All that stuff you hear from democrats, and Obama himself, about Bush failing to get Bin Laden and taking his eye off the ball is total crap. Obama and democrats fought tooth and nail to rip Bush’s eyes off of Bin Laden. They did their damnedest to prevent Bush from getting Bin Laden.
George Bush was dealing with 3000 dead innocent Americans in the worst attack on US soil since Pearl Harbor. He needed intel to work from. He needed information. He needed help.
Democrats stood behind Bush. They kneed him. They tripped him up. They opposed every single thing he did to keep the nation safe and find Osama Bin Laden.
WASHINGTON, Dec. 15 – Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials.
Under a presidential order signed in 2002, the intelligence agency has monitored the international telephone calls and international e-mail messages of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people inside the United States without warrants over the past three years in an effort to track possible “dirty numbers” linked to Al Qaeda, the officials said. The agency, they said, still seeks warrants to monitor entirely domestic communications.
Democratic House leaders called Sunday for an independent panel to investigate the legality of a program President Bush authorized that allows warrantless wiretaps on U.S. citizens, according to a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert.
“We believe that the President must have the best possible intelligence to protect the American people, but that intelligence must be produced in a manner consistent with our Constitution and our laws, and in a manner that reflects our values as a nation,” the letter says.
“We all agree that the President must have the best possible intelligence to protect the American people, but that intelligence must be produced in a manner consistent with the United States Constitution and our laws. The President’s statement today raises serious questions as to what the activities were and whether the activities were lawful.
“I was advised of President Bush’s decision to provide authority to the National Security Agency to conduct unspecified activities shortly after he made it and have been provided with updates on several occasions.
“The Bush Administration considered these briefings to be notification, not a request for approval. As is my practice whenever I am notified about such intelligence activities, I expressed my strong concerns during these briefings.”
“You have to keep a certain distance from that power to whom you have to speak the truth,” said Holt. “And that’s why it concerns me that when you talked about the lawyers who were working to prepare this legislation back in August, when you made some of the statements that you made, they clearly seem to be influenced by lawyers in power, in the White House, in the vice president’s office.”
By a margin of 52% to 43%, Americans want Congress to consider impeaching President Bush if he wiretapped American citizens without a judge’s approval, according to a new poll commissioned by AfterDowningStreet.org, a grassroots coalition that supports a Congressional investigation of President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003.
Acknowledging the White House’s resistance to complying with Democratic subpoenas, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) told attorney general nominee Michael Mukasey on Wednesday that the executive-privilege fight is now his to resolve.
Leahy had indicated that Mukasey’s confirmation hearings could not begin until the Bush administration met at least some Democratic demands for documents on the U.S. attorney firings and the president’s warrantless wiretapping program. But in a letter to Mukasey released Wednesday, Leahy suggested that he would shift his focus from negotiating with the White House to negotiating with the nominee.
The House Judiciary Committee has long been known as the site of some of the fiercest social policy battles on Capitol Hill. It has lived up to its reputation in the 110th Congress, with fights over immigration, wiretapping and the scope of executive power all boiling over at the committee.
Led by Chairman John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), the Judiciary Committee has taken a sharp leftward turn since Democrats regained control of Congress, launching investigations into voter fraud, the firing of nine U.S. attorneys and other hot-button topics.
And, of course, Barack Obama August 2007
That means no more illegal wire-tapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. That is not who we are. And it is not what is necessary to defeat the terrorists. The FISA court works. The separation of powers works. Our Constitution works. We will again set an example for the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers, and that justice is not arbitrary.
Barack Obama 12/27/07
They know that we must never negotiate out of fear, but that we must never fear to negotiate with our enemies ( ed note: you mean like Osama Bin Laden?) as well as our friends. They are ashamed of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo and warrantless wiretaps and ambiguity on torture. They love their country and want its cherished values and ideals restored.
It’s official: Obama will back a filibuster of any Senate FISA legislation containing telecom immunity, his campaign has just told Election Central. The Obama campaign has just sent over the following statement from spokesman Bill Burton:
“To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.”
The Responsible Plan draws heavily from the Baker-Hamilton Commission’s report and from 17 bills that have been introduced in Congress; it would set a date to begin withdrawal, though it would rely on military advice for the pace of that redeployment. The plan’s broad reach promotes clean energy, a restoration of habeas corpus, a ban on torture and rendition, opposition to media consolidation, State Department reorganization, veterans care and a new GI Bill.
The Bush administration opened several lines of attack against the rule of law and the integrity of an independent Justice Department. The scandals are so famous that they’ve been reduced to shorthand: Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, NSA, Attorneygate.
No matter what, these incidents will remain a blot on our nation’s history. But we can achieve a measure of closure and justice by pursuing legal accountability for anyone involved who broke the law. The initiation of proper legal proceedings — both investigations and prosecutions — simply cannot depend on whether the accused are powerful.
Rendition hearings video uploaded by Nancy Pelosi
PROPELLING the United States rapidly away from the Bush era, President Barack Obama yesterday banned torture and closed the CIA’s infamous “Black Site” prison network, the secret locations used to interrogate terror suspects.
The orders will also mean the end of so-called extraordinary-rendition flights, in which the CIA transported hundreds of bound-and-gagged suspects around the world, using airports including Prestwick for refuelling, so the detainees could be interrogated in “friendly” states that permit torture.
Professor Francis A. Boyle of the University of Illinois College of Law in Champaign, U.S.A. has filed a Complaint with the Prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (I.C.C.) in The Hague against U.S. citizens George W. Bush, Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, Condoleezza Rice, and Alberto Gonzales (the “Accused”) for their criminal policy and practice of “extraordinary rendition” perpetrated upon about 100 human beings. This term is really their euphemism for the enforced disappearance of persons and their consequent torture. This criminal policy and practice by the Accused constitute Crimes against Humanity in violation of the Rome Statute establishing the I.C.C.
Harsh interrogation techniques authorized by top officials of the CIA have led to questionable confessions and the death of a detainee since the techniques were first authorized in mid-March 2002, ABC News has been told by former and current intelligence officers and supervisors.
In other words, George Bush and Dick Cheney are lying. Is there any chance a bipartisan commission will reject these lies and demand the truth? No chance whatsoever, because the Republicans on the commission are guaranteed to remove every single word that suggests criminal or moral liability for Bush, Cheney, David Addington, and other high-level officials.
Meanwhile a new Senate report shows that top Bush administration officials approved the use of waterboarding as early as 2002 and 2003 – the harsh methods were approved by the likes of then National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Attorney General John Ashcroft, CIA Director George Tenet, and Vice President Dick Cheney. Maybe that’s one reason we’re hearing so much from Cheney these days.
Democrats criticized the Republican-controlled “rubber-stamp Congress,” which failed to provide adequate oversight of the Bush administration. Now that the Democratic Party has control of Congress, the onus is upon them to restore law and order, to investigate the use of torture and to demand prosecution of those who engaged in it.
About that torture:
The former intelligence official familiar with the matter noted that Goss has given only one on-the-record interview on these CIA controversies since leaving the CIA director job. In the December 2007 interview, he said that Congressional leaders including Representatives Pelosi and Harman, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), had been briefed on CIA waterboarding back in 2002. “Among those being briefed, there was a pretty full understanding of what the CIA was doing,” Goss told the Washington Post. “And the reaction in the room was not just approval, but encouragement.”
Jane Harman claimed to object to waterboarding but…
The only forthright objection contained in Harman’s letter is to the CIA’s intention to destroy the videotape of Abu Zubaida’s waterboarding.
Nancy Pelosi has a tall tale regarding her purported ignorance of the enhanced interrogation techniques that President Obama and Pelosi’s fellow Democrats condemn as “torture.” Pelosi boldly denied she had been informed of the actual use of the techniques in the briefings she received as a ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. Huck Finn would have called Pelosi’s tale a “stretcher.” Here is Pelosi’s classic “stretcher” of April 23:
“In that or any other briefing…we were not, and I repeat, were not told that waterboarding or any of these other enhanced interrogation techniques were used. What they did tell us is that they had some legislative counsel…opinions that they could be used.”
Scott Johnson concludes:
I think we can fairly draw at least one conclusion from this episode. The case of Nancy Pelosi provides the key to the “torture” controversy. It is a partisan charade. And it is a charade of a particularly disgusting kind. The Democrats’ “torture” charade is a case of low politics masquerading as high principle.
After Bush, or when a democrat became President.
For the second time this week, the Obama administration has gone to court in San Francisco to argue for secrecy in defending a terrorism policy crafted under George W. Bush – in this case, wiretapping that President Obama denounced as a candidate.
President Obama is maintaining the secrecy of a wiretapping program authorised by his predecessor, George W Bush, a Department of Justice lawyer told a San Francisco courtroom on Wednesday.
The Obama administration backed the Bush administration’s arguments in a lawsuit involving the practice of seizing terror suspects abroad and sending them to third countries for questioning.
With Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan not taking part, the Obama Administration on Wednesday afternoon urged the Supreme Court not to hear a major test case challenging the once-secret program of “rendition” — that is, capture of terrorism suspects and transporting them to other countries, often for aggressive questioning and even torture. Solicitor General Kagan’s deputy, Neal K. Katyal, signed the new brief as “Acting Solicitor General.” It is unclear whether this was an indication that, while Kagan’s nomination to be a Justice is pending, she will opt to stay out of government cases. The new brief is here.
While the order is new, most of the ideas  it contains are not. This is the third time such a board has been created for nearly the same purpose. Two similar processes to review detainee cases were in place during the Bush administration. Like its predecessors, the Obama administration’s review process will operate outside the courts and will be subject to no independent review. Also like the Bush White House, the Obama administration alone will choose all members of the review board and appoint a “personal representative” to advocate on behalf of the detainees.
The major difference is that the White House, sidestepping claims that detainees have a right to counsel, will allow them to hire private attorneys The order states that the government will not pay legal fees. While detainees will have access to some evidence against them, the government will choose what evidence to share. The process is meant to be more adversarial than it had been under the Bush administration. Detainees can submit their own evidence to the review board but will be permitted to call only those witnesses the government determines to be reasonable. It is unclear whether a detainee can dismiss his personal representative or how the lawyer and representative will work together. The order allows a detainee to make his case for release once every three years.
President Obama said tonight that the “torture memos” do not show that intelligence obtained using harsh interrogation techniques could not have been discovered through alternate methods.
1. 2003: Enhanced Interrogation of Khalid Sheikh Mohammad Results in the Nom De Guerre of bin Ladin’s Courier.
2. 2004: Enhanced Interrogation of al-Qahtani Confirms the Nom De Geure of bin Ladin’s Courier.
3. 2006 (?): Enhanced Interrogation of an Al Qaeda Captured in Iraq, Ghul, Produces the Real Name of the Courier.
4. 2006-2009: NSA Begins Furiously Intercepting Any And All Communications Made By Anyone “al-Kuwaiti” Has Ever Known.
5. Then in the middle of last year, the courier had a telephone conversation with someone who was being monitored by U.S. intelligence, according to an American official, who like others interviewed for this story spoke only on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive operation. The courier was located somewhere away from bin Laden’s hideout when he had the discussion, but it was enough to help intelligence officials locate and watch him.
6. 2011: Surveying Abbottabad, We Grow Confident We’ve Found Bin Ladin’s Hideout.
Obama frequently says that Bush took his eye off the ball:
Well, I think– I talked frequently during this campaign that we took our eye off the ball when we invaded Iraq.
Ghul (#3 above) was captured in Iraq.
The torture didn’t work. Except it did.
The hunt for Osama bin Laden was helped over the years by information from prisoners, including at Guantanamo Bay, US officials say, while arguing that criticized interrogation techniques yielded no specific clues.
“The intelligence was acquired over the last nine years or so. And there was some painstaking work done by some very, very dedicated analysts,” John Brennan, the top White House counter-terrorism adviser, told CNN.
“There was no one single piece of information that was an ‘ah-ha’ moment that led us to Abbottabad,” the Pakistani city where bin Laden was killed in a raid by US special forces.
“It was acquired over time. There was a lot of information from a lot of different sources including some people in detention.”
“Over the last nine years”
“It was acquired over time.”
“..including some people in detention.”
The bulls**t hasn’t stopped yet.
Today, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) rejected these assertions. She was asked by a reporter whether the intelligence that led to the killing was the result of waterboarding and other harsh treatment of detainees. She responded: We are in the process of a big study on the detention and interrogation of the detainees on the Intelligence Committee. The Republicans have pulled out of the study. So this has been carried out by the Democratic staff essentially. They have gone through more than 3 million emails, cables, pieces of paper looking for this. To date, the answer to your question is no. Nothing has been found to indicate this came out of Guantanamo.
There’s a fly in that soup. No one was waterboarded at Guantanamo
Current and former U.S. officials say that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, provided the nom de guerre of one of bin Laden’s most trusted aides. The CIA got similar information from Mohammed’s successor, Abu Faraj al-Libi. Both were subjected to harsh interrogation tactics inside CIA prisons in Poland and Romania.
The waterboarding KSM got persuaded KSM to become compliant with more conventional interrogation methods.
When KSM was captured, he was resistant to any form of interrogation, conventional or otherwise. As our colleague Marc Thiessen learned in writing Courting Disaster, KSM’s resistance was “superhuman.” It was only after being subjected to waterboarding and other enhanced measures that he became compliant, and from that point forward, cooperated with more conventional techniques. As one of the CIA interrogators told Marc, “If we had not had these techniques, we would have gotten zero from him.” So enhanced interrogation methods played an integral role in all of the intelligence collected from him.
Or you could read it for yourself.
Barack Obama’s embrace of virtually all of George Bush’s policies is complete vindication of Bush.
Democrats began their war on George Bush not long after the fires of 9-11 were being put out and they concentrated their war on Bush far more earnestly than they sought Osama Bin Laden. Had they sought to assist Bush, had they stopped distracting Bush, or had they stopped hamstringing Bush at every opportunity and simply gotten out of the way Bush would almost certainly have gotten to Bin Laden before Obama.
But then, maybe that was the plan all along.