The New York Timesreports
that the NSA Eavesdropping scandal just got bigger: the NSA eavesdropped on phone conversations which took place entirely within the United States, clearly violating the secret program's own rules which required that one person on the phone conversation be outside of the United States. So not only did the program break the law, it broke its own rules for engagement.
The Bush administration has not released the guidelines that the N.S.A. uses in determining who is suspected of having links to Al Qaeda and may be a target under the program. General Hayden said the determination was made by operational people at the agency and "must be signed off by a shift supervisor," with the process closely scrutinized by officials at the agency, the Justice Department and elsewhere.
But questions about the legal and operational oversight of the program last year prompted the administration to suspend aspects of it temporarily and put in place tighter restrictions on the procedures used to focus on suspects, said people with knowledge of the program. The judge who oversees the secret court that authorizes intelligence warrants - and which has been largely bypassed by the program - also raised concerns about aspects of the program.
In a related story, the ACLU has filed
Freedom of Information Act requests after learning that the FBI has been spying on groups such as PETA (animal rights activists), Greenpeace and peace movements.
To expose FBI monitoring of political and religious groups in the United States, the ACLU filed FOIAs in 20 states on behalf of over 150 organizations and individuals. Today the ACLU made public the latest documents obtained in the project which confirm that the FBI is using counterterrorism resources to monitor and infiltrate advocacy groups including PETA, Greenpeace, the American Arab Anti Defamation Committee the ACLU itself. www.aclu.org/safefree/spying/23124prs20051220.html
Shouldn't the NSA, the CIA and the FBI be tracking Osama bin Laden and his henchmen? Or trying to make our borders more secure, as John Kerry kept saying during the last election? Apparently, they're more worried about PETA's campaign to keep Jennifer Lopez from using fur in her new fashion collection than protecting us from terrorists sneaking in across the porous Texas-Mexico border.