Warning: Constant ABSPATH already defined in /home/public/wp-config.php on line 27
Why Do They Hate America? — Why Now?
On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Why Do They Hate America?

This is why you cannot trust the Hedgemony with national security:

Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball of Newsweek have a web-only backgrounder, Behind the Surveillance Debate which illustrates exactly why they can’t catch real terrorists –

Aug. 1, 2007 – A secret ruling by a federal judge has restricted the U.S. intelligence community’s surveillance of suspected terrorists overseas and prompted the Bush administration’s current push for “emergency” legislation to expand its wiretapping powers, according to a leading congressman and a legal source who has been briefed on the matter.

The first public reference to the order came obliquely this week from House Minority Leader John Boehner—one of a number of senior Republicans who have been leading the White House-backed campaign to persuade Congress to rush through an expanded eavesdropping measure before it leaves for August recess at the end of this week.

He and other GOP leaders have said that the country will be at a greater risk of a terrorist attack if Congress doesn’t act immediately—and they have accused Democrats of “playing politics” by balking at some of the provisions the administration is seeking.

“There’s been a ruling, over the last four or five months, that prohibits the ability of our intelligence services and our counterintelligence people from listening in to two terrorists in other parts of the world where the communication could come through the United States,” Boehner said on an interview with Fox News anchor Neal Cavuto.

…One stumbling block that has emerged: the administration’s insistence that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales be given an expanded role to oversee the program—a particularly controversial move at the moment, given new allegations that the embattled attorney general has misled Congress about legal disputes over the surveillance program. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, said today in a statement that he has “become convinced that we must take some immediate but interim step” to expand surveillance, but that the administration proposal to grant Gonzales greater authority “is simply unacceptable.”

In a conference call with reporters today, Sen. Kit Bond, a Missouri Republican and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, lashed out at Democrats because they are resisting language in the administration proposal that would give Gonzales a new oversight role over the program. “The Democrats don’t trust anybody in the administration,” Bond said when asked about the objections to expanding Gonzales’s role. “They didn’t like Scooter Libby, they don’t like Karl Rove and most of all they don’t like President Bush. I don’t care who they like. We need to keep our country safe.”

First off, FISA warrants are simple to obtain if you have anything approaching a reason and two identified terrorists talking to each other is more than enough reason to paper a wall with with warrants. Of course Rep. Boehner may only be speaking hypothetically as he explains to the whole freaking universe the method that will be used, and which the terrorists will now avoid thanks to the timely assistance of Rep. Boehner in pointing out something they may not have been aware of before. Nice going, jerk.

Then we have Senator Bond wondering why anyone wouldn’t like convicted felon, Scooter Libby, and Karl Rove who both admitted leaking the identity of a covert CIA agent. The leaks caused a major US network that had been watching WMD issues in the Persian Gulf to be destroyed.

They are trying to give more responsibility to an Attorney General who is in serious jeopardy of being the first cabinet officer headed to an impeachment trial in about 150 years because he can’t do the job he currently has, or possibly “can’t recall” what the job is.

Just unbelievable. Why don’t they invite Osama bin Laden to a US Intelligence Board meeting? He couldn’t get much more information there than listening to GOP “leaders” talking to the press.


1 hipparchia { 08.01.07 at 11:57 pm }

that would be one way to catch him, inviting him to an intelligence meeting.

2 Bryan { 08.02.07 at 12:02 am }

These fools would set up a teleconference and screw-up the back trace.

Revealing sources and methods really, truly pisses me off. That’s how you blow years of work. Reagan and both Bushes have done this on more than one occasion. It’s a wonder we know anything anymore.

3 hipparchia { 08.02.07 at 12:47 am }

judging by what i’ve read, we really don’t know all that much, and haven’t for some time.

revealing sources isn’t too bright, but i can’t see that revealing methods is as damaging.

4 Jack K. { 08.02.07 at 1:08 pm }

…the problem with revealing methods is that it gives the targets of your efforts the information necessary to avoid using the technologies to which those methods apply. If you let it be revealed that you are tapping phone systems, your target won’t use phones anymore; same with e-mail, cell phones, pigeons, etc. During the ‘hunt’ for Osama in Afghanistan, it was revealed that we were using the capability to track cell or satellite phone signals (forget which one, precisely) to roughly pinpoint the location of Al Qaeda elements, so they quit communicating that way…

5 Bryan { 08.02.07 at 2:54 pm }

Jack covers the most recent occurrence, Osama’s satellite phone. When they heard we were tracking it, they gave the phone to his driver, who then headed in a different direction and was finally captured in a trap meant for Osama.

They don’t want to be held accountable, or to follow any rules. They think they should be allowed to do whatever they want, no matter what the Constitution says.

Requesting warrant from FISA is not a heavy burden, They should try to get a regular search warrant in a murder investigation, and then come talk to be about problems.

6 hipparchia { 08.02.07 at 7:57 pm }

fair enough. revealing exact details of a specific operation while that operation is still in progress is distincly stupid and unhelpful.

on a more general note, i can’t see how bringing out into the sunshine all of our information-gathering practices hurts us a whole hell of a lot. it’s not like waterboarding, extraordinary rendition, illegal wiretapping, data mining, etc, have served us well, even back when we didn’t know about them.

spying on others wasn’t invented with the advent of technology. way, way back in history, back when the only forms of communication were talking, signalling, writing, all those primitive methods, everybody knew they could be caught out if they weren’t careful, but that knowledge didn’t stop them from actually carrying out covert operations, nor did it necessarily keep their opponents from catching up with them.

sure, osama is still free as a bird [even that’s debatable] and we haven’t yet been able to hunt him down and extract our pound of flesh from him in exchange for the national indignity we’ve suffered at his hands, but we’ve disrupted his communications, at least temporarily, and his finances too, i understand [also at least temporarily, i haven’t kept up with this]. those are two important things needed for major attacks.

what we have done, by invading afghanistan and iraq and now threatening iran, all instead of chasing obl, is anger countless [mostly anti-western] extremists and inspire them to move from just hating on us to actually organizing and hitting back at us.


the fisa court is at best useless and more likely a menace. a secret entity whose sole function is to secretly backdate and rubberstamp the secret actions of the [any] administration? no thanks. if they have to go through all the trouble of getting a regular warrant for everything they do, maybe they’ll focus on just the most important and most likely suspects for investigation. certainly we-the-people would be a lot safer from unwarranted intrusion into our lives that way.

7 Bryan { 08.02.07 at 9:15 pm }

Actually, we have “driven” Osama into the best possible location for him, something that should have been prevented at all costs, and a place from which he cannot be extracted as the Russians and British could tell you if you read the bloody history of the area.

His communications have been slowed marginally, as the smuggling operations the area is noted for are still very much alive. The funding cut-off is an illusion. Traditional Muslims don’t use the international banking system, they have their own system that is very similar to the system used by the Jews in Europe for centuries based on families and personal relationships.

The torture crap has nothing to do with intelligence methods. It has never produced any actionable intelligence, and professionals know it. There are other methods that have been revealed that inform targets not merely how you are doing something, but how good you are at it, and those are the crown jewels.

The FISA court is not a rubber stamp, which is why they are trying to avoid it. It also provides a record of what they have been up to. The judges on the court are still judges, from a separate branch of government, and they tend to defend their branch from intrusions by the executive. You can’t present classified evidence in a regular court, so you need a separate court in which the justices all have an appropriate clearance.

8 Rook { 08.02.07 at 10:18 pm }

They are in an emergency mode because at the moment they are unable to spy on the Democrats and the candidates running for president. Why do you think they are, and have been, off message for the last couple of years? Ever since the showdown in the Hospital, they’ve been without the intelligence to head off the pending problems.

9 Steve Bates { 08.03.07 at 12:41 am }

Correct me if I’m wrong, but as best I remember, FISA has been exTREMEly accommodating of requests from every presidential administration since it was passed in, what, 1978? To me, this says that the Bushists must be doing truly outrageous things that even the friendly FISA court would balk at approving.

I agree with Rook that one of the things… but only one… that are the target of Bushist warrantless surveillance is the Democratic campaign apparatus, both presidential candidates and probably congressional candidates as well. Hey, I’m old enough to remember Watergate as if it happened yesterday; why should I be the least bit surprised to see the political descendants of those bastards attempting the same thing today… with more acquiescence, until now, by an all too compliant Congress?

It’s not that I like FISA… I think parts of it are probably unconstitutional on the face… but that I think that FISA, as it stands, is the best we can do right now. And we certainly need to stop the Bushists’ attempt to modify FISA, or… as appears to be the case now… simply go beyond it in violation of the law.

10 hipparchia { 08.03.07 at 1:15 am }

that extremely accomodating part is what i remembered too.

bryan’s point about the fisa court providing a record of their doings is about the only point in favor of keeping it around a bit longer, if only till we overthrow the cheney/bush regime. i do think it’s more likely that they’re trying to avoid leaving a trail and less likely that they want to modify fisa.

but if everything’s all that secret, it’s not like there will be any public scrutiny of that record. which kinda makes the whole thing pointless.

[i, along with about a hundred others, was having tea in the rose garden with members of the nixon family the week before watergate]