{ An Autopsy of Democracy }

Thursday, May 18, 2006

We need a new 'Church Committee'

It's not bad enough that we've got a known torturer and Death Squad supporter heading the National Intelligence, now we have to have this schmuck Hayden heading the CIA?? I'll say it again: these bastards simply have no shame. They would just as soon wipe their arses with the Constitution as read it.

This whole thing is so absurd, I can't even comprehend what's going on. I've caught bits and pieces of Senate hearings and Hayden's confirmation hearing, etc., and it just seems like we've truly gone down some kind of rabbit hole. The gall that it takes to appoint this guy the head the CIA in the midst of this scandal -- the term "Imperial Hubris" doesn't cover it. Republicans are never concerned (I should say almost never -- I have more respect for Arlen Specter every day . . .) with damning truths that are revealed about illegal and unconstitutional activities; they are only concerned that the truth came out -- concerned about the leaks, about the fact that people found out what's being done to them. If collecting our phone records is no big deal, then 1.) why are they doing it and 2.) why was it kept secret, lied about and covered up, and 3.) why are they upset that it's now been exposed -- while in the same breath saying "the American people support it"? How the fuck did they know "we" supported it if they didn't tell us about it? I honestly can't fathom it -- where are the "conservatives"? Where are all the people so concerned about "activists judges" -- the people who (supposedly) hold the Constitution as sacrosanct?

I guess there are one or two. I happened to catch Joe Scarborough the other day, and was surprised by his outrage (which came through a lot more on TV) :


(Of course, making a statement like "Now, for liberals who‘ve long been going against almost all of these issues to defend privacy, the news has to be disturbing" pretty much relegates everything he has to say as garbage, for me and I can't believe he expects to be taken seriously -- but then when you follow the NSA spying story with important stuff like Oprah and American Idol, you know you're getting serious journalism. But that's another matter . . .

It's bad enough that we've got secret courts like the FISA court in the first place -- which are completely unconstitutional, but perhaps a reasonable balance between liberty and security that most of us could live with. When they're deliberately circumventing the secret court which is known to basically rubber stamp warrant requests, you know what they're doing is massive, and massively illegal. Even if they're not wiretapping everyone's phone right now, there's no doubt in my mind that they would -- the law means absolutely nothing to these psychopaths.

Caught this on DemocracyNow! also: "New Internet Legislation Would Force ISPs To Track Customers' Online Activities"

But this one's even more disturbing (though no longer surprising, I suppose) : "Government Begins Tracking Phone Calls of Journalists"

As far as the Hayden nomination to head the CIA, as far as I'm concerned he's already disqualified because he's lied about the surveillance program to the public, and is on record as being completely clueless about the 4th Amendment:

"JONATHAN LANDAY: Jonathan Landay with Knight Ridder. I'd like to stay on the same issue. And that has to do with the standard by which you use to target your wiretaps. I'm no lawyer, but my understanding is that the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution specifies that you must have probable cause to be able to do a search that does not violate an American's right against unlawful searches and seizures.

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN: Actually, the Fourth Amendment actually protects all of us against unreasonable search and seizure. That's what it says.

JONATHAN LANDAY: But the measure is probable cause, I believe.

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN: The amendment says unreasonable search and seizure.

JONATHAN LANDAY: But does it not say probable --


JONATHAN LANDAY: The court standard, the legal standard --

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN: The amendment says unreasonable search and seizure.

JONATHAN LANDAY: The legal standard is probable cause, General. You used the terms just a few minutes ago, “We reasonably believe.” And a FISA court, my understanding is, would not give you a warrant if you went before them and say “We reasonably believe.” You have to go to the FISA court or the Attorney General has to go to the FISA court and say, “We have probable cause.” And so what many people believe, and I would like you to respond to this, is that what you have actually done is crafted a detour around the FISA court by creating a new standard of “reasonably believe” in place of “probable cause,” because the FISA court will not give you a warrant based on reasonable belief. You have to show a probable cause. Can you respond to that, please?

GEN. MICHAEL HAYDEN: Sure. I didn't craft the authorization. I am responding to a lawful order, alright? The Attorney General has averred to the lawfulness of the order. Just to be very clear, okay -- and believe me, if there's any amendment to the Constitution that employees at the National Security Agency is familiar with, it's the fourth, alright? And it is a reasonableness standard in the Fourth Amendment. So, what you've raised to me -- and I'm not a lawyer and don't want to become one -- but what you’ve raised to me is, in terms of quoting the Fourth Amendment, is an issue of the Constitution. The constitutional standard is reasonable. And we believe -- I am convinced that we're lawful because what it is we're doing is reasonable.

AMY GOODMAN: The Deputy Director of National Intelligence, former head of the National Security Agency, Michael Hayden, being questioned yesterday at the National Press Club. That last reporter, after Jim Bamford asked his question, was Jonathan Landay of Knight Ridder, editor and publisher pointing out, well, this is the Fourth Amendment: the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized. . . . . . . .

[ source: Former NSA Head Gen. Hayden Grilled by Journalists on NSA Eavesdropping on U.S. Citizens

audio clip here: http://cadaverpolitik.com/audio/Hayden-NSA-spying-probable-cause.mp3

"Well, gee, the Attorney General said it was legal to torture people, therefore it's legal." That's their logic.

The only way the legality of this is going to receive a serious hearing is if there are some serious law suits and the case goes up to the Supreme Court.

So far, there's one by the ACLU, and a class action law suit by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It's a start . . .


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