Russ Feingold: We Need to Protect Americans from John Bolton

Thanks to Selise for making this YouTube. 

When introducing his amendment requiring the government to segregate any information known to be from a US person in a separate database, Russ Feingold used the example of John Bolton to demonstrate the need for protections beyond the weak minimization procedures currently in the Intelligence Bill.

…the supporters of the Intelligence Committee bill claim that minimization procedures are enough to protect Americans’ privacy.

In fact, the minimization requirements in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act are quite weak. They permit the widespread dissemination throughout the United States Government of information about US persons if it is deemed foreign intelligence information which again, is very broadly defined. And they permit dissemination of the identities of these US persons if it is, quote, necessary to understand foreign intelligence information or assess its importance, unquote. Also, also a very loose standard.

Now we know, we know, Mr. President, from our experience in the nomination hearing of John Bolton to be United Nations Ambassador how easy it is for government officials to obtain access to those identities.

And when the FBI receives reports referring to a US person according to a recently declassified government document, it will, quote, likely request that person’s identity, unquote, and will likely meet the requirements for obtaining it. There are other minimization requirements in government regulations, the details of which are classified, but we know in any event that those can be changed at any time. Mr. President, minimization is simply inadequate in the context of these broad new authorities.

You’ll recall that the Senate Dems held up John Bolton’s appointment to the UN because the Administration refused to turn over the NSA intercepts for which Bolton requested the identity of the US person recorded on the intercept.

Democrats said they would continue to block Bolton’s nomination until the White House produces records of communications intercepts he sought from the National Security Agency. The White House has refused, citing executive privilege.

Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, the ranking Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, said the records could clear up allegations that Bolton used them to spy on "rivals in the bureaucracy, both inferior and superior to him."

"While I doubt this, as I’ve said publicly before, we have a duty to be sure that he did not misuse this data," he said.

[snip]

Little has been said publicly about the contents of the intercepts from the NSA, the highly secretive intelligence agency that specializes in electronic eavesdropping.

Biden said Bolton was given the names of 19 individuals or companies whose communications were picked up by U.S. intelligence.

He suggested Bolton might have been seeking the names of Americans whose conversations were intercepted to assist in "intramural fights within the administration."

Bolton has told senators he needed the information for "context" and out of "intellectual curiosity," Biden said.

It’s a pretty good argument, really. We need to protect Americans from John Bolton’s "intellectual curiosity."

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43 replies
  1. AZ Matt says:

    Bolton is sleaze. I doubt if the sex workers at th Rethug Convention would even touch him. He is, however, a great example sh*t floating.

      • AZ Matt says:

        I wish someone would put a big billboard up on the Mississippi River crossing: You Republicans wanted to make government so small you could drown in a bathtub but you drowned our citizens in the Mississippi instead.

  2. kspena says:

    Carl Ford, the State Department’s former intelligence chief, gave the best description of John Bolton in the failed hearings to confirm Bolton as UN ambassador:

    ‘Ford called Bolton “a quintessential kiss-up, kick-down kind of guy. He’s got a bigger kick, and it gets bigger and stronger the further down the bureaucracy he’s kicking. And he stands out. I don’t have any other example to give you of someone who acts this way,” said Ford, who left the State Department in 2003 and is now a consultant with Cassidy and Associates in Washington’. Dafna Linzer and Charles Babington, WashPost 4/13/05

  3. kspena says:

    OT- Haven’t see this in any US venue:

    US Oil Companies Offered Five Million Dollar Bribes To Iraqi MP’s

    Reported today on Akhbar Alkhaleej newspaper

    31/01/08 ”Roads to Iraq” — – An Iraqi MP preferred to remain anonymous told the newspaper that highly confidential negotiations took place by representatives from American oil companies, offering $5 million to each MP who votes in favor of the Oil and Gas law.

    The amount that could be paid to pass the votes do not exceed $150 million dollars in the case of $5 million to each MP, pointing out that the Oil law requires 138 votes to pass, which the Americans want to guarantee in many ways, including vote-buying, intimidation and threats!

    Focusing on the heads of parliamentary blocs and influential figures in the parliament to ensure the votes, the Americans guaranteed the Kurdish votes in advance but they are seeking enough votes to pass and approve the law as soon as possible.

  4. Loo Hoo. says:

    Thank you EW aselisend!! Congratulations on your front paginess too. Amazing what you do with those old Macs.

    I’m starting to respect ‘ol George W. Bush. He just keeps pushing the limits ‘cuz nobody’s stopping him. It’s like if someone kept pushing a million bucks in your hand, and kept saying to take it. You take it. And W. is taking it. Can you imagine the laughter when he gets together with Cheney and the other co-conspirators? What kind of names are they calling the democrats?

    From Hugh:

    A little more info on Bush’s signing statement.

    The statement itself:

    Today, I have signed into law H.R. 4986, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2008. The Act authorizes funding for the defense of the United States and its interests abroad, for military construction, and for national security-related energy programs.

    Provisions of the Act, including sections 841, 846, 1079, and 1222, purport to impose requirements that could inhibit the President’s ability to carry out his constitutional obligations to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, to protect national security, to supervise the executive branch, and to execute his authority as Commander in Chief. The executive branch shall construe such provisions in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President.

    Translation: FU

    SEC. 1222. LIMITATION ON AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS FOR CERTAIN PURPOSES RELATING TO IRAQ.

    No funds appropriated pursuant to an authorization of appropriations in this Act may be obligated or expended for a purpose as follows:

    (1) To establish any military installation or base for the purpose of providing for the permanent stationing of United States Armed Forces in Iraq.

    (2) To exercise United States control of the oil resources of Iraq.

        • emptywheel says:

          Oh, I BOUGHT a Mac. I’m just not convinced I like it better yet. Mostly it’s that it has a shitty mouse yet using keystrokes isn’t very reliable because of the damn extra apple key.

          • bmaz says:

            Ahem. I believe that some advocated Mac laptops, which have the best trackpads in the world, bar none. That aside, it takes a bit to really settle in and get used to an Apple if all you have ever used are PCs; once you do, you never go back. It already looks a lot prettier just sitting there doesn’t it? I hear these boots are made for walking liveblogging.

            • emptywheel says:

              A better trackpad doesn’t help, really (and I’m about to switch to my old keyboard and mouse, which is better all around). It’s the dumb system that doesn’t provide consistent meanings for the Ctrl, Apple, and option keys. I’m very key-stroke driven, but you can’t really do that on a Mac.

              • BethWellington says:

                My sympathies. I just messed up a link to Glenn Greenwald (used CTL to cut and that meant I pasted in a link already on the clipboard) cause of that durn apple doodad and despite what others say, I use both and I’m not convinced.

  5. BethWellington says:

    Karnacki’s got a good piece on FISA y’all might like.. Thanks for this post, the alert on the Newsweek interview with the Senator and the liveblogging on the PAA. What I don’t understand about the Newsweek piece is why an online feature includes an introduction that makes it seem as if there are two more weeks before the Senate considers this and thus lacks any sense of urgency as the matter may go to the floor February 5, after maneuvering on February 4. Any update?

    I reviewed the Newsweek piece at Newstrust–it could use another review or more to earn a rating, if anyone has time and inclination–and you’d have the options to add relevant links, which would be a big help to the coverage on FISA. The last piece reviewed on FISA was Olbermann’s and it needs two additional reviewers to make it to the “reviewed” list–and the only one there is written in such a way that it won’t appeal to the more moderate readers. The last piece on the Protect America Act was my blog piece from November 2 and it never made it to three reviewers either. (I’m a Yahoo 360 refugee, so I’ll give you a link as soon as I port that one over to my new blog at WordPress.)

    Thanks for all you do,
    Beth-just-over-the-line-in-Virginia, who blogs at West Virginia Blue.

    • bobschacht says:

      Karnacki’s got a good piece on FISA y’all might like.. Thanks for this post, the alert on the Newsweek interview with the Senator and the liveblogging on the PAA. What I don’t understand about the Newsweek piece is why an online feature includes an introduction that makes it seem as if there are two more weeks before the Senate considers this and thus lacks any sense of urgency as the matter may go to the floor February 5, after maneuvering on February 4. Any update?

      I reviewed the Newsweek piece at Newstrust–it could use another review or more to earn a rating, if anyone has time and inclination–and you’d have the options to add relevant links, which would be a big help to the coverage on FISA. The last piece reviewed on FISA was Olbermann’s and it needs two additional reviewers to make it to the “reviewed” list–and the only one there is written in such a way that it won’t appeal to the more moderate readers.

      Thanks– Good to see another NewsTrust person here. I followed up. Maybe TeddySF will, too.

      Bob in HI

  6. bmaz says:

    Just so that you know that our man is on the job when it really counts (No, that is not when Katrina is killing New Orleans or the lives of Americans are in the lurch): CNN is reporting that President Bush valiantly stayed up past his normal bedtime to watch the Super Bowl.

  7. AZ Matt says:

    OT US District Court Judge flips the bird to Bush and his Executive Orders:
    From the LA Times

    Judge: Navy Not Exempt From Sonar Ruling

    By ANDREW DALTON, Associated Press Writer
    7:09 PM PST, February 4, 2008

    LOS ANGELES — The Navy must follow environmental laws placing strict limits on sonar training that opponents argue harms whales, despite President Bush’s decision to exempt it, a federal judge ruled Monday.

    The Navy is not “exempted from compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act” and a court injunction creating a 12 nautical-mile no-sonar zone off Southern California, U.S. District Judge Florence-Marie Cooper wrote in a 36-page decision.

    “We disagree with the judge’s decision,” White House spokesman Tony Fratto said. “We believe the orders are legal and appropriate.”

    Navy spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Cindy Moore said the military was studying the decision.

    There are still laws in some places.

    • siri says:

      Excellent! Every time I see some court shut down some made up law or exemption from the law propagated by the Bu$h cabal, it just reminds me of how I felt when America was America, from 7+ years ago on back. And I’m loving the visual of the “military” sitting there, looking at the document, bewildered and in some form of SHOCK at this ruling. Trying to figure it out. Reluctance to compute someone, anyone, telling them “NO!!!! THIS IS AMERICA, ASSHOLE!” Thanks for this AZ Matt.

  8. Hugh says:

    Like many in this Administration, I thought John Bolton’s intellectual curiosity was limited to the effects of firecrackers on frogs.

  9. randiego says:

    OT: John McCain is running ads on sports-talk stations in San Diego. Twice tonight I heard 30 a second spot entirely focused on Immigration. He’s really trying to thread the needle, and it’s painful to listen to.

    He’s going out of his way to sound tough, yet humane, and he doesn’t really sound convinced himself. One of the lines talks about how there are 12million illegals, but “we’re going to deport the 2 million that have committed crimes.”… by definition, haven’t they all committed crimes?

    The crazy Tancredo-types are very popular here.

    • bmaz says:

      McCain is arrogant, supremely belligerent, scarily volatile and an intellectual dullard of the first order. He is also as dishonest and two faced as any politician I have ever personally seen; and if you know Arizona politics, we see an awful lot of that. And, unlike what you read about some politicians being completely different people in person, that is not the case with McCain; what I just described is what I have observed personally in private social settings as well. At least he is consistent I guess; he is a total dimwitted ass all of the time.

    • Loo Hoo. says:

      Dang, that was the craziest ad I’ve heard. His voice was as though he was speaking to a group in a funeral. Really weird.

    • bmaz says:

      Absolutely. In fact, it was only in response to the beating he was taking over his involvement with Keating (which believe me was far more pervasive and troubling than the public generally knows) that he suddenly came to the “maverick” jesus moment of being for campaign finance reform. He never gave a damn about campaign finance reform before he was in serious electoral straits after exposure of the Keating mess and needed a stunt to reform his image. He still doesn’t really give a damn; not that the media covers it, but he has, quite predictably, almost completely walked away from the issue. The only thing that matters to John McCain is John McCain. He will screw over his family, his friends, his state, and anything and everything else if it helps John McCain. Just to give you an idea that most people don’t know, or have forgotten, McCain came back from Vietnam and proceeded to literally walk out on his wife and children at a time when his wife was suffering from disabling injuries from a car accident. McCain then showed up in Arizona because he judged it to be the easiest place for him to get elected to Congress and he immediately started an adulterous relationship with the decades younger daughter of the powerful, GOP politically connected Anheuiser Busch distributor to aid his electoral efforts; he never looked back or thought twice about his original family. That is who John McCain is.

  10. JamesJoyce says:

    “Loose Standards” Loser standards to be turned against American as they resist corpogovernemnt’s continued evisceration of America.

  11. BethWellington says:

    Thanks for the welcome and for reviewing the Newsweek interview with Feingold. It’s now made it to Newstrust’s top pick on the front page, so maybe this will help get the word out,though with the underwhelming resistance to the continuing erosion of the Bill of Rights in Congress I’m mightily discouraged. Sigh. Thanks, too, for the review on Olbermann.

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