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Who's the Liar?

Tim Gratz

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My question: do you see any parallels between the Kennedys end-run around the CIA with the Special Group and Bush's similar? end-run in 2003, when the neo-cons ran the Iraq intelligence out of the Pentegon?

There is a very interesting dynamic between President Bush's conflicts with the CIA, and President Kennedy's. On the surface, it appears that President Bush has succeeded in taming the CIA, exactly what President Kennedy attempted to do, and which cost him his life. Yet: the political positions have been reversed. The political position of the CIA during President Kennedy's time - supported by the Pentagon, (what Jim Garrison called "the War Machine") was for a ground war, if not in Cuba, then, better yet, in Vietnam. That President Kennedy would not support that ground war, in large part because he was opposed to the deficit that would result, played a large role in his demise, along with his opposition to the extraordinary powers being exercised by the CIA. Students might be interested in the fact that President Eisenhower defined "national security" as, in part, avoiding a huge deficit and a bankrupted economy.

The CIA by the time of the current President had a policy much more similar to the cautious views of President Kennedy. It discovered that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and said so. It warned against a protracted Occupation in Iraq; it recognized that an American invasion in Iraq would result in a civil war....Because President Bush was furthering pro-war policies similar to those advanced by the CIA in President Kennedy's time, he shattered the CIA into the thousand pieces - exactly what President Kennedy had threatened to do. The clandestine service was eviscerated. The Director of Central Intelligence no longer was to meet with the President on a daily basis and a Director of National Intelligence was appointed. The Pentagon of course remains the same in its furthering the interests of what President Eisenhower warned against, the military-industrial complex.

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Who's the xxxx, it looks like President Bush this week.

Sure, these are likely to become partisan talking points, but at least they are from the mouth of the POTUS.

It seems in selling the Patriot Act Bush has offered apparently contradictory statements about judicial oversight of these searches. In these remarks he seems to be saying that the Patriot Act powers are carefully monitored. His recent remarks, as far as I can tell, say the opposite.

Secondly, there are such things as roving wiretaps. Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.

White House

Q -- coming next year. And I find that an important tool for protecting America. And in Wisconsin here, we have Senator Russ Feingold, as you're aware, the only Senator to vote against the Patriot Act. Wondering if you can tell us all here the importance of the Patriot Act and what we can do to help get that renewed.

THE PRESIDENT: Let me -- that's a great question. A couple of things that are very important for you to understand about the Patriot Act. First of all, any action that takes place by law enforcement requires a court order. In other words, the government can't move on wiretaps or roving wiretaps without getting a court order.

Now, we've used things like roving wiretaps on drug dealers before. Roving wiretaps mean you change your cell phone. And yet, we weren't able to use roving wiretaps on terrorists. And so what the Patriot Act said is let's give our law enforcement the tools necessary, without abridging the Constitution of the United States, the tools necessary to defend America.

President's Remarks at Ask President Bush Event

I'll tell you another good thing that happened. Before September the 11th, investigators had better tools to fight organized crime than to fight international terrorism. That was the reality. For years, law enforcement used so-called roving wire taps to investigate organized crime. You see, what that meant is if you got a wire tap by court order -- and, by the way, everything you hear about requires court order, requires there to be permission from a FISA court, for example.

President Bush Calls for Renewing the USA PATRIOT Act

The Patriot Act is helping America defeat our enemies while safeguarding civil liberties for all our people. The judicial branch has a strong oversight role in the application of the Patriot Act. Under the act, law enforcement officers need a federal judge's permission to wiretap a foreign terrorist's phone or search his property. Congress also oversees our use of the Patriot Act. Attorney General Gonzales delivers regular reports on the Patriot Act to the House and the Senate.

President's Radio Address

The Patriot Act Helps Law Enforcement Fight Terrorism While Safeguarding Civil Liberties For All Americans. The judicial branch has a strong oversight role in the application of the Patriot Act. Law enforcement officers must seek a federal judge's permission to wiretap a foreign terrorist's phone, track his calls, or search his property. These strict standards are fully consistent with the Constitution. Congress also oversees the application of the Patriot Act, and in more than three years there has not been a single verified abuse.

Fact Sheet: Giving Law Enforcement the Tools They Need to Safeguard Our Homeland

Finally, we need to renew the critical provisions of the Patriot Act that protect our civil liberties. The Patriot Act was written with clear safeguards to ensure the law is applied fairly. The judicial branch has a strong oversight role. Law enforcement officers need a federal judge's permission to wiretap a foreign terrorist's phone, a federal judge's permission to track his calls, or a federal judge's permission to search his property. Officers must meet strict standards to use any of these tools. And these standards are fully consistent with the Constitution of the U.S.

Congress also oversees the application of the Patriot Act. Congress has recently created a federal board to ensure that the Patriot Act and other laws respect privacy and civil liberties. And I'll soon name five talented Americans to serve on that board. Attorney General Gonzales delivers regular reports on the Patriot Act to the House and the Senate, and the Department of Justice has answered hundreds of questions from members of Congress. One Senator, Dianne Feinstein of California, has worked with civil rights groups to monitor my administration's use of the Patriot Act. Here's what she said: "We've scrubbed the area, and I have no reported abuses." Remember that the next time you hear someone make an unfair criticism of this important, good law. The Patriot Act has not diminished American liberties; the Patriot Act has helped to defend American liberties.

President Discusses Patriot Act

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