Sick Transit

The NYC subway-bus strike and the slow death of the American pension system

With reports of these intercepts flying around, along with numerous warnings from foreign intelligence sources—all reported in the U.S. or foreign press—Bush had ample advance warning an attack was in the offing. In fact, according to 9-11 Commission staff reports, the intelligence community literally bombarded the FAA with more than 50 warnings of an Al Qaeda action before 9-11. With all this information at hand, it is hard to believe that the president could not have obtained special Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants, especially in light of the fact the court seldom turns down such requests.

Why then did the administration avoid FISA and launch its secret spy program, unless it was, as former NSA director Michael Hayden says, to "detect" something, which means Bush set up a dragnet or fishing expedition to investigate citizens just in case he found something that might lead to a case. The Pentagon's illegal secret Able Danger project ought to throw light on the extent to which U.S. intelligence was tracking Al Qaeda hijackers within the U.S. Officials of Able Danger are supposed to testify before the House, but it remains to be seen whether the administration will follow through with its promise to let them speak. If they are allowed to talk, they will only help to build a case against both Bill Clinton and Bush for illegal domestic spying.

It’s about the pension
photo: Steven Sunshine
It’s about the pension

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    In any event it should not have been too difficult for Bush to get around the prohibitions. For example, through international intelligence-sharing pacts, the U.S. could get the British to spy on American citizens inside the U.S. and then make that information accessible to the U.S. through exchange agreements. In his book Iraq Confidential, Scott Ritter, the former U.N. weapons investigator, relates how, when he was frozen out of information on weapons of mass destruction, he got the British to obtain the information needed from the CIA and pass it on to him.

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