Sunday, July 29, 2007

Something deeper and more illegal than we have imagined

Possibly took place with the warrantless wiretapping. Eavesdropping on senators' phone calls so they could be blackmailed? Sabotaging presidential candidates? Listening in on other countries diplomatic efforts?

Josh Marshall says it must be bad: (my bold)

Of course, 'data mining' can mean virtually anything. What kind of data and whose you're looking at makes all the difference in the world. Suggestively, the Times article includes this cryptic passage: "Some of the officials said the 2004 dispute involved other issues in addition to the data mining, but would not provide details. They would not say whether the differences were over how the databases were searched or how the resulting information was used."

To put this into perspective, remember that the White House has been willing to go to the public and make a positive argument for certain surveillance procedures (notably evasion of the FISA Court strictures) which appear to be illegal on their face. This must be much more serious and apparently something all but the most ravenous Bush authoritarians would never accept. It is supposedly no longer even happening and hasn't been for a few years. So disclosing it could not jeopardize a program. The only reason that suggests itself is that the political and legal consequences of disclosure are too grave to allow.


Anonymous said...

Blackmail seems likely to me.

Steve Bates said...

And to me.

Rove will not merely use anything he can get... he will actively pursue getting more. If you think the spying is only on Democratic senators and representatives, think again. How do you think the GOP enforces party discipline in the face of growing desertions in the congressional ranks on (at least) the Iraq war?

ellroon said...

Exactly. How many times over the Bush administration terms have we seen one or another Republican politician step out of line with a statement and the very next day shamefacedly and cravenly back down?

Did everybody hang out with the D.C. Madam?

Anonymous said...

Listening to other countries is what intel is supposed to be doing, including their diplomatic stuff, and a major function of NSA is to ensure that our stuff is protected.

The problem has to be domestic, and it has to be the source of the data that was being mined.

I suspect that they have been collecting everything and that some of their searches have had absolutely nothing to do with national security.

A FISA warrant is too easy to obtain to avoid them unless you knew you couldn't possibly justify the request.

ellroon said...

Like listening to Kerry's phone calls...