WASHINGTON, D.C.—President Bush’s announcement Friday, that the Justice Department would begin an investigation into the leak that brought forth his probably illegal domestic spying project, is clearly political and meant to insulate the White House and intelligence agencies from further public scrutiny by saying they are the subject of a criminal investigation.
It will be up to Congress to undertake a serious investigation, issuing its own subpoenas, and calling the major participants to testify.
Even as he sought to gain advantage from the spy leak, Bush was faced with a series of new and unsettling events tied to intelligence and foreign policy.
The Associated Press revealed the National Security Agency had been placing Internet cookies in millions of computers owned by U.S. citizens. After inquiries by the Associated Press and privacy activists, the NSA claims it abandoned this part of the domestic spying project. The AP reported, “The National Security Agency’s Internet site has been placing files on visitors’ computers that can track their Web surfing activity despite strict federal rules banning most files of that type.”
The UN is investigating charges the U.S. is force feeding prisoners on a hunger strike at Guantanamo, by ramming pipes through the nose and down into the stomach, resulting in serious bleeding. The Pentagon denies it. “In a statement, the army said it was providing appropriate nutrition through nasal tubes, a procedure that would be consistent with force feeding,” BBC reports.
John Dean, President Richard Nixon’s former counsel and one of the most persistent critics of the Bush administration’s handling of 9-11 and the War on Terror, writes that Bush should be impeached for his admitted direct violation of the constitution. “There can be no serious question that warrantless wiretapping, in
violation of the law, is impeachable,” writes Dean in Findlaw. “After all, Nixon was charged in Article II of his bill of impeachment with illegal wiretapping
for what he, too, claimed were national security reasons.”
Bush, says Dean, “may have outdone Nixon: Nixon’s illegal surveillance was limited; Bush’s, it is developing, may be extraordinarily broad in scope. First reports indicated that NSA was only monitoring foreign calls, originating either in the USA or abroad, and that no more than 500 calls were being covered at any given time. But later reports have suggested that NSA is ‘data mining’ literally millions of calls—and has been given access by the telecommunications companies to ‘switching’ stations through which foreign communications traffic flows. In sum, this is big-time, Big Brother electronic surveillance.”
As for Bush’s criminal investigation into the leak, Dean says, “Such a criminal investigation is rather ironic—for the leak’s effect was to reveal Bush’s own offense. Having been ferreted out as a criminal, Bush now will try to ferret out the leakers who revealed him.”