Skip to comments.NY Times: 'Illegal' Spying OK Under Clinton
Posted on 01/12/2006 8:45:05 AM PST by SirLinksalot
NY Times: 'Illegal' Spying OK Under Clinton
Last month, when the New York Times revealed to the world that the Bush administration had a top secret National Security Agency program that monitored communications between al Qaeda terrorists and their U.S.-based agents, it strongly condemned the operation as a dangerous and possibly illegal invasion of privacy.
However, the Old Gray Lady wasn't nearly as upset over a much broader surveillance program under the Clinton administration, which routinely monitored millions of phone calls between U.S. citizens without a court ordered warrant.
In fact, the paper called the blanket invasion of privacy a "necessity" - even though it was carried out without the justification provided by the 9/11 attacks.
The American Thinker web site has unearthed Times quotes from 1999, when the paper was reacting to reports on the NSA's Echelon project under Bill Clinton, which randomly trolled U.S. telecommunications looking for trouble.
"Few dispute the necessity of a system like Echelon to apprehend foreign spies, drug traffickers and terrorists," the Times explained helpfully.
The same report quoted an NSA official assuring Times readers "that all Agency activities are conducted in accordance with the highest constitutional, legal and ethical standards.
These days, however, the Old Gray Lady doesn't like to talk about Echelon. In the dozens of stories on the Bush NSA operation since reporter James Risen "broke" the story on December 16, the Times has mentioned the older NSA program only once.
In a December 22 report by Timesman Scott Shane, the paper dismissed "reports on an agency program called Echelon [asserting] that the agency and its counterparts in the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand and Australia somehow intercepted all world communications," calling such claims "exaggerated."
If it were not for double standards, the NY Slimes would have no standards at all.
Hypocrisy from the NYT? Nooooo! Can't be so.
The Echelon program complied with FISA and obtained FISA warrants for all investigation of domestic targets. That does not seem to be the same as a program that considers itself to be above the jurisdiction of any court or governing body.
"The Echelon program complied with FISA and obtained FISA warrants for all investigation of domestic targets"
And how do you know that to be a fact? Any links to prove it?
What is your evidence upon which you base your statement? Recent reports of 1900s "60" minutes program on echelon use reveals that Senator Thurmond was eavesdropped upon.
04/12/2000 at 2:38pm PREPARED TESTIMONY OF GEORGE J. TENET DIRECTOR OF CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE BEFORE THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON INTELLIGENCE WEDNESDAY, APRIL 12, 2000.
"There is a rigorous regime of checks and balances which we, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and the FBI scrupulously adhere to whenever conversations of U.S. persons are involved, whether directly or indirectly. We do not collect against U.S. persons unless they are agents of a foreign power as that term is defined in the law. We do not target their conversations for collection in the United States unless a FISA warrant has been obtained from the FISA court by the Justice Department."
George Tenet was around in the days before I was too interested in politics, so I suppose it's entirely possible he is a lying scumbag or that he didn't really know what the NSA was up to (entirely possible). Since echelon was run by UKUSA, I don't think the CIA was really involved.
"The entire controversy about Bush's program is that, for the first time ever, allows warrantless surveillance of U.S. citizens and other people inside of the United States. Clinton's 1995 executive order did not authorize that."
Unfotunately, due to the UKUSA alliance, warrantless searches of American citizens by foreign intelligence agencies is entirely possible, without technically breaking any law. Thatcher once dispatched the Canadian CSE to spy on her own ministers because it was easier and more legal for CSE to spy on British citizens overseas and turn the information over to Thatcher than for Thatcher to try to get it done herself in her own country.
The news organ of the Democratic party's left wing, and it's wymens' political action committee, NOW ('special pleading') are slowly becoming Monty Python skits.
`It's OK if it's Clinton, but not OK for Republicans . .'
OK NYT, you win--we're confused cats.
I wrote the original article (http://americanthinker.com/articles.php?article_id=5150) to which the NewsMax posting applies. There are a couple of key elements which the NewsMax summary left out.
-A study (http://www.iptvreports.mcmail.com/ic2kreport.htm#Summary) of Echelon by the European Union dated 1999-2000 found that Echelon routinely circumvented restrictions (i.e. search warrants) against domestic surveillance by having agencies in allied countries (the UK, Canada, New Zealand) do the actual analysis and then provide the transcipts to the NSA. The favor could then be returned. Thus U.S. politicians were monitored by UK intelligence, for instance, and UK politicians were monitored by Canada, etc.
-The EU study also found that "Comint (Communications intelligence) agencies conduct broad international communications trawling activities, and operate under general warrants."
In other words, warrants were not deemed necessary for Echelon to monitor domestic electronic communications during the Clinton administration.
And Echelon was exponentially more intrusive than what the Bush administration has been accused of. The experts who conducted the EU study concluded that "Project Echelon's equipment can process 1 million message inputs every 30 minutes (http://pcworld.about.com/magazine/1805p066id15783.htm).
Not only was domestic surveillance far more expansive under Echelon, intelligence community whistleblowers alleged that the Clinton Administration actually sold intelligence to major Democrat Party donors (http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/RANCHO/POLITICS/ECHELON/apec1.html) .
Imagine the uproar in the NY Times and other MSM if such charges had been brought under a Republican administration!