Bush Administration Tries to Reverse A1 Cut-Out Declassification

Remember back in the halcyon days when people still believed Judy Miller was a journalist? The Bush Administration repeatedly used her as a cut-out, leaking highly classified information to her (like intelligence about aluminum tubes, mobile bioweapons labs, and even covert agents’ identities). She would then publish a story on the first page of the NYT. And Administration officials would quote her story, now treating the highly classified information as if it had been declassified. It worked like a charm until Judy’s credibility got so damaged with her Iraq reporting that she couldn’t oblige Cheney by writing an article leaking Valerie Wilson’s identity.

In 1992, the opposite occurred. Someone leaked a draft of Defense Secretary Dick Cheney’s Defense Policy Guidance to the NYT.

The document was provided to The New York Times by an official who believes this post-cold-war strategy debate should be carried out in the public domain.


In contrast, the new draft sketches a world in which there is one dominant military power whose leaders "must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role."

The NYT published chunks of the draft, which shocked voters and allies. So poor little Scooter Libby, always the faithful acolyte, had to rewrite the draft to hide Cheney’s aggressive nature, perhaps believing they could persuade presidential year voters that Bush’s aides weren’t a bunch of nut-cases before the election that November.

Now the National Security Archive has published a series of those drafts, including a few memos from Libby, now a felon, to the guy he’d later commit a felony to protect (unfortunately, there’s none of Libby’s chicken scratch notes, so all the skills we’ve developed reading trial exhibits will be wasted).

Pathetically, the Bush Administration has refused to declassify some of the same passages that appeared in the NYT almost sixteen years ago.

Remarkably, these new releases censor a half dozen large sections of text that The New York Times printed on March 8, 1992, as well as a number of phrases that were officially published by the Pentagon in January 1993. "On close inspection none of those deleted passages actually meet the standards for classification because embarrassment is not a legal basis for secrecy," remarked Tom Blanton, director of the Archive." The language that the Times publicized can be seen side-by-side with the relevant portions of the February 18, 1992 draft (see document 3 below) that was the subject of the leak.

Apparently, Cheney still believes only he is entitled to use the A1 Cut-Out to insta-declassify classified intelligence.

I plan to return to these documents–they’re a fascinating window into Cheney’s thinking. But for now, go check out the reconstructed draft the NSA did, replacing the redacted passages with the content that has already been made public.

83 replies
  1. BayStateLibrul says:

    Fuck Cheney… and this fascinating analysis from Weisberg’s new book on Bushie.

    “Bush had a very different, but no less important, relationship with his vice president. Cheney did not share Rove’s belief in Bush’s great political gifts. Instead, Weisberg argues, he saw in the new president an easily manipulable vehicle for his own longstanding agenda. He did not strive to be Bush’s friend, but he became the president’s continual and loyal courtier. “Cheney had figured out how to play on the son’s sense of his reborn self, flattering the maturity of his judgment,” Weisberg notes. “There was no need to spell out the implicit proposition: You have the self-confidence and inner security to rely on me.” Cheney was not alone in persuading Bush (who needed little persuasion) to launch the disastrous war in Iraq, but without Cheney the conflict might never have overcome the opposition of many in the administration. Cheney was even more central to some of the other damaging actions of Bush’s presidency: the assaults on due process and civil liberties; the defense of torture; the heightened secrecy; the contempt for international law and international organizations; and, perhaps most of all, the imperial view of the presidency, based on Cheney’s theory of the “unitary executive” and (in Weisberg’s words) his “lifelong goal” of “making the presidency stronger.”


  2. CTuttle says:

    “On close inspection none of those deleted passages actually meet the standards for classification because embarrassment is not a legal basis for secrecy,”

    But that’s the M.O. of this whole Maladministration… If it’s counter-productive rewrite it, if it’s embarassing delete it…

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Public duty and service be damned. This version of Tricky Dick won’t give his opponents – defined as virtually everybody – anything to use against him. Most especially, the truth.

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Cheney has no sense of proportion: witness his 1% “risk tolerance” as described by Ron Suskind. Rather, he has Rove’s sociopathic sense of “proportion”.

    He fights like the proverbial sorority sister from hell: no rebuke, no dirty trick is too small or too big, or too mean, if it bolsters his self-importance. Or like the kid from detention who smears that orange heat jell onto all the jock straps in the locker room because he flunked off the team.

  4. ProfessorFoland says:

    Actually, this is a special case of something this Administration has been doing from pretty much its very first day: continuing to consider public domain knowledge classified. Although I don’t know that any convictions resulted, at the beginning of this administration it became well-known among those with clearances that the Administratiom might prosecute even the discussion of public-domain information if it had ever been classified, or ever might have been classified–even if they themselves didn’t actually know that.

    It’s an incredibly pernicious weapon.

    Ever wonder why no actual credible weapons physicists wanted to publicly address the Iraq evidence in 2003?

  5. kspena says:

    a little OT

    Electric Politics–George Kenney talking with Jim Lobe about neocons 1 hr. 26 min.
    “Following my conversation (George Kenney) about the Israel Lobby with John Mearsheimer in early January, I thought it would be helpful to take a more detailed look at the neo-cons. So I turned to Jim Lobe, Washington Bureau Chief of the Inter Press Service news agency, a recognized expert on the subject who knows probably almost as much about the neo-cons as they do themselves. Jim explains in a very straight-forward and thoughtful way how the neo-con godlings (my term) are out to create perpetual war. It was kind of Jim to talk with me and I hope we can do it again. Total runtime an hour and thirty one minutes. Enjoy!”


    Of particular interest to me was Lobe’s observation that Libby was highly important in setting-up and managing govt agency infiltrations. Says cheney has not been able to recover from libby’s loss.

    My guess is that, if so, what we are now seeing are a series of ‘just’ cya moves. just guessing….

    • kspena says:

      “Of particular interest to me was Lobe’s observation that Libby was highly important in setting-up and managing govt agency infiltrations. Says cheney has not been able to recover from libby’s loss.”

      Libby comments at minute 58.

    • SouthernDragon says:

      This is a great interview. Worth saving and listening to again. Thanks for the link. I always thought these neocons had a screw or few loose.

  6. skdadl says:

    They redacted passages that had already been published … I wish I thought it was safe to laugh.

    Now to read the docs, though. From what I saw on a fast skim, a lot of that looks like world-class banality. I’m so often tempted to ask Dick Cheney who he thinks he is, exactly, but I guess that’s not such a good idea either.

  7. Peterr says:

    embarrassment is not a legal basis for secrecy

    But . . . but . . . No one should mention the emperor is not wearing any clothes!

  8. MsAnnaNOLA says:

    I know I am beating a dead horse but isn’t it illegal to classify things that have no business being classified.

    Once again impeachable offense anyone?

    • bigbrother says:

      Gestapo infiltrated german government…15

      16… What about the other 935+ activities that were illegal on Hugh’s list

      Can anyone explain me why Impeachment investigations are not happening?

      • jayackroyd says:


        Actually, I think the proper analogy is Pinochet, adopting all mechnisms of government, including the courts and prosecutorial authority, in order to retain an authoritarian state in power.

        Or, alternatively, Deng Xiaoping, a government run by a shadow apparatus constructed behind the scenes.

        It had me wondering, this morning, whether Cheney plans to stay on through the next administration.

    • egregious says:

      isn’t it illegal to classify things that have no business being classified.

      Sure but who’s going to call them on it? They’re trying to work the refs. Almost got away with it too.

  9. rkilowatt says:

    Refer to Fletcher Prouty’s The Secret Team for an insiders look at “…Of particular interest to me was Lobe’s observation that Libby was highly important in setting-up and managing govt agency infiltrations.” from kspena @ 7 [my emphasis].

  10. chrisc says:

    Patrick Tyler had a second article (May 24, 1992) in the NYT that compares the earlier draft with the revised draft.
    Maybe I am not following this correctly, but I think he is saying that the earlier draft was written by Wolfowitz and the final, less insane version was developed with the input of Cheney and Colin Powell.

    There was one graph in the second article that caught my eye-

    Though Mr. Cheney signed the document Friday, it was not clear whether it would be subject to additional comment or revision after circulating to the White House and State Department.

    Hmmm…. did Big Dick think Poppy Bush was irrelevant too ?

    • emptywheel says:

      The first was drafted by Libby, who reported to Wolfie,also reportedly with help from Zal Khalilzad, but I’m not convinced that’s true, givne the documents. I’m not sure who leaked hte document–could have been Powell, for all I know. But I would assume whoever leaked hte first document made sure the second one was more reasonable.

      Cheney was perfectly happy with the first draft except that it got him in trouble.

  11. perris says:

    I keep bringing up cheney’s “team b”

    he manufactures evidence and then uses the evidence he manufactures

    in his “team b” he also has co conspirators from the pnac to “re assess” data that has already been discredited

    as with the aluminum tubes of mass destruction and the balsa wood drone of mass destruction, the vans of mass destruction, they edit out everything they don’t like and release information claiming the CIA discovered, or “the CIA reports” when in fact the CIA discovered and reported the opposite findings of what Cheney and his “team b” are promoting

    none of this is speculation, this is documented behavior from Cheney and he’s been documented doing it to create war since Nixon

    the man is insane, he is sick, maniacal and a mad man

    in his mind there is nothing he can do that is “wrong”, there is no society, no greater good, no future no past

    all there is…here, now, increasing his power increasing his wealth, increasing his desire to do what he THINKS his frineds need

    his friends, rumsfeld, wolfowitz have the same clinically insane condition

    these are sick people and they are running our government as if it is their little toy

  12. klynn says:


    Just “caught up” and read this and your last post…I cannot help but think someone is reading your timeline…I’m going back to it and trying to “see”.
    I think something is there that is the “door” to nailing them – and they know it.

    Are you going to do any additional posts analyzing your timeline on the missing email?

    Thanks for the last two posts. Heavy sigh on the content – in terms of what “we” the People can do next. Whatever IT is, we have to find out “what” and do our constitution justice.

  13. Neil says:

    My friend Phil Carter, who writes for the LA Times and other places, has put this pretty well,” Paul Rieckhoff said. “He says we have a choice as a nation: we can either continue to be a global superpower, or we can continue have an all-volunteer military. You can’t have both.link

    • emptywheel says:

      Paul’s right (smart guy–I wonder where he got so smart??)

      We also have to choose between aspiring for our ideals and retaining hegemony.

      • Neil says:

        We also have to choose between aspiring for our ideals and retaining hegemony.


        The debate has been framed from a skewed perspective: isolationism versus national defense. In fact, it’s national defense versus global hegemony.

        The issue of having a draft should be a consequence of the outcome of the debate, not the debate itself.

        We know from your links how Cheney wants to procede:

        “must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role.”

  14. Mary says:

    massacio – even when they have left, they are there. All the people who have been put in place, and all the people who accepted the culture without causing waves, without public comment – they will all still be there. And they will all still be, forever, people who willing worked for years for tortures, liars and to support the shemed over and implemented massive destruction of civlian populations.

    Whatever culture or ideals they went in with, and whatever they pat themselves on the back over as the “good” work that they have done, you have an Executive branch, from FBI investigators to DOJ prosecutors, from regulatory boards to field inspectors, from NSA frontlines through CIA rendition/torture/killing decision makers, from Joint Chiefs of Staff through soldiers on the ground – – – all of who have been culturally indoctrinated into evil and the support of evil. All of them either unable to distinguish between what is evil and what is not, or too timid or weak in the face of peer pressure to speak out, or too inured and amoral to care.

    And they are all there, have been there now for years, and will be there for years to come.

    For me and my house, I’ll never forget to the day I die, no matter what paragon ends up on office, that throughout all of the Dept of Justice, there was never even ONE Mora, not one Swift, not one lawyer who discovered that the DOJ was being run as a recruitment office for torture and as a booker of rendition flights and did what JAG officers and Generals did – not one resigned and spoke out.

    And that is what we have in government now. People who are willing to work for torture, to work for disappearing human, to work for instilling the most awful and gruesome depravities at the very heart of our government, then going home to shop for cars, pick up their dry cleaning, and smile when they get handed out kudos on what great guys and gals they are, to make so many sacrifices to have a career in “public service.”

    There’s no way to ever go back and try to effectively weed out the “planted” personnel who were deliberately chosen as loyalists – either loyalists to the corporate interests they are supposed to be regulating and inspecting, or loyalists to state sponsorship of torture and terror, or loyalists to peers in the covert intelligence community who subvert monies and nations. But even if there were, it wouldn’t matter.

    Because the problem isn’t that there are “some” bad people, put here and there in positions of authority or where they can influence outcomes. The problem is that there are whole departments who are full of those who will gladly, unquestioningly, happily, cheerfully and without remorse, conscience or shame follow any evil that comes down the pike. For years, through all kinds of exposure, and without a blink or a flinch.

    That’s a sea change, a culture change, a national change – from which we don’t just bounce back.

    • JohnJ says:

      One small caveat; do we really know that no one resigned over any of this?

      If I was one of those that did and had a family to protect, I would just resign and keep my mouth shut! In fact, knowing that I (or my family) could be a victim of of the same treatment, I would be kissing ass and praising the changes while backing slowly out the door.

  15. bmaz says:

    Shorter Mary. The entire mid management and mid-upper management, the driving functional part of a bureaucracy or large entity, are the Federalist/torture/snoop Goopers of the Bushie ilk in the DOJ. And they ain’t going anywhere. Oh yeah, and the worker bees in the DOJ that are below the above described folks are the ones hired by Monica Goodling and Kyle Sampson.

  16. Loo Hoo. says:

    Mary and bmaz. It will cost a lot of money, but can’t those people be ignored or put in positions of playing computer poker while others are hired to do the work?

    • bmaz says:

      No, not really. The heart and soul of the DOJ/US Attorneys Offices are the career prosecutors. The fair minded rational people that were there, especially Dems but a fair amount of honest Repubs as well, have to a large extent either been forced out, left or been so marginalized that there is little operative base from this group to rely on when/if leadership is changed by a new Administration. For eight years, there have been none from the “rational group” that have been groomed for responsibility and leadership. That is an awfully long period. There are civil service laws and other protections that make it difficult to simply cull the bad eggs in the career core; not to mention the Goopers will scream bloody murder and the press will buy it. We tend by necessity to focus here on the name players like Mukasey, McNulty, Bradbury, Fisher etc, but they can be swapped out with new appointees; it is the core that is the long term issue, and the rot in the core looks to be around for quite some time.

      • rincewind says:

        It’s been much longer than 8 years; one of St Ronnie’s prime directives, replacing fed employees with private contractors to give the appearance of reducing the size of gov’t, gutted many most all depts and agencies of many quality career people more than 20 years ago. Clinton never addressed that issue, so Bushco had a head start on corrupting what was left.

        • bmaz says:

          Again, in general, I don’t necessarily disagree with that; but the USA Offices/DOJ has been kind of sacred ground. Sure, GOP regimes tended to shape things, and hire, in their mold. But it was good, solid people that were still beholden far more to the law and justice than they were to party or ideological doctrine. To my impression that was the case under Carter, Reagan, Bush1 and Clinton; but was thrown out the window and drowned by Bush2. The one little constant, the oasis of fairness and justice that maintained a sense of balance through so much upheaval and turbulence in the past, has now been decimated and adulterated as never before.

    • bobschacht says:

      Mary and bmaz. It will cost a lot of money, but can’t those people be ignored or put in positions of playing computer poker while others are hired to do the work?

      Maybe one of the important features that the next president must have is the ability to rally the federal bureaucracy– all of it– to new goals. Hillary the polarizer might fight the Bush bureaucracy like you suggest. But maybe Obama would try to rally and redirect them in a new direction. I’m not predicting– just trying to envision different possibilities.

      Bob in HI

  17. rincewind says:

    Most of the drones are go-along-to-get-along’ers; if what comes down from the top is the rule of law, integrity, civil SERVICE — they’ll go along with that too (even, or maybe especially, all those Regent grads, they’re completely indoctrinated to obey authority). Bureaucracy never welcomes independent thinkers.

    • bmaz says:

      Bureaucracy never welcomes independent thinkers

      You know, I don’t disagree with that in the general. I will have to say, however, that the US Attorneys offices I have seen and dealt with over the years were uniquely and refreshingly both non-political and tolerant of individuals and their unique skills and interests. I have seen entire programs and task forces started and operated in a district simply because someone in the USA office there had an interest in the area and they were able to convince their superiors that it was a good idea. And keep in mind, that is coming from a guy that does not usually have all that much positive to say about prosecutors and the government in general.

  18. Neil says:

    A transcript of the FT’s interview with Bill Ford, of General Atlantic.

    He speaks to US managing director Chrystia Freeland about college tuition, taxes and the US economy.

    FT: Another issue which we’ve seen emerging in this political season is taxation, particularly taxation for the richest Americans and for private equity in particular. Do you think private equity should pay more tax?

    BF: Well I think taxes are going up; almost under any administration. If, again, you start with the budget deficit that we have, we’ve got to plug that gap if we’re going to make our country more competitive economically around the world. So I do believe taxes are going up.

    FT: Is that a good thing?

    BF: I’m not adverse to it because I believe that we’ve got to get our fiscal house in order and we’ve got to get our economy back on the right track. So a level of higher taxes I don’t think is unreasonable. I think those most able to pay the higher tax ought to probably pay a larger share. So I’m not against it at all.

    FT: What about that specific focus that we’ve seen on private equity and hedge funds, particularly around the carried interest debate? Is that fair or was that sort of singling out almost individuals?

    BF: Well, I worry a little bit, again, about unintended consequences. I mean this is an industry that has channeled capital into, in the case of General Atlantic, in the growth companies for many years. Our companies are creating jobs in a lot of very exciting industries, like health care, financial technology, alternative energy. So I think actions that necessarily impede capital formation and capital flow industry are not good. So –

    FT: And changing the carried interest tax could do that?

    BF: I think it could. I think it could – again, there could be unintended consequences about what happens if we change the tax code.

    FT: Is America in a recession?

    BF: Yes; I think we’re clearly in an economic slow down and I believe that we are likely in the midst of early stages of recession. To me it feels like the consumer has finally thrown in the towel.

    I wonder why Mr Ford doesn’t explain more explicitly the potential effects of changing tax policy on carried interest and taxing private equity managers at marginal income rates rather than 15% on capital gains. I know he said “unintended consequences” but I doubt he’d raise the issue as a concern troll: I think he has some idea of what they might be.

    I found this point of view pretty refreshing:

    Those most able to pay the higher tax ought to probably pay a larger share.

    Some of the most successful businessmen including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates have the value that wealth comes with societal responsibilities. Now there’s an idea that spans the divide across the aisle.

    It appears from this article that Mr. Ford plays a role in managing the endownment of his alma mater, which last year grew at a higher rate than any other college with the one exception, Yale. I ought to disclose I know Mr. Ford from college.

  19. bmaz says:

    Oh, this is surprising. Democratic House Intel Chairman Sylvester Reyes confirms the cave is on.

    The House Intelligence Committee chairman expects a compromise soon on renewal of an eavesdropping law that could provide legal protections for telecommunications companies as President Bush has insisted.

    Reyes, D-Texas, said he was open to that possibility after receiving documents from the Bush administration and speaking to the companies about the industry’s role in the government spy program.

    ”We are talking to the representatives from the communications companies because if we’re going to give them blanket immunity, we want to know and we want to understand what it is that we’re giving immunity for,” he said. ”I have an open mind about that.”

    Regarding a compromise deal, Reyes said: ”We think we’re very close, probably within the next week we’ll be able to hopefully bring it to a vote.”

    Isn’t that nice? Reyes has been talking to the telcos, reviewing the bogus partial documentation the Bushies are spoon feeding him, and has an open mind to what Bush/telcos want. It is on the way. Great. Hey South Tesass Dipstick, how about listening to the fucking public and being open to what they want??? Jeebus….

      • bmaz says:

        Does thus start the wave of reasoned inquiry???

        Okay, anybody with a few minutes on your hands, go visit Kevin Drum and, bad pun intended, drum up the volume on his post so that some of the big time people that read his site take notice. Thank you…..

        • klynn says:

          Well done bmaz!

          I am glad you are having success getting the “telecom indemnification agreements” point/reality across in more formats. Now for MSM to get on the ball and address it. Perhaps can we hope someone in Congress ask for copies of them?

          bmaz, can’t we apply for a FOIA request regarding the signed indemnification? There should be no reason why a copy of this would violate “states secrets”. Except because “someone” wants to just say, “It does,” for the sake of CYA. Nahhhhhh, THAT doesn’t happen in the ole US of A!

          Great job!

      • behindthefall says:

        Are we pretty much accepting that the domestic terrorist watchlist has 200,000+ names on it? How the blankety-blank do you even GET 200,000 names unless you wiretap EVERYBODY and filter for words like “Bush”, “consarned government”, and the like?

  20. ezdidit says:

    The Nixon and Reagan-Bush eras were rife with ilegality , wrongdoing and policy errors.

    Arguably the worst decision was to forego the great opportunity to cheaply fund western-style fundamentalist Muslim schools that taught some modicum of critical thinking and logic within Pakistan, Afghanistan and throughout the Middle East. The cost for the region and for the U.S. has been incalculable.

    Cheney, Wolfowitz, PNAC, and all the Empire dreamers should be ashamed, for, on their watch and through their negligence, they have fomented an international disaster with no means of remediation at their disposal other than destruction and permanent war.

    It will require a visionary community organizer from Chicago to change the world we have borrowed from our children. All politics is so so local.

    • JohnJ says:

      Cheney, Wolfowitz, PNAC, and all the Empire dreamers should be are ashamed proud, for, on their watch and through their negligence diligence, they have fomented an international disaster with no means of remediation at their disposal other than destruction and permanent war.

      Edited for reality! (/snark)

  21. JohnJ says:

    Congratulations bmaz! You deserve the accolades.

    The next step will be when the discussion loses its preface as a “commenter on a blog suggested” and the village gurus make that argument their own (and infer they came up with it). That will be the tipping point.

    The public is still conditioned to treat the word “blog” as a discreditation of any discussion, the same as how “liberal” has been turned into a slur.

    • bmaz says:

      Well, I may still be wrong. I don’t think so; but what I really care about is having the questions asked, answered and be part of the critical discussion. I think they are incredibly important and potentially game changers. It is a farce if this is not part of the discussion before a decision is made. So, I will settle for that. And thanks for the help too, I might add. Saw you had been to Kevin’s site.

  22. behindthefall says:

    1 in 100 people in this country are in prison, I read at Whitehouser.com I see that we are heading to having an equivalent number of people on the domestic terrorist watch list:

    The excerpt below is from an article published in October of 2007 and there is no indication that this trend will change any time soon.

    According to Wired magazine:

    The nation’s centralized watch list has grown to include 755,000 names suspected of having terrorist ties, resulting in nearly 20,000 positive matches of persons against the list in 2006, according to a new report from Congress’s investigative reporting arm. Since the list is now used in nearly all routine police stops and for domestic airline travel, Americans made up the bulk of those matches.

    Eyeballing the graph at Whitehouser.com, about 230,000 names have been added per year over the past couple of years.

    Seriously: how does one go about collecting so many names?

  23. behindthefall says:


    Bush administration terrorist list excludes right-wing groups
    By Patrick Martin
    25 April 2005


    The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not include extreme right-wing groups, some of which have ties to the Republican Party, on its list of potential terrorist threats, according to a report last month by the Congressional Quarterly, a publication with high-level sources in Congress and the federal government.

    CQ Homeland Security, an online publication of Congressional Quarterly, obtained a draft planning document which outlines the foreign and domestic terrorist groups the DHS expects to face. The threats originating from overseas are attributed primarily to Al Qaeda and other extreme Islamic groups. The threats originating from within the United States are attributed to radical environmental and animal rights groups, such as the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), which have attacked scientific laboratories using animals for experimentation, as well as construction sites.

    (emphasis mine)
    Well, ALF and ELF aren’t going to get you 230,000 names a year, unless their membership drives are more successful than (I would guess) a major political party’s. Still looking for where all those names come from …

    • Loo Hoo. says:

      What about the Aryan Brotherhood type groups? Wouldn’t those be considered right wing?

          • behindthefall says:

            Take a look at that Wired graph; it has a constant slope — ain’t levelling off.

            • kspena says:

              Yes, thanks. You know it makes me wonder if there is some relation between the way the bushies got taken by the Afgans who got $5000/’terrorist’ that they turned in….cab drivers, shepherds, (the worst of the worst) etc. and the way names get added to the watch list. Do you suppose people’s careers are enhanced by adding names to the list—-some kind of bonus program?

              • behindthefall says:

                Problem is that the rate of growth works out to 930 new ‘names’ Monday through Friday throughout the year. That’s an army at work … or an automated system doing word recognition on phone lines. The fact that the process shows no sign of saturating may be indicative of something, considering that you might think that 1 million terrorists might be about the sum total on earth, nevermind likely to fly on planes in the U.S.

                But someone’s career is furthered by this, that’s for sure.

                  • kspena says:

                    This would seem to me ‘proof positive’ that bush’s policies are indeed increasing the number of ‘terrorists’ at an alarming rate….

  24. behindthefall says:

    Some indication that 1% of the names on the list are domestic. Also indication that aliases and alternate spellings contribute to the total, resulting in maybe an average of 1.5 records per real person.

    Does this start to sound more like what you’d expect from foreign-foreign (transitting the U.S.?) and foreign-domestic intercepts?

    (No good links yet.)

      • behindthefall says:

        Accuracy and the list shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same breath, apparently. They won’t reveal the list, but a judge has recently ruled that some of the complaints have to be revealed so that there is some sense of the difficulties it is causing:

        judge rule

        You can evaluate that far better than I. And what catches my eye most is still its rate of growth. There’s a firehose somewhere.

  25. behindthefall says:

    Wiki’s always good

    Terrorist Screening Database
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The TSDB is fed from two primary sources: international terrorist (IT) information from the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) and domestic terrorist (DT) information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

    The twelve databases that are currently incorporated into TSC are:
    1. Consular Lookout and Support System (CLASS) – Department of State
    2. Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE) – National Counterterrorism Center
    3. Interagency Border Inspection System (IBIS) – Department of Homeland Security
    4. No-fly list – Department of Homeland Security
    5. Selectee list – Department of Homeland Security
    6. National Automated Immigration Lookout System (NAILS) – Department of Homeland Security migrated to Treasury Enforcement Communication System (TECS)
    7. Criminal Justice Information Services Division Warrant Information – Department of Justice
    8. Violent Gang and Terrorist Organization File (VGTOF) – Department of Justice
    9. Interpol Terrorism Watch List – Department of Justice
    10. Air Force Office of Special Investigations Top Ten Fugitive List – Department of Defense
    11. Automated Biometric Identification System – Department of Homeland Security
    12. Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System – Department of Justice

    This is a hall of mirrors: FBI DT a primary source, but what’s that? Broadband wiretaps?

  26. dugsdale says:

    Hey, I just want to pull everybody’s coat about the online chat Dana Priest does every Thursday over at the Washington Post ”live discussions” site. Her beat is national security and intelligence, and she’s the reporter who broke the extraordinary rendition story (as well as the Walter Reed Hospital/slime-covered walls scandal). I’ve drafted a question for her next chat based on bmaz’s telco perspectives (been soaking up the telco immunity posts here and at Kevin’s too). The House Dems may well have caved by next thursday, thus rendering my question partly moot, but I wanted to recommend the site anyhow–she seems to be pretty well grounded in reality (a useful trait with so much speculation flying around, warranted though it is).

    Anyone else wondering if Cheney might be running his own intel operation through private contractors (sort of an extension of his ’Team B’ approach)? Lordy, lordy, pass me the tinfoil hat–oh never mind, I’m already wearing it.

  27. Sedgequill says:

    It has been suggested to me in a comment over at JustOneMinute that I consider using “meta-legal” instead of illegal in “illegal surveillance.” To find the legal lines being crossed, one would examine current FISA, the Fourth Amendment, and oaths of office, I take it, but where else might one find violated legal boundaries pertaining to surveillance and information-sharing?

    • skdadl says:

      Now there’s a solution I haven’t seen anyone else come up with. And it has endless possibilities — meta-constitutional, anyone?

  28. jayackroyd says:


    I just sent off your feb 18 post to my USRep’s local chief of staff, regarding prior administrative indemnification. She expressed surprise at this argument when I ran into her at our local starbucks. Is there any more follow-up on this? In particular, anyone who has written not by pseudonym?

  29. Slothrop says:

    “Cheney’s lifelong goal to increase the power of the presidency…”


    This frames the issue as the actions of a man devoted to some sense of civic duty. That’s not the case.

    Cheney’s lifelong goal is to find ways of helping himself to more power and then using that power to benefit himself (and his friends) financially.

  30. BayStateLibrul says:

    OT but

    “I don’t want you reading my personal stuff,” the president explained to newspaper editors three years ago on why he doesn’t send electronic messages.

    All historians need to see are your fucking loopy, loads o’shit, dimwitted,
    press conferences…
    That’s your legacy…

  31. Neil says:

    Not the most eloquent but it gets a point across…

    RE: Did Bush grant telecomms indemnification for domestic surveillance?

    To: Congressman

    March 3, 2008

    If the President and Secretary of Defense were asking Congress to pass a bill that provided retroactive immunity for criminal prosecution for criminal acts by Blackwater in the US and abroad, and Congress was not clear about the nature and scope of the criminal behavior because no through investigation had occurred, Congress would rightly be reluctant to blindly give blanket immunity.

    How could Congress justify their decision without full knowledge of the crimes? It could not responsibly do so. Furthermore, it could not responsibly take the word of the administration in the matter either. It would have to investigate or make sure the courts could adjudicate.

    With over 40 cases already pending in the courts regarding whether the government and telecomm industries conducted illegal surveillance on Americans citizens, it would be a miscarriage of justice for Congress to intercede and end adjudication, the President’s misinformation campaign – that day by day since February 15 Democrats have put American lives more and more at risk – notwithstanding.

    There is an argument being made that these telecomm (savvy from experienced legal staff and 70 years of wiretapping legal history) were able to extract indemnification agreements from the US government before becoming a party to the Bush Administration’s domestic surveillance program. If so, retroactive immunity is not needed for the telecomms but needed only by the US government to conceal the facts.

    Do not grant telcomms or the Bush administration retroactive immunity. Allow the courts to do their job.

    If Americans can no longer have the right to privacy in their communications as we have for so many years then let it be done in the open and not in secret.

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