From Able Danger to Oklahoma City, evidence of domestic intelligence
Washington, D.C.—This morning’s revelation of spying on Americans
by the National Security Agency caused an uproar in the Senate, with members
demanding an explanation from President Bush. The Senate then refused
to authorize the extension of certain sections of the USA Patriot Act because
the sections endangered civil liberties.
The New York
Times on Friday said Bush authorized the NSA to eavesdrop on Americans and
others inside the U.S. in a search for terrorist activity—without court-approved
warrants. Usually, warrants are usually required for domestic spying.
But there are other examples of intelligence agencies breaking the law to spy
on Americans inside the U.S.:
The Defense Department finally has agreed to allow officers involved in Able
Danger, a secret Pentagon program set up to map the international al Qaeda
network, to testify before Congress. Over half the members of the House had
signed a letter demanding such testimony after the Pentagon refused to produce
the officers involved for questioning. Able Danger claims to have tracked
Mohammad Atta, the lead hijacker, as long ago as 1998. The project supposedly
was blocked from telling the FBI what it had discovered by Defense Department
lawyers who feared word would get out that the government was breaking the
law by letting intelligence agencies spy inside the U.S.
Last week J.D. Cash, a reporter who has tracked the Oklahoma City bombing
case in the McCurtain Daily
Gazette, a small-town Oklahoma newspaper, reported the paper had obtained
Secret Service documents revealing the use of a secret military spy satellite
by federal investigators after the bombing of the Murrah Building. According
to the Gazette, the documents show the satellite was tasked to gather intelligence
at Elohim City, a racist religious community in eastern Oklahoma.
In his testimony before the 9-11 Commission, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
said the Defense Department could not protect Americans from attack within
the country’s borders, but could only operate abroad. But in the late
1960s and early 1970s, the Defense Deparment through one or another of its
intelligence agencies openly spied on citizens within the U.S, under COINTELPRO,
among other programs.
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