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May 10, 2006


Didn't the NSA just obstruct justice?

Check this out:

NSA has massive database of Americans' phone calls

When Nixon nominated Gray, I think he was trying to strengthen what he saw as a weak link. At that point, the Nixon White House was still almost completely certain it would not, could not, get caught. Nixon did not then know that Gray had destroyed evidence, nor did he know in detail what watergate-related evidence Dean had given Gray (The contents of Hunt's white house safe?), but Gray was very clearly unhappy and twitchy, and Nixon was trying to demonstrate confidence in (bribe) him with the FBI job.

I get the impression that the Bushies are protecting the "other" program Abu Gonzales alluded to in testimony (the "other" program whos continuing existance prompted the visit to Asscroft's hospital bed). Could they be maneuvering to prepare for oversight hearings when the GOPs go down in flames? Does the appointment to head CIA perhaps strengthen a claim of executive priveledge?

36 years ago, I used to have a sign on my telephone: "Don't say anything on this telephone you wouldn't say to J. Edgar Hoover."

People were almost always surprised by that. They would either tell me I was being overly-paranoid, or crack a joke that if I had a girlfriend on the side (I was married at the time), I shouldn't call her on that phone, or some other lame-ass crap.

Mostly, they were afraid when they saw that, because they knew me, knew what I was doing, and they knew that sign wasn't a joke.

I'll never forget the phone call I got from the San Francisco office of the FBI, questioning me about members of The Weatherman, a week after I joked to a friend that I had known three of the people killed in the 1970 townhouse explosion - well before they were members of the Weather Underground. I called my lawyer right after I hung up on the agent, and he said "Now you know not to talk on the phone." I hung up from that call, wrote the sign and taped it on the phone.

Eight years later, I found an envelope in my mail box from the Department of Justice, Office of Professional Responsibility, which contained a letter that said "...a review of the COINTELPRO files has brought forth a file in your name. If you would like to read this file, return this form." I did. What I got was highly redacted, but what I could tell from what was there was that - from the day I told the US Navy in November 1965 that they could kiss my ass if they thought I was going to let myself be called up with the Reserves and sent back to Vietnam (having participated in the so-called "Tonkin Gulf Incident" - the lie that put us at war - I had come home antiwar that summer and in no mood to put up with those morons any more), until the day in 1973 when testimony before the Congressional committee investigating Richard Nixon's crimes against humanity revealed the existence of COINTELPRO and effectively ended the program in a glare of publicity - my phones were tapped, my mail was opened, and government agencies had me on a list of people for whom they were supposed to make our lives difficult (they did - 2 IRS audits in five years and having my GI Bill delayed and otherwise messed with did harm me).

Not only that, but my father - a government employee - was harassed in front of his co-workers by the FBI for the crime of being my father, and my father-in-law, a retired Marine, was harassed by the FBI in front of his co-workers for the crime of being his daughter's father and my father-in-law.

All for our crime of believing that the First Amendment exists and our opposition to the war in Vietnam.

Last time, the bastards at least had the decency to know they had done something wrong and had to stop. This time, the motherfuckers think they deserve fucking medals for "defending freedom." And it's the same gang of sonsofbitches.

What they deserve is a rope and a nearby lamp post.

With approval ratings at 31% the regime is calculating its better to brazen it out than have any legitimate investigation uncover the extent of corruption and deception and maybe even criminality.

Will the Hayden nomination hearings amount to much? We'll know soon enough. IMO, unless Repub senate leadership decide its time to become "Howard Baker" its highly unlikely emasculated Dems will find the unity and courage to stand up and make a show to create momentum for outrage.

The Hayden Congression hearings should be (hopefully will be) exciting, especially with the US phone call database news.

Is it interesting that we hear little from Muller and the FBI about all the various scandals? Reporters just don't ask them, or anything they do tell is way off the record (as EW has suggested for Leopold)?

Good post TCinLA.

I basically agree with ab initio. BushCo is once again rolling the dice. The stakes this time are a big blowup of a large part of their illegal domestic surveilance programs vs. tacit Senate legitimation of these programs - as they say "in time of war." Michael Hayden, like Condi Rice and Al Gonzales before him, is the embodiment of BushCo policy, viz., do what the cabal wants, regardless of its legality or constitutionality, and get rewarded with promotion, while showing through personnel policy that we can do or say anything and get away with it in front of a Senate committee, or alternatively, "fail us" and earn a ticket out of town, along with a square of "National Security Brand" duct tape for your disloyal mouth.

I don't know if the pusillanimity of the Senate - including "Democrat" Quislings like DiFi - is the result of actual, personal blackmail or not, but frankly at this point I wouldn't be that surprised if we found out it were so.

"Will the Hayden nomination hearings amount to much?" We'll find out - or not if BushCo is forced to go interruptus on him. I certainly hope the Senate exercises proper constitutional oversight by giving him or anyone else nominated to a federal executive post proper and probative hearings. I'd say that, if not in the case of Hayden, where the stakes are so close to the constitutional bone, so to speak, then not ever to any meaningful effect. . . And then, as said the other day on dKos on this subject - meet Heinrich Heyden, whose next mission will be domestic blackbagging and agent running . . .

Blackmail DiFi? Only over her husband's business dealings, perhaps. No, she has always had a thing for men in uniform, and made her early reputation in SF as a "crimefighter". This is just cops writ large for her. Civil liberties has never been her strong suit.

The problem for the Bush Admin is that while the Nixon conspiracies were all pretty much national secuirty and paranoia-based, with the influx of cheap grifters from the sticks like Tom DeLay and chums and the San Diego mafia, the sins of the GOP are so widespread and decentralized, that they can't keep a lid on everything. So you have the military screwup-torture-eavesdropping scandal that is like Nixon, but also the Rove-DeLay-Abramoff GOP skimming scandal and the Wilkes-Cunningham-Lewis-Foggo contracting and earmark scandal, and lots of other little schemes waiting to be discovered. (Although I do think the Wilkes thing is going to lead back to the Pentagon and black ops.) It is so overwhelming, and points to so much greed, that it makes it difficult to focus the public on how it is all just to "make us safe."


Please! It's not the "San Diego mafia." It's the "Poway mafia." Those of us who once had to live there are quite tickled by the thought of such a bleak place having its very own mafia. It's a matter of civic pride!! Please don't take our fun away.

This is going to be a very interesting summer.

Thanks, TCinLA, for your story. Nothing like that ever happened to me, but I'm old enough to remember its happening to others, and my blood boils at the memory.

Some people who yearn nostalgically for the '60s and '70s might be getting a little more than they bargained for shortly. On the up side, they will be extremely pissed off; despite our comsumerist culture and low civic participation, I think people are actually less bovine, less accepting of this kind of gov malfeasance now than they were then (barring another big terror attack). And, as mimikatz says, this is much broader.

EW: Thanks for the term of art, 'refreshened'! You made my day.

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