NSA Spying - Total Lies
So blogger Atrios is reporting thru blogger Glenn Greenwald the following important information (long, but really worth it, in my opinion).
The Bush Administration has been saying that their reason for going around the FISA law and eavesdropping on American citizens since 2001 without a warrant was because the FISA law was too restrictive. Several claims have been made about warrants being to hard to get in a timely manner (but the PATRIOT act changed the law allowing retroactive warrants up to 72 hrs post), and yesterday General Hayden claimed that FISA's law required "probably cause" and the administration needed to eavesdrop when there was less than probable cause. This much we know.
In 2002, a year *after* the illegal NSA spying operation started, Congressman Mike Dewine(R) of Ohio introduced a bill that would change the wording of the FISA law (the *exact* barrier that General Hayden called out yesterday as the Administration's reason for going around FISA) to a lower standard from "probable cause" to "reasonable suspicion". This was ultimately rejected.
Still with me? 'Cause it gets better.
The law was rejected in part because of an opinion provided by the Department of Justice's Office of Intelligence Policy and Review, headed by James Baker (appointed by Bush). It is Baker's office that it responsible for making warrant requests to FISA. In Baker's statement he praised the PATRIOT changes to the law claiming that they had helped the work of catching terrorists. He then went on to say that the Administration was not ready to support the changes that Dewine was proposing to the FISA law.
Why, you ask? Good question. Two reasons were given. I like to call them the "left jab" and the "right hook" to use boxing terminology.
One (the left jab), his office was not having any difficulty getting the warrants they were requesting. (!!!!!) Baker even pointed out that "probable cause" was not getting in their way of getting warrants. Ouch.
Two (the right hook), the Administration was concerned that a "reasonable suspicion" clause might not pass constitutional muster. That's bad enough to give us a T.K.O. for the Bush administration since it is a admission that the line they are giving us now, that their spy program was legal, is a complete lie. But Baker makes sure this is not just a T.K.O., but a full-blown K.O. He goes on to say that if the courts were to deem "reasonable suspicion" unconstitutional, it would endanger ongoing investigations. (!!!!!!!!!!!) In other words, we are already using "reasonable suspicion" (likely in the NSA spying operation) and asking permission to do what we are already doing is dangerous because we might be told "No". That's a Knock Out!
I have heard people say it's better to ask forgiveness than permission. But the Bush Administration never admits any fault. Therefore, their apparent motto is
"It's better NOT to ask permission.