“His response was to fight it with the only weapons at hand—passive resistance and open displays of contempt.” ― Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan
Some of us remember the good old days when FBI Director James Comey attempted to follow the Constitution. But somewhere in thevera between 2003 and today, we have watched gape jawed as the excuses for warrantless wiretapping have morphed from “if someone is talking to al Qeada, we want to know what they’re talking about,” to “well, this guy on Twitter don’t like cops, so we opened an OSINT investigation on him.”
In that pre-Snowden era, the big debate was whether or not then President Bush’s secret enemies list was an executive privilege, versus the Terrorist Surveillance Program being a classified national security secret.
And, some of us remember the Gang of Eight meeting over the near death bed of John Ashcroft.
It was this meeting, where perhaps James Comey came of age-from a protector of the Contitution, to a co-conspirator in the echelon of the Preatorian coup that we se in effect today.
Here belw is a snippet of the Gang of Eight twilight takeover of America from Wikipedia, which not only documents the Catholic/Christian versus Jewish conflict within America, but alo the jockeying for power as both sects vievo outdo each other in blatant commandeering of the laws of America. It truly isvrequired reading for any non-American to understand our religioys sectarianism.
NSA domestic eavesdropping program
Main article: NSA warrantless surveillance controversy
In a December 2005 article in The New York Times, it was revealed that the National Security Agency (NSA) was eavesdropping on U.S. citizens without warrants in cases where (i) NSA intelligence agents had reason to believe at least one party to the call was a member of al Qaeda or a group affiliated with al Qaeda, and (ii) the call was international. The New York Times acknowledged that the activities had been classified, and that it had disclosed the activities over the Administration’s objections. As such, Attorney General Gonzales threatened The Times with prosecution under the Espionage Act of 1917, since knowing publication of classified information is a federal crime. Gonzales raised the possibility that New York Times journalists could be prosecuted for publishing classified information based on the outcome of the criminal investigation underway into leaks to the Times of data about the National Security Agency’s surveillance of terrorist-related calls between the United States and abroad. He said, “I understand very much the role that the press plays in our society, the protection under the First Amendment we want to protect and respect….” As for the Times, he said, “As we do in every case, it’s a case-by-case evaluation about what the evidence shows us, our interpretation of the law. We have an obligation to enforce the law and to prosecute those who engage in criminal activity.”
The publication led to an investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) over the role of Department of Justice (DOJ) lawyers in giving legal advice to support various intelligence collection activities. OPR is responsible for investigating allegations of professional misconduct by DOJ attorneys. The objective of OPR is to ensure that DOJ attorneys perform their duties in accordance with the highest professional standards.
The Bush Administration and Attorney General Gonzales believed that OPR did not have the authority to investigate Gonzales’ role as White House Counsel in connection with certain intelligence activities authorized by the President. In response to suggestions that Gonzales blocked the investigation or that the President blocked the investigation to protect Gonzales, Assistant Attorney General Richard Hertling informed Chairman John Conyers on March 22, 2007, that “the President made the decision not to grant the requested security clearances to” OPR staff. Judge Gonzales “was not told he was the subject or target of the OPR investigation, nor did he believe himself to be…” Judge Gonzales “did not ask the President to shut down or otherwise impede the OPR investigation”. Judge Gonzales “recommended to the President that OPR be granted security clearance.”
In a letter to the Senate dated August 1, 2007, Gonzales disclosed that shortly after the September 11 attacks, the President authorized the NSA, under a single Presidential Authorization, to engage in a number of intelligence activities, which would later be collectively described as the “President’s Surveillance Program” (PSP) by the DOJ Inspector General, Glenn A. Fine. Some of these authorized activities were described as the “Terrorist Surveillance Program” (TSP) by President Bush, in an address to the nation on December 16, 2005. As the August 1 letter indicates the dispute between the President and James Comey that led to the hospital visit was not over TSP, it concerned other classified intelligence activities that are part of PSP and have not been disclosed. He defended his authorization of the program, asserting “…if you are talking with al Qaeda, we want to know why.” In his letter, Gonzales wrote the Senate Judiciary Committee that he defined TSP as the program the President publicly confirmed, a program that targets communications where one party is outside the United States, and as to which the government had reason to believe at least one party to the communication is a member of al Qaeda or an affiliated terrorist organization. Indeed, prior to the 2007 letter, Gonzales provided the same definition of TSP in several public appearances leading up to a hearing in Congress on February 6, 2006.
In March 2004, the TSP operations, (code-named Stellar Wind,) became the focal point for a dispute between the White House and then-acting-Attorney-General James B. Comey, resulting in a dramatic, late-night meeting between Gonzales, Comey, the bedridden AG John Ashcroft, and other DOJ officials, in a George Washington University Hospital room. According to initial statements by Gonzales, the disagreement was not over TSP; rather, he claimed it concerned other classified intelligence activities which fell under the PSP, which had not been disclosed. However, Comey contended that the incident, (which had culminated in a heated phone conversation following the hospital visit,) had indeed been over the activities comprising the TSP. Through a spokesperson, Gonzales later denied his original assertion that the dispute was over TSP, claiming that he had misspoken. The controversy over these conflicting statements led Senator Charles Schumer to request appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate if Gonzales had committed perjury.