Thursday, March 09, 2006


Everyone's a critic: the NSA surveillance program

Since December, a lot of people have had a lot of things to say about the NSA surveillance program. Now into the fray, the Washington Post introduces “David S. Kris, a former associate deputy attorney general who now works at Time Warner Inc.” Ex-Justice Lawyer Rips Case for Spying

Mr. Kris “concludes that a National Security Agency domestic spying program is clearly covered by a 1978 law governing clandestine surveillance, according to a legal analysis and e-mails sent to current Justice officials.”

“The criticism represents an unusual public dissent by a former administration official over the legality of the domestic spying program, which allows the NSA to intercept international communications involving U.S. citizens and residents without warrants.”

Got that? DOMESTIC spying on INTERNATIONAL communications. Kind of like free drinks on all domestic flights between Washington and London.

Mr. Kris’ credentials seem weighty: his position as “a former associate deputy attorney general” was to oversee “national security issues at Justice from 2000 until he left the department in 2003.”

Okay – this guy was a real insider. But then 8 paragraphs into the article, we read this:

“Kris acknowledged in his paper that many facts about the program are not known, suggesting that he was not briefed on the NSA program despite his senior position at Justice during the first two years of its existence”

So the Post is breathlessly touting the criticisms of a former administration official who, “oversaw national security issues at Justice “….and they’re not even sure if he was briefed on one of the most important programs involving national security while he was there. But wait – there’s more:

“Kris refrains from passing final judgment on the government's constitutional argument, however, saying that more facts need to be known to reach a conclusion.”

The Administration’s position?

The terrorist surveillance program is firmly grounded in the President’s constitutional authorities. No other public official – no mayor, no governor, no member of Congress -- is charged by the Constitution with the primary responsibility for protecting the safety of all Americans – and the Constitution gives the President all authority necessary to fulfill this solemn duty.” Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales (01-24-06) (emphasis added)

So, to sum it all up: the Post headlines a story “Ex-Justice Lawyer Rips Case for Spying” and it turns out that the “ex-Justice lawyer” isn’t actually ripping the case the administration is making……Move along folks, nothing to see here.

A high Justice Dept official from 2000-2003. Who appointed him? Clinton. You think he might have been increasingly out of touch with other appointees during the Bush administration and that was why he left?
great point David - I'm embarrassed that I didn't immediately p/u on the start date of his time @ Justice.
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