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November 28, 2007


Off the top of my head:
How much money they're paying him?
How cozy they are with all the GOoPers?
How cozy they are with everyone on the committee?
How much the telecoms already know about the illegality of this stuff?
How much the committee already knows about the illegality of this stuff?
Who threatened whom and with what?

Do they know the odds on the peasants with the pitchforks and torches showing up at the gates before the next election?

I should say, PJ, that we're not getting the classified documents by the 10th. Those are almost certainly the ones that reveal the telecoms knew they were breaking the law.

Because in this administration, if it's law-breaking, it's considered a State Secret.

And a couple of additional thoughts:

1. The EFF FOIA request is only for those DNI/ODNI "records from April 2007 to August 31, 2007 concerning briefings, discussions, or other exchanges..." All the Telco lobbying after August 31 is gonna be missing.

2. After reading the Judge's actual order, the DNI must "provide an initial release no later than November 30, 2007..." which is this Friday, and before the FISA Update Senate speechifying and voting would have taken place next Tuesday. We might get some goodies before the actual voting after all. Stuff like:

A. Which Telcos did the lobbying. Why is that important? 'Cause we don't know just who all is on the hook for criminal violations of FISA and are trying to get off that feckin' hook.

B. Which Lobbyists are involved. Why is that important? 'Cause it may show if and just how deeply in the pockets of both parties, the Teloc criminals are trying to hide.

Mad Dog

Good point about the August 31 timing. But there was almost certainly a big swell of lobbying that took place right after the PAA on August 4. So that should be revealing, at least.

Though the big luncheon with DiFi was probably after August 31, since she would have been home in California during all of August.

Willaim Barr, Jamie Gorelick, Charlie Black, Some Dude Named Cheney....


Another point to consider is that the lobbying to be reported occurred after the FISC rulings.

The FISC rulings as we've commented on earlier, may have been the impetus for John-boy Ashcroft's and the DOJ/FBI's leadership threatened resignations.

And in addition, the FISC rulings may have also been the impetus for the Telco's crying to both the DNI and Congress to be let off the criminal violations of FISA hook.

Actually, MD, I think that may well be the most interesting part of this--we'll get to see whether it's the suits in CA, or something else, that is behind the push for immunity.

OT: MD - I'm still chuckling about the new horseshoe magnet logo for the GOP (One with little lightning bolts coming off the ends).

He is attempting to further cover up the Ashcroft bedside meeting and the DOJ near-mutiny. THIS is the reason for the attempt to bypass Comey, and this is the dirty little secret, and I aqm dying to know what it was.

Do you think those supply-sider republican conservatives were ready to jump DOJ because of civil liberties? That is laugh-out-loud funny. They were ready to mutiny because the government, by continuing the program without proper legal authority, was exposing the rich telecom folks to civil damages.

I am betting that they will find some way of not complying, or partially complying with the order regardless of the FISA bill's progress. But after the fisa bill is done, the heat will be much less, and when they inevitably tell the court to go screw itself, fewer people will be watching.


I find your point about civil damages being the Telco's primary concern a plausible one, but I do believe that their criminal jeopardy concerns are equally if not more plausible. And perhaps both got top billing.

Hopefully, we shall soon see.

Here's something I'll toss into the mix bc I've thought about it a lot, but never really gotten around to fleshing it out as a post or looking at laws.

In addition to telecom damages/liability here at home, the SWIFT situation comes to mind. I know everyone pretty much equates "foreigners" with "foreign powers and their agents" but the FISA statute doesn't. It was never intended to be a statement that the Feds can wiretap all foreigners, all the time, with no probable cause of either a) a crime, or b) that they are in contact with a foreign power.

So I have to wonder how massively foreign calls were swept up and what the privacy rules in other countries are with resepct to teleproviders assisting or engaging in wiretaps with not home country statutory authorization or warrants?

I tend to wonder if a part of the need to try to keep so "secret" much of what seems, on its face, pretty obvious is the concern that telecos, acting not under any statute in the US or US warrant, might be in a bit of the SWIFT situation vis a vis foreign country privacy laws?

fwiw - I think it's kind of chewy myself.


At the very least, you've got to believe that's true in the UK, where we're supposed to be friends, and where they do have restrictions about wiretaps. Interesting thought.

For the life of me, I don't understand why the judge doesn't haul McConnell in front of the court and jail him for contempt until he complies. I think the federal judiciary can and should start applying this tactic to executive officials on a widespread basis because of their stalling, stonewalling, and noncompliance.

On what McConnell is hiding: I think the program is to record literally everything that passes down the wires so that they can reconstruct social networking patterns after a terrorist attack, in the hopes that they could, in the future, monitor and predict future plans. The problem is cordoning off "US persons" from "everything else"; the NSA wants to be able to go to the FISC for telephone/email/web browsing traffic that is already tapped, already recorded, which clearly contradicts the law. Another problem is that under this program there is no safeguard to prevent NSA from snooping on US persons without a warrant. I think that the legal memos justifying the program would probably parse the difference between directing the telecoms to record everything versus the government's access to that information via a formal FISC process. The telecoms' immunity hinges on whether they were legally able to make such recordings.

Another aspect is that this form of intelligence gathering would be immensely useful against foreign governments and their intelligence services; it seems to me that we shouldn't be too reluctant about getting that information. There may also be a pretty sophisticated counterintelligence program going on within that program as well. The Russians and increasingly the Chinese have become adept at hacking into Pentagon computers; it could be that the Pentagon's counterintel people are showing a little leg in order to determine precisely who wants to know what and why; knowing what the Chinese/Russians want to know illuminates what they're concerned about, what their future plans may be, etc. It also allows you to feed their intelligence agencies misinformation. The Pentagon has been shutting down or not updating a lot of their websites lately, and introducing new restrictions about email usage.

a dumb question: we have seen that the Bush/Cheney/Rove DoJ will go after Dem rivals in politically motivated suits. They already tried to get rid of Lott once. Do you think they would go after a Republican rival using same tactics?

For the life of me, I don't understand why the judge doesn't haul McConnell in front of the court and jail him for contempt until he complies.

well, given what we now know about the "Family Values" of the "Honorable" senator trent lott, maybe we should investigate the financial records of the judge in question

anybody ask the judge if he's received $40,000 in a brown paper bag lately ???

I know that questioning a judge;s integrity like that might not be a good idea, but we have a right to know why these judges have such reluctance to standing up against these corrupt reouglitard bastards

if a judge can't find the moral courage to uphold the law equally, then I'm mean enough to ask if the judge has been bought off

there has to be a reason that these people can't seem to do the right thing

I'm going to assume it ISN'T cowardice

I'll just assume they're morally bankrupt instead

we should put all judges on notice

uphold the law, or we'll find out why you didn't

rxbusa writes:

a dumb question: we have seen that the Bush/Cheney/Rove DoJ will go after Dem rivals in politically motivated suits. They already tried to get rid of Lott once. Do you think they would go after a Republican rival using same tactics?

Not a dumb question at all. I think that they were the first to be knuckled under. As one wag put it, "not a sparrow in the field falls without Karl knowing about it."

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