Sunday, December 18, 2005

Rice Invokes 9/11 Commission as Justification for Spying

Condi Rice has a way of saying things without really saying them and she did just that this morning on Meet the Press when she used the 9/11 commssion as the basis for the Bush authorizing spying on US citizens.
SEC'Y RICE: Tim, first much all, the president has authorized ­– and it's important to talk about what he's actually authorized. He's authorized the National Security Agency to collect information about the activities of a limited number of people with ties to Al-Qaeda so that there is not a seam between the territory of the United States and the territory abroad. One of the most compelling outcomes of the 9-11 Commission was that a seam had developed. Our intelligence agencies looked out, our law enforcement agencies looked in, and people--terrorists could exploit the seam between them. So the president is determined that he will have the ability to make certain that that seam is not there, that the communications between people, a limited number of people with Al-Qaeda links here and conversations with terrorist activities outside will be understood so that we can detect and thereby prevent terrorist attacks. (emphasis mine)
Notice how she throws in the 9/11 Commission findings then says so the President did what he did. She doesn't truly state one caused the other but does conflate the 2.
Of course she can't directly say the President was simply acting on recommendations of the 9/11 Commission because Bush authorized domestic spying long BEFORE the 9/11 Commission ever issued its report.
But it sounds good on first blush.I love how the Bush administration will use the Commission they fought every step of the way when it is convenient and they are in trouble.

And here is what the 9/11 Commission said relating to this issue...
Recommendation:The burden of proof for retaining a particular governmental power should be on the executive, to explain (a) that the power actually materially enhances security and (b) that there is adequate supervision of the executive's use of the powers to ensure protection of civil liberties. If the power is granted, there must be adequate guidelines and oversight to properly confine its use.

Recommendation: At this time of increased and consolidated government authority, there should be a board within the executive branch to oversee adherence to the guidelines we recommend and the commitment the government makes to defend our civil liberties.

We must find ways of reconciling security with liberty, since the success of one helps protect the other. The choice between security and liberty is a false choice, as nothing is more likely to endanger America's liberties than the success of a terrorist attack at home. Our history has shown us that insecurity threatens liberty. Yet, if our liberties are curtailed, we lose the values that we are struggling to defend.

Sounds like power concentrated only in the executive to administer a program of secret, illegal spying is exactly what they were cautioning against.

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