Monday, December 19, 2005

The newest fake talking point

You gotta love it when fake memes burn their way through the idiotsphere.

The newest talking point? That "Echelon" a surveillance operation conducted by the NSA during the Clinton years, is the exact same thing as the Bush-spy kerfuffle. Just heard Limbaugh railing about this. Well, actually, it's not at all, namely because the Clintons went to the FISA Court to get approval, the exact thing the Bushes refused to do. Here's George Tenet, then DCI, at a Congressional hearing in 2000:

Mr. Chairman, I am here today to discuss allegations about SIGINT activities and the so-called Echelon program of the National Security Agency with a very specific objective: To assure this Committee, the Congress, and the American public that the United States Intelligence Community is unequivocally committed to conducting its activities in accordance with US law and due regard for the rights of Americans.


We do not collect against US persons unless they are agents of a foreign power, as that term is defined in law. We do not target their conversations for collection in the United States unless a FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] warrant has been obtained from the FISA court by the Justice Department. And we do not target their conversations for collection overseas unless Executive Order 12333 has been followed and the Attorney General has personally approved collection.

So, let's go over this slowly. Bush sought to spy on US Citizens without getting the secret and very easy FISA to issue a warrant, most likely contravening the law and the Constitution. So say what you want about the Clinton administration, but they did abide by existing laws.

Permalink posted by Jonathan : 12:52 PM

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