What Fresh Hell Is This?

January 24, 2006

Why Bush is on the Road

From the American Research Group:

Bush Job Approval Ratings (1/22/06)
Approve Overall: 36%

Disapprove Overall: 58%
Undecided: 6%


USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll:

51% of Americans say the administration was wrong to intercept conversations without a warrant.

58% of Americans support appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate the issue.

(Poll of 1,006 adults was taken Friday through Sunday and has a margin of error of +/—3 percentage points.)


President Bush Reviewing the US Constitution:

1 comment:

Beongia Buzzkill said...

This administration doesn't even believe in itself:

In June, 2002, Republican Sen. Michael DeWine introduced legislation (S. 2659) which would have eliminated the exact barrier to FISA Hayden and his handlers were spinning yesterday.

DeWine's legislation to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 to modify the standard of proof for issuance of orders regarding non-United States persons from probable cause to reasonable suspicion. . . .

In other words, DeWine’s bill could have eliminated the “probable cause” barrier claimed by Bush cabal in their latest spin.

The Bush administration, in response, provided a Statement from James A. Baker,who “prepares and presents all applications for electronic surveillance and physical search under the Act to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA Court or Court).”

Baker, in his written statement, blatantly bragged about the Patriot Act on the ground that the 72-hour window stated IN the Patriot Act gave Bush the speed and flexibility he needed:

“The reforms in those measures (the PATRIOT Act) have affected every single application made by the Department for electronic surveillance or physical search of suspected terrorists and have enabled the government to become quicker, more flexible, and more focused in going “up” on those suspected terrorists in the United States."

"… One simple but important change that Congress made was to lengthen the time period for us to bring to court applications in support of Attorney General-authorized emergency FISAs. This modification has allowed us to make full and effective use of FISA’s pre-existing emergency provisions to ensure that the government acts swiftly to respond to terrorist threats. Again, we are grateful for the tools Congress provided us last fall for the fight against terrorism. Thank you.”

The Baker statement:

The Department of Justice has been studying Sen. DeWine’s proposed legislation. Because the proposed change raises both significant legal and practical issues, the Administration at this time is not prepared to support it.

Soooo…in 2002 the Administration refused to support elimination of the very barrier (”probable cause”) which Gen. Hayden claimed yesterday necessitated the circumvention of FISA.

“The practical concern involves an assessment of whether the current “probable cause” standard has hamstrung our ability to use FISA surveillance to protect our nation. We have been aggressive in seeking FISA warrants and, thanks to Congress’s passage of the USA PATRIOT Act, we have been able to use our expanded FISA tools more effectively to combat terrorist activities. It may not be the case that the probable cause standard has caused any difficulties in our ability to seek the FISA warrants we require, and we will need to engage in a significant review to determine the effect a change in the standard would have on our ongoing operations. If the current standard has not posed an obstacle, then there may be little to gain from the lower standard and, as I previously stated, perhaps much to lose.”

Baker, who headed the FISA warrant program was not aware of any difficulties in obtaining warrants under the FISA “probable cause” standard, and the Administration did not support the DeWine amendment to do so.

…”The Department’s Office of Legal Counsel is analyzing relevant Supreme Court precedent to determine whether a “reasonable suspicion” standard for electronic surveillance and physical searches would, in the FISA context, pass constitutional muster. The issue is not clear cut, and the review process must be thorough because of what is at stake, namely, our ability to conduct investigations that are vital to protecting national security. If we err in our analysis and courts were ultimately to find a “reasonable suspicion” standard unconstitutional, we could potentially put at risk ongoing investigations and prosecutions."

Bush Administration’s statement via Gen. Hayden as to why it was necessary to bypass FISA illegally is a complete falsehood.

Their current statement that the “probable cause” component of FISA was preventing it from engaging in the eavesdropping it needed is the opposite of what it told Congress when refusing to support the DeWine Amendment as documented by the Baker statement submitted to Congress in 2002.

The Baker/Dept. of Justice document is on the record here: