How Would a Patriot Act?
Wed May 30, 2007 15:05

How Would a Patriot Act? Defending American Values from a President Run Amok (Paperback)
by Glenn Greenwald (Author)

Editorial Reviews
Product Description
Glenn Greenwald was not a political man. Not liberal, not conservative. Politicians were all the same and it didnt matter which party was in power. Extremists on both ends canceled each other out, and the United States would essentially remain forever centrist. Or so he thought. Then came September 11, 2001. Greenwalds disinterest in politics was replaced by patriotism, and he supported the war in Afghanistan. He also gave President Bush the benefit of the doubt over his decision to invade Iraq. But, as he saw Americans and others being disappeared, jailed and tortured, without charges or legal representation, he began to worry. And when he learned his president had seized the power to spy on American citizens on American soil, without the oversight required by law, he could stand no more. At the heart of these actions, Greenwald saw unprecedented and extremist theories of presidential power, theories that flout the Constitution and make President Bush accountable to no one, and no law. How Would a Patriot Act? is one mans story of being galvanized into action to defend Americas founding principles, and a reasoned argument for what must be done. Greenwalds penetrating words should inspire a nation to defend the Constitution from a president who secretly bestowed upon himself the powers of a monarch. If we are to remain a constitutional republic, Greenwald writes, we cannot abide radical theories of executive power, which are transforming the very core of our national character, and moving us from democracy toward despotism. This is not hyperbole. This is the crisis all Americansliberals and conservatives--now face. In the spirit of the colonists who once mustered the strength to denounce a king, Greenwald invites us to consider: How would a patriot act today?

About the Author
Glenn Greenwald is a Constitutional law attorney, and author of the political blog, "Unclaimed Territory." Greenwald has written for American Conservative magazine and appeared on a variety of television and radio programs, including C-Span's "Washington Journal," Air America's "Majority Report" and Public Radio International's "To the Point." His reporting and analysis have been credited in The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Salon, Slate and a variety of other print and online publications.


Giving Democrats a pass on ending the war?

(updated below)

Commissar is a right-wing blogger and long-time Bush supporter. He originally supported the Iraq war but some time last year finally came to the conclusion that the war has been a failure and was a mistake from the start. He acknowledged his own errors in judgment in supporting the war and, in the midterm elections, he supported and voted for Democrats because (like many voters) he wanted them to take over Congress and put a stop to the war. This weekend, he wrote a post in which he asks:

Wednesday May 30, 2007 08:58 EST
Right-wing noise machine: Plame not covert

(Updated below - Update II - Update III - Update IV)

NBC News, yesterday:

An unclassified summary of outed CIA officer Valerie Plame's employment history at the spy agency, disclosed for the first time today in a court filing by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, indicates that Plame was "covert" when her name became public in July 2003. . . .

The employment history indicates that while she was assigned to [Directorate of Operations - Counterproliferation Division], Plame, "engaged in temporary duty travel overseas on official business." The report says, "she traveled at least seven times to more than ten times." When overseas Plame traveled undercover, "sometimes in true name and sometimes in alias -- but always using cover -- whether official or non-official (NOC) -- with no ostensible relationship to the CIA" . . . .

The unclassified summary of Plame's employment with the CIA at the time that syndicated columnist Robert Novak published her name on July 14, 2003 says, "Ms. Wilson was a covert CIA employee for who the CIA was taking affirmative measures to conceal her intelligence relationship to the United States."

The right-wing noise machine spent the last two years repeatedly, continuously and emphatically telling their followers the exact opposite:

UPDATE IV: In today, Dan Froomkin notes an amazing fact:

Even as the Libby case was about to go to the jury, the Washington Post published a scathing opinion piece by Victoria Toensing in which she charged Fitzgerald "with ignoring the fact that there was no basis for a criminal investigation from the day he was appointed" because he "should have known (all he had to do was ask the CIA) that Plame was not covert, knowledge that should have stopped the investigation right there."

Just compare the statements Toensing made with such certainty to actual reality, to the truth, and one sees all one needs to in order to know exactly what Toensing is. That is who Bush followers pointed to as the authoritative source on the Plame matter -- someone who ran around accusing Patrick Fitzgerald of acting improperly because he "should have known (all he had to do was ask the CIA) that Plame was not covert."

Speaking of which, Glenn Reyonlds mentions that "Patrick Fitzgerald says Plame was covert" without ever bothering to note that Reyonlds emphatically told his readers the exact opposite. Then he adds an update claiming that he was contacted by a Salon reporter (I don't know who) "who wanted to know if [he] was going to 'retract'" his earlier false statements about Plame, and this is what Reynolds said: "I noted that one normally issues a retraction for original reporting, not commenting upon other people's news stories."

There you have it. Reynolds thinks he is free to spew all sorts of false statements and never retract them when proven wrong because one does not issue retractions when "commenting upon other people's news stories" -- even if, apparently, what one says is factually and completely false. And it was Reynolds' own affirmative statements which were false, "it seems as clear as anything in this affair that Valerie Plame was not a covert agent the day before Novak's column either" and "the question is whether she was a covert spy or a paperpusher, and the answer seems pretty clearly to be the latter." They will do anything to avoid admitting that the propaganda they fed their readers was false.

Reynolds also links to a post from Tom Maguire which is so self-evidently dishonest it is barely worth a reply. Maguire says he is "unconvinced" that Plame was covert and that the news report disclosing her covert status depend upon the proposition that "when a prosecutor expresses an opinion in a sentencing memorandum, that is dispositive." That's just a deliberate falsehood.

Yesterday's story about Plame's covert status is based upon the CIA's own internal documents which make clear she was covert. That conclusion is consistent with the initial 2003 determination of the CIA that she was covert, the subsequent confirmation from the current CIA Director (handpicked by Bush and Cheney) that she is covert, which in turn was confirmed by Plame herself when testifying under oath, all of which led the Republican federal prosecutor to emphatically state this in court.

But even in the face of that conclusive evidence from multiple authoritative sources Maguire (which Maguire conceals from his readers by claiming it is all based on "Fitzgerald's opinon"), Maguire still says the issue cannot be decided, presumably because Jonah Goldberg, Glenn Reynolds and Laura Ingraham say she was not covert and - hey! - who can say who is right? It's all still up in the air!

Blue Texan has much more on the Reynolds/Maguire game here, and Maguire shows up there to repeat his excuse-making in the comment section. But it does not matter how transparently false Maguire's claims are. They will link to it and rely on it because it does the trick -- it provides a hook for followers of the right-wing noise machine to avoid the recognition that they were lied to for two straight years about Plame, and more importantly, it provides an escape route for right-wing pundits to avoid admitting error ("we still don't know if Plame was covert!").
-- Glenn Greenwald

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