February 6, 2006


Gonzales Defends Legality of Surveillance (William Branigin, February 6, 2006, Washington Post)

In an opening statement, Gonzales called the NSA program "an early warning system designed for the 21st century." He told the committee: "It is the modern equivalent to a scout team, sent ahead to do reconnaissance, or a series of radar outposts designed to detect enemy movements. And as with all wartime operations, speed, agility and secrecy are essential to its success." He said that "no other foreign intelligence program in the history of NSA has received a more thorough review" to ensure there are safeguards to protect the privacy of Americans.

Gonzales said the president approved the program under his authority in Article 2 of the Constitution, as well as under the authority of the 2001 force resolution, which he said was "very broadly worded" in authorizing Bush to use "all necessary and appropriate force" against the al Qaeda terrorist network.

Previous presidents, Gonzales argued, have "authorized the warrantless surveillance of the enemy during wartime" in ways "far more sweeping than the narrowly targeted terrorist surveillance program." He cited presidents Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt and noted that Gen. George Washington authorized the interception of letters during the Revolutionary War.

"Now, we all agree that it's a necessary and appropriate use of force to fire bullets and missiles at al Qaeda strongholds," he said. "Given this common ground, how can anyone conclude that it is not necessary and appropriate to intercept al Qaeda phone calls? The term 'necessary and appropriate force' must allow the president to spy on our enemies, not just shoot at them blindly, hoping we might hit the right target."

He also pointed to a Supreme Court decision upholding the president's right to order the detention of enemy combatants even if they are U.S. citizens.

"If the detention of an American citizen who fought with al Qaeda is authorized by the force resolution as an incident of waging war, how can it be that merely listening to al Qaeda phone calls into and out of the country in order to disrupt their plots is not?" Gonzales asked.

Nice way of letting the Democrats dig their grave even deeper by complaining about detention of enemy combatants. You have to wonder that the Democrats can't find a better pointman on this topic than someone with a history of leaking about such intelligence programs in the past, to the benefit of our enemies'Leaky Leahy' Revisited (NewsMax.com, Nov. 29, 2001)
In his home state of Vermont, more than a few of his constituents remember him best as "Leaky Leahy," the one-time vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who had to resign the post in disgrace 14 years ago after acknowledging he divulged secret information to a reporter.

"Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, inadvertantly disclosed a top secret communications intercept during a [1985] television interview," reported the San Diego Union-Tribune in a 1987 editorial criticizing Congress' penchant for partisan leaks.

"The intercept, apparently of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's telephone conversations, made possible the capture of the Arab terrorists who had hijacked the cruise ship Achille Lauro and murdered American citizens," the paper said, adding, "The reports cost the life of at least one Egyptian operative involved in the operation."

In July 1987, the Washington Times reported that Leahy leaked secret information about a 1986 covert operation planned by the Reagan administration to topple Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi.

"I thought [the operation] was probably the most ridiculous thing I had seen, and also the most irresponsible," the then-leading Intelligence Committee Democrat allegedly said of the secret plan.

Unidentified U.S. intelligence officials told the Times that Leahy, along with Republican panel chairman Sen. Dave Durenberger, communicated a written threat to expose the operation directly to then-CIA Director William Casey.

Weeks later, news of the secret plan turned up in the Washington Post, causing it to be aborted.

Leahy vehemently denied he talked to the press about any of the Reagan administration's covert operations, saying, "I never have, and I'm not going to start now."

But just a year later, as the Senate was preparing to hold hearings on the Iran-Contra scandal, the Vermont senator had to resign his Intelligence Committee post after he was caught leaking secret information to a reporter.

The ranking Intelligence Committee Democrat decided to let an NBC reporter comb through the committee's confidential draft report on the scandal. The network aired a report based on the inside information on Jan. 11, 1987.

After a six-month internal investigation, Leahy "voluntarily" stepped down from his committee post, releasing a statement calling his resignation "a suitable way to express ... anger and regret" over his lapse.

Al Qaeda isn't much more serious a threat than the Sandinistas were, but the Sandinistas weren't blowing up Americans. We can afford the Senator's gaping yap even less now.

America Expects Surveillance: Monitoring the enemy is necessary and appropriate. (ALBERTO R. GONZALES, February 6, 2006, Opinion Journal)

The president, as commander in chief, has asserted his authority to use sophisticated military drones to search for Osama bin Laden, to deploy our armed forces in combat zones, and to kill or capture al Qaeda operatives around the world. No one would dispute that the AUMF supports the president in each of these actions.

It is, therefore, inconceivable that the AUMF does not also support the president's efforts to intercept the communications of our enemies. Any future al Qaeda attacks on the homeland are likely to be carried out, like Sept. 11, by operatives hiding among us. The NSA terrorist surveillance program is a military operation designed to detect them quickly. Efforts to identify the terrorists and their plans expeditiously while ensuring faithful adherence to the Constitution and our existing laws is precisely what America expects from the president.

History is clear that signals intelligence is, to use the language of the Supreme Court, "a fundamental incident of waging war." President Wilson authorized the military to intercept all telegraph, telephone and cable communications into and out of the U.S. during World War I. The day after Pearl Harbor, President Roosevelt authorized the interception of all communications traffic into and out of the U.S. These sweeping measures were seen as necessary and lawful during critical moments of past armed conflicts. So, too, are the more focused intercepts of al Qaeda during our current armed conflict, especially given the nature of the enemy we face.

The AUMF is broad in scope, and understandably so; Congress could not have catalogued every possible aspect of military force it was endorsing. That's why the Supreme Court ruled in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld that the detention of enemy combatants--a fundamental incident of war-- was lawful, even though detention is not mentioned in the AUMF. The same argument holds true for the terrorist surveillance program. Nor was the president's authorization of the terrorist surveillance program in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. FISA bars persons from intentionally "engag[ing] . . . in electronic surveillance under color of law except as authorized by statute." The AUMF provides this statutory authorization for the terrorist surveillance program as an exception to FISA.

Lastly, the terrorist surveillance program fully complies with the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. Like sobriety checkpoints or border searches, this program involves "special needs" beyond routine law enforcement, an exception to the warrant requirement upheld by the Supreme Court as consistent with the Fourth Amendment.

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 6, 2006 8:36 PM

If Al keeps this up, the Right may allow him to join SCOTUS after all.

Posted by: ghostcat at February 6, 2006 9:43 PM

I get down on my knees and pray that the President, the military and the intelligence agencies are doing everything they can possibly do to track down and kill every Islamo-Nazi in the world, whether here in the United States or in some third world hell-hole. I hope they are using every bit of technology they can find, but if they have to give my mother a rectal probe without a warrant, I hope and pray that they do that.

I also hope and pray that there are no lawyers involved in those programs, since they can add nothing to their efficacy. Snipers only! "1 Shot, 1 Kill, No Remorse, I Decide."

Finally, I hope and pray that the New York Times, James Risen and all of his informants, including, Jay Rockefeller, are indicted and convicted for the numerous violations of law (even treason if that can be proven) that they have committed in their anti-Constitutional attempt to subvert the effectiveness of our war efforts. I hope that once they are convicted that they will have the book thrown at them, to serve as an example for future generations.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at February 6, 2006 10:54 PM

Gee Robert, now tell us how you really feel!

Posted by: Bret at February 7, 2006 12:46 AM

Ah, now it's clear why Gonzales did all that smiling yesterday. He knows fascist Karl has all those Repug senators by the gonads. They've all gotten the word: Step one inch out of line, guys, and you will be on the LIST.

Which will mean no more big $$$$, no more face time with the Preznit, and you might even find yourself framed as soft on terra. In this country, that's the kiss of death.

He's smiling, too, because he knows that the Democrats are too busy pissing their pants and covering their asses to mount any serious challenge, no matter WHAT laws Preznit and his fascist gang decide to break.

Posted by: John Palcewski at February 7, 2006 2:02 AM

Every night we go to bed in the fasdcist state of Left delusions and wake up in the bright light of American liberty, but y'all feel free to keep crying "Wolf!"

Posted by: oj at February 7, 2006 7:22 AM

karl marx, the patron saint of losers and cretins the world over.

Posted by: toe at February 7, 2006 9:09 AM

OJ: For the life of me, I can't tell which side John is on. The analysis is pretty much on target.

Posted by: David Cohen at February 7, 2006 9:22 AM

Toe, that's Karl Rove, EEEEVIL GENIUS to you:)

I feel a lot less worried about the '06 midterm elections now!

Posted by: Brad S at February 7, 2006 9:32 AM


I edited it and deleted the excessively profane portions where he made it even clearer.

Posted by: oj at February 7, 2006 9:34 AM

David, to paraphrase what you said in a previous post, satirists can't find work anymore.

Robert, Millions of people, me included, are praying for the same things as you are.

Brad, I'm also feeling a lot better about things mainly because Democrats/Moslems have advertised their derangement for all but the most blind to see.

Posted by: erp at February 7, 2006 10:58 AM

i would be embarrassed to be jp's age and writing such sophmoric nonsense.

Posted by: toe at February 7, 2006 3:06 PM

Oh, I don't know toe, I kinda like oj's, "aw shucks," Huck Finn idealism.

Posted by: erp at February 7, 2006 3:42 PM

erp: "satirists can't find work anymore" is also known as Muggeridge's Law.

Posted by: joe shropshire at February 7, 2006 5:35 PM

Thanks Joe. I tell ya, you guys and gals are the smartest on the net.

Posted by: erp at February 7, 2006 7:02 PM

"jp" is our friend john palcewski, aka old kayaker (i think it's him). follow the link to see

Posted by: toe at February 7, 2006 7:03 PM

He writes like a Mahoning County precinct committeeman.

Posted by: Mike Morley at February 7, 2006 9:30 PM

Bridges of Mahoning County ?

Posted by: toe at February 8, 2006 12:07 AM

toe. Sorry for being so careless. Thanks for the heads up about pj and his alleged many personas. I'll keep a sharp eye (if I can find one) on him from now on.

Comment about oj still stands.

Posted by: erp at February 8, 2006 12:06 PM