by Josh Orton, Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 09:15:38 AM EDT
Back in February, the Senate intel committee held a nomination hearing for both Dawn Johnson, Obama's pick for Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Council, and David Kris, now the Assistant Attorney General for the National Security Division.
When questioning Kris, Senator Feingold asked about the shortcomings of last year's FISA Amendments Act:
SEN. FEINGOLD: We had an opportunity -- and you can respond in a minute -- but we had an opportunity earlier today to discuss in a classified setting specific concerns I have about how the FISA amendment act has been implemented. Without discussing those specifics in an open hearing, do you agree that there are serious problems that need to be corrected?
MR. KRIS: Senator, I do, I appreciate very much the meeting we had this morning, you raised a number of concerns that I as an outsider had not appreciated and you certainly got my attention. I have been thinking about it since we met and if it's even possible you increased my desire to, if I were to be confirmed, to get to the bottom of the FISA amendments act and I hope if I am confirmed that I can take advantage of your learning of others on the committee and the intelligence committee to see how best to make any necessary improvements.
Kris is the right guy to look into this: after leaving the Bush Justice Department, he wrote a 23-page memo debunking much of the legal argument the previous administration used to justify warrantless surveillance under the al-Qaeda use-of-force authorization.
After today's revelations, seems like no better time to take AAG Kris up on his pledge to re-examine the implementation of the FISA Amendments Act.
This is but the latest attack upon our constitution by a disillusioned want-a-be dictator, and his jack-booted cohorts.
From the New York Times:
<>WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 -- The Pentagon has been using a little-known power to obtain banking and credit records of hundreds of Americans and others suspected of terrorism or espionage inside the United States, part of an aggressive expansion by the military into domestic intelligence gathering.
The C.I.A. has also been issuing what are known as national security letters to gain access to financial records from American companies, though it has done so only rarely, intelligence officials say. /
There will be no silver bullet in the fight for our Constitutional liberties. We are on our own. Yesterday, a federal judge ruled that "national security" dictated that the lawsuit against AT&T for turning over phone records to the government must be dismissed. It would give too much information to the enemy, he said.
But what about information for ourselves? There are too many unanswered questions about this program and far too many legal gymnastics being proposed by the Republican Administration to trust what is happening. A phrase more than two-hundred years younger than this country sums up how Americans should feel about our government: "trust, but verify."
I'm Bob Johnson, I'm running for Congress in New York, and I'm going to make this an issue. It's far too important to just let all this slide, give amnesty for past actions and suggest the Bush Administration get approval from a court, as Arlen Specter has proposed. We have to lead on this, we as Democratic office-seekers and -holders, and we as committed activists who care about our country. (below the flip for an update on some efforts on this)