Main Core

I don’t know about the track record of Christopher Ketcham, the author of this Radar piece explaining the "big thing" that that made Jim Comey object to the warrantless wiretapping program so aggressively in March 2004. But it sounds like a plausible explanation.

Ketcham describes a database of Americans who, in case the government ever implements its Continuity of Government program in a time of national emergency, can be rounded up and jailed.

… a number of former government employees and intelligence sources with independent knowledge of domestic surveillance operations claim the program that caused the flap between Comey and the White House was related to a database of Americans who might be considered potential threats in the event of a national emergency. Sources familiar with the program say that the government’s data gathering has been overzealous and probably conducted in violation of federal law and the protection from unreasonable search and seizure guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment.

According to a senior government official who served with high-level security clearances in five administrations, "There exists a database of Americans, who, often for the slightest and most trivial reason, are considered unfriendly, and who, in a time of panic, might be incarcerated. The database can identify and locate perceived ‘enemies of the state’ almost instantaneously." He and other sources tell Radar that the database is sometimes referred to by the code name Main Core. One knowledgeable source claims that 8 million Americans are now listed in Main Core as potentially suspect. In the event of a national emergency, these people could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and possibly even detention.

[snip]

Another well-informed source—a former military operative regularly briefed by members of the intelligence community—says this particular program has roots going back at least to the 1980s and was set up with help from the Defense Intelligence Agency. He has been told that the program utilizes software that makes predictive judgments of targets’ behavior and tracks their circle of associations with "social network analysis" and artificial intelligence modeling tools. [my emphasis]

Ketcham goes on to explain that the Bush Administration was cross-referencing Main Core with its warrantless wiretap program. I’m not entirely clear whether Ketcham is saying BushCo used Main Core to come up with potential targets of warrantless wiretapping, or whether they used the warrantless wiretapping intercepts to add to Main Core–I think, but am not positive–it’s the latter.

A veteran CIA intelligence analyst who maintains active high-level clearances and serves as an advisor to the Department of Defense in the field of emerging technology tells Radar that during the 2004 hospital room drama, James Comey expressed concern over how this secret database was being used "to accumulate otherwise private data on non-targeted U.S. citizens for use at a future time." Though not specifically familiar with the name Main Core, he adds, "What was being requested of Comey for legal approval was exactly what a Main Core story would be." A source regularly briefed by people inside the intelligence community adds: "Comey had discovered that President Bush had authorized NSA to use a highly classified and compartmentalized Continuity of Government database on Americans in computerized searches of its domestic intercepts. [Comey] had concluded that the use of that ‘Main Core’ database compromised the legality of the overall NSA domestic surveillance project."

I agree with Digby: read the whole thing.

Now, like I said, I don’t know how credible this story is, but two things seem to support its credibility.

First, the Continuity of Government thing is a big neocon wet dream. As Ketcham notes, Ollie North was an early operative developing the plan under Reagan. During their private sector years, Cheney and Rummy were both picked to run the government if the COG plan ever went into effect. So this would be, in a sense, Cheney’s wet dream squared. He’d get to blow FISA away, as he and Addington apparently drool over doing. And he’d get to do so using his masters of the universe fantasy to boot. So it seems utterly plausible to me that Cheney would dream up merging all his wet dreams into one domestic spying program in the days after 9/11.

The other reason this seems so plausible is that, Ketcham quotes Philip Giraldi as speculating, it basically uses the Department of Homeland Security to shield this activity.

If Main Core does exist, says Philip Giraldi, a former CIA counterterrorism officer and an outspoken critic of the agency, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is its likely home. "If a master list is being compiled, it would have to be in a place where there are no legal issues"—the CIA and FBI would be restricted by oversight and accountability laws—"so I suspect it is at DHS, which as far as I know operates with no such restraints." Giraldi notes that DHS already maintains a central list of suspected terrorists and has been freely adding people who pose no reasonable threat to domestic security. "It’s clear that DHS has the mandate for controlling and owning master lists. The process is not transparent, and the criteria for getting on the list are not clear."

This makes sense too. While anything run through a formal intelligence department would need to be–at least according to the laws Bush and Cheney like to ignore–reviewed by the Intelligence Committees. With DHS, those laws are more vague. Furthermore, this would put Michael Chertoff–who we know was brought into some of Yoo’s crappy OLC opinions (albeit those that deal with torture), in charge of the program. In fact, Chertoff is basically implementing a different domestic spying program–that National Applications Office, which will use satellites within the US–over the objections of the House Homeland Security Committee (the Senate Homeland Security Committee–led by Joe Lieberman–seems to have no problems with Chertoff spying on us with satellites).

This explanation, in other words, fits neatly with a lot of things we know about the Bush Administration.

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168 replies
  1. emptywheel says:

    Incidentally, this story says that Main Core used the stuff gathered by CIFA. Since Jesus’ General caught CIFA checking out his site, we can probably assume they were going after a lot of progressive bloggers.

    Also, this is the kind of story that Shorrock’s Spies for Hire is necessary background for–he talks about the Continuity of GOvernment as one source for a lot of the outsourcing of intelligence:

    A CNN special investigation later discovered that the communications and logistics part of the plan was managed by a super-secret agency called the National Program Office, which was headquartered in Fort Huachuca, Arizona, the headquarters for Army intelligence.

    He also talks a lot about the NAO–the satellite spying program that Chertoff is pushing through.

    • drational says:

      I suspect the story is complete bullshit.
      Lets be clear about what is alleged here:

      A “secret Government plan” to round up 4% of the US population.

      Now the “evidence” for the plan:

      According to a senior government official who served with high-level security clearances in five administrations [unnamed], …. He and other sources [unnamed] tell Radar that the database is sometimes referred to by the code name Main Core. One knowledgeable source [unnamed] claims that 8 million Americans are now listed in Main Core as potentially suspect.

      This alleged program is a Framework for Fascism, and none of the multiple “sources” would use their real name? Didn’t they realize “Main Core” already knows they leaked to the author….?

      • drational says:

        I mean come on:
        Multiple unnamed sources for the largest fascist plot in the history of HUMANITY, and none of them leaked to a journalist with a track record of publishing on the TSP…..

        • emptywheel says:

          drational

          I noted my hesitancy to accept this unquestioned.

          But I think you’re turning it into something it’s not. It’s a database of people who may be incarcerated, not who will be. And frankly, after the 1000+ men who were incarcerated following 9/11, it is not at all surprising that they would have a database of people whom they might want to round up if there was a next time. Also note the Halliburton contracts for large-scale detention centers in this country.

          IMO, the salient points to this story are:

          1) COG exists and was renewed under Bush (documented fact)
          2) Part of COG includes a database of people who may be rounded up in case of attack (not documented fact, but one given the 9/11 precedent, is not unreasonable)
          3) That database swept wide, and includes people whose alleged animosity to the state is precarious (not documented, since the database is not, but utterly consistent with the No Fly database, the Terrorist Watchlist, and CIFA)
          4) Part of the warrantless wiretapping program involved either tapping people in the database or–at least–collecting information on them to be used if needed in the future (this, too, is uncorroborated but in no way inconsistent with what we know of the warrantless wiretapping program)

          I don’t blame you for doubting the story–my first reaction was precisely the same as yours: who is this guy, and why didn’t Eric Licthblau or Siobhan Gorman get this story (though remember that a number of the warrantless wiretap stories–like the USA Today story–were broken by people otherwise not on that beat)? That said, I don’t discount it entirely, because it largely fits with everything we know about the warrantless wiretapping program and everything else the Bush Administration has done.

          Think of it this way: a lot of people on this list are reacting, “so what, I already assumed they were tapping me?” Which is a not uncommon belief–that the warrantless wiretapping was getting a lot of innocent people the government perceived to be enemies. I always had a problem with that only because it was too broad–I believed there must be a system. If the Admin is actually using its multiple lists (CIFA, No Fly, and Terrorist Watchlist) and making it into a larger database that might be tapped, it might explain how they’re doing it.

          Again that’s all not good enough to buy this right off. I, for one, would like to see some people test this story. But my interest is piqued.

          • WilliamOckham says:

            I’m always fascinated by the “who gets the leak” aspect of these stories. When the major players in the press get the leaks, it means somebody wants the Washington establishment to pay attention. When the fringe players get the leaks, it is hard to tell what’s going on. This could be a disinformation campaign or the truth wanting to be free. Often as not, it seems like like there are both elements in the same story.

            I’d like to throw out a question to bmaz:

            If you peel this story back to its core, it says Comey blew his lid over connecting the wiretapping to this database. Given what we know about what Comey was ok with, does that sound believable to you?

            • bmaz says:

              Outstanding question. Without really knowing more, obviously there is no way to do more than speculate, but i am halfway inclined to say no because if he felt that the names were legally obtained, I cannot see all the “resignation – shut down” reaction simply because they were putting said legally obtained information on a list. Now, that said, Main Core sounds true to me in a lot of ways, but I am not sure that they truly intend to detain that many people and, the article really doesn’t say that they do, it paints it more as a sliding scale of interest in individuals for continuity of government purposes should the time come. I am thinking that Marcy is right in her insinuation that they merged “the program” into this thing to hide it and maybe attempt to give it an undeserved scintilla of propriety.

              Drational @several comments – If you think this is that unprecedented, you might want to bone up on Hoover’s file vault.

          • drational says:

            Spose you gotta keep an open mind to get the breakthrough, but I can’t get past the questions. We will see.
            Regardless of whether they have a plan for incarceration, a list with 8 million “suspected” Americans would be the biggest (by scale and philosophy) tyranny in our history.
            Too fantastic to have not emerged, imho.

    • Rayne says:

      Fort Huachuca, Arizona appears weekly in my site’s traffic data.

      Guess I’m on the list.

      Since I’m already on it, I might as well say this “out loud”: 8 million people is one heckuva large uprising.

      Something bigger than an insurgency, I would think.

      Now add the 16 million who voted in the primary for Obama; seems like we should be breaking that database pretty soon, more of us than them by a long chalk.

  2. JGabriel says:

    It’s certainly compelling, but I think we need further confirmation and more reporting.

    Whenever I hear of an alleged secret program with a spy-movie name, like Main Core, rather than goverment bureaucratese, I tend to be a little suspicious. Of course, Republicans love their cloak and dagger games, so it’s not out of the question.

    .

  3. Leen says:

    8 million Americans served for the “Main Core” what the hell.
    Too many mentions of Cheney having a “wet dream” had me almost tossing my dinner.

    When James Comey testified before the Senate Judiciary this man gave me hope. I know there are plenty of Republicans who have a great deal of integrity. I know many Republicans have been running as far away from the Bush hooligans as they can. I think Comey is one of them

    Comey’s testimony


    • Petrocelli says:

      Let’s not forget all the things Comey & Ashcroft allowed before coming out against this one …

  4. TobyWollin says:

    Marcy…I spotlighted this with twenty five outlets. This needs to be talked about in a big way.

  5. trianarael says:

    It is increasingly clear that in such a country freedom of expression is a sadistic trap.

  6. Bushie says:

    If this is true, then it shows how lack of consequence for illegal action in D.C. leads to expanded illegal activity, abate years later. The roots of this is Poindexter and North, et al getting off the hook and becoming wingnut hero’s. Even if Cheney/Bush don’t do a “continuity of government” hat trick before 1.20.09, the criminal minds will resurface with another GOP pres..

  7. john in sacramento says:

    Just sayin …

    UC Berkeley Professor Emeritus Peter Dale Scott has warned:

    “If members of the Homeland Security Committee cannot enforce their right to read secret plans of the Executive Branch, then the systems of checks and balances established by the U.S. Constitution would seem to be failing.

    To put it another way, if the White House is successful in frustrating DeFazio, then Continuity of Government planning has arguably already superseded the Constitution as a higher authority.”

    What’s he talking about?

    Well, in the summer 2007, Congressman Peter DeFazio, on the Homeland Security Committee (and so with proper security access to be briefed on COG issues), inquired about continuity of government plans, and was refused access. Indeed, DeFazio told Congress that the entire Homeland Security Committee of the U.S. Congress has been denied access to the plans by the White House (video; or here is the transcript). The Homeland Security Committee has full clearance to view all information about COG plans. DeFazio concluded: “Maybe the people who think there’s a conspiracy out there are right”.

    Click for quotes and links to Steven Aftergood and Sen. Russ Feingold

    http://georgewashington2.blogs…..g-has.html

    • Loo Hoo. says:

      DeFazio concluded: “Maybe the people who think there’s a conspiracy out there are right”.

      Can we make it to January 20th? DeFazio and Feingold and friends in Congress need to get the word out on this. Now. I always wonder what Nancy Pelosi meant last summer when she communicated to bloggers that “You don’t know the half of it.”

  8. pdaly says:

    Wouldn’t it be ironic if gun-toting NRA members were solidly on this potential enemies of the state list along with all other Americans with gun permits?

    Afterall, who would Bush/Cheney be more afraid of during Continuity of Government? a progessive blogger with a computer? or an angry villager with a gun?

    CoG: “Yes, we are going to take away your guns. The Constitutional Order is O.V.E.R.”

    (Chances are bloggers could be stopped in their tracks with a takedown of the internet backbone)

    BTW, How much are satellite phones these days? Do they connect yet to the internet like blackberries do?

  9. JimWhite says:

    If we are all bunkies at the same detention facility, we won’t have to use the toobz to chat.

    Somehow, I don’t think I’m going to sleep well tonight.

      • kirk murphy says:

        I guess that’s the same reason Western Europe fought the Cold War:

        ‘Big Brother’ database for phones and e-mails

        A massive government database holding details of every phone call, e-mail and time spent on the internet by the public is being planned as part of the fight against crime and terrorism. Internet service providers (ISPs) and telecoms companies would hand over the records to the Home Office under plans put forward by officials.

        [snip]

        The proposal has emerged as part of plans to implement an EU directive developed after the July 7 bombings to bring uniformity of record-keeping. Since last October telecoms companies have been required to keep records of phone calls and text messages for 12 months. That requirement is to be extended to internet, e-mail and voice-over-internet use

  10. NMRon says:

    8-fucking-million people! Identified and tracked to be able to have them picked up on a moment’s notice. That’s a country’s worth of people for god’s sake. What a wonderful thing American freedom is –

    • ApacheTrout says:

      Certainly 8 million people can’t be detained in any sort of reasonable time period. We don’t have the police numbers to round up even half that many!

    • selise says:

      in april of 2002 the local police (in liberal MA) were still taking photos (head shots for id purposes) of people who participated in any kind of a peace vigil. one of the police officers told a friend of mine that it was at the request of the fbi (don’t know if that’s true). and the chief of the worcester police (third largest city in new england) told the city council it was necessary to know who we were and who we associated with because we were a potential threat to society.

      i can see getting to 8 million pretty quick.

      … if this report is accurate.

      • kirk murphy says:

        My former spouse (a fine Jewish girl from Skokie) too part in a pro-Palestinian rights demo at Southern Illinois University when she was an undergrad there in the early 80’s.

        She went off to the Middle Eastern studies grad program at UCLA, where she aquired a Masters and fluency in Arabic.

        When she later had a job interview with the State Department, they hauled out pictures of her at the hinky little demo held years before at SIU.

        Our “rulers” fear us.

        • lilysmom says:

          This breaks my heart. You know that they monitor us. They do not understand the concepts of freedom and defending the Constitution; only keep the grubs in line and docile.
          What have all of our soldiers, our children, throughout the years really died for?
          Damn all of them.

  11. wmd1961 says:

    Some of this dates to JFK – at least the CoG planning began in those days and had FEMA as a lead agency assuring CoG.

    • Loo Hoo. says:

      I’m not familiar with this site, but of course we need a continuity of government in case of a catastrophe. I’m sure Kennedy would have been thinking of a nuclear (atomic in those days?) bomb on DC. But 8 million people? They keep building these huge detention centers for some reason…

  12. ApacheTrout says:

    One knowledgeable source claims that 8 million Americans are now listed in Main Core as potentially suspect. In the event of a national emergency, these people could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and possibly even detention.

    Direct questioning (what’s wrong with questioning if you have nothing to hide???) and possibly even detention (indefinite material witness???) seem quaint compared with the idea that the COG may believe you have knowledge, that, if extracted using “enhanced interrogation techniques”, would save the lives of thousands of patriotic Americans (a.k.a. registered Republicans)

  13. Hmmm says:

    Welp, I guess we can assume Mr. Christopher Ketchum’s contacts for the past 10 years or so are getting a pretty thorough going-over right about now. Watch for news of unfortunate things happening to former highly-placed Federal officials…

    Snark aside, this actually makes me feel physically ill like nothing before has. Continuity of Government without the Constitution. And all set to go on a hair trigger.

    Fuck.

  14. WilliamOckham says:

    If I am not in the top 8 million people perceived as a threat by these guys, I am gonna be pissed.

  15. HardheadedLiberal says:

    Another well-informed source … says this particular program has roots going back at least to the 1980s and was set up with help from the Defense Intelligence Agency.

    Newsflash, folks! Those of us who were active in the 1960s heard reports that there were emergency detention camps prepared for “radicals” if the national government ever declared a national emergency. I, for one, was hyper-concerned to carry my passport with me whenever I traveled out of state, at least until Carter was elected in 1976, so that I would have traveling papers if I had to head for Canada suddenly.

    This is all a long time ago, but I vaguely remember that there were some provisions in a statute referred to as the McCarren Act for emergency detention of “communists” that may have been enacted by the Republican Congressional majority under Truman. In the 1960s, those of us who considered ourselves any flavor of New Left knew that we could be considered “communists” for such purposes.

    The FBI had files, the Chicago Police “Red Squad” had files, other metro police departments coordinated with the FBI for such counterintelligence operations. There were also revelations in the late 1960s by some former military reservists who had collected data on progressives from “public source” reports (news clipping services, etc.) during weekend warrior stints for military intelligence units.

    Maybe some of the national collection was shelved in the wake of the Harris Committee report on intelligence collection abuses in the mid-1970s and then resurrected in the Reagan administration. Anyone out there have any more bits of information?

  16. Leen says:

    I am reminded of when Medea Benjaman and Col Ann Wright were stopped at the Canadian border
    Canada Bars Entry to US Peacemakers: Let’s Pressure Canadian Government to Change its Policies

    October 4, 2007: Ann Wright, retired U.S. army colonel and former diplomat who quit in opposition to the Iraq war, and Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CODEPINK and founding director of Global Exchange, tested Canada’s policy towards US peace activists on Thursday. They were on their way to Toronto at the invitation of the Toronto Stop the War Coalition but were denied entry into Canada due to previous arrests for demonstrating against the Iraq War outside the White House and in the Capitol. Their names have been added to FBI’s National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database that apparently dictates Canadian border policy. The border agents at the Rainbow Bridge at Niagara Falls who barred Medea and Ann said the mere fact that they were listed on the NCIC was sufficient to bar them from entry.

    • bmaz says:

      I got news for you. If you have ever been arrested, ever fingerprinted, been convicted of anything above a petty offense (and those are probably now reported too) i.e. any misdemeanor or felony, ever had any warrant issued against you (even if it was erroneous or quashed), been the victim of certain classes of crimes, had a titled vehicle stolen, or been the subject of a completed police field activity card (less formal than a full departmental report), pretty much any law enforcement contact where full identifying information is obtained; you are in NCIC. It has everything and everyone that i just described.

      • skdadl says:

        Well, yes, bmaz, except: there was a time (when Pierre Trudeau was PM — and I promise you, I am not a Liberal and Trudeau often drove me bananas) when, in spite of NCIC, we would have let people like Benjamin and Wright in. Leen is right to raise her voice on this issue — many of us did as well.

        • bmaz says:

          Well, as you probably know by now, I am a fairly big Rolling Stones fan; and Mick sure liked the Trudeaus, er, at least one of them anyway…. I do believe he and Keith even wrote a little song about her.

          Leen @47 – Just did it from memory and experience; probably left out some included classes of individuals

      • Leen says:

        Not sure where that came from. But your list sure covers a lot of people. And of course I have as well as many others who have been arrested for protesting against unnecessary U.S. aggression towards another country or a war.

      • emptywheel says:

        Does mugging count? Because otherwise I’m not in there.

        And I was mugged in Berkeley, where the cops are incompetent goons. So I’m not sure they could work a database.

        Remind me to tell you the story some time about trying to explain that my stolen bag included a copy of Simone de Beauvoir’s La Deuxieme Sexe (in French) and Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children.

        • Hmmm says:

          How ’bout if you’ve had a rental car stolen? And the cops found it two weeks later? Across the parking lot from where it was stolen? (Aloha oe, how I do love Hawaii.) Does that count?

          • emptywheel says:

            My roommate had a car stolen, does that count? She either lost her license or had just lost her license so I was the primary diver.

            A good way to learn to drive stick in SF, be the primary driver for a manual transmission car.

        • bmaz says:

          I don’t think that counts; however, if I recall correctly if you are the victim of a repetitive individual, like a stalker for instance, your name is likely in NCIC. Not positive on that, but I think that’s right.

            • bmaz says:

              Stolen identity might be an included class. This is the best info I could find easily, it is by Steve Aftergood’s group, FAS. The one thing I do have on fairly good information is that they have a lot more in there than they commonly let on to and, what has always bugged the crap out of me, once you are in there, you don’t get out. This emanates out of a case where I represented someone on a violent felony, and he was innocent. I actually obtained a court order to strike his name from all criminal databases which, after a lot of effort, and upon information and belief, I was pretty much able to get done. Except for NCIC.

          • Hugh says:

            I don’t think that counts; however, if I recall correctly if you are the victim of a repetitive individual, like a stalker for instance, your name is likely in NCIC. Not positive on that, but I think that’s right.

            This sounds as if the NCIC is much like the Census only more complete.

          • emptywheel says:

            No one cares about my stalker. He was a member of White Power and a recovering heroin addict. Stole a cleat of mine once, and then (I suspect) egg-and-painted my brand new car.

            Unless you could certain discredited “journalists” as stalkers.

        • sailmaker says:

          I was a witness in a CoIntelPro case, so I’m certain I’m there. There is a certain peace in knowing that one is on the list and can take precautions.

          • sailmaker says:

            I guess I should add that from what I know of the Very Large Data Base (V.L.D.B) (real group, I’ve attended some of their excellent conferences) this Main Core project is very very possible. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison on privacy: ” Privacy is mostly an illusion.” Scott McNealy of Sun Microsystems put it more crassly but more correctly: “You have zero privacy anyway, get over it.” These are the people who are selling the government the databases (that sort and cross reference) and and storage to keep this stuff forever. Congress should do something about this, but they won’t.

            • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

              Well, all due respect to Scott McNealy’s considerable achievements, I beg to differ.
              I recognize that from his technical standpoint, he’s accurate: “You have zero privacy anyway, get over it.” Nevertheless, his attitude leads to careless, sloppy thinking. It assumes that nothing is private. Once we accept that fraudulent assumption, we abdicate responsibility to be mindful about the nature of the technologies that we create, or how we will use them.

              It’s as if he’s saying, “Privacy is Boolean; you have it, or you don’t.”
              He’s saying: Privacy = T or F.
              No other options exist.
              That’s sloppy, and it’s not true from a technical point of view.
              If privacy has value (and it does, just ask any fraud victim!), then you specify a range of options, and you admit that privacy is NOT Boolean; it’s an array.

              Privacy = [a, b, c, d… or as many options as can be legislated and encoded]
              – in Situation A, my information is viewable by ‘a’ or ‘b’ if I give my permission,
              – in Situation B, only ‘b’ can see it,
              – in Situation C, only authorized law enforcement professionals can see it, under specific circumstances,
              – in Situation D, it’s available for anyone to see; it’s unrestricted.

              IMHO, Mr McNealy would be prudent to rethink the datatypes he assigns to the variable/concept ‘privacy’.

              The greatly abused word ‘technology‘ derives from ‘techne’: tool.
              A hammer is a tool; it’s a technology.
              But I still have to consider whether I use the hammer to build a cathedral, or smash in someone’s skull. Personal responsibility for how a technology is used can’t be ducked simply by claiming that we’re powerless to control it. To say, “Privacy doesn’t exist,” as if that’s all there is to be said of the matter, is willful blindness. It’s fundamentally irresponsible not to consider the uses to which the tools you create are applied.

              Lawrence Lessig, and others, point out quite clearly that the way in which software technologies are written inherently constrains the potential for privacy.

              Code is law; and law is code. But the specifications for the code should determine when, how, and why personal information is to be viewed, filtered, copied, purged. Unfortunately, BushCheney, plus their GOP (and BlueDog Dem) enablers have determined that conversation about the uses of the Main Core technology will never be public — regrettably, their secrecy, invites thoughtless, deceitful, reckless behavior.

              When lawlessness spawns code, what gets sanctioned, encoded, and then accepted is lawlessness.
              And that is difficult to fix.
              Just ask Neville Chamberlain.

              • sailmaker says:

                Many of my classmates thought we were going to cross index all of human knowledge, the ultimate library for the world. Software and databases are inherently neither good nor evil. McNealy, and many others, myself included, in my opinion are disheartened by the pull of wall street, and the government to the ‘dark side’, to the perversion of knowledge to potentially retard the rights of all. McNealy should have picked up, and implemented the computer ethics taught at Stanford, but he did not. None of them learned the ethics they were taught at our higher learning institutions, and neither did the politicians, much to the detriment of society.

                I don’t think many started out in this vein, the goal was to sort data for the human genome project, to model (and thereby predict) the weather, to get us to foreign planets and so on. Eisenhower was correct about the perils of the military-industrial complex, but the warning needed to go further, to their bisection in information. We have never been able to legislate controls on the proliferation of the tools we have unleashed, from the bomb to the information age. It is now like stuffing genii back in a bottle to gain control of these beasts.

                I don’t think either McNealy or Ellison are capable of changing the course of industry towards the military because there is too much money involved, and both Sun and Oracle are publically traded companies. Neither company could go on strike against the military, although they might, and I say might because the following treads close to RICO/national security strictures: they could get all the database companies listed here to agree to standards of privacy such as you mention above. I’m not holding my breath for that because my sister-in-law sat for years on the national database standards board, where she said nothing ever got done in between clashes of egos, agendas, and what have you.

                • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

                  We have never been able to legislate controls on the proliferation of the tools we have unleashed, from the bomb to the information age.

                  Completely agree, although some of the reasons include the fact that politicians seldom have the knowledge base required to do a good job, and then much depends on the skill, competence, and knowledge of staff. That’s where staff can ‘make or break’ an issue or piece of legislation.

                  I also agree that McNealy and Ellison are not able to control what they’ve unleashed; engineers and inventors seldom foresee how the benefits of their technologies will be subverted by Dark Forces: envy, greed, fear…

                  Ethics underlie many problems that appear to be technical, but can often be traced to poor decisions made by tired, stressed people in a hurry. Thinking through the implications of a technology requires time, and we don’t admit that fact.

                  As for the database committee… A good committee is a great experience; but they’re rare. Good management, and good leadership can produce remarkable results; however, it’s an art form. Sigh…

              • falasafa says:

                Perhaps this is splitting hairs about an otherwise insightful comment, but your observation about the etymology of ‘technology’ sent me to my handy-dandy Liddell-Scott Greek Lexicon last night. And it put me on a train of thought, so I thought I’d share.

                The greatly abused word ‘technology‘ derives from ‘techne’: tool.

                Not exactly. ‘texvn‘ literally means ‘art, skill, craft in work, cunning of hand‘ and is closer to the meaning of technique. It was originally used to denote a level of knowledge that falls short of that which can be given by a rational accounting, because it comes to be through practice and habituation. You cannot be told, nor tell this knowledge. It comes to be through doing and is shared by showing. It can also have the connotation of cunning in the bad sense, as wily. But there is a special sense in which it means ‘the way, or method‘ by which a thing is gained. In this sense it is like a tool, but the emphasis is put on the outcome to be gained. Like your example of the hammer. Maybe exactly like it. But I’m not sure.

                I think the person who did the most to promote the notion of techne as ‘tool’ was Marshall McLuhan (following Martin Heidegger), who performed some absolutely brilliant thinking about what exactly the hammer, as a way or means to an end, actually is, considering that once it comes into being to serve a given end, there is nothing to keep us from employing it for others, or to prevent it from engendering new ends. The ‘medium’ as he called such ‘things’, thereby recovering the original notion of a techne as ‘a way’ – is the message. A mediating thing can be said to carry within it new human potential, often unanticipated. A very fertile notion, related, as I think your post was also getting at, to jurisprudence. In the sense that laws beget new, sometimes unanticipated possibilities for human interaction. Reminds me of Oliver Wendell Holmes’ pragmatic view that laws should be crafted with the most evil person in mind – I always think of Cheney. McCluhan’s best work along these lines was on, of course, the media, the technes of communication.

                It’s interesting to me that when the word is elided with logos to form the verb ‘texnologew’ the first instance of which is in Aristotle, it denotes ‘treating by rules of art, to bring under rules of art, to systematize‘, which suggests the modern connotation of techne as science, or an art of knowing based on a rationalized system of investigation and corroboration which seems to lend itself to certainty and transferability through speech, though I am of the opinion that what is actually received in such a transfer, if it is not verified by actually repeating the investigation oneself, amounts to true belief as opposed to knowledge. Neither here nor there.

                But this brings to my mind the work of Foucault on what he termed technologies of power and the means by which we can resist them and become self-actual – the technologies of self. The internet is certainly a technology of power. I think it remains to be seen whether it will survive as a technology of self.

                On a final note, one that I will happily be contemplating in conjunction with my Plato hobby for a few days, is that the homophones of texvn-related words are tekvov-related words – ie, of that which is born, or begotten; the bearing and raising of children. There is a school of thought on Plato, to which I tend to adhere, that emphasizes philosophy as ‘the art of living’, over and above such Aristotelian concerns as epistemology and natural science. Accordingly, special attention is given to Socrates’ self-proclaimed techne, maieusis, or midwifery – skill at helping others give birth.

                Anyway. This is a chilling post. Everything I believe I know about tyranny, I learned from Plato and Emptywheel.

                • bobschacht says:

                  Falasafa,
                  To further indulge your whims, you might look at the Greek text underlying the Biblical Gospels, in one of which Jesus’ father was described as a “Carpenter.” IIRC, the Greek word used in that passage is a cognate of tekvn.

                  Bob in HI

                • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

                  Thank you so much for a remarkable comment — and also bmaz, sailmaker, bobschaft, and EW.

                  falasafa, will respond later; much to synthesize – a remarkable amount of ‘intellectual midwifery’ occurs at EW’s, eh?

                  Interesting to see the derivation of ‘texvn‘ evoking ‘path’; IIRC, the Greek word ‘dike‘ is also related to ‘path‘. This term is used in early **written** law, evidently with the intention of helping the community ‘find a safe path, or right method‘.

                  However, I’ve just recently (re)stumbled on the fact that there is a tradition — evidently back to Akkadian and Sumerian script — in which the words for ‘written law’ and ‘oral law’ were different. Perhaps these were intended to distinguish between what the Brits might call ‘Custom’, as opposed to more formal, legally rendered – written — Case law.

                  The craft knowledge, particularly of early metallurgy, was ‘written’ (probably in ideograms distinctive to each writer, who alone could interpret them) but these ‘writings’ were regarded as **secret** knowledge. To possess this precious knowledge was to control a treasury. It wouldn’t be a stretch to suppose that a similar mindset may lie behind a ‘method’ like Main Core.

                  More later, but thank you so very much for the lexical insights!

                • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

                  It’s the end of the thread; I doubt many will come back to read, so here goes…

                  —————
                  Without knowing why you are reading Plato, or how familiarity you have with classical Greek culture 500 BC (I’m guessing a fair amount, given your Lexicon), I’ll note a couple things. However, I’ll point to another way of thinking about Plato: he was in the first generation of literate humans. He was bright, but he had a new and powerful tool: the alphabet.

                  Note that I say ‘the alphabet’: there had been other systems of writing (and there still are), but alphabets create systems of writing that make unique demands on the human brain. In addition, alphabets seem to act like an intellectual forge; they spawn novel ideas, new thoughts. Whereas other writing systems are more rigid, much more limited in the range of what can be expressed, the alphabet is truly novel. And that’s what Plato had.

                  A brief backtrack: classicist Eric Havelock puts 750 BCE as the key period in which the Phoenician alphabet was entering wide use in Greece; for the first time Homer’s Iliad was written down, Hesiod’s poems were written — but Homer and Hesiod were illiterate.

                  If you go to wikipedia’s ‘Cadmus’ page, you’ll see that the Greeks attributed writing to the Near East; there’s a whole long, fascinating story about how it developed in the multicultural, dynamic coastal cities of Asian Minor between 3000 – 800 BC. The key point for this thread is that Cadmus is also associated with agriculture (ie, calendars, instructions, water laws), and with making bronze (metallurgy). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cadmus
                  Both agriculture and metallurgy probably drove the need to develop and refine writing (as did commerce), and they also drove the need for WRITTEN laws.

                  Socrates, circa 500 BC, probably believed that Cadmus arrived in Greece bringing ‘Dragon’s teeth’ (ie, letters, an alphabet). But Socrates was an illiterate at a moment when writing was coming into wide use. And he was very concerned about the implications of writing, and what it might portend for individuals, for their ability to achieve ‘virtu‘ : their abililties to act wisely and justly. Had Socrates been born a generation later (and to a family wealthy enough to afford a tutor), the history of philosophy might be considerably different.

                  Around 500 BC, Athenian society shifted from orality to literacy. I’m among many who suspect that we’re now in The Next Great shift, and that like any significant change it means there will be cognitive changes — new demands on the brain, new modes of thinking, and new demands on information.

                  Why ‘cognitive shifts’?
                  Because the brain is plastic; we become what we do, we believe what we see.

                  As you note, Socrates understood this fundamental fact. He recognized that ‘method’ structures thought and behavior.

                  And he observed that people who used writing lacked that ‘embodied knowledge’ — that they would use words without understanding what those words actually meant. (And doesn’t that make Monica Goodling spring to mind…?) They became careless of words; arrogant with them. And in that process, they became ‘precocious’ while losing knowledge. And losing knowledge meant losing their ‘paths’ to God, and losing the ‘paths’ to their ability of being able to render justice wisely.

                  Socrates feared that the people who used writing as — it seemed to him — an intellectual crutch were quite susceptible to unethical, inadvertantly destructive conduct. Only virtue would save them, but writing would blind them to virtue — because in the mind of our ‘midwife of knowledge’ virtue existed in LIVING words, SPOKEN words. But it did not exist in written language.

                  That’s part of what he and Plato were ‘dialoging’ about, but Plato was able to write it for posterity. It’s like a lens through which we can decipher a huge cognitive shift; a phase-change in human thought.

                  I highly recommend a recent book, ‘Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain‘ (Maryanne Wolf), as you consider Plato. It’s recent, it’s absolutely superb, and it’s phenomenally wise and compassionate. (FWIW: I know a ton about the topics, and this book is stunningly good.)

                  Basically, Socrates thought of spoken words as ‘living’: stress, intonation, volume, these all provided additional meaning and information to the listener. He thought that written words were ‘dead’, because they couldn’t argue — they couldn’t change in response to someone’s pointing out a problem with their logic. To him, written language must have seemed inert and lifeless. So even if he was able to sound words out, he almost certainly never became a skilled reader.

                  Moreover, Socrates feared that WRITTEN language ‘could be mistaken for reality’ — and I think most EW readers have seen that very thing among Bush administration employees. (IMHO, John Yoo is a stunning example; I wrote it, therefore it must be true. And GWBush’s “Pixie Dust” = ‘I edited it, therefore, I have revised reality’ certainly speaks to the type of cognitive dysfunction that might be used by a man who is said to have found reading to be quite a challenge, and who is said to dislike reading.)

                  Socrates also feared that WRITTEN language would lead to superficial understandings — and that people would say and write things they didn’t actually understand; in his view, if you had to defend yourself in a verbal argument, then you assured yourself that you actually understood the logic and the issues. But we’ve seen a lot of superficial, inept conduct in Bush administration testimony and documents. (Lurita Doan is a classic example, although she’s also got other nefarious characteristics mixing in.) Some of it is clearly CYA, deliberate evasion; however, in a number of cases it certainly appears that people were in way over their heads. Socrates predicted as much.

                  Socrates was still living in the period of craft knowledge; he was an illiterate who recognized that somehow — in ways he didn’t fully grasp — the processes of reading, and of writing, altered the way that people think and what they think about. And as we know, he got no thanks for all his well-intentioned curiosity (!).

                  But along came Plato, who WROTE down his recollections of Socrates’ ‘midwifery’. And Socrates, was later lampooned by Aristophanes, along with other sophist ‘Clouds’, from which I shamelessly copy and paste a passage with allusions to “techne, maieusis, or midwifery – skill at helping others give birth”:

                  http://classics.mit.edu/Aristophanes/clouds.html
                  ——————–
                  A DISCIPLE from within
                  A plague on you! Who are you?

                  STREPSIADES
                  Strepsiades, the son of Phido, of the deme of Cicynna.

                  DISCIPLE coming out of the door
                  You are nothing but an ignorant and illiterate fellow to let fly at the door with such kicks. You have brought on a miscarriage-of an idea!

                  STREPSIADES
                  Pardon me, please; for I live far away from here in the country. But tell me, what was the idea that miscarried?

                  DISCIPLE
                  I may not tell it to any but a disciple.

                  STREPSIADES
                  Then tell me without fear, for I have come to study among you.

                  DISCIPLE
                  Very well then, but reflect, that these are mysteries. Lately, a flea bit Chaerephon on the brow and then from there sprang on to the head of Socrates. Socrates asked Chaerephon, “How many times the length of its legs does a flea jump?”

                  STREPSIADES
                  And how ever did he go about measuring it?

                  DISCIPLE
                  Oh! it was most ingenious! He melted some wax, seized the flea and dipped its two feet in the wax, which, when cooled, left them shod with true Persian slippers. These he took off and with them measured the distance.
                  ————————————

                  I suppose Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert are Aristophanes’ truest decendents.

                  But the underlying notions – that people act foolishly and selfishly because they don’t have the genuine, ‘craft’ knowledge to really understand what they’re about is worth contemplating.

                  I’ll not overlook John Yoo’s unethical conduct, but I don’t think it’s simply enough to castigate the man; I think it’s more important to try and ferret out what’s going on. What types of learning can best help people understand what they’re about, so they don’t make such appalling, costly mistakes?

                  Come to think of it, Scott McNealy and Larry Ellison might want to spend a few moments on the same topic.

                  Anyway, I hope this wasn’t a redux, and I also hope the few end-of-thread stumblers who happen by find it relevant to the overall themes of ‘how does Pixie Dust happen’? Who is most likely to invent it? Use it? How does it damage their ability to act in their long-term (as opposed to their short term) interests?

                  And I hope you haven’t read only Plato, without also reading Aristophanes, who has a thing to two to say about tyranny. But note that Aristophanes words are WRITTEN in order to be SPOKEN. Plato was the other way around. Of the two, I suspect Aristophanes was by far the more democratic.

  17. JThomason says:

    The newly named Ministry of Security continued to “delegate” the officers of the “active reserve” into state institutions and commercial firms. Soon KGB officers were staffing the tax police and customs services. As Boris Yeltsin himself admitted by the end of 1993, all attempts to reorganise the KGB were “superficial and cosmetic”; in fact, it could not be reformed. “The system of political police has been preserved,” he said, “and could be resurrected.”

    [snip]

    The transfer of financial wealth from the oligarchs to the siloviki [KGB reserves called “the power guys”] was perhaps inevitable. It certainly met with no objection from most Russians who have little sympathy for “robber barons.”

    [snip]

    Curiously, the concentration of such power and economic resources in the hands of a small group of siloviki, who identify themselves with the state, has not alienated people in the lower ranks of the security services.

    [snip]

    The rights of the siloviki, however, have nothing to do with the formal kind that are spelled out in laws or in the constitution. What they are claiming is a special mission to restore the power of the state, save Russia from disintegration and frustrate the enemies that might weaken it. Such idealistic sentiments…coexist with opportunistic and cynical eagerness to seize the situation for personal or institutional gain.

    “The making of a neo-KGB state,” The Economist, August 25, 2007.

    Nuf said.

      • JThomason says:

        The point really is not the obsession with the enemy. The point concerns the organic evolution of the security state–the commingling of private corporations with government in an effort to divorce public morality from security concerns (the corporate device providing the anonymous cloaking of tyranny)and the substitution of arbitrary power for due process. These are the earmarks of the closed intrusive society. The constitution represents a method of advancing individual autonomy and liberty against tyrannical impulses. Tyranny in the cloak of corporate anonymity,arbitrary violence, and the intrusion of the state into the private enterprise of its citizens yet finds ways to operate in modernity. Its an evil burlesque.

  18. merkwurdiglieber says:

    Peter Dale Scott’s Road To 911 explores the COG issues in as much depth
    as available documentation allows… you may not believe it, but if you
    read it you might decide that COG plays a large role in the positions
    adopted by OLC and other legal organs of Bushco. REX84 is the Ollie North
    starter set for Cheney’s World.

      • GulfCoastPirate says:

        I think I agree with you earlier. If I’m not on the list I’m gonna be pissed.

    • whitewidow says:

      That was my thought. At least all the cool people will be there.

      Reading this literally gave me chills. Even with what we already know, it just really hits home when you read in print. The scope is quite mindblowing.

      Now think about the article from a couple months back where business owners are being trained to “protect the infrastructure” and were told “when martial law is declared”, rather than if, and that they were allowed to use deadly force.

      It’s also really extra super helpful that habeus was suspended with the help of Democrats.

      Interesting times, indeed.

      • john in sacramento says:

        Now think about the article from a couple months back where business owners are being trained to “protect the infrastructure” and were told “when martial law is declared”, rather than if, and that they were allowed to use deadly force.

        Infragard

        selise @ 42

        maybe they have us labeled with a color coded threat level? /snark

        They do

  19. wavpeac says:

    Okay…big giant tin foil hat on here. My husband believes that there is a plan to create marshall law in a crises. He believes that at this time, many americans will be rounded up and housed in these large trains that have shackles. He has shown me pictures on some crazy website and they appear to exist. I assumed they were for taking illegal aliens back to mexico or to be used to ship folks across country. I don’t know, but there are construction folks who have helped to build them and say they exist.

    I have been telling him to take his antipsychotic. However, hearing about this list, hearing military folks here in nebraska say that they assume there will be a hit against Iran soon, (who knows the accuracy of such a discussion) makes me wonder. I mean, seriously wonder.

    It could all be extensions of fear about the things that we know for a fact exist…which are scary enough. But…the weird thing is that every time I have defended reasonableness in regard to this administration I have been badly mistaken and then some.

    I am not telling my husband that I even posted this.

    • masaccio says:

      I remember going to rallies in 1970 in Fayetteville, NC, (Fort Bragg) and seeing a lot of people with cameras. It’s enough to make one want to check out one’s FBI and other files.

      The funny thing is that while I have a very low tolerance for tin foil hat speculation, this one seems quite likely. I think the long history of this kind of thing and the paranoid Cheney are a desperately likely pairing.

  20. Hugh says:

    Evening maincorians, it will be interesting to see if more develops on this. If ever there was an impeachable offense, it would be a plan to incarcerate 8 million US citizens. Needless to say outside of mayber Henry Waxman the Democrats will want to know even less about this than the Republicans.

    • selise says:

      outside of mayber Henry Waxman the Democrats will want to know even less about this than the Republicans.

      i wonder how many members of congress are on the list. maybe that would light a fire under them?

    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

      First, those Congresscritters — Dems and Rep’s — are foolish if they think Cheney wouldn’t have them picked up, just like everyone else. Congress should wake up and realize that if Cheney’s willing to ‘out’ CIA agent Valerie Plame, bomb Iran, and go to SCOTUS to retain control of Energy Task Force documents, Congresscritters are naive to think they’re any safer than the rest of us.

      Pardon the long comment, but what does all this mean? Maybe someone here can put the info below into a larger context….?

      Who wrote the Main Core software?
      Who let the contracts?
      Who are they really working for?
      Who has authority over them?
      I have no idea, but I sure have questions, which came largely out of a wikipedia visit to ‘Abramoff’ after reading the previous post. It’s worth noting that back in 1999 Jack Abramoff was a lobbyist for eLottery, Inc. They wanted to kill a bill that would outlaw online gambling; Jack called in Ralph Reed and Grover Norquist to help him spike that legislation, and it might be worth noting that this this is a software client that would use a large database. Norquist leads to some interesting stuff at wikipedia, including a rather strange software company pTech. And Norquist did have a former biz partner heavily involved in government procurement: David Safavian.

      From wikipedia pages, some odd bits that I don’t understand, but perhaps others can use to put together a larger understanding:

      David Hossein Safavian: on October 27, 2006, sentenced to 18 months in prison. He’d been Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy, Office of Management and Budget, where he set purchasing policy for the entire government.

      But back in 1997, Safavian and Grover Norquist founded a lobbying firm, the Merritt Group, which was renamed Janus-Merritt Strategies.

      Over the next five years, the firm’s clients included international companies, Indian gaming interests, the government of Pakistan and the government of Gabon, and the American Muslim Council and Abdurahman Alamoudi, a fierce supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah…

      The wikipedia pages for Norquist and Savafian lead via ‘SAAR network’ to a company called PTech which seems to have come under federal suspicion:

      Describing itself as a “provider of enterprise architecture, business modeling, analysis and integration software solutions,” the privately-held corporation was founded in 1994, and known for its technology, which was based on a unique implementation of neural net and semantic technologies. Ptech was recognized as one New England Technology’s “Fast 50″ by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu in 2001…

      Ptech’s roster of clients included several governmental agencies, including the United States Armed Forces, NATO, Congress, the Department of Energy, the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Customs, the FAA, the IRS, the Secret Service, and the White House. Despite the media allegation that the company’s was connected to terrorism, an allegation that both the US government and the company’s official denied, as of May 2004 they were still contracted by several federal agencies, including the White House.

      Ptech had a security clearance to work on sensitive military projects dating to 1997.

      Oh, and one more interesting tidbit if wikipedia is correct:

      David Safavian is married to Jennifer McLaughlin, and they have a daughter, Kathleen.[13] Jennifer Safavian is one of twelve counsels for oversight and investigations on the House Government Reform Committee.

      I don’t know about PTech, but they do the type of work that something like Main Core would require. (If I’m wrong about this, the commenters and lurkers around here who write C code will, I hope, correct me.) As of 2004, they still had a contract for security related work.

      And Safavian’s wife… is she still ‘eyes and ears’ at a Congressional committee that might investigate any problems with contracts.

      Do any of these dots connect….?

      • bmaz says:

        As to your who what when where and why questions, this bit from EW @1 is maybe instructive:

        Also, this is the kind of story that Shorrock’s Spies for Hire is necessary background for–he talks about the Continuity of GOvernment as one source for a lot of the outsourcing of intelligence:

        A CNN special investigation later discovered that the communications and logistics part of the plan was managed by a super-secret agency called the National Program Office, which was headquartered in Fort Huachuca, Arizona, the headquarters for Army intelligence

        Fort Huachuca is an Army Intel facility at heart, but I think all of the defense agencies participate there. Even more interesting is that there is, of course, a certain very spooky private contractor that has a literally massive facility there. Yep. It’s our good friends ManTech. You might remember them as being Rick Renzi’s father’s company, the one Renzi did all the goofy unethical land machination’s for in legislation in a county at the other end of the state from his own district. What does ManTech specialize in other than all forms of down and dirty spook work? Ahem, information datamining.

        • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

          Ohhhhhhh…. wow. Cheney, Rummy, Poindexter, and Renzi Sr. (Or, at least until Feb 08, Renzi Sr. Perhaps his ghost still haunts the place.)

          $467,000,000 in the 2004, and another $1.1 billion up to 2008…
          Listen, for that kind of cash, who needs the San Pedro, anyway? You’re getting ‘rapid flows’ of data — what else should you want?

          Whiner!

          ;-))

      • emptywheel says:

        Wrong corrupt Republicans, I think.

        Shorrock says a company called Betac got a chunk of the contract–he believes Rick Renzi worked for Betac during some of his lost years, and the contract was definitely doled out with the corrupt help of Daddy Renzi.

        • emptywheel says:

          Oh, and after two buyouts, Betac is owned by Lockheed Martin, which has a propensity for giving money to the key people–including otherwise sane Democrats–who for some reason voted for the SSCI version of the FISA bill.

          • skdadl says:

            Oh, dear. Lockheed Martin, whose general counsel is …

            Coming back to Comey’s testimony, which just gets deeper every time one thinks about it, two questions about how Main Core could fit in: Something had to be “renewed on a regular basis” and had been renewed a number of times — does this help us to understand what that was? And then at the end of the hospital narrative, Comey and Mueller (and presumably Goldsmith) had the president’s direction to fix something so that the DoJ could certify its legality, and they did that. How would that relate to Main Core?

            • Hmmm says:

              Well, if it’s collecting or indexing that much data, then maybe the recurring authorization that Comey, Ashcroft, etc. were dealing with might have been financial rather than legal — because wouldn’t somebody somewhere have had to periodically sign the POs to buy ever more storage media (hard drives etc.)? I mean, it’s all got to go somewhere, right?

            • Hmmm says:

              Also, about what DoJ demanded had to be fixed in order for them to continue to periodically authorize the program — Maybe this is where the part about collecting the data but promising not to look at it yet comes in. Maybe the CoG spooks had switched over from an earlier mode of merely blind-escrowing the hoovered data (i.e. until such future time as the detainment program may be turned on, and only then would data mining commence), to a new mode of actively and continuously mining the stored hoovered data and (in classic pre-crime/pre-cog style) identifying specific individuals as suspects in advance — and that was what the DoJ decided was over the line, beyond the pale, anathema, unclean. The fix would have been to abandon the predictive computer-based designation of suspects, and fall back to just saving the hoovered data into the sealed box.

              (Hmmm: CoG / pre-cog. Also recently: CUI / cui bono. A guilty subconscious can be a leaky thing…)

              • Hmmm says:

                Times of London on the UK version of the same program tends to support that theory:

                The information would be held for at least 12 months and the police and security services would be able to access it if given permission from the courts.

  21. MadDog says:

    In keeping with EW’s post, I’m sure ya’ll want to get this calendar for your very ownself:

    The National Counterterrorism Center 2008 Counterterrorism (CT) Calendar

    The National Counterterrorism Center is pleased to present its 2008 edition of the Counterterrorism (CT) Calendar. This edition, the largest since the Calendar first appeared in a daily planner format in 2003, contains information across the full range of terrorism-related issues: terrorist groups, wanted terrorists, and technical pages on various threat-related issues. The Calendar marks dates according to the Gregorian and Islamic calendars and contains significant dates in terrorism history as well as dates that terrorists may believe are important when planning “commemoration-style” attacks.

    In this era of continuing high levels of terrorist threats worldwide, the CT Calendar provides a ready reference of counterterrorism information. A daily planner version puts this information close at hand. The interactive Web site version at http://www.nctc.gov provides enhanced search tools. Both versions are designed for anyone concerned with terrorism: law-enforcement officials, intelligence officers, military, and security personnel, contingency planners, or simply citizens concerned by terrorist threats. The Calendar is oriented primarily to readers in the United States, but we hope it will also be useful for citizens of other countries.

  22. Leen says:

    8 million arrested before or if/when they pre-emptively attack Iran?

    “Of course, federal law is somewhat vague as to what might constitute a “national emergency.” Executive orders issued over the last three decades define it as a “natural disaster, military attack, [or] technological or other emergency,” while Department of Defense documents include eventualities like “riots, acts of violence, insurrections, unlawful obstructions or assemblages, [and] disorder prejudicial to public law and order.” According to one news report, even “national opposition to U.S. military invasion abroad” could be a trigger.”

    Radars piece
    http://www.informationclearing…..e19871.htm

    Scott Ritter has a recent interview over at Anti-war.com about Iran. He believes that the probability of an attack on Iran is up to 90%. The talking heads (Matthews, Couric, Stephanapoulous, Russert, David Gregory) (not challenging any of the unsubstantiated claims about Ian just repeating them) are sure bringing up Iran a great deal while they say little about what is taking place in Iraq

  23. PJEvans says:

    I’m not sure the government has facilities for even two million arrestees, never mind eight million. Even if they use all the military bases … remember, they sold off a lot of that real estate as part of the base closings.

    FWIW, the city of LA – just the city, not the metropolitan area – is 3 million people.

    I’d bet that NCIC can get to security clearance information if they think they need it. More fingerprints, birthdates, schools, families.

  24. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Who but Cheney and the necons would mutate a Continuity of Government plan — an otherwise prudent way to manage a complex government in the midst of a national or global disaster (bombs, tsunami, comet strikes, bio-chemical disasters — into a way to get even with his Nixonian list of enemies.

    What Strangelovian or Freudian demons drive him to put punishing those who might be his critics ahead – no, as the primary means – of salvaging government and society after a holocaust?

    Presumably, it’s that society that he hates. He doesn’t want to salvage or resuscitate society, hence it’s laws and rules are irrelevant. He wants to destroy a large part of it and remake the remainder in his image. That’s the erotic dream of a fallen angel, who knows he’ll never again sit at the right hand of God, and wants to damn civil society in return.

    • Hmmm says:

      I see it more like The Matrix: not hate nor pity so much as coldly detached disregard for an inferior species. The people are to be farmed, fed as little as possible, and profit from their labor raked upwards into ever larger piles.

      Explains the “So?” part, donnit?

  25. Leen says:

    ot

    John Dean’s latest on Obama
    Is Senator Barack Obama Truly Too Elite To Be Elected President? Further Thoughts on Obama’s Intelligence and Education as Possible Barriers to His Victory
    By JOHN W. DEAN

    Do Americans want a President who is not smarter than they are? A President who has to play down their intelligence?

  26. yonodeler says:

    If there is such a program, passing it on to a President from the other major party could be problematic, couldn’t it?

  27. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Dick probably thinks incarcerating eight million potentially able-bodied and healthy people as his first response to a national or global disaster is a good start.

    MC sounds more like part of a Seven Days in May scenario than part of a credible continuity-recovery plan. It is Strangelove’s post-apocalypse world in which only the military/neocons/Reichwing intelligentsia are fit to survive in their mineshaft lairs, rising to the occasion of making do with ten females to each male. Expect to hear soon that the Pentagon is worried about a Mineshaft Gap.

  28. Leen says:

    I know I am going to have nightmares about Dick Cheney’s “wetdreams” 8 million war protesters in a detention camp
    Oy vey!

    later

  29. JimWhite says:

    Okay, how many of you will admit to wondering tonight just how much cash to keep on hand and how long it will keep you “off the grid” if something like this begins to play out?

    • masaccio says:

      I had a foreign bank account when I spent a summer abroad, and now I’m wondering how hard it would be to open a new one in another country.

  30. Professor Foland says:

    Since we’re in a tin-foily mood I thought I’d remind everyone what Halliburton’s been up to:

    A Houston-based construction firm with ties to the White House has been awarded an open-ended contract to build immigration detention centers that could total $385 million, a move some critics called questionable.

    The contract calls for KBR, a subsidiary of oil engineering and construction giant Halliburton, to build temporary detention facilities in the event of an “immigration emergency,” according to U.S. officials.

  31. TomR says:

    —-
    Furthermore, this would put Michael Chertoff–who we know was brought into some of Yoo’s crappy OLC opinions (albeit those that deal with torture), in charge of the program.
    —-

    Protesters Blame Berkeley Prof. For U.S. Torture
    http://cbs5.com/local/Yoo.tort…..26623.html

    – Tom

  32. Professor Foland says:

    More cheerful thoughts on Main Core…

    Anyone remember the September 2006 Iraq NIE on who constitutes a threat to the US?

    Anti-US and anti-globalization sentiment is on the rise and fueling other radical ideologies. This could prompt some leftist, nationalist, or separatist groups to adopt terrorist methods to attack US interests. The radicalization process is occurring more quickly, more widely, and more anonymously in the Internet age.

    (emphasis mine)

    Or who the September 2006 the MCA covers as an Unlawful Enemy Combatant?

    But the really breathtaking subsection is subsection (ii), which would provide that UEC is defined to include any person “who, before, on, or after the date of the enactment of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, has been determined to be an unlawful enemy combatant by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal or another competent tribunal established under the authority of the President or the Secretary of Defense.”

    • bmaz says:

      I.e. whoever the President Unitary Executive says is an enemy combatant, thats who. However, good news! We all qualify!

    • Leen says:

      “Anyone remember the Sept 2006 NIE on who constitutes a threat to the U.S.?”

      Clearly not anyone in the Bush administration. Well maybe Gates.

      Bush, Cheney and their crew will get in a few strikes on Iran when it will clearly be too late to impeach (not that any of our congress critters would do so anyway…well Kucinich) and then hand this catastrophe off to the next President

  33. Hmmm says:

    Huh. So if this COG program is constituted under the DHS as is claimed, then how come what all those OLC opinions have been authorizing are DOD domestic actions? Is there perhaps a separate class of still-secret opinions authorizing DHS actions? Or is DHS secretly annexed to DOD? Or maybe that only kicks in at such time as COG is triggered? I dunno, I just want to understand, but there are too many moving parts to keep track of any more.

  34. kirk murphy says:

    This handy document (prepared in 1998/9 for the European Parliament’s STOA = Scientific and Technological Assessment – Group) was prescient regarding surveillance and “non-lethal” technologies.

    I found it the week after the WTO.

    Oh – and good suggestion about cell phones (re privacy). Even the ones without GPS chips can function as tracking devices – locating you to a given “cell” in the wireless coverage area. Taking out the batteries is the only to ensure this “function” is disabled.

    On that topic – buying/”feeding” “disposable” cellphones with cash is one way to have a less traceable tool.

    But – of course – this is all just for intellectual curiosity.

    • Hmmm says:

      I don’t do any evil, nor wish any ill to anyone, it’s just that I don’t trust any authority — especially nervous ones — to figure that out correctly.

  35. kirk murphy says:

    Hmmm, it never occurred to me than anyone concerned about their privacy wishes to do evil.

    The “evil doers” I see are those who collaborate with the “security” services to overthrow our Constitution.

    • Hmmm says:

      I know, I just felt like articulating the unjustness of having to worry I might be on some slimy suspect list, when really I’m such a pussycat in the physical world. (Of course writing, now that’s a different story.)

    • MadDog says:

      Would this be them:

      Second National Fusion Center Conference

      More than 900 federal, state, and local law enforcement and homeland security officials attended this week the National Fusion Center Conference here to further the U.S. government’s plans to create a seamless network of these centers.

      The second annual conference was jointly sponsored by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Office of the Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment, and the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative. Participants discussed how to best incorporate fusion centers at the state level and in major urban areas into national plans to improve the sharing of information related to terrorism — a key goal of a strategy that President Bush released last October.

      After the 9/11 attacks, states and various U.S. localities established information fusion centers to coordinate the gathering, analysis, and sharing of homeland security, terrorism, and law enforcement intelligence. Today there are more than 50 operational centers in 46 states.

      ~snip~

      On the whole, fusion centers play a decisive role, said Ambassador Thomas McNamara, Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment. “They are a critical part of President Bush’s National Strategy for Information Sharing,” the ambassador said.

      • MadDog says:

        Or perhaps you meant these folks:

        Remarks by Homeland Security Under Secretary for National Protection and Programs Robert Jamison and Assistant Secretary for Cyber Security and Communications Greg Garcia at a Pen-and-Pad Briefing on Cyber Storm II

        Under Secretary Jamison: I want to talk a little bit about what we’re doing from a cyber-security perspective and what we hope to get out of the exercises going on today from the Cyber Storm perspective. I think it’s important to note that when most people think about DHS they think either about TSA or Border Patrol agents or other physical presence in security situations and it’s important to realize that DHS has an important role in cyber security. And even though cyber security is not tangible or as tangible as some of the other security aspects that we deal with at DHS it’s a very, very important issue and it’s important threats and arrows that we’re dealing with as a department.

        As you know Secretary Chertoff has made it one of his top four priorities for ‘08 as well as the President’s put a lot of emphasis on this recently and we have a robust cyber initiative that we’re working on as interagency.

        ~snip~

        Cyber Storm I taught us some important lessons. As I mentioned, we built more of a foundation going forward into Cyber Storm II, but many of the things that we learned were that we needed more formal coordinated relationships to share information with our partners.

        Through the National Infrastructure Protection Process now since Cyber Storm I we have 17 infrastructure sector specific plans that have a cyber component and we have formalized relationships in sector coordinating councils, government coordinating councils, and information sharing and analysis centers that allow us to more formally share information and respond together. That’s what we’re testing this week.

        ~snip~

        We’re looking to expand our resources and our personnel to be able to utilize that enhanced situational awareness and respond to it. So we need to improve our analytical capabilities. We need to improve and build upon our response capabilities and become, as I mentioned, a more service-based organization that provides those services to the federal government and our private sector partners as needed to help them respond to these events.

        Third, we’re really looking on continuing to develop those relationships and information sharing with all the partners that we mentioned the government, the private sector, and our international partners.

        • MadDog says:

          I forgot to include this part:

          Question: Hi, Jim Fellon, CNN. In this exercise and if there were to be a large scale attack right now, my first question, very simple, is who’s in charge?

          Under Secretary Jamison: Who’s in charge from what perspective?

          Question: Who’s in charge period, for responding to an attack?

          Under Secretary Jamison: First of all, let me answer in a couple of ways. One, DHS has the roles and responsibilities for cyber security and infrastructure protection so we have a lead role in protection of cyber space from the “.gov” domain as well as the private sector domain to help it coordinate and work through those situations.

          If you are referring more to the cyber security initiatives, I think one of the important things to know about that is across the federal government we’ve got lots of skill sets, lots of resources that need to be leveraged together to make sure that the federal government responds most effectively. So we’ve got a coordinating role to help leverage those resources together so that we work together.

          We are testing those relationships and those concepts of operations this week and as a result I’m sure there will be many lessons learned and there we’ll be much able to better respond as an interagency, but DHS does have a lead role.

          Assistant Secretary Garcia: I would also add that it’s important to note that the internet and all of the networks, corporate and government and otherwise that are connected to the internet, it is widely distributed. There is no central control of the internet or the networks, so it is incumbent upon DHS as the central coordinating role to ensure through exercises like this and in real world that we have those relationships in place across the government and across the private sector, down to the state level and internationally that together, we’re going to be in control of this situation.

  36. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Okey, dokey then.
    Looks like I have more ‘homework’ to do.

    Clearly, many people have been making vast sums. Some are Americans; some aren’t. Here’s hoping Shorrock has some answers, because those links at Safavian and Norquist wikipedia pages have ’suspicious connections’ and ‘outsourcing’ written all over them.

    I doubt Norquist planned to drown government in a bathtub — he wanted siphon it; offshore it, money launder it to bank accounts only he can access in the Jerseys and Switzerland and the Caymans, and God only knows where else. ‘Outsource’ is just ‘privatize’ by another name.

    • bmaz says:

      Would you find it a little interesting that

      ManTech had $467 million in contracts at Fort Huachuca with options for an additional $1.1 billion between 2004 through 2008.

      I thought you might. Here is an early story by a certain lad of quite ill repute on this whole mess. The links in it, especially to the River Gamble article by my friends at New Times, are very good.

  37. freepatriot says:

    the bush administration can’t control Iraq

    if Americans stop cooperating, you think they’re gonna do a better job of controling US ???

    the Army LIKES us

    bush, not so much

    they might have developed a plan and shown it to george and deadeye, but it wasn’t the real plan

  38. JThomason says:

    The outsourcing, including the outsourcing of security operations in Iraq, provides the method of purchasing the fealty of the security coordinators. Their contracts are not the service contracts of the military. These are contracts drawn in the private sector enjoying the cloak of anonymity in the conflating of government and corporate enterprise. The compensation is significantly higher than that realized in military pay grades, the actors have become accustomed to acting beyond jurisdictional bounds, and their chain of command is hidden. As I said, these are the methods used to divorce security issues from the prescriptions of public morality. The commissions of the infrastructure, in other words, are not governed by Congress as it were. Once the administration ends they will remain as a private army raised beyond the bounds of check and balances and the critical data pertaining to the business of the republic has already been transferred. Its a brave new world.

    • bmaz says:

      Well, yes; and the illegal stuff will have been done under the auspices of the Cheney/Bushies, so the Cheney/Bush neocon thugs will always have that grip, control and blackmail leverage over all these private contractors that will live on after the Cheney/Bushes are out of office, giving them an eternal lever over them. Nice eh?

    • BillE says:

      Yep, I won’t be worried until the Iraq contractors start coming home. If Maliki kicks them out and we let it happen, time for plan B everyone.

  39. yonodeler says:

    Encryption and anonymization tools are being used in government, in business, and among private citizens. We may be past or nearly past the point of drawing more suspicion by using such tools. How much more could everybody be suspected?

      • yonodeler says:

        The breaking of encryption is highly unlikely to be what exposes a user.

        The better anonymization systems, such as Tor, are forthright in detail about known vulnerabilities, and try to educate the user in what to do and what not to do.

        There are no absolute security guarantees, but available encryption and anonymization tools can help overall. There are trade-offs, of course.

        • Hmmm says:

          I understand, but information security is always in the context of a secret and an entity that wants to know that secret. When the other entity is an individual or business-sized, off-the-shelf tools such as you mention are perfectly sufficient. But when the other entity is, or has support from, the NSA, no so much, and helping slightly means no secret at all from those eyes. For example, an anonymization server’s not much good if the other side is able to watch all the traffic going into and out of the box.

  40. ezdidit says:

    I bet it’s just a list of all the lawyers in the U.S.

    After all, if you get “:detentioned:” & you don’t have a lawyer, you’re really f**ked.

  41. prostratedragon says:

    Wow, I seem to be the only one of the regs so far who’s already passed to the “what the hell” point of absorbing this kind of possibility. Years ago, in fact.

    I’m not trying to be smug, I’m genuinely surprised. But then, I knew formerly interned Japanese-Americans from childhood and learned about the McCarran Act when I was about 16, so, welcome to my world.

    Stay loose, everybody, I suspect they really can’t round us up by the millions without a few more sociopolitical turns of the screw. We just need to be alert for hundreds or thousands for now, and turn the tide on the bastards.

  42. perris says:

    you can bet, every single person who ever posted here, jane’s, or any liberal blog, there ip is recorded and their identity part of this list if it really does exist

    now let’s start putting two and twi together;

    I have been saying they are going to have some kind of “catastrophe” before bush leaves office so he doesn’t leave office and here it is staring us in the face

    think progress
    US President George W. Bush intends to attack Iran in the upcoming months, before the end of his term, Army Radio quoted a senior official in Jerusalem as saying Tuesday

    hold on to hats, martial law about to be declared

    me been warning this for some time now, here it comes, if this list thingy is true, we will meet each other in “camp”

    • Leen says:

      Scott Ritter and Seymour Hersh have been saying that a pre-emptive attack on Iran is coming for years now. And yet Chris Matthews, George Stephanapoulous, Tim Russert, Diane Rehms, Olberman and many more have been allowing unsubstantiated claims about Iran to be endlessly repeated by Senator McCain, Douglas Feith, John Bolton, Cheney, Bush, Senator Clinton, Reuel Marc Gerecht, Daniel Pipes the inflammatory rhetoric generated by these folks about Iran has gone unchallenged for four long years.

      When Russert was interviewing Cheney on a Sunday morning a few years ago. Cheney went on and on about a nuclear weapons program in Iran. Russert asked him “how can we stop them” Russert did not ask the simple question “where is the verifiable evidence, who are your sources” yada yada

      Recently Chris Matthews and Stephanapoulous go on and on about Iran. Not on fucking challenge came out of these turds.

      folks should be hammering our reps, calling, emailing, writing their local newspapers in the streets if you can. Acting like we actually have a say in what our government does…pretending. NO NO NO attack on Iran

      At least you will know that your not dead.

  43. klynn says:

    So, is THIS list politicized too?

    After all, while we are on the topic of “fitting patterns of behavior” for this administration…

  44. falasafa says:

    When I was a boy, and my mother was getting her masters in History (at SIU, Kirk Murphy), I went along for an interview she conducted with a survivor of Theresienstadt. I remember very distinctly his telling us that we should never suppose that the same thing couldn’t be carried out in this country – “Just imagine how many people they could pack into your sports arenas. On whatever pretense. They put you in, they lock the gates, and you expire in the sun.” I’ve never looked at a sports arena the same way again. The way it went down at the Super Dome during and after Katrina was all the proof I needed. The medium is the message, indeed.

  45. SaltinWound says:

    I’ll ask, because I haven’t noticed Mary yet: how did Comey “fix” this and bring it under the law? It’s corrupt to the core and should have been junked but I don’t sense that’s what happened to get Comey to sign off on it.

  46. wavpeac says:

    It is a gorgeous 70 degree day here in nebraska. The smell of trees, lilacs and otherwise blooming.

    It’s really hard to get the gumption to go to work to help crazy people when there is a big political machine who just keeps making more and more business for me. It’s no wonder that ant farms while fasinating have always given me the creeps.

    So what is the protocal for fascism…Do I just keep going to work? Or should I stay home, enjoy spring, hug my children and store gallons of water in basement? Which would be the healthiest, most resilient behavior?

    And what shoes do you wear?? Something comfortable and practical I suppose.

    A new adventure.

    I am going to go out and smell the lilacs and then go to work.

    Tin foil blocks the sun…so today, I am going to notice that the sun is still shining, the roses are budding, and children are laughing…today there is no crises.

    peace everyone.

  47. LS says:

    We’ve been in a “State of Emergency” ever since 9/11 — it is still there, and I believe that it is something that has to be “renewed” periodically…Maybe that is what gives “legal certification” for the data gathering…perhaps at the time that Comey was protesting…it had lapsed.

    Just sayin.

    • Rayne says:

      There was a “state of national emergency” declared last August in an Executive Order regarding Lebanon. The American media rolled over, didn’t question it.

      Don’t know now in hindsight if that had anything at all to do with the “broken arrow” situation or the bombing in Syria weeks later — or if it’s all of one piece with this COG program.

  48. LS says:

    BTW. They can instantly “incarcerate” 8 million people, for instance, just by blocking all of the exits from Manhattan. They can isolate entire cities.

    It is true that Rex-84 existed.
    It is true that they’ve been spying on Americans.
    It is true that they have kidnapped and shipped Americans to detention outside of the U.S.
    It is true that this government has tortured people.
    It is true that there is a huge no-fly list that included Ted Kennedy.
    It is true that this Administration has Continuity of Government plans that they refuse to share with Congress.
    It is true that this Administration has issued signing statements to almost every bill claiming unitary executive authority.
    It is true that we were lied into war.
    It is true that Bush was “appointed” president by SCOTUS.

    Now. That is just a small inkling of what they’ve been up to…all in the name of a “war” that has and can never be “declared”, because it is a war on an ideology.

    So. Isn’t it time that we took a close look at the events of 9/11 (the event that has enabled all of this) with an open mind, and stop all of the conspiracy theory accusations?

    Just sayin’.

  49. skdadl says:

    Bruce Fein, quoted in Ketcham:

    “We are at the edge of a cliff and we’re about to fall off,” says constitutional lawyer and former Reagan administration official Bruce Fein. “To a national emergency planner, everybody looks like a danger to stability. There’s no doubt that Congress would have the authority to denounce all this—for example, to refuse to appropriate money for the preparation of a list of U.S. citizens to be detained in the event of martial law. But Congress is the invertebrate branch. They say, ‘We have to be cautious.’ The same old crap you associate with cowards. None of this will change under a Democratic administration, unless you have exceptional statesmanship and the courage to stand up and say, ‘You know, democracies accept certain risks that tyrannies do not.’

    We have to put that last line on banners and even maybe T-shirts, babies’ rompers, diapers, anything, just to jerk people back to sanity and courage and strength. It isn’t brave and strong to dream of security states; those come from the cowards and the liars.

    That said, I did think that Ketcham (which I finally finished — I know, I know, bad student, skimmed the assigned texts too fast before I piped up) was a funny mix of very recent stuff and stuff from as far back as Hoover, as bmaz says. I recognize that that makes some sense, but it also feels a little facile. I dunno. I do know that Michael Chertoff has come here and snorted at Canadians who think that their fingerprints and irises are personal property (he wants them uploaded to his satellite). They do this stuff quite openly. It is so rude, I feel.

  50. LS says:

    EW: Radar has an update at the end of the article now:

    UPDATE: Since this article went to press, several documents have emerged to suggest the story has longer legs than we thought. Most troubling among these is an October 2001 Justice Department memo that detailed the extra-constitutional powers the U.S. military might invoke during domestic operations following a terrorist attack. In the memo, John Yoo, then deputy assistant attorney general, “concluded that the Fourth Amendment had no application to domestic military operations.” (Yoo, as most readers know, is author of the infamous Torture Memo that, in bizarro fashion, rejiggers the definition of “legal” torture to allow pretty much anything short of murder.) In the October 2001 memo, Yoo refers to a classified DOJ document titled “Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activities Within the United States.” According to the Associated Press, “Exactly what domestic military action was covered by the October memo is unclear. But federal documents indicate that the memo relates to the National Security Agency’s Terrorist Surveillance Program.” Attorney General John Mukasey last month refused to clarify before Congress whether the Yoo memo was still in force.

    Meanwhile, congressional sources tell Radar that Congressman Peter DeFazio has apparently abandoned his effort to get to the bottom of the White House COG classified annexes. Penny Dodge, DeFazio’s chief of staff, says otherwise. “We will be sending a letter requesting a classified briefing soon,” she told Radar this week.

  51. LS says:

    BTW..this story is going viral all over the internet…Kos diary has over 600 comments as we speak.

  52. oldtree says:

    If anyone believes this government is tracking the enemies, they are probably mistaken. This is to track citizens for a permanent majority and to handle martial law. It will work for a lot of things, but consider why it was created, and now how it has been abused.

  53. Rayne says:

    Why, of all times, did CRS issue an updated report on “National Emergency Powers” last year, 30-AUG-07? What changed that an update was needed — are we supposed to believe that the anomalous handling of Davis-Bacon suspension post-Katrina in 2005 triggered this? Who requested this status report?

  54. ezdidit says:

    First, they will come for the Jews.

    It doesn’t have to be this way at all. The proposed gameplan is a scam, a sham doctrine of interdiction that will work only to inflict terrorism by our own government upon our own people in order to perpetuate a permanent ruling class! That 8 million people should be on such a list is an outrage and it is time to resist it, investigate it and end it.
    This is a plan put together by ruling Beltway elites out of fear, fear of democracy and fear of the people.

    The cure is to Crush The Cell.

    The Military Commissions Act must be rescinded – NOW!

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