BRANDOLAND: Talking to God...For You!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

"We're doin' all we can"

(Hey, people: Please pass this blog on to one person today.)

Our Kid is in a heap o' trouble this morning.

Washington's all abuzz re: his secret eavesdropping program.

According to The Huffington Post --
The (government official familiar with the NSA order) said that then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft and top officials in the Justice Department's Office of Intelligence Policy and Review first briefed a few key officials on the plans to change the 25-year prohibition on most domestic surveillance.

In a series of meetings, officials also answered (U.S. District Judge Royce C.) Lamberth's questions about what some informally called "the president's program," and they asserted that no information gained through warrantless surveillance would be used to gain the court's authorization for secret wiretaps and warrants.
O.K.

This goes without saying, but if this story ("the president's program") had broken during the Clinton Administration?

THE WHITE HOUSE WOULD BE ON FIRE RIGHT NOW, and Messrs. DeLay, Hastert, Frist, and Dobson (et al) would be out front...holding the torches.

Literally.

Standing there demanding that the cops shoot the Clintons before they "escaped."

I mean, can you imagine?!

It'll be interesting to see how the Dems respond:

Bush is taken to task on spying

"Congress demands answers on NSA's eavesdropping in U.S."

Well, it's a start:
WASHINGTON -- Members of Congress demanded Friday that President Bush and his administration explain his decision to permit the country's most secretive intelligence agency to spy on American citizens in the United States after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks without first obtaining warrants.

Democrats and some Republicans denounced the administration's action, describing it as another example of Bush's use of the threat of terrorism to assume new legal and intelligence powers and limit civil liberties.

Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he would call congressional hearings. Warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens is "wrong, and it can't be condoned at all," he said.
Well, it's a start:
Trying to quickly contain the controversy, Vice President Dick Cheney went to Capitol Hill to confer with the leaders of both chambers as well as the chairman and top Democrat on the intelligence committees. Those present refused to discuss the session.
I think we know how that meeting went down.

CUT TO:

INT. SECRET SENATE CHAMBERS, DAY.

The camera pans around this gorgeous conference room, hidden deep within the bowels of Capitol Hill. DICK CHENEY, the Vice President of the United States, is surrounded by a number of leaders from the House & Senate.

He has an AK-47 in his hand, and is pointing the weapon at the Democrats.

CHENEY - You wanna f*ck with me?! Meet my little friend!
Federal law requires the president to keep Congress "fully and currently informed" of all significant intelligence activities.
Ha.
Legal experts and congressional officials said a program monitoring the electronic communications of Americans would be considered the type of program that would require immediate congressional notification.

But some pointed to a loophole in the law that allows a president to withhold information under extreme circumstances. In comments to reporters, Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales said the administration had followed the law, including briefing lawmakers as proxies for the public.

"I certainly respect and understand the need for the American people to understand what their government is doing," Gonzales said. " . . . But we also have a corresponding duty to ensure that national security is protected."
That's where they're gonna play ball.

They're gonna scream and yell about doing everything they can to "protect Americans."

On that note...

Bush Acknowledges Approving Eavesdropping

Our Kid is swinging back:
WASHINGTON - President Bush said Saturday he personally has authorized a secret eavesdropping program in the U.S. more than 30 times since the Sept. 11 attacks and he lashed out at those involved in publicly revealing the program.

"This is a highly classified program that is crucial to our national security," he said in a radio address delivered live from the White House's Roosevelt Room.

"This authorization is a vital tool in our war against the terrorists. It is critical to saving American lives. The American people expect me to do everything in my power, under our laws and Constitution, to protect them and their civil liberties and that is exactly what I will continue to do as long as I am president of the United States," Bush said.
Even if it means, uh, breaking federal law.
Defending the program, Bush said in his address that it is used only to intercept the international communications of people inside the United States who have been determined to have "a clear link" to al- Qaida or related terrorist organizations.

He said the program is reviewed every 45 days, using fresh threat assessments, legal reviews by the Justice Department, White House counsel and others, and information from previous activities under the program.
The program is reviewed...by the the Justice Department, White House counsel and "others."

Meaning...the Bushies: They review their own program.

Kinda like letting the Captains of Industry review the "Clear Skies Act."
Without identifying specific lawmakers, Bush said congressional leaders have been briefed more than a dozen times on the program's activities.
Here's out those meetings went down.

OUR KID - We're doin' all we can to...protect Americans.

CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS - Can you be more specific?

OUR KID - We're doin' all we can.

CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS - Okay then.

*

Like every other term in Bushworld, "protect Americans" means something else.

It means "defeat the rabble."
Appearing angry at times during his eight-minute address, Bush left no doubt that he will continue authorizing the program.

"I intend to do so for as long as our nation faces a continuing threat from al-Qaida and related groups," he said.
And if the powers that be have their way? That's a mighty long time.

Remember, the Cold War only lasted 40 years.

More later...

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