President George W. Bush and his director of National Intelligence, Mike McConnell, are telling the American people that an unaccountable executive branch is necessary for their protection. Without the Protect America Act, Bush and McConnell claim, the executive branch will not be able to spy on terrorists, and we will all be blown up. Terrorists can only be stopped, Bush says, if Bush has the right to spy on everyone without any oversight by courts.He goes on to handily undo this claptrap, and along the way he offers this explanation for certain confounding events:
As the lawmakers who gave us FISA understood, spying on people without warrants lets a political party collect dirt on its adversaries with which to blackmail them.This is not the first time we've heard this, so I'd just like to put a couple of things in closer relation to one another.
As Bush illegally spied a long time before word of it got out, blackmail might be the reason the Democrats have ignored their congressional election mandate and have not put a stop to Bush’s illegal wars and unconstitutional police state measures.
Perhaps the Democrats have finally caught on that they cannot function as a political party as long as they continue to permit Bush to spy on them. For one reason or another, they have let the Orwellian-named Protect America Act expire.
The first time I heard this was in Luke Ryland's January 6, 2008 post about Sibel Edmunds.
The article notes that Larry Franklin was one of those implicated in the scheme. However, Sibel has previously noted that Franklin was essentially a pawn in the system. More significant is the fact that high-level Pentagon officials were maintaining 'dossiers' on the sexual and financial proclivities of their underlings in order to be able to blackmail them.Could this dossier program on our elected officials and on other Americans, done via the illegal wiretap program, be the unnamed thing that caused the forceful, principled pushback from Ashcroft, Mueller and Comey? A comment to one of Glenn Greenwald's many posts about this lawbreaking noted the heavy involvement of the FBI sheds a little more light:
I know that many of you have been (rightly) concerned about FISA, and many of you have (rightly) been confused by the inexplicable behaviour of Democrats in Congress, and wonder why they behave as though they are being blackmailed.
Now you know.
If any American journalists/media wants to step up, please remember that the nuclear black market story covered by The Times is just one element of Sibel's case.
Note that nowhere in Comey's story are NSA officials mentioned. But FBI Director Robert Mueller was a central player in the drama -- he even met personally with President Bush -- and also was one who threatened resignation. This indicates that, whatever was going on before the program was modified, those activities were being conducted by the FBI, not just the NSA. That could mean purely domestic unwarranted wiretaps, unwarranted black-bag jobs, or similar misconduct.Being a law-abiding citizen generally unfamiliar with FBI slang, I had to look up black-bag jobs. In the old days they involved the FBI illegally sneaking into people's homes and offices. Today the options for sneaking around have expanded dramatically. This analysis from 10/07 asks whether the Senate FISA bill immunizes black-bag jobs. Um, yes? Just a guess.
Perhaps even Ashcroft, Comey and Mueller could see that nobody is safe. Not even them.