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NSA whistleblower asks to testify

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  • Robert Sterling
    Please send as far and wide as possible. Thanks, Robert Sterling Editor, The Konformist http://www.konformist.com NSA whistleblower asks to testify By Bill
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 14, 2006
      Please send as far and wide as possible.

      Thanks,
      Robert Sterling
      Editor, The Konformist
      http://www.konformist.com

      NSA whistleblower asks to testify
      By Bill Gertz
      THE WASHINGTON TIMES
      Published January 5, 2006
      WashingtonTimes.com

      A former National Security Agency official wants to tell Congress
      about electronic intelligence programs that he asserts were carried
      out illegally by the NSA and the Defense Intelligence Agency.
      Russ Tice, a whistleblower who was dismissed from the NSA last
      year, stated in letters to the House and Senate intelligence
      committees that he is prepared to testify about highly classified
      Special Access Programs, or SAPs, that were improperly carried out
      by both the NSA and the DIA.
      "I intend to report to Congress probable unlawful and
      unconstitutional acts conducted while I was an intelligence officer
      with the National Security Agency and with the Defense Intelligence
      Agency," Mr. Tice stated in the Dec. 16 letters, copies of which
      were obtained by The Washington Times.
      The letters were sent the same day that the New York Times
      revealed that the NSA was engaged in a clandestine eavesdropping
      program that bypassed the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance
      Act (FISA) court. The FISA court issues orders for targeted
      electronic and other surveillance by the government.
      President Bush said Sunday that the NSA spying is "a necessary
      program" aimed at finding international terrorists by tracking phone
      numbers linked to al Qaeda.
      Mr. Bush said during a visit to Brooke Army Medical Center in
      San Antonio that al Qaeda is "making phone calls, [and] it makes
      sense to find out why."
      Critics of the eavesdropping program, which gathered and sifted
      through large amounts of telephone and e-mail to search for clues to
      terrorists' communications, say the activities might have been
      illegal because they were carried out without obtaining a FISA court
      order.
      The Justice Department has said the program is legal under
      presidential powers authorized by Congress in 2001.
      Mr. Tice said yesterday that he was not part of the intercept
      program.
      In his Dec. 16 letter, Mr. Tice wrote that his testimony would
      be given under the provisions of the 1998 Intelligence Community
      Whistleblower Protection Act, which makes it legal for intelligence
      officials to disclose wrongdoing without being punished.
      The activities involved the NSA director, the NSA deputies chief
      of staff for air and space operations and the secretary of defense,
      he stated.
      "These ... acts were conducted via very highly sensitive
      intelligence programs and operations known as Special Access
      Programs," Mr. Tice said.
      The letters were sent to Sen. Pat Roberts, Kansas Republican,
      and Rep. Peter Hoekstra, Michigan Republican. Mr. Roberts is
      chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Mr.
      Hoekstra is chairman of the House counterpart.
      Spokesmen for the NSA and the Senate intelligence committee
      declined to comment. Spokesmen for the House intelligence committee
      and the DIA said they were aware of Mr. Tice's letters, but had not
      seen formal copies of them.

      *****

      http://americablog.blogspot.com

      Wednesday, January 04, 2006
      What it means to John Kerry, Wesley Clark, and Bill Clinton if Bush
      wiretapped CNN's Christiane Amanpour
      by John in DC

      As reported below, NBC's Andrea Mitchell - based on some information
      she clearly hasn't yet made public - is asking if Bush specifically
      wiretapped CNN's Christiane Amanpour. The fact that the question was
      asked so publicly and so specifically means that Mitchell knows
      something.

      Why would Bush do this? Because, as I reported a few weeks ago,
      journalists have some of the best contacts out there and it's not
      unusual for journalists to talk to both sides of the story, or in
      this case, the good guys and the "evil doers." What a better, if not
      illegal, way to find the terrorists and their associates?

      But before you say "yeah, go for it," consider the implications of
      tapping Christiane Amanpour's phones:

      1. Such a wiretap would likely include her home, office, and cell
      phones, and email correspondence, at the very least.

      2. That means anyone Christiane has conversed with in the past four
      years, at least by phone or email, could have had their conversation
      taped by the US government.

      3. That also means that anyone who uses any of Christiane's
      telephones or computers (work or home) could also have had their
      conversation bugged.

      4. This includes Christiane's husband, former Clinton administration
      senior official Jamie Rubin, who was spokesman for the State
      Department.

      5. Jamie Rubin was also chief foreign policy adviser to General
      Wesley Clark's presidential campaign, and then worked as a senior
      national security adviser to John Kerry's presidential campaign.

      6. Did Jamie Rubin ever use his home phone, his wife's work phone,
      his wife's cell phone, her home computer or her work computer to
      communicate with John Kerry or Wesley Clark? If so, those
      conversations would have been bugged if Bush was tapping Amanpour.

      7. Did Jamie Rubin ever in the past four years communicate with any
      elected officials in Washington, DC - any Senators or members of the
      US House? Any senior members of the Democratic party?

      8. Has Rubin spoken with Bill Clinton, his former boss, in the past
      4 years?

      Now you understand how potentially broad a violation of privacy the
      Bush doctrine on illegal domestic spying really is. Everyone who's
      anyone is a degree or two of separation away from a terrorist.

      ***

      Wednesday, January 04, 2006
      Did Bush wiretap CNN's Christiane Amanpour?
      by John in DC

      From NBC News:

      New York Times reporter James Risen first broke the story two weeks
      ago that the National Security Agency began spying on domestic
      communications soon after 9/11. In a new book out Tuesday, "State of
      War," he says it was a lot bigger than that. Chief Foreign Affairs
      Correspondent Andrea Mitchell sat down with Risen to talk about the
      NSA, and the run-up to the war in Iraq....

      Mitchell: Do you have any information about reporters being swept up
      in this net?

      Risen: No, I don't. It's not clear to me. That's one of the
      questions we'll have to look into the future. Were there abuses of
      this program or not? I don't know the answer to that

      Mitchell: You don't have any information, for instance, that a very
      prominent journalist, Christiane Amanpour, might have been
      eavesdropped upon?

      Risen: No, no I hadn't heard that.

      *****

      Congressmembers write White House to ask if reporters were bugged
      01/05/2006
      RAWStory.com

      Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) and 22 other House members sent a
      letter to President Bush today requesting that he provide a range of
      information concerning the controversial warrantless surveillance
      program by the NSA, RAW STORY has learned.

      In light of recent disclosures by NBC that CNN Reporter Christiane
      Amanpour's telephone calls may have been intercepted by the Bush
      Administration -- a fact caught by AmericaBLOG's John Aravosis. The
      Democrats asked for information regarding whether any reporters or
      other members of the media have had phone calls intercepted under
      the NSA program.

      The congressmembers also asked the President to propose statutory
      language that would specifically authorize the program so that it
      could be considered as part of a possible extension of the USA
      PATRIOT Act scheduled to sunset Feb. 3.

      The text of the letter follows:

      January 5, 2006
      The President
      The White House
      Washington, DC 20500


      Dear Mr. President:

      We write to you regarding the National Security Agency's use of
      warrantless surveillance involving people in the United States.
      While we believe it is critical that communications with Al Qaeda
      representatives be scrutinized, it is also imperative that it be
      done in a manner that respects the law and the privacy rights of
      individuals in this country, and as has been done by prior
      Administrations.

      As you know, since this program was first disclosed by The New York
      Times on December 16, 2005, it has caused a firestorm of
      controversy. Among other things, concerns have been raised that not
      only is the program constitutionally problematic; but also that it
      is inconsistent with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
      ("FISA") and not authorized by any subsequently passed law
      (including the September 18, 2001 Authorization for Use of Military
      Force); it included within its sweep calls solely within the United
      States; the intelligence information was widely disseminated without
      adequate controls; and that it involved tapping into
      telecommunication data and voice networks, thereby intercepting a
      large volume of telephone and Internet communications. Concerns
      about the program were not only raised by Members of the
      Intelligence Committees and Members of the FISA Court (one of whom
      resigned in protest), but by then-Deputy Attorney General Comey and,
      reportedly, by then-Attorney General Ashcroft.

      Perhaps the most significant concern many of us have is that such a
      program could be utilized with the Executive Branch acting in the
      role of attorney, judge, and jury in deciding whether or not the
      surveillance was justified or appropriate. This is particularly
      perplexing given the ease with which your and other Administrations
      have been able to obtain FISA warrants in the past, and the fact
      that such warrants can even be obtained on a retroactive basis.

      Given the controversy and myriad legal concerns raised by the
      surveillance program, we would ask that you forward to us proposed
      statutory language authorizing the program so that the Members can
      consider the same as part of our review of those provisions of the
      USA PATRIOT Act scheduled to sunset on February 3, 2006.

      In addition, so that we may better understand the nature of the
      program, we would ask that you forward to us the following:

      Any and all legal opinions and memorandum concerning the lawfulness
      of the program

      Any and all orders authorizing and reauthorizing the program

      Any and all records and information indicating the number of U.S.
      persons for whom such surveillance was authorized

      Any and all records and information indicating the number of U.S.
      persons for whom communication to or from them were intercepted

      Any and all records and information indicating the number of
      intercepted communications occurring completely within the U.S.

      Any and all records identifying any members of the U.S. press, other
      U.S. media or Members of Congress for whom communications to or from
      them were intercepted

      Any and all records and information indicating how the information
      concerning U.S. persons was stored, shared among various agencies
      and departments, and whether, when and how such information is to be
      destroyed.

      To the extent any of the above includes classified information, we
      would be willing to discuss a means by which certain information can
      be redacted.

      Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.

      Sincerely,

      Rep. John Conyers, Jr.; Rep. Bobby Scott; Rep. Lofgren; Rep. Nadler;
      Rep. Tauscher; Rep. Jackson Lee; Rep. McDermott; Rep. Meehan; Rep.
      Olver; Rep. Wexler; Rep. Inslee; Rep. Schakowsky; Rep. Doggett; Rep.
      Kucinich; Rep. McCollum; Rep. Berman; Rep. Baldwin; Rep. Van Hollen;
      Rep. David Price; Rep. Tom Udall; Rep. Ackerman; Rep. Wasserman
      Shultz; Rep. Sabo; Rep. Tierney; Rep. Hinchey; Rep. Sanders

      Update: Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has also signed onto the letter.
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