DOJ's Gonzo Defense: Just The Data Mining

As we suspected, the Bush leak to the NYTimes on Attorney General Gonzales' trouble with the truth was all a setup for this:

[F]rom the letter: It states, “One particular aspect of these activities and nothing more, was publicly acknowledged by the President and described in December 2005.” . . . That is what Gonzales says was the Terrorist Surveillance Program. . . .

We will repeat this again - that is NOT what the President confirmed:

. . . This is a highly classified program that is crucial to our national security. Its purpose is to detect and prevent terrorist attacks against the United States, our friends and allies. Yesterday the existence of this secret program was revealed in media reports, after being improperly provided to news organizations. . . .

The news report in question revealed that:

In mid-2004, concerns about the program expressed by national security officials, government lawyers and a judge prompted the Bush administration to suspend elements of the program and revamp it. . . . A complaint from Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, the federal judge who oversees the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Court, helped spur the suspension, officials said. The judge questioned whether information obtained under the N.S.A. program was being improperly used as the basis for F.I.S.A. wiretap warrant requests from the Justice Department, according to senior government officials.

This is the program President Bush confirmed. The one with internal disputes. The very disputes Gonzales denies existed. More.

In its most recent article, the NYTimes described the program it reported on thusly:

In December 2005, The Times published articles describing the program, the data mining and the internal legal debate. The newspaper reported that the N.S.A. had combed large volumes of telephone and Internet traffic in search of patterns that might point to terrorism suspects. . . .

The President confirmed the ENTIRETY of the program, noting that:

. . . The review includes approval by our nation's top legal officials, including the Attorney General and the Counsel to the President. I have reauthorized this program more than 30 times since the September the 11th attacks, and I intend to do so for as long as our nation faces a continuing threat from al Qaeda and related groups.

The program dates to 2001. The program reported on by the NYTimes, and confirmed by the White House, was the entire program. It is ridiculous of the White House to pretend the President was only confirming ONE aspect of the program. Indeed, there is nothing in Bush's statement that excludes data mining. In fact, IF the disputes were over datamining, President Bush confirmed THAT program when he referenced the Times report, that EXPRESSLY reports on the disputes.

This is sheer nonsense from the White House. Gonzales' testimony was contradicted by the FBI Director, James Comey, the Gang of 8 and has been backed up by no one. This misrepresentation by the White House of what the President said is transparently false.

Gonzales must be impeached. The White House now is engaged in a cover up. This too must be investigated.

< FISA: Who In Their Right Mind Would Want to Give Gonzales More Power? | Investigation Reopened into Deaths of Iraqi Detainees Dilawar and Habibullah >
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  • Display: Sort:
    Atrios: Cheney says hospital visit was TSP (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by magster on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 06:25:30 PM EST
    Something to consider. (1.00 / 0) (#14)
    by jimakaPPJ on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 08:25:28 PM EST
    Yesterday, for the first time, McConnell briefed Sen. Arlen Specter on the NSA program. While Specter hasn't discussed what he learned at the briefing, after it he labeled attempts to impeach or bring perjury charges against Alberto Gonzales "premature."

    Yeah right (5.00 / 0) (#24)
    by Militarytracy on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 08:17:04 AM EST
    After magic bullets and the cover up of the JFK assassination I trust Arlene Specter to tell me the truth about.......hmmmmm.....let me see here.......OH YEAH, NOTHING, EVER!

    Did my senior Senator (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by andgarden on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 08:40:54 AM EST
    have a sex change while I wasn't paying attention? ;-)

    Tracy (1.00 / 0) (#26)
    by jimakaPPJ on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 12:43:03 PM EST
    Yes, I understand that he is guilty in your mind. I was just passsing on a news comment indicating that whatever it was McConnell told Specter, Specter is advising everyone to hold their water.

    Please feel free to assume that McConnell and Specter are both lying.

    I shall do otherwise.


    Knock thyself out friend. (none / 0) (#27)
    by Militarytracy on Thu Aug 02, 2007 at 08:06:45 PM EST
    speaking of data mining (none / 0) (#2)
    by Miss Devore on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 06:41:59 PM EST
    I do believe that this is the anniversary of the last a before bdt before a/bdt again  post at dk.

    just thought I'd sneak that in before andgarden and taylormattd are finished packing their lederhosen for yk2.

    seriously, was just trying to remember the last person who tossed around the "haters" assignation. and then I remembered!

    No (none / 0) (#3)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 06:44:31 PM EST
    That date was August 25.

    I would appreciate we not discuss that matter please.


    If you've got some problem with me (none / 0) (#6)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 07:25:35 PM EST
    I'd suggest you lay it out.

    as I alluded to (none / 0) (#7)
    by Miss Devore on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 07:43:19 PM EST
    you are a bit too predictable.

    you see, it was possible to post a humorous retort to my comment (My suggestion:"if the lederhosen fits, you must acquit") instead, you respond as a/bdt's lap/watch/dog/dancer.

    ya know what I mean?

    not much of a layout, but not much to lay out.


    If I'm a dog (none / 0) (#8)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 08:00:57 PM EST
    what does that make you?

    alpha (none / 0) (#10)
    by Miss Devore on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 08:06:36 PM EST

    heh (none / 0) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 08:10:58 PM EST
    That's funny.

    But I do wish you would only direct your ire at me.

    No one else here deserves it.


    unearned ire? (none / 0) (#13)
    by Miss Devore on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 08:22:18 PM EST
    like beisbol!

    and was it ire? he asked for a layette and I gave him a nappie. I thought I was being maternal. ok mebbe a bit matronizing.


    Very (none / 0) (#15)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 08:28:12 PM EST

    When I acted up in a similar, but patriarchal manner, you rightly take me to task.

    I think this type of ire shopuld only go to those who earn it.

    I think we agree I have earned it and I accept it as fair play WITH ME. I don't think it is fair to impose it on others, especially at this site, where I am only a guest.


    does NOT fit (none / 0) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 08:01:53 PM EST
    Indeed, sorry. (none / 0) (#11)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 08:09:12 PM EST
    the persecution rests (none / 0) (#4)
    by Miss Devore on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 06:57:35 PM EST
    smilefacedemoticonandallthat. (i.e. I'm correct)

    Aside from Abu's obvious lies (none / 0) (#5)
    by baba durag on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 07:22:45 PM EST
    I still wonder - data mining for what purpose?  What would cause John Ashcroft (Ashcroft!) to get hot and bothered over the legality of?

    Please stay on the topic of the post (none / 0) (#16)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 08:43:08 PM EST
    which is Alberto Gonzales and datamining. Thanks and also remember to put your urls in html format using the link button at the top of the comment box. Long urls skew the site and will be deleted.

    on topic of data mining (none / 0) (#17)
    by Sumner on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 10:10:36 PM EST
    Excerpts from: "Creating a Trusted Information Network for Homeland Security" - second report of the markle foundation task force

    In August 2003, the General Accounting Office (GAO) issued a study that found that the poor coordination of information sharing efforts might cause critical clues of impending terrorist attacks to go unnoticed. Homeland Security Counterterrorism (24 July 2003)

    In addition, Pennsylvania, New York City, and Washington, DC, have formed a model project--primarily with local funding--that would link existing law enforcement, public safety and justice systems across jurisdictions to provide real-time data sharing over the Internet. See "The Shield Pilot"

    For example, several states now participate in the Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange (MATRIX) project, a data mining effort run by a private company for the participating states and aided by the federal government. MATRIX, started by police in Florida, combines law enforcement and court records with commercially available information about individuals, and purportedly allows officials to look for patterns and linkages among people. See Robert O'Harrow, Jr., "U.S. Backs Florida's New Counterterrorism Database", Washington Post, page A1 (6 Aug. 2003)

    Privacy concerns have reportedly caused several states to reconsider their initial decision to participate and have prompted criticism and questions from civil-liberties groups. See, for example, Kristen Wyatt, "Georgia Decides Against Crime Database", Associated Press (21 Oct. 2003)

    American Civil Liberties Union, "What is the Matrix? ACLU Seeks Answers on New State-Run Surveillance Program", (30 Oct. 2003)


    [E]ven though the TIA has been shut down, other still-extant governmental efforts--both research and operational activities--raise many of the same issues. For instance, the National Security Agency's (NSA) Advanced Research and Development Activity (ARDA) is pursuing research programs in "Novel Intelligence from Massive Data" (aimed at "focusing analytic attention on the most critical information found within massive data--information that indicates the potential for strategic surprise) and "Information Exploitation" ("the process of extracting, synthesizing, and/or presenting relevant information from vast repositories of raw and structured data"). Meanwhile, the CIA reportedly is implementing a data-mining program called Quantum Leap that "enables an analyst to get quick access to all the information available--classified and unclassified--about virtually anyone."

    cf. Information Collection, Analysis, and Sharing for Law Enforcement and Counterterrrorism (2004)

    Thanks for the info (none / 0) (#18)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 10:13:52 PM EST
    Good stuff.

    Er, bad stuff I mean.


    Coverup (none / 0) (#19)
    by chemoelectric on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 10:34:45 PM EST
    To say that the WH is involved in a cover-up is to make humor by means of understatement.

    Regarding the impeachment of Alberto Gonzales, I think this makes sense particularly in the 'Creature Feature' sense. I am referring to so-called 'nature' documentaries, in which the large predators go straight for the baby animals instead of the fast, powerful adults. Alberto Gonzales is like a baby animal; let's go for him first, and so be in better condition for whatever comes next.

    I'll note that there is a Creature Feature about cheetahs that I have seen a few times, in which a desperate mother cheetah with cubs does go after a healthy, powerful gazelle. With little cubs gripping its side in their teeth, and the mother cheetah doing all kinds of throat-throttling and pulling, the gazelle nevertheless manages to keep standing--and eventually gores the mother cheetah and kills her. We are spared seeing the fate of the now-helpless cubs. This is how I view a rush to impeach the top guys.

    heads up!!! (none / 0) (#20)
    by Sumner on Tue Jul 31, 2007 at 11:03:07 PM EST
    this is raging atm around the left blogs:


    from FDL:

    Go to the comments and follow the "mystery poster" anonymous postings - especially toward the end of the comments....O.M.G. It is long, detailed and complicated with back-up links, but it sure looks like Bushco is caught.

    and from DU:

    Is this mystery poster another "deepthroat"?

    that is terrific stuff there

    uh, duh... (none / 0) (#21)
    by Sumner on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 01:10:40 AM EST
    there's other spy programs:

    "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 fully acknowledged."
     -- from National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell's (July 31, 2007) response to Sen. Arlen Specter's demand for clarification

    fully acknowledged? ehm

    Dear Congress Critters: (none / 0) (#22)
    by Ellie on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 06:22:48 AM EST
    Please assure me that you are not, once again, about to be punked by the same old stupid tricks the White House Department of Hooey has used to stymie you and the court scribes for eight years.

    I'm outlining this only because Chuck "WTF???" Schumer, among the most seasoned and experienced Dem leaders, just claimed (or feigned) being hoodwinked on two, count'em, two SCOTUS seats with a pitch that would be discarded as too hootingly stupid to sell ten-buck authentic "hot" Rolexes in front of a Times Square McDonalds.

    I use up this bandwidth on the compassionate grounds of sparing Sen. Schumer any future embarrasing ignominy of having to publicly admit that he cannot find his own sorry ass in the dark using both hands while listening to recorded instructions on how to do so on his iPod.

    Future politicians, media bigwigs and young people looking into DC grifting, scumbaggery and cheap villainy as a profession, here's the con:

    The Executive Branch Douchebags seize, under false pretenses, records and information that by all rights belong to the people, and which shall be accessed by agents of the people (such as elected representatives, independent media and government workers) who enjoy special privileges and rights in order to watchdog the government of the people and by the people, and the assets it contains.

    The Republican Palace douchebags then squeak -- out of the info-faucets they created and control -- a bit of factesque misdirection or truthy egregious lying which can neither be emphatically proven nor with scientific precision disputed because they have locked up (illegally, unethically and under false pretenses) the means for all participants to do so independent of the WH Dept of Hooey's self-serving, self-flattering spin.

    The Department of Hooey then works from an impression of reality it creates in media. By loudly braying about wounds or loudly trumpeting victory, the Republican Palace proceeds accordingly from that news cycle over to the next immediate news cycle until a new situation receives more attention.

    Dumb Sports Goof Allegory: It's like the lead off hitter in any ballgame mashing away the home plate-side chalk in the batter's box so a ball or strike is whatever can be called by who works the umpire better and louder ... not the strike as defined by the rules. (Plus, Karl Rove is the umpire.) It's also what hoops or football or any sport would be like if the field lines were many many yards thick instead of 2-3 inches. It's Flop Futbol.

    This seems to stupid even to outline, except elected officials and longtime DC experts that I used to think would know better have been getting punked by this for the majority of my voting life.

    I dismiss the notion that they're all playing an elaborate dressup for the cameras because I work in the arts and do recognize talent and craft related to performance art when I see it.

    These players aren't a talented bunch. What I do see on a daily basis is that they're more greedy, short-sighted, venal and stupid than "the American people" they purport to represent. In my personal experience, living and working all over the US and the world, except for a tiny minority, people are just plain better than this collection of clowns who keep claiming they're doing this crap on our behalf.

    Maybe bureaucratic convenience (none / 0) (#23)
    by aj12754 on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 07:06:17 AM EST
    will come back to bite them in the butt.

    From the Post

    On the one hand, the NSA was clearly engaged in activities that were distinct enough to require different "legal bases" authorizing their use, according to McConnell's account....

    The 45-day reauthorization of a single presidential order was probably a "bureaucratic convenience" that eliminated the need to issue multiple authorizations, he added.

    If you're going to parse words about which aspects of a program were debated, maybe you should have taken the precaution of requiring separate authorizations for those different aspects, bureaucratic convenience be damned.