For the first few years of the program's operation, only three Justice Department lawyers were aware of the highly classified initiative, and intelligence analysts whose "scary memos" helped certify the program initially were kept in the dark by supervisors who sometimes ordered up more data to prepare a "compelling case," the watchdog report said.
The Bush administration authorized secret surveillance activities that still have not been made public, according to a new government report that questions the legal basis for the unprecedented anti-terrorism program.
It's unclear how much valuable intelligence was yielded by the surveillance program started after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, according to the unclassified summary of reports by five inspectors general. The reports mandated by Congress last year were delivered to lawmakers Friday.
So what are the "significant actions" that these seven lawmakers insist were kept from Congress? Another theory being bandied about concerns an "executive assassination ring" that was allegedly set up and answered to former Vice President Dick Cheney. The New Yorker's Seymour Hersh, building off earlier reporting from the New York Times, dropped news of the possibility that such a ring existed in a March 2009 discussion sponsored by the University of Minnesota.
A U.S. Department of Justice whistleblower has been fired from her job after speaking out about wrongdoing in the Middle District of Alabama.
Tamarah Grimes, who served on the prosecution team in the case against former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman and former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy, received notice of her termination on June 9.
Grimes provided documents to Justice Department watchdogs showing that Leura Canary, U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Alabama, had stayed on the Siegelman case long after she had supposedly recused herself. Grimes also provided evidence of improper contacts between jurors and members of the prosecution team.
The filing in a federal court case also makes clear that Cheney was at the center of White House machinations rebutting criticism from former US Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who charged in summer 2003 that the Bush administration had "twisted" intelligence to justify invading Iraq in March 2003. While seeking to discredit Wilson, administration officials disclosed to reporters that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, worked for the CIA.
Just a week after the Defense Department announced plans to put the National Security Agency in charge of military cyber defense and attack, the agency’s reach has already expanded to include monitoring of government civilian networks.
Given the NSA’s involvement in the Bush administration’s warrantless eavesdropping program, critics are concerned that the monitoring of government traffic on private-sector telecommunication networks that are used by the general public would allow the agency to once again spy on large swaths of non-government traffic without a warrant.
The Obama administration will proceed with a Bush-era plan to use National Security Agency assistance in screening government computer traffic on private-sector networks, with AT&T as the likely test site, according to three current and former government officials.
President Obama said in May that government efforts to protect computer systems from attack would not involve "monitoring private-sector networks or Internet traffic," and Department of Homeland Security officials say the new program will scrutinize only data going to or from government systems.
But the program has provoked debate within DHS, the officials said, because of uncertainty about whether private data can be shielded from unauthorized scrutiny, how much of a role NSA should play and whether the agency's involvement in warrantless wiretapping during George W. Bush's presidency would draw controversy.
TVNL Comment: Still waiting for that change we were promised.
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