Thursday, August 2, 2007

“Gee, Osama, since Bush has to get FISA approval, we can now call our sleeper agents and plan the next attack.”

I recommend today's piece by Robert Parry at Consortium News "Bush's Secret Spying on Americans." The Democrats are planning, incredibly, as we speak, to revise FISA to legalize some of the patently illegal things that Bush has been doing with the NSA spying program. Ain't it wonderful now that the Democrats are in charge? Look how much things have changed!

In conjunction with this, you should also see, if you haven't already, the PBS program "Spying on the Homefront." The show has a number of elements to it, including an interview with the AT&T whistleblower in San Francisco who discovered the NSA covert spying on millions of Americans. The show also features a recounting of 2003 New Year's Eve in Las Vegas when the FBI and DHS attempted, successfully, to obtain hotels' records of all their guests on the grounds that the government had intelligence about a possible terrorist attack. No attack ensued, of course, but what is interesting about this episode (not discussed in the program) was that the government's unprecedented invasion of privacy here would have gotten them nothing in terms of useful intelligence - and the highest eschelons of the government undoubtedly knew it.

If you had been a terrorist planning an attack on Las Vegas would you have checked yourself into a hotel just for the weekend? Would you have used your real name? Would you be this stupid? Wouldn't you have arranged to have operatives dispatched to Las Vegas or the immediate environs weeks, months or even years beforehand, living and working in Vegas under an assumed alias, and integrating themselves into the community?

The real reason for the government's demand for all the hotels' guest records was most likely instead an effort to push the envelope and set a precedent for the government getting these kind of records.

For a much more thorough analysis of government spying, see Barbara Bowley's Chapter "The Campaign for Unfettered Power: Executive Supremacy, Secrecy and Surveillance," in my book, Impeach the President: the Case Against Bush and Cheney.

1 comment:

George Washington said...

Mr. Loo,

Thank you for your excellent essays.

Please also consider supporting the Pledge For America. I invite you to take a look.

Respectfully, George.