Janet's Conner

This Blog tell the Truth and will never not tell the Truth. Impeach Bush

Sunday, May 14, 2006

CHENEY PUSHED U.S. TO WIDEN EAVESDROPPING...............................................


Washington---May 13---In the weeks after the September 11 attacks, Vice President Dick Cheney and his top legal adviser argued that the National Security Agency should intercept purely domestic telephone calls and e-mail messages without warrants in the hunt for terrorists, according to two senior intelligence officials.
(*I thought G.W. Bush was running this country? What? Are they trying to make it look like Bush had nothing to do with this now?)

But NSA lawyers, trained in the agency's strict rules against domestic spying and reluctant to approve any eavesdropping without warrants, insisted that it should be limited to communications into and out of the country, said the officials, who were granted anonymity to discuss the debate inside the Bush administration late in 2001.

The NSA's position ultimately prevailed. But just how Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the director of the agency at the time, designed the program, persuaded wary NSA officers to accept it and sold the White House on its limits is not yet fully clear.
(*Convincing G.W. Bush is probably the easiest job they have ever encountered. He doesn't have the smarts to know any better. He is a joke!)

As the program's overseer and chief salesman, General Hayden is certain to face questions about his role when he appears at a Senate hearing next week on his nomination as director of the CIA. Criticism of the surveillance program, which some lawmakers say is illegal, flared again this week with the disclosure that the NSA had collected the phone records of millions of Americans in an effort to track terror suspects.

By several accounts, including those of the two officials, General Hayden, a 61-year-old Air Force officer who left the agency last year to become principal deputy director of national intelligence, was the man in the middle as President Bush demanded that intelligence agencies act urgently to stop future attacks.
(*I don't think that this had anything to do with stopping future attacks. It had everything to do with winning the next elections. Oh yeah, I'm sure the spying served some purpose against attacks. Who wants to get attacked again? But I feel that the spying had a lot more to do with staying a step ahead of their "real" competition, the Democrats. You will never convince "me" that it wasn't used for that purpose! That is "my" opinion. I don't speak for anyone else.)

On one-side was a strong-willed vice president and his longtime legal adviser, David S. Addington, who believed that the Constitution permitted spy agencies to take sweeping measures to defend the country. Later, Mr. Cheney would personally arrange tightly contolled briefings on the program for select members of Congress.
(Why didn't they just do the right thing and take this to the FISA Court? Because they think that they are above the law!)

On the other side were some lawyers and officials at the largest American intelligence agency, which was battered by eavesdropping scandals in the 1970s and had since wielded its powerful technology with extreme care to avoid accusations of spying on Americans.

As in other areas of intelligence collection, including interrogation methods for terror suspects, Mr. Cheney and Mr. Addington took an aggressive view of what was permissible under the Constitution, the two intelligence officials said.

If people suspected of links to Al Qaeda made calls inside the United States, the vice president and Mr. Addington thought eavesdropping without warrants "could be done and should be done," one of them said.

He added: "That's not what the NSA lawyers think."

The other official said there was "a very healthy debate" over the issue. The vice president's staff was "pushing and pushing, and it was up to the NSA lawyers to draw a line and say absolutely not."
(*Make sure that you read another article on my blog called "Inside Cheney's Bunker." This way you'll have a better understanding of what Cheney's staff is like.)

Both officials said they were speaking about the internal discussions because of the significant national security and civil liberty issues involved and because they thought it was important for citizens to understand the interplay between Mr. Cheney's office and the NSA. Both spoke favorably of General Hayden; one expressed no view on his nomination for the CIA job, and the other was interviewed by The New York Times weeks before President Bush selected him.

Mr. Cheney's spokeswoman, Lee Anne McBride, declines to discuss the deliberations about the classified program.
(Cheney's office always declines to say anything. It's all explained in "Inside Cheney's Bunker.)

"As the administration, including the vice president, has said, this is terrorist surveillance, not domestic surveillance," Ms. McBride said. "The vice president has explained this wartime measure is limited in scope and conducted in a lawful way that safeguards our civil liberties."
(Yeah right! We were also told that there wasn't any spying going on that didn't already go through the FISA Court and then we find out that they have gone as far as keeping a log on everyone! This administration is like the little boy that cried wolf. Nobody believes them now, whether they tell the truth or not. But over the past five years they have proved themselves to be nothing but habitual liars and they claim that it's all in the name of National Security. The only ones that they are protecting are themselves.)

Spokespeople for the NSA and for General Hayden declined to comment.

Even with the NSA lawyers' reported success in limiting its scope, the program represents a fundamental expansion of the agency's practices, one that critics say is illegal. For the first time since 1978, when the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was passed and began requiring court approval for all eavesdropping on United States soil, the NSA is intentionally listening in on Americans' calls without warrants.
(Hayden should go up on charges for being a traitor. I have always said that it was the civilian side of NSA that was doing wrong. But it appears that I was wrong when I said this. Hayden is from the military arm of the NSA. And anyone from the military arm that is working for the civilian arm of the NSA should be released of their duties, including Hayden. Any good militay personnel would not be doing this. I think Hayden did it because it was discussed with him earlier and he was told that he would be made into the CIA director. This is as good a "treason," whether it is being done for the president or not. They are military and should know better. I am sure that a lot of military personnel and veterans out there would agree with me.)

The spying that would become such a divisive issue for the White House and for General Hayden grew out of a meeting days after the Sept. 11 attacks, when President Bush gathered his senior intelligence aides to brainstorm about ways to head off another attack.

"Is there anything more we can be doing, given the current laws?" the president later recalled asking.

General Hayden stepped forward. "There is," he siad, according to Mt. Bush'd recounting of the conversation in March during a town-hall-style meeting in Cleveland.

By all accounts, General Hayden was the principal architect of the plan. He saw the opportunity to use the NSA's enormous technological capabilities by loosening restrictions on the agency's operations inside the United States.

For his part, Mr. Cheney helped justify the program with an expansive theory of presidential power, which he explained to traveling reporters a few days after The Times first reported on the program in December.

Mr. Cheney traced his views to his service as chief of staff to President Gerald Ford in the 1970s, when post-Watergate reforms, which included the FISA law, "served to erode the authority I think the president needs to be effective, especially in a national security area."
(Just because Cheney thinks it's right doesn't automatically make it right. This is a democracy and if you go changing things like Bush and Cheney are doing and disregarding the Constitution as they have been, we are no longer living in a democracy and shouldn't be in the Middle East trying to make "it" a democracy. Our troops are over there dying on a daily basis fighting for our freedom when here at home it is being taken away from us. Whay kind of sense does that make?)

Senior intelligence officials outside the NSA who discussed the matter in late 2001 with General Hayden said he accepted the White House and Justie Department argument that the president, as commander in chief, had the authority to approve such eavesdropping on international calls.
(*And if he didn't accept it, he would no longer have been at the NSA. This administration doesn't put anyone, anywhere, unless they are going to agree with them!)

"Hayden was no cowboy on this," said another former intelligence official who granted was granted anonymity because it was the only way he would talk about a program that remains classified and the program does remain classified. "He was a stickler for staying within the framework laid out and making sure it was leal, and I think he believed it was."
(*So! That still doesn't "make" it right! Maybe that's how "he" interprets it, but "he's" not the one the people go to for interpretations. We turn to the Constitution, not Hayden, or Cheney or Bush or anyone that agrees with that it should be done. They all took an oath to "UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION," not the interpretations of those who want to go against the Constitution!)

The official said General Hayden appeared particularly concerned about ensuring that one end of each conversation was outside the United States. For his employees at the NSA, whose mission is foreign intelligence, avoiding purely domestic eavesdropping appears to have been crucial.

But critics of the program say the law does not allow spying on a caller in the United States without a warrant, period---no matter whether the call is domestic or international. "Both would violate FISA," said Nancy Libin, staff counsel at the Center fro Democracy and Technology, a civil liberties group.

Ms. Libin said limiting the intercepts without warrants to international calls "may have been a political calculation because it sounds more reassuring."

One indication that the restriction to international communications was dictated more than legal considerations came at a House hearing last month. Asked whether the president had the authority to order eavesdropping without a warrant on purely domestic communications, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales replied, "I'm not going to rule it out."
(*Being the Atty. General doesn't automatically make you right either. It's just another interpretation!)

Despite the decision to only target international calls and e-mail messages, some domestic traffic was picked up inadvertently because of difficulties posed by cell phone and e-mail technology in determining whether a user is on American soil, as The Times reported last year.

And one government official, who had access to intelligence from the intercepts that he said would speak about only if granted anonymity, believes that some of the purely domestic eavesdropping in the program's early phase was international. No other officials have made that claim.

President Bush an other officials have denied that the program monitors any domestic calls. They have, however, generally stated their comments in the present tense, leaving open the question of whether domestic calls may have been captured before the program's rules were fully established.
(*They also insisted that the program never existed, either!)

After the program started, General Hayden was the one who briefed members of Congress on it and who later tried to dismantle The Times from reporting it's existence.

When the newspaper published its first article on the program last December, General Hayden found himself on the defensive. He had often insisted in interviews that the NSA always followed laws protecting Americans' privacy. As the program's disclosure provoked an outcry, he had to square those assurances with the fact that the program sidestepped the FISA statute.

Nonetheless, General Hayden took on a prominent role in explaining and defending the program. He appeared at the White House alongside Mr. Gonzales, spoke on television and gave an impassioned speech at the National Press Club in January.

Some of the program's critics have found his visibility in defending a controversial presidential policy inappropriate for an intelligence professional. "There's some unhappiness at NSA with Hayden taking such an upfront role," said Matthew M. Aid, an intelligence historian and former NSA analyst who keeps in touch with some employees. "If the White House got them into this, why is Hayden the one taking the flak?"
(*Hayden is taking the flak because he went along with it! He deserves everything that he gets. Intelligence is supposed to keep themselves low-profiled. He loves the attention. Hayden was put in front of the cameras for another reason. He was being used by the White House to get someone else's attention, but the White House's strategy didn't work!)

But General Hayden seems determined to stand up for the agency's conduct---and his own. In the press club speech, General Hayden recounted remarks he made to NSA employees two days after the Sept. 11 attacks: "We are going to keep America free by making Americans feel safe again."
(*Almost three-quarters of the people in this country aren't going to feel safe until this administration and the Republicans in Washington are gone!)

He said that the standards for what represented a "resaonable" intrusion into Americans' privacy had changed "as smoke billowed from two American cities and a Pennsylvania farm field."
(*This is just another Republican strategy. Don't let the people see past 9/11! They are what I call "domestic terrorists!" America needs to move on. We all remember what happened on 9/11! 9/11 happened because the Bush administration was looking for another Pearl Harbor. I cannot comprehend that with all of the intelligence that we have we couldn't see this coming. And then only three days later, know exactly who did it, where they were and how they planned it.)

"We acted accordingly," he said.

In the speech, General Hayden hinted at the internal discussion of the proper limits of the NSA program. Although he did not mention Mr. Cheney or his staff, he said the decision to limit the eavesdropping to international calls and e-mail messages was "one of the decisions that had been made collectively."

"Certainly, I personally support it," he said.

Article By: Scott Shane and Eric Lichtblau
The New Yotk Times
May 14, 2006

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