Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM), “whose subcommittee oversees the National Security Agency broke ranks with the White House on Tuesday and called for a full Congressional inquiry into the Bush administration’s domestic eavesdropping program. … By withholding information about its operations from many lawmakers, she said, the administration has deepened her apprehension about whom the agency is monitoring and why.”
As far as Martin Luther King was concerned, that’s just the way he wanted it.
Matthews mischaracterized Obama’s position on ethics reform as, “I’m not dealing with you anymore in a bipartisan fashion.” He claimed that “people will learn a lot from this about…the way in which Obama treated you.” Finally, he asked McCain, “Do you think that Obama is behaving like a House member here rather than a Senator?” Watch it:
Full transcript below: Read more
“The United States will always rely on foreign imports of oil to feed its energy needs and should stop trying to become energy independent, a top Exxon Mobil Corp. executive said on Tuesday.”
Today is presidential election day in Haiti, but President Bush doesn’t seem to have taken notice. The last time Bush even mentioned Haiti was three months ago. In his State of the Union address, Bush said:
Abroad, our nation is committed to an historic, long-term goal — we seek the end of tyranny in our world. Some dismiss that goal as misguided idealism. In reality, the future security of America depends on it. … Every step toward freedom in the world makes our country safer — so we will act boldly in freedom’s cause.
But for the 8 million Haitians who live a mere 600 miles from the U.S. shore, Bush’s words ring hollow. Former Sen. Tom Daschle argues that the administration’s mishandling of Haiti “threatens further instability in a country not far from America’s shores.”
As just one example of the administration’s neglect of Haiti, simply compare the experiences of the Iraqi and Haitian elections.
Voting has got off to a rough start in volatile Haiti as angry mobs stormed voting centers that failed to open on time, with one person dying of a heart attack and another of asphyxia. Several more people were injured or fainted as they were trampled or shoved by crowds that rushed voting offices on Tuesday.
By increasing American troop strength in Iraq, banning all civilian car traffic and ordering a host of other security measures American and Iraqi forces widely thwarted insurgents who had threatened to wash the streets with blood on election day.
Speaking before four presidents, including President George W. Bush, Rev. Dr. Joseph Lowery received a standing ovation today at the Coretta Scott King funeral. Watch it:
We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there. [Standing Ovation] But Coretta knew and we know that there are weapons of misdirection right down here. Millions without health insurance. Poverty abounds. For war billions more but no more for the poor.
President Bush has argued that he needed to ignore the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act because it was an old law. From his January 26 press conference:
[T]he FISA law was written in 1978. We’re having this discussion in 2006. It’s a different world. And FISA is still an important tool. It’s an important tool. And we still use that tool. But also — and we — look — I said, look, is it possible to conduct this program under the old law? And people said, it doesn’t work in order to be able to do the job we expect us to do.
Bush gives the impression that he’d very much like to have the program work within the confines of the law but it’s just too old to accommodate it. That isn’t true.
Bush’s warrantless domestic surveillance program began in October 2001. Amendments to the law were requested from Congress by the Bush administration, and enacted with Bush’s signature two months later.
The December 2001 amendments to FISA aimed to provide additional flexibility in emergency situations. For example, the FY 2002 Intelligence Authorization Act amended FISA to extend the amount of time that the government could conduct surveillance without securing a warrant from 24 to 72 hours:
The conferees agreed to a provision to extend the time for judicial ratification of an emergency FISA surveillance or search from 24 to 72 hours. That would give the Government adequate time to assemble an application without requiring extraordinary effort by officials responsible for the preparation of those applications.
When President Bush says that FISA is an “old law,” it’s not true. It’s a law that was recently amended at his request and by his signature. Bush’s decision to circumvent the law was not one of necessity – it was his choice.
President Bush and other senior administration officials have tried to defend illegal domestic spying by arguing that it could have prevented 9/11. Bush included the argument in his State of the Union address:
It is said that prior to the attacks of September the 11th, our government failed to connect the dots of the conspiracy. … So to prevent another attack — based on authority given to me by the Constitution and by statute — I have authorized a terrorist surveillance program…
This argument is false, as several sources, including the Washington Post, have pointed out. But it also runs contrary to the administration’s previous line on the attacks. In 2002, President Bush and other top officials told Americans that September 11 could not have been prevented:
President Bush, 6/4/02:
Q Had the reform been put in place beforehand, if the FBI had been –
THE PRESIDENT: I haven’t seen any evidence –
Q — could the attacks have been stopped?
THE PRESIDENT: I’ve seen no evidence today that said this country could have prevented the attack.
FBI Director Robert Mueller, then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, 6/2/02:
U.S. intelligence agencies could have better analyzed information that pointed to Sept. 11, but they probably could not have prevented the attacks, the attorney general and FBI director said Sunday. …
“The information we now have does not indicate that there was a substantial likelihood of detecting this,” Ashcroft said.
So, to recap: President Bush was wrong in 2002, and he’s wrong now. The 9/11 attacks could have been prevented (as the 9/11 Commission found), but his illegal domestic spying program would not have done the job.
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin “says he may seek international assistance because U.S. aid has not been sufficient to get the city back on its feet.”
Twenty-three more al Qaeda members are on the loose after a prison escape last Friday in Sanaa, Yemen. The group includes Jamal Mohammed al-Badawi, the mastermind behind the USS Cole attack that killed 17 US sailors in Yemen in October 2000.
Why would the Bush administration allow terrorists with American blood on their hands to be held in an insecure location? This was not the first time that suspected Al Qaeda members escaped from prison in Yemen — at least 10 members escaped from a prison in Aden in 2003.
And this latest escape comes just a few months after an escape by four top Al Qaeda suspects who were held by US forces in an American military detention center in Bagram, Afghanistan last year.
President Bush continues to talk tough on terrorism, but more than four years after the 9/11 attacks, what does he have to show for all of his talk?
– Global terrorist attacks have tripled on President Bush’s watch;
– The Bush administration has received failing and mediocre grades on fighting terrorists by the 9/11 Commission;
– By invading Iraq without a plan to stabilize the country, President Bush created a new haven and terrorist training ground for Al Qaeda; and
– The Bush administration let top Al Qaeda leaders slip away in the early days of the war in Afghanistan.
The Bush failures in the fight against terrorism keep piling up, and Americans are less safe because of them.