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Closing in on the Crawford Crimelord
Oversight of Warrantless Wiretapping by Capitulation
White House Rejects Special Counsel
Bush Working to Avoid Wiretap Probe
Spying Necessary, Democrats Say
Bush's Real Motive for Wiretaps
Carter- Eavesdropping Illegal
Senate Intelligence Chairman- Bush Can Spy
House Judiciary Committee Refuses Investigation
Bush's Warrantless Spying
Democrats' Wiretap Hearings on CSPAN
Justice Department-warrantless wiretaps legal
Bush Authorized Domestic Spying Before 9-11
Report Rebuts Bush on Spying
Land of the Surveilled
Bush Vows Domestic Surveillance to Continue
The Hidden State Steps Forward
Big Brother Is Listening To You
When Bush Began Wiretaps
Journalists Should Expose Secrets
Bush's Powers Are Unchecked
What They Said When They Were Impeaching Clinton
The I-Word is Gaining Ground
Spying on Americans
Daschle- Congress Denied Bush War Powers in U.S.
Bush Justifications for Law-breaking


Bush's illegal Wiretaps-A Strong Case for Impeachment to

Add to All of the Others

There is not a single bit of authority in any of this for the absurd and dangerous proposition

that the President has the right to violate a criminal law passed by Congress. Period. The

Administration is trotting out lawyers to make legalistic arguments designed to cloud this

extremely clear issue, but none of that can change the fact that Bush defenders are arguing

that he has the right to enage in conduct which Congress made it a crime to engage in, and

there is nothing in the law which gives a President that right. To the contrary, as one would

expect, it has been repeatedly made clear that under our system of Government, the President

does not possess the authoritarian right to engage in behavior which Congress expressly prohibits

under the law.


Closing in on the Crawford Crimelord

Posted on Tuesday, August 22 @ 09:42:50 EDT

For years -- years -- we have bashed and banged and clanged the bell on this theme over and

over here at Empire Burlesque, and in the Moscow Times, and CounterPunch and anywhere

else they'd let us come in with the hammer: George W. Bush and his minions are committing

crimes -- actual crimes, clear-cut violations of American and international law, genuine offenses

in the most literal sense, not just metaphorical transgressions against some moral law or political

ideal. They are criminals by their own admission, have even boasted about their offenses: the

unprovoked invasion of Iraq and all the putrid horror that has followed in its wake; the kidnapping

of captives off streets all over the world and their "rendition" to secret prisons and foreign torture

chambers; the "extrajudicial killing" -- i.e., murder -- of uncharged, untried individuals, including

at least one American citizen; "taking the gloves off" on torture techniques that were carefully

considered, in detail, in formal legal documents seen and signed by the highest government officials;

and on and on.


Oversight of Warrantless Wiretapping by Capitulation

By Robert Parry
March 10, 2006

Despite a dip in his opinion polls, George W. Bush’s transformation of the United States

into an authoritarian society continues apace, with new “compromises” with Congress

actually consolidating his claims to virtually unlimited executive power.

Bush’s latest success came as part of a supposed “concession” to Congress that

would grant two new Republican-controlled seven-member subcommittees narrow

oversight of Bush’s warrantless wiretapping of Americans.

While “moderate” Republican senators – Mike DeWine of Ohio, Olympia Snowe of

Maine, and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska – hailed the plan as a retreat by the White House,

the deal actually blesses Bush’s authority to bypass the courts in spying on Americans

and imposes on him only a toothless congressional review process.

Indeed, the congressional plan may make matters worse, broadening the permissible

scope of Bush’s wiretaps to include Americans deemed to be “working in support of a

terrorist group or organization.”


White House Rejects Special Counsel

By KATHERINE SHRADER, Associated Press Writer

The White House on Monday rejected the call by more
than a dozen House Democrats for a special counsel to
investigate the Bush administration's eavesdropping

President Bush's spokesman Scott McClellan said those
Democrats should instead spend their time
investigating the source of the unauthorized
disclosure of the classified program, which "has given
the enemy some of our playbook."

"I really don't think there's any basis for a special
counsel," McClellan also said.


White House Working to Avoid Wiretap Probe
But Some Republicans Say Bush Must Be More Open About Eavesdropping Program

By Charles Babington
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 20, 2006; A08

At two key moments in recent days, White House officials contacted congressional leaders

just ahead of intelligence committee meetings that could have stirred demands for a deeper

review of the administration's warrantless-surveillance program, according to House and

Senate sources.


Spying Necessary, Democrats Say
But Harman, Daschle Question President's Legal Reach


By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 13, 2006; A03

Two key Democrats yesterday called the NSA domestic surveillance program necessary

for fighting terrorism but questioned whether President Bush had the legal authority to order

it done without getting congressional approval.

Rep. Jane Harman (Calif.), ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee

on Intelligence, and former Senate majority leader Thomas A. Daschle (S.D.) said Republicans

are trying to create a political issue over Democrats' concern on the constitutional questions

raised by the spying program.

At the same time, the Republican chairmen of the Senate and House intelligence committees --

Sen. Pat Roberts (Kan.) and Rep. Peter Hoekstra (Mich.), who attended secret National Security

Agency briefings -- said they supported Bush's right to undertake the program without new

congressional authorization. They added that Democrats briefed on the program, who included

Harman and Daschle, could have taken steps if they believed the program was illegal. All four

appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press."


Bush's real motive: Why is W. acting so recklessly in pursuit

of the right to spy?'

Whatever else he may or may not be, Bush is strategic: what better vehicle for delivering

himself sweeping, unchecked "inherent" presidential power than through an appeal to national

security in an area -- electronic surveillance -- where public-opinion polls indicate that Americans

are most willing to sacrifice civil liberties in exchange for perceived security? The dirty little details

of surveillance law are sufficiently esoteric and legalistic that the average citizen remains largely in

the dark, distracted by siren calls of security. After all, who isn't in favor of protecting America

when all that is at stake is privacy? Why worry about a little wiretapping when you know that

you are doing nothing wrong?


Ex-President Carter: Eavesdropping Illegal

Feb 06 7:40 PM US/Eastern



Associated Press Writer


Former President Jimmy Carter criticized the Bush administration's domestic eavesdropping

program Monday and said he believes the president has broken the law.

"Under the Bush administration, there's been a disgraceful and illegal decision _ we're not going

to the let the judges or the Congress or anyone else know that we're spying on the American

people," Carter told reporters. "And no one knows how many innocent Americans have had

their privacy violated under this secret act."


Senate Intelligence Chairman: Bush Can Spy

By PETE YOST, Associated Press WriterFri Feb 3, 8:13 PM ET

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Pat Roberts said Friday the Bush administration's

domestic spying is within the president's inherent power under the Constitution, and he rejected

criticism that Congress was kept in the dark about it.

The program is "legal, necessary and reasonable," the Kansas Republican wrote in a 19-page

letter, taking a particularly expansive view of the president's authority for the warrantless surveillance.

"Congress, by statute, cannot extinguish a core constitutional authority of the president," Roberts wrote.


House Judiciary Committee Refuses Investigation

 'What the President ordered in this case was a crime'
Posted on Tuesday, January 24 @ 09:58:36 EST

While Judge Sam Alito's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee has confirmed

that he is not one of their number, a dwindling cadre of public servants still take seriously

the dictates of the Constitution and the intents of it authors. And there is no more serious

dictate of the document -- and no more solidly established intent -- than the one that requires

the Congress to serve as a check and a balance against the excesses of the executive branch.

Most particularly in a time of war, the founders intended for the Congress to question,

challenge and constrain the president and his aides so that never again would Americans

be subjected to the illegitimate, unwarranted and illegal dictates of a King George.

This mandate, so well-established and so thoroughly grounded in history and tradition,

places a particularly high demand on the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. It is

in the House, the Constitution tells us, that the work of holding an out-of-control president

to account, must begin -- and it is on the Judiciary Committee that the process is initiated.

The committee's current chair, Representative James Sensenbrenner, R-Wisconsin, should

understand this charge better than most. After all, he was at the center of the effort in 1998

and 1999 to impeach former President Bill Clinton.

No matter what one thought of the Clinton impeachment process, it should now be beyond

debate that if the misdeeds of the former president required both examination and action by

the Judiciary Committee -- as Sensenbrenner so obvioualy believed-- then the misdeeds of

the current president must surely merit a similar response.


Bush's Warrantless Spying

'Does the President Really Know Best?'
Date: Wednesday, January 18 @ 10:28:26 EST
Topic: Commander-In-Thief

OK, everyone who has studied the Unitary Executive Theory of the Presidency,

raise your hand. Anyone? Anyone?

If you are not raising your hand, you're not alone. As regular readers of Tomdispatch

are aware, only recently has the world received notice that President Bush's "I can do

anything I want" approach to governance has a name: the Unitary Executive Theory

of the Presidency. Not having heard of this concept, and thinking perhaps that I had

missed something in Constitutional Law, I decided to survey a random sampling of

attorneys about it. The group included civil practitioners, prosecutors, a federal judge,

a former federal prosecutor who has a PhD as well as a J.D., defense attorneys, and

a U.S. magistrate. The precise question was, "When did you first hear about the

Unitary Executive Theory of the Presidency?" Most said, "The past few weeks,"

but my favorite was, "A few seconds ago, when you asked about it." All agreed that

the term does not appear in the U.S. Constitution and that, the last time they checked,

we still had three branches of government.


Democrats' Unofficial Wiretap Hearings to be Carried


01/18/2006 @ 3:04 pm

Filed by RAW STORY

House Democrats, led by liberal Michigan Congressmen John Conyers, will hold

unofficial hearings on the legality of President Bush's warantless wiretap programs

Friday, and CSPAN and Pacifica radio will carry the hearings live, RAW STORY

can report.

Conyers office said in a release that CNN and ABC radio are also expected to be

present at the event. Radio Pacifica affiliates will broadcast the forum beginning at

11:00am EST, and it will be streamed live on the internet at


Justice Department to Declare Warrantless Wiretaps Legal

John Byrne
Published: January 19, 2006

In a detailed 42-page legal memorandum set for release this evening the Bush Justice

Department will defend the President's warrantless wiretap program as legal. A copy of the

document was leaked to RAW STORY.


Bush Authorized Domestic Spying Before 9/11
    By Jason Leopold
    t r u t h o u t | Perspective

    Friday 13 January 2006

    The National Security Agency advised President Bush in early 2001 that it had been

eavesdropping on Americans during the course of its work monitoring suspected terrorists

and foreigners believed to have ties to terrorist groups, according to a declassified document.

    The NSA's vast data-mining activities began shortly after Bush was sworn in as president

and the document contradicts his assertion that the 9/11 attacks prompted him to take the

unprecedented step of signing a secret executive order authorizing the NSA to monitor a select

number of American citizens thought to have ties to terrorist groups.


Report Rebuts Bush on Spying
Domestic Action's Legality Challenged

By Carol D. Leonnig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 7, 2006

A report by Congress's research arm concluded yesterday that the administration's

justification for the warrantless eavesdropping authorized by President Bush conflicts

with existing law and hinges on weak legal arguments.

The Congressional Research Service's report rebuts the central assertions made recently

by Bush and Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales about the president's authority to

order secret intercepts of telephone and e-mail exchanges between people inside the

United States and their contacts abroad.


'Land of the Surveilled, Home of the Complacent'
Posted on Friday, January 06 @ 10:15:42 EST

Ken Sanders, Dissident Voice

As 2005 drew to a close, there came to light the latest example of the Bush administration's

campaign to transform the United States from a nominal democracy to a despotic monarchy.

To the dismay of some, but to the surprise of no one, The New York Times revealed that in

the wake of 9/11, President Bush authorized the National Security Agency to engage in the

warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens.

In the unholy spirit of such illegal Cold War spying programs as "Shamrock" and "Minaret,"

the Bush administration has been secretly spying on the telephone conversations and e-mails

of U.S. citizens suspected by Bush of having terrorist connections. The White House does

not deny that this is true. To the contrary, the Bush administration is proud of its clandestine

subversion of what remains of American democracy. Indeed, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and

Rice have repeatedly defended the White House's unfettered right to spy on whomever, whenever.

Arrogant boasting aside, there is evidence that Bush & Co. knew that taking a red pen to the

Constitution and the Fourth Amendment was wrong. Living up to its reputation as "the paper

of record," as well as the leader of the rumored "liberal media," The New York Times complied

with the White House's request (threat?) and sat on its story for more than a year. Once the

Times got around to publishing its story, the White House immediately directed the Justice

Department to find out who leaked Bush's dirty little secret and destroy them.


Five Minute Video on Bush’s Explanation on his

Illegal Use of Warrant-less Wire Taps.



Bush Vows Domestic Surveillance to Continue

By TERENCE HUNT, AP White House Correspondent

President Bush, brushing aside bipartisan criticism in Congress,
said Monday he approved spying on suspected terrorists without court
orders because it was "a necessary part of my job to protect"
Americans from attack.

The president said he would continue the program "for so long as the
nation faces the continuing threat of an enemy that wants to kill
American citizens," and added it included safeguards to protect
civil liberties.



The Hidden State Steps Forward


[from the January 9, 2006 issue]

When the New York Times revealed that George W. Bush had ordered the National Security

Agency to wiretap the foreign calls of American citizens without seeking court permission, as

is indisputably required by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), passed by Congress

in 1978, he faced a decision. Would he deny the practice, or would he admit it? He admitted it.

But instead of expressing regret, he took full ownership of the deed, stating that his order had

been entirely justified, that he had in fact renewed it thirty times, that he would continue to renew

it and--going even more boldly on the offensive--that those who had made his law-breaking known

had committed a "shameful act." As justification, he offered two arguments, one derisory, the other

deeply alarming. The derisory one was that Congress, by authorizing him to use force after

September 11, had authorized him to suspend FISA, although that law is unmentioned in the

resolution. Thus has Bush informed the members of a supposedly co-equal branch of government

of what, unbeknownst to themselves, they were thinking when they cast their vote. The alarming

argument is that as Commander in Chief he possesses "inherent" authority to suspend laws in wartime.

But if he can suspend FISA at his whim and in secret, then what law can he not suspend? What need

is there, for example, to pass or not pass the Patriot Act if any or all of its provisions can be secretly

exceeded by the President?


Big Brother Is Watching and Listening To You

by Eric Margolis
by Eric Margolis

Americans should not be shocked to learn that Big Brother has been eavesdropping on their

telecommunications. It’s been an open secret for years that the hush- hush National Security

Agency’s big electronic ears on the East and West coasts of the USA have been hoovering up

all international phone, fax, and email communications.

When you call your aunt in Palermo, or your friend in Egypt, or your girlfriend in Paris, NSA’s

super computers pick up and process the transmission. State of the art programs search the

messages for key words, locations, repetitions and patterns of interest. This process has been

going on long before 9/11.


  UPI - U.S. President George Bush decided to skip seeking warrants 
 for international wiretaps because the court was challenging him at 
 an unprecedented rate. 


Journalists Should Expose Secrets, Not Keep Them
    By Norman Solomon
    t r u t h o u t | Perspective

    Thursday 28 December 2005

    Journalists should be in the business of providing timely
information to the public. But some - notably at the top rungs of the
profession - have become players in the power games of the nation's
capital. And more than a few seem glad to imitate the officeholders
who want to decide what the public shouldn't know.

    When the New York Times front page broke the story of the
National Security Agency's domestic spying, the newspaper's editors
had good reason to feel proud. Or so it seemed. But there was a
troubling back-story: the Times had kept the scoop under wraps for a
long time.

Both Claimed That a President May Violate Congress' Laws

to Protect National Security

On Friday, December 16, the New York Times published a major scoop by James Risen

and Eric Lichtblau: They reported that Bush authorized the National Security Agency (NSA)

to spy on Americans without warrants, ignoring the procedures of the Foreign Intelligence

Surveillance Act (FISA).

It was a long story loaded with astonishing information of lawbreaking at the White House.

It reported that sometime in 2002, Bush issued an executive order authorizing NSA to track

and intercept international telephone and/or email exchanges coming into, or out of, the U.S. -

when one party was believed to have direct or indirect ties with al Qaeda.


What Did They Say When They Were Impeaching Clinton?

Impeachment in the News

From the Impeach Bush Coalition:

Tom Delay (R-TX):
"This nation sits at a crossroads. One direction points to the higher road of the rule of law.

Sometimes hard, sometimes unpleasant, this path relies on truth, justice and the rigorous

application of the principle that no man is above the law. Now, the other road is the path

of least resistance. This is where we start making exceptions to our laws based on poll

numbers and spin control. This is when we pitch the law completely overboard when the

mood fits us, when we ignore the facts in order to cover up the truth.

No man is above the law, and no man is below the law. That’s the principle that we all

hold very dear in this country."


The I-Word is Gaining Ground

Katrina vanden HeuvelTue Dec 27,10:12 AM ET

The Nation -- In 1998, House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, currently under indictment

on corruption charges, proclaimed: "This nation sits at a crossroads. One direction points

to the higher road of the rule of law...The other road is the path of least resistance" in which

"we pitch the law completely overboard when the mood fits us...[and] close our eyes to the

potential lawbreaking...and tear an unfixable hole in our legal system." That arbiter of moral

politics was incensed about the possibility of Bill Clinton escaping unpunished for his "crimes."

Fast forward to December 2005. Not one official in the entire Bush Administration has been

fired or indicted, not to mention impeached, for the shedding of American blood in Iraq or for

the shredding of our Constitution at home. As Newsweek columnist Jonathan Alter put it--hours

after the New York Times reported that Bush had authorized NSA wiretapping of US citizens

without judicial warrants--this President has committed a real transgression that "goes beyond

sex, corruption and political intrigue to big issues like security versus liberty and the reasonable

bounds of presidential power."

In the last months, several organizations, including AfterDowningStreet, Impeach Central and, have formed to urge Bush's impeachment. But until very recently, their views

were virtually absent in the so-called "liberal" MSM, and could only be found on the Internet and

in street protests.


Spying on Americans

Bush's Impeachable Offense

By Michelle Goldberg

Yes, the president committed a federal crime by wiretapping Americans, say

constitutional scholars, former intelligence officers and politicians. What's missing

is the political will to impeach him.


Daschle: Congress Denied Bush War Powers in U.S.

By Barton Gellman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, December 23, 2005; A04

The Bush administration requested, and Congress rejected, war-making authority "in the

United States" in negotiations over the joint resolution passed days after the terrorist attacks

of Sept. 11, 2001, according to an opinion article by former Senate majority leader Thomas

A. Daschle (D-S.D.) in today's Washington Post.

Daschle's disclosure challenges a central legal argument offered by the White House in defense

of the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping of U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

It suggests that Congress refused explicitly to grant authority that the Bush administration now

asserts is implicit in the resolution.


The Bush Justifications for Law-breaking

Name:Glenn Greenwald

The self-evident strategy of the Bush defenders is to cloud the extremely clear fact

of Bush’s illegal conduct with so many legalistic justifications that people will throw

up their hands and decided that this is nothing more than an esoteric lawyer game, not

a serious threat to the founding principles of the nation and to the rule of law. But the

principle that the President does not have the right to engage in conduct which the Congress

prohibits under our criminal laws is one that is as clear as it is critical to our system of

government, and it is urgent that this clarity be maintained and the rule of law enforced.