home > archives > Bush's Watergate On Steroids
April 10, 2009
Warrantless Wiretapping of American Citizens A-OK According to Obama's DOJ

In the past, I have placed all of my "warrantless wiretapping of americans" posts under

Bush's Watergate on Steroids
.

What a joke! Ha ha! But the joke's on me - and all of us, as it turns out.

It saddens me greatly to have to create an "Obama's Warrantless Wiretapping" category.

Today is a day I never thought I'd see. Seriously. I thought something as simple as striking down warrantless wiretapping would be a no-brainer. Certainly not a policy the Obama Administration would actually endorse and defend.

This is an excerpt from EFF's Effector 22.10:


THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION HAS EMBRACED BUSH'S POSITION ON WARANTLESS WIRETAPPING, and goes one step further than the previous administration. In a motion to dismiss Jewel v. NSA, the Obama Administration's Department of Justice (DOJ) made two deeply troubling arguments.

First, they argued, exactly as the Bush Administration did on countless occasions, that the state secrets privilege requires the court to dismiss the issue out of hand. They asserted that simply allowing the case to continue "would cause exceptionally grave harm to national security." As in the past, this is a blatant ploy to dismiss the litigation without allowing the courts to consider the evidence.

Second, the DOJ claimed that the U.S. Government is completely immune from litigation for illegal spying because the USA PATRIOT Act renders the U.S. immune from suit under the two remaining key federal surveillance laws: the Wiretap Act and the Stored Communications Act. This is a radical assertion that is utterly unprecedented. No one -- not the White House, not the Justice Department, not any member of Congress, and not the Bush Administration -- has ever interpreted the law this way.

This isn't change we can believe in. This is change for the worse.

For the full blog post:
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/04/obama-doj-worse-than-bush

For the press release:
http://www.eff.org/press/archives/2009/04/05

For Kevin Bankston on "Countdown With Keith Olbermann":
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/04/bankston-on-olbermann

For Keith Olbermann on Obama and Wiretapping:
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2009/04/keith-olbermann-obama-and-wiretapping

***end excerpt***

This is pretty upsetting. I'm still shocked and dismayed.

I wanted to make sure you knew at least. Somehow that makes me feel a little better, usually.

Posted by Lisa at 12:35 PM
August 21, 2007
Video of Appellate Arguments in AT&T/US Government Domestic Spying Case

I finally finished making clips of the arguments in front of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals last week in the AT& T/US Government Domestic Spying Case.

I'll be blogging about this in more detail, but for now, everything's here:


http://video.lisarein.com/eff/byshow/cspan/08-15-07/

I've split them up into folders:
- US Gov (att-gov)
- AT & T (att-kellogg)
- Frap (frap) (representing AT&T consumers -- and really the American public at large, in this case.)

The Judges were asking good questions and looking out for our best interests. It seems like they weren't buying the U.S. Government's argument that merely discussing the possibility of a relationship (or even the non-existence of one) between AT&T and the Government constitutes a "state secret."

More on this over the next few days! I just wanted to get this up there so others could use it/learn from it.

It's great stuff!

Posted by Lisa at 04:27 PM
August 20, 2007
Matt Cooper Outs Rove On Meet The Press...And Nobody Cares?

So I'm so busy trying to not pay attention to Karl Rove on Meet The Press yesterday morning, that I don't bother to watch the rest of the show...

Where as, luck, or in this case, NBC, would have it, Matt Cooper apparently let the cat out o' the bag about Rove leaking Valerie Plame's identity. All casual and shit.

Then Gregory moves on to another topic...like nothing important was even said.

I wouldn't have even have known to go back and look at my recording if my trusty t r u t h o u t newsletter hadn't have informed me.




Gregory: Matt Cooper, let's pick up on an aspect of the interview with, with Karl Rove having to do with the leak case, the CIA leak case, that you were part of as well. And something that's very interesting, he, he went out of his way to say, "I would not have been a confirming source on this kind of information" and taking issue with, with Novak's testimony in his column that he knew who Valerie Plame was. He said he would never confirm that information. That's different from your experience with him.

Cooper: Yeah, I, I think he was dissembling, to put it charitably. Look, Karl Rove told me about Valerie Plame's identity on July 11th, 2003. I called him because Ambassador Wilson was in the news that week. I didn't know Ambassador Wilson even had a wife until I talked to Karl Rove and he said that she worked at the agency and she worked on WMD. I mean, to imply that he didn't know about it or that this was all a leak by someone else...

Gregory: Or that he had heard it from somebody else...

Cooper: or that he heard it as some rumor out in the hallway is, is nonsense.

Gregory: But he makes no apologies to Valerie Plame.

Cooper: Karl Rove never apologizes. That's not what he does.

Then Gregory just changes the subject..."Back to politics..."

I thought they were talking about politics...

Posted by Lisa at 08:34 PM
October 04, 2006
Three Judge Panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Says Domestic Spying OK till further notice


Court temporarily OKs domestic spying

By Dan Sewell, Associated Press


The Bush administration can continue its warrantless surveillance program while it appeals a judge's ruling that the program is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday...

The unanimous ruling from a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals gave little explanation for the decision. In the three-paragraph ruling, judges said that they balanced the likelihood an appeal would succeed, the potential damage to both sides and the public interest...

The ACLU contends that the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which set up the secret court to grant warrants for such surveillance, gave the government enough tools to monitor suspected terrorists.

"We are confident that when the 6th Circuit addresses the merits of this case, it will agree that warrantless wiretapping of Americans violates the law and is unconstitutional," Melissa Goodman, an ACLU attorney, said in a news release.

Similar lawsuits challenging the program have been filed by other groups, including in New York and San Francisco. The issue could wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061004/ap_on_re_us/domestic_spying

CINCINNATI - The Bush administration can continue its warrantless surveillance program while it appeals a judge's ruling that the program is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.
ADVERTISEMENT


Yes No
Yes No

Yes No

The president has said the program is needed in the war on terrorism; opponents argue it oversteps constitutional boundaries on free speech, privacy and executive powers.

The unanimous ruling from a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals gave little explanation for the decision. In the three-paragraph ruling, judges said that they balanced the likelihood an appeal would succeed, the potential damage to both sides and the public interest.

The Bush administration applauded the decision.

"We are pleased to see that it will be allowed to continue while the Court of Appeals examines the trial court's decision, with which we strongly disagree," Deputy White House press secretary Dana Perino said in a statement.

The program monitors international phone calls and e-mails to or from the United States involving people the government suspects have terrorist links. A secret court has been set up to grant warrants for such surveillance, but the government says it can't always wait for a court to take action.

U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in Detroit ruled Aug. 17 that the program was unconstitutional because it violates the rights to free speech and privacy and the separation of powers.

The Justice Department had urged the appeals court to allow it to keep the program in place while it argues its appeal, claiming that the nation faced "potential irreparable harm" and would be more vulnerable to a terrorist attack. The appeal is likely to take months.

"This program is both critical to preventing terrorist attacks and fully consistent with law," said Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse.

The
American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit in January seeking to stop the program on behalf of journalists, scholars and lawyers who say it has made it difficult for them to do their jobs because they believe many of their overseas contacts are likely targets. Many said they had been forced to take expensive and time-consuming overseas trips because their contacts wouldn't speak openly on the phone or because they didn't want to violate their contacts' confidentiality.

The ACLU contends that the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which set up the secret court to grant warrants for such surveillance, gave the government enough tools to monitor suspected terrorists.

"We are confident that when the 6th Circuit addresses the merits of this case, it will agree that warrantless wiretapping of Americans violates the law and is unconstitutional," Melissa Goodman, an ACLU attorney, said in a news release.

Similar lawsuits challenging the program have been filed by other groups, including in New York and San Francisco. The issue could wind up before the
U.S. Supreme Court.

Posted by Lisa at 10:28 PM
April 14, 2006
Scooter Names Karl Rove and Ari Fleischer In Plame Scandal

This is from the April 13, 2006 program.

Libby's latest court filings name Karl Rove and Ari Fleischer as people who were also involved in leaking the information about Valerie Plame to the press. In Ari Fleischer's grand jury testimony, he describes a day when Scooter Libby took him to lunch, which had never happened before, and Scooter told him that Joseph Wilson's wife was a CIA agent, and that it was not widely known. (wink wink) Ari said that he took that to mean that he should leak it to the press. But the important part here is, of course, that Scooter has named Karl Rove as being involved in the conspiracy.




Video - Rove Implicated by Libby
(Quicktime 17 MB)

Audio - Rove Implicated by Libby
(MP3 9 MB)

Posted by Lisa at 03:04 PM
Joseph Wilson On Keith Olbermann

This is from the April 10, 2006 program of
Countdown with Keith Olbermann
.

As always, Keith Olbermann is the only guy in the news media thoroughly covering this story.

Joseph Wilson clarifies the details and emphasizes seriousness of the situation.

In a nutshell, President Bush, Cheney and Karl Rove are traitors. Together, they conspired to out Valerie Plame as a CIA agent in retaliation for her husband's going to the media about how Saddam hadn't really purchased uranium from Niger, and therefore, how Iraq's WMDs didn't exist.


Video - Joe Wilson on Olbermann - All
(37 MB)

Video - Joe Wilson on Olbermann - Intro
(9 MB)

Video - Joe Wilson on Olbermann - Wilson Interview
(13 MB)

Video - Joe Wilson on Olbermann - Shuster Analysis
(10 MB)


Audio - Joe Wilson on Olbermann - All
(18 MB)

Audio - Joe Wilson on Olbermann - Intro
(5 MB)

Audio - Joe Wilson on Olbermann - Wilson Interview
(9 MB)

Audio - Joe Wilson on Olbermann - Shuster Analysis
(6 MB)

Posted by Lisa at 02:33 PM
April 13, 2006
Joseph Wilson On 60 Minutes - How Valerie Plame Leak Threatens Our National Security

This is from the October 30, 2005 program of 60 minutes


I've been clearing off my TIVO since I've been home so much lately, and what do I run across but a 60 Minutes piece from October 30, 2005 about Valerie Plame. Not about the scandal per se, but about Valerie: who she was, what she did, and the lives potentially at risk and irrepairable damage that has been done to our National Security as a result of her identity being revealed.


Valerie was an undercover Agent gathering intelligence about numerous countries' Nuclear Weapons programs. She dedicated her life to protecting the National Security of the United States. She recommended her husband, Joseph Wilson, to go on another patriotic mission to Nigeria to verify whether or not Saddam Hussein had purchased uranium from there. Wilson went on this mission, almost as a favor, for the Vice President himself. When Wilson came back with the truth - that the documents saying Saddam had purchased uranium were forged, the Vice President wanted Wilson to keep quiet about it.

When he did not, and instead offered up to the press what he had uncovered, our Bush, Cheney and Rove conspired to reveal his wife's identity in retaliation.

Wow. You've really got to see this for yourself.


Video - 60 Minutes On The CIA Leak - All


Video - 60 Minutes On The CIA Leak - Part One


Video - 60 Minutes On The CIA Leak - Part Two


Audio - 60 Minutes On The CIA Leak - All


Audio - 60 Minutes On The CIA Leak - Part One


Audio - 60 Minutes On The CIA Leak - Part Two

Posted by Lisa at 05:38 PM
April 10, 2006
Keith Olbermann On Scooter Getting His Go Ahead To Leak The Identity of CIA Agent Valerie Plame Straight From Bush and Cheney

I'm late for lunch and swamped finishing my masters (three more days!)....

But I just finished uploading Keith Olbermann's report on this situation from last Thursday, April 6, 2006, so I wanted to at least make it available to you raw style until I can blog it properly later.

The file is available as "all three parts together" and in three parts here w/pics.


1- Olbermann's overview


2-Shuster's take on it


3- John Dean's take on it.



Posted by Lisa at 11:51 AM
The Washington Post Chimes In On the Bush - Plame Link

This is from Sunday, April 9, 2006:

A "Concerted Effort" to Discredit Bush Critic
Prosecutor describes Cheney, Libby as key voices pitching Iraq-Niger story.
By Barton Gellman and Dafna Linzer for The Washington Post


As he drew back the curtain this week on the evidence against Vice President Cheney's former top aide, Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald for the first time described a "concerted action" by "multiple people in the White House" - using classified information - to "discredit, punish or seek revenge against" a critic of President Bush's war in Iraq.

Bluntly and repeatedly, Fitzgerald placed Cheney at the center of that campaign. Citing grand jury testimony from the vice president's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Fitzgerald fingered Cheney as the first to voice a line of attack that at least three White House officials would soon deploy against former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV.

Cheney, in a conversation with Libby in early July 2003, was said to describe Wilson's CIA-sponsored trip to Niger the previous year - in which the envoy found no support for charges that Iraq tried to buy uranium there - as "a junket set up by Mr. Wilson's wife," CIA case officer Valerie Plame.

Libby is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice for denying under oath that he disclosed Plame's CIA employment to journalists. There is no public evidence to suggest Libby made any such disclosure with Cheney's knowledge. But according to Libby's grand jury testimony, described for the first time in legal papers filed this week, Cheney "specifically directed" Libby in late June or early July 2003 to pass information to reporters from two classified CIA documents: an October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate and a March 2002 summary of Wilson's visit to Niger.

One striking feature of that decision un-remarked until now, in part because Fitzgerald did not mention it - is that the evidence Cheney and Libby selected to share with reporters had been disproved months before.

United Nations inspectors had exposed the main evidence for the uranium charge as crude forgeries in March 2003, but the Bush administration and British Prime Minister Tony Blair maintained they had additional, secret evidence they could not disclose. In June, a British parliamentary inquiry concluded otherwise, delivering a scathing critique of Blair's role in promoting the story. With no ally left, the White House debated whether to abandon the uranium claim and became embroiled in bitter finger-pointing about whom to fault for the error. A legal brief filed for Libby last month said that "certain officials at the CIA, the White House, and the State Department each sought to avoid or assign blame for intelligence failures relating to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction."

It was at that moment that Libby, allegedly at Cheney's direction, sought out at least three reporters to bolster the discredited uranium allegation. Libby made careful selections of language from the 2002 estimate, quoting a passage that said Iraq was "vigorously trying to procure uranium" in Africa.

The first of those conversations, according to the evidence made known thus far, came when Libby met with Bob Woodward, an assistant managing editor of The Washington Post, on June 27, 2003. In sworn testimony for Fitzgerald, according to a statement Woodward released on Nov. 14, 2005, Woodward said Libby told him of the intelligence estimate's description of Iraqi efforts to obtain "yellowcake," a processed form of natural uranium ore, in Africa. In an interview Friday, Woodward said his notes showed that Libby described those efforts as "vigorous."

Libby's next known meeting with a reporter, according to Fitzgerald's legal filing, was with Judith Miller, then of the New York Times, on July 8, 2003. He spoke again to Miller, and to Time magazine's Matt Cooper, on July 12...

Fitzgerald wrote that Cheney and his aides saw Wilson as a threat to "the credibility of the Vice President (and the President) on a matter of signal importance: the rationale for the war in Iraq." They decided to respond by implying that Wilson got his CIA assignment by "nepotism."

They were not alone. Fitzgerald reported for the first time this week that "multiple officials in the White House" - not only Libby and White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, who have previously been identified - discussed Plame's CIA employment with reporters before and after publication of her name on July 14, 2003, in a column by Robert D. Novak. Fitzgerald said the grand jury has collected so much testimony and so many documents that "it is hard to conceive of what evidence there could be that would disprove the existence of White House efforts to 'punish' Wilson."

Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/08/AR2006040800916.html

A "Concerted Effort" to Discredit Bush Critic
By Barton Gellman and Dafna Linzer
The Washington Post

Sunday 09 April 2006

Prosecutor describes Cheney, Libby as key voices pitching Iraq-Niger story.

As he drew back the curtain this week on the evidence against Vice President Cheney's former top aide, Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald for the first time described a "concerted action" by "multiple people in the White House" - using classified information - to "discredit, punish or seek revenge against" a critic of President Bush's war in Iraq.

Bluntly and repeatedly, Fitzgerald placed Cheney at the center of that campaign. Citing grand jury testimony from the vice president's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Fitzgerald fingered Cheney as the first to voice a line of attack that at least three White House officials would soon deploy against former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV.

Cheney, in a conversation with Libby in early July 2003, was said to describe Wilson's CIA-sponsored trip to Niger the previous year - in which the envoy found no support for charges that Iraq tried to buy uranium there - as "a junket set up by Mr. Wilson's wife," CIA case officer Valerie Plame.

Libby is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice for denying under oath that he disclosed Plame's CIA employment to journalists. There is no public evidence to suggest Libby made any such disclosure with Cheney's knowledge. But according to Libby's grand jury testimony, described for the first time in legal papers filed this week, Cheney "specifically directed" Libby in late June or early July 2003 to pass information to reporters from two classified CIA documents: an October 2002 National Intelligence Estimate and a March 2002 summary of Wilson's visit to Niger.

One striking feature of that decision un-remarked until now, in part because Fitzgerald did not mention it - is that the evidence Cheney and Libby selected to share with reporters had been disproved months before.

United Nations inspectors had exposed the main evidence for the uranium charge as crude forgeries in March 2003, but the Bush administration and British Prime Minister Tony Blair maintained they had additional, secret evidence they could not disclose. In June, a British parliamentary inquiry concluded otherwise, delivering a scathing critique of Blair's role in promoting the story. With no ally left, the White House debated whether to abandon the uranium claim and became embroiled in bitter finger-pointing about whom to fault for the error. A legal brief filed for Libby last month said that "certain officials at the CIA, the White House, and the State Department each sought to avoid or assign blame for intelligence failures relating to Iraq's weapons of mass destruction."

It was at that moment that Libby, allegedly at Cheney's direction, sought out at least three reporters to bolster the discredited uranium allegation. Libby made careful selections of language from the 2002 estimate, quoting a passage that said Iraq was "vigorously trying to procure uranium" in Africa.

The first of those conversations, according to the evidence made known thus far, came when Libby met with Bob Woodward, an assistant managing editor of The Washington Post, on June 27, 2003. In sworn testimony for Fitzgerald, according to a statement Woodward released on Nov. 14, 2005, Woodward said Libby told him of the intelligence estimate's description of Iraqi efforts to obtain "yellowcake," a processed form of natural uranium ore, in Africa. In an interview Friday, Woodward said his notes showed that Libby described those efforts as "vigorous."

Libby's next known meeting with a reporter, according to Fitzgerald's legal filing, was with Judith Miller, then of the New York Times, on July 8, 2003. He spoke again to Miller, and to Time magazine's Matt Cooper, on July 12.

At Cheney's instruction, Libby testified, he told Miller that the uranium story was a "key judgment" of the intelligence estimate, a term of art indicating there was consensus on a question of central importance.

In fact, the alleged effort to buy uranium was not among the estimate's key judgments, which were identified by a headline and bold type and set out in bullet form in the first five pages of the 96-page document.

Unknown to the reporters, the uranium claim lay deeper inside the estimate, where it said a fresh supply of uranium ore would "shorten the time Baghdad needs to produce nuclear weapons." But it also said US intelligence did not know the status of Iraq's procurement efforts, "cannot confirm" any success and had "inconclusive" evidence about Iraq's domestic uranium operations.

Iraq's alleged uranium shopping had been strongly disputed in the intelligence community from the start. In a closed Senate hearing in late September 2002, shortly before the October NIE was completed, then-director of central intelligence George J. Tenet and his top weapons analyst, Robert Walpole, expressed strong doubts about the uranium story, which had recently been unveiled publicly by the British government. The State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, likewise, called the claim "highly dubious." For those reasons, the uranium story was relegated to a brief inside passage in the October estimate.

But the White House Iraq Group, formed in August 2002 to foster "public education" about Iraq's "grave and gathering danger" to the United States, repeatedly pitched the uranium story. The alleged procurement was a minor issue for most US analysts - the hard part for Iraq would be enriching uranium, not obtaining the ore, and Niger's controlled market made it an unlikely seller - but the Niger story proved irresistible to speechwriters. Most nuclear arguments were highly technical, but the public could easily grasp the link between uranium and a bomb.

Tenet interceded to keep the claim out of a speech Bush gave in Cincinnati on Oct. 7, 2002, but by Dec. 19 it reappeared in a State Department "fact sheet." After that, the Pentagon asked for an authoritative judgment from the National Intelligence Council, the senior coordinating body for the 15 agencies that then constituted the US intelligence community. Did Iraq and Niger discuss a uranium sale, or not? If they had, the Pentagon would need to reconsider its ties with Niger.

The council's reply, drafted in a January 2003 memo by the national intelligence officer for Africa, was unequivocal: The Niger story was baseless and should be laid to rest. Four US officials with firsthand knowledge said in interviews that the memo, which has not been reported before, arrived at the White House as Bush and his highest-ranking advisers made the uranium story a centerpiece of their case for the rapidly approaching war against Iraq.

Bush put his prestige behind the uranium story in his Jan. 28, 2003, State of the Union address. Less than two months later, the International Atomic Energy Agency exposed the principal US evidence as bogus. A Bush-appointed commission later concluded that the evidence, a set of contracts and correspondence sold by an Italian informant, was "transparently forged."

On the ground in Iraq, meanwhile, the hunt for weapons of mass destruction was producing no results, and as the bad news converged on the White House - weeks after a banner behind Bush declared "Mission Accomplished" on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln - Wilson emerged as a key critic. He focused his ire on Cheney, who had made the administration's earliest and strongest claims about Iraq's alleged nuclear program.

Fitzgerald wrote that Cheney and his aides saw Wilson as a threat to "the credibility of the Vice President (and the President) on a matter of signal importance: the rationale for the war in Iraq." They decided to respond by implying that Wilson got his CIA assignment by "nepotism."

They were not alone. Fitzgerald reported for the first time this week that "multiple officials in the White House" - not only Libby and White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, who have previously been identified - discussed Plame's CIA employment with reporters before and after publication of her name on July 14, 2003, in a column by Robert D. Novak. Fitzgerald said the grand jury has collected so much testimony and so many documents that "it is hard to conceive of what evidence there could be that would disprove the existence of White House efforts to 'punish' Wilson."

At the same time, top officials such as then-deputy national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley were pressing the CIA to declassify more documents in hopes of defending the president's use of the uranium claim in his State of the Union speech. It was a losing battle. A "senior Bush administration official," speaking on the condition of anonymity as the president departed for Africa on July 7, 2003, told The Post that "the reference to Iraq's attempt to acquire uranium from Africa should not have been included in the State of the Union speech." The comment appeared on the front page of the July 8 paper, the same morning that Libby met Miller at the St. Regis hotel.

Libby was still defending the uranium claim as the administration's internal battle burst into the open. White House officials tried to blame Tenet for the debacle, but Tenet made public his intervention to keep uranium out of Bush's speech four months earlier. Hadley then acknowledged that he had known of Tenet's objections but forgot them as the State of the Union approached.

Hoping to lay the controversy to rest, Hadley claimed responsibility for the Niger remarks.

In a speech two days later, at the American Enterprise Institute, Cheney defended the war by saying that no responsible leader could ignore the evidence in the NIE. Before a roomful of conservative policymakers, Cheney listed four of the "key judgments" on Iraq's alleged weapons capabilities but made no mention of Niger or uranium.

On July 30, 2003, two senior intelligence officials said in an interview that Niger was never an important part of the CIA's analysis, and that the language of Iraq's vigorous pursuit of uranium came verbatim from a Defense Intelligence Agency report that had caught the vice president's attention. The same day, the CIA referred the Plame leak to the Justice Department for criminal prosecution, the fateful step that would eventually lead to Libby's indictment.

Posted by Lisa at 11:44 AM
Well you can't get any higher up the chain than that: Both Bush and Cheney We're Behind Leak

From the "Hey is anybody listening? The information we've been waiting for years to break has broken" department, Jason Leopold and like five other reporters are covering what has got to be the most exciting development in this dismal administration: not only did Cheney tell Libby to leak the information to the press about Joseph Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, being a CIA agent, but , according to Libby himself, Bush told Cheney to tell him to do it.

I have some nice clips from Keith Olbermann going up next, but this story published this morning in the Times sums it up nicely too.

Bush and Cheney Discussed Plame Prior to Leak

by Jason Leopold for t r u t h o u t.


In early June 2003, Vice President Dick Cheney met with President Bush and told him that CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson was the wife of Iraq war critic Joseph Wilson and that she was responsible for sending him on a fact-finding mission to Niger to check out reports about Iraq's attempt to purchase uranium from the African country, according to current and former White House officials and attorneys close to the investigation to determine who revealed Plame-Wilson's undercover status to the media.

Other White House officials who also attended the meeting with Cheney and President Bush included former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, her former deputy Stephen Hadley, and Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove.

This information was provided to this reporter by attorneys and US officials who have remained close to the case. Investigators working with Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald compiled the information after interviewing 36 Bush administration officials over the past two and a half years.

The revelation puts a new wrinkle into Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's two-year-old criminal probe into the leak and suggests for the first time that President Bush knew from early on that the vice president and senior officials on his staff were involved in a coordinated effort to attack Wilson's credibility by leaking his wife's classified CIA status.

Now that President Bush's knowledge of the Plame Wilson affair has been exposed, there are thorny questions about whether the president has broken the law - specifically, whether he obstructed justice when he was interviewed about his knowledge of the Plame Wilson leak and the campaign to discredit her husband.

Details of President Bush's involvement in the Plame Wilson affair came in a 39-page court document filed by Fitzgerald late Wednesday evening in US District Court in Washington.

Fitzgerald's court filing was made in response to attorneys representing I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, who was indicted on five counts of perjury, obstruction of justice, and lying to investigators for not telling grand jury he spoke to reporters about Plame Wilson.

Libby's attorneys have in the past months have argued that the government has evidence that would prove Libby's innocence and that the special prosecutor refuses to turn it over to the defense. Fitzgerald said in court documents he has already turned over thousands of pages of evidence to Libby's attorneys and that further discovery requests have been overly broad.

Here is the full text of the entire article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/041006Z.shtml

Bush and Cheney Discussed Plame Prior to Leak
By Jason Leopold
t r u t h o u t | Report

Monday 10 April 2006

In early June 2003, Vice President Dick Cheney met with President Bush and told him that CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson was the wife of Iraq war critic Joseph Wilson and that she was responsible for sending him on a fact-finding mission to Niger to check out reports about Iraq's attempt to purchase uranium from the African country, according to current and former White House officials and attorneys close to the investigation to determine who revealed Plame-Wilson's undercover status to the media.

Other White House officials who also attended the meeting with Cheney and President Bush included former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card, then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, her former deputy Stephen Hadley, and Deputy White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove.

This information was provided to this reporter by attorneys and US officials who have remained close to the case. Investigators working with Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald compiled the information after interviewing 36 Bush administration officials over the past two and a half years.

The revelation puts a new wrinkle into Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's two-year-old criminal probe into the leak and suggests for the first time that President Bush knew from early on that the vice president and senior officials on his staff were involved in a coordinated effort to attack Wilson's credibility by leaking his wife's classified CIA status.

Now that President Bush's knowledge of the Plame Wilson affair has been exposed, there are thorny questions about whether the president has broken the law - specifically, whether he obstructed justice when he was interviewed about his knowledge of the Plame Wilson leak and the campaign to discredit her husband.

Details of President Bush's involvement in the Plame Wilson affair came in a 39-page court document filed by Fitzgerald late Wednesday evening in US District Court in Washington.

Fitzgerald's court filing was made in response to attorneys representing I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, who was indicted on five counts of perjury, obstruction of justice, and lying to investigators for not telling grand jury he spoke to reporters about Plame Wilson.

Libby's attorneys have in the past months have argued that the government has evidence that would prove Libby's innocence and that the special prosecutor refuses to turn it over to the defense. Fitzgerald said in court documents he has already turned over thousands of pages of evidence to Libby's attorneys and that further discovery requests have been overly broad.

The attorneys and officials close to the case said over the weekend that the hastily arranged meeting was called by Cheney to "brief the president" on Wilson's increasing public criticism about the White House's use of the Niger intelligence and the negative impact it would eventually have on the administration's credibility if the public and Congress found out it was true, the sources said.

Bush said publicly in October 2003 that he had no idea who was responsible for unmasking Plame Wilson to columnist Robert Novak and other reporters. The president said that he welcomed a Justice Department investigation to find out who was responsible for it.

But neither Bush nor anyone in his inner circle let on that just four months earlier, they had agreed to launch a full-scale campaign to undercut Wilson's credibility by planting negative stories about his personal life with the media.

A more aggressive effort would come a week or so later when Cheney - who, sources said, was "consumed" with retaliating against Wilson because of his attacks on the administration's rationale for war - met with President Bush a second time and told the president that there was talk of "Wilson going public" and exposing the flawed Niger intelligence.

It was then that Cheney told Bush that a section of the classified National Intelligence Estimate that purported to show Iraq did seek uranium from Niger should be leaked to reporters as a way to counter anything report Wilson might seek to publish, these sources said.

Throughout the second half of June, Andrew Card, Karl Rove, and senior officials from Cheney's office kept Bush updated about the progress of the campaign to discredit Wilson via numerous emails and internal White House memos, these sources said, adding that some of these documents were only recently turned over to the special counsel.

One attorney close to the case said that Bush gave Cheney permission to declassify the NIE and that Cheney told Libby to leak it to Bob Woodward, the Washington Post's assistant managing editor, which Libby did on June 27, 2003.

But Woodward told Libby shortly after he received the information about the NIE that he would not be writing a story about it for the Post but that he would use the still classified information for the book he was writing at the time, Plan of Attack.

Woodward would not return calls for comment nor would Libby's attorneys Ted Wells and William Jeffress.

Libby told Cheney that he had a good relationship with New York Times reporter Judith Miller and that he intended to share the NIE with her. Libby met with Miller on July 8, 2003 and disclosed the portion of the NIE that dealt with Iraq and Niger to her.

According to four attorneys who last week read a transcript of President Bush's interview with investigators, Bush did not disclose to the special counsel that he was aware of any campaign to discredit Wilson. Bush also said he did not know who, if anyone, in the White House had retaliated against the former ambassador by leaking his wife's undercover identity to reporters.

Attorneys close to the case said that Fitzgerald does not appear to be overly concerned or interested in any alleged discrepancy in Bush's statements about the leak case to investigators.

But "if Mr. Libby continues to misrepresent the government's case against him ... President Bush and most certainly Vice President Cheney may be caught in an embarrassing position," one attorney close to the case said. "Mr. Fitzgerald will not hesitate to remind Mr. Libby of his testimony when he appeared before the grand jury."

Speaking to college students and faculty at California State University Northridge last week, Wilson said that after President Bush cited the uranium claims in his State of the Union address he tried unsuccessfully for five months to get the White House to correct the record.

"I had direct discussions with the State Department, Senate committees," Wilson said during a speech last Thursday. "I had numerous conversations to change what they were saying publicly. I had a civic duty to hold my government to account for what it had said and done."

Wilson said he was rebuffed at every instance and finally decided to write an op-ed in the New York Times and expose the administration for knowingly "twisting" the intelligence on the Iraqi nuclear threat to make a case for war. The op-ed appeared in the newspaper July 8, 2003. Wilson wrote that had he personally traveled to Niger to check out the Niger intelligence and had determined it was bogus.

"Nothing more, nothing less than challenging the government to come clean on this matter," Wilson said. "That's all I did."

In the interest of fairness, any person identified in this story who believes he has been portrayed unfairly or that the information about him is untrue will have the opportunity to respond in this space.

Jason Leopold spent two years covering California's electricity crisis as Los Angeles bureau chief of Dow Jones Newswires. Jason has spent the last year cultivating sources close to the CIA leak investigation, and is a regular contributor to t r u t h o u t.


Posted by Lisa at 10:22 AM
April 07, 2006
A Disenfranchised Heather Gold Speaks For A Lot Of Us
Heather Gold explains (in graphic detail) what Bush would have to do to actually be impeached.

But first, she accurately expresses the feeling of disenfranchisement that many Americans feel these days at being powerless to stop or do anything to hold the Shrub responsible for his illegal actions.

In this case, feeling helpless after finding out that the Shrub personally authorized Scooter Libby to conduct the treasonous act of leaking the identity CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity to the press, and realize no one's going to do a damn thing about it.

But Heather, take heart, Patrick Fitzgerald may be on the case!
Posted by Lisa at 10:58 PM
February 08, 2006
Repubs Starting To Split Off From Shrub Over Domestic Spying Issue

This article is from February 5, 2006.

Well all right. Between the Domestic Spying controversy and having Cindy Sheehan arrested at the State of the Union for wearing a shirt (more on this later, oh yes, much more on this later...) Bush is backing himself into a beautiful corner.

Now the couple of Republicans with a little backbone are showing it off. Folks that turn up consistently on civil rights issues and things, like Bob Barr, Lindsay Graham, and .... (surprise! surprise!) Arlen Specter! They don't want to go down with the ship.

So much for political captal bushy boy. Me thinks you done used it all up.



On Eve of Hearing, Split on Spying

By Charlie Savage for The Boston Globe

via
t r u t h o u t



As hearings begin tomorrow on President Bush's domestic spying program, increasing numbers of prominent conservatives are breaking with the administration to say the program is probably illegal and to sharply criticize Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales's legal theory that a wartime president can override a law.

The skeptics include leaders of conservative activist groups, well-known law professors, veterans of Republican administrations, former GOP members of Congress, and think tank analysts. The conservatives said they are speaking out because they object to the White House's attempt to portray criticism of the program as partisan attacks...


Some of the conservative critics, such as Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, contend that Bush should simply comply with the law requiring the government to obtain a court order when it wants to wiretap an American. Bush's aides have asserted that warrants take too long to obtain, but Norquist said the law allows investigators to plant a wiretap first and seek permission up to three days later.



"There is no excuse for violating the rule of law," Norquist said. "You can listen to [suspects] and get the warrant afterward. Not to do that appears to be an expression of contempt for the idea of warrants."



Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, said that if investigators need more time to fill out the warrant application, Congress should change the law to extend the deadline. But, he said, court orders ought to remain part of the process to ensure that government surveillance power is never used against the political enemies of whomever is in power...



Other conservative critics, such as David Keene, the chairman of the American Conservative Union - which calls itself the largest grass-roots conservative organization in the country - say the president should simply get the House and Senate to approve the program, rather than assert a right to bypass Congress in times of war.



"Their argument is extremely dangerous in the long term because it can be used to justify all kinds of things that I'm sure neither the president nor the attorney general has thought about," Keene said. A president "could just do whatever [he] wants to do. . . . The American system was set up on the assumption that you can't rely on the good will of people with power."



Bruce Fein, a former Justice Department official under President Reagan, said that under Bush's theory a president could authorize internment camps for groups of US citizens he deems suspicious. Congress outlawed such camps after President Franklin D. Roosevelt interned Japanese-Americans in World War II. But under Bush's theory, the president could invoke his wartime powers to override the law in the name of protecting national security, Fein said.



"It's Bush's defenders who are embracing the most liberal and utopian view of human nature with their 'trust me' argument, a view that would cause the Founding Fathers to weep," Fein said. "The real conservatives are the ones who treasure the original understanding of the Constitution, and clearly this is inconsistent with the separation of powers."



Some conservatives defend the legality of the surveillance program. Among the most prominent has been David Rivkin, a former associate White House counsel in the administration of George H.W. Bush, who has recently found himself debating a series of conservatives who used to be his allies.



Rivkin said his fellow conservatives who call the surveillance program illegal are mostly libertarians and other believers in small government. The critics, he said, do not believe that the war on terrorism is a real war and that the nature of terrorism requires treating the home front like a battlefield....


Rivkin also rejected Fein's contention that if Bush's legal theory is correct, a president also could authorize internment camps. He said the president can do things that are normal parts of war, including conducting military surveillance. But it would still be illegal to detain citizens who aren't enemy combatants, he said.



But Robert Levy of the libertarian Cato Institute said conducting surveillance on US soil without a warrant is one of the things that Bush cannot do, even in wartime, because Congress passed a law making it a criminal offense to wiretap Americans without a warrant, even in national security circumstances.



"If we had silence by Congress on warrants, then the administration's position would be more powerful," Levy said. "But the president is acting contrary to the expressed will of Congress. That is what renders this program most legally suspect."



Richard Epstein, a prominent conservative law professor at the University of Chicago, said Rivkin and the other defenders of the president's legal theory are misreading the Constitution. The president has broad powers to take immediate steps to counter an invasion, he said, but has little authority to defy the will of Congress after an initial emergency has receded.



Bob Barr, a onetime Republican representative from Georgia and a former prosecutor, said the issue is whether the president can violate a law, not whether this particular program makes sense from a policy perspective in the war on terrorism.



Said Barr, "If the American people see the conservative movement rolling over and playing dead and buying into these specious arguments by the administration - that it's OK to violate the law as long as you do it for the right reasons and because we might have a president that we like - then the credibility of the conservative movement on other issues will suffer greatly."


Here is the full text of the article in case the link goes bad:

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2006/02/05/on_eve_of_hearing_split_on_spying?mode=PF

also here: http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/020606J.shtml


On Eve of Hearing, Split on Spying
By Charlie Savage
The Boston Globe

Sunday 05 February 2006

Some prominent conservatives break with Bush.

Washington - As hearings begin tomorrow on President Bush's domestic spying program, increasing numbers of prominent conservatives are breaking with the administration to say the program is probably illegal and to sharply criticize Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales's legal theory that a wartime president can override a law.

The skeptics include leaders of conservative activist groups, well-known law professors, veterans of Republican administrations, former GOP members of Congress, and think tank analysts. The conservatives said they are speaking out because they object to the White House's attempt to portray criticism of the program as partisan attacks.

"My criteria for judging this stuff is what would a President Hillary do with these same powers," said Paul M. Weyrich, the influential writer and leader of the Free Congress Foundation, a think tank. "And if I'm troubled by what she would do, then I have to be troubled by what Bush could do, even though I have more trust in Bush than I do in Hillary."

Shortly after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Bush secretly authorized the military to wiretap American's international phone calls and e-mails without obtaining court permission, as a law requires. After the program's existence was disclosed in December, Bush contended that his wartime powers give him the authority to override the law requiring warrants.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to open a hearing into the legality of the program tomorrow, with Gonzales scheduled to testify all day. In advance of his testimony, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino defended the program against its conservative critics.

Bush, she said, "has received strong support for the program from many different people. And while some may disagree, despite the extensive legal analysis provided by the Department of Justice, the president is strongly committed to this lawful program."

But the Bush administration's legal analysis has been met with contempt from an increasingly vocal segment of the conservative movement.

Some of the conservative critics, such as Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform, contend that Bush should simply comply with the law requiring the government to obtain a court order when it wants to wiretap an American. Bush's aides have asserted that warrants take too long to obtain, but Norquist said the law allows investigators to plant a wiretap first and seek permission up to three days later.

"There is no excuse for violating the rule of law," Norquist said. "You can listen to [suspects] and get the warrant afterward. Not to do that appears to be an expression of contempt for the idea of warrants."

Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, said that if investigators need more time to fill out the warrant application, Congress should change the law to extend the deadline. But, he said, court orders ought to remain part of the process to ensure that government surveillance power is never used against the political enemies of whomever is in power.

"Some liberals think of gun owners as terrorists," he said.

Other conservative critics, such as David Keene, the chairman of the American Conservative Union - which calls itself the largest grass-roots conservative organization in the country - say the president should simply get the House and Senate to approve the program, rather than assert a right to bypass Congress in times of war.

"Their argument is extremely dangerous in the long term because it can be used to justify all kinds of things that I'm sure neither the president nor the attorney general has thought about," Keene said. A president "could just do whatever [he] wants to do. . . . The American system was set up on the assumption that you can't rely on the good will of people with power."

Bruce Fein, a former Justice Department official under President Reagan, said that under Bush's theory a president could authorize internment camps for groups of US citizens he deems suspicious. Congress outlawed such camps after President Franklin D. Roosevelt interned Japanese-Americans in World War II. But under Bush's theory, the president could invoke his wartime powers to override the law in the name of protecting national security, Fein said.

"It's Bush's defenders who are embracing the most liberal and utopian view of human nature with their 'trust me' argument, a view that would cause the Founding Fathers to weep," Fein said. "The real conservatives are the ones who treasure the original understanding of the Constitution, and clearly this is inconsistent with the separation of powers."

Some conservatives defend the legality of the surveillance program. Among the most prominent has been David Rivkin, a former associate White House counsel in the administration of George H.W. Bush, who has recently found himself debating a series of conservatives who used to be his allies.

Rivkin said his fellow conservatives who call the surveillance program illegal are mostly libertarians and other believers in small government. The critics, he said, do not believe that the war on terrorism is a real war and that the nature of terrorism requires treating the home front like a battlefield.

"Most of the critics don't really agree that this is war, or if they do, they haven't thought through the implications," Rivkin said. "The rules in war are harsh rules, because the stakes are so high."

Rivkin also rejected Fein's contention that if Bush's legal theory is correct, a president also could authorize internment camps. He said the president can do things that are normal parts of war, including conducting military surveillance. But it would still be illegal to detain citizens who aren't enemy combatants, he said.

But Robert Levy of the libertarian Cato Institute said conducting surveillance on US soil without a warrant is one of the things that Bush cannot do, even in wartime, because Congress passed a law making it a criminal offense to wiretap Americans without a warrant, even in national security circumstances.

"If we had silence by Congress on warrants, then the administration's position would be more powerful," Levy said. "But the president is acting contrary to the expressed will of Congress. That is what renders this program most legally suspect."

Richard Epstein, a prominent conservative law professor at the University of Chicago, said Rivkin and the other defenders of the president's legal theory are misreading the Constitution. The president has broad powers to take immediate steps to counter an invasion, he said, but has little authority to defy the will of Congress after an initial emergency has receded.

Bob Barr, a onetime Republican representative from Georgia and a former prosecutor, said the issue is whether the president can violate a law, not whether this particular program makes sense from a policy perspective in the war on terrorism.

Said Barr, "If the American people see the conservative movement rolling over and playing dead and buying into these specious arguments by the administration - that it's OK to violate the law as long as you do it for the right reasons and because we might have a president that we like - then the credibility of the conservative movement on other issues will suffer greatly."

Posted by Lisa at 09:21 AM
January 15, 2006
Watergate On Steriods - The Truth About Bush's Domestic Spying Program

The Watchers: Maria Hinojosa on NOW - The Truth About Bush's Domestic Spying Program

This is from the January 13, 2006 episode of NOW.

Link to NOW website on this story, which includes documents a plenty backing up all the facts mentioned below (and much more).

So really things are getting pretty interesting.

On the one hand we have the Vice President's right hand man Scooter Libby indicted by the Justice Department for leaking CIA Agent Valerie Plame's identity.

We have Republican House Leader Tom DeLay having to step down in the face of his indictments in Texas.

We have "Bush Pioneer" Jack Abramoff pleading guilty to various money laundering and fraud charges, and in the process revealing the names of 60 or more other corrupt Republicans that were in on the racket.

But now, it would appear we have something like "Watergate On Steroids."

This isn't some office break-in that the President "knew" about via smoke filled rooms. This is an executive order straight from Bush himself self-authorizing a no-warrants-necessary domestic spying program.

Perhaps you saw Condi Rice on Meet The Press a few weeks ago making absolutely no sense whatsoever. She cites FISA (the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) as the reason for the President's authority to issue no-warrant spying. In reality, of course, FISA is actually the reason we can conclude so easily that the President so clearly broke the law; If he had obtained FISA warrants for his Domestic Spying program, it would have been legal.

Programs such as Bush's are exactly the reason that FISA was created: to protect Americans from the kinds of governement abuses carried out by the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon Administrations during the 60's and early 70's. It was passed in 1978 after it came out that the government was spying heavily on whoever they wanted -- on everyone from Jane Fonda to Martin Luther King.

The point was that "No," actually, being at War isn't an excuse to throw the Constitution out the window, in case you were wondering. That part the Founding Fathers wrote about "The right of the people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures..." -- They meant that. And they meant it *especially* during times of war. Because then, like now, there was always some war going on with someone, somewhere. These rights have to be protected...but...hey, here's this other court -- one set up explicitly for granting these kinds of spying warrants, and quickly. So really, the government can still spy on you if it wants, but not as much as it wants to, willy nilly, and not without having to answer to anyone, ever. (So if you're doing something that *looks* reasonably suspicious, look out!)

And spy they did. Only 5 of the more than 19,000 spy warrants presented to FISA were ever refused. But Bush wanted to spy on even more people. And on people that maybe didn't have any connections to foreigners on the outside - what FISA was initially set up for.

Bush's supporters are also saying that Congress explicitly gave Bush permission to commit these acts under the Joint Resolution passed almost unanimously by Congress in the days immediately following 911, referring to the passage that authorizes the President "To use all necessary and appropriate force against those...planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks..." But we already know that the types of people being spied on in what came to be known as "The Program" went far beyond those directly connected to Al Quaeda or 911.

Here's NOW's take on this story. They let both sides tell there story.

But I think you will agree, after seeing the details for yourself, that it's pretty matter of fact.


I've split it up into 4 pieces. I'm learning to list them all individually now so video RSS readers, such as FireAnt will download the media.

Now The Watchers - Domestic Spying 1 of 4 (11 MB)
Now The Watchers - Domestic Spying 2 of 4 (11 MB)
Now The Watchers - Domestic Spying 3 of 4 (7.3 MB)
Now The Watchers - Domestic Spying 4 of 4 (8.6 MB)

MP3s
Now The Watchers - Domestic Spying 1 of 4 (MP3 6.8 MB)
Now The Watchers - Domestic Spying 2 of 4 (MP3 7.1 MB)
Now The Watchers - Domestic Spying 3 of 4 (MP3 5.2 MB)
Now The Watchers - Domestic Spying 4 of 4 (MP3 6.2 MB)



Posted by Lisa at 05:02 PM