Skip to comments.White House Gives Details on Surveillance
Posted on 02/08/2006 4:12:10 PM PST by NormsRevenge
WASHINGTON - After weeks of insisting it would not reveal details of its domestic eavesdropping, the White House reversed course Wednesday and provided a House committee with highly classified information about the program.
The White House has been under heavy pressure from lawmakers who wanted more information about the National Security Agency's monitoring. Democrats and many Republicans rejected the administration's implicit suggestion that they could not be trusted with national security secrets.
The shift came after Rep. Heather Wilson (news, bio, voting record), R-N.M., chairwoman of a House Intelligence Committee subcommittee, broke with the Bush administration and called for a full review of the NSA's program, along with legislative action to update the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
"I think we've had a tremendous impact today," Wilson said at a news conference as Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Gen. Michael Hayden, the nation's No. 2 intelligence official, briefed the House panel on technical and tactical intelligence.
"I don't think the White House would have made the decision that it did had I not stood up and said, 'You must brief the Intelligence Committee,'" she said.
When asked what prompted the move to give lawmakers more details, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino the administration stated "from the beginning that we will work with members of Congress, and we will continue to do so regarding this vital national security program."
At least one Democrat left the four-hour House session saying he had a better understanding of legal and operational aspects of the anti-terrorist surveillance program being conducted without warrants but still had a number of questions.
"It's a different program than I was beginning to let myself believe," said Alabama Rep. Bud Cramer, the senior Democrat on the Intelligence Committee's oversight subcommittee.
"This may be a valuable program," Cramer said, adding that he didn't know if it was legal. "My direction of thinking was changed tremendously."
Still, Cramer said, some members remain angry and frustrated, and he didn't know why the White House waited so long to inform Congress of its actions.
Lawmakers leaving the briefing said it covered the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, Justice Department papers outlining legal justifications for the operations, limited details on success stories and some highly sensitive details.
The White House has insisted that it has the legal authority to monitor terror-related international communications in cases in which one party to the call is in the United States.
For more than 50 days, senior officials have argued that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were within the law when they chose to brief only the eight lawmakers who lead the House and Senate and its intelligence committees.
Is there a list of those in attendance?
1. It will be a Dem
2. The NY Times or Washington Post will break the "secret."
3. Mr/Ms On-the-Condition-of-Anonimity will be most popular Leaker...or "high White House source." No one will mention whose "white house."
Unless Al Jazeera scoops them, that is...
Have to wonder if this is another "rope a dope" with some poison pills in it to nail the leakers.
Did they? How many committee aides bolted right out of the hearing room to find a nice quiet place to call their pet "journalists" with all of the details that were revealed in this "classified" briefing? How much more damage will be done to the NSA's terrorist eavesdropping efforts as more details which will reveal names and methods are splashed all over the front pages of the Thursday morning editions?
I think you've got it just about right. The Dims were looking for a face-saving way to get on the right side of this issue, but they couldn't simply give in to Bush or any of the House or Senate leaders. A mostly unknown sub-chairman in the House qualifies for the role.
The only negative is that now we'll be seeing some more classified leaks as a result. Bush and Rove must've calculated that the trade-off is worth the cost.
Name Party State
Peter Hoekstra Republican Michigan
Ray LaHood Republican Illinois
Terry Everett Republican Alabama
Elton Gallegly Republican California
Heather Wilson Republican New Mexico
Jo Ann Davis Republican Virginia
Mac Thornberry Republican Texas
John McHugh Republican New York
Todd Tiahrt Republican Kansas
Mike Rogers Republican Michigan
Rick Renzi Republican Arizona
Jane Harman Democrat California
Alcee L. Hastings Democrat Florida
Silvestre Reyes Democrat Texas
Leonard L. Boswell Democrat Iowa
Robert E. (Bud) Cramer, Jr Democrat Alabama
Anna G. Eshoo Democrat California
Rush D. Holt Democrat New Jersey
C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger Democrat Maryland
John Tierney Democrat Massachusetts
First off the White House never said they wouldn't reveal details under any circumstances. They said they did not want the details to be exposed, though they now will be, in an open session. They had no problem with a close sessions.
The only potential benefit that can be salvaged out of the program is to establish who the leakers were, (I'm betting on Sens. Rockerfeller and/or Leahy), prosecute them to the full extent of the law and throw the fear of instant prison time into those who would comprimise other programs for political gain.
I'll bet we aren't the only ones who expect this also
Good, now they will know exactly who to investigate.
This is what happens when the democrats decide that the NYTimes is their master. They believe the lies of the Times....interesting comment from the democrat rep. Just goes to show the NYTimes was lieing all along.
I still can't figure that one out. Before the program was disclosed, it was legal to conduct surveillance under a secret process with a secret warrant, and the target would never find out.
Now all we know is that secret surveillance can occur without a secret warrant, and the target still never finds out. Where's the beef?
"Have to wonder if this is another "rope a dope" with some poison pills in it to nail the leakers."
I was thinking the same thing!
Alcee Hastings... LOLOL
proving there is life after impeachment and removal from the federal bench
"I don't think the White House would have made the decision that it did had I not stood up and said, 'You must brief the Intelligence Committee,'" she said."
This woman seems a bit too full of herself.