Our Highest Law Enforcement Officials are Criminals: Crime Blotter: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
While serving as President Bush’s White House lawyer, Alberto Gonzales advised Bush that the president’s war time powers permitted Bush to ignore the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and to use the National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on US citizens without obtaining warrants from the FISA court as required by law. Under an order signed by Bush in 2002, NSA illegally spied on Americans without warrants.
By spying on Americans without obtaining warrants, Bush committed felonies under FISA. Moreover, there is strong, indeed overwhelming, evidence that justice was obstructed when Bush and Gonzales blocked a 2006 Justice Department investigation into whether Gonzales acted properly as Attorney General in approving and overseeing the Bush administration’s program of spying on US citizens. Also at issue is whether Gonzales acted properly in advising Bush to kill an investigation of Gonzales’ professional actions with regard to the NSA spy program.
We are faced with the almost certain fact that the two highest law enforcement officials of the United States are criminals.
The evidence that Bush and Gonzales have obstructed justice comes from internal Justice Department memos and exchanges of letters between the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), an investigative office, and members of Congress. The documents were leaked to the National Journal, and the story was reported in the March 15, 2007, issue by Murray Waas, who also relied on interviews with both current and former high ranking DOJ officials. Ten months previously on May 25, 2006, Waas broke the story in the National Journal about the derailing of the OPR investigation.
From Waas’s report it is obvious that many current and former Justice Department officials have serious concerns about the high-handed behavior of the Bush administration. The incriminating documents were leaked to the National Journal, the only remaining national publication that has any credibility. The New York Times and Washington Post have proven to be supine tools of the Bush administration and are no longer trusted.
When the Bush administration’s violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was leaked to the New York Times, the paper’s editors obliged Bush by spiking the story for one year, while Bush illegally collected information that he could use to blackmail his critics into silence. As I wrote at the time, the only possible reason for violating FISA is to collect information that can be used to silence critics. The administration’s claim that bypassing FISA was essential to the “war on terror” is totally false and is a justification and practice that the Bush administration, no longer able to defend, abandoned in January of this year.
Read the rest here.