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NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...
|MORE BRAD BLOG 'SPECIAL COVERAGE' PAGES...|
George Stephanopoulos interviewed 2004 Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards on Sunday's edition of ABC ThisWeek.
Edwards repeated his charge that President Bush is "the worst President of our lifetime." He also condemned Bush and Cheney for doing serious damage to the country. From foreign policy to domestic policy, Edwards said that it "will take us forever to recover" from the Bush Administration. The former V.P candidate also blasted breaking the law and ignoring the Constitution to spy on Americans.
Stephanopoulos: You've also said that his boss, the President, is "the worst president of our lifetime".
Stephanopoulos: Worse than Richard Nixon?
Edwards: Absolutely. Absolutely.
Stephanopoulos: What has President Bush done that is worse than the crimes and the cover-ups of Watergate.
Edwards: Well he's done a variety of things. Things that are going to take us forever to recover from. I think we can recover from them but the damage done to the way America is viewed in the World. The lack of respect for American in the World. What the ongoing conflict in Iraq is doing to America's image. His response to this hurricane on the Gulf Coast which I think is part of a pattern of incompetence.
Stephanopoulos: But if he's worse than Richard Nixon, should President Bush be impeached?
Edwards: I think that the way to deal with this is we need a Democratic President in the next election. I think the damage this President has done --- and I didn't get through the whole list. For example, leading an effort --- an illegal effort, I think it's absolutely clear that it's illegal --- effort to spy on Americans, completely ignoring the law and the Constitution. The President knew and his advisor knew...
Stephanopoulos: He says that he has the authority under the Constitution. Article Two of the Constitution.
Edwards: He is wrong. He is wrong. It is the reason we have a separation of powers in this country. Congress had enacted a [FISA] law that told the President exactly what he was supposed to do and he just ignored it. He intentionally ignored it. If there was any question about this, the least they should have done is to go to Congress and try to get the law changed. Should we be monitoring al-Qaeda? Absolutely. It is necessary to keep this country safe but we can do it under the law and the President is not above the law...
Jonathan Turley is a Law Professor at George Washington University. He is an expert on Constitutional Law and legal ethics. He also specializes in legal services for defendants in cases involving classified material. Turley appeared as guest on MSNBC's Countdown to help explain the legal issues with the NSA's ongoing collection of "billions of phone calls" of "tens of millions of Americans."
The Communications Act of 1934 states that phone companies can not give out information on its' customers calling habits. Examining the possible legality of the NSA program, Jonathan Turley says, "If what was reported in USA TODAY is true... it seems to me, once again to violate Federal Law." Turley concludes, "I've spent a day now looking for the possible authority that they would use for this operation and I've come up with nothing."
BONUS VIDEO - Turley: Bush Prefers to Promote Inner-Circle of Criminals
The night before USA TODAY broke the NSA Call Database story, Jonathan Turley made another appearance on MSNBC's Countdown. In this interview, Turley uses the nomination of General Hayden as CIA Director to point out a pattern in the types of activities and people that President Bush prefers to promote.
Turley notes the large number of people in Bush's inner-circle that have been accused of criminals activities, a lack of legal ethics and even indicted/convicted crimnals. General Hayden's creation and subsequent defense of NSA programs that violate civil rights and FISA laws is the latest visible example in this pattern.
Jonathan Turley makes a serious comparison between the HBO's fictional crime family and the Bush's inner-circle. There is an obvious comparison between the loyalty and obedience required to be "made" in the Soprano family and the people allowed in Bush's bubble. Turley also wonders if criminal activity benefiting the Bush's goals is an attribute that accelerates a person's initiation into the "Bush Crime Family".
This morning, USA TODAY is reporting that their sources confirm that the National Security Agency is secretly building a massive database of American's phone calls. The database has been called the "largest database ever assembled in the world."
The source said that the NSA's goal is "to create a database of every call ever made" within the borders of the United States. This particular program does not actually monitor conversations but is used for data mining along with data collected by other secret NSA program such as the warrantless domestic spying program and numerous other sources. Data collected by U.S. companies such as credit history, buying patterns and mailing lists are used along with data collected by the intelligence community. NSA whistleblower Russell Tice has said (60 Minutes video clip here) that there may be many other secret programs which spy on "millions of Americans". The phone call database alone is said to collect information on "tens of millions of Americans." Combining and analyzing all of these sources of data amount to an appalling and possibly illegal invasion into the private lives of Americans.
If you use AT&T, Verizon, BellSouth --- the three largest phone companies --- then your phone calls are being collected by the NSA. These three companies alone provide service to over over 200 million customers. Like the warrantless domestic spying program, the NSA has not obtained warrants or notified the FISA court about collecting phone calls. Qwest was the only phone company that refused to hand over phone call records until the NSA obtained a FISA warrant. (You can thank Qwest right here.) The NSA refused to go the FISA court. But customers with Qwest accounts are not immune to the NSA's violation of privacy. Many customers who have Qwest also use AT&T or Verizon for long distance service. The NSA can also cross-reference other databases to build a nearly complete profile for an individual.
George W. Bush has said that the program is lawful and necessary for fighting terrorism. He also says that the private lives of Americans are not being violated.
In this video clip, NBC's Today Show reports on the NSA's ongoing collection of domestic phone calls.
Ex-CIA Analyst, Ray McGovern, is part of the group "Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity" which has been critical of the Bush Administration for the political use of National Security intelligence. McGovern also happens to be a friend of Mary McCarthy. McCarthy was recently fired by the CIA for allegedly leaking classified information to reporters.
The opinion of the intelligence community is unanimous. In general, leaking of classified information is a firing offense, possible criminal and can pose a danger to America's national interests. Ray McGovern agrees that leaks are dangerous and should not be condoned but he says that actions by the Bush Administration have created an "exceptional situation" where leaking may be the only choice for exposing illegal activities.
Ray McGovern says that the "war of aggression" on Iraq, the secret "black" prisons, torture, rendition and other activities are "war crimes". The American people deserve to know when crimes are being committed by their government. McGovern says:
But my point is: This is not American. This is not the country that we serve. And when we see this happening, somebody has to speak out.
This video contains about 10 minutes of clips from the interview with Ray McGovern. See PBS Newshour for an entire transcript.
The video, directed by Bob Newhart Show alum and former Friends director Peter Bonerz is in support of the Senator's Censure Resolution and features a twist ending.
The organization has issued a press release touting the video's premier last night in Texas. That release follows in full...
Yesterday, Senator Barbara Boxer delivered a letter to President George W. Bush demanding that he apologize for his role in using NIE intelligence for political purposes. Boxer's letter begins, "I am writing to request that you apologize to the American people for your role in declassifying information for political reasons and authorizing its dissemination."
Senator Boxer appeared on MSNBC Hardball to explain her reason for writing Bush. Boxer also spoke in support of Senator Feingold's censure resolution.
From the MSNBC transcript:
Let me ask you this, Senator, are you going to follow through with this? Are you going to try to get him censured?
SEN. BARBARA BOXER: Well, I absolutely feel that we can't close our eyes to what this president has done. You could ask me is it a smart, strategic move for the Democrats, I don't know if it is or isn't, Chris. But every day you think it can't get worse and it gets worse.
Now we see how hard the president himself tried to hurt Ambassador Joe Wilson, who told the truth about Saddam Hussein and the nuclear weapons program. He told the truth that it wasn't happening. And yet in fact, this president wanted to release information that even he knew, and the administration knew, was suspect.
Yesterday, The President said that he "declassified the NIE" because he wanted people "to see the truth" about intelligence used to bolster the case for war on Iraq.
The corporate media dutifully reported The President's misleading remarks without correcting his misinformation. The Bush Administration is built on lies and, yesterday, Bush added another lie.
MSNBC's Countdown correctly points out that only specific parts of the NIE were leaked to a few sympathetic reporters. The leaked information provided a defense for statements the President made that exaggerated Iraq's desire to acquire nuclear weapons. Other parts of the same NIE that was not given to reporters, show that the leaked information was false.
In fact, the President had been informed multiple times that the information leaked from the NIE to defend his statements about Iraq's nuclear ambitions were "baseless". In short, the President knew that false information was being used to discredit Joe Wilson.
Yesterday, Bush knew that he was misleading Americans by saying that he released the discredited NIE intel because he wanted people "to see the truth." The same lie is being told over and over again and the corporate media refuses to call the President on it.
In this video, Keith Olbermann, Joe Wilson and David Shuster do not hesitate to point out the twisted intelligence, misinformation and outright lies of the Bush Administration. Playing time is about 10 minutes.
Wolf Blitzer interviewed former Ambassador Joe Wilson this afternoon during CNN's Situation Room. Joe Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame Wilson, have been victims of a Bush Administration effort to stop the American people from learning that intelligence was twisted and misused to lead the country to war on Iraq.
Bush ordered that parts of the classified National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) be used to rebut a New York Times op-ed written by Joe Wilson. Wilson charged that the administration had had purposefully used baseless intelligence to inflate Iraq's nuclear ambitions.
Today, during a Q&A session with students, Bush said that he had released information from the NIE because he wanted people "to see the truth". In this interview, Joe Wilson sets the record straight by pointing out that the President only released part of the NIE to rebut Wilson's charge. If The President had wanted the people "to see the truth" then he would have also released other parts of the NIE which expressed serious doubts about the information Bush used to rebut Wilson's charge. In fact, by releasing more information which he knew to be faulty, George Bush just fed Americans another lie.
This video contains Wolf Blitzers' complete interview with Joe Wilson. It runs about 10 minutes. Wilson does a great job explaining some of the nuances of the case. He talks fast so you might want to watch it twice.
On April 7th, Wired News first reported on a class action lawsuit filed against AT&T by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). AT&T is accused of allowing the NSA to monitor phone and internet communications without a warrant.
An AT&T whistleblower, Mark Klein, has come forward with testimony and documentation. Klein provides specific details about how the spying program intercepted AT&T customer communications. The NSA installed "secret rooms" in AT&T switching centers throughout the country. Live communications signals are split off into the secret room. Powerful data-mining computers installed in the room can sift through the millions of live signals.
CNN put together this short video report including comments by an EFF attorney.
Thanks to a heads-up from Larisa at The Raw Story, we were able to captured this broadcast of CNBC's Tim Russert show. Russert interviewed James Risen and Robert O'Harrow, Jr. The video contains about 24 minutes of clips from CNBC's Saturday broadcast.
James Risen broke the NSA warrantless domestic spying story for the New York Times. He also has a new book out, State of War: The Secret History of the CIA And The Bush Administration. Risen is known to have sources within various intelligence agencies and has recieved information from several NSA whistleblowers. One of those whistleblowers, Russell Tice, recently testified before congress that NSA domestic surveillance programs may be much more widespread than the "limited" program that the Bush Administration has admitted. Tice has said that some programs could be monitoring "millions of Americans".
Robert O'Harrow, Jr. is an award-winning reporter for the Washingon Post with an expertise data mining and privacy issues. His recent book, No Place to Hide: Behind the Scenes of Our Emerging Surveillance Society, describes "a surveillance society that's less centralized and more a joint public/private venture".
Together, Risen and O'Harrow paint a picture of an enormous partnership between U.S. intelligence agencies and private data collection firms. Spying agencies like the NSA can leverage its' massive computing power to mine data collected by these private firms. The result is a mind-boggling domestic surveillance capability with access to nearly any information imaginable. Phone calls, email, video as well as financial, criminal and other personal records can all be searched at the same time. The NSA's powerful computers can mine the data to find otherwise imperceptible links for profiling groups and individuals.
Russert calls it a "sobering" discussion. The interview only scratches the surface of how extensive the scope of Big Brother's monitoring of Americans may be. The surveillance programs are a dramatic departure from what the public has come to believe. It's easy to see why the Bush Administration has avoided legislation and oversight.
It's quite possible that the American people would not stand for Bush's spying policies if they had a sense of the true nature of the government's surveillance.
UPDATE 5/8/06: Luke has now posted a text transcript of this Russert/Risen/O'Harrow interview.
Guest blogged by David Edwards
On Tuesday, a former NSA employee, Russell Tice, testified before the House Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations. Tice told the committee that he was concerned that undisclosed domestic spying programs were far more widespread than the recently exposed Bush/NSA warrantless wiretap program.
One or more still classified "Special Access" surveillance program may be monitoring the communications of "millions of Americans". While Tice could not share classified details of the program(s), he believes that the Constitution and FISA laws are being violated.
An article published by UPI has more information about the widespread domestic surveillance programs.
The hearings focused on protection for whistleblowers and a pattern of retaliations by the Bush Administration. This article from the Christian Science Monitor provides an excellent summary of testimony from whistleblowers appearing before the committee.
The lawmaker, Representative Heather A. Wilson of New Mexico, chairwoman of the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Technical and Tactical Intelligence, said in an interview that she had "serious concerns" about the surveillance program. By withholding information about its operations from many lawmakers, she said, the administration has deepened her apprehension about whom the agency is monitoring and why.
She said she realized that publicizing her concerns over the surveillance program could harm her relations with the administration. "The president has his duty to do, but I have mine too, and I feel strongly about that," she said.
Congratulations Rep. Wilson on being the latest recipient of our prestigious award! You are in shamefully rare company these days!
THE BAD NEWS... The once great NY Times is still hopelessly in the tank, reporting the Administration "company line" as fact in the "paper of record" [emphasis added]:
FRESH IDEA FOR NY TIMES 'REPORTERS'/EDITORS... Try reporting facts instead of White House spin. The fact of this matter is that unless you all know something that neither the Congress nor the Country seems to know, you have no idea whether the illegal warrantless NSA domestic spying program is eavesdropping on people "believed to have links with terrorists."
We realize the White House would like you to report it that way --- and though you scored many points with them doing exactly that prior to the War in Iraq, we'd have hoped you'd have learned a lesson by now. Apparently you haven't.
The fact that nobody outside of the Administration has any idea who is being tapped is just one of the reasons Ms. Wilson is calling for a full investigation. Had you read your own article, you might have understood that.
Keep up the bad work!
As you may know by now, on last night's Nightline, whistleblower Russel Tice admitted to being one of the sources for the New York Times story on the NSA's warrantless wire-tapping of U.S. citizens, as admittedly approved time and again by George W. Bush. He was one of a dozen, apparently.
Tice clarified that the program in question was not simply one of the government "listening in on a few calls made to al-Qaeda," as many have tried to minimize it, but an enormous effort that resulted in "millions" of Americans having their conversations listened to in violation of the law and the Constitution. At least in Tice's opinion.
He added that "millions" of Americans have most likely been spied upon, as anyone that placed a call from the U.S. to another country has a good chance of having had the call monitored. This is not a "limited" program as Bush has been attempting to color it.
Tice has written a letter asking Congress to allow him to testify on the laws that he feels have been broken by the NSA, where, until recently, the rules were always made very clear at the agency that you don't spy on American citizens inside the country without a court order to do so first.
And now, the Justice Department is attempting to "gag order" Tice under the same "state secrets" act that they've used to gag FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds. Edmonds, in turn, has helped found the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition to support patriotic Americans like Tice, herself, and about 50 others in similar situations --- from both political parties.
ABC covered the Tice story at their website (with a link to Tice's letter) here.
The video of Nightline's complete report and interview with Tice is available in full here:
NOTE: Folks like Bill O'Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, and the other Administration apologists have been hard at work trying to conflate the cases of disclosure of classified information (Tice said he hasn't done any such thing, by the way) with that in the Valerie Plame case. Regular BRAD BLOG readers likely don't need this explained to them, but apparently O'Reilly and Rush and their trolling millions don't understand the difference in the two cases.
So to be clear --- Tice is reporting a crime being committed by a national security agency. Scooter Libby and Karl Rove, on the other hand, revealed classified material not to uncover a crime, but as a political weapon against someone they perceived as an opponent. Their crime was their revelation of the material itself. Period.
As James Risen, the author of the original Times piece pointed out recently to Jon Stewart (video available here from Crooks & Liars), the NSA matter is as "pure a case of whistleblowing" as one is likely to find, and the two different cases couldn't be more polar opposite to each other. No matter how much the wingnuts are trying to conflate the two.
Got it? Good! We'd rather not have to explain it again in the future. Though we have a feeling we'll have to anyway.
Guest blogged by David Edwards
The New York Times reports that in 2004 Deputy Attorney General James Comey refused to sign off on renewal of Bush's warrantless NSA spying program. Instead of addressing Comey's concerns, Bush Administration officials took the desperate move of actually visiting Attorney General Ashcroft in the hospital to get his authorization for renewal of the program. Ashcroft was, at the time, in intensive care recovering from pancreatitis.
Comey refused to approve renewal of the program based on concerns over "whether the president had the legal and constitutional authority to conduct such an operation."
In light of these new revelations, Senator Charles Schumer, appearing on Fox News Sunday, demanded that Bush Administration officials testify before congress.
Mitch McConnel, who appeared along with Schumer, chastised The Times for continuing to report on details of the wiretap program. While Schumer said that any investigation should consider a possible whistle-blower status for anyone who leaked this information, Senator McConnel was more interested in punishing the whistleblower.
Because the NSA shared the wiretap information with many federal agencies, it will be very difficult to assign blame to a specific leaker.
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· Baghdad Burning
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· Fired Up! Missouri
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· Nashua Advocate
· Oliver Willis
· RAW STORY
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· Cagle's Index
· Chan Lowe
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