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"I want to be absolutely clear, what the president ordered in this case was a crime"

by : Chris Strohm
Monday January 23, 2006 - 17:20
7 comments

Legal experts, privacy advocates and Democratic lawmakers on Friday called for congressional and independent investigations into whether the Bush administration broke the law by authorizing a secret program to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens without a court order.

Seven Democrats held an unofficial hearing in the basement of a House office building to examine revelations that Bush ordered the National Security Agency to conduct warrantless wiretaps.

"I want to be absolutely clear, what the president ordered in this case was a crime," said Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University.

He added that he believes Bush’s order is an impeachable offense. "This type of violation should be a textbook example of an impeachment issue, because not only is it a federal crime but it violates the doctrine of separation of power," he said.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., urged government employees to stop working on any aspect of the NSA program.

"I would hope that those within the administration that have been working on this program would immediately cease and desist from any further electronic surveillance not approved by the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] court ... out of respect for their own potential liability," he said. "I would hope that if there’s anybody at DoJ that’s watching this — or at NSA — that they’re mindful of the very serious legal questions that have been raised and that any future surveillance go through the FISA court."

Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, said he asked Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to attend the hearing, or send a representative. Nobody from the administration showed up.

Conyers said he also sent a letter Friday to telephone and Internet providers, inquiring how and when they have turned over customer content and records to the government as part of the program.

"Once we can confirm what access the government has and how it’s been used, I think we can move forward," he said.

The administration has vigorously defended the NSA program. Gonzales on Thursday sent a 42-page letter to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., outlining the administration’s justifications for the program.

"The NSA activities are supported by the president’s well-recognized inherent constitutional authority as commander in chief and sole organ for the nation in foreign affairs to conduct warrantless surveillance of enemy forces for intelligence purposes to detect and disrupt armed attacks on the United States," Gonzales wrote.

He argued that Congress gave Bush the power to conduct warrantless electronic surveillance through the Authorization for Use of Military Force, which was enacted one week after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Critics contend, however, that Bush should have followed the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which requires the administration to go through a secret court before conducting electronic surveillance.

Friday’s unofficial hearing was held, in part, out of frustration that there has not been more effort to investigate Bush’s actions. No official hearings on the matter are scheduled in the House. The Senate Judiciary Committee, however, plans to hold a hearing next month, with Gonzales as the key witness.

Caroline Fredrickson, the American Civil Liberties Union Washington legislative director, urged the Justice Department to appoint an independent prosecutor to investigate the administration.

The ACLU joined a coalition of organizations and individuals this week in filing a lawsuit against the NSA to stop the program.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said he agrees a special counsel is needed.

"If you’re dealing with what appears to be a criminal conspiracy by the president, the vice president, the attorney general and others, you cannot ask the attorney general and the people under him to fairly investigate," Nadler said. "Obviously, they will dismiss this out of hand because they will not admit how real this is."

http://www.govexec.com/story_page.c...



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> "I want to be absolutely clear, what the president ordered in this case was a crime"
Monday January 23 - 18:14 - Posted by 8e9f3c95c3bd245a...

When will some logical information be submitted ?
When a call originates from overseas by a terrorist and the receiver is in the US, don’t you think that maybe the person in the US accepting the call is a terrorist also?
Where has you logic gone ?
Or do your feet fit a limb ?

Think about it, more than once. But of course there are those who can’t think logically.

hmmmmmmmmmm




> "I want to be absolutely clear, what the president ordered in this case was a crime"
Tuesday January 24 - 03:18 - Posted by e1df0fc1a27b0965...

But we don’t want to commit crimes to get that information. Congress told Bush he didn’t have the authority to do this... so Bush just ignored them and decided to do it anyway. Being at war doesn’t give the President the right to violate Constitutional law.

The Bush camp is saying they thought the 2001 resolution to take action against alqaeda included unauthorized wiretaps, but ignorance of the law has never been a valid defense. I think Bush may get impeached on this one. This is as clear and blatant a violation of law as there ever was.



> "I want to be absolutely clear, what the president ordered in this case was a crime"
Wednesday January 25 - 19:38 - Posted by a0a009ab33dd63bd...

Not a single person has said that the wiretaps should not be done. Nor is the President or NSA crippled by having to get a FISA warrant before recording a conversation, according to law, they have 72 hours after the fact to get the warrant, which is little more than a rubber stamp. A rubber stamp that tells us what they are doing. So our ability to do this work, which EVERYONE agrees is important, is unhindered by the law. The only reasons I can imagine why they would not want to get these warrants (which the president clearly told us he WAS getting before he was forced to admit otherwise) is (A) they are lazy, (B) they are casting the net so wide that they know it would generate some backlash if people knew about it, or (C) they are doing whatever they want and feel that they are abovethe law. In either case, the national security argument rings hollow. And attacking those who feel that the president is NOT above the law is best accomplished by first building a straw man who says that there should be no wiretapping at all (which no one is saying).



> "I want to be absolutely clear, what the president ordered in this case was a crime"
Monday January 23 - 20:34 - Posted by b2c4fef89a4819af...

Yes, it is absolutely clear that the President has committed felonies, shown contempt for the constitution, violated the rights of his own citizens, had secret jails for warantless indefinite detentions, had those obscene "renditions" and a hundred other acts which put our country in grave danger of becoming a crony corporate theocracy. It is also clear that any investigation would quickly show the presidential lies in the illicit and equally obscene war, the constant incompetence and carelessness in governing, the depth of corruption, etc.
But what is equally clear that as long as Republicans are in charge of all the committees, all the investigations, nothing will be done except rhetoric. The Republicans will move this country to accept whatever stupidity the President proposes and will scramble to protect the "reputation" of Bush by denial, lies,trickery, Swift boating, fake journalists, distractions, appeals to religion, patriotism, the flag, Jesus and any other device that comes to them. They will NOT allow anything to show the president lies, cheats, commits felonies, disrespects the Constitution ior anything negative. Instead they will all try to see which Senator can genuflect most deeply to kiss Bush’s back-side, laud his great vision, pronounce everything going splendidly, and show puzzlement that anyone would find fault with the Emperor. Their act of blindness will result in our country going down the drain of lies, corruption, incompetence, and lust for power of a small group of thugs in business suits.
Peter Fredson




> "I want to be absolutely clear, what the president ordered in this case was a crime"
Monday January 23 - 23:08 - Posted by 721da6997fe99cce...

What’s so hard about understanding the need to GET A FUCKING WARRANT?



> "I want to be absolutely clear, what the president ordered in this case was a crime"
Tuesday January 24 - 14:23 - Posted by 76c4ea8960d8133f...

They’re all afraid that their own crimes and midemeanours will come to the light of day, as well, and then they will fall with Bush. "Either we hang together or we will hang separately."



> "I want to be absolutely clear, what the president ordered in this case was a crime"
Friday January 27 - 05:26 - Posted by c8b8b1e3ebdf6e39...

This is so true. take a look

http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/b...






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