The Fourth Amendment
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Retroactive immunity for telecom companies who engaged in illegal spying at the behest of the NSA is at the heart of a bill currently being considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill, even before having been officially introduced, is being hotly debated by bloggers, electronic privacy groups, and civil libertarians, as well as presidential contenders (CT Senator Chris Dodd has actually posted a petition at his election website, encouraging readers to support his threatened “hold” on the bill). We should compare the issues involved here with the retroactive immunity provided CIA interrogators in the September, 2006 Military Commissions Act, who could otherwise have been accused of war crimes.
Below, we direct readers to an important series of programs from PBS’ Frontline to help readers investigate the background of this issue, and a deeper consideration of some of what’s at stake in continually ceding power to a rogue Executive bent on dissolving the few civil liberties which currently remain untouched.
Lest readers be swayed by the Administration’s repeated argument that “9/11 makes this necessary,” the Rocky Mountain News reported (emphasis added) on October 11, 2007 that this spying was underway well before 9/11/01:
“The National Security Agency and other government agencies retaliated against Qwest because the Denver telco refused to go along with a phone spying program, documents released Wednesday suggest.…
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility News Release (www.peer.org)
For Immediate Release: February 10, 2006
Contact: Chas Offutt (202) 265-7337
BUSH AXING LIBRARIES WHILE PUSHING FOR MORE RESEARCH — EPA Set to Close Library Network and Electronic Catalog
Washington, DC — Under President Bush’s proposed budget, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is slated to shut down its network of libraries that serve its own scientists as well as the public, according to internal agency documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). In addition to the libraries, the agency will pull the plug on its electronic catalog which tracks tens of thousands of unique documents and research studies that are available nowhere else.
Under Bush’s plan, $2 million of a total agency library budget of $2.5 million will be lost, including the entire $500,000 budget for the EPA Headquarters library and its electronic catalog that makes it possible to search for documents through the entire EPA library network. These reductions are just a small portion of the $300 million in cuts the administration has proposed for EPA operations.
At the same time, President Bush is proposing to significantly increase EPA research funding for topics such as nanotechnology, air pollution and drinking water system security as part of his “American Competitive Initiative.”
“How are EPA scientists supposed to engage in cutting edge research when they cannot find what the agency has already done?” asked PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, noting that EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson is moving to implement the… Continue reading
By Sibel Edmonds
May 14, 2005
“Those of you who still think this case, my case, is about covering up some administrative blunder or bureaucratic mismanagement, please think again… What were [my] core allegations, and who did they involve… They would not go to this length to protect some nobody criminal or terrorist.” – Sibel Edmonds
The Appeal Court’s decision on Sibel Edmonds’ Case is out: ‘Case Dismissed;’ no opinion cited; no reason provided. The Court’s decision, issued on Friday, May 6, has generated a string of obituaries; “another major blow, maybe the last one, to Sibel Edmonds, a woman who has faced an unprecedented level of government secrecy, gag orders, and classification.” Well, dear friends and supporters, Sibel Edmonds may be gagged, but she’s not dead.
On October 18, 2002; three months after I filed my suit against the Department of Justice for unlawful termination of my employment caused by my reporting criminal activities committed by government officials and employees, John Ashcroft, the then Attorney General, invoked a rarely invoked privilege, the State Secrets Privilege. According to Ashcroft,everything involving my case and my allegations were considered state secrets, and whether or not I was right in my allegations, the United States District Court had to dismiss my entire case without any questions,hearings or oral argument; period. According to Ashcroft, the court had to grant his order and dismiss the entire case with no hearings solely based on the fact that he, Ashcroft, said so. After all, our government knew best.…Continue reading
by Tom Flocco
Washington — Former FBI contract translator and whistleblower Sibel Edmonds and her attorneys were ordered removed from the E. Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse so that a three-judge U.S. Court of Appeals panel could discuss her case in private with Bush administration lawyers.
In an exclusive interview on Saturday, we asked Edmonds if she would deny that laundered drug money linked to the 911 attacks found its way into recent House, Senate and Presidential campaign war-chests, according to what she heard in intelligence intercepts she was asked to translate.
“I will not deny that statement; but I cannot comment further on it,” she told TomFlocco.com, in a non-denial denial.
Edmonds is appealing the Bush administration’s arcane use of “state secrets privilege,” invoked last year to throw out her U.S. District Court lawsuit alleging retaliation for telling FBI superiors about shoddy wiretap translations and allegations that wiretap information was passed to the target of an FBI investigation. Given our multiple reports and numerous other interviews, Edmonds heard much more–but enough to warrant public suppression of criminal evidence by a wholly Republican appeals court panel?
“Tom, I’m telling you that not a single newspaper covered what happened to me on Thursday when I went into court,” said the exasperated translator, adding, “[Judge David] Ginsberg kicked everyone out, cut off my lawyer’s arguments and told us ‘we have questions to ask the government’s attorneys that you cannot… Continue reading
9/11 Victims, National Security Whistleblowers, Go to Court to Support Sibel Edmonds; Demand Government Stop Silencing Employees Who Expose Security Risks
WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 21, 2005) – An unprecedented group of national security whistleblowers and family members of 9/11 victims’ families will gather Wednesday, January 26th to demand that the government halt its detrimental practice of silencing employees who expose national security blunders.
The event comes as several 9/11 family member advocacy groups and public interest organizations file a friend-of-the-court brief in support of Sibel Edmonds’ case against the government.
Edmonds, a former Middle Eastern language specialist hired by the FBI shortly after 9/11, was fired in 2002 after repeatedly reporting serious security breaches and misconduct in the agency’s translation program. She challenged her retaliatory dismissal by filing suit in federal court. Last July, the district court dismissed her case when Attorney General John Ashcroft invoked the so-called state secrets privilege. The ACLU is representing Edmonds in the appeal.
The event will be held at 12 p.m. at the National Press Club. Speakers will include Edmonds, ACLU Associate Legal Director Ann Beeson, FBI whistleblower Mike German, 9/11 family member Bill Doyle and others. Many high level national security whistleblowers and 9/11 family members will be at the event and available for interviews.
The event comes on the heels of last week’s release of an unclassified summary of the Justice Department’s Inspector General report investigating Edmonds’ termination. The report concluded that Edmonds was fired for reporting serious security breaches and misconduct… Continue reading
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Kyle F. Hence, 401-935-7715 firstname.lastname@example.org
9/11 Families and Survivors Group File Expanded Complaint Urging New Spitzer-led Investigations into 9/11 – Will Announce Press Conference and Further Steps Next Week
New York, NY (October 28, 2004) – Today a group of 9/11 victim family representatives, survivors and first responders files an updated 35-page Complaint and Petition with New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Chief Investigator William Casey accepted the original Complaint/Petition from the Complainants on October 28th. In a call for truth and accountability, the Complaint demands that the AG open a criminal inquiry and/or grand jury investigation into the many still unsolved crimes of September 11, 2001 over which his office has jurisdiction. Co-complainant Bob McIlvaine, who lost his son in the attacks, said this is now absolutely necessary so that “justice is finally done.”
The group which operates under a “Justice for 9/11″ banner is posting the Complaint online at www.Justicefor911.org where those who wish to express their support can sign an electronic petition. “In essence the Complaint calls for criminal and civil probes into previously suppressed or ignored areas of inquiry identified by victim family members and others who have formally posed many questions to Congress, the 9/11 Commission, the FBI and other government agencies. Most of these questions have still not been addressed, let alone answered. There’s been zero accountability and full story behind 9/11 has yet to be told,” said Kyle F. Hence, spokesperson… Continue reading
10/27/2004 11:01:00 AM
To: National Desk
Contact: David Kubiak, 207-967-2390, Kyle F. Hence, 401-935-7715 or 212-243-7787 or email@example.com; both of 911truth.org
A coalition of 9/11 victim family members, survivors and advocacy groups will deliver a formal complaint requesting a new criminal investigation of 9/11 events to New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer this Thursday following a 2:00 PM press conference outside the Equitable Building (corner of Nassau and Cedar Streets). The Complaint petitions the Attorney General to launch an independent in-depth criminal and civil probe of evidence suggesting grave official misconduct including criminal negligence, criminal facilitation, and accessorial abetment of murder, insider trading, obstruction of justice, and other violations of New York law.
The Complaint asks the Attorney General to seek justice for 9/11 crimes by applying New York State law to recover damages incurred by state and local governments from corporations and individuals whose conduct furthered the criminal conspiracy. The Complainants, including victim family member Bob McIlvaine who lost his son, maintain that few if any of these charges or supporting evidence were adequately investigated by the 2002 Joint Intelligence Inquiry or the 9/11 Commission which released its final report last July.
“For many New Yorkers, AG Spitzer is the last hope for finding the truth about what happened on 9/11 and enforcing the law.” noted spokesperson David Kubiak. “Because administration officials have classified evidence under the “state secrets” doctrine, preempting local probes and obstructing official inquiries, there has been no comprehensive, credible independent investigation of… Continue reading