Church Committee, The Bush II Version?

Because it wouldn’t be a badly corrupt attempt to install a permanent Republican majority without a Church Committee to clean up afterwards…

Tim Shorrock, author of Spies for Hire, has a story in Salon describing a proposed second Church Committee.

Now, in the twilight of the Bush presidency, a movement is stirring in Washington for a sweeping new inquiry into White House malfeasance that would be modeled after the famous Church Committee congressional investigation of the 1970s.

While reporting on domestic surveillance under Bush, Salon obtained a detailed memo proposing such an inquiry, and spoke with several sources involved in recent discussions around it on Capitol Hill. The memo was written by a former senior member of the original Church Committee; the discussions have included aides to top House Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Judiciary Committee chairman John Conyers, and until now have not been disclosed publicly.

[snip]

"If we know this much about torture, rendition, secret prisons and warrantless wiretapping despite the administration’s attempts to stonewall, then imagine what we don’t know," says a senior Democratic congressional aide who is familiar with the proposal and has been involved in several high-profile congressional investigations.

Notably, Shorrock describes discussions to investigate Bush’s surveillance programs–and their antecedents in the Clinton and Reagan Administration.

The article also provides names and dates that seem to corroborate the earlier Radar story on Main Core. Shorrock explains that William Hamilton, the President of Inslaw–the maker of PROMIS, a criminal investigations database–claiming that the Reagan Administration just gave PROMIS to NSA and CIA to use for intelligence purposes. Hamilton also describes being told by a US intelligence official in 1992 and an NSA official in 1995 that the government was using PROMIS to search the Main Core database–a database of all those perceived to be domestic threats to national security within the US.

This article still doesn’t clinch the case that the biggest problem with the illegal wiretap program is that it used the Main Core database–listing people perceived to be domestic enemies–to develop target lists for wiretapping. Nevertheless, it provides a lot more data points, while at the same time hinting that there might be will to actually investigate this mess.

image_print
  1. dopeyo says:

    Other than Will Smith and Gene Hackman, who else is an enemy of the state? How do I get my name on the list?

    (Answer: If you’re reading this, you’re probably on their list.)

  2. masaccio says:

    From the article:

    Getting a full picture on Bush’s intelligence programs, however, will almost certainly require any sweeping new investigation to have a scope that would inoculate it against charges of partisanship. During one recent discussion on Capitol Hill, according to a participant, a senior aide to Speaker Pelosi was asked for Pelosi’s views on a proposal to expand the investigation to past administrations, including those of Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush. “The question was, how far back in time would we have to go to make this credible?” the participant in the meeting recalled.

    Here is another part of the leak: the proposed committee is Lee Hamilton, James Baker, Warren Christopher, Antonin Scalia, and Steny Hoyer. Staffers will be hired by Monica Goodling, special assistance from Brad Schlozman.

    That isn’t exactly what I had in mind.

  3. behindthefall says:

    “Dark Side” was reviewed in the Arts section of the NYT today, but its concerns should be on the front page every day for months on end. Starting right now would be nice …

    • PetePierce says:

      See Frank Rich’s article

      The Real Life 24 of the Summer of 2008

      and Scott Horton’s web site has been doing a nice job of analyzing and adding information to issues in Mayer’s books in several articles:

      Six Questions for Jane Mayer, Author of The Dark Side
      By Scott Horton

      See subsequent Horton articles for more commentary.

      Jean Mayer spoke and took questions on Book TV over the weekend but I don’t know of a way to find a stream on the web. She is scheduled to be on line for questioning soon at the New Yorker website.

      This article that Jean Mayer wrote for the New Yorker is a lead in to her premise that “24″ was conceived to give the Bish administration ideas and she expounds that the CIA and contractors used Jack Bauer’s techniques and the torture inflicted on Bauer as a role model and drew ideas from the TV show.

      strong>Whatever it Takes: [Jack Bauer as a Maker of United States Policy] (***my editorial note)

      • behindthefall says:

        I watched ‘24′ for two seasons, mostly because I wanted to see whether they were able to adhere to the ‘realtime’ conceit (as in interesting movie called, I think, ‘Time Code’). They didn’t: driving between two locations in 10 minutes, etc.

        However, it also became evident that something else was going on: I was being asked to coarsen my sensibilities, so to speak, and I did not like that.

        It occurred to me yesterday, driving around, that Kiefer Sutherland in real life (his professional life) has been co-opted in the same way that his physician character in ‘Dark City’ was; he’s wound up applying his talents and knowledge to the service of the enemies of humanity. Often wondered where he stands personally on the ‘24′ brutality. If he dislikes what he’s being asked to portray, then he must find long contracts to be a real horror.

        • PetePierce says:

          I don’t know where he stands. I remember the surrealistic scene though where they were invited to some rethug meeting and Clarence Thomas was there gushing and Rush Limbaugh leaned in and kished Chloe. Quick where’s the IV phenergan?

          Rush and potential tongue action with Chloe (boy this will heighten the intellect of Marcy’s blog) as Clarence Thomas hovers close by wishing he had done it

          Chloe (Mary-Lynn Rajskub of 24) took questions from the adoring crowd; I don’t know if she demonstrated pulling fingernails, teeth, and waterboarding while doing a mini-dissection of the celiac plexus behind the pancreas with some tools from Home Depot.

          “He’s brilliant and hilarious,” she said. “But I wouldn’t say I wanted to get it on with him.”

          For a while there I thought there could be a threesome with Rush, Cloe, and Clarence Thomas.

          Keifer Sutherland has shown up at local bars 2-3 times during 2007 mingling with everyone to promote his rock and roll band.

  4. prostratedragon says:

    Things like this really bring out my inner Benjamin these days.

    Why leak this? So those of us who are most disgusted by the present Constitutional abomination of a regime will think Great Things are happening behind the scenes which we’d better not derail by doing, or even saying, anything not in the script?

    Basta.

  5. MsAnnaNOLA says:

    I just came across that article and came back here to post it in comments for ew and the group’s perousal…my you are quick on the draw!

    Thanks ever so much for the blog as usual.

  6. MarieRoget says:

    Why leak it? Why now? Perhaps so that the idea of a possible 2nd Church Committee can see the light of day, instead of being nay-said to death & quashed in back rooms.

    I’d forgotten about that Radar piece, ew. Meant to read it back in May.
    Worth reading for the Bruce Fein take on surveillance alone.

  7. emptywheel says:

    If I had to guess who one of the people cited is, trust me, there would be no Lee Hamilton.

    That said, this article seems like more of a bid to generate support for this Church II than a real reporting that it’s going to happen.

  8. bmaz says:

    We are supposed to bite off on this ruse emanating from the same wreaking crew that in March suffered rotator cuff injuries in their shoulders patting themselves on the back, and voice loss from telling us how resolute they were about protecting the Constitution and supporting accountability via the courts, in relation to FISA? The closest we are likely to get to Church is praying that this investigation happens and that we don’t have to add a similar Dem. Leadersheep cave in on torture accommodation to the prayer for investigation. Jim Morrison told me that “You cannot petition the lord with prayer”, so I won’t be holding my breath; although I really like Shorrock’s work.

  9. WilliamOckham says:

    Ok, I’m going to have quite a bit to say about this tomorrow. There are some really interesting bits and some really suspect bits to this story. Right now, though, I have to hit the sack. I just drove back to Houston from South Padre Island. Three years ago, we were there for Hurrican Emily and that was a less than pleasant experience. This time we bailed.

    My one meta-comment on the topic is this. Some of the stuff that gets leaked is disinformation. Trying to separate out the wheat from the chaff is a treacherous undertaking.

  10. 4jkb4ia says:

    Trash Talk

    Hard as it was to believe, bmaz has spoken words of emes, because the Dbacks are having no trouble with the Cubbies so far.

    End Trash Talk (since the Cardinals are in third place there is little to be spoken)

  11. stryder says:

    “Broken lines, broken strings,
    Broken threads, broken springs,
    Broken idols, broken heads,
    People sleeping in broken beds.
    Ain’t no use jiving
    Ain’t no use joking
    Everything is broken.

    Broken bottles, broken plates,
    Broken switches, broken gates,
    Broken dishes, broken parts,
    Streets are filled with broken hearts.
    Broken words never meant to be spoken,
    Everything is broken.

    Seems like every time you stop and turn around
    Something else just hit the ground

    Broken cutters, broken saws,
    Broken buckles, broken laws,
    Broken bodies, broken bones,
    Broken voices on broken phones.
    Take a deep breath, feel like you’re chokin’,
    Everything is broken.

    Every time you leave and go off someplace
    Things fall to pieces in my face

    Broken hands on broken ploughs,
    Broken treaties, broken vows,
    Broken pipes, broken tools,
    People bending broken rules.
    Hound dog howling, bull frog croaking,
    Everything is broken.”

    Copyright © 1989 Special Rider Music

  12. Sara says:

    Finished reading Tim Shorrock’s “Spies for Hire” about two weeks ago, and the book has not received the attention it deserves. I would suggest reading it in tandum with Richard Clarke’s recent book as they link very nicely.

    Shorrock is essentially a Business reporter, and what he does is examine the Intelligence Industrial Complex that has come into full bloom in the second Bush Administration, and as a result, today about 70% of the CIA’s budget is outsourced. Increasingly the role of leadership and personnel in our security agencies is procurement, contract management etc., not actually doing the work of spying, reporting and analysis themselves. Shorrock has all sorts of estimates, for instance, of the percentage of the President’s Daily Brief that is prepared by private Intelligence Contractors, as opposed to the agencies that should be responsible to the executive. In many respects, CIA, DIA, and others simply are places to train junior officers — it takes 4-5 years to train a professional in Intelligence, and get them fully cleared. Then they can market their clearances at 3-4 times pay in Federal Agencies, doing the same work — in some cases at the same desk at Langley. Needless to say this does nothing in terms of the seeming intent of Congress in recent years in increasing agency budgets — namely hire and train more people to higher competence. The result is the hollowing out of many parts of these agencies and their programs.

    Apparently Congressional Leadership became concerned with this even before the Democrats came into control — and began to let the agencies know they were ready to limit outsourcing — and Nancy apparently got a promise that CIA would try to push the 70% back to 60% — but that is a chicken feed promise, particularly because they seemingly are totally unwilling to evaluate the products of these contracts, evaluate quality. From Shorrock’s perspective one purpose of outsourcing may well be to shield programs from the Intelligence Oversight Committees.

    There are other implications. It privatizes the product of Intelligence Programs, meaning that they are no longer subject to eventual declassification, or to FOIA requests and the like. Contracts also don’t specify what is to be done with raw data on persons or financial matters that may be collected in an intelligence program. They may belong to the Contractor and not to the Government agency that generated the contract.

    I would assume that a “Church Committee” would deal with this aspect of things, or that Shorrock hopes to encourage that. If they are talking about a Legislative Commission, something structured like the 9/11 committee, the point would be to propose Legislative Actions — it would not be to hold evil dooers responsible for their evil. It would only be if you had a parallel process run out of DOJ — a special prosecutor equipt with a grand jury, that criminal or civil actions against individuals or in the case of outsourcing — Contractors, could go forward.

    In straight political terms, I must admit I am a bit torn on all this. Should Obama get elected, and have a strong majority in both the House and Senate, I think he has to deal in “deliverables” — the promises that have been made in the campaign, Health Care for instance, sorting out the huge economic and financial institution problems, executing the end of Iraq’s occupation, — things that so many people are struggling with on a daily basis. He will have a small window to show he can deliver — 2010 is also an election year. If he doesn’t deliver, the opportunity will end. I think most congresscritters will also be motivated to “deliver” and will not be interested in investing all that much in the evils of the Bush Years.

    • bmaz says:

      Sara, I absolutely understand that thought process, and part of me agrees with it; but that is tempered by the recollection of historical similarities. I know there is no need to plow through those with you, crikey, you likely know them better than I. But the last two major incidences of analogy, Watergate and Iran-Contra, were both either the same people involved here, or their ideological predecessors. Both times the “putting it behind us to get to the deliverables” resulted in the monster doing some rehab and then rearing it’s ugly head once again, each time with more dire consequences. It strikes me that it is time we finally stepped on it’s neck once and for all. If we just let go in that manner, they are going to use the difficulties that Obama will face in dealing with their excrement as a bludgeon and chop his legs out ala the full bore attack on Bill Clinton. And Obama has shown none of Clinton’s ability (the one redeeming thing he really does get credit for in my book) to stand up, look them in the eye, and beat them back. I am fairly convinced this isn’t a choice this time; it is a necessity.

      • Sara says:

        “But the last two major incidences of analogy, Watergate and Iran-Contra, were both either the same people involved here, or their ideological predecessors. Both times the “putting it behind us to get to the deliverables” resulted in the monster doing some rehab and then rearing it’s ugly head once again, each time with more dire consequences. It strikes me that it is time we finally stepped on it’s neck once and for all. If we just let go in that manner, they are going to use the difficulties that Obama will face in dealing with their excrement as a bludgeon and chop his legs out ala the full bore attack on Bill Clinton. And Obama has shown none of Clinton’s ability (the one redeeming thing he really does get credit for in my book) to stand up, look them in the eye, and beat them back. I am fairly convinced this isn’t a choice this time; it is a necessity.”

        Agree — but Clinton did not have an electorial mandate in either election, and I think there is a good chance Obama might. Ironically, I think all Clinton had a mandate to do was NAFTA — a Republican negotiated Treaty. It strikes me that the current mood is “take a chance on Obama” — which means a very short term understanding of whether he can deliver significant change that impacts real people out there who are not reading Mayers or Spies for Hire or Richard Clarke’s books.

        I think the notion of a Legislative Commission allows for having both/and, meaning the Commission could research the past, as the 9/11 Commission did just that, and Congress can simple mindedly focus on delivering the promises, which are Health Care, Out of Iraq, a comprehensive Energy Policy that takes us to the new sources and arrangements, and reform of the Financial Regulatory systems, the home mortgage structures, and all the rest. (Hopefully people saw the intended off the record comment by Bush recently in Houston at a fund raiser, that the problems in Finance and the Mortgage sector are because Wall Street was Drunk. Sound Analysis!) New call for Constitutional amendment to ban booze. (One of the reasons people didn’t have a decent argument about finance in the 1920’s was because Wet N’ Dry was always part of the mix.)

        I could not agree more that when an Elliot Abrams reappears after he has been convicted of lying to Congress, you have to comprehend that the first ass kicking was not sufficiently educational. Reading Jane Mayer’s book last weekend, my notion is simply to accept some of the ideas about how to question potential defendants, and line up a great long list of Bush/Cheney and DOJ characters, and test the thesis about the conditions under which one will confess and/or deliver evidence. Mayers book made me think quite Un-Quakerly thoughts. But in the end, in a Democracy, getting re-elected because you delivered at least part of what was promised is how you get and keep power — and as the formula goes right now, that depends on an Obama Mandate, and then delivery. If, as the polls show, Bush is down into the low 20’s on Job Approval, and if that sticks, then he has little to come back with in his coalition. If the Democratic Coalition can deliver, and also do a Legislative Commission that looks at past conduct, fine. An Obama Administration could let that happen so long as it does not require lots of attention from them.

        EW got a missive from a reporter who had read my series on Next Hurrah about how FDR responded to the Foreclosure Crisis in the early 30’s, which she forwarded to me, and I have been dealing with him. We can debate priorites or economic theory all we want, in the end the values of Home trump everything. The Grand and Great grand children may not have the slightest notion of exactly how FDR saved the family home or Farm, and they may have been voting Republican for many elections, but they still know the claim. We need to appreciate that this comes before stringing up the Economic Royalists of the Bushie years.

        • masaccio says:

          We are living through the torture regime, the domestic spying regime, the lying us into Iraq regime, and the stuff we don’t know yet regime. All of this is illegal, immoral and unamerican, and they did it and they are going to get away with it.

          New law won’t change the cycle. What scares these people is jail, and the public shame that goes with it. Remember, if they are trying to stay out of jail, they aren’t able to continue their work of turning this nation into a feudal state.

          • ThingsComeUndone says:

            Don’t forget taking away there money! Hit them where there heart is to hurt them.

          • Leen says:

            We are living through but over a million Iraqi people and 4ooo American soldiers did not make it through the Bush administrations crimes.

            Hold these fucking thugs accountable. Is this too much to ask of our Reps?

  13. kspena says:

    IIRC-Jane Mayer said in one of her interviews that there was a lot of serious talk in inner governement circles about doing ’something’ about ‘war crimes’. She didn’t give any details, but said something might happen soon. I hesitate to guess, but it might have been the one with Amy Goodman.

    • bmaz says:

      Really? Exactly what circles in the Bush government is talking about taking action against the, you know, Bush government? And how the hell do they propose to do it with Cheney in charge or the, you know Bush government?? Oh, and impeachment traitorously off the table???

      I, like you I think, would give anything for this to be true; but I don’t. If anything is done while Bush is still in office, it will be a whitewash job to inoculate the real culpability.

      • kspena says:

        I was quite surprised to hear her say that because I have the same reservations that you do. She went on to say that it might be difficult to ‘punish’ people who were trying to ‘protect’ the nation at a very difficult time. That might be why there seems to be more talk about Truth Commissions.

    • PetePierce says:

      Thanks for the link. I noticed that they are putting free streams and archiving transcripts for every show for several years starting with 2004. It’d be great if they’d do that and bring it close to up to date, but considering they are making some money for their network selling them, I guess that’s the way it will be.

      And after getting part way through her book, and reading parallel articles I may as well start calling her Jane instead of Jean.

      I have to get Spies for Hire soon.

      In the vein of Bmaz’s response on the prospect of the Bush admin. investigating the Bush admin., I think many books give a compelling perspective that will never happen. They are making last ditch hail mary passes to do something positive half heartedly and stupidly (see Condi Rice Middle East, Iran “initiatives” while knowing the party is damn fucking well over for these shitfaced bastards who have run this country deep into the ground.

      It’s been simply moronic to give Petraeus and other clowns 12 billion a month to jerk off killing people in Iraq right and left. It’s easy for millionairesses who never get near the war like the idiot Andrea Mitchesll to ask shitferbrains questions like “what if the generals tell Obama they can’t afford to leave on any timetable?”

      I’d like to see her and Al sitting on the top of a tank right now.

      Glenn Greenwald’s newest

      The Bush Tragedy by Jacob Weissberg

      The Political Brain by Drew Westin

      Hearts before minds, he tells Democrats – A brain researcher says the party needs to tap voters’ emotions to win.

  14. Professor Foland says:

    The memo was written by a former senior member of the original Church Committee; the discussions have included aides to top House Democrats, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Judiciary Committee chairman John Conyers, and until now have not been disclosed publicly.

    Great, just hold the ball right there, Lucy, and I’ll get it up and between the goalposts.

    • skdadl says:

      And if that goes through without being run past Congress, it will follow as the night the day that our guys will move fast, under the SPP, to “harmonize” (read “degrade”) our regulations to match yours, again without running the changes past Parliament. So will the Mexicans.

      “Administrative” change — it’s so much tidier than democracy.

  15. klynn says:

    How fun is this? We’ll investigate “after”…Bush and Cheney will be off on some island and now the US is on a non-extradition list…Hmmmm…Oh that works out great. I can see the justice now…

    And nice that Nancy came to play ball. With all she knows, the concept becomes a bit of a conflict unless she is going to “offer” herself…

  16. JimWhite says:

    While I don’t doubt that the Reagan and Bush II administrations especially (and those intervening as well, to a lesser extent) would maintain internal enemies lists and do what they can to accumulate data for those on the list, I’m struggling with how a piece of software from the late 80’s could have such importance. Especially since it is described as being “like Google”, which wasn’t developed until 1995.

    In the late 80’s, weren’t all large databases on tape? How could a tape search algorithm have any relevance today? I will grant that it’s possible to posit that the government merely started in the late 80’s by taking the best software from then and then continuing to “acquire” new software as it becomes available, but there really seems to be some sort of mythical superpower being attributed to PROMIS that I have a real problem believing.

    My bonus prediction is that I still think that Darth added virtually all elected Democratic officials to the list when they “went live” on datamining right after 9/11. It was just the sort of distraction he needed to get back to Nixon’s information gathering.

    • klynn says:

      Agree.

      My bonus prediction is that I still think that Darth added virtually all elected Democratic officials to the list when they “went live” on datamining right after 9/11. It was just the sort of distraction he needed to get back to Nixon’s information gathering.

      Thus explaining their loss of courage to do anything as a majority…

      • Leen says:

        Where do those NSA intercepts that Senator’s Biden, Dodd, Boxer, Lincoln Chaffee and Kerry were demanding during the John Bolton nomination hearings fall into the datamining discussion? I just can not get the image of those Senators who looked like they were about to kick John Boltons ass during those hearings out of my mind Did the NSA intercepts that these Senators were demanding have to do with the “alleged” internal spying on Colin Powells negotiations with Iran ?

        • klynn says:

          Stepped away for a bit and just catching up…to the hearing next…

          I’ve wondered about that as well. It would be worth pursuing this to find out.

    • PraedorAtrebates says:

      It is unlikely that the software has remained static. Think updates and rewrites. Don’t expect that what was put in place in 1980 is what remains in place now. Just the basic skeleton remains, the body built upon that skeleton has taken on new clothes as advances are made.

  17. RAMA says:

    A “new” Church Committee? So what?

    Let’s say that something like this actually happens (which is a stretch in itself), and the resulting report calls for a variety of reforms. That will mean nothing if those who are charged with conducting the new systems simply don’t care to do so.

    I think we’ve seen during the past eight years that both parties are filled with corrupt, venal, cowardly politicians who care little or nothing for the Constitution and the rule of law despite the oaths they’ve all taken to protect, defend, and enforce them.

    Further, if existing laws were actually enforced, there’d be no need for new ones–that won’t be enforced, either. Plenty of legal muscle is available in existing law to take care of what the Bush regime and their Democratic enablers have done to besmirch the reputation of the United States and to violate U.S. and international law.

    For me, it’s first things first: I won’t vote for anyone who won’t promise to insist the nation’s laws be enforced, no matter who breaks them or for what reason, and further, who then will go on to actually follow through. In other words, just do your damned jobs, Congress. Then maybe I’d support some kind of lessons learned commission. Fool me once (which way too many of them did)…

  18. PraedorAtrebates says:

    The article also indicates reticence on the part of Democrap “leaders” because of their complicity in all the abuses. How could they go for a large, overarching investigation if they themselves would be caught in the net of bad actors?

    I REALLY want this new Church Committee. I want it to go back and uncover EVERYTHING done by Raygun onward that was anathema to the Constitution and Bill of Rights. I want it but I will be surprised if it happens with the leadership compromised as they are.

  19. ThingsComeUndone says:

    Would a Church Commission be a good idea or would it be better to just declassify everything and let the blogs sort through it we have the personal and work cheap:)

  20. Rayne says:

    After reading Shorrock’s piece in Salon, I wondered about “fusion centers” and how they will fit into this mess. Are distributed “fusion centers” a method by which they continue their mining of our personal information, while investigations hollow out the centralized database program?

    Feels like we could be playing Whack-A-Mole.

  21. skdadl says:

    Eeps. I just remembered: Mukasey is up before the HJC in ten minutes, less. There is a webcast link at their site; haven’t checked C-SPAN yet.

  22. perris says:

    “If we know this much about torture, rendition, secret prisons and warrantless wiretapping despite the administration’s attempts to stonewall, then imagine what we don’t know,” says a senior Democratic congressional aide who is familiar with the proposal and has been involved in several high-profile congressional investigations.

    highlighted without comment

    • karnak12 says:

      “Now now, let’s have no recriminations. Time to put the past behind us, and move on.”

      A joint statement made to the press January 21, 2009 by Obama, Pelosi, and Reid.

  23. Muzzy says:

    While I’d like to see a strong dose of justice meted out, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission might net a lot more bad actors though not by landing them in prison, but instead by cementing their places outside of polite society forever.

    .

      • Muzzy says:

        The future teevee persona is the kind of result that needs to be avoided, along with not having all those soft landings in various think tanks where they continue to nurture their seed. Perhaps more importantly, these bad actors need to be ostracized so that they do not return again in future Administrations and in hired or appointed government positions, ever.

        The more I think about it, the scale of malfeasance is so great that I would much rather get as much of the Truth as possible by incorporating as many people as possible than end up with some jail time for a few determined to hide the scope of the truth on charges of perjury or obstruction.

    • FrankProbst says:

      While I’d like to see a strong dose of justice meted out, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission might net a lot more bad actors though not by landing them in prison, but instead by cementing their places outside of polite society forever.

      There is very little that a politician can do that will get him or her shamed off the stage forever.

      • Muzzy says:

        It’s worth taking a look at the circumstances and characteristics of those who have been drummed out of polite society never to return and those vampires whose heads have to be chopped off and buried apart from the body to prevent their return. I can think of a few vampires that would require special judicial treatment to ensure our future wellbeing.

  24. ThingsComeUndone says:

    Could a Church Commission be used as a way of saying look we investigated no need to investigate further or for war crimes. Well this tactic would only be effective in America I’m sure Europe will have arrest warrants for Bush and Darth if they should ever go there again.

      • ThingsComeUndone says:

        Is it still in force? If so then who is to say that we can’t render an American like Bush to another country without a trial the law on this hasn’t been changed has it?

        • foothillsmike says:

          A confrontation between Bushes lifetime Secret Service bodyguards and whomever would be interesting

          • ThingsComeUndone says:

            President Salinas of Mexico tried to get his bodyguards to spring his brother out of jail I think they refused or said it was impossible so he went into exile.
            Can/Will Bush go into exile? It would help Congress avoid a lot of topics we know they don’t want to discuss.

  25. ThingsComeUndone says:

    Can we trust a commission? What do we look for to evaluate that they are not doing a whitewash? Who do we trust to be honest and work hard on this?

  26. ThingsComeUndone says:

    Why isn’t Bush & Co saying that they have immunity, won’t comply, etc from this commission?

  27. ThingsComeUndone says:

    I want this all broadcast on C-Span forget classified information Bush had no problem leaking Valerie Palme’s name! I’m not suggesting tech specs on our latest tank get released but outside of something like that lets let EVERYTHING RIDE!

  28. cbl2 says:

    from the Salon link –

    The Inslaw case also points to what may be an extensive role played by the NSA in financial spying inside the United States. According to reports over the years in the U.S. and foreign press, Inslaw’s PROMIS software was embedded surreptitiously in systems sold to foreign and global banks as a way to give the NSA secret “backdoor” access to the electronic flow of money around the world.

    the NSA has been using its vast powers with signals intelligence to track financial transactions around the world since the early 1980s.

    well, well, well, the old waitress was right

    my first response when the story broke on 12/19/05 – “this is Richard Cheney and Commerce” – think Trading Places Citrus Crop storyline writ global

    yeah, I know it’s grossly simplistic but we are talking about the mother of all meglomaniacs finally getting his hands on the combination

    and of course underscores NSA’s epic failure to pre empt 9/11 or other actor’s epic failure to act on NSA’s ‘product’

    • perris says:

      my first response when the story broke on 12/19/05 – “this is Richard Cheney and Commerce” – think Trading Places Citrus Crop storyline writ global

      I have been I believe the only person telling everyone they need to have this access for only one purpose;

      to steal

      that is the ONLY reason they refuse to show our judges and oversite protocol what information they are gathering

      the only reason is to steal, that’s it

      • perris says:

        when I say “to steal”, I include in that blackmailing our lawmakers into passing law that they wouldn’t have otherwise passed, not voting on law that they otherwise would have, giving earmarks to their rich pals in the oil inudstry and all their other concerns as well

        this is stealing and that’s the only reason you wouldn’t want to show an oversite comittee the information you are gathering

        • cbl2 says:

          but what in bloody hell have they done with all this money ?!?!?

          back to the ol Kos story about Wilkes/Wade and all their shell companies – both of them are now broke and I was expecting to see NRC coffers fat with that cash –

          seriously, where in the fuck is all the do-re-mi ?

  29. pajarito says:

    I think it is sad that we seize on the mere concept of a Church II review, because our representatives in congress will not do their duty and begin impeachment!

    This failure of congress to act, in the face of considerable evidence of wrong-doing, will go down in history as a dark moment for our democracy. Maybe the end of our democracy…

    See Jonathan Turley’s comments (video)in Greenwald’s post today.

  30. darms says:

    I had the misfortune of living with someone who insisted we watch the first season of “24″ when it premiered. Somehow it figures that these damn Bushies would use something like that for ‘inspiration’. I found the show to be one of the stupidest, poorly written ‘dramatic’ series I had seen in a long time. The plot twists were ridiculously unbelievable and the major female characters seemed either too stupid to breathe on their own or utterly venal. Utter & complete tripe.

    But on the other hand, what’s so bad about a ‘witch hunt’ anyway? Being ‘too nice’ is not a virtue…

  31. cbl2 says:

    just wondering if this is the Church Committee staffer

    Frederick (Fritz) A. O. Schwarz, Jr. is the senior counsel at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School. He had been a partner with the law firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore since 1969.

    Schwarz was the lead counsel for the Church Committee, a Senate committee formed in 1975 in reaction to the Watergate scandal that investigated executive overreach stretching back to the FDR administration, eventually issuing 14 reports over three years. Certain aspects of the report ring true with respect to more recent administrations as well:

    “Secrecy is essential to covert operations; secrecy can, however, become a source of power, a barrier to serious policy debate within the government, and a means of circumventing the established checks and procedures of government.”

  32. wigwam says:

    Thirty years ago, Frank Church wrote:

    “If this government ever became a tyranny, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back, because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology …”

    “I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.

    Violations of the safeguards to prevent the crossing of that abyss have been egregiously violated, and those violations must be prosecuted, and not simply probed by a committee.

    Johathan Turley spoke to this point on last night’s Countdown. The video is available at the end of this article.

  33. mui1 says:

    Weren’t Rockefeller, Hoyer and Pelosi privy to some of this information. Really, I don’t see how some congresscritters can redeem their reputations after all this. So Comey and Goldsmith were objecting to the use of the Main Core? And this is just plain scary. The chances of being in this database are definitely greater than winning lotto:

    An article in Radar magazine in May, citing three unnamed former government officials, reported that “8 million Americans are now listed in Main Core as potentially suspect” and, in the event of a national emergency, “could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and even detention.”

    The alleged use of Main Core by the Bush administration for surveillance, if confirmed to be true, would indicate a much deeper level of secretive government intrusion into Americans’ lives than has been previously known. With respect to civil liberties, says the ACLU’s Steinhardt, it would be “pretty frightening stuff.”

    So if Chimpy decides “red alert”, 8 million citizens could be detained at Gitmo or wherever. And congress gives the paranoiacs in the Chimp administration a blank check. Lovely. I need someone to hold my hand.

  34. siri says:

    so much of this seems, at first glance to relate, go back to, in some form, the Clinton administration, and then Reagan before him.
    It puts a different light on the Clinton’s drive for a primary win.
    Or maybe I’m just seeing conspiracies where they are not, but this idea keeps coming back repeatedly with each new piece of info I read on the net.

      • mui1 says:

        Cheney/Addington took this to the ultimate. I don’t think I would compare Clinton to those two. And most likley we will have difficulty with Obama on this issue as well. It is annoying when Clinton is characterized as this nefarious dragon lady grasping for ultimate power which of course she will use to her own evil ends. The truth is Obama and Clinton are very similiar. So none of us progressives should be patting ourselves on the back.

  35. kimocrossman says:

    Thursday 7/24 11AM-Noon PST
    A conversation with Tim Shorrock, author of Spies for Hire: Inside the Secret World of Intelligence Outsourcing and as it happens – just released Salon expose on “Main Core”–

    Call-in questions or email your questions in advance!

    KALW San Francisco 91.7
    Listen online live or archive later that day on-demand
    http://www.yourcallradio.org/