Crossposted from Hillbilly Report.
You know, one thing I get so sick of hearing from all the right-wing loons is how Progressives like myself and many of you are un-American. We have our patriotism questioned on a daily basis. Right-Wing idiots on the radio rail about how we do not believe in the Constitution and the values this country was founded on. Well, details that have emerged in the last couple of days show that the Bush Administration and their shameless enablers in the Republican Party and the former Republican Congress are the ones who really do not believe in the Constitution, or the freedoms granted by it.
Despite all the accusations against Progressives and our ideals and candidates the sad truth of the matter is that Conservatives by blindly following the worst President in American history did more to shred the Constitution and the protections contained therein than any Democrat or Progressive would have ever dreamed.
Now, most Progressives were dead-set against granting such an ideologue, and reckless irresponsible man such as George W. Bush with unprecedented powers not granted him by our Constitution because of his own incompetence in stopping the terrorist attacks on 9-11. We had serious problems with rolling back generations of Constitutional protections for anyone. For that, our patriotism was questioned and we were branded as cowards, or worse yet traitors.
Details now not only should scare all Americans half to death but show that Progressives who opposed Bush, Cheney and all their enablers within our government were not only patriotic in their actions, but were dead-on right about the Republican shredding of the Constitution through their own failures and propoganda.
A team of Inspectors General has determined that the true unpatriotic and un-American actions came from the Republican side of the aisle and were much more widespread than we had feared:
WASHINGTON - Not enough relevant officials were aware of the size and depth of an unprecedented surveillance program started under President George W. Bush, let alone signed off on it, a team of federal inspectors general found.
The Bush White House pulled in a great quantity of information far beyond the warrantless wiretapping previously acknowledged, the IGs reported. They questioned the legal basis for the effort but shielded almost all details on grounds they're still too secret to reveal.
The report, mandated by Congress last year and delivered to lawmakers Friday, also says it's unclear how much valuable intelligence the program has yielded.
These Inspectors General found not only that the Bush Administration was spying on an unprecedented level, but that these programs were not sufficiently monitored and leads generated had nothing to do with terrorism:
The report, compiled by five inspectors general, refers to "unprecedented collection activities" by U.S. intelligence agencies under an executive order signed by Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
Just what those activities involved remains classified, but the IGs pointedly say that any continued use of the secret programs must be "carefully monitored."
Most of the intelligence leads generated under what was known as the "President's Surveillance Program" did not have any connection to terrorism, the report said. But FBI agents told the authors that the "mere possibility of the leads producing useful information made investigating the leads worthwhile."
Now, I do not know what FBI agents found this activity "worthwhile" but they should immediately be dismissed. Just like the failed Bush Administration they seem to think that shredding the Constitution is all right as long as it may make their jobs a little easier. I thought their job was to protect the Constitution, not shred it.
Even scarier is that it appears that only one person got to determine who could know about programs that desperately needed oversight by elected officials and of course, the Bush Administration did not admit to most of the spying they did:
The IG report said that Bush signed off on both the warrantless wiretapping and other top-secret operations shortly after Sept. 11 in a single presidential authorization. All the programs were periodically reauthorized, but except for the acknowledged wiretapping, they "remain highly classified."
Former Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzales made a terse reference to other classified programs in an August 2007 letter to Congress. But Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., said that when she had asked Gonzales two years earlier if the government was conducting any other undisclosed intelligence activities, he denied it.
Despite the claims of the Bush Administration it appears that these programs had little to do with counter-terrorism:
Former CIA Director Michael Hayden - the primary architect of the program - told the report's authors that the surveillance was "extremely valuable" in preventing further al-Qaida attacks. Hayden said the operations amounted to an "early warning system" allowing top officials to make critical judgments and carefully allocate national security resources to counter threats.
Information gathered by the secret program played a limited role in the FBI's overall counterterrorism efforts, according to the report. Very few CIA analysts even knew about the program and therefore were unable to fully exploit it in their counterterrorism work, the report said.
This report also shows that the Bush Administration ignored the illegal nature of these programs by interpreting the law how they wanted it to be, not how it was written:
The report questioned the legal advice used by Bush to set up the program, pinpointing omissions and questionable legal memos written by Yoo, in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel. The Justice Department withdrew the memos years ago.
The report says Yoo's analysis approving the program ignored a law designed to restrict the government's authority to conduct electronic surveillance during wartime, and did so without fully notifying Congress. And it said flaws in Yoo's memos later presented "a serious impediment" to recertifying the program.
Yoo insisted that the president's wiretapping program had only to comply with Fourth Amendment protections against search and seizure - but the report said Yoo ignored the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which had previously overseen federal national security surveillance.
But to me, the most disturbing part is that although Democrats in the House seem to want to bring more oversight to these operations the White House seems determined to keep them going without oversight:
In the wake of the new report, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt, renewed his call Friday for a formal nonpartisan inquiry into the government's information-gathering programs.
House Democrats are pressing for legislation that would expand congressional access to secret intelligence briefings, but the White House has threatened to veto it.
Now, we all know that the Bush Administration will be remembered as a dark stain on freedom and American history. We all know they saw the Constitution as toilet paper, and nothing that should have stopped them from doing whatever the hell they wanted to do. What is quite perplexing to me is why our current administration would see fit to veto a bill that would give the Congress oversight over these programs.
Unlike the Republicans, we simply cannot fall behind a leader of our party blindly and follow him like sheeple no matter what is done. We need Congressional oversight over these programs no matter whether Republicans or Democrats are in the White House. I for one want no part in the shredding of our Constitution and the robbing of American freedoms. That is Republican territory.
What we desperately need is for the Congress to enact legislation that allows our elected Representatives to provide oversight over these programs which the Republicans were all to eager to just trust their failed "god-king" on. Every Administration is subject to the protections of the Constitution no matter what letter is behind their names.
The Obama Administration would do well to bear this in mind:
Although the report documents Bush administration policies, its fallout could be a problem for the Obama administration if it inherited any or all of the still-classified operations.
We simply cannot afford to inherit facism and not end it.