Friday, December 30, 2005

Justice Dept. Probing Domestic Spying Leak

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, left, speaks during a news conference about the Patriot Act at the Justice Department in Washington, in a Wednesday, Dec. 21, 2005 photo. The Justice Department has opened an investigation Justice officials said Friday, Dec. 30, 2005. into the leak of classified information about President Bush's secret domestic spying program.(AP Photo/Yuri Gripas, File)


This is from Yahoo News:

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department has opened an investigation into the leak of classified information about
President Bush's secret domestic spying program, Justice officials said Friday.

The officials, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the probe, said the inquiry will focus on disclosures to The New York Times about warrantless surveillance conducted by the National Security Agency since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The Times revealed the existence of the program two weeks ago in a front-page story that acknowledged the news had been withheld from publication for a year, partly at the request of the administration and partly because the newspaper wanted more time to confirm various aspects of the program.

Catherine Mathis, a spokeswoman for The Times, said the paper will not comment on the investigation.

Revelation of the secret spying program unleashed a firestorm of criticism of the administration. Some critics accused the president of breaking the law by authorizing intercepts of conversations — without prior court approval or oversight — of people inside the United States and abroad who had suspected ties to al-Qaida or its affiliates.

The surveillance program, which Bush acknowledged authorizing, bypassed a nearly 30-year-old secret court established to oversee highly sensitive investigations involving espionage and terrorism.

Administration officials insisted that Bush has the power to conduct the warrantless surveillance under the Constitution's war powers provision. They also argued that Congress gave Bush the power to conduct such a secret program when it authorized the use of military force against terrorism in a resolution adopted within days of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The Justice Department's investigation was being initiated after the agency received a request for the probe from the NSA.

There are two stories here. The first story is the Justice Department's investigation. This investigation is being focused on WHO leaked the information on the secret NSA spying program to the Times. Buried within this Times story is the fact that the investigation was initiated by the NSA. The Bush White House did not want this story made public, considering the fact that the White House circumvented the FISA court, then admitted they had the legal authority to do so. Someone leaked this information out, and the Bush White House is on a witch hunt to find out who did.

The problem here is that the second, more important story, is not being investigated. This story is simply the fact that the Bush White House authorized this illegal wire-tapping in the first place, circumventing the courts. When did the president "authorize" these NSA wiretaps? And exactly WHO did the NSA domestically spy on? Was the NSA ordered by the Bush White House to spy on anti-war groups, or political opponents? Were some of these illegal NSA wiretaps used to develop "probable cause," allowing the FBI and NSA to go the FISA courts to legally obtain secret search warrants? How many American citizens were domestically spied upon? Exactly what types of wiretapping is the NSA using--there have been stories that the NSA is creating large databases of cell phone calls and email messages, then using supercomputers to search for patterns and word associations to find possible terrorist subjects. Is this one of the programs that the NSA is using? These are more serious questions that the Bush White House DOES NOT want to have investigated, or answered to the American people.

1 comment:

Scott said...

It is a very sad and troubling day for America when the highest officials in our land can break the law, then then turn around and punish those who would reveal their crime.
I blogged about this at http://mymountain.blogspot.com/2005/12/punishing-those-who-report-crimes.html