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Tilting at Windmills

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July 10, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

MORE SPYING....Over the weekend, the New York Times published a letter written to President Bush last May by Pete Hoekstra, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Hoekstra says there's yet another secret intelligence program that the White House is hiding from Congress, and he's not happy about it. But check out the reason he's unhappy:

If these allegations are true, they may represent a breach of responsibility by the Administration, a violation of law, and, just as importantly, a direct affront to me and the Members this committee.

Am I the only one who thinks that a violation of the law ought to rank a wee bit higher than an affront to Pete Hoekstra?

At this point, it's not clear who leaked the letter to the Times, nor has anyone provided a clue about what this program is that has Hoekstra so exercised. However, Justin Rood takes a guess:

Five days before Hoekstra wrote his now-famous letter, NSA whistleblower Russ Tice James "State of War" Risen's source for his NYT domestic wiretapping story told inside-the-beltway pub Congress Daily he was planning to tell congressional staffers "unlawful activity occurred at the agency under the supervision of Gen. Michael Hayden beyond what has been publicly reported, while hinting that it might have involved the illegal use of space-based satellites and systems to spy on U.S. citizens."

Space-based satellites! Cool! Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Nope, it's not Tice.

Kevin Drum 12:15 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (77)

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Comments

Our spy satellites, mantraps with retinal and fingerprint scanners, Narus STA 6400s, and undisclosed vice presidential bunkers put SISMI to shame.

Posted by: toast on July 10, 2006 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

You mean to tell me my land-based sattelites are obsolte?

Posted by: Viserys on July 10, 2006 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

Hoekstra is obviously giving aid and comfort to the enemy!!

Posted by: Red on July 10, 2006 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Shockingly, the NY Times has leaked yet more national security secrets. If this letter was passed from a member of AQ to his handler, we would have no problem prosecuting him from espionage. The NY Times, however, seems to be completely immune from the law. Typical.

Posted by: American Hawk on July 10, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

At this point, it's not clear who leaked the letter to the Times,

The most likely leakers are the Clintonista Bush haters in the CIA who are launching a Jihad against George W Bush and intentionally undermining George W Bush by leaking classified information.

Link

"There has been much public and private speculation about the politicization of the Agency. I am convinced that this politicization was underway well before Porter Goss became the Director. In fact, I have been long concerned that a strong and well-positioned group within the agency intentionally undermined the administration and its policies."

The sooner we fire the Clintonista traitors who are committing treason by attacking George W Bush and our troops and leaking classified information, the better it will be.

Posted by: Al on July 10, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

I hear those work much better than the ocean-based satellites.

Posted by: sc on July 10, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

This should be read as the attempt to blackmail Rep. Hoektra has failed, and the program that obtained the blackmail object was done by space based satellites.

Posted by: Hostile on July 10, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

So, Hoekstra has now joined Al Qaeda? Yikes, so many, so little time.

Posted by: April on July 10, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

Those are the best Al and American Hawk parodies I've seen so far!

Posted by: Mr. Lurker on July 10, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Shockingly, AH is wrong again. this makes 100 days in a row without saying anything that even approaches truth.

Posted by: cleek on July 10, 2006 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

Ode to Our Big Republican Brother
(sung to the tune of one of those mindless Party chants. i.e staccato-like):

Everything changed after 9/11...
Everything changed after 9/11...
Everything changed after 9/11...

The Republican Party will keep you safe...
The Republican Party will keep you safe...
The Republican Party will keep you safe...

We spy on 'em here so we can kill 'em over there...
We spy on 'em here so we can kill 'em over there...
We spy on 'em here so we can kill 'em over there...

Trust your President he is Texas Ranger...
Trust your President he is Texas Ranger...
Trust your President he is Texas Ranger...

God Bless American and George Bush!
God Bless American and George Bush!
God Bless American and George Bush!

(repeat ad nauseam)

Posted by: koreyel on July 10, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

If Bush is committing countless illegal spying activities (i.e., felony violations of FISA and the 4th Amendment to the Constitution), while keeping said illegal activities from Congress, you bet your kneejerk neocon a$$es that the American public should be told.

This "New York Times commits Treason" bullsh*t is getting tired. That dog don't hunt no more.

Posted by: queridobobo on July 10, 2006 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin asks, "Am I the only one who thinks that a violation of the law ought to rank a wee bit higher than an affront to Pete Hoekstra?"

Not necessarily. Sure the "me" is gratuitous, but he included "the Members of this committee." The executive branch's submission to congressional oversight is a coequal constitutional issue to the executive branch's responsibility to obey laws passed by Congress. The legislature has two great powers; creation of laws and investigation/subpoena/oversight to ensure that those laws are being obeyed. This fight is about the latter.

Posted by: ethan on July 10, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

My interpretation of the "me" bit is that he is alluding to a personal assurance he previously received. "You told me that was all!"

Posted by: Dan Hartung on July 10, 2006 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

I work in the satellite remote sensing business, and I can tell you that satellites are not very useful for keeping *visual* track of individuals. The only useful way to track an individual from space is if they are carrying a tracking device -- like a GPS-enabled cell phone or a LoJack system on their car.

So I expect that this revelation will involve the NSA getting info from one or both of those industries. My money's on the cell phone network.

Posted by: Remus Shepherd on July 10, 2006 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

He'll fall in line.

And you liberals don't think W has protected us. But only one orange alert since he's been re-elected!!

Posted by: Freedom Phukher on July 10, 2006 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

Unmarked, black, space-based spy sattelites.

Posted by: The Liberal Avenger on July 10, 2006 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

don't you guys watch 24

this satellite tracking is normal

Posted by: ed_finnerty on July 10, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Has Al enrolled in some kind of Internet advertising plan where he gets 25 cents every time he types the word "Clintonista traitors"?

Posted by: Doug on July 10, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

This "New York Times commits Treason" bullsh*t is getting tired. That dog don't hunt no more.

You're wrong there. That dog IS hunting, and more than the NYT and their close allies, the DNC have counted on.

The simple fact is that the "leaks" are specifically timed as a political action for the midterm elections. The NYT is working for the left in a concerted effort, ala Dan Rather working with the DNC to get the maximum 'punch' out of the false national guard documents.

The only problem is that this strategy is failing miserably, since what the NYT is doing just pisses normal people off.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on July 10, 2006 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

The Chicago Tribune, a staunchly pro-GOP paper, revealed in late June 1942 - right after the Battle of Midway - that the US had broken the Japanese military code. Please, wingnuts, tell us how THAT wasn't treason.

Posted by: Red on July 10, 2006 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Just out of curiosity, how could informing a member of a Congression intelligence oversight committee, lawfully charged with intelligence oversight, ever be construed as giving aid and comfort to the enemy?

And, to follow up, why wouldn't the failure to provide Congressional members of that committee, lawfully charged as they are with oversight, not be a treasonous usurpation of power?

Did "up" become "down" when "9/11 changed everything"?

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on July 10, 2006 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

I hope this Tice guy is on the level. I suppose whistleblowers by nature like shooting off their mouths, but this dude bothers me. I read somewhere--link forgotten--that he was demoted, then canned by the NSA for insisting a cow orker was a Chinese spy. Please be for real...

Posted by: Doozer on July 10, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin is surely not the only person who thinks affronts to the Congressional oversight committee are inconsequential. This view, however, is still wrong.

Oversight undertaken without knowledge of agency actions is not oversight. A major failing of Congress -- across the board and increasingly over the last 20 years -- has been its reluctance to do the hard and politically unrewarding work required to keep informed on what the executive branch is doing. Whether or not an agency activity breaks the law is incidental; legal programs may still be unwise or counterproductive, and illegal programs hidden from Congress are likelier to remain unknown to the public.

It is tempting to go along with the attractive idea that Hoekstra is just another vain politician putting his ego before all. Now, I don't know the guy personally, and my own view is that his interest in what the administration is up to is a little late in coming. But the fact is that he has an official responsibility that the executive branch has to respect. Kevin Drum does not. It doesn't matter if the administration never tells Kevin Drum anything. It matters a lot if the administration hides things from the chairman of the oversight committee.

Posted by: Zathras on July 10, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

When Attorney General Ashcroft resigned, George Bush announced that we'd won the war on terror. So, how can we still be fighting the war on terrror? We've won the war on terror. George Bush said so. We're back to "status quo ante" so information about government malfeasance is news, not treason.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on July 10, 2006 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

The simple fact is that the "leaks" are specifically timed as a political action for the midterm elections.

prove it

The NYT is working for the left in a concerted effort, ala Dan Rather working with the DNC to get the maximum 'punch' out of the false national guard documents.

prove it

The only problem is that this strategy is failing miserably

prove it

since what the NYT is doing just pisses normal people off

prove it

Posted by: cleek on July 10, 2006 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

It is also worth noting that Hoekstra's letter contained a vicious attack against the CIA's Stephen Kappes and a group within the CIA Hoekstra claimed "intentionally undermined the administration."

For the Hoekstra letter and the latest news, legal documents and other key materials, see:

"The NSA Scandal Resource Center."

Posted by: AvengingAngel on July 10, 2006 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

Can you say 'Impeachment'?

Posted by: Merg on July 10, 2006 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

beam me up Rummy!

Posted by: freejack on July 10, 2006 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

I predict that the talking point will be that one can find satellite images of U.S. citizens at Google Earth; no big deal!

Posted by: Nikki on July 10, 2006 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK

I read somewhere--link forgotten--that he was demoted, then canned by the NSA for insisting a cow orker was a Chinese spy. Please be for real...

I think any 'cow orker' should be suspect.

Posted by: idahogie on July 10, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Hoekstra's wasn't breifed cause he's using the wrong internet. The program was hiding in plain site on You Tube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pozlp_wnkRk

Posted by: Shag on July 10, 2006 at 1:08 PM | PERMALINK

"Space-based satellites! Cool!"

You sure he didn't mean faith-based satellites? I hear Boykin and Cambone are working on something like that.

Posted by: billmon on July 10, 2006 at 1:10 PM | PERMALINK

The logical function of such satellites is to monitor cell phone traffic. SIGINT satellites are supposed to have radio antennas in the range of 150 to 200 meters diameter. They can easily pick up the signal of handheld devices. WIFI?

They ought to be easily observable by amateurs. Maybe it's time to plot the location of satellites in the night sky that aren't listed on the NASA website: http://science.nasa.gov/Realtime/jtrack/3d/JTrack3D.html

Land-based satellites and ocean-based satellites have the advantages that they are in comparatively geostationary orbits and do not require fuel consumption to maintain said orbits. However, they have a relatively small imaging footprint.

Posted by: B on July 10, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

The mental acrobatics of our trolls are breathtaking to behold.

No matter what the Bush administration does, as long as it's stamped Classified and held up as a protective measure against terrorism, it's OK!

Then it follows that anyone blowing the whistle on these activities is a traitor.

Dear trolls, at what point would the Bush administration cross the line for you? I'd really like to know.

Posted by: Librul on July 10, 2006 at 1:20 PM | PERMALINK

Because of the amount of money it costs to maintain one of these SIGINT satellites it's important to aim it at a high value target or number of high value targets.

I figure it would be particularly useful to the vice president if it was aimed at 1/2 mile radius area around capital hill.

Posted by: B on July 10, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

a violation of the law ought to rank a wee bit higher than an affront to Pete Hoekstra?

It oughta, but it ain't gonna. That is why we have an adversarial system of governance in the first place: "ambition must be made to check ambition" was the wisdom of our Founders.

The failure of our system was not a failure of law, but a failure of people in Congress to even be selfish. Our Founders ("Founders" sounds so Twilight Zone or Star Trek, don't it?) figured that if Congresscritters didn't think of the good of their country, they would check the ambitions of the President if only for the good of their political careers. Unfortunately, what our Founders did not anticipate was a political environment where "playing politics" was considered bad and "being deferential to the President in a time of war" was considered good.

Indeed, when one of our early Presidents tried to pull that (Adams' Alien and Sedition Acts) he got hissed and booed out of office. But nowadays we have aquired such a Tory dislike of democratic politics, in large part due to the attitudes of media coverage, that it no longer pays even politically for Congresscritters to attack the Pres. Where even 60 years ago you could ride criticism of the executive branch's handling of even a popular war to the Vice Presidency (as Truman did), now even criticizing abuses in fighting a rapidly more and more unpopular war gets you slandered as a someone placing partisan politics above the good of the nation.

A violation of the law oughta rank higher than a personal affront, but any sign that Congresscritters are at least willing to allow their ambition to check ambition at least indicates that the system is showing signs of working as it was intended to work.

Posted by: DAS on July 10, 2006 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

has been its reluctance to do the hard and politically unrewarding work required to keep informed on what the executive branch is doing - zathras

The problem is indicated by my added emphasis: back in the day, being able to pull a "gotcha" on the Pres. was something for which a Congresscritter would get rewarded politically. Nowadays, in large part because the media has convinced people that politicians are entirely evil and that sin cannot be channeled for good (which convincing, more than anything else the media has done, indicates a deep seated functional, if not intentional, media bias toward the "[supposedly] anti-gummint" GOP), pulling a "gotcha" gets you slapped around for being "political" rather than rewarded. The Republicans and the Media, with their anti-politician "both sides are bad" morally relativistic rhetoric have entirely undermined the Madisonian system whereby democracy is maintained in a republic through "ambition being made to counteract ambition". Instead, we have, under Reagan and Bush II at least, a system whereby the President is considered sacrosanct in a way that is frankly un-befitting a democratic republic and indicates a slouching toward dictatorship.

Interestingly, the right tends to assume we lefties hold Clinton sacrosanct, which we do not ...

Posted by: DAS on July 10, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

It's not as if Hoekstra suddenly found his conscience in the attic. The administration's CIA restructuring is putting the old Cunningham military intelligence gravy train in danger. Hoekstra's just telling Bush to back off his retirement fund.

Posted by: Geeno on July 10, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, c'mon, everybody knows about the space-based satellites of the Bush amdinistration....lessee, there's Rumsfeld, Cheney, Delay (but in a degrading orbit), Rice...........

Loooooossst in Spaaaaaace. And us with them

Posted by: Stewart Dean on July 10, 2006 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Excellent! Hillary will love having space-based satellites to spy on her political opponents. Especially when you consider all the juicy things Republicans always get caught doing.

Posted by: Alan in SF on July 10, 2006 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, Al, you're absolutely right: the purpose of America's massive spy apparatus should be to prove whatever Hillary says, and discredit her opponents. Bring it on!

Posted by: Alan in SF on July 10, 2006 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Justin Rood (Talking Points Memo) doesn't think that Hoekstra's informant was Russ Tice. He's spoken with Tice. Interesting discussion of this here:

Rood/TPM

Posted by: nepeta on July 10, 2006 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

And you, American Hawk, so true about extending terrorist-based prosecution to news media who "report" the President's secret government. If I were Rush and O'Reilly and Hannity et al (et Al, for that matter), I'd start digging my bunker now.

Posted by: Alan in SF on July 10, 2006 at 1:57 PM | PERMALINK

Ignoring Hoesktra violates the basic, constitutional, principle of respect for the legislature and the rule of law. That rates very high.

It's not personal, it's business. And business, the basic structure of democratic governance, has been put in jeopardy. That a member of the president's party in Congress has smelt a rat sent his way from the White House is a heartening development, showing the constitution working as Madison hoped it would.

Posted by: Cheered on July 10, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

What has the NYT done this time, AH. Published a letter from Pete Hoekstra, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee to the President.

The letter doesn't disclose the nature of the secret programs. Just what did the New York Times do? Report news. That is what we Americans want them to do. You Pravda (er Fox News) people can live in your daydream world. The rest of us want Congress to grow some hair and reassert their traditional congressional oversight responsibilities. Why don't you, AH? Do you hate America?

Posted by: Ron Byers on July 10, 2006 at 2:20 PM | PERMALINK

It's not as if Hoekstra suddenly found his conscience in the attic.

Shit. Is that where I left it?

Posted by: Pete Heokstra on July 10, 2006 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK

Just what did the New York Times do? Report news.

You miss the common denomenator, Ron. The Times reported news that was politically damaging to the Bush regime. That is an unpardonable sin to the wingnuts, and proof positive to these deluded souls (hi, sportsfan!) that the Times is "liberal" (where "liberal" == "perceived to be opposed to Dear Leader").

Posted by: Gregory on July 10, 2006 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK

Be sure to see the comments of Emptywheel at The Next Hurrah: Hoekstra's Threat.

Posted by: thump on July 10, 2006 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK


sportsfan79: The only problem is that this strategy is failing miserably, since what the NYT is doing just pisses normal people off.


normal? you mean gullible..

a clear example of how SERIOUS this is...

happened...

when the gop congress passed a resolution recently to poo-poo leaks (following the NYT story)...

said resolution...didn't even name

the NYT...or any other news organization..

lol

normal...lol

Posted by: thisspaceavailable on July 10, 2006 at 3:22 PM | PERMALINK

You're wrong there. That dog IS hunting, and more than the NYT and their close allies, the DNC have counted on.

Among people like you, sportsfan, I have no doubt that the dog is hunting. But you've always got the gun loaded and ready to go after whatever bait the reactionaries throw you. Most people, however, are not that exercised about it.

You know, the Wall Street Journal also published a story about the SWIFT program. Are they in bed with the DNC too?

The simple fact is that the "leaks" are specifically timed as a political action for the midterm elections. The NYT is working for the left in a concerted effort, ala Dan Rather working with the DNC to get the maximum 'punch' out of the false national guard documents.

Oooh, the powerful NYT and its leftist bias! Yeah, I remember the way they refused to go after Clinton and their steadfast refusal to accept any of Ahmad Chalabi's bullshit. They are among our most stalwart allies! Viva la revolucion!

Speaking of political action aimed at the midterm elections, can we discuss the recent overblown "terror" arrests?

The only problem is that this strategy is failing miserably, since what the NYT is doing just pisses normal people off.

Heh. "Normal people."

Posted by: Alek Hidell on July 10, 2006 at 3:26 PM | PERMALINK

I suspect that "Al" and "American Hawk" are just Kevin, trying to stir up the action. Not sure about "sportsfan79." And what ever happened to tbrosz?

Posted by: chasmrich on July 10, 2006 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK

You get the idea that Hoekstra and most Republican members of Congress have a patron's view of the law rather than that of a citizen. They have grown out of touch with the consequences of legislating. Just look at how the numbers grow of people in the world suffering from the voting patterns of America's conservative solons. Largely untouched by the results of their lawmaking, the MoCs embrace their own positions in the process as the most important outcome. They forget that after making law they must also obey it and come to believe that is a matter of someone else's worry. However when position is offended, their own futures face risk. Then it is time to call someone to account.

Posted by: Joseph Plummer on July 10, 2006 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

the whole nsa spying thing always made me think of what this country is, not in a democratic republic type governance sense, but our capitalistic type economy

what better way to scam the system by listening in on private business phone calls and emails, makes stock speculation and m&a bets a little easier for the people listening in, no ??

Posted by: tofubo on July 10, 2006 at 4:06 PM | PERMALINK

Get a grip, Al and AH. Hoekstra leaked his own letter. And he even went on Fox News to complain about Bush. The horror, the horror! even Fox is becoming a lefty tool!

Posted by: lou on July 10, 2006 at 4:33 PM | PERMALINK

Tbrosz has gone into full time training for the "World Paintball Championship" to be held next year!

Posted by: R.L. on July 10, 2006 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

Of course, not mentioned by Kevin Drum is Hoekstra's assertion that rogue Democratic employees of the CIA are purposely undermining the Bush Administration in violation of their employment agreements.

But, hey, let's just make snarky anti-Bush comments in order to bury the lede.

Posted by: Birkel on July 10, 2006 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Birkel: Of course, not mentioned by Kevin Drum is Hoekstra's assertion that rogue Democratic employees of the CIA are purposely undermining the Bush Administration in violation of their employment agreements.

Do you mean Hoekstra's objections to Kappes as Deputy Director?

    "Regrettably, the appointment of Mr. Kappes sends a clear signal that the days of collaborative reform between the White House and this committee may be over. I am concerned that the strong objections - not just about this personal selection - are being dismissed completely, perhaps sending us back to the past, less cooperative relationship, at a time when so much more needs to be done. Individuals both within and outside the Administration have let me and others know of their strong opposition to the choice for Deputy Director...I have been long concerned that a strong and well-positioned group within the Agency intentionally undermined the Administration and its policies. This argument is supported by the Ambassador Wilson/Valerie Plame events, as well as by the string of unauthorized disclosures from an organization that prides itself with being able to keep secrets. I have come to the belief that, despite his service to the DO, Mr. Kappes may have been part of this group.
Yeah, that guy's trouble, who knows what he'll do next, maybe settle things down in Iran and that wouldn't be good for November results:
    "Kappes -- who sources said has accepted the job offer -- is credited with pulling off the deal that persuaded Libya to give up its weapons programs.
Posted by: cyntax on July 10, 2006 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

This argument is supported by the Ambassador Wilson/Valerie Plame events, as well as by the string of unauthorized disclosures from an organization that prides itself with being able to keep secrets.

What's he alleging here? That Kappes is behind the Plame leak or that Kappes is behind ratting out the admin on their nefarity w.r.t. Plame, et. al.?

Posted by: DAS on July 10, 2006 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

cyntax - whether Kappes was a part of this group is one thing; whether such a group exists is another.

I have been long concerned that a strong and well-positioned group within the Agency intentionally undermined the Administration and its policies. This argument is supported by the Ambassador Wilson/Valerie Plame events, as well as by the string of unauthorized disclosures from an organization that prides itself with being able to keep secrets.

The policies of the Administration are, by definition, the policies of the United States. The possibility that a group within the CIA is working secretly to undermine the country's policies is upsetting. Equally upsetting is the indication that the President and his appointees aren't able to stop them.

Posted by: ex-liberal on July 10, 2006 at 5:15 PM | PERMALINK

Somehow I'm not going to enjoy a nice relaxing bath looking at my skylights anymore. Never mind about asking my spouse to join me. When is enough, enough??????????

Posted by: JL on July 10, 2006 at 5:19 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal:The policies of the Administration are, by definition, the policies of the United States. The possibility that a group within the CIA is working secretly to undermine the country's policies is upsetting. Equally upsetting is the indication that the President and his appointees aren't able to stop them.

How exactly are the policies of the administration the de facto policies of the United States? I'm no consitutional lawyer, but if the administration has a policy that is unconstiutional that would strike me as illegal, not a "policy of the United States."

I'm just as disturbed by this administration's apparent desire to politicize the intelligence gathering organizations of our country, as you are by the attempts of people within those organizations to expose said politicization.

To each his own, I guess.

Posted by: cyntax on July 10, 2006 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

The possibility that a group within the CIA is working secretly to undermine the country's policies is upsetting.

You think that's upsetting, how upset do you think we feel knowing that the White House is working (not-so) secretly to undermine the country's Constitution, economic health, national security, treaty obligations, and standing in the world?

Not to mention the fact that an unconstitional and therefore illegal policy cannot really be United States policy.

Posted by: Stefan on July 10, 2006 at 5:38 PM | PERMALINK
ex-liberal:The policies of the Administration are, by definition, the policies of the United States.

False. Policies the administration pursues contrary to the Constitution and laws of the United States (including, e.g., legal obligations to cooperate with Congressional oversight) are not "the policies of the United States" and are, rather, in many cases crimes against the United States.

Undermining such policies is a positive obligation of any person who has sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution, including every employee of the federal government, and, therefore, every employee of the CIA.

Posted by: cmdicely on July 10, 2006 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

can we discuss the recent overblown "terror" arrests?

Alex, I tend to agree they probably are overblown since they have been basically a bunch of guys talking big with no money, resources, plan, etc.). But I was thinking about this yesterday with the plot of bombing NYC tunnels. My main reaction to all these terror arrests is to remember how the GOP howled when John Kerry said that fighting terrorism was primarily an international law enforcement issue. Of course, Kerry was right.

Posted by: ckelly on July 10, 2006 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: dd on July 10, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

"The policies of the Administration are, by definition, the policies of the United States."

Fuck no.

Posted by: Faggot on July 10, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

Alex, I tend to agree they probably are overblown since they have been basically a bunch of guys talking big with no money, resources, plan, etc.).

That's a pretty good description of the current state of the Bush regime foreign policy right there....

Posted by: Stefan on July 10, 2006 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

That's a pretty good description of the current state of the Bush regime foreign policy right there....

Yeah, that is a nice analogy...

1) blowing up the Holland Tunnel : flooding Manhattan

2) invading Iraq : fighting al Qaeda

Posted by: cyntax on July 10, 2006 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

You guys would make great economists.

Three guys are on an island with a can of food...
Punchline: The economist says "Assume a can opener."

The policies of the Administration are the policies of the US of A.
Punchline: The liberal says "Assume they're unconstitutional."

In the famous words of Inigo Montoya...
You keep using that word (unconstitutional). I do not think it means what you think it means.

Posted by: Birkel on July 10, 2006 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

If some form of SIGINT or other reconnaissance satellites were involved in the unnamed program Hoekstra is making noise about, wouldn't this involve the National Reconnaissance Office, an agency separate from the NSA? Does the NRO have any rules regarding use of information gleaned from domestic sources?

Posted by: Mark Bialkowski on July 10, 2006 at 7:49 PM | PERMALINK

Ok, so the NYT published a letter sent by a Republican to the President. The liberal swine... Slow down a monent - since it's most likely that the letter was leaked on the congressional side or the admin side (who else would have been in the loop?), this would make the NYT a Repub tool and not a buncjh of liberal leakers...

Posted by: Potter on July 10, 2006 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

"what ever happened to tbrosz?"

He's being held at an undisclosed location for suspicion of left deviationism . . .

Posted by: the authorities on July 10, 2006 at 9:53 PM | PERMALINK

For those of you who failed Civics 101 here we go again: The LEGISLATIVE BRANCH (CONGRESS) sets the POLICY of the country through LAWS resolutions and, in the extreme, amendments to The Constitution. The EXECUTIVE BRANCH (THE PRESIDENT) has the job of carrying out the policies as procribed by LAW. The JUDICAL BRANCH (COURT SYSTEM) has the role of handling disputes regarding the meaning of the LAW.

If you, like the current crop of congress members, disagree you either: 1) less well educated and informed then the average 3rd grader or 2) less devoted to the ideals of the country as you are to you loyalty to The (RED) Party much like the majority of members of congress. (This is standard operating procedure among RED parties as typified by red flag parties such as Soviet Communists and Italian Facists.)

Posted by: clyde on July 10, 2006 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

I get the feeling that the Republicans would like the NY Times a whole lot better if it would only print the leaks that they put out.

Maybe the Times can only publish adminstration approved leaks and they can change the name of the paper to "Pravda".

Posted by: Son of Liberty on July 10, 2006 at 10:06 PM | PERMALINK

As an independent (small "i"), living in Southeast, Georgia, I feel the need to comment on the article and on the comments by people who seem to be a) paranoid b) ignorant of the Constitution and other founding docements, like the Declaration of Independence and c) woefully uninformed about current events, what they mean to Americans and people world-wide and d) the true views of non-affliated people in the middle of the political spectrum.

The Bush administration is a biggest threat to Democracy in America and around the world than anything we've seen since the the break-up of the Soviet Union. Part of the reason for that is that they are probably an illegitimate regime. There is certainly enough information in the public domain to believe that they are. Stalin once said that it doesn't really matter who votes, only who is doing the counting.

The Bush administration has harmed this nation in a way that will not be healed in my lifetime. We have lost credibility with our allies and those who would try to harm us, because of Bush administration deceit and, presumably, incompetence. If it isn't incompetence, then it is something much, much worse.

We have ceased to become a nation under law, when the president and his admiistration reserves the right to ignore any and all laws. Not only is this un-democratic in the extreme, but it will tend to have far reaching consequences for the people. Crime is already on the rise all over the country. It will only get worse as the economic bottom falls out, slowly but surely. We can bet on higher interest rates, the falling of the dollar against other currencies and higher fuel prices, rising to 5 bucks a gallon, depending on the hurricane season. It could, conceivably go higher.

I would love to hear how the Bush worshipers plan on dealing with this scenario. If they want independents to line up for Republicans they had better have a damned good solution, because I do not, and neither do any of my friends. At least, none that any of us can afford.

For all those who believe that a mighty military will assure America of victory and unending proaperity, think again. There are other ways of defeating the United States. The main one is economic, thanks to all of the free trade agreements and globalization. We are already feeling the results of the economic squeeze and it is going to get much worse.

It will not be the wealthy elite of either political party who pay the price for the ill-conceived Bush policies, both foreign and domestic. Let me make it plain. It will be the people making less that $250,000/year who will find themselves in more hot water than they and a brigade of lawyers can handle. This nation is in serious trouble and anyone who thinks that it isn't is in terminal denial.

There may be no turning back from the abyss. I don't want to conclude that there is no hope, because I simply cannot go there.

However, if there is hope, it is not the Republican Party of today. For the first time in my 57 years, I will vote straight Democrat this year. If they win, I plan to hold them accountable for what they do as well. Knee-jerk, un-thinking party loyalty, and rigid ideologies have gotten us where we are, the edge of destruction; self-destruction.

Given what the Republican Party has become in the last few years, it will be lucky if it does not die a painful death. If Republicans with integrity do not soon step forward for their country, the only thing that will keep them afloat is the fact that we have not known anything but a two party system for as long as anyone can remember.

The Democrats should also heed this warning. We want someone who will defend Democracy and restore the integrity and credibility of our Republic. We want someone who is authentic; someone who is real and honest, and who understands the principles upon which this country was founded, even if the founders themselves did not live up to them. We want someone who can re-articulate those principles in a way that makes sense today.

The principles upon which this country was founded, though certainly not many of the actions of man in America, are some of the most sacred ever committed to writing and aspired to by mankind, in an effort to govern itself.

If we abandon those principles, as is currently happening, we risk losing what generations of Americans fought and died for and we stand to lose it for generations to come.

Pat Buchanan once said that America's soul is at stake. His words ring true, today. Because, as an independent, middle-of-the-roader who has moved to the left of center, whatever that means these days, I believe that America's soul is at risk and, right now, the GOP is doing most of the harm.

While vile, disgusting and embarrassing to many of us, Bill Clinton's behavior in office did not put our nations soul at risk. The actions of one man (or woman) is incapable of putting a nation's soul at risk.

Our nation's policies, both foreign and domestic, are what will either lift us up or condemn us to darkness as a nation. The Bush administration has done more to harm this nation's soul, with the invasion and occupation of a land whose people had done nothing to us than anything that was even alleged against Bill Clinton(and trust me, I am not a Clinton fan).

That this administration has used not only deception of the people, but tactics to instill fear in people, deploying such methods as terrorist alerts and reports of busted terrorist plots that sound more like "Car 54 Where Are You?" than "24", as lame as that is sometimes, is despicable.

It was Lyndon Johnson, who lied us into an excelerated war in Vietnam, during which all manor of horror was carried out in our name and with our resources, including blood and treasure.

As an independent, I really don't give a damn which politician is lying, which party they belong to, or why. I only care that it is destroying this counrty.

Will the middle hold? I doubt it, and if I am at all representative of what independents are thinking, we are about to see a leftward shift that would not have happened, save Bush.


Posted by: indy675 on July 11, 2006 at 6:30 AM | PERMALINK

the right wing is failing to hold up their part.

supposed to be they keep the government out of my life...

instead, it is my a-s they are looking up, somehow not forming any useful intellegence from it.

hey, maybe later the liberals will take back over and then use all of the nifty spy stuff on y'all!


my theory as to why they are spying? they are looking for dirtier gossip than their own skeleton filled closets.. and still haven't found any...

Posted by: nobody on July 12, 2006 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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