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.
per her bio, Heather is a Rhodes scholar and first USAF Academy graduate to ever serve in the House.
Makes you think thay WH is daring them and we know the leaks are under investigation.
You are wrong. Too bad FReepers still cant spot a rope-a-dope in action. There is no need for anyone in Congress to leak anything, because the NY Times already knows every detail of the program. They also know that they will prosecuted if they say anything else about it. The Times has been giving the program's information to other Senators, which is allowing them to nip around the edges of other aspects of the program. There will only be more leaks around mid-to-late October, where they can do the most damage, and should Democrats win control of Congress, they will do all they can to protect the Times from prosecution.
Democrats know they already shot their wad on this one, there wont be any action against Bush, so their new strategy is for them all to sign up to give Bush the authority to do what he is already doing, so that they can all claim to be tough on terrorism.
Unfortunately for Dems, the RNC has video of every single negative quote from Democrats attacking Bush for the NSA program. It is going to be a fun November.
So when the Democrats on the committee leak the details of this program to the terrorists, we will know who to credit for "standing up" against the ones protecting us. Thanks Heather.
No, that woman is following her script.
Then, it's time for a coverup and this Wilson woman must be thoroughly punished lest the details of this elaborate Republican conspiracy leak out.
In 5, 4, 3, 2.........
I give it less the 24 hours before the administration is proven correct
The leaks will be flying
This woman seems a bit too full of herself.
She may be, but she did the right thing. The Administration went into bunker mode once the story broke, which is the wrong thing to do. It's wrong because the story is out, so the damage is already done. Trying to pretend otherwise is as useless as trying to classify the existance of nuclear weapons. The cat's already out of the bag, so trying to pretend otherwise is not only a waste of time, but counterproductive.
It's understandable that the Administration simply wants to circle the wagons, but it won't work. It's no longer an intelligence issue. If they care about our intelligence efforts, then they need to find the leaks, and stomp them. Trying to keep the terrorist surveillance program secret is a lost cause, bother operationally and politically.
The Dems go screaming, we get them on tape.
In the fall, the Dems wont have any money, so to combat all the commercials against their anti-war stance, they will be forced to take money from the wing-nuts, and produce over-the-top responses which will only serve to drive them further from the electorate.
Has no one paid attention to the past election cycles?
It's easier to believe this Wilson woman is taking care of #1 than that she has any interest whatsoever in "W"'s political reputation.
"Expect everything they heard to LEAK shortly."
Would dearly love to catch the leakers, and am hoping that the WH has already written this program off and has gone to Plan B.
What's strange is that of all the shows this woman to go on, I just read on DU she was on Olbermanns show.
The even understand this at the NY Times. While Democrats are running around screaming at the top of their lungs, the Times is warning Democrats that they are about to blow it again.
We are lucky that the Dems are probably too stupid to listen. The Democrats are BROKE. When our attack comes, they wont be able to respond in force, and will go down again.