“I intend to move forward with the committee’s review of all aspects of this program’s legality and effectiveness.” --Democratic Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, yesterday. (NYT, 01.17.2007)
"The president must fully inform Congress and the American people about the contours...authorizing the surveillance program but also the program itself."
--Sen. Patrick Leahy at today's Judiciary Committe hearings.
Washington D.C.--It's official: The New York Times, and virtually every wire service, are reporting that "it's over." I didn't write on this yesterday, because it didn't seem legitimate, but today's news seems to confirm this has happened. With oncoming oversight, hearings, and investigations, it's unlikely the Bush administration would have survived the total exposure of the program:
"The Bush administration, in a surprise reversal, said on Wednesday that it had agreed to give a secret court jurisdiction over the National Security Agency’s wiretapping program and would end its practice of eavesdropping without warrants on Americans suspected of ties to terrorists." (NYT, 01.17.2007)One question: Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has commented that an infrastructure of databases holding the information already gathered on American citizens exists. What's going to happen to this infrastructure and the information therein?
Americans should breathe more easily that Senator Leahy heads this committee and the hearings--he voted against virtually every questionable-action in the "War on Terror" the Bush administration has forwarded, including the approval for the war in Iraq and questionable sections of the Patriot Acts. But, the New York Times knew about the program for at least a year when they finally revealed its existence autumn of 2005. They aren't heroes in this at all, and their role in the continuation of the programs should be investigated thoroughly.
The information should all be destroyed, nothing less will do. It seems that Alberto "Speedy" Gonzales (Eppa, eppa!) was scheduled to speak before the House Judiciary Committee today--headed by one Patrick Leahy, the man Vice President Cheney told, "Go fuck yourself." The illegal program always violated the 1978 FISA law that requires oversight from the "secret court" (not anymore) for approval of warrants to do said surveillance--it upholds the Fourth amendment, while the Bush administration does not.
Gonzales is getting grilled as I write this, it's entertaining. Here's to more hearings, it's been too long since a GOP President was dragged before Congress. But there had better be substantial-results, and the public would be wise to remember who fights any reforms, sanctions, and convictions where there is sufficient evidence.
The illegal program began in October of 2001--when they knew they could do it. After all, the American public and the GOP-majority gave the President a blank-check, remember? I'm sure those of you who did...don't. We told-you-so. Knowing the administration's MO, this is just a shift, and the court is likely compromised in a way that still allows them to proceed with the program as it has been formerly-constituted, but this is being seen as a "preempt" to deflect damage from the hearings, and to sink an ACLU lawsuit:
A Justice Department official said the department would file a motion with the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati, arguing that the court’s review of the issue in a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union “is now moot” in light of this week’s developments. (ibid)Only hearings, investigations, broad-declassification, and oversight by Congress will end the warrantless wiretapping programs. It appears that one of the FISA judges has been induced to side-with the administration, but more investigation will be needed to see how the court actually functions now...if it does at all.
This is all a big-problem for the President and his administration, since we can assume they're lying that all of the programs have stopped. Never cry wolf unless there really is one present. So much for the "unitary executive", this toxic ideology is about to end in an ugly way. The Bush administration still contends the program was legal. You, I and every congressperson know that the Bush administration's tendency towards classification was merely a means to provide a cover for illegal-activities and a rollback of our civil liberties.
They tried to seize total power in a democracy. This is treasonous. One has to ask: how-many of the administration's enemies were surveilled?
President Roosevelt is known from past declassifications to have initiated-this behavior in 1940, it has a long-history with the Executive. I predict the Bush administration added a new-innovation to the Executive-drive for "total information awareness" (TIA)--they used it for insider-trading for themselves and some of their backers.
Bloomberg on Today's Hearings (Arlen grows-a-pair, belatedly):
How Attorney General Gonzales Got "Speedy":
2004 Leahy Reaction to Gonzales's Nomination to AG Post:
NYT's Directory to Articles on Senator Leahy (He would have my vote for President): http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/l/patrick_j_leahy/index.html
February 6th, 2006 FISA Hearings: http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=06/02/07/1457259