Monday, December 19, 2005

Some much needed perspective on "Bush's secretly spying"

With all of the recent hullaballoo over Bush "spying" on America, there seems to be some sorely lacking perspective here: it's been done for a couple of decades now. America, specifically the NSA, has a program called Echelon that has been in place since the Cold War, and Bill Clinton did his fair share of Big Brother privacy abusing with this system. Click here for the "Clinton Rogue Gallery". Excerpt:
WorldNet Daily 2/25/99 Joseph Farah "…One of the secrets of the Clinton administration's success at staying in power has been to plot such dastardly deeds that few Americans could even grasp their evil intent. Right at the top of the list of such conspiracies -- now well documented, thanks to the extraordinary efforts of WorldNetDaily columnist Charles Smith -- is the Clipper Chip project. It involves all of the following: a treasonous relationship with China, a plan to tap every phone in America, drug money and, of course, the usual intrigue of administration figures such as Webster Hubbell, Al Gore, Ron Brown, Janet Reno and Clinton himself…The story starts in 1992 when AT&T developed secure telephones untappable by the federal government. The company planned to make them available to the American public. Instead, the Clinton administration interceded and bought up all the phones with a secret slush fund…. By 1994, White House aide John Podesta had been called into the inner circle of the Clipper project. Meanwhile, Podesta's brother, Tony, a lobbyist and fund-raiser was representing AT&T. His donors and clients, including AT&T, were invited to participate in trade trips to China and obtain valuable export deals with Beijing…By 1996, Reno was urging the all-out federal takeover of the computer industry and the banning of any encryption technology that doesn't let the government in the back door. Interestingly, the first target of the government's wiretap plan was its own Drug Enforcement Administration. Hmmm. The Chinese sought information obtained from such taps -- which may explain why Chinese drug lord Ng Lapseng gave as much money to the Democratic National Committee as he did. It's no wonder Reno didn't want to investigate the penetration of the DEA by the Chinese. After all, Ng was photographed with her bosses, Bill and Hillary Clinton at a DNC fund-raiser…."
Did the MSM touch any of Clinton's "abuses" (and I choose that term, since the left has chosen it to describe what Bush has "done")? No, they let the stories sink faster than Ted Kennedy's car in the river. But liberal media bias!

Also, the big deal seems to be that Bush did this without a court-ordered warrant. Notice that the left gets all hot and bothered about laws that require minors get court approval before having an abortion ("time is of the essence!"), yet they don't seem to recognize it's a tad bit ludicrous to think that time is somehow less important when it comes to gathering intelligence against the people that want us dead? In other words, let the teenie bopper get her abortion without meddlesome parents or courts getting involved...but by God (insert big government as deity here), we don't want to find out about looming terrorist attacks without a person in a black robe giving the OK.

Look, I'm incredibly uneasy about Echelon and other government attempts to monitor its citizens. I hold privacy to be sacred. However, my point here is to illustrate leftist and media (pardon the redundancy) hypocrisy. When Clinton was spying, it was presumed to be on behalf of a benevolent government with benevolent intentions. With Bush spying, it's clearly malevolent and a gross violation of privacy!

In closing, here is some additional food for thought:

1. The NY Times, of Jayson Blair and Walter Duranty and "fake forged ballots from Iran" fame, knew about this story for a while, but sat on it to coincide with the release of their own national security reporter James Risen's new book "State of War":
>On the front page of today's NEW YORK TIMES, national security reporter James Risen claims that "months after the September 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States... without the court approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials."

Risen claims the White House asked the paper not to publish the article, saying that it could jeopardize continuing investigations and alert would-be terrorists that they might be under scrutiny.

Risen claims the TIMES delayed publication of the article for a year to conduct additional reporting.

But now comes word James Risen's article is only one of many "explosive newsbreaking" stories that can be found -- in his upcoming book -- which he turned in 3 months ago!

The paper failed to reveal the urgent story was tied to a book release and sale.
The article mentioned "According to those officials and others, reservations about aspects of the program have also been expressed by Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, the West Virginia Democrat who is the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and a judge presiding over a secret court that oversees intelligence matters. Some of the questions about the agency's new powers led the administration to temporarily suspend the operation last year and impose more restrictions, the officials said." If Rockefeller had "reservations" about the program and served as a judge on a "secret court", that means he knew...which, by definition, kind of shoots Bush's unique "secretly" line to hell, doesn't it?

2. The NYT got madder than John McCain in room with no cameras when non-agent Valerie Plame's name was "leaked", and demanded an independent counsel on the grounds that national security may have been compromised. (Sidebar: They were so concerned with national security compromise that they fought to keep their own reporter's sources secret in said "leak" case. So much for that hollow "national security compromise" rhetoric!) Will they display consistency and demand the same type of investigation into who compromised national security by illegally leaking the "Bush spied" information? Sure, they'll display consistency there, about as soon as Barney Frank starts digging chicks!

3. The NYT finally acknowledges, in the 16th paragraph, the following:
What the agency calls a "special collection program" began soon after the Sept. 11 attacks, as it looked for new tools to attack terrorism. The program accelerated in early 2002 after the Central Intelligence Agency started capturing top Qaeda operatives overseas, including Abu Zubaydah, who was arrested in Pakistan in March 2002. The C.I.A. seized the terrorists' computers, cellphones and personal phone directories, said the officials familiar with the program. The N.S.A. surveillance was intended to exploit those numbers and addresses as quickly as possible, the officials said.

In addition to eavesdropping on those numbers and reading e-mail messages to and from the Qaeda figures, the N.S.A. began monitoring others linked to them, creating an expanding chain. While most of the numbers and addresses were overseas, hundreds were in the United States, the officials said.
As Michelle notes:
>The paper's reporters righteously pat themselves on the back for waiting a year. But why is the Times' decision to publish the story any less dangerous now? Why did the editors choose to run the piece on the day after the Iraqi elections? Why not the day before? Why not Sunday?
Answer: to deflect attention away from supremely positive news, news which would buoy Bush in the public eye. Be damned if they were going to just sit by and let that happen!

4. Quick FISA background:
>Some brief background: The Foreign Intelligence Security Act permits the government to monitor foreign communications, even if they are with U.S. citizens -- 50 USC 1801, et seq. A FISA warrant is only needed if the subject communications are wholly contained in the United States and involve a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power.

The reason the President probably had to sign an executive order is that the Justice Department office that processes FISA requests, the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review (OIPR), can take over 6 months to get a standard FISA request approved. It can become extremely bureaucratic, depending on who is handling the request. His executive order is not contrary to FISA if he believed, as he clearly did, that he needed to act quickly. The president has constitutional powers, too.

It's also clear from the Times piece that Rockefeller knew about the government's eavesdropping, as did the FISA court. By the time this story is fully fleshed out, we'll learn that many others knew about it, too. To the best of my knowledge, Rockefeller didn't take any steps to stop the eavesdropping. And he's no friend of this administration. Nor is he above using intelligence for political purposes, as his now infamous memorandum demonstrates.

But these leaks -- about secret prisons in Europe, CIA front companies, and now secret wiretaps, are egregious violations of law and extremely detrimental to our national security. They are far worse than any aspect of the Plame matter. The question is whether our government is capable of tracking down these perpetrators and punishing them, or will we continue to allow the Times and Washington Post determine national security policy. And if these wiretaps are violative of our civil liberties, it's curious that the Times would wait a year to report about it. I cannot remember the last time, or first time, this newspaper reported a leak that was helpful to our war effort.
In other words, folks, Congress knew about the "Bush spying" thing, as evidenced by point #1 above. You think Sen. Rockefeller was the only one who knew? No, Senator Reid knew, too, and tripped over his words like Ted Kennedrunk trips over the carpet after coming home from Happy Hour. My bud at Opinionnation has the proof.

Congress was, therefore, complicit. However, the MSM will refuse to hold them accountable, instead focusing its attention on the object of their disdain and hatred: Bush. Look for some weak-spined Republicans to give in quicker than the Gang of 14 on a filibuster threat.

5. Isn't this deceitful and misleading story further proof that there is a perpetual effort within this nation, at every level of the Democratic Party and the American press, to decimate our ability to wage war against this enemy? These people are sick and treasonous, and I wish that they would be held accountable for their loathesome behavior!