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***THE MAIN BOARDS - Welcome to the Prison Planet Educational Forum and Library*** => CIA has staged a Coup in the United States => General Discussion for the Prison Planet Educational Forum and Library => CASE STUDY: CIA collaboration with Telecom... FISA Immunity => Topic started by: Dig on February 25, 2008, 06:26:34 pm

Title: Perino Attempts To Defend Wiretapping Spin, Finally Admits ‘I’m Not A Lawyer’
Post by: Dig on February 25, 2008, 06:26:34 pm
Perino Attempts To Defend Wiretapping Spin, Eventually Admits ‘I’m Not A Lawyer’
http://thinkprogress.org/2008/02/25/perino-wiretapping/


Over the weekend, the Bush administration went full throttle in attacking Congress for not granting “telecommunications firms immunity from violating federal privacy laws.” On Friday, Attorney General Michael Mukasey and DNI Michael McConnell sent a letter to Congress claiming that the nation was “now more vulnerable to terrorist attack and other foreign threats.”

In today’s White House press briefing, spokeswoman Dana Perino continued the attacks on Congress. When reporters pressed Perino to explain how intelligence analysts are now limited since the expiration of the Protect America Act (PAA), Perino was forced to concede that she had no idea:

QUESTION: Is it not the case, as the writers of the op-ed in today’s Post claim, that the law protects all of this until August?

PERINO: It’s a little bit more complex than that. […]

QUESTION: Dana, to be clear, don’t you still — you can still pursue that information, go after it, as long as you come back within three days and get a warrant under FISA, correct? I mean –

PERINO: I’m not a lawyer. […]

QUESTION: If this is such a big deal, why didn’t the president accept another extension? … The president made clear he wouldn’t accept it.

PERINO: Well, that’s true, but they wouldn’t have been able to pass it anyway.

Watch it:
(http://video.thinkprogress.org/2008/02/perinopaafisa.320.240.jpg)
http://video.thinkprogress.org/2008/02/perinopaafisa.320.240.flv

Throughout the briefing, Perino referred reporters to the letter by Mukasey and McConnell. But even that letter was weak. Just a few hours later, the administration was forced to backtrack and admit that nothing had changed; all the telecos had agreed to “continue cooperating with the government’s requests for information.”

Since the PAA expired, law enforcement and intelligence officials are still able to carry out new surveillance against suspected terrorists. They will simply need to get a warrant. Warrants can even be obtained after the surveillance has started.

Reporter Helen Thomas also pressed Perino on who gave telcos the “right to break the law,” to which Perino testily replied, “You’re entitled to your opinion, but you’re not entitled to your own set of facts.”

QUESTION: Who gave them the right to break the law?

PERINO: Nobody broke the law. That might be your opinion, but nobody broke the law.

QUESTION: When these companies — when no warrant is given and they didn’t break the law?

PERINO: You’re entitled to your opinion, but you’re not entitled to your own set of facts.

QUESTION: Oh, come on.

(CROSSTALK)

PERINO: The companies were asked to help, and they allowed it. They helped with a legal program that has helped save lives.

QUESTION: Who told them they could break the law?

PERINO: That is just — that’s not true.

QUESTION: Is it not the case, as the writers of the op-ed in today’s Post claim, that the law protects all of this until August?

PERINO: It’s a little bit more complex than that, but there are certainly directives that were approved last August when the Protect America Act was passed –

QUESTION: For one year.

PERINO: For one year. But it’s not for — it’s not necessarily — this does not necessarily apply to all new targets. […]

QUESTION: Dana, to be clear, don’t you still — you can still pursue that information, go after it, as long as you come back within three days and get a warrant under FISA, correct? I mean –

(CROSSTALK)

PERINO: I’m not a lawyer. I just know that it’s much more complicated than that and that the intelligence professionals and the lawyers who are working on this are trying to work with the companies to make sure that they know that we will give them everything that they need in order to be comfortable working with us. […]

QUESTION: If this is such a big deal, why didn’t the president accept another extension?

PERINO: Because the House couldn’t even pass an extension bill, even if they had wanted to. They couldn’t pass it. What they need to pass is this bipartisan bill…

QUESTION: The president made clear he wouldn’t accept it.

PERINO: Well, that’s true, but they wouldn’t have been able to pass it anyway.

QUESTION: Isn’t it his problem that he lost a couple of days if, in fact, he did?

PERINO: Absolutely not. No, the president is not going to accept the blame for House Democrats not taking up a bill that passed 68-29 in the Senate.

QUESTION: Yes, but if it’s so urgent to protect the nation’s security…

PERINO: But it still didn’t do the things that I have said repeatedly that it needs to do. Even if they had extended it, it doesn’t provide for retroactive liability protection, which is what the companies say that they need.

QUESTION: You’re still collecting the intelligence.