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Tilting at Windmills

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March 3, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

MORE SPYING?....After Alberto Gonzales seemed to imply a few days ago that the NSA's domestic spying program might not be the only domestic spying program that Congress didn't know about, Jane Harman asked him directly about it:

White House counsel Harriet Miers called Harman on Wednesday, and Gonzales phoned yesterday, Harman said. She said both of them "assured me that there is not a broader program or an additional program out there involving surveillance of U.S. persons."

Oh yeah? Then who installed all those secret surveillance cameras in the Guam airport? Hmmm?

Kevin Drum 12:42 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (58)

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Comments

Oh, well if Gonzales assured her, then clearly there is nothing to worry about.

Jesus on a stick...

Posted by: craigie on March 3, 2006 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, the Fourth Amendment is so pre-9/11!

You *must* trust Bush! He is fully engaged, and absolutely and solely committed to protecting us!

If you just unquestioningly give him total power, everything will be perfect!

Posted by: Freedom Phukher on March 3, 2006 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

"Oh, please, now you are going to claim Guam is "domestic"?! "

Well, it's a territory of the US, and its people are US citizens. I'd call that domestic.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on March 3, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK
Do you want al Qaeda to win? Posted by: 18%Cheney
With Bush and 18%Cheney in power, bin Laden has won. Posted by: Mike on March 3, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Related, or not related?

Just read this at The Daily Muck,

http://www.tpmcafe.com/node/27420

"Perhaps the most spectacular boondoggle achieved by (Duke) Cunningham went through CIFA (Counterintelligence Field Activity), a Defense intelligence agency established in September 2002. CIFA exists to "coordinate policy and oversee the counterintellige nce activities of units within the military services and Pentagon agencies." But here's the good part: 70% of its budget is contracted out. . . .

CIFA has spent more than $1 billion since its inception, most of it on contracts. Prosecutors are looking into the agency's contracting, and the Defense Department is conducting its own internal review."

This agency was created as a swindle, but the real swindle is that this may represent a huge body of national security intelligence operated and owned by private companies. Republican private companies.

Posted by: cld on March 3, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

But they're kind of brown, MJ, so our erstwhile VP doesn't count 'em.

Posted by: shortstop on March 3, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

If you have nothing to hide, why are you worried about a few microchips implanted in your brain?

Posted by: ferd on March 3, 2006 at 12:55 PM | PERMALINK

"Do you want al Qaeda to win?"

They already have.

Posted by: Ace Franze on March 3, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, there are Customs agents in a US territory that gets a lot of foreign tourism? Imagine that.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on March 3, 2006 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

Ever since it became known that TIA was just transferred to NSA rather than killed, it has been obvious that there is additional domestic surveillance, since TIA was a domestic surveillance program, which is why there was the pressure to kill it in the first place.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 3, 2006 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin Drum >"...who installed all those secret surveillance cameras in the Guam airport? Hmmm?"

Dubai Ports World maybe ???

"Everyday reality now is a complete fiction, manufactured by the media landscape and we operate inside it." - JG Ballard

Posted by: daCascadian on March 3, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

I didn't know about the high school students. I was thinking about domestic spying by the government, the state of our Armed Forces, and other gifts Bush has presented us as his solution to the Al Qaeda problem. Bin Laden couldn't fantasize a more successful result.

Posted by: Ace Franze on March 3, 2006 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

My first question, since no one goes there except Japanese, S. Korean and Taiwanese on cheap tour packages, why would you install lots of surveillence at the airport in Guam? Yes, there's a large U.S. Navy base there (where supposedly the island's best beaches are), but the island is literally in the middle of nowhere.

Then again, maybe the U.S. and Japanese are finally cooperating on the the yakuza, who reportedly control most of the hotels and related development on Guam, though that's against local law.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 3, 2006 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK
I hope for your sake that the next 9/11 was not preventable by TIA and Poindexter.

The only way of preventing 9/11s is calendar reform.

Posted by: cmdicely on March 3, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Calendar reform now! Why do Republican calendar traditionalists hate America?

Posted by: shortstop on March 3, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

iPods are listening devices. The NSA pays the dancing silhouette girls to make you want to buy them. They had to do it. The terrorists had already figured out the cell phones are listening devices.

Posted by: tbrosz on March 3, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

I know three people from Guam, and they're all named Howard. What's up with that?

Posted by: shortstop on March 3, 2006 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

It's too early for Cheney!!! It's only 10am on the west coast. Please come back after lunch.

Thanks

Posted by: enozinho on March 3, 2006 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

I know three people from Guam, and they're all named Howard. What's up with that?

What's up with you knowing anyone from Guam, regardless of their name???

Posted by: Windhorse on March 3, 2006 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin is shocked to learn there are video cameras at an airport in Guam. (?)

Posted by: BigRiver on March 3, 2006 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

I hope for your sake that the next 9/11 was not preventable by TIA and Poindexter.

The only way of preventing 9/11s is calendar reform. Posted by: cmdicely on March 3, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Calendar reform now! Why do Republican calendar traditionalists hate America? Posted by: shortstop

Game, set and match to cmdicely and shortstop. Now go away for the day Cheney, you cardiologically challenged fuck, and take T-Bone with you. No more mixed doubles (humans versus Republicans) matches for you two.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 3, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

What's up with you knowing anyone from Guam, regardless of their name???

Hee. I'm a busy girl.

Posted by: shortstop on March 3, 2006 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin is shocked to learn there are video cameras at an airport in Guam. (?)

The occurrence of video cameras is generally not as important, as their location, ownership, and working status.

Posted by: B on March 3, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin is shocked to learn there are video cameras at an airport in Guam?

Actually, the first people to be shocked that cameras were hidden in exit signs were the ones who actually control security at the airport .

Then Kevin was shocked.

Hee. I'm a busy girl.

Shortstop: International Gal of Mystery

Posted by: Windhorse on March 3, 2006 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK
Osama bin Ladin was "won" because 150 high school students walked Posted by:18%Cheneyo
Actually because the 1984 style snooping is now the "Patriotic" thing to do as it was in Mao's China and Stalin's Russia. You Bushista lickspittles are pathetic.

Here's another victory for bin Landen in the Bank Privacy Act.
The balance on their JCPenney Platinum MasterCard had gotten to an unhealthy level. So they sent in a large payment, a check for $6,522.
And an alarm went off. A red flag went up. The Soehnges' behavior was found questionable.
And all they did was pay down their debt. They didn't call a suspected terrorist on their cell phone. They didn't try to sneak a machine gun through customs.

After sending in the check, they checked online to see if their account had been duly credited. They learned that the check had arrived, but the amount available for credit on their account hadn't changed.

"When you mess with my money, I want to know why," he said.
They both learned the same astounding piece of information about the little things that can set the threat sensors to beeping and blinking.
They were told, as they moved up the managerial ladder at the call center, that the amount they had sent in was much larger than their normal monthly payment. And if the increase hits a certain percentage higher than that normal payment, Homeland Security has to be notified. And the money doesn't move until the threat alert is lifted.
He learned about changes in something called the Bank Privacy Act.
"The more I'm on, the scarier it gets," he said. "It's scary how easily someone in Homeland Security can get permission to spy."

Posted by: Mike on March 3, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Hee. I'm a busy girl.

I met a whole football team from Guam. And no I won't elaborate.

Posted by: enozinho on March 3, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin isn't shocked at all, oh barely-sapient one. Hell, he expects this sort of thing.

On the other hand, Guam Customs and Quarantine Agency Director Rick Blas and Jess Torres, executive manager of the Guam International Airport Authority, now they were shocked.

Posted by: S Ra on March 3, 2006 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

I met a whole football team from Guam. And no I won't elaborate.

Holy cow, enoz! There are laws against that in Guam, I think!

Posted by: shortstop on March 3, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Imagine this scenario. It's 2007. Terrorists set off a series of bombs at the Guam airport. Dozens of innocent people are maimed and killed, inclduing several Americans. Also killed are a number of children.

In the hours after the attack, news wires report the CIA and Pentagon were aware of Al Queda cells which had been planning such airport attacks, including the one at the Guam airport.

Bloggers, including Kevin Drum, demand to know what steps the government took to prevent the attack. In Congress, Jane Harman demands an investigation. She wants to know why the Bush Administration didn't "connect the dots."

Sorry, as far as I am concerned, Kevin Drum and Jane Harman can stick it.

Posted by: MountainDan on March 3, 2006 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

I met a whole football team from Guam. And no I won't elaborate. Posted by: enozinho

Would that be American football or the international game know by the same name?

Posted by: Jeff II on March 3, 2006 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Dan, the terrorists could be trying the same thing in your house right now! You should go look! Call us if you find anything!

Posted by: shortstop on March 3, 2006 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

I knew this guy from Guam once. He had a plan where he'd take a transpacific flight and stage some kind of accident where he gouged out his own eyeball so he could sue the airline. Don't know if he ever did it.

That's what Guam does to you.

Posted by: cld on March 3, 2006 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

I just found out that I personally have been spied upon. It happened a few months ago, but I figured it out only today when I saw this article about someone who had their credit card payment scrutinized by Homeland Security.

A few months ago, I inherited some money, so I paid off my credit card balance in full. They wouldn't clear the payment within 2-3 days as normal, they said they'd hold it for 7 days. After 10 days, they still didn't credit my account. I called and called and only after 14 days they cleared the check.

I had no idea that paying several thousand dollars on my credit card would flag my bank account for review by Homeland Security. The government has no business looking at my private financial affairs. Even worse, I suffered real financial damages, I was forced to pay interest for an extra 14 days on my credit card balance. I estimate I paid about $75 in interest charges solely due to the 2 week delay.

Posted by: charlie don't surf on March 3, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Don't worry, shortstop. The government is one step ahead of you. They already have a camera on Dan's house. It's in the garden gnome.

Posted by: MJ Memphis on March 3, 2006 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, as far as I am concerned, Kevin Drum and Jane Harman can stick it. Posted by: MountainDan

You've obviously never been to Guam, have you MountainDan? Blowing up the airport would be an improvement. The place makes Puerta Rico look like paradise on Earth.

Furthermore, if terrorists set their sights on Guam, we'd have actually won this gosh darn GWOT.

Dumb ass.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 3, 2006 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

Video Contractor andwering cellphone: "Homeland security? HOMELAND security?! Son of a . . . I thought you said GUAMland security!! Alright, boys, pack it up pronto."

Posted by: Tripp on March 3, 2006 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

That's what Guam does to you. Posted by: cld

Cememt block houses, sleazy, poorly run hotels and restaurants, crappy beaches, torrential rain during the monsoons, 90% humidity otherwise, regular brown outs and black outs, often due to the Solomon Island Brown snake (dumb fuckers climb into the powerlines), which has also destroyed most of the native avian fauna.

You know something's wrong when the best meal you have in three days is at a Tony Roma's.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 3, 2006 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Sheesh, Jeff II! I told you to fire that travel agent!

Posted by: shortstop on March 3, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Would that be American football or the international game know by the same name?

American football. Pop Warner football to be more specific.

Posted by: enozinho on March 3, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

Sheesh, Jeff II! I told you to fire that travel agent! Posted by: shortstop

I will say that the golf is great.

Mangiloa

* * * * *

From the island's official homepage.

Theft of copper wire getting dangerous
Guam has been plagued by a rash of recent thefts of copper wire, and according to the Guam Power Authority several thousand feet of copper wire has been cut off of live lines ...

Sweet.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 3, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

American football. Pop Warner football to be more specific. Posted by: enozinho

Now you're making me uncomfortable. Ever hang out with Gary Glitter?

Posted by: Jeff II on March 3, 2006 at 2:06 PM | PERMALINK

Wow.

When thieves be stealing live wires you just know they got balls.

But were saying there are snakes that get into the overhead powerlines? Or are the lines buried?

People can tease me all they want about "Minnesnowta" and I'll go along with it but one thing I like is the lack of serious bugs and snakes. Okay, okay, we've got mosquitos and Timber rattlesnakes, but at least you can avoid the snakes and the skeeters die in the winter.

Posted by: Tripp on March 3, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

I KNOW the REAL reason they installed the cameras at the Guam Airport.

I used to live in Guam and the local bridge club used to play bridge in the snack area of the airport. (Few flights come in the evening in Guam because of the relative location of Guam and Tokyo, Hono, etc.)

So, I am SURE that they wanted to make sure that no one was cheating. Hand signals between partners are almost impossible to catch unless you have a ton of video.

Good for the NSA.

Is the NSA going to install cameras in ALL bridge clubs now??

Posted by: neil wilson on March 3, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

I love how mad Mountain Dan just got at Jane Harman for her behavior in an imaginary scenario he just invented.

Jane Harman happens to be my congressperson, and I dislike her like poison. She is, in fact, universally reviled here in Venice, CA, for being wildly *un*representative of her progressive consituents. I repeat, she represents *Venice*, for chrissakes! And yet she's never met an eavesdropping program or a military appropriation she didn't love. OF COURSE she eagerly supports the Patriot Act. And she's even in favor the of the flipping flagburning ammendment! Her last Republican challenger (Paul Whitehead) ran to the *left* of her, dude!

Jane Harman clings to her seat solely by virtue of her prodigious personal fortune, and by the Democratic Party's lack of a propensity to shake things up and risk a safe seat.

Mountain Dan, your fevered imagination seems to be telling you that she is some sort of civil libertarian and progressive do-gooder. If only that were true. Lord above, if *only* that were true!

Patrick Meighan
Venice, CA

Posted by: Patrick Meighan on March 3, 2006 at 2:15 PM | PERMALINK

neil, LOL. Now perhaps you can shed some light on this Howard thing.

Posted by: shortstop on March 3, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

But were saying there are snakes that get into the overhead powerlines? Or are the lines buried?
Posted by: Tripp

The Solomon Island brown snake is the scourge of the S. Pacific. They check all the planes coming into Honolulu from Micronesia for the snakes, which are commonly found in the wheel wells. How the damn things survive the altitude, I don't know. But they are as serious as a Dick Cheney hunting party about this in Hawaii. They've seen what it's done to Guam, destroying all their native ground dwelling birds. And Hawaii is no stranger to mass extinction either (cue myna birds and mongoose).

The SIBS climb trees and go after bird eggs and whatever else. The often climb power poles as well. Being an "introduced" spieces, they have no natural predators.

Posted by: Jeff II on March 3, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II,

Thanks for the info. My understanding is that around these parts they rig a special "electrical ground" line for the squirrels. Squirrel touches both the regular power line and the special ground line and zap zap zap no more squirrel problem. Kinda like an electric fence. You need special equipment for it, though.

Posted by: Tripp on March 3, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

If you listened to Alberto Gonzales' testimony during the NSA spying inquiry, it was pretty clear that there was a domestic spying program that was separate from the one under investigation. I believe it was Joe Biden who asked why, if it was so important that we have the ability to track people in the US talking to foreign "terrorists", we not doing this for terrorists who are operating within the US. Gonzales' reply was that this is not the program under discussion at these hearings. It is obvious that there is a program in place that does cover these types of communications. Gonzales repeated this same statement when asked a similar question by another Senator. I was absolutely amazed that no news outlet or blog picked up on this. Of course there are additional spy programs in place.

Posted by: Viola Manning on March 3, 2006 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop - your voice is quite husky. Very sexy and not what we expected after watching the video surveillance. FYI - we like when you cook in your undies.

MountainDan - those penis extension things don't really work. And stop calling the 1-900 numbers...

Cheney - close the bathroom door when you're "roughing up the subject."

Posted by: NSA Mole on March 3, 2006 at 4:51 PM | PERMALINK

Three out of four Senate Dems rolled over and voted for the renewal of the Patriot Act today. As much as anyone here, I think Gonzales is a bootlicking tool -- but how come there's no post about our own "elected representatives" letting us down AGAIN?

Posted by: sglover on March 3, 2006 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

Three out of four Senate Dems rolled over and voted for the renewal of the Patriot Act today. As much as anyone here, I think Gonzales is a bootlicking tool -- but how come there's no post about our own "elected representatives" letting us down AGAIN? Posted by: sglover

Seconded. They haven't blocked a single Bush legislative initiative or appointee in five years. Worthless scum the lot of them!

Posted by: Jeff II on March 3, 2006 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

shortstop: I know three people from Guam, and they're all named Howard. What's up with that?

Can we call you Howard ... just to avoid confusion.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on March 3, 2006 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

You mean" that program we are talking about today" crap? No Abu the other 20 nsa spying data maining programs

Posted by: l on March 3, 2006 at 9:07 PM | PERMALINK

What the hell is Jane Harman doing? When Democrats retake the House, seniority be damned, someone else should be made the head of the Intelligence Committee. She is actively carrying the administration's water on this.

If Gonzales has something to say about surveillance programs, he should say it under oath to a Congressional committee.

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Posted by: we on March 3, 2006 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

Well first of all I believe spying goes against the fourth amendments protection of searches and seizures anyway but to have it going on without the knowledge of congress is completly unacceptable i am a freshmen in high school and i see what our country is coming to along with the ignorance of my Africam American generation this issue scares me deeply

Posted by: FREE HUEY on March 5, 2006 at 1:40 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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