Feingold: Legal Memos on ‘Blatantly Illegal’ Surveillance Still in Place

Friday, July 10, 2009 at 7:01 pm

No real surprise that progressive Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) would be appalled by the inspectors general report on warrantless surveillance, but this is news to me:

“This report leaves no doubt that the warrantless wiretapping program was blatantly illegal and an unconstitutional assertion of executive power. I once again call on the Obama administration and its Justice Department to withdraw the flawed legal memoranda that justified the program and that remain in effect today.”

Forgive me if I’ve missed something, but I thought that those memoranda — principally John Yoo’s Nov. 2, 2001 Office of Legal Counsel memorandum underpinning the programs — were either significantly abridged or withdrawn outright. This is from page 182 of the memoir of Jack Goldsmith, the former Office of Legal Counsel head who worked hard to roll back the most extreme legal contentions of his Bush administration colleagues:

I am not permitted to say much about how Jim Comey, Patrick Philbin and I, with the crucial support of former Attorney General John Ashcroft and others, struggled to put the Terrorist Surveillance Program on a proper legal footing. I first encountered the program in 2003-2004, long after it had been integrated into the post-9/11 counterterrorism architecture. Putting it legally aright at that point, without destroying some of the government’s most important counterterrorism tools, was by far the hardest challenge I faced in government.

Now, of course, significant aspects of the program have been codified in last year’s FISA Amendments Act — of which Feingold remains a staunch opponent. But does the legal architecture of the original PSP still remain in place?

I suppose if it does, one vehicle for calling attention to it — and perhaps doing something about it — is the debate over reauthorizing sections of the Patriot Act that will take place later this year.

You can follow TWI on Twitter and Facebook.

Follow Spencer Ackerman on Twitter



Keeping Secrets « Spreading the Word
Pingback posted July 10, 2009 @ 8:41 pm

[...] this to the Patriot Act, which is still in force, and we have a group of independent operators doing what they think is good for the United States [...]

Comment posted July 11, 2009 @ 12:29 am

Then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, Feingold. Traitor.

Comment posted July 11, 2009 @ 1:09 am

This is the whole problem with the Dems. They endured the long dark night of GOP Corp/Fascism and now nobody wants to prosecute. The reason? Because it all leads back to the President of the United States, George Bush and the Vice President Dick Cheney. No Democrat wants to be the one to call for prosecution of the Executive Office.

Cowards all. These men are traitors. They have committed so many crimes there is not enough room or time to list them all. They have the blood of 100s of Thousands of noncombatants on their hands. They have violated our civil rights repeatedly and still are. They have committed crimes in our names up to and including kidnapping, torture and murder. There was a reason the CIA destroyed those 95tapes, and we have already been told that over 100people died in the Rendition program. Some of the survivors have been proved innocent. The IRC can't find many of the rest and fears they are dead. Undoubtedly many of those subjects were innocent and simply fingered by others who were being tortured.

The bottom line is that we have a crime scene, bodies all over the place, a bunch of guys covered in blood and babbling about self defense… and the cops are letting them all go home without so much as a warning.

The Dems need to get on the ball and stand up for our image, our country… us. We need an accounting. Not an amnesty and a truth commission. An honest, no holds barred investigation with prosecutions and incarcerations for those who are found culpable for a host of crimes ranging from lying to Congress, subverting the Constitution up to murder and mass murder in the case of Iraq.

Comment posted July 11, 2009 @ 1:11 am

I would imagine that bringing it to the public's attention would be one example of doing 'something about it' (and a small-d democratic method at that). d-bag!

Comment posted July 11, 2009 @ 2:16 am

He did, hence the news article about it. Perhaps you should try firing a brain cell before posting comments that make no sense.

Comment posted July 11, 2009 @ 6:20 am

Sadly, until Congressional Democrats do agree to hold hearings in order to expose and/or prosecute, Nixon's axiom about the President not being able to do anything illegal will hold true.

Comment posted July 11, 2009 @ 4:48 pm

After Ashcroft & Goldsmith left office, Gonzales & Bradbury restored some of the Yoo arguments and policies regarding interrogations. Perhaps they did the same for the 'TSP'. Second, its unclear which program(s) is/are covered by both Feingold and Goldsmith in the passages you cite. It's possible that Goldsmith only addressed the TSP while Feingold is criticizing other programs that are still classified and undetailed.

Where’s the Outrage? » Bush appears to have spied on everything and everyone
Pingback posted July 11, 2009 @ 8:38 pm

[...] vehicle for calling attention to it — and perhaps doing something about it — is the debate overreauthorizing sections of the Patriot Act that will take place later this [...]

Arn Gunnutes
Comment posted July 11, 2009 @ 11:55 pm

Bush and Cheney committed TREASON against the USA”


Bin Ladens flown out under restricted air on 9/12/2001

Exposed our COVERT weapons of mass destruction SPY, thus FKCUING “National Security”.

Indefinite detention without trial.

Politicizing the DoJ and ALL the government branches.

Sorry, TRUST but VERIFY.

And PROSECUTE the WAR CRIMINALS Bush and Cheney.

God Bless America, President Obama, and Senator Al Franken!!

Comment posted July 12, 2009 @ 11:00 am

The only way for justice to prevail will be for the DoJ to establish up a special prosecutor in the Ken Starr fashion and give him his head to ferret out any and all possible conflicts of interests that would be a crime by US law, international treaties and the Constitution. Once done, it'll be quite difficult for republicans in Congress to deny members, specifically appointees, of the Bu$h Administration are guilty of treason.

Comment posted July 12, 2009 @ 11:05 am

That's why we have a Department of Justice. It takes the politics out of the investigative process, gets the cold hard facts, defines what actions are crimes and then let the chips fall in the courts. By keeping Congress away, there's a extremely good chance of getting convictions. The only time you need Congress will be if actions are found to be treasonable. It'll be hard to claim partisanship politics if the facts found are inarguable treasonable.

Comment posted July 12, 2009 @ 12:44 pm

When are our congressmen going to call for investigation and prosecution of Bush and Cheney?
A Conspiracy To Deceive Congress for eight years, #fb

about a secret CIA program is just like the Conspiracy To Ignore And Render Moot Our US-Federal Anti-Torture Laws.

It is time our Congressmen, Republican as well as Democrats showed us they support our Rule of Law and the Separation of Powers.

The time is now!

calling for a special prosecutor at ANGRYVOTERS.ORG


Comment posted July 12, 2009 @ 1:22 pm

Feingold has been consistently honest…he voted against the “Patriot Act” the lone voice in the Senate. He has been shut out by most media for his brave stance. He gets kudos in my book, for not being a coward-also kudos to Kucinich, Marcy Kaptur, Wexler and Whitehouse. It's an American shame there are so few that chose to be aware of what the Bush Adm got away with (murder).

Lots more eavesdropping than we realized « Later On
Pingback posted July 12, 2009 @ 4:45 pm

[...] vehicle for calling attention to it — and perhaps doing something about it — is the debate over reauthorizing sections of the Patriot Act that will take place later this [...]

Comment posted September 28, 2009 @ 5:55 am

Do we not fight wars to protect “human rights” — or so that's what we are told? War is a business and this is a simple fact. There are literally millions of posts on the web under the heading of the Silent Holocaust, Organized Harassment, multi stalking, whistle blowers, gang stalking just to name a few. 1,000s of Americans are screaming for help and are being psychologically tortured. These are normal citizens of the United States, not terrorists or criminals. 24/7 surveillance, stalked everywhere, black balling, destruction of innocent people. I call it terrorism by 1,000 blows. Please help – awareness is prevention. http://www.rosieandthecat.com – lots of good links.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.