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Records Released in ACLU’s National Security Letters Lawsuit
NEW YORK - April 1 - On the heels of an internal report criticizing the FBI for abusing its power to issue National Security Letters (NSLs), newly unredacted documents released today as a result of an American Civil Liberties Union and New York Civil Liberties Union lawsuit reveal that the Department of Defense (DoD) is using the FBI to circumvent legal limits on its own NSL power and may have overstepped its authority to obtain private and sensitive records of people within the United States without court approval. The previously withheld records also reveal that the military is secretly accessing these private records without providing training, guidance, or any real recordkeeping.
Director of National Intelligence Makes Case for Eliminating Intelligence Operations from Our Government
In a speech at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina this past week, Vice Admiral Mike McConnell told a crowd that, during the debate over the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, members of Senate called for the outright abolition of the Intelligence Community and even the jailing of President Bush: "We had a bill go into the Senate. It was debated vigorously," said McConnell. "There were some who said we shouldn't have an Intelligence Community. Some have that point of view. Some say the President of the United States violated the process, spied on Americans, should be impeached and should go to jail. I mean, this is democracy, you can say anything you want to say. That was the argument made. The vote was 68 to 29."
Now, we all have fantasies about Democrats with spines and respect for the Constitution, but we don't go around asserting them as fact or believing them to be true. And we don't all serve as Director of National Intelligence. If the director of an operation intended to acquire facts believes such patent absurdities, I think he makes the case for eliminating the operation.
By Coleen Rowley, Huffington Post
FULL DISCLOSURE: I wrote the following op-ed almost two weeks ago when an abundance of wishful thinking and the importance and timeliness of the push for FISA changes, investigation of the administration's out-of-control, error-laced terror watch list and other national security-civil liberty issues deluded me into thinking there was a chance of publication in the main stream media. Although one newspaper did apparently give it serious consideration, the op-ed got turned down in the ensuing two weeks by a succession of three different newspapers. So I give up! The blessing in disguise, however, with what would have been otherwise just a waste of time seeking hard print (and the best thing about on-line publication here on the Huffington Post) is that it comes with the ability to insert a couple of links to Glenn Greenwald's expose yesterday of Michael Mukasey's lies. Despite their tears, it's pretty clear that none of the President's men, including this theatrical AG, have any real interest in connecting the dots to make us safer.
And How the White House Pressured the New York Times to Kill the Story
In a national broadcast exclusive, we speak with New York Times reporter Eric Lichtblau about his new book, Bush's Law: The Remaking of American Justice. Lichtblau won the Pulitzer Prize for exposing the Bush administration's warrantless wiretapping program in December 2005. He reveals the inside story of the New York Times's decision to delay publication of the story for more than a year after intense lobbying from the White House.
By Greg Miller, Los Angeles Times
Congressional Democrats see the spy chief as an agent of the Bush administration. Relations are strained.
Washington - On the eve of a House vote on controversial wiretapping legislation last month, the nation's intelligence director, J. Michael McConnell, convened a secret weekend meeting in northern Virginia with members of the House Intelligence Committee.
The two-day session was designed to promote a calmer atmosphere for discussing an array of intelligence issues, including the nation's eavesdropping laws. But participants said the event ended with a series of acrimonious exchanges.
Democrats accused McConnell of making exaggerated claims and of doing the bidding of the Bush administration, according to officials who attended the event. McConnell bristled at the Democrats' charges, and chastised members of the committee for failing to defend the intelligence community amid a barrage of bad press.
The Intelligence Cover-Up
By New York Times
For more than two years now, Congress, the news media, current and former national security officials, think tanks and academic institutions have been engaged in a profound debate over how to modernize the law governing electronic spying to keep pace with technology. We keep hoping President Bush will join in.
Instead, the president offers propaganda intended to scare Americans, expand his powers, and erode civil liberties — and to ensure that no one is held to account for the illegal wiretapping he ordered after 9/11.
Please join me, and call in with your questions Monday evening, March 17, 2008, 8:00 - 9:00 p.m. ET. My guest will be retired General and former Director of the National Security Agency William Odom. We'll be discussing the occupation of Iraq, now entering its sixth year, and other abuses of power including warantless wiretapping. Listen in at http://www.thepeoplespeakradio.net
Phone in with your questions toll-free from the U.S. and Canada at 888-228-4494, and from the rest of the world at 877-489-6350.
WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD), House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers, and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes applauded today’s passage of the FISA Amendments Act, which passed the House 213-197.
Bill Would Allow Spying Cases to Proceed Fairly and Securely
Washington, D.C. - This morning the House of
Representatives passed a compromise surveillance bill that
does not include retroactive immunity for phone companies
alleged to have assisted in the NSA's warrantless
wiretapping program. The bill would allow lawsuits like the
Electronic Frontier Foundation's case against AT&T to
proceed while providing specific security procedures
allowing the telecom giants to defend themselves in court.
The House bill succeeded 213 to 197 despite the president's
[THANK THEM FOR STANDING UP FOR ONCE. ASK THEM TO DO SO ON OCCUPATION FUNDING.]
By PAMELA HESS, Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) - The House on Friday approved a Democratic bill that would set rules for the government's eavesdropping on phone calls and e-mails inside the United States.
The bill, approved as lawmakers departed for a two-week break, faces a veto threat from President Bush. The margin of House approval was 213-197, largely along party lines.
Because of the promised veto, "this vote has no impact at all,'' said Republican Whip Rep. Roy Blunt of Missouri.
By Christopher Kuttruff and Simona Perry, www.truthout.org
On Thursday night, the House held the first closed session meeting in 25 years in order to debate retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies who assisted the Bush administration in its warrantless surveillance program.  The session, requested by House minority whip Roy Blunt (R-Missouri), pushed back an upcoming vote (H.R. 3773) on updating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to today.
Mar 13, 2008(The Politico) As the House prepared to enter into a rare closed session Thursday night to discuss controversial electronic surveillance legislation, several House Democrats voiced strong objections to the meeting, offering a rare public objection to a floor decision by House Democratic leadership.
Kennedy Says Bush Guilty of "One of the Most Outrageous Abuses of Executive Power in Our Nation’s History"
Senator Edward M. Kennedy released the following statement in response to President Bush’s remarks on FISA this morning.
“Once again, the President continues to try to bully the Congress and mislead the American people on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. He refuses to accept that under our system of government, neither the President nor the telecommunications companies gets to decide which laws to follow and which to ignore.
Your action made the difference.
The New York Times reports that Chairman Silvestre Reyes is going to let the House vote today on a FISA reform bill that does not include telecom immunity.
You made thousands of calls to Rep. Reyes and got his attention. As he tried to play both sides of the issue, you hit back with a full page ad in the El Paso Times, his district's largest newspaper. And now, because of you, Chairman Reyes and House Democrats will vote to hold the Bush Administration accountable for warrantless wiretapping.
House Steers Its Own Path on Wiretaps
By Eric Lichtblau, New York Times
Washington - In continued defiance of the White House, House Democratic leaders are readying a proposal that would reject giving legal protection to the phone companies that helped in the National Security Agency's program of wiretapping without warrants after the Sept. 11 attacks, Congressional officials said Monday.
March 17th, 8-9 p.m. ET
Listen to General William Odom discuss the need to withdraw from Iraq on http://thepeoplespeakradio.net
This will be a live interview with host David Swanson, who will be taking calls from listeners. The conversation will cover both Iraq and warrantless spying.
William Eldridge Odom (born June 23, 1932) is a retired U.S. Army 3-star general, and former Director of the NSA under President Ronald Reagan, which culminated a 31 year career in military intelligence, mainly specializing in matters relating to the Soviet Union. After his retirement from the military he became a think tank policy expert and a university professor and has since became known for his outspoken criticism of the Iraq War and warrantless wiretapping of American citizens.
FISA Myths: Lies and Misconceptions behind Bush's Push for FISA Reform and Why House Leaders Must Not Cave
By Elliot D. Cohen
In a recent press conference, President Bush has attempted to turn up the heat on House leaders to pass Senate Bill 2248, which amends the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) as well as granting retroactive immunity to telecommunication companies such as AT&T and Verizon for aiding the Bush Administration in its NSA spying program. Unfortunately, the reasons the Bush Administration has given for passage of this bill do not hold water.
By Dan Eggen
The Washington Post
Thursday 06 March 2008
Security letters used to get personal data.
FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III told senators yesterday that agents improperly used a type of administrative subpoena to obtain personal data about Americans until internal reforms were enacted last year.
Mueller said a forthcoming report from the Justice Department's inspector general will find that abuses recurred in the agency's use of national security letters in 2006, echoing similar problems to those identified in earlier audits.
By Lara Jakes Jordan
The Associated Press
Wednesday 05 March 2008
Washington - FBI Director Robert Mueller says an upcoming Justice Department report will show the bureau improperly used national security letters to obtain personal data on Americans during terror and spy investigations.
Mueller says the report focuses on national security letters issued only in 2006 - a year before the FBI enacted sweeping new reforms to prevent future lapses.
Mueller's comments Wednesday morning in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee came just days before the Justice Department's inspector general is scheduled to release the follow-up to a similar audit in 2007.
Last year's report found that over a three-year period, the FBI had demanded personal data on people from banks, telephone and Internet providers and credit bureaus without official authorization and in non-emergency circumstances.
Last week, Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic majority stood up to the President’s fear mongering. They killed the Senate bill on FISA that included retroactive immunity for telecommunication companies who spied on innocent Americans.
But Republicans want to bring immunity back to life and the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Silvestre Reyes (TX-16) said over the weekend he was ready to make the deal. We must stop him.
Call Rep. Reyes right now and demand he stands with the Democratic majority and against telecom immunity.
By Glenn Greenwald, www.Salon.com
By Allan Uthman, Buffalo Beast, Alternet
Something astonishing happened the other day in the House: The Democratic leadership found some courage. After over a year of demoralizing, often inexplicable capitulation, they actually gathered the fortitude to push back slightly against Republicans on so-called national security issues. The Republicans' response was swift: They took their ball and went home, after a brief stop at a prearranged press conference on the Capitol steps.
By Dave Lindorff
With a viral campaign underway via email, right-wing radio, and on the street suggesting that Barack Obama is a black “Manchurian Candidate,” secretly trained as a Muslim fanatic who will insinuate himself into the White House, thence to undermine all that we hold dear, perhaps it is time to look at the Manchurian Candidate we already have in the White House, who, together with his handler over in Blair House, has pretty much done all the damage already.
This from Majority Leader Hoyer:
FISA FACT VS. FICTION
Republicans Try to Stampede America Once Again
Republicans have resorted to fear mongering in an attempt to stampede America on a key national security issue – the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Democrats are working hard to craft a bipartisan modernization of FISA that protects America, while protecting Americans’ fundamental rights.
Read more about the real facts on FISA.
Call Speaker Pelosi at 202-225-0100 and Majority Leader Hoyer at 202-225-4131. Tell them to stay strong against warrantless wiretapping and billions more for the Iraq war. READ MORE.