By James Risen and Eric Lichtblau
June 16, 2009
New York Times
WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency is facing renewed scrutiny over the extent of its domestic surveillance program, with critics in Congress saying its recent intercepts of the private telephone calls and e-mail messages of Americans are broader than previously acknowledged, current and former officials said.
The agency’s monitoring of domestic e-mail messages, in particular, has posed longstanding legal and logistical difficulties, the officials said.
Since April, when it was disclosed that the intercepts of some private communications of Americans went beyond legal limits in late 2008 and early 2009, several Congressional committees have been investigating. Those inquiries have led to concerns in Congress about the agency’s ability to collect and read domestic e-mail messages of Americans on a widespread basis, officials said. Supporting that conclusion is the account of a former N.S.A. analyst who, in a series of interviews, described being trained in 2005 for a program in which the agency routinely examined large volumes of Americans’ e-mail messages without court warrants. Two intelligence officials confirmed that the program was still in operation.
Both the former analyst’s account and the rising concern among some members of Congress about the N.S.A.’s recent operation are raising fresh questions about the spy agency.
Representative Rush Holt, Democrat of New Jersey and chairman of the House Select Intelligence Oversight Panel, has been investigating the incidents and said he had become increasingly troubled by the agency’s handling of domestic communications.
In an… Continue reading
Former Student Filed Lawsuit Claiming Civil Rights Were Violated
A federal appeals court has ruled that former Attorney General John Ashcroft may be held liable for people who were wrongfully detained as material witnesses after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
In a harshly worded ruling handed down Friday, a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals called the government’s use of material witnesses after Sept. 11 “repugnant to the Constitution and a painful reminder of some of the most ignominious chapters of our national history.”
The court found that a man who was detained as a witness in a federal terrorism case can sue Ashcroft for allegedly violating his constitutional rights. Abdullah Al-Kidd, a U.S. citizen and former University of Idaho student, filed the lawsuit in 2005, claiming his civil rights were violated when he was detained as a material witness for two weeks after 9/11.
“Sadly, however, even now, more than 217 years after the ratification of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, some confidently assert that the government has the power to arrest and detain or restrict American citizens for months on end, in sometimes primitive conditions, not because there is evidence that they have committed a crime, but merely because the government wishes to investigate them for possible wrongdoing, or to prevent them from having contact with others in the outside world,” Judge Milan D. Smith Jr., for the majority. “We find this to be repugnant to the Constitution and a painful… Continue reading
2009 Truth Statement
We STILL Want Real Answers About 9/11
[Signatures have been closed as of March, 2010]
On August 31, 2004, Zogby International, the official North American political polling agency for Reuters, released a poll that found nearly half (49.3%) of New York City residents and 41% of those in New York state believe US leaders had foreknowledge of impending 9/11 attacks and “consciously failed” to act. Of the New York City residents, 66% called for a new probe of unanswered questions by Congress or the New York Attorney General. Since that time, multiple professional polling organizations have obtained similar results in polls conducted nationally and internationally.
In 2004, 911truth.org assembled a list of notable Americans and family members of those who died who signed (see that list of signatories, below) a 9/11 Statement, calling for “immediate public attention to unanswered questions that suggest that people within the current administration may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war.”
On the eighth anniversary of 9/11, in spite of Americans having elected the “other” party in hopes it would deliver on its promise of a change in direction, we find ourselves asking these same questions and encountering the same resistance to transparency. The ensuing wars have destroyed countless lives, our civil liberties (including habeas corpus) are in tatters, posse comitatus is history, and our economy lies essentially in ruin. Meanwhile, thousands of 9/11 responders who rushed to stand with America in its time of… Continue reading
October 21, 2009 by Bryant Jordan Military.com
After seven years of forced silence, a government whistleblower is opening up on what she learned while working as a Turkish translator for the FBI in the wake of 9/11.
In sworn testimony to attorneys on Aug. 8, Sibel Edmonds described a Pentagon where key personnel helped pass defense secrets to foreign agents or provided them names of knowledgeable officials who were vulnerable to blackmail or co-option.
And firmly rooted in this espionage program in the 1990s, according to Edmonds’ deposition, were two men who, with the election of George W. Bush as president in 2000, found themselves in the Pentagon: Douglas Feith, who would head the Office of Special Plans, and Richard Perle, who would become chairman of the Defense Advisory Board.
“They were 100 percent directly involved,” Edmonds told Military.com. “They were not in the Pentagon [in the late 1990s] but they had their people inside the Pentagon.” One of those people, she said, was Larry Franklin, an Air Force officer assigned to the Office of Special Plans who, in 2003, passed classified information to representatives of the American Israel Public Affairs Office, or AIPAC. By then Feith was leading the OSP.
Edmonds cautioned that she does not know if these practices are continuing, since she was fired by the FBI in April 2002 after pressing for an investigation into an attempt by a colleague to recruit her for an organization that was itself a target of FBI surveillance.
Perle, today… Continue reading
By Stephen C. Webster
Is Rudolph Giuliani’s political career over?
The former mayor of New York City has been making his rounds in U.S. media this week, trying to explain away his false claim that there were no domestic terrorist attacks on the United States during the Bush administration.
For a man often mocked as “the mayor of 9/11,” that’s an awfully bold suggestion, and one that could spell the end of his relevance in U.S. politics, according to MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.
“The whole reason anybody ever thought of Rudy Giuliani as a potential national figure for the Republican party is because of his supposed expertise,” Maddow said during a Friday broadcast. “The supposed expertise he had with terrorism and national security because he had been the mayor of New York City when it was attacked on September 11.”
He later explained that he meant say no domestic terrorist attacks since 9/11.
However, in what Maddow called “a strange colique” with CNN host Larry King, Giuliani dug his hole deeper, suggesting that shoe bomber Richard Reid attempted his act of terrorism before Sept. 11, 2001.
It actually took place in Dec. of that year, well after the attacks on New York and Washington, D.C.
“Rudy Giuliani’s whole brand as a politician is based on 9/11, something he appears to have exploited so much that he’s lost the capacity to deal with it as a factual matter,” Maddow opined.
“Could he have meant that there were no other attacks… Continue reading
By Sahil Kapur
Senior Bush administration officials sternly cautioned the 9/11 Commission against probing too deeply into the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, according to a document recently obtained by the ACLU.
The notification came in a letter dated January 6, 2004 , addressed by Attorney General John Ashcroft, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and CIA Director George J. Tenet. The ACLU described it as a fax sent by David Addington, then-counsel to former vice president Dick Cheney.
In the message, the officials denied the bipartisan commission’s request to question terrorist detainees, informing its two senior-most members that doing so would “cross” a “line” and obstruct the administration’s ability to protect the nation.
“In response to the Commission’s expansive requests for access to secrets, the executive branch has provided such access in full cooperation,” the letter read. “There is, however, a line that the Commission should not cross — the line separating the Commission’s proper inquiry into the September 11, 2001 attacks from interference with the Government’s ability to safeguard the national security, including protection of Americans from future terrorist attacks.”
The 9/11 Commission, officially called the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States , was formed by President Bush in November of 2002 “to prepare a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks” and to offer recommendations for preventing future attacks.
“The Commission staff’s proposed participation in questioning of detainees would cross that line,” the letter continued. “As… Continue reading
By William Fisher
NEW YORK, Sep 27, 2010 (IPS) – Hundreds of people who believe they were falsely detained and imprisoned by the Department of Justice in the wake of the Sep. 11, 2001 attacks are now seeking redress through the U.S. courts.
The exact number of detainees is unclear, as no lists were ever released publicly. But according to a report by the Office of the Inspector General in 2002, 475 9/11 detainees were arrested and detained in New York and New Jersey. Hundreds more were arrested across the country.
Some of these men are plaintiffs in a federal class action lawsuit against former Attorney General John Ashcroft and other top officials in the administration of President George W. Bush (2001-2009) who were responsible for their illegal roundup, abuse and detention.
The suit charges that the detainees were kept in solitary confinement with the lights on 24 hours a day; placed under a communications blackout so that they could not seek the assistance of their attorneys, families and friends; subjected to physical and verbal abuse; forced to endure inhumane conditions of confinement; and obstructed in their efforts to practice their religion.
Some of the abuse included beatings, repeated strip searches and sleep deprivation. The allegations of inhumane and degrading treatment have been substantiated by two reports of the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General, and several defendants in the case have been convicted on federal charges of cover-ups and beatings of other prisoners around the same time… Continue reading
By Glenn Greenwald
February 18, 2011
In March, 2002, American citizen Jose Padilla was arrested in Chicago and publicly accused by then-Attorney-General John Ashcroft of being “The Dirty Bomber.” Shortly thereafter, he was transferred to a military brig in South Carolina, where he was held for almost two years completely incommunicado (charged with no crime and denied all access to the outside world, including even a lawyer) and was brutally tortured, both physically and psychologically. All of this — including the torture — was carried out pursuant to orders from President Bush, Secretary Rumsfeld and other high-ranking officials. Just as the Supreme Court was about to hear Padilla’s plea to be charged or released — and thus finally decide if the President has the power to imprison American citizens on U.S. soil with no charges of any kind — the Government indicted him in a federal court on charges far less serious than Ashcroft had touted years earlier, causing the Supreme Court to dismiss Padilla’s arguments as “moot”; Padilla was then convicted and sentenced to 17 years in prison.
Padilla — like so many other War on Terror detainees — has spent years in American courts trying unsuccessfully to hold accountable the high-level government officials responsible for his abuse and lawless imprisonment (which occurred for years prior to his indictment). Not only has Padilla (and all other detainees) failed to obtain redress for what was done to them, but worse, they have been entirely denied even… Continue reading
By Glenn Greenwald
September 20, 2011
The story of Jose Padilla, continuing through the events of yesterday, expresses so much of the true nature of the War on Terror and especially America’s justice system. In 2002, the American citizen was arrested at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, publicly labeled by John Ashcroft as The Dirty Bomber, and then imprisoned for the next three years on U.S. soil as an “enemy combatant” without charges of any kind, and denied all contact with the outside world, including even a lawyer. During his lawless incarceration, he was kept not just in extreme solitary confinement but extreme sensory deprivation as well, and was abused and tortured to the point of severe and probably permanent mental incapacity. (Bush lawyers told a court that they were unable to produce videos of Padilla’s interrogations because those videos were mysteriously and tragically “lost”).
Needless to say, none of the government officials responsible for this abuse of a U.S. citizen on American soil has been held accountable in any way. That’s because President Obama decreed that Bush officials shall not be criminally investigated for War on Terror crimes, while his Justice Department vigorously defended John Yoo, Donald Rumsfeld and other responsible functionaries in civil suits brought by Padilla seeking damages for what was done to him.
As usual, the Obama DOJ cited national security imperatives and sweeping theories of presidential power to demand that Executive Branch officials be fully shielded from judicial scrutiny (i.e., shielded from the … Continue reading