We are the 99%

January 22, 2006

Jack Kelly - He's at it again.

Oh. My. God.

That's the only way to describe the length and breadth of spin and outright dishonesty found in today's column by "National Security Correspondent" Jack Kelly.

I will do my best to point out the deceptions point-by-point. He starts out with this:
In an audiotape broadcast Thursday on al Jazeera, Osama bin Laden said al-Qaida is preparing to strike the United States again.

Last month Italian authorities arrested three Algerians with al-Qaida connections. They were plotting attacks on ships, railway stations and stadiums in the United States, said Interior Minister Giuseppe Pisanu.

Some Democrats think President Bush should be impeached for trying to keep them from succeeding.
First off, there are so many subtle insinuations to that last sentence that I barely know where to begin. The calls for impeachment are to stop Bush from stopping terrorism? Am I going too far a field to wonder whether in Commando Kelly's mind, he thinks that anyone who protests the administration's assault on the rule of law is helping out the terrorists? This is just too silly to contemplate. How long until the subtle covert accusations become loud and overt? Here, I'll start:
Anyone criticizing Bush and/or the war on terror is doing nothing but helping the terrorists and anyone who helps the terrorists should be locked up as a traitor.
But what of those three Algerians? Turns out that they are members of a group called GSPC. It's a terrorist which aims to overthrow the Algerian government. Recently it's expanded its terrorism to Europe. So no doubt these are nasty guys. But Kelly, by placing one sentence after the other, implies that the plans that bin laden describes are the plans that the three Algerians were arrested for. Is this true or is it another post hoc fallacy? Kelly is hoping you see the connection that he doesn't offer any real evidence for. Is Osama bin laden no longer using al-qaeda to attack the United States? Is he now directing the GSPC to do his dirty work? Kelly doesn't say.

But the implication is there. Bin laden says there are plans, these guys "with al-qaeda connections" were arrested while plotting, so therefore the GSPC plots must've been the plans that bin laden was talking about! And if only the traitorous Democrats would stop hounding Bush, he'd be able to win this war!

In any event, this is not Kelly's main argument - it's just the insulting teaser. Take a look at the next paragraph:
In a speech Monday remarkable (even for him) for its bombast and hypocrisy, former Vice President Al Gore accused the president of having violated the law when he authorized the National Security Agency to listen in, without warrants, on conversations between al-Qaida suspects abroad and people in the United States.
Notice Kelly's description of the NSA program. It is to "listen in, without warrants, on conversations between al-Qaida suspects abroad and people in the United States."

Notice he used the word "people" and not the phrase "American citizens" or "U.S. persons" (the legal term). "People" can be anyone, from your Aunt Bertha to Charles Manson to the guy running across the Arizona desert from Mexico. Again, Kelly's spinning the program just a little to make it into something it's not.

In any event, the accusation is correct. Bush did violate the law when he authorized the NSA to listen in. But Kelly is just setting us up for another Clinton attack (you know, I used to count how many paragraphs it took Kelly to blame it all on Bill Clinton. In some columns Clinton never surfaces, this one only takes six paragraphs for it to happen). Here it is:
"A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government," Mr. Gore declared.

I don't recall him uttering such sentiments when President Clinton committed perjury.

Those were just "lies about sex." But I also don't recall Mr. Gore complaining about Echelon, a much broader electronic intercept program begun in the Clinton administration, when we were not at war.
And after the oblique reference to Clinton's perjury (where he was impeached for breaking the law), we get to the heart of Kelly's column: Echelon.

Conservatives nation-wide have been playing the "Echelon card" for sometime now. Kelly even asserts that it's a program started in the Clinton Administration. But it isn't exactly what Kelly says it is. Let's take a look.

The Echelon story from the rightwing almost always references a piece done by Steve Kroft on 60 Minutes in late February 2000. Here's a transcript. (For giggles, I want you to search for the part of the story about Margaret Newsham. She's quoted as saying that she heard Senator Strom Thurman's voice via Echelon. The piece also says she worked on the system in 1979. Message to Jack Kelly: If the system was in place in 1979, it wasn't started in the Clinton Administration.)

Back to Echelon. Too bad that Medal of Freedom recipient and former CIA director George Tenet had this to say to Congress in April of 2000 to current CIA head Porter Goss' congressional committee:
There have been recent allegations that the Intelligence Community through NSA has improperly directed our SIGINT capabilities against the private conversations of US persons. That is not the case.

There is a rigorous regime of checks and balances which we—the CIA, the NSA and the FBI—scrupulously adhere to whenever the conversations of US persons are involved—directly or indirectly.

We do not collect against US persons unless they are agents of a foreign power, as that term is defined in law. We do not target their conversations for collection in the United States unless a FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] warrant has been obtained from the FISA court by the Justice Department. And we do not target their conversations for collection overseas unless Executive Order 12333 has been followed and the Attorney General has personally approved collection.
Did you catch that? He said they were adhering to the FISA statues. The Other Political Junkie mentioned this in a comment about a month ago. Too bad, if Jack Kelly actually read this blog more consistently, he would have saved himself the humiliation of looking like a right-wing idiot.

And then there's Michael V. Hayden's testimony on the same day. The Introduction:
The National Security Agency (NSA) performs electronic surveillance to collect foreign intelligence information for the military and policymakers. As the Director of Central Intelligence noted, NSA provides valuable intelligence to U.S. government consumers on a wide range of issues of concern to all Americans, such as international terrorism, narcotics trafficking, and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. NSA’s electronic surveillance activities are subject to strict regulation by statute1 and Executive Order2 due to the potential intrusiveness and the implications for the privacy of U.S. persons3 of these activities. NSA’s electronic surveillance activities are also subject to oversight from multiple bodies within all three branches of the government. These safeguards have ensured that NSA is operating within its legal authority.
The "strict regulation by statute" that Hayden mentions? The FISA statute.

Anyway, Hayden also referenced Excutive Order 12333 in 2000:
There are certain restrictions imposed by E.O. 12333 upon all intelligence collection activities engaged in by the Executive Branch agencies. Intelligence collection must be conducted in a manner “consistent with the Constitution and applicable law and respectful of the principles upon which the United States was founded.” (Sec. 2.1). These include the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures. Intelligence collection must not be undertaken to acquire information concerning the domestic activities of U.S. persons. (Sec. 2.3(b)). The least intrusive collection techniques feasible must be used in the United States or against U.S. persons located abroad. (Sec. 2.4). Finally, agencies in the Intelligence Community are prohibited from having other parties engage in activities forbidden by the Executive Order on their behalf. (Sec. 2.12) This means that NSA can not ask another country to illegally spy on U.S. persons on our behalf, and we do not.
Hmm. So, unless Michael Hayden and George Tenet were lying to Congress about what their respective intelligence agencies were doing with Echelon, just about everything that Jack Kelly and other conservatives said about it is false.

But I found out this stuff in a few hours on my own. Jack Kelly has a computer (probably a better one than mine) and Internet access (again, probably faster than mine) so he should have been able to find this stuff. If he didn't bother, he's incompetent. If he did find it and omitted it from his column, he's as dishonest as the day is long.

Which do you think it is?

6 comments:

crassus said...

Guys, guys......

If you're tired of hearing about Echelon, well then, try this:

SOURCE: The Washington Post, July 7, 1996


Wiretapping Rises Sharply Under Clinton


Budget Increases Driven By Drug War Erase Fiscal Constraints on Technique

By Jim McGee

[snipping for brevity]


The Clinton administration has sharply increased use of federal telephone wiretaps and other electronic surveillance in the United States since taking office, and official estimates foresee that the growth will continue in coming years.


[snip]

In 1992, the last year of the Bush administration, there were 340 federal court orders permitting electronic surveillance in criminal cases.

That number rose to 672 last year, officials say, and the total for 1996 almost certainly will rise above 700.


Those figures do not include "national security" wiretap orders, obtained under intelligence legislation, which also have been rising dramatically.

Preparing for expected continued growth in surveillance of domestic criminals, the Justice Department is buying additional high-tech equipment, developing new eavesdropping techniques and adding support personnel.


[snip]

Building for the future, the DEA is carrying out a $33 million program to replace single-line wiretapping gear with new equipment that can monitor 40 lines simultaneously and process the intercepts by computer. The FBI is plowing millions into developing new intercept techniques for digital lines and expanding its cadre of agents who use the bureau's high tech surveillance gear.

[snip]

Federal wiretapping "is clearly an invasion of the privacy rights of Americans and [infringes on] the Fourth Amendment," said Donald Haines, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union in Washington. He cited Justice Department opinion polls that show more than 70 percent of the U.S. population disapproves of wiretapping.

[snip]


There's much more -- it's a long article. It goes on to say that intelligence, as opposed to LE, wiretapping and surveillance were also up substantially in the same period.

To conclude, it was "leadership" when your champion did it. It's "IMPEACH" when the other guys do it.

And you talk about "big fat hypocrites" -- amazing.

For the record, "paleocons" don't approve of all the wiretapping, either. But they have the creds to complain about what Bush is doing. You liberals don't, because you INVENTED it, when the target was Al Capone.

Maria said...

There's much more -- it's a long article. It goes on to say that intelligence, as opposed to LE, wiretapping and surveillance were also up substantially in the same period.

To conclude, it was "leadership" when your champion did it. It's "IMPEACH" when the other guys do it.

And you talk about "big fat hypocrites" -- amazing.


I'm sorry, but are you completely fucking retarded?


In 1992, the last year of the Bush administration, there were 340 federal court orders permitting electronic surveillance in criminal cases.

That number rose to 672 last year, officials say, and the total for 1996 almost certainly will rise above 700.


YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT "federal court orders."

Get it?

Clinton did not act as the court. Clinton did not claim UNLIMTED POWERS.

CLINTON GOT WARRANTS FROM A FEDERAL COURT.

Bush spyed on MILLIONS without any COURT ORDERS.

Bush thinks that he can do ANYTHING -- BREAK ANY LAW.

CLINTON FOLLOWED THE LAW AND BUSH DID NOT.

Bush thinks that he is ABOVE AND BEYOND THE LAWS THAT HE SWORE TO UPHOLD.

GET IT?

Say it with me:

"BUSH BROKE THE LAW."

OR

Show how he did not BREAK THE LAW.

crassus said...

Quoth you:

"I'm sorry, but are you completely fucking retarded?"

I've never fucked a retarded girl in my life. But there's always a first time. Why do you ask?

"YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT 'federal court orders.' Get it?

"Clinton did not act as the court. Clinton did not claim UNLIMTED POWERS.

"CLINTON GOT WARRANTS FROM A FEDERAL COURT."

Done shouting yet?

You're wrong, dead wrong.....because it turns out Slick was doing plenty of warrantless searches at the same time, allegedly intelligence-related. But don't listen to me, listen to his favorite "Chinese-wall" lapdog and ass-coverer, Jamie Gorelick, as she explains to the retards at the WaPo why their retrograde opinions on warrantless searches just don't cut it in the modern world:

The Post's editorial asserts that warrantless searches to gather intelligence on the activities of foreign powers or their agents in the United States are "sharply at odds with the Fourth Amendment."


The federal courts of appeal have recognized that such searches, carried out since the earliest days of our republic, are a valid exercise of the president's constitutional responsibilities to conduct foreign affairs and protect national security and fall within an exception to the Fourth Amendment's warrant requirement.

Electronic surveillance and physical searches of property provide critical information about the conduct of foreign powers that threaten our national security. They were instrumental in stopping Aldrich Ames and the Walker spy ring. They have frustrated terrorist plots to strike targets within the United States.

It is critical to the success of such operations that the hostile power remain unaware that its activities have been discovered. Criminal warrant requirements would negate the purpose of the search. In addition, these searches often must be conducted before the government has enough information about the activities under investigation to specify precisely what would be found in the premises to be searched -- which is a requirement for a criminal warrant.
[Emphasis supplied.]

-- Jamie Gorelick, Deputy Att'y. General, "President Has Authority to Conduct Warrantless Searches" (Op-Ed), The Washington Post,August 5, 1994

Game. Set. Match.

dayvoe said...

I wouldn't be too fast with those tennis metaphors, Crassus.

The main problem with your pair of postings is that things aren't going well, you change arguments midstream.

Your first posting tried to establish "hypocrisy" on my part by pointing out the rise of wiretapping under Clinton. But if you look at my original posting, what you wrote had nothing to do with what I wrote. I was talking (mostly) about how the DIA and the head of the NSA both testified to congress that any electronic surveillance of "U.S. Persons" is strictly regulated (in contrast to "your champion" who simply ignored those regulations).

Your main mistake is that, I am sorry to point out, what you posted own only bolsters my argument. You posted that there were "court orders that allowed" such searches. Thanks for the help, but I really don't need it.

Once Maria pointed out the error, you (like any good defender of the conservative faith) dutifully changed the subject. In this case, the subject was changed to Jamie Gorelick.

Fine. Let's take a look at what you quote. First off, you have Ms Gorelick arguing about "warrantless searches to gather intelligence on the activities of foreign powers." Again, you've changed the subject from my broader critique. The problem with the NSA's electronic surveillance is not that it's a program of "warrantless searches to gather intelligence of foreign powers, but warrantless searches of U.S. persons. I am surprised that you missed that. Well, maybe not.

In any case you also have Ms Gorelick saying,

"It is critical to the success of such operations that the hostile power remain unaware that its activities have been discovered."

Isn't that an argument in favor of extending the FISA requirements to physical search warrants? And when did the argument switch from electronic searches to physical ones? That's right - you changed it.

At the time she said it, FISA did not cover physical searches (something else you forgot to mention). Here, let me help you out with something from Ms Gorelick's Congressional testimony from July, 1994:

At the outset, let me emphasize two very important points. First, the Department of Justice believes, and the case law supports, that the President has inherent authority to conduct warrantless physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes and that the President may, as has been done, delegate this authority to the Attorney General.

Second, the Administration and the Attorney General support, in principle, legislation establishing judicial warrant procedures under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act for physical searches undertaken for intelligence purposes. However, whether specific legislation on this subject is desirable for the practical benefits it might add to intelligence collection, or undesirable as too much of a restriction on the President’s authority to collect intelligence necessary for the national security, depends on how the legislation is crafted.


You know what happened then? Congress amended the law so that physical searches were then covered under FISA and the Clinton Administration never again claimed that it had the authority to undertake such.

It was following the law.

Something "your champion" has a big problem doing.

crassus said...

aYou wrote:

"You know what happened then? Congress amended the law so that physical searches were then covered under FISA and the Clinton Administration never again claimed that it had the authority to undertake such."

It doesn't matter. Gorelick had already asserted a constitutional privilege of the President that wasn't reached by FISA, and would not be reached by any extension of FISA or any other statute.

The stuff about welcoming new legislation was eyewash. The constitutional issue was already on the table, and it has never been touched.

As long as you don't address the constitutional argument, an action of the President in this area cannot be touched. The real cure, from your POV, is constitutional amendment of the President's power to conduct foreign policy. You don't have that.

That was match point. Sorry.

Braden said...

crassus:

resistance is futile. it's like beating a dead horse, you can't do it anymore. Some people just won't listen. You'd have better luck convincing Janet Reno to run for Miss Universe.