Wednesday, January 04, 2006

NSA spied on generals orders

According to recently declassified documents as reported by the N.Y. Times, then head of the N.S.A Lt. Gen. Michael V. Hayden, expanded the authority of the NSA to spy on domestic communications without even presidential approval. This all comes to light after Rep. Nancy Pelosi requested communications she sent expressing misgivings over the program after being briefed in 2001 be declassified.
Ms. Pelosi, then the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said, "I am concerned whether, and to what extent, the National Security Agency has received specific presidential authorization for the operations you are conducting."

The answer, General Hayden suggested in his response to Ms. Pelosi a week later, was that it had not. "In my briefing," he wrote, "I was attempting to emphasize that I used my authorities to adjust N.S.A.'s collection and reporting."
If this is remotely true this general should be court martialed and dishonorably discharged. The notion that the military takes unconstitutional power and they do not even have the figleaf of presidential approval is simply alarming. He "used his authorities"? What authorities? What law? What constitution? Have we the people elected this general to any office that allows him to make extra constitutional determinations? The military is not given the power he took and the response now that this is public should be a swift and unmistakable rebuke to this usurpation of authority.

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