Wednesday, September 05, 2007


"We're one bomb away from getting rid of that obnoxious court." - Cheney Aid and War Criminal David Addington

They literally decided they would break whatever laws they wanted -- one law after the next. Until they could "get rid of" that law altogether -- through the only tactic they know: exploitation of Terrorism -- they simply decided to violate it at will.

Goldsmith, now a Harvard Law Professor, has just written a book, to be released this month, criticizing and, in some cases, exposing for the first time, many of Bush's executive power abuses.......

Glenn Greenwald
Tuesday September 4, 2007 07:25 EST
Dick Cheney's top aide: "We're one bomb away" from our goal


Two revelations in particular are extraordinary and deserve (but are unlikely to receive) intense media coverage. First, it was Goldsmith who first argued that the administration's secret, warrantless surveillance programs were illegal, and it was that conclusion which sparked the now famous refusal of Ashcroft/Comey in early 2004 to certify the program's legality. Goldsmith argued continuously about his conclusion with Addington, and during the course of those arguments, this is what happened:


Goldsmith shared the White House's concern that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act might prevent wiretaps on international calls involving terrorists. But Goldsmith deplored the way the White House tried to fix the problem, which was highly contemptuous of Congress and the courts. "We're one bomb away from getting rid of that obnoxious court," Goldsmith recalls Addington telling him in February 2004.

Their goal all along was to "get rid of the obnoxious FISA court" entirely, so that they could freely eavesdrop on whomever they wanted with no warrants or oversight of any kind. And here is Dick Cheney's top aide, drooling with anticipation at the prospect of another terrorist attack so that they could seize this power without challenge. Addington views the Next Terrorist Attack as the golden opportunity to seize yet more power. Sitting around the White House dreaming of all the great new powers they will have once the new terrorist attack occurs -- as Addington was doing -- is nothing short of deranged.

Contrary to the claims made by Bush and his followers ever since the NSA scandal arose, their real objective in secretly creating "The Terrorist Surveillance Program" was never to find a narrow means to circumvent FISA when, in those few cases, it impeded necessary eavesdropping. Rather, the goal was to get rid of FISA altogether and return the country to the days when our government could spy on us in total secrecy, with no oversight. Of course, until they could "get rid of" that law altogether -- through the only tactic they know: exploitation of Terrorism -- they simply decided to violate it at will.

More revealing still is Goldsmith's description of how the Bush administration systematically violated one law after the next -- employing tactics that are truly the hallmark of the most lawless third-world dictators:

In his book, Goldsmith claims that Addington and other top officials treated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act the same way they handled other laws they objected to: "They blew through them in secret based on flimsy legal opinions that they guarded closely so no one could question the legal basis for the operations," he writes.

Goldsmith's first experienced this extraordinary concealment, or "strict compartmentalization," in late 2003 when, he recalls, Addington angrily denied a request by the N.S.A.'s inspector general to see a copy of the Office of Legal Counsel's legal analysis supporting the secret surveillance program. "Before I arrived in O.L.C., not even N.S.A. lawyers were allowed to see the Justice Department's legal analysis of what N.S.A. was doing," Goldsmith writes.

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