Posted by Curt on 22 December, 2005 at 9:38 am. 1 comment.

The more I find out about this judge who resigned recently from the FISA court in supposed protest of the NSA wiretaps, the more I suspect him as the leak to the NYT.

A federal judge who quit the nation’s secret spy court in protest over the Bush administration’s covert domestic wiretaps has been one of the judiciary’s most active and feisty critics of the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba, where hundreds of foreigners have been held for years without charges.

U.S. District Judge James Robertson, 67, resigned as one of 11 members of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. An aide to Robertson told the Associated Press that the resignation letter submitted to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was not being released.

Nevertheless, Robertson remains on the federal bench and is expected to issue another ruling in a Guantanamo case this week.

The spy court is perhaps the most secretive in America, created by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. It reviews U.S. government requests for eavesdropping to gather intelligence on suspected U.S. enemies. Last year, according to a report to Congress, it received 1,758 warrant requests – and approved all but four.

[…]”Apparently Judge Robertson did not want to aid and abet criminal NSA electronic surveillance,” the New York Center for Constitutional Rights said in a statement. The center has alleged for four years that Bush has been overstepping his war powers in his Guantanamo and enemy-combatant practices.

If he feels the same as this group, and it sure appears he does, then he believes the wiretaps were illegal. Is it out of the realm of possibility that he then feels the need to get the information out in the public domain, as warped and idiotic the idea is that they are illegal?

Recall that last month this same judge ruled that terrorists, TERRORISTS!, were actually POW’s. Insane:

In a setback for the Bush administration, U.S. District Judge James Robertson found that detainees at the Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, may be prisoners of war under the Geneva Conventions and therefore entitled to the protections of international and military law — which the government has declined to grant them.

The decision came in a lawsuit filed by the first alleged al Qaeda member facing trial before what the government calls “military commissions.” The decision upends — for now — the administration’s strategy for prosecuting hundreds of alleged al Qaeda and Taliban detainees accused of terrorist crimes.

Human rights advocates, foreign governments and the detainees’ attorneys have contended that the rules governing military commissions are unfairly stacked against the defendants. But Robertson’s ruling is the first by a federal judge to assert that the commissions, which took nearly two years to get underway, are invalid.

The Bush administration denounced the ruling as wrongly giving special rights to terrorists and announced that it will ask a higher court for an emergency stay and reversal of Robertson’s decision. Military officers at Guantanamo immediately halted commission proceedings in light of the ruling.

“We vigorously disagree. . . . The judge has put terrorism on the same legal footing as legitimate methods of waging war,” said Justice Department spokesman Mark Corallo. “The Constitution entrusts to the president the responsibility to safeguard the nation’s security. The Department of Justice will continue to defend the president’s ability and authority under the Constitution to fulfill that duty.”

I’m telling you, this guy sounds like a regular Jane Fonda to me.

MacRanger found this article about the judge in 1998:

“After a judge dismissed tax evasion charges brought against Clinton crony Webster Hubbell on June 26, Dan Rather announced on the CBS Evening News: “In Washington a federal judge today bluntly described special prosecutor Ken Starr?s tactics as, and I quote, ?really scary.?…U.S. District Judge James Robertson?s comment came when Starr?s team argued that it was proper to indict Hubbell again on tax charges based on documents Hubbell supplied under a grant of immunity.” Not once did Rather suggest Judge Robertson?s ideological leanings or mention that he is a Clinton appointee”

Oh yeah, call this guy James “Fonda” Robertson. He’s a zealot, and as AJStrata first surmised most probably the leaker.


AJ also clued me in on a interview Sen. Allen had on Hardball last night where he basically stated that Al-Qaeda has changed it’s communication techniques recently. One would have to surmise this is due to the NYT article:

MITCHELL: Senator, let me?Senator, let me ask you this. Let?s conceive that the technology has obviously changed dramatically since 1978 when this intelligence court was established. Why didn?t the president come to Congress and propose changes in this law so that he could move more quickly and wouldn?t have to go to the court?

ALLEN: Because he didn?t. It?s part of the plenary powers of the president of the United States.

MITCHELL: Should he have? Do you think it would have been wiser to have been more up front about it?

ALLEN: No. In fact, there are concerns of people that some terrorists, including al Qaeda, now understands what?s going on and some of the things that might be actually being investigated or some of those conversations are being intercepted, that now they?re going to change their method of communication.

In fact, I don?t want to get into all of it, but some of the things I?ve heard from people on the intelligence community and on the committee about what these revelations have done has actually harmed our ability to actually get this information.

So if the president came out publicly, all that?s doing is telegraphing some of the methods and the ways that we are actually getting information to thwart these terrorist attacks, as well as intercept some of their financing.

I can tell you one thing. If we get attacked once more and it comes out that we were hampered in stopping that attack due to this recent revelation, god help the NYTs and this leaker.

UPDATE

Excellent article at The American Thinker today:

Wednesday wasn?t a very good day for the ongoing health of this story, or for members of the media hoping that the recent revelations concerning National Security Agency espionage tactics could lead to impeachment proceedings against President Bush.

The day started with a former member of the Clinton White House voicing strong words of support for the Bush administration?s behavior. In a Chicago Tribune op-ed entitled ?President Had Legal Authority to OK Taps,? former associate attorney general John Schmidt refuted media protestations concerning the illegality of the National Security Agency eavesdropping on American citizens who are in contact with known members of al Qaeda without a court order allowing it to do so:

?President Bush?s post- Sept. 11, 2001, authorization to the National Security Agency to carry out electronic surveillance into private phone calls and e-mails is consistent with court decisions and with the positions of the Justice Department under prior presidents.?

[…]Later in the day, the Drudge Report and Fox News revealed that former presidents Carter and Clinton both made changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 under executive orders that are quite pertinent to this eavesdropping controversy. First, on May 23, 1979, Executive Order 12139 issued by President Carter stated:

?By the authority vested in me as President by Sections 102 and 104 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1802 and 1804), in order to provide as set forth in that Act for the authorization of electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence purposes, it is hereby ordered as follows:

?1-101. Pursuant to Section 102(a)(1) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1802(a)), the Attorney General is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order, but only if the Attorney General makes the certifications required by that Section.?

Roughly sixteen years later, President Clinton made a further change to FISA with Executive Order 12949:

?By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including sections 302 and 303 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (?Act?) (50 U.S.C. 1801, et seq.), as amended by Public Law 103- 359, and in order to provide for the authorization of physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes as set forth in the Act, it is hereby ordered as follows:

?Section 1. Pursuant to section 302(a)(1) of the Act, the Attorney General is authorized to approve physical searches, without a court order, to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year, if the Attorney General makes the certifications required by that section.?

[…]The final blow came from the ?CBS Evening News.? As Brent Baker of the Media Research Center reported at NewsBusters, Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-California) made a surprising statement concerning NSA eavesdropping. According to CBS correspondent John Roberts:

?The President got support today from an unusual quarter: Democrat Jane Harman, a key figure on the House Intelligence Committee. ?I believe the program is essential to U.S. national security,? she said in a statement, ?and that disclosure has damaged critical intelligence capabilities.??

This is a major blow to the conspiracy theorists, for Harman is a highly regarded Bush antagonist that knows her stuff about national security issues. Any opinion from her that does not support the contentions that the administration has broken the law with this NSA strategy will severely weaken such an argument.

It appears the liberals are incapable of doing even the smallest amount of fact checking before they go off on their “impeachment” cries. They are a desperate sad bunch.

UPDATE

In From The Cold has even more information on this judges past:

As recounted by George Mason University Law Professor Ronald Rotunda, the Clinton judges (under the aegis of Chief Judge Norma Holloway Johnson) wound up hearing cases that related to the President’s various scandals. Judge Robertson–who worked in an contributed to the Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign–was assigned the trial of Web Hubbell, the long-time Clinton crony accused of corruption as a partner at the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock, where he worked with Hillary Clinton.

As Professor Rotunda notes, Judge Robertson made some rather unusual decisions in the case that appeared to favor the defense:

“In the Hubbell tax-fraud prosecution, Judge Robertson ruled that he could ignore the ruling of the three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit and hold that the OIC (Office of Independent Counsel) did not have jurisdiction to prosecute Mr. Hubbell and the other defendants, and that it could not use tax documents subpoenaed from Mr. Hubbell. J udge Robertson used incendiary language, calling the OIC’s tactics (which other circuits had approved) “scary.” The D.C. Circuit agreed with these other circuits and reversed.”

[…]Given these–and other–shennanigans by Judge Holloway and the “Magnificent Seven,” Professor Rotunda believed an investigation was in order (it never happened). He also wondered if the federal court’s reputation for integrity and impartiality would be the “greatest victim” of the Clinton Presidency. And ironically, a judge now hailed for his “courage” appears to have been a key player in a saga that brought no honor to the federal bench.


I can tell you one thing. If we get attacked once more and it comes out that we were hampered in stopping that attack due to this recent revelation, god help the NYTs and this leaker.

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