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A.G. Ashcroft Apes George Burns

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Remember the Burns & Allen TV show?

Do your walls have ears? Does corn?

As Sly Stone rhythmically warned us 33 yrs ago:

"Somebody's Watching You!"


Senator Leahy 'Deeply Troubled' About Monitoring Of Conversations Between Detainees And Their Attorneys;

Asks Answers From Attorney General Ashcroft


Following is letter text sent today by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to Attorney General John Ashcroft about DOJ's new policy of monitoring attorney-client conversations involving detainees. Leahy also spoke today by phone with Attorney General about this issue -

November 9, 2001


The Honorable John Ashcroft

Attorney General

United States Department of Justice

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20530


Dear Attorney General Ashcroft:


Since September 11, I have worked closely with you and with the Administration to ensure that the Department of Justice and other law enforcement agencies have all the tools necessary to effectively combat 21st Century terrorism. In working together to craft the USA PATRIOT Act, we had intense and frank discussions about how to meet our shared objective of keeping Americans safe without sacrificing the freedoms which, as the President eloquently said last night, are the defining characteristic of our society. Nowhere in that legislation or in our discussions was there any mention by you or any Administration representative that you intended to move unilaterally and immediately to claim authority to monitor confidential lawyer-client communications.


Since we provided you with new statutory authorities in the USA PATRIOT Act, I have felt a growing concern that the trust and cooperation Congress provided is proving to be a one-way street. You have declined several requests to appear before the Committee to answer questions and have not responded to requests to provide information on such basic points as the number of people -- according to some Department of Justice reports, more than a thousand -- currently detained without trial and without specific criminal charges under your authority. Today, I read in the newspapers that the Administration has decided that it will now provide even less information than before regarding detentions. No one has explained to me how national security compels withholding from Congress and the public - with appropriate protections, if warranted - basic information regarding people who have been detained, arrested and imprisoned.


Today I also learned through the press of another troubling development: Your unilateral executive decision to authorize interception of privileged attorney-client communications between detained persons and their lawyers. As I noted to you this morning, after having worked closely with the Department to equip Federal and State law enforcement to combat terrorism and after having received no request from you for statutory authorization to take this controversial step, and with no warning that you were contemplating such a step, I am deeply troubled at what appears to be an executive effort to exercise new powers without judicial scrutiny or statutory authorization.


As fellow prosecutors, you and I both know that the rule of law is essential to our American freedoms, and the right to a lawyer with whom one can communicate candidly and effectively is essential to the adversary process by which the rule of law operates in America. There are few safeguards to liberty that are more fundamental than the Sixth Amendment, which guarantees the right to a lawyer throughout the criminal process, from initial detention to final appeal. When the detainee's legal adversary -- the government that seeks to deprive him of his liberty -- listens in on his communications with his attorney, that fundamental right, and the adversary process that depends upon it, are profoundly compromised. For this reason, it has long been recognized that the essence of the Sixth Amendment right to effective assistance of counsel is privacy of communication with counsel, and law enforcement practice throughout our history has recognized that subject only to the most narrow and judicially-scrutinized exceptions, attorney-client communications are immune from government interception. See Coplon v. United States, 191 F.2d 749 (1951) (government interception of private telephone consultations between accused and her lawyer denies accused her constitutional right to effective assistance of counsel); Hoffa v. United States, 385 U.S. 293, 306 (1966) (affirming holding in Coplon); Shillinger v. Hayworth, 70 F.3d 1132, 1141 (10th Cir. 1995) (purposeful intrusion on the attorney-client relationship "strikes at the center of protections afforded by Sixth Amendment").


I continue to recognize, as I did in leading efforts in the Senate to pass USA PATRIOT Act, that these are difficult times. Trial by fire can refine us, but it can also coarsen us. The public's response already has given the world uncounted examples of Americans at their finest. The government and its leaders face equally demanding challenges, to appeal to the better angels of our nature, and to respond in ways that are prudent, effective, measured, and respectful of the freedoms that we are fighting to preserve and protect. The history of detentions of Japanese Americans without trial during World War II and unauthorized phone taps during Vietnam era teach that there is a need for law enforcement to open itself to the maximum public, congressional and judicial scrutiny that interests of national security allow when lives and freedoms of Americans are under threat. As the Supreme Court wrote in United States v. Robel, 389 U.S. 258, 264 (1967):


[T]his concept of "national defense" cannot be deemed an end in itself, justifying any exercise of ... power designed to promote such a goal. Implicit in the term "national defense" is the notion of defending those values and ideas which set this Nation apart. . . . It would indeed be ironic if, in the name of national defense, we would sanction subversion of one of those liberties . . . which makes defense of the Nation worthwhile.


I appreciate our conversation this morning, but as Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, I need answers to grave concerns raised by your new policy.


Please provide answers to these questions:


(1) On what basis are interceptions of privileged attorney-client communications authorized by your new policy constitutional, and what are the constitutional limits on such interceptions?


(2) What statutory authority supports such interceptions?


(3) What opportunity for prior judicial authorization and judicial review will there be of the legality of such interceptions?


(4) What criteria will you use in deciding whether to certify that "reasonable suspicion exists to believe that an inmate may use communications with attorneys or their agents to further or facilitate acts of violence or terrorism," and in how many cases have you made such a certification?


(5) Your new regulation states that "specific procedural safeguards" will be employed to prevent abuse. Please provide a detailed description of the procedural safeguards that you will make available in all cases.


(6) Did you consider building upon current procedures and seeking court approval for monitoring in those circumstances where it may be justified by the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege and, if so, why did you reject the process of court-supervised monitoring?


(7) When did you first begin monitoring lawyer-client conversations?


Given the grave importance of this matter and its implications for basic civil liberties, I would appreciate a response to these questions by no later than November 13. I would also respectfully suggest that full and responsive answers to my earlier letters of October 25 and 31 and November 7 and 8, 2001, be provided without further delay. I expect the Senate Judiciary Committee will be holding prompt hearings on these matters.


Very truly yours, PATRICK LEAHY


Chairman: Senate Committee on the Judiciary


© : t r u t h o u t 2001


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Did u all notice how a few days after this same Sen. Leahy sent AG Ashcraft this same letter + spoke with him by phone, former received 'mysterious Anthrax post.

Maybe from latter?

R u all getting this?

Does 2+2 still = 4?

Not so mysterious?

Can it get any simpler to figure out?

1+1=? Too exhausting?

No calculator handy? Ran out of fingers & toes?

Just plain sick & tired of too many political puzzles?

Even within our own 'quasi-spiritual' sampradAya?

Or u just don't care anymore. Is that it?

Tired of so much discrimination? Let God sort'em out?

Revelations? Beastmark?

Any galoot, that wants to get cute, will get it in the neck!

Bring on KalkyavatAr & let'em all have it?

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Leahy did not "receive" an anthrax letter. One was sent to him on the same day as the others but it has been quarintined with other mail at a post office. So your theory does not pan out.

Originally posted by Tarun:

Did u all notice how a few days after this same Sen. Leahy sent AG Ashcraft this same letter + spoke with him by phone, former received 'mysterious Anthrax post.

Maybe from latter?

R u all getting this?

Does 2+2 still = 4?

Not so mysterious?

Can it get any simpler to figure out?

1+1=? Too exhausting?

No calculator handy? Ran out of fingers & toes?

Just plain sick & tired of too many political puzzles?

Even within our own 'quasi-spiritual' sampradAya?

Or u just don't care anymore. Is that it?

Tired of so much discrimination? Let God sort'em out?

Revelations? Beastmark?

Any galoot, that wants to get cute, will get it in the neck!

Bring on KalkyavatAr & let'em all have it?


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Dangerous Ashcroft Worse Than We Imagined


by Ed Garvey


The last time I dared mention Attorney General John Ashcroft in a column, Sly (WTDY radio's John Sylvester) said he would resign from the Democratic Party in protest over my suggestion that breaking from the Democratic and progressive Republican coalition to be the deciding vote in support of Ashcroft's confirmation was, to be charitable, not Sen. Russ Feingold's finest moment. So I return to that vote with fear and trepidation. I don't know if Sly ever resigned but I do know that Ashcroft has exceeded all expectations. This guy is dangerous! And now his pal, John Warner, wants in on the action. All the warnings from those who knew Ashcroft and his record have not only come true, but not even the critics could have predicted that this nation just a few months later would permit secret arrests, secret military trials and who knows what about the niceties such as appeals, the right to counsel, the Miranda warning and due process. But instead of a dialogue or moral outrage from Feingold, Sen. Herb Kohl and other Democrats, we have grown accustomed to silence or tepid criticism. Here is the radical statement of Kohl, our senior senator: "In general, I would tend to feel strongly that any arrests made here in the United States should be tried under our court system." Now that's tough! Maureen Dowd writes that even Nadine Strossen, head of the ACLU, seems to have lost her voice. Editorials, those letters to the editor that get published, and the barrage of demagogues on CNBC, MSNBC and Fox tell us that we should not focus on civil liberties and freedom, we should keep our eyes on the prize of defeating "the evil-doers" or the chase for Osama bin Laden. Sounds familiar. We should listen intently as the grab bag called the Northern Alliance marches on the Taliban and not worry about years of occupation or rounding up possible terrorists. And just as we think the "war" is almost over, the right wing pushes to finish George Sr.'s war. In other words, let's get the Hitler of the last decade while our troops are in the neighborhood. Think about anything except our attorney general and the incredible effort to push the delete button on our right to call ourselves a nation of laws. In Sunday's paper, it said Sen. John Warner, R-Va., - never accused of having a brilliant mind but now a frequent guest on Larry King as an "expert" - sent a letter to Donald Rumsfeld asking if the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which bars the military from acting as domestic policemen, should be repealed. "Our way of life has forever changed," Warner wrote. What's next? Turn loose the CIA on the campus peace community? Could we station the infantry on the campuses just in case discussion breaks out? Have Lynn and Dick Cheney set the university's curriculum? Normally, one would expect the attorney general to gently inquire if the nurses have recently changed Warner's medication and then suggest that the senator take some time off. But with Ashcroft at the helm, anything is possible. If Warner came up with that notion you can bet Ashcroft will enlist George Will to chime in. I can almost see it now. "When local police chiefs refuse to round up people who look Middle Eastern on the silly ground that this is racial profiling, despite the order of the Ashcroftians, they should be replaced with the Marines. What have we got here? Runaway democracy, plain and simple. Whom do these cops think they are messing with?" When you travel these days, you will see armed 19-year-old National Guardsmen standing in the airport with rifles and you wonder what they think they are doing. Are they looking for bin Laden? Are they protecting us from harm? Or are they stationed there to get us in the mindset that it might not be so bad to have the military enforcing our laws? Have we lost our minds? I hate to remind Feingold that he brought us Ashcroft, but he did and now must do something about it. During the confirmation hearings, I recall Feingold saying that he hoped he could influence Ashcroft as a result of the vote. Well, call him. Do something. Some will say it is not fair to pick on Feingold because Ashcroft represents the Justice Antonin Scalia-imposed president and commander in chief, not the views of our senator. But if we cannot hold him completely responsible, then he can't forget his vote simply because he voted to oppose the so-called "American Patriotism Act" that gave Ashcroft much of the power that he gleefully exercises. During the so-called Red Scare period, when Joe McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee were ruining careers, we were told by those in authority that those in government had information that we did not have. That they were men of good will and would not intentionally destroy the careers of innocent people. That we could, for heaven's sake, trust the FBI. Then we learned about J. Edgar Hoover and how he planted false rumors about Dr. Martin Luther King and anti-war protesters. We learned that Joe McCarthy was reading from blank pages when he held up his famous "list of 57 known Communists in the State Department" and we learned about teachers fired because they opposed the witch hunts. Well, the head witch hunter is known today as John Ashcroft. Time for our senators and congressmen to speak out. Time to introduce bills to admit the mistake of secret military tribunals. Time to brush off the Martin Niemoller quote, "First, they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me." While I'm not Muslim nor am I from the Middle East, I suppose in Ashcroft's mind, I'm a threat if I write about his loopy ideas and his effort to rob us of our freedom. Face it folks. We are in trouble. Ed Garvey is a Madison lawyer who was the Wisconsin Democratic candidate for governor in 1998.



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Hedleyji: "doesn't pan out?"

If you/YOU send ME an anthrax-laced letter addressed to ME & MY secretary or MY local post office receives/intercepts it, was it meant for her, my local Post Office clerk or ME/me?

Just a coincidence Leahy was challenging Ashcroft days before?

Who put this thoroughbred horsehead on my bed? Any clue?

You get 108 hrs to answer. Clock is running. Time He is.

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911- THE OTHER STORY (GZ-Chronology)

A different chronology by ewing 2001, New York


John Ashcroft, December 2001: "Everyone can draw their own conclusions"


GZ presents now an alternative chronology (beta version 1) of story of "911".

It includes also various new infos. When sources are left out, they can be find at GZ.

It should prove that this War against the Taliban was planned since years.

It proves, that Anthrax was produced in United States and obviously sent with prior knowledge of 911 to increase a budget for

anthrax vaccine research and to boycott Bio Weapon Convention.


It should show,that attack was supported to rearrange the role and order of the NATO,

the Pentagon and the middle east.

It shows, that the budget for future weapons including new small nukes

started already in Mid 2001.

It shows possibility, that all 19(+x) hijackers and Bin Laden had been used as puppets to achieve this target.

It doesn't include evidence for other theories (Bombs in Twin Towers) or Global Hawk (unmanned, but operated) -Technology on



But it should show, that the main media was manipulated or they self-censored themselves to exclude any other theory.

It also proves that the main US Media ignores special important details since 911 and try to harass every criticism.

They did that maybe on purpose, but even without having any prior knowledge.


The chronology should point on the possibility, that Bin Laden wasn't the main Mastermind behind 911, though it has to be proved

if he is still on the payroll of the crew, who did it.


It also includes evidence for prior knowledge or warnings of 911 in the United States and reports about Sabotage to avoid it including

the last minutes before 911.


These details, together with current investigations should open a discussion of an independent commission on mistakes of the FBI,

the CIA, the ISI, the CDC, the Pentagon and the White House, like the Warren Commission did with JFK.

It is not a criticism of these institutions generally, but of unknown parts of it.

The Commission should also analyse a possible prior knowledge at some moles or corrupt elements within these institutions.


This chronology proves prior knowledge of various secret intelligence forces,

from the MOSSAD over the MI5 to the CIA!

However it concentrates on the Role "of some bad guys" in the United States, who obviously downplay "mistakes", try to change

civil liberties, get the Internet back under control, renew the immigrant question, abuse the American constitution and freedom of

speech for their own purpose instead of improving pragmatic safety measures.


Sarcasm shows that the whole plan was obviously produced to make american people more sensitive of the danger of new bio-nuclear weapons in the Middle East.


GZ insist on fact that they don't support Terrorism, Racism, Anti-Americanism or radical muslim movements.

It also doesn't support anti-semitic hatrism.


"Alternative chronology" is only result of investigative research.

It is also for sure, that Al-Quaeda has ABCRN-weapon knowledge and Bin Laden has to be found, arrested and charged with death

penalty for various crime including praising the attack from 911.


This chronology includes also "forgotten past" of the history to show,

that there are indeed no scruples by governments to kill innocent people.

Therefore its starts in the 60s and later concentrates on the years between 1997 and 2001 with a special coverage on the last hours

before 911 and from September 9th itself.


It should prove, that the attack was planned under enourmous pressure, especially in 2001.

But every secret service found out a bit, however the CIA and NSA knew officially "nothing".


It looks now like there was big possibility that plan (part of a big masterplan?) would be revealed, especially in last minutes. But "crew around 911" had "luck".


Their plan almost worked, but got a bit out of control. It was a run against time to avoid catastrophe, but maybe some powerful

members pushed it to continue- too much over the edge.


Therefore it's also possible that plane from Pennsylvannia was shot down,

instead of fulfilling its original mission.


It also looks now, that almost none of hijackers knew that they would die.


Other members "of crew around 911" hoped maybe, that Taliban would deliver Bin Laden before September 9th and that

negotiations about new business deals would be reestablished again.


Bin Laden on the other hand, had maybe knowledge as well and played his game.


This chronology is contributed to all victims of attacks from Twin Towers, Pennsylvannia and Pentagon, the firefighters, policemen, anthrax victims,

postal workers and soldiers who died for nothing.


Pt. 1- 1962, March 5th


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i think its offensive to Krishna that we don't trust the Republicans


they are the party of God looking after the rights of the unborn


if you want to go to Krishnaloka, i suggest you register Republican

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Originally posted by mawab:

also, Mr or Miss or Mrs Tarun,


politics 101


the ends justifies being mean


have you ever read Machiavelli?


Haribol mawab! Seems our politics might agree somewhat, though I much prefer to avoid the subject altogether. Think you got the name of our resident demonut wrong though--the correct spelling is Ms Takun...just punnin' TK, I know how you luv it!


valaya a la maya



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Ashcan Ashcroft:

"Christianity is a faith in which God send His Son to die for you.

Islam is a religion in which God wants you to send your son to die for Him."

Apart from the practical fact Ashcan Aircraft Ashcroft wouldn't know or recognize Christianity if it was a semi-smooth steamroller repeatedly running him & his rascal friends over:

"Disillusioned words like bullets bark

As human gods aim for their mark

Made everything from toy guns that spark

To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark

It's easy to see without looking too far that not much is really sacred"

Who produces & promotes Toy Guns & Flesh-Colored Christs?

Last night Jay Leno had First Lady Laura Bush on.

A double-blind, triple-blind attempt to distract our attention from her husband's ongoing atrocities worldwide.

Whatta a racket going on here.

So much vikarma mounting. Can viphalam be far behind?

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Ashcroft Personnel Moves Irk Career Justice Lawyers

By Ellen Nakashima and Thomas B. Edsall

Washington Post Staff Writers

Friday, March 15, 2002


Attorney General John D. Ashcroft has moved in recent months to consolidate his control over the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, turning over control of sensitive issues traditionally handled by career lawyers to more conservative political appointees.

On a variety of issues, including voting rights and employment discrimination, Ashcroft aides have moved to limit the input of career employees, in some cases meeting with defendants without informing the career lawyers handling the cases or allowing them to be present, career lawyers said.


Political staff also took control of the department's consideration of Mississippi's redistricting plan, sources said, and rejected career lawyers' recommendation to approve a plan proposed by the state's Democratic-controlled legislature. After delays, a panel of three Republican federal judges approved a plan favorable to Rep. Charles W. "Chip" Pickering Jr. (R-Miss.), whose district was affected by the redistricting.

Ashcroft aides describe the actions as part of the normal process of a new administration taking over an agency previously led from a different political viewpoint.


But the conflict at the Civil Rights Division is notable for its intensity and its potential political significance. Ashcroft, a former senator from Missouri with close ties to the Christian right, has been under scrutiny from the beginning of his tenure for how he might handle politically sensitive civil rights issues.


Now, career lawyers contend their division's enforcement of civil rights laws is being compromised.

"There's a lot of fear among attorneys and other staff in the division," said one lawyer in the division, who insisted on anonymity for fear of reprisal. "It's a fear about our cases, their future, the investigations we're doing."


Civil Rights Assistant Attorney General Ralph F. Boyd Jr. yesterday rejected the characterization of his division as politicized.

"Is my probing, questioning style going to shake things up? Certainly," Boyd said. "Is it going to make some people uncomfortable? Perhaps. But that's worked for me in the past. . . . This is a principled, deliberative decision-making process that we're engaged in."


But concern over the changes has spread among advocacy groups and Democrats. On Wednesday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) sent a letter to Ashcroft, asking questions about how the division is being run.

"You stated repeatedly at your confirmation hearing that it is an Attorney General's duty to enforce the law as written, regardless of his or her personal beliefs," Leahy wrote. But the "considerable changes in the upper echelons of the Department's career ranks raise concerns about the reasons for the changes and their effect on the Department's important mission."


In addition to the meetings with defendants' attorneys and the Mississippi redistricting case, career lawyers, congressional sources and civil rights groups have taken issue with the hiring of two conservative operatives as career lawyers and the reassignment of two top career officials in the Employment Litigation Section.

Of the two political operatives hired, one is a former employee of the Voting Integrity Project, which ran the disputed purging of Florida voter rolls of alleged felons during the 2000 election, and the other is a former senior counsel for the Center for Equal Opportunity, an organization that has been sharply critical of preferential affirmative action policies. They will be part of a voting-rights task force Ashcroft announced last year, to be headed by a political appointee.


The two officials in the Employment Litigation Section were reassigned to a task force on employment discrimination -- some colleagues say in retaliation for their pursuit of employment discrimination cases and defense of affirmative action.

In addition, congressional sources noted that Viet D. Dinh, assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Policy, last month directed six former division lawyers and one current lawyer not to discuss "internal communications or deliberations" with Senate Judiciary Committee staff investigating civil rights cases handled by District Judge Charles W. Pickering Sr., whose nomination to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals was rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday.


In an interview yesterday, Boyd acknowledged that he or his staff sometimes meet with defendants' counsel. It is part of his "open door" policy, he explained.

"In many instances, the career staff is present," he said. "Sometimes they are not."


He said he never held such meetings without letting career staff know. The idea that such meetings undermine the lawyers' work is "flat out wrong," he said.

In the Mississippi redistricting case, he said, "That's a decision that I alone made," and "it completely comported with the deliberative process that we undertake in making decisions here."


He acknowledged hiring Hans A. von Spakovsky, a former board member of the Voting Integrity Project, and Hugh Joseph Beard, former senior counsel for the Center for Equal Opportunity, as career lawyers in the voting rights section. He said they were experienced trial lawyers and that "when I look at people for assignments, frankly, I'm not interested at all in their ideology. What I'm interested in is their professionalism as lawyers."

He also acknowledged reassigning Katherine A. Baldwin, chief of the Employment Litigation Section, to the employment discrimination task force, and said the task force was crucial to the department.


"The importance of this task force is reflected in who I've asked to take the laboring oar, Kay Baldwin," he said.

He also wants Deputy Chief Richard S. Ugelow to join the task force, but said the move had not been finalized. "These are two folks who have litigated these cases for years and years and years," he said. "They are both excellent teachers."


Although the Dinh letters focused on the confidentiality of internal communications, congressional sources said they were concerned because the letters involved a case that Pickering had closed years ago.

On Feb. 13, four committee investigators were well into a speakerphone interview with former division lawyer Bradford M. Berry about the case when they received a fax from Dinh to Leahy. The Justice Department did not object to "this highly unusual interview," it said, but there was a chance that "public revelation" of "deliberative discussions" could hamper department lawyers' effectiveness. Therefore, Dinh was directing Berry -- who was read the letter over the phone -- not to answer "any such questions."


The investigators asked no more questions about deliberations. Dinh sent similar letters to five other former department lawyers and one current one.


(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes)

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Senator Asks for Ray Investigation


March 19, 2002


WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Senate Democrat is asking for government inquiries into whether Robert Ray, who resigned last week as independent counsel, began pursuing a political career while still investigating former President Clinton.

Ray said Friday he would seek the Republican nomination to challenge New Jersey Sen. Robert Torricelli, a Democrat. Ray made get-acquainted calls to leading New Jersey Republicans while serving as independent counsel but insisted he did not engage in ``prohibited partisan activity.''


Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., was not convinced. Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is urging Attorney General John Ashcroft and the General Accounting Office to investigate whether Ray broke any laws, regulations or ethics rules.


Independent prosecutors ``must bring single-minded focus and unassailable impartiality to their investigations,'' Leahy said Monday in a letter to Ashcroft.


``It was that role which Mr. Ray swore an oath to fulfill, and that is why I am compelled to question his simultaneous partisan, political activity.''


Leahy also wrote to David Walker, comptroller general of the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress.

Ray said Tuesday that Leahy's allegations are ``a cheap shot'' designed to help Torricelli. He said he did nothing illegal or improper in talking to people about a possible candidacy while serving as independent counsel.


``The fact is, you don't leave your First Amendment rights at the doorstep when you become a prosecutor,'' Ray said.

The senior Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, raised similar questions last month in letters to Ray and to the three federal appeals court judges who appointed him.


Ray released a final report March 6 on the scandal involving Clinton and former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Ray's last report, on Whitewater, is due out soon. It involves the business partnership of Clinton and now-Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton with the owners of a failing Arkansas savings and loan in the 1980s.


(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)

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Whatever happen to Ashcroft? No longer in cahoots?


A Nation of Spies? - New York Times Editorial

The International Herald Tribune | www.iht.com

Thursday, 25 July, 2002


If, starting next month, your neighbors begin showing unexpected interest in your travel plans, your cable TV repairman asks what magazines you to and the pizza delivery boy starts trying to draw you out about your views on the Middle East, it could be that everyone is just getting a lot friendlier. But it is more likely that you are being engaged by some of the early participants in the Terrorism Information and Prevention System, or TIPS. The Bush administration plans to enlist millions of Americans to spy on their fellow Americans, and to feed that information into a centralized database. This ill-considered domestic spying program should be stopped before it starts.


The Bush administration, which plans to start the program in the late summer or early fall, is in discussions with industry groups whose members might be enlisted to engage in spying. Early descriptions of how TIPS will work have mentioned mail carriers, utility workers and train conductors as the kinds of employees who might be in a position to pass on useful information. The Justice Department insists that it does not intend TIPS participants to collect information in people's homes, but it is unclear how that will be prevented.


Even if it is limited to public places, the program is offensive. The idea of citizens spying on citizens, and the government collecting data on everyone who is accused, is a staple of totalitarian regimes. East Germany's infamous Stasi internal security system kept files on some 6 million citizens - nearly a third of the country.


Fortunately, TIPS is already facing opposition. The American Civil Liberties Union, not surprisingly, has denounced the program. But so, too, has Dick Armey, the House Republican leader. The Postal Service has already expressed serious reservations about participating. And the initial version of the bill to create a Homeland Security Department, introduced by Armey, includes language that would prevent TIPS from going forward. The Bush administration's post-Sept. 11 anti-terrorism tactics - secret detentions of suspects, denial of the right to trial and now citizen spying - have in common a lack of faith in democratic institutions and a free society. If TIPS is ever put into effect, the first people who should be turned in as a threat to Americans' way of life are the Justice Department officials who thought up this most un-American of programs.

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(*Editors Note | This action taken by John Ashcroft's Justice department is part of an on going counter investigation of members congress who are attempting probe the events leading up to Sept 11th. Under the guise of perusing "leaks to the news media and public" the DOJ is spending millions of taxpayer dollars investigating the congressional panel members looking into the attacks. Earlier this month Ashcroft asked many panel members to submit to lie detector tests, a request that was unilaterally rejected by the bipartisan panels. Many questions have been raised about what the White House, CIA and FBI knew about the attacks prior to Sept. 11th. Critics charge that Ashcroft's counter investigation of the congressional panel members looking into the attacks is an attempt to intimidate the members and keep from full public view the facts surrounding the attacks. -- ma)


Go To Original


Ashcroft Demands Records of 17 Senators Probing Sept 11th. Attacks

By Dana Priest - Washington Post Staff Writer

Saturday, August 24, 2002; Page A01


The FBI has intensified its probe of a classified intelligence leak, asking 17 senators to turn over phone records, appointment calendars and schedules that would reveal their possible contact with reporters.


In an Aug. 7 memo passed to the senators through the Senate general counsel's office, the FBI asked all members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to collect and turn over records from June 18 and 19, 2002. Those dates are the day of and the day after a classified hearing in which the director of the National Security Agency, Lt. Gen. Michael V. Hayden, spoke to lawmakers about two highly sensitive messages that hinted at an impending action that the agency intercepted on the eve of Sept. 11 but did not translate until Sept. 12.


The request suggests that the FBI is now focusing on the handful of senior senators who are members of a Senate-House panel investigating Sept. 11 and attend most classified meetings and read all the most sensitive intelligence agency communications. A similar request did not go to House intelligence committee members.


The request also represents a much more intrusive probe of lawmakers' activities, and comes at a time when some legal experts and members of Congress are already disgruntled that an executive branch agency, such as the FBI -- headed by a political appointee -- is probing the actions of legislators whose job it is to oversee FBI and intelligence agencies.


The FBI declined to comment. Most senators are away for the August recess, but Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), who heads the Senate intelligence committee, said through a spokesman that he is cooperating with the investigation and has asked staff members to gather the requested records.


In recent weeks, FBI agents finished questioning nearly 100 people, including all 37 members of separate House and Senate intelligence committees and some 60 staff members. At the conclusion of their interviews with members and staff, FBI agents typically asked them if they would be willing to take polygraph tests. Most declined.


Requesting calendars, phone logs and schedules over a two-day period "has much more of a fishing-around feel to it, trying to find out which senators are talking to the media," said Charles Tiefer, a University of Baltimore law professor and former House deputy general counsel. "That might frighten senators out of the business of telling the public [through the media] what they need to know."


Some officials generally involved in the probe believe that quashing the release of information to the public about embarrassing or sensitive information related to the Sept. 11 attacks was exactly what the administration intended when it sent Vice President Cheney to chastise committee members for unauthorized leaks that end up in news reports.


Others say that although references to the intercepts had been in print before, the specific words in messages, which might be code words, were never released. Those code words, U.S. intelligence officials said, could well have tipped off the individuals targeted and dried up a source of valuable information.


On June 19, CNN reported the contents of two messages based on NSA intercepts. The Arabic-language messages said, "The match is about to begin," and "Tomorrow is zero hour." Other news outlets, including The Washington Post, also reported on the intercepts.


The NSA, based at Fort Meade, is one of the government's most secretive intelligence agencies. Much of its information carries a higher classification than other sorts of intelligence. It is illegal to release classified information.


For that reason alone, other legal experts knowledgeable about executive-legislative branch relations said that, in a case like this, "criminal matters trump everything else."


Neither congressional historians nor legal experts could recall any situation in which the FBI was probing a leak of classified information in this way.


The closest example cited is the 1972 Supreme Court case involving Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska), who read portions of the classified Pentagon Papers to reporters attending a Senate public works subcommittee hearing on June 29, 1971.


The papers revealed secret war plans and the Joint Chiefs of Staff's opposition to any limits on bombing in North Vietnam and were classified, although some by then had been published in the press.


Before he began the three-hour-long reading, Gravel stated: "I will not accept the notion that the president of the United States can manipulate the United States Senate into silence. It is my constitutional obligation to protect the security of the people by fostering the free flow of information absolutely essential to their democratic decision-making."


He was subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury, as was his aide, as part of an inquiry into the release of secret documents. Gravel challenged the inquiry as a violation of his congressional immunity.


The high court found that the constitutional "speech or debate" clause providing immunity from arrest to legislators only applied in matters that were "an integral part of the deliberative process and communicative process" in considering legislative actions. The clause "does not privilege either senator or aide to violate an otherwise valid criminal law in preparing for or implementing legislative acts."


If publishing the papers, it said, was a crime, "it was not entitled to immunity."


Legal experts said that the privilege protected during speech and debate does not extend to leaking classified information used by legislators to deliberate over legislative matters.

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