WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 — The Pentagon has been using a little-known power to obtain banking and credit records of hundreds of Americans and others suspected of terrorism or espionage inside the United States, part of an aggressive expansion by the military into domestic intelligence gathering.The NY Times did not reveal how this issue first came to their attention, but this paragraph from the article raised my eyebrows.
The C.I.A. has also been issuing what are known as national security letters to gain access to financial records from American companies, though it has done so only rarely, intelligence officials say.
Banks, credit card companies and other financial institutions receiving the letters usually have turned over documents voluntarily, allowing investigators to examine the financial assets and transactions of American military personnel and civilians, officials say.
The F.B.I., the lead agency on domestic counterterrorism and espionage, has issued thousands of national security letters since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, provoking criticism and court challenges from civil liberties advocates who see them as unjustified intrusions into Americans’ private lives.
But it was not previously known, even to some senior counterterrorism officials, that the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency have been using their own “noncompulsory” versions of the letters. Congress has rejected several attempts by the two agencies since 2001 for authority to issue mandatory letters, in part because of concerns about the dangers of expanding their role in domestic spying.
Some Democrats have accused the F.B.I. of using the letters for fishing expeditions, and the American Civil Liberties Union won court challenges in two cases, one for library records in Connecticut and the other for Internet records in Manhattan. Concerned about possible abuses, Congress imposed new safeguards in extending the Patriot Act last year, in part by making clear that recipients of national security letters could contact a lawyer and seek court review. Congress also directed the Justice Department inspector general to study the F.B.I.’s use of the letters, a review that is continuing.Speaking of fishing expeditions, the Democrats will soon begin 15 separate "oversight" hearings. You don't suppose someone leaked this story, do you?
Any good leftist, especially those in Europe, will tell you that GW Bush like his predecessor Ronald Reagan has transformed "Amerika into a gulag." Things have gotten so bad that one human rights organization reported this news from Human Rights Watch:
NEW YORK, Jan 12 (OneWorld) - The Bush administration's failure to address international human rights concerns has prompted an unusual call from one of the world's leading human rights organizations.With U.S. credibility undermined by the use of torture and detention without trial, the European Union must fill the global leadership void on human rights, New York-based Human Rights Watch said Thursday in releasing its World Report 2007. "Since the U.S. can't provide credible leadership on human rights, European countries must pick up the slack," said the organization's executive director Kenneth Roth, who observed that instead, "the European Union is punching well below its weight."
Natalie Maines, like countless others including Martina Navratilova and Venezuelan Vice President Jose Rangel have tried to warn the American public but we will not listen. With the new management in Congress, all that's going to change now. When the left talks, the Democrats listen and they will make sure the whole country is listening too. By the time, the Democrats are done with GW Bush and the Republicans you'll feel like your head is going to explode. Go on and buy your duct tape now.