United States News Digest
Funds for European Missile Defense Slashed
Sept. 12 (EIRNS)Giving a "no" vote to Bush's provocative European missile deployment, on Sept. 12, the full Senate Committee on Appropriations followed the action taken the day before by its Defense Subcommittee, and slashed a good portion of the funding for the deployment of U.S. missile defense components in Poland and the Czech Republic. This follows similar House action, taken before the Summer recess, on the FY Defense Department budget.
The Senate Committee has cut at least $85 million from the White House request of $310 million for the European deployment. The House had cut the request by $139 million. The bill will have to be passed by the full Senate, and reconciled with the House cuts.
In addition to the "no "vote from Congress, the majority of Polish and Czech citizens polled don't want the missile defense in their countries, either.
McConnell Admits New Spy Law Did Not Foil Terror Plot
Sept. 13 (EIRNS)The admission by Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell that the new so-called legal wiretapping law that was passed before the August Congressional recess helped to foil the terror plot in Germany, has been shown to be false. McConnell has been forced to withdraw his assertion that he made at a Sept. 10 hearing held by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security chaired by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.).
After his testimony, Democrats challenged McConnell, with House Judiciary Committee chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) requesting a clarification, and House Intelligence Committee chairman Silvestre Reyes (D-Texas) sending McConnell a letter asking for a public correction. The letter read, in part, "While revising FISA may provide a tool that could enhance future operations, it was not in play in the Germany case. In fact, FISA, which you repeatedly claim is 'outdated,' was precisely the tool that helped disrupt this plot."
Michael Isikoff of Newsweek interviewed four intelligence community officials who said that the new law played little or no role in the German intelligence, which came from military intelligence, and the exchange of information with the Germans took place months ago.
Democrats, who had already complained about being stampeded into passing the new law, are charging McConnell with playing politics on behalf of the White House. The surveillance law was passed on an emergency basis and is due to expire after six months, and McConnell's testimony had been seen as a strong argument for its renewed authorization.
Congressmen Demand Moratorium on Spy-Satellite Program
Sept. 10 (EIRNS)Congressional leaders from the House Homeland Security Committee have demanded a moratorium on a "Cheney-esque" program to use data from military spy satellites for domestic law enforcement purposes. The demand follows the previous week's hearing at which both Democrats and Republicans expressed their anger at the Bush Administration's announcement of the program to make satellite imagery and sensory data available to domestic agencies. The Administration's announcement was made in the Wall Street Journal, without any briefing to the Congressional oversight committees.
Reflecting concerns raised in the hearing, Committee chairman Rep. Benny Thompson (D-Miss.) and two subcommittee chairman, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and Rep. Christopher Carney (D-Pa.) called for a moratorium on the program "until the many Constitutional, legal and organizational questions it raises are answered." Among the concerns cited, are privacy and civil liberties safeguards, and whether the program conforms with the Posse Comitatus law, which prohibits military involvement in domestic law enforcement.
The program represents the implementation of the recommendations of a 2005 "Blue Ribbon Study," commissioned by the interagency Civil Applications Committee, which recommended "dramatic change" in the way intelligence agencies' data is provided to domestic agencies, and recommended the creation of a "Domestic Applications Office" in the Department of Homeland Security to coordinate access to intelligence capabilities by domestic agencies. This is what is now being done, except that the new DHS office is being called the "National Applications Office."
A witness at the Sept. 6 hearing, Lisa Graves of the Center on National Security Studies, stated in her written testimony that: "The report concludes by positing a very troubling, Cheney-esque point of view, claiming that the Church and Pike Committee investigations 'created a hyper-conservative view of what can be done'"a reference to the 1970s Congressional investigations of intelligence abuses. A number of observers have pointed out that Dick Cheney never accepted the findings of those investigations and the intelligence reforms which ensued.
LaRouche: Kean and Hamilton Duck the British Issue
Sept. 9 (EIRNS)Lyndon LaRouche responded today to an op-ed in the Sunday Washington Post by Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, the co-chairs of the 9/11 Commission, entitled "Six Years Later, Are We Safer Today?" by saying that they are ducking the issue. Kean and Hamilton write as follows: "Outside our borders ... the threat of failure looms. We face a rising tide of radicalization and rage in the Muslim worlda trend to which our own actions have contributed. The enduring threat is not Osama bin Laden but young Muslims with no jobs and no hope, who are angry with their own governments and increasingly see the United States as the enemy of Islam.... U.S. foreign policy has not stemmed the rising tide of extremism in the Muslim world.... We have lost ground.... We are also failing in the struggle of ideas.... U.S. policy choices have undermined support.... No word is more poisonous to the reputation of the United States than Guantanamo.... No question inflames public opinion in the Muslim world more than the Arab-Israeli dispute.... And finally, no conflict drains more time, attention, blood, treasure, and support from our worldwide counterterrorism efforts than the war in Iraq. It has become a powerful recruiting and training tool for al-Qaeda."
LaRouche said that the issue they are ducking is the that the policy which they identify is actually an Anglo-American policy, which comes primarily from the British, and is then echoed by Vice President Dick Cheney. The policy of a "clash of civilizations" with Islam is the concept of Samuel P. Huntington and Bernard Lewis. It is a policy which is promoted by the British or more accurately the Brutish Empire. And its purpose is to induce the U.S. to destroy itself. This is the problem we are facing.
Lynne Cheney Ally Demands Surveillance of Students
Sept. 12 (EIRNS)Candace de Russy, a leader of the Lynne Cheney-headed movement for a crackdown on campus resistance to the Bush-Cheney Administration, has called for increased secret-police surveillance of students and the elimination of civil liberties.
Writing Sept. 11 in William F. Buckley's National Review online, de Russy praises a report on Islamist influence among American students, which claims that such influence is producing a new generation of young terrorists. The report, entitled "Radicalization in the West: The Homegrown Threat," was published in August by the New York Police Department (NYPD) Intelligence Division.
De Russy says the report "zeroes in on the Muslim Student Association ... which up until now law enforcement authorities have refrained from prominently singling out." She complains that "protests of 'government spying on campus'" have deterred the FBI and police from counterintelligence operations at U.S. schools, and cites arch neo-conservative Steven Emerson on "the need to disrupt militant clusters within such groups through intelligence-gathering, such as the use of informants and covert surveillance"; she also suggests that security agencies should "recruit reliable informants who are in a position to know."
She concludes by asserting that the NYPD report "implicitly forces us all ... to [recognize] that in order to protect our lives in face of homegrown and foreign terror, we may have to limit our constitutional protections."