Spying (NSA), lying (the President) and Peter Hoekstra's contradiction

Monday, July 10, 2006 at 03:52 PM

Wayne Madsen claimed way back in December of 2005 that the NSA had begun serious spying/eavesdropping before 9/11 ever occurred.  While I've never seen confirmation of Madsen's particular claim, there's a new allegation reported by Bloomberg (among others) that the NSA asked AT&T Inc. to help it set up a domestic call monitoring site seven months before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

The allegation is part of the pleadings in the case accusing telecommunication companies of invasion of privacy via cooperating with the NSA's demands.

As always, my simple question is how could the Bush administration repeatedly claim that 9/11 was the spur for its reinvigorated attempts to listen in on everybody, almost everywhere, if the listening in began well before 9/11?

You know the answer to that, of course.  9/11 was not the reason for the stepped up domestic spying, it was simply the after-the-fact excuse for having already stepped up the spying.

And is there any way to account for the fact that Peter Hoekstra, Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, had to send Bush a letter in May, taking the President to task for conducting a significant spying program on which neither the House nor Senate Intelligence Committees was even briefed?  The president will only open up the vault of secrecy when the secret is already out?  Peter Hoekstra continues to defend the Bush spying knowing without a doubt thet Bush tried to pull one over on him?

And, by the way, is there any excuse for Hoekstra having previously been so vocal in criticizing whistleblowers when the only reason he was able to find out about the program that Bush had kept from the Committee was because some federal employee brought the program to Hoekstra's attention?  According to the Christian Science Monitor, Hoekstra "has been a critic of whistleblowers in the past, and has even called for tougher legislation when whistleblowers give classified information to the media."

Maybe he thinks that whistleblowers always feel comfortable going to the congress rather than the media.  Right.  Can you imaging Deep Throat having gone to the Department of Justice instead of Woodward and Bernstein?  Deep Throat would be known today as Deep (& Unmarked) Grave.

We're still in some deep stuff here, folks.  The President is hell bent on becoming a "God-directed" dictator.  Half the congress is afraid to try to stop him, while the other half is afraid of the half that's afraid to stop him.  And no one can break through the Catch 22 of being unable to tell whether a spying program is legal because only those who think it's legal have authority to know about the program.

And, probably scariest of all, this issue really does not seem to matter to a very large segment of the poulation.  They've bought the Cheney "1% solution" on media control: U.S. media should agree not to report on a program, however questionable its legality, if there is any chance of the reporting making it harder to stop terrorists.  But they embrace the exact opposite rule when it comes to the internal danger of a dictatorship:  we'll only worry about events that may lead to dictatorship if the likelihood of that result is a full 100%.

Unfortunately, that public attitude itself meets the public's own 100% rule.