Nod To FISA May Signal Surge In Wiretaps, Experts Say
Bush Turns To Marx Brothers Policy Once Again; Signs Point To Coordinating Mail Reading and Eavesdropping
In a stunning reversal, not unlike one we've seen before, President Bush has abandoned his illegal domestic spying, known by the adminstration as the Terrorist Surveillence Program, and will concede oversight of his wiretapping by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
Some close to the White House say this is a "clear signal" that Bush is planning a "surge of wiretaps" to coordinate with his new Iraq policy.
The abrupt change by the White House also points towards the continuation of the President's "Hello, I Must Be Going" policy.
Back in October, the President shifted from his Keystone Cops method of operations and into the Marx Brothers, when he, and members of his administration denied ever stating "Stay The Course" or that it was the operational policy of the White House.
Surge In Iraq Needs Counterbalance With Surge In Wiretaps
"It's about time he put some lead in his pencil," bellowed Hugh P. Varicator, a consultant with the conservative hawkish think tank, “Cry Wolf”, that is said to be closely affiliated with The Project for the New American Century (PNAC), and, some say, may be an adjunct to the White House Iraq Group, or WHIG.
"We need to get those telephones calls over there, before we have to get them here, added Varicator.
"It makes sense," said Holly Martins, Publisher of Axis of Evil Illustrated, a quarterly publication, that is rumored to be a house magazine for the Project for The New American Century
"No doubt that the surge in Iraq will, inevitablly, lead to more telephone calls," offered Martins. "If he surges in Iraq, he has to balance it out on this end with the surge on the wiretapping. I don't see what all the fuss is about, he's already been doing it for nearly five-years and we haven't had a another, single attack within our borders. I say "Go for it, Mr. President, we're right behind you."
On Wednesday, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales sent a letter to the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee, indicating a reversal in White House policy, saying that the warrantless surveillance program run by the National Security Agency would now follow the law set forth by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA.
The White House indicated that they are not retreating from their position that President Bush has full authority to order warrentless wiretapping, but rather new rules have made it easierm and quicker, to work within the framework of FISA.
Faced with a Democratic-controlled Congress exercising oversight, and with lawsuits pending over the warrentless wiretapping, President Bush is also not conceding ground on his hold of broad, extraordinary Executive Power, having last weeked, along with Vice President Dick Cheney, said that Congress could not stop him from sending the 20,000+ surge troops to Iraq.
A Bigger Plan In The Pipeline?
Other sources have told The Garlic that the White House's sudden shift to allow the secret surveillience court oversight on their wiretapping goes towards a larger plan coming from President Bush and his recent strategy sessions.
"He set himself up to read the mail," says Dix Whitcomb, editor of the newsletter "Our Laws Are Different", "so this must be a part of that plan."
Earlier this month, through the use of his controversial use of Signing Statements, President Bush added the statement to a postal bill that the Bush Adminstration "shall construe" a section of that law to allow the opening of sealed mail to protect life, guard against hazardous materials or conduct "physical searches specifically authorized by law for foreign intelligence collection."
'It could be," added Whitcomb, "that the wiretaps gave them intelligence that there was something in the mail. Now it's a matter of coordinating the wiretaps with the mail, get a fuller picture on whoever it is they are targeting."
Yesterday, in a grilling before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales made no reference of tying the opening of mail with the wiretaps
Main Street Quiet, Fears Getting Trapped By NSA
Public reaction to the move by the White House suddenly going to the FISA Court has been muted.
In an overnight survey, The Garlic found that over 77% of those polled say they have shied away from calling or emailing friends and family to discuss the news, out of fear that they may be monitored by the NSA.
"I insisted my friend," said one participant, "to meet me for coffee - and I didn’t say where, she knew - and we talked about it whispers and hushed voices."
"I started writing an email," said another, "but I deleted it before I sent it, I didn’t want to take any chances."
When asked what message the President was sending to the American people, with his policies of eavesdropping and opening others' mail, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow sighed;
"Well, let me -- because I'm constantly being asked, what message does the President get. It's probably worth asking, what message does Congress intend to give, and who does it think the audience is? Is the audience merely the President? Is it the voting American public? Or in an age of instant communication, is it also al Qaeda? Is it Iraq? Is it players in Iraq? Is it U.S. troops? Is it people in the Gulf who want to understand whether the United States is, in fact, a partner upon whom they can depend for security even in trying times?"
Friday, January 19, 2007
News Item: Spy Court's Orders Stir Debate on Hill; Some Want Documents Made Public
10. Hilary vs. Obama... Steel-Cage Match, on the floor of the Senate
9. Getting Charlie Rangel to give Dick Cheney his Congressional office back
8. Just as soon as he gets SMU to agree to have his Presidential Library
7. Shortly after he digs up enough dirt on everyone in Congress via the illegal wiretaps
6. When Paris Hilton wins a Grammy
5. The day after Osama bin Laden is arrested
4. Too Late - Already put it in a Signing Statement that he doesn’t have to tell anyone
3. Pledge from everyone in Congress that they won't call him "stupid" anymore
2. Waiting until Pat Robertson hears back from God again
1. He's going to do what Carly Simon did... There'll be an auction and whoever puts in the most money, he'll whisper it in their ear
Good Afternoon Garlic Fans
Just a note of apology for the lack of posting yesterday (Thursday).
There were technical difficulties, with Blogger being down for a significant amount of time.
We're back on track today, so read on!
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Reports Surface Cheney Scouring eBay, Internet For Credibility
VP Office Silent, But On-Line Resellers Abuzz On Interest, Bartering With Vice President
With council on both sides waiting for a ruling by Judge Reggie Walton, over yesterday's opening brouhaha regarding possible jury tampering by Scooter Libby's lawyers, Day Two has potential jurors intensely interested in the credibility of Vice President Dick Cheney.
So much so, sources close to the White House tell The Garlic, that the Vice President himself has been surfing the internet in search of purchasing some last-minute integrity before he has to, potentially, testify in open court.
"Cheney's been scouring eBay, Overstock.com, Amazon, Craigslist ... Just about anyone that is selling on-line," said a senior White House aid.
"He's been banging away for a few hours now. And it's not his forte, if you know what I mean," continued the aide. "He's used to making notes in the margins, so someone has had to come in every so often and clean is screen, which only gets him angrier."
Jurors are being questioned today on their knowledge of the Bush White House, the war in Iraq and about memory.
Some Congressional and Senate offices are reporting receiving an email from the Vice President's office, asking for testimonials praising the Vice President, that would be used for an unstated purpose.
Unconfirmed reports say that Cheney has received only one statement to his credibility, that coming from Katherine Armstrong, the owner of the ranch where the Vice President shot his friend, the 78-year-old lawyer, Henry Whittington last year.
When contacted for a comment, Cheney spokeswoman Lea Anne McBride denied that Cheney, or anyone else in the Vice President's office was attempting to purchase credibility and refused any additional comment on the matter.
Google issued a statement indicating that their system is stable and functioning with normal ranges, unlike the incident a few months ago when White House "I'm Feeling Lucky" searches crashed their system.
One reseller on eBay, 69-year old Edna Hauser, of Ames, Iowa, who says she sells something "pretty close to credibility", says she spoke directly with the Vice President.
"He tried to strong-arm me, to get it for free" said a defiant Hauser. "Started babbling about national security, and service to my country ... I told him to go fuck himself... I've been selling here on eBay for over 10-years and I know what I'm doing ... No cash, no sale ... I said to him to go open a Pay Pal account and after he does that, I'll sell him something ..."
"I didn't have any of the stuff he wanted," offered Joseph Santos, of Red Hook, NY, "But I was able to trade'em for some fly fishing gear I had ... Got some of that Hallyburton stock for it... I don't care about the price, I just want it for bragging rights ... A friend of mine said I’d never get rid of that gear and here I am, selling it to the Vice President ..."
"Now, are you sure you want to question my credibility?"
News Item: U.S. Official Apologizes for Guantanamo Remarks
10. Felt, with Rumsfeld, and his blunt way of speaking, gone, was his chance to step into the administration limelight
9. Only made apology because he feared Joint Chiefs of Staff were going to write another letter, protesting about him
8. Was looking to get "into the heads" of any Iranian terrorist that we might capture when we invade Iran, that they won't get good lawyers
7. Naked attempt of trying to brown-nose Vice President Dick Cheney
6. Filing protest with President Bush - How come he gets slammed for one comment, when Karl Rove can go around smearing anyone he wants
5. Thought saying lawyers shouldn't do do pro bono work for terrorism suspects might help ease the violence in Iraq
4. Early investigation points towards he was trying to shakedown the lawyers
3. Made comments under duress; Has been edgy over the news of Castro being close to death
2. Really meant to say he was calling for a "surge of lawyers" to hit Gitmo
1. Taking one for the team; Took it upon himself to deflect attention away from the President's speech last week
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Trial In Chaos; Justice Dept. Gave Libby Lawyers Prospective Jurors Personal Info
Fitzgerald Livid As Emails, NSA Wiretaps, Financial Records Found In Defense Lawyers' Briefcase
No sooner than it started, the trial of former Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, erupted in chaos, after the discovery of NSA wiretaps, emails and financial records in the possession of defense attorneys, apparently provided to them by the Justice Department.
Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was livid, charging the Libby team of lawyers, and the Vice President's office, with attempting to "intimidate the jury".
Fitzgerald said that as voir dire began, the process of questioning prospective jurors, he passed by the defense table, he noticed a memo, on the stationary of David Addington, Vice President Cheney's new Chief of Staff, addressed to Ted Wilson, Libby's lead attorney, stating;
"Teddy; I had the NSA put this package together for you ... Hope it helps ... David A"
There was also a "PS" on it, offering "Still working on the Chief to issue a Signing Statement for Scooter ... Don't give up hope for Pardon either".
'There were file folders with jurors names on them, transcripts, tapes ..." a still shaken Fitzgerald recounted to reporters.
Flabbergasted, Fitzgerald turned to U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton, asking for a sidebar. After a heated discussion between the attorneys and Judge, Walton called a recess in proceedings, and ordering the attorneys into his chambers for further discussion.
The Justice Department, as well as the office of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, refused comment, citing the policy of not making statements on on-going legal matters.
The National Security Agency also refused comment, on the basis of national security.
The Justice Department, and the Bush Administration have been under fire, and still face legal challenges, to their domestic spying, or, as referred to by the White House, the Terrorist Surveillance Program.
Libby is on trial, charged with multiple counts of perjury, for allegedly lying to Federal Agents, and the Grand Jury, investigating the leak in the Valerie Plame Case. Libby faces up to 30 years in prison and $1.25 million in fines.
Ironically,. Addington may be called to testify in the case, as the potential witness list also includes Vice President Cheney and a Who's-Who of Washington polticos and media.
Plame, a former CIA undercover agent, had her identity exposed by the Bush Administration, allegedly in retribution for action by her husband, the former Ambassador Joseph Wilson.
Wilson wrote an Op-Ed article in the New York Times, criticizing President Bush, and the administration, for placing debunked intelligence in the President's 2003 State of the Union Address, charging Iraq's Saddam Hussein with seeking Yellow Cake uranium in Africa for the purpose of nuclear weapons.
This piece of fabricated intelligence, as well as others, were used by the Bush Administration to build up the case for war and justify the invasion of Iraq.
According to reports, Vice President Cheney wrote notes in the margins of the Wilson Op-Ed, giving them to Libby, which launched what ultimately ended with the outing of CIA Agent Plame and the subsequent investigation leading to Libby's criminal charges.
White House Spokesperson Tony Snow told reporters this morning that "This isn't a head-banger... The President won't comment on on-going legal proceedings. As to dealing with anyone on his staff that leaks information, he's still thinking about that and he doesn't rule forming a new study group to look into it."
Snow would not comment on the rumors that, in an effort to keep Libby, and others, from testifying under oath about the inner workings of the Bush Administration, President Bush will declare the former staffer an "enemy combatant" and charge him with treason, under the cover of a closed military tribunal.
In a related matter, MSNBC host Tucker Carlson has been hired the Libby lawyers, to badger and threaten any bloggers covering the trial. Carlson said he was happy to be tapped and is up to the challenge, promising to "[expletive] destroy them."
The trial of Scooter Libby, and the potential witnesses called, may have the Capital squirming, as secrets of the Bush Adminstration could come tumbling out
News Item: When Glitz Meets Glamour
10. He won't do it here, but I could see Martin Scorsese at the Oscars saying "You Like Me, You Really Like Me" if he wins one ...
9. And for our next award, Best Hanging Caught By A Cell Phone, the nominees are ...
8. Look, there's Helen Mirren ... And speaking of queens, looks like Ryan Seacrest over there
7. Wait and watch ... Now that she's won an award, there'll be six more shows next year with the word "Ugly" in the title
6. There's a rumor going around that Angelina and Brad are going one-up Madonna and adopt some from here tonight
5. Jesus, Clint Eastwood, he looks so old ... If he wins a Golden Globe, it will have to be a flat one
4. I heard they're giving President Bush a special Golden Globe, for Best Unintentional Willy Loman Impersonation, for his speech last week
3. I wonder if Eddie Murphy and Scary Spice will be hooking up with the Beckhams when they settle in here?
2. I wonder if Eddie Murphy and Scary Spice will be hooking up with the Beckhams when they settle in here?
1. Wouldn't be a hoot if both Mel Gibson and Paula Abdul hit the stage drunk ...
Monday, January 15, 2007
The race is on as to which gets built or rebuilt first, and, considering our Court-Appointed President's big "Win One For The Dubya!" speech this past week, Las Vegas must be placing odds that it will be Baghdad - that is if the insurgents (aka Iraqi citizens) don't burn it down first.
Mayor Ray Nagin, and the rest of the politicians down in Louisianna have to make the tough, political choices in the weeks and months ahead.
If they want to get the funds to rebuild New Orleans, they're going to have to invite the Shites and Sunnis to come on over and start battling in the Big Easy. Maybe then, the current administration occupying the White House will pay attention to the city.
As to the Bush Library.
Based on our Chief Surger's tenure, and with the drumbeat gettting louder for some level of violence with Iran (Cheney can economize and just use the same forged papers to claim that Ahmadinejad is trying to get Yellow Cake Uranium from Africa to get the ball rolling), they can just place the Bush Think Tank, errr, I mean Library, inside the PNAC or American Enterprise Institute.
The Results - The Garlic's Weekly Poll January 10 - January 13, 2007
For the remainder of Court-Appointed President Bush’s term, which will get more funding, construction and/or reconstruction?
1. Baghdad, Iraq Tally 50%
2. Bush Presidential Library Tally 33%
3. New Orleans, LA Tally 17%
This Week’s Poll - With the Scooter Libby trial beginning this week, we should be prepared for ...
Scroll up to the top right corner to place your vote
"...And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:
Free at last! Free at last!
Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"