Aug 05 2007

Democrats Voted To Oppose Protecting America From Terrorist Attack

Published by at 8:57 am under All General Discussions,FISA-NSA

The legislation just passed by the Congress to establish into law the post 9-11 changes to our intelligence gathering and law enforcement efforts against terrorism show how the Democrats see protecting America as totally irrelevant. I have written extensively on this subject since the NY Times exposed the fact we will monitor known terrorists overseas and ALL their communications – especially those coming into the US. We do this because it is legal to monitor the communications of terrorists overseas, and because we do not need a repeat of 9-11, where it seems we had intercepts involving Atta and the other four key leaders of the 9-11 attacks as they communicated from America.

While the NY Times claimed, wrongly (who knows it if was deliberately), that the post 9-11 intelligence gathering bypassed the FIS Court, which is responsible for authorizing intelligence based surveillance and searches, the truth is just the opposite. Since its inception the FIS Court has enforced an antiquated and, until 9-11, quaint policy that required deleting any leads related to terrorism or attack here in the US that terminate in America or with Americans. This was a bullet proof way to make sure intel alone was never used in a case against Americans. It also ensured that we would one day be attacked, as we literally pretended information of pending attack from within did not exist or matter. I learned of this policy while reviewing the Church Committee proceedings in the late 1970’s and their commentary about the NSA. Here is what the Church Committee said back then:

The interception and subsequent processing of communications are conducted in a manner that minimizes the number of unwanted messages. Only after an analyst determines that the content of a message meets a legitimate requirement will it be disseminated to the interested intelligence agencies. In practically all cases, the name of an American citizen, group, or organization is deleted by NSA before a message is disseminated.

Internal NSA guidelines ensure that the decision to disseminate an intercepted communication is now made on the basis of the importance of the foreign intelligence it contains, not because a United States citizen, group, or organization is involved. This procedure is, of course, subject to change by internal NSA directives.

Emphasis mine. Even if we had Bin Laden talking to Atta (because, as he was legally in the country, he is treated as if he is an American citizen – just in case you know), the information leading to Atta would be deleted. So it seems prior to 9-11 someone knew of some kind of pending attack, but could not tell the FBI where to find these people involved in the attack.

The above statement claims the NSA can change the rules, but the fact was the FIS Court refused to use any NSA leads in their probable cause presentations. This meant the FBI had to detect the attack independently and without much help from the NSA and other agencies. Even after 9-11 the court required, before they would even consider a warrant, that the FBI generate independent evidence that could now be included with the intel. Again, this is clear from the reporting, when it is accurate and honest:

Twice in the past four years, a top Justice Department lawyer warned the presiding judge of a secret surveillance court that information overheard in President Bush’s eavesdropping program may have been improperly used to obtain wiretap warrants in the court, according to two sources with knowledge of those events.
The revelations infuriated U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly — who, like her predecessor, Royce C. Lamberth, had expressed serious doubts about whether the warrantless monitoring of phone calls and e-mails ordered by Bush was legal. Both judges had insisted that no information obtained this way be used to gain warrants from their court, according to government sources, and both had been assured by administration officials it would never happen.

While it is stated stronger in this snippet than in the general article I found it in, the fact is the intel could be used if it followed a procedure of notification to the court regarding which evidence was NSA intel, and it included FBI evidence independently developed. But we can see the FIS Court was stuck in the pre 9-11 mindset.

But recently we had a solution developed which was supported by the FIS Court and worked with the administration, codifying a process of detection, investigation, followed by request for FIS Court warrant. It would not last long.

One of the FIS Court judges apparently tried to undo the compromise in a recent decision. This new wrinkle could be overturned by once again going to the FIS Review Court (the appeals court to the FIS Court), or by legislation. The latter option closes down all opportunities for another judge to impart their personal opinion on why we should not be protecting Americans to the fullest, legal extent. Instead of protecting Americans and detecting misuse of the process, the judges and liberals want to assume the process will be misused and tailor it that way. It is a disgusting and insulting position to take against those trying to make sure another 9-11 does not happen.

So we get to this weekend and the choice is to track down leads here in America which are garnered by our monitoring of terrorists, or go back to the pre 9-11 days when we let people die in massive attacks just to make sure there is no possibility intel could be used illegally in the future. It is still illegal to use our intel capabilities for personal or political gain. The difference now is we have to prove this happened instead of naively pretending we can put up barriers against it ever happening. The same wall that protected Americans from some mythical abuse by the intel agencies stopped the intel from being used to save their lives on 9-11.

This is all well known to those briefed, and is why this legislation passed so quickly this weekend. But look at the party numbers and ask yourself who is looking out for your best interest and who is protecting terrorists who might be here and planning the next big attack:

he Democratic-controlled House last night approved and sent to President Bush for his signature legislation written by his intelligence advisers to enhance their ability to intercept the electronic communications of foreigners without a court order.

The 227 to 183 House vote capped a high-pressure campaign by the White House to change the nation’s wiretap law, in which the administration capitalized on Democrats’ fears of being branded weak on terrorism and on a general congressional desire to act on the measure before an August recess.

183 votes against? The Democrats weren’t that concerned. It just happens enough of them have their sanity left and understand we cannot play politics with things that involve thousands of American lives. Look at what is being reported as the dynamics:

Privacy and civil liberties advocates, and many Democratic lawmakers, complained that the Bush administration’s revisions of the law could breach constitutional protections against government intrusion.

Democrats facing reelection next year in conservative districts helped propel the bill to a quick approval. Adding to the pressures they felt were recent intelligence reports about threatening new al-Qaeda activity in Pakistan and the disclosure by House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) of a secret court ruling earlier this year that complicated the wiretapping of purely foreign communications that happen to pass through a communications node on U.S. soil.

In the face of all sorts of signals of a pending attack almost 200 Democrats thought it would be better if we DID NOT find and investigate terrorist contacts in the US. They WANT to go back to the pre 9-11 fantasy that we don’t need to follow up a lead that connects a terrorist with a person or group in the US. You would have to pretend 9-11 never happened to think that way. We know the reason these policies and procedures were changed was because they stopped our intel leads, which in turn stopped us from saving those 3,000 lives in NY, DC and PA.

The dirty little secret in DC is the Gorelick Wall, which was the Clinton era extension of the barrier between intel and law enforcement, forced our government into a position to watch and not act as 9-11 unfolded. And some of those leads probably began popping up under Clinton’s administration, since the terrorists were already in America by the time Bush to the oath of office. These people should know all of this. And yet they still voted to leave Americans exposed to terrorists in our midst rather than trust the Americans who have taken an oath to protect them from harm. The Democrats do not trust the military, which means they do not trust the NSA, which means they will tie their hands and let al-Qaeda run free amongst us. Their votes are quite clear on this matter.

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