«

»

Mar 24 2014

Time for a New Church Committee

(4 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI), the chairperson of the House Intelligence Committee, appeared on Meet the Press, making once again the nonsense that NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was in cahoots with Russian intelligence and a puppet of Vladimir Putin. As Kevin Gosztola, Rogers has been spewing this discredited propaganda to cover up his lack of any oversight of the intelligence community by his committee:

The propaganda Rogers pushes is the product of a vendetta Rogers has against Snowden. The whistleblower has forced him to address the issue of oversight of the NSA-a concept in government which appears to be personally outrageous to him. He has had to think about questioning the very secret surveillance programs and policies he is committed to fiercely defending. And so, the focus must be put on Snowden to avoid doing the job he should be doing as an overseer in government.

This is not about Edward Snowden. What Rogers and the other NSA/CIA apologists don’t want you to notice is that these agencies are out of control and there is no oversight by congress. The CIA and NSA are so out of control, it created a constitutional crisis.

Snowden’s disclosures, backed up by documents, served effectively as the gravest of grave, but also very obvious warnings that no good can come from empowering a “Deep State Top Secret America” to secretly and illegally spy on its own citizens. Unsurprisingly, Congress and other government officials now find themselves in this moment of “constitutional crisis” where not only is freedom of the press threatened, and ordinary citizens are not allowed to know about or democratically control the Deep State “Security” Surveillance but we’ve reached the point where, for instance, the CIA’s secretive and illegal attempts to thwart the Senate Intelligence Committee’s lengthy and exhaustive investigation of CIA torture as part of its oversight responsibilities, has now led to a real constitutional crisis.

This level of dangerous blowback is exactly the harm Snowden blew the whistle on! But isn’t it also what Senator Obama campaigned he would change, if elected to the presidency, before further damage could occur to our Constitutional rule of law? And isn’t the current perilous situation on all fours with the similar constitutional crisis involving the FBI’s COINTELPRO, CIA’s CHAOS and NSA’s MINARET programs that occurred in the final years of the Vietnam War, which led to Watergate and a president’s resignation? The spying and intimidation of Senator Feinstein’s Committee is very similar to the spying on Senators Frank Church and Howard Baker, civil rights leaders Martin Luther King and Whitney Young, and main NYT and Washington Post newspaper editors and columnists along with thousands of other innocent Americans who found themselves targeted by these secret spy programs during the last six years of the Vietnam War. These “national security” programs claimed authority not only to listen but to “disrupt” Americans domestically. Wasn’t this the important history lesson that Obama actually based his campaign for “Change” on?! Senators Church and Baker have passed on but surviving Church Committee members and staffers have quickly realized that history is repeating which is why they’re so urgently calling for a new Church Committee-type investigation.

Theses agencies are manipulating the actors in this drama pitting the executive and legislative branches against each other while they pull the strings. Meanwhile, the one person who could end it all, has allowed it to continue. Why? Could it be because he is not in control of these executive agencies either?

Where is the president in all this? Mostly limp and unpersuasive so far in very restrained responses. He didn’t fire the CIA director nor the NSA director though both have lied to Congress and the public, and are obvious candidates for blame. The president did not launch a seriously independent inquiry nor does he seem to understand that, whether or not it’s fair, the blame falls at his feet. Why didn’t  he get angry?

Because he knows the secrets, he is therefore vulnerable to reprisal.

The spies may not have tapped the White House phones but they do know what he knows and can always make use of it. This is the very core of the card game played by the intelligence agencies and it didn’t start with Barack Obama. When any new president comes to town, he is told the secrets first thing and continuously. The briefings can be chilling but also thrilling.

Ultimately, it can also be slyly coopting to learn what the government knows only at the very highest level. As the agencies take the White House deeper and deeper into the black box, it becomes harder for a president to dissent. It also makes it riskier to do so. The CIA or NSA know what he heard and know what he said when he learned the secrets. If the president decides to condemn their dirty work, the spooks and spies can leak to the press how in the privacy of the Oval Office the commander-in-chief gave the green light.

The former chief investigator for the Church Committee, Ben Wides says that the Senate and House intelligence committees are now too entwined with the intelligence agencies to be effective and has called for an independent committee. The other reason for this committee is President Obama’s refusal to investigate the actions taken during the Bush/Cheney administration’s ‘war on terror.’



Transcript can be read here

It is now time for a new Church Committee. Along with Firedoglake Action, we urge you to call you representatives and ask them to convene a special congressional investigation into the surveillance activities of the U.S. Intelligence Community.

This is not about Edward Snowden. This is about keeping the Republic.  

1 ping

Comments have been disabled.