Archive for the ‘Alberto Gonzales’ Category

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By Scott Shane, David Johnston and James Risen in Washington

Reports of unacceptable interrogation techniques led to a shake up in policy and staff at the Justice Department in 2004. After Alberto Gonzales’ arrival, the public started hearing things had changed, but new reports claim that things remained the same — or worsened.

When the Justice Department publicly declared torture “abhorrent” in a legal opinion in December 2004, the Bush administration appeared to have abandoned its assertion of nearly unlimited presidential authority to order brutal interrogations.

But soon after Alberto R. Gonzales’s arrival as attorney general in February 2005, the Justice Department issued another opinion, this one in secret. It was a very different document, according to officials briefed on it, an expansive endorsement of the harshest interrogation techniques ever used by the Central Intelligence Agency.

The new opinion, the officials said, for the first time provided explicit authorization to barrage terror suspects with a combination of painful physical and psychological tactics, including head-slapping, simulated drowning and frigid temperatures.

Mr. Gonzales approved the legal memorandum on “combined effects” over the objections of James B. Comey, the deputy attorney general, who was leaving his job after bruising clashes with the White House. Disagreeing with what he viewed as the opinion’s overreaching legal reasoning, Mr. Comey told colleagues at the department that they would all be “ashamed” when the world eventually learned of it.

Read the rest of the article at Spiegel Online

And if you still think “they” don’t like us because of our freedoms and lifestyle, we think you need to open your eyes and look at what your government is doing in your name.

 

We will not be posting Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2007. We are participating in the STRIKE FOR PEACE.

If you’ve had enough, you need to say “When.” Say-when.org

Don’t get too excited about Alberto Gonzales stepping down – rumor has it that Michael Chertoff will be his replacement…

To quote John Edwards:

“Better late than never.”

A new law expanding the government’s spying powers gives the Bush Administration a six-month window to install possibly permanent back doors in the nation’s communication networks.  The legislation was passed hurriedly by Congress over the weekend and signed into law Sunday by President Bush.The bill, known as the Protect America Act, removes the prohibition on warrantless spying on Americans abroad and gives the government wide powers to order communication service providers such as cell phone companies and ISPs to make their networks available to government eavesdroppers.

The Administration pushed for passage of the changes to close what it called a “surveillance gap,” referring to a long-standing feature of the nation’s surveillance laws that required the government to get court approval to capture communications inside the United States.

While the nation’s spy laws have been continually loosened since 9/11, the Administration never pushed for the right to tap the nation’s domestic communication networks until a secret court recently struck down a key pillar of the government’s secret spying program.

The Administration argues that the world’s communication networks now route many foreign to foreign calls and emails through switches in the United States.

Prior to the law’s passage, the nation’s spy agencies, such as the National Security Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency, didn’t need any court approval to spy on foreigners so long as the wiretaps were outside the United States.

Now, those agencies are free to order services like Skype, cell phone companies and arguably even search engines to comply with secret spy orders to create back doors in domestic communication networks for the nation’s spooks.  While it’s unclear whether the wiretapping can be used for domestic purposes, the law only requires that the programs that give rise to  such orders have a “significant purpose” of foreign intelligence gathering.

The law:

Read it at Threat Level – Wired Blogs

From The Raw Story:

As Newsweek reports in its August 13 issue, the FBI has used a secret warrant to raid the home of former Justice Department lawyer Thomas M. Tamm, taking three computers and personal files.

The government is searching for the individual who leaked information about President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program to the press, prompting a New York Times report in 2005. Mr. Tamm worked for the Justice Department during a period in 2004 when critics of the program included then Attorney General John Ashcroft and FBI director Robert Mueller. Tamm is said to have shared concern, but whether or not he was actively protesting is unknown.

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Excerpts:

The FBI raid on Tamm’s home comes when Gonzales himself is facing criticism for allegedly misleading Congress by denying there had been “serious disagreement” within Justice about the surveillance program. The A.G. last week apologized for “creating confusion,” but Senate Judiciary Committee chair Sen. Patrick Leahy said he is weighing asking Justice’s inspector general to review Gonzales’s testimony.

The raid also came while the White House and Congress were battling over expanding NSA wiretapping authority in order to plug purported “surveillance gaps.” James X. Dempsey of the Center for Democracy and Technology said the raid was “amazing” and shows the administration’s misplaced priorities: using FBI agents to track down leakers instead of processing intel warrants to close the gaps. A Justice spokesman declined to comment.

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Read the entire Newsweek article HERE.

From KIRO  – Interesting…there’s nothing from any other media about this… 

WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee voted contempt of Congress citations Wednesday against White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten and President George W. Bush’s former legal counselor, Harriet Miers. The 22-17 vote, which would sanction for pair for failure to comply with subpoenas on the firings of several federal prosecutors, advanced the citation to the full House. A senior Democratic official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the House itself likely would take up the citations after Congress’ August recess. The official declined to speak on the record because no date had been set for the House vote. The two refused to honor subpoenas the committee issued as part of its investigation of the firing of eight federal prosecutors. Miers refused to appear before the committee and Bolten refused to turn over documents the panel wants. Bush has asserted executive privilege in the matter, saying current and former aides have immunity from the subpoenas.