Months after the Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush secretly authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on Americans and others inside the United States to search for evidence of terrorist activity without the court-approved warrants ordinarily required for domestic spying, according to government officials.
A year ago, at a Quaker Meeting House in Lake Worth, Fla., a small group of activists met to plan a protest of military recruiting at local high schools. What they didn’t know was that their meeting had come to the attention of the U.S. military.
A secret 400-page Defense Department document obtained by NBC News lists the Lake Worth meeting as a “threat” and one of more than 1,500 “suspicious incidents” across the country over a recent 10-month period.
July 2005, Guard unit focus of spying investigation,
The unit has raised concern among peace activists that the Guard is resorting to the same type of civilian monitoring that helped fuel Vietnam War-era protests. During the 1960s and ’70s, the military collected information on more than 100,000 Americans. Such monitoring, while not illegal, would be a departure for the Guard.
… Investigators also are looking into the Guard’s monitoring of a Mother’s Day anti-war demonstration at the state Capitol that was organized by several peace groups. The activities were documented in e-mails originating in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s press office and made public by the newspaper.
Last week, Dunn asked the Guard to preserve any documents related to monitoring of the anti-war rally and the new intelligence unit.
At the same time, computer technicians at the Guard erased the hard drive of a retiring colonel who oversaw the intelligence unit and wrote the e-mail mentioning the “Intell. folks.”
… After learning that the hard drive had been erased, Dunn demanded immediate access for a computer specialist to recover any data, but was rebuffed by the Guard’s top general who said any access would have to be coordinated with Army investigators who launched their own probe Wednesday.
Admiral Poindexter is probably better known for destroying information than for gathering it. Before a congressional investigating committee in 1986, he admitted that, as President Reagan’s national security adviser, he destroyed evidence in connection with the Iran-contra affair.
is brought into the Bush Administration to set up the Information Awareness Office,
Bush’s aides argue that their unrestricted access to this electronic data may help detect terrorists, but the data could prove even more useful in building dossiers on anti-war activists or blackmailing political opponents. Despite assurances that such abuses won’t happen again, the capability will be a huge temptation for Bush, who has made clear his view that anyone not supporting his war on terror is siding with the terrorists.
The State Department has been using political litmus tests to screen private American citizens before they can be sent overseas to represent the United States, weeding out critics of the Bush administration’s Iraq policy, according to department officials and internal e-mails.
OLD GUYS like me REMEMBER what this sort of thing means because we have already lived through it once: COINTELPRO
is an acronym for a series of FBI counterintelligence programs designed to neutralize political dissidents.
… The FBI conducted more than 2000 COINTELPRO operations before the the programs were officially discontinued in April of 1971, after public exposure, in order to “afford additional security to [their] sensitive techniques and operations.”
directed FBI agents to “track, expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize the activities” of these dissident movements and their leaders.
“Neutralize political dissidents.” It DOES happen here. I already lived through it once. Cheney, Rumsfeld … names from the Nixon days… How many MORE signals do you need that “The Party” is organizing to enforce a one-party state?
WATCH YOUR BACKS!!!
Update – I want to emphasize the seriousness of this. I lived through this under Nixon, and this Bush crowd just picks up where Nixon left off. This isn’t the potential for abuse – this is abuse occurring. Collecting the data is a real warning sign that they might USE the data they are collecting. The Bush Administration routinely looks up the party affiliation and political views & donations of people before deciding how to deal with them. And now we learn that they have the agencies of the government listening in on phone calls, emails, etc. and keeping databases of people attending anti-war events. If you value your freedom you will be demanding that the Congress … wait, the Congress is Republican and refuses to do anything about Bush abuses. Well then you’ll be demanding that the Justice Department … wait … the Justice Department is Republican and refuses to … You will be demanding that the Courts … wait, the courts… You will be demanding that the media wake up the public to the danger we face.