BushCo Spied On Americans More Than Previously Thought
The inspectors general interviewed more than 200 people inside and outside the government, but five former Bush administration officials refused to be questioned. They were Ashcroft, Yoo, former CIA Director George Tenet, former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card and David Addington, an aide to former Vice President Dick Cheney.
According to the report, Addington could personally decide who in the administration was “read into” — allowed access to — the classified program.
It was Yoo (right) who wrote memos supporting this policy, but the report says Yoo ignored a law restricting the government’s authority to enact such programs. Rep. Jane Harman of California said she was shocked to learn of the existence of these programs.
Former Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzales made a terse reference to other classified programs in an August 2007 letter to Congress. But Harman said that when she had asked Gonzales two years earlier if the government was conducting any other undisclosed intelligence activities, he denied it.
“He looked me in the eye and said ‘no,'” she said Friday.
Former CIA director Michael Hayden (right) was the architect of these programs, and says they were necessary in the wake of September 11, but the report indicates that most of the leads generated had no connection to terrorism.
And it was Yoo who looked to find a legal way to wrangle permission for the administration to do what it wanted.
Yoo insisted that the president’s wiretapping program had only to comply with Fourth Amendment protections against search and seizure — but the report said Yoo ignored the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act, which had previously overseen federal national security surveillance.
“The notion that basically one person at the Justice Department, John Yoo, and Hayden and the vice president’s office were running a program around the laws that Congress passed, including a reinterpretation of the Fourth Amendment, is mind boggling,” Harman said.Click here for reuse options!
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