New Details On Illegal Wiretapping

Now we know why the Bush Administration is again using fear and strong-arm tactics to coerce Congress into passing a new FISA law containing retroactive immunity for himself, Telecoms and all those who aided and abetted ALL of his illegal maneuvers. New details are emerging suggesting that the illegal wiretapping started in February 2001 before the attacks of 9/11 (don’t be surprised if it went further back than that).

The Washington Post has reported that a former Qwest Communications International executive, while appealing a conviction for inside trading, is alleging that the government withdrew opportunities for contracts that were worth hundreds of millions of dollars…after Qwest refused to participate in an unidentified National Security Agency (NSA) program thought by Qwest to be illegal. More information is also available from the original article from Wired.com.

Court documents recently unsealed in Denver reveal that Joseph P. Nacchio, former chief executive of Qwest Communications International, convicted in April of 19 counts of insider trading, said the NSA approached Qwest more than six months before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Although details about the alleged NSA program have been redacted from the recently unsealed documents, Nacchio’s lawyer said the NSA had approached the company regarding participation in a warrantless surveillance program to gather information about phone records belonging to Americans.

Qwest’s Refusal Led To Governmental Retribution

Nacchio is using the allegation as a way to try to show why his stock sale should not have been considered improper. Nacchio suggested that Qwest’s refusal to take part in that program led to the government cancelling a seperate, lucative contract with the NSA in retribution.

In early 2001 Nacchio was convicted for selling shares of Qwest stock, just before financial problems made the company’s share price tumble.

In court papers Nacchio claimed he had been optimistic that Qwest would overcome weak sales due the expected top-secret contract with the government. At the time of his trial Nacchio couldn’t mention specifics because of secrecy restrictions, but the judge ruled that the issue was irrelevant to the charges against  him.

By Nacchio’s account, the NSA approached Qwest at a meeting on Feb. 27, 2001 suggesting the Bush Administration (who apparently had no comment) tried to enlist telecoms in the illegal programs without court oversight several months before the Sept. 11 attacks. Bush has previously claimed that the Sept. 11 attacks were the main impetus for its warrantless wireless surveillance efforts. Bush lied about that too.

NSA Disappointed With Qwest’s Decision

In May 2006, USA Today reported on the NSA and how they had been secretly collecting records of tens of millions of Americans using data provided by major telecoms. They also reported that Qwest declined to participate in the secret record collecting because of fears that the program lacked legal standing.

In the fall of 2001 Nacchio was chairman of the president’s National Security Telecommunications Advisory Committee. When no warrant was secured in support of all the records from the NSA and he learned that there was a disinclination on the part of authorities to use any legal process, he concluded that the requests by the NSA violated the privacy requirements of the Telecommunications Act.

According to the Post, newly released documents say that on Feb. 27, 2001, Nacchio and James Payne, then Qwest’s senior vice president of government systems, met with NSA officials at Fort Meade on the premise of discussing “Groundbreaker,” a project to outsource the NSA’s non-mission-critical systems.

Nacchio refused to participate in some unidentified program or activity because it was possibly illegal and the NSA later “expressed disappointment” about Qwest’s decision.

Also noted by the article is the fact that there is more to this story about the government’s relationship with the telecoms than what the administration has admitted to. For more information visit the Washington Post or Wired.

Links to more information

Links to the above information and a lot more can be found below:

Former CEO Says U.S. Punished Phone Firm article from the Washington Post

NSA Domestic Surveillance Began 7 Months Before 9/11, Convicted Qwest CEO Claims article from Wired.com

Warrantless wiretapping in place before 9/11 article from Think Progress:

“But the Body Politik’s Igor Volsky points out that President Bush has claimed that the program was put in place in response to 9/11:

After September the 11th, I vowed to the American people that our government would do everything within the law to protect them against another terrorist attack. As part of this effort, I authorized the National Security Agency to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations. [5/11/06]

Kagro X adds, “If Qwest’s competitors were already abetting this bloodless(?) coup before 9/11, then the ‘administration’s’ domestic spying not only has little if anything to do with response to terrorism, but it also objectively failed to prevent 9/11.”

Wiretapping Lies Continue, This Time in the NY Post article from Wired.com:

“Monday’s New York Post ran a story by bureau chief Charles Hurt blaming a delay in NSA surveillance activities to find information about captured soldiers in Iraq on the privacy framework that protects Americans from unfettered surveillance.

The biting story, based on a leak from an administration-friendly source, blames bureaucratic rules for a 10-hour delay in getting permission to set up a wiretap inside American telecom switches to capture Iraqi communications — hours that could have meant the difference between life and death for the soldiers.

Hurt’s piece, relying on a “senior congressional staffer with access to the classified case” is quite compelling, but would be even more so if it weren’t a carefully constructed, politically motivated lie that’s already been discredited.” (See the next link below)

Nothing like willful disregard for Journalistic integrity. I’d be interested to know who paid the writer to run another lie from a federal bureau chief and how much. People like that who willfully continue to perform in unethical and untruthful activities is what got the U.S. into the situation we’re in. The Director of National ‘Intelligence’ Mike McConnell already told that lie a little over a month ago and was quickly discredited.

Talking Points Memo – Source: McConnell’s Account of Insurgent Wiretap Controversy ‘Terrible’ article from TPMmuckraker:

“A knowledgeable government source says the account Admiral Mike McConnell gave to the House intelligence committee about the procedure for wiretapping Iraqi insurgents earlier this year is “really terrible.”

McConnell told the committee today that restrictions derived by the FISA Court this year on wiretapping foreign-to-foreign communications that pass through the U.S. prevented the NSA from surveilling Iraqi insurgents who had kidnapped U.S. soldiers for 12 hours. But the source, who is privvy to the timeline of the incident, says “internal bureaucratic wrangling,” and not court-based restrictions, were responsible for the lag time. “To get an emergency warrant, you just have to believe the facts support the application that someone is an agent of a foreign power,” the source says. “That takes approximately five seconds to establish if you’re going after an Iraqi insurgent.”

Top Spy Asked to Explain Pre-9/11 Spying Allegations article from Wired.com:

“House Judiciary Chairman John Conyers is asking the Justice Department and the head of national intelligence to answer startling allegations that the National Security Agency’s still-unconfirmed call records data mining program started 7 months before the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and that the government retaliated against a telecom for saying it thought a request to participate was illegal.

As first reported here on THREAT LEVEL and then followed up on (sans credit) by the Washington Post and the New York Times, court documents unveiled last week show that former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio tried, unsuccessfully, to raise allegations in court that he refused an NSA request for help from his telecom in February 27, 2001, nearly 7 months prior to 9/11.”

NSA Domestic Surveillance Began 7 Months Before 9/11, Convicted Qwest CEO Claims article from Wired.com

Qwest CEO Not Alone in Alleging NSA Started Domestic Phone Record Program 7 Months Before 9/11 article from Wired.com:

“And in May 2006, a lawsuit filed against Verizon for allegedly turning over call records to the NSA alleged that AT&T began building a spying facility for the NSA just days after President Bush was inaugurated. That lawsuit is one of 50 that were consolidated and moved to a San Francisco federal district court, where the suits sit in limbo waiting for the 9th Circuit Appeals court to decide whether the suits can proceed without endangering national security.

The project was described in the ATT sales division documents as calling for the construction of a facility to store and retain data gathered by the NSA from its domestic and foreign intelligence operations but was to be in actuality a duplicate ATT Network Operations Center for the use and possession of the NSA that would give the NSA direct, unlimited, unrestricted and unfettered access to all call information and internet and digital traffic on ATTÌs long distance network. […]

The NSA program was initially conceived at least one year prior to 2001 but had been called off; it was reinstated within 11 days of the entry into office of defendant George W. Bush.

An ATT Solutions logbook reviewed by counsel confirms the Pioneer-Groundbreaker project start date of February 1, 2001.

A former telecom executive told us that efforts to obtain call details go back to early 2001, predating the 9/11 attacks and the president’s now celebrated secret executive order. The source, who asked not to be identified so as not to out his former company, reports that the NSA approached U.S. carriers and asked for their cooperation in a “data-mining” operation, which might eventually cull “millions” of individual calls and emails.”

Pentagon acted with little oversight in spying on Americans, documents show article from Raw Story:

“The Department of Defense has conspired with the FBI to “circumvent the law” in accessing hundreds of Americans’ telephone, e-mail and financial records, say two civil liberties groups that released reams of new documents obtained in a contested public records request.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which has challenged the Bush Administration’s post-Sept. 11 spying authority, says the Pentagon has issued 455 National Security Letters in concert with the FBI to obtain Americans’ private information it is not entitled to receive.

“The documents make clear that the Department of Defense may have secretly and illegally conducted surveillance beyond the powers it was granted by Congress,” ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero said. “It also appears as if the FBI is serving as a lackey for the DoD in misusing the Patriot Act powers. At the very least, it certainly looks like the FBI and DoD are conspiring to evade limits placed on the Department of Defense’s surveillance powers.”

Seven countries in five years article from AfterDowningStreet.org – Wesley Clark’s new memoir casts more light on the Bush administration’s secret strategies for regime change in Iran and elsewhere:

“In “A Time to Lead: For Duty, Honor and Country,” published by Palgrave Macmillan last month, the former four-star general recalls two visits to the Pentagon following the terrorist attacks of September 2001. On the first visit, less than two weeks after Sept. 11, he writes, a “senior general” told him, “We’re going to attack Iraq. The decision has basically been made.”

Six weeks later, Clark returned to Washington to see the same general and inquired whether the plan to strike Iraq was still under consideration. The general’s response was stunning:

“‘Oh, it’s worse than that,’ he said, holding up a memo on his desk. ‘Here’s the paper from the Office of the Secretary of Defense [then Donald Rumsfeld] outlining the strategy. We’re going to take out seven countries in five years.’ And he named them, starting with Iraq and Syria and ending with Iran.”

While Clark doesn’t name the other four countries, he has mentioned in televised interviews that the hit list included Lebanon, Libya, Somalia and Sudan.

Clark says he didn’t read the memo from Rumsfeld’s office. When the general first held it up, he remembers asking, “Is it classified?” Receiving an affirmative answer, he said, “Well, don’t show it to me.” He also says that when he saw the same general last year and reminded him of their conversation, the officer said, “Sir, I didn’t show you that memo! I didn’t show it to you!”

In The Kingdom of Fear article from AfterDowningStreet:

“For six long years, Bush has “water-boarded” all who oppose him — especially those in Congress — with a steady stream of 9-11. Each speech is laced with visions of 9-11 — 9-11 horror just over the horizon, 9-11 around each corner, 9-11 behind each tree. “Fear Itself” is the only option on the Bush-Cheney table, and they have used it relentlessly, not only to wage genocidal war in order to gain control of the world’s resources, but to seize dictatorial power and to control the quivering masses. Constant and repetitive warnings and false-flag alerts, evidence of plotters and planners skulking among us, hateful ideologies swirling above us like mushroom clouds — is it any wonder our elected representatives, once inside the Kingdom of Fear, lose all sense of direction, the ability to reason?

So there you have it. When Pelosi and other members of Congress were sworn in after the 2006 election, 2,761 American uniformed military had been slain. In the ensuing 11 months, while Democrats were caving in, kissing ass, and giving Bush everything he demanded to expand his war, an additional 1,072 of our young men and women have perished. With 13 months remaining for this administration, one must wonder how many more innocent Iraqi citizens and American military must die in order for Pelosi to write Bush’s legacy with their blood…

It’s them against us — a greedy corporate cabal protected by a cruel and sinister Dick Cheney and Bush, a vicious, brainless jackass who endowed himself with “wonder-working” masturbatory power to torture and kill at will.”

The ‘Good Germans’ Among Us article from The New York Times:

“BUSH lies” doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s time to confront the darker reality that we are lying to ourselves.

Ten days ago The Times unearthed yet another round of secret Department of Justice memos countenancing torture. President Bush gave his standard response: “This government does not torture people.” Of course, it all depends on what the meaning of “torture” is. The whole point of these memos is to repeatedly recalibrate the definition so Mr. Bush can keep pleading innocent.

Our humanity has been compromised by those who use Gestapo tactics in our war. The longer we stand idly by while they do so, the more we resemble those “good Germans” who professed ignorance of their own Gestapo. It’s up to us to wake up our somnambulant Congress to challenge administration policy every day. Let the war’s last supporters filibuster all night if they want to. There is nothing left to lose except whatever remains of our country’s good name.”

Bush and the Phone Companies: Partners in crime article from AlterNet

Bush Continues Push for Unlimited Government Power of Surveillance article from USA Daily

U.S. Warrantless Spying Program Targeted Americans, Which Violates Constitution, Chief Spy Says article from Wired.com

Bush ‘planted fake news stories on American TV’ article from The Independent Uk

Kucinich: “If Congress does not impeach President Bush for intentionally misleading the public, the next president should hand over Bush and his administration to law enforcement officials” article from News and Policy

House Rebukes State over Iraq Corruption article from Yahoo! News and The Associated Press:

“The House passed a resolution on Tuesday condemning the State Department for its refusal to divulge public details on Iraqi corruption in a new showdown with the Bush administration over the war and its classification policies.

“The Bush administration is hiding the truth while seeking hundreds of billions of dollars and placing our troops in danger. And we cannot allow this to happen,” said Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Waxman sponsored the nonbinding resolution, which states that the administration abused its power by classifying U.S. assessments on corruption inside Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government. The House agreed to the measure, 395-21.”

Wisconsin GOP chair faces charges in enticement of teenage boy article from Raw Story:

“Brown County GOP Chairman Donald Fleischman has resigned his post, says a spokesperson, after being accused of enticement and fondling of an underage boy, reports the Green Bay Press-Gazette Saturday.

The boy was found by police in Fleischman’s home on two occasions in late 2006 while being sought as a runaway from Ethan House, a home for at-risk youth. Now 17, he says he stayed with Fleischman at his house and a cabin, where he was provided with alcohol and cannabis, and regularly fondled.”

Cheney and the Corruption of the Justice Department article from Harpers.org

The Cheney – Halliburton Circle of Corruption article from Costanzo.org

A look at Cheney’s relentless pursuit of executive power article from The Boston Globe:

“It’s a good bet that when future historians examine the Bush administration, they will spend more time plumbing the mysteries of Vice President Dick Cheney than anyone else.

This is, quite simply, because Cheney is the most fascinating figure in it. He is the soul of this administration’s relentless pursuit of greater executive power. He is its architect and commander. George Bush became a willing participant when apprised of the effort. Beyond issues like Iraq and tax cuts, this unprecedented assault will be the hallmark of the Bush legacy.

“Cheney’s Law,” which airs tonight on Channel 2 (aired on 10/16/07 on PBS), charts the 30-year saga of Cheney’s efforts to expand White House power at the expense of Congress in particular. There is no earthshaking news here, but veteran documentarian Michael Kirk, who wrote, produced, and directed this program, provides a strong superstructure from which to connect the dots in Cheney’s defining commitment.”

Cheney’s Secrets article and more from TVNewsLies.org

Forget Ethics, Remember Politics article from The New York Times:

“The Bush administration’s never-ending push to turn federal agencies into favor-filled partisan clubhouses has just been confirmed in red-handed detail at the General Services Administration, the government’s main housekeeping agency. Investigators found that Lurita Doan, the Bush appointee running the agency, violated the Hatch Act, which forbids federal workers from politicking on the job.”

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