Friday, March 14, 2008

The FBI Doesn't Know The Law

Perhaps they were told it would not be necessary to know the law during this administration since no one really knows what the law is except the preznit, who more or less makes it up as he goes along by doing as he damn well pleases until he gets caught, then he blackmails congress to change the law so he remains unimpeachable, unindictable, whatever.

Every congressional act is met with a signing statement in which the business C-student in the W.H. tells congress how he interprets the law and how it doesn't apply to him any way because he is the commander-in-chief (der furher) and the executive is unitary and congress is urinary or some such babble

Do we not have the Supremes anymore? Don't they decide what's constitutional and what isn't. That's not the preznit's job, is it? If so, why do we even have a congress? Why are we paying all those nitwits on the Hill when we can just pay one nitwit in the White House.

Can't see why we need Vice either. He doesn't even know what branch of government he is in. That could be because all the people in his office have been working hard to make sure there are no branches of government. It's understandable that he is unfamiliar with them.

How many days has it been since we've seen the old beast anyway. Not since he has his batteries replaced, me thinks. Actually, I hear that he has been slithering about the country raising big bucks for various and sundry Rethugs who are up for re-election. It's easy for him to raise money for life's losers. He just carries his gun with him.

F.B.I. Made ‘Blanket’ Demands for Phone Records

WASHINGTON — Senior officials of the Federal Bureau of Investigation repeatedly approved the use of “blanket” records demands to justify the improper collection of thousands of phone records, according to officials briefed on the practice.

The bureau appears to have used the blanket records demands at least 11 times in 2006 alone as a quick way to clean up mistakes made over several years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, according to a letter provided to Congress by a lawyer for an F.B.I. agent who witnessed the missteps.

The F.B.I. has come under fire for its use of so-called national security letters to inappropriately gather records on Americans in terrorism investigations, but details have not previously been disclosed about its use of “blanket” warrants, a one-step operation used to justify the collection of hundreds of phone and e-mail records at a time.

Under the USA Patriot Act, the F.B.I. received broadened authority to issue the national security letters on its own authority — without the approval of a judge — to gather records like phone bills or e-mail transactions that might be considered relevant to a particular terrorism investigation. The Justice Department inspector general found in March 2007 that the F.B.I. had routinely violated the standards for using the letters and that officials often cited “exigent” or emergency situations that did not really exist in issuing them to phone providers and other private companies.

In an updated report due out on Thursday, the inspector general is expected to report that the violations continued through 2006, when the F.B.I. instituted new internal procedures.

The inspector general’s ongoing investigation is also said to be focusing on the F.B.I.’s use of the blanket letters as a way of justifying the collection of large amounts of records at one time. F.B.I. officials acknowledged the problem Wednesday, calling it inadvertent, and said officials had been instructed that they could no longer issue blanket orders. Instead, officials have to determine why particular records are considered relevant.

One has to wonder how many Americans are really al Qaeda agents. I wouldn't have thought there were all that many. Geeze Louise, admittedly we Americans have been playing kinda fast and loose with our sanity for some time, but al Qaeda agents by the hundreds, perhaps thousands. Can anyone really believe that?

If not, whom, pray tell, is the FBI really looking at and why?

A letter sent last week to Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, provides new details on the F.B.I.’s use of the national security letters, including the practice of issuing the blanket demands.

A copy of the letter was provided to The Times. It was written by Stephen M. Kohn, a Washington lawyer representing Bassem Youssef, an F.B.I. agent who reported what he thought were abuses in the use of national security letters and was interviewed for three days by the inspector general. In a separate matter, Mr. Youssef is suing the F.B.I. in a discrimination claim.

Mr. Grassley said Wednesday that he was concerned by the issues raised in Mr. Kohn’s letter.

“In the past, the F.B.I. has shown a propensity to act as if it were above the law,” he said. “That attitude clearly needs to stop. Part of the way we can help the F.B.I. clean up its act is to pay close attention to information from whistle-blowers like Bassem Youssef. We need aggressive follow-up from the inspector general to ensure accountability and reform.”

Oh really, Mr Grassley. I'm sure that Sibel Edmonds and others will be glad to hear of your new found appreciation for whistle-blowers. There are so many of them now, they've had to form their own support group, but no one on the Hill has seemed the least bit interested in hearing from them. I'm sure they wait with baited breath to hear from you.

By 2006, F.B.I. officials began learning that the bureau had issued thousands of “exigent” or emergency records demands to phone providers in situations where no life-threatening emergency existed, according to the account of Mr. Youssef, who worked with the phone companies in collecting records in terrorism investigations. In these situations, the F.B.I. had promised the private companies that the emergency records demands would be followed up with formal subpoenas or properly processed letters, but often, the follow-up material never came.

This created a backlog of records that the F.B.I. had obtained without going through proper procedures. In response, the letter said, the F.B.I. devised a plan: rather than issuing national security letters retroactively for each individual investigation, it would issue the blanket letters to cover all the records obtained from a particular phone company.

“When Mr. Youssef was first informed of this concept, he was very uncomfortable with it,” his lawyer, Mr. Kohn, said in his letter to Senator Grassley. But the plan was ultimately approved in 2006 by three senior officials at highest levels of the F.B.I., and in the process, Mr. Kohn maintains, the solution may have worsened the problem.

“They made a mistake in cleaning up a mistake,” Mr. Kohn said, “because they didn’t know the law.”

We are really in deep do-do in America when three TOP senior officials at the highest levels of the FBI don't know the damn law, at least well enough to cover-up after having broken the damn law. My head may expolde any minute.

An F.B.I. official who asked for anonymity because the inspector general is still examining the blanket warrant issue said the practice was “an attempt to fix a problem.”

“This was ham-handed but pure of heart,” the official said. “This was nothing evil, but it was not the right way to do it.”

Oh ferChrissake, if it wasn't all those things, except the pure of heart part which doesn't even fit in that sentence, this bozo wouldn't be running around saying that it wasn't. Since when do Americans officials have to constantly tell us that they aren't doing evil things and that they aren't evil?

Uh...well, maybe for the last 7 years?

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The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

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