Sunday, May 14, 2006

Cheney--Not Intelligence Pros--Wanted NSA CATCH ALL Program

The extra-legal NSA warrantless eavesdropping was not conceived by U.S. intelligence experts but by Vice President Dick Cheney, today's New York Times reports.

As a matter of fact, the intelligence professionals opposed the idea for reasons that included the illegality of the operation.

In the weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, Vice President Dick Cheney and his top legal adviser argued that the National Security Agency should intercept purely domestic telephone calls and e-mail messages without warrants in the hunt for terrorists, according to two senior intelligence officials.

But N.S.A. lawyers, trained in the agency's strict rules against domestic spying and reluctant to approve any eavesdropping without warrants, insisted that it should be limited to communications into and out of the country, said the officials, who were granted anonymity to discuss the debate inside the Bush administration late in 2001...

On one side was a strong-willed vice president and his longtime legal adviser, David S. Addington, who believed that the Constitution permitted spy agencies to take sweeping measures to defend the country. Later, Mr. Cheney would personally arrange tightly controlled briefings on the program for select members of Congress.

On the other side were some lawyers and officials at the largest American intelligence agency, which was battered by eavesdropping scandals in the 1970's and has since wielded its powerful technology with extreme care to avoid accusations of spying on Americans.

As in other areas of intelligence collection, including interrogation methods for terrorism suspects, Mr. Cheney and Mr. Addington took an aggressive view of what was permissible under the Constitution, the two intelligence officials said...

Both officials said they were speaking about the internal discussions because of the significant national security and civil liberty issues involved and because they thought it was important for citizens to understand the interplay between Mr. Cheney's office and the N.S.A.

This is precisely what we have been discussing all along about the over-reaching measures advocated by Cheney, Addington, and the administration in the "war on terror."

The chickenhawks in the White House (and on the internet) constantly push positions that professional military and intelligence officers--who have spent their careers dealing with such issues--know are counterproductive.

Another case in point--the Iraq War.


Blogger BrettBum said...

If this turns out to be true, it would sure explain why the NSA has changed its opperating procedures after 20 years of practice. That change was the hardest thing for me to comprehend.

Government employee's don't change that quickly, no matter what the agenda or the purpose when a CYA factor is at stake.

However, if the orders came from the top, they would have had the CYA paperwork in hand to proceed with a change.

Best Regards,

5/14/2006 4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, Mr EFFWIT. You have had your blue eyes peeled on the usual suspects since your bloggity getgo. You've spared us from too much surprise.

Thanks for that

5/14/2006 7:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The above of course meant in a good way, ie you've spared us from too much unpleasant surprise per way of your precognitive ways.

I must be careful not to be so vague as to be upsetting to everyone.

5/14/2006 10:19 PM  
Blogger DrewL said...

There's little question, I think, as to where the real power resides in this administration, and it's in the ultra secretive OVP. And why such secrecy surrounding this office? Because the less people know about them, the more they can ply their trade in the dark recesses of the federal government. And the fact that nobody paid much attention to the OVP in previous administrations seems to have made it the ideal place from which to unleash any number of sinister machinations.

We've often heard talk of a shadow government. It's pretty clear from where - and whom - that shadow is cast.

5/14/2006 11:11 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...



And I understood your point. That's all that really matters.

5/15/2006 9:21 AM  
Blogger Effwit said...


Right you are about the OVP running the show.

There is a modern precedent for a spooky OVP.

The Reagan administration conducted much of the Iran-Contra related skullduggery through his OVP. Bush senior had plenty of connections (Felix Rodriguez, et al) and put them to good use.

5/15/2006 9:25 AM  
Blogger DrewL said...

Yes, good point about the Reagan-era OVP with GHW Bush. How could we forget? And many of the same players were skullduggerizing us then, too.

As Yogi would say, "It's like deja vu all over again!"

5/16/2006 11:20 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...


There may be a bright side illustrated by your example. As the famed New York Yankee catcher said: "Even Napoleon had his Watergate."

5/16/2006 11:59 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home