SHOULD OUR CURRENT PRESIDENT BE IMPEACHED???

photo borrowed from http://www.rense.com/

 

compiled by Dee Finney

Did Bush Commit an Impeachable Offense?
    By Senator Barbara Boxer
    t r u t h o u t | Letter

    Monday 19 December 2005

Boxer asks presidential scholars about former White House counsel's statement that Bush admitted to an 'impeachable offense.'

    Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today asked four presidential scholars for their opinion on former White House Counsel John Dean's statement that President Bush admitted to an "impeachable offense" when he said he authorized the National Security Agency to spy on Americans without getting a warrant from a judge.

    Boxer said, "I take very seriously Mr. Dean's comments, as I view him to be an expert on Presidential abuse of power. I am expecting a full airing of this matter by the Senate in the very near future."

    Boxer's letter is as follows:

    On December 16, along with the rest of America, I learned that President Bush authorized the National Security Agency to spy on Americans without getting a warrant from a judge. President Bush underscored his support for this action in his press conference today.

    On Sunday, December 18, former White House Counsel John Dean and I participated in a public discussion that covered many issues, including this surveillance. Mr. Dean, who was President Nixon's counsel at the time of Watergate, said that President Bush is "the first President to admit to an impeachable offense." Today, Mr. Dean confirmed his statement.

    This startling assertion by Mr. Dean is especially poignant because he experienced first hand the executive abuse of power and a presidential scandal arising from the surveillance of American citizens.

    Given your constitutional expertise, particularly in the area of presidential impeachment, I am writing to ask for your comments and thoughts on Mr. Dean's statement.

    Unchecked surveillance of American citizens is troubling to both me and many of my constituents. I would appreciate your thoughts on this matter as soon as possible.

    Sincerely,

    Barbara Boxer
    United States Senator

 


    Go to Original

    Rep. Lewis Calls for Bush Impeachment
    The Associated Press

    Tuesday 20 December 2005

    Atlanta - U.S. Representative John Lewis said in a radio interview on Monday that President Bush should be impeached if he broke the law in authorizing spying on Americans.

    The Democratic congressman from Georgia told WAOK-AM that he would sign a bill of impeachment if one was drawn up and that the House of Representatives should consider such a move.

    Lewis is among several Democrats who have voiced discontent with Sunday night's television speech, where Bush asked Americans to continue to support the Iraq War. Lewis is the first major House figure to suggest impeaching Bush.

    Lewis said -quote- "It's a very serious charge, but he violated the law.The president should abide by the law. He deliberately, systematically violated the law. He is not King, he is president."

  -------

 

www.nytimes.com/ 


NSA SPYING PROGRAM BOMBSHELL: DESPITE BUSH's ASSURANCES THAT INTERCEPTED CALLS WERE FROM U.S. TO SUSPECTED 'TERORRISTS' OVERSEAS, IT IS NOW REVEALED THAT SOME OF THE WIRETAPPED CALLS WERE MADE WITHIN THE U.S.! /
N.S.A. CALLS INTERCEPTS "ACCIDENTAL" AND SOMETIMES CAN'T TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A DOMESTIC CALL AND AN INTERNATIONAL CALL!      
By James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, N Y Times Staff Writers, Wednesday,
December 21, 2005 / Front Page Splash, all editions

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21 A surveillance program approved by President Bush to conduct eavesdropping without warrants HAS CAPTURED WHAT ARE PURELY DOMESTIC COMMUNICATIONS in some cases, despite a requirement by the White House that one end of the intercepted conversations take place on foreign soil, officials say.

The officials say the National Security Agency's interception of a small number of communications between people within the United States was apparently ACCIDENTAL, and was caused by technical glitches at the National Security Agency in determining whether a communication was in fact "international."

Telecommunications experts say the issue points up TROUBLING LOGISTICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT THE PROGRAM. At a time when communications networks are increasingly globalized, it is sometimes difficult even for the N.S.A. to determine whether someone is inside or outside the United States when making a cellphone call or sending an e-mail message. As a result, people that the security agency may think are outside the United States
are actually on American soil. 

Vice President Dick Cheney entered the debate over the legality of the program on Tuesday, casting the program as part of the administration's efforts to assert broader presidential powers. [Page A36.] 

Eavesdropping on communications BETWEEN TWO PEOPLE WHO ARE BOTH INSIDE THE United States IS PROHIBITED under Mr. Bush's order allowing some domestic surveillance.

But in at least one instance, someone using an international cellphone was thought to be outside the United States when in fact both people in
the conversation were in the country.

Officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the program remains classified, would NOT DISCUSS THE NUMBER OF ACCIDENTAL
INTERCEPTS, but the total is thought to represent a very small fraction of the total number of wiretaps that Mr. Bush has authorized without
getting warrants.

In all, officials say the program has been used to EAVESDROP ON AS MANY AS 500 PEOPLE AT ANY ONE TIME, with the total number of people reaching perhaps into the THOUSANDS IN THE LAST THREE YEARS.

Mr. Bush and his senior aides have emphasized since the disclosure of the program's existence last week that the president's executive order applied only to cases where one party on a call or e-mail message was outside the United States.

Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the former N.S.A. director who is now the second-ranking intelligence official in the country, was asked at a White House briefing this week whether there had been any "purely domestic" intercepts under the program.

"The authorization given to N.S.A. by the president requires that one end of these communications has to be outside the United States," General Hayden answered. "I can assure you, by the physics of the intercept, by how we actually conduct our activities, that one end of these communications are always OUTside the United States."

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales also emphasized that the order only applied to international communications.

"People are running around saying that the United States is somehow spying on American citizens calling their neighbors," he said. "Very, very important to understand that one party to the communication HAS TO BE OUTSIDE the United States."

A spokeswoman for the office of national intelligence declined comment on whether the N.S.A. had intercepted any purely domestic communications. "We'll stand by what General Hayden said in his statement," said the spokeswoman, Judy Emmel.

The Bush administration has not released the guidelines that the N.S.A. uses in determining who is suspected of having links to Al Qaeda and may be a target under the program. General Hayden said the determination was made by operational people at the agency and "must be signed off by a shift supervisor," with the process closely scrutinized by officials at the agency, the Justice Department and elsewhere.

But questions about the legal and operational oversight of the program last year prompted the administration to suspend aspects of it temporarily and put in place tighter restrictions on the procedures used to focus on suspects, said people with knowledge of the program. The judge who oversees the secret court that authorizes intelligence warrants -- and which has BEEN LARGELY BYPASSED BY THE PROGRAM -- also raised concerns about aspects of the program.

The concerns led to a secret audit, which did not reveal any abuses in focusing on suspects or instances in which purely domestic communications were monitored, said officials familiar with the classified findings.

General Hayden, at this week's briefing, would not discuss many technical aspects of the program and did not answer directly when asked whether the program was used to eavesdrop on people who should not have been. But he indicated that N.S.A. operational personnel sometimes decide to stop surveillance of a suspect when the eavesdropping has not produced relevant leads on terror cases.

"We can't waste resources on targets that simply don't provide valuable information, and when we decide that is the case," the decision on whether a target is "worthwhile" is usually made in days or weeks, he said.

National security and telecommunications experts said that even if the N.S.A. seeks to adhere closely to the rules that Mr. Bush has set, the logistics of the program may make it difficult to ensure that the rules are being followed.

With roaming cellphones, internationally routed e-mail, and voice-over Internet technology, "it's often tough to find out where a call started and ended," said Robert Morris, a former senior scientist at the N.S.A. who is retired. "The N.S.A. is good at it, but it's difficult even for them. Where a call actually came from is often a mystery."
------------------------------------------
Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company /


http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/21/politics/
21nsa.html?ei=5094&en=c385132b746e1109&hp=&ex=1135141200&partner=homepage&pagewanted=print
This is an interesting read...former NSA agents don't like what they are seeing with Bush.

jd

Wiretap Mystery: Spooks React

A few current and former signals intelligence guys have been checking in since this NSA domestic spying story broke. Their reactions range between mildly creeped out and completely pissed off.

All of the SigInt specialists emphasized repeatedly that keeping tabs on Americans is way beyond the bounds of what they ordinarily do -- no matter what the conspiracy crowd may think.

"It's drilled into you from minute one that you should not ever, ever, EVER, under any fucking circumstances turn this massive apparatus on an American citizen," one source says. "You do a lot of weird shit. But at
least you don't fuck with your own people."

Another, who's generally very pro-Administration, emphasized that the operation at least started with people that had Al-Qaeda connections -- with some mass-spying master list. As the Times, in its original story, noted:

"The C.I.A. seized the terrorists' computers, cellphones and personal phone directories, said the officials familiar with the program. The N.S.A. surveillance was intended to exploit those numbers and addresses
as quickly as possible, they said....In addition to eavesdropping on those numbers and reading e-mail messages to and from the Qaeda figures, the N.S.A. began monitoring others linked to them, creating an expanding chain. While most of the numbers and addresses were overseas, hundreds were in the United States, the officials said....Since 2002, the agency has been conducting some warrantless eavesdropping on people in the United States who are linked, even if indirectly, to suspected terrorists through the chain of phone numbers and e-mail addresses.

http://www.defensetech.org/archives/002032.html

 

These two efforts are complementary - H.Res.635 seeks accountability for the Bush administration's monumental crimes, while H.Res.636 and H.Res.637 seek accountability for their coverups.

Ask your Congress Member to support these efforts!
http://capwiz.com/pdamerica/issues/alert/?alertid=8329176

Bush on the Constitution: 'It's just a goddamned piece of paper'

Bush Lets U.S. Spy on Callers Without Courts


=====================================================================
WHAT THE CONSTITUTION SAYS ABOUT IMPEACHMENT

TREASONGATE: A NEW CONSTITUTIONAL DISCOVERY:

Pardons May Be Voided For Criminal Prosecutions Flowing From "Cases of Impeachment"

http://citizenspook.blogspot.com/2005_09_11_citizenspook_archive.html

The Constitution Voids Presidential Pardons For Criminal Convictions Or Indictments Flowing From "Cases of Impeachment" Where The Senate Has Voted To Convict.
(the image is only referenced in the Epilogue)

[UPDATED Sept 14, 2005, 7:15 a.m. Substantive additions are in red.]


PROLOGUE: Citizen Spook has timed this report to coincide with John Roberts' confirmation hearings for Chief Justice of The Supreme Court. Roberts' most important function, as far as the Bush White House is concerned, will be to ensure that presidential pardons, issued by Bush in relation to Treasongate offenses, will be upheld by the highest court in the land.

As Chief Justice, Roberts will have the most power to steer the court and to determine which justice will write the court's opinion on controversial topics. While the entire nation focuses on whether Roberts would overturn Roe v. Wade, much more important to the Bush White House is the role Roberts will play in the impending Constitutional crisis over presidential pardons for the Treasongate offenders.

Many readers of this blog have expressed concern that any indictments returned by Patrick Fitzgerald's grand jury(s) will simply be nullified by presidential pardons. Their concern is certainly justified. Generally, the president's power to pardon is virtually unlimited and not subject to judicial review.

However, in researching the issue, I was pleasantly surprised to discover an obscure Constitutional device which insulates certain convictions/indictments from the broad pardon power granted to the president. This never before tested Constitutional process requires the House of Representatives to Impeach and the Senate to convict "civil Officers of the United States" so that pardons of those Officers pertaining to criminal prosecutions flowing from "Cases of Impeachment" can be voided.

The power to Impeach granted to Congress is essential to our Republican system of checks and balances. For what good are checks and balances if they are not employed to maintain the laws of the nation? If Fitzgerald's investigation properly alleges criminal activity by Government Officers involved with Treasongate offenses, Congress must begin Impeachment proceedings to remove those Officers.

The coming Supreme Court battle has never, in the history of American jurisprudence, been tested before. The question presented:

Whether "civil Officers of the United States", including the President and Vice President, can be pardoned for criminal convictions (or indictments prior to conviction) which flow from "Cases of Impeachment" where the Senate has voted to convict?

This issue has never been tested in our entire national history. Actually, I couldn't find a single legal discussion directly on point. No civil Officer of the United States has ever been Impeached in the House of Representatives, convicted in the Senate, then removed from office and successfully prosecuted in a criminal court only to be granted a presidential pardon.

According to the Constitution, "civil Officers of the United States" may be Impeached. So, for purposes of this analysis, we shall assume that various United States Officers, from the President and Vice President to Cabinet members and others in the State and Justice Departments, have committed impeachable offenses. We will also assume that the House has impeached these Officers after Patrick Fitzgerald's investigative report is released and that the Senate has voted to convict and thereafter removed them from office and that Grand Jury indictments have been returned following the Senate's conviction. And finally, we will also assume that the "sitting" president has issued sweeping pardons for every Officer indicted in criminal court.

This analysis will be limited to situations where convictions/indictments occur after House Impeachment and Senate conviction. Assuming indictments are returned by Fitzgerald's grand jury(s) prior to Impeachment, the president, despite the intense political fall out which is guaranteed to occur, may pardon those Officers involved, even himself. But Congress would still have a duty to Impeach those Officers. Assuming such Impeachments are followed by Senate convictions, all of the removed Officers will thereafter be subject to indictment, criminal prosecution and punishment.

Thereafter, according to a fair reading of the Constitution, criminal court indictments, convictions and sentences may not be pardoned when they flow from "Cases of Impeachment" where the Senate had voted to convict.

In order to avoid a double jeopardy defense, the Impeachment process should be completed prior to criminal trial prosecution and conviction. However, indictments alone do not trigger double jeopardy defenses.

It's well established that presidential pardons cannot overturn the "Judgment in Cases of Impeachment". Such "judgment" is directly limited, by the Constitution, to removal from office and disqualification from ever serving as an Officer of the United States.

The issue which has never been litigated before is: Whether civil Officers of the United States, removed from office by conviction in "Cases of Impeachment", who are later tried and punished in criminal courts, can thereafter be pardoned by the President? This report concludes that the Constitution bars any such pardon.

Until now, the White House could take some measure of confidence that, if all else fails, they will fall back on the erroneous public assumption that the broad pardon power granted to the president by the Constitution would shield them from criminal punishment for Treasongate offenses. But a well educated Congress and citizenry will make their illegal plight exponentially more difficult. And that is the purpose of this blog.

The presidential pardon power, when aimed at anything but "Cases of Impeachment", is virtually plenary. But the serious problem the Bush White House now faces is that most of the Treasongate perpetrators are "civil Officers of the Government" and are therefore subject to Impeachment.

Should those Officers be convicted in the Senate, following Impeachment in the House, they will nevertheless also be subject to criminal prosecution and punishment in the form of prison sentences or the death penalty. Those convictions, indictments and sentences which flow from "Cases of Impeachment" may not, according to the Constitution, be pardoned.

CitizenSpook has prepared the following analysis to educate the American people for the coming Constitutional crisis regarding the broad sweeping grant of pardons soon to be issued by the Bush White House.

WHAT THE CONSTITUTION SAYS ABOUT PARDONS

Article 2, Section 3, Clause 1:

"The President...shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment."

That's the only mention of pardons in the Constitution.

WHAT THE CONSTITUTION SAYS ABOUT IMPEACHMENT

Impeachment is mentioned only six times in the Constitution:

Article 1, Section 2, Clause 5:

"The House of Representatives...shall have the sole Power of Impeachment."

Article 1, Section 3, Clause 6:

"The Senate shall have the sole Power to try all Impeachments..."

Article 1, Section 3, Clause 7:

"Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law."

Article 2, Section 2, Clause 1:

"The President...shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment."

Article 2, Section 4:

"The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors."

Article 3, Section 2, Clause 3:

"The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury..."

THE SUPREME COURT'S ANALYSIS OF THE PRESIDENTIAL PARDON POWER

It's a long established principle, upheld by the Supreme Court, and supported by commentary from the Constitutional Convention, that the presidential power to grant clemency is plenary except in "Cases of Impeachment."

In
Schick v. Reed, 419 U.S. 256 (1974), the Supreme Court affirmed this broad authority. Chief Justice Burger stated that the power to pardon flows from the Constitution and "it cannot be modified, abridged, or diminished by the Congress." Id. at 266. But the Supreme Court in Schick v. Reed also announced, in three separate quotes, the only instance, besides "Cases of Impeachment", where a presidential pardon would be unconstitutional:

"Additionally, considerations of public policy and humanitarian impulses support an interpretation of that power so as to permit the attachment of any condition which does not otherwise offend the Constitution."

"...the conclusion is inescapable that the pardoning power was intended to include the power to commute sentences on conditions which do not in themselves offend the Constitution..."

"We therefore hold that the pardoning power is an enumerated power of the Constitution and that its limitations, if any, must be found in the Constitution itself."

If a presidential pardon offends the Constitution, the pardon itself is unconstitutional. Having stated that, let me make it clear that the basis for my conclusion in this report does not depend exclusively on the Supreme Court's holding in Schick v. Reed. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court's opinion in that case certainly reinforces the conclusion of this report since the limitation of the presidential pardon power that I have discovered is found directly within the Constitution.

A CONSTITUTIONAL MYSTERY

The Constitution is a beautiful, albeit mysterious, creature. Sometimes it appears that different sections contradict each other, but such alleged contradictions, when followed to their logical conclusion, usually reveal the true intention and symbiotic relationship of Constitutional clauses.

An "apparent" Constitutional contradiction has helped me discover the conclusions of this report. The Constitution states, "The President...shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment."

In Schick v. Reed, Justice Burger recognized that there wasn't much discussion about presidential pardons at the Constitutional convention. Burger relied on the following comments from the convention:

"Mr. Sherman moved to amend the `power to grant reprieves and pardons' so as to read `to grant reprieves until the next session of the Senate, and pardons with consent of the Senate.' "
2M. Farrand, Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, p. 419 (1911). [419 U.S. 256, 263]

Justice Berger then stated:

"The proposed amendment was rejected by a vote of 8-1. Ibid. This action confirms that, as in England in 1787, the pardoning power was intended to be generally free from legislative control."

The issue was also
discussed by Daniel T. Kobil, Professor of Law at Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio, before the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution (February 28, 2001) :

"While a number of the delegates, including James Madison, agreed that the power to pardon treason should not be vested in the President alone, the framers ultimately were unwilling to allow the Senate to share the power to pardon."

It is not disputed that the power to pardon is granted by the Constitution to the president, and only to the president. Yet, Article 1, Section 3, Clause 7, at first glance, appears to give Congress their own power to pardon:

"Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States: but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law."

Reading the above, it seems to grant Congress the power to pardon civil Officers of the United States from criminal prosecution if a "Party" is Impeached in the House, but not convicted in the Senate; "...but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law." (Emphasis added.)

Article 1, Section 3, Clause 7 does not say, "but the Party Impeached shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment." It says, "but the Party convicted shall nevertheless..."

Does this grant Congress its own pardon power, to be exercised by Impeaching those it intended to protect from criminal prosecution, and thereafter choosing not to convict in the Senate?

The issue causes an apparent Constitutional contradiction since Article 2, Section 2, Clause 1 contains the only specific mention of pardons in the Constitution, and the power is granted therein solely to the president. As stated above, both the framers at the Constitutional Convention and the Supreme Court have determined that the power to pardon is only granted to the president. Hence, a Constitutional mystery is before us.

Since it's clear that the framers firmly rejected the notion that Congress should share the power to pardon with the president, we must determine the true meaning of Article 1, Section 3, clause 7.

THE MYSTERY REVEALED: The Constitution Voids Pardons Aimed At Criminal Prosecutions Flowing From "Cases Of Impeachment" where the Senate has voted to convict.

By now, I'm sure you're wondering why I have consistently emphasized the term, "Cases of Impeachment". I have done this because the meaning those words are given by the Supreme Court in the very near future will determine, for all the world to see, whether our Constitutional Republic is truly protected by checks and balances or if we are a nation ruled by a federal mafia of made thugs.

The heart of this analysis is surprisingly simple.

Article 1, Section 3, Clause 7:

"Judgment in Cases of Impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States..."

Let's break down "Judgment in Cases of Impeachment..." Three things are mentioned:

1. JUDGMENT
2. CASES
3. IMPEACHMENT

"Impeachment" is the Constitutional process for determining whether the behavior of civil Officers of the United States warrants such Officers being removed from office. The power to exercise this process is granted exclusively to Congress.

"Cases" are made up of the underlying facts and laws reviewed by Congress during the Impeachment process.

"Judgment" is strictly defined by the Constitution and "shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States..."

Article 2, Section 2, Clause 1:

"The President...shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment." (Emphasis added.)

Please note that this clause does not say:

"The President...shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Judgments of Impeachment."

Article 1, Section 3, Clause 7 specifically rules that "Judgment in Cases of Impeachment" is limited to "removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States..."

It is undisputed that the president cannot use the pardon power to overturn the "judgment in Cases of Impeachment". If one of the president's men is removed from office, it is clearly established that such "judgment" cannot be reversed so as to allow the removed Officer to regain his position in the Government, nor can that Party ever again "hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States."

The Constitutional limitation of the presidential pardon power enumerated in Article 2, Section 2, Clause 1 is not limited to the specific "Judgment in Cases of Impeachment" listed in Article 1, Section 3, Clause 7. Since the framers very carefully defined the limitations of "Judgment in Cases of Impeachment", their wording in Article 2, Section 2 Clause 1, "The President...shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment", enumerates a limitation on the presidential pardon power which extends to criminal indictments, convictions and punishments flowing from the underlying facts and laws reviewed by Congress in "Cases of Impeachment"...but only when the Senate votes to convict.

I submit to you that this conclusion is completely supported by a sensible examination of the particular wording of the Constitution, the framer's intent, and the opinion of the Supreme Court in Schick v. Reed.

This conclusion also serves as a beacon of illumination for the mystery contained in the second part of Article 1, Section 3, Clause 7:

"...but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law." (Emphasis added.)

The key words here are "convicted" and "shall". The framers were drawing a clear distinction between those Officers who would be Impeached and those Officers who would be Impeached and convicted.

A fair reading of this Clause implies that those Officers who were Impeached but not convicted "may be liable and subject to indictment...", and therefore reasonably pardoned whereas those Officers who are Impeached and convicted "shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment..."

The Clauses work together, and must be read together. The mystery is resolved by the very words in the Constitution. The framers chose their words carefully. It appears that they were deeply concerned that Officers of the United States, who were so blatantly in violation of their duty and loyalty to the laws of this nation as to be Impeached in the House and convicted by a 2/3 majority in the Senate, should not be allowed to be pardoned for crimial prosecutions flowing from such "Cases of Impeachment."

Instead of granting the Congress their own pardon power, which was clearly not the intention of the framers, the meaning of this clause can only be understood in relation to the following:

"The President...shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment." (Emphasis added.)

"Cases of Impeachment" are fundamentally different animals than "Judgment in Cases of Impeachment". While the Constitution specifically defines exactly what the "Judgment in Cases of Impeachment" must always be, it is silent as to what "Cases of Impeachment" are.

This makes sense when you consider that the circumstances, facts and laws that will make up every "Case of Impeachment" will be different from every other "Case of Impeachment" while the opposite is true of "Judgment in Cases of Impeachment", which, according to Article 1, Section 3, Clause 7, must always the same.

The legal meaning of the Constitution's distinction between the words "Judgment" and "Cases" has never been litigated in the history of American jurisprudence. My legal research has not revealed even one theoretical discussion of the distinction prior to this report.

"...but the Party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to Indictment, Trial, Judgment and Punishment, according to Law."

As previously stated, this Clause does not grant Congress its own pardon power. Rather, its mysterious language reveals a unique specific purpose when read in conjunction with Article 2, Section 2, Clause 1. The purpose is
to clarify that the broad pardon power granted to the president in Article 2, Section 2, Clause 1 is only limited as to criminal prosecutions (indictments, convictions and punishment) which flow from "Cases of Impeachment" when the Impeached Party has been convicted in the Senate.

The specific limitation of the pardon power that this report has discovered only comes into effect when the House has Impeached and the Senate has convicted. The president definitely has the power to pardon anyone who is Impeached in the House but not convicted in the Senate. Should the Senate follow through on conviction, things could get interesting.

Please make your elected representatives aware of their responsibility to Impeach criminals serving as civil Officers of the United States.

EPILOGUE

Please examine the image at the top of this page carefully. This is a scan of page 8, Section Ten, of The Sunday Star Ledger (a New Jersey newspaper) for July 31, 2005.

Let me draw your attention to the following curiosities:

The bottom half of the page is a history of various secret societies including The Freemasons, Skull and Bones and Opus Dei. But the first paragraph of the article states:
"Whether the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee John Roberts will explode into bitter partisanship or fizzle like wet fire-cracker is anyone's guess. The payoff for Roberts if he survives the grueling process, of course, is membership in one of the nation's most rarefied institutions.


When it comes to tradition and secret rituals, however, the Supreme Court has nothing on these groups."

It then describes the history of the various secret societies.

Why is the unnamed author of this article comparing the United States Supreme Court to secret societies? The Supreme Court operates in full public view. Its members and powers are determined by Constitutional authority. Its decisions are published for all the world to see. If the only purpose of this article was to portray the Supreme Court as a "secret society", the article's purpose is insane.

But when we examine the top part of page 8, the cynical message conveyed becomes clear. Have a look at the top headline:

"A clean slate for ex-cons."

Now look at the type on the document pictured on the top right side of the page:

"Clear Your Record!
(MAKE A FRESH START)
$350
EXPUNGEMENT"

Now look at the signature on the bold face boxed quote in the middle of the top half of the page:

"MARGARET COLGATE LOVE, former pardon attorney for the United States"

Taking all of the inferences listed on this page into consideration, it appears that the fix is in.

A Senator at the confirmation hearings needs to ask Mr. John "I don't recall being an officer of the Federalist Society" Roberts, if he recognizes a Constitutional difference between "Cases of Impeachment" and "Judgment in Cases of Impeachment". The future of our nation may depend on his answer.

By Citizen Spook
citizenspook@hotmail.com

PLEASE REPOST and LINK far and wide....

Impeach George W. Bush and Dick Cheney
for violating the Constitution of the United States
  
APFN MSG BD:  http://disc.server.com/Indices/149495.html

CLICK: Information

 

'Impeachment' Talk, Pro and Con, Appears in Media at Last
    Editor & Publisher

    Wednesday 21 December 2005

    Suddenly this week, scattered outposts in the media have started mentioning the "I" word, or at least the "IO" phrase: impeach or impeachable offense.

    The sudden outbreak of anger or candor - or, some might say, foolishness - has been sparked by the uproar over revelations of a White House approved domestic spying program, with some conservatives joining in the shouting.

    Ron Hutcheson, White House correspondent for Knight Ridder Newspapers (known as "Hutch" to the president), observed that "some legal experts asserted that Bush broke the law on a scale that could warrant his impeachment." Indeed such talk from legal experts was common in print or on cable news.

    Newsweek online noted a "chorus" of impeachment chat, and its Washington reporter, Howard Fineman, declared that Bush opponents are "calling him Nixon 2.0 and have already hauled forth no less an authority than John Dean to testify to the president's dictatorial perfidy. The 'I-word' is out there, and, I predict, you are going to hear more of it next year - much more."

    When chief Washington Post pollster Richard Morin appeared for an online chat, a reader from Naperville, Ill., asked him why the Post hasn't polled on impeachment. "This question makes me mad," Morin replied. When a second participant made the same query, Morin fumed, "Getting madder." A third query brought the response: "Madder still."

    A smattering of polls (some commissioned by partisan groups) has found considerable, if minority, support for impeachment. But Frank Newport, the director of the Gallup Poll, told E&P recently that he would only run a poll on the subject if the idea really started to gain mainstream political traction, and not until then. He noted that he had been besieged with emails calling for such a survey, but felt it was an "organized" action.

    Conservative stalwart Jonah Goldberg at National Review Online takes the talk seriously enough to bother to poke fun at it, practically begging Bush foes to try to impeach him. "The main reason Bush's poll numbers would skyrocket if he were impeached," Goldberg wrote, "is that at the end of the day the American people will support what he did [with the spy program]."

    And the folks at conservative blog RedState.org took issue with Fineman's prediction, noting that for "all his fear mongering" he "fails to note the essential point: the more the Dems mutter 'impeachment' in 2006, the more it helps the GOP, because it just further entrenches the notion that the Dems are out of touch, partisan, and not serious about national security."

    But John Dean, who knows something about these matters, calls Bush "the first President to admit to an impeachable offense." And one of those thoroughly unscientific MSNBC online polls found about 88% backing the idea through late Wednesday.

    On Wednesday, Washington Post blogger/columnist Dan Froomkin, declaring that "The 'I-word' is back," assembled an array of quotes on the subject. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), he pointed out, sent a letter this week to four unidentified presidential scholars, asking whether they think Bush's authorization of warrantless domestic spying amounted to an impeachable offense.

    Todd Gillman wrote in the Dallas Morning News: "Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., suggested that Mr. Bush's actions could justify impeachment." And Froomkin cited Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University and a specialist in surveillance law, saying 'When the president admits that he violated federal law, that raises serious constitutional questions of high crimes and misdemeanors."

    When Washington Post pollster Richard Morin finally answered the "I" question in his online chat, he said, "We do not ask about impeachment because it is not a serious option or a topic of considered discussion - witness the fact that no member of congressional Democratic leadership or any of the serious Democratic presidential candidates in '08 are calling for Bush's impeachment. When it is or they are, we will ask about it in our polls."

    Morin complained that he and other pollsters have been the "target of a campaign organized by a Democratic Web site demanding that we ask a question about impeaching Bush in our polls." But Froomkin commented, "there's nothing wrong with asking the question."

    The debate should only grow in 2006. Fineman predicted a dark year ahead: "We are entering a dark time in which the central argument advanced by each party is going to involve accusing the other party of committing what amounts to treason. Democrats will accuse the Bush administration of destroying the Constitution; Republicans will accuse the Dems of destroying our security."

From: truthout.org

Specter Wants January Surveillance Hearings
    The Associated Press

    Wednesday 21 December 2005

    Washington - Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter said Wednesday he remains skeptical about a government surveillance program despite an explanation from Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

    The two met for an hour Sunday to discuss the rationale for the warrantless eavesdropping by the National Security Agency that President Bush approved without obtaining any court orders.

    "I would summarize it by saying I have grave doubts about his legal conclusion," Specter, R-Pa., said of a meeting with Gonzales, who was confirmed before Specter's committee early this year. "I'm skeptical, but I'm prepared to listen."

    Specter said he expects Gonzales to be the leadoff witness at a hearing on the surveillance, which he said he would like to start next month after confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito.

    There likely will be a national debate about whether the president really has the kind of power he's been using, said Specter, a five-term senator and former prosecutor.

    "There may be legislation which will come out of it to restrict the president's power," Specter said.

    Specter said he would seek a copy of the resignation letter of U.S. District Judge James Robertson, who stepped down from a special court set up to oversee government surveillance. The Washington Post reported that the resignation stemmed from Robertson's concerns over whether the surveillance was legal. Specter said he wants to meet with Robertson, and may ask him to appear before the committee.

    President Bush's decision after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to allow domestic eavesdropping without court approval first came to light late last week, and he has defended the decision as a matter of protecting national security.

    Specter said the issue isn't one he sought out - that it came up on Friday while he was pushing for passage of the anti-terror Patriot Act.

    "When a cannon hits you between the eyes, you take notice and I was immediately asked what I thought about it and I said, 'Well, it's a matter that requires a hearing,"' Specter said.

Judges on Surveillance Court to Be Briefed on Spy Program
    By Carol D. Leonnig and Dafna Linzer
    The Washington Post

    Thursday 22 December 2005

    The presiding judge of a secret court that oversees government surveillance in espionage and terrorism cases is arranging a classified briefing for her fellow judges to address their concerns about the legality of President Bush's domestic spying program, according to several intelligence and government sources.

    Several members of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court said in interviews that they want to know why the administration believed secretly listening in on telephone calls and reading e-mails of U.S. citizens without court authorization was legal. Some of the judges said they are particularly concerned that information gleaned from the president's eavesdropping program may have been improperly used to gain authorized wiretaps from their court.

    "The questions are obvious," said U.S. District Judge Dee Benson of Utah. "What have you been doing, and how might it affect the reliability and credibility of the information we're getting in our court?"

    Such comments underscored the continuing questions among judges about the program, which most of them learned about when it was disclosed last week by the New York Times. On Monday, one of 10 FISA judges, federal Judge James Robertson, submitted his resignation - in protest of the president's action, according to two sources familiar with his decision. He will maintain his position on the U.S. District Court here.

    Other judges contacted yesterday said they do not plan to resign but are seeking more information about the president's initiative. Presiding Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who also sits on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, told fellow FISA court members by e-mail Monday that she is arranging for them to convene in Washington, preferably early next month, for a secret briefing on the program, several judges confirmed yesterday.

    Two intelligence sources familiar with the plan said Kollar-Kotelly expects top-ranking officials from the National Security Agency and the Justice Department to outline the classified program to the members.

    The judges could, depending on their level of satisfaction with the answers, demand that the Justice Department produce proof that previous wiretaps were not tainted, according to government officials knowledgeable about the FISA court. Warrants obtained through secret surveillance could be thrown into question. One judge, speaking on the condition of anonymity, also said members could suggest disbanding the court in light of the president's suggestion that he has the power to bypass the court.

    The highly classified FISA court was set up in the 1970s to authorize secret surveillance of espionage and terrorism suspects within the United States. Under the law setting up the court, the Justice Department must show probable cause that its targets are foreign governments or their agents. The FISA law does include emergency provisions that allow warrantless eavesdropping for up to 72 hours if the attorney general certifies there is no other way to get the information.

    Still, Bush and his advisers have said they need to operate outside the FISA system in order to move quickly against suspected terrorists. In explaining the program, Bush has made the distinction between detecting threats and plots and monitoring likely, known targets, as FISA would allow.

    Bush administration officials believe it is not possible, in a large-scale eavesdropping effort, to provide the kind of evidence the court requires to approve a warrant. Sources knowledgeable about the program said there is no way to secure a FISA warrant when the goal is to listen in on a vast array of communications in the hopes of finding something that sounds suspicious. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said the White House had tried but failed to find a way.

    One government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the administration complained bitterly that the FISA process demanded too much: to name a target and give a reason to spy on it.

    "For FISA, they had to put down a written justification for the wiretap," said the official. "They couldn't dream one up."

    The NSA program, and the technology on which it is based, makes it impossible to meet that criterion because the program is designed to intercept selected conversations in real time from among an enormous number relayed at any moment through satellites.

    "There is a difference between detecting, so we can prevent, and monitoring. And it's important to note the distinction between the two," Bush said Monday. But he added: "If there is a need based upon evidence, we will take that evidence to a court in order to be able to monitor calls within the United States."

    The American Civil Liberties Union formally requested yesterday that Gonzales appoint an outside special counsel to investigate and prosecute any criminal acts and violations of laws as a result of the spying effort.

    Also yesterday, John D. Negroponte, Bush's director of national intelligence, sent an e-mail to the entire intelligence community defending the program. The politically tinged memo referred to the disclosure as "egregious" and called the program a vital, constitutionally valid tool in the war against al Qaeda.

    Benson said it is too soon for him to judge whether the surveillance program was legal until he hears directly from the government.

    "I need to know more about it to decide whether it was so distasteful," Benson said. "But I wonder: If you've got us here, why didn't you go through us? They've said it's faster [to bypass FISA], but they have emergency authority under FISA, so I don't know."

    As it launched the dramatic change in domestic surveillance policy, the administration chose to secretly brief only the presiding FISA court judges about it. Officials first advised U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth, the head of FISA in the fall of 2001, and then Kollar-Kotelly, who replaced him in that position in May 2002. U.S. District Judge George Kazen of the Southern District of Texas said in an interview yesterday that his information about the program has been largely limited to press accounts over the past several days.

    "Why didn't it go through FISA," Kazen asked. "I think those are valid questions. The president at first said he didn't want to talk about it. Now he says, 'You're darn right I did it, and it's completely legal.' I gather he's got lawyers telling him this is legal. I want to hear those arguments." Judge Michael J. Davis of Minnesota said he, too, wants to be sure the secret program did not produce unreliable or legally suspect information that was then used to obtain FISA warrants.

    "I share the other judges' concerns," he said.

    But Judge Malcolm Howard of eastern North Carolina said he tends to think the terrorist threat to the United States is so grave that the president should use every tool available and every ounce of executive power to combat it.

    "I am not overly concerned" about the surveillance program, he said, but "I would welcome hearing more specifics."

      Researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.

The Pentagon Breaks the Law
    By William M. Arkin
    The Washington Post

    Thursday 22 December 2005

    The National Security Agency story has pushed military spying on anti-war groups off the front pages, and the Pentagon appears to have seized upon administrative error to explain away its slide into domestic spying.

    The Department of Defense now says that analysts may not have followed the law and its own guidelines that require the purging of information collected on US persons after 90 days. The law states that if no connection is made between named persons and foreign governments or transnational terrorist organizations or illegal activity, US persons have a right to their privacy and information about them must be deleted.

    Thanks to RL, I now know that the database of "suspicious incidents" in the United States first revealed by NBC Nightly News last Tuesday and subject of my blog last week is the Joint Protection Enterprise Network (JPEN) database, an intelligence and law enforcement sharing system managed by the Defense Department's Counterintelligence Field Activity (CIFA).

    What is clear about JPEN is that the military is not inadvertently keeping information on US persons. It is violating the law. And what is more, it even wants to do it more.

    Follow-up reporting on the Pentagon spying story - both by this newspaper and by the New York Times - mistakenly refers to the suspicious incidents database that I obtained for the time period July 2004-May 2005 as the TALON database, for the Threat and Local Observation Notice reporting system.

    TALON, according to the Pentagon, is merely a non-threatening compilation of "unfiltered information."

    The data on incidents is used "to estimate possible threats," DOD says. "It is in effect, the place where DOD initially stores "dots," which if validated, might later be connected before an attack occurs," the department says in a written statement prepared for reporters.

    "Under existing procedures, a "dot" of information that is not validated as threatening must be removed from the TALON system."

    But JPEN is more than just a compilation of TALON's. It is a near real-time sharing system of raw non-validated force protection information among Department of Defense organizations and installations. Feeding into JPEN are intelligence, law enforcement, counterintelligence, and security reports, TALONs as well as other reports.

    JPEN shares this information at all levels, from military police guarding entry gates at military bases to terrorism warning watch standers at the Defense Intelligence Agency. JPEN began as a pilot project in the Washington, D.C. area and was initially fielded in June 2003.

    Under the provisions of the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. 552a), the military can maintain information on specific individuals (name of individual or other personal identifiers such as Social Security number or driver's license number) in the JPEN database system for 90 days. JPEN then is supposed to purge all Privacy Act information after 90 days, unless it is part of an ongoing investigation.

    From the beginning of JPEN, system designers have attempted to balance their task of collecting and retaining information of intelligence and warning value with the longstanding "intelligence oversight" and Privacy Act restrictions. According to a JPEN classified briefing obtained by this blogger, the 90-day "data content limit ... creates issues for long-term correlation and analysis."

    In other words, how can the military connect the dots if it is restricted to a 90-day deadline? According to the briefing the NORTHCOM says it will "continue to purge required information IAW [in accordance with] the law" but it is also working "privacy act restrictions with legal office to retain information previously subject to purging."

    Evidently though, the JPEN maintainers didn't abide by the law, and the collectors feeding TALON and other reports into the system overreached in monitoring and retaining information on anti-war and anti-military organizations of no conceivable threat.

    The managers of JPEN are hardly being inadvertent about either the 90-day restriction or the intentional collection of information on US persons. So far, it appears that they have broken the law. And what is more, they are agitating internally to find ways of circumventing the legal restrictions.

 

Alito Defended Officials from Wiretap Suits
    By Donna Cassata
    The Associated Press

    Friday 23 December 2005

    Washington - Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito defended the right of government officials to order domestic wiretaps for national security when he worked at the Reagan Justice Department, an echo of President Bush's rationale for spying on US residents in the war on terror.

    Then an assistant to the solicitor general, Alito wrote a 1984 memo that provided insights on his views of government powers and legal recourse - seen now through the prism of Bush's actions - as well as clues to the judge's understanding of how the Supreme Court operates.

    The National Archives released the memo and scores of other documents related to Alito on Friday; the Associated Press had requested the material under the Freedom of Information Act. The memo comes as Bush is under fire for secretly ordering domestic spying of suspected terrorists without a warrant.

    Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said Monday he would ask Alito about the president's authority at confirmation hearings beginning Jan. 9. The memo's release Friday prompted committee Democrats to signal that they will press the conservative jurist about executive powers.

    The memo dealt with whether government officials should have blanket protection from lawsuits when authorizing wiretaps. "I do not question that the attorney general should have this immunity," Alito wrote. "But for tactical reasons, I would not raise the issue here."

    Despite Alito's warning that the government would lose, the Reagan administration took the fight to the Supreme Court in the case of whether Nixon's attorney general, John Mitchell, could be sued for authorizing a warrantless domestic wiretap to gather information about a suspected terrorist plot.

    The FBI had received information about a conspiracy to destroy utility tunnels in Washington and to kidnap Henry Kissinger, then national security adviser, to protest the Vietnam War.

    In its court brief, the government argued for absolute immunity for the attorney general on matters of national security.

    "The attorney general's vital responsibilities in connection with intelligence gathering and prevention in the field of national security are at least deserving of absolute immunity as routine prosecutorial actions taken either by the attorney general or by subordinate officials.

    "When the attorney general is called upon to take action to protect the security of the nation, he should think only of the national good and not about his pocketbook," the brief said.

    Signing the document was Rex E. Lee, then the solicitor general, officials from the Justice Department and Alito.

    Alito's analysis about the court and the need for an incremental legal strategy proved prescient. The case ultimately led to a 1985 ruling by the Supreme Court that the attorney general and other high level executive officials could be sued for violating people's rights, in the name of national security, with such actions as domestic wiretaps.

    "The danger that high federal officials will disregard constitutional rights in their zeal to protect the national security is sufficiently real to counsel against affording such officials an absolute immunity," the court held.

    However, the court said Mitchell was protected from suit, because when he authorized the wiretap he did not realize his actions violated the Fourth Amendment.

    The decision was consistent with the Supreme Court's unanimous ruling in 1972 that it was unconstitutional for the government to conduct wiretaps without court approval despite the Nixon administration's argument that domestic anti-war groups and other radicals were a threat to national security.

    Alito had advised his bosses to appeal the case on narrow procedural grounds but not seek blanket immunity.

    "There are also strong reasons to believe that our chances of success will be greater in future cases," he wrote. He noted that then-Justice William H. Rehnquist would be a key vote and would recuse himself from the Nixon-era case.

    The documents were among 45 released by the National Archives as the holiday weekend approached. A total of 744 pages were made public.

    The White House and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a member of the Judiciary Committee, dismissed any link between the 1984 memo to Bush's authorization of electronic surveillance without a warrant to thwart terrorism.

    "Any connection between Judge Alito's 1984 memorandum and the current discussion of terrorist surveillance by the NSA is a real stretch," Cornyn said in a statement.

    But Democrats seized on the memo and vowed to press Alito on the matter at his confirmation hearings.

    "At a time when the nation is faced with revelations that the administration has been wiretapping American citizens, we find that we have a nominee who believes that officials who order warrantless wiretaps of Americans should be immune from legal accountability," said Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass.

    Bush picked Alito to take the Supreme Court seat held by Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who is retiring.

    Among the documents released Friday was a June 1985 memo in which Alito said abortion rights should be overturned but recommended a roadmap of dismantling them piece by piece instead of a "frontal assault on Roe v. Wade."

    The June abortion memo contained the same Alito statements as one dated May 30, 1985, which the National Archives released in November - but with a forward note from Reagan administration Solicitor General Charles Fried acknowledging the volatility of the issue and saying it had to be kept quiet.

    "I need hardly say how sensitive this material is, and ask that it have no wider circulation," Fried wrote.

    Alito, a federal appellate court judge, has been seeking to assure senators that he would put his private views aside when it came time to rule on abortion as a justice. O'Connor has been a supporter of the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling affirming a woman's constitutional right to an abortion.

What is an Executive Order?

From time to time I hear that President Bush has issued an Executive Order establishing this policy or that. What is an Executive Order? Where does the President get the authority to issue them? Is there any way to reverse an Executive Order?

"Stroke of the pen. Law of the Land. Kinda cool."
Paul Begala, former Clinton advisor, The New York Times, July 5, 1998

"We've switched the rules of the game. We're not trying to do anything legislatively."
Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, The Washington Times, June 14, 1999

Executive Orders (EOs) are legally binding orders given by the President, acting as the head of the Executive Branch, to Federal Administrative Agencies. Executive Orders are generally used to direct federal agencies and officials in their execution of congressionally established laws or policies. However, in many instances they have been used to guide agencies in directions contrary to congressional intent.

Not all EOs are created equal. Proclamations, for example, are a special type of Executive Order that are generally ceremonial or symbolic, such as when the President declares National Take Your Child To Work Day. Another subset of Executive Orders are those concerned with national security or defense issues. These have generally been known as National Security Directives. Under the Clinton Administration, they have been termed "Presidential Decision Directives."

Executive Orders do not require Congressional approval to take effect but they have the same legal weight as laws passed by Congress. The President's source of authority to issue Executive Orders can be found in the Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution which grants to the President the "executive Power." Section 3 of Article II further directs the President to "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." To implement or execute the laws of the land, Presidents give direction and guidance to Executive Branch agencies and departments, often in the form of Executive Orders.

A Brief History and Examples

Executive Orders have been used by every chief executive since the time of George Washington. Most of these directives were unpublished and were only seen by the agencies involved. In the early 1900s, the State Department began numbering them; there are now over 13,000 numbered orders. Orders were retroactively numbered going back to 1862 when President Lincoln suspended the writ of habeas corpus and issued the Emancipation Proclamation by Executive Order. There are also many other Executive Orders that have not been numbered because they have been lost due to bad record-keeping. Such is not the problem today. All new Executive Orders are easily accessible (see below).

Many important policy changes have occurred through Executive Orders. Harry Truman integrated the armed forces under Executive Order. President Eisenhower used an EO to desegregate schools. Presidents Kennedy and Johnson used them to bar racial discrimination in federal housing, hiring, and contracting. President Reagan used an EO to bar the use of federal funds for advocating abortion. President Clinton reversed this order when he came into office.

President Clinton has come under fire for using the EO as a way to make policy without consulting the Republican Congress (see the quotes at the beginning of this article). Clinton has signed over 300 EOs since 1992. In one case, he designated 1.7 million acres of Southern Utah as the Grant Staircase - Escalante National Monument. He also designated a system of American Heritage Rivers and even fought a war with Yugoslavia under Executive Order.

Controversy

Executive Orders are controversial because they allow the President to make major decisions, even law, without the consent of Congress. This, of course, runs against the general logic of the Constitution -- that no one should have power to act unilaterally. Nevertheless, Congress often gives the President considerable leeway in implementing and administering federal law and programs. Sometimes, Congress cannot agree exactly how to implement a law or program. In effect, this leaves the decision to the federal agencies involved and the President that stands at their head. When Congress fails to spell out in detail how a law is to be executed, it leaves the door open for the President to provide those details in the form of Executive Orders.

Congressional Recourse

If Congress does not like what the executive branch is doing, it has two main options. First, it may rewrite or amend a previous law, or spell it out in greater detail how the Executive Branch must act. Of course, the President has the right to veto the bill if he disagrees with it, so, in practice, a 2/3 majority if often required to override an Executive Order.

Congress is less likely to challenge EOs that deal with foreign policy, national defense, or the implementation and negotiation of treaties, as these are powers granted largely to the President by the Constitution. As the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, the President is also considered the nation's "Chief Diplomat." In fact, given national security concerns, some defense or security related EOs (often called National Security Directives or Presidential Decision Directives) are not made public.

In addition to congressional recourse, Executive Orders can be challenged in court, usually on the grounds that the Order deviates from "congressional intent" or exceeds the President's constitutional powers. In one such notable instance, President Harry Truman, was rebuked by the Supreme Court for overstepping the bounds of presidential authority. After World War II, Truman seized control of steel mills across the nation in an effort to settle labor disputes. In response to a challenge of this action, the Supreme Court ruled that the seizure was unconstitutional and exceeded presidential powers because neither the Constitution or any statute authorized the President to seize private businesses to settle labor disputes. For the most part, however, the Court has been fairly tolerant of wide range of executive actions.

Contributing Author: Jeffrey C. Fox, Catawba College

Additional Resources

The ultimate criticism of Executive Orders is that the runaway use of EOs could result in a President becoming a virtual dictator, capable of making major policy decisions without any congressional or judicial input. The following web sites contain articles arguing against the liberal use of Executive Orders by the President.

For What Purposes Have Presidents Used Executive Orders?

The best way to get a feel for the types of "laws" that are made by Executive Order is to access them online. Executive Orders are available through multiple government publications and on the Internet (except those classified in the name of national security). You can read the text of these orders daily in the Federal Register and also under Title 3 of the Code of Federal Regulations. All EOs have been numbered and published since 1936.

Sites Providing Access to Executive Orders

Executive Orders in the States

The use of Executive Orders is not just a presidential activity. They are also used by most state governors, who are the chief executives of their states. The following links will give you a feel for the types of Executive Orders used in a few states:

 
www.nytimes.com/ 


'SPYGATE' BOMBSHELL LATE-BREAKING DEVELOPMENTS:  NATIONAL SECURITY AGNECY NOT ONLY INTERCEPTED DOMESTIC TO INTERNATIONAL PHONE CALLS, IT ALSO MINED A VAST TREASURE TROVE OF STRICTLY DOMESTIC DATA OF TELEPHONE AND E-MAIL COMMUNICATIONS ALL WITHIN THE UNITED STATES IN ORDER TO FIGHT THE 'WAR ON TERROR!' / ALL MAJOR U.S. TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMPANIES HAVE GIVEN THE N.S.A. A 'BACKDOOR' ACCESS TO THEIR ROUTING SWITCHES! / WERE YOUR PRIVATE E-MAILS TARGETED?!   
By Eric Lichtblau and James Risen, N Y Times Staff Writers, Saturday,
December 24, 2005 / Front Page Splash, all editions

WASHINGTON, Dec. 24 The National Security Agency has traced and analyzed large volumes of telephone and Internet communications flowing into and out of the United States as part of the eavesdropping program that President Bush approved after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to hunt for evidence of terrorist activity, according to current and former
government officials.

The volume of information harvested from telecommunication data and voice networks, WITHOUT COURT APPROVED WARRANTS, is MUCH LARGER than the White House has acknowledged, the officials said. It was collected by TAPPING DIRECTLY INTO some of the American telecommunication SYSTEM's MAIN ARTERIES, they said.

As part of the program approved by President Bush for domestic surveillance without warrants, the N.S.A. has gained the cooperation of American telecommunications companies to obtain backdoor access to streams of domestic and international communications, the officials said.

The government's collection and analysis of phone and Internet traffic have raised questions among some law enforcement and judicial officials familiar with the program. One issue of concern to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which has reviewed some separate warrant applications growing out of the N.S.A.'s surveillance program, is whether the court has legal authority over calls outside the United States that happen to pass through American-based telephonic "switches,"
according to officials familiar with the matter.

"There was a lot of discussion about the switches" in conversations with the court, a Justice Department official said, referring to the gateways through which much of the communications traffic flows.

"You're talking about ACCESS TO SUCH A VAST AMOUNT OF COMMUNICATIONS, and the question was, How do you minimize something that's on a switch that's carrying such large volumes of traffic? The court was VERY, VERY CONCERNED  about that."

Since the disclosure last week of the N.S.A.'s domestic surveillance program, President Bush and his senior aides have stressed that his executive order allowing eavesdropping without warrants was limited to the monitoring of international phone and e-mail communications involving people with known links to Al Qaeda.

What has not been publicly acknowledged is that N.S.A. technicians, besides actually eavesdropping on specific conversations, have combed through LARGE VOLUMES OF PHONE AND INTERNET TRAFFIC in search of
patterns that might point to terrorism suspects. Some officials describe THE PROGRAM AS A LARGE DATA-MINING OPERATION. The current and former government officials who discussed the program were granted anonymity because it remains classified.

Bush administration officials declined to comment on Friday on the technical aspects of the operation and the N.S.A.'s use of broad searches to look for clues on terrorists. Because the program is highly classified, many details of how the N.S.A. is conducting it remain unknown, and members of Congress who have pressed for a full Congressional inquiry say they are eager to learn more about the program's operational details, as well as its legality.

Officials in the government and the telecommunications industry who have knowledge of parts of the program say the N.S.A. has sought to analyze communications patterns to glean clues from details like who is calling whom, how long a phone call lasts and what time of day it is made, and the origins and destinations of phone calls and e-mail messages.

Calls to and from Afghanistan, for instance, are known to have been of particular interest to the N.S.A. since the Sept. 11 attacks, the officials said. This so-called "pattern analysis" on calls within the United States would, in many circumstances, require a court warrant if the government wanted to trace who calls whom.

The use of similar data-mining operations by the Bush administration in other contexts has raised strong objections, most notably in connection with the Total Information Awareness system, developed by the Pentagon for tracking terror suspects, and the Department of Homeland Security's Capps program for screening airline passengers. Both programs were ultimately scrapped after public outcries over possible threats to privacy and civil liberties.

But the Bush administration regards the N.S.A.'s ability to trace and analyze large volumes of data as critical to its expanded mission to detect terrorist plots before they can be carried out, officials familiar with the program say. Administration officials maintain that the system set up by Congress in 1978 under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act does not give them the speed and flexibility to respond fully to terrorist threats at home.

A former technology manager at a major telecommunications company said that since the Sept. 11 attacks, the leading companies in the industry have been storing information on calling patterns and giving it to the federal government to aid
in tracking possible terrorists.

"All that data is mined with the cooperation of the government and shared with them, and since 9/11, there's been much more active involvement in that area," said the former manager, a telecommunications expert who did not want his name or that of his former company used because of concern about revealing trade secrets.

Such information often proves just as valuable to the government as eavesdropping on the calls themselves, the former manager said.

"If they get content, that's useful to them too, but the real plum is going to be the transaction data and the traffic analysis," he said. "Massive amounts of traffic analysis information -- who is calling whom, who is in Osama Bin Laden's circle of family and friends -- is used to identify lines of communication that are then given closer scrutiny."

Several officials said that after President Bush's order authorizing the N.S.A. program, senior government officials arranged with officials of some of the nation's largest telecommunications companies to gain access to switches that act as gateways at the borders between the United States' communications networks and international networks. The identities of the corporations involved could not be determined.

The switches are some of the main arteries for moving voice and some Internet traffic into and out of the United States, and, with the globalization of the telecommunications industry in recent years, many international-to-international calls are also routed through such American switches.

One outside expert on communications privacy who previously worked at the N.S.A. said that to exploit its technological capabilities, the American government had in the last few years been quietly encouraging the telecommunications industry to increase the amount of international traffic that is routed through American-based switches.

The growth of that transit traffic had become a major issue for the intelligence community, officials say, because it had not been fully addressed by 1970's-era laws and regulations governing the N.S.A. Now that foreign calls were being routed through switches on American soil, some judges and law enforcement officials regarded eavesdropping on those calls as a possible violation of those decades-old restrictions, including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which requires court-approved warrants for domestic surveillance.

Historically, the American intelligence community has had close relationships with many communications and computer firms and related technical industries. But the N.S.A.'s BACKDOOR ACCESS TO MAJOR TELECOMMUNICATIONS  switches on American soil with the cooperation of major corporations represents A SIGNIFICANT EXPANSION  of the agency's operational capability, according to current and former government
officials.

Phil Karn, a computer engineer and technology expert at a major West Coast telecommunications company, said access to such switches would be significant.

"If the government is gaining access to the switches like this, what you're really talking about is the capability of an ENORMOUS VACUUM OPERATION TO SWEEP UP DATA," he said.
------------------------------------------
Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company / Click below for
"Printer Friendly Version."

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/24/politics/
24spy.html?ei=5094&en=efaa31928aa6c87b&hp=&ex=1135400400&partner=homepage&pagewanted=print
Hi Vic --

The NSA probably has several tools for monitoring communications, but the primary is probably the Calea system. The telco's put this in as a digital/remote wiretapping tool in the 90's. At the time, it required a warrant to login, but the Patriot Act probably led to a software-revision to change/modify this need. It's a standard tool for tapping & surveillance, so
the odds are that every phone company in the USA has a version somewhere in their data-center.

Calea taps communications on the switch-level: thus, if you ever see "the white van" tapping you up the street, it's not OUR government, since any agency in the USA can do it from the comfortability of their office using a remote Calea login.

Personally, I wouldn't worry about it. Just assume that everybody knows what you're doing and that you don't have any secrets, and you'll be fine. In any case, most of your contracts for information services like WebTV usually have a rider-clause that lets them scan your messages. Lots of creeps on the internet, and it's a good way to keep some of that stuff in check.

The honest truth that nobody wants to admit is that most people have the same 2 or 3 secrets. Drink too much? Visit an adult site once or twice? This makes you average --not unique, and yet most people would die of embarassment before admitting something like this. Nobody's going to arrest you for the mundane venial sins that millions of Americans commit every year...

If you're REALLY interested in security, then get a PGP-encrypted email system (there are several out there), and hassle everybody that you know to get the same so that you can communicate in obscurity. It can be cracked, but there's enough encrypted traffic on the net that nobody would try unless it was important. Of course, the reality of PGP - encrypted email is that the few people I've met who have it end up becoming jerks as they push their friends to all use it, and in the end they typically drop it after a few tries because nobody wants to hassle with encryption.

In any case (in your case specifically), this is a moot point to begin with: you're openly cc'ing at least one person in military intelligence on this list, which kind of undermines your complaint about having your communications intercepted. If you send it to them at work, they don't need any kind of warrant to read it. Not that he probably cares, though....

On TV, they always use the phrase, "why are you worried about secrets if you have nothing to hide?" as a tool to show big-brother at work eroding your freedoms. What's problematic is that it's so painfully true that there's really no better way to say it. Wired Magazine did a number of articles on privacy in the internet age, which led to one memorable phrase: "You don't have any privacy. Deal with it."

In any case, what's the big worry? The big push is apprehending terrorists, drug-dealers, and pedophiles on the net -- which is a valuable public service.

Tim

~~~~~

Hi Tim,

You said PGP will save us? Not from what our NSA sources have told us, and, this data mining was going on well before 911; Rick Doty says all the way back to 1980.. Why didn't they catch those 911 terrorist? From what I've heard, not enough Analyst at NSA and not sharing the Intelligence, we didn't need the Patriot Act .

http://www.ufoconspiracy.com/reports/nsa-mecds.htm


Regards

Robert C

IMPEACHMENT BREAKTHROUGH
IMPEACH BUSH NOW!!!

( The Bush / Cheney Snow Ball is Rolling Down Hill Faster and FASTER ! )

ImpeachPAC will support Democratic candidates for Congress who support the immediate and simultaneous impeachment of George Bush and Dick Cheney for their Iraq War lies. 

Join now!
Urgent!! Write your Representative to demand the truth about why the Bush administration invaded Iraq
http://impeachcentral.com/
=====================================================

alamantra@gmail.com

IMPEACHMENT BREAKTHROUGH
Sat Dec 24, 2005 13:36

http://disc.server.com/discussion.cgi?disc=149495;article=96942;title=APFN

Impeach George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for Violating the Constitution of the United States

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10562904/
Since we told you Tuesday night about Congressman Conyers' new bills to hold Bush and Cheney accountable for
their war lies, 26,000 people have visited the action alert page, and 17,000 have Emailed their Congress Members. You can add to those numbers here:

http://capwiz.com/pdamerica/issues/alert/?alertid=8329176

Impeach George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for violating the Constitution of the United States

http://www.apfn.org/apfn/impeach_bush.htm

Already there are seven cosponsors of a bill to create an investigation and make recommendations on impeachment, four cosponsors on a bill to censure Bush, and five cosponsors on a bill to censure Cheney.

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/5768

This work, combined with our polling on impeachment, and the news that Bush authorized illegal spying on Americans, has pushed impeachment into the media. For many months the media wouldn't cover and Congress wouldn't talk about the public's demand for impeachment of Bush and Cheney because the pollsters wouldn't poll on it, and the pollsters wouldn't poll on it because it wasn't in the media and wasn't in Congress.

Remember Gallup's excuse for not polling?

http://www.democrats.com/gallup-drop-dead
Impeach George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for violating the
Constitution of the United States
http://www.apfn.org/apfn/impeach_bush.htm

The week before Christmas, things changed. Look at the spike in instances of the I word in recent media punditry.
http://www.impeachpac.org/?q=impeachment-news

And Congress Members and Senators are talking about impeachment. Rep. John Lewis says he favors it. Rep. John Conyers has introduced a bill to create an investigation into grounds for it, and seven other Congress Members have immediately signed on.

Senator Barbara Boxer announced that she is asking legal scholars for advice on it. Senator Kerry said there are grounds for impeachment; then he flip-flopped -- but it wouldn't be Kerry without that.

No longer can pollsters honestly claim that they are refusing to ask the public about impeachment because it's not a topic in the news or the halls of Congress.  But that doesn't mean they won't keep doing so dishonestly, unless we let them know how many of us are watching, unless we use the internet and the radio the way we did to force the Downing Street Minutes into the news.

Impeach George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for violating the Constitution of the United States
http://www.apfn.org/apfn/impeach_bush.htm

ASK THE POLLSTERS TO POLL ON IMPEACHMENT:
http://www.democrats.com/bush-impeachment-polls

ASK THE MEDIA TO COVER THE ISSUE:
http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/?q=node/1084

Here's info on the few polls that have been done:
http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/polling

Here's an analysis of the pollsters' inconsistency:
http://mediamatters.org/items/200512200006


NATIONAL DAY OF TOWN HALL FORUMS ON ENDING THE WAR

Organize public meetings or smaller gatherings on Saturday, January 7, on the topic of ending the war!
http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/event

There are 60 events already planned around the country. Many Congress Members have been invited to attend by their constituents. Some have already commited to doing so, including: Bobby Scott, Diane Watson, Jim McDermott, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Adam Smith, and Dave Reichert.  One focus of some of these events will be Congressman John Conyers' new resolutions to censure Bush and Cheney and to create a select committee to investigate and make recommendations on impeachment. Rep. Conyers, and many other Congress Members, are likely to participate.
Impeach George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for violating the Constitution of the United States
http://www.apfn.org/apfn/impeach_bush.htm

Also already confirmed to take part are several congressional and senatorial candidates, various local elected officials, and leaders of the peace movement, including Gold Star Families for Peace founder Cindy Sheehan.

We are joining with Backbone Campaign, Progressive Democrats of America, After Downing Street, Democracy Cell Project, Cities for Peace, MilitaryFreeZone.Org, Operation Ceasefire, United for Peace and Justice, U.S. Tour of Duty, Hip Hop Caucus, Democracy Rising, World Can't Wait, Gold Star Families for Peace, PeaceMajority Report, Global Exchange, Bring Them Home Campaign, UP (United Progressives) for Democracy, 20 20 Vision, Impeach Bush Coalition, and Peace Action, in asking you to sign up and attend one of these events, or ? if there is not one scheduled near you ? help organize one and post it on the website for others to attend.

The war is costing us dearly in lives, in security, and in resources. We need this national day to make our demand heard and bring the war to an end. (Events can also be held on days other than the 7th, to fit the schedules of those involved.)

SIGN UP FOR AN EXISTING EVENT OR CREATE A NEW ONE HERE:
http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/event

Impeach George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for violating the Constitution of the United States
http://www.apfn.org/apfn/impeach_bush.htm

 
Do you believe President Bush's actions justify impeachment?
12/24/05 -- * 144334 responses
Yes, between the secret spying, the deceptions leading to war and more, there is plenty to justify putting him on trial. 85%
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/10562904/

IRAQ WAR - IMPEACH BUSH - BACKSTORY By Charles Goyette
http://www.charlesgoyette.com/archive/media/2005-10-11-Charles-03.mp3

Spy Agency Mined Vast Data Trove, Officials Report
    By Eric Lichtblau and James Risen
    The New York Times

    Saturday 24 December 2005

    Washington - The National Security Agency has traced and analyzed large volumes of telephone and Internet communications flowing into and out of the United States as part of the eavesdropping program that President Bush approved after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to hunt for evidence of terrorist activity, according to current and former government officials.

    The volume of information harvested from telecommunication data and voice networks, without court-approved warrants, is much larger than the White House has acknowledged, the officials said. It was collected by tapping directly into some of the American telecommunication system's main arteries, they said.

    As part of the program approved by President Bush for domestic surveillance without warrants, the NSA has gained the cooperation of American telecommunications companies to obtain backdoor access to streams of domestic and international communications, the officials said.

    The government's collection and analysis of phone and Internet traffic have raised questions among some law enforcement and judicial officials familiar with the program. One issue of concern to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which has reviewed some separate warrant applications growing out of the NSA's surveillance program, is whether the court has legal authority over calls outside the United States that happen to pass through American-based telephonic "switches," according to officials familiar with the matter.

    "There was a lot of discussion about the switches" in conversations with the court, a Justice Department official said, referring to the gateways through which much of the communications traffic flows. "You're talking about access to such a vast amount of communications, and the question was, How do you minimize something that's on a switch that's carrying such large volumes of traffic? The court was very, very concerned about that."

    Since the disclosure last week of the NSA's domestic surveillance program, President Bush and his senior aides have stressed that his executive order allowing eavesdropping without warrants was limited to the monitoring of international phone and e-mail communications involving people with known links to Al Qaeda.

    What has not been publicly acknowledged is that NSA technicians, besides actually eavesdropping on specific conversations, have combed through large volumes of phone and Internet traffic in search of patterns that might point to terrorism suspects. Some officials describe the program as a large data-mining operation.

    The current and former government officials who discussed the program were granted anonymity because it remains classified.

    Bush administration officials declined to comment on Friday on the technical aspects of the operation and the NSA's use of broad searches to look for clues on terrorists. Because the program is highly classified, many details of how the NSA is conducting it remain unknown, and members of Congress who have pressed for a full Congressional inquiry say they are eager to learn more about the program's operational details, as well as its legality.

    Officials in the government and the telecommunications industry who have knowledge of parts of the program say the NSA has sought to analyze communications patterns to glean clues from details like who is calling whom, how long a phone call lasts and what time of day it is made, and the origins and destinations of phone calls and e-mail messages. Calls to and from Afghanistan, for instance, are known to have been of particular interest to the NSA since the Sept. 11 attacks, the officials said.

    This so-called "pattern analysis" on calls within the United States would, in many circumstances, require a court warrant if the government wanted to trace who calls whom.

    The use of similar data-mining operations by the Bush administration in other contexts has raised strong objections, most notably in connection with the Total Information Awareness system, developed by the Pentagon for tracking terror suspects, and the Department of Homeland Security's Capps program for screening airline passengers. Both programs were ultimately scrapped after public outcries over possible threats to privacy and civil liberties.

    But the Bush administration regards the NSA's ability to trace and analyze large volumes of data as critical to its expanded mission to detect terrorist plots before they can be carried out, officials familiar with the program say. Administration officials maintain that the system set up by Congress in 1978 under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act does not give them the speed and flexibility to respond fully to terrorist threats at home.

    A former technology manager at a major telecommunications company said that since the Sept. 11 attacks, the leading companies in the industry have been storing information on calling patterns and giving it to the federal government to aid in tracking possible terrorists.

    "All that data is mined with the cooperation of the government and shared with them, and since 9/11, there's been much more active involvement in that area," said the former manager, a telecommunications expert who did not want his name or that of his former company used because of concern about revealing trade secrets.

    Such information often proves just as valuable to the government as eavesdropping on the calls themselves, the former manager said.

    "If they get content, that's useful to them too, but the real plum is going to be the transaction data and the traffic analysis," he said. "Massive amounts of traffic analysis information - who is calling whom, who is in Osama Bin Laden's circle of family and friends - is used to identify lines of communication that are then given closer scrutiny."

    Several officials said that after President Bush's order authorizing the NSA program, senior government officials arranged with officials of some of the nation's largest telecommunications companies to gain access to switches that act as gateways at the borders between the United States' communications networks and international networks. The identities of the corporations involved could not be determined.

    The switches are some of the main arteries for moving voice and some Internet traffic into and out of the United States, and, with the globalization of the telecommunications industry in recent years, many international-to-international calls are also routed through such American switches.

    One outside expert on communications privacy who previously worked at the NSA said that to exploit its technological capabilities, the American government had in the last few years been quietly encouraging the telecommunications industry to increase the amount of international traffic that is routed through American-based switches.

    The growth of that transit traffic had become a major issue for the intelligence community, officials say, because it had not been fully addressed by 1970's-era laws and regulations governing the NSA Now that foreign calls were being routed through switches on American soil, some judges and law enforcement officials regarded eavesdropping on those calls as a possible violation of those decades-old restrictions, including the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which requires court-approved warrants for domestic surveillance.

    Historically, the American intelligence community has had close relationships with many communications and computer firms and related technical industries. But the NSA's backdoor access to major telecommunications switches on American soil with the cooperation of major corporations represents a significant expansion of the agency's operational capability, according to current and former government officials.

    Phil Karn, a computer engineer and technology expert at a major West Coast telecommunications company, said access to such switches would be significant. "If the government is gaining access to the switches like this, what you're really talking about is the capability of an enormous vacuum operation to sweep up data," he said.

 

Cong. J.Conyers(D-MI) Releases Potentially 'Lethal' Impeachment Doc

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Address:http://www.rense.com/general69/imr.htm

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 D-Rep Releases Potentially 'Lethal' Impeachment Doc Democratic Congressman Releases

Potentially 'Lethal Document' That Could Lead To Bush Impeachment Next Year

   Rep. John Conyers (D-Mi) is tired of the Bush arrogance and flaunting of federal law concerning the Iraq War and other matters. Friday he released a document called "The Constitution in Crisis," seeking a Congrssional Resolution to again investigate Bush's possible impeachment.
 
By Greg Szymanski

12-24-5

   Rep. John Conyers (D-Mi) released a potentially lethal document Friday, focusing on the numerous federal violations of the Bush administration, including evidence of WMD intelligence cover-ups, deception, manipulation, retribution and torture concerning the Iraqi War.
 
   The document, entitled "The Constitution in Crisis," finds more than probable cause and substantial evidence for many federal law violations by top administration officials, including the President and Vice President, based on their blatant and arrogant abuse of power.
 
   "I have introduced a resolution creating a Select Committee with subpoena authority to investigate the misconduct of the Bush   Administration with regard to the Iraq war and report on possible impeachable offenses, as well as Resolutions proposing both President Bush and Vice-President Cheney should be censured by Congress based on the uncontroverted evidence of their abuse of power," said Rep. Conyers in a statement released this week regarding action to be taken when Congress returns after the Christmas break.
 
    Besides specifically detailing the many Bush administration federal violations concerning Iraq, Rep.. Conyers severely scolds and attacks the administration for its "arrogance, hubris and wrongheadedness," highlighting the dangers of a one party rule in Congress and a lack of check and balances on President Bush who is acting more like a dictator than a President of the people.
 
   "It is important that we as a nation say "never again" to going to war under false pretenses, and covering up official wrongdoing," added Rep. Conyers, who has been a strong advocate for getting to the truth of allegations President Bush doctored intelligence reports to justify an illegal Iraqi invasion.
 
   In the lengthy report submitted to Congress and being distributed widely across America for citizens signatures, Sen. Conyers said he took this drastic action to "save the country" after President Bush arrogantly refused to respond to a letter submitted by 122 members of Congress and more than 500,000 Americans last July, asking him whether
information in the infamous Downing Street Memo, alleging doctoring of WMD intelligence, was accurate.
 
   Since Bush failed to acknowledge the letter, Conyers staff prepared the legal document released this week, finding substantial evidence that Bush and Cheney misled Congress and the American people regarding decisions to go to war with Iraq, misstated and manipulated intelligence information regarding the justification for entering into the war, mandated torture and cruel inhumane treatment in the execution of the war, as well as permitted inappropriate retaliation against critics of the administration.
 
   In the Executive Summary of the document which will seek a Resolution for Congress to seek impeachment, Rep. Conyers through his legal staff added:
 
   "There is prima facie case that these actions by the President, Vice President and other members of the Bush administration violated a number of federal laws, including committing a fraud against the U.S.; making false statements to Congress; violating the War Powers Resolution; misuse of government funds; violating international treaties prohibiting
torture; violating federal laws concerning retaliating against witnesses and other individuals and violating federal laws concerning leaking and other misuse of intelligence."
 
   While the document raises charges meriting Bush's impeachment, it notes that special investigative powers be established by Congressional Resolution since the Republican controlled Legislative and Executive branches has systematically and illegally blocked off a fair and honest search for the truth, using its power to protect a corrupt and
out-of-control President and Vice President.
 
   "As a result, we recommend that Congress establish a select committee with subpoena authority to investigate the misconduct of the Bush administration with regard to the Iraq War and report to the Committee on the Judiciary on possible impeachable offenses," added Rep. Conyers.  
 
For more informative articles, go to www.arcticbeacon.com.
 

MainPage
http://www.rense.com
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Former NSA Intelligence Analyst & Action Officer Urges to be Heard by Congress Regarding Unlawful Conduct by NSA Address:http://www.buzzflash.com/alerts/05/12/ale05176.html

Rice authorized National Security Agency to spy on UN Security Council
in run-up to Bombing Bagdad, former officials say.

( Rice Now Also Guilty of a Felony !)
 
Address:http://rawstory.com/news/2005/After_domestic_spying_reports_U.S._spying_1227.html

Rice authorized National Security Agency to spy on UN Security Council in run-up to war, former officials say

Jason Leopold

President Bush and other top officials in his administration used the National Security Agency to secretly wiretap the home and office telephones and monitor private email accounts of members of the United Nations Security Council in early 2003 to determine how foreign delegates would vote on a U.N. resolution that paved the way for the U.S.-led war in Iraq, NSA documents show.

Two former NSA officials familiar with the agency's campaign to spy on U.N. members say then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice authorized the plan at the request of President Bush, who wanted to know how delegates were going to vote. Rice did not immediately return a call for comment.

The former officials said Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld also participated in discussions about the plan, which involved "stepping up" efforts to eavesdrop on diplomats.

A spokeswoman at the White House who refused to give her name also would not comment, and pointed to a March 3, 2003 press briefing by former White House press secretary Ari Fleischer when questions about U.N. spying were first raised.

"As a matter of long-standing policy, the administration never comments on anything involving any people involved in intelligence," Fleischer said. "So I'm not saying yes and I'm not saying no."

Disclosure of the wiretaps and the monitoring of U.N. members' email came on the eve of the Iraq war in the British-based Observer. The leak -- which the paper acquired in the form of an email via a British translator -- came amid a U.S. push urging U.N. members to vote in favor of a resolution that said Iraq was in violation of U.N. resolution 1441, asserting that it had failed to rid the country of weapons of mass destruction.

News of the NSA spying on the U.N. received scant coverage in U.S. newspapers at the time. But with the explosive domestic spying report published in the New York Times last week, a closer examination of pre-war spying may shed light on whether the Bush administration has used the NSA for its own political purposes, as opposed to tracking down communications regarding potential terrorist threats against the U.S.

The leaked NSA email detailing the agency's spy tactics against the U.N. was written Jan. 31, 2003 by Chief of Staff for Regional Targets Frank Koza. In the email, Koza asked an undisclosed number of NSA and British intelligence officials to "pay attention to existing non-UN Security Council Member UN-related and domestic comms (home and office telephones) for anything useful related to Security Council deliberations."

One intelligence source who spoke to RAW STORY said top White House officials and some Republican members of Congress had debated in December 2002 whether to step up the surveillance of U.N. officials to include eavesdropping on home telephone and personal email accounts. Some feared that in the event it was discovered, it would further erode relations between the U.S. and the U.N.

The source added that U.S. spying on the U.N. isn't new.

"It's part of the job," the intelligence source said. "Everyone knows it's being done."

Eavesdropping on U.N. diplomats is authorized under the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Services Act. However, it's still considered a violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which says that "The receiving state shall permit and protect free communication on the part of the mission for all official purposes... The official correspondence of the mission shall be inviolable."

According to one former official, "The administration pushed the envelope by tapping their home phones."

Koza's email, a copy of which is included at the end of this report, says the "Agency is mounting a surge particularly directed at the UN Security Council (UNSC) members (minus US and GBR of course) for insights as to how to membership is reacting to the on-going debate RE: Iraq, plans to vote on any related resolutions, what related policies/ negotiating positions they may be considering, alliances/ dependencies, etc."

"The whole gamut of information that could give US policymakers an edge in obtaining results favorable to U.S. goals or to head off surprises. In RT, that means a QRC surge effort to revive/ create efforts against UNSC members Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Bulgaria and Guinea, as well as extra focus on Pakistan UN matters."

The email was sent out just four days after Blix filed his Iraq weapons report with the U.N. through a top secret surveillance network set up by the NSA, the British Government Communication Headquarters and similar intelligence agencies based in Australia, New Zealand and Canada known as Echelon.

It was leaked to a handful of media outlets in the U.S. and U.K. by Katharine Tersea Gun, a former translator for British intelligence. Gun was arrested in November 2003 and charged with violating her country's Official Secrets Act. She said she felt compelled to leak the memo because she believed the U.S. and Britain were about to launch an illegal war.

"Any disclosures that may have been made were justified on the following grounds: because they exposed serious illegality and wrongdoing on the part of the U.S. Government who attempted to subvert our own security services and, to prevent wide-scale death and casualties among ordinary Iraqi people and UK forces in the course of an illegal war," she said in a statement at the time.

In his book "Plan of Attack," Bob Woodward, deputy managing editor of the Washington Post, said the administration was also spying on Hans Blix, the U.N. weapons inspector sent to Iraq to look for WMDs.

"One of the things that's gone unnoticed is national intelligence assets spying on Hans Blix," Woodward told the Council on Foreign Relations on June 9, 2004 "And Bush was getting these reports and felt that there was incongruity between what Blix was saying publicly and what he was actually doing. It makes it very clear we were wiretapping Hans Blix."

In an article for Counterpunch, media critic Norman Solomon noted that the U.S. media barely covered the U.N. spying.

"Nearly 96 hours after the Observer had reported it, I called Times deputy foreign editor Alison Smale and asked why not," Solomon writes. "'We would normally expect to do our own intelligence reporting,' Smale replied. She added that 'we could get no confirmation or comment.' In other words, U.S. intelligence officials refused to confirm or discuss the memo -- so the Times did not see fit to report on it."

The Washington Post printed a 514-word article on a back page with the headline "Spying Report No Shock to U.N," while the Los Angeles Times emphasized from the outset that U.S. spy activities at the United Nations are "long-standing," Solomon wrote.

Solomon says his research turned up only one story which took the spying seriously -- a Mar. 4, 2003 piece in the Baltimore Sun.

The leaked NSA email which revealed the spying follows.

#

To: [Recipients withheld] From: FRANK KOZA, Def Chief of Staff (Regional Targets) CIV/NSA Sent on Jan 31 2003 0:16 Subject: Reflections of Iraq Debate/Votes at UN-RT Actions + Potential for Related Contributions Importance: HIGH Top Secret//COMINT//X1 All, As you've likely heard by now, the Agency is mounting a surge particularly directed at the UN Security Council (UNSC) members (minus US and GBR of course) for insights as to how to membership is reacting to the on-going debate RE: Iraq, plans to vote on any related resolutions, what related policies/ negotiating positions they may be considering, alliances/ dependencies, etc - the whole gamut of information that could give US policymakers an edge in obtaining results favorable to US goals or to head off surprises. In RT, that means a QRC surge effort to revive/ create efforts against UNSC members Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Bulgaria and Guinea, as well as extra focus on Pakistan UN matters. We've also asked ALL RT topi's to emphasize and make sure they pay attention to existing non-UNSC member UN-related and domestic comms for anything useful related to the UNSC deliberations/ debates/ votes. We have a lot of special UN-related diplomatic coverage (various UN delegations) from countries not sitting on the UNSC right now that could contribute related perspectives/ insights/ whatever. We recognize that we can't afford to ignore this possible source. We'd appreciate your support in getting the word to your analysts who might have similar, more in-direct access to valuable information from accesses in your product lines. I suspect that you'll be hearing more along these lines in formal channels - especially as this effort will probably peak (at least for this specific focus) in the middle of next week, following the SecState's presentation to the UNSC. Thanks for your help

#

 NSA Spied on UN Diplomats in Push for Invasion of Iraq
    By Norman Solomon
    t r u t h o u t | Perspective

    Tuesday 27 December 2005

    Despite all the news accounts and punditry since the New York Times published its Dec. 16 bombshell about the National Security Agency's domestic spying, the media coverage has made virtually no mention of the fact that the Bush administration used the NSA to spy on UN diplomats in New York before the invasion of Iraq.

    That spying had nothing to do with protecting the United States from a terrorist attack. The entire purpose of the NSA surveillance was to help the White House gain leverage, by whatever means possible, for a resolution in the UN Security Council to green light an invasion. When that surveillance was exposed nearly three years ago, the mainstream US media winked at Bush's illegal use of the NSA for his Iraq invasion agenda.

    Back then, after news of the NSA's targeted spying at the United Nations broke in the British press, major US media outlets gave it only perfunctory coverage - or, in the case of the New York Times, no coverage at all. Now, while the NSA is in the news spotlight with plenty of retrospective facts, the NSA's spying at the UN goes unmentioned: buried in an Orwellian memory hole.

    A rare exception was a paragraph in a Dec. 20 piece by Patrick Radden Keefe in the online magazine Slate, which pointedly noted that "the eavesdropping took place in Manhattan and violated the General Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, the Headquarters Agreement for the United Nations, and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, all of which the United States has signed."

    But after dodging the story of the NSA's spying at the UN when it mattered most - before the invasion of Iraq - the New York Times and other major news organizations are hardly apt to examine it now. That's all the more reason for other media outlets to step into the breach.

    In early March 2003, journalists at the London-based Observer reported that the NSA was secretly participating in the US government's high-pressure campaign for the UN Security Council to approve a pro-war resolution. A few days after the Observer revealed the text of an NSA memo about US spying on Security Council delegations, I asked Daniel Ellsberg to assess the importance of the story. "This leak," he replied, "is more timely and potentially more important than the Pentagon Papers." The key word was "timely."

    Publication of the top-secret Pentagon Papers in 1971, made possible by Ellsberg's heroic decision to leak those documents, came after the Vietnam War had been underway for many years. But with an invasion of Iraq still in the future, the leak about NSA spying on UN diplomats in New York could erode the Bush administration's already slim chances of getting a war resolution through the Security Council. (Ultimately, no such resolution passed before the invasion.) And media scrutiny in the United States could have shed light on how Washington's war push was based on subterfuge and manipulation.

    "As part of its battle to win votes in favor of war against Iraq," the Observer had reported on March 2, 2003, the US government developed an "aggressive surveillance operation, which involves interception of the home and office telephones and the e-mails of UN delegates." The smoking gun was "a memorandum written by a top official at the National Security Agency - the US body which intercepts communications around the world - and circulated to both senior agents in his organization and to a friendly foreign intelligence agency." The friendly agency was Britain's Government Communications Headquarters.

    The Observer explained: "The leaked memorandum makes clear that the target of the heightened surveillance efforts are the delegations from Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Mexico, Guinea and Pakistan at the UN headquarters in New York - the so-called 'Middle Six' delegations whose votes are being fought over by the pro-war party, led by the US and Britain, and the party arguing for more time for UN inspections, led by France, China and Russia."

    The NSA memo, dated Jan. 31, 2003, outlined the wide scope of the surveillance activities, seeking any information useful to push a war resolution through the Security Council - "the whole gamut of information that could give US policymakers an edge in obtaining results favorable to US goals or to head off surprises."

    Noting that the Bush administration "finds itself isolated" in its zeal for war on Iraq, the Times of London called the leak of the memo an "embarrassing disclosure." And, in early March 2003, the embarrassment was nearly worldwide. From Russia to France to Chile to Japan to Australia, the story was big mainstream news. But not in the United States.

    Several days after the "embarrassing disclosure," not a word about it had appeared in the New York Times, the USA's supposed paper of record. "Well, it's not that we haven't been interested," Times deputy foreign editor Alison Smale told me on the evening of March 5, nearly 96 hours after the Observer broke the story. But "we could get no confirmation or comment" on the memo from US officials. Smale added: "We would normally expect to do our own intelligence reporting." Whatever the rationale, the New York Times opted not to cover the story at all.

    Except for a high-quality Baltimore Sun article that appeared on March 4, the coverage in major US media outlets downplayed the significance of the Observer's revelations. The Washington Post printed a 514-word article on a back page with the headline "Spying Report No Shock to UN" Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times published a longer piece that didn't only depict US surveillance at the United Nations as old hat; the LA Times story also reported "some experts suspected that it [the NSA memo] could be a forgery" - and "several former top intelligence officials said they were skeptical of the memo's authenticity."

    But within days, any doubt about the NSA memo's "authenticity" was gone. The British press reported that the UK government had arrested an unnamed female employee at a British intelligence agency in connection with the leak. By then, however, the spotty coverage of the top-secret NSA memo in the mainstream US press had disappeared.

    As it turned out, the Observer's expose - headlined "Revealed: US Dirty Tricks to Win Vote on Iraq War" - came 18 days before the invasion of Iraq began.

     From the day that the Observer first reported on NSA spying at the United Nations until the moment 51 weeks later when British prosecutors dropped charges against whistleblower Katharine Gun, major US news outlets provided very little coverage of the story. The media avoidance continued well past the day in mid-November 2003 when Gun's name became public as the British press reported that she had been formally charged with violating the draconian Official Secrets Act.

    Facing the possibility of a prison sentence, Katharine Gun said that disclosure of the NSA memo was "necessary to prevent an illegal war in which thousands of Iraqi civilians and British soldiers would be killed or maimed." She said: "I have only ever followed my conscience."

    In contrast to the courage of the lone woman who leaked the NSA memo - and in contrast to the journalistic vigor of the Observer team that exposed it - the most powerful US news outlets gave the revelation the media equivalent of a yawn. Top officials of the Bush administration, no doubt relieved at the lack of US media concern about the NSA's illicit spying, must have been very encouraged.

    --------

    This article is adapted from Norman Solomon's new book War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. For information, go to: www.WarMadeEasy.com

  -------

Barron's: Impeachment! Barron's says it's time to consider impeachment
12-27-05
AS THE YEAR WAS DRAWING TO A CLOSE

  We picked up our New York Times and learned that the Bush administration has been fighting terrorism by intercepting communications in America without warrants.         It was worrisome on its face, but in justifying their actions, officials have made a bad situation much worse:               

Administration lawyers and the president himself have tortured the Constitution and extracted a suspension of the separation of powers. ... Surely the "strict constructionists" on the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary eventually will point out what a stretch this is.

        The most important presidential responsibility under Article II is that he must "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." That includes following the requirements of laws that limit executive power.

      There's not much fidelity in an executive who debates and lobbies Congress to shape a law to his liking and then goes beyond its writ.

      Willful disregard of a law is potentially an impeachable offense. It is at least as impeachable as having a sexual escapade under the Oval Office desk and lying about it later.

        The members of the House Judiciary Committee who staged the impeachment of President Clinton ought to be as
outraged at this situation.

        They ought to investigate it, consider it carefully and report either a bill that would change the wiretap laws to
suit the president or a bill of impeachment.

      It is important to be clear that an impeachment case, if it comes to that, would not be about wiretapping, or about a possible Constitutional right not to be wiretapped. It would be about the power of Congress to set wiretapping rules by law, and it is about the obligation of the president to follow the rules in the Acts t hat he and his predecessors signed into law.

      Some ancillary responsibility, however, must be attached to those members of the House and Senate who were informed, inadequately, about the wiretapping and did nothing to regulate it. Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, Democrat of West Virginia, told Vice President Dick Cheney in 2003 that he was "unable to fully evaluate, much less endorse these activities." But the senator was so respectful of the administration's injunction of secrecy that he wrote it out in longhand
rather than give it to someone to type. Only last week, after the cat was out of the bag, did he do what he should have done in 2003 -- make his misgivings public and demand more information.

Published reports quote sources saying that 14 members of Congress were notified of the wiretapping. If some had misgivings, apparently they were scared of being called names, as the president did last week when he said: "It was a shame ful act for someone to disclose this very important program in a time of war. The fact that we're discussing this
program is helping the enemy." Wrong. If we don't discuss the program and the lack of authority for it, we are meeting the enemy -- in the mirror.

http://online.barrons.com/article/SB113538491760731012.html

www.nytimes.com/ 


DICTATORSHIP USA! PRIVATE LIVES SQUASHED: THE NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY:THE AGENCY THAT COULD BE BIG BROTHER,... IS IT ALREADY?! By James Bamford, Contributing Op-Ed Editor, Washington, Sunday, December 25, 2005

FLASHPOINT: He added that if a dictator ever took over, the N.S.A. "could enable it TO IMPOSE TOTAL TYRANNY, and there would be NO WAY TO FIGHT BACK."

DEEP in a remote, fog-layered hollow near Sugar Grove, W.Va., hidden by fortress-like mountains, sits the country's largest eavesdropping bug. Located in a "radio quiet" zone, the station's large parabolic dishes secretly and silently sweep in millions of private telephone calls and e-mail messages an hour.

Run by the ultrasecret National Security Agency, the listening post intercepts all international communications entering the eastern United States. Another N.S.A. listening post, in Yakima,Wash., eavesdrops on the western half of the country.

A hundred miles or so north of Sugar Grove, in Washington, the N.S.A. has suddenly taken center stage in a political firestorm. The controversy over whether the president broke the law when he secretly ordered the N.S.A. to bypass a special court and conduct warrantless eavesdropping on American citizens has even provoked some Democrats to
call for his impeachment.

According to John E. McLaughlin, who as the deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency in the fall of 2001 was among the first briefed on the program, this eavesdropping was the most secret operation in the entire intelligence network, complete with its own code word -- which itself is secret.

Jokingly referred to as "No Such Agency," ["Never Say Anything] the N.S.A. was created in absolute secrecy in 1952 by President Harry S. Truman. Today, it is the largest intelligence agency. It is also the most important, providing far more insight on foreign countries than the C.I.A. and other spy organizations.

But the agency is still struggling to adjust to the war on terror, in which its job is not to monitor states, but individuals or small cells hidden all over the world. To accomplish this, the N.S.A. has developed ever more sophisticated technology that mines vast amounts of data. But this technology may be of limited use abroad.

And at home, it increases pressure on the agency to bypass civil liberties and skirt formal legal channels of criminal investigation. Originally created to spy on foreign adversaries, the N.S.A. was never supposed to be turned inward. Thirty years ago, Senator Frank Church, the Idaho Democrat who was then chairman of the select committee on intelligence, investigated the agency and came away stunned.

"That capability at any time could be TURNED AROUND ON THE AMERICAN PEOPLE," he said in 1975, "and NO AMERICAN WOULD HAVE ANY PRIVACY LEFT, such is the capability to monitor everything: telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn't matter. THERE WOULD BE NO PLACE TO HIDE."

He added that if a dictator ever took over, the N.S.A. "could enable it to impose TOTAL TYRANNY, and there would be no way to fight back."

At the time, the agency had the ability to listen to only what people said over the telephone or wrote in an occasional telegram; they had no access to private letters. But today, with people expressing their innermost thoughts in e-mail messages, exposing their medical and financial records to the Internet, and chatting constantly on cellphones, the agency virtually HAS THE ABILITY TO GET INSIDE A PERSON's MIND.

The N.S.A.'s original target had been the Communist bloc. The agency wrapped the Soviet Union and its satellite nations in an electronic cocoon. Anytime an aircraft, ship or military unit moved, the N.S.A. would know. And from 22,300 miles in orbit, satellites with super-thin, football-field-sized antennas eavesdropped on Soviet communications and weapons signals.

Today, instead of eavesdropping on an enormous country that was always chattering and never moved, the N.S.A. is trying to find small numbers of individuals who operate in closed cells, seldom communicate electronically (and when they do, use untraceable calling cards or disposable cellphones) and are constantly traveling from country to country.

During the cold war, the agency could depend on a constant flow of American-born Russian linguists from the many universities around the country with Soviet studies programs. Now the government is forced to search ethnic communities to find people who can speak Dari, Urdu or Lingala -- and also pass a security clearance that frowns on people with
relatives in their, or their parents', former countries.

According to an interview last year with Gen. Michael V. Hayden, then the N.S.A.'s director, intercepting calls during the war on terrorism has become a much more complex endeavor. On Sept. 10, 2001, for example, the N.S.A. intercepted two messages. The first warned, "The match begins tomorrow," and the second said, "Tomorrow is zero hour."

But even though they came from suspected Al Qaeda locations in Afghanistan, the messages were never translated until after the attack on Sept. 11, and not distributed until Sept. 12. 

What made the intercepts particularly difficult, General Hayden said, was that they were not "targeted" but intercepted randomly from Afghan pay phones. This makes identification of the caller extremely difficult and slow. "Know how many international calls are made out of Afghanistan on a given day? Thousands," General Hayden said.

Still, the N.S.A. doesn't have to go to the courts to use its electronic monitoring to snare Al Qaeda members in Afghanistan. For the agency to snoop domestically on American citizens suspected of having terrorist ties, it first must to go to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, or FISA, make a showing of probable cause that the target is linked to a terrorist group, and obtain a warrant.

The court rarely turns the government down. Since it was established in 1978, the court has granted about 19,000 warrants; it has only rejected five. And even in those cases the government has the right to appeal to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, which in 27 years has only heard one case. And should the appeals court also reject the warrant request, the government could then appeal immediately to a closed session of the Supreme Court.

Before the Sept. 11 attacks, the N.S.A. normally eavesdropped on a small number of American citizens or resident aliens, often a dozen or less, while the F.B.I., whose low-tech wiretapping was far less intrusive, requested most of the warrants from FISA.

Despite the low odds of having a request turned down, President Bush established a secret program in which the N.S.A. would bypass the FISA court and begin eavesdropping without warrant on Americans. This decision seems to have been based on a new concept of monitoring by the agency, a way, according to the administration, to effectively handle all the data and new information.

At the time, the buzzword in national security circles was data mining: digging deep into piles of information to come up with some pattern or clue to what might happen next. Rather than monitoring a dozen or so people for months at a time, as had been the practice, the decision was made to begin secretly eavesdropping on hundreds, perhaps thousands, of
people for just a few days or a week at a time in order to determine who posed potential threats.

Those deemed innocent would quickly be eliminated from the watch list, while those thought suspicious would be submitted to the FISA court for a warrant.

In essence, N.S.A. seemed to be on a classic fishing expedition, precisely the type of abuse the FISA court was put in place to stop.At a news conference, President Bush himself seemed to acknowledge this new tactic. "FISA is for long-term monitoring," he said. "There's a difference between detecting so we can prevent, and monitoring."

This eavesdropping is not the Bush administration's only attempt to expand the boundaries of what is legally permissible.

In 2002, it was revealed that the Pentagon had launched Total Information Awareness, a data mining program led by John Poindexter, a retired rear admiral who had served as national security adviser under Ronald Reagan and helped devise the plan to sell arms to Iran and illegally divert the proceeds to rebels in Nicaragua.

Total Information Awareness, known as T.I.A., was intended to search through vast data bases, promising to "increase the information coverage by an order-of-magnitude." According to a 2002 article in The New York Times, the program "would permit intelligence analysts and law enforcement officials to mount a vast dragnet through electronic transaction data ranging from credit card information to veterinary records, in the United States and internationally, to hunt for terrorists."

After press reports, the Pentagon shut it down, and Mr. Poindexter eventually left the government. But according to a 2004 General Accounting Office report, the Bush administration and the Pentagon continued to rely heavily on data-mining techniques.

"Our survey of 128 federal departments and agencies on their use of data mining," the report said, "shows that 52 agencies are using or are planning to use data mining. These departments and agencies reported 199 data-mining efforts, of which 68 are planned and 131 are operational." Of these uses, the report continued, "the Department of Defense reported the largest number of efforts."

The administration says it needs this technology to effectively combat terrorism. But the effect on privacy has worried a number of politicians. After he was briefed on President Bush's secret operation in 2003, Senator Jay Rockefeller, the Democratic vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, sent a letter to Vice President Dick Cheney.

"As I reflected on the meeting today and the future we face," he wrote, "John Poindexter's T.I.A. project sprung to mind, exacerbating my concern regarding the direction the administration is moving with regard to security, technology, and surveillance."

Senator Rockefeller sounds a lot like Senator Frank Church.

"I don't want to see this country ever go across the bridge," Senator Church said.

"I know the capacity that is there to MAKE TOTAL TYRANNY IN AMERICA, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology OPERATE WITHIN THE LAW AND UNDER PROPER SUPERVISION, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is THE ABYSS FROM WHICH THERE IS NO
RETURN."
------------------------------------------
James Bamford is the author of "Puzzle Palace" and "Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency."
------------------------------------------
Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company / 

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/12/25/weekinreview/25bamford.html?pagewanted=print

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DREAMS OF THE GREAT EARTHCHANGES - MAIN INDEX