So what is going on? That's the million dollar question. Wanna hear my conspiracy theory? My completely unverified, no evidence here, gut instinct guess? I am the first to say that I could be totally wrong on this one. But I think there was probably far more domestic eavesdropping and surveillance of American citizens that we were being told. I think it may have involved some detention and questioning of regular folks here in the good ol' USA. And, until called off by Leon Panetta (a very nice guy, by the way. Very considerate, and his wife is a lovely lady...but I digress...), until Mr. Panetta discovered the program was still going on and called it off, I think there was extensive surveillance of American citizens far beyond what we know so far. And that's against the law. even more so is not letting Congress or the superiors in the CIA know about the program, even when it's ordered by the Vice President, Creepy Cheney. And when someone got wind of it, this is the red herring that was thrown out, the bone they threw us to placate the left and the ACLU, and throw folks off the track. "Ah, just tell 'em a bunch of boneheads were listening to phone sex and they'll be sufficiently shocked and buy it, hook, line and sinker."
In 2003, the ACLU put out this reminder about the previous use of domestic surveillance and the illegality of such practices:
In its 1947 charter, the CIA was prohibited from spying against Americans
because, among other things, President Truman was afraid that it would engage in
political abuse. During World War II, the Office of Strategic Services - the
CIA's predecessor - had become known for its skill at blackmail, extortion and
the collection of information through other dubious methods. President Truman
feared the implications of such behavior during peacetime on America's basic
democratic institutions. The policy against military involvement in law
enforcement investigations is even more venerable. The Posse Comitatus Act of
1878 forbids military involvement in civilian policing, keeping troops focused
on their military mission.
Again, this is pure conjecture on my part, but I'd bet there was a return to these "dubious methods," right along with torture overseas. We already know of extraordinary rendition occurring, and we have yet to be given the full truth on that. The ACLU was ahead of its time in their warning about the slippery slope we take when agreeing to domestic spying, search and seizure without warrants, and the right to listen to private citizens' email and phone conversations. And I'd bet it has gone further than we'd ever dream once placed in the hands of the CIA. That's why Chatty Cheney has had his mouth shut all week. He knows Leon's on to him, and is afraid he'll talk.
Which brings me to another point: isn't it illegal for the Vice-President to be giving orders in the president's stead in regards to National Security, wars, CIA methods, etc.? Isn't is illegal for the VP to act as Prez unless there has been a written statement by the President that he is/will be incapacitated or unable to fulfill his duties? (Okay, so we all know that Dubya was unfit for duty from day one, that's a given. He couldn't get the keg to the frat party without incident, for Chrissakes...But he never admitted it in writing.) Seems to me that no matter what his crimes turn out to be, Chatty Cheney was the ones giving the orders to withhold info from the Oversight Committee, and was the one who ordered that not even the head of the CIA needs to know. That, in itself, is criminal. The buck stops there.
Sadly, Cheney probably has no need to worry his fat, bald head. None of the Cheney Administration's (Did I say Cheney? I thought I was just thinking it...) blatant abuses of the Constitution or Federal law seem to be raising many eyebrows in Washington. I agree to an extent that we need to move forward, but how can we look forward as a nation if we set the precedent that when the wanna-be Commander-in-Chief (in this case, the VP, or "Acting Prez") does something illegal, he is exempt from prosecution? That's not a precedent I want to set.
So, it's rare, but there you have it. Probably my one and only ever conspiracy theory, totally unfounded in truth. Although, if Sarah Palin wanted to, she could probably find plenty of blogs I've written in the past year for which to sue me, most based entirely in fact. Back to factual fare soon - thanks for allowing me my flight of fancy. And, hey, who knows? In twenty years, we may find out there was some factual basis for all my musings!