Janet's Conner

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

Sunday, May 14, 2006

IRAQ: SHIITE LAWMAKER THREATENS TO FORM GOVERNMENT UNILATERALLY

BAGHDAD---Efforts to create a national unity government in Iraq stumbled Sunday as a member of an influential Shiite alliance bloc threatened to form a new government unilaterally if rival groups did not scale back their demands. Sunnis said they may withdraw from the process entirely.

Under the constitution, Prime-Minister-designate Nouri al-Maliki faces a May 22 deadline to form a government. Lawmakers have struggled with this task for months, hoping a new government will cool escalating sectarian tensions between Iraq's Shiite majority and the Sunni Arab minority.

As the 275-member parliament convened Sunday, Bahaa al-Araji, a lawmaker loyal to the radical anti-American Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, denounced what he said was continued U.S. meddling in the selection of ministers for coveted Interior and Defense Ministry posts. He set a dealine of two days before the 130 alliance deputies act unilaterally.

"Within the past two days, the occupation forces have been interfering with certain names and certain posts," said al-Araji, whose group holds 30 seats. "There are also blocs participating in the (formation of) the government that have begun demanding more than what they are entitled to electorally."

"We have set a limit of within two days, and the (various) blocs should abide by this timeframe and act in accordance with the rules upon which we have agreed. Otherwise, we will form a government without regard to their demands," he said, singling out the Sunni Arab Accordance Front as one example.

Sunni lawmakers shot back with their own threats, with one member of the three-party Sunni Arab coalition that holds 44 seats threatening to walk out of the talks and the government.

"If we do not get what we deserve, we will end our participation in the political process," Lawmaker Salman al-Jumali told the Associated Press. "Our representatives in parliament, and the officials already awarded ministerial posts will withdraw."

He said they wanted the Defense, Education, Planning and Health ministries, among others.

Earlier, anonther member of the United Iraqi Alliance, the Fadhila Party, rebuffed a call by al-Maliki to return to the Cabinet formation negotiations, saying the political process was marred and that the incoming government would be little more than an amalgam of personalities out of tune with the needs of Iraqis.

"We wish the people would understand our stance---a long-standing one for the party," said Sheik Sabah al-Saedi, a spokesman for the party which hold 15 seats. The parties "must be honest and just in evaluating the issues and reporting them to the people because history will bear witness."

Last week, Fadhila said it was withdrawing from the talks, arguing that the process was being driven by self-interests, sectarianism and U.S. pressure.

The group had earlier said that it was also frustrated by a rejection of its bid for the Oil Ministry. But Sunday's news conference, al-Saedi said they would not come back, "Even if they were given the Oil Ministry now."

Fadhila's withdrawal, coupled with the threats by the Sadrists and al-Jumaili, casts further doubts that al-Maliki can meet the May 22 deadline.

Lawmakers have said that without unanimity on key posts, al-Maliki may announce a partial Cabinet and hold temporary control of the Interior Ministry and Defense ministries until suitable candidates are agreed upon.

U.S. officials have said they would like to see independents, unaffiliated with Iraq's various violent militias, hold those two posts. This has led some lawmakers to accuse the United States of meddling.
(*The U.S. needs to practice what they preach!)

Al-Araji said the Accordance Front is "demanding more than what they are entitled to," and stressed that the Iraqi List, a secular faction headed by former Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, was also evaluating its continued role in the negotiations.

"There are no problems within the alliance. But there is uncertainty within the Iraqi List whether to (continue) participating and today will reach a decision," al-Araji said.

Source: USA Today
Associated Press Writer
May 14, 2006
CHENEY NOTES ADD TWIST TO CIA LEAK PROBE..................................................

WASHINGTON---The prosecutor in the CIA leak case said more than six months ago that he was not alleging any criminal acts by Vice President Dick Cheney regarding the leak of agency operative Valerie Plame's identity.

Today, the prosecutor is leaving the door open to the possibility that the vice presidents now-indicted chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, was acting at his boss' behest when Libby leaked information about Plame to reporters.

A new court filing presents handwritten notes of Cheney, Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerld is using them to assert that the vice president and Libby, working together, were focusing much attention on Plame and her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, a Bush administration critic.

Cheney's notes ask whether Plame had sent Wilson on a "junket" to Africa. Subsequently, Plame's supposed role in her husbands trip to Africa allegedly was leaked to the media by both Libby and by presidential adviser Karl Rove.

Cheney's notes on the margins of Wilson's opinion column in The New York Times on July 8, 2003, reflect "the contemporaneous reaction of the vice president," Fitzgerld said in the court filing last Friday.

Wilson's column "is relevant to estabishing some of the facts that were viewed as important by the defendants immediate superior, including whether Mr. Wilson's wife had 'sent him on a junket," the court papers say.

Cheney's notes "support the proposition that publication of the Wilson op-ed acutely focused the attention of the vice president and the defndant---his chief of staff---on Mr. Wilson, on the assertions made in this article, and on responding to those assertions," according to the file.

In the column, Wilson recounted how he had been sent by the CIA in 2002 to the Niger to assess intelligence that Iraq had an agreement to acquire uranium yellowcake from the African country. His conclusion: It was highly doubtful that such a deal existed.

A year later, the intelligence about an Iraq-Niger uranium deal was still being given credence by the administration as it made the case for invading Iraq.

Scribbled in the days leading up to the leaks of Plame's identity, Cheney's notes refer to the CIA and to Wilson's trip, asking, "Have they done this sort of thing before? Send an Amb. to assess a question? Do we ordinarily send people out pro bono to work for us? Or did his wife send him on a junket?"

Accused of lying about how he learned of Plame's identity and what he told reporters about her, Libby says Plame's CIA identity was a trivial matter. Libby says he was focused instead on Wilson's accusations that the administration had twisted prewar intelligence to exaggerate the threat from Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

In an effort to undercut Libby's defense, Fitzgerald wants to introduce the evidence that refers to Cheney and to Wilson's wife.

At a news conference last October, on the day he obtained an indictment against Libby, Fitzgerald asked a series of rhetorical questions including, "Why were people taking this information about Valerie Wilson and giving it to reporters?"

Fitzgerald said he does not know the answer because Libby had concealed the truth from investigators. Drawing a baseball analogy putting the prosecutor in the role of baseball umpire, Fitzgerald said, "The umpire gets sand thrown in his eyes. He's trying to figure out what happened and somebody blocked their view. As you sit here now and if you're asking me what his motives were, I can't tell you."

The October 28 indictment charges Libby with five counts of perjury, obstruction and lying to the FBI.

The language in the indictment provided the first indication that the Libby case might also be a case focusing closely on Cheney.

According to the indictment, Libby acknowledged to investigators that Cheney had told him in June 2003 about Wilson's wife working at the CIA. But Libby, according to the indictment, told the investigators that by the next month, he had forgotten that the vice president had told him about her.

The newly filed court papers disclose substantial new detail about Cheney that was not in the indictment, which did not reveal the fact that Cheney had made handwritten notes about Wilson's wife in the margin of Wilson's column in the Times.

Source: Chicago Tribune
By: Pete Yost
Associated Press
May 14, 2006
DEMOCRATS ARE FIGHTING TO END THE MILITARY FAMILIES TAX

This afternoon, Rep. John Salazar (D-CO) offered a motion to recommit H.R. 5112, FY 2007 DOD Authorization, with instructions to report the bill back to the House with inclusion of the provisions of H.R. 808, the bill to end the Military Families Tax.

Military Families Tax Penalizes Survivors of Those Who Have Died from Service-Connected Injuries. The Military Families Tax penalizes more than 50,000 survivors in military families, most of whom are widows. These widows lose their military survivor benefits under the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) if they receive VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) benefits because their spouse has died of a service-connected injury. Specifically, the spouse's SBP benefit is reduced dollar by dollar by the amount of the DIC benefit---a $993 deduction per month. This harms the 53,000 survivors who continue tp pay this unfair tax.

Democrats are fighting to End the Military Families Tax. This is anunfair and unjust provision that hurts the families of those who have served our nation in defense of our freedom and our democracy. That is why Democrats have fought for a provision to end this tax in our Salute to Veterans and the Armed Forces in 2003 (H.R. 2569; 108th Congress) and in our GI Bill of Rights for the 21st Century (H.R. 2131: 109th Congress). In May 2005, Democrats in the House, led by Rep. John Salazar, attempted to offer this proposal as an amendment to the FY 2006 Defense Authorization Bill. However, Republicans unanimously, voted to block him from offering this amendment.

Democrats Fight To Get House Republicans to Accept these Provisions Passed Overwhelmingly by the Senate. On November 8, 2005, the Senate passed this proposal, in the form of an amendment by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) to the Defense Authorization Bill, by a vote of 93 to 5. Due to GOP opposition, the provision was dropped in conference. Now, the House Republican Leadership (*J. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) continues to block this proposal. In November 2005, Rep. Chet Edwards (D-TX) began a discharge petition on H.R. 808, the bill to end the Military Families Tax bill. So far, 168 Members have signed the discharge petition. If a majority of Members sign the discharge petition, the bill will be brought to the Floor. Together, America can do better than an unfair tax on survivors in military families, most of whom are widows, who have lost their loved one through service-connected injuries.

Source: Office of Nancy Pelosi
House Democratic Leader
May 11, 2006
EX-WMD INSPECTOR: POLITICS QUASHED FACTS..............................................

A year after the Bush administration claims' about Iraqi "bioweapons trailers" were discredited by American experts, U.S. officials were still suppressing the findings, says a senior member of the CIA-led Iraq inspection team.

At one point, Former U.N. arms inspector Rod Barton says, a CIA officer told him it was "politically not possible" to report that the White House claims were untrue. In the end, Barton says, he felt "complicit in deceit."

Barton, an Australian biological waepons inspector specialist, discusses the 2004 event in "The Weapons Detective," a memoir of his years as an arms inspector, being published Monday in Austrailia by Black Inc. Agenda.

Much sought after for his expertise, Barton served on the U.S. Iraq arms inspection teams of 1991-96 and 2002-03. After the U.S. invasion, he was an aide to chief U.S. Inspector Charles Duelfer.

The Washington Post reported last month that a U.S. fact-finding mission confidentially advised Washington on May 27, 2003, that two truck trailers found in Iraq were not mobile units for manufacturing bioweapons, as had been suspected.

Two days later, President Bush still asserted the trailers were bioweapons labs, and other administration officials repeated that line for months afterwards.

Barton's memoir says that well into 2004, pressure from Washington kept the U.S. public uninformed about the true nature of these alleged WMD systems.

Former senior CIA officials denied such information was stifled.

The debunking of the "mobile biolabs" claim began in classified reports before the U.S. invasion, when German intelligence in 2001 and 2002 told U.S. officials that the story's source, an Iraqi defector code-named "Curveball," was unreliable, official investigations later found U.N. inspectors determined in early 2003, before the war, that parts of Curveball's story were false.

In April 2003, however, two unusually equipped trailers were found in Iraq and the CIA declared they were the mobile biolabs described by the defector.

The story quickly fell part behind the scenes. It has since emerged. Testing the equipment in early May 2003, U.S. experts found no traces of biological agents, and later last month the U.S. fact-finders filed their negative report from Baghdad.

But on May 29, Bush assured Polish television: "We found weapons of mass destruction. We found biological laboratories." Then natioban security adviser Condoleeza Rice and Secretary of State Colin Powell later made similar statements. As late as January 2004, Vice President Dick Cheney called the trailers "conclusive evidence" of Iraqi WMD, one of the reasons for invading Iraq.

The experts' findings were classified, never to be released, the Washington Post reported last month.

Meanwhile, in Australia in mid-2003, Barton writes, he viewed photos of the trailers at a CIA Web site and determined that the suspected biological "fermenter" was no such thing, and warned Australian government officials against the story.

Returning to Baghdad in late 2003 to join the CIA-commissioned Iraq Survey Group in a senior role, Barton found that specialists had dismissed the "biotrailer" suspicions. Strong evidence showed the units were instead designed to make hydrogen for weather balloons, as Iraqis claimed.

David Kay, then chief inspector, has since said tht in December 2003 George J. Tenet, then CIA director, wouldn't accept this finding.

That February, Tenet claimed in a Washington speech that the trailers could be used to make bioweapons.

Barton says he, too, ran into roadblocks in early 2004 when he sought to include the trailer analysis in a report.

Barton quotes the American head of the biological team, whom Barton doesn't name, as telling him, "You don't understand how difficult it is to say anything different" from the public CIA line.

In the second half of February, the book says, the newly arrived senior CIA officer in the Iraq Survey Group, also unidentified, told Barton he couldn't mention the trailers in a report scheduled for March.

"I don't care that they are not biological trailers. It's politically not possible," Barton recalls him saying.

The Australian says he wrote in his diary afterward, The only reason we are going down this route is the politics in Washington."

When the Iraq Survey Group's progress report was filed in March 2004, and new chief inspector Duelfer testified to Congress, the trailers were not mentioned.

For this and other reasons, "remaining in the ISG was to be complicit in deceit," Barton writes. He and other British and Australian experts quit the inspectors group during this period.

Asked for comment on Barton's account, Duelfer said he decided not to report issues piecemeal, but in a final comprehensive report.

"I did not think those were mobile biological weapons labs," he said, "but I wanted to understand the issue of mobile BW production, whether it (the trailers) was part of a larger thing or not." He said he was not pressured by Washington.
(*Yeah, right! If all of this had gotten out before the 2004 elections, do you think that we would be in as much sh-t as we are in now? No! Because Bush wouldn't be the President.)

Tenet declined to comment. But former CIA spokesman and Tenet associate Bill Harlowe told the Associated Press, "There was no effort to stifle any reporting from the field by David Kay or anyone else."
(*What else is he supposed to say?)

Ultimately the truth about the trailers was disclosed in the Iraq Survey Group's final report in October 2004, more than 16 months after the first conclusive findings were made.
(*Yeah. In just enough time for no one to be able to talk about it before the 2004 elections!)

Article By: CBS NEWS
Associated Press
May 13, 2006
PELOSI LETTER SUPPORTING REINSTATEMENT OF VETERANS COMMITTEE


Washington---Bouse Democratic Leader nancy Pelosi sent the following Commanders of leading veterans and military organizations in support of their efforts to reinstate the Committee legislative haerings. House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Steve Buyer (R-IN) terminated hearings earlier this year. Nelow is the text of her letter: May 12, 2006

Thomas L. Bock, National Commander, The American Legion

James R. Mueller, Commander-in-Cheif, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S.

Edward W. Kemp, National Commander, AMVETS

Paul W. Jackson, Mational Commander, Disabled American Veterans

Dear Commanders:

Thank you and the members of your organizations for your efforts to reinstate the joint Veterans Committee hearings. As you know, House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Steve Buyer unilartally and midguidedly terminated these hearings this year.

These long-standing joint hearings provide a vital forum to review the legislative priorities of veterans and military service organizations and allow veterans to directly express their views and interact with Congress. Chairman Buyer's decision, made without even consulting the House veterans Affairs Committee Ranking Member Lane Evans, comprehend the impact such a decision will have on the veterans' community, which uses these hearings to hear and protect the interests of the brave men and women who have defended our freedom. Specifically, the joint hearings allow veterans and military service organizations to directly present both timely budgetary and legislative recommendations.

Commanders, please be assured my commitment to our troops, veterans, and military families is strong. Indeed, in addition to holding many veterans and military issue-focused roundtable discussions, I will encourage Chairman Buyer to reverse his decision ending the joint hearings. Moreover, if given the opportunity to lead the House of Representatives, one of the first orders of business of the Democratic Caucus will be to reinstate the joint hearings and begin anew the valuable dialogue that occurs during these events.

Thank you for your service to the nation. I look forward to working with you to provide out troops, veterans and military families the benefits and health care they have earned and deserve.

Sincerely, NANCY PELSOI, Democratic Leader

Source: National Desk
U.S. Newswire Releases
5/12/2006
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