Monday, December 19, 2005

Bush is trying to exponentially increase executive power

Martin Garbus has a terrific column today at Huffington Post regarding Bush's repeated insistence that his dodging of the FISA Court and authorization of wiretaps for domestic spying.
He believes that, with the current make up of the Supreme Court, that they will override the 8-0 ruling against Richard Nixon from the 1970s.

Please take time to read it, it's chilling. NO EXECUTIVE should have the rights he is seeking for the Presidency.


thurbis said...

oh, don't be silly, silly! I can guarantee you that when his term is up ole Dubya is gonna go down to the ranch and not badmouth the next president, whoever he is and regardless of party affiliation.

which new york times article should we believe regarding this matter...their recent ones, or past ones?

By DAVID BURNHAM, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES (NYT) 1051 words Published: November 7, 1982

A Federal appeals court has ruled that the National Security Agency may lawfully intercept messages between United States citizens and people overseas, even if there is no cause to believe the Americans are foreign agents, and then provide summaries of these messages to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Because the National Security Agency is among the largest and most secretive intelligence agencies and because millions of electronic messages enter and leave the United States each day, lawyers familiar with the intelligence agency consider the decision to mark a significant increase in the legal authority of the Government to keep track of its citizens.

Reverses 1979 Ruling
The Oct. 21 decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit involves the Government's surveillance of a Michiganborn lawyer, Abdeen Jabara, who for many years has represented Arab-American citizens and alien residents in court. Some of his clients had been investigated by the F.B.I.

Mr. Jabara sued the F.B.I, and the National Security Agency, and in 1979 Federal District Judge Ralph M. Freeman ruled that the agency's acquisition of several of Mr. Jabara's overseas messages violated his Fourth Amendment right to be free of ''unreasonable searches and seizures.'' Last month's decision reverses that ruling.

In earlier court proceedings, the F.B.I. acknowledged that it then disseminated the information to 17 other law-enforcement or intelligence agencies and three foreign governments.

The opinion of the three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals held, ''The simple fact remains that the N.S.A. lawfully acquired Jabara's messages.''

The court ruled further that the lawyer's Fourth Amendment rights ''were not violated when summaries of his overseas telegraphic messages'' were furnished to the investigative bureau ''irrespective of whether there was reasonable cause to believe that he was a foreign agent.''

Of course the critical paragraph would be the one that goes -

". . .in 1979 Federal District Judge Ralph M. Freeman ruled that the agency's acquisition of several of Mr. Jabara's overseas messages violated his Fourth Amendment right to be free of ''unreasonable searches and seizures.'' Last month's decision reverses that ruling."

On May 23, 1979 President Jimmy Carter sign an executive order which essentially stated,
"Attorney General is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order."

On February 9, 1995, President Bill Clinton said, "The Attorney General is authorized to approve physical searches, without a court order" after signing an Executive Order that allowed warrentless searches.

On July 15, 1994 The WASHINGTON POST reported on this, noting: "...Extend not only to searches of the homes of U.S. citizens but also -- in the delicate words of a Justice Department official -- to "places where you wouldn't find or would be unlikely to find information involving a U.S. citizen... would allow the government to use classified electronic surveillance techniques, such as infrared sensors to observe people inside their homes, without a court order."

they searched aldrich ames home and office way back in the giddy days of June and October 1993, both without a federal warrant.

perhaps the most definitive article i've seen on the Clinton administrations civil rights record can be found online at -

Dereliction Of Duty:
The Constitutional Record of President Clinton

where they note quote a number of constitutional issues with the previous administration.

To wit, "Although President Clinton has expressed support for an "expansive" view of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, he has actually weakened a number of fundamental guarantees, including those of free speech and the right to trial by jury and that against double jeopardy. He has also supported retroactive taxes, gun control, and warrantless searches and seizures. The president's legal team is constantly pushing for judicial rulings that will sanction expansions of federal power. The Clinton White House has, for example, supported the federalization of health care, crime fighting, environmental protection, and education. Clinton also claims constitutional authority to order military attacks against other countries whenever he deems it appropriate. President Clinton's record is, in a word, deplorable. If constitutional report cards were handed out to presidents, he would receive an F."

it's rather lengthy but this instance here is the one that made me scratch my head since the constitution specifically forbids what President Clinton did practically the moment he walked into the white house.

"The Framers of the Constitution detested the idea of retroactive legislation. The Constitution contains two specific prohibitions against ex post facto laws: Article I, section 9, addresses Congress: "No . . . ex post facto Law shall be passed." Article I, section 10, addresses state officials: "No State shall pass any ex post facto Law." The Constitution contains no exception to either prohibition. . . .Not only has President Clinton failed to defend the prohibition of ex post facto laws; he encouraged the 103rd Congress to violate the prohibition. In the summer of 1993 he urged Congress to levy a retroactive tax on the American people. Under the president's initial budget plan, income, corporate, gift, and estate taxes were to be increased retroactively to January 1, 1993--20 days before the president assumed office. Never before in American history had a tax been made retroactive to the time of a prior administration."

it also specifically mentions warrents. "The Supreme Court described the constitutional importance of the warrant application process in McDonald v. United States (1948). . . .The Clinton administration has repeatedly attempted to play down the significance of the warrant clause. In fact, President Clinton has asserted the power to conduct warrantless searches, warrantless drug testing of public school students, and warrantless wiretapping."

This is from the same report and it is eerily similar to todays debate: "The Clinton administration claims that it can bypass the warrant clause for "national security" purposes. In July 1994 Deputy Attorney General Jamie S. Gorelick told the House Select Committee on Intelligence that the president "has inherent authority to conduct warrantless searches for foreign intelligence purposes."

In a nutshell, the Clinton administration went hog wild (to use an arkansas euphemism!) over warrentless searches all thru the 1990''s but a few: Warrantless Searches of Public Housing, Warrantless Drug Testing in Public Schools and Warrantless Wiretapping.

Unlike a lot of politicians who say one thing and do another, unlike those who were for something before they were against it, like him or not, President Bush usually pretty much does exactly what he says he's going to do regardless of how popular or unpopular the decision may be.

way back on september 20, 2001, President Bush was 100% serious when he said, "Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated. . .Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign, unlike any other we have ever seen. It may include dramatic strikes, visible on TV, and covert operations, secret even in success. We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime."

now it's perfectly legitimate to not agree with that and offer alternatives and fight for what one believes in...i like the concept of a "loyal opposition" and spirited debate...but isn't this a bit over the top?

"There's a difference between a blowjob and covertly spying on AMERICAN citizens. Bu$h truly believes that he is above the law. When a puppy pisses on your floor, you don't just ignore it and wait for it to grow up. You rub its nose in it, smack on the ass and tell it NO and keep doing that until it learns.This is beyond payback, this is about restoring American confidence in its government, which the Republican Party has been trying to destroy for over 50 years now. . .. . .he wants uncontrollable power"

and i won't even go near his cock commentg! hahaha...(actually that was more of an amused chortle...i guess it could have been chortle chortle chortle).

anywho the debate between a reasonable balance between .
civil liberties and national defense is a good one to always have because, as President Ronald Reagan once said, "there is nothing more permanent than a temporary government program."

thurbis said...

Even though this topic seems to have been dropped like a hot potato after claiming that “Given that the President of the United States may well have committed a verifiable IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE by ordering covert DOMESTIC spying on American citizens, would you, if elected, be willing to introduce (or at least, vote for) Articles of Impeachment against George Walker Bush?”, this is the gift that keeps on giving. . .but it is the holiday season I guess.

Not to beat a dead horse...but...

Remember the 20th hijacker from September 11, 2001? I’m sure a few people recall Zacarias Moussaoui.

as was noted elsewhere on this blog: “The Clinton administration program, code-named Echelon, complied with FISA. Before any conversations of U.S. persons were targeted, a FISA warrant was obtained. . . the position of the Bush administration is that they can bypass the FISA court and every other court, even when they are monitoring the communications of U.S. persons. It is the difference between following the law and breaking it.”

really? lets review:

After the FBI was alerted by a flight instructor that Zacarias Moussaoui was apparently up to “shenanigans” of a sinister sort (i.e. "oh, i don't care about learning about actually landing the plane you infidel!"), he was arrested on August 16, 2001. This was mere weeks before 9/11/2001.

Sadly, due to abuses of the FISA court by the Clinton Justice Department, shennanigans ensued and we never found out what all was on his laptop. . .until way too late.

According to the New York Times, "Two days later, F.B.I. agents in Minnesota asked Washington to obtain a special warrant to search his laptop computer."

That would be a warrant thru the FISA court. . .only there was a problem.

Per the Times: “Recent interviews of intelligence officials by The New York Times suggest that the Bureau had a reason for growing cautious about applying to a secret national security court for special search warrants that might have supplied critical information.. . . .The F.B.I had become wary after a well-regarded supervisor was disciplined because the [FISA] court complained that he had submitted improper information on applications."

Now at this point many would say, “ah ha! So the an FBI supervisor was disciplined during the Bush administration for submitting improper information on applications!” it's just like nazi germany and hitler jr. is defecating on everything! egads!

But, alas, the devil is in the details.

A related New York Times article would seem to confirm this. . .unless you do the math, and/or read the entire article.

In “Secret Court Says F.B.I. Aides Misled Judges in 75 Cases” By PHILIP SHENON in The New York Times it was reported that:

“WASHINGTON, Aug. 22 The nation's secret intelligence court has identified more than 75 cases in which it says it was misled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in documents in which the bureau attempted to justify its need for wiretaps and other electronic surveillance, according to the first of the court's rulings to be released publicly."

It continues: "The opinion by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which was issued in May but made public today by Congress, is stinging in its criticism of the F.B.I. and the Justice Department. . . . The opinion may be important in documenting why the F.B.I. was hesitant last summer to seek court authority to search the computer and other belongings of Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person charged in the Sept. 11 attacks. . . . . .Mr. Moussaoui was arrested in Minnesota last August, and F.B.I. officials have acknowledged that their failure to investigate him more fully was among the mistakes that allowed the Sept. 11 hijackers to operate in the United States undetected in the weeks before the attacks. . . . . . Officials have previously acknowledged that at the time of Mr. Moussaoui's arrest, the F.B.I. was wary of making any surveillance requests to the special court after its judges had complained bitterly the year before that they were being seriously misled by the bureau in F.B.I. affidavits requesting surveillance of Hamas, the militant Palestinian group. . . . . .”

Naturally it sounds like ole John Ashcroft was up to no good. . .if his singing in the senate wasn't bad enough (and, in reality, that's probably the most heinous thing ashcroft can be legitimately accused of), he's now trampling on sacred liberties...well, that's what it sounds like until you get paul harvey’s “the rest of the story”.

Per the article: “Justice Department officials noted that the criticism of the department in the opinion referred mostly to actions by the department and the F.B.I. in the Clinton administration."

huh? the clinton justice department was scolded for misleaded and bogus applications to the FISA court? to quote frank zappa, one might be temped to shout, "greatgouglimougli" but I digress.

to continue from the New York Times: " . . . . In its opinion made public today, the court, which is based in Washington, documented the "alarming number of instances" during the Clinton administration in which the F.B.I. might have acted improperly. . . . In essence, the court said that the F.B.I. and the Justice Department were violating the law by allowing information gathered from intelligence eavesdrops to be used freely in bringing criminal charges, without court review, and that criminal investigators were improperly directing the use of counterintelligence wiretaps."

keep in mind when you read the next part that President Clinton was still in office in september 2000.

Per the Times: "The opinion said that in September 2000, "the government came forward to confess errors in 75 FISA applications related to major terrorist attacks directed against the United States the errors related to misstatements and omissions of material facts."

i think homer simpson at this point would go "d'oh!"

and this is a real good part of the story: "In one case, it said, the error appeared in a statement issued by the office of Louis J. Freeh, then the F.B.I. director, in which the bureau said that target of an intelligence eavesdropping request "was not under criminal investigation."

So the Clinton justice department was eavesdropping on people who were not even under criminal investigation.

Hey, but, then again, the clinton administration also managed to "accidentally" illegally obtain thousands of FBI files on everyone under the sun including their political enemies.

of course, the mainstream media got the story ass backwards. . .i guess we should be thankful that they didn't try and used some bogus, forged documents to prove their case, eh?

while the abuses primarily occured during the clinton administration, here's how the ever diligent networks covered it:

“A federal court tells the Bush administration it is abusing its power in the campaign against terrorism.” Peter Jennings / ABC World News Tonight (in all fairness, that's just how mr. jennings opened the story...the actual report did mention when the abuses was just the "headline" that was misleading.

Wolf Blitzer acknowledghed on cnn that the mistakes took place during the clinton years but said, "....Still, this court's rebuff is another development that makes John Ashcroft a lightening rod for criticism over his department's role in the war on terror."

yeah, a lightening rod, regardless of the facts.

only the fox news channel bothered to mention the following comment from one of the judges involved: "We consistently find the (FISA) applications 'well-scrubbed' by the Attorney General and his staff before they are presented to us. The process is working. It is working in part because the Attorney General is conscientiously doing his job, as is his staff.”

All of this would come out in any "impeachment" hearings so they may be quite the spectacle to behold.

who is john galt?

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