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August 04, 2007


The only security issue that was mentioned (I think in Comey's testimony) during the meeting in the hospital room was about Ashcrofts HOSPITAL staff and their clearances to hear what Gonzo was discussing. He may be using this as groundwork to fight a future 'revealing classified information' charge stemming from this incident.

security clearances for members of his staff ... that were the subject of the presidential order.

Gonzo is implying the security clearances for DOJ were mentioned in a presidential order but that seems to contradict why a gravely ill Ashcroft would bring up security clearance as an issue.

Gonzo is pointing to a presidential order and away from something else more incriminating. This correction, or rather this unsolicited omission now on record, is to cover a known chink or a new as of yet undiscovered chink that is particularly egregious. h/t egregious.

From all reports YKos07 has been a very productive conference EW. We regulars know what it means to use the words 'EW' and 'productive' in the same sentence. Thanks for all you do. When the clock clicks to beer thirty today, have one and think of your friends and fans here at TNH. All the best.

The big secret?

How about:

Bush militarized domestic surveillance as part of his response to 911 and lowered the standard for interception from 'probable cause' to 'suspicion'.

The people inside the Political Kingdom - Gonzo, Card, Cheney, Addington, Rove, Libby, Taylor, Goodling, etc - they 'know' it (ie, have been 'read into' the Program) and are privy to the ideological underpinnings being used to identify 'threats' - most likely along the lines of 'non-loyalists' to Bush's mission from God to eradicate 'terror' from the world, by any ruthless means.

But the people on the outside - Comey and the rest of us - they don't 'know' it. My only question is - Was Ashcroft on the 'inside' or the 'outside' in terms of knowledge of the Kingdom?

Comey, Fitz, the USAs, the Press, and political opponents are just as likely to fall within a 'profile' for watching as the rest of us sheep, and maybe more for 'threatening' to enforce the law equally - but there's no way Bush cleared the career service DoJers into the 'classified' knowledge of the 'Kingdom.'

Just speculation, but it explains the use of secrecy to conceal secrecy...and can you even imagine what the 'narrative' must be inside the bubble of the 'Kingdom'?

EW - I agree with radiofreewill, you had to be a "made (wo)man" in Bushco to be allowed to know everything that was going on, and the use/misuse of security clearances was a perfect piece of bureaucratic kungfu to carry out these goals. Also, selective disclosure to conscientious members of Congress allowed the Bushies to use the threat of prosecution for disclosure of the programs, effectively silencing them. No need to comment on the irony of the Bushies threatening to prosecute those who might leak info that would compromise national security. I am mystified by how quickly Congress has capitulated on this issue - I would hope that Senator Reid and Speaker Pelosi have more control over the caucus than to simply cave to Bush on the threat of an extended session without recess (no recess being a good idea its own right). Is is possible that there were some other concessions made by Bush that were not linked to the FISA capitulation? Reid and Pelosi must know that making a deal with Bush is like making a deal with a three card monte dealer, but there has to be something, (I hope and pray) than sheer political cowardice about the "terrorist lover" label that is operating here. Temp 6 month FISA in exchange for no recess appointments? Letting SCHIP and the 9-11 bills be passed by veto-proof majorities in exchange for FISA? Help me out here, I want to think that there is competent politics being practiced here by the Democratic leadership.

At least by the end, I suspect that Ashcroft was way too pragmatic for the fantasy world that the "insiders" created and lived in. That shows in his refusal to reauthorize the "program". You can imagine Ashcroft being excluded from these meeting because he would suggest that these actions will eventually come to light, the Big Dick's shadow government doesn't like reality intruding on their plots.

In short, he didn't want to be in the position that Abu is in now. I can't see that condescending ass letting himself look as stupid as Abu does now, he would fight back. I can actually see Ashcroft rolling over on chimpy and his handlers if they pissed him off or threatened him enough. Two megalomaniacs like the Big Dick and "goodness gracious" himself are not going to operate within the same sphere for long without one trying to dominate the other. Wars and coups are the normal outcome of such a clash of egos.

Right after 9-11, wasn't it Ashcroft who said he didn't care about courts of law, do what ever it takes to catch the terrorists? I believe it was in response to FBI Director Mueller's announcement to assembled cabinet members or WH politicians that the FBI would pursue terrorists with all means within the letter of the law in order to preserve evidence for use in court. My gut feeling is Ashcroft was part of the Program and maybe developed second thoughts (about what?) when Comey talked with him.

EW, we had technical difficulties over in Second Life on Thursday, the first morning of Ykos 2007, so unfortunately I missed your Libby panel. I'm hoping it shows up on the web eventually.

This mess with FISA is an effort by the rovian bushista party to win August in the public mind. The sole reason for the hurry-up was complaints from the FISA court, which could easily have waited a couple of months while we think. New York Times Article Instead, the cowed democrats leaped like Pavlovian dogs when the soft on terrorism bell rang. I had trouble sleeping last night, with this utter failure of political moxie in my face.

Just a comment on the goings-on in Chicago. I had been turned off by the Daily Kos a few months ago because of all the infighting, plus the length of the comment threads and a kind disdain for speculation in favor of hardball political tactics some apperently maintain at that site. Still the progression of the life of the issues raised by the Gonzales testimony obviously leads to a scrutiny of the uses and abuses of security in the post 9/11 environment and this movement appears to me to be both rational and transcendentally indicated from the perspective of principled self-governance making the dialogue at the convention an emergent and viable factor as a unifying force beyond any inherent sectarianism in the blogsphere. And it is ironic that as the Bush Administration has pursued its agenda, political security has been pursued by efforts to circumvent the Presidential Records Act and concerns clothed as National Security are cloaked behind a firewall of legality. Surely at some point there is politcal hay to be made in understanding the use and abuse of law to cloak illegal activities.

Though now I wish I were in Chicago for the blogroots organizing, at this point I think the kind of conventioning and organizing that is obviously occurring there is the best hope for a reasoned opposition committed to open government. This penchant for secrecy is a bane to self-governmenance. And I am sure the desire to intercept international communications unfettered by principle relates as much to monitoring global economics as to national security. The bottom line from the Republican perspective obviously is to create infrastructure markets for entities like the Dreyfus Group, Halliburton and Blackwater.

In the end though in commenting at this time I end up frustrated in that there is no political leadership that has taken up loudly an agenda of principle in informing and protecting enlightened constitutional governance in the context of a sound civil foreign policy. As I have stated before the present political concern that is apparently being pursued by the Administration and its supporters is an effort really about placing global economic efforts outside the reach of Constituional jurisdiction. The signature of this effort is the establishment as an acceptable bottomline global standard the deployment of coercive violence as a political method in Iraq. We see the earmarks of this global agenda again and again in the indicia of collateral damage, torturous interrogation techniques, extraordinary rendtion and inprisonment without due process. The problem with Congress and frontrunners in the Presidential field is the seduction of absolute power which they crave in a political tradeoff. And issues of international rights have little domestic poltical traction. A profound responsiblity has devolved to "the People" in the face of these circumstances.

If there is any doubt as to the absolute peril that Constitional civility now faces one need only ask whether in the history of constitutional self-governance there has been a greater error in foreign policy than the squandering of the outpouring of international goodwill following 9/11? There is much at stake not only for the citizens of the United States but also the people of the World.

Masaccio - Boy you got that right. Personally, I had just started having a shred of hope that we were making our mark on the Democratic leadership about standing up for what is right, necessary and in the public interest. Well, thats gone now. Cest la vie.

If the Dems had an affirmative agenda themselves, rather than simply reacting, they would have an established framework from which to critique publicly the FISA mess, the continuing lies from the Administration, etc.

It is political cowardice, yes, but also lack of direction, so they drift.

Albert Fall - I am not sure this is actually the case, or even that I necessarily think it is the case; but, in reading your last comment, the thought arises that this may one explanation for the solidifying of strength that Clinton seems to be making. I am neither a big fan, nor big foe, of Hillary; but she is certainly not my first choice as our candidate. That having been said, and say what you will about the Clintons, but they both come with a plan and a framework. We may not always agree with their plan, but at least you know they got one and are thinking, planning and plotting downfield for the longer term. Even if you disagree with some of the specifics (and I really do on several of the large specifics), this is still a quality that seems severely lacking in the other Dem leaders, especially those in Congress.

Over the past few years there are two signature issues that in my mind define if we have passed the stage of being a constitutional democracy to a dictatorship. One was the repeal of habeas corpus and the second the authorization to spy on Americans with no probable cause or judicial warrants.

There's no longer any doubt we legally are in a dictatorship.

I am sick to my stomach that the Dems have not just been complicit but have been active participants in the creation of this dictatorship since I worked so hard and contributed much money to Dem candidates in 2004 and 2006. This is not an issue of the Dems lacking spine - they are co-conspirators in the evisceration of our constitution and our 200 year experiment in the people's sovereignty.

Now many in the progressive blogosphere will state that we have to support the Dems since the alternative would be the Repubs winning. My question to you is what is the difference - under both Repub and Dem Congresses we have got the Patriot Act I & II. We have the warantless spying on Americans. We have the Military Commissions Act that removes any habeas corpus protections for citizens. We have an Administration that has lied to Congress and the American people, have committed perjury numerous times and abuses power and obstructs justice with impunity. Yet the Dems with a majority in Congress prevaricate when it comes to holding the Administration to account while they act with haste and speed when it comes to providing legal cover for the spying on Americans with no probable cause.

Others will say we have to change the Dem party. I think many folks like me tried. I worked my ass off for Jerry McNerney - he claimed he was a true progressive. Ever since he got into DC a short few months ago he has got a bad case of DCelitistitis that all of them get - Congressmen, Corporate media and Government political appointees.

So now we either give up and become robots doing the bidding of our masters or leave our homeland or begin to support third party candidates or something else. The status quo cannot hold - we'll be in the gulag before too long!

And what exceptional timing that the Dem collaboration in taking us further into "legal" dictatorship should come right as leading lights are gathered at YKos, where there is no way to address the pointed questions resulting from this latest cave-in.

Ishmael: Help me out here, I want to think that there is competent politics being practiced here by the Democratic leadership.

No help coming, friend. We're on our own.

I think there are enough disgruntled moderate Republicans and Democrats (call them all "Progressives") that a third party could possibly stand a chance at winning some foothold. I have been fed up for a long time with the status quo -- Washington is not doing a damned thing for the middle-class, middle-of-the-road person. I think a lot of people are ready for a real alternative -- and especially me!

Outrageous!! The FISA court apparently finds the Administration's surveillance practices to be unconstitutional, so the Administration attempts to amend the Constitution through fear based legislation. The fact that the bill permits the practices apparently previously found unconstitutional in secret does not cloak this action in constitutionality. But the sunset provision gives the act practical cover.

The votes are being counted now. I am livid. August 4, 2007, will this be a day of infamy.

JThomason - You have stated the dirty little secret quite succinctly. It is my understanding, although it is hard to know for sure because of the secretive nature of the FISA court, that the FISA ruling indeed found the Administration's activity violative of both the FISA statutes and the Constitution. Amending or restating the FISA statutes cannot ameliorate the Constitutional defect. So this legislation does not do anything to "fix" the problem, the only thing it does is give the Administration cover. 41 Democrats in the House voted yea. This is beyond pathetic. The clincher is that FISA and the FISA Court are themselves very arguably unconstitutional in the first place. We are now layering unconstitutionality upon unconstitutionality in serial fashion.

And what exceptional timing that the Dem collaboration in taking us further into "legal" dictatorship should come right as leading lights are gathered at YKos, where there is no way to address the pointed questions resulting from this latest cave-in.

I have been going over and over that since last night when it was confirmed that the high poobahs were staying behind in DC to accomplish this treachery. Furthermore, I assume the public gatherings at McCormick Place were over when the vote came in.

This kind of thing is one reason (of two) this Dragon stays Prostrate as much as possible. You have to leave room to accomodate an explosion like this and still be somewhat useful afterward.

There are a lot of wierd and covert things going on and the control, or manipulation might be more accurate, of security clearances has been going on for some time. I have posted on my blog an article about the State Dept's manipulation of security clearances to control and sometimes to take retribution on employees. (http://whistleblowersupporter.typepad.com)

Even with security clearances, some federal oversight agency employees have been experiencing being prevented from inspecting certain program areas in defense contractors recently, by having certain defense contractors just out of the blue refuse to give them access. It is piling higher and deeper by the day.

Perhaps the Democratic Leaders know when it is necessary to compromise and even agree with President Bush and the Repubicans.

Perhaps Jodi is our NSA watchdog. (Or not: in which case, it can really go and auto-copulate.)

The Dems know that when the next terrorist attack hits, the GOP will say it could have been prevented if only the Dems had acted more quickly on this latest legislative abomination. FWIW, and I don't in any way mean to defend the Dem's collapse.

Those of us on the left have talked for some while now about how the Rethugs have been playing the religious right for chumps. Paying them a lot of lip service, but giving them very little of what they want in return. We've been a bit smug perhaps, because it is clear to me that the Dems have been playing the progressive net roots for chumps as well. You can almost hear the gleeful cackling over at DailyKos as various pieces of evidence come in suggesting the Dems will win big in 2008. Someone over there even has a tag line accusing those who do not support the Dems as betraying the cause. But, who is betraying who here?

The Dems think I will vote for them because the Rethugs are a worse alternative. And vice versa for the Rethugs with their base. They don't give a damn about who or what they represent. It is all about preserving their incumbency. They get reelected by floating on the sea of corporate/big donor campaign contributions. It is the interests of those donors they represent. Republicans and Democrats are the same wolves wandering around in sheeps' clothing. We need to rid ourselves of all of them.

I like the idea of creating a Progressive Party through the net roots. The problem with remaking the Dems from within, an understandable approach, is seniority. Unless we topple the most senior Dems in primaries, then they will continue to lead the party in Washington, even if we manage to put new progressives in to replace Rethugs. It's time for the net roots to stop covering for the Dems' and hold them accountable for what they DO, not pat ourselves on the back for what they say.

There was no necessity to compromise and agree with President and "Repubicans" on FISA changes.

FISA worked just fine for decades to protect our Fourth Amendment rights against illegal search and seizure, and could continue to do so. The technology being used to spy on American citizens could be changed to fit the law; it was not necessary to change the law to fit the technology. (Just because a car can attain speeds of 300 mph does not mean we should change the speed limit, yes?)

Congress is now complicit in the violation of our Fourth Amendment rights; they've trashed the Constitution. Why should the public consent to this at all, no matter what side of the aisle?

I have been reading news accounts of the floor vote for FISA last night, and one of the reasons given for passing what the president wanted is that "He would have vetoed anything else."

So, what is the problem?

BMAZ and I had a couple of exchanges the other evening about who is pulling the Democratic leadership's strings, and here is just one more example. Something is really, really wrong.

As a long-time moderate Republican, I had to applaud last year when the Dems won control of Congress. I felt that there were (and are) some great abuses going on, and that new leadership could help to end those abuses. Instead, the new leadership is helping to continue them.

I have played with various ideas about all this, and there is only one conclusion that I can reach: the Bushies have a new "nuclear" option in play. That option, that they must be publicizing behind the scenes, is that they will stop at nothing to "keep this country safe," and they say it with a crazed look in their eyes.

It is the ultimate form of political blackmail, and one more sign of the dictatorship we now have.



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