Bush’s Info Sharing Memo and the Warrantless Wiretap Revelations

Okay, this is going to be a bit weedy, but bear with me.

In the wake of the recent domestic spying revelations and the news that the NCTC center–and current Deputy National Security Advisor John Brennan–were key players in Bush’s illegal spying program, I’ve been reading the October 2007 National Information Sharing Strategy.

And I couldn’t help but notice that the day Risen and Lichtblau first exposed the domestic wiretap program, Bush issued a Memorandum to Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies setting up a framework for information sharing.

On December 16, 2005, in accordance with section 1016 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, the President issued a Memorandum to Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies prescribing the guidelines and requirements in support of the creation and implementation of the [Information Sharing Environment]. In the December Memorandum, the President directed that the ISE be established by building upon “existing Federal Government policies, standards, procedures, programs, systems, and architectures (collectively “resources”) used for the sharing and integration of and access to terrorism-related information, and … leverage those resources to the maximum extent practicable, with the objective of establishing a decentralized, comprehensive, and coordinated environment for the sharing and integration of such information.” [my emphasis]

Now, the memo–and the creation of ISE itself–is not suspicious. As noted, it was required by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorist Prevention Act of 2004. It’s the timing I find curious.

If I read section 1016 correctly, it requires the President to start pushing agency heads to share information 270 days after passage of the law–or roughly September 13, 2005. 

(d) Guidelines and Requirements.–As soon as possible, but in no event later than 270 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the President shall–

[snip]

(3) require the heads of Federal departments and agencies to promote a culture of information sharing by–

(A) reducing disincentives to information sharing, including over-classification of information and unnecessary requirements for originator approval, consistent with applicable laws and regulations; and

(B) providing affirmative incentives for information sharing.

Now, perhaps Bush fulfilled this requirement with EO 13388, signed on October 25, 2005. But the language in Bush’s own Information Sharing Strategy–with its explicit invocation of section 1016–seems to suggest this Memo fulfilled that requirement. Only he sent it three months late. And, coinkydink of all coinkydinks, he sent it just as it became known that he was spying on Americans.

Oh, just FYI, there were actually three things required within 270 days under section 1016: in addition to requiring Agency heads to share information and leveraging existing resources, 1016 required the President, 

(2) in consultation with the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board established under section 1061, issue
guidelines that–

(A) protect privacy and civil liberties in the development and use of the ISE; and

(B) shall be made public, unless nondisclosure is clearly necessary to protect national security; and

The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board did not first meet until March, 2006. Lanny Davis quit the board in May 2007, citing (among other things) doubts whether the White House was giving the board "early access to developing and current anti-terrorist programs affecting privacy rights and civil liberties." In August 2007, Congress replaced the board with an independent one. But Bush never appointed the full roster he was required to appoint. And Obama has been even worse, appointing no one at all! Most troubling, Obama’s team took all mention of the board off the White House website sometime in June or July. So we effectively have no PCOB.

The ISE did finally release privacy guidelines, mind you, a year after Bush issued this memo. But they’re pretty weak tea.

So while Bush sort of kind of complied with 1016 by ordering all levels of government to share information on the very same day that the domestic surveillance program was revealed, neither he nor Obama have fully complied with 1016’s requirement that the President consult with the PCOB to ensure civil liberties.

(Incidentally, the Project Manager for the ISE didn’t work out all the way it was supposed to, either.)

But back to the December 16, 2005 Memorandum. I find the date of its release to be suspicious for two reasons. First, the release of a memorandum (with related note to Congress) just when the domestic surveillance program was revealed and when Congress was balking over PATRIOT reauthorization may have been an attempt to remind Congress that it demanded the Administration actually do more, not less, information sharing. The inclusion of a bunch of deadlines–180 days, 90 days, 180 days, one year–basically would buy time for the Bush Administration before it had to talk to Congress in detail about its domestic data sharing and collection.

I’m just as curious whether the Bush Administration used that time to basically categorize the "Other Intelligence Activities" that were part of the domestic surveillance program as just the information sharing required by Congress. I say that, first of all, because the central position the NCTC had in the program and in this other information sharing would make it easy to conflate all of the information sharing. And, given the way the Bush Administration invented and carved off the use of the term, "Terrorist Surveillance Program," this would make it easier to claim that the data collection and sharing was something different, unrelated to Lichtblau’s and Risen’s revelations.

That’s all speculative. But I will say this. Between the time Bush issued the Memorandum and the time he released his Information Sharing Strategy in 2007, the terms of Guideline 2 had morphed to include "homegrown terrorists" unrelated to al Qaeda.

The President’s guidelines recognized that State, local, and tribal authorities are critical to our Nation’s efforts to prevent future terrorist attacks and are the first to respond if an attack occurs. The attacks of September 11 illustrated that foreign terrorists wanting to commit acts of terrorism might live in our local communities and be engaged in criminal or other suspicious activity as they plan attacks on targets within the United States or its territories. At the same time, there is increasing concern regarding the potential threat posed by homegrown terrorists. While lacking formal ties to al-Qaida, these disaffected, radicalized, violent extremists often draw inspiration from al-Qaida and other global terrorist organizations.

Given that we know the Administration failed to adequately police anti-abortion terrorists yet apparently did track peace activists,  the appeal to "homegrown terrorists" seems to be a gaping hole allowing a great deal of domestic surveillance. And the Bush Administration (and, frankly, the Obama Administration) could introduce such flexible language to retroactively justify their domestic surveillance. 

As I said, the timing could just be a crazy coincidence. But given how much time we know the Bush Administration was spending doing damage control on December 16, 2005, I strongly suspect the release of this Memorandum on that day was part of the damage control as well. 

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69 replies
  1. emptywheel says:

    One thing that I find very weird, btw. Note which agencies Bush includes here, and which he excludes:

    Within 180 days after the date of this memorandum, the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretaries of State, Defense, and Health and Human Services, and the DNI, and consistent with the findings of the counterterrorism missions, roles, and responsibilities review under section 1 of this memorandum, shall:

    (i) perform a comprehensive review of the authorities and responsibilities of executive departments and agencies regarding information sharing with State, local, and tribal governments, law enforcement agencies, and the private sector;

    Of particular note, WTF is HHS doing there? They’re finding terrorists on the Medicare rolls?

    And why isn’t Treasury–particularly given its role in OFAC (which was probably used to target domestically)–not on this list?

    Anyone get the sense that Bush picked and chose which agencies he included in this guideline?

    • BoxTurtle says:

      HHS has a HUGE database on people, charities, and churches. I bet that’s what Bush wanted.

      Boxturtle (include ALL where religion = ‘islam’)

      • acquarius74 says:

        BoxTurtle, I retired from the SocSecAdmin in 1988. All those years the SSA was forbidden to share info with any agency other than IRS. The info on the earnings record of each SS number is picked up from IRS (w-2s, tax returns of self-employed, 1099s of retired folks, etc.). Yup, we knew all ID info on a person including his/her last reporting employer. Getting a SS number used to be voluntary – now I understand they are issued at birth.

        If that rule of maintaining each SS number holder’s privacy has gone to Hell, that’s very sad IMO.

          • acquarius74 says:

            LooHoo, SSA is under the jurisdiction of HHS. When was the first law that required HHS to share info with other agencies? I admit that I haven’t kept up with all this. Was that tucked into the Patriot Act?

            My God, this means all the info in Medicare records (and Medicaid for those on SSI) will be available to the goons. If SSA is not excluded from that info sharing, I hope ACLU takes the privacy issue to court and wins. This is really bad news, IMO.

            • Loo Hoo. says:

              I guess I don’t understand your alarm. I have rentals and run credit/eviction reports on complete strangers. It takes under one minute. The whole system has access to all of us. (I have to give up all info on myself and have someone come to my home to check for signatures allowing the reports and the fact that I have a locked space to keep the info, but it’s all available on all of us.)

              In a way, we’re safer because we’re all in the same situation.

              • acquarius74 says:

                I understand the justification for obtaining credit reports, police reports, auto registration to guard against being exposed to potential criminals. That is quite different to all the personal information on all legal inhabitants in the US being shared with departments like CIA, FBI, (and whoever they choose to share it with), etc.

                Surely you don’t want your medical records and those of your family shared with all other gov agencies, do you?

                • Loo Hoo. says:

                  No, no! Of course not. But that doesn’t make me think that all of our information is not available to the agency requesting the info. All of our info is just plain THERE.

                  • acquarius74 says:

                    LooHoo, unless the law has changed since I retired (very possible), the Social Security Admin was not allowed by law to share even the social security number of a person with any agency or other entity except IRS and that was very limited info pertaining to earnings. In order to request medical info for a disability claimant from a doctor or hospital, we had to attached a release of information signed by the claimant before we could even ask for their medical records in order to process their claim. We shared info only with the rightful owner of the SSN unless that person gave a signed release of information specifically addressed to a certain entity.

                    I went to this gov site and read the summary of the Act which is subject of this diary. I found only 2 refs to Social Security/Dept Health & Human Services, i.e. Sec. 7311 and Sec 7313, neither of which pertain to sharing info with other agencies.

                    So, unless some pres pulls some ‘national security’ crap, hopefully the law as it stood still stands as far as SocSec is concerned.

                    • readerOfTeaLeaves says:

                      Yes, but then remember the news report of some Vets Admin employee who ‘lost a laptop’, or ‘had a laptop stolen’… and what was on that laptop? Thousands of SSN’s and IDs.

                      As someone who’s had to deal with identity theft, I tend to see the SSN as somewhat outdated. People have used mine to try and open bank accounts and heaven only knows what else.

                      Which is part of why I hope the new cyberczar kicks things into some better order, if only to protect financial information — let alone military related info.

                    • acquarius74 says:

                      ROTL, yes, SSA had its crooks, not many and I knew of pretty stiff sentences put on some when I was in the agency.

                      We advised people not to give out their SSN for ID purposes, not to anyone. IMO, banks should not even be allowed to demand it to open accounts (but they do). The agency cannot control what people do with their own SSN, who they give it out to. I can only assure you that when I was there we gave that info out to nobody but the owner of the number.

                      When I had active credit card accounts there was too much weight placed on the account holder’s SSN. There are crooks employed by credit card companies who will sell any info. A law should be passed whereby financial institutions cannot demand an applicant’s SSN.

                      Likewise, students at colleges should not be identified by their SSN, but they are. That puts a person’s SSN at too much risk to be known by a lot of people, some of whom will sell anything.

                      Those are ways illegal aliens acquire SSNs and employers post earnings for the illegal to the SSN, resulting in what we called scrambled earnings records. Caused a lot of work and money to sort out the true earnings of the real SSN holder from the illegal holder.

                      I heard about that VA employee. At SSA we had no laptops, only workstations and each computer could only be unlocked by the employee issued the pin to use that computer. We could not even use each other’s computer.

                      IMO a law should be passed whereby no entity would be allowed to demand that a person reveal their SSN for any purpose; there is too much personal information contained in the records of each number.

                    • fatster says:

                      A long time ago, the SSN could not be used for identification purposes. Gradually, that rule was relaxed and so, today, it is overused and at our peril. It was just too convenient for the corporations and other business establishments and so they increasingly demanded your SSN as a key piece of personal identification. Now you can’t refuse to give it if you want credit, a mortgage, bank account, etc. Just one more way in which we have been had.

                    • Loo Hoo. says:

                      I hope you’re right. I haven’t been the recipient of identity theft (but I did have someone use my credit card to buy something several years ago). We should be safe, but it seems to be getting harder with each passing year.

                    • acquarius74 says:

                      Yes, LooHoo, if they don’t stop at murder and torture, they sure won’t stop at stealing personal info. More power and more riches, to be gotten any way they can. I never dreamed that I would live to see the day when dishonesty was the main tool of so many in and out of power.

                    • BoxTurtle says:

                      So, unless some pres pulls some ‘national security’ crap, hopefully the law as it stood still stands as far as SocSec is concerned

                      Bush pulled people’s library records without warrent. What makes anybody think he didn’t deliver similar “national security letters” to SSA?

                      Outside of what the NSA may be hiding, the SSA database is the largest database in the United States. IMO, no way is Bush going to leave that unsearched. It was likely one of the first things he did.

                      Boxturtle (And if done, it’s likely ObamaCo is still doing it)

                    • acquarius74 says:

                      BoxTurtle, you are right, and sadly I agree with you. Abuse of the law has become the law of those in power. The supercomputers with such programs as PROMIS [and one called OCTOPUS (?)] can, and no doubt do, invade any system in existence.

                • acquarius74 says:

                  At the link EW gave on the info sharing act, on pages 27-28, are the assurances (/s) that our privacy and legal rights are to be protected.

                  Frankly, the whole act sounds like Total Information Awareness to me, and I’ll choose freedom over that kind of ’security’ any day. There was too much abuse of our most basic rights during the Bush/Cheney administration for me to put much faith in our laws meaning much; and I haven’t noticed any changes for the better under Obama. [I tried to believe in his promises and, having no other real choice, I voted for him. He is a bitter disappointment so far.]

  2. bubbagoober says:

    How bush to have datamined church rolls for his 04 campaign, but it was too much trouble to keep track of rightwing christotaliban terrists.

    Marcy, lord knows you’ll be busy for the next 5 years, minimum, but are you considering any posting on the Sibel Edmonds testimony? Perhaps BMAZ, if you’re swamped?

    It’d be fascinating to hear your analysis. (Since, unfortunately, even our side of the blogosphere seems to be giving it a pass).

    • bobschacht says:

      bmaz seems to think Sybil Edmonds is just a gas bag, and that the Brad Blog is off base, but then why is the ACLU involved with her case? Marcy, if you’re looking for an angle on this case, I’d follow the ACLU lead.

      This whole business with AQ Khan and nukes and Pakistan and North Korea and Turkey and complicity by members of Congress is just too weird to get a handle on. I’d like to know how to understand it properly.

      Bob in HI

      • emptywheel says:

        I think her descriptions of what she heard are credible.

        That said, she is basically giving us a peek at a vast hybrid web of issues as viewed through a pretty narrow window. So we can’t be sure whether her description are “accurate” descriptions of what she’s seeing.

        I think BY FAR the best way to understand Edmonds’ stuff is through the analogy–made by others–that this is like BCCI. If so, it would include real corruption, it would involve our intelligence and law enforcement types working under cover, it would involve our known sharing of intelligence information with allies, and it would involve real crime–some of which is ignored in the same way the Chiquita crime is ignored, because the entity in question either is too powerful or plays a role in our national security deemed to be valuable.

        My biggest complaint about Edmonds is a lack of awareness that she IS looking through that narrow window and a real lack of any way to grab a hold of this to start unwinding it. BCCI took an undercover op into drug and money laundering and the subsequent investigation by NY’s DA (THe movie international is a not-bad movie on BCCI, and the difficulties in investigation Edmonds’ revelations would be even worse). There’s none of thta here, yet there are handles to grab a hold of related aspects of this which I think are more worth my time.

      • Gitcheegumee says:

        If I may, Bob, leveymg Journals at Democratic Underground have 3 years worth of archived research on AQ Khan, Plame, and just about any other issue at hand in the sphere of politics and global affairs.

        ALL of his pieces contain links to substantiate his statements.

        He often files pieces for Daily Kos and his research has been quoted in published manuscripts.

        Just go to DU,click on Journals,and type in leveymg.

        AMAZING archives,pages and pages of them-all superb.

    • emptywheel says:

      I’m giving it a pass because this was all out there three years ago, and her suggestions about B&J don’t correlate with the fact that some people had to be brought back after Valerie was outed. She may not have been under a B&J cover in 2003 (I think that’s likely), but in any case Edmonds’ claim that she had already been outed appears to be incorrect.

      • Mary says:

        I think she is adding some things that weren’t necessarily out there before, or if they were, then they probably bear mentioning again bc I think they got lost. She is saying specifically that the FBI was targeting some Turkish interests and caught Grossman warning them off of using B & J bc it was a CIA front. Was that out there earlier – that the FBI had Grossman on surveillance giving out that info?

        If it did happen, then Grossman tipping off Turkish interests is not quite the same as printing the info in a paper of wide circulation and having cover blown with respect to certain Turkish interests isn’t necessarily the same as having it blown in general. It would be pretty risky but they might try to use the front in another setting, esp after something like 9/11 when risk was on the front burner.

        But if Grossman was caught, why did nothing happen to him? The brief bits from Bradblog also indicate that somehow Armitage was invovled in the Grossman revelations? I didn’t follow that at all. Oh well.

        She’s also saying that the FBI asked, at that time, for an assessment to be done to see if lives were lost. If that were true, it might help explain some of the dancing around that has been done when the topic of an assessment has come up in Plame questioning. More than one assessment or an assessment from a different point in time would make the topic a difficult one to handle.

        If we were trying to cut deals with Turkey vis a vis Afghanistan, it would make sense that they tried to gag her, while they decided what deals to cut and what EW says is very true – that she would only have a piece of the picture. She might not know about quite a few interlocking covert operations that might color some of what she heard differently. If some of that is correct, it is bizarre that while she was trying to be a whistleblower at FBI they handled her the way they did. I do think think that if Hastert was in bed with Turkish interests it might add another dimension of explanation to the “Gang of 4″ approach to briefing on some issues and the lack of steam from Congress on that issue. But who knows? It will be interesting to see what happens and how Armenian interests as well as Turkish are coloring the outcomes and how things hold up under scrutiny and pressure.

        • emptywheel says:

          The B&J stuff is old. She has added the Armitage bit, but the rest is old.

          And again, for some reason CIA had people out under whatever cover Plame was under. And again, we were led to believe BY NOVAK that her cover was B&J.

          I’d say that leaves Edmonds far short of being able to claim what she is claiming.

          • Mary says:

            The fact that FBI had Grossman on surveillance giving out the B&J info to Turkish interests is old? When did that come out before – damn I am getting forgetful. I know there was discussion of Grossman and his contacts with Wilson and Plame, but I swear I never saw anything about him being picked up by the FBI handing off info to a target of one of their investigations.

            I’m not sure what she is claiming bc I don’t follow everything, but from what I have seen on the recent stuff her claims are more about B& J than Plame and are about the pretty narrow revelations to a set of Turkish interests. That would, I guess, constitute blowing cover with respect to employees of B&J vis a vis those Turkish interests, but that’s not the same as claiming that her cover was blown in general. If that’s what she is saying, then I think that’s wrong and Fitzgerald pretty much fleshed out that she was covert and her identity was being protected. If you’ve worked undercover for years, the fact that one group might have found out about one of the entities you were associated with being a front certainly isn’t the same as as having everyone know that you are a covert CIA operative (if that’s what Edmonds is saying). And there would still be lots of people from your current and prior associations to be put at risk by the revelations, even if a Turkish group knew about B&J earlier.

            • emptywheel says:

              Yes, it’s old–before the trial. And she is saying and has that the whole leak was not a leak because she heard something that Novak said and therefore voila!

              She is simply claiming FAR MORE than she knows here, assuming both that what Novak said abotu B&J is true, and that what she heard was what it sounded like.

              I would also suggest that looking at the world through one FBI translator’s window does not accord one the perspective to know what kind of cooperation the CIA has with a particular group. The FBI has stumbled across a lot of CIA relations in its past, believing it has stumbled on a crime, only to discover that the CIA knows and sanctions what is going on. Not that I defend that. I’m just pointing out that this is all just one very narrow window on our relationship with Turkic speaking people. I think it’s largely accurate descriptions of what that window showed, but to suggest that narrow window gives one access to all reality is nonsense.

            • Leen says:

              http://www.antiwar.com/deliso/?articleid=8137

              lthough Grossman “has not been as high profile in the press” FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds cryptically told me the other day, “don’t overlook him – he is very important.”

              She was not speaking about the Plame affair, though Grossman did indeed have a key role there, as we will see. According to her, Grossman was one of three officials – the other two, she says, are Richard Perle and Douglas Feith – who had been watched by both Valerie Plame’s Brewster Jennings & Associates CIA team, and by the major FBI investigation of organized crime and governmental corruption on which she herself was working until being terminated in April 2002.

              Marc Grossman has served in a number of interesting countries and positions over the past 29 years. From 1976-1983, at a pivotal point in the Cold War, he was employed at the U.S. embassy in Pakistan – America’s key regional ally, through which millions of dollars in weapons and other “aid” were delivered by Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service to the mujahedin following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.

              More on Sibel testimony
              http://www.democracyfornewhamp…../view/5441

              http://www.atlargely.com/atlar…..imony.html

  3. Gitcheegumee says:

    tribal governments?

    I thought they were sovereign nations?

    Or in some instances,under the BIA.

  4. WTFOver says:

    OT

    For Steve Feinberg, a co-founder of Cerberus and onetime owner of Chrysler, the past year has been a crawl toward defeat. He lost billions of dollars. He lost prestige. He lost his privacy. And he ended up a ward and supplicant of the federal government.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08…..b.html?hpw

  5. Loo Hoo. says:

    A thought on this:

    While lacking formal ties to al-Qaida, these disaffected, radicalized, violent extremists often draw inspiration from al-Qaida and other global terrorist organizations.

    So do kids on the playground. A few years ago, they figured out a way to tie their black sweatshirts around their heads with only a slit for their eyes.

    Remember cops vs. robbers? We had to put a stop to Jihadis vs. Marines.

  6. Gitcheegumee says:

    @11

    Leumi up for grabs again, as state trustee refuses extension to …May 23, 2007 … Eitan is the state appointee for Leumi’s privatization .As a result, Cerberus won’t be able to take control of the bank as planned. …
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/862156.html – Cached – Similar

    Cerberus – ATC GroupBank Leumi (TASE: LUMI) is one of the largest banking groups in Israel. http://www.bankleumi.com. © 2007 Cerberus Capital Management, L.P. All rights reserved

    Deutsche Bank buys Gabriel, Cerberus shares in Bank Leumi …Jun 25, 2009 … Deutsche Bank buys Gabriel, Cerberus shares in Bank Leumi -News and commentary relating to events in Israel, the occupied territories, …
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1095245.html – Cached – Similar
    .
    http://www.cerberuscapital.com/profiles/bank_leumi.html – Cached – Similar

  7. Peterr says:

    A question for the lawyer types . . .

    How many coinkydinks does it take to add up to obstruction of justice? ‘Cause if I didn’t know better, it would almost look as if Bush was trying to hide certain activities.

    So while Bush sort of kind of complied with 1016 by ordering all levels of government to share information on the very same day that the domestic surveillance program was revealed, neither he nor Obama have fully complied with 1016’s requirement that the President consult with the PCOB to ensure civil liberties.

    *sniff sniff sniff*

    I think I smell pixie dust. Or . . .

    *donning David Addington Unitary Executive Special Agent Hat*

    . . . perhaps a signing statement that says “nobody can tell the president that he has to report to or consult with anybody.”

    • bmaz says:

      Well it is hard to tell what specific “justice” such conduct would be obstructing (not saying it is tolerable behavior). And, similarly, there is almost certainly no penalty provision enacted for violation as Bush did of the provision itself.

  8. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Okay, so on 16 Dec 2005, GWBush signed a butt-covering doc regarding domestic spying?

    Let’s see what EW’s Ghorbanifar Timeline shows us for the preceeding months:

    September 22, 2005: Levin requests DOD IG investigation into “improper” activities of OUSD(P)

    November 1, 2005: Harry Reid shuts down Senate in effort to restart Phase II

    November 2005: DOD OIG begins investigation into Feith, stalling the SSCI investigation into Feith

    And from the EW Torture Timeline:

    November 1, 2005: Dana Priest reveals the use of black sites in Europe. In response, CIA starts moving detainees from the countries in question.

    November 3, 2005: Leonie Brinkema inquires whether govt has video or audio tapes of interrogations….

    November 9, 2005: Doug Jehl article on spring 2004 CIA IG report on interrogation methods appears….

    December 16, 2005: Risen and Lichtblau’s first story on the NSA domestic spy program. Cheney provides emergency briefings on program. PATRIOT Act reauthorization defeated in Senate.

    Interesting stuff; sure looks like a pattern.

    FWIW, there are several Sentinel diaries about Sibyl Edmonds and testimony over the weekend. I have no idea quite what to make of it; I never read Wayne Madsen, so don’t know how to evaluate the info.

    However, if it is accurate, then it surely ties in with all the BushCo efforts to try and figure out who was talking to whom, and what they were saying. After all, if they were listening to their Undersecretary of State talk in Abu Dhabi (or wherever it was they intercepted him), and if there were spies all over DC buying and selling some members of Congress like so many properties on a Monopoly gameboard, then someone — US or otherwise — surely had an interest in tracking all those conversations.

    Whose national security was involved remains to be seen.
    Not sure it was America’s, but I await future info…

    However, I note with interest that the BushCheney cabal most likely wanted to know who was talking to Dana Priest, Risen, and Lictblau…

    • Leen says:

      “November 2005: DOD OIG begins investigation into Feith, stalling the SSCI investigation into Feith”

      Not one person has been held accountable for the false pre war intelligence. Not one

  9. fatster says:

    Totally O/T, but might be interesting to you. Not too many days, but many many EW posts ago, an article by Sidney Blumenthal was linked in a comment and I became curious about SB’s current situation. Had a few minutes to spare this evening, so googled and found this interesting tiny news article which does have implications:

    White House Scuttled Clinton’s Effort To Bring Old Friend Sidney Blumenthal Into State Department
    by The Huffington Post News Team [courtesy of Politics on HuffingtonPost.com]

    “In recent weeks, the administration’s top Iran policy maker was reassigned from the State Department to the White House’s National Security Council; Mrs. Clinton’s candidate to lead the United States Agency for International Development has been tangled up in a vetting process; and she has failed to get her choices into some plum ambassadorships, notably Japan, which went to a fund-raiser for President Obama.

    “Also, the White House recently scuttled Mrs. Clinton’s effort to bring Sidney Blumenthal, a journalist and confidant of both her and former President Bill Clinton, into the State Department.”
    Wouldn’t it be delicious to read an article by Blumenthal on Rahm “Fucking Stupid” in the WH? No wonder SB didn’t pass their “vetting process”.

    Link.

    Wouldn’t it be delicious to read an article by Blumenthal on Rahm “Fucking Stupid” in the WH? No wonder SB didn’t pass their “vetting process”.

    • emptywheel says:

      I like Sid, but he was shopping the Bill Ayer “Palling with terrorists” smear very early in the primary process.

      I can understand why Obama wouldn’t want him in the Administration.

      • BoxTurtle says:

        Given that that smear likely came directly from Hillary’s campaign planning meetings, I guess I’m confused why Obama would blame a soldier for carrying out his bosses orders. And if he feels that strongly about backstabbers, why did he go to so much trouble to protect Holy Joe’s committee seats?

        At least he’s consistant: What little torture investigation he’s allowing is aimed against the middle ranks, not the leaders or the actual torturers.

        Boxturtle (He will live to regret protecting Holy Joe, I fear)

      • fatster says:

        Good grief! I had not heard of this before. For shame! And thanks for letting me know, EW.

        Peter Dreier is E.P. Clapp Distinguished Professor of Politics at Occidental College
        Posted: May 1, 2008 03:34 PM

        Sidney Blumenthal Uses Former Right-Wing Foes To Attack Obama

        “A decade later, and now acting as a senior campaign advisor to Senator Clinton, Blumenthal is exploiting that same right-wing network to attack and discredit Barack Obama. And he’s not hesitating to use the same sort of guilt-by-association tactics that have been the hallmark of the political right dating back to the McCarthy era.

        “Almost every day over the past six months, I have been the recipient of an email that attacks Obama’s character, political views, electability, and real or manufactured associations. The original source of many of these hit pieces are virulent and sometimes extreme right-wing websites, bloggers, and publications. But they aren’t being emailed out from some fringe right-wing group that somehow managed to get my email address. Instead, it is Sidney Blumenthal who, on a regular basis, methodically dispatches these email mudballs to an influential list of opinion shapers — including journalists, former Clinton administration officials, academics, policy entrepreneurs, and think tankers — in what is an obvious attempt to create an echo chamber that reverberates among talk shows, columnists, and Democratic Party funders and activists. One of the recipients of the Blumenthal email blast, himself a Clinton supporter, forwards the material to me and perhaps to others.”

        Link.

    • Leen says:

      Sidney Blumenthal sure dug in here
      The general’s revenge

      “When British Foreign Minister Jack Straw complained to Powell that Bolton was obstructing negotiations with Iran on its development of nuclear weapons, Powell ordered that Bolton be cut out of the process, telling an aide: “Get a different view.” The British also objected to Bolton’s interference in talks with Libya, and again Powell removed Bolton. But much as he may have wanted to, Powell could not dismiss Bolton because of a powerful patron: Vice President Dick Cheney.

      The Bolton confirmation hearings have revealed his constant efforts to undermine Powell on Iran and Iraq, Syria, and North Korea. They have also exposed a most curious incident that has triggered the administration’s stonewall reflex. The Foreign Relations Committee discovered that Bolton made a highly unusual request and gained access to 10 intercepts by the National Security Agency, which monitors worldwide communications, of conversations involving past and present government officials. Whose conversations did Bolton secretly secure and why?

      Staff members on the committee believe that Bolton was likely spying on Powell, his senior advisors, and other officials reporting to the secretary of state on diplomatic initiatives that Bolton opposed. If so, it is also possible that Bolton was sharing this top-secret information with his neoconservative allies in the Pentagon and the vice president’s office, with whom he was in daily contact and well known to be working in league against Powell. If the intercepts are ever released, they may disclose whether Bolton was a key figure in a counterintelligence operation run inside the Bush administration against the secretary of state, resembling the hunted character played by Will Smith in “Enemy of the State.” Both Republican and Democratic senators have demanded that the State Department, which holds the NSA intercepts, turn them over to the committee. But Rice so far has refused. What is she hiding by her coverup?

      http://dir.salon.com/story/opi…..index.html

  10. freepatriot says:

    remember how george bush said that history would treat him kinder than today’s opinions would indicate ???

    well, lindsey graham just fucked that up

    huckileberry added to America’s Lexicon

    and not in a way that helps george look good

    the “Dumsfeld Doctrine has earned it’s place amongst the great and the “no so great” collections of military strategies

    huckleberry says we shouldn’t “RUMSFELD” Afghanistan, meaning we shouldn’t send in too few soldiers to do the job

    A Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee says more troops are needed in Afghanistan and is warning that the U.S. must not ‘Rumsfeld’ the war.

    OUCH

    that’s gonna leave a scar …

    suck on that george, you’re a war presnit, and not a good one either

  11. Mary says:

    In August 2007, Congress replaced the board with an independent one. But Bush never appointed the full roster he was required to appoint. And Obama has been even worse, appointing no one at all! Most troubling, Obama’s team took all mention of the board off the White House website sometime in June or July. So we effectively have no PCOB

    A board that relies on Presidential appointments is always only going to be but so “independent.” Still, if Bush was doing what Obama is, there would be more raging than there is now. Congress doesn’t seem to be pushing to get their PCOB option on track. Let’s see, no PCOB, no Johnsen at OLC, and Koh at State shipped off to Afghanistan and hidden away while the Binyam Mohamed battle is being played out with US threats used to cover up crime.

    Change or hope; Hope or change; Change or hope; Hope or …

  12. fatster says:

    O/T. For the car people.

    Monday, August 10, 2009

    GM to launch car sales through eBay
    Test in Calif. will let buyers haggle over price for new vehicles

    Rachel Metz / Associated Press

    San Francisco — “General Motors and eBay Inc. are expected to announce today that hundreds of the automaker’s California dealers will let consumers haggle over the prices of new cars and trucks through the online marketplace, as part of a previously disclosed trial.

    “About 225 of California’s 250 GM dealers are set to take part in the program, which will begin Tuesday. They will be selling Buick, Chevrolet, GMC and Pontiac vehicles on co-branded Web sites through eBay’s online auto marketplace, eBay Motors, until Sept. 8. The cars will also be searchable through eBay Motors and eBay’s main site.”


    “>Link.

  13. SaltinWound says:

    I always thought Joe Wilson saw the case through a narrow window as well. Maybe because he comes off as a bit of a blowhard, he seemed to think that knowing his slice of the story was the same as having all the facts.

    • Leen says:

      Bet you would just be bit pissed if your wife or husband the parent of your children had been outed by the very representatives of the country that you were trying to protect outed your marriage partners ass.

      Joe Wilson has every right to be really pissed off really pissed off. His wife’s life, the life of his children were put at risk by the very people Valerie Plame had put her own life on the line for.

      Insane All of the thugs who purposely outed Plame should be in prison

      • SaltinWound says:

        I didn’t think he was too angry, I thought he was too pompous. I don’t think my wife’s cover being blown would make me pompous.

  14. SaltinWound says:

    And how many times did he have to use the same “joke” that finding out Valerie was first in her class in marksmanship gave new meaning to the words, “Yes, dear.” Even at fdl salons, he trotted it out again.

  15. BoxTurtle says:

    But the mere fact that a bunch of people are spending this thread asking why I didn’t cover something that came out 3 years ago which I know to be refuted by other evidence?

    It is your duty to educate us. As my math professor used to say “Based on the results of this quiz, perhaps some review is in order”.

    Boxturtle (I can’t even remember yesterday consistantly and you want me to go back three YEARS?!?)

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