The Current Battle against State Secrets Privilege

‘Sanitization’ is not the answer
By Sibel Edmonds

During the past few months I have been actively following the latest activity on the state secrets privilege (SSP). First, I was pleasantly surprised to see that this issue of extreme importance to our civil liberties and constitutional rights was finally getting long-over-due and deserved attention from the media. After all, the memories of fighting SSP in the federal courts all the way up to the Supreme Court, holding press conferences together with the ACLU to bring needed media attention to this draconian abuse, making the rounds in Congress to have them address this ‘privilege’ through legislation to restrict its misuse and abuse, are still fresh and vivid for me.

Then I started detecting some troubling common trends showing up in media reports and subsequently in discussions and statements within Congress. The most suspicious of these came in the form of sanitizing major SSP abuse cases from reports put forth by both the mainstream media and some in alternative publications. The first invocation of the SSP by the Bush Administration was in my case. Back then, if you had done a Google search on ‘state secrets privilege’ you would have come up with only ‘7’ results; three of them repeats. After successfully getting away with SSP invocation in my case, the administration opened the flood gates for others. Now I invite you to search all the archived news reports on SSP in the last year or so. As you will see, in every single report in which the abuses of SSP and its history are cited, you will not find this first case; my case. Further, if you were to look for other major abuses of SSP, such as the Barlow Case, you will find none. The valid cases cited are mainly limited to:

Khalid Al-Masri, Maher Arar, Al Haramain Islamic Foundation, Binyam Mohamed

With a note here and there on ‘NSA’ related information and the historical Reynold’s Case from 1953.

Finally, I decided to dig further and explore the reasons behind these significant omissions and the accompanying information spin that seems to be packaged with the intention of fulfilling Washington’s objective – seeing the related campaign and activities fail. Of course, based on my own case and experience with SSP, I had my own theories as to why the issue was being narrowed down to certain ‘selected’ cases and interpretations; counterproductive to the objective shared by SSP recipients and organizations who have been truly active in seeking to have it abolished or reformed through congressional legislation. But I was also interested in getting the opinions of those who have been actually involved with these cases, either as plaintiffs or attorneys representing SSP cases, or even a few trusted insiders in Congress with direct knowledge. So I contacted several and include their views and interpretations here.

The Congressional Angle

A well seasoned congressional staff member connected to a well-known ‘Centrist’ office active in the current SSP debate, who ‘insisted’ on being granted anonymity, had the following to say:

    “Contrary to what they may claim in order to pacify the recent ‘Anti State Secrets Privilege’ movement, the Congress does not want to deal with this issue. And this applies to members of both parties…of course we will hold a couple of hearings and show we have investigated and reviewed cases…”

He then went on to list several enlightening points regarding the ‘real’ factors driving the current position on SSP:

  • We are being told that the president [Obama] will veto any proposed legislation dealing with State Secrets Privilege…that and that no one in Congress really wants to touch this area. Having the press limit the information to ‘War on Terror Suspects’ [Emphasis added] helps both: the President and the reluctant Congress.
  • The cases before us are ‘selectively’ [Emphasis added] related to the War on Terror. A few Arab guys with their claims will not bring sympathy from the majority in this country. Not in Iowa, not in Utah…you catch my drift?
  • …I am talking about cases where there are no questions of ‘Criminality’ being involved or covered up. We won’t touch those cases. No one will go for that. The reasons…obvious… Being unfair or making the wrong call to determine if someone is a terrorist does not constitute ‘criminal.’ [Emphasis Added]. As for the NSA related case, well, the new legislation took care of that…
  • By the way, we don’t expect to see any cases of abuses of SSP by the Clinton Administration cited anywhere. Holder’s office in the background and the majority leaders up on the front lines are ensuring this through the media and the NGOs.

Let me recap what is being said, the reality ‘on the ground’ here:

Like any other president before him, and probably those who’ll come after him, President Obama is not going to limit his presidential powers when it comes to this draconian absolute executive power. He has made it clear to his now the majority party members and they are set to follow his guideline on this. It is a slam dunk position with a guaranteed ‘win’ since the minority in Congress also encourages and backs this position.

Somehow the Executive Branch and the Congress have managed to accomplish their objectives on SSP through the U.S. media. They want the reporting massaged and messaged in such a way that the publicity on SSP is limited to only ‘select’ cases where ‘executive criminality’ and or ‘covering up executive criminality’ will not be an issue. Those SSP cases where the executive branch used this level of secrecy to cover up criminal deeds would make the need for Congressional action on SSP far greater. After all, we even have an Executive Order that currently prohibits secrecy and classification from being used by the Executive Branch in order to conceal violations of law. Of course with the case(s) involving NSA warrantless wiretapping, as quoted by the congressional source above, they no longer have to worry, since they took care of it through retroactive legislation.

With cases involving wrongful detention and abuse of those ‘wrongfully accused’ in the government’s war on terror, it has been set up so that these cases can be written off as ‘egregious labeling, handling and treatment’ committed immediately following the September Eleven Attacks. Excuses such as ‘extraordinary’ circumstances, ‘bureaucratic bungling,’ and the previous administration’s ‘excess’ have been all lined up to be used if or when SSP makes it’s way into Congress. Further, the government also counts on bigotry to insure that there will be no major public pressure, since the involved victims are not (at least most) Americans, have Arabic names, and are of Muslim background. They believe that the majority of Americans will not be sympathetic to these plaintiffs, so there will be no problem killing any chance of restraining the long-abused SSP through meaningful legislation.

Richard Barlow and the State Secrets Privilege

Richard Barlow, an intelligence analyst and a former senior member of the Counter-Proliferation unit at the CIA lost his job when he objected internally to the George H.W. Bush Administration’s misleading Congress over Pakistan’s nuclear program. Following Congress-ordered investigations, the inspector-general at the State Department and the CIA concluded that Barlow had been fired as a reprisal. Further, a final investigation by Congress’ own Government Accountability Office completed in 1997 largely vindicated Barlow. The Senate Armed Services and Intelligence Committees concluded that Barlow was due Congressional relief in light of unjustified DOD actions against him and cover-ups with Congress. A relief bill was introduced but the Senate Judiciary Committee referred the bill the Court of Federal Claims for more “fact finding” in what is known as a Congressional Reference, in which the Congress still remains the deciding body. For more detailed background and related official documents on Barlow see here.

On February 10, 2000, in the Barlow Case before the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, CIA signed a declaration and a formal claim of SSP. Separately, in another declaration, Michael Hayden, Director of NSA, also formally invoked SSP. The decision by the Court to accept the government’s broad invocation of SSP prevented Barlow from obtaining needed facts and evidences. With the court proceedings closed to the public, without the ability to present numerous official reports and evidence due to the court’s acceptance of the blanket SSP, Barlow’s case lost in 2002. For more legal background and facts on the court case see the memo by Louis Fisher of the Congressional Research Service.

-On ‘executive criminality & cover up’:

    Top U.S. officials were allowing Pakistan to manufacture and possess nuclear weapons, and the A.Q. Khan nuclear network was violating U.S. laws. Not only that – the same officials were also lying to Congress. They were hiding these activities because the truth would have legally obligated the U.S. government to cut off its overt military aid to Pakistan.

-On Partisan Focus & Excluding other Administrations’ abuses:

    Barlow’s SSP case involved four administrations: Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush.

    The case involved both parties; Democrats & Republicans.

-On Congress’ bigoted view of Public Sympathy:

    The invocation of SSP in Barlow’s case can not be easily written off as extreme measures for extreme situations under the ‘war on terror.’

    Mr. Barlow was and is an exemplary U.S. citizen, was awarded the CIA’s Exceptional Accomplishment Award in 1988, and was considered a patriot for serving America’s interests by Congress and even by the executive branch who went after him.

When I contacted Mr. Barlow and asked for his view on the troubling trend by the media and Congress in packaging SSP related information to mislead the public and destroy any chance of reform, this is what he had to say:

    “Long before the Congress even begins to address issues relating to the use of SSP in court cases involving private charities, foreigners, suspected terrorists, or any private parties, it clearly needs to first address the use of SSP by the Executive Branch to conceal crimes, abuses, or fraud by the Executive Branch against the Congress itself or against federal intelligence officers or other federal employees [who] are the victims, and especially when it involves issues [of] Congress being lied to or willfully misled regarding intelligence information.”

He then added the following:

    “The media must go further than merely reporting the actions and inactions of Congress and the courts: we need investigative reporting on why the Congress has failed to address cover-ups of illegal activity by the Executive Branch and what Members of Congress are responsible for this abdication of Constitutional responsibility, particularly if Obama continues to break his campaign promises on SSP and follow in the footsteps of Bush on this and other national security matters.”

Sibel Edmonds & the State Secrets Privilege

I am not going to re-visit the many-times-repeated details of the SSP invocation in my case. The legal outline of SSP abuse by the Bush Administration invoked to cover up ‘criminal’ activities and subsequent cover up of these criminal activities can be found on the ACLU site. According to Ann Beeson, former legal director at the ACLU:

    “The state secrets privilege should be used as a shield for sensitive evidence, not a sword the government can use at will to cut off argument in a case before the evidence can be presented. We are urging the Supreme Court, which has not directly addressed this issue in 50 years, to rein in the government’s misuse of this privilege.”

In my case the government also used the privilege to exclude members of the press from covering the court proceedings:

    “The ACLU is also asking the Supreme Court to reverse the D.C. appeals court’s decision to exclude the press and public from the court hearing of Edmonds’ case in April. The appeals court closed the hearing at the eleventh hour without any specific findings that secrecy was necessary.”

How does this case fit the Congress’ criteria to exclude?

-On ‘Executive criminality & Covering it Up by invocation of SSP & abuses of classification:

    In addition to the Dickerson Case, which was characterized by Senator Grassley as “a very major internal security breach, and a potential espionage breach,” and later confirmed by the DOJ-IG (investigation [PDF]), my case also involves espionage activities by several high-level U.S. officials, both elected and appointed. Several elected officials, an official at the State Department, and a few high-level officials in the Pentagon were involved in passing highly classified information to foreign entities connected to Turkey, Pakistan and Israel. Along with the confirmed Dickerson case involving Lt. Colonel Douglas Dickerson – who worked for Douglas Feith and Marc Grossman – other connected officials’ espionage activities were also covered up by invoking SSP.

-On Partisan Focus & Excluding other Administrations’ abuses:

  • The information involved in my case covered the time period 1996-2002. It involved two administrations and two political parties.
  • Similarly, information implicating several elected officials in major corruption cases also involved both parties.

-On Congress’ bigoted view of Public Sympathy

  • My case does not fit the ‘War on Terror’ excuse.
  • The case didn’t involve a ‘mistaken’ suspect terrorist or suspect organization.
  • I, as the plaintiff, was and am a United States Citizen, thus my constitutional rights were directly violated by invocation of SSP.

I believe providing background on and an overview of these two relevant and major SSP cases will suffice to establish the reasons behind the intentional sanitization of SSP media coverage and other reports – so far successfully achieved by the executive branch and the Congress.

The recent ‘supposed’ leak of a report by the Congressional Research Service on SSP under the title of “The State Secrets Privilege and Other Limits on Litigation Involving Classified Information” is a very appropriate example:

“The Congressional Research Service has prepared a new account of the state secrets privilege, which is used by the government to bar disclosure of certain national security information in the course of civil litigation. While the CRS report contains nothing new, it is a detailed, dispassionate and fairly comprehensive account of the subject. A copy was obtained by Secrecy News.”

Assuming that this report in fact was leaked (my congressional sources claim otherwise, but I couldn’t substantiate it definitively.), I invite the readers to review the ‘analyzed’ and ‘cited’ cases. Please carefully review the citations, and take note of the cases taken into examination, especially those since 2000. Here is the list:

Al-Haramain Islamic Fund v. Bush, El-Masri v. US, Mohamed v. Jeppesen Dataplan

Not surprisingly, the ‘leaked’ report intended for Congress based on the ‘latest’ anti State Secrets Privilege movement’s pressure on Congress to act, meets the ‘qualification’ criteria.

I contacted Mark Zaid, a Washington attorney who has represented many plaintiffs in SSP cases, including me, and this is what he had to say:

“The abuse of the privilege extends beyond protecting Bush Administration policies; it is often focused on covering up institutional misconduct and embarrassment that transcend political lines.”

Regarding the latest media coverage, mainstream and alternative, and their either naïve or agenda-driven case selections Mr. Zaid states:

“This provides an incomplete portrait of the dangers of the invocation of the privilege and in some ways fosters further abuse.”

Based on the ‘sanitization’ criteria as explained by the quoted congressional staff member, it is obvious why the major SSP cases provided above ‘could not’ be included in any potential/future congressional discussions and or hearings. These cases cannot be quickly written off under the excuses of ‘war on terror’ or ‘bureaucratic bungling.’ The inclusion of them would make it difficult, if not impossible, for Congress to shrug off SSP and let its abuses continue. The coverage of these cases would likely garner outrage by the public majority regardless of political partisanship.

What is not obvious is how the press, both mainstream and alternative, has come to implement these shrewd political objectives, serving both the Congress and the executive branch. As for the mainstream media it doesn’t come unexpected. We have gotten used to it; whether from their record and coverage in leading us to war in Iraq, or the latest revelations of their inner workings when it came to the NSA warrantless wiretapping of Americans.

However, I am not ready to attach the same cynical but realistic agenda to the alternative press. The reasons may be as simple as pure ignorance, naivety, myopic partisanship, or simply stupidity. Whatever the reasons, the likely consequences of them playing into the hands of the political establishment and their agenda is to help us lose the battle against SSP when we seem to finally have momentum and a strong movement to address this draconian abuse once and for all through sound legislation with teeth.
>p

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Comments

  1. The Obama DOJ actions in the Jeppesen case was the firm indication to me the state secrets privilege invocation was still going to be abused going forward.

  2. avatar Anonymous says:

    -Ian
    I think your aricle highlights one of the main difficulties in attempting to change this: we have a system set up in which the only people who can effectively police congress are the compromised congress folk themselves! Your first anonymous source pretty much said it all…that congress will continue to look the other way out of a sense of loyalty to the president; a desire to protect themselves from inquiries into their own criminality; and the feeling that changing this will result in attacks of 'being soft on terrorism' from the other side. Who polices the police?!
    When the executive office and congress collude to prevent change we will not have a true representative government. It is at this point a cabal of thugs looking out for themselves. Seems to me the only way this will get some headway is to have massive show stopping sit ins. Thousands sitting on the steps of congress, not allowing passage might garner a peek by the MSM. anything short of this is like screaming behind a 'designated protest area' in the middle of the desert.

  3. avatar Anonymous says:

    This is a bombshell! Where is Greenwald on this? Does he list these cases?
    This should make the headlines.

  4. avatar Katabasis says:

    Sibel, and other Americans, I wanted to draw your attention to another whistleblower who has just scored a major victory by obtaining a seat in the European Parliament. She too was ignored by the European MSM, even smeared and bullied, and fired for doing her job.

    Let me introduce you to Marta Andreasen

  5. avatar Metemneurosis says:

    As I was reading this I was thinking, "this is what real reporting should be like". It doesn't seem like the statement you got from the congressional staffer was some one in a million lucky break. Surely plenty of reporters know staffers who'd give them inside lines like this. Wouldn't it be nice if we could open a paper and read this on one of the first pages? Just shows you how pathetic our situation is. And even Greenwald doesn't mention these cases. He used to work for ACLU didn't he? Surely he knows about your case. That's disappointing.

  6. avatar Anonymous says:

    Ms Edmonds, all I can say 'thank you.' You are a true patriot. Shame on MSM and even those like Greenwald.

  7. avatar Sibel Edmonds says:

    MMonk: Not only that it has been expanded "Government's Sovereign Immunity against any law suits…"

    Ian: Sad but true.

    Anon: You should ask Mr. Greenwald directly. He's done some good work, but this is very puzzling and 'troubling.'

    Metemneurosis: As far as I know he 'used to be' a constitutional attorney. Again, he was nowhere to be seen on SSP until very recently. I too wonder why he only selects
    'terror cases' and intentionally omits other major cases of SSP in the last 8 years. E-mail and ask him. He has a blog, it's a good idea to have people visit his site/blog under Salon and ask him directly. I for one want to know the answer.

    Last Anon: Before you write him off give him a chance to respond. As I said in my piece I suspect it's not cynical but ignorance and naivety & maybe to a certain degree partisanship.

  8. avatar Metemneurosis says:

    I had mentioned your case in the comments on Greenwald's blog in the past, I don't remember the exact context. I never received a response, but to be fair there were several hundred comments. I did email him today and express curiosity about his passing over these cases, directing him to this post. It'll be interesting to see if there's any response.

  9. avatar Anonymous says:

    Anon the Neocon-

    Foreing policy in America is the privilige of five "special interests":
    DOS, USIC, DOD, DOC, and the executive.

    Each one of these exists within non-governmental (public-private) networks, which they use as a policy resource.

    Let's call this entire line-up the "foreign policy community" (FPC)

    On SSP Congress is captive to the FPC.

    If Americans were more involved in foreing policy, they would naturally weaken the FPC's input into it.

    Greater involvement would incraese preasure on congressmen, to act according to voter preference.

    Greater involvement of voters, presumes greater engagement in foreign policy issues. This in turn presumes increased consumption of foreing policy coverage, discussion in everyday life, and experience in associations and/or going abroad.

    We'd still have to account for some secrecy in the workings of the government, but this secrecy would enjoy greater oversight, because of public pressure. The assumption is that participation incraeses education, improving congressmen responsiveness, and increasing utility in the final product.

    I would suggest that both AIPAC, and MoveOn – FPC members with incredibly large and dedicated memberships, are the way forward.

    I am not saying, however, that present application of SSP is wrong. As noble as Mrs. Edmonds sentiments about our aid to Mr. Khan are – it is inconceivable that we would ever permit ourselves to own up to them. I don't think this needs explaining.

  10. avatar Metemneurosis says:

    Mr. Neocon,

    I agree with you that it would be nice if the American people were more interested in foreign policy issues. But I'm not so optimistic it would be as effective as you think. But aside from that what do you think is the cause of the general lack of knowledge among many Americans of foreign countries in general let alone foreign policy? Isn't the lack of coverage in the media (especially the television news) partly to blame? Before the wars coverage of anything overseas was much more rare than it is now. And now it's still mostly about the war if it's anything at all, and even that coverage isn't very good.

  11. avatar Kathleen M. Dickson says:

    Well, that's excellent.

    Rockefeller said he was grateful to the press – at one of the Bilderberg meetings – for keeping their mouths shut as to the NWO agenda.

    In our Lyme arena, we now have Willy Burgdorfer speaking between the lines about the US Bioweapons program at Rocky Mountain Labs, and how he was recruited for this work from Switzerland – he is an expert on Relapsing Fever – and how the NIH sent a goon out to make sure he did not reveal any sensitive information (Bioweaponeering: Aerosolize the bug, in this case, the L forms or the spheroplast form of the spirochete is inhalable)
    http://www.actionlyme.org/index.htm

    Now the crooks are backed up against a wall.

    We're waiting for their next set of antics which will be sure to crack us up, since Willy really slammed em and he is clearly an international figure.

    Kathleen

  12. avatar Imhotep says:

    I am struck by the fact that there are few enough intelligent citizens willing to stand up and do or say something against the overwhelming injustices even beyond this post.

    There are millions of every day people who are distracted by Brittany Spears,by patriotic fervor, by baseball, by soccer, and by words of lofty rhetoric with a shallow follow through.

    It's depressing…. but we must suck it up and simply do what we can as Sibel has done with this blog.
    Marta Andreasen IS an inspiration in speaking truth to power with perseverance and an apparent victory.

  13. This reminds me of the song "Silenced" by Mudvayne…..Don't let anyone silence you, do like Philip Agee did.

  14. avatar Bill Bergman says:

    You cited Lou Fisher, Sibel. A great read for anyone interested in the history of the 'state secrets privilege' is Fisher's book "In the Name of National Security", see

    http://www.kansaspress.ku.edu/fisint.html

  15. avatar Sibel Edmonds says:

    Anon the Neocon: "Each one of these exists within non-governmental (public-private) networks, which they use as a policy resource." And 99.9% don't know about it.
    AIPAC: are you serious?!

    Imhotep: Yes; sad, indeed. We need to increase our number…How many, do you think, got to read this piece? So very few.

    Bill Bergman: He gave me a signed copy. He worked very hard on Richard Barlow case. The case deserves it.

    I see very little discussion here, on this thread. I wonder why? Is it the extremely important topic, SSP? Is it the complexity of the cases? Please add your voice.

  16. avatar Imhotep says:

    Sibel…. I think because it is overwhelming…. and hard to figure out how to 'fight city hall' so to speak.

    Another take is that your posting was a lot to take in… give it time.

  17. avatar Ishmael says:

    Hi Ms Edmonds,

    I, for one, am surprised that Valerie and Joe Wilson or Melanie Sloan haven't contacted you in regard to their civil suit against Cheney. Considering your revelations on the compromise of Brewster/Jennings and the possible relationship of that data to Ms. Wilson's own compromise some two years later.

    From where I sit, it looks like people in the Bush admin compromised B/J to the targets of Plame's investigation as an analyst for the CIA Counter-Proliferation Division and Cheney had to know it. That's why they weren't worried about her or her network. I'd like to know what Cheney knew about your information and when he knew it. I wonder how the government would respond to a subpoena for a deposition from you if the Wilsons filed one.

  18. avatar Anonymous says:

    Silence is golden. Besides those that are spooks on your post, your general audience realizes you do not give fair hearing. Even Catharine Austin Fitts while acknowledging Psyops does not make a big deal of it.

  19. avatar Anonymous says:

    Anon the Neocon-

    @Mrs. Edmonds

    I think the topic is a bit specialist. It reminds me what happens when you take combatants in the Israeli/Arab conflict and ask them to comment on water issues. All the passion disappears.

    It is difficult to argue about the SSP, because any expert will confirm its necessity. It is indispensable to statecraft. If there is an error in its application, this is not something the public can clarify. Like with say medical malpractice in specific details.

    For 99.9% not being aware of the public/government networks – what audience are we talking? The Voter? Or the department?

    Since the twenties, we regularly use "public" organizations to communicate and feel for positions that departments may have. Take just the Iraq war – who organized the Iraq exile community? Who did the State Department ask to do it?

    This is open source. So the answer is out there.

    This is an established practice.

    It is perfectly legal, and if you just browse through Waxman's old case-timeline for the Oversight committee – you will find other examples.

  20. avatar eric zaetsch says:

    You look at one side of the state secret [ss] question. What is the other side? Or another side?

    A few years ago there was tech press coverage of Intel possibly putting an embedded electronic serial number into each processor. Everyone's computer would be mappable person-to-machine. Privacy concerns were voiced. It apparently died.

    Suppose Intel is told, do it as a federal government mandate under the power to regulate interstate and foreign commerce – and, Intel, it's a state secret you are doing it.

    Next — You have DSL or a cable modem, the first handling digital and voice via separate frequency allocations; the latter handling multiple distribution channels as well as the digital communication.

    Suppose that other "unassigned" frequencies are used for actual or potential [only via a court order] monitoring. Antivirus or spyware software monitors the regular stream of digital traffic, not other wavelengths.

    Suppose that back channel communication in hardware, never mind software backdoors, is mandated as a capability [again not to be used absent a court order] but the mandate, again, is a state secret. Then, what good is encryption if there's a backdoor where every act of encryption and decryption can be seen? It gives a false sense of security or it gives security against low-tech common criminals, that at least.

    You have wi-fi and WiMax. The former is lower power, needing more densely packed hubs, and is the technology advancing. If greater hub density helps locate message/communication originating location more precisely, it would behoove those wanting that capability to promote it over other hub arrangements.

    You carry your cell phone around. In hopping a call from one cell to another as you drive, what's happening? Each cell phone has an account activation number programmed in before it can be used. Tracking is not difficult, nor interception of communication.

    You see those little lens setups in the cell phone – and the resolution it gives is informative.

    What's your privacy in that total digital connected world?

    Your library, under court order has to disclose your borrowing habits. But does that mean a second channel via the hardware and software the library uses is unavailable?

    When you go in public, you do not have the same "expectation of privacy" you have at home, do you?

    Here is an interesting link:

    http://www.frvt.org/FERET/default.htm

    Why was this done publicly? One guess is that the research base needed to solve the face recognition problem meant that disclosure and recruitment was necessary. Which solution was most capable? I certainly do not know. There is open literature comparing different approaches but who's to say the better stuff is held away from the open literature, as a state secret?

    And, with surveillance cameras more and more ubiquitous, there is effort at gait and pose recognition as well as face recognition. Figure it out.

    Then, RFID chips and the future they offer us – privacy-wise – is another consideration.

    A new world and a new order await our children, both as to what the government does [your focus] and what it knows [this note].

    And they do overlap, don't they?

    Individuals seem to have two things going for them – like fooling, they cannot watch all of the people all of the time. Second, there has to be selectivity where the bulk of things seen and analyzed are not acted upon, so as to not cause waves – to not rock too many boats too often.

    Back to your opening point – if you are publicizing boat rocking, make it Aziz or Ahmed and not John or Dave that you publicize. If you give it any thought there's cause for men to want to be veiled in public too, but then try to avoid any uncommon gait or mannerisms while at it.

    Surely every criminal should be subject to technological policing advances, since we do not like crime. Yet if every spook has a portfolio what might some in that community be tempted to turn their technology to?

  21. avatar Sibel Edmonds says:

    Anon the Neocon: I understand your argument, but using it when 'absolutely necessary' as it was intended, on specific pieces of info such as 'intel gathering method,' is totally different from using it excessively and broadly as it's been used in the last 8 years. It is not for 'blanket coverage' with no justification provided, even to the courts. At least it needs to be tightened significantly, since leaving it up to the courts has proven to be a terrible mistake. The judges are not in a position to determine…

  22. avatar Rady Ananda says:

    Sibel, can we repost this on COTO?

    see http://cotocrew.wordpress.com

    (COTO = Coalition of the Obvious. We're the crew of 30 who recently got banned from a left gatekeeper site. Too much government criticism, I guess.)

  23. avatar Sibel Edmonds says:

    R. Ananda: Surely. In fact, I encourage you all to re-post and forward this piece on SSP. As you know no one in MSM will!

  24. The issue is where SSP is in fact covering up official government employee high crimes and misdemeanors…. and perhaps along with official state secrets.
    Without a method of prosecuting illegal activity given cover by SSP it becomes official cover for a wider variety of more and more serious illegal actions… up to and including treasonous activity. (As Sibel's SSP gag order is strongly hinting.)

    Our Congressional Intelligence Oversight and Judicial Committees are supposed to perform this function but are routinely managed and stonewalled…. not to mention the influence of moneyed interests on them.

    Oversight is broken and the mice have grown into large rats that have free reign to play.

  25. avatar eric zaetsch says:

    I see a new post up, so I will leave it intact and on point. This digresses a bit, but this is an older thread.

    Anon/Neocon has insight and I would not fault juxtaposing AIPAC and Moving On – it's a good compare and contrast.

    What I suggest is no answer, but a proto-explanation. My start in this direction was hitting this online:

    http://sovereignty.net/p/gov/stevenyates-1.html

    Also, google = matrix red pill blue pill

    Basically, most with family, mindset, mortgage, student debt, whatever – just take the blue pill.

    Of those taking the red pill, the majority end up in suits and sunglasses – in government, industry, finance, the UN staff – perhaps MSM – you and other whistleblowers end up like Neo and Morpheus.

    As indicated, no answer but a proto-explanation.

    Just think, born two generations earlier, a different turn or two, a different street, and you might have ended up translator for Gen. Bolling – perhaps not, gender roles then being as they were. But that was not a blue pill job.

  26. avatar arealjeffersonian says:

    State Secrets Privilege – what a name, and what a destructive "privilege" it is. It is the "privilege" of Kings, of Despots, of tyrannical governments.

    It gives the government the power to cover up anything it wishes – all that has to be done is for the head of an agency to declare that it is justified – no checks, no balances, because no one gets to see and challenge its validity.

    The government can omit facts, lie, do anything it wishes. The courts, who are supposed to be a check, defer to the executive branch – the Congress doesn't want to touch it. If you doubt any of this, just take a close look at what happened in Mrs. Edmonds case – its a perfect example of the gross misuse of this "privilege" that is occuring.

    Anon the Neocon, you state "It is difficult to argue about the SSP, because any expert will confirm its necessity. It is indispensable to statecraft." Just why is it indispensable, and who are these "experts"?

    Mrs. Edmonds, this is one issue on which I disagree with you. You stated in your reply to Anon the Neocon "I understand your argument, but using it when 'absolutely necessary' as it was intended". I don't believe there is a place in a democracy for a power this absolute – no matter what its "intention" might have been, it is inevitable that it will be misused – with dangerous consequences. So NO, there is no place for it, and the fight with Congress should be to totally eliminate it.

    "The time to guard against corruption and tyranny is before they
    shall have gotten hold of us. It is better to keep the wolf out of
    the fold, than to trust to drawing his teeth and talons after he
    shall have entered." –Thomas Jefferson

  27. avatar Sibel Edmonds says:

    Jeffersonian:
    "all that has to be done is for the head of an agency to declare that it is justified – no checks, no balances, because no one gets to see and challenge its validity."

    Valid points, and that was my point: with a proper system of checks, balances, and only in very specific points (not the entire case)I can see how it can be used. But you are right, since there are no checks/balances currently the entire so-called privilege should be abolished.

    By the way:great Jefferson quote!

  28. avatar Anonymous says:

    Hello. Does it strike you that in all that's been going on over the past several years, including at the macro level, 911, financial collapse, global warming and/or cooling, and at the micro level, your ongoing issues with state-secret privilege, torture, this and that scandal, etc., the the following description is more than uncanily applicable:

    “In short, the ‘house of world order’ will have to be built from the bottom up, rather than from the top down. It will look like a great ‘booming, buzzing confusion’ to use William James’ famous description of reality, but an end run around national sovereignty, eroding it piece by piece will accomplish much more than the old-fashioned frontal assault.”

    If that be the real overarching agenda, why are people wasting time following in that trap?

    Why not go straight for the jugular – the masterminds who have the 'errand boys' do all the killing and torturing and fronting for them, the 'brotherhood of death'?

    Thanks.

  29. avatar YuvbinDuped says:

    This all is reminiscent of an article I read by Carl bernstein titled The CIA and the Media (1977) in, of all places Rolling Stone Magazine. I looked it over the other day and one thing lead to another.

    It stands to rreason that the Plutocratic Banksters that really run things in this country would seek to control the media through plans such as Operation Mockingbird. Thomas Jefferson hated the medai and was extremely wary of the Bankers taking control of the monetary system as they plainly have.

    When you have a handful of men controlling the printing presses, both mediawise and currencywise, you get what we have today.

    How do we take this country back?

  30. I agree with you about many things.
    However Our President Obama is no fool he knows these war mongers with eyes set on a One World Government can not be stopped. In his position as President the best he can do is prevent as much damage as possible to Americans and the world. But at the some time he much be mindful that like Clinton as President he is in the hands of the enemy most of the time. No one ever explained how Monica was able to get thru 5 different check points without a White House pass to get into the hallway where she met President Clinton. Clinton was working hard to open the offshore accounts where businesses and others hide funds from investors and stock holders.
    Like JFK and his Silver Certificates that once in the Public's hands in large amounts would have been the death of the Federal Reserve and all that lovely interest from the U.S. Governments debts.

    So is make the arguement that keeping these criminals in place when possible and controling their damage is best.
    If Obama can get enough laws and bills past to protect the Americans people in the future we may still have the chance to reclaim our country. But if he offends them to any great extent we have already been told that the Presidents Helicopter is old right. I am sure Obama did not miss this warning either.
    The trick often when you have power is to use the power and the powerful in the system to do as much good as possible before they rein in your power. The banks can give up and close shutting down anything Obama wants to do. Several other things can come crashing in all of these controlled by people in the Tri-Larial Connission and David Rockerfeller who has already told many people the crash is comming to prepare for an economic collaspe that will transform the USA and all Americans into a Facist State. Indentured Servants will be seen on the street on the USA in the near future.
    The Public Option for Health Care is at least a defensive move like the Eroupeans who have dealt with Central Banker 300 years longer than us we could at least learn from them.
    No one mentions the CIA's support of the Muslium Brotherhood and the Billions of dollars given them over the years. Until the CIA read documents there revealed their true goal was to make the whole world muslium and to move people into other countrys and support them having large family. Paying for education of members who would move to forgien countries and raise children.
    I read where the CIA directors voiced "DEAR GOD WHAT HAVE WE DONE" and they began to pull back from the support of the Brotherhood.
    I must assume the Rev. Wright who was told many many things while caring for President Johnson has shared those with Obama so our President is some what prepared to deal with these would be world rulers. One thing you should do is get you a Floride filter. Remember when the General in charge of the Airlift to Germany ask why so much Floride was being shipped to Germany he was told they had to take away the German Prisoners will to resist. This effect of Floride is well documented in the NAZI papers and test on humans.
    But don't count Obama out for the man has accomplished a lot given the power of those agaisnt him. I mean just getting past the corrupt voting counts was a large victory.
    Let don't ask him to do more than those in power will let him.
    The North American Trading Block will be! There is no way to stop it they own the USA now, the Central Bankers with the $271 Trillion Dollars in bad paper. Each sell of the paper goes to a Central Bank.
    The USA is only holding on by a thread if you have not noticed.

  31. In 2006 the Bush Appointee raised the level of Floride acceptable in drinking water from 2 parts per billion to 4 part per billion. The National Instutite of Health challegenes the change because at 4ppb the Floride actually attacks teeth in people over 12 years old make bones more brittle and causes concerns of Floride Poisioning in people who do not get enough calcium.
    They were preping you to be sheep when the banks crashed. Obama was the game changer!!!! But like the 2000 Election anything is possible.

  32. If you guys truely want some change please tell people to get Floride Filters and get the bodys clean of any overdose. Few places in Eroupe use Floride in the water.

    I am serious. Not conspirator theory here.

    http://www.angelfire.com/az3/love_will_rule_soon/Nazi_Sodium_Fluoride_Mind_Control.htm

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