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May 11, 2006


On a related note, I just saw this story that the Justice Department has dropped their investigation into warrantless secret wiretapping by the NSA because -- get this -- it was too secret.

''We have been unable to make any meaningful progress in our investigation because [the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility] has been denied security clearances for access to information about the NSA program,'' OPR counsel H. Marshall Jarrett wrote to [Rep. Maurice] Hinchey [D-NY]. Hinchey's office shared the letter with The Associated Press. ...

''Without these clearances, we cannot investigate this matter and therefore have closed our investigation,'' wrote Jarrett.

So basically if you're guilty of a cover-up and DoJ is investigating you, just cover it up some more. Because there's nothing they can do.

Under George Bush, Justice is not just blind but also deaf and lame, bound and gagged, beaten and broken.

Since Congress defunded the program in '03 it would be interesting to see where replacement funding came from for this program. All in all, Spectre must be cringing over his defense of Bush as using "Good Faith".


Actually, Congress defunded TIA, which included more than phone calls. So it may not be technically true that they defunded THIS program (though I'm sure Rummy's always willing to lend one or two of his black books to a good domestic spying cause). But I suspect you could make a compelling case that, since Congress defunded TIA, they expressed their intent they didn't want any such program.

In other news, Pat Roberts, Mr. Coverup himself, has called this program Big Brother. At what point does the Bush scandal get to be too much for people who have constituents to answer to?

Oh, I'm wrong, it was Pat Robertson. Amazing what coffee can do for you in the morning.

And unless there are whole bunch more terrorists than I think there are, they're just going to be a few hundred data points in a database of millions of data points. They won't even rise to the level of statistical noise, not as terrorists anyway.

I'd love to see one of the (I'm sure many) PowerPoint presentations in which some clown pitched this data-mining scheme as a way of finding terrorists. It's probably the same template they've been using for years in "National Missile Defense" pitches... just change a few words, and it's the same pitch.

- Shooting a bullet out of the sky Finding a needle in the world's biggest haystack

- May deter rogue states terrorists even if it doesn't work

- Feasibility study = full-scale R&D effort pilot program

- Incredibly huge boon to major contributors

- Incidental benefits: advanced radar, satellite, lasers, etc. toos in war on dissent, drugs, etc.


Oh, you forgot a new and improved one: "The terrorists only have to succeed once."

So if I follow the latest logic…gee, we aren't doing anything illegal even though we aren't using the FISA system…and we are talking to "some" members of congress…but they can't tell you anything because the information is totally classified….and gee, we are ok with some investigative oversight…but unfortunately we can't grant security clearance to the investigators.

Gee…it looks to me like we have a dictator in charge. He breaks the rules, he rewrites the rules, he changes the rules, and he answers to no one.

I only hope we can soon finish exporting our "democracy" to Iraq and the rest of the oppressed world so they can have the same rights that we do.

more observations here:


Everything changed on Oct. 4, 1957... Dec. 28, 1984... Aug. 31, 1998... er, 9/11.

Where is Guy Fawkes when you need him...

Here's another way of thinking about this, that I came up with while walking the dog.

TIA was public. And TIA was a larger program (including more data) than this phone-based data mining program. Therefore, if TIA could be public, there is no reason this can't be.

Except that it violates a few laws and that we've already said no to it.

"The terrorists only have to be right once."

This may be trivial, but whenever I hear Bush say this (and he's repeated it many times) I imagine retired WH speechwriters everywhere snickering about how thick Bush really is.

Over many occasions the WH hasn't made the correction that you did EW, to "succeed," each time he seems to say that the 911 attacks were "right."

Though the media has given it a pass, I cast my vote for another Republican scandal: the stonewalling of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Phase II report on the manipulation of pre-war intelligence.

We frequently hear that Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) acts alone as Chairman. Roberts sets deadlines, breaks deadlines, blames the problems on Democrats, sets new deadlines, breaks them again. Republicans say it is Roberts' own prerogative to do as he pleases: we hear no criticism of Roberts from the seven other Republicans on the Committee, who have (collectively) the power to override Roberts and his tactics: Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Kit Bond (R-MO), Mike DeWine (R-OH), Trent Lott (R-MS), Chuck Hagel (R-NE), and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA).

Their silence is telling. Certainly Snowe is quick to mouth platitudes about her own "independence" from the Republican establishment. She rarely hesitates to alert the Maine press to her "independent" postures and opinions, often on tangential issues or points of order. To my eye it's all about image-building, part of maintaining a carefully crafted persona as an "orphan" in the Senate Republican establishment. (Snowe was in fact an orphan at age nine, and while I don't mean to belittle that tragedy, I do think it accounts for certain psychological strategies I've seen her employ time and again.)

But on the big picture, Snowe goosesteps right along with Bush, and you will hear Republican insiders quietly confess that Snowe is one of his most important allies: because her "independence" is treated by much of the media much the way Colin Powell's "independence" was treated in the run-up to Iraq. As for the war, Snowe strongly supported Bush's invasion and occupation, and says she still would support it regardless of whether the administration's WMD statements were correct. (Think about it: if that isn't an endorsement of a whitewash, what is?)

Mark my words, this is a Republican scandal, because the delay is precisely to spare Republicans responsibility or embarrassment. If a whitewash of the report can't be achieved (and there are many hints that Phase II simply can't blunt the fact that "Bush knew"), by all means delay, delay, delay....


I was hoping the Dems on SSCI would have refused to vote on Hayden unless they got Phase II results. Only now it doesn't look like Hayden will make it even that far.

They obviously have something very serious on Pat Roberts. On the order of what they have on Duke Cunningham, maybe even bigger. No other way to account for his spineless behavior. This faux "independence" is probably enough to same Ms Snowe, but I wonder about some of the others, like Chafee.

The domestic spying is also not going to paly well in the West, a serious miscalculation for Bush. Kansas probably isn't West enough (and Roberts isn't up for reelection) but I can see Burns, Kyl and even Ensign going down this fall. And if Webb wins, maybe even Allen in the East.

If they indeed are trying to track every phone call, that, by definition, has absolutely no practical reason for remaining secret. Political reasons...

f Webb wins, maybe even Allen [goes down] in the East

Be still my beating heart. And I know all about Webb (I even read his book). He is a libertarianish Reaganite. Aside from its being a Dem pickup, it would free Allen up to run for pres. You don't want to underestimate someone like Allen, but there's no percentage in over estimating him, either. He really is a dumbass. He would be great to run against in '08, or to focus the split in the GOP in the primaries.

close tag (SORRY- AGAIN)

Well, Lott is out there confirming the program is true (duh, we knew that). As well as saying we shouldn't know about it. You dumbass, it's TIA again. If we could know about TIA, then why not this?

I have mixed feelings about Allen. He is dumber than my dog (though my dog's pretty smart, even on Football). But we said similar things about Bush 8 years ago and look at us.

TIA lives as Basketball. Shane Harris has been on this story for a while

Thanks for the link, lukery.

Don't know if this IS TIA. But it's damn similar (that is, massive data mining). And if they could tell us about that in 2002, why not now?

Here's Harris' original article in NatJournal called TIA Lives On

"The names of key projects were changed, apparently to conceal their identities, but their funding remained intact, often under the same contracts."

Good point re why they can't talk about it now. They can't talk about it for PR reasons, obviously, and it has nuthin' to do with reminding "The Terrorists"

They lied about the existence of this program.

What proof do we have that they aren't "listening in"?

off-topic, but here's the Fitz/Libby May 5 transcript

Working on it obsessed. It'll be later this afternoon, I think. There's a ton in it.

Thanks for the link, though.

After a quick read through of that transcript, I have to say that it sure sounds like Fleischer copped a plea to something. There is a discussion (pages 23-24) in the pdf of an individual who is the subject of a sealed affidavit by the defense. I'm pretty sure we know that is Fleischer.

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