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    19 May 2006

    Iraq has a new Government...

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    ...but no ministry of interior and defense. That's the army and the police forces of Iraq. They are causing much of the problems currently. So what does the traditional media worldwide say in response?

    Iraq has a new government.

    But in reality... they really don't.

    Posted by Geoff

    Was the Administration aware that it was violating FISA? [updated]

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    I believe that the answer is yes.

    General Hayden aside, for he surly is a competent pick - a necessary replacement of blatant cronyism - for the CIA, the hearings in DC yesterday were more of a referendum on the illegal wiretapping campaign put forth by the powers that be (ruining our democracy). Hayden should and by all accounts will be confirmed. Although he should give everyone of us an apology for what he did as director of the NSA and one should hope he didn't lead Washington down a slippery-slope with the illegal and unconstitutional program he devised. But the sitting Administration in Washington is arrogant, ignorant, and stubborn. And they are enabled by legislatures, Republicans and Democrats alike. Those who think we are not already on a slippery-slope should, well, think again.

    [UPDATE] Via email, I'm reminded about his comments about and defense of torture. Shame on me and him, but...
    Arrogant, ignorant, and stubborn still apply here. He could have raped Jenna and Barbara's kitten and this administration would still nominate him, as long as he stays loyal. That is the Republican way.

    But his testimony set of warning bells to prominent - all things constitutional - blogger Glenn Greenwald. He questions whether or not the Administration initially took into account the standing laws protecting American civilians from violations of the Fourth Amendment. The argument from Bush's personal lawyer... err... Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is that Bush had authority to fight terrorist by any means via the authorization to use military force (AUMF) by Congress, which is claimed to have granted Bush the authority to violate the law in the name of the War on Terrorism, or whatever you want to call it. This includes, or to the administration included warrentless surveillance on innocent Americans as well as other means that are still unacknowedged and/or unknown today.

    However, contrary to the logic presented by Gonzales, Gen. Hayden claimed yesterday that this logic was not initial. As Glenn says, "...when President Bush ordered warrantless eavesdropping, the administration did not believe that this eavesdropping was authorized by Congress as a result of the AUMF, nor did it believe that the eavesdropping was consistent with FISA." In fact they probably new very well that this violated FISA. The logic put forth by Hayden yesterday was an Article II argument which under the Bush Administration's interpretation gives it full authority to protect the nation and anything that is perceived to limit that authority, even the long standing (27 years) and bush-liberalized rubber-stamp court known as FISA, is unconstitutional.

    Therefore, I must conclude that the sitting Administration new very well that it was violating the law and when certain aspects of the NSAs espionage activities were disclosed they then began justifying it with the AUMF bullshit. Basically they were caught violating the law and needed a quick defense.

    As Gleen Greenwald concludes:
    That the AUMF defense did not even exist when the President ordered warrantless eavesdropping on Americans is extremely significant because it means that the administration did not even purport to believe that the eavesdropping they were ordering was consistent with any statute. They knew that FISA criminalized that eavesdropping, and the sole justification for engaging in it was that President Bush could order the law violated because he has that power, and FISA is invalid to the extent it regulates that power. But the circumstances under which this claim arose, by itself, demonstrate how frivolous this theory is.

    FISA was passed overwhelmingly and has governed eavesdropping in our country for almost 30 years, with no suggestion that it is unconstitutional and with president after president complying with its mandates and never challenging them. That long-standing consensus does not dispositively prove that the law is constitutional, but the fact that nobody claimed that FISA was unconstitutional until it was revealed that President Bush has been violating that law, is rather compelling evidence of just how weak and pretextual that claim is.

    Posted by Geoff

    17 May 2006

    Next time

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    The next time I get pulled over I'm just going to tell the cop that "I'm fighting the War on Terrorism". Maybe it will get me out of it. Seems to work for this administration.

    Sen. Specter should be ashamed, and Sen. Graham, once again, appears to be putting his party above the country and the constitution.

    From the Hill...
    Specter has mollified conservative opposition to his bill by agreeing to drop the requirement that the Bush administration seek a legal judgment on the program from a special court set up by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978.

    Posted by Geoff

    15 May 2006

    NSA Illegal Espionage About to be Fully Exposed [Updated]

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    Late last December I posted an excerpt from a letter written by a former NSA intel analyst Russ Tice that indicated - 5 months in advance - that the NSA was doing much more than eavesdropping on phone calls and logging the records of a large portion of the American publics phone habits; the latter a clear violation of the 4th Amendment, among other things. In the letter he requests an audience with Congress. I was under the impression that the Republican held bodies turned down that request. But according to thinkprogress.org, they - in light of recent developments - are prepared to hear his testimony next week.

    Here is what he said in a letter from 18 December 2005 directed towards the Senate and House Intelligence Committees.
    Under the provisions of the Intelligence Community Whistleblower Protection Act (ICWPA), I intend to report to Congress probable unlawful and unconstitutional acts conducted while I was an intelligence officer with the National Security Agency (NSA) and with the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). These acts involve the Director of the National Security Agency, the Deputies Chief of Staff for Air and Space Operations, and the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

    These probable unlawful and unconstitutional acts were conducted via very highly sensitive intelligence programs and operations known as Special Access Programs (SAP)s. I was a technical intelligence specialist dealing almost exclusively with SAP programs and operations at both NSA and DIA.

    Due to the highly sensitive nature of these programs and operations, I will require assurances from your committee that the staffers and/or congressional members to participate retain the proper security clearances, and also have the appropriate SAP cleared facilities available for these discussions.

    Please inform me when you require my appearance on Capitol Hill to conduct these discussions in relation to this ICWPA report.

    According to the National Journal, via thinkprogress.org
    [Tice] said he plans to tell the committee staffers the NSA conducted illegal and unconstitutional surveillance of U.S. citizens while he was there with the knowledge of Hayden. "I think the people I talk to next week are going to be shocked when I tell them what I have to tell them. It's pretty hard to believe," Tice said. "I hope that they'll clean up the abuses and have some oversight into these programs, which doesn't exist right now."

    Tice said his information is different from the Terrorist Surveillance Program that Bush acknowledged in December and from news accounts this week that the NSA has been secretly collecting phone call records of millions of Americans. "It's an angle that you haven't heard about yet, he said. "He would not discuss with a reporter the details of his allegations, saying doing so would compromise classified information and put him at risk of going to jail. He said he "will not confirm or deny if his allegations involve the illegal use of space systems and satellites.

    Now before you apologists claim that this is an act of treason, I suggest you reread the documents that provide the backbone of our Union, quit allowing your fear to be mongered by ultra-nationalists war profiteers, and consider what millions of Americans phone records could possibly have to do with the so-called War on Terror.

    As Tice puts it
    "In addition to knowing this fundamental commandment of not violating the civil rights of Americans, intelligence officers are required to take an oath to protect the United States Constitution from enemies both foreign and domestic. It is with my oath as a US intelligence officer weighing heavy on my mind that I wish to report to congress acts that I believe are unlawful and unconstitutional. The freedom of the American people cannot be protected when our constitutional liberties are ignored and our nation has decayed into a police state."

    [UPDATE] ABC News blog The Blotter is reporting that the Feds are using the databases to root out confidential sources
    A senior federal law enforcement official tells ABC News the government is tracking the phone numbers we call in an effort to root out confidential sources.
    ABC News does not know how the government determined who we are calling, or whether our phone records were provided to the government as part of the recently-disclosed NSA collection of domestic phone calls.

    Other sources have told us that phone calls and contacts by reporters for ABC News, along with the New York Times and the Washington Post, are being examined as part of a widespread CIA leak investigation.

    [UPDATE 2] More...

    [UPDATE 3] Chip notes, in the comments and at his blog, a follow up post from The Blotter that says that the Feds were looking at calls from potential informants originating in the FBI to reporters. Chip fails to mention this however (as did I, thanks for the tip Chip),
    Officials say that means that phone records of reporters will be sought if government records are not sufficient.

    Officials say the FBI makes extensive use of a new provision of the Patriot Act which allows agents to seek information with what are called National Security Letters (NSL).

    National Security Letters require no warrant.

    Posted by Geoff


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