May 11 2008
It is the summer of 2001 and, according to liberal rantings, Bush is fiddling while AQ prepares for 9-11. During the fateful years that led up to 9-11 the liberal paranoia over a second coming of Nixon led to what was called the Gorelick Wall – procedural barrier that did not allow intelligence which discovered evidence of a pending attack in the US to be used in the FIS Court to authorize surveillance inside the US to determine the seriousness of the evidence. I have posted so many times on the FISA laws before and after 9-11 that it is impossible to point to a handful of posts that reflect the reality of the situation. And too many hysterical liberals (e.g., Glenn Greenwald) are so ignorant or so full of lies about the issue one could make a career out of pointing out the flaws in their positions. But here are some key findings which are not disputable.
Prior to 9-11 the NSA listened in on our enemies overseas and they detected communications to people in the US. This has been the case for more than 3 decades and nothing as changed since 9-11 in this aspect of the role NSA plays. What did change after 9-11 was the wall that claimed the highest priority risk to Americans was invasion of privacy when it became clear on 9-11 the highest prioriuty risk to Americans was a terrorist attack. Prior to 9-11 when the NSA detected something nefarious in the US while monitoring our enemies overseas, it passed on the contents of the communication. But it also left out critical information that is required to stop an attack. Prior to 9-11 the NSA deleted the information required to track the threat to an individual or individuals inside the US (according to the 1976 committee hearings that created the FISA laws):
4. â€œIncidentalâ€ Intercepts of Americansâ€™ Communications
Although NSA does not now target communications of American citizens, groups, or organizations for interception by placing their names on watch lists, other selection criteria are used which result in NSAâ€™s reviewing many communications to, from, or about an American. The initial interception of a stream of communications is analogous to a vacuum cleaner: NSA picks up all communications carried over a specific link that it is monitoring. The combination of this technology and the use of words to select communications of interest results in NSA analysts reviewing the international messages of American citizens, groups, and organizations for foreign intelligence.
The interception and subsequent processing of communications are conducted in a manner that minimizes the number of unwanted messages. Only after an analyst determines that the content of a message meets a legitimate requirement will it be disseminated to the interested intelligence agencies. In practically all cases, the name of an American citizen, group, or organization is deleted by NSA before a message is disseminated.
Internal NSA guidelines ensure that the decision to disseminate an intercepted communication is now made on the basis of the importance of the foreign intelligence it contains, not because a United States citizen, group, or organization is involved. This procedure is, of course, subject to change by internal NSA directives.
After 9-11 it was realized that the current policy was suicidal, and that the FIS Court should not bar NSA detected leads but deal with them full up. When the NY Times cried that the NSA was ‘bypassing’ FISA when the exposed this critical national defense program they were either 100% wrong or 100% lying in their reporting. The truth of the matter could be found inside that very same NY Times article, were the FIS Court judge (Robertson) who resigned in protest noted that NSA intel was ‘tainting’ the FIS Court process.
Two associates familiar with his decision said yesterday that Robertson privately expressed deep concern that the warrantless surveillance program authorized by the president in 2001 was legally questionable and may have tainted the FISA courtâ€™s work.
Clearly to ‘taint’ means:
verb [ trans. ] (often be tainted)
contaminate or pollute (something) : the air was tainted by fumes from the cars. See note at pollute.
The fact the NY Times knew the subtlety enough to report it leads me to conclude the essence of the story was based more on lies than ignorance. Prior to 9-11 the FBI could request, under FIS Court order, certain people be monitored for terrorist activities. Only then could the identifying information be passed to the FIS Court for review. If the NSA discovered a connection outside the order of the FIS Court, the high priests and priestesses of this court did not want to be bothered with the discovery. Their priority was not safe guarding Americans, it was safe guarding their own power and their own views of what government should or should not do. It should be noted that the FIS Court challenged the post 9-11 changes, and lost that battle on appeal to the higher FIS Court which had, up until then, never had to be called into session.
General Hayden, now head of the CIA, was the head of the NSA on 9-11 and he has publicly admited that the NSA knew about the 9-11 highjackers prior to 9-11.
On January 23rd, General Michael Hayden spoke to the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
Hayden informed us that his office has been operating under an executive order (EO#12333 from 1981) that gave the NSA the tools it is currently using â€” meaning the NSA wasnâ€™t suddenly unleashed to go marauding every Americanâ€™s privacy by George W. Bush.
â€œI [Hayden] testified in open session to the House Intel Committee in April of the year 2000. At the time, I created some looks of disbelief when I said that if Osama bin Laden crossed the bridge from Niagara Falls, Ontario to Niagara Falls, New York, there were provisions of U.S. law that would kick in, offer him protections and affect how NSA could now cover him.â€
He admits that we knew that Mohamed Atta and his crew were in the US. But he says that â€œwe did not know anything moreâ€ because prior to 9/11 â€œMohamed Atta and his fellow 18 hijackers would have been presumed to have been protected persons, U.S. persons, by NSA â€œ.
The NSA had discovered them as the killers of 9-11 communicated with their masters overseas who were under NSA surveillance. But due to the suicidal procedures in place at the time, all information that could lead investigators to the killers was being deleted, with only the content of the communications going out to law enforcement agencies.
Those conspiracy nuts who claim the US knew about 9-11 before it happened are literally correct. The NSA knew who they were and were they were. But it was the Gorelick Wall that stopped critical dots being connected, and it barred the NSA from telling the FBI where to find the killers before 3,000 Americans died horrific deaths. This idiocy was fixed under President Bush and has worked to protect America ever since 9-11, until the current Democrat Congress decided to play games with the lives of Americans and put trial lawyers (their largest contributors) over the rest of America. The Dem Congress let the fixes to FISA lapse, leaving us all vulnerable to new attacks. And since this now all plays out in the public, thanks to the treason of the NY Times, the terrorists also know the rules have changed and there are no openings for attack that did not exist a few months ago.
This week two moderate senators, ironically despised by the partisans in their respected parties, are trying desperately to raise the warning flags that America is under threat again from terrorist attack. The chatter is back, and what it signals is the need for those FISA fixes like never before:
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me., warned Thursday that the threat of homegrown terrorism is on the rise, aided by the Internetâ€™s capacity to spread the core recruitment and training message of violent Islamist terrorist groups.
At a morning press conference to release the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee staff report, â€œViolent Islamist Extremism, The Internet, and the Homegrown Terrorist Threat,â€ the Senators said that as the threat of homegrown terrorism evolves, so too should the governmentâ€™s response, which must include coordinated and comprehensive strategic communications and outreach efforts.
â€œThe long term goal of the strategy must be to isolate and discredit the ideology as a cause worthy of support,â€ Lieberman and Collins said in a joint statement. â€œFederal, state and local officials, as well as Muslin American community and religious leaders and other private sector actors must all play a prominent role in discrediting the terrorist message.â€
The report found that as the Internet breaks down physical borders and cultural barriers, permitting easy access to violent extremist ideology, the greater the likelihood that more disaffected people will buy into the global violent Islamist movement.
â€œThe growing use of the Internet to identify and connect with networks throughout the world offers opportunities to build relationships and gain expertise that previously were available only in overseas training camps,â€ Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell has testified. â€œIt is likely that such independent groups will use information on destructive tactics available on the Internet to boost their own capabilities.â€
The report concluded that the federal government must address key questions such as: what, if any, new laws, resources, and tactics should be implemented to prevent the spread of violent extremist ideology in the United States; how should a counter communications strategy be fashioned and what roles should the government and community and religious leaders play; what is the purpose of current outreach efforts and how can those efforts be improved; and how should local officials and local law enforcement be involved.
Here is a link to the full report. The fact is these homegrown cells can get assistance in the form of money and weapons and training from overseas. And these new connections may not be detected under the current crippled FISA laws, laws which stand in partisan limbo today as the threat grows that al-Qaeda and other Islamo Fascists will want to send a signal to America as part of the presidential election process:
House Democrats continued to block passage of a terrorist surveillance bill today, rejecting a measure by Rep. Heather Wilson (R-N.M.) to add the Senate-passed FISA bill to the fiscal 2009 Intelligence authorization bill. The amendment was defeated by one vote in the House Intelligence Committee, the latest proof that the Senate bill would pass the House if Speaker Nancy Pelosi allowed it to come to the House floor. Congress let emergency surveillance powers lapse more than 80 days ago.
So here we are, with clear evidence that al-Qaeda is trying to recruit and train terrorist cells in the US so as to pull off another 9-11, and yet fixes to FISA that were so glaringly obvious to everyone as the twin towers smoldered for months after 9-11 are being held up by liberals in Congress trying to protect the opportunity for trial lawyers to go after telecoms who followed legal requests of the US government in their efforts to protect American lies. It is such a sick and convoluted reality it is hard to believe this is not some bad made for TV movie by some liberal director from Hollywood.
Here we are again, facing a growing threat and those on the left are obsessed to the point of suicide on the potential for privacy abuses while terrorist use those paranoid fears as cover to execute mass murders on our soil. If I have to fault Bush for one thing in his administration it was for not exposing the truth about FISA and the NSA, and how legal idiocy allowed intel leads that could have saved 3,000 people to be deleted. Once exposed Americans deserved the full story behind the myths and conspiracies. Yes, some in the government knew about the potential for 9-11 well before hand. But they were gagged by antiquated and paranoid liberal legal concepts, which paranoid liberals are trying to have put back in place again. This time in public, through the media, so the terrorist know exactly what is happening and when it is time to act. Want to take back Congress GOP? Here is the one issue that can do it. And as long as the liberal democrats sacrifice our safety to their trial lawyer supporters they deserve to lose congress.