Secrets and Lies - Part III
Why did Bu$hCo resist an investigation of 9/11? Attempt to put Kissinger in charge of it? That Bush and Cheney would only permit a joint interview of them and not under oath by the Commission that wasn’t permitted to take notes? Prevented the Commission from directly interviewing KSM? Were they merely a stalling to turn a hot issue into a cold one? Just as they did with the energy plan, Abu Ghraib, Iraq’s WMD and the outing of Plame? As they are now doing with the evidence on Katrina, extraordinary renditions and domestic spying? How hard they are working to get the public to conclude that the GOP is not guilty before they see the evidence of the GOP fundraising frauds?
Joe Klein said this past Sunday on “This Week” that the domestic spying was nothing more than the use of new technology not provided for in the FISA regulation. Stephanopolis, to his credit, questioned how Klein could conclude this when nothing about the program is publicly known. If there is no “there, there,” why are so many rushing to reach this conclusion before any investigation has been done? If the details of the program are so sensitive to intelligence operations, so effective and the legality not obvious , why not present all of it to a closed door bi-partisan Congressional investigation committee? One charged with a mission to pass judgment on how valuable and how legal, and predefining exactly what subsequent action would follow each of the possible findings. : 1) not valuable and not legal 2) valuable and legal 3) not valuable and legal 4) valuable and not legal. If this domestic spying is as beneficial to the WOT and so harmless to Americans as Bu$hCo has represented it to be, then they have nothing to fear from an unimpeachable Congressional committee investigation of it. Would welcome one. It’s difficult but not impossible to structure such an investigation that would meet with approval from a solid majority of the public.
Whether or not Congress would act on the findings of an investigation committee is the only real open question, the findings aren’t. Bu$hCo’s tells are as easy to read on this matter as they were on Iraq’s WMD. Reading Bu$hCo’s tells and applying a slight bit of logic before the invasion of Iraq made it incredibly easy to conclude that Iraq had no WMD that posed any threat to the US and only slightly harder to go out on a limb and conclude that they had nothing that would qualify as an arsenal of WMD.
It would take someone with a stronger constitution than I have to study all of the public appearances by Bush, Cheney, Rummy, Condi, Rove et al. for their tells. It’s almost impossible for me to watch and listen to any of them for more than a few minutes before I begin to gag. As such, I’m sure that I only pick up on a small fraction of their tells. Not enough to zero in on the smaller issues but adequate to read the larger ones.
As covered in Part I, Bush’s April 2004 claim that they were following the FISA Act was a major tell. When the story first broke a few weeks ago, Bush flip-flopped on the issue for the next few days. From denial of any wrongdoing to a belligerent claim that he had the power and would continue to use it. Of course, anytime Bu$hCo mounts a full court propaganda campaign that is a Bu$hCo tell that they are in major cover-up mode. When it’s in response to a whistleblower, a story that a reporter breaks or an event that shows Bu$hCo in a bad light, they stumble and flounder for the first few days until they find the script that they and their media lapdogs can read from. Clearly, they can’t pre-plan for scandals on the horizon any better than they do for mega-hurricanes or invasions. Why weren’t they prepared for the Abramoff and NSA spying scandals to break in the media? It’s not like they didn’t have plenty of advance notice that both would break. If they can’t anticipate and plan for events that threaten their survival, is it any wonder that they haven’t prepared for anything that threatens the survival of any of us?
It’s clear that Bu$hCo doesn’t want anyone looking into the NSA spy operation. It’s also clear that they willfully violated FISA. Gonzales said that they couldn’t get the change they wanted through Congress. They couldn’t get it through the GOP rubber-stamp Congress? That’s a clue that the operation isn’t even close to being acceptable either under law or with the public. Their “cover-their-butts” arguments are plain silly. If the program started before 9/11, those arguments compound the lies. Bush’s tell, “We didn’t go to FISA because FISA didn’t work for the program” is further confirmation that he knew what was going on and that it wasn’t legal.
The cautious conclusion is that the program neither valuable enough nor legal enough to continue. I’ll go out on a limb and conclude that on its face it’s counterproductive and unconstitutional, but it is also a piece in the total Bu$hCo domestic spy program. They are spying on organizations and individuals that are or could be a threat to them. The Pentagon is doing it, the FBI is doing it and the NSA is doing it. GWB's "money tell" is, “I don’t use e-mail -- because I don’t want you reading my stuff.”
No dirty trick goes unexploited by Bu$hCo. They use every dirty trick in the book, as well as countless variations of all of them. No dirty trick goes unexploited by Bu$hCo. They manipulate voter registration, absentee ballots, voter polling and vote counting in elections anywhere they can, and their loyalists do as much as they can on their own. They collect illegal campaign money, engage in money laundering and shake-down businesses for money. They use it to bribe legislators or get more of their own in Congress, as well as enriching their personal coffers. And they spy. They make Joe McCarthy, Nixon and J Edgar Hoover look like pikers. The open question is what they are doing with this information. Limiting themselves to scaring and blackmailing their political enemies to extend their control of the government? Or do they have more ambitious goals? (If they weren’t so incompetent, the war would be over -- and the rightwing would be the winner.)