February 8, 2006
This Is a Test of the Emergency Silence System
I believe the Bush administration has set up a secret and somewhat risky test of the ability of Congress to keep a secret:
After weeks of insisting it would not reveal details of its eavesdropping without warrants, the White House reversed course Wednesday and provided a House committee with highly classified information about the operations.
The White House has been under heavy pressure from lawmakers who wanted more information about the National Security Agency's monitoring. Democrats and many Republicans rejected the administration's implicit suggestion that they could not be trusted with national security secrets.
The shift came after Rep. Heather Wilson, R-N.M., chairwoman of a House intelligence subcommittee that oversees the NSA, broke with the Bush administration and called for a full review of the NSA's program, along with legislative action to update the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
She and others also wanted the full House Intelligence Committee to be briefed on the program's operational details. Although the White House initially promised only information about the legal rationale for surveillance, administration officials broadened the scope Wednesday to include more sensitive details about how the program works.
On the one hand -- oh, no, not again -- Congress is clearly more likely to support the NSA al-Qaeda wiretapping program if they know more about it; members will then see the ludicrous misreporting that has plagued this story from its tendentious inception in the New York Times to its partisan exploitation by the Democrats:
At least one Democrat left the four-hour House session saying he had a better understanding of legal and operational aspects of the anti-terrorist surveillance program, being conducted without warrants. But he said he still had a number of questions.
"It's a different program than I was beginning to let myself believe," said Alabama Rep. Bud Cramer, the senior Democrat on the Intelligence Committee's oversight subcommittee.
"This may be a valuable program," Cramer said, adding that he didn't know if it was legal. "My direction of thinking was changed tremendously."
Still, Cramer said, some members remain angry and frustrated, and he didn't know why the White House waited so long to inform Congress of its actions.
Well, that's the second hand: let's see how long it takes for the operational details to leak out by way of members of Congress or their aides (obviously; who else?)
If the secrets never leak, wonderful; we've learned that Congress has come a long way since 1987, when Sen. Patrick "Leaky" Leahy (D-VT) was forced to resign from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for leaking a draft copy of the Iran-Contra investigation to the media -- just one year after he "inadvertently" revealed in a television interview highly classified information he had received just two hours earlier... ironically enough, information that the U.S. was intercepting some international telephone calls.
But if, per the norm for Congress, the top-secret operational details suddenly appear in the press -- well, then Mr. Cramer's question has been answered, hasn't it?
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 8, 2006, at the time of 8:12 PM
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Tracked on February 9, 2006 5:31 AM
» Admin briefs Congress on NSA surveillance from Sister Toldjah
Via the WaPo: Responding to congressional pressure from both parties, the White House agreed yesterday to give lawmakers more information about its domestic surveillance program, although the briefings remain highly classified and limited in scope. ... [Read More]
Tracked on February 9, 2006 6:27 AM
» Would You Trust Hillary With the NSA Program? from Stop The ACLU
DNR Online Prior to her talk at Bridgewater College, scheduled for Thursday night, ACLU President Nadine Strossen questioned elements of the Bush administration’s surveillance program by posing an intriguing question. “If Hillary Clinton were p... [Read More]
Tracked on February 9, 2006 6:49 AM
» Congress To Be Briefed On NSA Program from Iowa Voice
The White House decided to brief Congress on the NSA program: Responding to congressional pressure from both parties, the White House agreed yesterday to give lawmakers more information about its domestic surveillance program, although the briefings re [Read More]
Tracked on February 9, 2006 7:38 AM
» More Leaks To Come from Flopping Aces
So now it appears Bush has agreed to brief the full Intelligence Committee on the NSA wiretap program: Reversing course, the White House has agreed to brief congressional intelligence committees on highly classified details of President Bush’s co... [Read More]
Tracked on February 9, 2006 12:19 PM
» This Is a Test of the Emergency Silence System Big Lizards Blog from The Absurd Report
I believe the Bush administration has set up a secret and somewhat risky test of the ability of Congress to keep a secret: ... [Read More]
Tracked on February 14, 2006 8:11 AM
The following hissed in response by: RBMN
The whole program was blown so wide open by the New York Times, and by left-wing Democrats in addition to that, it's hard to believe it still matters. Who in al-Qaeda is still picking up a phone to call America and discuss their targets? I guess if another 9/11 happens, the New York Times will have a big story again, and won't have to kill time revealing all our nation's secrets one by one.
The following hissed in response by: Franksalterego
Most people are already aware of how electronic surveillance works...MAYBE.
But, what if there's a technology BEYOND what is already widely known--Something, no one in the puplic arena has even THOUGHT of?
Classified Information is, Classified for a REASON...And the LESS people know, about CERTAIN things, the better off we are.
Now, I'm sure, the Conspiracy Theorists will be "outraged" by THAT line of thinking but, we don't give the details of how to build atom bombs to someone, just because they're "outraged"...If you get my drift.
Frank in Spokane
The following hissed in response by: tomlynk
I think it is interesting that Senator Rockefeller is saying that the entire Senate should have been kept up to date on the NSA program. When you consider that he was one of only eight on the comittee that was advised and it couldn't be kept secret, absolutely puzzling. I haven't checked with Las Vegas, but I'm giving 3-1 odds that he was involved somehow in the keak.
The following hissed in response by: tomlynk
Or leak. My typing skills leave a lot to be desired. My appologies.
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