The Not-So-Secret Bush Regime

I failed to mention this week the shocking revelation made by Mr “I can make my own decisions” Alberto Gonzales, our country’s attorney general under the second half of the Bush administration’s reign.

Six weeks ago it was unclear who to point the finger at for foiling the Justice Department’s investigation into the NSA’s secret eavesdropping program, which for years was known only to members of the Bush Administration and a select few members of Congress.

But that all changed this week, when Gonzales, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Gonzales admitted to let slip that the president himself shut down the investigation. (video here). The Department of Justice had ordered its over 30-year-old Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) to investigate NSA eavesdropping program but as Gonzales explained, The White House denied the OPR access to the materials needed for their investigation — a move that OPR director H. Marshall Jarrett descibed as unprecedented.

Its amazing that Bush and his cronies can rule so ridiculously above the law. But, I guess its easilyi done for a president with a simple enough (selfish) mind to demonstrate this basic rule:

there is no law to lawlessness. another beautiful day to go and mow the law.

Bonus: CIA Blogger Fired for Discussing Geneva Conventions

Christine Axsmith, was canned from her position at the CIA’s software-development shop where, as Dana Priest reported in the Post online today, she conducted “performance and stress testing” on computer programs. After writing a blog entry titled “somthing like ‘Waterboarding is Torture and Torture is Wrong,’ Axsmith lost her top-secret security clearance, her job, and who knows what else.

Needless to say, if the CIA really thinks it can keep anything secret that it leaves unencrypted online, one only need to recall the massive security upgrade that they ordered up years ago (or was it the FBI) and have since scrapped plans as they are so hopelessly behind. Axsmith should sue. She was employed by BAE Systems — a little background Here.

Another lesson: just because something is legal doesn’t make it right. Not to mention, the flipside of that statement.

Judge Refuses to Toss Out Domestic Spying Suit Against AT&T

Despite pleas from John Negroponte and other Bush administration officials that discovery evidence presented in a trial would present “exceptionally grave damage” to national security, physician the case — brought in February by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and accusing AT&T of collaborating with the National Security Agency in illegal spying of millions of ordinary Americans — moves forward.

Associate Professor of Law (at GW) Orin Kerr breaks down the statement here. Greenwald chimes in as well.

Vagabond Vignettes: Icelandic Attributes

by D Heimpel, originally published in Iceland Review.

We decided not to stay in hotels. For three nights my friend, Van Arde Pretorious, and I roamed Iceland. We slept when tired, in the car or on the ground, like animals.

The Wind

“The wind drives you insane,” a waitress with dark eyes once told me.

Van Arde and I were at Lake M?vatn, an area where the Eurasian plate tears away from the North Atlantic, causing mud to boil and creating red pumice that’s ripped away by the wind when you throw it.

The wind rocked the car as we pulled off the road next to a peninsula dotted with moss covered craters. It was our last stop in a day spent staring at neon yellow sulfur deposits, swimming in steamy water belched up from the Earth’s stomach and trying to have full thoughts while the wind pulled them apart.

We stepped outside, the wind blaring off the lake.

“I’m just going to take some pictures. But I’ll walk if you want,” Van Arde said.

I didn’t move. The wind had won.

Sleep

“We need to rest,” I said when we arrived in the northern town of Akureyri. We drove around looking for a soft patch of grass. The gate to the soccer field was open. Van Arde took out some blankets. I took out my sleeping bag and we lay down.

I looked up. Clouds came over and it drizzled for a moment. Then I slept. At midnight we woke up and continued on.

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