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Sunday, July 02, 2006

Bush's Spying Started Before 9/11 - and was Illegal

(Keywords: , , , is such a visionary, he foresaw 's approval of the seven month's before and started right off the bat)

At first, I thought the reaction to the New York Times story of Bush's financial tracking story was a non-story. When the rightwing press and blogs go fullblown mental over something, it's a pretty good sign that they're defending the indefensible.

According to CNN, Bush told reporters, "Congress was briefed, and what we did was fully authorized under the law and the disclosure of this program is disgraceful."

"The leaks to The New York Times, and the publishing of those leaks, is very damaging," Dick Cheney sneered at a fundraiser in Nebraska. "The ability to intercept al Qaeda communications and to track their sources of financing are essential if we're going to successfully prosecute the global war on terror."

But the NYT wasn't the only paper to publish the story. Both the Los Angeles Times and the Wall Street Journal ran the story, but it's the NYT which the rabid masses of talk radio programmed robots have been trained to hate. So, as far as these these fools know, only the NYT ran the story. The 'hate the NYT' campaign is an offshoot of breaking the NSA phone scandal.

But Bush has just been delivered a blow to his case that all of this surveillance is part of the 'war on terror' that began on the morning of 9/11. Bloomberg reports, "The U.S. National Security Agency asked AT&T Inc. to help it set up a domestic call monitoring site seven months before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, lawyers claimed June 23 in court papers filed in New York federal court.

"The allegation is part of a court filing adding AT&T, the nation's largest telephone company, as a defendant in a breach of privacy case filed earlier this month on behalf of Verizon Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp. customers. The suit alleges that the three carriers, the NSA and President George W. Bush violated the Telecommunications Act of 1934 and the U.S. Constitution, and seeks money damages."

I knew some damaging crap would come out in the discovery phase of the civil suits.

In reporting on the NSA spy scandal, the Washington Post reported (emphasis mine), "The NSA activities were justified by a classified Justice Department legal opinion authored by John C. Yoo, a former deputy in the Office of Legal Counsel who argued that congressional approval of the war on al Qaeda gave broad authority to the president, according to the Times."

Oops! So, by the administration's own admission, this domestic spy program was illegal for the seven months prior to 9/11 that it was in operation. There goes that argument.

So how long has this financial tracking program been going on? Former Attorney General John Ashcroft came into office with two obsessions - a war on drugs and pornography. After the Clinton administration told him that terrorism was the most pressing problem facing the United States, Ashcroft went right to work fighting boobs and bongs.

So, is that what the NSA phone database was about in the months prior to 9/11, busting dealers? By all accounts, warnings of the growing terrorist threat were ignored by virtually everyone in the new administration. "All right," Bush told the briefer who presented the Presidential Daily Briefing titled bin Laden Determined to Strike within the US, "You've covered your ass now." Clearly, he didn't give a shit about terrorism.

Not that it matters why the program was inarguably running illegally for seven months prior to 9/11, the important point is that it was inarguably running illegally for seven months prior to 9/11.

That's why the noise machine is on full blast - they need to drown out the truth.