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Sunday, December 18, 2005

 

Just when I thought that I could not be surprised...

I have to admit that I'm surprised.

I'm surprised that the Delaware wingnuts are just fine with George Bush putting himself above the law. I thought that for all of our differences, we were all Americans first. Well, so much for that.

Hube says that Congressional leaders were "briefed" about the crime - so it was not a crime at all. Then in comments at Down with Absolutes he follows the party line that Bush's lawyer gave him a note. The note said that Bush does not have to worry about our silly laws provided he is going after terrorists. Oh boy, I feel better !

Trinity thinks that this is part of a media conspiracy and that breaking the law is actually "within the law" if you are the President of the United States. And even Goper who I thought showed some glimmers of intelligence thinks that this is no big deal.

Well call me old fashioned but don't happen to think that Bush's note from his lawyer supercedes the constitution. I wonder if the US Senate does? I guess we will see in the fullness of time.

Comments:
Now that Bush's coattails are looking a little tatty, the leaks should come fast and furious. I wonder what other stories the New York Times is sitting on?
 
Good point. I think the levee is going to break once and for all when one of the Republicans looking for the nomination (maybe McCain, Gingrich, or Allen) give the green light to go after Bush.
 
Yeah, remember the beginning of the end for Bush 41 was when George F. Will called him a lapdog...
 
jason said..."I have to admit that I'm surprised.

I'm surprised that the Delaware wingnuts are just fine with George Bush putting himself above the law."


Jason, could you provide some specifics to back up that charge please? What law was it that the President broke, exactly? What do you know about this that I don't know?

jason said..."I guess we will see in the fullness of time.

At last! A fair, reasonable and cogent thought from jason! ;)
 
Oh, and just as an aside, jason, since we all know the high regard in which you hold Sen. John McCain, (see "McCain, McCain, McCain") It may interest you to know that he has weighed in on this issue and is supporting the president.

I hope that won't affect the way you look at McCain as an American, the way it apparently did with me, Hube and Goper. :P

http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2005/12/18/142705.shtml
 
Yeah, J. I'm not ready to weigh in on the meat of this issue, yet. I haven't said that it's no big deal, I just think that CIA leakers shoudl be prosecuted as vigorously as the Plame case.

THis could turn out to be a very big deal, or it could turn out that he was within the law. I'm not there yet.
 
It also does not surprise me that Democrats, who were advised of this tactic before its implementation, had no problem with it then, but are "shocked" and "disturbed" now that the WP has it. But I expect nothing less from Hypocrats like Pelosi and Charles "The AntiChrist" Schumer.
 
"It also does not surprise me that Democrats, who were advised of this tactic before its implementation, had no problem with it then"

Dude... get a grip. Lawmakers are briefed about this stuff on total background. They're sworn to secrecy. They'd be out of line to talk about what they hear during these briefings. Hell, it's probably illegal for them to talk about it.

From a recent NYT article:
In a statement, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader, said she was advised of the president's decision shortly after he made it and had "been provided with updates on several occasions."

"The Bush administration considered these briefings to be notification, not a request for approval," Ms. Pelosi said. "As is my practice whenever I am notified about such intelligence activities, I expressed my strong concerns during these briefings."


Note Pelosi's remarkable restraint and patriotism here. She was briefed that Bush had illegally "authorized" the NSA to spy domestically and kept that fact to herself for ONE YEAR until it came out in the press. Pelosi apparently had PLENTY of problem with this when she first heard about it. Note the understatement with which she said "I expressed my strong concerns during these briefings..." Reading between the lines, she apparently gave Bush a piece of her mind, but she kept that private too. And as usual he blew off her concerns. But now he's busted.
 
"Dude... get a grip. Lawmakers are briefed about this stuff on total background. They're sworn to secrecy. They'd be out of line to talk about what they hear during these briefings. Hell, it's probably illegal for them to talk about it."

So how did the media get the info?

Why did it come out when it did?

Did she give him a "piece of her mind?" You'll never know. My guess? Not at all. Other D House and Senate members remember the briefings as uneventful and focusing primarily on technology.

If you don't think Pelosi wants to maximize the damage from this and make it look like she was diametrically opposed from the beginning, you're purposely blind.

Remember, EVERYBODY who knew this, as well as EVERYBODY who knew about the secret prisons was sworn to and bound by law to keeping the info confidential. But interestingly enough, it all got out at politically advantageous times.

What's the bigger crime: Spying on domestic terrorists or plain, old-fashioned treason?
 
What's the bigger crime: Spying on domestic terrorists or plain, old-fashioned treason?

Good Lord, I'll never unravel all the false premises in that one question, but here goes:

First of all, "spying on domestic terrorists..." Terrorists? TERRORISTS? In My USA (tm), they are called "suspects" and are innocent until proven guilty - with properly gathered evidence (that means warrants).

Secondly, what does treason have to do with it? Even Bush's NSA authorization, while almost certainly illegal, isn't treason.

Thirdly, here's a better way to frame the question:

"What's the bigger crime: Spying on US citizens, or exposing those who spy on US citizens?"
 
I love the It was my LAWYER WHO LET ME.

I first heard this when Delay said it about his money laundering/gerrymandering in TX state politics, then I noticed that the NCCo. Gordonberries were doing it within the GET RICH ABBOTT scheme when that was unveiled, the county attorney wrote that it was all ok, no problem, NOT.

Then Paul Clark dumps the county attorney as soon as he gets in power and hires a woman from his wife's lae firm, Wendy Danner.

It must be good to have a friend whose legal opinion can stand between you and the law if things get rough, NOT.

Gordonbery and Delay ain't gonna get that much protection after all.


I am keeping an eye on Clark!!
 
I don't think Bush's lawyer "let him," but he did get advice from his lawyer, and he did notify key members of Congress. So it does seem like he knew he was in a gray area and he wanted to cover his bases. He could have done this without telling anyone. But he didn't.

And anon, I'll re-frame the question: What is worse: Wiretapping the phone conversations of domestic terrorism suspects with known connections to Al-Qaeda in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack by Al-Qaeda, or violating the law, and in my opinion, committing treason, by leaking confidential anti-terrorism policy to a newspaper reporter. Who knows how many plots were foiled as a result of this policy?

I'll ask you, anon, would you be a little less hostile to this policy if you knew it directly prevented another major terrorist offensive on a city where you have loved ones?
 
Anonymous said..."Even Bush's NSA authorization, while almost certainly illegal....."

Anonymous, I find it absolutely mind-boggling that you seem so sure that the monitoring of communications that President Bush signed off on are "almost certainly illegal". Why? Because some Bush critic has said so?

Anonymous said..."First of all, "spying on domestic terrorists..." Terrorists? TERRORISTS? In My USA (tm), they are called "suspects" and are innocent until proven guilty - with properly gathered evidence (that means warrants).

From what I understand, a FISA warrant would only be required in the event that both parties to the communication were domestic, that is, if they were both located in the U.S., and involved a foreign power, or an agent of a foreign power.

In other words, it would be fair game, for instance, to monitor a communication between an al Qaeda suspect in Afghanistan and a number he called in the states. The Foreign Intelligence Security Act permits the government to do that, no warrant needed.
 
Hey relax, conservatives. No President would ever be brought down over something so silly as a couple of illegal wiretaps! When the investigation begins, all he has to do is cover up, stonewall, and claim "National Security." Works every time! Doesn't it?
 
Trinity. I think the illegality that everyone keeps talking about is the The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, which "prescribes procedures for requesting judicial authorization for electronic surveillance and physical search of persons engaged in espionage or international terrorism against the United States on behalf of a foreign power." (ref: http://www.fas.org/irp/agency/doj/fisa/)

There is a question about whether or not the President can spy on people in the US without getting permission from the special FISA Court. He says he can. Critics say he can't based on that law.

Eventually, a court will decide the issue. But in my humble opinion, he's breaking the law.
 
See US v. Bin Laden from US District Court in New York in 2000 for relevant case law on the subject.

http://www.law.syr.edu/faculty/banks/terrorism/dummyfl/binladen_12_19_00.pdf
 
Mike said..."There is a question about whether or not the President can spy on people in the US without getting permission from the special FISA Court. He says he can. Critics say he can't based on that law.

Eventually, a court will decide the issue. But in my humble opinion, he's breaking the law.


I appreciate that, Mike, and you're right about one thing. I'm sure the legality of what the President did (and is continuing to do, btw) will all be sorted out in time.

But isn't that exactly the point? From what I've read, the Foreign Intelligence Security Act permits the government to monitor foreign communications, even if they are with U.S. citizens.

According to Mark Levin, who has had some experience in dealing with this statute, the only time a FISA warrant is needed is when the subject communications are wholly contained in the United States and involve a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power.

That would seem to indicate that President Bush worked within the law, wouldn't it?
 
And while we're on the subject, I would love to hear what everyone thinks about the super secret NSA monitoring program (code-named Echelon) that former President Clinton used back in the '90s, that eavesdropped on millions of private phone calls (and e-mails) made by U.S. citizens.

And I expect to hear some real outrage here, folks! Maybe even some references to King William Jefferson! ;)
 
delathought said... "See US v. Bin Laden from US District Court in New York in 2000 for relevant case law on the subject.

That was interesting, delathought, although I admit to having only skimmed through all that reading.

Am I wrong, or does it appear that it's likely that any future court decision re: the issue we are discussing will be favorable to President Bush?
 
Yes, trinity. It looks like the law is on the President's side in that this idea has been brought up before and was not ruled unconstitutional. It wasn't ruled constitutional, either, though. But unlike leaking classified information to the press, this was not a clear violation of the law.
 
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