TSP Timing, Again

Josh and Spencer are just now catching up to something I pointed out three weeks ago: Tom DeLay got briefed on the TSP program on March 11, 2004, the day after the Hospital Meeting. Of course, that’s not particularly surprising since one of the things that went down at the briefing of the Gang of Eight on March 10 is that the Administration floated passing legislation to fix the problems in the program. In March 2004, if you wanted legislation of any kind to pass Congress–and particularly if you wanted a second opinion about passing legislation if others had told you it’d be impossible–you’d ask the Hammer. Which is almost certainly what they did.

I’m frankly a lot more interested in whether what DeLay told the Administration contributed to the fact that Bush agreed to make changes after Mueller and Comey talked to him directly on March 12. That is, would Bush have made the same concessions on the 12th if he hadn’t first spoken to the Hammer and learned he really did need to make those concessions?

Now that Josh and Spencer are looking at the timing of these briefings, though, they might want to check out the coincidence between the note that Jay Rockefeller sent to Dick Cheney and the briefing immediately proceeding the one on March 10. Because then they might discover that Rockefeller had raised the specific issue of massive data-mining with Cheney, effectively telling Cheney he thought the warrantless wiretapping program he had just been briefed on sounded a lot like the Total Information Awareness program that Congress was in the process of defunding. Without understanding that a Member of Congress had already told the Administration their program was probably illegal according to the terms laid out by Congress, you’re probably still missing a critical element of the Hospital Meeting.

  1. marksb says:

    If you want to keep the dirty cockroaches hidden and alive, who better to consult with than a licensed exterminator?

  2. rincewind says:

    Oops, I forgot to say — maybe we really owe Harman an apology, if Gonzo was counting DeLay when he claimed â€consensus†to go ahead w/o the DOJ reauthorization?

  3. Anonymous says:


    No, I still would bet that Harman approved of the program in some way or another–she would have issued a denial if she hadn’t. And that’s just more parsing than even AGAG would do under oath, I think. Or hope, at least.

  4. Anonymous says:

    I need to apologize to you for not linking your earlier work in my Kos Diary today. TPM hat tips me but you deserve credit- I emailed them to try to set the record straight. My failure to link was not intended to slight your excellent analysis. I honestly did not recall the DeLay bit being discussed before until you pointed it out in my comment thread. I searched dKos and Googled for prior discussion on DeLay and did not find it. I hope you can see that my initial analysis was independent of yours- it was clearly less rational and more tinfoil hatterly, and had I found your work, my Diary would have been better considered and appropriately deferential to your primacy.

    Regardless, I have updated my Kos Diary to give you deserved credit, and am truly sorry.

  5. Anonymous says:


    No slight taken, which is why I didn’t include you here–I’m sure you found the DeLay thing on your own. There’s no reason to think you couldn’t find it on your own–or that you should link to me.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Well I like to see what other people say on an issue before I post so I can consider it and reference it, which is what I think we as Bloggers should try to do. I don’t like to get surprised in a comment thread with a link to a better analysis, because I think it makes you look lazy or deceptive. But honestly, I did come up with the analysis on my own, which is why it was not as comprehensive as it should have been (considering your conclusions).

  7. Anonymous says:


    I apologize if I made you feel bad–I had no intent of doing so. And I think you and I just approached the question from different perspectives–one is neither better nor worse than the otehr.

  8. lysias says:

    How would DeLay be able to say on the spot what might or might not get through Congress? I’m not aware of his having any particular expertise in such intelligence matters.

  9. lysias says:

    What was the timing of when Bolton got that NSA info (redacted names of U.S. persons in intercepted communications) that the administration later refused to provide to the Senate committee considering his confirmation?

  10. Anonymous says:


    DeLay would have the best sense of what he could push through, how many votes he could dig up, and so forth.