"Multiple media outlets are focusing on the unsurprising story that the FBI seems to have been abusing its powers under the Patriot Act to issue so-called "national security letters" (NSLs), whereby the FBI is empowered to obtain a whole array of privacy-infringing records without any sort of judicial oversight or subpoena process. In particular, the FBI has failed to comply with the legal obligations imposed by Congress, when it re-authorized the Patriot Act in early 2006, which required the FBI to report to Congress on the use of these letters.meanwhile, we're still having difficulty getting anyone to report on the fact that the FBI was illegally using FISA to wiretap "high-profile U.S. public officials."
That the FBI is abusing its NSL power is entirely unsurprising (more on that below), but the real story here -- and it is quite significant -- has not even been mentioned by any of these news reports. The only person (that I've seen) to have noted the most significant aspect of these revelations is Silent Patriot at Crooks & Liars, who very astutely recalls that the NSL reporting requirements imposed by Congress were precisely the provisions which President Bush expressly proclaimed he could ignore when he issued a "signing statement" as part of the enactment of the Patriot Act's renewal into law. Put another way, the law which the FBI has now been found to be violating is the very law which George Bush publicly declared he has the power to ignore."
it boggles my mind.
* yglesias via atrios: '
Through no fault of anyone's in the military, meanwhile, the administration has managed to become totally confused about our objectives in the region, where we're no longer sure if we're fighting Iran or al-Qaeda, if we're encouraging or discouraging sectarian conflict, if we favor Sunnis or Shiites. Under the circumstances, we can't possibly be brokering a viable political settlement; we don't even know what our goals are."
" Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was having an extramarital affair even as he led the charge against President Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair, he acknowledged in an interview with a conservative Christian group."
" Former CIA officer Valerie Plame, who was exposed after her husband, former diplomat Joe Wilson, criticized President Bush's prewar intelligence, will testify next week before a House committee probing how the White House dealt with her identity.* hurriyet:
But it is unclear whether Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, who was invited by Chairman Henry Waxman to appear be"
"Armenian lobby groups in the US capital are indicating that pressure from the White House resulted in the decision by the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations to postpone voting on a resolution condemning the murder of journalist Hrant Dink in Istanbul.
Republican Senator Richard Lugar, a prominent member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, had made public his objections to the text of the resolution. The decision to postpone by the Committee came after Lugar's objections. The White House's official objection to this non-binding resolution is based on the references to "genocide" included in the text."