Monday, December 19, 2005

Cheney, In "Nightline" Interview Tonight, Misleads And Spins About Surveillance Act Rules

Vice President Cheney says that if the U.S. had surveillance capability before Sept. 11, 2001, perhaps there wouldn't have been terrorist attacks that day.

It's a false claim.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) requires a warrant or court order to conduct electronic surveillance. And from 1979 to 2002, the FISA court did not reject a single warrant, issuing 15,264.

President Bush's secret, warrant-less domestic surveillance program, which during his Saturday radio address he admitted to personally authorizing, did not give the National Security Agency any new capability. It just circumvented the rules, which say the NSA must obtain a warrant before proceeding.

***

But that doesn't stop Cheney from spinning things.

"And, in fact, it is a program that is, by every effort we've been able to make, consistent with the statutes and with the law. It's the kind of capability [that], if we'd had before 9/11, might have led us to be able to prevent 9/11," he said to ABC's Terry Moran, for a Nightline broadcast to air tonight.

Moran twice asks Cheney whether the administration needs permission from a court to "eavesdrop on communications in America."

Cheney sidesteps in his answer, in an effort to justify the Bush Administration's sidestepping of FISA rules. He twice indicates the Bush program has been reviewed by the Justice Department. He make a vague reference to the program being consistent with the USA Patriot Act. He offers that it has been "signed up to by the attorney general of the U.S."

And that the administration has "briefed Congress on it — just a few members, the leadership — on over a dozen occasions." In other words, the Republican leadership was in the know, and the rest of us were in the dark.

***

So why mislead?

Perhaps Cheney is spinning because he wants to give the conservative noise machine another reason not to blame the Bush Administration for 9/11. The 9/11 Commission placed blame on both the Bush and Clinton administrations, but that's not good enough for most conservatives -- they just want to blame Clinton.

A couple of weeks ago, conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham asked listeners what Clinton did to fight terrorism. "Nothing," she answered rhetorically, then corrected herself to say that Clinton did "bomb an aspirin factory." Then she made a reference to Monica Lewinsky, and laughed.

While that sort of ignorance fuels conservative talk radio, no doubt Cheney's interview tonight will only provide the Ingrahams of the world with more ammunition.

11 Comments:

Anonymous holeinthedonut said...

Vice President Cheney says that if the U.S. had surveillance capability before Sept. 11, 2001, perhaps there wouldn't have been terrorist attacks that day.

Perhaps if I'd gotten a bike for christmas when I was 10, PERHAPS there wouldn't have been all of this unrelenting bullsh*t.

Perhaps we're getting f**ked by these nutjobs.

From another post, "They hate us for our freedoms" applies to this administration doesn't it??

12:27 PM  
Anonymous jbnow said...

Don't you get it? Only illegal wiretaps can catch such evil-doers.

Legal ones, not so much.

12:28 PM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

The White House reporter for the Boston Globe said on Countdown on Friday that Bush could have asked for this in the Patriot Act, and probably would have gotten it. But he forgot to ask.

Maybe Cheney forgot that Bush forgot to ask?

12:28 PM  
Blogger don dzikowski said...

Perhaps if Bush had acted in August of 2001 upon receiving a memo "Bin Laden determined to strike in America," instead of going on extended vacation, there would have been no 9-11.
Perhaps if Gore had rightfully won the election, the diligent intelligence against Al Quada would have been continued (instead of put on the backburner) and there would have been no 9-11.
I agree these Bushies spin and spin and spin to cover up their endless mistakes.
I'm in sympathy with above blogger who is sick and tired of this Bullsh---.
JABBS has been coming so fast and furious with these posts of late, I cannot keep up with them.
Please, work to get a version of JABBS as a regular editorial column in the NY Times or something to reach an even broader audience. Let it include commentary from a conservative blogger for all I care. All the better to make their viewpoints look empty and foolish.

1:51 PM  
Anonymous Tactical Progressive said...

9/11 wasn't caused by not enough information

9/11 was caused by BushCo purposefully not doing anything for nine months amidst documented pleadings of people in the intelligence community, the outgoing administration and their own ranks begging them to start paying attention to the reams of intelligence warnings coming in that both a major attack on the US was in the offing and that basic defensive measures were not being instituted. They did nothing, and it wasn't for the want of an illegal wiretap.

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have Bush today criticizing the "leaking" to the press of the illegal wiretaps as a threat to national security.
(He says the wire taps were legal under "new laws" passed right after 9-11).
So where is this concern about a threat to national security in the leaking of the name of a CIA agent?
For the Bush Administration, hypocrisy is as common as rain.

3:36 PM  
Anonymous ash said...

What, he didn't work the phrase "if you will" in there somewhere?

No matter, it was in a quote from his surprise visit to Iraq.

Special place in hell...

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was that Ingrahams or Ignoramus?

4:43 PM  
Anonymous Ric Rude said...

This blog is bugged. Arrests to follow. We know who we are.

5:00 PM  
Anonymous rob of wilmington, del. said...

Once again, Ric shows how immature he is. Offered multiple chances to offer a serious defense of Bush Administration policy or conservative politics in general, he continues to act like a wailing and flailing five-year-old.

Bravo, Ric. Bravo. You show once again that conservatives are uanble to defend themselves against the truth.

6:27 PM  
Anonymous Tactical Progressive said...

My guess is that Arlen will rebuff them but there won't be any charges filed. They'll stop, but there won't be any penalty beyond political. Kind of like if you robbed a bank and they catch you and tell you not to do it again.

It's far less important to my mind than 9/11 was and is. If the media had held Bush accountable for his at-best extreme, but I'm absolutely certain intentional, negligence leading up to the terrorist attacks in 2001, we wouldn't even be in Iraq now, let alone half a trillion in debt, let alone 15,000 wounded, let alone 2200 dead. Let alone illegal wiretaps.

It's bad, unethical and illegal, but it's not even close to the the worst that these people have inflicted on this country.

6:33 PM  

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