Friday, April 11, 2008

Speaking of liars

Senator Leahy pursued Attorney General Mukasey's recent misleading (if not totally fabricated) remarks in San Francisco. Mukasey allowed that he might have gotten the country wrong, blah, blah, blah.

Glenn Greenwald, who--thank you, Jesus--will not let go of this, comments in an update to his post today:
UPDATE: The commenter selise, one of the most reliable sources around, has posted a transcript of the Leahy-Mukasey exchange that is somewhat different (and even more damning) than the source quoted above. Mukasey claims that his only point was that no warrant should be required for foreign-to-foreign calls, but virtually nobody contests that. Indeed, that has always been the law under FISA -- certainly it was the law as of 9/11 -- and there was absolutely nothing preventing them from having intercepted and investigated that call (more details on that here, from Kevin Fenton).

Moreover, virtually everyone in Congress -- including even Russ Feingold and Rush Holt -- were willing to amend FISA to clarify further that no warrants are required to eavesdrop on such calls, but the President threatened to veto any such amendment unless it was accompanied by telecom amnesty. So it's hard to believe -- to put it mildly -- that Mukasey's only point was that foreign-to-foreign calls shouldn't require warrants, since (a) nobody contests that and (b) no warrants were required for such calls as of 9/11. His point was that FISA's warrant requirements prevented discovery of the 9/11 attack ("We've got three thousand people who went to work that day and didn't come home to show for that") and that claim is every bit as false as Mukasey's description of the call itself.
[Emphasis mine]

From selise's transcript:
Mukasey: The one thing I got wrong was the geography. It did not come from Afghanistan. I got the country wrong, but other than that it was spot on, and I will be happy to provide you with the page. And the point to be made there was not that we could not have monitored it under FISA, but rather that no FISA application should have been necessary to monitor a foreign target in a foreign country. I was speaking generally to the desirability of getting a bill passed, as you know we've been having a lot of trouble with that, but I'd be happy to get you the reference. You're right it's not in the 9/11...

Leahy: Then we don't need FISA to monitor a foreign source.

Mukasey: We shouldn't need it.

Leahy: We didn’t need it then. And we don't today.
There is no end to their obfuscation.

--the BB

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