NSA's Alexander releases misleading and questionable information
It is troubling when the nation cannot trust its military.
Alexander's 16 Dec 2005 comments are unreliable.
We judge they are part of a Joint Staff propaganda effort, similar to what occurred during MI6's "Operation Mass Appeal."
Blue Boxes Added: 09 Jan 2006
Consider this breakdown of the Alexander comments: There is a reasonable basis to conclude Alexander's comments are without legal or factual foundation.
Small problem: The NSA memo: here [Hat Tip]
Alexander: "We do not comment on intelligence operations, actual or alleged" -- Why is the CNN "source" contracting Alexander's written direction?
Answer: It appears as though the source is making statements that have only been approved by Alexander; yet, Alexander has specifically told "all the other NSA employees" not to say anything.
So why should the NSA employees believe Alexander: He is asking his employees "not to do something", but out of the other side of his mouth, he's giving a "green light" to his own staff to meet-greet-speak.
- Does Alexander have a strict compliance view -- one that says we never violate it -- or one that "substantially complies" and allows for "testing" and "training" and "other exceptions"
- or is there a third category, which even the FISA court doesn't recognize, but the President asserts is legal?
In fact, the evidence before us suggests that the categorical denial is qualified.
So are we to believe that Alexander's "categorical denial" is not what he says it is; or are we to believe that the General has asserted a denial, when the conduct of his own department suggest that the "categorical denial" are not consistent with what is in practice.
All -- Notice exactly what is going on . NSA's Alexander has a written document -- and the public statements from the NSA are not longer consistent with that.
In a broad sense, this is how a zipper comes undone. Either
It remains to be understood whether the "highly placed source" is subject to UCMJ, or only OPM discipline for apparently
Perhaps that is not convincing. Here’s another cut at the NSA’s unlawful activity.
We have more of the left and right hand not on the same wavelength. Notice the contrast between what they're saying about the program, and what their intelligence says.
I look forward to NSA explaining why this "limited, lawful" program is appropriate.
“We must not allow public discourse to distract us from our work: to protect and safeguard our nation.” Ref
. . .but, as the Program has been publicly asserted by the President, Alexander's claim that the program is important to "protect and safeguard our nation" is problematic . . .
For example, Insight Magazine raises a point Ref
QUOTE: "al Qaeda insurgents have long stopped using the phones and even computers to relay messages. Instead, they employ couriers."
What!?! You mean the NSA is trying to target people, but the targets aren't cooperating, not using the means of communication which the NSA assumes is going on? OMG!
That's right, Q2-lovers. The available information through JTTF, CIFA, and JPEG indicates the "lawful" monitoring won't actually hit those who are the "publicly-asserted" versions of why this program exists.
This means: Either
Questions for NSA: Please provide a copy of your responses to Congress, in writing, under penalty of perjury:
Why should we believe Alexander or the President in their contention that this program is necessary to "protect" the nation?
Who inside NSA has the White House targeted -- as they did with Plame and the CIA analysts over Iraq WMD -- to keep them quiet about the disconnect between
Given the inconsistency between [a] the public statements; and [b] the legal foundation, why should we believe the White House or Alexander; or does the UCMJ afford Flag Officers some sort of immunity to misleading statements in writing, that the personnel in NSA realize should not believe?
How many non-official cover personnel working for the CIA inside NSA have been targeted to keep silent about this non-sense?
How many NSA contractors fully aware of the inconsistencies have been threatened with retaliation if they do not "provide" the "desired" conclusions -- either legal, or made up facts, fabricated evidence, or fabricated wire intercepts -- to sell the NSA monitoring/activity, mislead FISA court, or otherwise repeat what OSP/Powell did to Congress/UN before the invasion of Iraq: Provide misleading/false/fabricated information which the intelligence community knew was not consistent with reality?
Given the above confusion and lack of credibility of Alexander, do you think it can get any worse for the NSA's internal security office?
Let's take a look at the confusion.
Ref: Congress can find DoJ's Informants inside NSA -- can ask, "Why don't the records you gave us match what you told us?"
How's that, Q2!
Will NSA's HR have to come up with some nice PR to attract analysts? You might want to re-do your plans -- in light of Alexander's veracity problems, this 2004 edition needs attention:Global Security
How will NSA's HR come up with a new hiring program -- why, let's have another war against . . . [choose your convenient enemy of the week -- lions, tigers, and bears, oh my!]
But if it gets bad enough, Q2 can just do what they've always done: Liberty Forum
Hay, the smart ones already left. Will the remaining docile sheep inside NSA dare to use their brains at this point?
Of course, repeat the Q2 motto: "Must remain focused. Do not pay attention to the evil ones on the internet. Do not think about the Americans -- we "protect them" -- we don't listen to them or follow the laws. Sometimes you have to cross the line. And we redraw it where we want. Click heels twice . . . Q2 will protect you . . .You will only feel slight discomfort, try to relax. We're here to help you."
Here's the evidence indicating this claim – that the program is limited -- is also dubious. Notice each of the questions cannot be satisfactorily resolved by concluding "it is limited."
Rather, the only way to resolve this matter is for Congress to take a broader view, and inquire why, despite the assertions the program is "limited" the conduct, responses, and proposed statements suggest the contrary:
If the "program was limited" . . .
A. Why the inconsistent story about Able Danger -- they say "We're concerned about the law, so we're going to stop able danger" -- yet, they show no concern with respect to FISA. The inconsistency shows a pattern of deception.
B. Why aren't they using the "monitoring capability" to go after those who are really threatening Americans. But these guys simply want to "monitor them"?
That makes no sense -- why not jam the incoming communications; or divert them to accomplices for disinformation? If that's what they're doing, there's no reason to "go around the FISA" court. FISA would say, “Good job – you’re not violating anyone’s rights – you’re carefully ensuring that the “monitoring” is only of people we have pre-screened, trained, and are ready to be part of the ruse.
But that’s not what happened – nor has it been asserted. If it did occur, then we wonder, why this many weeks after the NYT revelation, the WH isn’t asserting “Hay, we’ve got good news, there’s no problem.
Recall a similar problem with the detainees in Eastern Europe. At a time when the world was concerned about the treatment in Guantanamo, did the White House say, “Hay, don’t worry about GITMO, it’s isolated – we’ve got hundreds of prisoners in Eastern Europe who are getting 5-start treatment. We’ll show you.” They didn’t do that – suggesting the White House had no “better story” than what was going on at GITMO and Abu Ghraib.
Just as they “failed to share the good news” with the “there’s no torture going on with Eastern Europe to explain away the concerns about GITMO/Abu Ghraib,” so too is the White House failing to come up with a credible public relations approach to this impeachable offense. In short, their media strategy for litigation is floundering despite consultation with white collar crime litigators, well versed in appropriately managing public perceptions before approaching the courtroom.
C. Why are they using legal arguments that aren't consistent with the case law?
If the program -- as they argue -- is "credible" and "lawful" and "limited" surely they could rely on case law, statute, or something that would calm the fears.
But we have the opposite: Pelosi's letter matches, in tone, the Exhibits 7/8 from the Church committee notes -- the ones between DoJ and NSA -- over concerns NSA is leaking information to the FBI without the FBI requesting that information.
D. Why are people inside NSA discussing their concerns with the media? If this "discussion with the media" is "overblown" why not publicly identify those who are "making a big deal about nothing"? They didn't do that in 2004 -- further raising doubts about the characterization the program is "limited" or "appropriately scoped."
E. Why the concern about the "publication of the activity" in the NYT? If it was a "good thing" that was going on, and "no problem" why not use the "bad story in the NYT" as an excuse to destroy the NYT credibility? They didn't do that, and their conduct hasn't addressed the concerns: The initial revelations about the scope were understated.
F. Why wasn't "the leaker" identified/targeted immediately after the original NYT discussion in 2004. The delay in targeting the leader isn't consistent with the "lawful, limited program" story.
Based on the conduct, delay in targeting NSA "leakers", and the inconsistencies in their arguments, we judge the program scope, regardless "how they characterize it" is not correctly characterized as "limited."
Which limited program?
When you’re dealing with a compartmentalized program and FBI, GAO, and Congressional auditors – there’s one tiny problem: A given NSA employee may or may not see the auditor, investigator, or person raising concerns.
Bluntly, the President could imply that the program is “limited” so that the NSA employees do not realize “their program” is “outside” what they’ve been told is “part of the concern.”
If you're in a compartmentalized program, there's no way you can verify that the auditors have or have not reviewed a matter; nor be in a position to know whether what your senior management – that has apparently already lied to you about whether the program was lawful – is not subsequently lying to you about the results of the audit – or whether the investigation really covered the correct areas.
NSA senior management could easily assert falsely that the “investigation” found nothing wrong – all the while failing to fully inform the NSA employees and contractors that “their limited program” was never actually reviewed.
It’s more likely the President is referring to a “limited program” with one objective: Getting people inside NSA to “not connect the dots” and realize: There are multiple “limited programs” across many compartmentalized areas. It appears the President hopes to create the impression in the mind of NSA employees that “their program” is the one that is getting talked about – so there’s “no reason” to discuss/be concerned.
In fact, the opposite is more likely: That there are multiple “limited programs” – but the one under “investigation” is unrelated to a given program NSA employees may have questions/concerns about.
If “the limited program” is getting investigated, the NSA employees and contractors working on “that program” would never know the details – either affirmative or negative – what the results of “the investigation were.”
It appears the tone and content of the report is similar to the now discredited White House memo to Congress. Rather than cite case law, Alexander merely asserts the legality of the program.
There is one critical error and inconsistency in Alexander’s memo. The Chief of NSA asserts that the program is lawful.
Strange, in order to assert something is "lawful" one must lawfully present themselves before the FISA court.
This is where Alexander's argument collapses. We know, despite getting no required warrants, the monitoring continued. Any claim by NSA that the program is "legal" should not be relied upon.
Rather, it remains a matter of law for the Congress, not the court, to adjudicate, as to whether the President and his associates have engaged in unlawful conduct warranting impeachment.
We need not consider the remainder of the note.
NSA has also incorrectly stated that as a result of the NYT Times discussion of the unlawful program, that enemies have changed their tactics.
This assertion fails. JTTF and local law enforcement have already communicated that AlQueda is using couriers inside the United States. The President and NSA cannot explain why, despite the use of non-electronic couriers why [a] the revelation of an unlawful activity will help; or [b] how the NYT revelation will specifically trigger a change.
At best, the change is well entrenched. The larger issue is why despite the known use of couriers, the White House and NSA assert this unlawful domestic monitoring program is needed.
Note the conditional use of "may". Where have we heard that before? That's right -- when talking about the WMD issues.
Curiously, we now know in the wake of revelations of the unlawful NSA domestic monitoring that NSA personnel inside Q2 were well aware of the fabrications over WMD.
Despite this known problem with evidence, DoD's office of special plans, or "OSP", launched special mission units inside Iraq looking for things NSA knew did not exist.
Recall, in the wake of 9-11, the public was told "the wall between CIA and FBI" was a problem. In fact, despite "the wall," the NSC's DSP combined the information.
Going further, if we are to believe that "removing the wall" post9-11 will solve things, then surely we should be able to point to examples of where the "removed wall" generated "better results." The evidence is not persuasive.
Despite the "removed wall," NSA's knowledge that there was insufficient "WMD in Iraq" to justify a lawful war.
It remains a matter of law whether the NSA personnel will be held liable for war crimes -- knowingly suppressing information showing the proposed combat operations in 2002-3 were based on illusions.
Lawful war requires an imminent threat, not self-evidennt fraud.
NSA personnel and contractors appear to know the difference.
It is not credible that disclosure of criminal activity is a problem. The nation, regardless whether we are at war or peace, must know whether its leadership and flag officers are to be trusted.
One cannot wage a war based on fiction. To prevail, we must know facts.
Flag officers agree to assent to more than the Constitution and UCMJ. They agree to assent to lawful orders and civilian control. Congress, not the President, defines the rules of capture; and Congress, not the President, declares war.
This President has no lawful war, nor does he submit to the Constitution in re the rules only Congress can define.
There is no merit to Alexander's assertion that the legal basis was affirmed. No court agrees with this conclusion.
Rather, the FISA court concluded the opposite, changed the warrants, and the NSA personnel continued their operations despite the change.
It remains a matter of law to what extent contractors and by-named NSA personnel knew of the FISA rejections but continued to follow what are arguably unlawful orders to defy the FISA court in support of an unlawful war of aggression.
When America declared war on Jesse James, the notorious bank robber, the Constitutional protections did not go out the window. It is a separate matter whether the laws prohibiting abuse against civilians or Indians were followed.
Today's war against AlQueda is not a clash of civilizations. It is a clash of the recklessly powerful against the recklessly finite.
The software inside NSA can be designed to comply with the FISA court requirements. This nation's leadership, Flag Officers, and President appear to have violated the law, ignored the FISA court, and continued to engage in conduct contrary to the law.
We have no confidence that Alexander’s categorical rejections carry any weight. It remains to be understood how many people inside NSA have reported to the DoJ their concerns with the apparent violations of the FISA requirements.
As the program is currently enacted, we have no confidence the program is consistent with the FISA court, public statutes, or the US Constitution. Alexander's assertions that the program has been reviewed "over thirty" times is meaningless. The information from Congress shows us the reviews were without any ability to discuss the legal issues with Senate Staff or Committee staff counsel.
Going forward, it remains a matter of political discourse whether the issues are resolved. Congress, the Courts, and the public do not agree with the President or NSA. The polls suggesting "wide support" are paid for, in part, by the RNC.
American warriors -- know that as you fight overseas, the principles you are fighting for are alive and well at home.
America is a strong nation. We have a rich tradition of political discourse.
You are engaged in an unlawful war. The time to discuss the way forward has arrived.
Part of being an American is recognizing when the law and tide of history are with you, or against you.
Americans have fought bravely. But they have been deceived.
It remains a matter of law for the Congress to discuss how many know of the deceptions, but continued.
It is an issue of trust: Can we trust you to do what is lawful when we are not around; or do we have to know your jobs better than you do.
If we have to know your jobs better -- challenge you, and always finding you on the wrong side of the law -- you are not needed.
You let us down.
And it would be inappropriate for us to remain silent.
For us to assent to the current state of affairs would merely inspire more contempt.
You need lawful leaders, not contemptuous tyrants.
There is no merit to the argument that the NSA program appropriately "balances" civil liberties and the law. This balancing function, as required by statute, falls on the FISA court.
This President and the NSA leadership have ignored the law and the FISA court.
They cannot explain why -- in the absence of conduct otherwise -- why they continued the monitoring despite the FISA court rejecting the warrants. Rather than assent to the rule of law, your leadership at Ft. Meade assented to ignoring the FISA court.
Military commanders, even Flag Officers, shall assent to the rule of law. It remains a matter of evidence and law whether the Flag Officers assent to the FISA court, UCMJ, or the American Constitution.
The evidence available to date suggests they move without regard to the will of the people -- and without regard to the Courts.
This, on its surface, appears to be a crime.
NSA leadership is well concerned. They may be held in violation of the laws of war. The courts have found that knowingly issuing illegal orders does amount to a war crime.
It remains a matter of law and evidence whether your leadership inside NSA knew about the FISA court rejections, but continues to issue what appear to be illegal orders.
Deliberation and discussion in a Democracy, even in war time, depends on factual information and a careful consideration of the law.
The President is not an absolute warrior. He is constrained by Congress. Congress may choose to withhold funding, and revoke all authorizations they have given to use force.
The President may think otherwise. However, the Constitution does not afford the President all powers to do as he wishes.
Our system of checks and balances divides power. IT remains a matter of evidence whether this President, his close advisors, and flag officers under his control made deliberately misleading statements to the Congress over the basis for war.
A President cannot forever assume Congress will assent to violations of the law; or unchecked power -- especially when the results on the battle field are dubious, and the legal foundation for that action vacuous.
American democracy springs not simply from the Constitution and Declaration of Independence, but from the Magna Charta.
In the 1200's the warriors of England went to the King. They told him things must change. England needed a system of courts, and a method to recognize the people's rights.
The Magna Charta is an agreement. The King's power was recognized if he recognized the people's rights.
Today, the tables have turned. No longer can we trust the leadership or the military. They assent to tyranny.
This time, unlike the 1200s, it is the people who will go to the leadership and force them to choose: Do you want a Constitution or a Tyrant.
This American military and leadership has chosen.
They made a poor choice.
And they shall lose.
As you read your commander's statements, notice he asserts things that cannot be supported. If he asserts the rule of law, why does he apparently ignore the Court?
If the court has no jurisdiction, why did he ever go to the court?
The answer is simple. Your leadership picks and chooses the laws and phrases. But the court and Congress do not recognize selective picking.
They recognize one thing: The Constitution -- the rule of law.
Warriors, you were warned -- Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war.
You were reminded of the risks of embarking on an illegal war.
Yet, simply imposing brute force abroad or at home does not change facts.
Now is the time to explore what has happened. How did we get here? Who knew of the laws? And what evidence was there.
The case is not strong. Rather, at first blush, it appears many have engaged in war crimes, deception, and violations of our domestic law.
Understandably, military members and contractors have certain agreements. But as with any agreement with criminals, an agreement that proposes to achieve an unlawful objective is not enforceable.
Just as is there an agreement to assent to tyranny -- in exchange for having our rights violated.
You have been given a position of special trust. One that requires you to take an oath. That trust is not a blank check to do as you will, or as you deem fit.
Rather, our system of divided power requires you to assent to the court, not simply to the rule of law.
Indeed, the debate within your ranks is whether to lay down your arms and depart.
We cannot direct you to obey or disobey your leaders.
Rather, we can only remind you that you are outnumbered, and that the Constitution and the rule of law will prevail.
The coming weeks and months ahead will be difficult. Challenging. But you are up to the task.
Remember, your objective is clear: To continue to faithfully serve your oath of office, to take action that supports lawful orders, and ensure you do your best to protect the Constitution.
Indeed, you may be ordered to do things that violate the laws. But the accounting will come later.
Your job is to know that American citizens are with you -- so long as you are with the Constitution.
The problem you face at this juncture: Americans doubt your commitment to your oath. They sense you have freely chosen to violate the law.
You are well armed.
But we outnumber you.
Congress is the new forum for the debate. It remains to be seen whether your President chooses to assert more falsehoods.
He is known for being unreliable. You may not be in a position to do anything, but know there are countless millions outside your office who know what is going on.
Yes, you may be outraged. Yes, you may detest your commanders. You may loathe what your President is doing.
But do not let the hatred and contempt for those who violate the law consume you. That hatred will be used to manipulate you.
Your job is to keep a clear mind. To let the political process -- the debate and discussion -- work its way through.
Do not be lulled into believing America is collapsing. Or that the enemies of America are at the gates.
Indeed, the enemies are both within and without.
Rather, the issue is whether the illusions about the enemy will be met with prudent use of power, or prudent use of reason.
There is a balance.
The debate that is unfolding relates to one thing: What is the way forward -- what is the right balance between the use of force and reason.
The world has changed since 9-11. We know more. You have served well in Afghanistan.
But we also know more of what was driving the conduct in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, the deceptions in New York City, the misconduct in Eastern Europe, and now inside the NSA.
It appears as though people – the leadership -- have crossed the line. They did not expect to get caught.
Your leaders are not willing to send their finest before the Congress for promotion.
Generals like Sanchez do not risk questions over what happened in Iraq.
The issue is not whether the American public "get's it." It's whether the public can have confidence, despite the meeting in the 1200s, whether the agreements are respected.
It appears our expectations have not been met.
The commanders have a goal: To motivate you, get you trained, and ensure you are disciplined to do your job. Anything less would be a failure of leadership.
But there is a larger issue. One that the military commanders have no say.
The role of a military commander, in America, is to assent to civilian leadership.
It is not appropriate for a military commander to assert that civilian discussions or debates are or are not appropriate.
These debates are what is at the heart of democracy. It is what you were told you were putting your lives on the line to fight for in Europe.
But you've also been asked to fight for something that Americans wonder whether we are doing so at home.
The reason for war in Iraq was first about WMD. Then it changed.
America, if it is to embrace the lessons of Iraqi democracy, must do what we are fighting for at home: Debate.
Your job is to faithfully execute your lawful orders.
Our job is to faithfully ensure your orders are lawful.
Trust the American process. The deliberations may move in ways you are not comfortable.
But they will ultimately arrive at a sound decision.
If the decision is left to the courts, this President has already shown he will defy those courts -- unless the courts agree with him.
This is why matters of impeachment are not left up to the courts.
If your commander -- our President -- fails to assent to the rule of law, or defies Congress, then Congress has the power to shut off your funding.
We have no rules that mandate funds continue to go to contractors or standing armies.
Rather, Congress can make new rules, conclude your war unlawful, and end combat operations.
There is nothing you can do about it.
Things may not go that way. But we will have to see.
What is clear is that the longer this President -- your commander and your flag officers -- continue with their non-sense arguments, the longer this process will take.
We have all the time in the world. You, on the other hand, are confined to a small dilemma called the annual budgeting cycle.
Congress can put your contracts on review. Prohibit you from expending funds. And then take the money.
There is nothing you can do.
The only thing the American government -- in this case the Executive Branch -- can do to expedite this process is to assent to the rule of law, and cooperate with the other two branches of government and the public.
If you defy us, you shall lose.
You are out numbered.
And we know how to find you.
Your system of monitoring is not yours. It's ours.
If you refuse to assent to the rule of law, you may be deemed an unlawful combatant, subject to lawful relation.
It could happen. Congress could make a rule that permits that.
They could raise a new army -- one to lawfully force you to assent to the rule of law.
There is nothing you can do.
Your job is to decide whether you are going to choose the Constitution or Tyranny.
There is one right choice.
Lately, it appears you leaders have grown fond of apologizing for the current state of affairs.
One cannot assert they are for the rule of law, but ignore it.
Nor can they assert they are protecting America, while attacking its principles.
Your job is clear: To decide who the real enemy is, and whether they are only abroad, or also home.
An enemy in open combat is easy.
A far more challenging enemy is one who masquerades as a leader, but has one goal -- to force you to look the other way, while he slaps you, strikes you down, and tells you it is for your own good.
You deserve better leaders. Ones that respect the rule of law. Ones that inspire contractors to create technical solutions that are consistent with the laws, not in defiance of them.
Your job is simple. To do your job.
Our job it to define what must be done.
The way forward is unclear. But the smoke will rise, and we will understand.
America and democracy is based on the idea of sound reasons. Our job is to clear our minds and make sound judgments.
Many of you will not be happy. But I can assure you, if our current momentum continues, more of you will be unhappy.
Our job is not to make you happy. That's your job.
Our job is to gather facts, understand, and chart a course.
Your job it to help us understand.
If you cooperate, this process might be easy. If you delay or confuse the issues, we will find out and do it without your help.
Your job is to decide whether you want to be part of the process, or excluded.
Either way, the ultimate decision is not up to you. It is ours.
We define the rules.
And can change then in adverse ways when you no longer agree to be bound by your agreements to us.
Your decision to ignore your agreement is not something we take lightly.
Nor would you if the tables were turned.
But the table is where it is: On it is our Constitution -- as it is -- your agreement with us.
I encourage the warriors of America to continue to assert you courage, work hard to listen to your leaders, and stay focused on your jobs.
You have a special position of trust. Your job is to use the power we have granted you in the ways you have been lawfully told to do.
In the end, you will be recognized for your accomplishments, contributions, and support -- not just to the nation, but to the causes and principles you swore to uphold.
Enough of loftiness.
This is really about being proud of something near and dear to your heart: Your peers, your units, and your families at home. They take pride in what you are doing -- as do we.
Around the globe, on the battlefield, between the clouds, across the oceans -- in hundreds of facilities -- in secret locations -- you daily put your life on the line to do what must be done.
To preserve our way of life -- our Constitution.
You've done well.
We thank you for your continued service, especially in these days when you continue to serve while many might question your motives.
Your job is to trust us to do what must be done.
Then we will be ready to move forward and continue building a great America, one that inspires -- not just Americans but the world.
And we thank you for your continued support and service to that end.
Things are going well, and you're helping us do the right thing.
Don't lose hope. We're with you. As we know you'll be there for us when we need you.
We'll get this sorted out.
God Bless you and may you have a wonderful new year in 2006.