Bush's Spying On Domestic Calls Pre-Dated 9/11
We have heard repeatedly that the Bush Administration wants to have the lawsuits against AT&T over their assistance to the NSA dismissed because a court trial on this case would endanger national security. Friday’s update from the USAT that their sources on the NSA domestic call monitoring story cannot state with certainty that AT&T, BellSouth, and Verizon-MCI actually “contracted” with the NSA to provide the government with access to company phone records doesn’t change the fact that these companies have not denied that they have made their customers’ phone calls available to a third party in apparent violation of their own privacy laws without court orders. Even if this were the case, the Bush Administration can still argue that it was all necessary as a result of 9/11.
But what if there is another reason why the administration doesn't want the AT&T trial to go forward with full discovery?
What happens to the administration’s rationale for all domestic surveillance, data monitoring, and wiretapping if it were revealed that not only was 9/11 not the trigger for these illegal activities, but that the Bush Administration embarked on this data grab from its first days in office? Furthermore, remember all those claims by Cheney, Bush, and Michael Hayden that if they had such data access before 9/11 they may have been able to prevent the attacks, claims that have been debunked by the likes of Richard Clarke and others? What happens to the Bush Administration’s defense that they could not have prevented 9/11 if in fact they were already spying on American domestic calls and were still unable to stop 9/11?
Update: Dave Neiwert points out that if the Administration started spying before 9/11, then Abu Gonzales lied to the Senate, of course, when he wasn’t under oath. I would think that “Single Bullet” will want to drag Abu back to the Judiciary Committee again to revisit this.