Five years ago today, Andy Card and Alberto Gonzales rushed to John Ashcroft’s ICU room to try to trick him into signing the re-authorization for George Bush’s illegal wiretap program over Jim Comey’s objections. Jim Comey arrived at the hospital in time to prevent Card and Gonzales from succeeding.
Five years ago tomorrow, George Bush re-authorized his illegal wiretap program with only the signature of Alberto Gonzales–then White House Counsel–to give it legal sanction.
Five years ago today and tomorrow, attorney Wendell Belew spoke to al-Haramain Director Soliman al-Buthi by telephone. Belew has reason to believe–and once had clear evidence that may have proved–those calls were wiretapped under Bush’s illegal wiretap program.
As bmaz explained last year, in March 2004, FISA had a standard 5-year statute of limitation.
The first question any criminal defense attorney is going to ask is "Gee, is this crime within the statute of limitations"? FISA is subject to the Federal general statute of limitation contained in 18 USC 3282, which is five years. And, remember, the statute starts to run when the crime is committed and/or when the government becomes aware of the conduct; in this case the Department of Justice knew about the conduct as, or before, it was being committed. When we, as citizens learned about it is not the relevant test.
That means that the statute of limitations on the potentially criminal March 11 wiretaps of Belew expire today. By all appearances, that means the statute will expire without George Bush being punished for illegally wiretapping an American citizen, even though clear evidence of that criminal wiretapping almost certainly exists.
Now, as it happens, a District Court Judge may have or may be about to judge whether or not that wiretapping was illegal. I’m referring, of course, to the al-Haramain suit currently before Vaughn Walker. The last known development in that suit came eleven days ago, when the 9th Circuit ruled that Walker should review the wiretap log to determine whether it shows that al-Haramain is an aggrieved party (meaning they were wiretapped illegally), and when the Obama Administration corrected "inaccurate" information on the wiretap program probably submitted three years ago. Since then, nothing has appeared in the docket for the case.
The absence of any activity in the docket could mean one of two things. Read more