eads up to PoliShifter at Pissed on Politics
for the link to Think Progress
about Clinton abiding by the law and using the FISA Court to obtain permission to use domestic wiretaps and searches. Daily Kos
has a good post up about Clinton and Carter also. Those of us from Arkansas always knew Clinton was indeed a Wild Willey
but not a stupid man. Bush on the other hand as was pointed out somewhere yesterday is not spupid either, just ignorant, meaning he knows very well what his obligations under the law were but just choose to ignore
There are several other interesting developments today regarding SnoopGate
. One of the judges sitting on the secret FISA Court has resigned in protest
of the Bush Administration's circumvention of it's authority. This is the judge that ruled that Gitmo prisoners did have more rights than Bush was affording them.
In another development, Dianne Feinstein and four other lawmakers have joined forces to demand hearings
into SnoopGate. Two Republicans have joined her in this effort which mandates there be hearings held under current rules.
It seems this debacle for Bush is taking a turn into the public eye that cannot be ignored. With Bushji sweating bullets, having news conferences one after the next for several days in a row, trying to deflect and spin his way out of this latest flub-up, it makes for interesting news cycles for the holidays. ho ho ho - fc
The Echelon Myth
Prominent right-wing bloggers - including Michelle Malkin, the Corner, Wizbang and Free Republic - are pushing the argument that President Bush’s warrantless domestic spying program isn't news because the Clinton administration did the same thing.
The right-wing outlet NewsMax sums up the basic argument:
During the 1990's under President Clinton, the National Security Agency monitored millions of private phone calls placed by U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries under a super secret program code-named Echelon... all of it done without a court order, let alone a catalyst like the 9/11 attacks.
That's flatly false. The Clinton administration program, code-named Echelon, complied with FISA. Before any conversations of U.S. persons were targeted, a FISA warrant was obtained. CIA director George Tenet testified to this before Congress on 4/12/00:
I'm here today to discuss specific issues about and allegations regarding Signals Intelligence activities and the so-called Echelon Program of the National Security Agency…
There is a rigorous regime of checks and balances which we, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and the FBI scrupulously adhere to whenever conversations of U.S. persons are involved, whether directly or indirectly. We do not collect against U.S. persons unless they are agents of a foreign power as that term is defined in the law. We do not target their conversations for collection in the United States unless a FISA warrant has been obtained from the FISA court by the Justice Department.
Meanwhile, 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.