Friday, January 23, 2009

Part 2 of Olbermann Interview With Wiretapping Whistleblower

As I promised in yesterday's post, I will be following this breaking story like a hawk. And as one would expect from Keith Olbermann when it comes to the issue of warrantless wiretapping and civil liberties, he's on it too.Click here to watch part one of Olbermann's interview of whistleblower Russell Tice, a former National Security Agency analyst. In it, Tice claims that not only was the administration sweeping up literally millions of innocent Americans phone calls, emails, faxes, and web searches, they were specifically targeting JOURNALISTS. Apparently, Big Brother really is watching.

Olbermann had Tice back on the show last night. Watch that interview here.

As for trying to answer that bigger question of "What do we do now?" I said in yesterday's post:

"The good news (if there is any) is this is just the kind of jaw dropping, Constitution smashing, and privacy eviscerating revelations that might force the Obama Administration to both investigate past Bush crimes, but also take a stronger position on the issue of wiretapping in general (namely by revisiting and revising the "Protect America Act").

Today, I found what might be at least a hint of an answer, as President Obama nominated David Kris, a former critic of Bush's warrantless wiretapping program, to lead the Justice Department's national security division. In late 2005, "Mr. Kris wrote a 23-page legal analysis that described as 'weak' and likely unsupportable some of the Bush administration's key legal arguments in justifying the program."

The New York Times reports:

...when he was still at the Justice Department, he advised his boss, who was at the time Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson, not to sign a mysterious batch of wiretapping warrants — which grew out of the program — because intelligence officials would not reveal how the information in the wiretaps was obtained.

Mr. Kris was an early advocate of the idea of creating a separate national security division at the Justice Department, apart from the criminal division. The national security division was created in 2006.

If he is confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Kris will not only oversee intelligence and national security law but may also be responsible for assessing how and whether detainees now held at Guantanamo Bay can be tried in American criminal courts.

The immediate good news in this appointment is Obama clearly chose someone that is on the right side of this issue and the Constitution. What I don't think we know yet, and this goes for Obama too, is whether there will be any sort of concerted effort to hold those accountable for the various Constitutional crimes committed. That is true of wiretapping, and true of torture as well.

I will be following this every step of the way...

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