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August 16, 2007


Ashcroft's sudden illness in the midst of all this is interesting. Shades of the KGB.

The DeLay briefing catches my attention. That smacks of being a political briefing, not program related, to see whether Tom thought Congress would hold in the face of an en masse resignation of the nation's law enforcement leadership.

Evidence that DeLay was not completely nuts....

"Wednesday 3/17/04, 1105: Comey called."
you wrote:
"Several times, Mueller refers to "Comey et al," suggesting Mueller has an idea of the key people working with "Mueller" on this--presumably Philbin and Goldsmith."
Instead of Mueller,it should read Comey.


Thanks, you are correct.

note also, though pale in comparison
to EW's above, that the yellow-highlighted
portion of f.b.i. director mueller's
notes (in my image of the march 10, 2004
hospital visit) recite that james comey -- as
then-acting attorney general -- was being
prevented from getting relevant information
about this program from. . . where? from. . .
that's right! -- the white house. that
obviously had to be one vice president
dick cheney. what was dick cheney doing,
withholding information crucial for the
re-authorization of this supposedly-highly
effective, and urgently-needed, surveillance
program? why -- but of course! -- dick cheney
was acting as a fourth branch, usurping
the legitimate role of the f.b.i., and the
united states attorney, in these matters

thus the very-salty tone in
f.b.i. director mueller's
contemporaneous notes. . .

that much seems plain. go re-read the
yellow highlighted portion in mine now.

and please, keep a good thought for
the missing six crandall canyon miners, tonight. . .

p e a c e

albert 20:35 -- I'm far more suspicious and cynical; I wouldn't be surprised if the so-called briefing was not only to check Congress' temp on this, but to let DeLay know he couldn't count on political dirt because the program was in jeopardy.

Remember they -- meaning DeLay and Frist -- were also doing daytrading at their desks...were they getting inside info on bills before they were even submitted?

Um, nolo,

You might want to check out this. Or the posts that led up to it...

thanks, EW -- i did not see that
one of yours, before i wrote mine,
here, or on mine -- and your earlier
ones (excellent sleuthing, btw, by
you, on that!), i missed while on a
road-trip vacate with the fam, after
yearlyKOS. . . so thanks. and very
good work.

i still took it that mueller's note
about 3/10/04 @ 19:40 meant that the
ACTING AG, or comey, couldn't get
the information -- i did not realize
that even ashcroft was making the same
complaint. what is large about THAT
is that cheney was then ORDERING a
violation of the procedures (patriot
act reauthorization procedures), by
keeping the information "compart-
mentalized" away from either ashcroft
or acting AG comey.

wow -- just wow.

[thanks for keeping canning alive.

we are collecting our peaches on
saturday. . . from our favorite
farm in michigan, to do the same.]

p e a c e


Read the earlier post. Gonzales said very clearly it was Ashcroft, not Comey:

I also recall that, prior to the time I departed, General Ashcroft briefly mentioned a concern about security clearances for members of his staff regarding the NSA activities that were the subject of the presidential order.

cool, EW -- [i'm tempted to
insert a silly snark-line
about why we'd believe any-
thing 'berto says, but i won't,
because this is an admission
against interest, by 'berto, so
it is particularly trustworthy.]

thanks. i'll go revise mine.

again -- this does just make it worse.

the vice president ordered that
the information be kept from
ashcroft -- in direct violation
of the patriot act (forget for a
moment that this pre-2005 incar-
nation of the patriot act was,
almost certainly unconstitutional,
in that it too-easily allowed spying
without even articuable suspicion,
or court review, of ordinary innocent
u.s. citizens -- dick cheney wasn't
even allowing his people to comply
with these far-too-low hurdles
!). . .

again, wow.

changes to mine -- crediting you,
in mere moments, here.

p e a c e

[o/t -- it seems at least two more
have been injured in crandall canyon
mine -- probably rescue workers, in
a new collapse at almost 1200 feet.

still -- keep a good thought.]

It is interesting that the early March 2004 timeframe was still one of active worry by patients in NY whose medical records Ashcroft had failed to succeed in subpoenaing. I have yet to study Mueller's heavily redacted notes beyond a few cursory readings, but it looks like what should have been a routine operation upon Ashcroft resulted in more ICU time than would be customary for a ranking official in government. It seems he made some changes in career plans during that time, perhaps given the span of a few days for reflection, and wanting to enjoy a meaningful life of his own. I understand the Scotus voted for much of Ashcroft's plan in 2006, but not the business about exposing all first trimester health records to the US Attorney General.

Thank you thank you thank you for paying attention to this.

I too agree that the "strict compartmentalization rules" aspect is the most important part of the redacted note. What does this mean and/or imply? Here's a stab at it.

The program is divided into several components. The people administering those components are not aware of the other components; the intelligence they generate only moves up the chain of command.

The program's components are technologically and legally complex (cf Rockefeller's and Ashcroft's inability to comprehend the Program).

The administration has been playing games with people who are in a position to stop the Program. The executive order authorizing the program is written in such a fashion as to seem benign but upon further reflection could be interpreted in a scary, overbroad, Cheney-esque, plenary, unitary-executive sort of way. That's why it was reauthorized so many times before Comey had some occasion to re-read it and say, Holy Sh*t. When Comey and Cheney undertook to understand the Program and get assurances about certain features precluding its legality, Comey and/or Ashcroft got the runaround, so they signalled that they could not recertify the Program without verification.

The WH overreacted, confirming their worst suspicions.

So either Cheney and/or Comey and/or some faction of the DOJ, let's say, "et al" has off-the-record, no-notes-taken briefings about the Program, or the components of the program. However, comprehension of the Program or its components is impossible because 1. the auspices under which the briefings take place and 2. the secrecy rules governing them and 3. their complex technical/legal characteristics.

But maybe someone at DOJ breaks the rules and calls a fiber optics technician. Or perhaps a technical communications system analyst. Maybe individuals briefed on different components break the rules by comparing notes with people briefed on other components. Maybe Comey secretly coordinates them to find out what they're up to, and when they put the big picture together it adds up to something pretty unseemly.

My guess would be a phone and email interception system for the DC area, that would just happen to include the DNC and congressional offices. Don't think they'd do that? They already had, and got caught in January of that year, per Boston Post:


I didn't realize until tonight (watching the 9th Circuit hearings on c-span2) that the Al-Haramain surveillance is 'alleged' to have occurred in March and April of 2004. Both Bondy and Eisenburg mentioned it.

The lawyers accidentally got "The Document" later in the fall of '04, but I don't recall ever before hearing when the surveillance actually took place.

March 2004 sure was a busy month.....

EW...re: Ash mentioned concern abt sec clearances for members of his staff...
This seems deliberate evasion to testify that Ash, himself, did not have sec clearances.

Also tht Comey en route to hosp called Mueller to have Mue call and order his agents not to permit anyone to remove Comey from room. All this before Card/Gonz arrival, and before Mue arrived.

Also, WHO called hosp switchboard and got put thru to ICU/Mrs.Ash over orders that no tele calls be allowed to ICU? WHO had sufficient altitude to pull that off? Doubt Card or Gonzalez. But P or VP could pull rank, for sure. For sure Mrs. Ash knows WHO made that call to blow open way for Card/Gonz to enter ICU.

EW, thanks your v able and effective work.


hey, watch your language young lady. I would peg you as being a lapsed catholic. nevertheless...

and I have proof it was all part of THE program: I saw The Bourne Ultimatum tonight -- and they dramatize broad-reaching "program" under one code-name.

Ergo, I rest my case. CONCLUSIVE!

Besides, the phenomenal score by John Powell is back in top form. If we were to apply that soundtrack to the entire Bush Administration, it would make their lawlessness + incompetence exciting vs disgusting.

DeLay also caught my eye. About a year before this, he had used various assets in Homeland Security to track down a hefty chunk of the texas democratic caucus hiding out in Ardmore OK.--back when he was redistricting Texas in order to squeeze 4 or 5 new republican seats from the state.

Arguably a Hatch Act Violation, or a Violation of some damn thing besides anyone's sense of decency.

Reading a snake like DeLay into 'the program' was a very, very, dangerous thing to do.

Excellent recommed diary over at the Big Orange right now. Drational is doing some superb sleuthing. He notes that Mueller is giving a lot more information up in response to the Congression request that was called for. All the items mentioning meetings with Cheney on the surveillance issue in March 2004 are gifts to the republic from our current FBI director.

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