Friday, March 23, 2007

Through the Looking Glass - Again

("President Discusses Creation of Military Commissions to Try Suspected Terrorists") September 6, 2006: "Another reason the terrorists have not succeeded is because our government has changed its policies -- and given our military, intelligence, and law enforcement personnel the tools they need to fight this enemy and protect our people and preserve our freedoms."

"FBI Violations May Number 3,000, Official Says," by R. Jeffrey Smith, Washington Post, March 21, 2007: "The Justice Department's inspector general told a committee of angry House members yesterday that the FBI may have violated the law or government policies as many as 3,000 times since 2003 as agents secretly collected the telephone, bank and credit card records of U.S. citizens and foreign nationals residing here.

"Inspector General Glenn A. Fine said that according to the FBI's own estimate, as many as 600 of these violations could be 'cases of serious misconduct' involving the improper use of 'national security letters' to compel telephone companies, banks and credit institutions to produce records.

"Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.) expressed surprise at how widespread the use of national security letters had become, asking: 'Do we have that many potential terrorists running around the country? If so, I'm really worried.' He said the inspector general's report shows that 'the FBI has had a gross overreach,' and added that its officials 'can't get away with this and expect to maintain public support for the tools that they need to combat terrorism.'"

Bush: "They operate in the shadows of society; they send small teams of operatives to infiltrate free nations; they live quietly among their victims; they conspire in secret, and then they strike without warning."

Tom Engelhart, discussing Seymour Hersh's "The Redirection" in the March 2007 New Yorker: "Subsequently, some of those [White House] conspirators, once again with the financial support and help of the Saudis (and probably the Israelis and the Brits), began running a similar operation, aimed at avoiding congressional scrutiny or public accountability of any sort, out of Vice President Cheney's office. They dipped into 'black pools of money,' possibly stolen from the billions of Iraqi oil dollars that have never been accounted for since the American occupation began. Some of these funds, as well as Saudi ones, were evidently funneled through the embattled, Sunni-dominated Lebanese government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora to the sort of Sunni jihadi groups ("some sympathetic to al-Qaeda") whose members might normally fear ending up in Guantanamo and to a group, or groups, associated with the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood."

Bushspeak: "And so the CIA used an alternative set of procedures. These procedures were designed to be safe, to comply with our laws, our Constitution, and our treaty obligations. The Department of Justice reviewed the authorized methods extensively and determined them to be lawful. I cannot describe the specific methods used -- I think you understand why -- if I did, it would help the terrorists learn how to resist questioning, and to keep information from us that we need to prevent new attacks on our country. But I can say the procedures were tough, and they were safe, and lawful, and necessary."

Reality-based community: i.e., torture.

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