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Retroactive Blessing to Spy?


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#1 spy1

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 07:54 AM

Public Interest Groups Oppose Bill to Authorize Surveillance

CDT and a broad coalition of public interest groups today called on Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) to delay action on a measure that would effectively legalize the National Security Agency's domestic spying program and give the President unfettered discretion to conduct warrantless surveillance of Americans. In a letter sent earlier today, CDT joined with the American Civil Liberties Union, Center for American Progress, Center for National Security Studies, Liberty Coalition, Open Society Policy Center and Patriots to Restore Checks and Balances in urging Specter to refrain from taking any legislative action until Congress is able to conduct a full inquiry into the scope of the administration's surveillance programs. May 17, 2006

Joint Letter [PDF] ( http://www.cdt.org/s...0517specter.pdf ) May 17, 2006
============================================================

http://www.aclu.org/...rs20060516.html

ACLU Says Specter’s NSA Legislation Would Pardon President’s Illegal Actions; Group Calls for Inspector General Investigation (5/16/2006)

WASHINGTON - The American Civil Liberties Union today strongly condemned a new proposal drafted by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-PA) that embraces the president’s claims of inherent power to secretly wiretap Americans without meaningful checks. Also today, the organization renewed its request to the Justice Department’s Inspector General to open an investigation into the involvement of the department in the warrantless spying on Americans by the National Security Agency.

"The Specter bill would essentially whitewash the illegal actions of the Bush administration," said Anthony D. Romero, ACLU Executive Director. "Congress should not move forward on any legislation until and unless it has a full understanding of the facts. President Bush has used 9/11 as a blank check to abuse his power to the detriment of the rule of law and the Constitution. What we need now is vigorous congressional oversight and a thorough investigation into the NSA’s illegal spying programs."

Specter’s new draft would replace a bill he had previously introduced, S.2453, the National Security Surveillance Act of 2006. The new version would pardon the president for authorizing the warrantless wiretapping of Americans, in violation of current criminal and intelligence laws. Specifically, the new bill would amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and the criminal code by allowing wiretapping at the direction of the president outside of those existing laws. This move would create a retroactive exception to criminal liability when warrantless wiretapping is done at the president’s direction under a claim of inherent authority.

With the revelations in USA Today about the NSA’s data-mining program, the ACLU said Congress should insist the president follow legal rules requiring a court order for information about whom Americans call, domestically and internationally, and how long they talk to their family, friends or business associates. The ACLU noted that now is not the time to embrace a theory of unilateral power to spy on Americans.

The draft bill would also eliminate some other protections of FISA. For example, Specter’s bill would permit the president to claim a right to conduct secret searches of American homes and businesses if war is ever declared and permit eavesdropping on calls and monitoring of phone records without following FISA’s rules. The ACLU noted that FISA was enacted after Watergate to restrict the ability of presidents to unilaterally spy on Americans under the guise of national security

Also today, the ACLU renewed its call to Inspector General Fine at the Justice Department to investigate that department’s involvement in illegal NSA spying program. The ACLU noted that the IG must initiate an investigation because the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility has been denied the required security clearances to conduct its own investigation into the warrantless eavesdropping program. The attorney general has rejected repeated calls for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the program.

"The administration’s stonewalling must not be rewarded; it must be investigated," said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. "Federal law requires that the inspector general investigate abuses of civil liberties by officials and employees of the Justice Department. The American public and the rule of law deserve nothing less. If the administration is so confident in the program’s legality, then it should welcome an independent investigation."

To read the ACLU’s letter on the Specter legislation, go to: www.aclu.org/safefree/nsaspying/25578leg20060516.html

To read the ACLU’s letter to the Justice Department’s Inspector General, go to: www.aclu.org/safefree/nsaspying/25577leg20060515.html
A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government."
--George Washington

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#2 spy1

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Posted 08 June 2006 - 11:25 PM

(From the main page, here - http://cdt.org/ ) :

Senate Committee Approves Bill to Authorize NSA Snooping

In a grave threat to civil liberties, the Senate Judiciary Committee today approved legislation that would gut the historic Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, allowing the President to carry out wiretaps and other forms of electronic surveillance inside the United States without a court order. The bill -- sponsored by Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), but radically altered by his Republican colleagues -- would make judicial review for electronic surveillance optional. June 08, 2006

http://www.cdt.org/s...515cdt-nssa.pdf

(From the .pdf linked to above):

The most important section of the 5/11 substitute, and of earlier substitutes, is the last
section (Section 9 in the 5/11 substitute), which turns back the nation’s clock to the era of
COINTELPRO, uncontrolled domestic surveillance, and the abuses of executive power
that led to the investigations of the Church Committee.

Section 9 would repeal the exclusivity provisions of FISA and allow the President to
choose, at his discretion, between using FISA and pursuing some other undefined and
constitutionally questionable method for gathering intelligence. In essence, it would
make all of FISA the equivalent of a letter to the President from the Congress saying,
“Would you please?”
Key point: under the substitute, the Chairman’s bill would not require judicial review of
the President’s warrantless surveillance program, nor would the bill promote
Congressional oversight.
The substitute would allow the President, if he chooses, to seek
judicial review of a particular surveillance program (but not the one described by the
President and the Attorney General since last December), and it would allow him, if he
chooses, to inform selected members of Congress about surveillance activities inside the
United States, but it would also allow the President to use his claim of inherent power to
conduct intelligence activities inside the United States to avoid ever seeking judicial
approval and ever notifying Congress.
In light of Section 9, the rest of the bill is essentially meaningless.


Section 9 of the substitute, by repealing the wartime exceptions to FISA, further
emphasizes that FISA is merely an advisory opinion from Congress,. Currently, Sections
111, 309, and 404 of FISA (50 USC 1811, 1829, and 1844) allow warrantless
surveillance for the first 15 days after a declaration of war, further emphasizing the
exclusivity of FISA even in time of war. Section 9 eliminates those provisions entirely.


The substitute amends the exclusivity provisions in Title 18 and FISA to allow the
President to conduct electronic surveillance under Title 18, FISA or “under the
constitutional authority of the executive.” (5/11 substitute, Section 9, adding to FISA a
new Sec. 801©(1) (emphasis added).) Furthermore, the substitute retroactively makes
the President’s warrantless programs (known and unknown) legal by giving the change to
the exclusivity provisions the same effective date as the date on which FISA was enacted, thereby sparing the President accountability under FISA for any warrantless surveillance
activities to date
."


========================================================

Read the .pdf, people. If this thing passes....it's R.I.P, America. Pete
A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government."
--George Washington

#3 spy1

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Posted 09 June 2006 - 08:27 AM

This is a copy of the letter I'm fixing to FAX both of my Senators and my Representative:

NO “WHITEWASH” FOR UN-WARRANTED GOVERNMENT INTRUSION!

I am writing today to urge you to oppose the “National Security Surveillance Act” –

particularly its’ new substitute marked HEN06608, the MS Word draft named

“Specter Substitute to S.2453_5.11.06.doc” (“the 5/11 substitute”).

“Section 9” of this proposed legislation will effectively retroactively excuse the

Executive Branch’s mis-use of power in tapping/datamining its’ own legitimate, innocent

citizens and will gut the power of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to protect the

average American citizen ( including YOU! ) from illegal surveillance by the government.

The choice here is very clear – you either stand up for the Constitution, Executive

Branch accountability and effective, legal oversight of all government “intelligence”

programs – or you join the ranks of the Constitution destroyers.

I will be watching your vote on this upcoming legislation very carefully, ready to both

inform my fellow constituents of how you vote, and to base my vote in the upcoming

elections on how you respond to this issue.

For in these present times, there is no issue more important than preserving the

Constitution and maintaining our three-Branch form of government as it was designed to

work – with proper checks-and-balances among the three Branches, accountability and

effective oversight.

Thank you for your time.

(Signed)

I urge each and every one of you to FAX (or phone) a similar message to your Senators and Reps. Pete
A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government."
--George Washington

#4 spy1

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Posted 09 June 2006 - 11:17 AM

And while you're at it, you should urge your Reps to support H.R. 5371, the “Lawful Intelligence and Surveillance of Terrorists in an Emergency by NSA Act”

http://www.aclu.org/...eg20060517.html

Pete
A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government."
--George Washington

#5 spy1

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Posted 15 July 2006 - 10:50 AM

http://www.cnn.com/2...bill/index.html

"WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee said Thursday that he had struck a deal with the White House to resolve a dispute over the constitutionality of conducting electronic surveillance with court approval.

Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania revealed a bill that would allow the same secret court that OK's wiretaps under the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to judge whether the National Security Agency's domestic eavesdropping program is allowed under the Constitution."

=======================================================

"Proposed Surveillance Bill Would Sweep NSA Spying Programs Under the Rug

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter said today that he has negotiated a proposed bill with the White House regarding the NSA's illegal spying program. While the final bill is not public, a draft of the bill obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is a sham compromise that would cut off meaningful legal review—sweeping current legal challenges out of the traditional court system and failing to require court review or congressional oversight of any future surveillance programs. "This so-called compromise bill is not a concession from the White House—it's a rubber stamp for any future spying program dreamed up by the executive," said EFF Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. "In essence, this bill threatens to make court oversight of electronic surveillance voluntary rather than mandatory."

Full story ( http://www.eff.org/n...6_07.php#004824 ), For the draft of the Specter bill ( http://www.eff.org/P...bill_071306.pdf )
July 14, 2006"
A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government."
--George Washington

#6 spy1

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Posted 16 July 2006 - 08:02 AM

If you're not going to FAX your Reps about this, you might want to consider at least using EFF's email mechanism: http://action.eff.or...Advocacy?id=235 . (actually, I c&p'd their letter, got my Reps FAX number from http://www.theorator.com/senate.html and http://www.theorator...ment/house.html and FAX'ed it to them myself). Pete
A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government."
--George Washington

#7 turtledove

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 01:28 AM

Thanks Spy1 for all your postings. This can get a bit scary sounding.... Good info. Appreciate it much. :) :thumbup:
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#8 spy1

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Posted 18 July 2006 - 06:31 AM

turtledove - You're quite welcome. Pete
A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government."
--George Washington

#9 spy1

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Posted 19 July 2006 - 10:23 AM

http://www.cnn.com/2...s.ap/index.html

"WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush personally blocked a Justice Department investigation of the anti-terror eavesdropping program that intercepts Americans' international calls and e-mails, administration officials said Tuesday.

Bush refused to grant security clearances for department investigators who were looking into the role Justice lawyers played in crafting the program, under which the National Security Agency listens in on telephone calls and reads e-mail without court approval, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Without access to the sensitive program, the department's Office of Professional Responsibility closed its investigation in April."


======================================================

You really need to read the rest of that article, because it's a perfect illustration of how out-of-control and two-faced the current Executive Branch is_ let someone "leak" something about one of the secret programs and the Administration has no problem "clearing" droves of people to investigate the leak.

But let someone want to do an investigation of the programs' themselves (what they entail, what they collect, etc.) and all of a sudden, no one has sufficient "clearance" to be given that information.

Could there be any clearer picture drawn for you of the Executive Branch's absolute contempt for any type of effective "oversight" being applied to their actions?

Any clearer example of their sneering disregard for any type of accountability for what they do?

Use this link to read what some major newspapers are saying about Specters' bill:

http://www.eff.org/d...ives/004825.php - and use this link to contact your Reps if they're on the Judiciary Committee: http://action.eff.or...Advocacy?id=239

You need to wake up and do something - it's about one minute to midnight, Constitutionally-speaking. Pete
A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government."
--George Washington

#10 spy1

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Posted 01 August 2006 - 01:29 PM

' * Specter Rushing Thursday Vote on Surveillance Bill

Because of phone calls and letters from constituents like
you, Senator Arlen Specter is feeling the heat. Having
previously delayed a vote on his dangerous surveillance
bill, he is now intent on moving it out of committee on
Thursday. This sham "compromise" bill will help the
government continue to break the law, vastly expanding the
president's power to spy on you without any meaningful
oversight from Congress or the courts. Your friends and
family could be constituents of Judiciary Committee members
-- spread the word and urge them to call Congress now. If
you're a blogger, post a "Stop the Surveillance Bills"
button.

Link to our Action Center:
http://action.eff.org/fisa

Info about the bill and blog button:
http://www.eff.org/P.../spreadtheword/ "

======================================================

And so we reach another critical juncture in the attempt to maintain our rights and what little "privacy" we have left.

I urge each and every one of you reading this to use the links in the posts above to find and contact your legislators' before either S.2453 or H.R 5825 come to a vote.

People, we don't even know what the program is yet that Hoekstra got wind of that caused him to send a four-page letter to Bush ( http://www.cnn.com/2...ings/index.html ) - there is no possible way the Administration should be given their way on these bills - bills that would decide carte-blanche whether entire programs would be approved or dis-approved by the F.I.S.A court (in secret, of course).

NO individual lawsuits allowed by individuals to redress grievances/abuses.

The FAX or call you make will be simple : "I totally oppose passage of BOTH S.2453 AND H.R. 5825 - and I expect YOU to make sure they DON'T pass. I will be watching the result of your vote."

We are on the razor's edge of never being able to affect the outcome of any of this stuff if you don't. Pete
A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government."
--George Washington

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#11 spy1

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 09:55 AM

* Action Alert - National Call-In to Stop the Surveillance
Bills!

Congress returns from recess this week, and EFF is joining a
coalition of organizations for a two week national call-in
to stop the dangerous NSA spying bills. Visit our Action
Center to call your members of Congress now, and spread the
word to friends and family about these bills. Let's keep the
phones ringing in the Congressional halls for two weeks
straight!
http://action.eff.org/fisa

Senator Arlen Specter is still rushing to pass his
surveillance bill, which would help the government and the
NSA continue to break the law by spying on ordinary
Americans. He's planning a committee vote this Thursday, and
a vote by the entire Senate as early as next week.
Meanwhile, Senator Mike DeWine has proposed a bill that
would attempt to retroactively legalize the NSA dragnet
surveillance.

That's bad enough, but now there's another dangerous bill
afoot in the House -- Representative Heather Wilson's H.R.
5825. The House will hold a hearing tomorrow (Wednesday,
September 6
) on this proposal, and a vote may shortly
follow.

Take action now to stop the surveillance bills:
http://action.eff.org/fisa

======================================================

If, by your silence or your agreement with any of these three bills, they are allowed to pass, you'll be actively contributing to the demise of what this country was orginally founded upon - the inherent, implied right to freedom from un-warranted government intrusion into the legitmate, innocent American citizens' everyday life.

Do you really want that to happen? Because it will if you don't do something right now. Pete
A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government."
--George Washington

#12 spy1

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Posted 06 September 2006 - 10:55 PM

http://action.aclu.o...ts_national_sec
A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government."
--George Washington

#13 spy1

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 10:10 AM

https://secure.eff.o...y4t85vl1.app13b

It's not too late to call.

But it soon will be. Pete
A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government."
--George Washington

#14 spy1

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 12:12 PM

"Eavesdropping bill stalls in committee "

AP story

"WASHINGTON - President Bush's support proved insufficient to push a bill authorizing his warrantless wiretapping program through the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday.

Sen. Arlen Specter, the committee's chairman, said the bill stalled because of election-year obstructionism.

"We have seen the incipient stage of filibuster by amendment," the Pennsylvania Republican testily declared as he called off a vote to move his bill to the Senate floor. "Filibuster by speech, filibuster by amendment. Obstructionism."

The target of his ire was Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis., who spoke against the bill for about a quarter of the panel's two-hour meeting and offered four amendments. Feingold, a possible presidential candidate, said Specter's bill would give the White House too much power to eavesdrop without a warrant in some circumstances.

"The president has basically said: I'll agree to let a court decide if I'm breaking the law if you pass a law first that says I'm not breaking the law," Feingold said. "That won't help re-establish a healthy respect for separation of powers. It will only make matters worse."

Democrats contend the White House is using the war on terror to expand the power of the executive branch beyond limits imposed by the Constitution.

Opposition to the bill was no surprise. Feingold and five other senators, three of them Republicans, wrote Specter a day earlier complaining that a new version of his bill should be studied further before the panel votes.

Forced to delay his committee's vote, Specter grumbled that without his legislation the White House would continue its domestic wiretapping program virtually unchecked by the courts.

One such measure, backed by a group of moderate Senate Republicans, poses the biggest threat to Specter's bill because it would impose tighter restrictions on the administration's power to wiretap. The House, too, was considering a measure that would impose tougher checks on the president's power."
A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government."
--George Washington

#15 spy1

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 09:42 AM

http://www.cnn.com/2...m.ap/index.html

"Senate GOP torpedoes proposed limits on Bush wiretaps

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate Republicans blocked Democratic attempts to rein in President Bush's domestic wiretapping program Wednesday, endorsing a White House-supported bill that would give the controversial surveillance legal status.

Under pressure from the Bush administration for quick action, the full Senate could take up the measure next week.

Progress on a companion bill in the House was not as tidy, in part because GOP leaders and Bush are intensely negotiating restrictions it proposes on the surveillance program. Even as the Senate Judiciary Committee advanced Chairman Arlen Specter's bill to the Senate floor on a party line vote, the same panel in the House abruptly canceled its scheduled markup.

The developments come amid a sustained White House campaign to persuade Congress to give the administration broad authority to monitor, interrogate and prosecute terrorism suspects. The administration is up against an election season in which Republicans are struggling to keep its majority with approval from a war-weary electorate.

Specter, R-Pennsylvania, has acknowledged that GOP lawmakers fighting for re-election may not embrace a measure bearing Bush's stamp of approval.

While refusing to give the president a blank check to prosecute the war on terrorism, Republicans in the Senate Judiciary Committee kept to the White House's condition that a bill giving legal status to the surveillance program pass unamended. That's not a sure thing on the Senate floor, where several amendments await the measure.

Tough floor debate expected
The panel also approved other measures relating to the program, some of which contradict Specter's bill -- meaning the possibility of even more debate on the Senate floor.

But Specter's bill survived the committee vote unchanged. Republicans defeated several Democratic amendments, including measures to insert a one-year expiration date into the bill and require the National Security Agency to report more often to Congress on the standards for its domestic surveillance program.

"We just don't want to see Americans' rights abused for the next 50 or 60 years because of an oversight on our part," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, who joined some Republicans in opposing some amendments offered by her Democratic colleagues.

But Republicans countered that the bill represented the best deal on the matter and should not be amended.

The deal is part of the White House's election-season campaign to preserve its ability to fight the war on terror despite congressional concerns about civil liberties.

Negotiations with White House continues
A parade of White House officials seeking support for legal tools against terrorists was to culminate Thursday with an appearance by Bush himself before House Republicans anxious to maintain their majority in the November elections.

Behind-the-scenes negotiations were intense Wednesday. As the Senate bill moved toward committee approval, the House Judiciary Committee abruptly canceled its markup that had been scheduled to happen simultaneously. The reason for the cancellation wasn't immediately clear.

Sponsored by Rep. Heather Wilson, R-New Mexico, and endorsed by House GOP leaders, that measure would require the president to wait until an attack has occurred to initiate wiretapping without warrants, a provision administration officials say would hamper the White House's ability to prevent attacks.

Specter's bill would submit the warrantless wiretapping program to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court for a one-time constitutional review and extend from the current three days to seven days the time allowed for emergency surveillance before a warrant application is submitted and approved by that court.

Vice President Dick Cheney and other top aides encountered stiff resistance from senators and House leaders this week during visits to Capitol Hill. The standoffs raised questions about whether the president could unite Republicans on his anti-terror agenda before November's midterm elections."

===========================================================

You know, people, if you don't let your Senators know that you're opposed to Spector's bill, that's the one we're going to wind up with.

Please read this summation http://www.aclu.org/...rs20060913.html and realize that your window of opportunity to make a difference in the outcome of this is rapidly closing.

It doesn't matter if you've already FAX'ed or called - do it again. Pete
A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government."
--George Washington

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