G.O.P. Plan Would Allow Spying Without Warrants
WASHINGTON -- The plan by Senate Republicans to step up oversight of the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program would also give legislative sanction for the first time to long-term eavesdropping on Americans without a court warrant, legal experts said on Wednesday. Civil liberties advocates called the proposed oversight inadequate and the licensing of eavesdropping without warrants unnecessary and unwise. But the Republican senators who drafted the proposal said it represented a hard-wrung compromise with the White House, which strongly opposed any Congressional interference in the eavesdropping program. The Republican proposal appeared likely to win approval from the full Senate, despite Democrat opposition and some remaining questions from Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania and chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
Ex-Justice Lawyer Rips Case for Spying
White House's Legal Justifications Called Weak
A former senior national security lawyer at the Justice Department is highly critical of some of the Bush administration's key legal justifications for warrantless spying, saying that many of the government's arguments are weak and unlikely to be endorsed by the courts, according to documents released yesterday. David S. Kris, a former associate deputy attorney general who now works at Time Warner Inc., concludes that a National Security Agency domestic spying program is clearly covered by a 1978 law governing clandestine surveillance, according to a legal analysis and e-mails sent to current Justice officials. The criticism represents an unusual public dissent by a former administration official over the legality of the domestic spying program, which allows the NSA to intercept international communications involving U.S. citizens and residents without warrants.
Senate Panel Blocks Eavesdropping Probe
The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence voted along party lines Tuesday to reject a Democrat proposal to investigate the Bush administration's domestic surveillance program and instead approved establishing, with White House approval, a seven-member panel to oversee the effort. Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) told reporters after the closed session that he had asked the committee "to reject confrontation in favor of accommodation" and that the new subcommittee, which he described as "an accommodation with the White House," would "conduct oversight of the terrorist surveillance program." The program, which became public in December, has allowed the National Security Agency to monitor phone calls and e-mails between U.S. residents and suspected terrorists abroad without first obtaining warrants from a secret court that handles such matters.
Evidence Indicates Bush Wire-Tapped Alternative Media
WASHINGTON -- There is evidence that President Bush’s executive order authorizing eavesdropping on phone conversations of U.S. citizens, monitoring email and gaining access to private computers while failing to follow the law requiring court-ordered warrants may amount to criminal activity. Internet IP address logs from this writer’s computer firewall security system provide evidence that the Department of Defense (DOD) is conducting surveillance, since logs show DOD internet identification numbers during specific occasions while we conducted phone interviews with intelligence agents and sources, and also while reports were being word-processed for stories regarding White House crime family activities.
FBI Cites More Than 100 Possible Eavesdropping Violations
The FBI reported more than 100 possible violations to an intelligence oversight board over the past two years, including cases in which agents tapped the wrong telephone, intercepted the wrong e-mails or continued to listen to conversations after a warrant had expired, according to a report issued yesterday. In one case, the FBI obtained the contents of 181 telephone calls rather than just the billing records to which it was entitled. In another, a communication was monitored for more than a year after eavesdropping should have ended -- although investigators blamed a third-party provider for the mix-up.
Democrats' Data Mining Stirs an Intraparty Battle
A group of well-connected Democrats led by a former top aide to Bill Clinton is raising millions of dollars to start a private firm that plans to compile huge amounts of data on Americans to identify Democrat voters and blunt what has been a clear Republican lead in using technology for political advantage. The effort by Harold Ickes, a deputy chief of staff in the Clinton White House and an adviser to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), is prompting intense behind-the-scenes debate in Democrat circles. Officials at the Democratic National Committee think that creating a modern database is their job, and they say that a competing for-profit entity could divert energy and money that should instead be invested with the national party.
Rep. Hoekstra has plan for NSA, FISA rewrite
WASHINGTON -- The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Thursday agreed to a program of oversight for the National Security Agency's program of warrantless counter-terrorist surveillance, saying a small group of members, perhaps an existing subcommittee, would be briefed on the controversial wiretapping effort. The committee also agreed to launch an inquiry into the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, the law governing the use of wiretapping and other forms of electronic surveillance for national security purposes inside the United States, with an eye to reforming it. "We will work with the White House to have the members ... fully briefed on the NSA program to expand and increase oversight of this critical terrorism prevention tool," said committee Chairman Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich.
Paper Said to Show NSA Spying Given to Post Reporter in 2004
A classified document that an Islamic charity says is evidence of illegal government eavesdropping on its phone calls and e-mails was provided in 2004 to a Washington Post reporter, who returned it when the FBI demanded it back a few months later. According to a source familiar with the case, the document indicated that the National Security Agency intercepted telephone conversations in the spring of 2004 between a director of the al-Haramain Islamic Foundation and lawyers for the foundation in the District. Al-Haramain, a Saudi group that once operated in Oregon, sued the Bush administration in federal court this week, alleging it was a victim of President Bush's secret domestic eavesdropping program. Its lawyers asked a judge to privately review the classified material, which the organization contends would help prove its claim.
Gonzales Denies More Extensive Domestic Spying
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales told a key House Democrat yesterday that the administration is not conducting any warrantless domestic surveillance programs beyond the one that President Bush has acknowledged, the Democrat said in an interview. Meanwhile yesterday, Harman and Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.), chairman of the House intelligence committee, said they will press the White House to have one of the panel's subcommittees "fully briefed on the NSA program to expand and increase oversight of this critical terrorism prevention tool." Membership on the four subcommittees ranges from eight to 12. To date, the administration has given extensive briefings to only eight lawmakers: the House speaker and minority leader, the Senate majority and minority leader, and the top Republican and top Democrat on the House and Senate intelligence committees.
The NSA scandal now clearly includes interception of
domestic communications, perjury and presidential lying
Alberto Gonzales sent a letter (.pdf) to the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday which contained what Gonzales called numerous "clarifications" of the testimony he gave on February 6 regarding the NSA program. What Gonzales actually did in this letter is identify numerous unambiguous statements to which he testified that were clearly false, and he "corrected" them in order to render them "true" in the narrowest, most legalistic, most misleading sense. In doing so, he left no doubt that the Administration has been engaged in a series of false and misleading statements about their conduct as part of this scandal.