Professor Jonathan Turley discusses the legal implications for former President George Bush if he tried to force his attorney general, John Ashcroft to authorize domestic spying.
Jonathan has more at his blog. Reports Shows Additional Undisclosed Surveillance Programs — And Likely Unlawful Conduct by Bush Administration:
A new government report has disclosed that President Bush authorized secret surveillance activities that went beyond the previously disclosed NSA program – raising the prospect of additional unlawful conduct by the Bush Administration. At the same time, a House member has revealed that CIA Director Leon Panetta has shutdown a program that was never revealed to Congress in direct violation of federal law. I will be discussing these stories tonight on MSNBC Countdown.
In a notable change, the report now describes the entire program as the “President’s Surveillance Program,” going beyond the domestic surveillance program. It also highlights the individual who is most accountable for criminal violations as well as the failure of the Obama Administration to allow investigations into unlawful surveillance or torture. As the evidence of such unlawful conduct mounts, the blocking of a criminal investigation by Attorney General Holder grows more serious as an abdication of his oath to uphold our laws.
Notably, the “usual suspects” refused to be interviewed: former CIA Director George Tenet, former Attorney General John Ashcroft, former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card; former top Cheney aide David Addington; and John Yoo, who served as a deputy assistant attorney general. Given the potential incrimination prospects, they have at least acted in deference to the criminal code even as Holder appears to ignore it.
Marcy Wheeler's been all over this story as well and has more on the latest revelations to come out of the IG's report. George Bush PERSONALLY Sent Card and Gonzales to Thug Up Ashcroft:
Today's IG Report on illegal wiretapping answers another previously unanswered question: who called Mrs. Ashcroft to tell her Andy Card and Alberto Gonzales were coming to the ICU ward to rough of John Ashcroft.
George Bush did so himself.
From the report:
According to notes from Ashcroft's FBI security detail, at 6:20 PM that evening Card called the hospital and spoke with an agent in Ashcroft's security detail, advising him that President Bush would be calling shortly to speak with Ashcroft. Ashcroft's wife told the agent that Ashcroft would not accept the call. Ten minutes later, the agent called Ashcroft's Chief of Staff David Ayres at DOJ to request that Ayres speak with Card about the President's intention to call Ashcroft. The agent conveyed to Ayres Mrs. Ashcroft's desire that no calls be made to Ashcroft for another day or two. However, at 6:5 PM, Card and the President called the hospital and, according to the agent's notes, "insisted on speaking [with Attorney General Ashcroft]." According to the agent's notes, Mrs. Ashcroft took the call from Card and the President and was informed that Gonzales and Card were coming to the hospital to see Ashcroft regarding a matter involving national security. (24) [my emphasis]
As Jonathan noted the only thing standing in the way of anything being done to bring the Bush administration to justice over these matters is the Obama administration's unwillingness to go after them. I would imagine that unwillingness is a result of being too worried about how Republicans will react with trying to get any legislation passed if they do it. That and the right wing screechers on talk radio and the rest of our "main stream media" saying they are criminalizing policy, rather than taking an honest look at the illegalities that have been done in the name of keeping us safe from terrorism.