Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Mike McConnell to Arlen Specter, Gonzales Was Talking About Something Far Worse Than TSP

Yesterday, as part of an effort to spring Alberto Gonzales from perjury charges, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell sent Arlen Specter a letter stating that the Terrorist Surveillance Program, publicly acknowledged by the President and described in December of 2005, was merely “one particular aspect” of the NSA’s domestic spying program “and nothing more.” ThinkProgress has CNN video of Specter's interview by Wolf Blitzer. Dan Eggen has provided a fuller explanation of McConnell's letter in this morning's Washington Post.

President Bush authorized a series of secret surveillance activities under a single executive order in late 2001. . . . a name routinely used by the administration -- the Terrorist Surveillance Program -- applied only to "one particular aspect of these activities, and nothing more."

"This is the only aspect of the NSA activities that can be discussed publicly, because it is the only aspect of those various activities whose existence has been officially acknowledged," McConnell said.
The administration is trying to give the impression that the Ashcroft Justice Department found one of the other aspects of the President's domestic spying program objectionable. That still unacknowledged program was at the heart of the now famous hospital visit. The administration is asking us to believe that Gonzales was telling the truth.

I am going to ask a question I haven't seen in the news media. Assume McConnell is telling the truth, how odious are those other secret programs if at least one of them was considered more controversial by loyal Bushies than the Terrorist Surveillance Program? Here is a follow up question you won't see asked by the MSM. Can either a free society or the Constitution survive as long as such programs exist unsupervised? After all the U.S. Patriot act has already repealed Habeas Corpus. What's next? Argentina style disappearances? Star Chamber Courts? The disbanding of Congress?

Maybe all the snark is right. Maybe America under George W. Bush is just a giant banana Republic.