Sunday, December 18, 2005

TPMCafe: Spying on Americans and John Bolton

The revelation that the National Security Agency was allowed to conduct non-FISA intercepts of American citizens should bring last summer's hearing on John Bolton's nomination to the United Nations back into focus.  As Legal times noted in September of this year:
"During the confirmation hearings of John Bolton as the U.S. representative to the United Nations, it came to light that the NSA had freely revealed intercepted conversations of U.S. citizens to Bolton while he served at the State Department. . . . More generally, Newsweek reports that from January 2004 to May 2005, the NSA supplied intercepts and names of 10,000 U.S. citizens to policy-makers at many departments, other U.S. intelligence services, and law enforcement agencies."  
We still don't know who he was looking at and what information was contained in those intercepts.  More importantly, were they legally obtained?  In light of the latest revelation, we have another possible explanation why the Bush Administration fought so strenuously to keep those intercepts secret and out of the hearing.  Snooping without judicial review is wrong and must be punished.
If the administration was trying so hard to keep the intercepts from being seen by members of congress, even inn closed session, might it be that the intercepts were not all of Al Qaeda conversations. Perhaps there has been spying on various members of Congress, business men and women who do not support the multinational, corporate cabal, activists and dissenters of all kinds and stripes; anyone, that is, who might be on a domestic, political enemies list, maintained by this White House.
I am not suggesting that that was the sole purpose. There may be surveillance of suspected terrorist planning or activity in this country. I imagine there is.
But who else have Bush and Company been spying on. That is what we want to know.
Oh and let's not forget that quite a few members of the U.N. Security Council had there phones tapped by this administration in the run up to war.


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