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What Illegal 'Things' Was the Government Doing in 2001-2004?

by Glenn Greenwald

For the second consecutive day, The Washington Post has published an excerpt from reporter Barton Gellman's new book on the Cheney Vice Presidency, and it provides still more details on the intense confrontation in March, 2004 between the Bush Justice Department and the Cheney-led White House over the DOJ's refusal to certify the legality of the NSA's domestic spying activities. As has been known ever since Deputy Attorney General James Comey testified before the Senate in May, 2007, all of the top-level DOJ officials -- including Attorney General John Ashcroft, Comey and FBI Director Robert Mueller -- told President Bush they would resign immediately because Bush ordered the NSA surveillance program to continue even after his own Justice Department told him it was patently illegal. Comey drafted his resignation letter, calling Bush's spying activities "an apocalyptic situation" because he had "been asked to be a part of something that is fundamentally wrong."

Such an en masse resignation in the middle of an election year was averted only when Bush finally agreed to change certain aspects of the surveillance program in order to persuade these DOJ officials to endorse its legality. The illegal NSA spying program revealed by The New York Times in December, 2005 that created so much political controversy -- whereby the Bush administration was spying on Americans without the warrants required by law -- was a program that was actually endorsed and authorized by these same DOJ officials. The program we learned about was the "compromise" program that Bush implemented in 2004 in order to avoid their resignation. That's how extreme -- what right-wing, executive-power-loving ideologues -- these DOJ officials are: they are the ones who authorized and endorsed the illegal NSA program that we came to learn about.

It's kind of depressing when one looks at the amount of law breaking that has taken place in the Bush Administration, that the media and by extension the public really don't seem to care. The sheeple are sleep waking towards a police state. Tom

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