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'wire' Law Failed Lost Gi

Old 10-15-07, 11:55 PM
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'wire' Law Failed Lost Gi
By CHARLES HURT, Bureau Chief

October 15, 2007 -- WASHINGTON - U.S. intelligence officials got mired for nearly 10 hours seeking approval to use wiretaps against al Qaeda terrorists suspected of kidnapping Queens soldier Alex Jimenez in Iraq earlier this year, The Post has learned.
This week, Congress plans to vote on a bill that leaves in place the legal hurdles in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act - problems that were highlighted during the May search for a group of kidnapped U.S. soldiers.

In the early hours of May 12, seven U.S. soldiers - including Spc. Jimenez - were on lookout near a patrol base in the al Qaeda-controlled area of Iraq called the "Triangle of Death."

Sometime before dawn, heavily armed al Qaeda gunmen quietly cut through the tangles of concertina wire surrounding the outpost of two Humvees and made a massive and coordinated surprise attack.

Four of the soldiers were killed on the spot and three others were taken hostage.

A search to rescue the men was quickly launched. But it soon ground to a halt as lawyers - obeying strict U.S. laws about surveillance - cobbled together the legal grounds for wiretapping the suspected kidnappers.

Starting at 10 a.m. on May 15, according to a timeline provided to Congress by the director of national intelligence, lawyers for the National Security Agency met and determined that special approval from the attorney general would be required first.

For an excruciating nine hours and 38 minutes, searchers in Iraq waited as U.S. lawyers discussed legal issues and hammered out the "probable cause" necessary for the attorney general to grant such "emergency" permission.

Finally, approval was granted and, at 7:38 that night, surveillance began.

"The intelligence community was forced to abandon our soldiers because of the law," a senior congressional staffer with access to the classified case told The Post.

"How many lawyers does it take to rescue our soldiers?" he asked. "It should be zero."

The FISA law applies even to a cellphone conversation between two people in Iraq, because those communications zip along wires through U.S. hubs, which is where the taps are typically applied.

U.S. officials had no way of knowing if Jimenez and his fellow soldiers were still alive during the nearly 10-hour delay.

The body of one was found a few weeks later in the Euphrates River and the terror group Islamic State of Iraq - an al Qaeda offshoot - later claimed in a video that Jimenez and the third soldier had been executed and buried.

"This is terrible. If they would have acted sooner, maybe they would have found something out and been able to find my son," said Jimenez's mother, Maria Duran. "Oh my God. I just keep asking myself, where is my son? What could have happened to him?"

Duran said she was especially frustrated, "because I thought they were doing everything possible to find him."

"You know that this is how this country is - everything is by the law. They just did not want to break the law, and I understand that. They should change the law, because God only knows what type of information they could have found during that time period."

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The ability to wiretap appears to be easily available here in the US. This is a perfect illustration of the fallacy of the lib/ACLU-types argument for using FISA for all situations. In real life emergencies, as most war scenarios are, there is no time to type out papers for a court to approve a warrant.

Unfortunately, legal technicalities have cost lives in our war on terror -- in Iraq and Afghanistan if not else where.
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Old 10-16-07, 12:19 AM
Join Date: Jan 2002
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Soooo, the War On Terror has been going on since late 2001, we've invaded Afghanistan, invaded Iraq, occupied both countries, sent hundreds to Gitmo, prosecuted US civilians, wiretapped US civilians ad nauseum, wiretapped foreign agents which resulted in capture of some major AQ players over the years...

...and you're posting an article that says the US is hindered.

Soda out teh nose, bro.

The Bush Administration has done whatever it has wanted. This is a fact. Stating it is hindered by a simple law, is outright funny and humorous. The Bush Administration has certainly not been hindered by laws. They have simply circumvented them.

That aside, I am very sure there are ways to bypass this little law. And I am sure it has been bypassed many times in the past.
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