The Secret Nests - Part IV
Sightings from The Catbird Seat
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July 10, 2009
Report: Bush surveillance
program was massive
By PAMELA HESS, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON – The Bush administration built an unprecedented surveillance operation to pull in mountains of information far beyond the warrantless wiretapping previously acknowledged, a team of federal inspectors general reported Friday, questioning the legal basis for the effort but shielding almost all details on grounds they're still too secret to reveal.
The report, compiled by five inspectors general, refers to "unprecedented collection activities" by U.S. intelligence agencies under an executive order signed by President George W. Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
Just what those activities involved remains classified, but the IGs pointedly say that any continued use of the secret programs must be "carefully monitored."
The report says too few relevant officials knew of the size and depth of the program, let alone signed off on it. They particularly criticize John Yoo, a deputy assistant attorney general who wrote legal memos undergirding the policy. His boss, Attorney General John Ashcroft, was not aware until March 2004 of the exact nature of the intelligence operations beyond wiretapping that he had been approving for the previous two and a half years, the report says.
Most of the intelligence leads generated under what was known as the "President's Surveillance Program" did not have any connection to terrorism, the report said. But FBI agents told the authors that the "mere possibility of the leads producing useful information made investigating the leads worthwhile."
The inspectors general interviewed more than 200 people inside and outside the government, but five former Bush administration officials refused to be questioned.
They were Ashcroft, Yoo, former CIA Director George Tenet, former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card and David Addington, an aide to former Vice President Dick Cheney.
According to the report, Addington could personally decide who in the administration was "read into" — allowed access to — the classified program.
The only piece of the intelligence-gathering operation acknowledged by the Bush White House was the wiretapping-without-warrants effort. The administration admitted in 2005 that it had allowed the National Security Agency to intercept international communications that passed through U.S. cables without seeking court orders.
Although the report documents Bush administration policies, its fallout could be a problem for the Obama administration if it inherited any or all of the still-classified operations.
Bush started the warrantless wiretapping program under the authority of a secret court in 2006, and Congress authorized 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.
The report's revelations came the same day that House Democrats said that CIA Director Leon Panetta had ordered one eight-year-old classified program shut down after learning lawmakers had never been apprised of its existence.
The IG report said that President Bush signed off on both the warrantless wiretapping and other top-secret operations shortly after Sept. 11 in a single presidential authorization. All the programs were periodically reauthorized, but except for the acknowledged wiretapping, they "remain highly classified."
The report says it's unclear how much valuable intelligence the program has yielded.
The report, mandated by Congress last year, was delivered to lawmakers Friday.
Rep. Jane Harman, D-Ca., told The Associated Press she was shocked to learn of the existence of other classified programs beyond the warrantless wiretapping.
Former Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzales made a terse reference to other classified programs during an August 2007 letter to Congress. But Harman said that when she had asked Gonzales two years earlier if the government was conducting any other undisclosed intelligence activities, he denied it.
"He looked me in the eye and said 'no,'" she said Friday.
Robert Bork Jr., Gonzales' spokesman, said, "It has clearly been determined that he did not intend to mislead anyone."
In the wake of the new report, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt, renewed his call Friday for a formal nonpartisan inquiry into the government's information-gathering programs.
Former CIA Director Michael Hayden — the primary architect of the program_ told the report's authors that the surveillance was "extremely valuable" in preventing further al-Qaida attacks. Hayden said the operations amounted to an "early warning system" allowing top officials to make critical judgments and carefully allocate national security resources to counter threats.
Information gathered by the secret program played a limited role in the FBI's overall counterterrorism efforts, according to the report. Very few CIA analysts even knew about the program and therefore were unable to fully exploit it in their counterrorism work, the report said.
The report questioned the legal advice used by Bush to set up the program, pinpointing omissions and questionable legal memos written by Yoo, in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. The Justice Department withdrew the memos years ago.
The report says Yoo's analysis approving the program ignored a law designed to restrict the government's authority to conduct electronic surveillance during wartime, and did so without fully notifying Congress. And it said flaws in Yoo's memos later presented "a serious impediment" to recertifying the program.
Yoo insisted that the president's wiretapping program had only to comply with Fourth Amendment protections against search and seizure — but the report said Yoo ignored the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act, which had previously overseen federal national security surveillance.
"The notion that basically one person at the Justice Department, John Yoo, and Hayden and the vice president's office were running a program around the laws that Congress passed, including a reinterpretation of the Fourth Amendment, is mind boggling," Harman said.
House Democrats are pressing for legislation that would expand congressional access to secret intelligence briefings, but the White House has threatened to veto it.
~ ~ ~
July 28, 2007
Mining of Data Prompted Fight
Over U.S. Spying
The New York Times
WASHINGTON — A 2004 dispute over the National Security Agency’s secret surveillance program that led top Justice Department officials to threaten resignation involved computer searches through massive electronic databases, according to current and former officials briefed on the program.
It is not known precisely why searching the databases, or data mining, raised such a furious legal debate. But such databases contain records of the phone calls and e-mail messages of millions of Americans, and their examination by the government would raise privacy issues.
The N.S.A.’s data mining has previously been reported. But the disclosure that concerns about it figured in the March 2004 debate helps to clarify the clash this week between Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and senators who accused him of misleading Congress and called for a perjury investigation.
The confrontation in 2004 led to a showdown in the hospital room of then Attorney General John Ashcroft, where Mr. Gonzales, the White House counsel at the time, and Andrew H. Card Jr., then the White House chief of staff, tried to get the ailing Mr. Ashcroft to reauthorize the N.S.A. program.
Mr. Gonzales insisted before the Senate this week that the 2004 dispute did not involve the Terrorist Surveillance Program “confirmed” by President Bush, who has acknowledged eavesdropping without warrants but has never acknowledged the data mining.
If the dispute chiefly involved data mining, rather than eavesdropping, Mr. Gonzales’ defenders may maintain that his narrowly crafted answers, while legalistic, were technically correct.
But members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who have been briefed on the program, called the testimony deceptive.
“I’ve had the opportunity to review the classified matters at issue here, and I believe that his testimony was misleading at best,” said Senator Russ Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, joining three other Democrats in calling Thursday for a perjury investigation of Mr. Gonzales.
“This has gone on long enough,” Mr. Feingold said. “It is time for a special counsel to investigate whether criminal charges should be brought.”
The senators’ comments, along with those of other members of Congress briefed on the program, suggested that they considered the eavesdropping and data mining so closely tied that they were part of a single program. Both activities, which ordinarily require warrants, were started without court approval as the Bush administration intensified counterterrorism efforts soon after the Sept. 11 attacks.
A half-dozen officials and former officials interviewed for this article would speak only on the condition of anonymity, in part because unauthorized disclosures about the classified program are already the subject of a criminal investigation. Some of the officials said the 2004 dispute involved other issues in addition to the data mining, but would not provide details. They would not say whether the differences were over how the databases were searched or how the resulting information was used.
Nor would they explain what modifications to the surveillance program President Bush authorized to head off the threatened resignations by Justice Department officials.
An agency spokesman declined to comment on the data mining issue but referred a reporter to a statement issued earlier that Mr. Gonzales had testified truthfully.
The Justice Department announced in January that eavesdropping without warrants under the Terrorist Surveillance Program had been halted, and that a special intelligence court was again overseeing the wiretapping. The N.S.A., the nation’s largest intelligence agency, generally eavesdrops on communications in foreign countries. Since the 1978 passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA, any eavesdropping to gather intelligence on American soil has required a warrant from the special court.
In addition, court approval is required for the N.S.A. to search the databases of telephone calls or e-mail records, usually compiled by American phone and Internet companies and including phone numbers or e-mail addresses, as well as dates, times and duration of calls and messages. Sometimes called metadata, such databases do not include the content of the calls and e-mail messages — the actual words spoken or written.
Government examination of the records, which allows intelligence analysts to trace relationships between callers and identify possible terrorist cells, is considered less intrusive than actual eavesdropping. But the N.S.A.’s eavesdropping targeted international calls and e-mail messages of people inside the United States, while the databases contain primarily domestic records. The conflict in 2004 appears to have turned on differing interpretations of the president’s power to bypass the FISA law and obtain access to the records.
President Bush has asserted that both his constitutional powers as commander in chief and the authorization for the use of military force passed by Congress after the Sept. 11 attacks gave him legal justification for skirting the warrant requirement. Critics have called the surveillance illegal because it does not comply with the FISA law.
The first known assertion by administration officials that there had been no serious disagreement within the government about the legality of the N.S.A. program came in talks with New York Times editors in 2004. In an effort to persuade the editors not to disclose the eavesdropping program, senior officials repeatedly cited the lack of dissent as evidence of the program’s lawfulness.
In December 2005, The Times published articles describing the program, the data mining and the internal legal debate. The newspaper reported that the N.S.A. had combed large volumes of telephone and Internet traffic in search of patterns that might point to terrorism suspects.
Civil liberties groups, Congressional Democrats and some Republicans reacted to the disclosures with outrage, accusing the administration of operating an illegal surveillance program inside the United States. The uproar grew when USA Today reported in May 2006 more details of the N.S.A.’s acquisition from telephone companies of the phone call databases. In response to the articles, Mr. Bush confirmed the eavesdropping, saying it was limited to communications in and out of the United States involving people suspected of ties to Al Qaeda. He did not, however, confirm the data mining, nor has any other official done so publicly.
Mr. Gonzales defended the surveillance in an appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee in February 2006, saying there had been no internal dispute about its legality. He told the senators: “There has not been any serious disagreement about the program that the president has confirmed. There have been disagreements about other matters regarding operations, which I cannot get into.”
By limiting his remarks to “the program the president has confirmed,” Mr. Gonzales skirted any acknowledgment of the heated arguments over the data mining. He said the Justice Department had issued a legal analysis justifying the eavesdropping program.
Mr. Bush and other officials also have repeatedly cited Justice Department reviews as evidence of their care in overseeing the program, never mentioning the bitter conflict that unfolded behind the scenes.
Mr. Gonzales’s 2006 testimony went unchallenged publicly until May of this year, when James B. Comey, the former deputy attorney general, described the March 2004 confrontation to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Mr. Comey had refused to sign a reauthorization for the N.S.A. program when he was standing in for Mr. Ashcroft, who was hospitalized for gall bladder surgery.
Mr. Comey described an intense fight that prompted the top leaders of the Justice Department to consider resigning in protest. Mr. Gonzales and Mr. Card visited the bedside of Mr. Ashcroft, who was in pain and under sedation, to seek his signature on the reauthorization.
Mr. Ashcroft refused to do so. Mr. Comey testified that he thought the White House officials were trying to take advantage of a sick man.
On Tuesday, to respond to Mr. Comey’s account, Mr. Gonzales testified in a Senate appearance that he went to the hospital only after meeting with Congressional leaders about the impending deadline for the reauthorization. He said the consensus was that the program should go on, so he felt he had no choice but to seek Mr. Ashcroft’s approval.
At the hearing, Mr. Gonzales faced harsh questioning about why he had not previously acknowledged the 2004 standoff. In response, he asserted once again that there had not been disagreements about the surveillance program, insisting that the dispute involved “other intelligence activities.”
After the hearing, Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, sent Mr. Gonzales a transcript of his testimony with pointed instructions — to “correct, clarify or supplement your answers so that, consistent with your oath, they are the whole truth.”
July 28, 2006
Government Begins its Witch Hunt
The Wayne Madsen Report
National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Russell Tice subpoenaed to testify. Release from the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition:
On Wednesday, July 26, Russell Tice, former National Security Agency (NSA) intelligence analyst and a member of National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC), was approached outside his home by two FBI agents who served him with a subpoena to testify in front of a federal grand jury. NSWBC has obtained a copy of the subpoena issued for Mr. Tice’s testimony and is releasing it to the public for the first time. The subpoena directs Mr. Tice to appear before the jury on August 2, 2006 at 1:00 p.m. in the Eastern District of Virginia. Mr. Tice “will be asked to testify and answer questions concerning possible violations of federal criminal law."
In response to the subpoena, Mr. Tice issued the following statement: “This latest action by the government is designed only for one purpose: to ensure that people who witness criminal action being committed by the government are intimidated into remaining silent.” He continued: “To this date I have pursued all the appropriate channels to report unlawful and unconstitutional acts conducted [by the government] while I served as an intelligence officer with the NSA and DIA. It was with my oath as a US intelligence officer to protect and preserve the U.S. Constitution weighing heavy on my mind that I reported acts that I know to be unlawful and unconstitutional. The freedom of the American people cannot be protected when our constitutional liberties are ignored and our nation has decayed into a police state.”
On December 22, 2005, the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition made public a request by Tice to report to Congress probable unlawful and unconstitutional acts by the government while he was an intelligence officer with NSA and DIA. In a press release, NSWBC urged the congress to hold hearings and let Mr. Tice testify. Mr. Tice, a responsible veteran intelligence officer, tried to use the so-called appropriate channels, including the United States Congress, to responsibly and lawfully disclose government wrongdoing.
“What we are seeing here is a government desperate to cover up its criminal and unconstitutional conduct. They now are going beyond the usual retaliation against whistleblowers who courageously come forward to report cases of government fraud, waste, abuse, and in some cases such as this one, criminal actions. Their old tactics of intimidation, gag orders, and firing, have not stopped an unprecedented number of whistleblowers from coming forward and doing the right thing. Desperate to prevent the public’s right to know, they now are getting engaged in a witch hunt targeting these patriotic truth tellers.” stated Sibel Edmonds, the Director of National Security Whistleblowers Coalition.
In addition, the timing of the subpoena appears to be more than a little suspect. On July 25, 2006, Judge Matthew Kennelly upheld the government’s assertion of the state secrets privilege in Terkel v. AT&T. The crucial issue in the case was whether or not the government’s program of surveillance had been publicly acknowledged, and Kennelly wrote "the focus should be on information that bears persuasive indication of reliability."
If there were reliable public reports of the program then the fact of the program’s existence could not be a state secret. Kennelly found that there were no reliable sources of public information about the contested program’s existence sufficient to thwart the government’s need for secrecy. In other words, the existence of the program had not been conclusively established, and the government therefore had a right to prevent probing into the matter. This stops a case that represented a serious threat to the Bush administration.
Professor William Weaver, NSWBC Senior Advisor, stated: “Russ Tice is the only publicly identified NSA employee connected to the New York Times in its December 2005 story publicizing warrantless Bush-ordered surveillance. Tice is also publicly perceived as someone who could authoritatively establish the existence of the program at issue in Terkel; Tice could remedy the defect in the plaintiff’s case cited by Kennelly that allowed the government’s assertion of the state secrets privilege to be successful. Later, on the same day Kennelly’s opinion was filed, the Department of Justice sent out Tice’s subpoena.
The date on the subpoena is July 20th, before Kennelly’s decision was filed, but the issue in the Terkel case was so pregnant that it would be easy for the government to anticipate the ruling and only issue the subpoena to Tice if necessary. It has now become necessary, and the government seems to be moving to put pressure on Tice not to reveal information that would confirm the electronic surveillance program at issue in Terkel by threatening him with investigation and possible indictment.”
Ed. note: The venue of the grand jury that has subpoenaed Tice, the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria, is noteworthy. It indicates that Tice may merely be a witness and not a target in the investigation. NSA and DIA, where Tice worked, are in Maryland and the District of Columbia, respectively. Any case involving those agencies would be normally handled by the District Courts for Southern Maryland and the District of Columbia, respectively. However, when Porter Goss was CIA director, he stated he wanted to prosecute journalists who published what he considered classified information. The CIA is headquartered in Virginia and the US District Court for Eastern Virginia is considered a "rocket docket" for CIA legal matters.
It should also be noted that Tice was a witness for the defense in the Bush administration prosecution of former NSA "Iraqi shop" signals intelligence analyst Kenneth W. Ford, who was convicted in a joint FBI-NSA set-up operation for removing classified documents in broad daylight and under heavy security from an NSA facility to his home. That case was tainted by David Salem, a federal prosecutor with close links to neo-con operatives in the Bush administration. Ford authored an NSA signals intelligence report that called into question the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. That report ended up on the desk of Vice President Dick Cheney where it earned him the wrath of Cheney, Scooter Libby, and other neo-cons who were part of the White House Iraq Group (WHIG). Ford was sentenced to six years at the Federal Penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. The WHIG was the same group that targeted CIA non-official cover officer Valerie Plame Wilson and her husband, Ambassador Joseph Wilson.
Former NSA Director Gen. Michael Hayden, who oversaw the harassment of NSA employees during his tenure at Fort Meade, Maryland, is now CIA Director at headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Any CIA-initiated national security investigations would normally end up in the hands of the US District Court for Eastern Virginia, especially if the target(s) is(are) residents of the court's eastern Virginia jurisdiction. Tice is a resident of Maryland.
July 31, 2006
Guest Column in The Wayne Madsen Report
- - - -
ALL THAT’S GIVEN UP IN
THE NAME OF SECURITY
By Sibel Edmonds and William Weaver
Two days ago we made available to the public news that one of our members, Russell Tice, a former NSA Senior Analyst, had been served with a subpoena asking him to appear before a federal grand jury regarding the criminal investigation of recent disclosures which involved NSA warrantless eavesdropping.
Our announcement was followed up in both the main and alternative media, and started heated discussions among online activists. We have received e-mails and letters from people who expressed their support and solidarity with Mr. Tice and other patriotic public servants who have chosen to place our nation, its Constitution, its liberty, thus its public’s right to know, above their future security, careers and livelihood.
We have also received e-mails from individuals who argued against the public’s right to know when it comes to issues such as NSA warrantless eavesdropping or mass collection of citizens’ financial and other personal data by various intelligence and defense related agencies. They unite in their argument that any measure to protect us from the terrorists is welcomed and justified. One individual wrote: “so what if they are listening to our conversations. I have nothing to hide, so I don’t mind the government eavesdropping on my phone conversations. Only those engaged in evil deeds would worry about the government placing them under surveillance.” But how far can one let the government go based on this rationale? This issue is well articulated in Federalist, No. 51, “You must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.” How do we oblige our government to control itself?
You may ask how NSA eavesdropping affects you when you have nothing to hide. Let us try to explain why you should worry. Even if, as the government claims, this program is only looking for “terrorist activity,” still all your conversations have to be processed; have to be linked to other calls and sources of “possible” terrorist activity. All it takes is an innocent phone call to a friend, who has placed a call to a friend or relative, who has legitimate business or personal contacts in a foreign country where there may be “suspected terrorists.” You have just become a potential target of government investigation – you may be a terrorist supporter, or even a terrorist.
Remember “Six Degrees of Separation” (the theory that anyone on earth can be connected to any other person on the planet through a chain of acquaintances with no more than five intermediaries)? The NSA program can easily mistakenly connect you to a terrorist. Furthermore, since the program is being conducted without judicial oversight and under no recognized process there is nothing to restrict how the information obtained under the program is being used.
But let us take things from the widely shared point of view of the individual quoted above; the view that there is nothing for honest people to fear from warrantless, presidentially-ordered surveillance. What other invasions of rights would such acquiescence to government authority inevitably lead to?
Our government will argue its right to break into your house and search it without warrant based on some tip, intelligence, or information that is considered classified, which you have no right or clearance to know about. It will argue that the search and the secrecy are necessary for reasons of “national security” and within the “inherent powers” of the executive branch, therefore not requiring congressional authorization or judicial oversight.
What is next in the name of national security? Will our government call out to all citizens in particular communities to turn in their weapons to law enforcement agencies? Perhaps it will cite the following reason for such call: “We already know that several Al Qaeda cells reside in the affected communities. Our intelligence agencies have received credible information concerning these cells’ intention to break into Americans’ homes to obtain firearms, since they do not want to risk detection by purchasing firearms from the market.” Would our compliant citizen quoted above be more than happy to give up his right under the Second Amendment for possible security promised to him by his government? When the agents show up at his door asking for his legally registered Colt, what will he do?
There are those well-meaning “conservative” Americans who have been lead to believe that our nation’s security is somehow damaged when an employee of one of our “security” agencies comes forward to shed light on activities by our government that may be illegal, may be un-constitutional, and may be a danger to the nation’s security.
These Americans have accepted too easily the government’s propaganda sold to them shrewdly packaged in a wrapping of fear of terror – that if you expose any government action, however misguided or un-constitutional, then you are jeopardizing our security; you are aiding the terrorists. This quote from Benjamin Franklin sums it up well: “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
What price our imagined security? If we now would allow the NSA to listen in to our most private conversations without objection, then when next the knock comes on our door, or our door is knocked down, in the interest of “national security” what will we say? Will we say “come on in and search me, my house and my family; after all, it is in the interest of ‘national security’ and we have nothing to hide”?
Generations of Americans have fought and died so that we can today enjoy the precious fruits of their struggles – the right to our privacy, the right to our freedom from government intrusion, the right to our freedom of speech, the right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” the right to simply be left alone. Are we to become the generation that loses those freedoms, not only for ourselves, but for the generations that follow? And will it be us who lets it happen because of some misplaced belief that government “oppression” equals “national security”?
Since when did true conservatives agree to surrender their individual rights under the Constitution for the sake of some imagined temporary security? Since when have we become so afraid of some foreign terrorists that we shiver and hide under a blanket of imagined security offered up by those in power who feed on our fears? Since when have we forgotten the messages of the Founding Fathers, who understood so clearly that the greatest danger to our liberties is an oppressive government, not outside foreign forces?
We should never fear those who are brave enough to speak out, but we should fear greatly those who would silence them.
We like to believe our nation is one that prizes individual liberty and freedom from authoritarian restraint, the dictates of hierarchy, or governmental limits. Throughout its history our nation’s soul has been based on anti-authoritarianism and fear of a large, tyrannical government. Our notion of liberty has been built upon a philosophy of limited government with the highest value placed on preservation of individual rights.
Our nation’s political thought found its roots in the writings of John Locke, who stressed an insistence on imposing limits on authority, on governmental authority, in order to further individual rights and liberty. No wonder both liberal and republican traditions, although each in its own way and style, pride themselves in their eternal quest for ‘limited government’.
Our entire system of government and its institutions is grounded in an insistence that tyranny be combated and that individual liberty be protected from a potentially tyrannical government. The result is a suspicion of authority and an emphasis on limited government.
Samuel Huntington, a well-known conservative Republican, states in American Politics: The Promise of Disharmony: “The distinctive aspect of the American Creed is its antigovernment character. Opposition to power, and suspicion of government as the most dangerous embodiment of power, are the central themes of American political thought.”
After 9/11 our president came out and warned us: “the terrorists are resolved to change the way of our lives. They hate our freedom and our way of life here.”
Well Mr. President, we have come a long way since that awful day. Our way of privacy in communicating on the phone and through our computers, our way of detaining and prosecuting people, our way of trusting our records with our librarians, our way of reading and discussing dissent, our way of treating our ally nations, our way of making it from the airport gates to the airplanes…simply, our way of life, has surely changed drastically in five years.
But, Mr. President, we don’t have the terrorists to blame for this. We only have you and our three branches of government to blame.
Sibel Edmonds is the founder and director of National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC). Ms. Edmonds worked as a language specialist for the FBI. During her work with the bureau, she discovered and reported serious acts of security breaches, cover-ups, and intentional blocking of intelligence that had national security implications. After she reported these acts to FBI management, she was retaliated against by the FBI and ultimately fired in March 2002. Since that time, court proceedings on her case have been blocked by the assertion of “State Secret Privilege”; the Congress of the United States has been gagged and prevented from any discussion of her case through retroactive re-classification by the Department of Justice. Ms. Edmonds is fluent in Turkish, Farsi and Azerbaijani; and has a MA in Public Policy and International Commerce from George Mason University, and a BA in Criminal Justice and Psychology from George Washington University. PEN American Center awarded Ms. Edmonds the 2006 PEN/Newman's Own First Amendment Award.
Professor William Weaver is the senior advisor and a board member of National Security Whistleblowers Coalition. Mr. Weaver served in U.S. Army signals intelligence for eight years in Berlin and Augsburg, Germany, in the late 1970s and 1980s. He subsequently received his law degree and Ph.D. in politics from the University of Virginia, where he was on the editorial board of the Virginia Law Review. He is presently an Associate Professor of political science and an Associate in the Center for Law and Border Studies at the University of Texas at El Paso. He specializes in executive branch secrecy policy, governmental abuse, and law and bureaucracy. His articles have appeared in American Political Science Review, Political Science Quarterly, Virginia Law Review, Journal of Business Ethics, Organization and other journals. With co-author Robert Pallitto, his book Presidential Secrecy and the Law is forthcoming from Johns Hopkins University Press in the spring of 2007. His views and positions arising from his affiliation with the NSWBC do not reflect the sentiments of, or constitute and endorsement by, the University of Texas at El Paso.
May 11, 2006
Controversy shadows Hayden confirmation
By Bill Nichols and John Diamond, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — The controversial nomination of Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden to be CIA director could be further complicated by the disclosure that the spy agency under Hayden's control collected phone records on millions of Americans, lawmakers said Thursday.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said disclosure of the program by USA TODAY, "is going to present a growing impediment to the confirmation of General Hayden." Hayden's confirmation hearings are set to begin next week.
Feinstein, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee that will hold the hearings, met Hayden earlier in the week and has praised the general, now the nation's No. 2 intelligence officer.
Hayden oversaw the program outlined by USA TODAY while serving as director of the National Security Agency.
"Enough is enough," Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said in a speech at American University in Washington. "It is long overdue for this Congress to end the days of roll over and rubber stamp and finally assert its power of advise and consent before Gen. Hayden becomes Director Hayden."
Hayden's role in the data-collection program "might have an impact" on his nomination to replace Porter Goss, who was forced out last week, said Rep. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican....
White House officials and Republican leaders expressed full support for Hayden and confidence that he will be confirmed.
White House press secretary Tony Snow said the Bush administration "stands by General Hayden 100%." Snow said there are no dissenting voices on the nomination from the members of Congress "who have been fully briefed on all NSA activities."
Hayden has been paying courtesy calls to senators all week, including a session Thursday with Senate Majority Whip Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. McConnell pronounced himself "very impressed" and likely to support Hayden's nomination.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., said Hayden will have "overwhelmingly strong support."
The nomination was already under scrutiny because of his role in setting up, without court warrants, an eavesdropping program that involved international calls with one end in the USA and one participant believed linked to a terrorist group.
Lawmakers of both parties, including Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, also have raised questions about the wisdom of putting a four-star general in charge of the CIA at a time when the mostly civilian agency is struggling with the Pentagon for dominance in overseas espionage operations.
The new disclosure is likely to prompt questions to Hayden about the legality of the massive data- collection program, begun shortly after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
At the heart of the issue is whether the government has the right to collect vast quantities of calling data on private persons, most of whom have no involvement with crime or terrorism.
Hayden also may face heightened scrutiny for the assurances he gave over the past five months about what the NSA has been doing since 9/11. He was the lead Bush administration defender of the warrantless surveillance, offering repeated public assurances that the program was carefully targeted, was aimed specifically at terrorism suspects, and involved only international calls.
"The purpose of this is not to collect reams of intelligence, but to detect and prevent attacks," Hayden said in January, speaking of the surveillance program at the National Press Club. "This is targeted and focused. This is not about intercepting conversations between people in the United States."
The newly disclosed program does not involve eavesdropping. It also differs from the surveillance program in that it is not tightly targeted, does not focus solely on terrorist suspects and involves domestic as well as international calls.
Said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.: "The American people, who want both security and liberty, have a lot of questions. I hope and expect that ... Michael Hayden will immediately start to answer those questions. It is not enough for the administration to say, 'just trust us, we know what we are doing.' "
# # #
THIS NEST IS JUST STARTING TO HATCH.
FOR MORE SECRET NESTS...
PART I - THE CIA
PART II - THE FBI
PART III - THE MOSSAD
PART IV - THE NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY
And, for more deep cover conspiracies, GO TO...
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DIRTY GOLD IN GOLDMAN SACHS
FLYING HIGH IN HAWAII
HUD: THE HOUSING & URBAN DISASTER
THE KISSINGER OF DEATH
NESTS IN THE PENTAGON
OF VAMPIRES AND DAISIES
PREDATORS IN PARADISE
SONGS OF THE DRUG VULTURES
THE EAGLE HOODED
THE MARSH BIRDS
THE SILENCE OF THE WHISTLEBLOWERS
THE STEPHEN FRIEDMAN FLOCK
THE STRANGE SAGA OF BCCI
VAMPIRES IN THE CITY
VAMPIRES ON GILLIGAN'S ISLAND
WHO'S GUARDING THE HEN HOUSE ???
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Last update July 10, 2009, by The Catbird