Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Dr. A ♥ O

Bush-era surveillance went beyond wiretaps

18 posts in this topic

Recommended Posts

Bush-era surveillance went beyond wiretaps

By Josh Meyer

July 11, 2009

A government report raises new questions about how the Bush White House kept key Justice officials in the dark about the post-Sept. 11 program.

Reporting from Washington -- The Bush administration's post-Sept. 11 surveillance efforts went beyond the widely publicized warrantless wiretapping program, a government report disclosed Friday, encompassing additional secretive activities that created "unprecedented" spying powers.

The report also raised new questions about how the Bush White House kept key Justice Department officials in the dark as it launched the surveillance program.

In a move that it described as "extraordinary and inappropriate," the report said the White House relied on a single, lower-level attorney in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel for assessments about the programs' legality.

The attorney, John Yoo, a young George W. Bush appointee with close ties to the president's inner circle, wrote a series of memos legally blessing the program even though his superiors and most top officials were uninformed about it.

The report was compiled at the request of Congress by five government agency watchdogs: the inspectors general of the Justice Department, Pentagon, CIA, Directorate of National Intelligence and National Security Agency.

It represents the most detailed public disclosure of the existence of secret surveillance efforts beyond the warrantless wiretapping program, saying the overall package of efforts came to be known in the Bush administration as the "President's Surveillance Program."

However, the report did not describe the other programs or explain how they worked.

"All of these activities were authorized in a single presidential authorization," the report said, referring to the warrantless wiretapping as a "terrorist surveillance program" and the undisclosed efforts as "other intelligence activities."

"The specific details of the other intelligence activities remain highly classified," the report said.

The inspectors general interviewed more than 200 top officials and front-line agents in defense and intelligence agencies, and said views of the effectiveness of the warrantless wiretapping and other still- secret activities were mixed.

While many agents thought the efforts filled a gap in intelligence efforts, others "had difficulty evaluating the precise contribution of the President's Surveillance Program to counter-terrorism efforts because it was most often viewed as one source among many."

The inspectors general concluded that, even though Congress has adopted changes in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act legalizing some of the activities, the information they produce "should be carefully monitored."

The report also provided a comprehensive and official narrative concerning the selective and often confrontational way in which the Bush administration sought and procured legal authorization for its post-Sept. 11 programs.

Eventually, the surveillance program and the Justice Department's role in it were so controversial that the deputy attorney general, James B. Comey, and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III both threatened to resign in 2004 because they believed the program was illegal.

The dispute resulted in an infamous showdown that year in the hospital room of then-Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft, when Comey raced up the hospital steps to prevent White House Counsel Alberto R. Gonzales and Chief of Staff Andrew H. Card Jr. from persuading the heavily medicated attorney general to sign off on an extension of the program.

Legal experts and lawmakers said the latest findings raised disturbing questions about the actions of the Bush administration and pointed to the need for ways to hold participants accountable.

"I am glad the American people can finally see for themselves what happens when a handful of senior officials -- who think they know better than the courts, the U.S. Justice Department and Congress -- decide to rewrite the law in secret," said Senate Intelligence Committee member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). "This report allows the American people to see how senior Bush administration officials concocted the program first and came up with its creative legal justifications later."

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) said the report added a sense of urgency to establishing a nonpartisan "commission of inquiry" to probe Bush administration programs. President Obama opposes such a commission.

A former Bush administration official who participated in the program said the inspectors' report failed to take into account that the Justice Department and the White House at the time consistently argued that the president "has authority to conduct electronic surveillance to protect the national security from foreign threats, independent of Congress."

Speaking on condition of anonymity because of the political and legal sensitivity, the official said the programs resulted from concerns in the aftermath of Sept. 11.

"The government was reeling, dealing with a wide range of national security initiatives," the official said. "This wasn't done out of any effort to aggrandize the president's powers, it was done to protect the country from an attack -- which everyone at the time thought was going to happen -- at the same time without blowing the technology advantages we had."

The warrantless wiretapping was disclosed in 2005 as the result of articles in the New York Times. Under that program, the NSA circumvented federal laws to intercept, without warrants, international communications suspected of involving terrorists.

Tracing the development of the surveillance activities, the report said the program began in October 2001, weeks before Yoo's first memo justifying its use on Nov. 2.

The report depicted White House efforts that appeared designed to ensure approval. All but three Justice Department officials were unaware of the spying effort in its early years, even though the department's stamp of approval was used to authorize the programs, the report said.

Instead, the White House communicated directly and almost exclusively with Yoo, who produced legal work about the surveillance program "that at a minimum was factually flawed," the report said.

"Deficiencies in the legal memoranda became apparent once additional Department of Justice attorneys . . . sought a greater understanding of the PSP's operation," the report said.

At that point, disputes broke out between the Justice Department and White House, leading to the 2004 showdown at Ashcroft's sickbed.

The report focuses much of its attention on Yoo, a deputy assistant attorney general in the Office of Legal Counsel from 2001 to 2003.

Yoo has become a lightning rod for criticism because of legal opinions he issued on a range of national security matters, later repudiated as unprofessional and possibly illegal.

Some of those opinions, including some on harsh interrogation techniques such as waterboarding, were withdrawn by Republican appointees who followed Yoo at the Justice Department. Yoo would not comment Friday on the report.

Only two other Justice Department officials were "read in" to the NSA program in its early years, the report said -- Ashcroft and intelligence policy lawyer James Baker.

Ashcroft gave his legal authorization for the first 2 1/2 years based on a "misimpression" of what kind of activities the NSA was conducting, the inspectors general found.

In 2004, with the Justice Department balking at approving further extensions of the program, Bush signed a new authorization based on a legal certification by Gonzales, still the White House counsel.

Later, the report said, as attorney general, Gonzales gave "inaccurate" and "misleading" congressional testimony when he said the department had not expressed legal concerns about the program in 2004.

"The White House gamed the system," said Jameel Jaffer of the American Civil Liberties Union's National Security Project, "by ensuring that the only people read into the program . . . would twist the law and arrive at the legal conclusions that the White House wanted."

Source


paDvm8.png0sD7m8.png

mRhYm8.png8tham8.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe everybody is asleep now?

What surprises me out of the two articles I posted on the former Administration and this one in particular because AJ posted it 12 hours earlier is the complacency of the people. Is it because they think he's gone now everything is ok?

That executive branch has now been proven to have abused it's power and encroached on the checks and balances of our governmental system through totalitarianism means making us look like hypocrites to those regimes for years to come.


paDvm8.png0sD7m8.png

mRhYm8.png8tham8.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Maybe everybody is asleep now?

What surprises me out of the two articles I posted on the former Administration and this one in particular because AJ posted it 12 hours earlier is the complacency of the people. Is it because they think he's gone now everything is ok?

That executive branch has now been proven to have abused it's power and encroached on the checks and balances of our governmental system through totalitarianism means making us look like hypocrites to those regimes for years to come.

I think it could be a combination of reasons why this doesn't rattle us - for one, our current economic crisis is on the forefront of everyone's mind right now. As terrible as this revelation is, it doesn't surprise me and since the Obama Administration has already showed that it is not interested in any possible prosecution of the previous administration, I don't see anything coming out of this. Then of course, there are those who wouldn't even be bothered if ####### Cheney himself was hiding underneath their bed, listening to their most intimate moments.

Edited by Col. 'Bat' Guano

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that Americans are just jaded about politics and feel that the individual can't do anything to enact change. Europeans feel that they can have an impact on their government's decisions by protesting or going out and voting for one of the many other parties they have to choose from. Whether or not that belief is valid is up for debate. We lost our sense of justice and desire to bring about positive change decades ago so today we operate based upon a fear of rocking the boat and risking losing it all. So we'd rather just sit in a boat in stagnant water after losing our paddles instead of making a swim for shore.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

it's wrong, but it's even worse that some people will justify these violations of civil rights as 'necessary' for the 'protection of freedom' and all the injected paranoia that the former government planted in most of the American population


El Presidente of VJ

regalame una sonrisita con sabor a viento

tu eres mi vitamina del pecho mi fibra

tu eres todo lo que me equilibra,

un balance, lo que me conplementa

un masajito con sabor a menta,

Deutsch: Du machst das richtig

Wohnen Heute

3678632315_87c29a1112_m.jpgdancing-bear.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes and most importantly if a Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) said the report added a sense of urgency to establishing a nonpartisan "commission of inquiry" to probe Bush administration programs.

Why does President Obama opposes such a commission?

Where is the justice? Why doesn't he want to get to the root of the issue of the corruption fostered by the previous administrations actions?


paDvm8.png0sD7m8.png

mRhYm8.png8tham8.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

again, most people will say it's better to hide these things (which, none of them are hidden, the world knows about it), and that it will damage even more the international reputation of USA, but I think that accepting the mistakes from the previous administrations, and do something about it, prosecute any violations that were committed, is the right way to go


El Presidente of VJ

regalame una sonrisita con sabor a viento

tu eres mi vitamina del pecho mi fibra

tu eres todo lo que me equilibra,

un balance, lo que me conplementa

un masajito con sabor a menta,

Deutsch: Du machst das richtig

Wohnen Heute

3678632315_87c29a1112_m.jpgdancing-bear.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes and most importantly if a Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) said the report added a sense of urgency to establishing a nonpartisan "commission of inquiry" to probe Bush administration programs.

Why does President Obama opposes such a commission?

Where is the justice? Why doesn't he want to get to the root of the issue of the corruption fostered by the previous administrations actions?

I'm not sure if the Obama Administration is opposed to some kind of truth commission, but they've showed disinterest in any possible prosecution of the former administration.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Then I'd like an answer why? When clear evidence surfaces such as this and part of his platform for his campaign was no corruption and transparency of government then what is preventing him from allowing a commission on the issue before much more time has passed?


paDvm8.png0sD7m8.png

mRhYm8.png8tham8.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Then I'd like an answer why? When clear evidence surfaces such as this and part of his platform for his campaign was no corruption and transparency of government then what is preventing him from allowing a commission on the issue before much more time has passed?

Why not pursue possible prosecution? Because it would bring on a sh!t storm from those on the Right who would only see it as partisan. I'm all in favor of a truth commission, but I don't think prosecuting any part of the former administration would be good for this country right now.

Edited by Col. 'Bat' Guano

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I was called in for a tax audit, was shocked that the IRS knew more about me than I knew about myself, ownership, credit card statements, etc. Just replied, why in the hell do you put me through all this form misery every year, just send me the goddam bill!

Latest BS is medical privacy, when I filed a claim for insurance with my accident, to avoid paying an extra dime in claims, the opposing insurance went way back to the day I was born looking for pre-conditions, I even forgot I sprained my ankle in grade school. All of my medical records are in the court house now for anyone to see and are part of public records. Sending me three bills a month for medical expense for each of us is also BS, I have to pay all three, then we get these calls, somebody at this phone number, we can't say who, as an appointment with some department, we can't say who, on a Wednesday at 9:00 AM.

If you dealt with the USCIS, even your love life has to be an open book. Certainly no privacy on the internet when you hear about kids using that nasty b@mb word.

I even got caught not paying state sales tax on an out of state purchase, and easy mistake when dealing with hundreds of invoices, paid it and with a fine, have to be a lot more careful now. If you try to use cash to buy an airline ticket, you are in deep sh!t.

So tell me about privacy. Hope they are listening when I talk to my kids about technical problems, they will either learn something or die of boredom, hopefully the latter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes and most importantly if a Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) said the report added a sense of urgency to establishing a nonpartisan "commission of inquiry" to probe Bush administration programs.

Why does President Obama opposes such a commission?

Where is the justice? Why doesn't he want to get to the root of the issue of the corruption fostered by the previous administrations actions?

Here is your answer, it would trap as many dems as reps. There will be no inquiry because everyone would be implicated.

Hayden Says He Informed Congress of Surveillance Program

In an interview with The Associated Press, former CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden maintained that top members of Congress were kept well-informed all along the way, notwithstanding protests from some that they were kept in the dark.

Former CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden angrily struck back Saturday at assertions the Bush administration's post-9/11 surveillance program was more far-reaching than imagined and was largely concealed from congressional overseers.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Hayden maintained that top members of Congress were kept well-informed all along the way, notwithstanding protests from some that they were kept in the dark.

"One of the points I had in every one of the briefings was to make sure they understood the scope of our activity 'They've got to know this is bigger than a bread box,' I said," said Hayden, who also previously headed the National Security Agency.

"At the political level this had support," said the one-time CIA chief, jumping foursquare into an escalating controversy that has caused deep political divisions and lingering debate on the counterterrorism policies of an administration now out of power.

Hayden was reacting to a report issued Friday by a team of U.S. inspectors general which called the surveillance program in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks "unprecedented." The report also questioned the program's legal rationale and the excessive secrecy that enshrouded it.

Hayden, who in 2001 designed and carried out the secret program, told The AP he is distressed by suggestions that Congress was not fully informed. He said that he personally briefed top lawmakers on the entire surveillance operation and said he felt that they supported it.

The details of the wider surveillance program described by the federal investigative report remain classified. The program included the wiretapping of American phone and computer lines and was intended to detect communications from the al-Qaida terrorist network. That was revealed by the New York Times in 2005 and later confirmed by then-President George W. Bush.

Several Democratic members of the House and Senate expressed surprise and concern Friday about the still-secret surveillance program.

Hayden asserted that just weeks after Bush approved the activity, senior Republicans and Democrats on the intelligence committees in the House and Senate started getting briefed regularly on its details. He said these sessions happened about four times a year. Hayden also said the number of lawmakers informed was intentionally kept small because the program was highly classified.

On occasion, he said, the briefing audience was expanded to include top members of the House and Senate leadership as well.

Hayden also said that the members of Congress who were briefed were told the average daily level of surveillance activity and the cumulative activity since the program started. And he said the meetings nearly always occurred at the White House, with Vice President ####### Cheney in attendance.

The Bush surveillance program has been contentious since it was first revealed, raising concerns about the extent of secret activities undertaken since the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington and the potential violation of civil liberties. Indeed, the report released Friday said that most of the information gathered under the wider program ultimately did not have any connection to terrorism.

It was so secret that few members of Bush's inner circle were "read in" on the program. Even John Ashcroft, who was attorney general at the time, got an accurate description of one surveillance activity only two years after he first certified it as legal. And his initial request to brief his chief of staff and deputy on the program were refused by the White House.

Just what those activities involved remains classified, but the report released Friday pointedly said that any continued use of the information gathered in the secret programs must be "carefully monitored."

Bush authorized the warrantless wiretapping program under the authority of a secret court in 2006, and Congress approved most of the intercepts in a 2008 electronic surveillance law. The fate of the remaining and still-classified aspects of the wider surveillance program is not clear from the report.

In the interview Saturday, Hayden called the program extremely valuable and said that it served as an early warning system to help prevent further al-Qaida attacks.

Some members of Congress are calling for a full independent inquiry and others are urging further congressional investigations.

Rep. Jane Harman, a California Democrat, told The AP Friday that she was shocked by the report. She said she asked former White House counsel Alberto Gonzales -- after the wiretapping was revealed in 2005 -- whether the government was conducting any other undisclosed intelligence activities. She said he told her there were no additional operations.

Robert Bork Jr., Gonzales' spokesman, said Friday: "It has clearly been determined that he did not intend to mislead anyone."

In a separate but related move, House Democrats are pressing for legislation that would expand congressional access to secret intelligence briefings. The Obama administration has threatened to veto it over concerns about protecting secrecy.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/07/11...test=latestnews

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yes and most importantly if a Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) said the report added a sense of urgency to establishing a nonpartisan "commission of inquiry" to probe Bush administration programs.

Why does President Obama opposes such a commission?

Where is the justice? Why doesn't he want to get to the root of the issue of the corruption fostered by the previous administrations actions?

Because Leahy is a screwball, and an ####### "Big Time".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
- Back to Top -


Important Disclaimer: Please read carefully the Visajourney.com Terms of Service. If you do not agree to the Terms of Service you should not access or view any page (including this page) on VisaJourney.com. Answers and comments provided on Visajourney.com Forums are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Visajourney.com does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. VisaJourney.com does not condone immigration fraud in any way, shape or manner. VisaJourney.com recommends that if any member or user knows directly of someone involved in fraudulent or illegal activity, that they report such activity directly to the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. You can contact ICE via email at Immigration.Reply@dhs.gov or you can telephone ICE at 1-866-347-2423. All reported threads/posts containing reference to immigration fraud or illegal activities will be removed from this board. If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by contacting us here with a url link to that content. Thank you.
×