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Bush authorized domestic spying before 9/11
January 13, 2006 10:17 AM   Subscribe

Bush authorized domestic spying before 9/11. What had long been understood to be protocol in the event that the NSA spied on average Americans was that the agency would black out the identities of those individuals or immediately destroy the information. But according to people who worked at the NSA as encryption specialists during this time, that's not what happened. On orders from Defense Department officials and President Bush, the agency kept a running list of the names of Americans in its system and made it readily available to a number of senior officials in the Bush administration, these sources said, which in essence meant the NSA was conducting a covert domestic surveillance operation in violation of the law.
posted by rxrfrx (118 comments total)

 
I've reached the point where I no longer care. This administration can do whatever it wants and nothing whatsoever will actually happen, there will be no consequences, no fallout, no nada. I got a little excited during the whole Libby thing but even that appears to be long forgotten. It would be nice if the outcome of '08 restored some integrity and direction into the Whitehouse but I'm not going to hold my breath.
posted by zeoslap at 10:28 AM on January 13, 2006


Are there any actual documents proving this? Or just Jason Leopold's 'perspective?'
posted by NationalKato at 10:28 AM on January 13, 2006


Okay, maybe I've seen too many movies, but did anyone really think that the US gov't wasn't spying on it's citizens?? Seriously. All those intelligence agencies and not one was facing domestic??

/jaded and cynical
posted by menace303 at 10:33 AM on January 13, 2006


Are there any actual documents proving this?

Yes [PDF] -- as found in the first sentence of the article to which this FPP links.
posted by ericb at 11:05 AM on January 13, 2006


yeah, I'm not that surprised.
posted by jsavimbi at 11:05 AM on January 13, 2006


So if they were spying on US citizens prior to 9-11, doesn't this prove that domestic spying doesn't stop terrorism? QED.
posted by drezdn at 11:08 AM on January 13, 2006


Cheney: Warrentless Wiretapping ‘Might Have Led Us To Prevent 9/11′
It’s the kind of capability [that], if we’d had before 9/11, might have led us to be able to prevent 9/11.

We had two 9/11 terrorists in San Diego prior to the attack in contact with al Qaeda sources outside the U.S. We didn’t know it. The 9/11 Commission talks about it. If we’d had this capability, then we might well have been able to stop it.
posted by destro at 11:08 AM on January 13, 2006


or what drezdn said
posted by destro at 11:08 AM on January 13, 2006


Gore to Address "Constitutional Crisis"
posted by muckster at 11:10 AM on January 13, 2006


Is there an entry in wikipedia for 'outrage fatigue'? I've got a good digital picture of myself I could add.
posted by phearlez at 11:13 AM on January 13, 2006


Dear Al Gore,

We care even less about you and what you have to say now than we do Senator Kerry. And that's saying something.

Love, Us.
posted by phearlez at 11:14 AM on January 13, 2006


Think of how much worse 9/11 might have been if we didn't have this spying! Uh, err, no, sorry, I can't figure out a good fig-leaf to cover this.
posted by adamrice at 11:15 AM on January 13, 2006


Hey, look at it this way. Cheney's lies are being outed within a matter of days now. It used to take months. Now that's progress.
posted by psmealey at 11:17 AM on January 13, 2006


We care even less about you and what you have to say now than we do Senator Kerry

really? not me
posted by rxrfrx at 11:17 AM on January 13, 2006


Me either. Kerry is a useless sack of coprolites. Gore at least says things that indicate backbone now and then.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:20 AM on January 13, 2006


In the words of G. W. Bush II, the Constitution "is just a goddamned piece of paper."
posted by Rothko at 11:21 AM on January 13, 2006


I'm with those suffering from outrage fatigue. What, exactly, does this administration have to do to piss the American public off enough, that we (meaning, enough of us to matter) call for action??

Torture? Sure, just not here.
Spying? Heck, I got nuthin to hide.

And how is it that the "Global War on Terror" still has traction in peoples' minds????? AAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!
posted by LooseFilter at 11:24 AM on January 13, 2006


"G. W. Bush II"

Who is that?

And where is the quote from?
posted by donkelly at 11:29 AM on January 13, 2006


I have this dream where there is a "have you no sense of decency" moment that will come out of nowhere, and just bring this whole constitution-desecrating, dogmatic, profiteering house of cards crashing down in one fell swoop.
posted by LooseFilter at 11:29 AM on January 13, 2006


Has not caring become the new cool thing to do?
posted by tula at 11:30 AM on January 13, 2006


Oh -
http://www.capitolhillblue.com/artman/publish/article_7779.shtml

The "goddamn" quote source. I guess my not visiting MeFi every day is showing.
posted by donkelly at 11:32 AM on January 13, 2006


They need to be arrested/rendered and thrown right into Guantanamo--they broke their oaths of office and continue to lie about it all, every day, while innocent people overseas continue to die for their lies.
posted by amberglow at 11:35 AM on January 13, 2006


maybe if they took away lost or survivor it would piss enough people off, short of that it doesn't seem like anything will.
posted by rhyax at 11:37 AM on January 13, 2006


So, wait. In the 8 months between inauguration and 9/11, was Bush doing nothing about preventing a terrorist attack on U.S. soil, or was he illegally spying on people within the U.S.? Or both?

It's both, right? He should have done more! He should have done less! Um.
posted by JekPorkins at 11:40 AM on January 13, 2006



posted by caddis at 11:40 AM on January 13, 2006


Ahh, complacency. It's the American Way.
posted by graventy at 11:42 AM on January 13, 2006


This whole operation sure sound like Able Danger.
posted by caddis at 11:44 AM on January 13, 2006


It's both, right? He should have done more! He should have done less! Um.

Well, that's one interpretation. A sarcastic, naive and subservient one, but an interpretation nevertheless.

Another one is that they seized secret authority, violated the law and their oaths of office, then used their failure as a rationalization to seize still more power using false premises.

Special prosecutor time. Long overdue.
posted by edverb at 11:51 AM on January 13, 2006


Thank you, President Bush for doing everything legal and Constitutional to keep us safe from Islamic jackals.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:54 AM on January 13, 2006


So, wait. In the 8 months between inauguration and 9/11, was Bush doing nothing about preventing a terrorist attack on U.S. soil, or was he illegally spying on people within the U.S.? Or both?

False dichotomy.
posted by Rothko at 11:56 AM on January 13, 2006


You know, it was really sobering to hear Peter Bergen on TDS, discussing his new book, saying that al-Qaeda was really down & out until we started the Iraq war.
posted by LooseFilter at 12:06 PM on January 13, 2006


False dichotomy.

It's not a dichotomy if part of it is "or both."

Another one is that they seized secret authority, violated the law and their oaths of office, then used their failure as a rationalization to seize still more power using false premises.

That's not actually different than my interpretation, is it?
posted by JekPorkins at 12:06 PM on January 13, 2006


I too, would like to thank President Bush for doing everything legal and Constitutional to keep us safe from Islamic jackals.

Believe me, I'd like to.

But when the 9/11 commission says we're doing a shitty job with the legal and constitutional reforms they advocated

AND

he when so obviously implements cruel and unusual punishments along with unreasonable searches sesures....

I find myself unable to speak well of him.
posted by Richard Daly at 12:08 PM on January 13, 2006


PP owes me a new keyboard...that was funny! (damn spit takes) I glad he's finally stopped taking himself so seriously.
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 12:09 PM on January 13, 2006


Gore grew some balls after his defeat. Kerry is just irritating.
posted by delmoi at 12:11 PM on January 13, 2006


Thank you, President Bush for doing everything legal and Constitutional to keep us safe from Islamic jackals.

About all that other stuff, though, go fuck yourself.
posted by delmoi at 12:13 PM on January 13, 2006


Candidate George W. Bush had strong words for the perpetrators of the USS Cole bombing in 2000, when asked about it on David Letterman's show, when Letterman asked about the terrorist attack on the USS Cole which killed 17 US sailors:
BUSH: "If I find out who it was, they'd pay a serious price, I mean a serious price."

LETTERMAN: "Now, what does that mean?"

BUSH: "That means they're not going to like what happened to them."

LETTERMAN: "Now are you talking about retaliation or due process of law?"

BUSH: "Heh-heh. I'm talking about gettin' the facts and lettin' them know we don't appreciate it and there's a serious consequence ... And I'll decide what that consequence is."
Conclusive evidence of Osama bin Laden's complicity was made public in December of 2000, just a little over one month before George Bush's inauguration, and UBL himself praised the USS Cole bombers in March 2001. This was in addition to a federal indictment of UBL in the US embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

Armed with this knowledge, did Bush follow through on his tough talk? No. In fact, the retaliatory war plan Bush was given by the outgoing Clinton administration to go after UBL was shelved, while a ballistic missile defense plan was fast-tracked as the new top defense priority instead.
"I believe that the Bush Administration will spend more time on terrorism generally, and on al-Qaeda specifically, than any other subject." - Clinton National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, to incoming Bush NSA Condoleeza Rice (Bush administration officials gave a similar account, according to the Washington Post)



The recently inaugurated President Bush did take some steps to deal with terrorism. He called for a committee and delegated it to Cheney, who didn't follow up. Despite Sandy Berger's prescient warning, terrorism was simply not a priority for the Bush administration.

Between inauguration and 9/11, Bush spent nearly half of his time on vacation.
"By the time President Bush returns to Washington on Labor Day after the longest presidential vacation in 32 years, he will have spent all or part of 54 days since the inauguration at his parched but beloved ranch. [...] Throw in four days last month at his parents' seaside estate in Kennebunkport, Maine, and 38 full or partial days at the presidential retreat at Camp David, and Bush will have spent 42 percent of his presidency at vacation spots or en route." - Mike Allen -- Washington Post, August 7th, 2001
In the budget submitted September 10th, 2001, John Ashcroft increased the DoJ budget for 68 programs (especially drug enforcement, for example prosecutions of state-operated medical marijuana centers) but cut funds for counterterrorism, after three years of consecutive increases under Janet Reno. According to the Guardian article, "(Ashcroft) turned down an FBI request for hundreds more agents to be assigned to tracking terrorist threats". The New York Times had more on this:
"Under Mr. Ashcroft's predecessor, Janet Reno, the department's counterterrorism budget increased 13.6 percent in the fiscal year 1999, 7.1 percent in 2000 and 22.7 percent in 2001. [...]
One former federal law enforcement official said that top officials in the F.B.I., which does the bulk of the department's counterterrorism work, had been concerned about Mr. Ashcroft's initial lack of focus on fighting terrorism. He said there was worry among some senior agents that counterterrorism would be downgraded in future years if Mr. Ashcroft's early attitude did not change." - New York Times, 2/28/02
Terrorism got scant attention and less funding in key areas from the Bush administration before September 11th, despite the USS Cole bombing and evidence of al Queda complicity in a series of attacks on US interests. Candidate Bush's well-received statements to Letterman about "serious consequences" ring hollow when you consider his lack of proactive followup.
posted by edverb at 12:14 PM on January 13, 2006 [1 favorite]


I canoffer at least this piece of encouragement: the NSA has long prided itself withits anonymity, its secrecy, a black hole-like existence that made them, unlike CIA or FBI, unknown. Now that is no longer true.

They had spied upon citizens in the past--under Nixon. And they have, at the same time, often not been effective (Viet Nam war) because what they dug up on Viet Cong ignored by Pentagon. l

What has not been yet noted: internal bad people are supposed to be located, perhaps even spied upon, by the FBI...are they too a player in all this or simply no longer useful?
posted by Postroad at 12:15 PM on January 13, 2006


It's not a dichotomy if part of it is "or both."

It's a false dichotomy because you make an a priori assertion that illegal spying would have been necessary to prevent 9/11. Your either/or that follows requires this assertion be true. Since you provide no evidence for this assertion, I have no reason to recognize its truth; without it, therefore, you present a false dichotomy.
posted by Rothko at 12:15 PM on January 13, 2006


As long as the homosexuals never marry, Kansas and the majority of the red states will continue to bend over for nice long GOP ass fucking.
posted by The Jesse Helms at 12:18 PM on January 13, 2006


you make an a priori assertion that illegal spying would have been necessary to prevent 9/11.

No, I don't. You pretend I do, but I don't. You apparently make incorrect assumptions about what side of the stupid political fight I'm on.

Your either/or that follows

No either or followed.

The term 'dichotomy' itself requires two choices. I have given three, and chosen the third.
posted by JekPorkins at 12:19 PM on January 13, 2006


The document cited in the article looks pretty bland. Does it actually say anything about warrantless wiretaps?
posted by brain_drain at 12:25 PM on January 13, 2006


No, I don't. You pretend I do, but I don't.

I make no assumption or inference about your political views. I'll explain where the logical fallacy lies in your comment:
So, wait. In the 8 months between inauguration and 9/11, was Bush doing nothing about preventing a terrorist attack on U.S. soil, or was he illegally spying on people within the U.S.? Or both?

It's both, right? He should have done more! He should have done less! Um.
The second paragraph indicates you do not agree with the implications of the "third" option you present, however they relate to your political viewpoint.
posted by Rothko at 12:33 PM on January 13, 2006


Quick question. The linked to document says it was made in December 2000, Clinton was still in office at that point. Is there any substantial evidence that links this document to Bush rather than the previous administration?
posted by cloeburner at 12:36 PM on January 13, 2006


Back when the first stuff about Echelon was making it's way onto the net I recall reading something to the effect that the way it worked for domestic surveillance is that they would sit a British officer across from a U.S. officer in a room. Whenever we wanted some intel on a domestic subject the British officer would graciously hand it to the U.S. officer thereby technically permitting the U.S officer to be innocent of domestic surveillance. If true, it certainly paints a comical picture. I was trying to dig up some of those documents but can't find them at the moment.
posted by well_balanced at 12:37 PM on January 13, 2006


So if Clinton was doing this (and maybe he was...) could we then thank him for doing everything legal and Constitutional to keep us safe from Islamic jackals?

‘Cause I prefer lions to do that.
Or ‘Red’ the lion. There’s a great BBC or Nat’l Geographic piece wherein the narrator keeps a calm even tone while this very very big lion - who was apparently 20 years old or so (impressive in the wild) ferociously destroys a good chunk of a hyena pack that had been threatening his females and cubs. Apparently his mother and pride mates had been killed by hyenas and where most lions are content to simply scare off the attackers, Red prefered to kill as many as he could. Being an extraordinarily large and successful lion he killed a great deal of them.
And while Red - now covered in blood and gore continued to pursue and kill hyena after hyena, the narrator says in calm, even tones without a trace of irony “Red, hates hyenas.”

Well no f’ing duh.

Oh, wait, the objective isn’t to derail the thread pointlessly right?

Sorry.

I think JekPorkins has a point.

From the administration’s own argument the hypocrisy and lies are made manifest.
Either this was being done before 9/11 or it wasn’t. Either we need to continue to use it as a tool or it’s illegality is too damaging.

The facts are solid - albeit subject to irrational argument (but any idiot can find something wrong with anything).

But given that the administration was spying domestically - what’s Cheney doing saying if we were doing it before 9/11 wouldn’t have happened?

How can the party line be that everything changed after 9/11 if this was occuring before then?

Obviously I’m also curious if this was being done under Clinton.

Unlike zeoslap (et.al) I’m getting angrier and angrier.
As much as I believe in reason and provability I keep sliding into the (from my POV) groundless belief that the administration had something to do with 9/11 occuring. But that “cui bono?” keeps coming back to me. It’s as though this is indeed being orchestrated and I’m seeing more and more “If you’re not paranoid, you’re not paying attention” kind of signs like this.

My real fear is that there are LOTS of people less rational, less coolheaded than I am feeling the same things.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:38 PM on January 13, 2006


I too, am a little confused by this - it goes against the conventional wisdom that Bush didn't give two shits about terrorism before 9/11. Which I'd find a little easier to believe than this story.
posted by fungible at 12:41 PM on January 13, 2006


Thank you, President Bush for doing everything legal and Constitutional to keep us safe from Islamic jackals.

As if on cue.

Honestly, how is it that we here in the most powerful nation ever to strive the earth spend so much time cringing in corners, frightened to death by "Islamic jackals" or "Islamofascists?" It's not that such creatures don't exist, but right seems to fear them behind every tree, seems to regard them as evil geniuses with near supernatural abilities.

What a bunch of pussies we are.
posted by kgasmart at 12:48 PM on January 13, 2006


There is a Truth that exists, and no amount of spin or smoke and mirrors can hide it for long.
posted by zerolives at 12:48 PM on January 13, 2006


Dear Al Gore, We care even less about you and what you have to say now than we do Senator Kerry. And that's saying something.

Not really. Yeah, if he'd displayed his personality a little more, maybe he'd have won the 2000 election. But I don't think it's mostly his fault he lost, and that's not even considering the recount debacle and Supreme Court decision. Face it. A few thousand Nader voter put him under. Not to mention probably a few thousand Democrats who bought the whole media crap about "wooden" and "wonky" and "lied about creating the internet."


It's both, right? He should have done more! He should have done less! Um.

People think this is a contradiction until they realize there might be a difference between authoritarian seizure of political and other powers and actually *doing something* about problems.

The Bush Administration has always been busily working away at things. Just the wrong things. Thus, it's both possible they should have done more (of the right things) and less (of the wrong things). More domestic surveillance? It's already come to light that we had enough information existing in pre-9/11 organizations to put the pieces together, and so it would seem that we needed not more spying but better organizational behavior. I can't think of any victories or demonstrations of competence in this area for the Bush Administration, except as they relate to political maneuvering, but when it comes down to shaping an executive branch that gets information to the right place at the right time and gets the right thing done in response to that, well, they couldn't even manage that with a damn hurricane everybody could see coming. And if 1/3 of what people who've left the white house have said is true, it's easy to see why. The Bush Administration culture itself is focused on political power, on looking good, and damn anybody who's got anything to say that doesn't fit with their perception. This will not shape an executive branch or intelligence agencies in a way that will lead to their effectiveness. If they were spying pre-9/11, that only underlines this fact.

"Thank you, President Bush for doing everything legal and Constitutional to keep us safe from Islamic jackals."

I'd like to believe this proves ParisParamus is not a real lawyer, because it would save me from having to revisit the possibility he is representative of their values and political sagacity as a class.

These people who are in office right now can't guard American freedoms or values. They don't truly respect them.
posted by namespan at 12:48 PM on January 13, 2006


If Clinton authorized spying on American citizens then he should certainly be brought up on charges.
posted by bshort at 12:51 PM on January 13, 2006


Smedleyman: In the months between Seattle and the 2000 election, it was pretty obvious to those parts of the left that were not actively bending over and taking a fist from the Democratic Party, that the Clinton Administration was engaged in a COUNTERINTELPRO-type campaign against its political oponents. Prior to the Bush administration and 9-11, the government was more open about the fact that non-violent protest groups were considered to be terrorist threats.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:56 PM on January 13, 2006


Those who think pre-911 domestic surveillance contradicts the idea that the Bush administration was lax on terrorism in its early days are making the quite possibly incorrect assumption that pre-911 domestic surveillance had anything to do with terrorism.
posted by kyrademon at 12:57 PM on January 13, 2006


“I think JekPorkins has a point.” - me

Although Rothko has me thinking I completely misunderstood what he meant...um....

Outstanding commentary edverb
posted by Smedleyman at 12:57 PM on January 13, 2006


And in related news:
"U.S. opening some private mail in terror fight -- Customs: Letters from abroad subject to screening.
posted by ericb at 1:05 PM on January 13, 2006


If Clinton authorized spying on American citizens then he should certainly be brought up on charges.

He most certainly did. With a warrant.
posted by fungible at 1:05 PM on January 13, 2006


Clinton/Carter Executive Orders Did Not Authorize Warrantless Searches of Americans.
posted by ericb at 1:09 PM on January 13, 2006


Republicans didn't let Clinton Spy on Americans .
posted by ericb at 1:10 PM on January 13, 2006


If Clinton authorized spying on American citizens then he should certainly be brought up on charges.

He most certainly did. With a warrant.


That brings up an interesting semantic point. Personally, I think "spying" is best used to refer to warrantless monitoring "in the best interests" of something-or-other. It's unbound by the Constitution because we (supposedly) do it only on helpless foreigners, or in the context of war. To say that we're "spying with a warrant" seems oxymoronic. Wiretapping within the bounds of due process should be called something else to avoid confusion.
posted by rxrfrx at 1:11 PM on January 13, 2006


Clinton: I Did Not Authorize Warrantless Wiretaps
"Former President Clinton said Thursday that he never ordered wiretaps of American citizens without obtaining a court order, as President Bush has acknowledged he has done.

Clinton, in an interview broadcast Thursday on the ABC News program 'Nightline,' said his administration either received court approval before authorizing a wiretap or went to court within three days after to get permission, as required by law.

'We either went there and asked for the approval or, if there was an emergency and we had to do it beforehand, then we filed within three days afterward and gave them a chance to second guess it,' Clinton told ABC."

[Bloomberg News | January 13, 2006]
posted by ericb at 1:13 PM on January 13, 2006


Here is a link to the NSA Transition 2001 document in regular HTML format (text/jpgs).
posted by rxrfrx at 1:41 PM on January 13, 2006


Despite the fact that shit like this keeps coming up, I'm not sure that anything will get going fast enough to actually affect Bush while he's in office.

On the plus side, when he leaves office, he can't pardon himself.
posted by caution live frogs at 1:42 PM on January 13, 2006


I still care and find this revelation as just another log to add to the fire that will consume these crooked fucks.

These midterm elections are becoming even more important. To restore the government's checks and balances and so that the corrupt can be brought up on charges and indicted.
posted by fenriq at 1:45 PM on January 13, 2006


I'm with those suffering from outrage fatigue. What, exactly, does this administration have to do to piss the American public off enough, that we (meaning, enough of us to matter) call for action??

Jack the cost of gasoline to $5.00 a gallon. Tax any use of a remote control. Outlaw Survivor, American Idol and Apprentice. Deny us the opportunity to save big at Wal Mart or get modestly priced yet fashionable items at stores like Target and Best Buy. If any of these were to occur, America of all creeds colors and political affiliations would come together and collectively hoist their pitchforks and flaming torches and lynch those responsible.
posted by hatchetjack at 1:55 PM on January 13, 2006


hatchetjack: You forgot football.
posted by anomie at 2:12 PM on January 13, 2006


I'm with those suffering from outrage fatigue. What, exactly, does this administration have to do to piss the American public off enough, that we (meaning, enough of us to matter) call for action??



Maybe, just maybe, those of us who do care, who are pissed off enough, WHO ARE FUCKING MAD AS HELL... stopped sitting around at our computers thinking of something witty (or not) to say... maybe if we all got up and tried like hell to do something about this bullshit! There are more of us than they think, Hell, there are more of us than WE think.

...

(goes back to the little lines on his computer...)

posted by Phantast at 2:18 PM on January 13, 2006


Thank you, President Bush for doing everything legal and Constitutional to keep us safe from Islamic jackals.

Even his illegal and unConstitutional spying (not to mention all the warnings and the Bin Ladin PDB, etc) did nothing to keep us safe. We were attacked on 9/11, darling--you forgot?
posted by amberglow at 2:24 PM on January 13, 2006


Phantast, there's barely any media coverage of protests or any dissent--televised or in major papers--think back to pre- Iraq war and the massive massive worldwide protests, and now with the Patriot Act and the spying and the free-speech zones, etc, there's no room for even legitimate expression of First Amendment rights. Until the media stops buying the GOP lies and spin everyday, we're sunk. Once the slime machine gets going, it's been proven to stop all dissent bec of the media going along with them. This Knight-Ridder article outlining what happened when they ran an actual factual article about Alito is very telling: Knight Ridder's Alito story: Factual and fair
posted by amberglow at 2:30 PM on January 13, 2006


JekPorkins: The term 'dichotomy' itself requires two choices. I have given three, and chosen the third.
Congratulations. You've invented the Trichotomy. Get working on your grant proposal right away.
posted by lodurr at 2:31 PM on January 13, 2006




Document was derived from the Manual prepared on Febuary 24, 1998.

Clinton was president.

Doucment was created on December 2000.

Clinton was president.

Document was given as part of a transitional packet to the new president Bush in 2001.

truthout's conclusion:

Bush Authorized Domestic Spying Before 9/11
By Jason Leopold
posted by dios at 2:36 PM on January 13, 2006


I honestly think we undervalue our power. I've never even written my congresswoman. The protests were expected. But we need to stop this defeatist stuff. I think they (and by they, I mean power) expects us (and by us, I mean masses) to quietly expect that we can do nothing to change our world. I think that a significant part of the strategy has been to convince us that we are alone and out numbered and isolated and that our actions can’t mean anything. If everybody who is pissed off and (perhaps finally) understands were to write three letters (one to their congressperson, one to their representative and one to me (because I don’t get enough mail)) explaining that we expect honestly in our government, and we expect legality in our government, and we expect those who do not provide these things to be sufficiently punished, and that we will use our votes, down to the smallest local election, to oust those who don’t actively seek honestly and punish illegality… and we lived up to that… I think things would change. Perhaps not overnight… but we’ve got a senate race this year, and we can change things.
If the dems aren’t in an impeachment mood with a majority next year…

P.S. Give ‘em hell, Gore!
posted by Phantast at 2:49 PM on January 13, 2006


Until the media stops buying the GOP lies and spin everyday, we're sunk.

It's too late for that to work. The GOPundits already have the solution: distrust of the "liberal" media. If it's critical of the GOP, it's lies and spin.

The media could broadcast the truth live from Bush's behind, and the pundits would call "Bias," and for the a good chunk of Bush's base, that would be enough.

The question is how big Bush's base really is.
posted by namespan at 3:02 PM on January 13, 2006


...That’s flatly false. The Clinton administration program, code-named Echelon, complied with FISA. Before any conversations of U.S. persons were targeted, a FISA warrant was obtained. CIA director George Tenet testified to this before Congress on 4/12/00:

I’m here today to discuss specific issues about and allegations regarding Signals Intelligence activities and the so-called Echelon Program of the National Security Agency…

There is a rigorous regime of checks and balances which we, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and the FBI scrupulously adhere to whenever conversations of U.S. persons are involved, whether directly or indirectly. We do not collect against U.S. persons unless they are agents of a foreign power as that term is defined in the law. We do not target their conversations for collection in the United States unless a FISA warrant has been obtained from the FISA court by the Justice Department. ...
posted by amberglow at 3:05 PM on January 13, 2006


This entire article is based on the substance of the memo.

But the dumbasses falsely attribute the memo to Bush.
posted by dios at 3:06 PM on January 13, 2006


and this from Risen shows that the major rationale for the DHS and Patriot Act was a lie--we heard over and over and over how agencies weren't communicating: ... The NSA's domestic surveillance activities that began in early 2001 reached a boiling point shortly after 9/11, when senior administration officials and top intelligence officials asked the NSA to share that data with other intelligence officials who worked for the FBI and the CIA to hunt down terrorists that might be in the United States. However the NSA, on advice from its lawyers, destroyed the records, fearing the agency could be subjected to lawsuits by American citizens identified in the agency's raw intelligence reports. ...
posted by amberglow at 3:08 PM on January 13, 2006


Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:13 PM on January 13, 2006


"Document was derived from the Manual prepared on Febuary 24, 1998.
Clinton was president.
Doucment was created on December 2000.
Clinton was president.
Document was given as part of a transitional packet to the new president Bush in 2001."

dios - what are you talking about? Seriously. Explicate and edify me.

Is the point that Clinton initiated a program that was continued under Bush?

That Clinton initiated it, but Bush stopped it or continued it, then >SOMETHING HAPPENED< and everything is ok for Bush?

That the situation under Clinton is the same as Bush? Different?

Apparently the counter-argument is that Clinton went before FISA each time.
(Which I buy as much as “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” but that’s a moot point here since it’s unprovable and he’s been out of office how long now?)

In all earnestness - what is your point in that statement?
posted by Smedleyman at 3:13 PM on January 13, 2006


smedleyman: the point is that the article relies on the memo as authority that Bush was doing something well before 9/11.

The only problem is, the memo is something that was created by Clinton regarding policy under Clinton. So it strains credibility to suggest that the policies indicated in the memo are "Bush's policies."

If the memo is irrelevant to the claims that Bush started a new policy, then why did they include it?
posted by dios at 3:15 PM on January 13, 2006


let me see if i've got this straight:

bush spied on americans prior to 9/11
despite spying on americans prior to 9/11, 9/11 occurs
bush continues spying on americans post-9/11 because spying on americans will prevent another 9/11
also, spying on americans has prevented all sorts of other possible 9/11s that we'll never know about. trust them.
posted by narwhal at 3:18 PM on January 13, 2006


posted by dios at 5:36 PM EST on January 13 [!]

{i wish i could still BLINK}RTFA{/BLINK}

In its "Transition 2001" report, the NSA said that the ever-changing world of global communication means that "American communication and targeted adversary communication will coexist."

"Make no mistake, NSA can and will perform its missions consistent with the Fourth Amendment and all applicable laws," the document says.

[...]

But according to people who worked at the NSA as encryption specialists during this time, that's not what happened. On orders from Defense Department officials and President Bush, the agency kept a running list of the names of Americans in its system and made it readily available to a number of senior officials in the Bush administration, these sources said, which in essence meant the NSA was conducting a covert domestic surveillance operation in violation of the law.



The T2001 report is not the only source for the article's conclusion. Personally, I don't know if the "encryption specialists" source is as credible as a declassified government document. But you don't seem to even have RTFA.
posted by rxrfrx at 3:19 PM on January 13, 2006


(Unless of course that isn't what those dates mean; I don't presume to know).

It just would seem to me that since Bush had only been in office for 7 months prior to 9/11 and this policy indicates that it was something that was a Clinton-era policy, I don't see the conclusion follows that the document is an indication of a radical shift in policy in the 8 months leading up to 9/11.

But even if that is the case, Richard Clarke has made much hay about all the warnings he was making to try to tell Bush 9/11-type of event was certainly going to happen.

If that is true, then wouldn't an expansion of investigation be a logical response?

That is, if the policy was already extant under Clinton, and Bush was faced with new information before 9/11 (a la Clarke), wouldn't the response be to ramp up the security?

You can't have it both ways. Either Bush knew about the threat that Clinton knew about and Bush ignored it. Or Bush ramped up security before 9/11, so he can't use 9/11 as a justification. But you can't have both. You can't accuse him of ignoring a threat and doing too much security issues. And however you want to side on that debate, it certainly doesn't hinge on "according to the newly de-classifed memo" as the truthout people are suggesting.
posted by dios at 3:22 PM on January 13, 2006


The T2001 report is not the only source for the article's conclusion.

It's not any source for the conclusion. Which is why they shouldn't have tried to suggest it was. But they cast it as information hinging on a newly declassified document.
posted by dios at 3:24 PM on January 13, 2006


You can't have it both ways. Either Bush knew about the threat that Clinton knew about and Bush ignored it. Or Bush ramped up security before 9/11, so he can't use 9/11 as a justification. But you can't have both. You can't accuse him of ignoring a threat and doing too much security issues. And however you want to side on that debate, it certainly doesn't hinge on "according to the newly de-classifed memo" as the truthout people are suggesting.
posted by dios at 3:22 PM PST on January 13 [!]


i think you can have both.

bush ignores the real threat, while expanding his powers for other reasons. then, 9/11 occurs, and he's granted an opportunity to further expand those powers- this time with "justification."
posted by narwhal at 3:27 PM on January 13, 2006


dios, under Clinton the wiretaps were obtained legally with court approval. Under Bush, they were not. Under Clinton, if a citizen's conversation was accidentally recorded and had nothing to do with anything regarding national security, it was erased. Under Bush those conversations were not deleted.

But it sure is nice that you're parroting the GOP talking points so well and blaming Clinton for everything.
posted by fenriq at 4:26 PM on January 13, 2006



“You can't have it both ways. Either Bush knew about the threat that Clinton knew about and Bush ignored it. Or Bush ramped up security before 9/11, so he can't use 9/11 as a justification. But you can't have both.”

Kinda where I thought you were headed, but I’ve been a little punchy lately (no, literally - sparring this morning).

“bush ignores the real threat, while expanding his powers for other reasons. then, 9/11 occurs, and he's granted an opportunity to further expand those powers- this time with "justification."”

I agree with dios. That line of attack is invalid. There’s no way to apriori determine the objective of the expansion of powers given the facts at hand.

The insinuation that Bush began internal surveillance before 9/11 apart from any terrorist threat can’t hold if you also criticise him for ignoring that threat.

I’m not saying it is or is not in fact the case. I’m just saying dios is right in saying it’s not a valid criticism.

Is there any evidence that Bushco began this program independant of the Clinton administration?

Given the documents it looks like it was there then (under Clinton). I could be wrong, but that’s what it appears to be. I’m not willing to take Clinton’s word for it. (Partly because he’s a liar - for reasons other than fellatio, and partly because he’s antagonistic to the Bush administration, but mostly because he’s got every reason to deny breaking the law on his own watch).
posted by Smedleyman at 4:34 PM on January 13, 2006


“...can’t hold if you also criticise him for ignoring that threat.”

I’ll add that 9/11 happened on his watch so I do hold him accountable for it, particularly when he was off fucking around on his ranch. But I blame Clinton for a chunk of it as well. Whole other argument though.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:37 PM on January 13, 2006


Thank you, President Bush for doing everything legal and Constitutional to keep us safe from Islamic jackals.

I'd have thought that that the usual foreign spying would be more than adequate to keep the USA safe from Islamic jackals.

It seems to me that the value of Bush's new domestic spying programme will be of great value in keeping tabs on those various Christian terrorist factions that appear to be a much greater threat to the American people than any Islamicists.

Perhaps they could start with Operation Rescue, for example?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:12 PM on January 13, 2006


Lets see. When you're against the person doing it, you call it "spying." And when there wasn't enough of it before 9/11, you call it "intelligence failures." Before 9/11, we needed both more spying and better intelligence.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:14 PM on January 13, 2006


Dios,

NSA/CSS Manual 123 has nothing to do with when the text of the document was written or where the information came from. It is merely where the classification for the document was derived from. (See bullet number 5)

Nice try and better luck next time.
posted by x_3mta3 at 5:31 PM on January 13, 2006


"Spying" vs. "Intelligence Failures" -- yes, PP, an interesting application of semantics.

In keeping with similar distinctions, such as "Terrorist" vs. "Freedom Fighter/Patriot" (as in "One man's terrorist being another's freedom fighter").

How should we refer to the "Minutemen" who ambushed the "British Regulars" as they retreated from Lexington and Concord to Boston on April 19, 1775?
posted by ericb at 5:38 PM on January 13, 2006


Terrorists or Patriots?
posted by ericb at 5:40 PM on January 13, 2006


Lets see. When you're against the person doing it, you call it "spying." And when there wasn't enough of it before 9/11, you call it "intelligence failures." Before 9/11, we needed both more spying and better intelligence.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:14 PM EST on January 13


If WMDs are not found in Iraq, ... the war was a sham, and the President should be indicted.
posted by quonsar at 5:40 PM on January 13, 2006


"History is written by the victors!" -- Winston Churchill.
posted by ericb at 5:43 PM on January 13, 2006


but mostly because he’s got every reason to deny breaking the law on his own watch).

So, we have one president who admitted he's breaking the law and will continue, and we have another who says he followed the FISA law. Are they both lying? Both telling the truth? One lying? ???

I'd say the one who admits to wrongdoing and illegal acts is the one who deserves to be scrutinized and held to account. I've posted testimony that Clinton's people followed FISA. On the other hand, Bush himself has admitted not following the FISA law.
posted by amberglow at 5:43 PM on January 13, 2006


“Nice try and better luck next time.”

Sooo....that thing about the policy being initiated under Clinton is wrong?

“Lets see. When you're against the person doing it, you call it "spying." And when there wasn't enough of it before 9/11, you call it "intelligence failures." Before 9/11, we needed both more spying and better intelligence.” - posted by ParisParamus

*resists the softball ‘intelligence’ snark*

Yeah. I started drinking early for the weekend too.

(Homer: ‘First you didn’t want me to get it, now you want me to get rid of it - make up your mind!’)

....seriously. I’m trying to parse that and it’s hurting my head.
You’re saying more domestic surveillance (”spying”) was necessary as was intelligence....no, wait....
???
I’ll go with that last line. I remember a litany of “OBL” flares going up - not only the “OBL determined to attack in the U.S.” Condi Rice schtick they have going on the Daily Show - but John O'Neill former F.B.I. counter-terrorism cheif had a major hard on for Al Qaeda and OBL and (with Clarke to some degree) was telling everyone and his brother that they were going to hit the WTC again.
And there are other examples.
If nothing else it was gross negligance, which the domestic spying did nothing to counter. (given that it was occuring beforehand).

(From the Things That Make You Go Hmmm Dept. (TMUGM) - O’Neill was head of security at the WTC and was killed on Sept. 11. Hmmmmm. )
posted by Smedleyman at 5:55 PM on January 13, 2006


Nice catch, quonsar. If only every apologist was as easy to show their own foolishness.
posted by Kickstart70 at 5:59 PM on January 13, 2006


...The man with the bullhorn is now seen as the man with the bullshit to around 60% of voters. ...
What do you think will happen when most people understand that the conversations were not just with "suspected terrorists?" After all, all these thousands of Americans who have allegedly been chatting to suspected terrorists overseas are still walking free; the only thwarted plot they've mentioned was some bozo from Cleveland who wanted to dismantle the Brooklyn bridge with a blowtorch.of the President doing this?"
...
And while some are apparently willing to take Bush at his word that he has only used the illegal wiretapping for purely national security reasons, nobody can be sure of that because there is no oversight. Which is the problem. ...

posted by amberglow at 6:02 PM on January 13, 2006


“I've posted testimony that Clinton's people followed FISA. On the other hand, Bush himself has admitted not following the FISA law.”

I don’t believe that testimony. For the reasons I’ve outlined.

But it’s a (relatively) moot point as I certainly concede the second part. I’m not defending that section of the argument. I don’t think there is any question that what Bush did was illegal.

I’d add that I certainly think that any good derived from warrentless domestic surveillance is destroyed by the vastly larger damage done by evading oversight. Checks and balances and all that.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:02 PM on January 13, 2006


"...nobody can be sure of that because there is no oversight. Which is the problem. ... "

Nice posting there Amazing Kreskin
posted by Smedleyman at 6:05 PM on January 13, 2006


Guess the world didn't really change on 9/11, it just became more openly what it had been before.

It's been almost 5 years since W. came to Washington. His enemies list must be pretty darn complete by now.
posted by clevershark at 6:17 PM on January 13, 2006


You know, during Watergate, it was revealed that the President was paranoid. These days, it's the people who are. Just keep it up...I guess you find it entertaining and meaningful.
posted by ParisParamus at 6:26 PM on January 13, 2006


You know, during Watergate, it was revealed that the President was paranoid. These days, it's the people who are. Just keep it up...I guess you find it entertaining and meaningful.

If WMDs are not found in Iraq, ... the war was a sham, and the President should be indicted.
posted by quonsar at 6:48 PM on January 13, 2006


The term 'dichotomy' itself requires two choices. I have given three, and chosen the third.
posted by JekPorkins



No.

A dilemma requires two choices (pick A or B). A dichotomy is when a subject is framed in terms such that there are really only two sides of the issue.

A false dichotomy is when a subject is framed in such binary terms without evidence to support that it is legitimately so framed.

You can pose a trilemma (three choices, e.g., "A" or "B" or "both A and B") on a false dichotomy. As you did.

For example:

"Bush is either willfully evil or woefully incompetent, or possibly a little bit of both."

That's a trilemma based on a false dichotomy.

That is all.
posted by darkstar at 7:01 PM on January 13, 2006


Just one more comment note that false dilemmas often spring from weak, dichotomous thinking.

Politics offers textbook examples of this daily.
posted by darkstar at 7:07 PM on January 13, 2006


I am not sure we have anything in the document cited and linked that proves anything, and we don't know for sure when the document was written.

No wonder no major news outlet will touch this story - as far as I have seen so far. Not even Ms. Huffington.
posted by donkelly at 7:32 PM on January 13, 2006


Hey, I inventend trilemma a few weeks ago! That'll be $12 in royalties, please...
posted by ParisParamus at 7:34 PM on January 13, 2006


Hey, I inventend trilemma a few weeks ago! That'll be $12 in royalties, please...

I hope you have a licensing agreement in writing from Josh McDowell, because he's been peddling a false trilemma for at least 10 years.

But perhaps this comment fits better under the God thread...
posted by darkstar at 8:12 PM on January 13, 2006


And well before McDowell's was Lewis's.
posted by darkstar at 8:20 PM on January 13, 2006


I wonder, of all the people who have responded in thris thread, how many of them picked up the phone, or mailed a letter to their representative?

Change starts at home.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:22 PM on January 13, 2006


A former telecom executive told us that efforts to obtain call details go back to early 2001, predating the 9/11 attacks and the president's now celebrated secret executive order. The source, who asked not to be identified so as not to out his former company, reports that the NSA approached U.S. carriers and asked for their cooperation in a "data-mining" operation, which might eventually cull "millions" of individual calls and e-mails.

Like the pressure applied to ITT a half-century ago, our source says the government was insistent, arguing that his competitors had already shown their patriotism by signing on. The NSA would not comment on the issue, saying that, "We do not discuss details of actual or alleged operational issues."

Slate Magazine
posted by donkelly at 9:26 PM on January 13, 2006


quonsar you shouldn't leave out the "and in large quantity". PP has been lying recently about the quote and pretending that the tiny amount that was found counts as WMD.
posted by dopeypanda at 9:31 PM on January 13, 2006


You can't have it both ways.

Exactly. You can't have it both ways.
You can't say that wiretapping of Americans keeps us safe from terrorists if it couldn't stop 9/11, since they were authorized before 9/11.
And you can't say 9/11 changed everything if they were authorized before 9/11.
posted by Balisong at 9:59 PM on January 13, 2006


I wonder, of all the people who have responded in thris thread, how many of them picked up the phone, or mailed a letter to their representative?

Exactly. They have to hear from all of us before hearings start, and before Alito is voted on, bec. he'll just vote that whatever Bush does is legal.
posted by amberglow at 10:26 PM on January 13, 2006


9/11 changed everything, 9/11 changed everything, 9/11 changed everything, 9/11 changed everything!!!!!! 9/11 changed everything!!!! 9/11 changed everything 9/11 changed everything!!!!!!!! 9/11 changed everything 9/11 changed everything!!! 9/11 changed everything 9/11 changed!] everything!!! 9/11 changed everything 9/11 changed everything!!!!!!!!!! 9/11 changed everything 9/11 changed everything!!!!!! 9/11 changed everything 9/11 changed everything!! 9/11 changed everything 9/11 changed everything!!!!!!! 9/11 changed everything 9/11 changed everything
*RUNS IN CIRCLES SCREAMING!!!!ONE!!!!!ELEVEN!!!!!9LEVEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!*
*votes Republican, passes out*
posted by Mr T at 10:30 PM on January 13, 2006


What the headline should say is "Bush authorized unauthorized domestic spying before 9/11"....the subsequent war on terror being his excuse for needing to do unauthorized wiretaps. Then, if I've calculated correctly, this entire thread would not exist because there would be no doubt, as the documentation clearly shows, that is exactly what he did.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 10:45 PM on January 13, 2006


Count me as among the confused on how the "Transition" document (which would imply it was generated in the transition from Clinton to Bush, no?) cited in the lede of this article substantiates the headline claims. It seems instead that the bombshell charge tying the unauthorized activity is sourced to anonymous encryption specialists.

Doesn't mean it's not valid or anything, it's just a bit of bait-and-switch in the writing that makes me less confident about its overall credibility.

Having said that, I'm hoping that Mr T is responsible for the coinage of "!!!!!9LEVEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" because it is hilariously apt.
posted by soyjoy at 11:03 PM on January 13, 2006


He knows when you've been sleeping,
He knows when you're awake,
He knows if you've been bad or good,
So be good, for goodness' sake.
posted by hank at 11:19 PM on January 13, 2006


The Imperial Presidency at Work
posted by homunculus at 12:16 PM on January 15, 2006


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