T Nation

Bush: Black Is White


#1

Well, the AP finally got around to fact checking President Bush's admins. claims/RNC talking points. Despite the fact that everybody else (minus dittoheads) already knew this, the day the talking point appeared, here's what the AP reported:

"McClellan said the Clinton-Gore administration had engaged in warrantless physical searches, and he cited an FBI search of the home of CIA turncoat Aldrich Ames without permission from a judge. He said Clinton's deputy attorney general, Jamie Gorelick, had testified before Congress that the president had the inherent authority to engage in physical searches without warrants.

"I think his hypocrisy knows no bounds," McClellan said of Gore.

But at the time of the Ames search in 1993 and when Gorelick testified a year later, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act required warrants for electronic surveillance for intelligence purposes, but did not cover physical searches. The law was changed to cover physical searches in 1995 under legislation that Clinton supported and signed."
http://www.forbes.com/business/manufacturing/feeds/ap/2006/01/17/ap2456266.html

First, just think about the point of making such an absurd claim in the first place:
Cloud the REAL issue in sheepish voters minds (say, headhunter for example).

Secondly, think about what a political hack Gonzales is. He actually said the same stupid thing on Hannity the other night. So either Gonzales has no ability to read, no ability to research, no understanding of the law, or he's a liar, all of them bad qualities for an Att. General.

Thirdly, we have to remember Al Gore said some incredibly true things, so therefore the RNC must slander him.

"I think his hypocrisy knows no bounds," McClellan said of Gore.

How hilarious is the irony of that statement. The president's spokesperson baldly misleads americans about a former vice president, in order to defend his boss who is clearly breaking the law, while that same president on multiple occasions denied doing it.

Unbelievable.

"Any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap," Mr. Bush said in Buffalo, "a wiretap requires a court order."

He added: "Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so."

These guys just can't stop lying ever.


#2

What the fuck do physical searches have to do with wiretapping overseas calls?


#3

Exactly! The comparison has nothing to do with Bush wiretapping american phonecalls.


#4

What's the difference? They are both invasions of privacy. One is simply on your personal conversations while the other is your personal belongings. You are actually trying to make one seem as if it is ok? If not, then could you tell me why you see such a huge difference between the two?


#5

I have a much higer expectation of privacy in my house than I do with overseas telephone calls, especially if it is a call from al Qaeda.

I think it is naive to expect that any telephone call is truly private from government or other intrusion.

There are too many ways to listen in on telephone calls. In college we could listen to cordless telephones on FM radios.


#6

The biggest difference in the contex of this thread is that prior to President Clinton changing the law, physical searches without a warrant were legal. So RNC claims of "Clinton did it too" are false (of course!) Bush is wiretapping americans without legally required warrants. Clinton did not. Further Clinton changed the law to make physical searches without a warrant illegal. Again please note that Attny. General Gonzales pretended on TV to not understand this obvious distinction. (Of course Rush, Hannity do this same pretending every single day--but DAMN! Gonzales--no integrity?-- who'd a thunk?)

So the Bush admin. just keeps on lying


#7

The question is the legality of such wiretapping. Perhaps we all have such expectations, but how on earth would it be naive to assume the government would be doing it legally.


#8

Hasn't it become obvious to everyone yet that "government" has only it's own interests in mind; regardless of the best interests of its electorate? Pulling heartstrings to get elected, all the while trodding on whatever rights/privicies one may assume they have... under the guise of the threat du jour. McCarthy, it seems, has yet to leave the building.


#9

You would think most would understand this. Instead, we seem to get conservatives covering for every step that this administration takes instead of even worrying about their loss of freedom or erosion of rights. I am amazed that any conservative would jump forward and cover for this action. That makes no sense. Do people even bother to think for themselves anymore or is it that claiming party affiliation makes you this blind?


#10

Fanaticism and extremism knows no bounds. This is what we have controlling the country now, from government to media.


#11

color me disenchanted


#12

This doesn't mean what you think it means.

Firstly, on inherent authority -- the argument is whether the President has inherent authority under his executive powers - particularly his powers as commander in chief - to authorize international surveillance.

International surveillance, accomplished via wire taps, is inherently less invasive than a physical search.

Clinton et al argued, and acted, that the president's inherent authority in that area allowed for physical searches.

The coverage of FISA is another matter.

FISA is an act under which Congress has moved to restrict inherent executive authority in that area. Thus, its subsequent extension to cover physical searches does not at all affect the argument concerning the inherent executive power. All it shows is that Congress subsequently wanted to try to restrict that power.

There's a very good separation of powers argument to be made that Congress cannot abridge the inherent executive power via a statute. Thus an application of FISA that attempted to restrict it would be unconstitutional (though the entire statute would not be -- just any such application of it).

Given that we don't know the mechanics of the program, it's hard to conclude more than that.

But your conclusion is incorrect -- the subsequent extension of FISA doesn't affect McClellan's statement at all. You'd need to look at what Gore had said about inherent presidential authority in this area to evaluate McClellan's comment on any Gore hypocrisy.

As to your Bush quote, we also don't know enough about the actual program to evaluate. For instance, if the program was technologically distinct from the definition of a wiretap, his statement is unobjectionable.


#13

100meters...puting a spin on shit!...Jump back sucka!


#14

EVERYTHING THE REPUBLICANS DO IS RIGHT AND THE democrats ARE ALWAYS WRONG!!!

Rah!!!

That being said.

The NSA program ( minus all the partisan bs being spouted by ignorant hacks)seems to have been as transparent as possible under the circumstances.

The President personally reviewed the cases and authorized the taps. The program was reviewed every 45 days. The Attorney General was intimately involved. The leadership of both Houses were briefed at least twelve times.

I would be furious at any President who DIDN'T TAP potential discussions between al qaeda and Americans. That includes (gasp!!!) a democratic President.

Is it any wonder that democrats are generally considered to be weaker on National Defense?

I am very angry that this program has been leaked by the piece of shit nyt.

Finally, I am aware of the whole underlying issue here: In a Republic, we have to have a measure of trust in our Representatives.

This is especially true in war time.

Does anyone have any quotes from families killed on 9/11 relating to this program? Anyone want to challenge my theory that they are all for intercepting messages from al qaeda to their American contacts?

JeffR


#15

No. Firstly, THE argument is the illegality of the president's actions. That is the argument.(Everything after is a diversion).

Now, on inherent authority. The president does not have inherent authority as it pertains to domestic eavesdropping, (again the real issue is wiretaps on americans-which by the way isn't in question, ever.)

The supreme court acknowledges that eavesdropping(domestic) is not legal(see 4th amendment) except where allowed by law, even if national security is involved. (see United States v. United States District Court (Keith)).That's where FISA comes in. All wiretaps on foreign agents (in the u.s.) fall under FISA and of course require warrants. Bush is breaking that law. Clearly and utterly, knowingly.

Your comparison with no scrutiny is not very accurate. The fake comparison the right has been making IS that Clinton did it too. He did not. As already pointed out FISA did not cover physical searches pre 1995. Prior to that, Clinton obviously had "inherent authority" to perform such searches. Gorelick's comments also are just stating the obvious. In 1995 with Clinton and Gorelicks approval the FISA is changed. Despite your opinion, it does change everything. The Clinton admin viewed FISA as the law, that they followed. The Clinton admin never said they had "inherent authority" to override FISA once it covered physical searches. The Bush admin makes such a claim with regards to wiretaps, despite the fact it is clearly not allowed under FISA. So Gonzales is slandering and Scotty is misleading and lying (still no hypocrisy, at all--except in the way I pointed out already).

As for the Bush quote, he's lying. We do know this involve communications, definitely calls.
Bush:
"is that these calls are not intercepted within the country. They are from outside the country to in the country, or vice versa. So in other words, this is not a -- if you're calling from Houston to L.A., that call is not monitored. And if there was ever any need to monitor, there would be a process to do that."

Soooo... it's pretty easy to assume wiretapping is involved. (most likely echelon turned inwards). Of course the president is also lying here about the extent, but he doesn't try to deny tapping phone calls.


#16

Wow. Where to begin.
The NSA program is NOT transparent (is this obvious or what). The president doesn't have authority to review or authorize the "taps" in the first place.
See FISA.

Acting attny gen. James B. Comey refused to give his approval when the Bush admin came looking for it over concerns of "legality".
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/01/politics/01spy.html?ex=1137819600&en=55d56a14032b704a&ei=5070
They then went to the hospital to try to get Ashcroft to sign off. It's unknown if he did or not. but...
"But some officials said that Mr. Ashcroft, like his deputy, appeared reluctant to give Mr. Card and Mr. Gonzales his authorization to continue with aspects of the program in light of concerns among some senior government officials about whether the proper oversight was in place at the security agency and whether the president had the legal and constitutional authority to conduct such an operation."

So you're just making stuff up here(still).

Congress also wasn't briefed as required by the Nation Security Act of 1947, as stated by congressmen from BOTH parties. Leadership was not fully informed nor gave their consent.

The rest of your post is fake outrage.

We easily can perform such tappings under FISA right now. Or we could get new statutes etc.

Plus the FBI said the other day the program has not made us safer (maybe less so)

Then you type more fake stuff...about 9/11 families.
(uhmm the issue isn't intercepting, it's illegally intercepting--with no need)

Good to see you are fully MIS-informed as usual, we can count on you to know none of the facts!


#17

Hey lumpy!!!

First of all, I have to admit that I wonder if you are a schtick.

Seriously, I've never found anyone so completely blind to other viewpoints!!!

I'm serious.

I thought I was partisan!!!

You are unbelievable!!!

OK. Let's roll.

"Wow. Where to begin.
The NSA program is NOT transparent (is this obvious or what). The president doesn't have authority to review or authorize the "taps" in the first place.
See FISA."

I disagree with you. Here is a nice summary.

"powerlineblog.com/archives/012631.php"

I know you won't read it. However, I just wanted to let you know that relying on the nyt for your information is dangerously narrow.

It does a very nice review of the relevant case law.

I look forward to the Supreme Court ruling on this.

Your point of view will lose. No question about it.

Again, it's sad this program is being debated in the public forum.

"Acting attny gen. James B. Comey refused to give his approval when the Bush admin came looking for it over concerns of "legality".
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/01/politics/01spy.html?ex=1137819600&en=55d56a14032b704a&ei=5070"
They then went to the hospital to try to get Ashcroft to sign off. It's unknown if he did or not. but...
"But some officials said that Mr. Ashcroft, like his deputy, appeared reluctant to give Mr. Card and Mr. Gonzales his authorization to continue with aspects of the program in light of concerns among some senior government officials about whether the proper oversight was in place at the security agency and whether the president had the legal and constitutional authority to conduct such an operation."

So you're just making stuff up here(still)."

I read your article. I'm not sure how YOU figure that article refutes anything I said?

Seriously, there are so many unknowns in that article as to make it worthless.

I'm not going to fall into your pattern of speculation.

I know that the nyt is trying to insuinuate that "the evil Republicans had to scurry to a sick man's bed to push their agenda. He probably was too sick to make sense." Blah de freakin blah.

How about the THIRTY OTHER TIMES IT WAS REVIEWED?

Do you want to make any predictions or wagers on the final outcome of this in the courts?

I'll go on the record and state that the Supreme Court will uphold the Executive's right to do this.

Finally, if you and your pals continue on this, you will further cement your reputation as the party that is weak on national defense.

"Congress also wasn't briefed as required by the Nation Security Act of 1947, as stated by congressmen from BOTH parties. Leadership was not fully informed nor gave their consent."

You are full of it.

Here is a nice little article from one of your liberal sources.

www.cnn.com/2006/POLITICS/01/05/domesticspying.congre.ap/

I want you to read that article and think about it.

Pay attention to exactly how many people were informed.

"The rest of your post is fake outrage."

Thanks. However, I want you to know that your ability to understand basic human nature is under considerable doubt.

"We easily can perform such tappings under FISA right now. Or we could get new statutes etc."

Just curious how we institute new statutes without the enemy learning of the taps.

Please enlighten me.

"Plus the FBI said the other day the program has not made us safer (maybe less so)"

Please provide a link. I'm curious.

"Then you type more fake stuff...about 9/11 families.
(uhmm the issue isn't intercepting, it's illegally intercepting--with no need)"

lumpy, I'm going to be gentle here: I doubt anyone trusts your judgement as to what is needed. Good luck trying to prove that this is illegal.

"Good to see you are fully MIS-informed as usual, we can count on you to know none of the facts!"

I enjoy proving you wrong. However, it is like picking on nationalistic germans (too easy.)

JeffR

P.S. If you don't read the articles in their entirety, please don't bother to respond. Thanks!!!


#18

[

Does anyone have any quotes from families killed on 9/11 relating to this program? Anyone want to challenge my theory that they are all for intercepting messages from al qaeda to their American contacts?

JeffR[/quote]

JeffR,

***Democracies are based on process, not demagoguery. We don't disregard laws and the constitution because of emotional appeals. And if they wanted to intercept calls from al-queda, they could get a warrant. And if there was not time beforehand, they have a 72-hour window afterwards to obtain one. If we are supposed to accept that the president can spy on anyone without being accountable, then we have to trust that our politicians, now and in the future, on both sides, will exercise the restraint to use this power for proper means and with restraint. Is there any reason to think that?


#19

In that case, this whole thread, started by you, is a diversion, because that wasn't the point of the statements you're quoting.

Sorry, but you're entirely incorrect.

Firstly: The USSC has never spoken on domestic eavesdropping versus international eavesdropping as such. The question is the source of the president's authority. Nixon's use of the CIA et al to listen in on purely domestic stuff, for seemingly domestic purposes, wasn't facially unconstitutional -- thus the need for Congress to pass FISA to address areas where the President had overstepped his authority. Or did you think there was no need for FISA in the first place? Because if you were correct, FISA would be entirely unnecessary.

Secondly, the President does have inherent authority, under his commander-in-chief and international authority, to act. This includes warrantless searches and warrantless surveillance. This is what Congress attempted to curtail with FISA, in 1978, but only w/r/t U.S. persons.

There are several open issues here -- the actual nature of the domestic searches (would they even fall under FISA if it was a data mining program? Hard to say), and the scope to which COngress can even limit the President's inherent powers under Article II to act (in other words, Congress does not necessarily win all separation of powers arguments). This is much the same as the War Powers Act, though touching on different executive powers.

No. The point of it isn't "Clinton did it too." The point is that the Clinton administration's position was that the President had the inherent authority to engage in actual personal and property searches of U.S. persons on U.S. soil in areas touching on his commander in chief and international powers, which are necessarily more invasive than are searches listening in on phone calls. The fact that Clinton may have subsequently agreed with Congress' attempt to limit those inherent powers does not affect whether they exist, and it not binding on the Bush Administration's understanding of the inherent powers of the executive.

FISA is not part of this point. The argument was never "Congress has authorized the President to act this way because it didn't address actual searches with FISA." The President's powers in this area aren't statutory -- they're COnstitutional. The argument concerns the President's inherent powers. Why is that so hard for you to understand?

Two points. That doesn't necessarily involve wiretapping. It's the definition of wiretapping, not communications, that's at issue.

Second point: He was obviously saying that they were getting warrants for wiretaps as required. If his position was that they weren't required, then no lie. Sorry.


#20

dermo wrote:

"***Democracies are based on process, not demagoguery. We don't disregard laws and the constitution because of emotional appeals."

That is true. What I am saying is this: had some of this liberal hand-wringers had family members die in the attacks, they would not be so damn squeamish. There is a perception among many of us that the democrats do not have the guts to prosecute this war effectively. This NSA is one example. If GWB had decided to arbitrarily use this to spy on howarddean, the nyt, or otherwise start acting like nixon, I would be calling for his head.

Given what we already know about the program, it's going to be NEARLY impossible to convince me that this was done for nefarious reasons.

I predict that the Constitutionality of this will be upheld. The President will be praised for forethought. The press will be pilloried for jeapordizing national security.

You watch, the democrats/msm will put the resolution of this on page 14 of the nyt. Sadly, the democrats will have moved on to some other scheme to try to regain power.

"And if they wanted to intercept calls from al-queda, they could get a warrant. And if there was not time beforehand, they have a 72-hour window afterwards to obtain one."

Please look into the link that I posted discussing the legalities of this issue.

"If we are supposed to accept that the president can spy on anyone without being accountable,"

I guess I don't understand how he wasn't being accountable? Sounds like he was being quite responsible.

"then we have to trust that our politicians, now and in the future, on both sides, will exercise the restraint to use this power for proper means and with restraint. Is there any reason to think that?"

I understand the worries you present here.

Now, I hope you realize that some of the posters/pundits on the democratic side are attacking this from a purely partisan angle. They use the same language/rhetoric for each little episode. You can trace it from the beginning of W's Presidency. They act like a spoiled 10 year old standing in the middle of a room flinging their arms about. "I want power. Bush is evil. WAHHHAHAAAHAH!!!!"

Consequently, I have to admit that it's hard to take some of these people's "grave concerns" seriously.

That being said, there are people like you who I believe are genuinely concerned about the implications. It boils down to the inherent rub between civil liberties and effective prosecution of the war.

As technology changes and our enemies change tactics, inevitably we are going to have to adapt. Paraphrasing Lincoln, the quiet dogmas of the past are inadequate to the stormy present.

dermo, I sincerely think that this particular program was helpful and essential. Further, I think that many of these partisan democrats knew EXACTLY what was happening. As usual (Iraq War), they are trying to change history in their latest scheme to grab power.

As I have indicated, we MUST have SOME trust in our elected Representatives. There are THINGS WE DO NOT HAVE TO KNOW RIGHT NOW. That concept, while I understand the potential for misuse, is also the truth.

It puts the onus on the voter. Not only should everyone participate in the voting process, but he/she needs to thoroughly research their choice of candidate.

I hope I have fleshed out my position on this issue.

Again, I hope the nyt is fully prosecuted.

JeffR