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Bush wanted FISA law changes to cover his own illegal spying

from Ron Fullwood (bigtree), 7/29/2007:

Bush's FISA Duck and Cover
Just like the Torture Bill pardoned his tortures, Bush want(ed) FISA law changed to cover his illegal spying

The recent Sixth Circuit court dismissed an ACLU wiretapping suit on the bizarre, Kafkaesque grounds that the organization couldn't sue because they couldn't prove they had been harmed. Even though the records which could answer the question remain classified, the court ruled that a “reasonable expectation” their organization's name would be found in the domestic warrantless surveillance program's target lists didn't give them enough 'standing' to claim injury and advance their lawsuit.

It's not just the ACLU who has reason to believe their communications were intercepted by the NSA. The intelligence agency was running a 'data-mining' program under the authorization of a presidential order signed by Bush in 2002. For three years, without informing Congress, Bush and the NSA had been monitoring telephone calls and e-mail messages of thousands of United States citizens without warrants.

The sixth Circuit's ruling, while stifling ACLU attempts to crack the domestic spying program open for inspection, did not get as far as deciding the issue of whether the program had actually violated the FISA Act; or ruled on it's constitutionality under the First and Fourth Amendments. The reason Bush is so eager to have Congress pass a series of accommodations to the Justice Dept's questionable exercise of the surveillance law is to preempt any other legal challenge which might force them to end the practice.

More important to the Bush administration is to have Congress join them in codifying their warrantless spying by merely agreeing to modify it; instead of pressing forward with their determination that Bush actually broke the law they already had in place. In his radio address today, Bush complains that the FISA law he ignored for the three years he was sneaking around it, is "out of date," despite his neglect in saying anything at all to Congress in that period about 'updating' it.

He preferred, instead, to hide his actions from Congress and the American people; even today with his continued refusal to provide the public (or Congress) with the knowledge of which of our citizens' private communications was subject to NSA intercepts.

Bush's sudden interest in pressing Congress to pass his FISA revisions "before they leave town," has to also be seen as an attempted insulation of his embattled Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales. Repeatedly forced into perjurious contradictions as he's defended Bush's surveillance programs before congressional committees, Congress is demanding Gonzales explain his previous testimony that his late-night dash with the FBI chief into Ashcroft's intensive care ward in 2004 had nothing to do with the data mining operation. Democrats are especially interested in FBI Director Mueller's testimony this week, in which he clearly contradicted Gonzales, saying that the conversation at Ashcroft's bedside was, in fact, all about the "much discussed" surveillance program.

Bush quoted Mike McConnell, the Director of National Intelligence, in his address, as he complained of being "significantly burdened" because Congress hasn't given his agency the absolution he demands from the legal restraints FISA provides that he's already ignored. While giving lip-service to 'civil liberties' and 'privacy' interests, one of the provisions Bush mentioned would change the law to allow them to "work more efficiently with private-sector entities like communications providers" -- much like the administration did when they secretly conspired with nation's telecommunications giants to get them to the point where they could manipulate the transmissions so that their intercepts would be technically legal.

Today's report in the NYT, quoting 'current and former officials' who witnessed a near mutiny over the data-mining program in it's inception, suggests a spying effort which was even larger than previously disclosed. Despite the vain, transparent attempt by the paper to provide Gonzales cover by suggesting the existence of some other program Mueller could have been referring to -- parsing the difference between 'eavesdropping' and 'data-mining' -- there should be no question that the entire effort by the administration was to subvert the requirements of the FISA, especially the warrants.

On July 26, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy sent a letter to Gonzales giving him a chance to avoid perjuring himself further, giving him an August 3 deadline to change his tune. But it looks like the WH is intent on standing their ground on their convoluted explanation that Mueller couldn't have contradicted Gonzales because, in doing so, he would have to reveal national security secrets; so desperate to avoid having their their tacky, despicable attempt to steamroll the sedated Ashcroft devolve into a full-blown perjury investigation that they were willing to (partially) reveal yet another one of their illegally operated, domestic spying schemes.

It just makes sense that, before we even consider allowing this administration (or any other) to unravel the protections provided under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act , that we demand and ensure -- through the courts as well as in the legislature -- that there is enough of an incentive to comply by tightening review and enforcement provisions. At the very least, we should continue to demand that this administration be held accountable in court for the FISA laws (and others) they've already admitted breaking.

read: http://www.opednews.com/articles/opedne_ron_full_070729_bush_s_fisa_duck_and.htm


Relying on 'Reasonable' Beliefs of Bush and Hayden (bigtree article)

The reasonable test. Reasonableness. That's the threshold test Bush and his lawyer Gonzales use to determine whether to spy on Americans. 'Reasonableness' is also the standard that Bush's nominee for the CIA, Gen. Hayden, has used to defend the warrant-less wiretapping and data-mining of U.S. citizens, in blatant disregard for the FISA law set in place by Sen. Kennedy and others in response to unwarranted surveillance in the '60's and the '70's.

The Lincoln Memorial is such a beautiful and spiritual monument - So much important history there

. . . Marian Anderson, MLK . . . not to mention the myriads of other protests, marches, and rallies in my lifetime that I participated in on those grounds.

Then there's Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address and the Gettysburg Address etched majestically on the wall adjacent to that towering statue of Abe. Reading those words; standing there, you can actually guage the depths of our nation's tumultuous history and revel in the changes which our democracy has brought about since those immortal words were spoken.

This is just a shame . . .

tweeted by, Stephanie Cutter ‏@stefcutter 5m
This is so unbelievably sad and disgusting. Wash Post: Lincoln Memorial shuts down after vandals splash paint on it. http://wapo.st/14gc6Dm

Ever go and read the comments made to you from posters here during past elections?

. . . here's one that hit me right between the eyes (from a really nice guy, at that).

Ah, bigtree....

My favorite creepin' duMP'r.

The one thing I know about you, figtree, is that you have never served in the military.

I think you are the perfect Hillary supporter:

Blind to the truth about the bitter Half truths, lies, bullshit, intellectually corrupt wheedling, blaming, prevaricating, confabulating, foot stomping, pouting, fake tear generating, coattail riding, non-security clearance possessing Lewinski blaming position stealing Demo/neocon....ad infinitum.....

You really earn your keep, though, don't you.

Do they pay you by the post or the word??

. . . I dunno, maybe that response to me isn't as interesting as I think, but, the thing is, DU, I'm just a dedicated Democrat who will advocate as forcefully and as diligently as I am able for our Democratic candidates in these elections. It should have been obvious, but most folks couldn't see beyond the advocacy of their own candidate in that primary to imagine that I might, eventually, support theirs.

I'm just a fellow who stocks shelves at night, not a political operative, by any means. I 'belong' to DU, and I 'belong' to the Democratic Party. Outside of that, I'm just a working class slob living paycheck to paycheck. I make some strident defenses of our Democrats, no doubt, but, I've never felt I've done any big harm in posting here. All of the talk about how relevant DU can be ignores the fact that the bulk of our discussions; most of our venomous back and forth; doesn't usually amount to spit outside of this board. It has mattered, to me, though.

Hillary Clinton was my third choice in that campaign, I believe, followed by Barack Obama, when he got the nomination.

I hope we can keep sight of the fact that, while we may well disagree on issues and candidates here, most of us will continue to be strong advocates for our Democratic party and principles long after the votes are cast and the choice is made by the electorate.

Yes, I read more than a few of my own insults and accusations and I've found more than a few that were directed toward folks who I consider strong allies on this board today. There needn't have been a divide with some of my fellow DUers, on my part, if I'd kept that eventuality in mind during the heat of the campaign.

I'm looking forward to the congressional midterms with excitement and enthusiasm for the fight to regain the House and retain the Senate. I'm also mindful that the next presidential election is already being prepared for by folks who intend to make a serious run. I hope we can continue to find ways to elevate the issues and concerns that are important to us - and, to eventually unify in these upcoming elections; for the good our party - and for the good of the nation.

And, . . . that should just about do it. ('by the word' )
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