Skip to comments.Democrats Say They Didn't Back Wiretapping
Posted on 12/20/2005 6:30:32 AM PST by The_Victor
WASHINGTON - Some Democrats say they never approved a domestic wiretapping program, undermining suggestions byand his senior advisers that the plan was fully vetted in a series of congressional briefings.
"I feel unable to fully evaluate, much less endorse, these activities," West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the Senate Intelligence Committee's top Democrat, said in a handwritten letter to Vice PresidentDick Cheney in July 2003. "As you know, I am neither a technician nor an attorney."
Rockefeller is among a small group of congressional leaders who have received briefings on the administration's four-year-old program to eavesdrop without warrants on international calls and e-mails of Americans and others inside the United States with suspected ties to al-Qaida.
The government still would seek court approval to snoop on purely domestic communications, such as calls between New York and Los Angeles.
Some legal experts described the program as groundbreaking. And until the highly classified program was disclosed last week, those in Congress with concerns about the National Security Agency spying on Americans raised them only privately.
Bush, accused of acting above the law, on Monday issued a forceful defense of the program he first authorized shortly after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. His senior aides have stressed the program was narrowly targeted at individuals with a suspected link to al-Qaida or affiliated extremist groups. And Bush said it was "a shameful act" for someone to have leaked details to the media.
He bristled at the suggestion at a White House news conference that he was assuming unlimited powers.
"To say 'unchecked power' basically is ascribing some kind of dictatorial position to the president, which I strongly reject," he said angrily. "I am doing what you expect me to do, and at the same time, safeguarding the civil liberties of the country."
Despite the defense, there was a growing storm of criticism in Congress and calls for investigations, from Democrats and Republicans alike. Until the past several days, the White House had only informed Congress' top political and intelligence committee leadership about the program that Bush has reauthorized more than three dozen times.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said he and other top aides were just now educating the American people and Congress. "The president has not authorized ... blanket surveillance of communications here in the United States," he said.
The spying uproar was the latest controversy about Bush's handling of the war on terror. It follows allegations of secret prisons in Eastern Europe and of torture and other mistreatment of detainees, and an American death toll inIraq that has exceeded 2,150.
The eavesdropping program was operated out of the NSA, the nation's largest and perhaps most secretive spy operation. Employees there appreciate their nicknames: No Such Agency or Never Say Anything.
Decisions on what conversations to monitor are made at the Fort Meade, Md., headquarters, approved by an NSA shift supervisor and carefully recorded, said Gen. Michael Hayden, the principal deputy director of intelligence.
"The reason I emphasize that this is done at the operational level is to remove any question in your mind that this is in any way politically influenced," said Hayden, who was NSA director when the program began.
Since the program was disclosed last week by The New York Times, current and former Congress members have been liberated to weigh in.
Former Sen. Bob Graham (news, bio, voting record), D-Fla., who was part of the Intelligence Committee's leadership after the 9/11 attacks, recalled a briefing about changes in international electronic surveillance, but does not remember being told of a program snooping on individuals in the United States.
"It seemed fairly mechanical," Graham said. "It was not a major shift in policy."
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., received several briefings and raised concerns, including in a classified letter, her spokeswoman Jennifer Crider said.
Former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle said he, too, was briefed by the White House between 2002 and 2004 but was not told key details about the scope of the program.
Daschle's successor, Sen. Harry Reid (news, bio, voting record), D-Nev., said he received a single briefing earlier this year and that important details were withheld. "We need to investigate this program and the president's legal authority to carry it out," Reid said.
Republicans, too, were skeptical.
Sen. Arlen Specter (news, bio, voting record), R-Pa., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has promised hearings next year and said he would ask Bush's Supreme Court nominee, Samuel Alito, his views of the president's authority for spying without a warrant.
Bush said the electronic eavesdropping program lets the government move faster than the standard practice of seeking a court-authorized warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. "We've got to be fast on our feet, quick to detect and prevent," the president said.
And he was cool toward investigations. "An open debate would say to the enemy, `Here is what we're going to do.' And this is an enemy which adjusts," he said.
Yep, that is who this guy is (the guy mentioned in the article).
>> "Former Sen. Bob Graham, D-Fla." <<
Good old nutso Graham. (And they call California the land of the "fruits and nuts".)
Graham on FOX yesterday denied speaking with the Slimes about the subject but I just didn't believe him. His eyes had that guilt look in them.
"Bwa-ha-ha!! Good one Democrats. Bush told you all about it but you lacked the competence to understand it. And you want to be put into power? Now THERE'S a position to run on! Do I see another RNC commercial in future? Hope so!"
My thoughts as well. Rockefeller, as one of the leaders of the Demoncrats...just the man American needs looking out for our security!
He was a real piece of work for sure.
My guess...he's the clown the Democrats use for "comic relief."
No thanks, John Dimwit Rockefeller, IV
Jay's got a miniscule mind.
So he tells us that we should be blind
And not ask smart hackers
To track our attackers.
I don't want advice from his kind.
Maybe he has Hillary disease:
I can't remember. I can't remember.
So I guess we are suppossed to just take his word for things.
Here is a link to Rockefeller's misdeeds with the Senate Intelligence Committe...
He is always in the middle of the stink!
"Jay Rockefeller's Letter
by Hugh Hewitt
December 20, 2005 07:50 AM EST
The two letters that Jay Rockefeller wrote after being briefed on the NSA program to conduct surveillance of foreign powers communicating with American citizens are a fascinating bit of Washington, D.C. inside baseball.
From the Washington Post:
He sent one to Vice President Cheney and placed the other -- as he pointedly warned Cheney he would -- in a safe in case anyone in the future might challenge his version of what happened. Rockefeller proved prophetic. Yesterday the 21-year Senate veteran from West Virginia released his copy of the letter -- which when written, was so sensitive he dared not allow a staffer to read it, let alone type it.
Here's the letter.
Some preliminary observations.
First, the Administration has had to have known from day one that eventually the program would be revealed, probably by Rockefeller, who had telegraphed his intention to be avle to "prove" his distance from, but not outright disapproval of, the program when the time came.
Second, Rockefeller is a cunning fellow, but not very. This letter is Uriah Heepish, and reveals Rockefeller as a petty man, concerned with how he will look in the future as opposed to either the successful conduct of the war or the maintenance of a higher legal standard for surveillance than the Bush Adminsitration would implement. What does the left think of Rockefeller's CYA letter? Read some of the comments at Josh Marshall's site and DailyKos and you'll get the picture.
Whatever Rockefeller was told (and three other senior Congressional leaders) the fact is clear that the Bush Administration was very candid with them and others, and that because the war was very real to them at the time, the Democratic Congressional leadership did nothing to attempt to end the surveillance. Rockefeller's "feeble" note, as one lefty put it, is a great symbol of the entire Democratic Party's approach to the war. These are not the people you want running it, or even close to the controls. "
Excellent point and were he a republican, there would be lawsuits going after that diary right now.
Agreed. The Rats are trying to convince voters that it is a bad thing to wiretap suspecting terrorists? I say let them make their case.
A Must Read:
Vastly Illuminating, September 25, 2004
|Reviewer:||Kat Bakhu (Albuquerque, NM United States) - See all my reviews
From the Inside Flap
"Democratic presidents placed American fighting men and women in harm's way without the resolve to support them, without the moral authority and courage to command them, and without clear mission objectives for them to achieve."
-Lt. Col. Robert "Buzz" Patterson
In his stunning new book, Lieutenant Colonel Robert "Buzz" Patterson (USAF, Ret.)-not only a combat veteran and author of the huge New York Times bestseller Dereliction of Duty, but a former White House military aide who carried the "nuclear football" for President Clinton-makes an overwhelming case that the once great Democratic Party cannot be entrusted with the nation's defense and foreign policy.
Coming from a military family of conservative Democrats, Lt. Col. Patterson learned the hard way that the Democratic Party of Jimmy Carter and Bill and Hillary Clinton, behaves with reckless disregard for American security and for the lives of America's soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines.
With coverage that spans the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq to debates in Congress, Lt. Col. Patterson reveals:
* How Clinton never understood that it takes twenty years for the military to develop a young soldier into a commander-and how he therefore sacrificed the future as well as destroyed the existing military systems * How the disastrous presidencies of Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton encouraged radical Islamic terror against the United States * Why Bush critic Richard Clarke-whom Lt. Col. Patterson served with in the Clinton White House-is a fraud * How the Democrats continue to gut our military effectiveness
Relentless in its critique-told with all the passion and conviction of a combat pilot-and urgent in its message, Reckless Disregard belongs in the hands of every American patriot.
Timely, Critically Important, and Marvelously Written, June 18, 2004
This book will be an important element in the political discourse this summer. In fact, President Bush ought to rely on it for his talking points. Author Patterson meticulously presents his argument that, since the mid-1960s, liberal Democrats have been miserable failures when it comes to overseeing the US military and national defense. He outlines the liberal dilemma: born from the anti-war movement of Vietnam, libs cannot escape their own ideological shackles. As a result, and illustrated in the failed leadership of Carter, Clinton, and ergo Kerry, Dems are not qualified for the role of commander-in-chief. ESPECIALLY in these challenging days of terrorist threats.
Patterson makes some very bold statements. But coming from this former Air Force officer, pilot, and military aide to Clinton, he has the bona fides and the courage to do so...and does so very effectively.
Extremely well-written, Patterson uniquely blends factually-based argument with brilliant narrative. The reader is left understanding not only that liberals cannot be trusted with the stewardship of our military but, equally important, why that matters so much to our men and women in uniform. A definite must read!
Liberals do not want wiretaps because they themselves may be targeted when speaking to their friends abroad and have their conversations used against them. Rightfully so.
It is. Unlike the practice under the previous administration, only those who called or were called by known foreign based terrorists were monitored for further contacts.
Under the Slick One, and the Hildebeast, the net was much, much wider. Sort of like that vacuum cleaner nose that Rodger Clinton spoke of.
What he's really complaining about it not being allowed to release the information to his staff. Congressional staffs leak worse than Congressmen. He's also saying he's too dumb to make a decision without his "minders" telling him what to do.
Dumb as a box of Rocks. Personally I think we should do away with all Congressional staff, other than a few secretaries and clerks, and those should be in a pool, not hired and fired by individual CongressCritters.
Roberts Rakes Rockefeller
CIA directed in 1995 to seek Video Pirates
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