July 11, 2020 / by 


Telecommunications Timewarp

When I beat up on Jason Leopold for some confusion in an article on domestic spying, I keyed on one detail. He was claiming Bush set up the program Risen and Lichtblau had revealed before 9/11.

Still, one thing that appears to be indisputable is that the NSAsurveillance began well before 9/11 and months before President Bushclaims Congress gave him the power to use military force againstterrorist threats, which Bush says is why he believed he had the legalright to bypass the judicial process.

But he based that claim on two things. (He also quoted former NSA encryption specialists who appeared to be referring to a different kind of surveillance.) A Slate article that quoted telecom executives saying the NSA started collecting call data before 9/11.

A former telecom executive told us that efforts to obtain calldetails go back to early 2001, predating the 9/11 attacks and thepresident’s now celebrated secret executive order.

And a Transitions 2001 document, dated December 2000, saying that NSA had to "live on the network."

The volumes and routing of data make finding and processing nuggets of intelligence information more difficult. To perform both its offensive and defensive missions, NSA must "live on the network."

I was particularly confused how a December 2000 document–from before Bush was President was evidence that Bush ordered domestic surveillance before 9/11.

I raise these details because I had a bit of deja vu when reading the Bloomberg article reporting a plaintiff’s lawyer stating:

"The Bush Administration asserted this became necessaryafter 9/11," plaintiff’s lawyer Carl Mayer said in a telephoneinterview. "This undermines that assertion."

Does Libby Get Rove's Testimony?

Does Libby Get Rove’s Testimony?

Augusto Pinochet Would Be Proud

Stop the Torture

Anatomy of a White House Smear, 3.7

Show Me the Money

Stand Up, Howie

The Most Damning News that Won't Make Your Local News

Speaking from Cancer

Update: Here’s Murray’s own take.

It almost seems like Howie didn’t have the heart to do it, to insinuate that Murray Waas’ past struggles with cancer influence his current reporting. But true to his smarmy self, Howie musters up several suggestions that the cancer has compromised Murray’s reporting.

For a reporter whose specialty is digging out secrets, Murray Waas has been keeping one about himself for a long time.


It’s hard to say where the line should be drawn when it comes to suchan intensely personal disclosure. Did Waas’s near-death experience, andsubsequent complications, affect his journalism? How could such asearing experience not change your outlook on work and life?


Waas acknowledges that the disease influenced him in the late 1980swhen he was writing for the Boston Globe about the collapse of Floridahealth care facilities where some cancer patients had died. "I wrotethat as someone who my family and doctors thought was certainly goingto die from cancer," he says. "Is it relevant to my work when I reporton national security, foreign policy or politics? I don’t think so."

But the lines are not so easily drawn. In one of several conversations,Waas says his near-death experience made him more determined to reporton how the country got into both Persian Gulf wars, with theirlife-and-death stakes. After watching on Capitol Hill when the Gulf Warresolution was approved in 1991, Waas interviewed two men at theVietnam War Memorial who said two of their friends had died in that warand questioned why the United States was getting into another one. Hesaw in this "the mirror image of my own life" — the unresolvedquestions about why his cancer was missed — and vowed to fullyinvestigate the war.

As someone who has a pretty good understanding of where Murray’s coming from, let me just tell Howie to fuck off.

Copyright © 2018 emptywheel. All rights reserved.
Originally Posted @ https://www.emptywheel.net/author/emptywheel/page/1072/