Constant's pations

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

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

NSA Hearing: President unlawfully failed to timely notify congress of illegal activities

At the heart of the White House's credibility problem is the absurd assertion the NYT told us something new.

Rather, a plain reading of the US Code, Statutes, and open source media tells us far more about the actual scope of NSA capabilities.

All the NYT has done is show us -- with appropriate backup -- the President failed to timely report to Congress his violations of 50 USC 513.

You'll notice the continued emphasis that the NSA programs are "legal" [blah, blah].

This has to do with the major 50 USC 513 problem for the President: Once the New York Times learned of the conduct -- well over a year ago -- the President knew that someone else, besides Congress -- knew about the Activity.

(b) Reports concerning illegal intelligence activities

The President shall ensure that any illegal intelligence activity is reported promptly to the congressional intelligence committees, as well as any corrective action that has been taken or is planned in connection with such illegal activity. Click
Not only did he fail to timely report -- he remains in violation of the law by failing to communicate what he plans to do to correct the situation. Clearly, to do anything -- but deny as he is doing -- would fatally admit he's violated 50 USC 513.

The Joint Staff and SecDef hold regular meetings, and there are agendas. These will prove valuable in matching [a] what was known about the unlawful NSA program; and [b] what was reported to Congress; and [c] what funds were unlawfully expended against these illegal NSA (1) moderation efforts and (2) operations.

But that's not the end of the problem. The Procumbent Guidelines require all NSA programs to meet federal law. We know two things, NSA's actual program didn't do what it was telling Congress. There are also specific guidelines that the Joint Staff is fully aware of related to DoD procurement. These appear to have either been ignored or fatally pushed aside.

Either way, the NSA cannot explain how this modernization effort existed devoid of any legal foundation: The capability to engage in unlawful activity was hardwired into the program, and the FISA changes were not incorporated as required by Statute. This is known inside NSA, the Joint staff, NSC, and the White House.

This creates a problem for SecDef in that he didn't comply with the "delta" requirements: Which is a reporting between [a] what money is being spent on; and [b] the actual requirements that are Consistent with statute. Funds have been expended against activities and modernization efforts which SecDef knew were not consistent with FISA. This is illegal, not just in the expenditure, but in the failure to accurately report this difference to Congress.

But, it doesn't end there either. The intelligence oversight board has the responsibility to look into illegal matters. They appear to have been in a coma; and the intelligence committee needs to carefully review reappointments to the Intelligence Oversight Board [IOB].

One thing DoD has not mentioned are the non-NSA facilities used for the domestic SIGINT interception. You'll want to specifically get him to confirm whether any of the "President's programs" [a] use non-NSA SIGINT resources; and [b] how they target Americans in a manner that [c] violates the law and/or FISA>

One does not modernize NSA equipment unless there's been a program approved. Congress is also be informed on this issue. The question for the HASC: How was this illegal program "sold" to the HASC; which budget items were used; and which Contactors were part of this.

It remains to be seen how the Senior Executive's NSA Merit system promotions/bonuses were continent upon keeping these illegal programs secret.

DCI also directs the NSA targeting. The issue is focused only on NSA; but it needs to get looked at in terms of DCI connection to the National Security Council, and Rice’s role as she advised the President before her position at State. She was in a position to know the activity violated the law; and would have been in a position before 9-11 to orchestrate the NSA, NSC, and DCI in the NSA domestic collection efforts. That NSA was collecting prior to 9-11 is not in dispute.

All the illegal programs are regularly reviewed. The issue for the DoD Legislative Liaison and Budget office is to explain why these known illegal programs were not timely reported to Congress after the New York Times discussed these issues with NSA; and NSA should have known about the NYT knowledge of the illegal NSA activity. There is an issue of credibility and trust between the Congress and the DoD IG, NSA IG, and the agencies that directly provide budget and information to Congress: Zero.

AG Gonzalez was also in a position to know which DoD personnel assigned to Quantico were contracted through the FBI Academy for various training missions; and how DoD personnel were used during Operation Falcon. It is illegal to use DoD personnel during domestic arrests.

NSA employees are not required, by may report to the NSA IG before going to Congress. IT remains to be understood what actual retaliation NSA employees faced prior to the official NYT-NSA employee discussions. This appears to be severe and unlawful.