Federal Wiretaps

By Woodman · Dec 20, 2005 · Updated Dec 23, 2005 · ·
  1. Woodman
    I'm surprised that this topic has only received 11 views since it was posted.

    I'm moving it to "Drugnews" to see how it does, there.

    President Takes the Offensive With Press:

    By Michael A. Fletcher
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Tuesday, December 20, 2005; Page A08


    News conferences have never been President Bush's favorite venue, which is probably the main reason he's held fewer than any modern president. But any discomfort he felt yesterday was for the most part well concealed.

    In the face of repeated skeptical questions on the Iraq war and whether he acted within the law in ordering a domestic spying program, Bush apparently decided that a passionate offense was his best defense. In a morning event in the White House East Room, he answered questions for 56 minutes, sometimes conveying humor, sometimes impatience, but never anything less than full confidence in his own answers.

    For most of the time, Bush's mood was casual and crisp. He admonished reporters to refrain from long questions and -- amid concern that he is overreaching on his own powers -- joked that he had signed an executive order to ban them. On the question of domestic surveillance in fighting terrorism, Bush acknowledged civil liberties concerns and said he would ask the same questions if he were sitting in the reporters' seats.

    On one occasion, however, his exasperation was obvious when a reporter asked Bush if he was arguing for the "unchecked power of the executive."

    The morning's dominant impression was of a president who feels so strongly about his own presidential prerogatives that he was ready to take on all comers who might disagree. He said that as commander in chief he has responsibility for defending the nation against an extraordinary threat, and that he needs extraordinary tools to do so.

    Members of Congress from both parties have criticized the spying program, which involves the National Security Agency's eavesdropping, without court orders, on the international phone calls and e-mails of U.S. citizens suspected of having terrorist ties. But Bush was undeterred, vowing to maintain the surveillance as long "as the nation faces the continuing threat of an enemy that wants to kill American citizens."

    He said whoever leaked the secret program to the press has compromised his administration's efforts to avert another terrorist attack on U.S. soil. "My personal opinion is it was a shameful act for someone to disclose this very important program in a time of war," Bush said. "The fact that we're discussing this program is helping the enemy."

    To a Washington Post reporter who asked about "unchecked" power, Bush retorted: "To say 'unchecked power' basically is ascribing some kind of dictatorial position to the president, which I strongly reject."

    Bruce Buchanan, a political scientist at the University of Texas who has closely followed Bush's political career, said the president seemed to grow increasingly frustrated as reporters continually asked him about whether the domestic spying program infringes on the civil liberties of Americans.

    "I sensed kind of a latent indignation in him," Buchanan said. "He feels frustrated that people are questioning his right to do what to his way of thinking is so obviously necessary to protect the country."

    The lonely burden of a chief executive during war was a continuing theme for Bush during the joust with reporters. At times, he seemed convinced his critics had forgotten that the United States is enmeshed in a war with what he often calls a new kind of enemy.

    "After September the 11th, one question my administration had to answer was how, using the authorities I have, how do we effectively detect enemies hiding in our midst and prevent them from striking us again?" Bush said.

    Although his administration has been battered by allegations that it has tortured terrorism suspects in secret prisons in several locations across the world, Bush betrayed no hesitation in extolling his own commitment to nurturing democracy in Iraq. Referring to prisons run under Saddam Hussein, he said, "You know, you find these secret prisons where people have been tortured, that's unacceptable," he said, adding that the lingering bitterness complicates the task of national reconciliation in Iraq.

    If few can fathom the immense responsibilities on his shoulders, Bush said he understands the concerns of those raising questions with him. Asked about a timetable for withdrawing from Iraq, he said he understands the debate about whether a withdrawal timetable is a good idea. Asked about his low approval ratings, he said he understands that "everybody is not going to agree with my decisions."

    In regard to the Senate filibuster that has stalled consideration of expiring provisions of the USA Patriot Act, he said the administration needs as many investigatory tools as possible to ferret out budding terrorist plots. He reminded reporters that after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, many people were angry that U.S. intelligence agencies were unable to make sense of a number of disparate clues to the plot before it unfolded. He said he understands that people wonder why the agencies could not connect the dots.


    Like HELL!

    Bush has had four years of unrestricted wiretap and detention authority on the premise that it was necessary because the country was under attack.

    We've been at war for FOUR YEARS now, and Bush HAS NOT laid out any plan to end this declared "threat" any time soon. So on the basis that the US is experiencing an ongoing threat, he wants to continue this invasion of personal privacy indefinitely.


    As far as I'm concerned the patriot act has had enough time to have served it's purpose if it was ever really effective at all.

    ... and now it is time that it should be dissolved.


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  1. Marsofold
  2. polloloco001
    i dont even want to say anything, cuz im pretty sure the kgb will trace my computer and torture me and leave my body in the desert if i talk shit about the patriot act.
  3. Woodman
    UPDATE: 12/31/2005

    US Federal Government now seeks revenge against the whistlblower(s) who reavealed unconstitutional practice in the NSA.

    -Jusice Department prosecutors open criminal investigation citing the leak as "Damaging to National Security."

    US investigates leak of spy program
    Prosecutors focus on disclosure to New York Times
    By Dan Eggen, Washington Post *|* December 31, 2005

    WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into recent disclosures about a controversial domestic eavesdropping program that was secretly authorized by President Bush after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, officials said yesterday.

    Justice Department prosecutors will focus on whether classified information about the program was unlawfully disclosed to The New York Times, which reported two weeks ago that Bush had authorized the National Security Agency to monitor the international telephone calls and e-mails of people in the United States without court-approved warrants, officials said.
    The Justice Department's decision to disclose the opening of a criminal investigation is rare, particularly given the highly classified nature of the probe. The deputy White House press secretary, Trent Duffy, told reporters in Crawford, Texas, yesterday that the Justice Department ''undertook this action on its own" and that Bush only learned about it from senior staff earlier in the day.
    But Duffy reiterated earlier statements by Bush, who had sharply condemned the disclosure of the program and argued that it seriously damaged national security.
    ''The fact is that Al Qaeda's playbook is not printed on Page 1 and when America's is, it has serious ramifications," Duffy said, reading from prepared remarks. ''You don't need to be Sun Tzu to understand that," he added, referring to the Chinese general who wrote ''The Art of War."
    Leak investigations generally begin with a referral to the Justice Department by the agency in question -- in this case the NSA -- which prompts a preliminary inquiry by prosecutors to determine whether a crime has been committed. The opening of a criminal investigation signals that prosecutors believe that laws barring disclosure of classified information by government officials were broken, and will bring with it a full-blown probe involving FBI agents and Justice Department investigators.
    The case is the latest in a series of clashes between the media and the Bush administration, which has aggressively enforced restrictions on classified information and has frequently complained about media disclosures related to terrorism or the war in Iraq.
    Earlier this year, a grand jury investigation by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald into the disclosure of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson's identity resulted in the jailing of former New York Times reporter Judith Miller for refusing to testify and in criminal charges against former vice presidential adviser I. Lewis ''Scooter" Libby. That probe is ongoing.
    In another recent case, the CIA General Counsel's office in November notified the Justice Department that classified information had been disclosed in a report by The Washington Post on the existence of secret ''black site" prisons in Eastern Europe and elsewhere. Justice Department officials declined to comment yesterday on whether that referral has also led to a full criminal probe.
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