In typical fashion, the Bush administration continues resorting to political scare tactics — the usual use of Fear, Uncertaintly and Doubt (FUD) tactics in attempts to coerce House Democratic leaders and Congress — while the politicized ‘justice’ and ‘national intelligence’ departments continue making themselves look pretty pathetic.
Over this past weekend, the Associated Press published a story titled ‘Bush blames Dems on surveillance bill’ in which President Bush, during his weekly radio address, said House Democratic leaders are blocking intelligence legislation so lawyers can sue telephone companies for helping the government eavesdrop on suspected terrorists.
True to form, the Justice Department and the Office of National Intelligence corrected a statement made earlier issued by Attorney General Mukasey and Director of National Intelligence McConnell that the government had ‘lost intelligence’ because some companies had refused to initiate wiretaps against people covered by orders issued under the expired — due to the president’s unwillingness to extend it — Protect America Act (PAA).
President Bush wants retroactive immunity added to the PAA to keep secret illegal activities authorized and employed by the president secret and refused to allow anything else.
Surveillance Activities Resume “For Now”
Not surprisingly, given the abundant use of overinflated fear tactics and lies by Mukasey and McConnell, the statement said new surveillance activities will reportedly resume “for now,” but the delay “impaired our ability to cover foreign intelligence targets, which resulted in missed information.”
Their statement also said that companies may resist orders in the future if Congress does not pass a law with retroactive immunity. A copy of the statement from McConnell and Mukasey can be found on the War and Piece blog from Laura Rozen.
In actuality, those statements are lies. Under the FISA law which is still in effect despite the expiration of the PAA, telecoms are required by law to cooperate — with legal warrants issued by the FISA court. Any ‘missed information’ has nothing to do with the PAA amendment expiring.
Frankly, it’s hard to say which is more pathetic: a once decorated military hero who has been reduced to a driveling idiot at the request of the most incompetent leader ever appointed to a presidency, or a once somewhat respected federal judge who has proven to be nothing more than a clone of the corrupted Attorney General he replaced, also reduced to driveling idiocy.
Of course, not said by the President in his weekly radio address is the fact that Republican House leaders and members are doing everything they can to make sure they stage walkouts or don’t show up for bipartisan participation in finalizing the legislation.
Eavesdropping Outside of FISA is “illegal”
An article from Glenn Greenwald of Salon News titled “McConnell/Mukasey: Eavesdropping outside of FISA is “illegal” article from Glenn Greenwald of Salon News” explains more of the dubious actions and adventures of McConnell and Mukasey, the revelation that eavesdropping outside of FISA is illegal, and a whole lot more. In another article he details information on the scary 24 video that was stolen and used by Republicans to try to convince Congress and the American public that the end of the world is coming if they don’t pass legislation wanted by the president, .
The Democratic response to the video can be found at Crooks and Liars.
Noted by Mr. Greenwald: “Wow, what a blockbuster revelation. Apparently, as it turns out, in the United States it’s “illegal” for the Government to eavesdrop on Americans without first complying with the requirements of FISA. Who would have known? It’s a good thing we don’t have a Government that would ever do that, or a Congress that would ever tolerate such “illegal” behavior. And it’s so moving to hear the Bush administration earnestly explain that they are so hamstrung by FISA’s requirements that we are all deeply vulnerable to the Terrorists, but they have no choice but to comply with its burdensome provisions — because to do otherwise would be “illegal.”
According to McConnell and Mukasey, that would make eavesdropping — secretly authorized by President Bush allegedly after the attacks of 9/11 without court-approved warrants — illegal.
Also noted by the author: “Since Mike Mukasey himself just said in this letter that spying outside of FISA is “illegal,” and since it’s indisputable that the Bush administration did just that for years, doesn’t that compel him as Attorney General to commence a criminal investigation into this “illegal” conduct?”
Obviously we all know the answer to that.
FUD and FISA Fallacies Continue
Meanwhile, Bush continues lobbying Congress to pass the Senate version of the unconstitutional bill containing retroactive immunity. If anything happens to this country such as another 9/11 attack, the president would be responsible for it and will have no one to blame but himself.
Interestingly enough, Democratic leaders, including Senator Jay Rockefeller — who received $44,000 in donations last year from the telecoms, and who authored the Senate version of the bill with retroactive immunity — and Senators Patrick Leahy, Silvestre Reyes and John Conyers wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post accusing Bush of resorting to “scare tactics and political games.”
According to the Washington Post article: “It is clear that he and his Republican allies, desperate to distract attention from the economy and other policy failures, are trying to use this issue to scare the American people into believing that congressional Democrats have left America vulnerable to terrorist attack.”
Rest assured that the constant use of FUD is going to increase, and will become even more ridiculous as the Bush administration becomes more desperate. Feel free to contact your Congress person(s) to show them your support.