Friday, May 26, 2006

Tape of Air Traffic Controllers Made on 9/11

Tape of Air Traffic Controllers Made on 9/11

The Bombs In The WTC

The Bombs In The WTC

Not support this, just posting.

The Truth About 9/11

The Truth About 9/11

This is bogus, as Jon Carlson's articles have been. Hanjor's ticket was purchased on 8/31 according to the Travel Agency

[political-researchp] Bloglines - BizzaroLand

Crooks and Liars
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"I wish us into bizzaroland and you two are still together."---Cordelia from THE WISH-"Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (Youtube)

Watching Tweety and Noron fawn all over their beloved King George after the Press Conference was mind numbing. I'm not going to write up a transcript, but all you need to know is that Tweety was moved enough to use the name "Lincoln" to describe Bush.

Video-WMP Video-QT

Olbermann had to be squirming in his chair.

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YAHOO! GROUPS LINKS / Fighting Terrorism (for review) / Fighting Terrorism

Probe reconstructs horror, calculated attacks on planes
SUBHEADBy Glen Johnson, Globe Staff, 11/23/01
American Airlines Flight 11First plane to strike the World Trade Center
United Airlines Flight 175Second plane to strike the towers
American Airlines Flight 77Struck the Pentagon
United Airlines Flight 93Passengers foiled hijackers' efforts
WASHINGTON - In some cases, the attacks were swift and ruthless, the hijackers slitting the throats of passengers and stabbing flight attendants to gain immediate control of the cabin. They probably used the universal "Boeing key" to unlock the cockpit door and kill the pilots before they could even touch their radios.
In other cases, the suspects appear to have preyed upon the time-tested US response to hijackings by deceiving the pilots into believing that everything would be OK if they just obeyed orders. The hijackers even got on the intercom, telling passengers - and their enforcers in back - that it would be so, not realizing they were alerting authorities to their takeover by broadcasting over an air-traffic-control frequency.
"Who's trying to call me?" one controller asked in vain.
In the days since four planes that took off as commercial flights came crashing back to earth as terrorist missiles, investigators have been able to weave together a vivid picture of what happened in the Northeast skies on Sept. 11.
Nineteen hijackers took over four airliners carrying another 213 passengers, 25 flight attendants, and eight pilots. They worked with legal instruments: box cutters and homemade knives fashioned with blades shorter than the FAA limit of 4 inches. They were efficient, a product of practice runs, when they videotaped crew routines and even rode in cockpit "jumpseats" usually reserved for legitimate airline pilots.
Within two hours, they were dead.
They struck the the two World Trade Center towers and knifed into the Pentagon, killing all the passengers on board and thousands on the ground. They lost control of a fourth plane, which was apparently headed for Washington; it crashed into a reclaimed strip mine outside Pittsburgh.
In the intervening minutes, a story unfolded that was graphic and horrifying. It also was full of heroics.
American Flight 11Plane was 1st to make fatal turn
American Airlines Flight 11 was a nonstop from Boston to Los Angeles that was flown using a Boeing 767, an aviation workhorse.
The captain was John Ogonowski, a 52-year-old man from Dracut. His first officer was Thomas McGuinness, 42, of Portsmouth, N.H. Also aboard were nine flight attendants and 81 passengers, for a total of 92 people on the flight manifest when the plane pushed back from Gate 26 at Logan International Airport.
The flight took off uneventfully at 8 a.m., and the last routine conversation occurred at 8:13 a.m., when the pilots were given instructions to turn 20 degrees to the right, said a federal official familiar with transcripts of the air-traffic-control conversations of all four flights.
"20 right, AAL11," the pilot working the radio responded, using the simple flight code of repeating an instruction and providing an airplane's call sign.
Almost immediately, the controller told the pilots to climb to 35,000 feet, but that instruction met with silence.
According to the FBI, there were five hijackers aboard the flight, led by Mohamed Atta, an Egyptian and the believed mastermind of the Sept. 11 plot. The other four were Abdulaziz Alomari, a citizen of Saudi Arabia; Satam M. A. Al Suqami, from the United Arab Emirates; Waleed M. Alshehri, a Saudi; and Wail M. Alshehri, a Saudi. All but Al Suqami were trained pilots.
One of the clearest ideas about what happened aboard the plane came from a call that flight attendant Amy Sweeney, a 35-year-old mother of two from Acton, made to a ground worker in Boston. A transcript of the call was confirmed by the Globe.
Sweeney called flight services manager Michael Woodward and said she saw only four of the five hijackers believed to be aboard. She described them as Middle Eastern and said they had stabbed two flight attendants.
"A hijacker cut the throat of a business-class passenger, and he appears to be dead," she added. The hijackers stormed the front of the plane and "had just gained access to the cockpit."
Almost immediately, the plane changed direction and began to descend. Sweeney tried to call the cockpit, but got no response. The plane also stopped transmitting a signal from its transponder, which enhances its radar signature and gives controllers information, such as its flight number and altitude.
When they are hijacked, pilots are taught to key the transponder with an emergency hijacking code. The hijackers could have known that and shut it off. They also could have turned it off because the absence of a signal would make it harder to track the plane as it turned south from Albany, N.Y., and headed toward New York City.
In the roughly 10 minutes between the last radio call and the next transmission from Flight 11 heard by controllers, aviation observers believe, hijackers gained control of the cockpit through a mixture of surprise and exploitation.
The four hijacked planes were all Boeing aircraft, and every one of the company's planes has a standard cockpit key, the so-called Boeing key. Perhaps the hijackers grabbed the key off one of the wounded flight attendants and barged into the cockpit. Perhaps they already had copied the key, having studied Boeing flight manuals and taken simulator rides in Boeing aircraft. Perhaps they opened the door with a box cutter to the neck of one of the flight attendants.
A flight attendant's body was found at one of the crash scenes with thin wire bound tightly near her manicured hand.
Under any scenario, it appears that the hijackers' entry was surprising enough that the pilots did not have a chance to broadcast a traditional distress call. Apparently at least one of the pilots on Flight 11 remained alive and at one of the cockpit's two control sticks, because he intermittently keyed the microphone button on the yoke so controllers could hear his conversation with a heavily accented hijacker.
It also appears a pilot tried to employ terrorist-training tactics that had proved effective for US pilots before Sept. 11.
"The traditional method of dealing with the traditional model of a hijacking was to accommodate, negotiate, and do not escalate," said John Mazor, spokesman for the Air Line Pilots Association, the world's largest pilot union. Since most hijackers just wanted to go some place or achieve some political aim, crews were taught to give them what they wanted.
The transcript of the air-traffic-control conversations shows that at 8:24 a.m., a controller heard a suspicious broadcast from Flight 11. Apparently, one of the hijackers confused the aircraft's radio with its public-address system.
"We have some planes. Just stay quiet and you will be OK. We are returning to the airport. Nobody move," the speaker said.
"Who's trying to call me?" the controller responded.
There was no response. Then came another radio broadcast, the transcript shows.
"Everything will be OK. If you try to make any moves, you'll endanger yourself and the airplane. Just stay quiet," the speaker said.
Air traffic controllers and American Airlines officials sent radio and text messages to the cockpit, but got no response. Ogonowski's relatives say it is unclear whether he and McGuinness were alive when the plane hit the World Trade Center.
Investigators say they believe Atta was flying the plane when it crashed.
American Airlines and United Air Lines made their senior aviation personnel available to The Wall Street Journal, and the people who staff the airlines' system operations centers offered a chilling account of a call that Betty Ong, a flight attendant from Andover onboard Flight 11, made to airline officials.
As the hijacking unfolded, Ong punched the number 8 on a seatback GTE Airfone and got through to an American reservations agent. The agent called the system operations control center in Fort Worth at 8:27.
"She said two flight attendants had been stabbed, one was on oxygen," said Craig Marquis, the manager on duty. "A passenger had his throat slashed and looked dead and they had gotten into the cockpit."
Ong said the four hijackers had come from first-class seats: 2A, 2B, 9A, and 9B. She said the wounded passenger was in seat 10B.
The flight attendant also said the hijackers had hit passengers with some sort of spray that made her eyes burn. She said she was having trouble breathing.
"Is the plane descending?" Marquis asked.
"We're starting to descend. We're starting to descend," she said.
In her conversation with Woodward, Sweeney, the flight attendant, relayed much the same information, including crew numbers, slightly different seat numbers, and the fact that they were descending.
Sweeney's last statement was chilling: "I see water and buildings. Oh my God. Oh my God."
At 8:33, controllers heard another, almost polite transmission.
"Nobody move please. We are going back to the airport. Don't try to make any stupid moves," the speaker said.
There is widespread speculation in law enforcement about whether all 19 hijackers were planning to commit suicide.
Atta clearly was ready to die, as evidenced by the will he left in luggage that did not make the connection to Flight 11. But investigators have said that other hijackers had papers urging them to prepare themselves for prison.
William H. Webster, the former FBI and CIA director, told reporters last month that it "would not surprise me" if some of the hijackers had been duped like the flight crews.
At 8:45 a.m., the jetliner sliced into the north tower of the World Trade Center.
United Flight 175Probe sees similarities in tactics
United Air Lines Flight 175 had much in common with American Flight 11: Both were flown with Boeing 767s and were early-morning, nonstop flights from Boston to Los Angeles.
Investigators say the hijackers picked the flights deliberately.
As the first flights of the day, there was little chance they would be delayed. With a 3,000-mile transcontinental trip ahead of them, each of the planes could have been loaded with up to 24,000 gallons of jet fuel - a mighty explosive punch.
Because it was a Tuesday, their passenger loads would have been relatively light, something to consider when a handful of men is planning to seize control of the jetliner.
And the 767s shared a common cockpit design with the other two planes hijacked Sept. 11, a pair of Boeing 757s. That meant the hijackers had to study only one set of instruments to learn how to fly either plane.
The crew of Flight 175 was led by Captain Victor J. Saracini, 51, of Lower Makefield Township, Pa. His first officer was Michael R. Horrocks, 38, of Glen Mills, Pa. The flight carried seven flight attendants and 56 passengers, a total of 65 people when the plane pushed back from Gate 19 at Logan Airport.
The plane took off at 8:14 a.m., and according to the FBI, had five hijackers among the passengers. The crew was led by Marwan Al-Shehhi, a citizen of the United Arab Emirates who was so close to Atta they considered themselves cousins.
Two of the other hijackers had flight training, Fayez Rashid Ahmed Hassan Al Qadi Banihammad, a Saudi, and Mohand Alshehri, another Saudi. The other two hijackers, likewise Saudis, were Ahmed Alghamdi and Hamza Alghamdi.
The plane had a routine climb, but at 8:37 a.m. it received an unusual call. A controller asked whether the pilots could see the earlier American flight.
"Affirmative, we have him, uh, he looks, uh, about 20, yeah, about 29, 28,000 [feet]," a pilot responded, according to the transcript from air traffic control.
The controller told the crew to make a right turn to avoid the American plane.
At 8:41 a.m., just four minutes before Flight 11 slammed into the World Trade Center, one of the United pilots radioed back to the controller.
"We heard a suspicious transmission on our departure from B-O-S," the pilot said, using the three-letter airport code. "Sounds like someone keyed the mike and said, `Everyone, stay in your seats.' "
Within 90 seconds of that transmission, however, Flight 175 itself veered from its course over northern New Jersey. It briefly continued south before making a U-turn to the north, for New York City.
There were no more conversations with the ground, and as with Flight 11, the plane's radar-enhancing flight transponder was shut off.
While little is known about what happened aboard Flight 175, because there wasn't the array of radio transmissions or cellphone calls, one member of the crew managed to get a message to the ground.
Around 8:50, Rich "Doc" Miles, the manager of United's system operations center in Chicago, received a call from an airline maintenance center in San Francisco that takes in-flight calls from flight attendants about broken items.
The mechanic said a female flight attendant called and said: "Oh my God. The crew has been killed, a flight attendant has been stabbed. We've been hijacked." Then the line went dead.
Miles, who by that time was aware of the American hijacking, answered, "No, the information we're getting is that it was an American 757."
The mechanic insisted, "No, we got a call from a flight attendant on 175."
A dispatcher who was monitoring the flight then sent messages to the plane's cockpit computer but got no response.
Howard Dulmage, a Houston aviation attorney and a captain for one of the nation's major airlines, which he did not wish to identify, speculates that some of the crews on Sept. 11 fell prey to surprise attacks, as appears to have happened with the pilots aboard Flight 175.
"The most likely scenarios are something that was swift, where the pilots couldn't have changed their transponder code and called the controllers," Dulmage said. "You think four times in one morning one of those crews would have done that. That means they had to be upon them before they could react."
The similarity of the attacks on all four planes hints at the training undertaken by the hijackers.
They launched their attack by killing a passenger or stabbing a flight attendant. Either action would have instilled fear in their hostages. On at least one flight, United Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania, the hijackers claimed they had a bomb, an easy means for an outnumbered group to gain control over the passengers.
In August, actor James Woods had an unsettling experience on American Flight 11. Woods said he was alone in first class with four men who appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent. During the six-hour flight, he noticed the men spoke to one another only in whispers and never ate, drank, or slept.
When the flight landed, Woods told a flight attendant and the authorities about what he had seen. He was interviewed after the crashes by the FBI, his agent said.
On other occasions, some of the hijackers were seen videotaping crews on their flights. Other times, they asked for cockpit tours.
Two also rode in the cockpit of the planes of one national airline, said a pilot who requested anonymity. The practice, known as "jumpseating," allows certified airline pilots to use a spare seat in the cockpit when none is available in the passenger cabin. Airlines reciprocate to help pilots get home or to the city of their originating flight.
FBI and Justice Department officials have told the Globe they do not believe any of the hijackers were jumpseating on Sept. 11, but in the aftermath of the attack, the Federal Aviation Administration banned the practice unless a pilot works for the airline in whose cockpit he wants to ride.
In the case of Flight 175, authorities believe Al-Shehhi - the man Atta considered a cousin - was at the controls when the aircraft struck the southern World Trade tower at 9:03 a.m.
American Flight 77Family recalls a meticulous pilot
American Flight 77 had the same destination as Flights 11 and 175, but a slightly different profile: It was a smaller Boeing 757. The plane can carry up to 11,300 gallons of fuel, less than half that of the 767, but still enough to deliver a blow.
Flight 77 was scheduled to fly from Dulles International Airport in suburban Washington to Los Angeles. The captain was Charles F. "Chic" Burlingame III, 51, and the first officer was David Charlebois, 39. They were joined by four flight attendants and 58 passengers, giving a total of 64 aboard when the plane took off at 8:20 a.m.
Burlingame was known as a perfectionist, a graduate of the Naval Academy and the "Top Gun" fighter pilot school. One copilot who flew with him recalled how Burlingame would carry a set of small paint brushes to dust off the instruments.
The crew received a series of routine clearances and asked for a flight level of 35,000 feet, possibly after reports of smoother skies. About 8:50, however, Burlingame and Charlebois stopped responding to radio calls, just after controllers in Indianapolis had given them instructions to fly toward a radio beacon in Falmouth, Ky.
At 8:56, the jet's transponder was shut off.
According to the FBI, the five hijackers aboard Flight 77 were led by Hani Hanjour, a Saudi who had a commercial pilot license.
Two of the other four were the only hijackers to have been on the bureau's terrorist-alert list: Khalid Almihdhar, and Nawaf Alhazmi, both Saudis. The other two hijackers were identified as Majed Moqed and Salem Alhazmi, both Saudis.
Employees at Advance Travel Service in Totowa, N.J., told The Star-Ledger of Newark that Hanjour and Moqed bought single, first-class tickets for Flight 77 on Aug. 31. Hanjour spoke little English, the employees said, so Moqed did most of talking.
The two tried to pay with a credit card, but it did not get an authorization. They then tried to pay with a check, but were refused. A short time later, they returned with $1,842.25 in cash.
At the men's request, Hanjour was given a seat in the front row of first class.
Among those on board Flight 77 was a familiar face to CNN viewers: Barbara Olson, a conservative commentator and the wife of Theodore Olson, the lawyer who argued George W. Bush's election case before the Supreme Court and now serves as the administration's solicitor general before the high court.
He was sitting in his office at the Justice Department, watching the trade center drama on television, when his secretary came in and said, "Your wife is on the phone."
Olson said his wife told him "they had box cutters and knives. They rounded up the passengers at the back of the plane." In one version of the conversation, she told him both pilots were there. Olson told his wife about the Trade Center crashes. "What should I tell the pilot?" she asked.
The Olsons were cut off, but Barbara Olson called back. In between, her husband called the Justice Department's command center to alert them of the hijacking.
When Olson called her husband back, she said the plane was circling and moving in a northeasterly direction.
Burlingame's family says he would not have given up the cockpit without a fight. If he were still in the cockpit, they say, he would not have been alive as the plane circled back from southern Ohio and flew toward the Pentagon.
Burlingame's father had spent 23 years in the Navy and Air Force, and he and his wife are buried at Arlington National Cemetery, just across the highway from the military headquarters.
While a Navy reservist, Burlingame worked in the Pentagon not far from the crash site.
Because the plane's transponder was turned off, it was hard for controllers to track the plane precisely, but ultimately the controller who cleared the plane out of Dulles watched his scope as the aircraft flew back toward Washington.
Authorities contend that Hanjour was at the controls and that the plane may have been on autopilot.
Controllers say the plane crossed the Pentagon at 7,000 feet and then made a sweeping circle to the right, during which time it dropped down to near surface level.
The plane swept low over a traffic-jammed highway and slammed into the western face of the building at 9:45.
United Flight 93Calls help foil intruders
United Flight 93 was a Boeing 757 slated to fly from Newark to San Francisco.
It was the only plane that didn't crash into a national landmark on Sept. 11, and authorities suspect two related reasons: The flight was delayed in taking off and by the time it was taken over, the nation knew it was under attack. Relatives were able to relay the information back to the plane in the frantic cellphone calls from passengers.
The captain was Jason Dahl, a 43-year-old Littleton, Colo., resident. His first officer was LeRoy Homer, 36, of Marlton, N.J. Also aboard were five flight attendants and 37 passengers, for a total of 44 on the flight. The plane pushed back from Gate 17 at Newark International Airport at 8:01 a.m., one minute after its scheduled departure.
United will not explain why, but the plane was delayed on the ground and didn't take off until 8:42. As it flew west over Pennsylvania and into northern Ohio, United transmitted a systemwide message, warning its pilots of a potential "cockpit intrusion."
The crew on Flight 93 replied by pushing a button that read out, "Confirmed."
Authorities suspect the plane was hijacked about 40 minutes into its flight. Unlike the other flights, there were only four hijackers aboard. Working in their favor was the relatively light load, the least of any of the hijacked planes.
According to the FBI, the leader and likely pilot was Ziad Samir Jarrah, a Lebanese who had received a pilot's license in Germany. He is suspected of being one of the three key players in the Sept. 11 plot, along with Atta and Al-Shehhi.
In Jarrah's apartment, he set up a three-panel, full-size replica of a Boeing 757 cockpit.
The FBI said the other three hijackers were Saeed Alghamdi, a Saudi and pilot; Ahmed Ibrahim A. Al Haznawi, a Saudi; and Ahmed Alnami, the 15th Saudi Arabian citizen among the hijackers.
The hijackers appeared to take control of the plane with lightning speed - springing up, donning red bandanas around their heads, with two forcing their way into the cockpit. One claimed to have a bomb tied to his waist.
According to the transcript from air traffic control, there were two short radio bursts, probably around the time the plane was taken over. In one, a pilot was heard saying, "Get out of here."
One government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said there were at least four radio transmissions. In two, the words spoken included "bomb on board." Many of the words were not in English, the official said, but two phrases that were heard included "our demands" and "keep quiet."
As with Flight 77, the hijackers claimed they were taking the plane to another airport.
"Hi, this is the captain," said Jarrah, according to a tape of an apparent inadvertant radio transmission obtained by ABC News. "We'd like you all to remain seated. There is a bomb on board. And we are going to turn back to the airport. And they had our demands, so please remain quiet."
The bulk of the information about what happened aboard the flight, however, came from the passengers. They used Airfones and cellphones to gather information and pass on word of a planned insurrection.
One of the now-famous passengers was Todd Beamer, a 32-year-old employee of Oracle, the corporate software company. He tried to use an Airfone to call his family in Cranbury, N.J., but he couldn't get authorization for his company account. Instead, he was patched through to Lisa Jefferson, a Verizon supervisor in Oak Brook, Ill., at 9:45, after speaking briefly with another operator.
The company faxed his wife, Lisa, a summary of the 15-minute call.
Beamer told Jefferson that the pilot and copilot apparently were dead and the hijackers were flying the plane. He said one hijacker was guarding 27 passengers in the back of the plane with what appeared to be a bomb tied around his waist.
He said two more hijackers were in the cockpit, while the fourth was guarding the first-class cabin.
Beamer asked Jefferson to convey his love to his wife, due to deliver a child in January, and his two sons, ages 3 and 1. They also recited the Lord's Prayer.
Jefferson then heard Beamer ask: "Are you guys ready? Let's roll."
Lisa Beamer recognized it as a phrase her husband used frequently with their sons.
Another passenger, Mark Bingham, was a 31-year-old, 6-foot-5 rugby player. He called his mother, Alice Hoglan, who was visiting a relative in Saratoga, Calif., at 9:42.
"Mom, this is Mark Bingham," he said, nervously. "I want to let you know that I love you. I'm calling from the plane. We've been taken over. There are three men that say they have a bomb."
A third passenger, Jeremy Glick, had been a national judo champion.
Using an Airfone, he called relatives in the Catskills, where his wife, Liz, and daughter, Emerson, were visiting.
He asked his wife whether it was true that planes had been crashed into the World Trade Center, indicating how the story had already spread through the plane.
She told him they had, and he said passengers were taking a vote: should they try to take back the plane."
"Honey, you need to do it," Liz Glick replied.
Thomas Burnett Jr., 38, a businessman and father of three girls from San Ramon, Calif., made four calls home over about a half-hour.
In his fourth call, he told of the group's plans to storm the hijackers. "I know we're all going to die," he said. "There's three of us who are going to do something about it. I love you, honey."
Sandy Bradshaw, a flight attendant, called her husband, Phil, a US Airways pilot, at their home in Greensboro, N.C. She had been working in coach class, having picked up the trip late.
"Have you heard what's going on? My flight has been hijacked. My flight has been hijacked with three guys with knives," she said.
She also confessed something to her husband: She had slipped into the galley and begun filling pitchers with boiling water.
"Everyone's running to first class. I've got to go. Bye," she said.
Authorities contend the passengers, possibly armed with a fire extinguisher, may have incapacitated a hijacker who was flying in the right-hand seat, normally used by the copilot. They believe the plane flipped over on its back and speared into the ground at about 575 miles per hour.
Flight 93 crashed at 10:10 into a field in Shanksville, Pa.

The news conference of Bush and Blair

Informed Comment

[political-researchp] Bloglines - Shayana Kadidal: Gonzales Crushes His Own Spy Inquiry & We Take On Mike DeWine

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Shayana Kadidal: Gonzales Crushes His Own Spy Inquiry & We Take On Mike DeWine

By Shayana Kadidal on 2006

When Attorney General John Ashcroft was roused from his hospital bed in March 2004 to discuss the NSA's illegal domestic spying program, he probably did not expect his role in domestic spying would elicit scrutiny from the media, let alone his own Justice Department. But yesterday National Journal reported that Ashcroft's conduct is one of the subjects of an "internal Justice Department inquiry."

And it turns out that inquiry has been closed for very questionable reasons.

Before considering the investigation of Justice Department officials conduct in overseeing illegal domestic spying, it is worth remembering that these officials had their own doubts about the program. The only reason that the White House disturbed Ashcroft in his hospital bed was that his deputy, James Comey, refused to approve the spying program because of his concerns about its legality. Here's how James Risen explained it in The New York Times:

Accounts differed as to exactly what was said at the hospital meeting between Mr. Ashcroft and the White House advisers. But some officials said that Mr. Ashcroft, like his deputy, appeared reluctant to give Mr. Card and Mr. Gonzales his authorization to continue with aspects of the program in light of concerns among some senior government officials about whether the proper oversight was in place at the security agency and whether the president had the legal and constitutional authority to conduct such an operation. It is unclear whether the White House ultimately persuaded Mr. Ashcroft to give his approval to the program after the meeting or moved ahead without it.

To determine whether Ashcroft and current Attorney General Alberto Gonzales acted properly in overseeing the spying program, the Justice Department launched an official probe in January. But it didn't get very far.

Why? Because the investigators were denied the security clearances needed to do their work. And now National Journal reports those rejections are suspect. Two senior government officials told the magazine that the investigators "were only seeking information and documents relating to the National Security Agency's surveillance program that were already in the Justice Department's possession." Whoever denied the clearance (it might have been the NSA itself, it might have been DOJ high-ups or even Gonzales himself; no one is sure) is basically saying the DOJ's internal watchdog can't review documents already in the DOJ's possession. Michael Shaheen, who directed the office handling the internal investigation from its founding until 1997, said his staff was "never, ever" denied a clearance, and it conducted numerous investigations of Attorneys General.

As Jack Balkin put it:

Note the irony: While private phone company employees at AT&T and other corporations must have sufficient security clearances to know what is going on in the NSA program--because they are helping to run it--the Justice Department's own ethics lawyers do not. It's a convenient way to forestall any investigation into wrongdoing.

To get to the bottom of this mess, New York Congressman Maurice Hinchey just introduced a measure to force President Bush, Secretary Rumsfeld and Attorney General Gonzales to turn over their documents regarding the investigation, including their telephone and email records, logs and calendars and records of internal discussions. Those are the same kind of personal communications that the NSA is monitoring to spy on millions of Americans, so it should be interesting to see how Bush and his appointees criticize or resist this request.

Hinchey's office says he is also specifically requesting:

An investigation to find out who within the DOJ first authorized the domestic surveillance program and what that official's justification was for doing so; if the Bush administration had already enacted the program before getting original DOJ approval; what the reauthorization process for the surveillance initiative entails; and why, according to news reports, did then-Acting Attorney General James Comey refuse to reauthorize the program and why then-Attorney General John Ashcroft expressed strong reservations about the program and may have rejected it as well.
Hinchey explained his objectives in a statement yesterday: "The Bush administration cannot get away with designing a secret, illegal spy program and then shutting down an investigation into its creation and implementation. Since the Attorney General and others have refused to be forthcoming in a genuine way on their own, this resolution of inquiry will force them to pull back the curtain of secrecy and reveal who stopped the OPR investigation and why."

That is true, and the Administration should not get away with it. But while Rep. Hinchey fights to stop this abuse of power, other members of Congress are working just as energetically to cover it up.

Senator Arlen Specter and Senator Mike DeWine are pushing legislation to provide a smokescreen for domestic spying and to undermine legitimate legal challenges to the spying, including our case, CCR v. Bush. I have written posts about both of their bills before, so I will spare the details today and focus instead on how people are fighting back against DeWine.

Mike DeWine's solution to warrantless domestic spying is to offer more warrantless domestic spying. That is literally what his bill would do. Here's how I explained it in an earlier report:

Currently warrantless surveillance is, with very limited exceptions, illegal and punishable as a felony. The DeWine bill would legalize warrantless surveillance of international calls and emails whenever the president decides going to the court established by FISA is too much trouble. Periodic after-the-fact briefings by the President to small committees of Congressional leaders would replace judicial oversight entirely.

My organization, the Center for Constitutional Rights, believes that his constituents in Ohio have a right to know about it. We created a simple, educational advertisement that we hope to run in Ohio newspapers:

DeWine graphic.JPG

That sums it up pretty well, right?

To learn more or to help us run the ad, click here.

You can urge your Senators to oppose the DeWine bill here.

And if you have ideas for other ways and messages to fight back against Senator DeWine's spying smokescreens, leave them in the comments section and I'll reply to them in a follow-up. Thanks for reading.

May 26, 2006


Politics Traditions American politics
Religion and politics Government


[september_eleven_vreeland] Digest Number 1370

There are 6 messages in this issue.

Topics in this digest:

1. Secret FEMA Plan To Use Pastors as Pacifiers in Preparation For Mart
From: "shane_digital"
2. Vid.of Firemen in WTC find bomb
From: ""
3. Save Democracy: Bill Moyers on Culture of Corruption
From: "norgesen"
4. Big Business: Intelligence Czar Can Waive SEC Rules
From: "norgesen"
5. Bush border policy linked to Carlyle deal?
From: "norgesen"
6. A rogue president: Bush has claimed authority to disobey over 750 la
From: "norgesen"


Message 1
From: "shane_digital"
Date: Thu May 25, 2006 6:22am(PDT)
Subject: Secret FEMA Plan To Use Pastors as Pacifiers in Preparation For Mart

Secret FEMA Plan To Use Pastors as Pacifiers in Preparation For
Martial Law
Nationwide initiative trains volunteers to teach congregations to
"obey the government" during seizure of guns, property, forced
inoculations and forced relocation

full article with videos:


Message 2
From: ""
Date: Thu May 25, 2006 6:27am(PDT)
Subject: Vid.of Firemen in WTC find bomb

Video of Firemen on 9/11 in the WTC saying there are bombe here, Clear Out !

Fireman: "bomb in the building start clearing out"

This is a clip from the CameraPlanet 9/11 Archive. A firefighter at ground zero clearly says that the building must be cleared because there is a bomb inside. This adds to the weight of testimony from firefighters that bombs were evident in the WTC.


Col. Robert Bowman, Ph.D., the former head of the "Star Wars" Missile Defense Program, has just confirmed that he will participate in the upcoming conference in Chicago, 9/11: Revealing the Truth, Reclaiming Our Future:

He will appear in the political candidates' forum on Sunday
afternoon, June 4th, and then deliver the plenary address closing the
conference. Col. Bowman, a dynamic speaker who is a scholar and ordained minister as well as a respected military figure, is currently a Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives in Florida:

Col. Bowman just told me that he is planning to win his House race, go to Washington, D.C., and take 9/11 truth mainstream. With 9/11 truth op-eds appearing in major newspapers, and a new poll showing that a majority of Americans disapproves of the media's non-coverage of 9/11 questions, Col. Bowman has a real shot at doing just that. The upcoming 9/11 truth conference in Chicago could turn out to be America's most important get-together since the Constitutional Convention. Come to Chicago, make a contribution, or plan on telling your grandchildren you sat around doing nothing while other people worked their butts off to save this country.
--Kevin Barrett

1) Truth Marches on
9/11 Truth Going Mainstream
Zogby: 70 million Americans support a new 9/11 investigation, and 55% of Americans disapprove of the way in which the media has covered questions surrounding 9/11.
* * *
Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Seattle's leading newspaper) op-ed says 9/11 Commission Report is a Lie
May 16, 2006

"The 9/11 Commission's conclusions and recommendations should be totally rejected. Its story is full of lies, distortions and omissions of fact..."
* * *
2) Desperate Perps Spew Disinformation & Distraction
Osama Bin Distractin

The day after the first national poll showed that 70 million Americans support a new 9/11 investigation, and 55% of Americans disapprove of the way in which the media has covered questions surrounding 9/11, what does the mainstream media do?

They covered the poll, and apologized for their terrible coverage of the evidence that 9/11 was an inside job or allowed to happen on purpose! Finally, it only took them 4 and a half years, but they've finally started reporting the truth!
Uh ... no. Instead, all of the major networks are ignoring the poll and instead running a story about how Osama directed 9/11. Specifically, the top story at all of the MSM websites is something like "Osama bin Laden says Zacarias Moussaoui had nothing to do with the 9/11 terrorists attacks", that Osama directed the 19 hijackers on exactly what to do, and crazy old Moussaoui wasn't one of them.
How convenient of Osama to distract attention away from the poll. What a helpful chap. It doesn't matter that the Osama videos about 9/11 are fake, or that he might be dead. Don't look at the man behind the curtain.


Message 3
From: "norgesen"
Date: Thu May 25, 2006 7:35pm(PDT)
Subject: Save Democracy: Bill Moyers on Culture of Corruption

----- Original Message -----
From: Vicky Davis

Excellent article. Check the candidates in your state. See who is buying them. Chances are many of them will be getting funding from Club for Growth or Americans for Tax Reform or some other spin-off clones.

Subject: Fw: Save Democracy: Bill Moyers on Culture of Corruption
Date: Wed, 24 May 2006 17:30:20 -0600

I think you will find this interesting.

The Washington Spectator
Let's Save Our Democracy by Getting Money Out of Politics
By Bill Moyers April 1, 2006 (page 1/3) oney is choking our democracy to death. Our elections are bought out from under us and
our public officials are doing the bidding of mercenaries. So powerful is the hold of wealth on politics that we cannot say America is working for all Americans. The majority may support such broad social goals as affordable medical coverage for all, decent wages for working people, safe working conditions, a secure retirement, and clean air and water, but there is no government "of, by, and for the people" to deliver on those aspirations.

Our system of privately financed campaigns has shut regular people out of any meaningful participation in democracy. Less than one-half of one percent of all Americans made a political contribution of $200 or more to a federal candidate in 2004. When the average cost of winning a seat in the House of Representatives has topped $1 million, we can no longer refer to that chamber as "The People's House." Congress belongs to the highest bidder.

At the same time that the cost of getting elected is exploding beyond the reach of ordinary people, the business of influencing our elected representatives has become a growth industry. Since President Bush was elected the number of registered lobbyists in Washington has more than doubled. That's 16,342 lobbyists in 2000 and 34,785 last year: 65 lobbyists for every member of Congress. The total spent per month by special interests wining, dining, and seducing federal officials is now nearly $200 million. Per month.

Numbers don't tell the whole story. With pro-corporate officials running both the executive and legislative branches, lobbying that was once reactive has sallied forth to buy huge chunks of public policy. One example: In 2004 the computer maker Hewlett-Packard sought Republican-backed legislation that would enable it to bring back to the United States, at a dramatically lowered tax rate, as much as $14.5 billion in profits from foreign subsidiaries. The company nearly doubled its budget for contract lobbyists and took on an elite lobbying firm as its Washington arm. Presto! The legislation passed. The company's director of government affairs was quite candid: "We're trying to take advantage of the fact that Republicans control the House, the Senate, and the White House."

GREED WITHOUT APOLOGIES—I am an equal opportunity muckraker. Anyone who saw the documentary my team and I produced on the illegal fund-raising for Bill Clinton's re-election knows I am no fan of the Democratic money-machine that helped tear away the party from whatever roots it had in the struggles of working people. But today the Republicans own the government lock, stock, and barrel. And they have turned their self-proclaimed revolution into a cash cow.

Look back at the bulk of legislation passed by Congress in the past decade: an energy bill that gives oil companies huge tax breaks at the same time that ExxonMobil has just posted $36.13 billion in profits and our gasoline and home heating bills are at an all-time high; a bankruptcy "reform" bill written by credit card companies to make it harder for poor debtors to escape the burdens of divorce or medical catastrophe; the deregulation of the banking, securities and insurance sectors, which brought on rampant corporate malfeasance and greed and the destruction of the retirement plans of millions of small investors; the deregulation of the telecommunications sector, which led to cable industry price-gouging and an undermining of news coverage; protection for rampant overpricing of pharmaceutical drugs; and the blocking of even the mildest attempt to prevent American corporations from dodging an estimated $50 billion in annual taxes by opening a P.O. box in an off-shore tax haven like the Cayman Islands.

In every case the results were produced by rivers of cash flowing to favored politicians from interests whose return on their investment put Wall Street equities to shame. This happens because our public representatives need huge sums to finance their campaigns, especially to pay for television advertising. The masters of the money game have taken advantage of that weakness in our democracy to turn our elections into auctions.

A WALK DOWN K STREET—It's the Wall Street of lobbying, the address of many of Washington's biggest lobbying firms. The "K Street Project"—the most successful shakedown operation since the first Gilded Age—was the brainchild of Representative Tom DeLay and Grover Norquist, the right-wing strategist who famously said that his goal is to shrink government so that it can be "drowned in a bathtub" (when, finally, it will be too impotent to protect democracy from plunder and powerless citizens from the rapacity of corporate power). For his part, Tom DeLay ran a pest exterminating business in Sugar Land, Texas, where he hated government regulators who dared to tell him that some of the pesticides he used were dangerous. He got himself elected to the Texas legislature at a time when the Republicans were becoming the majority in the once-solid Democratic South, and early in his new career "Hot Tub Tom," as he was known in Austin, became a born-again Christian.
continued 1 2 3 next

Vicky Davis

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. ~ George Orwell


Message 4
From: "norgesen"
Date: Thu May 25, 2006 7:36pm(PDT)
Subject: Big Business: Intelligence Czar Can Waive SEC Rules

----- Original Message -----
From: Vicky Davis

Date: Thu, 25 May 2006 15:11:45 -0500 (Central Standard Time)
Subject: Big Business

From Business Week:

MAY 23, 2006
By Dawn Kopecki

Intelligence Czar Can Waive SEC Rules
Now, the White House's top spymaster can cite national security to exempt businesses from reporting requirements

President George W. Bush has bestowed on his intelligence czar, John Negroponte, broad authority, in the name of national security, to excuse publicly traded companies from their usual accounting and securities-disclosure obligations. Notice of the development came in a brief entry in the Federal Register, dated May 5, 2006, that was opaque to the untrained eye.

Unbeknownst to almost all of Washington and the financial world, Bush and every other President since Jimmy Carter have had the authority to exempt companies working on certain top-secret defense projects from portions of the 1934 Securities Exchange Act. Administration officials told BusinessWeek that they believe this is the first time a President has ever delegated the authority to someone outside the Oval Office. It couldn't be immediately determined whether any company has received a waiver under this provision.

The timing of Bush's move is intriguing. On the same day the President signed the memo, Porter Goss resigned as director of the Central Intelligence Agency amid criticism of ineffectiveness and poor morale at the agency. Only six days later, on May 11, USA Today reported that the National Security Agency had obtained millions of calling records of ordinary citizens provided by three major U.S. Phone companies. Negroponte oversees both the CIA and NSA in his role as the administration's top intelligence official.

FEW ANSWERS. White House spokeswoman Dana M. Perino said the timing of the May 5 Presidential memo had no significance. "There was nothing specific that prompted this memo," Perino said.

In addition to refusing to explain why Bush decided to delegate this authority to Negroponte, the White House declined to say whether Bush or any other President has ever exercised the authority and allowed a company to avoid standard securities disclosure and accounting requirements. The White House wouldn't comment on whether Negroponte has granted such a waiver, and BusinessWeek so far hasn't identified any companies affected by the provision. Negroponte's office did not respond to requests for comment.

Securities-law experts said they were unfamiliar with the May 5 memo and the underlying Presidential authority at issue. John C. Coffee, a securities-law professor at Columbia University, speculated that defense contractors might want to use such an exemption to mask secret assignments for the Pentagon or CIA. "What you might hide is investments: You've spent umpteen million dollars that comes out of your working capital to build a plant in Iraq," which the government wants to keep secret. "That's the kind of scenario that would be plausible," Coffee said.

AUTHORITY GRANTED. William McLucas, the Securities & Exchange Commission's former enforcement chief, suggested that the ability to conceal financial information in the name of national security could lead some companies "to play fast and loose with their numbers." McLucas, a partner at the law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr in Washington, added: "It could be that you have a bunch of books and records out there that no one knows about."

The memo Bush signed on May 5, which was published seven days later in the Federal Register, had the unrevealing title "Assignment of Function Relating to Granting of Authority for Issuance of Certain Directives: Memorandum for the Director of National Intelligence." In the document, Bush addressed Negroponte, saying: "I hereby assign to you the function of the President under section 13(b)(3)(A) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended."

A trip to the statute books showed that the amended version of the 1934 act states that "with respect to matters concerning the national security of the United States," the President or the head of an Executive Branch agency may exempt companies from certain critical legal obligations. These obligations include keeping accurate "books, records, and accounts" and maintaining "a system of internal accounting controls sufficient" to ensure the propriety of financial transactions and the preparation of financial statements in compliance with "generally accepted accounting principles."

"Assignment of Function Relating to Granting of Authority for Issuance of Certain Directives: Memorandum for the Director of National Intelligence."

Vicky Davis

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. ~ George Orwell


Message 5
From: "norgesen"
Date: Thu May 25, 2006 7:43pm(PDT)
Subject: Bush border policy linked to Carlyle deal?

----- Original Message -----
From: Vicky Davis

Subject: Bush border policy linked to Carlyle deal?
Date: Tue, 23 May 2006 06:51:32 -0700

Bush border policy linked to Carlyle deal?

Posted: May 23, 2006
1:00 a.m. Eastern

© 2006
In January 2004, the Carlyle Group put together a new team to begin investing in Mexico. The team consisted of Luis Téllez, who was then an executive vice president of Desc, one of Mexico's largest companies; Joaquin Avila, who was then a managing director of Lehman Brothers; and Mark McLarty, the president of Kissinger McLarty Associates and chief of staff to and special envoy to the Americas for President Bill Clinton.

From 1987 to 1993, Téllez had served in several important positions within the Mexican government, including head economist at the Ministry of Treasury and undersecretary of planning at the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources.

As reported in The Guardian in 2001, Bush 41 and 43 have been connected to the secretive Carlyle Group equity fund in various ways resulting in substantial compensation to the Bush family from Carlyle Group investments. Dubai International Capital also co-invests in Carlyle Group private equity deals, as disclosed on the website of Dubai International Capital. Earlier this year, Dubai International Capital surfaced in the U.S. press as Dubai Ports World and sought to acquire P&O Ports, the port operations subsidiary of the London-based Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co.

Recently, the Carlyle Group participated with Televisa, Mexico's largest private broadcaster, to acquire Univision, the U.S.-based Spanish language broadcaster. According to an analysis published in London's Financial Times, the Televisa plan was to expand their current 11.4 percent interest in Univision to 25 percent, the maximum percentage U.S. law would permit a foreign company to own in a U.S.-based media company. To get around the restriction in U.S. law, Televisa planned to rely upon four private equity firms to participate along with Cascade Investment, Bill Gates' investment vehicle. The other participating funds were the Carlyle Group, the Blackstone Group, Bain Capital and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company, all experienced acquisition private equity fund groups. Here is how the Financial Times described the proposed $12 billion transaction:
The news finally confirms what the market has known for some time: that Televisa is desperate to sink its teeth into the fast-growing U.S. market of broadcasting in Spanish. But it is also just the latest - if indeed one of the most prominent cases - of highly successful and cash-rich Mexican companies looking to expand into the U.S. market.
On the theory of "follow the money," the interest of the Carlyle Group in Mexico investments might help explain why President Bush has been so reluctant to secure our border with Mexico. Clearly, the economic value of such a deal would diminish greatly if the U.S. Congress were to pass an immigration law tough on enforcement provisions, or a law that classified the conservatively estimated 12 million illegal aliens currently in the U.S. as "felons" if they did not return to their homelands. Reuters reported that a May 2006 Univision board meeting included discussions of other potential acquisition bids, including those possibly forthcoming from Robert Murdoch's News Corp, CBS and Disney. Reuters also noted that Televisa currently has a 17-year deal to provide Univision with programming for U.S. Hispanic viewers. Reuters further reported that Univision expects acquisition bids to be submitted by June 8, 2006.

In December 2005, announced that the Carlyle Group, together with Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, had provided $500 million in financial backing for Cobalt International Energy L.P. to engage in oil and gas exploration in the Deepwater Gulf of Mexico. Cobalt will be managed by a senior team that includes four highly experienced industry leaders, including Joseph Bryant (former president and chief operating officer of Unocal), Samuel Gillespie (former general counsel at Mobil and Unocal), James Painter (former SVP of exploration at Unocal) and James Farnsworth (VP for world-wide exploration and technology at BP).
Another interesting set of connections involves CSX, the international rail shipping and container company that was formerly headed by U.S. Secretary of Treasury John Snow.
a.. In December 2002, while Snow was CSX CEO, the Carlyle Group acquired the international CSX Lines division of CSX in a $300 million transaction.
b.. On Dec. 9, 2004, Dubai Ports International announced signing a definitive agreement to acquire CSX World Terminals from CSX in a transaction valued at $1.15 billion.
c.. On Feb. 7, 2003, John Snow was sworn-in as secretary of Treasury.
d.. On Jan. 17, 2006, President Bush announced his intention to nominate David C. Sanborn to be administrator of the Maritime Administration of the Department of Transportation. At the time, Sanborn was serving as director of operations for Europe and Latin America at Dubai Ports World. Prior to working at Dubai Ports World, Sanborn had been an executive at CSX. On March 27, 2006, the Bush administration notified the Senate that Mr. Sanborn's decision to withdraw his nomination had been accepted.
CSX of Mexico continues to operate rail shipping at border crossing points, including Calexico (on the California border), Nogales (Arizona border), El Paso (Texas border), Laredo (Texas border) and Brownsville (Texas border).
At the March 2005 meeting at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, President Bush, President Fox of Mexico and Canada's Prime Minister Paul Martin announced a joint decision to form a tri-lateral partnership named "The Security Prosperity Partnership of North America," or SPP.

As outlined in a May 2005 Council on Foreign Relations task force report entitled "Building a North American Community," the goal of the SPP is to move toward the creation of a North American Union in which the borders between the U.S. and Mexico and between the U.S. and Canada will be erased, permitting free movement of people, capital and trade within the three countries. The U.S. Department of Commerce has established a website to document the extensive work that has been done since March 2005 to advance the North American Union agenda.

Conservative critics of President Bush have found it difficult to comprehend why the administration has fought so hard to avoid securing our border with Mexico. The Dubai Ports World deal also troubled conservative critics who said the Bush administration was more interested in global business ties with Dubai than U.S. port security.

If we continue to "follow the money," we begin to see that the Bush administration may well be following a globalist agenda to create a North American Union, which would be consistent with nearly unregulated migration of people from Mexico to the United States.

Earlier this year, the nation debated which was more important - allowing Dubai Ports World to acquire P&O, or U.S. port security? We may be seeing a similar debate take shape over illegal immigration. Which is more important now? Allowing unrestrained movement of people, capital and trade in an emerging North American Union, or securing our southern border with Mexico from a continuing invasion of illegal aliens?

Vicky Davis

In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act. ~ George Orwell


Message 6
From: "norgesen"
Date: Thu May 25, 2006 8:06pm(PDT)
Subject: A rogue president: Bush has claimed authority to disobey over 750 la

Bush�s contention that he can ignore provisions of the Patriot Act, whose renewal he ushered last month, has drawn scrutiny.

Bush challenges hundreds of laws
President cites powers of his office
By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff April 30, 2006

WASHINGTON -- President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.

Among the laws Bush said he can ignore are military rules and regulations, affirmative-action provisions, requirements that Congress be told about immigration services problems, ''whistle-blower" protections for nuclear regulatory officials, and safeguards against political interference in federally funded research.

Legal scholars say the scope and aggression of Bush's assertions that he can bypass laws represent a concerted effort to expand his power at the expense of Congress, upsetting the balance between the branches of government. The Constitution is clear in assigning to Congress the power to write the laws and to the president a duty ''to take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Bush, however, has repeatedly declared that he does not need to ''execute" a law he believes is unconstitutional.

Former administration officials contend that just because Bush reserves the right to disobey a law does not mean he is not enforcing it: In many cases, he is simply asserting his belief that a certain requirement encroaches on presidential power.

But with the disclosure of Bush's domestic spying program, in which he ignored a law requiring warrants to tap the phones of Americans, many legal specialists say Bush is hardly reluctant to bypass laws he believes he has the constitutional authority to override.

Far more than any predecessor, Bush has been aggressive about declaring his right to ignore vast swaths of laws -- many of which he says infringe on power he believes the Constitution assigns to him alone as the head of the executive branch or the commander in chief of the military.

Many legal scholars say they believe that Bush's theory about his own powers goes too far and that he is seizing for himself some of the law-making role of Congress and the Constitution-interpreting role of the courts.

Phillip Cooper, a Portland State University law professor who has studied the executive power claims Bush made during his first term, said Bush and his legal team have spent the past five years quietly working to concentrate ever more governmental power into the White House.

''There is no question that this administration has been involved in a very carefully thought-out, systematic process of expanding presidential power at the expense of the other branches of government," Cooper said. ''This is really big, very expansive, and very significant."

For the first five years of Bush's presidency, his legal claims attracted little attention in Congress or the media. Then, twice in recent months, Bush drew scrutiny after challenging new laws: a torture ban and a requirement that he give detailed reports to Congress about how he is using the Patriot Act.

Bush administration spokesmen declined to make White House or Justice Department attorneys available to discuss any of Bush's challenges to the laws he has signed.

Instead, they referred a Globe reporter to their response to questions about Bush's position that he could ignore provisions of the Patriot Act. They said at the time that Bush was following a practice that has ''been used for several administrations" and that ''the president will faithfully execute the law in a manner that is consistent with the Constitution."

But the words ''in a manner that is consistent with the Constitution" are the catch, legal scholars say, because Bush is according himself the ultimate interpretation of the Constitution. And he is quietly exercising that authority to a degree that is unprecedented in US history.

Bush is the first president in modern history who has never vetoed a bill, giving Congress no chance to override his judgments. Instead, he has signed every bill that reached his desk, often inviting the legislation's sponsors to signing ceremonies at which he lavishes praise upon their work.

Then, after the media and the lawmakers have left the White House, Bush quietly files ''signing statements" -- official documents in which a president lays out his legal interpretation of a bill for the federal bureaucracy to follow when implementing the new law. The statements are recorded in the federal register.

In his signing statements, Bush has repeatedly asserted that the Constitution gives him the right to ignore numerous sections of the bills -- sometimes including provisions that were the subject of negotiations with Congress in order to get lawmakers to pass the bill. He has appended such statements to more than one of every 10 bills he has signed.

''He agrees to a compromise with members of Congress, and all of them are there for a public bill-signing ceremony, but then he takes back those compromises -- and more often than not, without the Congress or the press or the public knowing what has happened," said Christopher Kelley, a Miami University of Ohio political science professor who studies executive power.

Military link
Many of the laws Bush said he can bypass -- including the torture ban -- involve the military.

The Constitution grants Congress the power to create armies, to declare war, to make rules for captured enemies, and ''to make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces." But, citing his role as commander in chief, Bush says he can ignore any act of Congress that seeks to regulate the military.

On at least four occasions while Bush has been president, Congress has passed laws forbidding US troops from engaging in combat in Colombia, where the US military is advising the government in its struggle against narcotics-funded Marxist rebels.

After signing each bill, Bush declared in his signing statement that he did not have to obey any of the Colombia restrictions because he is commander in chief.

Bush has also said he can bypass laws requiring him to tell Congress before diverting money from an authorized program in order to start a secret operation, such as the ''black sites" where suspected terrorists are secretly imprisoned.

Congress has also twice passed laws forbidding the military from using intelligence that was not ''lawfully collected," including any information on Americans that was gathered in violation of the Fourth Amendment's protections against unreasonable searches.

Congress first passed this provision in August 2004, when Bush's warrantless domestic spying program was still a secret, and passed it again after the program's existence was disclosed in December 2005.

On both occasions, Bush declared in signing statements that only he, as commander in chief, could decide whether such intelligence can be used by the military.

In October 2004, five months after the Abu Ghraib torture scandal in Iraq came to light, Congress passed a series of new rules and regulations for military prisons. Bush signed the provisions into law, then said he could ignore them all. One provision made clear that military lawyers can give their commanders independent advice on such issues as what would constitute torture. But Bush declared that military lawyers could not contradict his administration's lawyers.

Other provisions required the Pentagon to retrain military prison guards on the requirements for humane treatment of detainees under the Geneva Conventions, to perform background checks on civilian contractors in Iraq, and to ban such contractors from performing ''security, intelligence, law enforcement, and criminal justice functions." Bush reserved the right to ignore any of the requirements.

The new law also created the position of inspector general for Iraq. But Bush wrote in his signing statement that the inspector ''shall refrain" from investigating any intelligence or national security matter, or any crime the Pentagon says it prefers to investigate for itself.

Bush had placed similar limits on an inspector general position created by Congress in November 2003 for the initial stage of the US occupation of Iraq. The earlier law also empowered the inspector to notify Congress if a US official refused to cooperate. Bush said the inspector could not give any information to Congress without permission from the administration.

Oversight questioned
Many laws Bush has asserted he can bypass involve requirements to give information about government activity to congressional oversight committees.

In December 2004, Congress passed an intelligence bill requiring the Justice Department to tell them how often, and in what situations, the FBI was using special national security wiretaps on US soil. The law also required the Justice Department to give oversight committees copies of administration memos outlining any new interpretations of domestic-spying laws. And it contained 11 other requirements for reports about such issues as civil liberties, security clearances, border security, and counternarcotics efforts.

After signing the bill, Bush issued a signing statement saying he could withhold all the information sought by Congress.

Likewise, when Congress passed the law creating the Department of Homeland Security in 2002, it said oversight committees must be given information about vulnerabilities at chemical plants and the screening of checked bags at airports.

It also said Congress must be shown unaltered reports about problems with visa services prepared by a new immigration ombudsman. Bush asserted the right to withhold the information and alter the reports.

On several other occasions, Bush contended he could nullify laws creating ''whistle-blower" job protections for federal employees that would stop any attempt to fire them as punishment for telling a member of Congress about possible government wrongdoing.

When Congress passed a massive energy package in August, for example, it strengthened whistle-blower protections for employees at the Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

The provision was included because lawmakers feared that Bush appointees were intimidating nuclear specialists so they would not testify about safety issues related to a planned nuclear-waste repository at Yucca Mountain in Nevada -- a facility the administration supported, but both Republicans and Democrats from Nevada opposed.

When Bush signed the energy bill, he issued a signing statement declaring that the executive branch could ignore the whistle-blower protections.

Bush's statement did more than send a threatening message to federal energy specialists inclined to raise concerns with Congress; it also raised the possibility that Bush would not feel bound to obey similar whistle-blower laws that were on the books before he became president. His domestic spying program, for example, violated a surveillance law enacted 23 years before he took office.

David Golove, a New York University law professor who specializes in executive-power issues, said Bush has cast a cloud over ''the whole idea that there is a rule of law," because no one can be certain of which laws Bush thinks are valid and which he thinks he can ignore.

''Where you have a president who is willing to declare vast quantities of the legislation that is passed during his term unconstitutional, it implies that he also thinks a very significant amount of the other laws that were already on the books before he became president are also unconstitutional," Golove said.

Defying Supreme Court
Bush has also challenged statutes in which Congress gave certain executive branch officials the power to act independently of the president. The Supreme Court has repeatedly endorsed the power of Congress to make such arrangements. For example, the court has upheld laws creating special prosecutors free of Justice Department oversight and insulating the board of the Federal Trade Commission from political interference.

Nonetheless, Bush has said in his signing statements that the Constitution lets him control any executive official, no matter what a statute passed by Congress might say.

In November 2002, for example, Congress, seeking to generate independent statistics about student performance, passed a law setting up an educational research institute to conduct studies and publish reports ''without the approval" of the Secretary of Education. Bush, however, decreed that the institute's director would be ''subject to the supervision and direction of the secretary of education."

Similarly, the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld affirmative-action programs, as long as they do not include quotas. Most recently, in 2003, the court upheld a race-conscious university admissions program over the strong objections of Bush, who argued that such programs should be struck down as unconstitutional.

Yet despite the court's rulings, Bush has taken exception at least nine times to provisions that seek to ensure that minorities are represented among recipients of government jobs, contracts, and grants. Each time, he singled out the provisions, declaring that he would construe them ''in a manner consistent with" the Constitution's guarantee of ''equal protection" to all -- which some legal scholars say amounts to an argument that the affirmative-action provisions represent reverse discrimination against whites.

Golove said that to the extent Bush is interpreting the Constitution in defiance of the Supreme Court's precedents, he threatens to ''overturn the existing structures of constitutional law."

A president who ignores the court, backed by a Congress that is unwilling to challenge him, Golove said, can make the Constitution simply ''disappear."

Common practice in '80s
Though Bush has gone further than any previous president, his actions are not unprecedented.

Since the early 19th century, American presidents have occasionally signed a large bill while declaring that they would not enforce a specific provision they believed was unconstitutional. On rare occasions, historians say, presidents also issued signing statements interpreting a law and explaining any concerns about it.

But it was not until the mid-1980s, midway through the tenure of President Reagan, that it became common for the president to issue signing statements. The change came about after then-Attorney General Edwin Meese decided that signing statements could be used to increase the power of the president.

When interpreting an ambiguous law, courts often look at the statute's legislative history, debate and testimony, to see what Congress intended it to mean. Meese realized that recording what the president thought the law meant in a signing statement might increase a president's influence over future court rulings.

Under Meese's direction in 1986, a young Justice Department lawyer named Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote a strategy memo about signing statements. It came to light in late 2005, after Bush named Alito to the Supreme Court.

In the memo, Alito predicted that Congress would resent the president's attempt to grab some of its power by seizing ''the last word on questions of interpretation." He suggested that Reagan's legal team should ''concentrate on points of true ambiguity, rather than issuing interpretations that may seem to conflict with those of Congress."

Reagan's successors continued this practice. George H.W. Bush challenged 232 statutes over four years in office, and Bill Clinton objected to 140 laws over his eight years, according to Kelley, the Miami University of Ohio professor.

Many of the challenges involved longstanding legal ambiguities and points of conflict between the president and Congress.

Throughout the past two decades, for example, each president -- including the current one -- has objected to provisions requiring him to get permission from a congressional committee before taking action. The Supreme Court made clear in 1983 that only the full Congress can direct the executive branch to do things, but lawmakers have continued writing laws giving congressional committees such a role.

Still, Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Clinton used the presidential veto instead of the signing statement if they had a serious problem with a bill, giving Congress a chance to override their decisions.

But the current President Bush has abandoned the veto entirely, as well as any semblance of the political caution that Alito counseled back in 1986. In just five years, Bush has challenged more than 750 new laws, by far a record for any president, while becoming the first president since Thomas Jefferson to stay so long in office without issuing a veto.

''What we haven't seen until this administration is the sheer number of objections that are being raised on every bill passed through the White House," said Kelley, who has studied presidential signing statements through history. ''That is what is staggering. The numbers are well out of the norm from any previous administration."

Exaggerated fears?
Some administration defenders say that concerns about Bush's signing statements are overblown. Bush's signing statements, they say, should be seen as little more than political chest-thumping by administration lawyers who are dedicated to protecting presidential prerogatives.

Defenders say the fact that Bush is reserving the right to disobey the laws does not necessarily mean he has gone on to disobey them.

Indeed, in some cases, the administration has ended up following laws that Bush said he could bypass. For example, citing his power to ''withhold information" in September 2002, Bush declared that he could ignore a law requiring the State Department to list the number of overseas deaths of US citizens in foreign countries. Nevertheless, the department has still put the list on its website.

Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard Law School professor who until last year oversaw the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel for the administration, said the statements do not change the law; they just let people know how the president is interpreting it.

''Nobody reads them," said Goldsmith. ''They have no significance. Nothing in the world changes by the publication of a signing statement. The statements merely serve as public notice about how the administration is interpreting the law. Criticism of this practice is surprising, since the usual complaint is that the administration is too secretive in its legal interpretations."

But Cooper, the Portland State University professor who has studied Bush's first-term signing statements, said the documents are being read closely by one key group of people: the bureaucrats who are charged with implementing new laws.

Lower-level officials will follow the president's instructions even when his understanding of a law conflicts with the clear intent of Congress, crafting policies that may endure long after Bush leaves office, Cooper said.

''Years down the road, people will not understand why the policy doesn't look like the legislation," he said.

And in many cases, critics contend, there is no way to know whether the administration is violating laws -- or merely preserving the right to do so.

Many of the laws Bush has challenged involve national security, where it is almost impossible to verify what the government is doing. And since the disclosure of Bush's domestic spying program, many people have expressed alarm about his sweeping claims of the authority to violate laws.

In January, after the Globe first wrote about Bush's contention that he could disobey the torture ban, three Republicans who were the bill's principal sponsors in the Senate -- John McCain of Arizona, John W. Warner of Virginia, and Lindsey O. Graham of South Carolina -- all publicly rebuked the president.

''We believe the president understands Congress's intent in passing, by very large majorities, legislation governing the treatment of detainees," McCain and Warner said in a joint statement. ''The Congress declined when asked by administration officials to include a presidential waiver of the restrictions included in our legislation."

Added Graham: ''I do not believe that any political figure in the country has the ability to set aside any . . . law of armed conflict that we have adopted or treaties that we have ratified."

And in March, when the Globe first wrote about Bush's contention that he could ignore the oversight provisions of the Patriot Act, several Democrats lodged complaints.

Senator Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, accused Bush of trying to ''cherry-pick the laws he decides he wants to follow."

And Representatives Jane Harman of California and John Conyers Jr. of Michigan -- the ranking Democrats on the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees, respectively -- sent a letter to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales demanding that Bush rescind his claim and abide by the law.

''Many members who supported the final law did so based upon the guarantee of additional reporting and oversight," they wrote. ''The administration cannot, after the fact, unilaterally repeal provisions of the law implementing such oversight. . . . Once the president signs a bill, he and all of us are bound by it."

Lack of court review
Such political fallout from Congress is likely to be the only check on Bush's claims, legal specialists said.

The courts have little chance of reviewing Bush's assertions, especially in the secret realm of national security matters.

''There can't be judicial review if nobody knows about it," said Neil Kinkopf, a Georgia State law professor who was a Justice Department official in the Clinton administration. ''And if they avoid judicial review, they avoid having their constitutional theories rebuked."

Without court involvement, only Congress can check a president who goes too far. But Bush's fellow Republicans control both chambers, and they have shown limited interest in launching the kind of oversight that could damage their party.

''The president is daring Congress to act against his positions, and they're not taking action because they don't want to appear to be too critical of the president, given that their own fortunes are tied to his because they are all Republicans," said Jack Beermann, a Boston University law professor. ''Oversight gets much reduced in a situation where the president and Congress are controlled by the same party."

Said Golove, the New York University law professor: ''Bush has essentially said that 'We're the executive branch and we're going to carry this law out as we please, and if Congress wants to impeach us, go ahead and try it.' "

Bruce Fein, a deputy attorney general in the Reagan administration, said the American system of government relies upon the leaders of each branch ''to exercise some self-restraint." But Bush has declared himself the sole judge of his own powers, he said, and then ruled for himself every time.

''This is an attempt by the president to have the final word on his own constitutional powers, which eliminates the checks and balances that keep the country a democracy," Fein said. ''There is no way for an independent judiciary to check his assertions of power, and Congress isn't doing it, either. So this is moving us toward an unlimited executive power."

Bush challenges hundreds of laws

GLOBE GRAPHIC: Number of new statutes challenged
Examples of the president's signing statements

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