by Dave Lindorff
For some time now, many Americans have wondered how Congress, the elected body that the nation’s Founding Fathers saw as the bulwark of liberty, could have been so thoroughly unwilling to, or incapable of challenging the dictatorial power-grabs and the eight-year Constitution wrecking campaign of the Bush/Cheney administration.
There has been speculation on both the far left and the far right, and even among some in the apolitical, cynical middle of the political spectrum, that somehow the Bush/Cheney administration must have been blackmailing at least the key members of the Congressional leadership, most likely through the use of electronic monitoring by the National Security Agency (NSA).
I’ll admit that I considered the idea of blackmail a bit far out. But now suddenly there is at least some evidence that such seemingly wild speculation may not have been off the mark, with reports that the NSA was indeed monitoring Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), and that the Bush Administration used the evidence it had obtained of her improper conversations with and promises to assist agents of the Israeli government and its lobby here in the US, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), to blackmail her into supporting the NSA’s warrantless spying program–the very kind of spying that led to her being caught on tape plotting with an agent of a foreign power.
At the time of the taping of Harman’s incriminating phone conversations, the administration was trying desperately (and ultimately successfully) to get the New York Times to hold off on publishing a shocking investigative report by journalist James Risen about a massive campaign of warrantless tapping of Americans’ phone and internet communications.…Continue reading
By Matt Corley
In an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday, host Terry Gross asked investigative journalist Seymour Hersh if, as he continues to investigate the Bush administration, “more people” were “coming forward” to talk to him now that “the president and vice president are no longer in power.” Hersh replied that though “a lot of people that had told me in the last year of Bush, ‘call me next, next February,’ not many people had talked to him. He implied that they were still scared of Cheney.
“Are you saying that you think Vice President Cheney is still having a chilling effect on people who might otherwise be coming forward,” asked Gross. “I’ll make it worse,” answered Hersh, adding that he believes Cheney “put people back” in government to “stay behind” in order to “tell him what’s going on” and perhaps even “do sabotage”:
HERSH: I’ll make it worse. I think he’s put people left. He’s put people back. They call it a stay behind. It’s sort of an intelligence term of art. When you leave a country and, you know, you’ve driven out the, you know, you’ve lost the war. You leave people behind. It’s a stay behind… Continue reading
by Rachel Oswald
March 10, 2009
Last week’s resignation of the top cybersecurity official for the Department of Homeland
Security has revealed a thorny bureaucratic rivalry between the National Security
Agency and the resigned official who accuses NSA of having too tight a hold
After less than a year as director of the National Cyber Security Center, Rod
Beckstrom resigned on Friday, citing a lack of funding and efforts by the NSA
to dominate government cypersecurity. The Wall Street Journal has his
letter of resignation, which can be read here.
In the letter to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, Beckstrom charged that NSA
“effectively controls DHS cyber efforts” through employee detailees to NCSC
from NSA, technology insertions and the proposed move of the NCSC to NSA’s Fort
“While acknowledging the critical importance of NSA to our intelligence efforts,
I believe this is a bad strategy on multiple grounds,” Beckstrom wrote. “The
intelligence culture is very different than a network operations or security
Beckstrom said as director he objected to the “subjugation” of NCSC under NSA
and had advocated for a “credible civilian government cybersecurity capability”
that cooperated with NSA but didn’t answer to it.
“This is a coordination body and it resides alongside or above the other centers,
but certainly not below them,” Beckstrom said of the NCSC in a Washington
Post interview after his resignation. “In my view, it is very important
that there be independence for the [center], and that it… Continue reading
We urge Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a non-partisan independent Special Counsel to immediately commence a prosecutorial investigation into the most serious alleged crimes of former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Richard B. Cheney, the attorneys formerly employed by the Department of Justice whose memos sought to justify torture, and other former top officials of the Bush Administration.
UPDATE 2/27/09 6pm: In response to the many email questions we’ve received asking why we have not endorsed this call for a Special Prosecutor: On 2/24, when this statement/petition was posted at AfterDowningStreet.org, 911truth.org immediately signed on as an endorsing organization via the signup at that site. As of now, our name does not appear on that list. Nonetheless, we did submit endorsement. We are not, yet, encouraging 9/11 truth advocates to politely contact David Swanson asking him why he would permanently post a video statement from Willie Rodriguez on the front page of his site, yet continue to ignore/ban the burgeoning 9/11 truth movement from being heard as the powerful voice we are, in calling for truth and accountability. We believe that Mr. Swanson is acting in good faith, all in all, and will post our endorsement with the others on the list shortly.
Our laws, and treaties that under Article VI of our Constitution are the supreme law of the land, require the prosecution of crimes that strong evidence suggests these individuals have committed. Both the former president and the former vice president have confessed to authorizing a torture procedure that is illegal under our law and treaty obligations.…Continue reading
Terrell (Terry) E. Arnold was the number 2 counter-terrorism official at the U.S. State Department, and is one of the world’s leading experts on terror.
Arnold served as the Deputy Director, Office of Counter-Terrorism and Emergency Planning, at the U.S. State Department. He is also the former Chairman of the Department of International Studies at the National War College.
Arnold has worked as a crisis management consultant for several Federal agencies, including The State Department, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Customs Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He is the author of numerous books on terror*. Arnold is a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II and the Korean war.
I spoke with Arnold by phone.
GW: Your essay It is Vital to Move Beyond 9/11 is insightful and hard-hitting, and I agree with virtually everything you say. I have previously written on many of the topics you touch on, such as false pretenses for war , torture and illegal spying .
Initially, you write:
“As an alleged post 9/11 defense, the War on Terrorism is a gigantic fraud.”
As a leading counter-terrorism expert, I am curious to hear why you believe this.
Terry Arnold: The military approach doesn’t cover all of the elements of the problem. We need to capture and confine the individuals who are up to… Continue reading
The super-secretive National Security Agency has been quietly monitoring, decrypting, and interpreting foreign communications for decades, starting long before it came under criticism as a result of recent revelations about the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. Now a forthcoming PBS documentary asks whether the NSA could have prevented 9/11 if it had been more willing to share its data with other agencies.
Author James Bamford looked into the performance of the NSA in his 2008 book, The Shadow Factory, and found that it had been closely monitoring the 9/11 hijackers as they moved freely around the United States and communicated with Osama bin Laden’s operations center in Yemen. The NSA had even tapped bin Laden’s satellite phone, starting in 1996.
“The NSA never alerted any other agency that the terrorists were in the United States and moving across the country towards Washington,” Bamford told PBS.
PBS also found that “the 9/11 Commission never looked closely into NSA’s role in the broad intelligence breakdown behind the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. If they had, they would have understood the full extent to which the agency had major pieces of the puzzle but never put them together or disclosed their entire body of knowledge to the CIA and the FBI.”
In a review of Bamford’s book, former senator and 9/11 Commission member Bob Kerrey wrote, “As the 9/11 Commission later established, U.S. intelligence officials knew that al-Qaeda had held a planning meeting in Malaysia, found out the names of two recruits who had been present — Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi — and suspected that one and maybe both of them had flown to Los Angeles.…Continue reading
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Wednesday January 21, 2009
Former National Security Agency analyst Russell Tice, who helped expose the
NSA’s warrantless wiretapping in December 2005, has now come forward with even
more startling allegations. Tice told MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann on Wednesday that
the programs that spied on Americans were not only much broader than previously
acknowledged but specifically targeted journalists.
“The National Security Agency had access to all Americans’ communications — faxes, phone calls, and their computer communications,” Tice claimed. “It didn’t matter whether you were in Kansas, in the middle of the country, and you never made foreign communications at all. They monitored all communications.”
Tice further explained that “even for the NSA it’s impossible to literally collect all communications. … What was done was sort of an ability to look at the metadata … and ferret that information to determine what communications would ultimately be collected.”
According to Tice, in addition to this “low-tech, dragnet” approach, the NSA also had the ability to hone in on specific groups, and that was the aspect he himself was involved with. However, even within the NSA there was a cover story meant to prevent people like Tice from realizing what they were doing.
“In one of the operations that I was in, we looked at organizations, just supposedly so that we would not target them,” Tice told Olbermann. “What I was finding out, though, is… Continue reading
January 14, 2009
Posted at History Commons Groups
The National Archives today released a set of records the 9/11 Commission gave it. It did so today because the commission told it it had to wait until 2009 to do so, presumably on the off chance that people would have forgotten about it all by then. The records are in two groups, Memorandums for the Record (MFR), which are available online, and other
records, which are not available online.
Editor’s Note: The National Archives 9/11 Commission Records URL’s have been updated.
Kevin Fenton, who wrote this blog entry today, is one of the great researchers working with Paul Thompson and so many other fine people at HistoryCommons.org (formerly known to most of us as CooperativeResearch.org) to document our history. Not just about 9/11, but about aspects of our lives so appallingly rewritten by media and textbooks. The work underway at HistoryCommons is absolutely invaluable, and we encourage readers to get involved and otherwise support that work.
I have been trawling through the ones that are available online and I have learned a few things of interest.
(1) Stacks of the MFR are not actually available. Either they have not been reviewed yet (pending), or have been withdrawn because they are very classified, or they have been made available, but have had the bejesus redacted out of them.
Sunday, January 04, 2009
(James Bamford has done another great deed for the public by revealing the extent of the NSA’s wiretapping on U.S. soil, and how the NSA sub-contracts the vast majority of its work to Israeli high-tech firms bristling with “former” Israeli military intelligence agents, and in the case of Verint, a company with serious corruption issues. It was Bamford who popularized the existence of Operation Northwoods in his 2001 book, Body of Secrets. In The Shadow Factory, he sheds light in the secret rooms of Verizon and AT&T, and shows the NSA to be a very poor custodian of the nation’s security.)
Bamford Brings the Goods
On October 14, 2008, James Bamford talked about some of the shocking research in his new book on Democracy Now!, with Amy Goodman:
Along with the mass surveillance being conducted on all U.S. users of AT&T and Verizon by Narus and Verint, (according to Bamford), two other Israeli-owned companies, Amdocs and NICE Systems, have their fingers in the wiretapping pie as well.
Christopher Ketcham preceded Bamford in September, with with the article “Trojan
Horse,” that focuses on Verint, Amdocs, and CALEA (the legislation which
brought all of these problems into existence):
“Together, Verint and Amdocs form part of the backbone of the government’s domestic intelligence surveillance technology. Both companies are based in Israel — having arisen to prominence from that country’s cornering of the information technology market — and are heavily funded by the Israeli government,… Continue reading
Stephen C. Webster
A career Army officer who survived the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, claims that no evacuation was ordered inside the Pentagon, despite flight controllers calling in warnings of approaching hijacked aircraft nearly 20 minutes before the building was struck.
According to a time-line of the attacks, the Federal Aviation Administration notified NORAD that American Airlines Flight 77 had been hijacked at 9:24 a.m. The Pentagon was not struck until 9:43 a.m.
On behalf of retired Army officer April Gallop, California attorney William Veale has filed a civil suit against former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney and former US Air Force General Richard Myers, who was acting chairman of the joint chiefs on 9/11. It alleges they engaged in conspiracy to facilitate the terrorist attacks and purposefully failed to warn those inside the Pentagon, contributing to injuries she and her two-month-old son incurred.
“The ex-G.I. plaintiff alleges she has been denied government support since then, because she raised ‘painful questions’ about the inexplicable failure of military defenses at the Pentagon that day, and especially the failure of officials to warn and evacuate the occupants of the building when they knew the attack was imminent” said Veale in a media advisory.
Gallop also says she heard two loud explosions, and does not believe that a Boeing 757 hit the building. Her son sustained a serious brain injury, and Gallop herself was knocked unconscious after the roof collapsed onto her office.
The suit also named… Continue reading
Privacy Advocates Expect Whistleblowers to Share Warrantless Wiretap Info After
By RYAN SINGEL
Nov. 11, 2008
When Barack Obama takes the oath of office on January 20, Americans won’t just
get a new president; they might finally learn the full extent of George W. Bush’s
warrantless domestic wiretapping.
Since The New York Times first revealed in 2005 that the NSA was eavesdropping
on citizens’ overseas phone calls and e-mail, few additional details about the
massive "Terrorist Surveillance Program" have emerged. That’s because
the Bush administration has stonewalled, misled and denied documents to Congress,
and subpoenaed the phone records of the investigative reporters.
Now privacy advocates are hopeful that President Obama will be more forthcoming
with information. But for the quickest and most honest account of Bush’s illegal
policies, they say don’t look to the incoming president. Watch instead for the
hidden army of would-be whistle-blowers who’ve been waiting for Inauguration
Day to open the spigot on the truth.
"I’d bet there are a lot of career employees in the intelligence agencies
who’ll be glad to see Obama take the oath so they can finally speak out against
all this illegal spying and get back to their real mission," says Caroline
Fredrickson, the ACLU’s Washington D.C. legislative director.
New Yorker investigative reporter Seymour Hersh already has a slew of sources
waiting to spill the Bush administration’s darkest secrets, he said in an interview
last month. "You cannot believe how many people have told me to call them
on January… Continue reading
by Mickey Huff, Associate Director of Project Censored
Project Censored, the media research group at Sonoma State University (SSU), has just released it’s annual report on the top stories that didn’t make the corporate mainstream news from the past year. The book is published by Seven Stories Press. Censored 2009, edited by director Dr. Peter Phillips with Dr. Andrew Roth, exposes the major stories Americans should know and care about that the “free press” just doesn’t deliver. The top stories for this year can be viewed at the PC website and the piece in the North Bay Bohemian can be read here.
Project Censored award winning journalist and researcher Stephen Lendman has just written about the Project in a piece titled Project Censored‘s Media Democracy Advocacy which looks at the history of the Project as well as details in this year’s volume. A lecture series hosting authors of this years top censored stories is presently underway at SSU for those in the Bay Area wishing to attend. The series is being broadcast at Free Speech TV this fall as well.
As acting Associate Director of Project Censored, I invite everyone to explore this year’s book and help support media democracy in action. Our currently calamitous and critical condition as a fragile free society depends upon a well informed citizenry and I strongly believe that Project Censored is a major force in the direction of strengthening our society’s democratic institutions and principles. Help spread the word if you… Continue reading
First, a comment from GeorgeWashington’s Blogspot:
I’ve previously pointed out that the U.S. government heard the 9/11 plans from the hijackers’ own mouths. Most of what I wrote about involved the NSA and other intelligence services tapping top Al Qaeda operatives’ phone calls outside the U.S.
However, it turns out that the NSA was also tapping the hijackers’ phone calls inside the U.S.
Specifically, hijackers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi lived in San Diego, California, for 2 years before 9/11. Numerous phone calls between al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi in San Diego and a high-level Al Qaeda operations base in Yemen were made in those 2 years.
The NSA had been tapping and eavesdropping on all calls made from that Yemen phone for years. So NSA recorded all of these phone calls. Indeed, the CIA knew as far back as 1999 that al-Mihdhar was coming to the U.S. Specifically, in 1999, CIA operatives tailing al-Mihdhar in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, obtained a copy of his passport. It contained visas for both Malaysia and the U.S., so they knew it was likely he would go from Kuala Lumpur to America.
The above information comes from James Bamford, the Washington Investigative Producer for ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings for almost a decade – where he won a number of journalism awards for his coverage national security issues – whose articles have appeared in dozens of publications, including cover stories for the New York Times Magazine, Washington Post Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times Magazine, and is the only author to write any books (he wrote three) on the NSA.…Continue reading
U.S. Officers’ “Phone Sex” Intercepted; Senate Demanding Answers By Brian Ross, Vic Walter and Anna Schecter
Despite pledges by President George W. Bush and American intelligence officials to the contrary, hundreds of US citizens overseas have been eavesdropped on as they called friends and family back home, according to two former military intercept operators who worked at the giant National Security Agency (NSA) center in Fort Gordon, Georgia.
The chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), called the allegations “extremely disturbing” and said the committee has begun its own examination.
“We have requested all relevant information from the Bush Administration,” Rockefeller said Thursday. “The Committee will take whatever action is necessary.”
WATCH THE NIGHTLINE STORY
“These were just really everyday, average, ordinary Americans who happened to be in the Middle East, in our area of intercept and happened to be making these phone calls on satellite phones,” said Adrienne Kinne, a 31-year old US Army Reserves Arab linguist assigned to a special military program at the NSA’s Back Hall at Fort Gordon from November 2001 to 2003.
Kinne described the contents of the calls as “personal, private things with Americans who are not in any way, shape or form associated with anything to do with terrorism.”
WATCH Kinne discuss why it was ‘awkward’ listening to her fellow Americans.
She said US military officers, American journalists and American aid workers were routinely intercepted and “collected on” as they called their offices or homes in the United States.
Watch “World… Continue reading
The FBI has blocked two of its veteran counterterrorism agents from going public with accusations that the CIA deliberately withheld crucial intelligence before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
FBI Special Agents Mark Rossini and Douglas Miller have asked for permission to appear in an upcoming public television documentary, scheduled to air in January, on pre-9/11 rivalries between the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency.
The program is a spin-off from The Shadow Factory: The Ultra-Secret NSA from 9/11 to the Eavesdropping on America, by acclaimed investigative reporter James Bamford, due out in a matter of days.
The FBI denied Rossini and Miller permission to participate in the book or the PBS “NOVA” documentary, which is also being written and produced by Bamford, on grounds that the FBI “doesn’t want to stir up old conflicts with the CIA,” according to multiple reliable sources.
Bamford, contacted by phone, said he could not comment because his publisher has embargoed his new book for release around Oct. 10.
The author of two other ground-breaking books on the NSA, Bamford also said his general policy is not to discuss his negotiations for interviews with intelligence agencies.
Pre-9/11 intelligence mishaps have been generally attributed to bureaucratic screw-ups — a “failure to connect the dots,” exacerbated by spy agency rivalries.
by Cindy Sheehan
September 10, 2008
The 7th anniversary of September 11, 2001 is approaching and it seems like
a good time to reflect on what our nation has lost since that tragic day and
what we can do to go forward.
I do not think that anyone alive on that day will forget the shock that struck
our nation when the symbols of US capitalism and militarism were struck out
of the clear blue sky. I was in panic mode for a few days, because I did not
hear from Casey who was stationed at Ft. Hood on that day and his base went
into lock-down and he was too busy to call. Even though we mourn with our fellow
Americans, the loss of over 3000 innocent people and the pain their families
have had to deal with, the attacks of 9-11 have touched every American.
There are several ways to look at 9-11:
– 9-11 was planned and executed by the US government.
— BushCo did not plan 9-11, but they knew it was going to happen and
did nothing to prevent it and, in fact, may have allowed it to happen.
— 9-11 was planned and executed by a group of 17 terrorists (14 of them
from Saudi Arabia) without the foreknowledge of the US government and we were
attacked because the terrorists "hated our freedoms and democracy."
Whichever of the theories is true, one thing is for sure: the Bush regime’s
response to 9-11 was woefully… Continue reading
(Sept. 5, 2008, New York, NY) A solid base has now been established to create
a public referendum known as the NYC 9/11 Ballot Initiative. This campaign is
to enable the voters of NY City to create a new, independent, impartial 9/11 Commission
that would conduct an authentic, comprehensive investigation of the most momentous
event of our time. This effort is unique because if passed by the voters of NY
City, the Commission would have subpoena power and its findings would have full
A dedicated team of citizens are about to cross the threshold of 30,000 petition
signatures. This is the minimum required to submit the Initiative to the NY
City Clerk and NY City Council for their review. There is now official confirmation
from the City Clerk’s office that all existing signed petitions will be valid
for the mayoral election in 2009. Upon reaching this milestone of 30,000, efforts
will continue to obtain as many as 75,000 signatures or more in the coming months
as well as create alliances with various organizations which will serve as a
coalition advocating for passage of the Initiative. With substantial numbers
and support showing there is a serious mandate from the voters, it is actually
possible that NY City Council can be moved to introduce and pass the Initiative
on their own. This is the current strategy which organizers and petitioners
here in NYC have every intention of pursuing.
Another vital piece of information has come to light. Back in the… Continue reading
August 30, 2008
by John Byrne
As the nation focuses on Sen. John McCain’s choice of running mate, President
Bush has quietly moved to expand the reach of presidential power by ensuring
that America remains in a state of permanent war.
Buried in a recent proposal by the Administration is a sentence that has received
scant attention — and was buried itself in the very newspaper that exposed
it Saturday. It is an affirmation that the United States remains at war with
al Qaeda, the Taliban and "associated organizations."
Part of a proposal for Guantánamo Bay legal detainees, the provision before
Congress seeks to “acknowledge again and explicitly that this nation remains
engaged in an armed conflict with Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated organizations,
who have already proclaimed themselves at war with us and who are dedicated
to the slaughter of Americans.”
The New York Times‘ page 8 placement of the article in its Saturday
edition seems to downplay its importance. Such a re-affirmation of war carries
broad legal implications that could imperil Americans’ civil liberties and the
rights of foreign nationals for decades to come.
It was under the guise of war that President Bush claimed a legal mandate for
his warrantless wiretapping program, giving the National Security Agency power
to intercept calls Americans made abroad. More of this program has emerged in
recent years, and it includes the surveillance of Americans’ information and
"War powers" have also given President Bush cover to hold… Continue reading