Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

NSA confirms Congress not briefed -- President proven to have lied to Congress

On the eve of the Judiciary Committee's investigation into the unlawful NSA wiretapping, the NSA has made a fatal admission: There are things going on inside NSA that they haven't told Congress about. Ref.

* * *

[ For your convenience, there is an NSA Hearing Archive; Click here to read other content in the NSA Hearing Archive.]

The NSA's director of special access programs, Renee Seymour is reported in the Washington Times to have said:
QUOTE: ". . the programs Mr. Tice took part in were so secret that "neither the staff nor the members of the [House intelligence committee] or [Senate intelligence committee] are cleared to receive the information covered by the special access programs, or SAPs." Ref
Will the Senate Judiciary Committee be "permitted" by the President to oversee what he is doing, or have checks and balances gone out the window?

* * *

The fatal admission means there are multiple programs, not just a single one as the President would have us believe, that Congress doesn't know about.

How can the President credibly argue the "current program that we know about" is "limited", why by the NSA's own admission, Congress doesn't have all the information; the NSA knows about other programs; and the President has failed to fully inform Congress of these other programs?

It remains to be understood how many "other programs" are part of the "President's program" and how many other "limited programs" have been deliberately compartmentalized so that the scope of the Judiciary Committee is narrow.

In other words, when the NSA management report to their employees "the status of the investigation and audit" into the President's program -- it is likely that the NSA senior management know they are confining the review/audit to a very narrow definition of what is a "warrantless, unlawful NSA program."

Other NSA employees who may be working on a similar program, but not actually audited, will likely be told, "Congress reviewed the program, and has found nothing." In truth, it appears the opposite: That the scope of the Congressional review will be narrow, and the "other programs which likely violate other statutes" will get a broad brush of "they've been reviewed" when the opposite is true.

We judge, based on the fatal admission above that the objective of the compartmentalized programs at the NSA isn't merely to protect information, but to ensure that the NSA employees are not aware of other programs -- even their own -- that may violate the law.

We judge the current special access program and compartmentalization procedure does more to disrupt mandated oversight, than it does to effectively protect information. Yes, there is a trade off between oversight and information -- but one cannot exist without the other, especially in a system designed to have a system of checks and balances.

The current NSA approach appears to be contrary to the Constitution, violates the system of checks and balances. The results are self-evident: The programs violate the law, those in the know are retaliated against, and the Congress is kept in the dark; all the while the President publicly asserts the opposite -- things are isolated, controlled, and lawful.

Nothing the NSA's Special Access Program monitor has said supports the President's version of events.

It is absurd to suggest “we cannot trust Congress” therefore, “Congress cannot be told” – when the truth is the opposite – NSA cannot be trusted to fully comply with the law, and despite requirements to inform Congress, the NSA and President have failed to meet their lawful obligations. The NSA has no credibility and cannot be independently relied upon to self-monitor over self-report whether it is or is not engaging in lawful or unlawful behavior.

We judge the NSA's public statements are designed to dissuade lawful Congressional oversight, intimidate a witness, and interfere with lawful oversight of an unlawful government program.

* * *

This fatal admission could not have surfaced at a worse time for the White House, under attack for failing to inform the FISA court before engaging in warrantless surveillance.

Today's revelations raise serious questions about the truthfulness of the President's statements; and whether Congress has been given the appropriate information to oversee the programs it is lawfully required and permitted to monitor.

One cannot simply assert a principle of "freedom" to justify an unlawful invasion of Iraq -- one must also put that principle into practice. Today's revelations make it clear that America is not fighting for liberty or the rule of law in Iraq -- but the right to do what it wants, even if Congress is in the dark.

The news makes a mockery of the White House claims it has done what it should to meet its Constitutional obligations. The failure to fully inform Congress materially undermines confidence the American civilian leadership can effectively self-monitor itself or freely comply with its oaths of office: To preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution.

* * *

At this juncture, the principle is: Why should American citizens believe the NSA -- which falls under DoD and the Executive Branch -- is appropriately following the law?

The NSA has asserted that they have fully informed Congress. Yet today's revelations destroy the NSA's credibility.

It remains to be understood how many programs -- like the current program which violates the FISA warrant requirement -- exist.

If Congress is unable to review these programs -- as required under a system of checks and balances -- we have little confidence that the DoD or DoJ inspector generals will have the requisite clearances.

Either America is a country that follows the constitution -- and has a system of checks and balances on power -- or it is not.

The current NSA fatal admission raises serious questions about the credibility of the President and Attorney General Statements over the "limited program."

It is absurd to believe that the NSA programs are limited, confined to the statutes, or are within the bounds of the law.

* * *

The NSA wants to have it both ways with former NSA employee Tice. On one hand they want to say that he has psychological problems, while casting him as unreliable; yet at with the same brushstroke they would have us believe that Congress "can't hear" the information.

* * *

Which is it?

Is Tice unreliable that no matter what he says it remains unbelievable?

Or is Tice bearing information that Congress should know, but has denied?

Or are we to believe -- like the President's transcripts discussing with Tony Blair bombing AlJazeera -- that the information/incident didn't occur, but we still can't discuss the details of the transcript?

Tice cannot be cast with multiple lights, with multiple shadows. He has information; the NSA has not provided this information to Congress; and Congress does not have this information.

The NSA, as the British have done with the transcripts over the Bush-Blair discussion over Bombing AlJazeera, has openly admitted the truth: That Congress has not been fully informed as required by statute.

It remains to be understood how many other departments, besides the NSA, have failed to fully inform the Congress, much less their inspector Generals. Congress it appears doesn't have the clearance to get access to the information -- all the more reason to have open hearings and find out what other skeletons are roaming around in the White House.

We have ten months until Halloween. Perhaps the NSA and Congress may have to present their arguments to the Judicial Branch.

In the mean time, let's hear it for an impeachment: The President knowing of NSA programs that Congress has not been fully informed on; while at the same time publicly asserting that the program is limited and Congress knows otherwise.

The President, like the NSA wants it both ways.

They need it one way: Proverbially, not actually, slapped across the face with the Constitution -- a figure of speech, but a matter of American principles -- a quaint thing called the "rule of law" -- supposedly why we unlawfully invaded Iraq.

If we had real checks and balances based on facts, we wouldn't be looking at a $2T price tag in Iraq -- a fact apparently annoying to the RNC, and likely to trigger a criminal investigation for discussing reality.

Bring it on!

* * *

Using publicly-available information on the JTTF, RNC, White House, NSA, and other information, here is an investition outline to explore the following issues[ See the outline ]:

  • Why is there no evidence of White House, NSA, or DoJ active investigation into the NSA discussions with the NYT in 2004?

  • What communication occurred between DoJ, RNC, the White House prior to the unlawful detention of RNC protestors; and the communication with the Manhattan DA's office to fabricate video evidence?

  • How many communcations occurred between the RNC, DoJ, JTTF, White House, and other intelligence units prior to specific harassment against civilians watching and discussing films in Nebraska related to matters of public importance?

  • How are data-transmission problems between NSA and JTTF/local law enforcement handled; and how are holes in the JTTF databases filled with NSA data?