To recap, Attorney General Michael Mukasey made a statement that came out and stated, in no uncertain terms, that the U.S. government had a chance to listen in to a phone call from some “safe house” in Afghanistan right before 9/11, but they didn’t do it because the FISA laws prevented such actions. This is pure hogwash. Reporters might not know that, but the Attorney General of the United States damn well does. He then got all teary-eyed, thinking of the 3000 people who lost their lives that terrible day, all because of the FISA laws. What rot.
Glenn Greenwald has been on top of this one.
Mukasey’s story is either true or false — and, more importantly, nothing like it happened. He can’t claim that he just misspoke or was confused because not only was there no such call from Afghanistan (at least according to everything that is known, including by the 9/11 Commission’s version), but FISA could never possibly have prevented interception of any calls remotely like the one Mukasey described.
He just made this up out of whole cloth in order to mislead Americans into supporting the administration’s efforts to eliminate spying safeguards and basic constitutional liberties and to stifle the pending surveillance lawsuits against telecoms. That isn’t hard for anyone — even including those who play the role of journalists on TV — to understand and convey.
What is just as bad, or even worse, than the USAG making public statements like that is that the press is letting him get away with it! Not one peep! No, but we hear all about this racist, America hating black pastor in Detroit, or the fact that Obama can’t bowl very good. But hard news? Of course not! Dammit it all! This is what they are SUPPOSED to do! This is their job!
Keith Olbermann on Countdown had a conversation with Jonathan Turly, Constitutional Law Professor, about this subject. Their consensus seemed to be that one reason the press was avoiding this subject like the plague is that, if they were to report on it, they would have to admit their complicity. They have been acting like mouthpieces for the administration all along, and to start doing otherwise would raise the question about why this hasn’t come out before? In other words, they are PROTECTING THEIR OWN BUTTS! I just cannot even begin to come close as to describing how bad this is.
If we can’t get an unbiased press back that is willing to dig to uncover facts that those in power do not want to see in public view, then this country is absolutely doomed as a democracy. I don’t even think it will matter if we have a Democratic president AND a Democratic majority in both houses. If the press is still out there, aiding the Republican machinery to whatever ends they seek, then we’re sunk.
Here are some links to some good posts on the subject.