Cost of the War in Iraq
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12/30/05

Bush caught with his pants down

Well, not in the same way Clinton's pants were down, but nonetheless, methinks he has crossed the line too far this time and there might actually be an impeachment call for this one.

WASHINGTON, Dec 30 (MASNET & News Agencies) - The Justice Department has opened a probe into the leaking of classified information which revealed that President George W. Bush had authorized a secret government wiretap program, an official source said.

"We have opened an investigation into the unauthorized disclosure of classified information related to the NSA [National Security Agency]," said a Justice Department official who requested anonymity.

Speaking anonymously . . . is that like . . . a leak?


The probe was opened after Bush earlier this month urged a "full investigation" into who leaked information about the secret government wiretap program, reports Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Earlier this month, Bush acknowledged the program and called its disclosure to the New York Times "a shameful act." He said he presumed the Justice Department would investigate who leaked the NSA eavesdropping operation to the newspaper, reports Reuters.

Shameful act? . . . as in spying on US citizens without a warrant or probable cause? . . . without going to a Judge?


White House spokesman Trent Duffy told reporters that Bush was informed on Friday about the Justice Department probe. He said the decision to conduct the investigation was made by the department - it was not requested by the White House, the news agency reports.

As in . . . yeah, right.


"The leaking of classified information is a serious issue. The fact is that al-Qaeda's playbook is not printed on Page One and when America's is, it has serious ramifications," Duffy told reporters in Crawford, TX, where Bush was spending the holidays, reports the Associated Press (AP).

The leaking of classified information is a serious issue . . . as in leaking the name of a CIA agent like Valerie Plame by Libby, Cheney's Chief of Staff?


The Justice Department's investigation was being initiated after the agency received a request for the probe from the NSA, the news agency reports. It is unknown who was behind the leak revealing the secret program, although media reports have suggested that some NSA agents were concerned about the program's legality.

Ahhhh . . . as in someone at the NSA who can read the constitution?


The president's call for a probe came after U.S. media reported that Bush had authorized the NSA to engage in an operation to monitor massive volumes of domestic telephone and internet communications.

Domestic spying is a sensitive issue for Americans who guard their civil liberties. Similar revelations concerning domestic spying led to legislation in the 1970s allowing the federal government to wiretap, but requires government agencies to obtain a special court warrant for it.

war·rant n.
An order that serves as authorization, especially:
Law. A judicial writ authorizing an officer to make a search, seizure, or arrest or to execute a judgment.


I add that in just to be helpful to President Bush, who may not have access to a dictionary.


However, Bush and his aides have stressed that the eavesdropping order was limited to those suspected of ties to al-Qaeda, as part of the administration's "war on terror".

Okay . . . So here we go guys . . . All we need to do is "suspect" a US Citizen, or say we do, then we can do search and seizure and wiretaps without a warrant. Cool hunh? Yeah but Mr. Bush, that's unconstitutional. If they are an American Citizen, you must show probable cause to a Judge before you are allowed to do that. Ahhhh, hogwash. Probable cause my ^&*! I can PROBABLY do it CAUSE I'm the prez, got it?!


Rights groups have criticized the White House in the wake of media reports about the clandestine NSA program, which was initiated on a secret 2002 order from Bush.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has urged the government to name a special counsel to determine whether Bush violated federal wiretapping laws by authorizing illegal surveillance, reports Reuters. In a statement on Friday, the ACLU criticized the Justice Department's investigation.

"President Bush broke the law and lied to the American people when he unilaterally authorized secret wiretaps of U.S. citizens," said ACLU executive director Anthony Romero.

"But rather than focus on this constitutional crisis, Attorney General [Alberto] Gonzales is cracking down on critics of his friend and boss," he said. "Our nation is strengthened, not weakened by those whistle-blowers who are courageous enough to speak out on violations of the law."

RuhRoh! . . . The ACLU . . . is . . . actually on the right side this time? Say it ain't so!


The White House has sought to play down the impact on civil liberties, saying the program was narrow in scope and that key congressional leaders were briefed about it, reports Reuters.

Again, Mr. Bush, let me type this real slow for you. It's a JUDGE you have to get PERMISSION from before you wiretap US Citizens. Telling a few congressman that you're going to do it isn't quite the same thing.


The president's order enabled the NSA to monitor, without a warrant, international telephone calls and electronic mail of U.S. citizens suspected of ties to al-Qaeda.

Wouldn't it be a hoot to put up a website that sells ties to Al-Qaeda? The domain name TiesToAlQaeda.com is available to register. hmmmm. Since Bush thinks everything has ties to al qaeda and uses that phrase so much, I bet the website would do very well. Do Al Qaedans wear ties though?


The Times reported that the "data-mining operation" by the NSA - often in cooperation with major telecommunications firms - included surveillance of phone calls outside the United States that pass through U.S.-based telephone "switches" or gateways.

The newspaper said it was asked by the White House not to publish an article about the program because it could jeopardize investigations and alert potential terrorists that they were under scrutiny, reports Reuters.

Not to mention alerting the American Public that he was authorizing ILLEGAL wiretaps.


The Times, which declined to comment on the investigation, said it delayed publication for a year and omitted some information that administration officials argued could be useful to terrorists.

A year? . . . And all those republican-bush-lovers at redsate.org said the media was always against poor GW.


U.S. media also reported that the government runs a secret program to monitor the homes, workplaces and mosques of Muslims in six U.S. cities for signs of possible nuclear radiation.

Both programs involve surveillance without search warrants or court orders, and agents who questioned the legality of the practice were allegedly rebuked, according to the news magazine US News & World Report.

How many other SECRET programs are going on that we don't know about yet? Enquiring minds wanna know. It all started with that secret decoder ring george junior got out of his rice crispies. He was 35, but me and Barb could tell that little ring had changed junior's course in life.


Critics have charged that the unprecedented move is an abuse of power and a violation of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which requires a warrant to conduct wiretaps and electronic surveillance.

Critics? have charged? How about IT IS A VIOLATION OF THE 1978 FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE SURVEILLANCE ACT? How about IT IS AN ABUSE OF POWER? If you read the law, read the bill of rights, it's spelled out almost easy enough for even George Bush to read.


The act established procedures that an 11-member court used in 2004 to oversee nearly 1,800 government applications for secret surveillance or searches of foreigners and U.S. citizens suspected of terrorism or espionage, reports the AP.

The surveillance program, which Bush acknowledged authorizing, bypassed the nearly 30-year-old secret court, the news agency reports.

Okay, that's plain enough for me, how about you Vern?


News of the covert domestic spying program sparked outcry by Democrats and Republicans, with many lawmakers and rights groups questioning whether it violates the Constitution, reports Reuters.

Uh . . . Here's the Fourth Amendment:
Amendment Article 4
Right of Search and Seizure Regulated.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.



Congressional leaders have said they were not briefed four years ago, when the secret program began, as thoroughly as the administration has since contended, reports the AP.

Say it ain't so! Bush said he told you guys. You probably just forgot.


Several lawmakers have backed a planned hearing on the issue by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter, a Republican from Pennsylvania, reports Reuters.

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle said in an article printed last week on the op-ed page of the Washington Post that Congress explicitly denied a White House request for war-making authority in the United States, reports the AP.

"This last-minute change would have given the president broad authority to exercise expansive powers not just overseas ... but right here in the United States, potentially against American citizens," Daschle wrote.

Would have given him that power? . . . Right here in the US? . . . Um, did you guys tell George he couldn't do that? You know, it's like with a puppy. If you don't show them exactly what they did wrong, you can't punish em, because they won't understand.


Daschle was Senate Democratic leader at the time of the 2001 attacks on New York City and Washington.

Does that mean he has ties to al qaeda? And where were you, my loyal readers? hmmmm?


The White House has fired back that the program is legal under the Constitution's war powers provision and a congressional resolution following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, authorizing the use of force in Afghanistan.

Uh . . . pssst! George! . . . This isn't Afghanistan. Remember that round thing in your office? Yes, George the globe, the thing you like to spin around. Remember how I showed you where we are and where Afghanistan is?


The leak probe was opened after Bush assured Americans wary of expanded anti-terrorism powers that tapping telephones required a judge's go-ahead. Bush has repeatedly argued that the controversial Patriot Act package of anti-terrorism laws safeguards civil liberties because authorities still need a warrant to tap telephones in the United States.

Okay, who wrote those speeches for George without telling him what they meant. I've told you guys time and time again, you have to let him in on the jokes, otherwise he'll throw a tantrum or end up doing the exact opposite of what he promises people. I thought after the whole Iraq having wmds fiasco, we'd gotten that straight.


"Any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires - a wiretap requires a court order," he said in April 2004 in Buffalo, New York.

Damn, it was hard for junior to spit that sentence out while keeping a straight face.


"Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so," the president said at the time.

Yup, we're TALKING about it, but we ain't a gonna do it!


This is the second recent high-level investigation into the leak of classified information to the media, reports Reuters.

After a two-year probe into the disclosure of a covert CIA operative's identity, which ran into delays from the White House, a special prosecutor in October indicted Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby on perjury and obstructing justice charges.

Ran into delays? . . . but bush said earlier that leaks like that were very serious and called for an investigation. . . . ohhhhh . . . I get it. The leak we're talking about here was FROM the whitehouse. The leak about the wiretaps was ABOUT the whitehouse.

More Things That Just Piss Me Off

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