The Watch

The Watch is concerned about the increasing pressure towards feudalism in the United States from corporations, social regressives, warmongers, and the media. We also are concerned with future history concerning our current times, as non-truths which are “widely reported” become the basis for completely false narratives.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Alberto Gonzales and the Spymasters

Spying Watch

I am very angry. Alberto Gonzales, the Attorney General of the United States, has been lying his @ss off.

Last week, Gonzales issued a 42-page attempt at back-justifying the administration’s spying on Americans without obtaining warrants. (Remember, this is the same Alberto Gonzales who advocated using torture on “detainees”). This week, Mr. Gonzales is running around making so many false statements, it makes my head spin.

Speaking at Georgetown University law school, Gonzales claimed that a 15-day grace period allowed warrantless eavesdropping under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) demonstrated that Congress knew such surveillance "would be essential in wartime."

THIS IS A LIE. Actually, what the FISA law demonstrates, that except for the first 15 days after war is declared, even in wartime, warrantless eavesdropping is NOT allowed. FISA does allow the government in extreme circumstances to obtain a retroactive warrant a maximum of 72 hours after the eavesdropping occurs, but it does not allow the executive branch to spy on Americans without a warrant. PERIOD.

Gonzales also claimed that the legal standard the administration uses in deciding whether to carry out surveillance on Americans is “equivalent” to the standard required for complying with the Fourth Amendment, which bans unreasonable searches and seizures. Gonzales claimed that the reasonable standard basis, “is essentially the same as the traditional Fourth Amendment probable cause standard.”

THIS IS A LIE. On Monday, Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, the principal deputy director of national intelligence, publicly stated that “the trigger is quicker and a bit softer than it is [with FISA].” If the trigger is quicker and a bit softer, then the reasonable basis is NOT the same or equivalent to the Fourth Amendment probable cause standard.

Gonzales then went on to claim that “these press accounts are in almost every case, in one way or another, misinformed, confusing or wrong. And unfortunately, they have caused concern over the potential breadth of what the president has actually authorized.”

IS THIS A LIE AS WELL??? There is really only one way to tell – put Bush and Cheney and Gonzales and Hayden on the witness stand under oath and begin to ask them very simple questions. Questions like “Whom did the administration spy on?” Questions like “Did the administration spy on political opponents of the president?” Questions like “Did the administration spy on people who had no link whatsoever to Al Qaida?” Then compare their answers to subpoenaed documents that will undoubtedly prove otherwise.

While Bush is claiming that he “had all kinds of lawyers review the process” to ensure the warrantless spying didn't violate civil liberties or the law, a review of the comments by most of the experts on Constitutional law (ignoring spin-doctors from both parties) indicates that what Bush did was simply not legal.

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley said that FISA's purpose “was never to grant warrantless surveillance for the war.”

Stephen Saltzburg, a law professor at George Washington University, said that Gonzales' comments do not explain why the administration doesn't go to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to obtain warrants. “If they are using a probable cause standard, they would have no problem going to the FISA court,” said Saltzburg.

While Bush also claims that the 2001 resolution allowing Bush to use force in the anti-terror fight, wiretapping is not a “use of force” by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, the administration approached Harry Reid and asked him to include a provision to allow warrantless spying and Reid refused.

I look forward to the impeachment of Mr. Bush, because that is the only honest thing that we can do at this point. It is time to defend the Constitution.

-John Locke

PS. I add this AP photo (taken by Charles Dharapak) of courageous students at Georgetown University law school, who apparently also believe that Bush broke the law and that Gonzales is simply not to be trusted.

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