Tricky Dick…

“After years of researching Richard Nixon, which has often been met with amusement by friends, I exhume from my database the following nugget,” writes Nixonbuff, Gregory. “David Frost interviewed Nixon in the late 1970’s, and as a result there are many hours of tape providing much information. The following though, should make Bush nervous, as the White House meets the outrage from a troubled nation over illegal activities against Americans.”

So what in a sense, you’re saying is that there are certain situations, and the Huston Plan or that part of it was one of them, here the president can decide that it’s in the best interests of the nation or something, and do something illegal.

Well, when the president does it that means that it is not illegal.

By definition.

Exactly. Exactly. If the president, for example, approves something because of the national security, or in this case because of a threat to internal peace and order of significant magnitude, then the president’s decision in that instance is ne that enables those who carry it out, to carry it out without violating a law. Otherwise they’re in an impossible position.

“And we all recall that Nixon fared so well with the American people too…”

Click to read more excerpts from an interview with David Frost that exposed Nixon’s views on Presidential power which aired on television May 19, 1977.

Mad King George…

The Washington Post reports:
“Beginning in October, The Washington Post published articles describing a three-year-old Pentagon agency, the size and budget of which are classified, with wide new authority to undertake domestic investigations and operations against potential threats from U.S. residents and organizations against military personnel and facilities. The Counterintelligence Field Activity, or CIFA, began as a small policy-coordination office but has grown to encompass nine directorates and a staff exceeding 1,000. The agency’s Talon database, collecting unconfirmed reports of suspicious activity from military bases and organizations around the country, has included “threat reports” of peaceful civilian protests and demonstrations.

Yesterday’s acknowledgment of warrantless NSA eavesdropping brought the most forthright statement from the president that his war on terrorism is targeting not only “enemies across the world” but “terrorists here at home.” In the “first war of the 21st century,” he said, “one of the most critical battlefronts is the home front.”

On occasion the Bush administration has explicitly rejected the authority of courts and Congress to impose boundaries on the power of the commander in chief, describing the president’s war-making powers in legal briefs as “plenary” — a term defined as “full,” “complete,” and “absolute.”

In a Sept. 25, 2002, brief signed by then-Attorney General John D. Ashcroft, the Justice Department asserted “the Constitution vests in the President inherent authority to conduct warrantless intelligence surveillance (electronic or otherwise) of foreign powers or their agents, and Congress cannot by statute extinguish that constitutional authority.”

The brief made no distinction between suspected agents who are U.S. citizens and those who are not.

United States Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) made the following statement on Saturday, December 17, 2005 in response to President Bush’s weekly radio address:

“The President’s shocking admission that he authorized the National Security Agency to spy on American citizens, without going to a court and in violation of the Constitution and laws passed by Congress, further demonstrates the urgent need for these protections. The President believes that he has the power to override the laws that Congress has passed. This is not how our democratic system of government works. The President does not get to pick and choose which laws he wants to follow. He is a president, not a king.”

Fact Sheet on Domestic Intelligence Wiretaps
December 17, 2005

  • The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was enacted in 1978 to provide a statutory framework for eavesdropping on individuals within the United States, including U.S. citizens, who are not suspected of having committed a crime but who are likely to be spies or members of terrorist organizations.
  • FISA established a secret court that could issue wiretap orders if the government showed probable cause that the individual to be tapped is an “agent of a foreign power,” meaning he or she is affiliated with a foreign government or terrorist organization. This is an easier standard to meet than the criminal wiretap standard, which requires that there be: (1) probable cause that the individual to be tapped has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime, and (2) probable cause that communications concerning that crime will be obtained through the electronic surveillance.
  • In the 27 years since it was established, the FISA court has turned down only a handful of applications for wiretap orders. The number of approved FISA wiretap orders has jumped since September 11, 2001, with 1,754 FISA orders issued last year, up from 934 such orders in 2001.
  • FISA already addresses emergency situations where there is not time to get pre-approval from the court. It includes an emergency exception that permits government agents to install a wiretap and start monitoring phone and email conversations immediately, as long as they then go to the FISA court and get a court order within 72 hours.
  • FISA makes it a crime, punishable by up to five years in prison, to conduct electronic surveillance except as provided for by statute. The only defense is for law government agents engaged in official duties conducting “surveillance authorized by and conducted pursuant to a search warrant or court order.” [50 U.S.C. § 1809]
  • Congress has specifically stated, in statute, that the criminal wiretap statute and FISA “shall be the exclusive means by which electronic surveillance . . . and the interception of domestic wire, oral, and electronic communications may be conducted.” [18 U.S.C. § 2518(f)].
  • The target of a FISA wiretap is never given notice that he or she was subject to surveillance, unless the evidence obtained through the electronic surveillance is ultimately used against the target in a criminal trial.

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