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President Bush Blocks NSA Wireless Tapping Probe 1063

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the don't-look-here dept.
scubamage writes "By denying security clearance to federal attorneys from the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) seeking to gather evidence in the NSA illegal surveillance scandal, President Bush has effectively blocked the Justice Department's investigation into the matter of who exactly authorized the illegal actions to take place. The president is apparently able to strictly control who does and does not have security clearance to examine documents regarding the program, citing that giving more people access would endanger national security. His denial is the first of its kind in American history. To quote the article, 'Since its creation some 31 years ago, OPR has conducted many highly sensitive investigations involving Executive Branch programs and has obtained access to information classified at the highest levels,' chief lawyer H. Marshall Jarrett wrote in a memorandum released Tuesday. 'In all those years, OPR has never been prevented from initiating or pursuing an investigation.'"
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President Bush Blocks NSA Wireless Tapping Probe

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  • by Threni (635302) on Friday July 21, 2006 @07:39AM (#15755497)
    > President Bush has effectively blocked the Justice Department's investigation into the matter of
    > who exactly authorized the illegal actions to take place

    He sure as hell wouldn't have done that had it been an opportunity to point the finger at any of his rivals. Even if he wasn't responsible, he's now responsible for the cover up. If American voters aren't happy with his decision they can always vote him out. I'm sure by the time of the next election there'll be some other bogeyman to deal with - presumably lebenese or syrian terrorists, angry at all the US built/paid for planes and tanks pounding lebenon.
    • by Zediker (885207) on Friday July 21, 2006 @07:46AM (#15755527)
      If there was a vote for impeachment that the public could vote in, I would vote. But the only things I can do, is spread the word, and send a letter to my congressman. Then hope my congressman helps set up the process for impeachment. So, technically, the only way this is going to get started is if my congressman wants to discipline the president. Otherwise, everything I do and say is for naught.
      • by deanj (519759)
        "If there was a vote for impeachment that the public could vote in, I would vote. "

        Fortunately for the rest of us, there's not.
        • by IAmTheDave (746256) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {ds-evademanesab}> on Friday July 21, 2006 @10:19AM (#15756521) Homepage Journal
          How is it fortunate? Even the right side of the isle is starting to leave support for this president in droves. Illegal wiretapping, two (that's right, two) botched wars (the Taliban just took back two towns in Afganistan), extreme secrecy, Vallery Plame, calling for the State Secrets privledge across the board, botched operations after Katrina, Scooter Libby, Carl Rove, prosecution of reporters, prosecution of private citizens under the Espionage act, Free Speech zones, Halliburton, $7 trillion national debt, between $200-$400 billion spent in Iraq against estimates of $8B, depletion of the National Guard, NSA blanket collection of phone records, NSA collection of airline records, secret laws that dictate conduct at airports, secret laws that you are governed by but CANNOT READ. The tip of the iceberg.

          And now the ability to squash investigations against himself. It's like killing someone and then having the power to say "um, no - you can't investigate me".

          This presidency is perhaps the worst in the HISTORY of the United States. Its abuses of power, power grab, secrecy, and corruption know no bounds. The president has lost the support of all but the most extreme NWO right wing. Clinton was impeached for "lying" to the public, but Bush has been involved in every scandal listed above, and sits atop his throne with pure immunity against the checks and balances of this country.

          Never before have I come to expect to learn of some new executive branch abuse on a daily basis.

          Besides, over 700,000 people already HAVE voted [impeachbush.org] to impeach him, as useless as this website may be.

          Bush and his yes men have moved the right further left than it has ever been. Right and left have reversed roles in the 20 years since Regan. It's almost impossible to grasp the sheer size, power, secrecy, and surveilance of citizens of and by the federal government at this point in time.

          This presidency is a farce, and I shudder when I think that 2.5 years remain.
          • by Darby (84953) on Friday July 21, 2006 @11:23AM (#15757089)

            Bush and his yes men have moved the right further left than it has ever been. Right and left have reversed roles in the 20 years since Regan. It's almost impossible to grasp the sheer size, power, secrecy, and surveilance of citizens of and by the federal government at this point in time.


            The rest of your points were good, but this is just idiotic beyond belief and it is truly typical of the extreme ignorance of the most basic political definitions typical of the vast majority of Americans.

            The Right has not been moving left. The entire fucking country has been moving farther and farther to the right since WW2. Reagan's presidency was when we had a massive acceleration of this headlong race to fascism.

            Let me guess, you think that because the Repugs are spending like drunken sailors that they're "left"?!?
            Seriously, wake up.
            The right and the left *both* stand for big oppressive government and always have by definition. The only difference is what they want to use the power of government against the people in order to accomplish.

            The right believes that the wealthy elite are inherently better than the rest of the people and the power of government should be used against the people to keep them down.
            The left believes that all people are equal and wants to use the power of government against people to enforce this "equality".

            Nowhere in the makeup of either the left or the right does freedom, liberty, small government fiscal responsibility or anything of the sort even exist. Those are the things that they are *both* absolutely opposed to.

            Here is an article [rationalrevolution.net] that lays it out very clearly.

            If the Republicans were far "left", then there wouldn't be massive widening in the gap between the rich and the poor and a slide of the middle class into poverty as we're seeing. We would just all be equally poor.

      • by rts008 (812749) on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:21AM (#15756078) Journal
        I surely see your point, but to not try is just as criminal as what's going on.

        Not that it carries much weight, but if you do so, then at least your mind can rest easier that you done all you could.

        I know it seems futile, but if we all don't do anything, then no changes take place- keep some hope, try to do your best, and maybe it will work out okay.

        BTW, the "If there was a vote for impeachment that the public could vote in, I would vote." idea is a good one, too bad that will probably never happen, the congresscritters would be too afraid it might (and should) apply to them also.
    • by ereshiere (945922) on Friday July 21, 2006 @07:50AM (#15755545)
      If American voters aren't happy with his decision they can always vote him out.

      How can you vote out a re-elected president limited to two terms? Congress has to impeach & convict him, which has nothing to do with the voters, judging by the last impeachment.

      • by Tom (822) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:29AM (#15755737) Homepage Journal
        Exactly!

        Bush is acting like someone who has no responsibility and nothing to lose or gain. Which is exactly what's the case - he won't be re-elected anyways, so why act responsibly? His only hope of continuing to be in power is to become a de-facto dictator, by declaring some emergency situation and delaying the next presidential election, potentially forever.

        And it's not like the "checks and balances" would work anymore. The same country that once almost impeached a president because he had an extramarital blowjob sits on its hands in regards to one who intentionally deceived the nation, started a war based on lies, essentially raped the Constitution and pissed on the Bill of Rights.

        You did nothing about that so far. So Bush - who has nothing to gain from acting responsibly, remember - will continue down that road, and at this time I give it a 50:50 chance that there will be no presidential election in 2008.
        • by TheSwirlingMaelstrom (580923) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:38AM (#15755805)
          You are deceiving yourself: of course there will be another election in the US in 2008. It will be another joke, and another Republican puppet will be elected. The ruling party needs to maintain the illusion of democracy -- at least for a while -- or there likely will be a public backlash. =8-P
          • by cluckshot (658931) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:53AM (#15755886)

            The parent of this post is absolutely correct. The coming election will see any realistic choice who might dare to challenge the forming dictatorship having his character assassinated by this NSA data. Release a little private data here or there just so that it paints a picture you want and suddenly a potent political threat becomes a laughing stock in the eyes of the general voting public.

            I have read the RFP's for this program. It is total information awareness. There is no limit to it. The real issue here is the construction of a system that not even the NAZI SS could in their wildest immagination have dreamed of being able to achieve. I know there are people here who will see this in a partizan light. It isn't the case. This is a genuine threat to the existence of a democratically elected congress. It threatens the career of anyone daring to speak up on real issues. Warning to my non-USA friends, this program knows no borders!

            The program has nothing what so ever to do with fighting Al Qaeda. To prove this ask yourself the following question. What since 9/11/2001 has the United States of America done under President Bush's leadership to convince the Arab peoples that their culture is broken and that they need to do something about it in order to end this endless cycle of war and destruction so that they may prosper and live in peace? (Answer: NOTHING!) Honestly this means that 100% of the activity since that date has impinged on American Freedom or destroyed American Treasure or destroyed American Soldiers and always it has encouraged and reinforced the opposition making the situation worse. Every American regardless of party should wake up to the seriousness and awful reality of this situation. At the cost of nearly 20,000 soldiers, and a trillion dollars in treasure and the expense of privacy and freedom Americans are now in more danger than they were before.

            This condition is not a press report. It is a fact known from contact with soldiers who are out there dealing with it. When soldiers fresh back from Bagram Afghanistan report that "It was better than being in jail" (a quote) and the ones from Iraq report that they are garrisoned in etc, this is a lost cause by mismangement at the limit.

            Mods get a life if you cannot stand the truth. Post against the point of view if you want, but don't shut up the truth.

            • by kalirion (728907) on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:33AM (#15756158)
              The coming election will see any realistic choice who might dare to challenge the forming dictatorship having his character assassinated by this NSA data.

              Why bother when the electronic voting machines make it so much easier to change the vote count to anything they want?
            • by xfmr_expert (853170) on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:49AM (#15756293)
              "At the cost of nearly 20,000 soldiers, and a trillion dollars in treasure and the expense of privacy and freedom Americans are now in more danger than they were before."

              We're in more danger now than before because we give Israel $2.5billion in aid and Lebanon $40million in aid. We're in trouble because at times like now, when both sides have crossed the line, politicians pass resolutions declaring support for Israel and condemning Lebanon, all because Israelis have a huge lobby in DC. I'm not condoning the actions of either side, but it's our unrelenting support of Israel when there bombing the beejeezes out of a largely innocent country that bugs me. If we provided $2.5billion in aid to Lebanon, what kind of political power would Hezbollah be then?
        • by ereshiere (945922) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:44AM (#15755840)
          Bush is acting like someone who has no responsibility and nothing to lose or gain. Which is exactly what's the case - he won't be re-elected anyways, so why act responsibly?

          This is a very good point. Limiting the President to two terms has caused the first term to be all about the President's re-election campaign, while the second term is filled with scandal. Nixon had Watergate, Reagan had Iran-Contra, Clinton had Ken Starr/Monica. Though he's been extremely lucky that his opponents have been too flatfooted to get much of anything out of them, Bush has had more scandals than all of these guys put together.

          For an amendment designed to prevent a de facto monarchy from taking over, the two-term limit has had the intended consequence of encouraging Presidents to act arrogantly and irresponsibly with their power.

        • by Coocha (114826) <coochaNO@SPAMvt.edu> on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:52AM (#15755877) Homepage
          Your comment is on point. But I'd give him less than a 50% chance. To delay the 2008 election successfully, he would need a strong military backing. Based on the fact that top-level generals have been retiring due to the handling of Iraq, I don't think he and Rummy have the respect they keep saying they have in the Pentagon.

          If he were to try, it'd be an interesting show. Congress would be up in arms, on both side of the partisan fence. Revolution is a mild term, but imagine how nice it would be if such an event was the catalyst for sweeping government reform. We can always dream I guess.

          The beginning of your comment is more likely. Bush knows he's a lame duck, so he'll fritter away his final months in the frat-boy nonchalance we've grown accustomed to seeing. And history will look back on him as the asshat he has been.
        • by MrShaggy (683273) <chris DOT anderson AT hush DOT com> on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:57AM (#15755906) Journal
          I think that it shows the Puritanical nature of your politics these days;. Recently a columnist (can't remember who) was talking about how the difference between Canada and the US is just that. It comes down to how the US perceives sex has being a harmful thing. The sense when Jacksons boob hit the world, we were saying up here, what is the big deal ? Yet all these massive fines were being passed onto people. What happens when someone suggests that we go and 'eliminate' the president of Venezuela? Nothing. We gasp that this guy (name is escaping me), could say this. But nothing happens.

          When one of our more interesting, and influential leaders , Trudeau passed away, his wife and his Girlfriend were there. Not to mention the kids from both mothers. We knew that he messed around, but he got the job done. Bush isn't getting the job done. Kinda sad what this crazy loon haws done to the rest of the world, and that there is no way to deal with this. I think once you guys go through your midterms this fall, (depending on the Diebold situation), you might be in a decent position to do the impeachment thing.
  • by plasmacutter (901737) on Friday July 21, 2006 @07:39AM (#15755499)
    "Watergate II"..

    twice the scandal, twice the criminal activity, twice the obstruction of justice..

    *movie rated "R", all viewers must take delivery of dealer stock, offer void in utah, west virginia, and texas*
  • by WindBourne (631190) on Friday July 21, 2006 @07:39AM (#15755501) Journal
    Of course, he is going to block it. Funny thing is, this investigation had no teeth to start off with. It basically said that we are going to do everything in our power to check every little corner if you will allow it.
  • by Davus (905996) on Friday July 21, 2006 @07:42AM (#15755508) Homepage
    Just aim the probe out of the garden, for God's sake!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 21, 2006 @07:43AM (#15755509)
    We need to revoke your rights in order to protect them. History will look back upon George W. Bush as the undoing of what it means to be American.
    • by Rakshasa Taisab (244699) on Friday July 21, 2006 @07:58AM (#15755576) Homepage
      I'm sorry, but could you explain to me in what way George W. Bush has prevented the American public from remaining fat, ignorant and watching reality shows?
    • by cgenman (325138) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:27AM (#15755726) Homepage
      "Yeah. You know that whole Watergate hotel thing you guys are investigating? I'm going to have to ask you to stop. New policy, you know. You got that memo, right? Great. So if you could just not look into that, that'd be great." - Nixon

  • by CurtMonash (986884) on Friday July 21, 2006 @07:43AM (#15755514) Homepage
    Juvenal is the ancient Roman who asked "Who will watch the watchmen?" [dbms2.com] For George Bush, the answer is evidently "Preferably, nobody."

  • by mikeswi (658619) * on Friday July 21, 2006 @07:44AM (#15755519) Homepage Journal
    I am so proud today to be an American, where the rule of law.... errr..... I mean.... What I mean is ......

    errrmmm.........

    Nevermind :/
  • Biased much? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bigtallmofo (695287) on Friday July 21, 2006 @07:47AM (#15755529)
    First of all, that headline... While it may be technically true, it's misleading. Then the write-up that convicts the entire program even before an investigation (which is apparently now stalled) has been started by calling it "illegal actions". That might be putting the proverbial cart before the horse.

    Let's try re-writing the headline and summary:

    Senator Kerry Blocks NSA Wireless Tapping Probe
    By failing to win the presidency, Senator Kerry has effectively blocked the Justice Department's investigation into the matter of who exactly authorized the illegal actions to take place.

    There you go - this entire thing is really Kerry's doing. And though misleading, it's technically correct.
    • Re:Biased much? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pla (258480) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:18AM (#15755667) Journal
      Then the write-up that convicts the entire program even before an investigation (which is apparently now stalled) has been started by calling it "illegal actions"

      The program does indeed break the law. Only two points remain in-the-air - Who authorized it, and will Congress make similar future programs legal.

      But breaking the law breaks the law - If you get convicted of "murder"ing your (literally) braindead spouse the day before congress passes an exception for assisted suicide, you still go to prison for murder.


      Bush (or someone VERY high up, which the proposed investigation would determine) broke the law (again). I want to see Bush or Cheney do the perp walk. So do the majority of Americans at this point - It might have taken most of the sheep six years to catch on, but they've finally noticed that every time the wolf appears, some of them vanish.
  • Truth (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tx (96709) on Friday July 21, 2006 @07:47AM (#15755530) Journal
    I was searching for a suitable dubya quote to make a witty reply - in particular I was searching for a quote containing a reference to both the words "freedom" and "truth". Imaginge my surprise to find most pages of dubya quotes I found, such as this one [quotationspage.com], contain numerous references to "freedom" but few or in this case no references to "truth". Not one. Does this tell us something about the man?
  • by LaminatorX (410794) <sabotage@@@praecantator...com> on Friday July 21, 2006 @07:47AM (#15755535) Homepage
    ...this is how one "restores honor and dignity to the White House."
  • sigh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Moby Cock (771358) on Friday July 21, 2006 @07:49AM (#15755539) Homepage
    Lie, Whitewash, Stonewall.

    Rinse, Repeat.

    These are dark days. And we still have two and a half years to go.
    • Re:sigh (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MightyYar (622222)
      Oh, come on now... it's not that bad. The private lawsuits are progressing through the courts, where the same cry of "national security" was not given credence. All that happened here is that the president told another part of the executive branch to back off. If he told a congressional investigator to back off, or ignored an order from the judicial branch... well, then the days would be much, much darker. While I don't necessarily agree with what Bush is trying to do, I at least take some comfort in the fa
    • Re:sigh (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Simon Garlick (104721)
      You have two and a half years to go only if Bush allows elections to take place normally. Looking into my crystal ball I forsee a terrible threat to the USA from, um... evildoers... who seek to um... destroy the American way of life. Elections might have to wait a little bit -- you know, just until the emergency passes.
  • Good move George (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Timesprout (579035) on Friday July 21, 2006 @07:55AM (#15755562)
    National security must be protected at all costs now that WWIII [guardian.co.uk] has kicked off and apparently everybody except the US leadership and those with real WMD are the enemy.
    Christ on a stick how much more hysterical bullshit, civilian deaths and money grubbing do we have to put up with from these maniacs.
  • Illegal Actions? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by isa-kuruption (317695) <kuruption@[ ]uption.net ['kur' in gap]> on Friday July 21, 2006 @07:58AM (#15755574) Homepage
    ... into the matter of who exactly authorized the illegal actions to take place.

    Ahem, sorry to get "technical", but the actions haven't been proven to be illegal yet. They are "allegedly" illegal, since no one has been convicted of a crime (if that will ever happen).

    But this is typical spin... the fact is that part of the power of the President, of all Presidents, is to decide on the classification of information within the executive branch of government. When something is classified as "top secret", it requires the President to say, "hey this can now be released to the public" before it is legal to actually do so. This is why we've been having these leak probes (although they haven't gone anywhere). It's called access control... it's there for a reason... and it's not to hinder an investigative probe into misconduct, but to prevent the hindering of investigations into terrorist activities.
    • by Tony (765) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:26AM (#15755714) Journal
      It's called access control... it's there for a reason... and it's not to hinder an investigative probe into misconduct, but to prevent the hindering of investigations into terrorist activities.

      Precisely!

      So why is the President using it to block an investigative probe into misconduct? If he has nothing to hide, he has nothing to fear.
    • Re:Illegal Actions? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Tom (822)
      When something is classified as "top secret", it requires the President to say, "hey this can now be released to the public"

      This wasn't about going public. It was about a criminal investigation by a branch specifically designed to be able to investigate even top secret affairs.
    • by misanthrope101 (253915) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:37AM (#15755793)
      If any entity can declare itself immune from investigation or oversight, then they are effectively declaring themselves immune from the law. Ergo, the probability that the acts in question were "illegal" are inversely proportional to the odds that President Bush authorized them. Okay, so I'm being facetious, but the fact is that the acts can't be considered "illegal," ever if he can block investigation, and thus any chance of impeachment. I'd like to see someone, anyone, explain this in any way where it means something other than "the law doesn't apply to President Bush."

      What sickens me is not so much that a politician would do this (who wouldn't want to have veto power over any investigations into their own conduct?) but that so-called "conservative" pundits will side with him. The side that ostensibly sides with limited, toothless government will enthusiastically support a President's authority to place himself beyond the reach of the law, just because that President is from their own party. It wouldn't be so grating, but I'm a conservative, one who believes in limited government, the fallibility of man, etc. I actually have the political principles that they claim to have (at least when a Democrat was in the White House) and so, in calling myself a conservative, I'm placing myself in the same wacko, Orwellian club that they've infected. But what else do I call myself, politically? I was reading James Bovard when Clinton was in office. I was concerned about runaway government. I was frightened by Ruby Ridge and Waco. I even agreed with a few David Horowitz articles.

      But at the time the Republicans were right about where I was (though I couldn't have cared less about Clinton's sex life). After 9/11, they all went effectively crazy and I was left feeling like a schmuck because I actually thought they believed in small government and freedom, as I do. I'm effectively left without a party, because the Democrats are no better. I could vote Libertarian, but I really doubt the efficacy of that. It's a bit surreal to vote, to care about politics, in a nation where no one really cares about freedom. There is no political principle at work in either main party, and there isn't really a fiscally conservative/Amnesty International/ACLU/Torturewatch/anti-death-penalty etc party for me to vote for even as a weak compromise. There is just nothing. No, I don't believe it's a conspiracy. I'm just part of a ridiculously small minority of people who are abhorred by what's going on, and would be regardless of what party was running the show this week.

      I'm beginning to understand how the abolitionists felt at the very beginning, when they were the only ones saying "slavery is wrong." When I tell people "torture is wrong," and I have to argue the point, that leaves a very surreal, bizarre, and uneasy feeling in the back of my mind for the rest of the day. No one cares. I don't really see any way we can prevent a headlong slide into totalitarianism. If Bush outright suspended the next election, I'm convinced that at least 40% of Americans would support him. His base, the evangelicals (especially the Christian Reconstructionists) would definitely support him, because that's what they're after anyway. But I just don't think Americans at large think or care about any of this. It's not a very encouraging outlook to have on things.

  • by ignavus (213578) on Friday July 21, 2006 @07:59AM (#15755589)
    I'd like to be the first to welcome our new presidential overlord.

    I know where quite a few of your enemies are, I believe I can help you round them up ....

  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:21AM (#15755691)
    It's funny how Bush loves to pontificate about the spreading of 'Freedom' and 'Democracy' around the world, yet he is so good at suppressing it at home.
    Apparently, he can do whatever he wants and not even the US Justice Department can overrule him.
    Now I have to ask, do we really live in a 'Democracy?'

    For futher reading, see: '1984' and 'V for Vendetta'
  • well, almost (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:21AM (#15755693) Homepage Journal
    "By denying [...], President Bush has effectively blocked the [...] investigation into the matter of who exactly authorized the illegal actions to take place."

    Technically, yes. Pragmatically, he has made it very, very obvious that it was either he himself or someone very close to him.
  • by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:28AM (#15755731)
    I'm a pretty strong social and fiscal conservative. As you may guess, this also means I believe in the rule of law.

    It's painful to consider, but I'm actually considering voting Democrat in the upcoming elections to help put the Democrats in the majority of at least one, but ideally two, houses of Congress. I don't want to enable them to pursue liberal agendas, but maybe at least they'll have the balls to keep the President under the rule of law via impeachment. Apparently the Republican Congress/Senate that I voted for last time is unwilling to perform their duties in this area. I'm going to want to take a shower after I leave the voting booths this time. :/
    • points (Score:4, Insightful)

      by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday July 21, 2006 @01:42PM (#15758396) Homepage Journal
      1) Voting for a btter government should never make one feel dirty.
      2) voting blindly for a party is bad.
      3) Being able to relize that your party is doing bad things and voting against them is good.
      4) Democrates aren't as liberal any more.
      5) The republicans aren't republicans, there fanatics who care about religeon and making everyone adhere to there belief.

      I do not vote for any one party just to be voting for that party. I say these things because bad things are happening in are government and we need more people like you who can think for themselves.

      I saw a bumper sticker with a Picture of Geaorge Bush, and it said 'Enough is Enough'
      Enough is enough, indeed.
  • by houghi (78078) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:31AM (#15755759)
    should be good for the gander.

    If The People have done nothing wrong, The People should not be afraid to be under investigation.

    So if the NSA has nothing to hide, then they also should not be afraid to be under investigation.

    This does not mean that everything should be made public. I understand that there will be numrous things that are completely legal and correct, yet should remain a secret.

    What should be made public are non-legal things.
  • well DUH? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by v1 (525388) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:34AM (#15755776) Homepage Journal
    If Al Capone would have had enough pull at the IRS, I suppose he could have simply cancelled his audit.

    Not much different with Bush is it really? He's doing illegal things, and our screwed up executive system allows him to simply cancel any investigations into his behavior. I don't like to say people are guilty by denying their guilt as that is a very slippery slope, but in this case he is VERY actively blocking investigations into his actions, justifying it with laughable invokations of "national security", and that raises one giant red flag that we need someone he cannot override (grand jury?) to haul his can into court and expose whatever it is he is hiding.

    He did not do this for "reasons of national security", and the whole world knows it. He did it to keep himself IN office and OUT of jail.

    As long as he's there he can play, but that only lasts a little longer. I will find great entertainment seeing him locked up in a few years.

    It would be intersting to see them impeach him, but he's doing a good job of stalling for time so far so I don't know if that'll actually happen or not. There is certainly pleanty of talk about it tho.
  • by spectrokid (660550) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:39AM (#15755812) Homepage
    I guess most of you guys have heard of the Swift scandal as well. Well, for all those of you who think europeans are anti-american: imagine being an european minister or head of state. You want to fight terrorism as much as the next guy, and the biggest player in this game is the white house. But if are pro-Bush, you are allying with a government which does not respect its own constitution, never mind yours. Instead of asking Interpol or an institution under democratic supervision to monitor suspect international financial traffic, just send a CC of every single Swift transaction to the NSA. Is Boeing getting updates on Airbus transactions before Airbus gets them themselves? Hopefully not. But even if GWB doesn't allow it, Boeing is cooperating with 3 letter agencies on a daily basis, and what is a little memory stick among friends? Especially if there is no outside control on the use and spread of data? So the European voter brands the politician a gullible idiot at best, disrespectful of human rights at worst. And the Bush administration keeps on painting itself in a corner...
  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:42AM (#15755827)
    Something that's been bothering me for the last few years about the cry from the administration for utmost secrecy in its actions is the way they never get around to saying exactly whom they're trying to hide information from. When all is said and done, is there any reason to believe that al Qaeda has intelligence gathering capabilities beyond watching satellite television?

    We've had secret court cases before, we've had secret sessions of Congress, we have a whole series of safeguards that were apparently deemed necessary and proper when our foe was something as formidable as the KGB, why are we to believe that a non-state has the resources to do better? It would seem all that is needed to maintain secrecy from al Qaeda is to keep the information from being stored on USB drives in Baghdad. Does the administration really believe there are al Qaeda spies that highly placed in the United States government?
  • by fudgefactor7 (581449) on Friday July 21, 2006 @08:51AM (#15755871)
    How is this action taken by the President not obstruction of justice? Or at the very least interferance with official acts of government?
  • by plopez (54068) on Friday July 21, 2006 @09:41AM (#15756213) Journal
    Lot of comments going around about impeachment and possibly having the other retake congress in the midterms. Unfortunately nothing will change for a number of reasons:
    1) Bush doesn't care he is the decider.
    2) Congress will not act because they are his rubber stamp.
    3) The voters can't do anything since redistricting has given the Republican congress a comfortable majority in the house.
    4) The courts, now packed with right wing activist judges (esp. the supremes), will do nothing to restore democracy.
    5) The constant state of war can be used to manipulate information and therefore the public.
    6) The Senate is not subject to redistricting and could be taken back but that would take 6 years. Also the Senate cannot begin impeachment, only the House can.

    The only it is going to change is if the Dems take over more state legislatures, redistrict, then retake the House. This will be difficult due to pork barrel politics (by voting in a Rep. a district will get more money) and campaign contributions. And if the Reps. get into trouble again, they just trot out the terrorists and homos again.

    Get used to it. It will probably be 'One Nation, One Party, One Deceider' type rule for the next 20 years.

    Enjoy!
  • Dear USA, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by trawg (308495) on Friday July 21, 2006 @11:30AM (#15757157) Homepage
    Good luck with this stuff. Seriously.

    It seems you've already started to vote away your freedoms. If the rest of your country is going to take this lying down, maybe it's time for the rest of you to start taking up the arms that you've so rigoursly been defending the right to own (regardless of the cost in your society) to start taking control of your country back from the religious oligarchy that is currently in charge.

    You dragged one President through the mud because he cheated on his wife. Now you've got another one breaking your laws and turning your country into the sort of place that people fifty years ago used to write books about to prove points totalitarianism.

    Instead of posting about it on Slashdot, maybe the time has come to start educating your less savvy friends and family that maybe they should stop watching Fox and start engaging their brains to figure out what is best for their country, their family and their friends.

    Until you figure out a better way to spend untold billions of dollars and priceless amounts of human life, we, the undersigned, consider ourselves at great personal risk of your policies, attitudes, and actions.

    Signed sincerely,

    The Rest of the World. (Please consult an atlas for our exact location relative to the United States.)

    PS, if you could take money out of politics, you might find - as a completely surprising corollary - you make your country a better place for your citizens.

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