Saturday, January 28, 2006

7 Reasons Why the President is Lying (Again)

By Jack Random

President George W. Bush went on the offensive this week, defending his authorization of spying on American citizens, within the boundaries of the nation, in direct contradiction to the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978. The president asserts that he is only spying on those in communication with known Al Qaeda agents or their affiliates.

Here are seven reasons why every objective observer should conclude beyond all reasonable doubt that the president is lying.

1. He lied about the war. For those who hold the reservation that the president may not have been properly informed, that he was in fact duped by bad intelligence or twisted advisors, let me take this rare opportunity to defend the chief executive. He is not a dumb as you think. He is not an observer on the periphery of Dick Cheney’s power circle. He is a fully informed, fully engaged member of Cheney’s circle. He knew about the canyon-sized gaps in intelligence and he conspired to close them with a chain of deceptions. The president lied because he wanted war. He lied because he was convinced that the little man from Crawford, Texas, could only reach historical greatness as a war president.

2. The president lied repeatedly on the very topic that should now become the basis for impeachment proceedings but, instead, is becoming the centerpiece of the Republican midterm election campaign. He told us over and over, in every public setting he could find, that wiretapping was never done without a court warrant. Just in case we did not fully understand him, he spoke slowly and with absolute clarity: Wiretapping on American citizens is never done without a court warrant.

3. If the president is telling the truth about the scope of the eavesdropping – that it only involves Al Qaeda club members – there should be only a handful of cases on file. According to published reports, the NSA domestic spying case (by any other name) involves thousands of Americans. How stupid do we think Al Qaeda is? Are we seriously to believe that they are calling the USA on a regular basis? Are they calling in complete confidence that our government will only listen in if they have a court warrant? How stupid do they think we are?

4. If the president is telling the truth, that the scope of the program is limited and that civil liberties are protected, then there is absolutely no reason to circumvent the FISA law. There is a rubber stamp at the FISA court for warrants on the communications of known Al Qaeda members. In such cases, the process would take all of thirty seconds beyond the mechanics of sending a fax. Furthermore, as any informed citizen should know by now, the spy-now-get-approval-later provision of the FISA law gives the Justice Department 72 hours to shuffle the paper work. In other words, to the extent that the NSA domestic spying program is legitimate, it is completely unnecessary. If that is the case, either the Attorney General and his coterie of legal advisors are incompetent to the point of absurdity, or the president is lying.

5. If the president were telling the truth, he would open the books on all surveillance targets that are no longer current, with the targets identified only by profession. We would stipulate that the Attorney General and the head of the NSA should certify that the list is complete and accurate on penalty of felonious perjury. Knowing generically who has been spied on would offer no information of value to our terrorist enemies – who already presume they are being monitored with or without warrants. It would be of great value to the defenders of civil liberties and would give us all assurance that our president has not simply taken the law into his own hands. I guarantee you, even without the names, the list would read like a Who’s Who in dissident politics. It is the political hit list of Richard Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover, whose name should be stricken from the FBI headquarters.

6. If former NSA insider Russell Tice, who has identified himself as a whistle-blower, is never prosecuted or held to justice, then the president was lying about conducting an investigation into a serious breach of national security. If that is the case, we must conclude that it was a deliberate leak. It bears all the markings of the twisted mind of Karl Rove, plotting to replace Plame Gate, Iraq Gate, Katrina Gate and Abramoff Gate with NSA Gate. They like the odds. They like how it plays in Middle America. They would rather take their chances as the tough guys who write their own laws in the fight against terrorism against a party still trying to decide whose hand to hold while the Republicans rip out their guts.

7. Just look at him. I mean, really look at him, leaning on the podium, chumming it up with the press corps, acting as if an impeachable offense was nothing more than a discussion of the Sammy Sosa trade back in the day. He chuckles, hems and haws, mugs and guffaws. He has all the moves of a real estate agent or a used car salesman. We should react just as we would with any other salesperson. He is not on our side. Lying is second nature to him.



No comments:

Post a Comment