Meanwhile, in the Moussaoui Trial…

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As the "20th hijacker"'s lawyers try to spare their clients a death sentence, it may well be the FBI who takes the biggest beating.

[FBI agent Harry] Samit, [who arrested Zacarias Moussaoui in August 2001], acknowledged that he had told the Justice Department inspector general that "obstructionism, criminal negligence and careerism" on the part of FBI headquarters officials had prevented him from getting a warrant that would have revealed more about Moussaoui's associates. He said that opposition blocked "a serious opportunity to stop the 9/11 attacks."…

Samit's complaints echoed those raised in 2002 by Coleen Rowley, the bureau's agent-lawyer in the Minneapolis office, who tried to help get a warrant. Rowley went public with her frustrations, was named a Time magazine person of the year for whistleblowing and is now running for Congress.

More here and here.

I'm still left wondering where the reticence to get a FISA warrant came from–by all accounts, the FISA court is a total rubber stamps for law enforcement. Maybe that will come out in this trial.

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  1. I’m still left wondering where the reticence to get a FISA warrant came from–by all accounts, the FISA court is a total rubber stamps for law enforcement.

    Gee Nick maybe those accounts are wrong and the people giving them have agendas of their own. The fact is that the intelligence and law enforcement communities were beat senseless and left gun shy the Church Commission. Some of the responsibility clearly lies with the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations for abusing the CIA and FBI for partisan purposes and thus handing the opportunists and extremists the sword with which to neuter our intelligence services. But, some of the responsibility lies with an irresponsible post Watergate Congress many of whose stated goal was to destroy the nation’s ability to collect intelligence. Many Congressional Democrats in the 1970s made no secret of their desire to use the Church Commission and legislation to effectively destroy the CIA and FBI. Now after 25 years of this we wonder why the FBI was gun shy about getting a FISA warrant in 2001?

    Congress built this wall and made it verboten for intelligence and law enforcement to talk to each other. There is no way to tell if they would have really stopped 9-11 had the wall not been there, but one thing is for sure; had the FBI violated the wall and caught Atta and company before 9-11 many of the very same people who are now blaming the FBI would have been raising hell about “disappearing line between intelligence and law enforcement”.

  2. Here is a guess:

    Both the subchapters covering physical searches and electronic surveillance provide for criminal and civil liability for violations of FISA.. . . In addition, the statute creates a cause of action for private individuals whose communications were unlawfully monitored. The statute permits actual damages of not less than $1,000 or $100 per day. In addition, that statute authorizes punitive damages and an award of attorney’s fees. Similar liability is found under the subchapter pertaining to physical searches.

    Full article at:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Intelligence_Surveillance_Act

  3. Back on Planet Earth, the FISC is required to report both the number of warrant applications it reviews each year, and the number of warrants it approves. My God – They’ve gotten to the FISA judges, too!

    “stated goal?” Really? Stated where, exactly?

    I’ve got an open mind about the idea that the Church Commission went too far in some areas, John. I really do. But I’ve yet to see the issue addressed in a manner that produced as much light as heat.

  4. because a successful attack was required to trigger enough domestic outrage to support U.S. plans in the middle east (PNAC doctrine). A Pearl Harbor event was needed.

  5. Uncle Sam,

    Don’t even get me started on why Publisher’s Clearinghouse is actively involved with the Moussaoui defense team.

  6. “Gee Nick maybe those accounts are wrong and the people giving them have agendas of their own.”

    In 25 years there’s only been ONE warrant request that’s been turned down; maybe the facts have an agenda of their own.

  7. Although, to give the devil his due, the PC wussification of our security apparatus John postulates could have been expressing itself in the decisions made about when to pursue cases and when to ask for warrants.

    Perhaps FISA warrants are so overwhelmingly approved because the FBI was cowed into only seeking them in the slam-dunk cases.

  8. It’s so bad,what can we da something.

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