McCain On Wiretapping

Ken AshfordElection 2008, Wiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

It’s hard to understand John McCain.  He keeps allying himself with the Bush agenda, despite the fact that Bush is polling as the most unliked president in modern history [UPDATE:  Apparently, I was more right than I thought.  USA Today reports that John McCain "won’t try to separate himself from a weakened President Bush or his unpopular handling of the … Read More

If The Framers Of The Constitution Read This….

Ken AshfordConstitution, War on Terrorism/Torture, Wiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

…they would never stop throwing up.  I’m talking about this: For at least 16 months after the Sept. 11 terror attacks in 2001, the Bush administration believed that the Constitution’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures on U.S. soil didn’t apply to its efforts to protect against terrorism. That view was expressed in a secret Justice Department legal memo dated … Read More

A Smoking Gun? Or A Lie?

Ken AshfordWar on Terrorism/Torture, Wiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

Keith Olbermann (see video below) and Glenn Greenwald are on the case, and rightly so. The controversy centers around statements made last week by Attorney General Mukasey.  In a speech to telecom leaders showing his support for telecom company immunity in the FISA law, Mukasey made a startling heretofore-unknown revelation.  From The NY Sun: Officials "shouldn’t need a warrant when … Read More

FISA Fear-Mongering

Ken AshfordWiretapping & Surveillance1 Comment

White House Spokesman Tony Fratto, urging Congress to pass FISA legislation (which will, among other things, give telecom companies retroactive immunity for breaking privacy laws) told Congressional Quarterly yesterday: “We’re exactly three weeks away from the date when terrorists can be free to make phone calls without fear of being surveilled by U.S. intelligence agencies”. I have two points to … Read More

Recommended Reading

Ken AshfordAttorney Firings, Bush & Co., Courts/Law, Plamegate, War on Terrorism/Torture, Wiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

Slate’s Top Ten Bush Administration’s Dumbest Legal Arguments of the Year.  It’s a doozy. Number one: 1. The United States does not torture. First there was the 2002 torture memo. That was withdrawn. Then there was the December 2004 statement that declared torture "abhorrent." But then there was the new secret 2005 torture memo. But members of Congress were fully … Read More

The FISA Fight Begins

Ken AshfordWiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

The Senate is set to begin debate today on a FISA bill that would overhaul the rules for electronic surveillance. Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) has elected to bring legislation to the Senate floor that would provide retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies that participated in the Bush administration’s illegal spying efforts. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) will reportedly filibuster the bill. FDL … Read More

Illegal Government Surveillance Was In The Offing BEFORE 9/11

Ken AshfordWiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

9/11 changed everything?  Hardly… A former Qwest Communications International executive, appealing a conviction for insider trading, has alleged that the government withdrew opportunities for contracts worth hundreds of millions of dollars after Qwest refused to participate in an unidentified National Security Agency program that the company thought might be illegal. Former chief executive Joseph P. Nacchio, convicted in April of … Read More


Ken AshfordWiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

George W. Bush, January 26, 2006 (in response to a question regarding the legality of the "Terrorist Surveillance Program"): The terrorist surveillance program is necessary to protect America from attack. I asked the very questions you asked when we first got going. Let me tell you exactly how this happened. Right after September the 11th, I said to the people, … Read More

Conservative With A Conscience

Ken AshfordBush & Co., War on Terrorism/Torture, Wiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

Former Assistant Attorney General Jack Goldsmith was a Bush Administration insider, with a stack of conservative credentials.  As Glenn Greenwald notes, Goldsmith is “no hero.” He “is a hard-core right-wing ideologue who continues to support many of the administration’s most radical positions, including his view that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions does not apply to terrorist suspects (the … Read More

DOJ Investigating Gonzalez For Lying To Congress

Ken AshfordAttorney Firings, Bush & Co., Wiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

Good: The Justice Department’s inspector general indicated yesterday that he is investigating whether departing Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales gave false or misleading testimony to Congress, including whether he lied under oath about warrantless surveillance and the firings of nine U.S. attorneys. I guess it’ll be easier for the DOJ to investigate the DOJ, now that Gonzalez no longer runs … Read More

Somebody’s Lying

Ken AshfordBush & Co., Wiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

Alberto Gonzales (under oath), July 24: "When we got there, I would just say that Mr. Ashcroft did most of the talking. We were there maybe five minutes, five or six minutes. Mr. Ashcroft talked about the legal issues in a lucid form." Today’s Post: Then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft was "feeble," "barely articulate" and "stressed" moments after a hospital … Read More

Supersecret Surveillance

Ken AshfordWiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

So secret, a court cannot even review it. The Ninth Circuit is looking at a case revolving around supersecret surveillance done with out court oversight of any constitutional safeguards.  The Washington Post covers it, and I particularly lliked this part: The bottom line here is the government declares something is a state secret, that’s the end of it. No cases. … Read More

aka “The Fox/Henhouse Law”

Ken AshfordWiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

Today’s Washington Post: The Bush administration plans to leave oversight of its expanded foreign eavesdropping program to the same government officials who supervise the surveillance activities and to the intelligence personnel who carry them out, senior government officials said yesterday. The law, which permits intercepting Americans’ calls and e-mails without a warrant if the communications involve overseas transmission, gives Director … Read More

New Rules

Ken AshfordWiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

Firedoglake sums up the new wiretapping law that the Democratic-controlled Congress just approved (and Bush signed): Under just some of the revisions, NSA can spy on any call you make to or receive from another country (or a place the AG reasonable believes is to/from another country), without a warrant, as long as Alberto Gonzales and the Director NSA claim … Read More

Gonzales: Another Bit Of Perjury Yesterday

Ken AshfordCongress, Crime, White House Secrecy, Wiretapping & SurveillanceLeave a Comment

This centers around a meeting held on March 10, 2004 with members of the Bush Administration and the "Gang of 8", members of Congress who head up intelligence committees.  The topic discussed was —  well, that’s the issue. Here’s what Alberto Gonzales said under oath on Tuesday: At a heated Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday, Gonzales repeatedly testified that the … Read More