We demand here till when Bush will continue violating human rights of Americans?! What for?! Bush knows that Iraq War is no longer approved by Americans. Bush knows that he lied to American people about motives of Iraq invasion. But after all the real president is Dick Cheney the head of new cons, who not only approve spying, but also torture of detainees. Cheney is the mystro of Iraq War Comedy for the sake of Israel. Again who is who in U.S. not only White House?!
Associated France Press (AFP) 2/1/2006
Former top US justice official objected to Bush spy program
WASHINGTON (AFP) - A former top official at the US Justice Department objected in 2004 to aspects of a US domestic spying program and refused to back it amid concerns about its legality and oversight, A US newspaper reported.
The revelation of the National Security Agency's wiretap program, which was authorized by President George W. Bush and targets domestic telephone and Internet communications, has sparked a political firestorm in the United States.
The New York Times reported Sunday that a refusal by James Comey, who in 2004 was the deputy attorney general of the United States, to back aspects of the program appears to have led to its temporary suspension.
Visiting wounded US troops who have served in Iraq at a Texas hospital, Bush on Sunday again staunchly defended the program's existence.
"It seems logical to me that if we know there's a phone number associated with Al-Qaeda and/or an Al-Qaeda affiliate, and they're making phone calls, it makes sense to find out why," Bush said.
The US president also again slammed the unknown source or sources who leaked information about the undercover program to the media, saying US security may have been impaired.
"The fact that somebody leaked this program causes great harm to the United States," Bush said.
Citing anonymous officials familiar with the 2004 deliberations over the program, the Times reported that Comey's refusal to back the program led senior Bush aides Andrew Card and Alberto Gonzales, who is now Attorney General himself, to make a hospital visit to then Attorney General John Ashcroft in a bid to win his backing for the program.
The Times said it could not ascertain whether Ashcroft, hospitalized at the time for gallbladder surgery, gave his backing to the program or whether the White House moved ahead without his approval.
Bush's 2002 order enabled the National Security Agency (NSA) to monitor, without a court warrant, international telephone calls and the electronic mail of US citizens with suspected ties to Al-Qaeda.
The decision on whether someone is believed to be linked to Al-Qaeda and should be monitored is sometimes left to a shift supervisor at the NSA, according to the Times.
Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer, a top US lawmaker on judicial matters, said Sunday he would ask Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter to call senior Bush administration officials to testify before Congress during hearings later this month about the program.
"I hope the White House won't hide behind saying oh, executive privilege, we can't discuss this. That's the wrong attitude," Schumer told the Fox News Sunday.
He added that "the balance between security and liberty is a very delicate one."
Domestic spying is a sensitive issue for many Americans who are proud of their civil liberties. Similar revelations about domestic spying led to legislation in the 1970s that allows wiretapping but requires government agencies to obtain a special court warrant for it.
However, in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, Bush approved the mass wiretap program under which the NSA could conduct domestic spying without a court warrant.
Lawmakers plan to hold congressional hearings on the program -- which was first revealed by the Times in mid-December -- and some have questioned whether Bush has the legal authority to bypass the courts in ordering domestic wiretaps without warrants.
The Justice Department announced Friday that it had launched an investigation into the leaking of the program's existence to the media.
Comey left the Justice Department earlier this year and is now the general counsel of Lockheed Martin.
Meanwhile, The Washington Post reported Sunday that information from the NSA's secret eavesdropping has been passed on to other government agencies, which cross-check the information with tips and data held in other databases.
Information from intercepts, which typically includes records of telephone or e-mail communications would be made available by request to agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the CIA and Department of Homeland Security.
At least one of those organizations, the DIA, has used NSA information as the basis for carrying out surveillance of people in the United States suspected of posing a threat, two sources told the Post.