1/22/2006

Early Warning - Pentagon Says We're Sorry

The battle lines are drawn, and on NSA, the administration seems hardened and unrepentant. So, isn't it strange that the Defense Department is expressing contrition at the same time ?

Pentagon Says We're Sorry

The administration argued yesterday that the President has the Constitutional authority to order warantless surveillance, as Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez delivered a new legal defense to Congress of the National Security Agency's surveillance activities and Vice President Dick Cheney spoke at the Manhattan Institute.

"Our message to the American people is clear and straightforward," Cheney said. The NSA's programs "are within the president's authority and responsibility under the constitution and laws."

The battle lines are drawn, and on NSA, the administration seems hardened and unrepentant.

So, isn't it strange that the Defense Department is expressing contrition at the same time about its unlawful collection and retention of information on U.S. persons under its domestic force protection efforts?

Yesterday, Attorney General Gonzales sent Congress a 42-page legal defense of warrantless surveillance, expanding on arguments made in December that the President, under his Constitutional authority as commander-in-chief and as authorized by post 9/11 Congressional resolution granting him the use of force, has the authority to circumvent the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to conduct eavesdropping.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon also released a 2-page January 13 memorandum (pdf) directing "all DOD intelligence and counterintelligence (CI) personnel" to receive "refresher training on the policies for collection, retention, dissemination and use of information related to U.S. persons."

Early Warning by William M. Arkin - washingtonpost.com

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