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On a related note: Inquiry into NSA warrentless eavesdropping dropped
Posted by: mcq on Thursday, May 11, 2006

Yes, that's right. The government (Justice Department) and ended its inquiry into the legality of the government (Executive branch) ordering warrentless wiretaps because the government (NSA) has refused to grant the government (back to the Justice Department) the necessary security clearances to examine government (NSA) records.
The government has abruptly ended an inquiry into the warrantless eavesdropping program because the National Security Agency refused to grant Justice Department lawyers the necessary security clearance to probe the matter.

The inquiry headed by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, or OPR, sent a fax to Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., on Wednesday saying they were closing their inquiry because without clearance their lawyers cannot examine Justice lawyers’ role in the program.
Now you can call all of that whatever you wish, but it is BS as far as I'm concerned. This isn't George Bush's "government". It is the government of the people of the United States, or so we're led to believe. This is unacceptable. This question is a question which needs to be resolved and the administration is failing in its duty to provide the resources necessary to settle it. In fact it is doing everything it can to discourage it. Congress, as usual, seems powerless or unwilling to insist on its right to oversight as granted by the Constitution.

And you wonder why a growing number of us out here are looking at an opportunity to change the mix in Congress in '06?
 
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Comments
Let me ’spain it to you, Lucy.
As someone who was seconded to DIA for six years, I can state that intelligence operatives don’t trust either politicians or lawyers because both types have a problem with "Help!!! I’m talking and I can’t shut up!".
Justice Department is a particularly unwholesome crossbreeding of the rwo worst segments of society. They exemplify the quip "They know more and more about less and less until they know everything about nothing."
Don’t misunderstand me, as a libertarian-NeoLibertarian-Objectivist, I too, believe that a shake-up is in order. The smoke and mirrors routine of misdirection that is so reminiscent of a pickpocket or the man behind the curtain infuriates me. I can’t decide to be more upset with the ninnies that are stupid and uneducated enough to be distracted by such hijinks or the scoundrels that perpetrate them.
 
Written By: Richard
URL: http://soslies.blogspot.com
As someone who was seconded to DIA for six years, I can state that intelligence operatives don’t trust either politicians or lawyers because both types have a problem with "Help!!! I’m talking and I can’t shut up!".
Don’t really care. We don’t work for intelligence operatives, they work for us.

Legal questions aren’t to be held hostage to the likes or dislikes of intelligence operative.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
As I said, "smoke and mirrors". Who has the authority, by law, to grant the clearances? Hint, it ain’t Justice.
 
Written By: Richard
URL: http://soslies.blogspot.com
Who has been illegally wiretapped by the NSA? Who has been wrongfully convicted of a crime or wrongfully investigated for a crime where the NSA provided evidence obtained from illegal wiretaps?

Short answer: no one.

Long answer: the inquiry was nothing more than a political fishing expedition and I have no problem with it being shut down. National security and all, ya know?
 
Written By: Arcs
URL: http://
Who has been illegally wiretapped by the NSA?
Who knows? You certainly don’t. And that’s the point, one, obviously, you’re comfortable with ignoring.

Individual rights and all, ya know.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
Certainly disturbing... if your premise is correct.

There is, of course, the simple explaination that maybe the lawyers from justice are not "clean" enough to get high level security clearance.

Also, why was the initial report faxed to Rep Hinchey D-NY? Who is Hinchey and under what authority does he operate?

I’m not saying that one shouldnt be concerned, just that in this climate of stunts rather than substance, I’m not goung to jump to the conclusion suggested by MSNBC.

 
Written By: bains
URL: http://
Congress, as usual, seems powerless or unwilling to insist on its right to oversight as granted by the Constitution. And you wonder why a growing number of us out here are looking at an opportunity to change the mix in Congress in ’06?
LOL so you can go from a Congress that won’t oversee to a Congress that will focus on a laser on the most minute oversight issues so they can damage and score points, but will run away from big important issues (like this one). Be honest McQ, do you really think the Dems won’t avoid this like the plague? It’s fine for them to make noises about it now because they know they won’t have to put up (sort of like when Murtha shot his mouth off, but he miscalculated)

I’m not saying I’m not for throwing the bums out and starting entirely fresh, but that’s not one of the choices here. (If it was, I’ll vote for it) Your choice is between lazy inaction and malicious petty actions.

Sad
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
According to Confederate Yankee, this wasn’t about the legality of the NSA program; it was about determining if DOJ lawyers were unethical.

Therefore, your entire opening sentence, and thus, the premise of your piece, is incorrect.

NED
 
Written By: NewEnglandDevil
URL: http://
Be honest McQ, do you really think the Dems won’t avoid this like the plague?
Actually, shark, as I’ve said previously, this is the one investigation they should promise to do if given the House.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
The government has abruptly ended an inquiry into the warrantless eavesdropping program ... they were closing their inquiry because without clearance their lawyers cannot examine Justice lawyers’ role in the program.
IOW they are being kept from what they consider a necessary examination of their own lawyer’s roles in, most likely, giving legal cover to the NSA program.

So no, the premise is entirely correct.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
The NSA program has Congressional oversight - and it doesn’t include blabbering to every singel member of Congress and newspaper in the world. It is a bi-partisan panel - DiFi is on it, for example. She has been breifed regularly on it, as have the other members of the select panel. She has also said that she knows what is being done and is not at liberty to discuss details. If there were truly abuses, random SS troopers kicing in doors of Americans across the country, etc., then you may have a point.

This post reads a little too much like a Kos rant and not the normal quality of a Q & O post. IMHO.
 
Written By: Good Lt
URL: http://www.aredphishhead.blogspot.com
The government (Justice Department) and ended its inquiry into the legality of the government (Executive branch) ordering warrentless wiretaps
This is just a downright false statement.

If McQ had read the entire article, instead of just the headline, he would have known this. The article states:
In February, the OPR announced it would examine the conduct of their own agency’s lawyers in the program, though they were not authorized to investigate NSA activities.
(emphasis added)

This was not an investigation of the NSA program. Period.

 
Written By: A.S.
URL: http://
The only way to satisfy some people is to make it public.

e.g.
"Oh, so you’re using this new technology to tap the cell phone cards that terrorists thought were safe...Oh, well, okay then. Keep it up!"

Meanwhile the terrorists are alerted...GOOD GOING!

Like all the other people said: congressional people from both parties were briefed...what more can we do to satisfy the inquiring minds at QandO?

I guess the opposition party legislators who have been briefed would be the only ones who could assuage the concerns, but they seem to prefer the discomfort of Bush than they do explaining that its okay (or not) once and for all.



 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Actually, shark, as I’ve said previously, this is the one investigation they should promise to do if given the House.
LOL but not what I asked, do you really think they’ll investigate this one? It’s far more likely that Conyers and Pelosi will spend the remaining 2 years beating the impeachment drum over the prewar intelligence and oil prices.

Is that the kind of "oversight" you want?

If so, pull the "D" lever on election day
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Shark, how bad do the republicans have to get before saying "the Dems are worse" stops making sense as a strategic statement?

Neither party deserves anything at the moment. Well, unless you count a swift boot right up their, y’know...
 
Written By: b-psycho
URL: http://www.psychopolitik.com
I have to wonder why this is an issue now? Why was this story from 7 years ago forgotten? It seems to me that once again the MSM is stoking the flames by dredging up old news and presenting it as new.

From the NYT article dated May 27, 1999
Last week, the House Committee on Intelligence requested that the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency provide a detailed report to Congress explaining what legal standards they use to monitor the conversations, transmissions and activities of American citizens.

The request is part of an amendment to the annual intelligence budget bill, the Intelligence Reauthorization Act. It was proposed by Bob Barr, a Georgia Republican and was supported by the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Porter Goss, a Florida Republican. The amendment was passed by the House on May 13 and will now go before the Senate.
Why the outrage over this now? Could it be partisan politics? You decide.
 
Written By: Opinionated Vogon
URL: http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/99/05/cyber/articles/27network.html
Shark, how bad do the republicans have to get before saying "the Dems are worse" stops making sense as a strategic statement?

Neither party deserves anything at the moment. Well, unless you count a swift boot right up their, y’know...
That’s up to the individual voters I guess. Personally there’s still some daylight between the two on at least a couple of issues.

But that’s where we are....a 3rd party can pull a lot of votes in this climate
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
While I stand by what I said earlier, after going back and reading the original release, I realized that the investigation was of professional conduct of the NSA lawyers. No investigation of any program. In other words, "A fishing we will go!"
Of course I always think that investigations of lawyers are warranted just because they are lawyers, but investigation of lawyers as an end run to discover something about their "clients" would seem to be a bit out of line.
 
Written By: Richard
URL: http://soslies.blogspot.com
There’s no "there" there.

National Security: you can organize with an eye toward minimizing false negatives, or toward minimizing false positives, not both. Likewise, you can organize toward security/effectiveness and trust internal policing, or you can organize toward oversight and lower effectiveness. But again, not both.

You get angry at the "Bush" government for this, saying this is the government of the American People, not Bush...but you don’t seem to consider that this isn’t a Bush administration covering for itself, this is a power struggle between moribund government bureaucracies. The NSA has done a far better job of internal policing than the State Dept or the CIA, but the scary sound of "roving wiretaps" seems to put NSA in the crosshairs when the other two are given a pass.

Not to mention, the press apparently has a vested interest to not look too closely at the organs that undermine President Bush, eh? You guys are normally pretty good at reading between the lines of shoddy press reporting. Why not on this issue?
 
Written By: Nathan
URL: http://brain.mu.nu/
While I stand by what I said earlier, after going back and reading the original release, I realized that the investigation was of professional conduct of the NSA lawyers. No investigation of any program. In other words, "A fishing we will go!"
Hardly. Such investigations are critical, given that the NSA lawyers are offering certain legal theories and directing NSA staff to obey the law or not according to such theories, and also appearing in the FIS court for matters, including the securing of warants. In 2002 the FIS Court in a rare, publicly available Opinion bitch-slapped 75 FBI agents and lawyers for executing false affidavits and other misbehaviors and improprieties that flouted FISA. So there was ordered an investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility, more misfeasance was found, and a full report had not yet been made to the clearly impatient court as of the date of the Opinion.

That was misfeasance found when affidavits were submitted to secure warrants, which is very likely also still happening. But whatever misfeasance is occurring that would never be exposed to a court, due to Bush’s belief that he doesn’t have to secure warrants for international calls, and this data-mining project, is impossible to know without an OPR investigation. Which Bush has blocked by playing a slick and cynical game of denying the OPR a security clearance.

Why are you so trusting of your government? Because Geroge Bush is president?
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
You all have missed the point. The liberals in the White House are "more equal" than the rest of us. The laws do not apply to Bush’s lefties. And the Bill of Rights is not applicable to what these liberal liars and their Thought Police do. Remember War is Peace and our liberal President is a conservative!
 
Written By: Rodney A Stanton
URL: http://
McQ, maybe you’re getting a little taste here of what it feels like to disagree with the conclave.

It’s very obvious to anyone who cares about privacy - a genuine, non-partisan dislike of the government watching me without finding beforehand specific evidence that I am doing something wrong - that this government has literally zero interest in our privacy and will do absolutely everything they can to compromise it. to pursue real terrorism, or imagined terrorism, or drug busts, or to smear political opponents. They’ll do so because it will simply make them feel more in control.

But your audience, or at least a large and vocal plurality of it, cares nothing about privacy unless a Democrat or a liberal is violating it. Those leakers you’re always trashing on here - those leakers exposed secret prisons for which the public has no record of whom has been put in them. At the same time, this Administration attempted to declare a U.S. citizen an "enemy combatant", whom it therefore had the right to "dissapear." This adminstration also hunts for judges and applauds judges who thinks that all these things are just fine.

Most of the people on this blog also applaud. If a story leaked that 100 of the people in Guantanamo Bay had actually been U.S. citizens the whole time, most people here would simply assume that they had been trying to blow something up. You’d never be able to convince them otherwise. If you did, they’d come up with some other justification for why it’s perfectly okay to incarcerate US citizens indefinitely without court involvement.

"BDS" is everyone’s favorite word around here, but for people that have hated democrats and liberals for decades, for all kinds of reasons, mostly propaganda, possibly based on some actual mistakes in the past couple of decades,
there’s an opposite function: Authoritarian Cultism. Hat tip to Glenn Greewald for the phrase.

It’s a glorification of the government’s ability - under Republican hands- to bend the law to punish and neutralise anyone who disagrees with them. They cheer for it. They revel in it. They cheer for it as if they were at a baseball game.

 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Glasnost - can you find a broader brush to paint with?
 
Written By: meagain
URL: http://
It’s very obvious to anyone who cares about privacy - a genuine, non-partisan dislike of the government watching me without finding beforehand specific evidence that I am doing something wrong - that this government has literally zero interest in our privacy and will do absolutely everything they can to compromise it. to pursue real terrorism, or imagined terrorism, or drug busts, or to smear political opponents. They’ll do so because it will simply make them feel more in control
Indeed. Off to the BUSHCO reeducation camps with you!
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
McQ, maybe you’re getting a little taste here of what it feels like to disagree with the conclave.
Got that with our posts on torture (among other subjects). As you might imagine it doesn’t bother me very much.

However, I am glad to see spirited debate going on in the comment section. That why we have one. Sometimes its just a good idea to get out of the way let everyone have at it. That and the fact that I just got in from a grueling trip out of town and have an appointment early tomorrow morning.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
National Security: you can organize with an eye toward minimizing false negatives, or toward minimizing false positives, not both.
True, but irrelevant. It’s not a philosophical question of which side to err on. The problem is that this administration publicly sets its own boundaries, and then crosses them.

The fact of the matter is that a hell of a lot of people sincerely do not mind losing their privacy like this. So why play games with the truth? Why not stand up and say "we are studying patterns of telephone activity within and beyond the United States to fight the war on terror"? It might not be a position I can support, but at least it would be honest.
 
Written By: Bitter
URL: http://qando.net/
How, exactly would changing the mix in congress make the slightest bit of difference to what happened here, again? That’s like saying you’re going to buy a new car because your water bill keeps going up at home.

Something to consider is that there’s a war going on in the government between Clinton holdovers who are willing to do anything, even something illegal, to stop and hurt this president, and an administration trying to fight a war on terror while having the press, people working in the administration, and one whole political party trying to stop and harm him at every turn.

Maybe, just maybe you should consider the possibility that the administration is tired of leaks and damaging information getting out about what is meant to be a covert operation - in this case one repeatedly and unequivocably cleared by the judicial department and the FISA courts - and is simply done with having these cheap stunts pulled to cause the very efforts to protect this nation problems.

Isn’t that a possibility at least? Especially given all the news lately about Mary McCarthy and others?

Richard puts it very well.
 
Written By: Christopher Taylor
URL: http://networdblog.blogspot.com/
All this stuff if just making me sick...i think the real intelligence is with a guy I came across...you gotta see Dr. Kevin Peterson’s webiste. So simple but I love his tongue in cheek stuff.

check out: www.NoneoftheAboveforPresident.com

Way so cool
 
Written By: Millie
URL: http://www.politicalpartyresearch.com

 
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