Bush Acknowledges Approving Eavesdropping

In his weekly radio address, President Bush acknowledged that he had ordered the NSA to conduct domestic eavesdropping against terrorist suspects.

Bush Acknowledges Approving Eavesdropping

President Bush said Saturday he has no intention of stopping his personal authorizations of a post-Sept. 11 secret eavesdropping program in the U.S., lashing out at those involved in revealing it while defending it as crucial to preventing future attacks. “This is a highly classified program that is crucial to our national security,” he said in a radio address delivered live from the White House’s Roosevelt Room. “This authorization is a vital tool in our war against the terrorists. It is critical to saving American lives. The American people expect me to do everything in my power, under our laws and Constitution, to protect them and their civil liberties and that is exactly what I will continue to do as long as I am president of the United States,” Bush said.


Bush said the program was narrowly designed and used “consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution.” He said it is used only to intercept the international communications of people inside the United States who have been determined to have “a clear link” to al-Qaida or related terrorist organizations. The program is reviewed every 45 days, using fresh threat assessments, legal reviews by the Justice Department, White House counsel and others, and information from previous activities under the program, the president said.

Without identifying specific lawmakers, Bush said congressional leaders have been briefed more than a dozen times on the program’s activities. The president also said the intelligence officials involved in the monitoring receive extensive training to make sure civil liberties are not violated.

Appearing angry at points during his eight-minute address, Bush said he had reauthorized the program more than 30 times since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and plans to continue doing so. “I intend to do so for as long as our nation faces a continuing threat from al-Qaida and related groups,” he said. The president contended the program has helped “detect and prevent possible terrorist attacks in the U.S. and abroad,” but did not provide specific examples. He said it is designed in part to fix problems raised by the Sept. 11 commission, which found that two of the suicide hijackers were communicating from San Diego with al-Qaida operatives overseas. “The activities I have authorized make it more likely that killers like these 9-11 hijackers will be identified and located in time,” he said.


The president had harsh words for those who talked about the program to the media, saying their actions were illegal and improper. “As a result, our enemies have learned information they should not have,” he said. “The unauthorized disclosure of this effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk.”

If it hasn’t already begun, an investigation into the identity of the leakers should commence immediately. Since the Times acknowledged the story was revealed to the White House a year ago but held it for national security reasons, one wonders whether that has already occured. The penalty for intentionally leaking classified information to the press should be severe.

Update: Former Maine Senator and Clinton SECDEF William Cohen, writing five days before the 9/11 attacks, warned:

The romantic notion that most leakers are earnest civil servants driven by conscience is touchingly naive. Most, in fact, are midlevel career or political appointees seeking bureaucratic advantage in the daily battles over making and implementing government decisions. Most other leaks come from a small number of career staff people seeking to undermine the policies of their political superiors, who have been duly elected or appointed but whom the leakers view as temporary interlopers in government. So much for leakers upholding the temple of democracy.


Today, leakers can be subject to both administrative and criminal penalties. They can be fired, have their security clearances removed and be disciplined in other ways. Existing federal criminal law states that whoever has “information relating to the national defense” and has “reason to believe it could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation” and “willfully” transmits that information to “any person not entitled to receive it” shall be fined or imprisoned for up to 10 years. The term “national defense” has been broadly defined by the courts, and “advantage” to a foreign nation need not be disadvantageous to the United States. The courts have ruled that this provision does not apply narrowly to “spying” but to disclosure to anyone not entitled to receive the information — including reporters.


Still, I believe that stricter laws may be necessary. Some types of classified information, like United States trade negotiating positions, might not be considered “information relating to the national defense” but also need to be strongly protected.

Rep. Pete Hoekstra, Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, argued this past July:

[T]here is no comprehensive statute that provides criminal penalties for the unauthorized disclosure of classified information regardless of the type of information or the recipient involved. As a result, the Department of Justice is left with a “patchwork†of statutes to go after those who leak.


[T]he fact that leaks continue is evidence that people in the intelligence community are not being properly educated on the importance of protecting our secrets. The community, upon direction from the DNI, should implement a community-wide campaign to educate individuals about their legal obligations and possible penalties for failing to safeguard intelligence information.

In addition, we need to give the Department of Justice all the tools it needs to identify and prosecute individuals who deliberately share classified intelligence. The time has come for a comprehensive law that will make it easier for the government to prosecute wrongdoers and increase the penalties, which hopefully will act as a deterrent for people thinking about disclosing information.

In the coming months, I intend to hold a round of hearings on this issue and invite key officials from Justice, CIA and the Defense Department, among others, to testify on ways the Intelligence Community can do more to prevent leaks.

We need to resolve this matter quickly.


Previously at OTB:

FILED UNDER: Congress, Democracy, Uncategorized, US Constitution, , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Malachi says:

    The president had harsh words for those who talked about the program to the media, saying their actions were illegal and improper. “As a result, our enemies have learned information they should not have,” he said. “The unauthorized disclosure of this effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk.”

    This is the biggest crock since the issue here is that he was tapping Americans’ communications without a warrant. He already had the ability to tap communications legally if he obtained a FISA court warrant.

    The FISA court is secretive and supplicant to the executive’s wishes–the fact that the “terrorists” now know that Bush is actively skirting the law on spying on Americans is not likely going to have any operational affect on “evildoers.”

  2. James Joyner says:

    Malachi: That’s not a call bureaucrats get to make. Divulging classified information to those without a right to know, especially something this sensitive, is dangerous. There are plenty of venues for them to complain to authorized individuals if they think they are being asked to do something illegal. “Senior officials” can certainly go to Congressional oversight committees in such cases.

  3. Bithead says:

    Agreement, James.
    Further, as you rightly point out, based on the information now out, Bush was acting within the confines of the law.

    As I said at my own place this morning:

    After years of watching Bill Clinton acting outside the law, I can see where a President actually DOING his job, and within the law at that, would be such a shock to the systems of Democrats.

    Apparently, facts don’t matter when Democrats try to create a scandal…

  4. Bithead says:


    Can it be the REASON they didn’t go through channels is that they knew such complaints would get shot down simply because the actions by Bush ad Company WERE in fact, legal.. and that therefore the only way to get any milage out of the info at all was to spring it at some point a year down the road, when they needed to bring Mr. Bush down a notch? Like say, for example, on the very day when Iraqis were out voting and proving Mr. Bush’s Iraq policy the correct one? Does a nifty job of pushing a Bush victory off the front pages of the Times, now, didn’t it?

  5. Herb says:


    You are right on target, except where democrats are concerned, the only laws they abide by are the ones that score them political points or make them look good in the media.

    When it comes to breaking the law, Clinton was their hero. And, don’t forget teddy and mary Ann at the bridge as well at their attempt (Mayor Daley) to steal the election for Gore in 2000.

  6. anjin-san says:

    “If you are not doing anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about”.

    Agents’ visit chills UMass Dartmouth senior
    By AARON NICODEMUS, Standard-Times staff writer

    NEW BEDFORD — A senior at UMass Dartmouth was visited by federal agents two months ago, after he requested a copy of Mao Tse-Tung’s tome on Communism called “The Little Red Book.”
    Two history professors at UMass Dartmouth, Brian Glyn Williams and Robert Pontbriand, said the student told them he requested the book through the UMass Dartmouth library’s interlibrary loan program.
    The student, who was completing a research paper on Communism for Professor Pontbriand’s class on fascism and totalitarianism, filled out a form for the request, leaving his name, address, phone number and Social Security number. He was later visited at his parents’ home in New Bedford by two agents of the Department of Homeland Security, the professors said.
    The professors said the student was told by the agents that the book is on a “watch list,” and that his background, which included significant time abroad, triggered them to investigate the student further.


    Welcome to the future… Big Brother is Watching You.

  7. jackmac says:

    What Bush has admitted to doing — approving illegal eavesdropping on American citizens — is an impeachable offense.

  8. Herb says:


    Do you mean to tell us that you beieve that liberal press story coming from a northeast liberal school, But, So What?

    The Dept of Homeland Securty was doing thier job and checking out for “Possible” links to a terrorist individual (s).

    I for one am happy that their are on the ball and watching out for you, me and every American.

    You should be thankful they are doing the job for us. But, you would complain the loudest if they were not doing their jobs.

    Like I have said before, YOU ARE JUST NEGATIVE.


    You don’t have a clue about what you’re talking about. Bush NEVER said he was evesdroping on Americans.

  9. anjin-san says:

    Suddenly the administration is all about stopping leaks. Funny they did not feel so strongly about the Plume leakers…

  10. Roger G says:

    bithead, you are wrong, it is NOT legal.

    The law governing clandestine surveillance in the United States, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, prohibits conducting electronic surveillance not authorized by statute. A government agent can try to avoid prosecution if he can show he was “engaged in the course of his official duties and the electronic surveillance was authorized by and conducted pursuant to a search warrant or court order of a court of competent jurisdiction,” according to the law.

    The president is NOT above the law. You cheerleaders are a scary lot. I suppose living under the rule of a dictator who makes up the rules as he goes along is okay with you. And before you start calling me a democrat, I’m a republican who voted for Bush, who has been sorry ever since he was put in office by a court ruling. Winning is one thing, cheating is not how I want to win. If I could take my vote back I would. He’s not fit to run a country. We used to be the greatest nation in the world, but that’s changing under this moron of a president.

  11. Jim Rhoads (vnjagvet) says:

    I am afraid Roger G has acquired a case of BSD.

    First, a citation to a provision in FISA does not begin to constitute a legitimate legal analysis.

    In the days and weeks ahead, this will become evident.

    Here’s a clue: A Commander In Chief in time of war (surely the what the President was when this practice started shortly after 9/11/01) has powers under the Constitution which have been implemented by Congressional action. Those powers must be considered in the interpretation of FISA in its entirety.

    RG’s snarky ad hominem attacks on the President are not a substitute for dispassionate legal analysis.

  12. andrew says:

    For the record it is not only Democtrats, many Republicans are also concerned. This is a definitely a slippery slope issue and seems to indicate US citizens may have been spied on without warrant.

    When the class “Democrats” is demonized and accused of dishonesty without exception I know I am around people who don’t understand the traditions of this country, just as I know the same around people who make similar blanket accusations about Republicans.
    I suggest this type go some place were those who disagree are the “enemy” not fellow participants in the political process. This incidently is most of the world and you disgust me that you would bring it here.

    The matter of leaks is a complicated matter. I can agree that such leaks should be investigated and that laws enforced. However the fact that some individual violated one level of trust does not mean that in some cases that person did not fulfill another. This is an important issue, dealt with in the constitution and we can’t have the bill of rights undermined secretly.

    Like secret CIA prisons it is an issue of national interest which does not mean the leakers should not be punished, but like much of reality is contradictory.

    I have found the right in it’s desire to avoid responsibility seeks to find one flaw to avoid examaination. A deplorable example was when they attempted to shift public debate following a soldiers question to Rumsfeld about armor to whether or not the question was planted by the press.

    These depiscable individuals did not say this was an imortant, but secondary question, that the real issue remained whether there was a real problem (yes!) and whether it could be solved (yes, the plant which produced the armor had significant free capacity, it was budget capacities.)

    Instead they thought it better that troops should die than that the administration should be found in any flaw.

    If these taps were wrong then the problem needs to be addressed. The morality of the leaker may be important, but it is secondary.

  13. Herb says:

    When this shows up in the courts, and it surely will, and the President is found to have acted in accordance with the laws and the Constitution, will all of you, who are preaching about Bush violating the law, going to say it here in public that you were wgong ? I strongly doubt it. Most of those who are spewing your hate here against Bush is just that, a hatred for Bush and nothing more, I will bet that not one of you will EVER admit that Bush was right and you were wrong. To you “haters” out there who are “experts” in nothing, just wait and see. And all of you who are so quick to “convict” Bush for the evesdroping and profess to be such law oriented Americans that jeliously guard the rule of law, I thought that one is “Innocent untill proven guilty”. You naysayers have already convicted Bush and the case has yet to come to court. That gentleman is HATE in its worst form.

  14. jim says:

    The worst thing about this, is that the US Gov’t is now spying on US citizens who AREN’T EVEN SUSPECTED OF **INTENDING** TO COMMIT CRIMES.

    A president has some latitude in wartime – even in a war which he has declared, and which has been described by him and his staff as being long, possibly even generational in length.

    But that latitude stops when it reaches into invading the privacy of those whose only offense is to oppose the president politically. Do you understand? We’re not talking about terrorists. Or even suspected terrorists. We’re talking about US Citizens who’s ONLY CRIME is opposing Bush’s policies.

    I honestly don’t understand why this blatant abuse of power doesn’t scare the crap out of you.

    Every day of this administration brings another egregious violation of the spirit of the Constituion, and another weasel-worded Clintonian legalistic evasion by the same administration.

    Listen, Bush fooled a lot of people. He came across as very sincere, and he took advantage of a lot of people’s willingness to give a leader the benefit of the doubt in time of war. I understand that it’s hard to admit that you might have been wrong.

    But aren’t you getting tired of making excuses for these people?

  15. Roger G says:

    § 1805. Issuance of order
    (a) Necessary findings
    Upon an application made pursuant to section 1804 of this title, the judge shall enter an ex parte order as requested or as modified approving the electronic surveillance if he finds that—
    (1) the President has authorized the Attorney General to approve applications for electronic surveillance for foreign intelligence information;
    (2) the application has been made by a Federal officer and approved by the Attorney General;
    (3) on the basis of the facts submitted by the applicant there is probable cause to believe that—
    (A) the target of the electronic surveillance is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power: Provided, That no United States person may be considered a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power solely upon the basis of activities protected by the first amendment to the Constitution of the United States; and
    (B) each of the facilities or places at which the electronic surveillance is directed is being used, or is about to be used, by a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power;

  16. Roger G says:

    And another point, if Bush had a legal standing, which he does NOT, don’t you think he would’ve used that as an immediate explanation (defense)? Instead he chose to do his usual “no comment” and hid from the issue. Then he has the gall to come out and say, I did it, so what? I’m going to keep doing it. He offered no solid justification, just the usual rhetoric that, frankly, is old and worn. The people we need protection from are in the White House.

    Great points, jim. I wonder the same thing, daily. The man has lied endlessly, yet he gets a pass at every turn. I guarantee that their favorite ounching boy, Clinton, would never have gotten away ANY of what Bush has.

    Reminder of how Bush feels about the constitution:
    “Stop throwing the Constitution in my face,” Bush screamed back. “It’s just a ********* piece of paper!”
    Hail to the chief

  17. Herb says:


    If you are so sure that “Bush spyed on US Citizens that aren’t even suspected of intending to commit crimes” then you must be privy to infoemation that is CLASSIFIED.

    That being the case and you in fact do have such information and are revealing that information here in public, then JIM, you are guilty of revealing classified information and need to be prosecuted for violating the law.

    It is amaizing to me that guys like you have Bush tried and convicted without benefit of a trial in a court and yet you profess to be such Good, Loyal, and Upstanding Americans, that stand by and defend the Constitution and make sure that it is not violated, and yet are so willing to sidestep the constitution when it is convenient to you by not insuring that “Everyone is innocent untill proven guilty in a court of law” What Hypocrytes you are.

    Guys like you are not only sickening but also Very Dangerous

  18. Herb says:

    Rodger G

    My comment to Jim goes for you to.

  19. jim says:

    Herb, have you read the article that started this all?

    And I quote:

    “While many details about the program remain secret, officials familiar with it said the N.S.A. eavesdropped without warrants on up to 500 people in the United States at any given time. …But they said most people targeted for N.S.A. monitoring have never been charged with a crime.”

    “Mr. Bush’s executive order allowing some warrantless eavesdropping on those inside the United States ­ including American citizens, permanent legal residents, tourists and other foreigners…”

    “Several national security officials say the powers granted the N.S.A. by President Bush go far beyond the expanded counterterrorism powers granted by Congress under the USA Patriot Act, which is up for renewal. ”

    I’m not privy to classified information; I don’t need to be. It’s there in black and white. Read it for yourself.

    And, by the way, if you actually want to prosecute for disseminating classified info, good. Let’s start with the first people in the docket – Rove, Cheney, Libby.

    As for “innocent until proven guilty” – that comes into play once someone’s been charged. Bush hasn’t been charged yet. Evidence shows Bush has done something bad. Let’s prove him guilty or innocent, then – let’s put him up on charges.

    I promise you that if he is brought up on charges, I will refrain from shouting his guilt until he is through a fair trial. But until he goes to trial, I am going to keep pointing out how guilty, guilty, GUILTY the **evidence** indicates he is.

    And this is only the evidence we know about.

    I sincerely doubt you gave Clinton such a pass.

    I’m sorry to hear that my pursuit of accountability “sickens” you. I thought that Republicans and conservatives were all about accountability. Why do you continue to even take a hard, dispassionate, objective look at this administration?

    They are making all of you true-believing Republicans and conservatives look like hypocrites and fools. You have to know this, and it has to hurt.

  20. Adam says:

    No thoughtful discussion from fellow Republicans on why this is bad or good, with give and take?

    Nope, on one side you have those who are fixated like a laser on those criminal ‘leakers’ who are ruining our country and our perfect presidency.

    On the other hand you have those who are being handed all the ammunition they need that something is rotten in Denmark.

    Don’t throw out your brains with your knee jerk politics. Don’t become fixated on the technicalities here. Think about what has happened and think about how you would feel of Democrats were in power in all three branches and were doing the same.

    I personally would be FURIOUS, much like I am now.

  21. Herb says:


    Your first mistake is taking for fact something you have read in a newspaper, let alone the NYT. You democrats have a habit of taking anything pertaining to Bush as total fact without knowing if it is true or not. The NYT is known to be a left wing tool of the democrats and goes after Bush at the least little thing he does. It is sad thay you choose to believe such tripe printed in such a rag.

    As for evidence, you don’t have a darned thing except what was in the NYT and the is very suspect. If you do have hard evidence, then produce it here and now.

    Bush stated today that he has only used this program about thirty times. Thats a far cry from the 500 times you ststed as fact from the NYT. Lets see the NYT produce such evidence. In fact, why don’t you contact the NYT and ask them for the 500 times evidence.

    Just why are so fired up on this issue that you blame Bush for a violation of the Constitution when it has yet to be established that the Constitution or any law was violated. Have you been evesdropped on? did the NSA hear one of your conversations and go after you for something you sais, did the NSA find out something out about that directly affected your life or lifestyle. I doubt it.

    You are one of many here today that profess to be such good and loyal americans and yet to darned dumb to know when someone is doing everything possible to protect you and your family. I gather you have no appreciation for something or someone who is doing their level best for you. That is Sad indeed.

    As far as hurting Jim, it seems to me that you are the one hurting fron the beating you took in 2000 and 2004 and have yet to get over it.

    You see JIm, you are like an open book, you tell on yourself by you anti Bush and anti Republican comments here on OTB. Hatred only leads to self destruction and you are on your way.

  22. bryan says:

    When this shows up in the courts, and it surely will, and the President is found to have acted in accordance with the laws and the Constitution, will all of you, who are preaching about Bush violating the law, going to say it here in public that you were wgong ?

    I hope they are wrong, but this is an IDIOT move.

  23. Roger G says:

    Dangerous, Herb? It’s people like you who walk around blind to what is happening to this country that are the dangergous ones. You won’t be happy until we’re living in a police state, and at the rate we’re going, ignoring the Constitution, trampling on civil liberties, we’re not far from it. Bush is the most dangerous to democracy, ever. I’m sure after he’s impeached, ah yes, this is an impeachable crime, you’ll still be touting he’s innocent.
    Get a clue. It IS in black and white. He broke the law. Of course, you’ll only find the answer, the proof he broke the law, if you bother to look.

  24. G says:

    The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either.

    Benjamin Franklin

  25. pcqst says:

    No true conservative could approve the executive’s arrogant disregard of the law.

  26. Devil's Advocate says:

    The Bush Administration is obviously a dictatorship. How long will it take until they lock up domestic political opponents, torture them, disappear them, and drop their bodies out of airplanes into the sea? Not very long at the rate they are going.

    The U.S. is now like Argentina under the military junta or Chile under Pinochet.

    I suppose that it is what you, right-wingers, have been wanting all along. You people do not believe in democracy. You believe in a totalitarian regime. You are as bad as the Communists you so decried.

  27. Devil's Advocate says:

    Bush and his cohorts are Nazis. His supporters are the SS.

    The U.S. is no longer a democracy. It is a fascist regime.

    What is next, rightnutters, pogroms? Blame the Liberals in general, and the Jews in particular, for everything that is wrong in this country?

    What emblem are you going to make us liberals wear? A Star of David? A pink triangle? Or a note indicating that we are liberals?

    I am sure you are already thinking about concentration camps where you can gas us all, collect our gold fillings, and use our skin for lampshades.

    I am so glad that you, rightnutters, are such great Christians. So were the Nazis.

  28. Adam says:

    “The NYT is known to be a left wing tool of the democrats and goes after Bush at the least little thing he does.”

    This sentiment sums up the growing disconnect between the majority of Americans and the core of the Republican party. This is a serious issue. What will it take to piss you off about this president? Will he have to kill some people?

    Does being conservative now mean we have to just chuck out our personal liberties because it’s a Republican controlled government that spawned this crisis and the Democrats might benefit from it?

  29. Jim Rhoads (vnjagvet) says:


    Tough Saturday, huh?

    I have been conniving all day to get a few fillings. But I draw the line at your skin for lampshades in my house.

    I would be afraid the tatoos would be visible.

    You need a few tranquilizers or maybe some soma
    to get through the next few years.

  30. trx says:

    A Commander In Chief in time of war

    WE AREN’T IN A LEGAL WAR. Congress never approved of any war thus far. That makes both the Iraq war and this eavesdropping business highly illegal. The “war on terror” is not a conventional war and does not follow the legal definition of “war.”

    I can’t believe people support this level of attack on our constitution and democracy. Fuck Karl Rove and his linguistic sophistry.

    This is not a liberal vs. conservative, right vs. left, democrat vs. republican issue. This is We The People vs. the White House doublespeak.

    Fighting terrorism… please. I’m vastly more afraid of what our government is doing to us and foreign nations than what a tiny tiny group of thugs is doing.

    Perspective people. 3k people (not “Americans”, but people.. as in “all people are created equal”) died on 9/11. Tragic. But that is 0.001% of the US population. Bush admitted the war in Iraq killed “about” 30k people. That is 0.125% of the Iraq population. That’s not even going into the low estimate of 500k who died from sanctions or the death from the first Iraq war. Of course, counting death by statistics is morbid. One death is tragic enough. But the point is, this is terrorism. Shock and Awe, etc. etc.

    Wake up and realize the fascism that has a grip on America. Wake up and realize the religious fundamentalism that surrounds the White House. Our commander in chief is waging a war in Iraq because God told him to do so. You can’t get much closer to being on a crusade unless the president was the pope.

  31. trx says:

    Oh yeah, I’d like to clarify my “crusade” comment above.

    Not trying to imply that his actual intention is what the crusaders of long ago were doing, which I imagine was spreading Christianity (or trying to).

    What other people see is a Jewish and Christian crusade and they have every reason to believe such a thing.

    Many of the neo-conservatives are Israel nationalists. Richard Perle in 1996 worked with fellow neo-cons for the Israeli government. They were creating a roadmap for Israel. This roadmap happened to coincide with the work that other neo-cons later did for Project for a New American Century.

    Is it a coincidince that Saddam fired SCUD missles at Israel and now we take him out? Are we systematically taking out enemies of Israel? It could easily be construed that way. I think the argument could easily be made for such a thing. We demand Iran to NOT create nuclear weapons while totally ignoring the fact that Israel has had nuclear weapons for a long long time. Rumsfeld, etc. warn us about this “Islamofascism” and the dangers of a Islamic caliphate, which is Islamic fundamentalism. But he never mentions the dangers of Zionism, or Jewish fundamentalism. Why?

    Has anyone noticed the political-incorrectness “feel” of criticising Zionism and Israel? It’s called “fascism.” Where is the warning about Jedeofascism? Is America’s fascism (and yes, we DO have fascism… “you’re either with us, or with the terrorists”) a type of Jewish fascism? Or is it more of a corporate/Christian/Jewish mix? I think the latter.

    Back to the “you’re either with us or against us” Bushism. This is getting long, so I’ll try to be brief. The term “al Qaeda” is a name the West calls the organization that Osama bin Laden and a few others were under. When these people were in Afghanistan, they were fighting for independence from the Soviets. That, and they all had similar beliefs about Islam. The problem here is that when Bush classifies these people as “terrorists” and wages a war against them, well to THEM they are just people of Islamic faith. In other words, there is no grand hierarchy or order to which they subscribe. What they see is a “War on Islam.” What we see is Islamic fundamentalism and, to a select paranoid few, Islamic fascism. We then throw these people under the Hollywood stereotype of “terrorist” to place them beneath us. As if their acts are not acts of war, but insane animals. “Some people are more equal than others”… Orwell’s Animal Farm.

    Here’s the problem. There is no such thing as Islamic fascism because there is no hierarchy of order. There is no structure for a campaign of disinformation to take place, which is a prerequisite for fascism. Look as hard as you possibly can at the actions and words of these so-called “Islamofascists.” You will not see speech that does not align with actions, that is commonplace of fascism. In America it is common for a politician to say one thing and do something entirely opposite. Bush does this all the time. This is fascism. Bush literally said a variation of Orwell’s 1984 “War is Peace.” Not making this up.

    An American politician once admitted that America would see fascism, but it would not be called fascism. It would be looked upon as “anti-fascism.” This is precisely the situation today, when Rumsfeld, etc. warn us about “Islamofascism” and this global Islamic empire conspiracy–with giving NO proof of such a thing.

    It’s insane to think that an oppressive Islamic empire will form out of the desert with NO industry to back it. No means of producing weapons. No means of providing food to the thousands of troops needed for this oppressive regime they warn us against. Not to mention the fact that an Islamic caliphate is diametrically opposed in nature to the concept of an “empire.”

  32. jim says:

    Herb – really. Take a deep breath, and think this through.

    Do you think that if the NY Times article was all a lie, with no truth to it, the Bush administration wouldn’t just *say* so? Wouldn’t they just *love* to catch a “liberal” media institution like the Times in a lie?

    How much worse does the Bush administration look, instead, by trying to downplay what they’ve done? If the NY Times was lying or wrong, the Bush administration would be shouting that from the freakin’ rooftops!!

    You aren’t the only person who wanted to believe in someone, who was sold out. Bush has the best and brightest con men in the country working for him. There’s no shame in admitting you were swindled. Let’s just move forward from here, and not trust *anyone* in power, Democrat or Republican. OK?

  33. Herb says:


    And, All of the other naysayer Bush haters:

    As I learn more about the NYT story and the writer of the story, James Risen, I become more and more outraged.

    Just who in the hell does Risen and the NYT think they are, GOD.?

    They have revealed classified information to the Terrorists and put American lives in danger. They put the lives of my family as well as your families in danger by their wanton greed to sell more newspapers and promote a book that will make Risen a hell of a lot of money.

    The NYT and Risen’s greed has put this entire nation in more danger today that is was in last week.

    Freedom of the Press? Bull****. that right should be abolished during a time of war. And I don’t give a damn who likes that or not. The fact is simply this, The NYT and Risen has put their selfish, greedy selves ahead of our nations securty.

    If that plain hard fact alone does not make you outraged, then you are doomed suffer what happened on 9/11 again until you get smart.

    To all you naysayers and Bush haters, I remember the Vietnam War and the media and misfits parades and marchs only to well. Their actions prolonged that war and it cost several thousand lives. The blood of those troops who died are on the hands of those who marched and discredited our country.

    Likewise, you who are in agreement with the publishing of classified information that proveded aid to our enemy, The blood of many of our troops and citizen will be on your hands for your support of the NYT, Risen and their greed and lust for a buck.

    I ask each of you, Are you ready to accept the responsibility for the deaths of the Americans who will surely die as a result of your blind hate for Bush?

  34. Devil's Advocate says:


    Tatoos? How declasse! We liberals leave bad taste to you, rightnutters.

    You need to get off your Kool-Aid addiction. It obviously impairs your brain, as well as your hearing and sight.

    Bush and his evil cohorts are Nazis. There will be a Nuremberg for them too once this country wakes up from the Bush-Cheney nightmare.

  35. hello says:


    This is not “leaking”, this is “whistleblowing”.

  36. DaveD says:

    The New York Times is desperate in their attempts to mimic a Washington Post-like Watergate-type of revelation that will bring down the Bush administration. The delay in reporting this I’m sure is partly related to wanting all credible disaffected sources in hand before breaking the story. However, now that the cover has been blown off of this operation I hope Congressional hearings can determine exactly what the administration had on those individuals under surveillance that made them targets of spying. Did they have legitimate connections to potential terrorist activities or were they just buying the Koran at the local Borders Book Store? The justifications for spying will certainly have significant implications for Congress’ future approval of the Patriot Act as the President wishes to see it. I am sure this is another reason why the NYT chose to break the story now. I would advocate that the hearings be conducted behind closed doors so that names of targets are not subject to public disclosure. It would piss off the NYT but I think secrecy should be maintained until it is determined that the law was indeed broken. That being said, I am trying to decide in my mind how this incident of inappropriate spying differs from Hoover’s FBI run amok.

  37. Adam says:

    “Just who in the hell does Risen and the NYT think they are, GOD.?”

    I think that question is better asked of Bush and company in light of their actions.

    “Freedom of the Press? Bull****. that right should be abolished during a time of war. And I don’t give a damn who likes that or not.”

    Just ask yourself what would Thomas Jefferson and other founding fathers think of your statement above? Is it more important to keep the unconstitutional and possbily illegal actions of an administration secret or is it better to have a check and balance with a free press (especially when one party controls all three branches of the government)? I suspect you already know the answer to that question.

  38. James Joyner says:

    Hello: There are numerous legitimate mechanisms for whistleblowers to get their views known. That’s even more true of senior officials. Going to the press with Codeword classified material is not among them.

  39. Bithead says:

    What’s really frightening is the number of people who apparently can read what’s set in from them.

    In this case, I refer to the relevant laws in question. What Mr. Bush and company did was not only illegal but it was the right thing to do.

    And by the way I’d say that about Bill Clinton doing the same thing, had he done so. matter of fact, I wish he had, because if he had, 9/11 wouldn’t have happened.

    it is amusing and I think instructive to note the numbers of people who are suddenly civil liberties experts. in the largest of measures these are the very same people who were happily removing rights in the name of ‘equality’, and ‘multi- culturalism’, and ‘safety’ and of course… ‘for the children’.

  40. The Raven says:

    Bush has justified his actions as being “legal” based on a memo from John Yoo. Same as his justification for stripping people naked and having them waterboarded.

    What we are seeing here is the imposition of a fascist, totalitarian regime upon the American way of life. I’m opposed to it, and if you consider yourself a conservative, then you should be opposed to it, also.

    Oh, and fuck George W. Bush.

  41. Bithead says:

    No, Raven, what we’re seeing is normal the Democrat reactionary in action.

  42. Bithead says:

    Darned voice dictation. Let’s try that again; (And James, can you kill the first one?

    What’s really frightening is the number of people who apparently can’t read what’s set in from them.

    In this case, I refer to the relevant laws in question. What Mr. Bush and company did was not only legal but it was the right thing to do.

    And by the way I’d say that about Bill Clinton doing the same thing, had he done so. matter of fact, I wish he had, because if he had, 9/11 wouldn’t have happened.

    It is amusing, and I think instructive to note the numbers of people who are suddenly civil liberties experts. in the largest of measures these are the very same people who were happily removing rights in the name of ‘equality’, and ‘multi- culturalism’, and ‘safety’ and of course… ‘for the children’.

  43. Jonette says:

    Woo Hoo! You tellem’ Herb! We need to face reality. We are going to be at war for virtually forever and we need to make the neccesary adjustments. Why should we care if we have civil liberties? As long as we go to work everyday and pax lots of taxes, life is good and the government will take care of everything else. Right? We should gladly hand over our freedoms and let our mighty leader do everything he wants to protect us. He loves us. So what if he broke the law. He did it to protect us. If he needs to throw people in jail because they disagree with him then that should be done, the constitution be damned. What’s wrong with living in a totalitarian state? Mr. Bush, my hero, will make sure his people are cared for. I trust him. I don’t care if he’s lied. He had to. It was the only way he could protect us from the evildoers. I’m glad we’re over in the Middle East killing brown people. I’m white, why should I care about them? They don’t know any better. From what I hear on Fox, they aren’t very smart and all they ever think of is killing white people. And yes Herb, we should get rid of the free press and just have Fox. Fox always tells the truth. If it weren’t for Bill O’Reilly I would never have known there was a war on Christmas! Since I heard about it I’ve seen it everywhere, but those liberals are so sneaky about things that I didn’t even notice it until Fox showed me the light. As I was leaving the gas station the other day, the clerk didn’t wish me a Merry Christmas. I immediately wrote Mr. O’Reilly so maybe he could put that station on a list of commies or something. You know what I think, Herb? We should just burn the Constitution and the Bill of Rights and start from scratch. We should let Mr. Bush rewrite every law and let him rule forever. You know he would make an excellent King. He only cares about us, not about the rest of the world, and that is a good quality in a King. He’s such a good and decent and intelligent human being who loves his people so much he’s wiling to commit a felony to protect us. I see nothing wrong with that. What good are freedoms and rights if we are invaded by Middle Easteners? You know they’re trying to take over the world don’t you? Rumsfield said so. There’s a secret plot that only he and MrBush know about. Osama Bin Laden wants to rule the world and it’s their job to stop him. We should all be on our knees grateful that we have a leader with such courage to go so far as to tell lies and break laws to protect us and the rest of the world from this evil plot. You liberals need to get over it and quit whining about civil rights and honesty in our government. This is a new milenia and if we’re going to rule the world we need to make changes. Hey, I heard the Germans had it pretty good under Hitler. He wasn’t as bad as he’s been painted you know. It’s all propaganda against a great man with vision and courage, just like they’re doing to Mr Bush. So, in the words of Bill O’Reilly, everyone just “shut up” about Bush and his lying and law breaking. He’s our president and whatever he does should be okay with everyone. You should all be locked up in Ashcroft’s concentration camps for daring to speak against our beloved leader. If the terrorists invade us it will be your fault!
    Woo Hoo! Long Live King George!!!! The greatest man who ever lived!!!

  44. Adam says:

    “it is amusing and I think instructive to note the numbers of people who are suddenly civil liberties experts…”

    Doesn’t freedom and liberty demand constant vigilance? I thought we lived in a Democracy, you know, all people created equal and all that.

  45. jim says:

    “The NYT and Risen’s greed has put this entire nation in more danger today that is was in last week.”

    At least you’ve now shifted your argument, from claiming that the NY Times must be lying. Now you’ve put yourself in the interesting position, for a conservative, of railing against the profit motive; and saying that the NY Times pursuit of profit has been bad for the country.

  46. jim says:

    “these are the very same people who were happily removing rights in the name of equality, and multi- culturalism, and safety and of course for the children.”

    Oh, whatever.

    Look: do you really, in your heart of hearts think that the President should have the power to execute warrantless wiretaps of US citizens who haven’t even been suspected of a crime yet?

    Do you really, honestly think that this is a good thing for the country? Do you really, honestly think that this is the sort of power the framers of the Constitution intended for one branch to wield, unchecked?

    Don’t distract yourself with side issues. This is the issue before us.

  47. CDB says:

    That baby was clearly a threat. The Presidents actions should be commended.

  48. Herb says:

    It ia absoloutly amaizing that so many of you who dislike Bush so much that you would sacrifice the lives of your family, friends and Americans to satisfy your lust to “Get Bush” I have never in my lifetime seen such hate demonstrated anywhere. Your “Greedd and Hate” are so deep rooted that you are scary to the poing of being very dangerous. Your hate is equil to the hate that we see almost daily from the Islamic terrorists Extremists.

    And lastly, If the NYT can not police themselves and they continue to reveal classified information to the public, they need not only to be censcered, but to be shut down completely.

    But, I will tell you, you can have all the hate you can stand and you know what you can do with it, but you “Do not have the right to put my life or the lives of my family in danger” just to satisfy your lust for hate.

    Some of you rant and rave, sound off and want to let the world know just how you protect our Constitution and our country, but tell me where you have the right to put everyone in danger. You say you “stand by our laws and Constitution and at the same time you infringe upon my right to be safe in my home. Some sence of Patriotism you have, Yeah,

    And jonette, you must be one of the hate brigade leaders that likes to tell everyone all about “your rights” while infringing on the rights of others. What a hypocryte you are.

    The sad part is, most of you don’t have a clue. The only information you have comes from a left wing liberal rag called the NYT, that puts profit ahead of the securty of our nation.

    Rather than spew your hatred here, you had best start thinking when and where we will be attacked next and how many Americans will die, but better be careful, you may be on the target list of the next one. After that you can register you bush complaints to your friend and mentor, “Saten”.

    And if the NYT cannot poice themselves and they continue to publish classified material, they need to be shut down completely.

  49. jim says:

    So, if the NY Times cannot police themselves and ‘continue to reveal classified material’, they should be shut down.

    By this logic, the Bush administration should also be shut down, for outing Valerie Plame. You’re for that, Herb, right?

    Or is revealing classified info really OK, as long as it’s a Republican doing it?

  50. jim says:

    No, Herb, YOU’RE so filled with hate that you’re the equal of Islamic terrorists.

    Furthermore you stink like butt-poop. But very glad to engage in this high-level mature debate with you.


  51. Devil's Advocate says:


    You are so dumb it is funny.

    Tell us all why Bush authorized spying without a warrant, and why revealing that he did something illegal jeopardizes national security.

    For your information, warrants can be obtained as late as 72 hours AFTER the spying begins. And they are obtainable in a matter of hours.

    So, tell us again why Bush did not bother instructing his spies to obtain warrants?

    Everybody and their grand-mothers knows that spying on communications can be done legally with a warrant. All the NYT did was to reveal that Bush committed a crime by allowing illegal spying.

    That’s what really bothers you, Herb, is it not? That your Dear Leader was caught committing a crime, and could therefore be impeached for it.

    So stop blabbering about the next attack and about who is on the hit list.

    The first attack could have been averted had your cretinous President paid attention and gotten off his spoiled ass when he was appraised early in August of 2001 that Bin Laden was planning to use commercial aircrafts in an attack on U.S. soil. He went fishing instead. The result: 3,000+ dead people.

    Bush is the real threat to national security. He is an even bigger threat to democracy.

  52. Herb says:


    You are a hopeless case, and,



    I guess you comment is telling along with you name, Devil. Oh well.

    I guess you are now the worlds foremost authority on 9/11, so why haven’t you made a complaint in Ferderal Court and charged Bush for failing to prevent 9/11 I am SURE that you have evidence of course.

    Somehow, I am glad I am not as intelligent as you are. But then again, I guess no one is. Bet you graduated at the TOP of you class and set a all time record for high scores.

    What are all of you going to say when you learn that Bush’s actions were LEGAL

  53. Adam says:

    “What are all of you going to say when you learn that Bush’s actions were LEGAL”

    That the Executive Branch can circumvent the checks and balances built into the Constitution and order wiretaps on US citizens without proving to a judge that they are necessary? I would say that the interpretation of the law is sorry and we should start working hard to throw out the clowns who decided to make it ‘legal’. Either that or rename the US the USSR. Which one would you prefer Herb?

  54. jim says:

    Tell you what, Herb: if Bush’s actions happen to be judged as legal, then I won’t complain about the conservative media.

    If Bush’s actions happen to be judges as illegal, will you promise not to complain about the conservative media?

  55. samples says:

    Taking Herb’s thought process to its logical endpoint: freedom is the real threat to national security so let’s just do away with it.

  56. Herb says:

    Jim: Adam & Samples:

    You guys are in never never land.

    Adam: if Bush’e actions are legal, then the patrotic thing for you to do is change the law through the voting booth. Aparantly Bush’s legal authorization have been around for quite a while now. Where were you, why haven’t we heard from you to change the law. I bet you were sitting on your rear end, drinking a beer, watching the game , all fat dumb and happy and doing nothing until you heard of this story and being true to your liberal thoughts decided to become an American Citizen again.


    I can apply the same to you, but with you, you’re just plain Dumb like your statement.


    Get real, but next time vote for the winner rather than sit on your rear end and let the world go by.

  57. pete says:

    I can’t stand all these attacks against Bush being made by these Salon readers. Liberals and democrats can’t stand it when Bush acts to protect us.

    Don’t you guys understand that we are AT WAR? How is some piece of paper going to protect us from terrorists. “Rule of law” is going to do you a lot of good when a lawless terrorist is at your door.

    Why can’t you just trust Bush’s good intentions? What does a judge know about waging war. Or Congress or a bunch of old Senators? Maybe he should send some agents to their houses and render them to another country where they know how to apply some gentle discomfort.

    What I’m really worried about is that Bush’s term is up in three years. I sure hope he won’t let some stupid piece of paper prevent him from continuing to protect us.

    Note – sarcasm above

  58. anjin-san says:

    Look guys, Herb has made himself very clear. He wants to “feel” safe.

    If thousands of innocents in Iraq have to die so he can feel safe, thats ok by him.

    If our young men in uniform die, thats a shame, but he can deal.

    If our rights as Americans are taken away, he is cool with it.

    If America’s moral leadership in the world dies, he does not mind.

    The real irony is that the average American is at far more risk from driving his car to the store for milk then he is from terrorists.

    But Herb has not figured that out.

    This is why I no longer have time to chat with Herb. His only agenda is keeping his own skin safe.

  59. Herb says:


    You should talk, Your extremist left wing agenda is “Hate Bush” and that is the limit of your mentality. I knew it was just a metter of time before you got your hate bush, and anyone who supports him, speech in here.. I have seen you attempt to get your terrorists agenda heard around here for a long time and quite frankly, you are a broken record. You don’t know nor do you understand me in any remote way, but I know you. You are just one more Left Coast Liberal who supports the Islamic radical agenda and rallys with each terrorists that kills innocents. I may want to feel secure, but I want that for every American and I can tell you that unlike you, I don’t support Terrorists like you do.

    By the way, were you educated in the Mid East or in the Kremlin.

  60. Herb says:


    You hit the nail right on the head. Unfortunately, there a lot of liberals here today that are just trying to get their “hate Bush” agenda heard.

    This post has brought them running from the woodwork like a bunch of roachs, while preaching their “Patriotic” protector of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, sermon so that everyone can admire them. But most of them are no more than booze drinking, couch poratos. that most likely never vote. All they do is a lot of bitching about things they know nothing about.

    Your comment was great Pete.

  61. Herb says:

    Jeeze. I guess the roaches have crawled back ito their dark holes, Haven’t heard from any on them for almost 2 hours.

    Is sure is a lot more peaceful now. I guess they followed their leaders, They “Cut and Run”

  62. Adam says:

    If that pesky Constitution would just shut the hell up then things could go as planned eh Herb?

  63. Anderson says:

    The “Bush acted within the law” meme would be a lot more persuasive if anyone in the administration were making that argument.

  64. john thin says:

    NYT a liberal, bush hating paper? Then why did they
    report all of the pre-war bullshit that the Administration
    was shoveling out on face value.

  65. john thin says:

    same goes for WaPo, carried a lot of water for the Junta,
    oops I mean Administration.

  66. martini says:

    george bush says he only spied on people with “known links to

    Thousands of US citizens with known links to AQ?

    what a bald face lie.

    rot in hell, dictator george.

  67. Beth says:

    What emblem are you going to make us liberals wear? (Devil’s Advocate–an appropriate name)

    No pink triangles necessary. I’m thinking maybe dunce caps for you illiberal leftards, but DEFINITELY straitjackets. You really have no idea how ridiculously crazy and stupid you all look to those of us who think rationally, do you?

    Unhinged, indeed. Heh.

  68. anjin-san says:

    Yep I guess I do have an agenda that terrifies the bushites:

    Freedom is good.

    Big brother is bad.

    Scary stuff…

  69. Robert says:


    “Never seen such hatred”.

    Where were you in the 90’s? You must have missed the all-fawning love they Republicans gave to our President.

    They loved him so much they spent millions of tax dollars trying to get to the bottom of a land deal that lost money.

    Of course I say this as someone who thought Clinton was too far to the right.

    BTW, Booo!!!

  70. Pete says:

    Herb – you do know my post was sarcasm? I’m not sure I followed your reply.

    Are you basically saying that in a “time of war”, which in this case may be unending, that the Constitution and rule of law need tossing? Are you proposing a Roman-style Dictatorship with extraordinary powers for the President for the duration of the “emergency”?

  71. cdunlea says:

    Bush broke the law. Whether he liked it or not, he broke the law. Whether he believes it or not, he broke the law. People who break the law are criminals. Is anyone here prepared to argue otherwise? Criminals get arrested. It really is as simple as that. On matters of law and order, you’re either with us or against us. And if you choose to be against the law and the Bill of Rights it’s based on, well, maybe you should move to North Korea where they don’t worry about wiping their ass with their lawbooks whenever they find it convenient.

  72. necromancer says:

    “I solemnly swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America . . .”

  73. jim says:


    Get real, but next time vote for the winner rather than sit on your rear end and let the world go by.”

    So, herb, I guess when Clinton won twice, you were all for everything he did, right? After all, he was the winner.

    And I am far from sitting on my rear and letting the world go by. Quite the opposite, I am working my rear off to let people know just how much Bush is lowering the standards for leadership in this country.

    It’s shocking just how quickly things can go to hell with a total incompetent spoiled rotten anti-intellectual god-complexed ex(current?)-drunk born-again punk in charge.

    You are tying your fortunes to a bad ship, and it’s going down. Bush has only been relected for just over a year. Believe me, you and Bush both have a rough ride ahead. This is only the surface of the behavior he’s going to have to make excuses for…and the excuses are going to be harder and harder for you to swallow.

  74. Barry says:

    James Joyner:
    “If it hasn’t already begun, an investigation into the identity of the leakers should commence immediately. Since the Times acknowledged the story was revealed to the White House a year ago but held it for national security reasons, one wonders whether that has already occured. The penalty for intentionally leaking classified information to the press should be severe.”

    One word – Plame.

  75. Robert says:

    One more time so I know I got it right.

    1) It’s unfortunate that some Iraqis are killed by terrorists after we overthrew Saddam, but at least they are getting Democracy. I feel these deaths at the hands of terrorists are worth the price of freedom.

    2) We need to give up our freedoms, because at least we aren’t being killed by terrorists.

    Repeat 1 and 2, that way i don’t ever have to be wrong!!