Cheney Implicates Congressional Leadership On Civil Liberties Abuses

On Fox News this morning, Vice President Cheney implicated the Congressional leadership, including the current Speaker of the House and Senate Majority Leader, in the Bush Administration abuses regarding civil liberties. In an interview with Chris Wallace, Cheney said:

WALLACE: Let's drill down into some of the specific measures that you pushed first of all, the warrantless surveillance on a massive scale, without telling the appropriate court, without seeking legislation from Congress. Why not, in the aftermath of 9/11 and the spirit of national unity, get approval, support, bring in the other branches of government?

CHENEY: Well, let me tell you a story about the terror surveillance program. We did brief the Congress. . . . We brought in the chairman and the ranking member, House and Senate, and briefed them a number of times up until this was be from late '01 up until '04 when there was additional controversy concerning the program.

MORE . . .

At that point, we brought in what I describe as the big nine not only the intel people but also the speaker, the majority and minority leaders of the House and Senate, and brought them into the situation room in the basement of the White House.

I presided over the meeting. We briefed them on the program, and what we'd achieved, and how it worked, and asked them, "Should we continue the program?" They were unanimous, Republican and Democrat alike. All agreed absolutely essential to continue the program.

I then said, "Do we need to come to the Congress and get additional legislative authorization to continue what we're doing?" They said, "Absolutely not. Don't do it, because it will reveal to the enemy how it is we're reading their mail."

That happened. We did consult. We did keep them involved. We ultimately ended up having to go to the Congress after the New York Times decided they were going to make the judge to review all of or make all of this available, obviously, when they reacted to a specific leak.

But it was a program that we briefed on repeatedly. We did these briefings in my office. I presided over them. We went to the key people in the House and Senate intel committees and ultimately the entirely leadership and sought their advice and counsel, and they agreed we should not come back to the Congress.

(Emphasis supplied.) The Democratic members who participated in this meeting have two choices in my mind - refute Cheney's statements or admit their complicity in the illegal activity perpetrated by the Bush Administration.

Given Cheney's accusations, it is quite clear in my mind now that an indepenedent counsel is necessary so that all potentially culpable actors can be properly investigated. From President Bush to now-Speaker Pelosi.

Speaking for me only

< Symbolism | Cheney Defends Himself >
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    Given Cheney's chronic (5.00 / 6) (#6)
    by gyrfalcon on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 04:07:43 PM EST
    issues with truth, I'd like to hear the other side of it.  I find it very hard to believe the Bush administration really told all to these people.  That's simply not the way they operate or the way they think.

    But they're clever and devious enough to have briefed them just enough to co-opt and implicate them, which is why, as has been suggested for a while now, the Dem. leadership has shied away from cries for accountability on this stuff.  And it's why there's not going to be any independent counsel or serious investigation, ever.

    I agree (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by lilburro on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 04:39:15 PM EST
    this calls out for clarification...  But it's laughable that all this happened in Cheney's office anyway.  And note that he used TSP and not interrogation/black site issues.  

    Thick as thieves...unfortunately, we can count Dem leadership in Congress among the thieves.


    A first for evrything! (5.00 / 4) (#9)
    by mmc9431 on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 05:10:48 PM EST
    Sadly, this is the first time I believe Cheney is telling the truth. I've thought all along that the Dem leaders were in it up to their eyes. It explains why impeachment was "off the table" and why Congress has been so reluctant to pursue investigations into torture or wiretapping.

    This interview should force the Democratic Leaders to clarify their roles. If they don't appoint a special counsel, it will be because they know where it will lead.

    And explains (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by BackFromOhio on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 08:01:24 PM EST
    votes on Patriot Act and FISA

    guilty of not, (5.00 / 3) (#10)
    by pluege on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 05:34:51 PM EST
    Reid, Pelosi and the rest of the so-called Democratic "leadership" are wrong for America. They should be replaced. We should not have to wait until their guilt is proven.

    And if you would like to go to the (2.00 / 0) (#14)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 06:48:03 PM EST
    source, here is a quote from and a link to the NYT article of 12/16/05.

    "This is really a sea change," said a former senior official who specializes in national security law. "It's almost a mainstay of this country that the N.S.A. only does foreign searches."

    Nearly a dozen current and former officials, who were granted anonymity
    because of the classified nature of the program, discussed it with reporters for The New York Times because of their concerns about the operation's legality and oversight.

    According to those officials and others, reservations about aspects of the program have also been expressed by Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, the West Virginia Democrat who is the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and a judge presiding over a secret court that oversees intelligence matters. Some of the questions about the agency's new powers led the administration to temporarily suspend the operation last year and impose more restrictions, the officials said


    I think they've made this accusation before (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 03:56:37 PM EST
    It's part of what they used to push the FISA amendments through.

    I'm inclined to believe it.

    What they did was (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by SOS on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 04:02:49 PM EST
    turn back the clock to a world where the old cabal works. Waste, fraud, abuse, graft, corruption, and malfeasance. It is a world where things can remain hidden under "National Security."

    Now that Cheney has been this specific (5.00 / 4) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 04:04:39 PM EST
    I think those Congressional leaders need to explain or refute.

    Yup (none / 0) (#7)
    by andgarden on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 04:15:58 PM EST
    Theres nothing subtle about (none / 0) (#2)
    by SOS on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 03:57:59 PM EST
    desperate men.

    Well, now that it's out there, (none / 0) (#4)
    by scribe on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 04:04:03 PM EST
    as to the Democratic leadership it kind of moots/destroys the blackmail potential that knowledge of and/or acquiescence in the program might have had in Cheney's hands, doesn't it?

    And, as to the Democratic leadership, they can all say:  "We were told (or had it made clear to us) that if we didn't go along, they would both use all flavors of propaganda to destroy us and keep doing it anyway."

    Alternatively, and not inconsistently, they could add:   "So, Deadeye Dick is just trying to drag us into his pit of criminality.  Like any criminal, he wants to try to drag as many innocent people into his mess, so as to try to save his miseable criminal hide."

    And, finally, Deadeye Dick's pronouncements now make it clear - he said what he said in a nationally-televised TV program - that none of this is a state secret.  

    It hasn't been a state secret (none / 0) (#13)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 06:36:55 PM EST
    since the NYT decided to tell the enemy about one of our most important weapons.

    Any so-called "enemy" * naive enough (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by scribe on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 08:21:59 PM EST
    to think the NSA wasn't already listening is so stupid they deserved whatever they got, on a purely Darwinan basis.

    The fact is, it's been open public knowledge for many years that the NSA listens to anything and everything - if it's in the EM spectrum, consider it gone.  It's that knowledge which leads people who want to do ill to consider and use alternate means of communications.  

    No - the enemies Bush and Cheney were aiming at were called "law", "constitution", "congress", "dissent", and "democrats".


    Okay (none / 0) (#21)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 08:41:55 PM EST
    If you want to claim that our enemies never do stupid things and always know what we are up to, fine.

    Some, however, would dispute that.


    So we should always (none / 0) (#28)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 10:25:19 PM EST
    tell our enemies what we are doing because we "know" they know.

    That DA, is dumb.

    Now goodnight and please go away.


    Sigh (none / 0) (#32)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 08:53:49 AM EST
    I don't mind you there, it is the bone headiness of your comments that make me sigh and shake my head. I love a good back and forth, but you no longer seem able to compete.

    Let's look at your claim.

    You claim that it is okay to publish defense secrets because the terrorists know them anyway.

    The proof you offer is that all terrorists are smart.

    Now, I happen to believe that Ms Plame was not a covert agent, but you do. So, using your logic, their should not have been an investigation because our enemies knew who she was.

    Pick a side, DA. Any side.


    heh (none / 0) (#36)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 11:00:53 AM EST
    So a dumb enemy would know all this information??

    That's funny.  

    You know, you are the one who told me that the Soviets wouldn't know about Plame because she wasn't spying on them.

    Were they smart, dumb or in between?

    And it doesn't make any difference if Plame was covert or not if making her name public made no difference because our enemies already knew..

    You cannot have it both ways, DA.

    You think outing a very important national defense program is okay because our enemies had to know about it.

    You think outing a covert agent (your claim) is wrong because our enemies didn't know about her.



    You are (none / 0) (#40)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 02:21:32 PM EST
    You are the King of Reframe..

    The point re Ames is that he wouldn't have to know about her, the Soviets would already know.... I mean that is YOUR claim.

    Look, try and distract all you want, but your argument that it is okay to talk about defense secrets because our enemies will already know about them is simply inane.

    This says it best.

    QUESTION: Justine Redman with CNN. How was national security harmed by The New York Times reporting on this program? Don't the bad guys already assume that they're being monitored anyway, and shouldn't Americans, you know, bear in mind that they might be at any time?

    GEN. HAYDEN: You know, we've had this question asked several times. Public discussion of how we determine al Qaeda intentions, I just -- I can't see how that can do anything but harm the security of the nation. And I know people say, "Oh, they know they're being monitored." Well, you know, they don't always act like they know they're being monitored. But if you want to shove it in their face constantly, it's bound to have an impact.



    Uh, this is not about Plame (none / 0) (#44)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 05:15:19 PM EST
    It is about you getting caught in an indefensible position, or should I say two positions.

    1. You argue that Plame should not have been outed because the enemy didn't know about her.

    2. You argue that it is okay to talk about how we track and listen to our enemies because they already know about it.

    Pick one.



    Plame was just (none / 0) (#48)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 08:41:19 PM EST
    and you know this, to show how wacked out you are.

    1. You say that Plame should not have been outed because our enemies didn't know who she was.

    2. You say it is okay to out a national defense program because our enemies know about it.

    Earth to Da. Earth to Da! Come in DA!

    Pick one.


    Spin doesn't work (none / 0) (#53)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 11:22:02 PM EST
    You claimed that it was wrong for Plame to be outed because our enemies didn't know about her.

    You have no problem with a national defense program being exposed because our enemies know that we will be listening.

    Pick one or look up hypocrite in the dictionary.


    Here is what TalkLeft (none / 0) (#12)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 06:31:12 PM EST
    had to say about this at 12/19/05 at 6:33PM.


    On July 17, 2003, following a briefing by Cheney, Sen. Jay Rockefeller responded with a handwritten letter (pdf). How prescient. Markos at Daily Kos has the text version. Here's a portion of it:

    "Clearly the activities we discussed raise profound oversight issues. As you know, I am neither a technician or an attorney. Given the security restrictions associated with this information, and my inability to consult staff or counsel on my own, I feel unable to fully evaluate, much less endorse these activities.

    As I reflected on the meeting today, and the future we face, John Poindexter's TIA project sprung to mind, exacerbating my concern regarding the direction the Administration is moving with regard to security, technology, and surveillance. Without more information and the ability to draw on any independent legal or techical expertise, I simply cannot satisfy lingering concerns raised by the briefing we received.

    I am retaining a copy of this letter in a sealed envelope in the secure spaces of the Senate Intelligence Committee to ensure that I have a record of this communication."

    So yes, the briefings happened, or else Rockefeller's letter is a fake. Interestingly enough, he took no actions beyond this obvious CYA letter.

    So their is no need for anything beyond Senator Rockefeller telling us who else was in the meetings.

    And BTW - the actions were not illegal, so dream on, BTD, dream on.

    Sigh... (1.00 / 0) (#16)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 07:44:20 PM EST
    Rockefeller and a host of others is his "alibi."

    Now if you want to call Rockefeller a lair and the NYT article false, be my guest.


    The issue is, did the meetings occur. (none / 0) (#22)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 08:43:54 PM EST
    Rockefeller's letter and the NYT article both prove that they happened.

    Repeating yourself proves nothing.


    Wrong (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by andgarden on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 08:53:48 PM EST
    The issue is: what exactly was discussed at the meetings?

    If you read Rockefeller's (none / 0) (#29)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 10:30:10 PM EST
    letter you can get the general drift.

    Now, if he, and the others, were concerned the law was being violated they should have come forward.

    Or are you now saying that Democrats can use the excuse they didn't "know?"

    I hope you don't use that in court.

    But since they didn't do that I have to assume they didn't find it illegal, immoral or fattening, and since I would guess that some sought legal counsel, I would opine that was counsel's advice.


    From time to time US Senators (2.00 / 0) (#33)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 09:08:15 AM EST
    must do what they are elected to do. One of those tasks, per the Constitution, is to exercise oversight.

    Rockefeller was ranking minority member. If he believed that what the NSA was doing he was compelled to come forward, if not in public, at least to the AG or the President.

    Yet he did not. However we do know that he complained to some. In fact, this from the  NYT article of 12/16/05 opens the possibility that he may have been the first leaker.

    According to those officials and others, reservations about aspects of the program have also been expressed by Senator John D. Rockefeller IV, the West Virginia Democrat who is the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and a judge presiding over a secret court that oversees intelligence matters. Some of the questions about the agency's new powers led the administration to temporarily suspend the operation last year and impose more restrictions, the officials said.

    So as usual, you are long on bow wow and short in facts. Pitiful. Just pitiful.


    Are you telling me (none / 0) (#37)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 11:03:04 AM EST
    the article is wrong?

    So I guess all the Congressional hearings, new laws, claims and counterclaims all happened based on false information..........



    Tell me again (none / 0) (#41)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 02:23:15 PM EST
    All we have is the NYT article and all that followed in Congress..... and now Cheney...



    I'll take it. (none / 0) (#45)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 05:20:11 PM EST
    All you have is allegations in the article (none / 0) (#34)
    by Dark Avenger on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 08:13:04 AM CST

    Will you call the Times and tell'em they lied?



    hehaho O (none / 0) (#49)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 08:42:50 PM EST
    You are the one claiming the article is wrong..

    All I have done is quote the article (none / 0) (#54)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 11:23:37 PM EST
    I don't have to guess. It speaks for itself.

    Bad day for DA, eh?



    A and B (none / 0) (#25)
    by lentinel on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 10:11:56 PM EST
    A - Cheney is a rogue.

    B - The democrats in congress went along with everything.

    Sen. Feinstein has consistently (none / 0) (#26)
    by oculus on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 10:12:23 PM EST
    explained her vote for FISA revise as stemming from information she has that is not available to every Senator.

    As has Jane Harman (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by shoephone on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 10:23:43 PM EST
    who has gone along with pretty much everything Bush, Cheney, Addington, Ashcroft and the rest of the criminals wanted.

    And then there's Rockefeller -- the most pathetic, obseqiuous creature to ever hold the reins of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Gee, what a surprise that he collects tens of thousands of dollars from the telecoms each election cycle.


    Cheney taking Pelosi down, among others; COOL! (none / 0) (#52)
    by AnthonyLook on Mon Dec 22, 2008 at 10:15:33 PM EST
    Is this Cheney's way of saying, charge me and you go down with me too. Many Democrats believe Pelosi, Reid and others have to legally answer to all the charges that are circling out there. There is no love lost, with the majority of Democrats if he takes down Pelosi, Reid, Dodd....
    This isn't a Mexican standoff, this is Cheney mocking the law. Let the chips fall where they may; instead of being flung around aimlessly.