Democrats & Liberals Archives

Plan B: Rewriting history. How Bush hides the truth.

Days before the New York Times published its December 16th report uncovering President Bush’s domestic surveillance program issuing a secret executive order authorizing the National Security Agency (NSA) to eavesdrop on American citizens, a memo was reclassified and removed from the national archives. The 1952 memo on how to structure the NSA which had been publicly available for almost 30 years when it was declassified in 1976 is now gone; deleted; eradicated from public view. It’s as if the memo never existed.

This program, recently reported by both the NY Times (link) and NBC News (link) is a program to reclassify previously released material began in 1999 after the CIA and other agencies objected to Clinton's 1995 declassification order. The order, which ironically states in its opening paragraph: "Our democratic principles require that the American people be informed of the activities of their Government." allows for the President to declassify, safeguard and declassify national security information. Essentially, government documents are supposed to be declassified after 25 years unless there is particular reason to keep them secret. But the new reclassification program is itself classified. So finding out the criteria for the reclassification of material is unattainable. Basically, if you have to ask, you shouldn't know.
Even those in charge of managing the effort of government classification recognize that the recent reclassification of many document were wrong. J. William Leonard, the Director of Information Security Oversight Office who conducted an audit surrounding the recent reclassification orders, noted that "It just boggles the mind." after he reviewed many of the documents that were now considered classified by the White House. And since the document removals have not been reported to the Information Security Oversight Office, as the law has required for formal reclassifications since 2003, laws may have been broken in the process.

Among the many documents recently reclassified:

  • A 1962 telegram from George F. Kennan, then ambassador to Yugoslavia, containing an English translation of a Belgrade newspaper article on China's nuclear weapons program
  • State Department documents on whether the Chinese would invade Korea in 1950.
  • President Truman's plan to fire Gen. MacArthur.
  • CIA plot to drop propaganda behind the Iron Curtain from hot air balloons.

This information also presents concern over those managing the effort as well as historians throughout the country. As there is significant concern about what may or may not be considered espionage if a historian owns a copy of a now, reclassified, document.

Although the reclassification program began in 1999, under Clinton, it was relatively contained. 9500 documents have been revoked since the reclassification program began with 85% of those documents removed by the Bush administration. However, classification of documents is not unheard of with the Bush administration. The US government, in 2004, classified more than 14 million documents, up from 11 million in 2003 and 8 million in 2002. The Bush administration is obviously trending toward more secrecy than openness.

Critics fear that the administration is rewriting history. Anna K. Nelson, a foreign policy historian at American University, said she and other researchers had been puzzled in recent years by the number of documents pulled from the archives with little explanation.

"I think this is a travesty," said Dr. Nelson, who said she believed that some reclassified material was in her files. "I think the public is being deprived of what history is really about: facts."

"This, essentially, retroactively withdraws those records from view and makes government unaccountable," says Scott Armstrong, a national security expert. "History vanishes with the substitution of that one page."

When the mantra of: "We always try to maintain a balance between being open but trying to protect national security," as State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli. So when the President orders the editors of the NY Times to the White House in a feeble attempt to bully the newspaper into squashing the wiretapping story, the White House goes into plan B: Rewrite the history books to cover the tracks.

Posted by john trevisani at February 27, 2006 10:57 AM
Comments
Comment #129873

John
We are talking about documents 25 years ago,right?

What info happened 25 years ago are you alleging ties in with the president?…or is this some kind of evil plot cooked uo by the nefarious Dick Cheney?

Probably has something legitimate to do with the war on terror..access to public info that the enemy can also get…but that couldn’t be right…..nah….too plausible…..

Posted by: sicilianeagle at February 27, 2006 11:22 AM
Comment #129875

SE,

Ya think that keeping Truman’s plan to fire MacArthur would be something that would help OBL?

Posted by: Rocky at February 27, 2006 11:26 AM
Comment #129876

Bet you hadn’t noticed that a coup took place in this country. You wanna know? GFY

Posted by: sndyrmony at February 27, 2006 11:27 AM
Comment #129887

Three words:

MINISTRY of TRUTH

Orwell was only 20 years off.

Posted by: Dave at February 27, 2006 12:06 PM
Comment #129906

I don’t know why they would reclassify the documents you list. Many could be reconstituted anyway, since people have copies and/or you could go to other sources.

While as a person who studies history, I oppose such things, I doubt if it has much (or anything) to do with Bush policies today. Declassification/reclassification is done by career bureaucrats, often near the end of their careers. The job is sort of like being in purgatory.

You mention the program began under Clinton in 1999 and then say how Bush has done so many more. Considering that Clinton was doing it for maybe a year (when it got going) and Bush 6, you might expect that.

If Bush is covering his tracks by hiding information about how Truman fired MacArthur, I would be very interested, since I cannot think of one thing Bush could have done back then that he needed to cover up.

Posted by: Jack at February 27, 2006 12:49 PM
Comment #129918

Ok… quick question. I know that there are serious repercussions for leaking classified information. But what about “leaking” previously unclassified info? If I were to, say, host a website containing previously-unclassified documents (obtained legally during that period) that have since been reclassified, would I be subject to legal action?

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at February 27, 2006 1:05 PM
Comment #129922

Hey Dave, how about a little trip to Gitmo to straighten out some of those silly notions?

Posted by: richard at February 27, 2006 1:09 PM
Comment #129925

OK, I’m dumb as a post. Somebody tell me what GFY is before it gives me a headache.

“Bet you hadn’t noticed that a coup took place in this country. You wanna know? GFY

Posted by: sndyrmony at February 27, 2006 11:27 AM”

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at February 27, 2006 1:15 PM
Comment #129927

Jack,

The reclassificaiton rules were added to compensate for potential mistakes when the declassification rules were expaned. I doubt they were intended to include almost everything. The complaint the left has is focused on the culture of secrecy that Bush is imposing on us, not that he specifically has something to hide :-).

hey dick,

I’m glad to see even you recognize and approve of the fact that our soldiers at Gitmo torture. Are you a member of the inner or outer party?

Posted by: Dave at February 27, 2006 1:17 PM
Comment #129932

Kansas dem
It was a polite way of posting the most predictable response this administration offers. “Go f—- yourself”

Posted by: sndyrmony at February 27, 2006 1:26 PM
Comment #129935

Jack:
The program began in 1999, not at the behest of Clinton, but at the behest of Congress and the CIA. Strom Thurman authored the bill “NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT” to halt the 1995 executive order by Clinton.

i think a more plausible covering the tracks debate can be found in the 1952 NSA memo that was suspiciously deleted a few days before the NY Times ran their story.


We must keep in mind that we, as Americans, should expect full accountability from our representatives and our government regardless of political party. We should be Americans first and republicans/democrats/indies later. The fact that Americans are being thwarted from the truth by the brute force of this administration’s authority should run shivers down the spine of every red-blooded American.

Posted by: john trevisani at February 27, 2006 1:27 PM
Comment #129936

I think that anyone who doesn’t have something to hide has nothing to worry about - and this goes for the past as well as the future. Is it so impossible for those on the left to actually trust the leader that was elected? I for one feel that if Bush says that is something should be made classified, then by all means, lock it away. The only people interested insee this info probably have serious anti-American interest anyways.

Posted by: tony at February 27, 2006 1:28 PM
Comment #129937

Dave
recognition and approval are two completely different things. inner or outer party, yeah.

Posted by: richard at February 27, 2006 1:29 PM
Comment #129943

Good article John.
You wrote:
“The fact that Americans are being thwarted from the truth by the brute force of this administration’s authority should run shivers down the spine of every red-blooded American.”

Indeed. That’s why these Neocon dictators MUST be removed. Their institution of a closed authoritarian government, along with their complete lack of regard for the Constitution makes them far too dangerous to hold power. We must remove every last one of these people from American government, and make sure they never again have the chance to do what they’ve been doing since 2000.

Posted by: Adrienne at February 27, 2006 1:49 PM
Comment #129947

tony,

I think that anyone who doesn’t have something to hide has nothing to worry about

Have you ever considered that this logic might apply to the President, too? In re-classifying these documents, what does HE have to hide?

Is it so impossible for those on the left to actually trust the leader that was elected?

Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. The Right didn’t trust Clinton. The Left doesn’t trust Bush. I don’t trust either blindly. The actions of the Government are documented for a reason. Whenever the Government wants to hide its actions from the People, the People should be concerned.

The only people interested insee this info probably have serious anti-American interest anyways.

Or maybe they have serious PRO-American interests… like making sure that their own Government doesn’t overstep its bounds. This isn’t a Left vs. Right thing. This is the People vs. the Government.

Posted by: Rob Cottrell at February 27, 2006 2:05 PM
Comment #129949

This is one of the most comical posts yet…
Paranoia reigns supreme…

The only way I can rationalize this is to assume that US history only started 6 years ago…

Posted by: Cliff at February 27, 2006 2:06 PM
Comment #129951

Rob -

Sorry, was just trying to see things from the ‘other perspective.’ Wow, I’ve never looked at myself in the mirror from exactly that position.

(OK, I just turned 40, and I’d recommend not trying this until after an hour after you’ve eaten. Sheeesh, I’d make an ugly REP.)

:-)

Posted by: tony at February 27, 2006 2:11 PM
Comment #129959

Who’s hiding the truth? You call it a domestic surveillance program??? Only overseas calls are monitored. When you fly from New York to Yemen … do you ALSO call that a “domestic flight”.

Ahhh, the liberal wordsmithing machine. I’d like to see that someday … I bet the thing is so big it has a horizon.

(and I’ll slowly get over the shock that a liberal quoted the NY Times … you know, that paper that had Abu Graihb on the front page AGAIN just yesterday!)

Posted by: Ken Cooper at February 27, 2006 2:42 PM
Comment #129963

So am I to get this right? Some conservatives, who hate big government, actually like the idea of secret spying on US citizens?

Ken - it’s not the travel of the calls that’s at issue, it’s that one end or the other is on US soil, and that’s directly flies in the face of the Constitution. Can you support your President even to the detriment of our democracy?

“The only thing democracy can not survive is secrecy.”

Posted by: tony at February 27, 2006 2:50 PM
Comment #129966

>>Who’s hiding the truth? You call it a domestic surveillance program??? Only overseas calls are monitored.

ken,

I’ve asked it before, and I’ll ask it again…how do YOU know that only overseas calls are being monitored? How does ANYONE know that? It is an unmonitored program, with NO accountability…that’s why all the fuss. An unmonitored government is a far greater threat to America than any bunch of thugs or terrorists.

Posted by: Marysdude at February 27, 2006 2:56 PM
Comment #129973

sndyrmony,
What can I say? When I’m “thick”, I’m really, really thick.

John,

Your post makes a very good point. To me the big question is “why”? I believe I have the answer but most think I’m just a “wacked out” liberal conspiracy theorist. I first learned of this in the 80’s and I thought it was BS. The internet has made it much easier to research all of this than it was to do so then.

Please, if you care at all about this country and this planet, check this out:

hmmm, well, I had hoped to link you to:
www.theocracywatch.org

but it doesn’t work now, hopefully it’s just a server problem.

The second best source I can offer is the Yurica Report although it’s much more difficult to navigate:

http://www.yuricareport.com/Dominionism/TheDespoilingOfAmerica.htm is a good place to start.

I am very serious about this. I also realize that not all Republicans are a part of this, in fact I believe most of them are simply being duped into believing that Bush & Co. are still a part of “The Party of Lincoln” or the true fiscal conservatives.

Most of us without selective memories remember GW actually using the word “CRUSADE” more than once. A few might even remember when foreign diplomats said GW spoke of fullfilling “god’s prophecy”.

For those that doubt this, please, answer one question: Why does Bush not follow the law and common protocol when it comes to congressional oversight? Even Arlen Specter thinks Bush should follow FISA law regarding surveilance.

IMO this “reclassification” is just the first step towards book burning. Hmmm, maybe the second step, we already have big brother watching the libraries.

Enough rant for now.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at February 27, 2006 3:21 PM
Comment #129978

Thanks for the enlightenment ! Guess you’re following the responses, and it seems there are few of us that understand what you’re saying and agree with it. My interpretation is that this is one more instance of the cloud of secrecy this administration loves to work behind. Maybe those that are coming out with such anger against it, may want to go back and re-read !

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at February 27, 2006 3:36 PM
Comment #129980

“I for one feel that if Bush says that is something should be made classified, then by all means, lock it away. The only people interested insee this info probably have serious anti-American interest anyways.
Posted by: tony at February 27, 2006 01:28 PM”

Tony,

I seem to be really, really thick today. This is satire, right? I mean, if you decide to remove records that support a true historical moment that would be like, uh, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad claiming that there was no holocaust, eh?

The only defense I could possibly see of this is the “my dad’s better than your dad” defense.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at February 27, 2006 3:41 PM
Comment #129981

>>(and I’ll slowly get over the shock that a liberal quoted the NY Times … you know, that paper that had Abu Graihb on the front page AGAIN just yesterday!)


Posted by: Ken Cooper at February 27, 2006 02:42 PM

ken,

Yep…the same NYT that ‘held’ the illegal surveilance information for almost a year, at Cheney/Bush’s behest.

Posted by: Marysdude at February 27, 2006 3:50 PM
Comment #129987

KansasDem -

Oh yea, think think think satire. i was just trying to put together an argument from the ‘other’ perspective… I think I did it pretty well, just not with a straight face.

Posted by: tony at February 27, 2006 4:35 PM
Comment #129998

>> I am very serious about this. I also realize that not all Republicans are a part of this, in fact I believe most of them are simply being duped into believing that Bush & Co. are still a part of “The Party of Lincoln” or the true fiscal conservatives.

KansasDem,

The recurring accusation that the left just hates bush / cheney so much that they always find fault has made me start to realize that it’s the right that hates the left so much that it blinds them to everything this administration does. It seems like politics in general, and the republican party in particular, have been overtaken by extremists that generate and use this culture of fear and hate to get into office and then perpetuate this fear to accomplish their agendas. To some extent I think you’re right, if this were 50 years ago I don’t think the republicans that are in office now would be acting this way, but I don’t know if they’ve been duped, so much as they have been conditioned to despise the left and everything that it stands for.

Posted by: Grant at February 27, 2006 5:38 PM
Comment #130000

“Oh yea, think think think satire. i was just trying to put together an argument from the ‘other’ perspective… I think I did it pretty well, just not with a straight face.

Posted by: tony at February 27, 2006 04:35 PM”

Tony,

I’m glad to hear that. I’d hate to think anyone would compare deleting or changing historic documents with ‘out-n-out’ lieing. The repubs seem to be hell bent on doing both but it’s always good to know which one is telling which lie.

KansasDem

Posted by: KansasDem at February 27, 2006 5:48 PM
Comment #130001

You guys give Bush too much credit and perhaps are a little too paranoid. Why would he want to reclassify fifty-year-old documents (BTW - he would not be bound by any of them anyway) and do you really think he could pull off such a political coup?

Career civil servants run most of the government. To the extent that they are political most of them tend to be Democrats. Declassification is probably one of the least sexy parts of the bureaucracy. No politically motivated fast riser would like to be there. I fail to see how Bush could benefit politically by hiding something Harry Truman did in 1949, especially if it was once available.

I really don’t understand the efficacy of reclassifying a document that has already been in public domain. As I understand it, it is no crime for someone without the requisite security clearance to reveal classified information that he came by honestly. So if you have copies of these documents you can spread them around all you want.

Also - and maybe someone can clear this up - what is the level of classification? Some levels would not prevent American citizens from using the documents, but would stop foreigners.

Tony

This is the argument from the other perspective.

Posted by: Jack at February 27, 2006 5:48 PM
Comment #130007

Jack -

I know it is your argument, but I’ve also seen quite a few arguments that lined up with my satire… kind of the point of satire.

Posted by: tony at February 27, 2006 6:04 PM
Comment #130026

Thie reclassification reminds me of something Harry Truman said about Richard Nixon; “He’d lie about even if he had no reason to lie just to keep his hand in.” We’ve all seen that everything that any one asks this administration about hears the same sorry assed response. I can’t discuss that it’s “classified”. Even Cheneys’ hunting accident fell into the category of something to hide until they could put their special face on it. I have to confess that this group is by far more frightening than any half assed terrorist organization. They are subverting from the inside, top-down. Terrorists can only hit and run.

Posted by: richard at February 27, 2006 7:22 PM
Comment #130047

Yes

Satire is a potent offensive weapon. It allows the writer to take on the persona of someone else and make points he might have trouble making in an ordinary argument.

This is mostly about historical sources, some very old. I prefer that archives be open to historians, but it is not a Bush scandal. The bureaucracies at State, Defense etc are plenty eager to classify all by themselves.

Posted by: Jack at February 27, 2006 8:00 PM
Comment #130055

The bureaucracies at State, Defense etc are plenty eager to classify all by themselves.

Posted by: Jack at February 27, 2006 08:00 PM

And the heads of these departments were appointed by who?
And don’t be so lame as to say that the heads of these departments are acting of their own volition.

Posted by: sndyrmony at February 27, 2006 8:12 PM
Comment #130058

sndyrmony -

shhhhhh. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Posted by: tony at February 27, 2006 8:17 PM
Comment #130075

Tony
oh yeah, I keep forgetting thay King Bozo can do no wrong

Posted by: sndyrmony at February 27, 2006 8:59 PM
Comment #130082

Syn

It matters less By whom they were appointed than you think. You need to learn a little more about bureaucracies. Besides, it started under Clinton. Probably the same bureaucrats were doing the same things and may not have even noticed a change in their big boss.

Posted by: Jack at February 27, 2006 9:21 PM
Comment #130092

>>Besides, it started under Clinton

Jack,

So was the Boxer Rebellion, WWII, Viet Nam and Iraqi Subjegation…Let’s impeach that sucker!

Posted by: Marysdude at February 27, 2006 9:45 PM
Comment #130093

Grant,

You’re actually closer than you can imagine with this statement:

“The recurring accusation that the left just hates bush / cheney so much that they always find fault has made me start to realize that it’s the right that hates the left so much that it blinds them to everything this administration does.”

Sorry, I’m wrong, maybe you can imagine the same scenario I do. One thing most Dems hate to admit is that Clinton did great harm to the Democratic Party. Carter didn’t. Carter told the truth but no one wanted to hear it.

Bush & Co. say we can have it all. Low taxes, a good job market, increased security, etc. I see, at best, a 50% success rate for those who are paying taxws today and a probable “crash” for my kids, grandkids, and beyond.

Given our failure in Iraq it may all be a moot point. My view of how to handle Iraq can best be summed up by reading Sicilian Eagle’s posts. I don’t like it but he’s right when it comes down to what we must do now.

KansasDem
PS: I can’t quite get the words right, but hopefully the meaning gets through.

Posted by: KansasDem at February 27, 2006 9:48 PM
Comment #130094

“Let’s impeach that sucker!”

Wasn’t Clinton the suckee?

Posted by: Tim Crow at February 27, 2006 9:54 PM
Comment #130110

I saw a story similar to this in “Parade”(story not won’t be posted until Wed.)
this past Sunday. There was a small sampling of some of the things that the gov’t is keeping from us. Here’s some comic relief:

A 1974 plot against Santa Claus
A report of a “plan to sabotage the annual courier flight of the Government of the North Pole” was included in the Dec.17, 1974, CIA Weekly Situation Report on International Terrorism. The CIA’s attempt at humor remained classified until 1997


It sucks that this administration is so secretive that this little tid-bit might be reclassified.:)

Posted by: Gratis at February 27, 2006 11:06 PM
Comment #130145

Wow. I have admit that it’s come down to this:

The Republicans have now officially selected Clinton, the one they hate the most, as their party standard.

I mean, Clinton gave great speeches and had some very strong skills as a politician… but he was a BUBBA! Come on, all that going for him and he couldn’t even get a little nookie on the side without getting busted. He got busted lying and was impeached…

And this is the single excuse/standard to guage the entire REP party.

Posted by: tony at February 28, 2006 6:58 AM
Comment #130151

As Vizzini in the Princess Bride kept saying: “INCONCEIVABLE.”

i find myself saying the same thing. Inconceivable; that this administration would go to such extremes to hide their crimes and subvert the power of the constitution.

Inconceivable that their supporters are so blinded by faith that they seemingly allow criminal behavior to continue because they share the same political party.

Inconceivable that America has slid down such a slope that some are so blinded by this faith that they seek out phantom devils (Clinton) to detract from the story in support of the, clearly un-American, actions of their President.

i’m await Inigo Montoya response: “Inconceivable. You keep saying that. i don’t think it means what you think it means.”

Posted by: john trevisani at February 28, 2006 7:41 AM
Comment #130167

You guys have plenty of real things you don’t like about what I write. Please stop attacking the your own stereotypes and claiming it is us.

I like Clinton. He did a competent job. I supported his policies in Kosovo. I thought his welfare reform was great and we could not have passed NAFTA without him. I have written thousands of words referring to Clinton. If you read them, you will find mostly praise. I supported Clinton while he was my president. I consider his presidency a success (overall). I see a great deal of continuity among presidents and their policies. Clinton in many ways completed the Reagan revolution. Both sides hate it when I say that, but his deregulation policies and encouragement of markets here and abroad were things I supported.

When I say that the program started under Clinton, I am not blaming him. All I am saying is that the fact that it was a continuing program is absolute proof that Bush didn’t start it. My opinion is that it is one of the silly CYA programs dear to the hearts of politicians and bureaucrats everywhere. While it is probably a nuisance, it is not a menace and it is not a Bush attempt to protect his own policies by preventing a reassessment of Harry Truman.

Posted by: Jack at February 28, 2006 9:24 AM
Comment #130197

>>When I say that the program started under Clinton, I am not blaming him

Jack,

You are right…you are not blaming Clinton…you’re taking the blame from where it belongs by using the name Clinton. Your crowd does that kind of thing a lot, then point your finger at those who try to point it out.

Posted by: Marysdude at February 28, 2006 11:57 AM
Comment #130199

I think we’ve all been trying to climb the Cliffs of Insanity for the past 5+ years.

How about this one?

“We are men of honor. Lies to not become us.”

Posted by: tony at February 28, 2006 12:04 PM
Comment #130213

Tony & Marysdude,

If you think the NSA Wiretapping program is the first time a President has only confided in a few members of BOTH parties of Congress on important security matters … you would be wrong on one of the most grandest scales possible. Some 40+ members of Congress have floated through the Intelligence Cmtes recently. To tell all 40 … they might as well have brought it to the NY Times. Heck! They only told a few and it made it the the NY Times.

And yes, the NY Times held the information for a year. They should’ve held it indefinitely! There’s one thing that’s clear, whoever went to a Newspaper with that info clearly broke the law. One can only imagine the information we would lose if we had to enact some legal proceeding every time a phone call was initiated which the NSA thought was important. The phone call would be over for hours by the time the paperwork made it through … and that’s being generous. Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard of fast paperwork!

The other illusion folks like Tony and Marysdude like to put forth is that there’s 10,000 gov’t agents tapping into conversations between Peoria, Illinois and Lincoln, Nebraska. Guessing on a number would only help our enemies, but if you look at the size of the building where they work … there’s not enough to care about your Aunt Bessy’s secret BBQ recipe. There’s not enough to care that you’re cheatin’ on your spouse. There’s not enough to care that you’re even cheating on your taxes … they simply don’t have the manpower to care about those things.

Let’s let the NSA do their job in a time of war (which we now all agree on, reference: UAE Port deal). No reasonable person thinks this NSA program should go on forever … but we certainly have issues now to warrant it (pun intended). And I’m confident all of those NSA employees working hard on fairly meager gov’t wages aren’t going through all that agony just to spy recklessly on Americans.

I’ve yet to hear about any unrelated court cases originating from evidence from these wiretaps in a newspaper … not even the NY Times has thought it necessary to even fabricate such a thing … so I think we’ll be okay.

Posted by: Ken Cooper at February 28, 2006 12:43 PM
Comment #130214

“I like Clinton. He did a competent job.I supported his policies in Kosovo.I thought his welfare reform was great and we could not have passed NAFTA without him.”

Ah, Clinton in his triagulated Republican-lite phase. No wonder you found him digestable.

Posted by: Tim Crow at February 28, 2006 12:44 PM
Comment #130217

Marysdude

Where does the “blame” belong? Maybe there is no particular blame. Maybe it is just systemic and bureaucratic, something we need to counter, but can’t blame.

You can’t blame Bush for starting something that started in 1999. Chronology again. Effect doesn’t come before cause.

I don’t understand how this concept eludes you all. Let me put it this way. If the chronology is wrong, all the other arguments are invalid. So you can write books about how much you hate Bush, but if it started in 1999, he didn’t do it.

So excuse me if I don’t address your arguments. I don’t need to unless you can clear up the effect coming before cause problem.

Posted by: Jack at February 28, 2006 12:44 PM
Comment #130232

Jack,

I very much disagree with you for the first time. Clinton did do some good things and you brought out most (if not all) of them. You may have forgotten the degradation of our military, leaving military pay nearly stagnant during those “hip-hopping” economic times of the 90’s, selling missile technology to China, involving us in a war Europe should’ve & COULD’VE handled alone, shameful shameful pardons, and the “ignorance is bliss” mentality with corporations trying to keep the stock market zooming … a good portion of which was discovered fairly early in 2001.

The problem with the Lewinsky scandal (which rates somewhere in the middle of Clinton’s wrong doings) is that liberals want to contend it’s just about a BJ. Well, it was morally awful by most anyone’s standards. It opened him up to blackmailing with possible national ramifications. He lied to a grand jury . . and I don’t care if you’re talking about twiddly winks, you don’t knowingly lie to a grand jury as the leader of the land. But their are 2 worst things about the Lewinsky scandal. #2: The dems like to broadcast that as his only failing as President. #1: It was a lesson to too many people that “Integrity is Situational”.

Posted by: Ken Cooper at February 28, 2006 1:07 PM
Comment #130233

“And yes, the NY Times held the information for a year. They should’ve held it indefinitely! “

That’s the the purpose of the 4th Estate.

“The other illusion folks like Tony and Marysdude like to put forth is that there’s 10,000 gov’t agents tapping into conversations between Peoria, Illinois and Lincoln, Nebraska. Guessing on a number would only help our enemies, but if you look at the size of the building where they work … there’s not enough to care about your Aunt Bessy’s secret BBQ recipe. There’s not enough to care that you’re cheatin’ on your spouse. There’s not enough to care that you’re even cheating on your taxes … they simply don’t have the manpower to care about those things.”

Wow - a lot of assumptions with NO facts or information. the number I’ve heard floating is 3 billion calls a day. That’s either way more calls than terrorists, or we’re in really deep trouble.

“And I’m confident all of those NSA employees working hard on fairly meager gov’t wages aren’t going through all that agony just to spy recklessly on Americans.”

Again, lots of assumptions (and a pretty odd Rockwellean painting of the NSA.) I don’t share you confidence.

“I’ve yet to hear about any unrelated court cases originating from evidence from these wiretaps in a newspaper … not even the NY Times has thought it necessary to even fabricate such a thing … so I think we’ll be okay.”

That’s not the point - yet - but it has opened up a huge floodgate of legal arguments against the prosecution of terror suspects.

Posted by: tony at February 28, 2006 1:08 PM
Comment #130234

Actually - this should’ve been posed as a question “That’s the purpose of the 4th Estate?”

Posted by: tony at February 28, 2006 1:10 PM
Comment #130261

>>One can only imagine the information we would lose if we had to enact some legal proceeding every time a phone call was initiated which the NSA thought was important. The phone call would be over for hours by the time the paperwork made it through … and that’s being generous…You can’t blame Bush for starting something that started in 1999. Chronology again. Effect doesn’t come before cause.

Jack,

1. Zero time…72 hours after the fact makes it instantanious, so time was not a factor.

2. Nope not 1999. All taps prior to Cheney/Bush were either addressed and the laws adjusted or the laws adjusted and then addressed. Cheney/Bush is the ONLY President caught with his pants down on this one.

Posted by: Marysdude at February 28, 2006 2:25 PM
Comment #130262

I would like to add that getting a law changed does NOT give away national secrets, but breaking the law to the point that someone’s conscience causes them to whistleblow does…

Posted by: Marysdude at February 28, 2006 2:27 PM
Comment #130306

“I’ve yet to hear about any unrelated court cases originating from evidence from these wiretaps in a newspaper … not even the NY Times has thought it necessary to even fabricate such a thing … so I think we’ll be okay.”

Form a source you might like: FOX News.

“PORTLAND, Ore. — A lawsuit filed Tuesday asked a federal court to shut down electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency, based on claims the NSA illegally wiretapped conversations between the director of an Islamic charity and two of the charity’s attorneys.

A chapter of the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, a defunct Saudi Arabian charity, was established in Ashland in 1997 as a prayer house that also distributed Islamic literature. The chapter was indicted in February 2004 on tax charges alleging it helped launder $150,000 in donations to help Al Qaeda fighters in Chechnya in 2000.”

Posted by: tony at February 28, 2006 3:54 PM
Comment #130329

Marysdude

We were talking about the reclassification that started in 1999. Wiretaps are a different subject. We talked about that in other posts. This post is about reclassification of documents.

In the case of the reclassifcation of documents that started in 1999 it is impossible to blame Bush for starting it.

Posted by: Jack at February 28, 2006 5:13 PM
Comment #130344

Thanks, Jack

Posted by: Marysdude at February 28, 2006 6:21 PM
Comment #130390

Bush could declassify all the U.F.O. documents, show us the space craft and the aliens. Perhaps even have a news conference with the aliens. My God, his poll numbers would soar. Oh I guess he can’t, Cheney won’t allow it.
Oh well, I guess the neocons will have to do what everyone is supposed to do in case of a nuclear meltdown.

Posted by: jlw at February 28, 2006 9:25 PM
Comment #130433

who cares who started what?? this is part of the problem. we focus too much on the minutia that we don’t see the big picture. who cares what truman did and what the chinese were doing in 1950. the point that this article is screaming is that we are losing our country and it’s being stolen by the goverment because we’re sitting here arguing about who’s a bigger idiot…bush or clinton when the biggest idiot in 2006 is the average american.

Posted by: tracy at March 1, 2006 1:24 AM
Comment #130470

Jack:
You recenterd MarysDude discussion. Good.

Let me recenter your discussion.

For as much as you seem to want the discussion to move off of the Bush administration’s obsession with secrecy by claiming it wasn’t Bush’s fault because Republican lawmakers overturned Clinton’s 1995 executive order in 1999. The fact of the matter is, this current administration is obsessed with secrecy at every level.

This administration feels that they can use to their benefit (notthe American people’s benefit) any and all things to hide what they are doing.

They’ve used, for the first time in American history, executive order for Cheney with regards to energy meetings.

They’ve creatively assumed some phantom executive powers that are somehow derived from Congress autorizing military force in Afghanistan to eavesdrop on American citizens.

And they’ve used the 1999 action to remove obscure documents from public view at an outstanding rate to cover-up their true agenda. How else can you explain the timing of removing the 1952 memo about the structure of the NSA days before the NY Times story broke?

As tracy said, it’s the big picture.

Posted by: john trevisani at March 1, 2006 7:22 AM
Comment #130488

Your money is squandered in Iraq and your jobs are in India. You tally the numbers of dead each day and yet you can’t come to a conclusion if your being lied to or not by Bush and the boys.
This generation would have never impeached Nixon, you would be to worried that you might get your hands dirty.
My generation (if this makes you feel better?)only lost 58,000 americans in a war of imperialism thats no different than the one in Iraq now.
I’ll just never make a good Roman

Posted by: Vietnam Vet at March 1, 2006 9:31 AM
Comment #130489

I’m just coming into this, and trying to get more educated on the political enviornment, so coming from a politically under-educated, and simple standpoint…

I don’t think the topic of secrecy would be as big an issue as it is, if this administration wasn’t so known for secrecy and hidden agendas. They’ve done this to themselves (created a big issue, and put themselves into the spotlight), and I don’t think they really care what anyone thinks about it. They even seem to be attention-starved. When it comes down to it… I get uneasy about what they may really be positioning themselves to do, or preparing for. Does that make sense to anyone?

Posted by: Lynnell at March 1, 2006 9:37 AM
Comment #130497

We still don’t know who killed Kennedy. And we still don’t know what was removed from Area 51 in the late 40’s. “National Security” my ass.

Who trusts their government, especially one as bloated, corrupt and beaurocratic as this one??

I am still beside myself when I read how our government betrays the American People ON A DAILY BASIS (be it an amnesty proposal, rebuilding some Mosque in Iraq when our own Gulf Coast is still in shambles, etc.) and Americans could care less. “You can’t fight City Hall” they say, but did Patrick Henry say that?

Americans are sheep and believe whatever they’re told by the media and their masters. You guys need to start ‘reading between the lines’.

Posted by: WHO KNOWS?? at March 1, 2006 10:44 AM
Comment #130554

John

re recentering

You can argue re Bush and secrecy, but this is not a good vehicle. What you have here is buraucracy not more, as I wrote a nuisance not a menace.

Posted by: Jack at March 1, 2006 1:48 PM
Comment #130640

>>You can argue re Bush and secrecy, but this is not a good vehicle. What you have here is buraucracy not more, as I wrote a nuisance not a menace.

Posted by: Jack at March 1, 2006 01:48 PM

Jack,

Nuisance may be correct, and it was likely some buraucrats muddling along and won’t amount to much…but, taken with everything else that has been exposed and/or semi-exposed about this administration, can you at least admit that Cheney/Bush is his own worst enemy?

I’ve heard of loose leadership, but…

Posted by: Marysdude at March 1, 2006 7:05 PM
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