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July 31, 2007


They'll keep trying to avoid admitting it's illegal right up until they're being led away in cuffs, or until they're impeached and (I hope!) convicted.

Where the hell is Andy Card? I think his sworn testimony before committee would be an excellent August product launch.

LOL, On the Clock. That got a guffaw out of me...

A bunch of sophists? That's way too polite, EW.

"different legal bases"

Ahh. So the technical explanation is that first base of the order is where you get datamined, second base is where you get wiretapped, third base is where your personal possession in your home get felt up and over, and "fourth base" is where you get disappeared into torture? Something like that?

Gosh, I'm on edge waiting for the sliders. Maybe we'll even get a bunt. Does anyone bunt anymore?

agree on the too polite. sophists implies they are sentient

Prevaricators. Dissemblers. Obfuscators. Deceivers. Stretchers and twisters of the truth.

OK, while we are talking about lying, what's with Big Dick suddenly making nice to go on Larry King's program after that interview yesterday with Mark Knoller with CBS? It seems like we go for stretches of time and we don't see him (AWWWWWW!) and suddenly -- VOILA! What? Is he on a PR tour or something? He apparently admitted to King that he 'erred' in saying a couple of years ago that the insurgency was in its last throes. What's with that? A kinder, softer Cheney? That is even MORE scary than he is now!

Gosh, I'm on edge waiting for the sliders. Maybe we'll even get a bunt. Does anyone bunt anymore?
Posted by: Mary | July 31, 2007 at 19:23

Bunt? No. Punt? Yes. Gonzo will resign to spend more time with his family and Bush will try to recess appoint another sophist who'll look the other way as all the ugly evidence of DOJ criminality continues to surface.

And what about Sen Stevens? From what invetigtion did the search warrants result?

Unfortunately for McConnell, Shooter just used the term 'Terrorist Surveillance Program' on Larry King to refer to it in its entirety, pre-Comey and all.

We know that it was 'The Program' until late 2005 and perhaps later. Risen wrote about that.

Now, I was concerned that trying to hang perjury on Abu's back blurs the real story here, by buying into the idea that the stuff Bush fessed up to defined the limits of the surveillance being done at least between 2001 and mid-2004. But I think all this Viennese parsing is actually doing more to make it clear that what was going on before Comey's intervention was much much worse, and what may still be going on is much worse.

After watching Cheney muffing it on Larry " Soft Questions" King Live I'm convinced you are not going to get any smoking gun from this administration. They still haven't handed over the missing e-mails from way back. Remember all the blogging concerning the servers being grabbed and analyized. Thats all gone now. CNN allows this sick individual to come on prime time and spew his mind boggling misinformation. Will they allow Bill Moyers or Mr Leahy on the show? Bloggers across the nation should petition CNN to allow someone to rebutt all this or do they have to be blindsided" Michael Moore" style, as when Wilf Blitzer had him on about health care in America. But if someone does get the chance to let it all hang out it has to be laid nice and clear so that the "Johnny Six Pack" bunch gets it crystal clear.

What program did the president confirm, and when did he confirm it? (Seriously, I want to know.)

BELOW IS A LINK TO THE MCCONNELL LETTER. It is pathetic. It says that the President described only one aspect of a "number of intelligence activities" in December 2005; that aspect was the "targeting for interception without a court order of international communications of Al Qaeda and affiliated terrorist organizations coming into or going out of the United States."

First, McConnell wasn't around in 2005 -- he's reading the same text of the President's 12/17/05 statement everyone else is. Two, "targeting for interception" is what happens BEFORE eavesdropping -- isn't that an admission that a DOJ refusal to sign off on data-mining, or any other means of selecting targets for eavesdropping, was not about "other intelligence activities" but about the utterly crucial, super double secret Terrorist Surveillance Program.


While all this nonsense goes on,

the body bags are still being filled. Arlington is being expanded. Hearts are being broken.

Cheney interviewed twice in a couple of days - and not by Fox News.
Cheney has fluff biography written.
I wonder if Cheney is planning on running, either as President or VP.

I am starting to think that either Dick Himself or one of his minions (Addington?) is going to surface as the 4th branch candidate (formerly known as VP).

The GOP Prez candidates are all shooting for the Idiot Figurehead position, so I think they've gotten the memo.

(I have no idea if I'm serious.)

No one in the media seems to be emphasizing the most spectacular perjury of all in Gonzales' hearing last Tuesday. Under questioning by both Schumer and Whitehouse, Gonzales specifically claimed that it was at the urging of the Gang of Eight that he went to Ashcroft's hospital room, paper in hand. Yes, I know he also claimed it was "at the President's behest" at another point, and refused to answer questions about Cheney. But he specifically said that the Gang of Eight, as a group, wanted him to get the "other intelligence activities" continued. This is the heart of the perjury, not his bizarre nomenclature for the data-mining son-of-TIA aspects of Bush's real "broader" (McConnell's words) program. How can we know it's perjury? Look at EW's recent handy list of the Gang of Eight as of March 2004. All four Democrats (Daschle, Pelosi, Rockefeller, Harman) have come forward and completely denied Gonzales' claims not just about the topic but about the proceedings of the meeting. Frist, Hastert, Roberts and Goss have not said a word. This speaks volumes, and no one in the media will note that this is a total forfeit of the contest to determine which side is telilng the truth.

Now that the letter is out, two immediate thoughts.

First, it's just not appropriate to use the concept or label of "TSP" any more. TSP is a fiction. A wide range of surveillance activities were authorized by ONE executive order, and that same wide range of activities was reviewed every 45 days by ONE reauthorization (and even this is a supposition--congress should insist on seeing each and every one of those reauthorizations).

Second, regardless of where Abu's perjury inquiry goes, Leahy had better get to the bottom of the scope of activities being pursued here. The White House will cite sensitive security issues and all that, but the Committee has a responsibility to review the scope of these activities and satisfy themselves that these activities are legal.

Put another way, they need to determine which of the many activities are illegal.

A number of facts, and Comey's testimony, suggest that "the program" was expanded in the fall of 2003.... and it was the changes in the program that became the issue.

As Marci pointed out at FDL (via Balkinization) in July, Rockefeller had qualms about a program he had gotten a briefing on that looked like TIA. Congress prohibited anything resembling TIA in the 2003 Defense appropriations bill -- Bush said in a signing statement that he could ignore that prohibition. In "late 2003" Bush authorized a change in policy that allowed "closed" files on innocent americans to be kept indefinitely rather than destroyed.

According to Comey's testimony,
COMEY: In the early part of 2004, the Department of Justice was engaged -- the Office of Legal Counsel, under my supervision -- in a reevaluation both factually and legally of a particular classified program.

In other words, the facts had changed about the program -- this wasn't just a review of the legal basis of the ongoing program, but a new examination of the facts.

There is one other clue regarding what was going on --- the involvement of Mueller. A review of the legal rationale shouldn't reaally include the Director of the FBI, as Comey said "it was never Director Mueller's job or position to be drawing a legal conclusion about the program".

This suggests that Mueller was involved because of what the FBI was being asked to do -- and I think it meant investigating US citizens that had been identified as "persons of interest" through the new data-mining project being conducted by the NSA. The FBI wound up gathering data on hundreds (if not thousands) of innocent americans through National Security Letters (since warrants would not be issued based on the "evidence" accumulated through data mining) -- and the FBI was coming up with nothing. Mueller understood that these investigations were wasting FBI time and resources -- and represented a potential major embarrassment for the FBI. So he got Comey to get Goldsmith to do the "factual and legal" review....

The program was obviously illegal, and Mueller wanted it shut down, and that is why everyone went balls-to-the-wall on this.

Oh, one other thing.... note in Comey's testimony that he refers to "a particular classified program." What Bush admitted to was not a separate and distinct program, but part of a larger "particular classified program."

Gonzo can parse all he wants to, but this was ONE program at the time the dispute arose, and it remains one (smaller) program today that continues to go through the same 45 day reauthorization process.


There is an alternative explanation for Comey's remark that I find more likely. That is, the facts known to the DOJ changed. I don't think the program had expanded in late 2003. I think that Comey and Goldsmith were harder for Cheney to bamboozle than Ashcroft had been.

If you look closely at McConnell's letter, the hair-splitting is quite amusing. He claims that there was one executive order that authorized multiple intelligence activities but that both the "other activities" and the operational details of the TSP are secret. He seems to be arguing (without really saying it outright) that there is some distinction between operational details of the TSP and these mythical "other activities". There is just no way to make that make sense.

Twenty hours post-deadline. Arlen, you're looking pretty stoopid right now. I'm starting to understand why Karl Rove often has the giggles.

-- He seems to be arguing (without really saying it outright) that there is some distinction between operational details of the TSP and these mythical "other activities". --

I disagree. Operational details represent the mechanics of obtaining the interception. Does the observer use a stethoscope? is the surveillance conduced without participation by a common carrier of communications signals? How, in an engineering/physical sense, is the observation made? Those are operational details.

The "mythical" (well, stated as existing, but without having their practice and policy limits described with particularity) "other activities" can also be broken down into practice and policy (we only listen to international calls, where one side is a suspected of having connection to terrorists -or- we obtain call logs and analyze them for patterns of interest) and "operational details" (how the listening is accomplished, how the call logs are obtained, the nature of the patterns that represent "of interest," etc.)

Sometimes giving away the fact that something is a practice or policy gives away, to some degree, the operational details -- or at least reduces the number of possibilities of operational detail. But for the most part, the difference between policy and operational details is a difference of substantial distinction.

By my "I disagree," I mean that McConnell was saying there are multiple areas of "practice and policy," one of them the narrowly defined TSP (as defined by the snooper), and other snooping, not defined.

All of that policy discussion can happen without getting into the mechanics of the snoop - except at some point as the snooping implicates traffic on the Public Telephone Switched Network (PTSN), one will inevitably involve participation by licensed communications carriers.

Some (indefinite amount of) interception of radio transmission, e.g., cellphone, can be done without participation on the carriers' switch(es).

The reverse of knowing policy but not methods, knowing first the operation details, tends to give away the practices and policy secret - plus knowing operation details divulges capability in a way that quickly results in the diversion of communications traffic from compromised paths into other paths.

Question -- slightly off-topic, but not really. If 9/11 had not happened, how would Bush / Cheney have accomplished what they are doing? In other words, I suspect that they would have done it anyway (particularly Cheney). 9/11 just provided the vehicle for them to do it, and I suspect that Bush's continued references to Al Qaida (ho-hum) are to try to keep that justification alive.

I agree with Casual Observer's remarks, and especially the idea that it was all authorized and re-authorized by ONE executive order each time. Therefore, it is one program.

Protection of 'operational' details is the crux, if this were an
honest debate. The problem, is credibility. The Legions of
obfuscations and denialism makes this WH the LEAST likely to be successful. It's sort of the reverse form of, 'Nixon Goes to China" strategems.

Those interested in whether the egg holds a chicken, rather than a Raptor embryo, need to break the egg in order to be sufficiently
convinced there is no harm. This dilemma, is the creation, albeit the even in the most innocent presumption, of this WH.

cboldt - To me, at least, the critical question is whether it is one program or not. Now the Administration is currently running a good 3 card monty/shell game with descriptions of different parts of the program, but the bottom line is that it is still the same program. Do you agree that, despite the rhetorical and semantical contrivances, this is all really one program?


If we knew nothing at all about this, I might buy your argument as being possibly correct. We know, from the testimony of Mr. Comey and Mr. Mueller, that the legal basis for the operational details of a single program was at issue. The fact that the Administration decided to give a name to a subset of that program doesn't change reality.

Couple quick observations.

1. Agree with WO that "the facts known to the DOJ changed." Go back and watch Whitehouse's vid clip questioning at TPM. I didn't realize he was also on Intel - but that makes it even more fascinating. Esp watch the silence.

2. So there was only disagreement over "one part" of the program and yet Comey & Ashcroft were willing to do the showdown that would result in NO PARTS of the program getting authorized? Really? Typical Bush maneuver to not even offer up an alternative order where they could sign off on all the parts they agreed with and the NSA etc. personnel would have that added DOJ approval for those parts to protec them - but still, think about that. They refused to sign off on any of the program, not just the part they were disputing? Maybe if the dispute was on the initial part - data mining - all parts emanate, at least in part, from that initial step, eh? So how do you say your dispute was "only" about datamining when the people being specifically targeted and surveilled are being so targeted from an illegal, unconstitutional premise? Not as "enemy combatants" or "foreign agents" but just schmucks caught up in an illegal plan's incompetent execution?


This is probably already up here somewhere, and if so I apologize, but from this kos diary:


about an anonymous TPM poster, there is this reference:

'"National security" could mean: "Maintaining morale" or "maintaining confidence": That could mean providing false information to the public; or, based on data mining, issuing public news releases to justify public support for illegal activity; or maintain confidence in something that was an illegal contract. This would involve capture through NSA of meta-language; then stripping out identifying information;; then transferring that data to a firm like Flieshman Hilliard which would examine it, and issue public news releases on various government "public oversight" and "media messaging issues": Smith Act issues in re domestic propaganda: Possibly a "public service" announcement to maintain loyalty in non-sense. Something for AT&T to discuss. '

William Ockham - You were quoted approvingly; thought you should know. href="http://proctoringcongress.blogspot.com/2007/07/if-squirrel-is-on-loose-wheres-moose.html">find find it here

William Ockham - screwed up link; have browser issues since yesterday. Click on my name, it will take you there.

Sen. Spector still criticizing Gonzales for "deceiving, misleading," etc. the Senate Judiciary Cmt., but said he was against impeaching the AG, because we are at war. We can deal with Gonzales later, Spector said.

Right, Senator! We are in a never-ending war (so-called war on terror) and when the never-ending war ends, then we can deal with these people who have replaced the Constitution. Or will there be any America left?

Post above is from Mayfly.

No kidding Mayfly, and if we should magically win the "war on terror", we are srill in the ever trusty "war on drugs". It's happy hour somewhere in the world of war. Always for these guys.

"There is an alternative explanation for Comey's remark that I find more likely. That is, the facts known to the DOJ changed. I don't think the program had expanded in late 2003. I think that Comey and Goldsmith were harder for Cheney to bamboozle than Ashcroft had been."

This assumes that the program underwent no changes from its inception until early 2004. But the fact that Bush authorized the retention of information concerning innocent americans that was acquired as a result of an investigation into terrorism in late 2003 represents a change.

Keep in mind that Ashcroft was not "bamboozled".... the minute that Comey explained the problem to him, he agreed that the program could not be authorized. Also keep in mind that Rockefeller specifically refereenced TIA in his letter to Cheney, and that legislation meant to make TIA illegal was ignored by Bush through a signing statement.

Changes had, and were, occuring in "the program", and the nature and extent of the information getting passed to the FBI regarding American "persons of interest" would have changed as well.

I'm confused. I thought that via Padilla and GITMO and Abu Ghraib and DOJ sponsored violations of FISA etc. that DOJ has been arguing pretty darn hard that when we are at war - we don't really need law.

So why, exactly, is it that you can't prosecute the GWOT and impeach an AG?

Can they walk and chew gum?

No wonder no one bunts anymore.

-- We know, from the testimony of Mr. Comey and Mr. Mueller, that the legal basis for the operational details of a single program was at issue. --

I was trying to explain an issue of terminology, and I obviously failed. Last try ...

The terminology is eventually (but not for this discussion) VERY important, because Espionage Act and other violations hinge on disclosure of operational details. Was the NYT (or the persons who disclosed the practice of a TSP) guilty of an Espionage Act violation?

It's possible to have legal basis for objecting to a policy or practice, without knowing or objecting to the operational details.

I agree with you that Gonzo is relying on making a distinction between programs -- where I am using that in the sense of "policies and practices," not in the sense of operational details.

I don't see Gonzo's fudging as being the difference between disclosing the practice of a TSP, but not disclosing the operational details of intercepting ONLY the communications that are intercontinental, where one party to the conversation is suspected of at least having a connection to terrorism. The difference there, between THAT it is done with HOW it is done is too thin a reed for saying "there is more than one program."

I wonder if the illegal NSA activities had caught the 9-11 hijackers, but because the wiretaps were illegal the FBI could not seek a FISA warrant, even retrospectively of their activity as allowed by FISA, because their activity was illegal. Mueller knows this and is parsing words to avoid getting caught allowing 9-11 to happen because he did nto follow the rules. The rules would have prevented 9-11, but Cheney's massive phone tapping program cost the FBI that opportunity.
September 18, 2001, Boston Globe said:
"At a Washington briefing yesterday, Mueller repeated his assertion, first made Friday, that federal authorities had no inkling that terrorists were using US flight schools to acquire the training they needed to take the controls of commercial airline rs as they did on Tuesday.

''There were no warning signs that I'm aware of that would indicate this type of operation in the country,'' he said.

But the Globe reported Saturday that federal authorities have known for at least three years that two associates of bin Laden had trained in the United States as airline pilots.

The link between the Al-Qaeda terror group, allegedly led by bin Laden, and US flight schools emerged earlier this year at the trial of four men charged with the 1998 bombing of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. At that trial, during which FBI agents were called as witnesses, an associate of bin Laden testified that he went to a flight school in Texas.

Prosecutors introduced evidence that a second associate of bin Laden, Ihab Ali Nawawi, had trained at Airman Flight School, as did Moussaoui, who is now being held in New York for questioning on suspicion that he is an associate of the hijackers."

p.lukasiac - That still doesn't alter the fact that it is effectively one program. Moving parts of of Mr. Potato Man around does not change the fact that it is still Mr. Potato Man. The reason for the constant shuck and jive by the Administration on "the Program" is due solely to surreptitiously cover, hide and escape the fact that the legality and Constitutionality were tenuous at best. Actually, tenuous is being kind here. If it walks like one Program, talks like one Program and looks like one Program; you got yourself one Program.

-- Do you agree that, despite the rhetorical and semantical contrivances, this is all really one program? --

I believe the activity is such that it can be construed either way, as one unitary "program of vigilant surveillance," or as multiple programs - one part narrowly drawn to known terrorists, and other parts otherwise focused.

It's kind of like asking whether or not a blowjob is sex. The answer depends on what outcome you want.

Mary @ 12:15... I have read a good portion of that diary and it is scary fascinating! I would love to know what BMAZ and William Ockham thing about it. There were some other posts early in July over at TPMMuck that had some very pointed information. Is someone trying to spill the beans?

In yet another permutation of prevarication possibilities, I've seen comments elsewehre that speculate an evolution is waht is now referred to as TSP, wehre the earlier version (or versions) are labelled as "different programs, and not the one I am referring to now."

Well, I am here to tell you that, as far as I am concerned, getting a blowjob is probably sex and could easily have been established as such if the complete and utter bozos taking Clinton's deposition had not have done such an incompetent job of examination. I could have polished off that issue and pinned Clinton into a corner on that in another 20 seconds; so could have you I imagine. Here, although I would optimally still like it for it to have been done in a more linear and methodical manner, it seems clear to me that there is but one program with a lot of obfuscation and obstruction by the Administration trying to cover their ass.

-- as far as I am concerned, getting a blowjob is probably sex and could easily have been established as such --

Or, they could have wandered away from the futile path of trying to define what is and isn't sex, and gone more clinical as to what physical activities he did and did not undertake.

Get away from the label, and more into the "definite."

-- it seems clear to me that there is but one program with a lot of obfuscation and obstruction by the Administration trying to cover their ass. --

I agree with the obfuscation, obstruction and ass-covering, but I also think the range of surveillance activity may be such that, if everything was out in the open, even YOU would say there was more than one program.

Mary @ 12:15:
Thank you for that link. I think it is explosive. It sounds to me like someone has been keeping a diary, looking for a way to get the information out. I read it as someone recording the ways to get evidence of the crimes without actually recording the crimes itself. That is the kind of "parsing" that someone with a real security clearance would use. The part that stands out to me is the endangerment of children, that would be a breaking point for a lot of people. The creepy part is that I get the impression that there has been at least one murder involved.

OK, OK, it could be a rovian masterpiece of misdirection, but there are way too many details that can be checked.

Everyone here should read it, and keep a copy (save page) bc if it's real, it will try to disappear. This stuff needs to be investigated!!

Let's assume that arguendo. Then we are still at the point we are because of Administration flim flamming. When it was convenient for them to refer to it as "just one little program; perfectly legal, nothing to worry about", which was the case for a long time, they did so at full throat. Now that having it be considered to be "one program" is very deleteriously problematic for them, it is suddenly a complex thing with many programs. The program(s) is(are) what it(they) is(are); but they have disingenuously and dishonestly played it both ways, one of them is fraudulent.

bmaz, I know this is a minor/backward-looking topic, but...have you ever considered the Paula Jones lawyers were afraid to get specific on the blowjob questions for fear of setting off Clinton's radar? If they'd, say, asked the question, Was your member ever in Monica Lewinsky's mouth, Clinton, no dummy, might have thought, They've got evidence somewhere, and reluctantly given a truthful answer. It seems to me at least possible the Jones' lawyers' strategy was to get close enough they could extract answers from Clinton that they (and the media) would call perjury, but not so close as to tip him off to the game.

I commented on July 10 here about a post that appeared on TPM @ 5:04 pm that was anonymous. The writer had some specific points about what to look for regarding the use of servers / computers / IT equipment, RNC, IP addresses, and who was using what. No specifics, but the persons was sure trying to lead someone in a specific direction. The writer also referenced the use of Sharepoint, which is a collaborative software package that would have been invaluable for several people to work together. There were also some pointed references to John Roberts and his wife's law firm.

In my work, I do an extensive amount of technical editing and writing. I get a 'feel' for a writer's style, and this seems to me to be the same person. I will leave open the possibility of being wrong, though ;-)

The point is, IMHO there is definitely some meat in what this person is writing...

demtom - Actually, I have given that a thought; a lot of thought (at least back then). But, at least to my eye, reading the cold transcript and seeing the video that was out there from several depositions (including Lewinsky) from this battery of geniuses plying their trade for Jones, it seems pretty clear they were just lame.

Ah -- so, never attribute to evil genius what could simply be incompetence!

demtom - That is just my opinion, and I readily admit that others may see it differently. I have at least some experience and feel for this type of stuff, and that is the way I saw it then, and still do. For one thing, Clinton was playing off of THEIR definition at the deposition. If they had been intentionally doing what you posited, I would think they would have used a definition better suiting their goals as a foundation behind the, for lack of a better term, vague questions and answers you describe (and that do, in fact, constitute the transcript).

I think the issues about defining the program in question need a more global scope to them. The features of the tgus program are the functional artifacts of an overall system design. In this design we have been told of a number of use-cases. The functional artifacts are one or more uses cases that can be grouped together. Some of the use cases are obvious from the publicity. Others, we are trying to infer. But the point I am making is these are all parts of a single system. The goverment is famous for contracting out systems this way. Different subcontractors work to produce pieces that fit together, just like a bridge. Some of the use cases that are implicit but not very well known is how does a search get started into the database? Who can start manual or list driven searches. Is there a terminal or program access for OVP? Most systems like this get built with all kinds of audit trails and error handling. Where is this good stuff.

So in summary the TIA never died. Cheney and the Boland Iran-Contra deal all over again excpet its a DOD appropriations bill. The parts of the overall system are renamed and scattered across the MZM landscape. All marked secret. With searches having been run by Addington on anyone who might say wait a minute here ( Reyes? Harmon? .... ) The NY times reporters stumble across some of it hold info during election season while DOJ prosecutes ACCORN. They admit to someof it and start covering the telcos, specifically ATT. The rest of system is still under wraps safely covered by the shiny object 'Data Mining' and perjury

As Cheney said AGAG had a tough ASSIGNMENT

Clarification. The hair splitting being speculated about program definition is unknowable without more information that the Executive is refusing to share. For instance the space program was produced via thousands of contracts doing different systems. Although Gemini and Apollo were different programs each were part of the overall "program." These labels are always changing meaning. The systems underlying them don't

Over at TPM they're quoting the NY Daily News saying the FBI is standing behind Mueller's statements.


Thanks for the kind words on your blog.


I see where you are coming from. We agree on the definitional stuff, but disagree on the policy implications. I will point out that, if not for Gonzales's lies, nobody would be arguing about whether there was one or more programs. The contemporaneous evidence is absolutely clear. There was one program, serious disagreement about its legal basis, and, only after the NYT article, did anyone make a distinction between the "TSP" (all the stuff Bush and Hayden acknowledged) and the rest of the program.


I'm looking into the Maine PUC files now. I hate their interface for downloading them. My first read of "Deep Modem" (as somebody at TPMM called him/her) tells me that the person is either a very good conspiracy theorist or has some interesting inside knowledge. I'm hoping that I can make a better judgment after I look into the only testable part of the thesis put forward.

This assumes that the program underwent no changes from its inception until early 2004. But the fact that Bush authorized the retention of information concerning innocent americans that was acquired as a result of an investigation into terrorism in late 2003 represents a change.

My take would be that 'The Program' was sufficiently amorphous that elements could be shifted under its auspices, but that the change in facts would reflect more upon what had emerged from the snooping techniques: the second-order effects, as it were, of the datamining. And that could have been wrapped up in the National Security Letters scandal, but may have been more about Mueller's concerns at what the FBI was being sent out to do.

PinNC - Right. But it is still just branches growing off the same stinking tree; i.e. one de facto program.

EW - are you on the mystery poster at tpmmuckraker? This is information that I think YOU and probably ONLY you have the ability to digest. I know YK is here and you're leaving tomorrow, but please get on this when you can.

It's very creepy. It may be a real deepthroat and it may be a Rovian trick, but it's sure something!

Have fun at YK...

While all this nonsense goes on, the body bags are still being filled. Arlington is being expanded. Hearts are being broken.
Posted by: Jodi | August 01, 2007 at 01:37

'right. nonsense. it's clinton's fault and even if it isn't it, it could have been.

I have to admit I only skimmed parts of the kos diary and haven't read anything but the excerpts there from the anon TPM poster, but I thought the propositions re: the meta data/propaganda use was interesting in and of itself. The use of even blatantly illegal propaganda efforts by this administration has been so pervasive and so tolerated that I mused a bit over that, kind of separate and apart from the source.

I'm glad someone is digging through (probablythis weekend before I could and by then I might already know if it would be worth it or not *grin*)

cboldt - I wouldn't focus so much on NYT and the person who leaked to them and the Espionage Act (in large part bc I am pretty adamantly against using that Act vis a vis reporters and in particular reports on what may be illegal govt activity) but I do think that there are National Security Act implications for the leakers - even if the leak was "authorized" by Bush doing another insta-declassification.

I agree with the branches/tree analogy on "the program" but I think maybe another analogy would be a house of cards. Each level is it's own level. However, they are also each dependent on the floor below them. If the "base" (I like bases) or foundation level is suddenly deemd to have issues, and you yank it, the whole thing falls.

So if you start with an invalid datamining situation (in particular, one that was not narrowly tailored to be addressed to the Commander In Chief and warpowers issues on which it was supposedly authorized) and then use that initial and invalid step in "the program" to generate information for the next step, the "recognized" wiretaps step - - you cannot talk about the wiretaps separate from the datamining if the datamining generated the basis (or stretching things - bases) for the wiretaps. So the "TSP" that they are parsing to be about warrantless wiretaps where there is a "grounds" or basis (or bases) to believe one party is al-Qaeda, includes as an ELEMENT OF THAT PROGRAM the "reasons" for the selection of the target. If the reason is a "different" program - the datamining program - then you can see how they build on each other.

In this kind of situation, then, each time you talk about "a program" you are, by necessity, talking about the underlying and underpinning programs. So the only one you could talk about severed from anything else would be the initial step/stage/program. Each next stage is dependent upon, and therefore inclusive of, the prior steps/stages/programs.

WTF. It looks like the Democrats are caving. Did Cheneys pet dog bring them in and let them know what previous spying has found out about each of them?


Excuse me while I go throw up.

Watergate X 1M

Is there a plumber's unit too?

-- I wouldn't focus so much on NYT and the person who leaked to them and the Espionage Act (in large part bc I am pretty adamantly against using that Act vis a vis reporters and in particular reports on what may be illegal govt activity) but I do think that there are National Security Act implications for the leakers --

As I said, the "operation details" terminology isn't, IMO, relevant in the debate over the "one program? or more?" debate. That said, a legal analysis of the NYT publishing the fact of existence of NSA warrantless wiretapping activity under the Espionage Act is an effective way to view the distinction between "operational details" (in the statute, "procedure or method used in the interception of communications") from the policy and legal arguments about undertaking the activity at all.

As an aside, I don't think the government has a case against the NYT. And the NYT is a sophisticated party in this regard, see Pentagon Papers case, which cites to the Espionage Act.

This Isikoff/ Hosenball piece provides background.

Looks like a FISA judge -- wouldn't it be ironic if it were Reggie -- decided back in the spring that the TSP's use of filtering equipement on telco switches didn't pass constitutional muster. Hence the full-court press to revise FISA to legalise it, with the added relish of taking the power to adjudicate the constitutionality of eavesdropping out of the FISA court's hands and into the pockets of AGAG.

Kit Bond's blustering about partisanship, but it appears that Leahy is providing spine where Rockefeller has none. If the WH refuses to budge on AGAG's expanded role, it's a win for the Dems. But I don't like any move to retroactively legalise illegal surveillance, even if it gives the Intel Committee types the warm fuzzies.

The letter (from Gonzo) is public now. Go to TPM:


Nothing to see except a lot of parsing of aspects and activities.


Congressman Cohen from TN has a diary up - he joined the group of prosecutors who wrote the resolution to consider impeaching Gonzo.

We gave him the information on the mysterious poster! There is a very detailed plan (from the deepthroat guy/gal) for the investigation. Looks like he/she has the details, so let's see what happens next. It seems like this small group in the House will fight to get the bill to the floor.

PinNC - It would be beautifully ironic, but I doubt it is Judge Walton. I don't think his appointment to FISA was effective yet, irrespective of whether it had been announced. Even if he was seated, it would have been for such a short period that I don't think he could have been in on this decision.

You are correct, bmaz: Judge Walton didn't take up his FISC job until May, and this dates back to around April. There wasn't a resignation, either: Judge Claude Hilton's term expired.

Mary, I think shooter went full bore.

Now one might want to chock that up to youthful exuberance. And that is certainly plan 'D'. "Never before has this country faced such a hateful enemy...[references to fight them there so we don't have to fight them here omitted]... but defense of liberty is no crime. And about that call you made to your secretary..." But it will be a hard sell. Father knows best meets shit happens.

Between now and the next election they are going to provide an amazing amount of material for a quick cut commerical, which if done right, will make the Republican party a memory.

I think its a kind of Republican oneupsmanship. Not to be outdone by Gonzales' parsing of "the program," Specter taks a stab at parsing "perjury."

Here's a letter from my Rep in response to a long well laid out description of my take on Congress' duty in the face of the unitary executive. Name has been changed, obviously he didn't adress to Mr. Dismayed.

Funny thing is, I don't recall asking for impeachment of the prez or VP. I took the "they must submit to oversight approach" In fact, I remember specifically saying that I didn't think impeachement was the right move at the moment, but that should I may support it soon. I did call for impeachment of Gonzo. I wish I had saved the letter.

Anyway here's the response:

August 2, 2007

Dear Mr. Dismayed,

Thank you for contacting me with your views on the President and Vice President of the United States.

I am unaware of any facts that would warrant impeachment proceedings against the President or Vice President. Consequently, I believe doing so would distract the Committee on the Judiciary from its substantive work focused on reducing crime, stopping illegal immigration, and combating terrorism.

For more information on my work in Congress or to send me an electronic message, please visit the 21st District's website, http://lamarsmith.house.gov.


Lamar Smith
Ranking Member
Committee on the Judiciary

I'm guessing the FISA ruling was from as far back as March. There is a great piece up at Balkinization by JB on what is likely at issue.

But back in January when they announced that they had "the orders" in place, they said they were 90 day renewal orders. So the first time up, the first time on the renewal front, the court in essence finds that there are problems. Why didn't we hear about it before now? IMO, they really thought they had another shot when the next 90 days review hit (June-ish) but they got shot down by a second judge.

Hence, the push in the press that we are under a lot of threat - the increase drumbeat. Bc it is sales pitch time at office of the DNI. Wouldn't it be nice to have people who didn't play games with national security and the Constitution? If McConnell were anything other than a Bushbot he would publically say that we don't need a man under investigation for fibbing to Congress and a likely future criminal investigation target to run the oversight on the program. blergh.

And why does Boehner get to talk about secret court rulings whenever he wants, while the Dems can't say a word? Another "instadeclassification" or too much time in the tanning booth?

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