government Records
        First Report by the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight, March 20, 1997

        All the necessary documents are in the appendices.

        Peace

        tenacious questioner scratch... do not fear the death rattle of the dying dragon

        by arbortender on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 03:53:09 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I nominate you for hero of the day (4.00)
    Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Now appeal the decision.

    FOIA law, to borrow a phrase from the Alito hearings, is not settled. It's still being shaped, and this is precisely the kind of action that shapes it.

    FOIA need sunshine, attention, and our care or it withers. It's not the domain of reporters; it's the right of citizens.

    Thank you!

    •  I just want this shit to stop (4.00)
      It scares me, how far we've fallen. I want to love my country, and right now I don't think I do.

      "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

      by bewert on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 09:21:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I do. (4.00)
        I love the people in it. But we've sucked from the same teat that so many other countries have, and the sour milk of control has spoiled our freedom.

        Just remember, we did not elect this administration. They are theives. They stole their power.

        The people in this country elected good, honorable men: Al Gore and John Kerry.

        •  I love the people too (none)
          but sometimes it feels I am falling out of love with them...I guess I am just disappointed, disappointed they would be such sheep, that so many tens of millions really just do not care anymore. Yeah, the system is corrupt but how are we going to fix it if no one cares?
      •  Here's an idea for all of us (4.00)
        Anyone with a little extra cash, or legal experience, or a close personal lawyer friend...request your records.

        We can synchronize. If we get letters back such as you got, we can form a class action lawsuit against the government and hit the courts with it.

        I'm willing. Most of us will only have to make the request and await documented results. One of us will have to file the suit on our behalf.

        Anyone?

        "As a woman, I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman my country is the whole world."

        by MissAnneThrope on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 03:46:17 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's a great idea........... (none)
          flood them with requests.  I'm up for it.  Anyone else?

          If the people lead, the leaders will follow.

          by Mz Kleen on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 03:57:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It's FREE for up to two hours of searching (none)
            Check the link above the fold for info. Check into a PA request as well.

            "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

            by bewert on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 04:26:15 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Thanks! (none)

              If the people lead, the leaders will follow.

              by Mz Kleen on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 04:37:29 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Did you do it? (none)
                I just did. What was with the page after you send the request, that says the Privacy Act prohibits these requests via email and to fax or snail mail with a signature?

                "As a woman, I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman my country is the whole world."

                by MissAnneThrope on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 11:04:29 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  It did? I got a confirmation screen on Dec. 20 (none)
                  Maybe they've been getting too many.

                  "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

                  by bewert on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 11:57:39 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I got confirmation (none)
                    But below where it says "keep for your records" there was something about the Privacy Act and not being able to request via electronic submission. Do you recall that? Assume they meant a privacy act request, not FOIA request.

                    "As a woman, I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman my country is the whole world."

                    by MissAnneThrope on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 12:52:29 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

        •  I sent it in with Howard Dean (none)
          Is that the same thing as you are saying to do?? COuld someone let me know? Thanks.

          Republicans to Americans: "Are there no prisons?...And the Union workhouses?...Are they still in operation?"

          by adigal on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 05:41:48 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Was there already a movement? (none)
            I posted this before reading lower and seeing the DNC did something already. For those of us who didn't, we should still flood them with requests, so as to get included on any future class action lawsuit that might come down the pike.

            Not even sure it's possible to sue them over this. But if it is, we want to help that along.

            "As a woman, I have no country. As a woman I want no country. As a woman my country is the whole world."

            by MissAnneThrope on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 06:17:43 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, Dean filed like 100,000+ FOIA's (none)
            for people who signed up. Delivered them himself.

            It's the same, I believe (Notice spineless hedging there.)

            But that's a group protest.

            Individuals filing on their own behalf, like this, may send a stronger message. It's like the difference between a group email to a politician and your own personal letter.

          •  No, Dean's FOIA was for info on the program (4.00)
            I signed up for that, too. From his e-mail to me describing the delivery of all the requests:
            Shortly after it was revealed that the Bush Administration had been using the National Security Agency to spy on American citizens without oversight by any court, Governor Dean sent an email asking you to join him in signing a Freedom of Information Act request demanding that the White House release Justice Department memos outlining the supposed authority for this illegal program.

            "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

            by bewert on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 07:03:21 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  I'm up for it (none)
          I just don't know how to go about it... somebody let me know

          "I worry a great deal about the future of democracy in America"
          - President of St. Lawrence University Daniel Sullivan at Commencement 2004

          by Team Slacker on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 09:02:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  No! DEMAND that you Congress SCUM (none)
      appeal and appeal and appeal. Demand that the scum in Congress do their jobs and keep us informed.

      If you make a demand of them and they do not follow up immediately let us know and we will POUND THE SHIT OUT OF THEM/HIM/HER.

      Who is your scum member of Congress? Thug or Dem?

      Maybe we should all start asking and being denied, then get our own scum to follow up.

    •  bush plans to fight this all (none)
      of the way to the supreme court. alito must be filibustered. the dems need to make the public aware of what bush's intentions are, but they have waited too long. they only have until the 24th. they should have pushed alito on the expanded executive.
  •  Rest assured that safeguards... (4.00)
    Oh, well I guess everything is alright, then...
  •  bewert (4.00)
    What the fuck did you do?  Surely a nice, decent seeming person like yourself wouldn't have done something to arouse the ire of those nice chaps in the underground bunkers out at Ft. Meade?
    •  I wonder.... (none)
      I try to be reasonable, even to those nuts on israelinsider.com and freerepublic.com (although I have to post there under an assumed name since they booted me), I try to back my facts up with links, preferably from their side, but if the net is large enough...

      "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

      by bewert on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 09:26:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There's a site (none)
        called israelinsider.com?  Seriously, the shit I don't know... (I'm not kidding, I'd never heard of it before)
        •  Yeah, it's just left of Baruch Goldstein (4.00)
          Here's a representative article, about the current unrest in Hebron, where settler youth have been rioting for the past few days: http://web.israelinsider.com/...
          The fight over Hebron, where tradition says the biblical Jewish patriarchs are buried, has special resonance for the settlers. Many of the settlers here are extreme, religious nationalists and the city has been the scene of harsh fighting during the five years of Israel-Palestinian violence.

          Hebron is the only West Bank city divided between Palestinian and Israeli zones. Israeli forces control the center of the city, where about 500 settlers live in several compounds. Settlers often clash with local Palestinians.

          Those 500 settlers have taken over the center of a city of 170,000 Palestinians, to the point where on Jewish holidays the Palestinians are under a 24-hour curfew while the settlers conduct tours through their neighborhoods.

          Here's a couple of comments from readers:

          "It's the right of CONQUEST.
          It has been the right by which nations were formed for milleniums. Israel not only has that right, but also a history and heritage, along with the promise of G-d."

          "Jennifer: read your history books and you might just learn that Hevron is a 500 year old Jewish community genocidally wiped out by murdering Arabs in a massacre.
          Why is it that people like you are so uninformed and so unashamed about advertising it?"

          "Hebron is Jewish, it's always been Jewish and for 3500 years there's been a Jewish presence there.

          The land of Hebron was paid for by Jewish money more than a century ago - and it's all on record. It's not stolen land, it was a proper business transaction."

          And those are actually rather mild ;)

          "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

          by bewert on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 09:58:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh boy (4.00)
            A website for all of America's finest Yeshiva-educated psychopaths, eh?  Just what the world needs.  As if the message boards at the Jerusalem Post wasn't bad enough.

            Not to generalize, but if I had a quarter for every bratty conservative American Jew getting tanked on Ben Yehuda Street on a Saturday night who couldn't wait to send me and my friends off to fight and kill to make sure they could pretend they were going to dare to visit Esther's Tomb some day, I'd be able to afford my own Republican congressman.

      •  I got the same form letter... (4.00)
        And I'm glad you wrote this diary.

        I was thinking of writing one, but you did such a good job...

        despot : 1. A master; an absolute or irresponsible ruler or sovereign. 2. One who rules regardless of a constitution or laws; a tyrant.

        by wrights on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 09:51:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You going to appeal? n/t (4.00)

          "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

          by bewert on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 09:59:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Probably... (4.00)
            It is in violation of the fourth ammendment.

            Our rights are being violated.

            They should prove that I DON'T have a file!

            I never call overseas, I just filed for curiosity, and to stand up to power.

            despot : 1. A master; an absolute or irresponsible ruler or sovereign. 2. One who rules regardless of a constitution or laws; a tyrant.

            by wrights on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 10:20:21 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Was yours exactly the same wording? n/t (none)
          but just from a different Mr. Giles?
          •  Louis F Giles (4.00)
            Director of Policy.

            "We can neither confirm nor deny the existence or non-existence of records responsive to your request. The fact of the existence or non-existence of responsive records is a currently and properly clsssified matter in accordance with Executive Order 12958, as amended. Thus your request is denied pursuant to matters that are specifically authorized under criterea established by an executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or forign relations and are properly classified pursuant to such Executive order.

            Moreover the third exemption from FOIA provides for the witholding of information specifically protected from disclosure by statute."

            Request also denied pursuant to "Title 18 US Code 798; Title 50 US code 403-1, and Section 6, Public Law 86-36 (50 US Code 402)

            despot : 1. A master; an absolute or irresponsible ruler or sovereign. 2. One who rules regardless of a constitution or laws; a tyrant.

            by wrights on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 10:33:03 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  From your XPlayer samples page (none)
        bewert,
        I like some of the videos you include
        • Al-Jazeera TV story on Jenin
        • WTC North Tower Collapse--see the white explosions from the windows?
        (I, for one, enjoy your selection.)
        I doubt having the words Al-Jazeera on your website would be enough to trigger the NSA to send the FBI on a wild goose chase. No, not at all.

        The Place of Dead Roads
        "The City of Louisiana has dodged the bullet with Hurricane Corrina."

        by Dr Benway on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 10:33:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hey, what about my 1st Amendment rights! (none)
          n/t

          "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

          by bewert on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 10:50:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'm sorry (4.00)
            were you using them?

            We didn't think you needed them.

            The Place of Dead Roads
            "The City of Louisiana has dodged the bullet with Hurricane Corrina."

            by Dr Benway on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 10:53:39 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Why do you want your 1st amendment rights (none)
            It has been decided, you don't need them:

            You would only misuse them protesting or questioning the administrations wise decisions.

            As a matter of fact, merely wanting your 1st amendment rights makes you suspect so therefore the administration was right to take them from you.

            On the bright side the Supreme Court has upheld your right to die

            An empty limosine pulled up and George W. Bush got out.

            by beerm on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 10:32:21 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Birmingham jail (none)
            Was actually the Bessemer jail. Not to challenge an institutionalized miserepresentation, but facts are facts.

            You can't coat a wolf in chocolate because a wolf already has its own fur.

            by Krum on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 12:50:27 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Really? (none)
              I thought I researched it pretty good.

              "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

              by bewert on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 01:56:14 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Truth vs. Truthiness (none)
                It is a fact that he was held in Bessemer, a town just southeast of Birmingham. This, I understand, was done by way of providing him with a safer environment. I have even heard, but cannot confirm at the moment that Bull Connor suggested the idea.

                I only bring this up, because Bessemer jail just doesn't have the same ring to it, and people couldn't relate to a town not known outside of Alabama, for the most part.  Not that any of this makes a lick of difference.... Sorry to waste your time with this little factoid.

                You can't coat a wolf in chocolate because a wolf already has its own fur.

                by Krum on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 07:17:52 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  You think you have to actually (none)
      do something to get spied on? Put on the no fly list? Grabbed off the street? Sadly, no.
  •  Have you also requested a PA request? (4.00)
    as opposed to FOIA request? Privacy Act requires federal agencies to disclose if they have a personally identifiable file on you. Of course, same "we can't tell you for reasons of national security" bullshit applies.

    This NSA link describes the process for both FOIA and PA.

    Good luck with your appeal. Call ACLU and join their suit now.

  •  Meteor Blades (4.00)
    had a definition of FOIA requests on another thread that seems to mean that they can do whatever they like.
     

    FOIA request would probably be ... (none / 1)

    ...denied on grounds (even if bogus grounds) of

    (1) (A) specifically authorized under criteria established by an Executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy ...

    {snip}

    (7) records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the extent that the production of such law enforcement records or information (A) could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings, (B) would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication, (C) could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, (D) could reasonably be expected to disclose the identity of a confidential source, including a State, local, or foreign agency or authority or any private institution which furnished information on a confidential basis, and, in the case of a record or information compiled by a criminal law enforcement authority in the course of a criminal investigation or by an agency conducting a lawful national security intelligence investigation, information furnished by a confidential source, (E) would disclose techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions, or would disclose guidelines for law enforcement investigations or prosecutions if such disclosure could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law ...

    •  the stinker on this is the first point (none)
      on executive order and (E) on the second points, disclosing procedures for law enforcement.

      The secret is how, now

      (and I feel like I should add 'brown cow.')

      not if they're spying on us.

      That's why this single FOIA is so important.

  •  NSA file (4.00)
     Geez, I don't know if you did have a file, but you certainly do now...and you gave them a whole long list of leads!

     I think it is odd they start off with the "Constitutionality" of the program...doesn't make me feel any safer!

     I was thinking about this the other day...I work in an office that regularly calls Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan (yes, you heard me), Russia, Egypt, Georgia, and Azerbaijan...do you think those calls are being listened to?

    People frequently confuse the concepts of ethics and morality ...of the two, it is ethics that is commonly confused with stupidity.

    by Mote Dai on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 09:31:14 PM PST

    •  If bewert "has one now"... (4.00)
      ...meaning that the NSA just started one on him because of his request...well, that would kinda make the NSA really pretty stupid in its procedures, wouldn't it?

      I mean, how many petty criminals would call up the local police precinct house and ask if the cops had him/her under surveillance? So, would it be much different, dropping a similar request to the NSA, and all?

      About the calls that your office has made to the 'stans, etc. - you can bet that they've been sampled.

    •  Yep! Especially to those oil producing areas. (none)
      n/t

      "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

      by bewert on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 09:45:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The Certainty Principle. (4.00)
      If not on file, NSA has your data in some undifferentiated reservoir.

      This does not officially constitute spying on you.

      Only if they look up the data for an official purpose does it constitute spying.

      So if you ask them if you have information on you, they have to look.

      And being looked at is the only condition that separates the official existence of information from its official nonexistence.

      {routing protocol: These are not the people we are looking for.}

  •  for the beguiled mr giles (4.00)
    to tell you anything would be to violate the National Paranoia Act of 2001.
  •  Well (none)
    Easy on the NSA.

    Bush has decided, unilaterally, that any record the NSA has of me, an US citizen, is classified. So go fuck yourself.

    It's not classified.  It's just exempt from the FOIA, as far as  I can see.

    The NSA, unlike Bush, really does have to comply with the law.  So I can't really fault them for not filling your request.

    The FOIA specifies specific exemptions and the clear reading is that they are able to easily reject your request legally.

    So I guess I don't understand what you are appealing their interpretation of the statue, or the executive order?  

    •  Don't know yet, have to read the statutes (none)
      And the relevant cases. Been collecting some to my favorites.

      Your read is that the NSA is legally bound to summarily deny all FOIA requests?

      "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

      by bewert on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 09:47:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, not at all (none)
        But it does direct any government agency to comply with executive orders pertaining to National Security.

        So if Bush orders that this program be kept quiet, or that the data pertains to National Security, that data is probably out.

        You may be able to get some better information from the people at the National Security Archive - they have decades of experience getting information from the government.

        •  Or (none)
          Can this same request be submitted to an investigative agency (such as FBI or CIA) rather than a data collection agency? Would that somehow circumvent NSA requirement claim that divulging this information would violate executive orders?

          The soul that is within me no man can degrade. - Frederick Douglass

          by Kimberley on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 10:03:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I dont think so (4.00)
            The law applies, as far as I can tell, equally to all government agencies on any level.

            The exceptions are pretty clear and well worn.  National security is very often used because it's very difficult for anyone to prove that information they can't see wouldn't be damaging to national security.

            In this particular case, the data provided could very well be used to construct a picture of what the NSA's operational parameters are for the program.

            In theory it seems likely that you could deduce the entire system very easily by some clever engineering and FOIA requests:

            1.  Setup a series of foreign email accounts, and select a number of keywords and foreign phone numbers.

            2.  On successive days use a new method of communication- a new phone number, address, etc.  

            3.  Get FOIA request and see what they send.  If anything is data stamped, you can nail it down - which e-mail services are rigged, which countries get special attention, etc.

            I think based on that circumstance alone the cover is there to deny the request.

            Again, though, I am not a FOIA expert, just an interested observer.  

            •  Sounds logical (none)
              Thanks for the quick response to my (poorly worded) questions.

              The soul that is within me no man can degrade. - Frederick Douglass

              by Kimberley on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 10:13:53 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Couldn't you just deduce the answers to those (none)
              questions anyway? Like, how hard is it to figure out what countries they're watching, really? Sorry, it just seems that the national security excuse is just that, an excuse, and a pretty bogus sounding one.

              What bothers me about this is that it seems like one, whopping giant loophole to FOIA that allows the government to cheerfully operate in total secrecy. Considering that they've decided to spy without warrants, that amounts to a quite useful loophole.

              •  Not really (4.00)
                True or false, they are watching e-mails to persons inside of Chile?

                You think about that, and then think "How do I know?"

                What bothers me about this is that it seems like one, whopping giant loophole to FOIA that allows the government to cheerfully operate in total secrecy. Considering that they've decided to spy without warrants, that amounts to a quite useful loophole.
                It is a loophole, but it's a needed one.  It's the only provision that keeps really secret shit secret.  For example, the National Security Archive people got the first SIOP (Single Integrated Operational Plan) released.  Some of it anyhow.  This is the "doomsday" nuclear plan that is very specific.  It says exactly what the targets for the nuclear warheads are, one by one.  The government was able to keep the specific targets classified, but was forced to release objectives and summaries - like the goal to reduce 70% of the urban military installations in the first wave.  There is no legitimate reason to release the detailed list of targets - buildings, addresses, political centers, etc.  It can only do us tactical harm.  But there is no good reason not to release the information that informs the policy behind the secrets.

      •  That's my take on it (none)
        and that's why you're appeal is so important; FOIA is not settled law, it's frequently brought to the courts on both the state and federal level.

        Unfortunately, most people think it's the province of reporters, newspapers, etc. Our local daily, the Lewiston Sun Journal, sent regular joe's out to ask for information under FOIA from a number of organizations and gov't agencies. The police chief in my town turned the person down, saying it was for reporters only. So the officials frequently get it wrong. In fact, the result of this excercise was extremely dismal.

        I've helped numerous friends file FOIAs, I've come to believe that it's a right of passage for being an involved citizen.

        •  hello (none)
          The police chief in my town turned the person down, saying it was for reporters only. So the officials frequently get it wrong. In fact, the result of this excercise was extremely dismal.
          So true.  Reporters actually are very small percentage of cases.  The two largest groups are actually veterans and the elderly - trying to prove military benefits disputes and pension/social security disputes.  

          (FYI, I grew up in Portland ME; welcome from another Mainer).

          About the police, though, you should know this.  Your local police are not covered!  Nor is, actually, any state government.  It actually applies only to the Federal government, it's agents and agencies.

          Now, many states have local equivalents of the act, but it's by no means a standardized system.

  •  I voted for the first one (4.00)
    but that was sarcasm, disdain, sadness and confusion because I'm looking at the map but it sure don't look like the America I learned about in Civics class.

    Blah, blah, blah. Pretend that was something profound and that I said it.

    by niteskolar on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 09:35:10 PM PST

  •  Stupid question here (none)
    About the poll:

    I thought "BushCo" meant Bush and his administration (as in Cheney, Condi, Rummy, et. al.), rather than Bush singular (as in dubya, dumya, goober, hey you stupid asshole, etc.).

    The American taxpayers wouldn't object to free transportation for certain government officials if they'd go where we wish they would.

    by PatsBard on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 09:35:51 PM PST

  •  If God anointed him (4.00)
    than Georgie boy is a Cannabis User

    "Time for the old guard to step aside. I'm referring, of course, to the Republican leadership in Congress." Nick Danger Redstate.com

    by OregonCoast on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 09:53:22 PM PST

  •  Any lawyers out there? (none)
    Executive Order 13292 -- FURTHER AMENDMENT TO EXECUTIVE ORDER 12958, AS AMENDED, CLASSIFIED NATIONAL SECURITY INFORMATION

    That is to say, 13292 is Bush amending Clinton's order 13142, which amended Clinton's original order, 12958... I think. At least Clinton had a fact sheet attached to his amendment, which looks like it might be written in English. However, the DoJ has some info on it. Their justification to you sounds like BS to me anyhow, but it'd be nice to get a real opinion.

  •  Excellent diary (4.00)
    We have now reached:  "If vee haff someting to tell you, ve vill tell you."

    Berlin, um, 1936?  Are we beyond 1935 yet?

    Thanks for posting this.  I hope you keep us updated.

  •  You know, (4.00)
    if you were a decent honest person with nothing to hide, you wouldn't even request your records.

    Traitor.

    /snark

  •  Brazil (none)

    eceived a letter from one Louis F. Giles, Suite 6248, NSA, Fort Meade, MD 20755-6000. Mr. Giles is the Director of Policy for the Central Security Service of the National Security Agency.

    Wow. It's like something out of the movie Brazil. Watched it years ago, as a kid. Just rented it again recently, and... wow. You're living it.

  •  As I mentioned upthread... (none)
    I wrote a FOIA request as well, and got the same bullshit form letter.

    I'm considering my appeal as well.

    But I found this line the funniest..

    The President also noted that, "(t)his is a highly classified program that is crucial to our national security."

    LOL

    What, he said "his" and not "this"

    Putting food on our family again..

    despot : 1. A master; an absolute or irresponsible ruler or sovereign. 2. One who rules regardless of a constitution or laws; a tyrant.

    by wrights on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 09:57:58 PM PST

  •  Christ.... (4.00)
    I almost want to start a MASSIVE campaign for middle east pen pals and phone pals!

    Get 2 million americans phoning, emailing and writing to people ALL OVER THE MIDDLE EAST.

    Just totally glut their fucking intercept system.

    What's that called on the internet??? Creating a DNS  error or something by creating soooooooooo many hits that a site just paralyzses.

    LetsFight. re handle: Fight the radical right is the sentiment!

    by letsfight on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 10:08:31 PM PST

    •  Denial of service attack (none)
      That's if it's a planned subversive action. If your website is noticed on a particularly popular site or blog, it's commonly known as being "Slashdotted".

      Be interesting how hard it would be to overwhelm the NSA...

      "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

      by bewert on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 10:24:10 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  really awesome idea (none)
      mid east penpals could actually have a positive effect on east-west relationships too.
      •  Yeah, (none)
        And I can finally apologize for the horrors that are running my country.

        LetsFight. re handle: Fight the radical right is the sentiment!

        by letsfight on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 08:12:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Great Idea Call it something like (none)
          "No Fear Campaign"  I'm not scared of the NSA listening to my conversations with my middle eastern friends.

          I know this may be evil but try and use lots oif key words......like "it's so terrible all those terrorists are hurting Iraq by fighting the new government"

          etc

          One part of me thinks this would hurt the NSA the other part is looking behind my back for typing terrorist......and that wants me to say Fuck you NSA I live in Canada.......with the conservative coming to power maybe:)

  •  Response (none)
    To me this creates an extremely interesting reponse to the wingnut defense of the NSA domestic spying program, which is usually, "IF you've done nothing wrong, you shouldn't have to worry."

    Well, I'd ask them, "If you've done nothing wrong, and have nothing to worry about, they should be able to tell you whether or not they have a file on you, and you should be able to obtain it."

    You can lead a conservative to logic, but you can't make them think!

    by mrCurmudgeon on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 10:13:07 PM PST

    •  But then ... (none)
      ... you have to figure that the terrorists could find out whether or not they had a file, and THAT would be a threat to our security!  ('Cause you know Al Qaeda would be all over filing FOIA requests.)
      •  huh (none)
        ('Cause you know Al Qaeda would be all over filing FOIA requests.)

        There is a specific exception for ongoing criminal investigations.

        However, you are required by the law to be notified of the reasons for your denial.

        So, you can file a request to determine what they have about you on file.  If they answer "because of an ongoing criminal investigation your request is denied" that's a pretty safe bet that you should packup and move on.

        It's not that farfetched, actually.

  •  How about this? (none)
    What if you sent a letter to your Telco company, your cell phone company and your ISP with a letter requesting information on any goverment requests or demands for access to your communications?

    Would those companies be legally obliged to give you that information?

    I don't think they could refuse based on Executive Order grounds.

    •  Interesting idea (none)
      I'll have to look into that angle.

      "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

      by bewert on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 10:25:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thier answers..... (none)
        will be along the lines of one of the following:

        -----------------------
        -Yes.

        -No.

        -We can't tell you.

        -We don't want to tell you.

        -We would tell you but......
        -----------------------

        We should all to that I think.

        •  Plus, if it's a FISA request they can't tell you (none)
          It's against the Patriot Act.

          The level of secrecy we have now is frightening.

          "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

          by bewert on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 02:02:19 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Everyone should apply for their records. (none)
    I think everyone on Kos should apply for their NSA records through the FOIA and appeal it to the maximum degree possible.  

    Δεν φευγω τίποτα.

    by xoanon on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 10:27:11 PM PST

    •  160,000+ did (none)
      via the DNC just twelve days ago.

      Can you imagine the impact that 160,000+ denials will have?

      •  Actually they applied for info on the spy program (none)
        I signed up for that, too. From his e-mail to me describing the delivery of all the requests:
        Shortly after it was revealed that the Bush Administration had been using the National Security Agency to spy on American citizens without oversight by any court, Governor Dean sent an email asking you to join him in signing a Freedom of Information Act request demanding that the White House release Justice Department memos outlining the supposed authority for this illegal program.

        Still, there will be 160,000 denials. I wonder what mine will say that is different?

        "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

        by bewert on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 07:12:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Another thing I just thought off,--a class action (none)
        When those 160,000 denials come back, we may be able to appeal as a class in Federal Court, D.C.

        "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

        by bewert on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 02:00:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Coming from a Humanist... (none)
    After reading this diary all I blurted out Jesus Fucking Christ!

    Best diary I come across here on DKOS.

    •  Thanks : ) (none)
      When I got the letter, I thought maybe I would actually receive a record or two. But then I read it, and it seemed so surreal, so Kafkaesque, it was wierd.

      And then I started getting pissed.

      Been getting pissed a lot in the last few years. Hopefully, together, we can all do something about this state of affairs.

      "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

      by bewert on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 10:55:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We will do something about it! (4.00)
        Your diary opened a window into the heart of our democracy. I do not subscribe to conspiracy theorist, and I do believe strongly, that the State has in its best interest to keep us happy. But shit man, the letter you received from the NSA is really, really heavy.

        I am only 28, but my dad was part of the major protest in the late 60's and early 70's. He just told me when I was home for Christmas that he was a major player in the SDS during his time at college in upstate NY, and was hit with a tear gas canister as he led a group of protesters over to McNamara's estate during a protest in Washington in the 60's.

        You know it was pretty fucking cool to drink a glass of wine with my dad and have him tell me, "I remember when I felt something hard hit my leg and I looked down and it was a fucking can of tear gas!" All I said was well I read and post on Dkos allot...

        Man I gained so much MORE respect, I say more because I love him, but now I have just learned about his passion for our democracy and the sacrifices he made! I realized in that moment with my dad that I am not doing enough to make a difference for this Country.

        My dad and thousands more, went to Washington and made their case known to the people in charge. What do I do? I bitch about everything and write and read Daily Kos every single day. But I feel like the wheels are spinning.

        We need a candidate to get behind. We have a scandal to exploit, with Abramoff, and we may be able to have a real impeachment hearing! I think it's time we get away from our glistening screens, and go to the cold hard steps of the houses that make the descions in our country and demand we be heard! It worked once, and I just learned where I got this spunk from!

  •  From My Cold, Dead Hands-- (4.00)

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 10:44:06 PM PST

  •  Upon further investigation (none)
    it seems like one should apply for one's own records under the Privacy Act as well as FOIA. I'm not a lawyer by any means, and someone needs to write a primer on how this should be done, because the 'ifs, whereas, and subject to' stuff has quite frankly done me in.  

    http://www.usdoj.gov/...

  •  Centrifuge. (none)
    Permanganate. Tegucigalpa. Methamphetamine. ester. Karachi. Spore. Undisclosed location. Glock. Forbidden textstring. algorithm.

    A Senator YOU can afford
    $1 contributions only.
    Masel for Senate
    1214 E. Mifflin St.
    Madison, WI 53703

    by ben masel on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 11:24:41 PM PST

    •  Ben, you can be sure they are on to you ; ) (none)
      You're not exactly a wallflower.

      "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

      by bewert on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 01:59:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  hmmm (4.00)
    As another person said on this thread, EO 12958 (by Clinton in 1995) was later amended in 2003 (Bush) in EO 13292, which reads in part:

    Information that has not previously been disclosed to the public under proper authority may be classified or reclassified after an agency has received a request for it under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552) or the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a)

    And this:

    In response to a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act, the Privacy Act of 1974, or the mandatory review provisions of this order, or pursuant to the automatic declassification or systematic review provisions of this order:

    (a) An agency may refuse to confirm or deny the existence or nonexistence of requested records whenever the fact of their existence or nonexistence is itself classified under this order or its predecessors.

    Pax

    Night and day you can find me Flogging the Simian

    by Soj on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 11:34:36 PM PST

  •  poll could use another 'trust' option (none)
    "I trust the Bush administration to be so criminally inept, that they fuck up even their own evil plans."

    And that's what I would need the pills to deal with...

    "Think. It ain't illegal yet." - George Clinton

    by jbeach on Tue Jan 17, 2006 at 11:43:11 PM PST

  •  We should get our congresspeople to file for this (none)
    Ha - if they got the brush off like the diarist - then they would be pissed off - and if they get 'special treatment' - then it would be clear that (once again) as far as our govt goes - all people are created equal but some are more equal than others.

    But seriously,  how would Dems or non-Bushco Repubs running for office like to know (or not know) Bushco is collecting personal info on them without ANY ACCOUNTABILITY to report what they have and what they're doing with it.

    It still seems as too many Dems don't realize the gravity of what's going on around them (esp. with some Dems like Feinstein talking about not fillibustering Alito) - something like this could maybe wake them up.

    In any case - my hats off to the diarist for going out on a limb to file for this and for posting the results.

  •  The Propaganda Remix Project (4.00)

    cheers,

    Mitch Gore

    A casual stroll through the lunatic asylum shows that faith does not prove anything.

    by Lestatdelc on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 12:35:41 AM PST

  •  A jingle for hundreds of thousands of Murkuns (none)
    Your FBI file is denied you,
    No scandalous readings supplied you
    Since a friend has described you
    As debonnaire, which derides you,
    And the Feds track that strange Dr Ware...
  •  It's probably because (none)
    they know you post on dkos.
  •  OK: scat on EO 12958 as amended by EO 13292 (4.00)
    I don's see quite how your request could be properly classified
    Let's see here.

    Executive Order 13292
    Further Amendment to Executive Order 12958, as Amended, Classified National Security Information

        * Signed:   March 25, 2003 (by Bush II)
        * Federal Register page and and date:   68 FR 15315, March 28, 2003
        * Amends:  EO 12958, April 17, 1995 (by Clinton)
        * See:  EO 12356, April 6, 1982 (by Reagan, which Clinton's EO 12958 revoked)

    So where it stands today:

    PART 1--ORIGINAL CLASSIFICATION

    Sec. 1.1. Classification Standards. (a) Information may be originally classified under the terms of this order only if all of the following conditions are met:

          (1) an original classification authority is classifying the information;

          (2) the information is owned by, produced by or for, or is under the control of the United States Government;

          (3) the information falls within one or more of the categories of information listed in section 1.4 of this order; and

          (4) the original classification authority determines that the unauthorized disclosure of the information reasonably could be expected to result in damage to the national security, which includes defense against transnational terrorism, and the original classification authority is able to identify or describe the damage.

    Emphases mine.

    So let's look at section 1.4, which sets forth the only conditions under which information may be classified:

    Sec. 1.4. Classification Categories. Information shall not be considered for classification unless it concerns:

          (a) military plans, weapons systems, or operations;

          (b) foreign government information;

          (c) intelligence activities (including special activities), intelligence sources or methods, or cryptology; [could this be it??]

          (d) foreign relations or foreign activities of the United States, including confidential sources;

          (e) scientific, technological, or economic matters relating to the national security, which includes defense against transnational terrorism;

          (f) United States Government programs for safeguarding nuclear materials or facilities;

          (g) vulnerabilities or capabilities of systems, installations, infrastructures, projects, plans, or protection services relating to the national security, which includes defense against transnational terrorism; or

          (h) weapons of mass destruction.

    So which reason is it?  I don't find one that precisely fits, but maybe some attorney here can clarify.

    Furthermore, here's another very important rule therein:

    Sec. 1.7. Classification Prohibitions and Limitations.
    (a) In no case shall information be classified in order to:

          (1) conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error;

          (2) prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency;

          (3) restrain competition; or

          (4) prevent or delay the release of information that does not require protection in the interest of the national security.

    and also, same section, laying out a path to classify information hurriedly, provided the rules above are met, AND the right officials okay it:

    (d) Information that has not previously been disclosed to the public under proper authority may be classified or reclassified after an agency has received a request for it under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552) or the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a), or the mandatory review provisions of section 3.5 of this order only if such classification meets the requirements of this order and is accomplished on a document-by-document basis with the personal participation or under the direction of the agency head, the deputy agency head, or the senior agency official designated under section 5.4 of this order.

    And then further on, how to challenge classification:

    Sec. 1.8. Classification Challenges. (a) Authorized holders of information who, in good faith, believe that its classification status is improper are encouraged and expected to challenge the classification status of the information in accordance with agency procedures established under paragraph (b) of this section.

    (b) In accordance with implementing directives issued pursuant to this order, an agency head or senior agency official shall establish procedures under which authorized holders of information are encouraged and expected to challenge the classification of information that they believe is improperly classified or unclassified. These procedures shall ensure that:

          (1) individuals are not subject to retribution for bringing such actions;

          (2) an opportunity is provided for review by an impartial official or panel; and

          (3) individuals are advised of their right to appeal agency decisions to the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (Panel) established by section 5.3 of this order.

    I suppose that your letter advised you of that right, though that part wasn't included.

    I found some details on that Appeals Panel from the Federation of American Scientists

    Interagency Security Classification
    Appeals Panel
    (ISCAP) was established by executive order 12958 (section 5.4) to perform three primary functions:

        * to rule on appeals from government employees who challenged agency classification policies
        * to approve, deny, or amend agency exemptions from automatic declassification requirements
        * to rule on appeals from members of the public who have filed requests for mandatory declassification. [has such a request been filed?]

    In performing the latter function, the ISCAP has overturned a large majority of the agency classification decisions that it has considered, rendering "mandatory declassification review" an increasingly attractive alternative to the Freedom of Information Act. At the same time, ISCAP provides a measure of internal executive branch oversight of classification and declassification policies.

    The ISCAP is comprised of representatives of the Departments of State, Defense, Justice, NSC, CIA and NARA. The ISOO Director serves as executive secretary. [this is  Bush II appointee J William Leonard, Director of the Information Security Oversight Office] The Chair of ISCAP is William H. Leary, Senior Director for Records and Access Management, NSC.

    This reads to me as if the odds are good.  So, I guess the next step (if indeed this request is for information that has been 'classified', which isn't entirely clear in the letter snippet) is to formally file a request for mandatory declassification.  That's a Mandatory Declassification Review (MDR) request.  
    Here's how, in letter form, from www.thememoryhole.org

        [your address and phone]

        [date]

        Office of the Librarian
        The Library of Congress
        LM-608
        101 Independence Ave, S.E.
        Washington DC 20540-1000

        Re: Mandatory Declassification Review request

        Dear Sir or Madam:

        Under the provisions of Executive Order 12958, as amended by Executive Order 13292 (entitled National Security Information, section 3.5), I hereby request a Mandatory Declassification Review of the following document:

        [list the name of the file, its Container number, and its File number (if there is one)] (how could we know this, I don't know)

        This file is listed in "United States Commission on CIA Activities Within the United States: A Register of Its Records in the Library of Congress," prepared by Bradley E. Gernand, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, 1997. (whatever analagous identifiable file name might be appropriate??)

        Thank you for considering my request.

        Sincerely,

        [signature]

        [name]

    Some Things to Consider

    1. Make your request(s) as soon as possible. It wouldn't be surprising if the CIA were to demand these documents be returned. Filing an MDR request will increase the likelihood of the documents being made public. We can only hope the Library of Congress stands up to any bullying from the Agency.

    2. We recommend that you file a separate MDR request letter for each portion of the material you want.

    3. The Library of Congress generally doesn't copy and mail documents. You'll have to make arrangements to review or pick them up in Washington, DC.  uhh..wow..who's going to be our gopher?

    4a) If your MDR request is rejected (i.e., they won't entirely declassify the document), you can appeal the decision to ISCAP. More information on this is below.

    OR

    4b) If you don't get a final judgment one way or the other within one year, you can appeal directly to ISCAP.

    Appealing to ISCAP

    The Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP) handles appeals of MDR requests that are rejected or fail to garner a response within a year. To appeal, send the following letter to the address listed:

        [your address and phone]

        [date]

        Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP)
        c/o Information Security Oversight Office
        National Archives and Records Administration
        700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Room 500
        Washington, DC 20408

        Re: Mandatory Declassification Review appeal (ISCAP appeal)

        Dear Sir or Madam:

        On [date of original request], under the provisions of Executive Order 12958, as amended by Executive Order 13292 (entitled National Security Information, section 3.5), I requested the Library of Congress perform a Mandatory Declassification Review of the following document:

        [list the name of the file, its Container number, and its File number (if there is one)]

        This file is listed in "United States Commission on CIA Activities Within the United States: A Register of Its Records in the Library of Congress," prepared by Bradley E. Gernand, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, 1997.

        [Depending on circumstances, use one of the following:]

        This request was rejected on [date of rejection letter].

        [or]

        It has been over one year since I sent my request, and I have not yet received a final decision.

        Therefore, under the same provisions, I hereby appeal this response and ask that you declassify the document.

        Thank you for considering my appeal.

        Sincerely,

        [signature]

        [name]

    Online contact info for ISCAP:

    email: iscap@nara.gov
    Webpage: www.archives.gov/isoo/oversight_groups/iscap.html

    You can also contact ISCAP through the Information Security Oversight Office:

    phone: (202) 219-5250
    fax: (202) 219-5385

    Apparently there are also some penalties for blowing it in this area:

    (b) Officers and employees of the United States Government, and its contractors, licensees, certificate holders, and grantees shall be subject to appropriate sanctions if they knowingly, willfully, or negligently:

          (1) disclose to unauthorized persons information properly classified under this order or predecessor orders;

          (2) classify or continue the classification of information in violation of this order or any implementing directive;

          (3) create or continue a special access program contrary to the requirements of this order; or

          (4) contravene any other provision of this order or its implementing directives.

    (c) Sanctions may include reprimand, suspension without pay, removal, termination of classification authority, loss or denial of access to classified information, or other sanctions in accordance with applicable law and agency regulation.

    (d) The agency head, senior agency official, or other supervisory official shall, at a minimum, promptly remove the classification authority of any individual who demonstrates reckless disregard or a pattern of error in applying the classification standards of this order.

    (e) The agency head or senior agency official shall:

          (1) take appropriate and prompt corrective action when a violation or infraction under paragraph (b) of this section occurs; and

          (2) notify the Director of the Information Security Oversight Office when a violation under paragraph (b)(1), (2), or (3) of this section occurs.

    A related matter, that of

    Section 4 Safeguarding
    (f) Consistent with law, directives, and regulation, an agency head or senior agency official shall establish uniform procedures to ensure that automated information systems, including networks and telecommunications systems, that collect, create, communicate, compute, disseminate, process, or store classified information have controls that:

          (1) prevent access by unauthorized persons; and

          (2) ensure the integrity of the information.

    (g) Consistent with law, directives, and regulation, each agency head or senior agency official shall establish controls to ensure that classified information is used, processed, stored, reproduced, transmitted, and destroyed under conditions that provide adequate protection and prevent access by unauthorized persons.

    How does this aspect square with the ready availability of private phone records from internet vendors?  I realize that the government is not providing that information (or are they?), but how is it ok for the telecom service providers to sell this information here and here?  What makes it not classified?  This was diaried yesterday...maybe here...not sure.

    tenacious questioner scratch... do not fear the death rattle of the dying dragon

    by arbortender on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 01:58:57 AM PST

  •  Further, on the statutory aspect: (4.00)
    the third exemption of the FOIA provides for the withholding of information specifically protected from disclosure by statute

    The statutes called up are
    Title 18 U.S. Code 798; Title 50 U.S. Code 403-1(i); and Section 6, Public Law 86-36 (50 U.S. Code 402 note).

    Let's look at those.
    18 U.S. Code 798

    U.S. Code as of: 01/06/03
    Section 798. Disclosure of classified information

          (a) Whoever knowingly and willfully communicates, furnishes,
        transmits, or otherwise makes available to an unauthorized person,
        or publishes, or uses in any manner prejudicial to the safety or
        interest of the United States or for the benefit of any foreign
        government to the detriment of the United States any classified
        information -
            (1) concerning the nature, preparation, or use of any code,
          cipher, or cryptographic system of the United States or any
          foreign government; or
            (2) concerning the design, construction, use, maintenance, or
          repair of any device, apparatus, or appliance used or prepared or
          planned for use by the United States or any foreign government
          for cryptographic or communication intelligence purposes; or
            (3) concerning the communication intelligence activities of the
          United States
    or any foreign government; or
            (4) obtained by the processes of communication intelligence
          from the communications of any foreign government, knowing the
          same to have been obtained by such processes -
          Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten
        years, or both.
          (b) As used in subsection (a) of this section -
          The term ''classified information'' means information which, at
        the time of a violation of this section, is, for reasons of
        national security, specifically designated by a United States
        Government Agency for limited or restricted dissemination or
        distribution;
          The terms ''code,'' ''cipher,'' and ''cryptographic system''
        include in their meanings, in addition to their usual meanings, any
        method of secret writing and any mechanical or electrical device or
        method used for the purpose of disguising or concealing the
        contents, significance, or meanings of communications;
          The term ''foreign government'' includes in its meaning any
        person or persons acting or purporting to act for or on behalf of
        any faction, party, department, agency, bureau, or military force
        of or within a foreign country, or for or on behalf of any
        government or any person or persons purporting to act as a
        government within a foreign country, whether or not such government
        is recognized by the United States;
          The term ''communication intelligence'' means all procedures and
        methods used in the interception of communications and the
        obtaining of information from such communications by other than the
        intended recipients;
          The term ''unauthorized person'' means any person who, or agency
        which, is not authorized to receive information of the categories
        set forth in subsection (a) of this section, by the President, or
        by the head of a department or agency of the United States
        Government which is expressly designated by the President to engage
        in communication intelligence activities for the United States.
          (c) Nothing in this section shall prohibit the furnishing, upon
        lawful demand, of information to any regularly constituted
        committee of the Senate or House of Representatives of the United
        States of America, or joint committee thereof.
          (d)(1) Any person convicted of a violation of this section shall
        forfeit to the United States irrespective of any provision of State
        law -
            (A) any property constituting, or derived from, any proceeds
          the person obtained, directly or indirectly, as the result of
          such violation; and
            (B) any of the person's property used, or intended to be used,
          in any manner or part, to commit, or to facilitate the commission
          of, such violation.
          (2) The court, in imposing sentence on a defendant for a
        conviction of a violation of this section, shall order that the
        defendant forfeit to the United States all property described in
        paragraph (1).
          (3) Except as provided in paragraph (4), the provisions of
        subsections (b), (c), and (e) through (p) of section 413 of the
        Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 (21
        U.S.C. 853(b), (c), and (e)-(p)), shall apply to -
            (A) property subject to forfeiture under this subsection;
            (B) any seizure or disposition of such property; and
            (C) any administrative or judicial proceeding in relation to
          such property,
        if not inconsistent with this subsection.
          (4) Notwithstanding section 524(c) of title 28, there shall be
        deposited in the Crime Victims Fund established under section 1402
        of the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (42 U.S.C. 10601) all amounts
        from the forfeiture of property under this subsection remaining
        after the payment of expenses for forfeiture and sale authorized by
        law.
          (5) As used in this subsection, the term ''State'' means any
        State of the United States, the District of Columbia, the
        Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and any territory or possession of the
        United States.

    And then the 2nd statute referred to,

    Title 50 U.S. Code 403-1(i)
    There is no such section.  A red herring.

    Title 50 USC 403-1 (which has no subsections, lettered or otherwise) reads as follows

    Section 403-1. Central Intelligence Agency
          There is a Central Intelligence Agency. The function of the Agency shall be to assist the Director of Central Intelligence in carrying out the responsibilities referred to in paragraphs (1)
    through (5) of section 403-3(d) of this title.

    And finally on
    Section 6, Public Law 86-36 (50 U.S. Code 402 note).This apparently refers to the National Security Agency Act of 1959.
    Well, here's 50 USC 402, but I've no idea how to suss the "note" reference.

    As for digging up the Public Law, it appears to reference the same legislation (as it should)

    Public Law 86-36," National Security Information Exemption," June 10, 1959

     Pub. L. 86-36, May 29, 1959, 73 Stat. 63 (Title 50, Sec. 402 note)

    Not sure about the date discrepancy, and I don't get it about the 'note'.  Which note?
    One reference is found at The Electronic Freedom Foundation:

    Section 6 of Public Law 86-36, 50 U.S.C. ¤ 402 note, specifically protects from disclosure any information pertaining to the organization, or any function or any information with respect to the activities of NSA.

    Another reference to it is found at the  Computer UFO Network, where there's an enlightening Denial of Appeal for a FOIA request.
    (Public Law 86-36,
    50 U.S.C.  402 note), which provides that no law shall be construed to require the disclosure
    of the organization, personnel, functions or activites of NSA.

    That same site yielded yet another layer of the process, which may be in line for any of us seeking as the diary writer is:

    Since your appeal is denied, you are hereby notified of your rights under 5 U.S.C. 552 to seek
    judicial review of this determination.  You may seek an order from the United States District
    Court in the district where you reside, in which you have your principal place of business, in which
    the Agency's records are situated (U.S. District Court of Maryland), or in the District of
    Columbia for the production of and Agency information which you consider to have been
    improperly withheld by this Agency.  5 U.S.C.  552 (a)(4)(B) sets out your rights in this matter
    with respect to such judicial action.

    And with that, I'll leave us all to our continued digging and head-scratching, with a toast to each and every one of you determined to get at the truth.
    Peace

    tenacious questioner scratch... do not fear the death rattle of the dying dragon

    by arbortender on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 03:13:40 AM PST

  •  You (none)
    should have signed your letter "W" and you would have gotten everything, including your show size.
  •  The Truth Is Classified (4.00)
       Soon there won't be any Presidential debates, because one of the candidates will assure us that any response he makes will involve the discussion of classified information, and he can't do that.  How many WMDs discovered in Iraq?  "I'm sorry, the fact of the existence or non-existence of WMDs in Iraq is classified."  Of courses, they can unilaterally and without justification classify any facts that they like beforehand.

       "Mr. President, do you actually exist, or are you just a very defective computer program?"

       "I'm sorry, but the fact of my existence or non-existence is classified."

        Controls on information are controls on thought; when information is denied to the people, democracy is shattered.  We need a party that will pledge itself to end the abuse of government secrecy.

    •  As well as a media that will provide information (none)
      Not the latest about Brad and Angelina or the endless GWOT. Unfortunately, they are all in bed together, and I'm scared that those in the heart of the bell curve are not informed enough to be scared.

      "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

      by bewert on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 07:17:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bush and trust! (none)
       If you trust Bush you are benefiting from his plan for society and the world. Trust is not the issue. do you see or like his plan for our future. He is well into the Doctrine he is following. It was used by the russians in the mid 19th century to overthrow and install a new order. It can be found on the website following this comment. it is called A Doctrine of Fact/Bush Uncovered.It is a free read. Read it and weep for America as you know it.

    James M Joiner www.anaveragepatriot.com or http://anaverageamericanpatriot.blogspot.com

    by jmsjoin on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 07:20:54 AM PST

  •  Let the secret trials begin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (none)
    be afraid
    be very afraid
    be very very afraid.............
    Ha Ha Ha

    Sorry when things are this crazy I can only respond with my own crazy shit.

  •  requested mine (none)
    We shall see.  I suppose if I wasn't a marked woman before this, I will be now.
  •  bewert.... (none)
    I marched with you in our town last spring...

    Think about posting something on the portland indymedia site to see about resources (attorneys) in our state who might be pressing this issue....  You

    LetsFight. re handle: Fight the radical right is the sentiment!

    by letsfight on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 08:35:01 AM PST

    •  Good idea (none)
      Also, I'm thinking we might have to have some sort of protest thing for the State of the Union, although I might be ought of town right then.

      "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

      by bewert on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 12:46:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep... (none)
        we need a protest for that day. Absolutely!!

        Hope you can be there!!!  I usually have a post or two daily on here... so find a comment of mine and let me know if you think you will be around to make some noise that day!

        LetsFight. re handle: Fight the radical right is the sentiment!

        by letsfight on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 07:48:33 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  when (none)
    when someone says "rest assured" or "trust us/me"  be advised that person is a snake and is to be NOT trusted.
  •  Hmmm... (none)
    I wonder if they would send the same message to Congress when it demands more information about the program.
  •  Awhile (none)
    I've had notions about the possibility of the FBI having a file on me long before the spying scandal broke.

    I am a chemist, I listen to what the establishment would call questionable music, I own guns, and I buy books that are probably flagged when the are purchased. In addition I am from Montana (Freemen, the Unabomber etc.) Plus now I go to radical liberal web sites.

    In the late 80's, I knew this girl who was a russian major. She visited the USSR. Her parents knew Russian, taught the language, and traveled there as well. Through a contact and by sheer stupid luck they managed to get the file that the FBI held on them. They weren't surprised that file existed considering the political climate of the day but, the detail was amazing concerning family history and day to day life, including the name of the family dog.

    People shouldn't be shocked to find that this sort of spying occurs. The FBI may not use it in court  but they are watching.

  •  Isn't it funny.... (4.00)
    ...that your government won't disclose any records thay have on you but the frickin' private sector will sell a list of your cell phone calls to anyone who wants it.

    "One pill makes you larger,
    and one pill makes you small,
    And the ones that mother gives you, don't do anything at all;
    Go ask Alice, when she's ten feet tall...."

  •  The local paper (none)
    might want to do a story on your experience. The whole NSA and FOIA stuff is pretty mysterious stuff. I'm sure the paper has readers who would be interested in seeing how the feds treat a decent local person like themselves.

    So call the paper and see if some hard-working reporter needs an interesting story to follow.

    "She was very young,he thought,...she did not understand that to push an inconvenient person over a cliff solves nothing." -1984

    by aggressiveprogressive on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 12:17:46 PM PST

    •  I was thinking that might be a good idea, too (none)
      First I want to get comments from the elected reps and sens.

      "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

      by bewert on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 12:43:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your reps might be more (none)
        likely to do something if they know the media is paying attention. The fact that you've asked for them to intervene should be part of the story. It would give the reporter an excuse to call the Senator or Congressman for a comment and, on the flip-side, it would give the politician a much-loved chance to be mentioned by local media.

        Make that Congressman need you.

        "She was very young,he thought,...she did not understand that to push an inconvenient person over a cliff solves nothing." -1984

        by aggressiveprogressive on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 01:15:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  For those who pitched in $$ so far, thanks! (none)
    Every little but helps the bewertlegalfund, and my wife will let me work on this rather than what I "should" be working on :)

    My next steps are contacting my elected reps, and then the local paper. I may also start using my (barely ever updated) blog for updates, with cross-postings here and anywhere else you all think is appropriate. Also, as noted several times above let's keep coordinated as others get their denials.

    Now if I can just get my old fax working...it's been sitting pretty much unused forever, but I think my wife just faxed some stuff out last week. It sure doesn't like me right now!

    I think this is going to be fun, even if it's a little bit scary.

    "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

    by bewert on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 12:58:53 PM PST

  •  Why don't we all request records about (none)
    ourselves from them? And encourage everyone that we know to do the same? Perhaps bewert could post his letter for us to use as a guide?
    •  There are couple of links upstream, I'll repost (none)
      They have forms, here's a link to the NSA http://www.nsa.gov/...
      and one to the FBI http://foia.fbi.gov/

      The FBI is supposed to work with the NSA, although I can't imagine they get all the NSA info. I'm going to send them an FOIA request, too.

      "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter." Dr. ML King, from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963.

      by bewert on Wed Jan 18, 2006 at 02:07:36 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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