Rumsfeld Pushes For Pentagon Total
(A military dictatorship in the
Below are a series of links to recent articles concerning the latest legal developments in the War on Terror on the U.S. home-front. Some of you will already be familiar with debate over Patriot Act II, which if passed would effectively end the law of habeas corpus and the right to legal representation in the United States.
The stories below concern two other proposed law changes which have received far less attention, firstly there is a Pentagon Bill to give Rumsfeld what looks like effective absolute control at the Pentagon – eliminating Congressional oversight and granting him apparently unlimited powers to contract on behalf of the U.S. Government - and an Intelligence Bill which would if passed would give the CIA and Pentagon powers to spy domestically inside the United States.
You can find out more about these bills at the following Google News Links.
Thus far it seems that very little has been written about the personnel and oversight changes contained in the Pentagon Bill, though there are other aspects of this bill raising eyebrows.
"2004 Defense Authorization Bill "
"Intelligence Authorisation Bill"
The Nation's Daily Outrage: Two-Front Rumsfeld
04/29/2003 @ 2:33pm
Brace yourself. The Defense Secretary is pushing a 205-page Bill through Congress that would -- take a deep breath:
* Strip Defense Department employees of their unions, whistleblower protections, annual pay raises, and rights to appeal disciplinary actions;
* Let the Defense Secretary dole out no-bid, no-oversight, no-accountability contracts worth billions (one observer calls it "the Halliburton Bill of Rights");
* Exempt the military from environmental and wildlife protection rules on more than 23 million acres of American lands;
* Free the Pentagon from dozens of requirements it report to Congress.
Dissing Congress seems only fair. As long as the Pentagon is offering contempt to taxpayers, the environment and its own workers, why should it pretend it respects our elected representatives? Especially since Congress doesn't respect itself:
Rumsfeld's bill is
moving up Capitol Hill with a bullet. It was being discussed
this morning at a House subcommittee hearing,
and soon could make its way into the front pages. For a more
detailed analysis from the American Federation of Government
By Tom Brune
May 3, 2003
Washington - The Bush administration is secretly trying to expand the investigative powers of the CIA and military, allowing them to demand personal and business records of people in this country, government officials confirmed yesterday.
If enacted, the new powers would broaden the scope under which the CIA and Defense Department could legally gather sensitive records from businesses and other organizations in the pursuit of foreign intelligence and terrorism investigations, civil liberties advocates and experts said yesterday.
Government intelligence and law enforcement officials sought to downplay the significance of the administration's proposal yesterday, saying it probably was going nowhere.
Civil libertarians and privacy advocates called the proposal an "outrage" and complained it represents "a radical change in U.S. law" that should be openly debated as an important policy matter and not discussed only behind closed doors.
The provision containing the proposal was quietly attached to the intelligence authorization bill being considered in confidential sessions of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, officials said.
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Broad Domestic Role Asked for C.I.A. and the
By ERIC LICHTBLAU and JAMES RISEN
May 2, 2003
ASHINGTON, May 1 — The Bush administration and leading Senate Republicans sought today to give the Central Intelligence Agency and the Pentagon far-reaching new powers to demand personal and financial records on people in the United States as part of foreign intelligence and terrorism operations, officials said.
The proposal, which was beaten back, would have given the C.I.A. and the military the authority to issue administrative subpoenas — known as "national security letters" — requiring Internet providers, credit card companies, libraries and a range of other organizations to produce materials like phone records, bank transactions and e-mail logs. That authority now rests largely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the subpoenas do not require court approval.
The surprise proposal was tucked into a broader intelligence authorization bill now pending before Congress. It set off fierce debate today in a closed-door meeting of the Senate Intelligence Committee, officials said. Democrats on the panel said they were stunned by the proposal because it appeared to expand significantly the role of the C.I.A. and the Pentagon in conducting domestic operations, despite a long history of tight restrictions, officials said.
After raising objections, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California and other Democrats succeeded in getting the provision pulled from the authorization bill, at least temporarily, Congressional officials said.
In a closed vote, the committee passed the bill unanimously without the proposal. But Senator Pat Roberts, the Kansas Republican who is chairman of the intelligence committee, indicated to panel members that he wanted to hold further hearings on the idea, officials said.
There was some disagreement over exactly how the provision originated. Several Senate aides active in the debate said that Senator Roberts had included it in the authorization bill. But a senior Congressional official said the Bush administration had initiated the proposal and that Senator Roberts had not objected.
A C.I.A. official said the provision had come from the Bush administration, after the White House's Office of Management and Budget signed off on it.
The official said that Congressional leaders had asked the Bush administration whether there were any additional powers needed to help combat terrorism. The administration responded with the proposal to give the C.I.A. and military the power to use the national security letters, the official said. Another Congressional official said the move came at the urging of the C.I.A. The White House had no comment last night.
Because the F.B.I. now has primary responsibility for domestic intelligence operations, the C.I.A. and the military must currently go to the F.B.I. to request that it issue a national security letter to get access to financial and electronic records.
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