Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 11, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

SHIELD LAW UPDATE....The New York Times reports that the Department of Justice is moving very quickly in its investigation of who leaked details of the NSA's domestic spying program to the New York Times:

Porter J. Goss, the C.I.A. director...speaking at a Senate intelligence committee hearing on Feb. 2, said: "It is my aim and it is my hope that we will witness a grand jury investigation with reporters present being asked to reveal who is leaking this information. I believe the safety of this nation and the people of this country deserve nothing less."

....The Justice Department took the unusual step of announcing the opening of the investigation on Dec. 30, and since then, government officials said, investigators and prosecutors have worked quickly to assemble an investigative team and obtain a preliminary grasp of whether the leaking of the information violated the law....Several officials described the investigation as aggressive and fast-moving.

At a minimum, I figure the following reporters are at risk of cooling their heels in a federal penitentiary later this year if they refuse to testify about their sources for the various NSA stories they've written: Dan Eggan, James Risen, Eric Lichtblau, Barton Gellman, Dafna Linzer and Carol Leonnig. Too bad we don't have a federal shield law to protect them.

Kevin Drum 9:48 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (185)

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Comments


I wish you cared as much about protecting the great masses of people who have been harmed or killed by this administration as you do about a few pampered reporters, most of whom are as worthless as you are.


Posted by: jayarbee on February 11, 2006 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

Will they be going after Scooter Libby's superiors as well (did he have any superiors other than the Vice President and President?), since it is now documented that he leaked secret information to reporters that was designed to make the administration look good, or are they only going after those leaks that embarrassed them?

Posted by: Rick McClure on February 11, 2006 at 10:12 PM | PERMALINK

jayarbee: wishing for a shield law, which would help us learn more about this president's misdeeds, brings forth this venom? Why did you respond to his post if Kevin is worthless?

Posted by: kevinB on February 11, 2006 at 10:13 PM | PERMALINK

I got my First Amendment award, fuck you.

Posted by: Judy Miller on February 11, 2006 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

Now this is your sheild law (or whistle blower protection law) test case. Eggan and Risen could even get it named after them. Let's see if the media is a little bit more organized and honest this time around.

Besides the justice department is basically doing a discovery for future cases testing the NSA program's legality and constitutionality. Who knew what. When did they learn it. Who was known to disagree with the NSA program. Why. What action did they take. There is no way this information would even get collected if the administration wasn't pushing this witch hunt.

Posted by: ranaaurora on February 11, 2006 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

could be they'll be cooling their heels, and it could be that whistle-blower protections will come into play. patrick fitzgerald concluded, and judges agreed, that outing valerie plame and dissing joe wilson didn't constitute whistle-blowing.

this case is a little different, although i'm no judge....

jayarbee, if you really think that kevin is one of the bad guys, you need help....

Posted by: howard on February 11, 2006 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

Question: If Democratic Senators who were briefed on this had pushed back against the Administration's program then couldn't the reform of this program have been handled in closed hearings without the press becoming involved.

I, admittedly, haven't been following this too closely, but my current perspective is that this leak was necessary to remedy inaction against a program that may be illegal.

This, to my mind, is entirely different from the partisan Plame leak.

OTOH though, my position is that such leaks shouldn't have to happen even with shield laws in place because they harm the national interest and therefore the leaks need to be plugged.

What needs to happen is for Democrats to become an effective institutional check instead of being asleep at the switch and letting the press do their job for them.

OK, so where am I wrong in my understanding of the facts, analysis or conclusion.

Posted by: TangoMan on February 11, 2006 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

So here's my question: If a showdown comes, will the leakers (or the reporters) be able to interpose the unconstitutionality of the NSR program as a defense to charges of unlawful disclosure of classified information or failure to squeal on the leakers?

Posted by: subliminability on February 11, 2006 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

I see your point Kevin, but at this point, I think journalism is in a terrible crisis, but just doesn't understand that yet.

While we the public need a shield law for journalists. We need journalists first.

I see no reason for a law at this time that applies to some form of institutional reporter that doesn't apply to bloggers or joe public.

Posted by: jerry on February 11, 2006 at 10:33 PM | PERMALINK

These boys and girls of the press need to realize they're not playing with a White House that has any respect for the Constitution. This isn't the Nixon Era. These are bad people and they don't give a shit if every reporter in the United States is locked up until they agree to print only the proper party line. These wiretaps and this semi-phony war on terrorism has more ulterior motives than any of us can discuss in this limited space. No reporter would dare investigate the full extent of the illegality because of fear of reprisal beyond anything Nixon ever dreamed of. I enjoy reading these comments and goofing around but this is deadly serious and these are very evil men running the White House and making policy.

Posted by: murmeister on February 11, 2006 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK


HOWARD: jayarbee, if you really think that kevin is one of the bad guys, you need help....

The country--the world--needs help. We're not getting it from Kevin. Compassionate conservatism and compassionate centrism both have the end result of no real help to those who need it most, as they preserve a system which is instrinsically discompassionate. Privilege bests need just as surely for Kevin Drum as it does for George Bush.


Posted by: jayarbee on February 11, 2006 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

Nobody's going to do serious time over this, because the underlying "program" is illegal. To secure a conviction, the government would have to assert that they were, in fact, doing bad things, and got caught by the people whom the government was trying to jail. Not gonna happen.

Posted by: dj moonbat on February 11, 2006 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

BALDERDASH!

There were countless avenues by which these NSA-CIA federal employees could have pursued their grievances, both within the bureaucracy via established procedures or through the House or Senate Intelligence commitee or by sealed petition to the FISA court. This was politically motivated and traitrous; it was only derivatively whistleblowing.

These traitors in the intelligence community should expect death for illegally betraying our soldiers in the field whatever their motives; but I suppose there is room for some mercy, i.e., 15-20 years!

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 11, 2006 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

This is getting closer and closer to a Fascist Police state. Rove, Cheney, Libby can surrender state secrets as political vendetta after their lies were exposed concerning the start of the Iraq war - thats fine, dandy and Okay.

But the whistleblower chain of contacts, done to protect our constitutional rights that they were violating, they go to jail over national security violations? Thats nothing more than the arbitrary use of political power for political reasons.

What are they going to call the Pen that they place these journalist in? 'New Dachau?'

And when are American's going to recognize these men for what they are, fascists. Unrepentent ones at that.

Posted by: E Publius on February 11, 2006 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

TOH: How about death for betraying the Constitution and the American people and thus the soldiers in the field by sending them into an unnecessary war?

Posted by: murmeister on February 11, 2006 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

It's moving fast because the Repubs will use it to win the 2006 elections.

Wasting energy intellectualizing about stupid shield laws only plays into their hands.

You Democrats act like really dense losers sometimes.

Posted by: Observer on February 11, 2006 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

ILLEGAL? SOMEONE SHOULD HAVE ARRESTED JIMMY CARTER AFTER THE C.S. KING FUNERAL:

This may have been pre-FISA, but it was still in violation of other state and federal laws, hence "illegal" according to Carter and you ethical deliquents.

Via Powerline:

One of the important federal court decisions recognizing the president's inherent authority to order warrantless foreign intelligenc surveillance is the Truong case, discussed in John's analysis of the legality of the NSA surveillance program. John noted that the Fourth Circuit decided United States v. Truong in 1980 and that the case involved a criminal prosecution arising out of the defendants spying on behalf of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The case squarely presented the issue of the executive branchs inherent power to conduct warrantless surveillance for national security purposes:

The defendants raise a substantial challenge to their convictions by arguing that the surveillance conducted by the FBI violated the Fourth Amendment and that all the evidence uncovered through that surveillance must consequently be suppressed. As has been stated, the government did not seek a warrant for the eavesdropping on Truongs phone conversations or the bugging of his apartment. Instead, it relied upon a foreign intelligence exception to the Fourth Amendments warrant requirement. In the area of foreign intelligence, the government contends, the President may authorize surveillance without seeking a judicial warrant because of his constitutional prerogatives in the area of foreign affairs.

The court agreed with the governments position:

For several reasons, the needs of the executive are so compelling in the area of foreign intelligence, unlike the area of domestic security, that a uniform warrant requirement would, following [United States v. United States District Court, 407 U.S. 297 (1972)], unduly frustrate the President in carrying out his foreign affairs responsibilities. First of all, attempts to counter foreign threats to the national security require the utmost stealth, speed and secrecy. A warrant requirement would add a procedural hurdle that would reduce the flexibility of executive foreign intelligence activities, in some cases delay executive response to foreign intelligence threats, and increase the chance of leaks regarding sensitive executive operations.

The court held that warrantless searches for foreign intelligence purposes are constitutional, as long as the object of the search or the surveillance is a foreign power, its agent or collaborators, and the search is conducted primarily for foreign intelligence reasons.

In his performance at Mrs. King's funeral this week, the execrable Jimmy Carter obviously chided President Bush by reference to the "secret government wiretapping" of Martin Luther King. In today's Washington Times, Charles Hurt recalls that it was of course Jimmy Carter himself (and Attorney General Bell) who authorized the warrantless surveillance involved in the Truong case.

BUSH'S SURVEILLANCE WAS IN EXACT KEEPING WITH THIS CONSTITUTIONAL POWER EXERCISED BY EVERY PRESIDENT FROM WASHINGTON TO BUSH HIMSELF; NO CONGRESSIONAL STATUTE CAN TAKE AWAY A PRESIDENT'S CONSTITUTIONAL POWER. THESE NSA-CIA TRAITORS MUST PAY DEARLY FOR BETRAYING OUR TROOPS BEING BLOODIED IN THE FIELD OF BATTLE AND THESE REPORTERS WILL EITHER REVEAL THEIR SOURCES OR GO GRAY AND DIE IN JAIL. BEYOND THE ENORMITY OF THESE TRAITORS NATIONAL SECURITY COMPROMSING REVELATIONS IS THE FACT THAT THEY HAD INTER-AGENCY REMEDIES AND SECRETIVE JUDICIAL REMEDIES THEY DID NOT PURSUE!

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 11, 2006 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

Wouldn't the government have to show that some harm to intelligence gathering came from the leak? No names were leaked, nobody at the CIA or NSA has been 'outed'. It's hard to imagine any would-be terrorists thought the FISA court would be any protection to them; they assumed their phones might be tapped and their e-mail intercepted if they had any sense.

I can't imagine what the line above about "illegally betraying our soldiers in the field" could possibly apply to.

Posted by: duvidil on February 11, 2006 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

Please explain how the leak of the very existence of the NSA survellance program damaged national security?

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 11, 2006 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

Normally I don't recognize trolls. And maybe its been said before, but I just can't resist.

The objective historian is neither.

Posted by: E Publius on February 11, 2006 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

TOH: Big difference between domestic spying which Bush is doing and spying on a foreign power or are the American citizens a foreign power to you, comrade?

Posted by: murmeister on February 11, 2006 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

The test for the decision to go to war is not necessity; if you think it is you are living in a fantasy world. The test is whether, at the time, it was cost beneficial. You think it was cost-beneficial to continue to appease Hussein as our inspections where prevented and the sanctions were overwhelmingly disregarded and circumvented. Bush II brilliantly thought it was not cost-beneficial. The necessity standard means that one must surrender to an invader rather than fight; after all, one need not engage in war, one can obey the invader.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 11, 2006 at 10:57 PM | PERMALINK

how exciting: we are once again graced with the deranged writings of the objective historian. i swear, it shouldn't be possible for him/her to keep getting stupider, but he/she does. as usual, it's not worth the energy to pick apart every piece of stupidity, but my favorite does remain that he/she and the powerline doofuses continue to push a line that even gonzalez didn't try.

imagine that: an argument so low and moronic that gonzalez didn't bring it out.

TangoMan, here are the problems: a.) the briefings, such as they were, were classified; b.) there is no avenue in the republican-controlled congress for a democratic "pushback."

jayarbee, i don't really want to march down this pathway since it's not really germane, but in the words of the song by one of my favorite hardcore bands, DOA, "you got to know who the enemy is." Kevin is not the enemy.

Posted by: howard on February 11, 2006 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

you know, i have a new opinion: the objective historian is actually a performance artist.

no one could possibly, with a straight face, conclude that invading Iraq makes sense from a "cost-benefit" standpoint. it's just not conceivable that someone would write that in an atempt to be taken seriously.

so i take it all back: the objective historian is actually a brilliant mind, so clever and sophisticated that he/she can imitate the most mindless of right-wing zealots while actually offering up a leftist critique of same.

fabulous!

Posted by: howard on February 11, 2006 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

Murmeister; please. It's risible. Carter, Clinton, etc. (most Presidents) have done the same thing when it was exclusively a U.S. citizen involved. Here we are spying on a foreigner suspected of posing a threat to the U.S.A. by communicating with a U.S. citizen. It's 100% legitmate, 100% Constitutional, 100% precedented, 100% given the imprimatur by five Federal Court of Appeals decision (comp. 0 against), 100% LEGAL. U.S. Citizens are not free from search by the federal government; they are free from unreasonable searches. Read the 4th Amendment and the relevant case law and read that Carter post I made earlier. Are you ready to impugn Carter to the same degree Bush? And, anticipating the distraction from the issue, FISA/Congress cannot take away a President's constitutional power, and Carter's spying in the Truong case was illegal based on several statutes that applied absent FISA.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 11, 2006 at 11:04 PM | PERMALINK

TOH: It was not costing America a thing except Hussein was thumbing his nose at the US. Bush II decided to wag the dog. The rest of the world outside of his British lackies recognized that there was no need for war and Bush knew he could never gain the support of the UN as he had for Afghanistan which was clearly in violation of International Law. Bush lied to the public for his own benefit and the benefit of select henchmen and sent thousands of American Youth to die needlessly in a foreign country to gain nothing but riches for the companies owned by his henchman. The authors of the original war? ....all still at liberty including Bush. The victims?....The American and Iraqii peoples.
TOH: Leave your parents wine alone and go to bed....you're bothering the adults.

Posted by: murmeister on February 11, 2006 at 11:05 PM | PERMALINK

Good. I hope they go to jail and sit there for a long time. If they won't tell prosecutors who is was that broke the law, they deserve it.

Posted by: cranky on February 11, 2006 at 11:07 PM | PERMALINK

comrade objective historian proves my "performance art" point with his/her 11:04 posting.

since no rational human being could possibly make those arguments with a straight face, requiring, as they do, complete ignorance of the very case law that he/she claims to be representing, as well as complete ignorance of what "inherent authority" constitutes, as well as completely misrepresenting the cases that he/she calls the 5 precedents, it must be performance art.

Posted by: howard on February 11, 2006 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

TOH: It was not costing America a thing except Hussein was thumbing his nose at the US. Bush II decided to wag the dog. The rest of the world outside of his British lackies recognized that there was no need for war and Bush knew he could never gain the support of the UN as he had for Afghanistan which was clearly in violation of International Law. Bush lied to the public for his own benefit and the benefit of select henchmen and sent thousands of American Youth to die needlessly in a foreign country to gain nothing but riches for the companies owned by his henchman. The authors of the original war? ....all still at liberty including Bush. The victims?....The American and Iraqii peoples.
TOH: Leave your parents wine alone and go to bed....you're bothering the adults.

Posted by: murmeister on February 11, 2006 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

The invasion of Iraq made sense from a cost-benefit perspective.

If you Regressive-Democrats were in charge, Saddam Hussein would still be in power, his people and not him would still be suffering misery and DEATH under the sanctions, he would for 3 years now be doing whatever he please in terms of weapons development unbeknownst to us exacerbating the threat he posed (whatever the WMD status), our credibility in upholding treaties (post-Gulf War I) for which U.S. soldiers died to allow us to negotiate would be non-existent, and he would still be concocting plots to assasinate George H.W. Bush whom whatever your politics is a great American and a leader who deserves that we have his back. All this is the best case scenario; worst case, Saddam conspires in and finances the sneaking WMD into Penn Station that kills 1000s.

The cost is the present situation; the benefits are multiple and without end.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 11, 2006 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

comrade objective historian: brilliant! just brilliant! the "endless" benefits is a particular gem, so typical of the empty-minded right-wing nutcase and yet so devastatingly criticall of the fact that there are no specific benefits that America got from this invasion.

i continue to be in awe of your performance art....

Posted by: howard on February 11, 2006 at 11:13 PM | PERMALINK

The USA does not work for the UN.

Also another balderdash meme; the war was not illegal. It was not authorized by the UN, but nor was it prohibited. Nor does the UN have jurisdiction to prohibit war. Gulf II was authorized by the U.S. Congress, hence it was legal or as legal as any rational American should require given the history of UN cupidity, incompetence, and hatred of the USA.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 11, 2006 at 11:15 PM | PERMALINK

Benefit #1 (their are endless benefits): The war objective was accomplished; Saddam Hussein was a threat to the U.S.A., i.e., we were reasonable threatened by him whatever his actual capabilities, and now he no longer poses a threat to the U.S.A. "Mission accomplished." Ref. the NIE 2002.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 11, 2006 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

Still waiting for the Objectively Historical explanation as to how this war has been cost beneficial...

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on February 11, 2006 at 11:19 PM | PERMALINK

Yes. Let's hear the cost-benefit analysis.

Posted by: jcricket on February 11, 2006 at 11:21 PM | PERMALINK

Howard;

What about the Truong decision I posted above? The target in Bush II surveillance was a foreign threat. Note, FISA or no-FISA, the court decided the president has constitutional authority to conduct surveillance if the target is a foreign person or power. Again, Howard, Congress cannot take that away.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 11, 2006 at 11:21 PM | PERMALINK

comrade objective historian, you're on fire tonight, destroying every right-wing argument while appearing to support them. here at the central committee, we salute you.

Posted by: howard on February 11, 2006 at 11:21 PM | PERMALINK

Howard,

TangoMan, here are the problems: a.) the briefings, such as they were, were classified; b.) there is no avenue in the republican-controlled congress for a democratic "pushback."

Are there really no mechanisms available to a minority party? Anyone familiar with Congressional procedures? Obviously power is reduced, but are all minorities reduced to sitting on their hands and doing nothing?

Posted by: TangoMan on February 11, 2006 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

"Benefit #1 (their are endless benefits): The war objective was accomplished..."

This is excellent to hear. My newspaper neglected to mention this. The troops should be home... when?

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on February 11, 2006 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

comrade oh: have you actually read the decision? for three days running that i can think of, you seem to think that "inherent authority" has no limits on it. you're wrong, completely wrong.

except, of course, i forgot my own analysis: you know you're wrong, you're merely satirizing the idiots who believe the way you pretend to.

fabulous!

Posted by: howard on February 11, 2006 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

...and we're still waiting for that scintillating cost-benefit analysis.

Posted by: jcricket on February 11, 2006 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

Cost-benefit is at posting 11:06 along with this: I'd rather these problem today than the reasonably perceived THREAT both undefined and unimaginably destructive in capacity to cause us harm that existed in 2003 and the on-going worldwide threat posed by US on-going appeasement of a dictator with Hussein's past. To continue to appease Husseing would embolden other enemies by causing them to expect us to retreat from vigilance.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 11, 2006 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

wow-we should just leave TOH & jayarbee in a dark room together.

Judy miller's case made it hard (for me) to see arguing for a shield law as a priority, but, here i do think it would be valuable, and it's probalby right and importanti in principle. in some ways, I wonder if the circling of the wagons around a trojan horse there (I know, bad and silly mix of metaphors) might help make this the test case that does produce a shield law, as Raanaurora suggested earlier. I don't know the law well enough to know how possible this is tho and would like to hear form someone who does.

Posted by: URK on February 11, 2006 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

"The target in Bush II surveillance was a foreign threat. Note, FISA or no-FISA, the court decided the president has constitutional authority to conduct surveillance if the target is a foreign person or power."

Whew... I'm getting all kinds of useful information tonight. As it happens, I was in the bathroom when they passed the list of targets around in the meeting. I'm glad TOH was there to take notes.

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on February 11, 2006 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

Hate to surprise Porter Goss, but I've already seen 'one' of the leakers, an official from the NSA, on Hardball a couple weeks ago. He came forward on his own. The NSA has fired him, of course, as well as given him a battery of psychological tests and diagnosed him as 'paranoid schizophrenic.' Just like the old Soviet treatment of dissidents. He seemed quite sane to me.

Posted by: nepeta on February 11, 2006 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

Howard:

I never said their were no limits; the limits are in the federal court decisions and Bush II is unequivocably well within those limits. You are a weak-minded polemicist to claim that I ever implied or stated that the power was unlimited. It is limited by the federal case law (5 v. 0) and by the Constitutional standard of "reasonableness" as written and adjudicated generally by the Supreme Court.

Bottom line; Bush II was within the limits of Truong et al. (incl. Clinton's pre-FISA-applicable search of Ames) since the target was a foriegn threat (as per the case law, this is legal DESPITE there being a U.S. person surveilled/searched). Hence, LEGAL.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 11, 2006 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

"To continue to appease Husseing would embolden other enemies by causing them to expect us to retreat from vigilance."

Yes. Clearly, this has had chilling effect on Iran.

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on February 11, 2006 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK

tangoman, here's the problem about being a minority in the current era: historically, we did not see in the united states what you might call a parliamentary system, where the executive and the legislative branches were completely in synch with one another. it certainly wasn't the expectation of the founders that we'd see behavior like this.

until quite recently, each party represented a fairly broad swath of political opinion - the republicans had their moderates, the dems their conservatives.

but the moderates have been shut down in the republcian party and the conservatives left the democratic party as part of the overall outcome of the civil rights and voting rights acts.

so the systems that exist in congress were based on the expectation that a certain degree of institutional pressure for bipartisan behavior would arise from that kind of overlapping of ideological positions.

but formally, the majority party has all the power, and now that the parties are essentially ideologically separate with no overlap at all (although, to tell ya the truth, i suspect we will start to see a separation between congressional republicans and the white house as this year goes by, and we will certainly see more of it in 2007-2008), the majority republicans have zero interest in any kind of bipartisanship.

indeed, it is a long-standing belief of karl rove that to win a congressional vote big is a waste of time: it means you gave too much away.

so, no, the dems can't call hearings, they have limited staff, they can't issue subpoenas, etc.

now, every now and then they can pull a clever parliamentary manuever (like reid forcing a re-committment of the senate intel committee to do what roberts promised and actually investigate political pressure on the intel community prior to the iraq war), but that's all it is.

in a true parliamentary system, on the other hand, there are vehicles to assure that the minority party isn't shut out (such as "question time" in the mother of all parliaments). it may be that the congress needs to revisit some of its rules, although that isn't going to happen with the cult of personality supporting bush we currently have.

so, sorry to be long-winded, but there is no such thing as a dem "pushback" under the current circumstances. indeed, the only reason that we got hearings with gonzalez (and may have other witnesses) is that enough republicans (specter, graham, brownback, dewine) believe that the powerline doofuses objective historian pretends to swear by are full of crap, just like the bush administration itself. were there not republicans thinking this way, we wouldn't even have seen gonzalez testify.

Posted by: howard on February 11, 2006 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, he was fired before he leaked!

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 11, 2006 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK

Just want to add my thanks for all the objective history being offered tonight. It reads just like the labels on Dr. Bronner's Soap.

Posted by: nandrews3 on February 11, 2006 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

comrade oh: keep it up! you're destroying every right-wing argument through your ever so artful representation of right-wing idiocy. i continue to salute you.

because again, no one can possibly argue that bush's behavior is within the established precedents with a straight face: it's simply not conceivable.

your exciting new definition of cost-benefit analysis is another sterling example of making the right-wing look bad while pretending to support it. outstanding!

Posted by: howard on February 11, 2006 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

Endless benefits for Al Qaeda -- a new chaotic place to set up shop under the radar, recruiting and training opportunities, plus tons of unsecured high explosive "liberated" but not controlled by the US forces.

Or did I misunderstand something?

Dumb-ass Republicans. It's amazing that they can still believe their own bullshit.

Posted by: dr2chase on February 11, 2006 at 11:36 PM | PERMALINK

No darlin', I can't see anything from you at 11:06. If you mean the swill that you posted at 11:10, then truly you must be a pimply faced adolescent copying and pasting the daily meme from powerline. The reason I know that the drivel you posted upthread is no a cost-benefit analysis is because that is what I do for a living. And a nice one at that.

Don't make claims you can't back up.

And everyone else, this 'repartee' is what happens when you take troll bait. What is copied and pasted is the same shit as on every other thread this mush-for-brains posts on. Word for word. Copy and paste. It gets boring.

Posted by: jcricket on February 11, 2006 at 11:36 PM | PERMALINK

Did you guys see the latest poll on Hardball. Wow. Encouraging for all you "geniuses".

Clinton 35% to

McCain and Guliani the well separated frontrunners for the GOP nomination.

McCain beating Clinton, 53% to 38%.
Guiliani beating Clinton, 51% to 38%.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls (and has been tolling since November 1980) for the Libertine-Regressive-Marxist-Anti-Reform-Democrats.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 11, 2006 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, TOH can't & won't answer the fundamental question: who, other than the surveillors, knows exactly who was surveilled?

And if this was, as you claim, legal, then what's up with your weak-kneed Republican leadership? Even Orrin Hatch has questions about the legality.

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on February 11, 2006 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

Howard,

Thanks for the reply. I really wish I knew more about: "every now and then they can pull a clever parliamentary manuever" the actual practices and traditions within Congress and how a smart minority leader could use them to keep the majority accountable.

Posted by: TangoMan on February 11, 2006 at 11:37 PM | PERMALINK

The bipartisan members of the House and Senate know/knew or are/were permitted to know the scope and procedural aspects of the program as per a reasonable concern for national security; a concern betrayed by the traitors and their accomplices at the NSA and the New York Times and the Washington Post.

TOH

Maybe you guys should get up to speed informationally so I can meaningfully instruct you. Right now it's like teaching Relativity to infants.

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 11, 2006 at 11:40 PM | PERMALINK

howard, you're killing me. Keep it up.

TOH is Alice reincarnated, yes? Though possibly Alice sans medication...what a scary thought.

Posted by: craigie on February 11, 2006 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

[cue Star Wars music].

I'm not a Republican; I am . . .

THE OBJECTIVE HISTORIAN


TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 11, 2006 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

Craigie,

Funny you should say that....where ever Alice/Patton/TOH shows up, the subject of medication invariably comes up as well.

Hmmmmmm.

Posted by: jcricket on February 11, 2006 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

craigie, funny you should say that objective historian is alice sans medication - i've actually had the same thought!

and praise from the master of the deft shiv via humor is high praise indeed!

Posted by: howard on February 11, 2006 at 11:45 PM | PERMALINK

"we are once again graced with the deranged writings of the objective historian"

Not to worry. It's just Al on crack.

Posted by: / on February 11, 2006 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

Ha!! Howard!!!

Great minds think alike! Too funny.

Posted by: jcricket on February 11, 2006 at 11:48 PM | PERMALINK

"The bipartisan members of the House and Senate know/knew or are/were permitted to know the scope and procedural aspects of the program as per a reasonable concern for national security; a concern betrayed by the traitors and their accomplices at the NSA and the New York Times and the Washington Post."

Ummm... no, they weren't. Rockefeller was allowed to put one hand on the elephant, and he drew the conclusion that others have, subsequently: this is TIA all over again. He had to guess at the scope, and neither he nor anyone else knows the procedural aspects. There's absolutely no congressional or judicial oversight here. This is why Rockefeller indicated, in writing, that he could not go along with this; however, he & every other Congressperson was sworn to secrecy.

Try again.

Posted by: chaunceyatrest on February 11, 2006 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

i believe my theory as to objective historian as a performance artist is confirmed by comrade oh's 11:42.

jcricket: i'm happy to slipstream in your wake....

Posted by: howard on February 11, 2006 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

Another one here who tawt she taw an Alice-cat.

Posted by: shortstop on February 11, 2006 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

I continue to await an answer to my straightforward question of criminal/constitutional law: would it be a defense to a leaking prosecution that the information leaked concerned unlawful activity by the government's national security apparatus (It seems to me considerably more likely than not that the Supreme Court would ultimately hold that the President cannot engage in surveillance activity that has been expressly forbidden by Congress -- but that question need not be resolved to answer my question, which is whether ASSUMING the program's illegal, the leakers (and journalists) may defend on that basis?

Posted by: subliminability on February 11, 2006 at 11:55 PM | PERMALINK

tangoman, the best such weapon is the filibuster.

sadly, you need 40 sure votes to sustain one, and there aren't 40 sure votes on the democratic side thanks to the likes of lieberman, nelson, and sundry others.

not much reid can do about that, i'm afraid....

Posted by: howard on February 11, 2006 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

"BALDERDASH!"

Nice of College Republicans to warn us of the drivel that is about to follow by preceding it with some Edwardian euphemism for "bullshit".
Even though it makes them sounds like Major Hoople.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on February 12, 2006 at 12:11 AM | PERMALINK

Tangoman: "I, admittedly, haven't been following this too closely, but my current perspective is that this leak was necessary to remedy inaction against a program that may be illegal."

Sen. McCain has publicly agreed with you. He announced several weeks ago that, if Sen. Rockefeller really thought the NSA program was illegal, it was his "obvious duty" to violate the classification laws and expose its existence to the entire Congress for debate as to its legality. (Of course, by the time Cheney is through, McCain may be in a cell in Guantanamo.)

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on February 12, 2006 at 12:14 AM | PERMALINK

I don't expect that this will go too far; leaks are apparently this administration's SOP, and would further embarrass them (if they have any dignity left, that is!). Anyway, no one said political commentators had a safe job. I just hope Google doesn't help Bush-driven facists as much as it does the Chinese.

Posted by: Sparko on February 12, 2006 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

Bruce Moomaw,

What's got me uncomfortable about this is the possibility that a civic minded NSA employee (leaker) and some reporter may face jail/prison time because Democratic Senators who thought this program was illegal stayed silent instead of doing their jobs.

Again, I don't know all the ins-and-outs so my opinions are subject to revision.

Posted by: TangoMan on February 12, 2006 at 12:25 AM | PERMALINK

Silly desperate wishful thinking, USA-DESTRUCTIVE REGRESSIVE-DEMOCRATS.

All Rockefeller had to do was file a sealed petition with either the FISA court or the Supreme Court; that being done, whatever it's finding, the FISA ruling could have been appealed to SCOTUS.

Rockefeller et al. knew the substance of the program if not the particulars; but it's not their job to micro-manage intelligence gathering any more than it is their job to be Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. That is why this is part of the President's constitutional authority; he is our elected leader in combat against foriegn enemies, surveillance for foreign policy reasons being part of combat and utterly constitutional.

In passing regarding "balderdash", the lack of civility and manners (other than jocular banter, as displayed most recently at the C.S. King funeral, finds overwhelming correlation with Regressive-Democrat political ignorance; when I wonder will they understand that even when they try to "clean up" for others, it's that underlying incivility that manifests itself and causes them to be statistically poor, envious, narcotic and alcohol addicted, misguidedly narcissistic in blaming government for their problems, miserable, execrable, unelectable, shunned, and dismissed.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 12, 2006 at 12:36 AM | PERMALINK

The illegality of the program is no defense!

Get ready for a Superman I moment:

Guilty! Guilty! Guilty! Guilty! Guilty!

No phantom zone; 20 years at Leavanworth. It's too good for traitors to our fighting soldiers of this infamy; but I think the more just sentence of hanging them will not be taken in today's permissive environment.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 12, 2006 at 12:41 AM | PERMALINK

Supression and total disregard for the Constitution is not a new thing, especially for the Republican Party. Do I really have to say, take a look at Abe Lincoln, and then keep on going.

Posted by: Joseph Dickeson on February 12, 2006 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

I certainly admire TOH's modesty and erudition, but wonder if he or anyone else can cite me to authority for the proposition that the illegality of the program is no defense, for the point seems significant in predicting how this will unfold (getting the program before a court with jurisdiction is a tricky matter). One suspects that if an Administration were carrying out, say, a program to assasinate its critics, and designated the program as a top secret national security matter, that some courts would have sympathy for an argument that those who released information about the program were not punishable as traitors or spies.

Posted by: subliminability on February 12, 2006 at 12:52 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe the FBI would oblige with input on the cost/benefit analysis of hysterical response to "leads" from surveillance : c'mon....ANY charges sucessfully prosecuted based on follow up to intercepts. ANY cases aided rather than dismissed as poisoned testinony ?
We know terror suspects have been let go because their cases could no longer be prosecuted. Where's the upside ?
Leaked ? The administration should be grateful full page advertising of their malfeasance wasn't taken out.
Any contention that secrecy was in the national interest should be hooted with long and loud derision. Practical investigation and prosecution has been hampered.

Posted by: opit on February 12, 2006 at 12:56 AM | PERMALINK

The illegality is no defense, inter alia, because the NSA-CIA traitors did not avail themselves of intra-agency procedures AND national security-protecting judicial remedies for filing grievenences against the program. Moreover, what they did, i.e., divulging covert operations to the public, was against the law on it's face and a violation of their oath as civil servants. They do not determine what is and is not legal and thus what can and cannot be disclosed. They are not judges, but civil servants. If it were otherwise, every civil servant with cover information would be a self-appointed judge of the legality of each particular cover operation; that is a national security nightmare and so is this situation.

They are going down! 20 years to life. But let them wear their belts into the cell; maybe they'll do us all a favor and do the honorable thing.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 12, 2006 at 1:05 AM | PERMALINK

TOH:

So I suppose your answer to the presidential assasination hypothetical would be the same -- the leakers of the program would be subject to prosecution if they did not exhaust available administrative remedies by appealing to their superiors within the administration about the program?

Posted by: subliminability on February 12, 2006 at 1:14 AM | PERMALINK

TOH,
Your argument would be much more convincing in
German. The idea of total abdication of personal responsibility somehow isn't very convincing in English.

Posted by: marky on February 12, 2006 at 1:14 AM | PERMALINK

Everything we've been hearing from various reporters and even the testimony before Congress by administration figures suggests that Bush deliberately went against Congress by reconstituting TIA (Total Information Awareness) in a different guise. On several levels, the president has broken the law and we know about it because of the reporters. We are in strange waters here. Even Republicans have to be concerned.

Posted by: Craig on February 12, 2006 at 1:26 AM | PERMALINK

I am going to ask again, with great seriousness. Please explain just how disclosure of the existence of the domestic spying program (not specific activites, just the program) is so god awful harmful to the US. It isn't as though Osama wouldn't guess that the US taps phones. If I were him I sure would anticipate that the US taps the entire spectrum, and adjust my methods according.

Unless somebody can explain otherwise about the only people disclosure might harm are the folks in the administration who might have to explain why they decided to ignore FISA.

Posted by: Ron Byers on February 12, 2006 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

Chill out Kevin. It's an obvious whistleblower case, and the Plame case never would have got as far as it did without NOT being a whistleblower case.

Posted by: Jimm on February 12, 2006 at 1:44 AM | PERMALINK

OK, let's get down to basics here.

What were the actual methods revealed in leak in the NY Times article?

Well, actually just about nothing. At most, only that NSA may be monitoring every call in the US. Thing is, al Qaeda is ALREADY expecting that their phone calls in the US and elsewhere are being tapped; they have absolutely NO reason to believe otherwise, before or after the leak, and would have taken the same precautions before and after the leak.

Let's remember how literally laughable was Gonzalez's reply on this very point in his testimony:

BIDEN: Thank you very much.

General, how has this revelation damaged the program?

I'm almost confused by it but, I mean, it seems to presuppose that these very sophisticated Al Qaida folks didn't think we were intercepting their phone calls.

I mean, I'm a little confused. How did it damage this?

GONZALES: Well, Senator, I would first refer to the experts in the Intel Committee who are making that statement, first of all. I'm just the lawyer.

And so, when the director of the CIA says this should really damage our intel capabilities, I would defer to that statement. I think, based on my experience, it is true -- you would assume that the enemy is presuming that we are engaged in some kind of surveillance.

But if they're not reminded about it all the time in the newspapers and in stories, they sometimes forget.

(LAUGHTER)

Remember: THIS is all the "damage" these leaks led to -- risible zilch.

Think about all the time Rove and his merry band of idiots have had to come up with some excuse -- ANY excuse -- for the claim that this leak posed some grave danger to the Republic. Yet THIS is the very best they could produce? That maybe al Qaeda will forget, and the newspapers will remind them??? That's it? Nothing better?

For this reason, the federal government is turning up heaven and earth trying to get their hands on the nefarious leakers? And that troll idiot Objective Historian thinks they should be tried for treason, I mean, for TREASON?

It is to laugh.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 12, 2006 at 2:04 AM | PERMALINK

So all these reporters tell the investigators that the leaker(s) were Porter Goss, Geo Bush & Dick Cheney

and maybe some others "to be named later..."

and then it really gets "interesting"

"...Let's go with wit. Wit wins over rage." - theora jones

Posted by: daCascadian on February 12, 2006 at 2:17 AM | PERMALINK

man, I was just going to post the same thing as everyone else. Every single reporter should say that Cheney and Rove "declassified" the information to them privatly.

aimai

Posted by: aimai on February 12, 2006 at 2:44 AM | PERMALINK

If the press gets a shield law, we all get a shield law, because the press is the people. The press is not a certain class of journalists. Under the Constitution, anyone who writes something down and distributes it is "the press".

Posted by: Adam Herman on February 12, 2006 at 2:49 AM | PERMALINK

Adam Herman >"...anyone who writes something down and distributes it is "the press"."

Hello Ben Franklin !!!

"The future is here. It's just not evenly distributed yet." - William Gibson

Posted by: daCascadian on February 12, 2006 at 2:55 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe they're going to accuse somebody of leaking information that never got published.

I don't see what they have otherwise.

Posted by: ranaaurora on February 12, 2006 at 2:56 AM | PERMALINK

I hate where all this going. Why can't we get the truth?

Posted by: North Carolina Furniture on February 12, 2006 at 4:18 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: notebook on February 12, 2006 at 4:56 AM | PERMALINK

A FEW WEEKS AGO, ONE COULD LOOK AT THIS SITUATION AS A FREE PRESS ISSUE.

BUT, TODAY, WITH THE WHOLE ISSUE OF THE DANISH CARTOONS - ONE CAN'T POSSIBLY BELIEVE THAT CNN, THE NYT, ETC. AREN'T TAKING THEIR MARCHING ORDERS FROM THE RADICAL ISLAMISTS.

Posted by: Patton on February 12, 2006 at 6:13 AM | PERMALINK

Depends on the judge. The information value to the public from the release was high, while the quantifiable damage from the leak is probably not demonstrable.

Posted by: bob h on February 12, 2006 at 7:08 AM | PERMALINK

Patton:

How brilliant of you to deduce that! We liberals never believed the hotline from al-Jazeera, whereby we get instructions on everything from when to shit to what color, would ever be found out. You are truly a modern day Sherlock Holmes. Now we must run off to plot more mischief against the infallible George W. Bush as we get direction from our leader, Sheik bin Laden.

[Sheesh - with mongoloids like this, is it any wonder that our country and the free press, is in such jeopardy? The U.S. is doomed...]

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on February 12, 2006 at 7:54 AM | PERMALINK

sorry to be off topic. Just watching a show on KQED called "bottom line health." The guest is some telethon-ish superstar. But he's not haking vacuums or real estate. he is honestly saying that if you follow his recommended treatments, he'll double your chances of beting prostate or breast cancer. Actually now he's talking about setting your "weight thermostat" to lose weight quick. Now I've got no problem with crazy diet marketing, but stage iv breast cancer or (now he's on colon cancer" seems a bit crazy.

Anybody know anything about this show?

or this guy?

I 'm as suspicious of Pharma as the next guy, but this guy really seems to be spewing crazy talk. anybody??

Posted by: pat on February 12, 2006 at 8:23 AM | PERMALINK

I hope they put the reporters in normal lock-up.
I'm hoping one of the more liberal ones get abused by his cellmate.

Don't blame his cellmate, he/she was born that way and had no choice.

Posted by: McA on February 12, 2006 at 8:44 AM | PERMALINK

Smart politics,

The same battle between liberals and consevatives has also been going on between Republicans and the MSM for almost as long. In terms of tactical politics this is a no brainer. Just as the NYTs spent a small fortune unsuccessfully defending Judy Miller they will do so again. It won't be even a little help to be seen as having given up intelligence secrets to the benefit of Al Qaeda. The GOP can't lose here no matter what the result. All of these reporters and their papers will be under significant financial and professional pressure. Moreover they've already given the GOP another example of why the Democrats are weak on security.

Best of all if rumors of Senator Jay Rockerfellor being the source of the leaks are true he's toast. As we know WV is turning decisively red with even Robert Byrd running cared. It may be just the rumor will be enough. It's certain if he is the leaker he'll never be re-elected.

Karl Rove gets to use the Govts money to beat up reporters and their papers, spend a ton of their money, see them toasted as pro-al-Qaeda civil rights AND possibly bag a Senate seat.

Not that I'm all that anxious to lose Jay as a target. He may be the dumbest of the Senators. He's just one of the senate clowns accusing GWB of claiming iraq was an emminent threat to Russert only to have Russert immediately pull the video of Jay claiming Iran 'was an emminent threat' and pointing out GWB NEVER made that claim.

Posted by: rdw on February 12, 2006 at 9:06 AM | PERMALINK

What is this nattering about a federal shield law? The GOP's principled concern for freedom of the press ended the day Judith Miller walked out of jail. Get real.

Posted by: matt on February 12, 2006 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, TOH: Alice takes on more than a hint of Norman.

franklyo: risible zilch

Someone should name a band this!

Posted by: shortstop on February 12, 2006 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

Is it 'smart politics' to use the entire apparatus of the federal government to come down hard on leaks that don't do substantive harm to government, as expressed by rdw here?

Sure, if you think that 'politics' in the normal sense includes using the entire apparatus of government to make politically motivated personal attacks. The old Soviets used to do this quite well; it's interesting that movement conservatives have found this approach so delicious to their sensibilities.

Posted by: matt on February 12, 2006 at 9:31 AM | PERMALINK

One consistent theme I detect from the majority of posters on this thread is that modern day America (and this administration) is WORSE for the free press, not BETTER.

Do you really believe that? Do you really believe that the press was granted so much freedom of dissenting opinion in the 60's? 50's? 40's?

Could you imagine the press compromising the war effort in WWII? Do you think they would've been allowed to do so?

Moreover, do you think the WWII war result would have been as successful with today's press?

I am very interested to hear.

Posted by: sportsfan079 on February 12, 2006 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

While we the public need a shield law for journalists. We need journalists first.

Amen to that. In the local paper today there was a headline that said something like "Abramhoff Reid Contacts Corroborated". The story actually said something very different, that a lobbyist whom Abramhoff used sometimes would talk to Reid staffers once in awhile and that the contact was casual and that Abramhoff's records of the contact were in error. No Reid-Abramhoff contact. Our local paper is a bit lazy in that regard. And by "lazy" I mean something a bit different.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on February 12, 2006 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

Sure, if you think that 'politics' in the normal sense includes using the entire apparatus of government to make politically motivated personal attacks.

It is politics in the normal sense. The NYTs was aware of Jimmy Carter doing warrantless wiretaps and said nothing. They knew of Slick Willie doing the same and said nothing. They knew of the NSA wiretaps for a full year and said nothing. Everything on their side was based on political considerations.

On Rove's side it's a slam dunk because the politics are secondary. Someone leaked classified info that may have been very damaging. There's every reason to do an investigation for security reasons. The politics are merely a bonus.

It's been a bad week for the MSM especially in the USA. These lightweights totally wimped out on the cartoon controversy which plays into Rove's hands even better. The NYTs wouldn't think twice printing anti-christian garbage and as we've seen with things like Piss-Christ do everything to publicize these slights. Yet they respect Islam. They're cowards, the worst kind.

This case will help bleed them financially. They're been bleeding intellectually for decades. The GOP will absolute use liberal hyprocracy in observing Islamic sensibilities while regularly trashing Chritian sensibilities.

Posted by: rdw on February 12, 2006 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

nAndrews3:

As a devoted user of Dr. Bronner's soap, I want to thank you for the heartiest laugh I've had in weeks! I didn't stop until the truth of your comment hit me in the eyes. I wonder if Tom Coburn or Pat Robertson have considered retiring from the public eye and going into the organic product business?

Oh, wait, strike that. I really just do not want to know what kind of products they'd make.

Posted by: Constance Reader on February 12, 2006 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

rdw, that post was excellent.

The established media are ever on the decline, and will one day be about as potent as a senile old man yelling in the dark. A large mass of the American public view them with as much contempt as the left views the Bush Administration.

And that is a good thing, even for liberals. The press has been biased to the hilt for decades, and is therefore useless.

There is more, better, and more honest information in the blogosphere.

Posted by: sportsfan079 on February 12, 2006 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

"Abramhoff Reid Contacts Corroborated". The story actually said something very different

Doesn't that just suck? It's unfortunate but the story is just mush. This is why polls show 80% believe both sides are equally guilty. Nancy Pelosi wants to make the elections about Abramhoff when Harry Reid is up to his ears in it. That's just bad luck.

This is just another reason why the NSA investigation is so shrewd. The last thing the libs want to talk about is National Security and that's the only thing the GOP wants to talk about. How can the press possibly not talk about a 'scandal' involving the press. They're their own favorite subject. Think they'll pass up the opportunity to make themselves into matyrs? Of course not. Some are surprised it's been rolling out so slowly. Not me. They want this story to last a while and get hot at the right time.

Posted by: rdw on February 12, 2006 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

Not one dime!

Posted by: Howard Dean on February 12, 2006 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Bring it on, chimpster!

When it goes to court, everyone will know that the leaker leaked because you were denying every American their 4th ammendment rights. Everyone will know you broke the law.

Is this really what they want?

Posted by: lilybart on February 12, 2006 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Also....this may backfire as more reporters and media outlets who have been deferential, may now take off the gloves and report only the negative and slam them all good.

Posted by: lilybart on February 12, 2006 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

Also....this may backfire as more reporters and media outlets who have been deferential, may now take off the gloves and report only the negative and slam them all good.


Are you kidding??!! What do you think they've been doing up to now?

Listen, this house of cards is starting to topple for the lefty media. This is just the beginning.

Posted by: sportsfan079 on February 12, 2006 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK

Ignore the silly troll. Don't bother getting sucked into a discussion of the mythical liberal media.

Posted by: shortstop on February 12, 2006 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

Ich denke, dass Sie Recht haben. Meine Wrter wren besser auf Deutsch.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 12, 2006 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

If you don't think intelligence community whistleblowers should go to the press, you should check out my post on how hollow whistleblower protections are. The post was written in response to Porter Goss' NYT op-ed on Friday.

Posted by: Nick Schwellenbach on February 12, 2006 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

F.Y.I.


Multiple, repetitive sarcastic remarks are not a sign of great intelligence either.

Posted by: Man in the Middle on February 12, 2006 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

Ignore the silly troll. Don't bother getting sucked into a discussion of the mythical liberal media.

troll = my argument is weak so I'm going to run away.

The guy calls the President of the United States "chimpster", but I'M the 'troll'.

No wonder you keep losing elections.

Posted by: sportsfan079 on February 12, 2006 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

In order to justify putting journalists in jail, wouldn't the administration need to prove that the NYT leak actually harmed national security--by, say, tipping off al Qaeda about something they didn't already know?

If the NYT (and its sources) were indeed revealing brand-new information, and al Qaeda was completely unaware that their phone calls were being monitored, then how do you explain this August 2003 interview between Republican Senator Pat Roberts and Wolf Blitzer?

BLITZER: But Osama bin Laden remains at large. Why is he so hard to find?

ROBERTS: Wolf, I think he's somewhere between Pakistan and Afghanistan, in that area where there are mountains 12,000-, 13,000-, 14,000-feet high, a hundred different tribes. It's almost like a medieval world. The last Caucasian in that area was Alexander the Great. And the Pakistanis are not too anxious to go up in that part of the world, where it is almost medieval.

But that noose is tightening as well, as is the noose in regards to Saddam Hussein.

BLITZER: But assuming that he's communicating still with his associates...

ROBERTS: Right.

BLITZER: ... there's got to be some way, presumably, to monitor if there's any kind of cell phone or any kind of communications devices going on whatsoever?

ROBERTS: Well, he learned pretty quick when there were press reports in regards to signal intelligence and what we're able to do, not to do that. And so he establishes his communication by courier and by other means. Perhaps it's a step back in terms of technology, but it's still proven very effective.

This is just one of many references among pundits and politicians to the fact that bin Laden was using couriers to communicate with other members of al Qaeda. This was so well known after 9/11 that it was practically conventional wisdom.

Posted by: Moonlight on February 12, 2006 at 11:23 AM | PERMALINK

Nice to know that rdw and sportsfan079 are playing 69 with each other this morning back there at Friends Hospital in Philly.

Don't let Nurse Ratchit catch you when she brings your medication.

Posted by: stupid git on February 12, 2006 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Nice to know that rdw and sportsfan079 are playing 69 with each other this morning back there at Friends Hospital in Philly.

Don't let Nurse Ratchit catch you when she brings your medication.

See, now THAT'S "trolling". Nice of you to provide a real example for shortstop, stupid git.

By the way, not EVERY single person on this message board has to be hard left. And being conservative or moderate doesn't automatically make us "trolls".

Posted by: sportsfan079 on February 12, 2006 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

oh but to them it does sportsfan, for they are the party of inclusion and diversity, as long as all of that inclusion and diversity stuff fit within the narrow parameters of their small wooden heads.

Posted by: Jay on February 12, 2006 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

The sock-puppet artistry is awesome! Thanks for the laugh, which should carry me through the rest of tax preparation today...LOL.

Posted by: shortstop on February 12, 2006 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Nick - good point on the non-existance of any substantive "internal mechanisms" for raising objections.

Sibel Edmonds has a response to Porter Goss's statements.

Posted by: Butch on February 12, 2006 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

Amazing contrast. After nearly 2 years, Justice has not been able to figure out knowwho leaked Valerie Plame's identity. But for leak about eavesdropping that has even GOP congressmen worried, Justice will string someone up in months. Hmm.

Posted by: Jeffrey Harris on February 12, 2006 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

Well, thanks for playing sportsfan, jay, TOH and DWD - Have a good time doing your circle jerk today.
ttp is taking my little wooden head with him today - it is his birthday, and the staff is going to take us to the zoo. We'll get to play with the other moonbats.

Know that you will not be celebrating this day of birth of the former titular head of the Republican Party, Abraham Lincoln. You celebrate the birthdays of the current heads of the Repug Party, the troika of Jefferson Davis, Nathan Bedford Forrest, and Leon Trotsky.

Posted by: stupid git on February 12, 2006 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

NO. DAMAGES NOT REQUIRED FOR PROSECUTION. LEGALITY OF THE DATA MINING NOT REQUIRED FOR PROSECUTION. THIS IS A CRIMINAL CASE.

The question continues to be put whether damages are required, i.e., did the leak (or to what extent did the leak) harm national security. Firstly, only an utterly closed and distrubed mind would conclude that there were no negative effects from the leak although one could argue they were minimal. But, secondly and essentially, damages are not required because this is a criminal action. A person caught with a concealed weapon is prosecuted regardless of damages.

Further, the act of leaking by the NSA-leakers itself was illegal and that illegal act is not protected regardless of whether what was leaked was (or is determined to have been) illegal and/or unconstitutional. That is clearly the law which was drafted contemplating this situation. The reason is that national security requires there be the disincentive to leak; this is different from other whistle blower situations with less overarching reasons for confidentiality (e.g., bribery in government contract alloocation). Here, the statutory balance purposely (and rightly) is toward national security over violation of civil liberties.

So the leakers are going down and it looks like the New York Times and the Washington Post will be prosecuted, too! YAY! This will prove to straiten them out and the press generally. Just as the right to travel is not the right to aid and abet a bank robbery as getaway driver, the right to free speech (or derivatively the freedom of the press) is not the right to aid and abet the revelation of government national security confidential information. The REPORTERS and the leakers deserve to be hanged, but should get 20 years minimum for betraying our troops being maimed and killed on the battlefield and our civilians being targeted here at home.

Lastly, just as a patriot; wouldn't you think the leakers themselves would have had the humility to leave it as is? I mean, there is both Constitutional, satutory, and historical precedent justifications Bush II has for it's legality whatever comes going forward. Moreover, the program itself is universally approved by Congressional Republicans and Democrats [no elected federal office holder (NONE!) is calling for it to end]. So here are these clearly anti-Bush II NSA "leakers" (traitors is more accurate) who decide that they are so sure they are right as to the programs illegality that they decide to AT LEAST RISK damage to national security and refuse to deal with this matter by normal channels for intra-agency protest or let the elected Democrats like Rockefeller, etc. deal with it. They choose their own egoistic and partisan priorities over giving a near-universally acknowledged well executed data mining program AND the normal purposefully secretive channels for arguing legally based disagreement with the benefit of the doubt.

ON EVERY LEVEL, LEGAL AND PERSONAL, THIS IS AN ABOMINATION AND A BETRAYAL OF THE U.S.A.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 12, 2006 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

REGRESSIVE-DEMOCRATS!

You continue to risibly dismiss they you consider trolls and yet since 1980 and with increasing consistency, generally speaking, on election day you are they that are dismissed.

[Note: Clinton's election merely enabled our reforms; he only won because he was willing to carry our water, i.e., virtually non-existent tax increases, huge spending cuts (although too much removed from defense), NAFTA, and welfare reform. He was a nominal Democrat who arguably advanced the Reagan Revolution as well or even better than either Bush I or Bush II.]

You may deride us, the defenders of freedom and of the United States, the true progressives and liberals, but, as usual, you will be crying in November; or don't you remember that nausea you feld in the midnight hours of November 2, 2004. My advice, keep a bucket near you each and every November going forward; it will serve you well each time your fantasy world comes crashing down around you.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 12, 2006 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Since most members of Congress have not been informed as to what the program actually is, it's quite a stretch to claim "universal approval".

Of those very few who were briefed, it appears that a number had serious doubts but were intimidated into silence by the Administration and were not given very complete or accurate information in any case.

I'd encourage folks to follow the Sibel Edmonds link for a good take on this. But it's nice to see the usual Administration apologists screeching at high "volume" and low fidelity (in every sense of the word). I think a serious nerve has been hit.

Posted by: Butch on February 12, 2006 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

HAH!

Whatever it is, and however enigmatic it is for most Congressmen, still, no one is calling for it to end. It's approved of for all it's secretiveness.

Otherwise Boxer, et al. would be demanding it cease BECAUSE it is not accessible to the entire Congress. But, no.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 12, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, were 50-60 year old Democrat Senators intimidated like little children? Then they are too incompetent to have elected office; lesson: vote Repubican!

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 12, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

No serious nerve hit; avenues for victories perceived. This is a means to greater control of this nation so that you mental infants will be removed from governing decisions. We are interested in this issue not from weakness, but from strength.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 12, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Too bad we don't have a federal shield law to protect them.

Why? If we had a federal shield law, Lewis Libby would still be on Cheney's staff.

Personally, I think that the outing of Plame did less damage to the national security than the revelation of the NSA electronic surveillance, but once the stories were out in the open, the legal cases were similar and equally justiciable.

According to previous court decisions, the federal authority for warrantless searches in national security cases derives from the Constitution and can't be unilaterally circumscribed by a law. Who decides whether the cases are "national security" cases is a serious hole in the logic. It is worthwhile to learn whether the person who leaked the NSA surveillance plan merely had a vendetta against Bush or Republicans; or whether this is an important constitutional issue.

But I repeat my first point. With a federal shield law, Libby would still be in government. I expect in the end he will be found guilty of at most 2 counts, and I think he'll prpbably not be found guilty on any counts. At least there will be a trial; with a shield law, there wouldn't even be an indictment.

Occasionally you seem to possess a kind of Manichean dichotomy: information that embarasses the Bush administration was revealed because of pure motives, but information that supports the Bush administration is revealed because of evil motives. In fact, there is a balance of politically motivated malice. Using the shield law to protect those who act against the administration out of malice is not in the national interest. Only by revealing sources can we judge the potential malice.

Posted by: contentious on February 12, 2006 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

"Dan Eggan, James Risen, Eric Lichtblau, Barton Gellman, Dafna Linzer and Carol Leonnig. Too bad we don't have a federal shield law to protect them."

So are you saying that what they now need is something like a Libby Defense Fund?

Posted by: koreyel on February 12, 2006 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Not going to bother reading Objective Historian. Life is too short. I have only read enough to know that he/she is the sort of loathsome bully upon whom tyrants have ever depended absolutely: a blustering coward who begs for thugs like Bush to take away his liberty, to relieve him of the heavy burden of freedom. Tiberius' words have never been more appropriate: how eager they are to be slaves.

Posted by: ChristianPinko on February 12, 2006 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Contentious - where in the 4rth amendment to the US Constitution is there an exception for "national security cases"? There is an explicit exception for foreign surveillance, and in times of insurrection. But as far as US persons go there are NO exceptions and the courts have been pretty consistent that warrants are required.

FISA was specifically crafted to deal with the grey areas in the intersection of purely foreign surveillance (no warrants required - and I've seen no serious disagreement with that) and purely domestic surveillance (surveillance WITH PROBABLE CAUSE allowed WITH WARRANT). It was crafted in response to the abuses by the Nixon and other administrations where they attempted to "stretch" the definition of foreign surveillance using the thinnest of pretexts. It supplies reasonable and very minimal oversight to insure that the Executive does not abuse the necessary process of surveillance.

Now, while there's near universal support FOR FISA, there's considerably less support (except for sycophants like Sen. Roberts) for secretive, undefined process(or processes - Congress doesn't even know how many programs there are) that the Administration refuses to describe in any detail even to the Senate and House Intelligence committees in closed session. A process (or processes) which seems to have NO independent oversight and in areas that have been abused for political purposes in the past.

Anyway, I'll keep poking at my Congressional reps to encourage them to carry out their proper oversight activities and keep the natural expansive tendencies of the Administration under strict control.

Posted by: Butch on February 12, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

I'd like to criticize most of the liberals on this post, as a liberal. For the most part, I haven't seen anyone make serious attempts to systematically and intellectually counter the hysterical, totalitarian, inflammatory, bloodthirsty, malicious bullshit being put up here by TOH, rdw, and others. You may think it is blatantly obvious that they're delusional, but very few arguments are so delusional that they can't gather substaintial support when they play to your biases and fantasies. The only way to win is to win: is to argue back, without apologies, in every single venue.


TOH:

Powerline is the #1 force pushing for the evolution of our country into a totalitarian state, and you are one of its puppets. Your arguments are full of ludicrous assumptions and wishful thinking. Let's establish a few things for starters:

#1: It really doesn't matter what FDR, Truman, or Lyndon Johnson did. I've heard enough bullshit equivocation of GWB's actions with old democratic presidents to make me nauseous, but GWB violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, passed in 1978. Warrantless wiretapping was probably unconsitutional before then, but the Court never had the chance to decide, and so it's moot. After 1978, you broke the law if you wiretapped without getting a FISA warrant. An impeachable offense, by the way - Republicans impeached Bill Clinton for lying about a blow job.

#2: rdw's bullshit speculation about Bill Clinton's wiretaps are pure invention. He's the only democratic president since the law was passed, so they had to big him, but the argument is only fit for a blog post.

#3: Hey, Objective Historian, if you think that the illegality of the NSA program is no defense against prosecuting the NSA agents, then GWB's unsubstantiated opinion that FISA is unconsitutional is equally meaningless. Doesn't matter why or what you think, if you break a law you suffer. So Impeach George Bush, right now. I'd consider that an even trade.

#4: There's no way in hell that the Supreme Court will find GWB's warantless wiretapping as legal. I don't like Alito, but he's not a dribbling Powerline serf. He believes in the law. No one, no one whatsoever is pretending anymore that the President didn't break the law. They're just using the following reasons why it's OKAY that GWB broke FISA:

REASON 1: My executive authority grants me unlimited authority in regards to national security. I don't care if you said it or not, TOH, Alberto Gonzales did.

There has been no proposed standard for defining that something is "NOT" national security. In fact, GWB has justified taxes, school vouchers, and their own electoral victories in terms of national security. There's no way to read this argument that doesn't, straight-up read as "I can do anything I want." This is equivalent to Octavian Caesar dissovling the Senate. That's why every single fucking Republican senator is talking about ways to SOLVE THIS PROBLEM - because it's a problem. Only the fascists at Powerline are pretending that George Bush is okay.

Where in your delusional alternate history, TOH, do you include Arlen Specter and Lindsey Graham's outright dismissal of Gonzales' argument? Or Heather Wilson, Air Force Colonel and Republican House Intelligence Committee chairman? These Republicans have the same opinion I do, although political realities won't let them express it quite this way. Your boys on the fascist blogs are the militia youth squads - uninterested in law or anything else but power. At least rdw makes this clear.

I'll bring up Gonzales #2 as an afterthought: that Congress authorized warrantless wiretapping as past of the post-911 authorization of military force. This is a joke. there was nothing in there remoltely like the granting of permission for GWB to ignore US laws that would have been neccesary for him to legally do what he has done.

So, if this isn't crystalline clear yet, let me recap: FISA, passed in 1978, explicitly and expressly forbids the president or any agent of the executive branch from wiretapping or eavesdrpping on US citizens without getting a warrant from the court explicitly set up to give them out - with a 99.8% approval rate and a 72-hour retroactive submittal ability. This is a device that worked completely fine. GWB ignored it, and broke the law. Under TOH's no-tolerance theory, impeachment should be automatic right now.

However, i have yet to see TOH specify the laws under which these whistleblowers would get punished. Neither has Porter Goss. That's because there aren't any. The investigation is a house of cards. They might get some testimony and force a testimony struggle with the papers, but no court in the land will convict NSA agents for leaking an illegal program. We're not Nazis here. We can't be punished for disobeying orders or laws that would force us to act illegally.

However, in the supremely unlikely event that anyone does get imprisoned for leaking these laws, they would be America's first political prisoners.

There's no hope for people like TOH, totally uninterested in debate and here only to attempt to intimidate, gloat, provoke and humiliate people, but perhaps some confused or uninformed people will use this recap to avoid falling into the web of delusions that is Powerline.

PS: rdw, every post you make here is some claim that some moral stance taken by a liberal is the end of their political lives. Funny how every political professional out there thinks it's the republicans who are going to be punished in 06 for the exact sort of machivallian bullshit that forms the entirety of your ethical and moral worldview.

Posted by: glasnost on February 12, 2006 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

to contentious:

this is a reasonable argument. Balance is good, and the sort of dichotomy you discuss is bad. the problem is that while your solution is non-partisan, it's the wrong one.

The solution is not to punish the Plame leakers and to punish the non-plame leakers. Plame was a stupid fight, and although there's nothing wrong with it on the merits, it was probably pushed for political reasons - not by Fitzergald, just by the world in general and the WMD debate. But the point is that, although Libby and Cheney broke the law, it wasn't a very important break in comparison to what's happening here. They outed a CIA agent, and it sucked, but it was only one, and it's not as if this opens the floodgates to outing CIA agents by the hundreds. To do something like that again would poltically destroy them.

What GWB is doing is much more serious. It opens the door to the end of due process in this country. It will start with 'terrorism' cases, but it will end being used to prosecute anyone for anything. Believe it.

The best solution would be to punish the Plame leakers but not the NSA leakers, because the NSA only leaked the violation of a law. There's no such thing as an illegal reporting of someone else's illegal acts. It's a nonsensical statement.
But if you have to create incorrect equivalency in order to certify your objectivity, don't punish anyone.

Leaks are important. I'd go so far as to say that they are vital to national security. Look at this case: 98% of Congress had no idea what was happening until the program was leaked, and no one is going to be punished for that basic fact. Until congressional oversight becomes more than a joke, leaking is one of the few remaining checks and balances left in the system.

Unless smoking-gun evidence comes out that the leakers were actually working for a foreign power, or otherwise had as their goal helping other people commit acts of violence against US citizens - which is a joke - no one should be prosecuted.
For what it's worth, no one got prosecuted for these types of leaks in the Clinton era.

Posted by: glasnost on February 12, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

ONCE AGAIN, SCHMIDT (A CLINTON JUSTICE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL) STEPS UP. NOTE, THIS ARTICLE CORROBORATES BUSH II'S POWER TO UTILIZE THIS PROGRAM W/O A WARRANT (ISSUE OF WARRANT INAPPROPRIATE IN THIS CONTEXT AND THIS NOT EVEN SEEKING IT PALPABLY "REASONABLE" AS A SEARCH) AS WELL AS WHY, AT PRESENT, THAT POWER IS A NATIONAL SECURITY NECESSITY.

A historical solution to the Bush spying issue

By John R. Schmidt
a Chicago attorney
Published February 12, 2006

Thirty years ago, Edward Levi, the most respected U.S. attorney general of the modern era, suggested a procedure that would resolve the dispute regarding President Bush and the National Security Agency wiretapping program.

In 1975 testimony to the Church Committee on U.S. intelligence activities, Levi suggested that court power to authorize foreign-intelligence wiretapping in the U.S. go beyond traditional warrants based on probable cause for surveillance of a particular individual. He said it should include power to approve a "program of surveillance" that is "designed to gather foreign-intelligence information essential to the security of the nation." Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act in 1978, setting up a new court with authority to approve electronic surveillance on a case-by-case basis, but without Levi's suggested additional power.

Levi said a traditional warrant procedure works when surveillance "involves a particular target location or individual at a specific time." Foreign intelligence, however, may in some situations require "virtually continuous surveillance, which by its nature does not have specifically predetermined targets." In these situations, "the efficiency of a warrant requirement would be minimal."

In approving a surveillance plan, "judicial decision would take the form of an ex parte determination that the program of surveillance designed by the government strikes a reasonable balance between the government's need for the information and the protection of individuals' rights."

Had Levi's procedure been in place, President Bush could have submitted to a court an application setting out the elements of the proposed NSA surveillance program: the target; communications to be intercepted; screening methods; controls on information dissemination. Because FISA procedures are secret, a court application would not have compromised the program's secrecy. If Congress puts this procedure into the law, the president can submit the NSA program for approval now.

The court role would be limited to approving the "reasonableness" of the plan under the 4th Amendment, using a standard of review that recognizes the president's primary constitutional role in surveillance on foreign powers. The approving court might be the three-judge FISA court of review.

Based on everything we know, NSA's surveillance program would be approved. Even the president's critics generally acknowledge that, based upon what we know, the NSA program is "reasonable" in responding to the Al Qaeda threat.

Although Levi supported legislation in the foreign intelligence area, he rejected the position of Bush critics that the president's authority to order warrantless foreign intelligence surveillance can be limited by Congress to a statutory procedure. Levi told the Church Committee that the president has inherent constitutional authority to conduct such surveillance. Asked by Sen. Frank Church "if the constitutional powers in the area of foreign intelligence are exclusive to the executive or whether they are concurrent with the legislative branch," Levi replied:

"They are sufficiently concurrent so that legislation by the Congress would be influential . . . You are asking me whether I think there is presidential power beyond that, and my answer is `Yes.'"

Levi was correct in predicting that, despite the president's inherent power, legislation by Congress in the foreign intelligence area would be "influential."

All presidents since FISA was passed have used the FISA court process to obtain surveillance authorization for particular individuals. Presidents would also use Levi's suggested procedure to obtain court approval of a surveillance program. President Bush has said he pressed his lawyers on whether the NSA program could be carried out through the existing FISA process, but the rapid time sequence and the need for security professionals to make quick decisions could not be reconciled with the FISA requirement to determine case-by-case probable cause in a manner that could satisfy the court.

Giving a court the power to approve a reasonable surveillance plan proposed by the president gives everyone--the president and those in the executive branch who carry out the surveillance, members of Congress who have oversight responsibility, and the American people--greater assurance that constitutional rights are being protected.

It made sense when Edward Levi suggested it 30 years ago and it makes sense today.

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 12, 2006 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

TOH, i appreciate the recognition here that as it stands, GWB broke the law. I also appreciate a relatively lucid post, relatively lacking in insults and incivility.

However, the problems with Levi's solution are as follows:

#1. We're talking about apples and oranges. This program is fine and dandy for spying on agents of foreign powers, but the president's program is not spying on foreign programs or foreign agents. In a ll likelihood, it is spying on U.S. citizens by the thousands in cases where there is no specific evidence linking them to either terrorism or foreign agents. This solution would end GWB's permission to ignore U.S. laws, but only by rewarding him for giving him the law he wants, and it would compromise the civil liberties of american citizens in exactly the same manner. It's very similar to the Israeli situation where settlers go out and plant illegal settlements, and then years later when the media spotlight falls on the settlements, the government retroactively makes up reasons to grant them legal status.

So in short, the solution to breaking the law and ignoring congress while simulataneously violating the fourth amendment is not to pass a law making it okay to violate the fourth amendment.

The solution is to have the Department of Justice seek warrants from FISA to wiretap US citizens, one individual at a time - and continue to have to prove 'probable cause'. The solution is to end the practice of mass-data collection on innocent American citizens.

We've faced down nations: we shame ourselves surrendering fundamental liberties to our government for a handful of American citizens with bombs.

However, like I said, TOH, it was nice to see you contradict most of your previous arguments and, by suggesting that Congress pass a new law to fix what George Bush has done, admit that what GWB has already done is illegal.

Posted by: glasnost on February 12, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK

GLASNOST, WRONG ON EVERY COUNT:

Thanks for awarding me victory up to this point. YES!

#1) Even absent FISA, searches without warrants violate other laws, e.g., tresspass in the case of physical searches. It matters because it proves the President had this power and FISA CANNOT take it away; Congress cannot take it away; only a constitutional amendment can. Ex: why was Clinton able to break and enter Ames' (CIA) home and trespass on his property? CONSTITUTIONAL POWER. Exists regardless of Congress.

#2) Clinton's Eschelon program was just like this data mining program conceptually. WRONG AGAIN.

#3) Not even worthy of consideration. Bush has 5 CoA decisions backing up to his critics 0 federal court opinions. Inter alia, the Truong case estabishes the Presdient's constitutional power (cannot be taken by Congress/FISA); Truong was a Carter case. Even your hysterical solution is premature; only the Supreme Court can decide if this is "illegal". So, pending a Supreme Court decision, Congress can decide if it wants to prosecute Bush II (note, all prosecutors have discretion; witness how many criminals are not or are lightly prosecuted). If the majority in the House, after a Supreme Court finding against Bush II (which would be UNPRECEDENTED), decides to prosecute, so be it. I don't object. Then the Senate can decide his guilt (is it 2/3rds?).

#4) You have the delusions of the uniformed; federal courts have consistently held what Bush II did LEGAL, i.e., within his constitutional powers. Those cased don't find "unlimited power", but give deference for the president to act independently of Congressional strictures if the target is a foreign person or power. Truong, Ames, Eschelon, etc. are all precedents. Bush II has an overwhelming likelihood of winning at the Supreme Court even if it was the Carter-era justices. If you do not like this Presidential constitutional power, start an Amendment movement.

Victory confirmed up until now, victory advanced now. Victory!

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 12, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

I'm now off to exhume Ayn Rand for a bit of necrophilia.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Histrionic on February 12, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Inter alia, the Truong case estabishes the Presdient's constitutional power (cannot be taken by Congress/FISA);

Two bit words from a ten-cent whore. Truong establishes sweet fuck-all, no matter how much you spin it.

Posted by: ahem on February 12, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Riddle: If rdw & TOH were dropped on a deserted island with 100 average citizens how many days go by before rdw & TOH have their tongues cut out?

Posted by: law of the jungle on February 12, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Glasnost. Stop the juvenile semantics; they may distract your fellow benighted fools, but they are actually detrimental to your polemic.

Bush II disregarded Congress, but did not break the law. The law's validity stems from the founding document, i.e., the Constitution. If Bush acted constitutionally, he de jure and de facto did not break the law.

Ex: there are plenty of "blue laws" remaining on the books in almost every state. Laws against oral sex, etc. If one engages in those activities, they DID NOT BREAK THE LAW. The constitution have found those laws without validity just as FISA's argued power to take away Presidential power is without validity.

BUSH II DID NOT BREAK THE LAW OR, ALTERNATIVELY, AT THE VERY LEAST, THAT HAS NOT YET BEEN DECIDED UPON ONLY OPINED UPON. BUT NOTE, EVEN IN THE ALTERNATIVE, IN OUR SOCIETY, TO HAVE BEEN NOT FOUND GUILTY IS TO NOT HAVE BROKEN THE LAW.

BUSH II HAS NOT BROKEN THE LAW BY ANY ANALYSIS!

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 12, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

"LIBERALS"

#1) BUSH II ACTED WELL WITHIN FEDERAL COURT ESTABLISHED LIMITS OF THE PRESIDENT'S CONSTITUTIONAL MATTER IN THIS CONTEXT. REF. TRUONG ET AL.

#2) BUSH II IS INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY IN A COURT OF LAW.

THERE IS NO BASIS FOR FINDING BUSH II TO HAVE BROKEN THE LAW. HENCE, IMPEACHMENT IS ABSURED.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 12, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

LAW OF THE JUNGLE:

I could not ask for a better victory trophy; thank you for confirming that the only way to overcome my telling of truth to power (and, in your case, the impotent) is by ultra vires violence.

VICTORY!

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 12, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Until the President gets a definitive statement from the courts - which Truong definitely is not, FISA is the law of the land. And the Administration has NOT claimed that FISA impinges on the President's authority in time of peace.

What the Administration seems to be claiming (they've made all kinds of claims) is that the AUF gives it some "pass" where it can ignore FISA whenever it feels appropriate. Courts have not in the past been too kind to such claims - the 4rth amendment includes no language giving the President the ability to ignore it's limitations as a result of a Declaration of War or an Authorization to Use Force. Past claims that the President got such authority via some "implicit powers" argument have been knocked down.

Posted by: Butch on February 12, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

GLASNOST: "The solution is to have the Department of Justice seek warrants from FISA to wiretap US citizens, one individual at a time - and continue to have to prove 'probable cause'. The solution is to end the practice of mass-data collection on innocent American citizens."

No federal elected official would agree with this and none have. Read my post of today's Schmidt article above for a rational solution. Your standard is too prohibitive of a valuable national security tool; privacy is not that important relative to national and domestic security and never has been so considered. Witness random checks for drunk drivers. The interest in having a NEW JUDICAL MECHANISM for review of data mining is legitimate; your call for an end to data mining proves you to be a hysterical fanatic.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 12, 2006 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Truong is 100% on point; Truong was a SOLELY U.S. person but the target here was a foreign person or power. Here, ONLY ONE of the communicants is a U.S. person and the target is a foreign person or power. If anything Truong is MORE permissive of Presidential authority than that exercised by Bush II.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 12, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

thank you for confirming that the only way to overcome my telling of truth to power

Well, shoot, TOH. What I really meant was that average people would find your brand of mental illness very difficult to suffer without recourse to "corrective surgery."

Without anesthesia.

Posted by: law of the jungle on February 12, 2006 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

You libertines are having cognative dissonance; 5 CoA opinions support Bush II (Truong et al.), 0 (zero) CoA opinions are contradictory to his position (FIND ONE!) yet you keep thinking he is on weak jurisprudential ground. Wishful thinking.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 12, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

LAW OF JUNGLE:

That "intolerance" (ironic, huh) is why we the informed and the defenders of the U.S.A. like to keep you vastly below-average people (that your delusions cause you to believe are "average") outside with the trash.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 12, 2006 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

TOH,

You can speed type all you want, caps on or off, but you can't escape the fact that Bush has authorized a program that clearly violates the explicit laws of the United States, as detailed in FISA.

Now, you can claim that Bush has "inherent authority" to do so, given the Constitution. People who actually understand the Constitution and the current context almost uniformly reject that, including a number of Republicans.

But here's what really makes Bush's actions unconscionable: that he has done by secret fiat that which could only be excused in a genuine democracy on a most urgent emergency basis in times of authentic war.

Bush has had four long years in which to get the acceptance of Congress and the American people of this obviously invasive program. I repeat, four long years. If there is ANY legitimate justification of this program, one which would and should survive the process of public acceptance, why has Bush absolutely refused to engage this process?

He can claim that somehow even talking about it will reveal something to the enemy. Yet he and his political minions have been unable to come up with a single plausible kind of damage that the discussion has had on our safety. Gonzalez is asked this very question, and his response is greeted with laughter. Clearly, this is a discussion we can engage in as a democracy without harming the program (which, I should note, has of course produced NOTHING of any value anyway -- for this, Bush decides to violate explicit laws -- for THIS??)

What does it say about you and your fellow wingers that this does not trouble you? Even Bob Barr, as conservative as it gets, has a huge problem with a President bulling his way through the china shop of our laws just because he thinks he can and has some pretext to do so.

What kind of people are you wingers, to be not just OK with this, but loudly advocates for it?

Somehow, I'm reminded of some lines from Sylvia Plath:

Every woman adores a Fascist,

The boot in the face, the brute

Brute heart of a brute like you.

In this context, you would be the woman.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 12, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

There's a comfy padded cell just waiting for you, TOH.

Sweet dreams.

Posted by: law of the jungle on February 12, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

#2: rdw's bullshit speculation about Bill Clinton's wiretaps are pure invention. He's the only democratic president since the law was passed, so they had to big him, but the argument is only fit for a blog post.

By a clue somewhere Glasnost. The Law was passed in the 70's. Jimmy Carter was a Democrat. Justice Dept figures from the Carter and clinton justice departments are defending the Bush program. Not that it matters. They are useful politically but have little say. Sam Alito will decide this although there's at best a 10% chance Senate Democrats have the balls to make a case.

Posted by: rdw on February 12, 2006 at 2:17 PM | PERMALINK

Is it my imagination, or is PA a big old psycho magnet lately? More than usual, I mean.

Posted by: shortstop on February 12, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Oops, in my previous post

"loudly advocates"

should be

"loud advocates"

Posted by: frankly0 on February 12, 2006 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Cognitive dissonance:

Ad nauseum, you libertines who wish to impugn Bush II give credence selectively to those who support your views; but the only opinions relevant to the legality of Bush II's actions are those opinions found in the CoA decisions that (5 v. 0) support Bush II. Bush II acted well within those federal court decisions that have given effect to his inherent constitutional authority as Commander-in-Chief. The "laws of the United States", if you mean Congressional statutes, are superceeded by the Constitution of the United States. The law of the land, i.e., the Constitution holds that Bush cannot violate a law that Congress did not have the constitutional power to make. I'm sorry you are so desperately wrong, but you are.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 12, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

People who actually understand the Constitution and the current context almost uniformly reject that, including a number of Republicans.

So why hasn't the impeachment begun? Why isn't Congress demanding the program end? Why are Bush and Rove laughing? They've done everything but to tell them to shove it up their ass. The WH is talking about this EVERY DAY.

Posted by: rdw on February 12, 2006 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

Can any of those reporters say the words foreign correspondant?

Posted by: aline on February 12, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

[cue the Star Wars music, again]

I'm not a Republican or a "winger"; nor am I a conservative; I'm an American, a patriot, a liberal, a progressive, a reformer, a socialist*;
I am . . .

THE OBJECTIVE HISTORIAN.

TOH

* i.e., one who values the quality of society as a legitimate purpose of government action ahd hence one who opposes all typical Regressive-Democratic anti-social and anti-American and anti-poor people initiatives.

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 12, 2006 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

RDW ROCKS, ROLLS, AND RULES!

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 12, 2006 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

So why hasn't the impeachment begun?

Uh, because Congress is controlled by Republicans, and most of them won't go against their Republican President?

The point is, that, by now, even a significant number of Republicans admit that Bush overstepped his bounds -- admissions that don't come without a huge political price.

How surprising could it possibly be that most Republicans will toe the line here and support their guy in the WH?

And I hardly expect that even the Republicans who know that Bush has done something illegal will actually support impeachment -- THAT would be way past what they might ever get away with and maintain a political career.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 12, 2006 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

I suppose that if there is an upside to the fact that Bush has, again, by secret fiat, enabled this NSA program for four long years, it is that it has demonstrated the utter uselessness of that program.

It's one thing to make big fancy noises, as supporters of "advanced technology" programs always do, that their pet program will solve everything from world peace to cancer, but it's another to have hard data demonstrating the opposite.

Look at the NY Times articles regarding this program. It is clearly been not only completely unproductive of ANY important result, it has been declared COUNTERPRODUCTIVE by agencies like the FBI, who have spent valuable resources making calls to Pizza Houses.

I keep thinking, for THIS program, we are giving up privacy? For THIS??

Only a winger, looking for that boot in his face from the supreme master, could be happy with that.

Posted by: frankly0 on February 12, 2006 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

Is it my imagination, or is PA a big old psycho magnet lately? More than usual, I mean.

I kind of know what you mean. Some threads it's almost not worth it to try and get into the conversation with any kind of simple and reasonable conservative point. It's like playing a flute next to someone playing the bagpipes.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 12, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

TOH, you flail at straws.

Give me a break, we're talking about monitoring of communications, not physical searches. Your Aldritch Ames case is a joke - when they broke into his house, the DOJ had hard evidence that Ames was a spy for the Soviet Union. Furthermore, TOH, you're using the "inherent power that can not be taken away by an act of Congress" argument again. That's a joke. Congress is the sovereign power of this republic, and its laws can be disobeyed only after being declared unconstitutional by the supreme court. Did the supreme court find FISA unconstitutional at any point over the last 28 years? No. So President Bush broke the law.

What you THINK, or what George Bush SAYS, is his inherent constitutional power doesn't mean jack shit. Under your rationale, GWB could say he believes that his inherent constitutional power of 'national security' gives him the right to order DOJ to indefinitely incarcerate the Senate until they pass a law allowing him to wiretap people. Does that break some laws? Sure, but you've just given the President the power to ignore any law he believes to be unconstitutional.

It's hard to believe I have to say this, but neither the President, nor you jokers, get to decide when a law is unconstitutional. You want anarchy? That's anarchy. The Supreme Court is it, so in absence of a SCOTUS ruling that FISA is unconstitutional, Bush broke the law. Illegal. Impeachment.

Prosecutorial discretion? You want to bring that up now, when you were just talking about how we should execute the NSA operatives that leaked an illegal program to spy on thousands of Americans?
and then you want discretion for the creators of the program in the first place? Fuck you.

We should throw aside 200 years of American citizens' right to conduct their business without intrusive and harrasing government monitoring of their every action and communication, subject only to their discretion? Because of a handful of unhinged ragheads? And I'M the treasonous fanatic? You found one quote from a DOJ source with a solution that gives you proto-fascists everything you want and you claim that no 'federal official' supports the ending of data-mining on US citizens? What about when all those officials pulled the plug on TOA four years ago? Why are you so eager to have the government monitor everything you say and do? Aren't you worried that you could say something on here that sounds like a threat to violence or hate speech and be thrown in a cell? Even if you probably didn't deserve it? How can you be so blind to increasing the risk to your own ability to live a normal life?

I'm not aware of any CoA decisions that support warrantles wiretapping. I bet this is a similar collection of wishful thinking and disparate alterna-subjects spun as court agreement. But we seem to agree that a court opinion is neccesary. Luckily, there's a lawsuit against this program underway as we speak. Bring it the fuck on.
That's why the people who think for you are telling you to advocate a change in the law: they want to render the court fight that they are sure to lose, moot.

You've got to be kidding me. Similarly with regards to laws about oral sex and whatnot. If they law is on the books and you do it, you break the law. And yes, anyone can prosecute you for it if they catch you. and yes, you would go to jail, unless the law is changed. You don't have the discretion to decide that you can break a law, because it is probably unconstitutional.

The heart of your argument is that you can break laws in anticipation of them being found unconstitutional, or that you can break laws because you have the opinion that they are unconstitutional. Are you kidding me, or yourself? Really?
All i can give you is that Bush is, as you claim, innocent until proven guilty. I can still shout from the rooftops that he broke the law, but it remains for the court to make it official.


However,
the NSA heroes who you were chatting about hanging in your disgusting earlier posts are also innocent until proven guilty.
If you had a conscience, you'd apologize for that bullshit. You know that the NSA program is on shaky, shaky legal ground: that's why you want the law changed. But I don't hear you calling out in hope the George Bush hangs himself with his own belt.
Shame on you.

Posted by: glanost on February 12, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0:

The fascist is someone who would prosecute Bush II for something 1) he had the right to do; 2) all Presidents have done. The rule of law also requires consistency in it's application. You are the fascist. Moreover, I notice the only people resorting to ultra-vires "brown shirt" tactics in America are the anti-globalization, anti-Ann Coulter, anti-GOP free speech Regressive-Democrats. Need I remind you that Hitler was a "social democrat" as in National Workers Socialist Democratic Party (NASD) [A is for Arbeiten which is "Workers" in German.]

I'm pro-freedom and hence pro-USA defense; this is the antithesis of fascism given that Bush II is exercising power that pre-existed his election and with which he wields having most recently won 60 million votes of confidence (51%).

VICTORY!

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 12, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

GLASNOST, YOU ARE DONE:

Congress is the sovereign power of this republic, and its laws can be disobeyed only after being declared unconstitutional by the supreme court.

NO. THE CONSTITUTION, AS "AMENDED FROM TIME TO TIME BY THE PEOPLE," IS THE SOVEREIGN POWER IN THIS COUNTRY. YOU ARE JUST AN IGNORANT HYSTERICAL FANATICAL DERVISH.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 12, 2006 at 2:43 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz,
there's plenty of obnoxious rightists and obnoxious leftists on here, but bitching about it doesn't advance the debate. There's plenty of people on here, me included, who respond to civility with civility and logic with logic, but if you allow the trolls to set the tone of the debate, you're their enabler.

I for one don't mind reasonable debate in the least. But seriously, if you can find one forum on the internet that provides reasonable debate without interruption from flaming assholes, please email me with it so I can go there. Until then, I'm going to fight fire with fire when I have to.

Posted by: glasnost on February 12, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

GLASNOST:

YOU ARE TOO STUPID; YOU DO NOT GO TO JAIL WHEN A LAW YOU DISREGARD IS FOUND UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

ARE YOU ACTUALLY JUST OFF THE BOAT FROM MOSCOW?

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 12, 2006 at 2:45 PM | PERMALINK

GLASNOST:

IF YOU ARE RIGHT, WHY IS BUSH II NOT IN JAIL RIGHT NOW?

ANSWER: YOU ARE WRONG.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 12, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Good point; of course I meant but did not explicitly say let's try the NSA traitors and the NYT, WP traitors before we mercifully give them 20 years without any hope of parole (again, permitting them to keep their belts so they have the honorable means to show contrition for betraying our soldiers who are being killed and maimed on the battlefield in our defense).

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 12, 2006 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Glasnost; again cognitive dissonance.

You cite U.S. history, but U.S. history does not consist of a U.S. person's right not to be searched if you are innocent. Not, just in passing, is the word "privacy" in the Constitution at all.

That is your fantasy. U.S. history, and constitutional precedent, consists of the President's authority to reasonably search even innocent U.S. persons if the purpose is for foreign intelligences and/or the target is foreign persons or foreign powers who pose a threat to the U.S.A.

Learn before you post.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 12, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK

Someone's off his meds.

Posted by: ahem on February 12, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

TOH, you've degenerated back into one-liner ad hominem insults and name-calling.

This is a lot less dangerous to the republic than the semi-coherent, although dishonest and mendacious, earlier arguments granting unlimited power to the executive branch to unilaterally usurp the Supreme Court and ignore any law they personally decide is unconstitutional.

My work here is done.

Posted by: glasnost on February 12, 2006 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Go get em feds.

SHIELD LAW UPDATE....The New York Times reports that the Department of Justice is moving very quickly in its investigation of who leaked details of the NSA's domestic spying program to the New York Times:,/i>

Will Bush try to bitch slap the press around?

Will the fourth estate take it lightly - will the NYT fuss up?

What happens when push comes to shove?

We don't need a shield law - only jounralist that don't like to be bully by controlling party that's not interested in the law - the Bush administration.

Posted by: Cheryl on February 12, 2006 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Uh, because Congress is controlled by Republicans, and most of them won't go against their Republican President?

Why are the libs so silent? Why are they practically begging Bush to ask them to fix FISA so he can do what he is doing? The "I" word has been strangely absent from their vocabulary after the initial polls. Actually, it's not strange at all is it?

Only a winger, looking for that boot in his face from the supreme master, could be happy with that.

To the extent there is any joy it's not with the program per se. It's with you. You thought you had him. Admit it. This was the ticket to impeachment you have been praying for. The intial reaction was classic. You do it EVERY time. And where are we now? GWB is making speeches touting his program EVERY DAY. He's laughing at you. He's going to take this issue and prove for the 3rd election in a row liberals are weak on security and simply cannot be trusted.

At a time when the entire muslim world is aflame and killing innocents because of a few cartoons in a few papers and Iran is developing a bomb it hopes to use to erase Israel from the map we find out your biggest concern is we are wiretapping Osama.

You are not only weak you are inept. You immediately made the exact wrong call on this issue and Geore W Bush has been tap-dancing on your head ever since. What exactly has Harry Reid been doing? Aside from dancing about Abramhoff?

It seems to be working. From Rasmussen:

President Bush Job Approval

Sunday February 12, 2006--Forty-nine percent (49%) of American adults approve of the way George W. Bush is performing his role as President. Fifty percent (50%) disapprove.

Posted by: rdw on February 12, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

Glasnost:

The President does not have unlimited power under the Constitution. That is irrelevant to the completely legitimized and federal court affirmed power Bush II exercised in connection with this data mining program. That you cannot understand this is evidence of your hysteria and ignorance. Fortunately for you, November after November, we've proven the hysteric-ignorant voting bloc to be a statistical non-factor in elections to govern this country. We're done here, i.e., we those trusted to guide America toward a progressive and prosperous future; we, those who share the wisdom of Bush II.

TOH

Posted by: The Objective Historian on February 12, 2006 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

TOH You claim if Saddam had been left in power for three more years the misery and death would have been bad. Well Look at what 5 years of bush has managed. Let's start with NOL, and count backwards!

Posted by: justathought on February 12, 2006 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

It seems to be working. From Rasmussen:

Ah, quoting the one consistent outlier among the polls? Where there's no substantial change?

Sad.

Posted by: ahem on February 12, 2006 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

We're done here, i.e., we those trusted to guide America toward a progressive and prosperous future; we, those who share the wisdom of Bush II.

Wow. A genuine crackwhore.

Posted by: ahem on February 12, 2006 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

glasnost:

What made you think I was referring to the liberals here when I mentioned bagpipes?

At least for me, it's much easier to have a back and forth discussion when there's mostly reasonable liberals and crackpot leftists posting. I can respond to the former and ignore the latter. When crackpot rightists get into it, the post decays into back-and-forth between the crackpots, and the main discussion gets lost in the noise.

Posted by: tbrosz on February 12, 2006 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

tbrosz, I stand corrected.
I guess i just associate bagpipes with liberals. You, those Scotsmen were pretty strong defenders of states' rights.. or, um, if they had had states, they would have been. or something.

I agree that the ideal discussion is between semi-liberals and sincere progressives.

ahem. i mean, reasonable liberals and crackpot lefists. sorry.

Posted by: glasnost on February 12, 2006 at 11:48 PM | PERMALINK

I just went upthread looking for the "crackpot leftists" tbrosz mentioned.

Hmmm. They must be on some other thread.

Or was that just one of TBROSZ'S MANY LIES???!!!????

Posted by: snowy s.o.b. on February 13, 2006 at 12:36 AM | PERMALINK
Too bad we don't have a federal shield law to protect them.

Why is it bad?

Posted by: cmdicely on February 13, 2006 at 2:03 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, quoting the one consistent outlier among the polls? Where there's no substantial change

Rasmussen is one of the most respected pollsters with a long track record which includes making the most accurate call on the 04 race. He also polls daily and has an excellent website. 49% isn't much to brag about but GWB is up close to 10% over 2 months with the NSA news giving him the biggest boost. This is also when the Abrahamoff news broke.

Speaking of impeachment before anyone know what it was about was bonehead stupid. Everyone knew immediately this was pure political partisanship. Everyone knew immediately Senate Democrats were more concerned about the politics thn about national security. Karl Rove played it perfectly.

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