Illegal Surveillance- THE DAY AFTER the Hospital/Ashcroft Scene, Bush Authorized It AgainSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas


Illegal Surveillance- THE DAY AFTER the Hospital/Ashcroft Scene, Bush Authorized It Again

21 August 2007 at 12:04:01 PM

Even though he KNEW it was illegal and the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General wouldn't authorize it. Scumbag.

But putting those questions aside for a moment, today's letter is revealing in at least three other ways.

First, it lists the dates on which the President issued authorizations for the NSA program -- 43 of 'em, from October 4, 2001 through December 8, 2006. Most interesting is the authorization of March 11, 2004. That was, as you'll recall, the authorization that the President issued the day after the infamous scene at the Ashcroft hospital bed, even after DOJ had concluded that it would be illegal -- the authorization that precipitated the threatened resignation of 30 or so high-level DOJ officials. The VP's letter notes that the 04/11/04 authorization was "amended" by presidential memoranda of March 19th and April 2d. Presumably, those amendments were made in order to apply the limitations required by the alternative legal justification offered by Jack Goldsmith and OLC after the fateful hospital visit. We've previously surmised that under the post-3/11 program, the surveillance was limited to communications with at least one party overseas, and with at least some attenuated connection to Al Qaeda -- requirements that may well not have been in place for the first two-and-a-half years of the surveillance.

Second, the letter lists the dates of no fewer than ten DOJ memoranda, beginning on October 4, 2001 (when the program started). The first six memoranda, presumably penned by John Yoo, were issued before Jack Goldsmith took office at OLC. What I presume was Goldsmith's first memo was on March 15, 2004, four days after the President ignored OLC's legal objection, and four days before the program was "amended" (presumably to track Goldsmith's new legal theory). The final memo, dated February 4, 2005, was issued after Goldsmith left office.

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