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The Washington Post reports today:

The Justice Department has proposed a new domestic spying measure that would make it easier for state and local police to collect intelligence about Americans, share the sensitive data with federal agencies and retain it for at least 10 years.

The proposed changes would revise the federal government's rules for police intelligence-gathering for the first time since 1993 and would apply to any of the nation's 18,000 state and local police agencies that receive roughly $1.6 billion each year in federal grants.

"So what else is new?" you may ask.  After all, the Bush Administration's attack on civil liberties and privacy has been unrelenting since they day took office.

But the next part of the report is what caught my attention:

 

Quietly unveiled late last month, the proposal is part of a flurry of domestic intelligence changes issued and planned by the Bush administration in its waning months. They include a recent executive order that guides the reorganization of federal spy agencies and a pending Justice Department overhaul of FBI procedures for gathering intelligence and investigating terrorism cases within U.S. borders.

Taken together, critics in Congress and elsewhere say, the moves are intended to lock in policies for Bush's successor and to enshrine controversial post-Sept. 11 approaches that some say have fed the greatest expansion of executive authority since the Watergate era.

Why would a lame-duck administration expand spy powers in its waning days if it expects a Democrat to take the White House in November?

It is very hard for me to believe that Bush and Cheney are rushing to increase the executive's ability to snoop on American citizens and opposition groups just to hand it all over to Barack Obama in January.

Michael German, policy counsel for the ACLU and a former FBI agent, sees plenty of opportunity for the new rules to be abused:

If police officers no longer see themselves as engaged in protecting their communities from criminals and instead as domestic intelligence agents working on behalf of the CIA, they will be encouraged to collect more information.  It turns police officers into spies on behalf of the federal government.

Former Clinton Justice Department lawyer, Jamie Gorelick, notes how the Maryland State Police spied on antiwar and anti death penalty advocates (including Mike Stark) in 2005 and 2006.

Does the Bush Administration really want to augment these powers so that Obama and the Democrats can used them against Republicans and right-wing groups?

Bush and Company are acting more like they believe that a third Bush term is on the way.

Originally posted to ohmproject on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 10:48 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Curiouser and curiouser (9+ / 0-)

    all of this enhanced spyingness certainly would be helpful in liberating an election.

    Correct me if I'm mistaken- politely.

    by Karl Rover on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 11:01:04 PM PDT

    •  Yep. The message is clear to Repugs. (2+ / 0-)

      What about George W. Bush makes you want to serve him?  Unfortunately, you don't have to dig very deep to hit a pretty low common denominator in human behavior, and our society has been primed for years to do whatever it takes to ensure Republican rule for the good of the country.

      Pretty damn scary.

      _______________________________
      Healing the universe is an inside job.

      by spotDawa on Sun Aug 17, 2008 at 03:09:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  preparation for the future (7+ / 0-)

    form now forever forward, every chief executive will be a unitary executive.  The final touches are being put in place, and no president, gifted with those powers will ever relinquish them.  

    This is why impeachment was so vitally important to the republic, even if the effort to impeach failed.  It was critical to go on record establishing fundamental objections to the unitary executive doctrine, so even if the attempt to overturn it failed, a new and better opposition could revive that cause in the future.  Instead we saw capitulation, likely motivated by the Democrats partisan desire to get their own hands on unitary executive powers.

    A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves. ~Edward R. Murrow

    by ActivistGuy on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 11:01:49 PM PDT

    •  The Framers Designed the Unitary Executive (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Amber6541

      by giving the Executive Branch the sole power to enforce laws and court decisions on the Executive Branch.

      This can be fixed. It won't be. But it could be.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Sun Aug 17, 2008 at 12:12:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A more benign, but still evil reading (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wu ming, G2geek, Ivan Carter, ActivistGuy

    would be that they assume even if Obama wins, he will leave the expanded powers in place. Therefore they will have accomplished their goal of laying the foundation for a corporate security state once the republicans are back in power.

    •  Agreed, but what's the guarantee (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      G2geek, spotDawa

      that Obama won't use it against some of their buddies?

      •  They will no doubt have moles (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CParis, JG in MD, Amber6541

        in the intelligence community for years to come. Being republicans, they'll put party before country to protect each other. But I am sure they would happily sacrifice a few underlings (idiots like Feith) if it meant permanently expanding executive power for future use.

        Eventually, I assume they will want to bypass the official executive level all together so it won't matter who is in power. Massive information will flow uninterrupted through  covert channels, much like it does through Cheney's illegal operation now.

      •  They can take that risk (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        melo, G2geek, CParis, Amber6541

        precisely because the Dems are then "blooded", "made men" in Mafia parlance.  They become trapped within the same matrix by having fallen prey to its allure.  Further, no Dem president is likely to use those powers against corporate hegemony, because no Dem will become president without having sworn fealty to corporate hegemony.  Ask Dennis Kucinich what happens when corporate America thinks you wont' wait on them hand and foot.

        A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves. ~Edward R. Murrow

        by ActivistGuy on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 11:34:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  past performance (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek, Amber6541

        democrats have proven themselves careful custodians of republican power.

        surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

        by wu ming on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 11:52:31 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  What Was J. Edgar Hoover's Guarantee (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        G2geek, Amber6541

        half a century ago when a computer was a piece of wood with log scales printed on it?

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Sun Aug 17, 2008 at 12:13:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That is the real question for Repubs (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JG in MD

        The can have a mole fest, but, any power given to the Executive branch such as exercising powers of the President to identify "enemy combattants" could cause very real and serious problems for Republicans.

        Imagine holding Karl Rove on suspicion of "fill in the blank".

        This is the 2009 reality of the current Executive power construct.

        Frankly, I do not believe these suggestions will ever find a home in operation, ther public's realization that their local Law Enforcment is now operating as a spy agency will quickly result in change, most being led by Law Enforcement.

        Political pardons are unacceptable Mr Bush,and so is hiding your daddy's secrets behind exectutive orders,free the truth now.Econ 3.50&Soc. 5.79

        by wmc418 on Sun Aug 17, 2008 at 05:02:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  well (0+ / 0-)

      he voted for them didn't he? LOL  Why would the new emperor renounce these expanded powers?

  •  they're putting them in place now (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    QuickSilver, Amber6541

    so that their cronies on the inside can help them get re-elected next time.

    Seems pretty simple, really ....

  •  No conspiracy theory is too outlandish (6+ / 0-)

    The more these stories crop up, the more evident it is that once a government reaches a certain density of bureaucracy, any policy will be implemented, no matter what it is. This is how Germany slipped down the fascist path. "I'm a government worker, I have my job to do, I'm just one of a huge number of government  workers doing my small bit, it doesn't seem that bad to me." Whistleblowers are painted as people threatening everybody's job, the rules get a little tighter and a little more restrictive after each new edict --  all you need are authoritarian section heads and a ruthless enforcers at the government-general public interface, and there you go. Another repessive regime appears "out of nowhere."

    "Ain't no time to wonder why - WHOOPEE! We're all gonna die!"

    by fourthcornerman on Sat Aug 16, 2008 at 11:31:50 PM PDT

  •  So trusting.... (0+ / 0-)

    Does the Bush Administration really want to augment these powers so that Obama and the Democrats can used them against Republicans and right-wing groups?

    I'm sure that's what he's gonna do.  

    Obama will use the FISA force for good rather than evil.

    "Bundlers" are the same corporate scum trying to buy their free pass for OUR Tax Money for the bailout.

    They know a new type of guy was coming, they were just making sure that he'll pay them generously and knocks off that "change" crape when it comes to their taxes.

    Some of them securities companies and not to mention immunity for their corporate buddies that allowed them to tap the phones.

    Hedge yer bets, Buy Democrats and Republicans.

    Prove me wrong Obama.

    •  the short run & the long run (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Randgrithr, Edgar Friendly

      In the short run, what this points to is the potential for "trouble" with the election.  And that should be taken as a warning that it's time to gear up the election protection efforts like neighborhood watches during a major crime wave.  

      In the long run, bundlers and other middlemen in the money game, along with lobbyists and so on, are parasites & predators in the social ecosystem, that need to be cleaned out with a thorough dose of detergent and bleach.  

  •  Cause Nanner Pelosi Will Give Him Support. (0+ / 0-)

    Disagreeing with Republicans is off the table.

  •  Two Compatible Possibilities (0+ / 0-)
    1. Noting that Bush Cheney has begun the transition by dispatching McCain's advisers to Georgia, perhaps they already have the results of the election in hand. It would only make sense to get McCain McCain's ruling junta up to speed now.
    1. Acknowledging impending defeat, they're doing all they can to demonstrate to the merchants, the bankers, the priests and the generals that Republicans will give them everything they want 100-fold.

    It's all good, for them.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Aug 17, 2008 at 12:11:34 AM PDT

  •  I've wondered the same thing. /nt (0+ / 0-)

    It rubs the loofah on its skin or else it gets the falafel again.

    by Fishgrease on Sun Aug 17, 2008 at 12:16:55 AM PDT

  •  What exactly has Barack Obama done (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CParis, Eyes Wide Open

    to make Cheney feel that these powers won't be used as he has intended them to be used? Jeez, he voted for them!

  •  the answer is so simple: (7+ / 0-)

    former justice department official jamie s. gorelick said the new fbi guidelines on their own do not raise alarms. but she cited the recent disclosure that undercover maryland state police agents spied on death penalty opponents and antiwar groups in 2005 and 2006 to emphasize that the policies would require close oversight.

    [snip]

    german, an fbi agent for 16 years, said easing established limits on intelligence-gathering would lead to abuses against peaceful political dissenters. in addition to the maryland case, he pointed to reports in the past six years that undercover new york police officers infiltrated protest groups before the 2004 republican national convention; that california state agents eavesdropped on peace, animal rights and labor activists; and that denver police spied on amnesty international and others before being discovered.

    1. they shamelessly break the law
    1. they get caught
    1. they cry "national security!"
    1. they browbeat congress into granting them immunity
    1. rinse and repeat
    •  This is the type of thing (0+ / 0-)

      That will cause community break-ups.

      In the 1960's the Police image became that of the "Pigs".

      That image took a great deal of time to rotate back into where it is today, in the 21st century the advent of technology has yet to be felt.

      Today, the very real specter of an unknown amount of cameras focused upon any given situation will work it's way into society.

      This will have an effect on all.

      If there were cameras like that in 1965-1975 and the Internet to publish the results, the last 40 years of Republican policy domination would not have been accomplished.

      We are back to 1968, but, this time, no one holds the keys, to the information.

      Today, no one controls the news.

      Political pardons are unacceptable Mr Bush,and so is hiding your daddy's secrets behind exectutive orders,free the truth now.Econ 3.50&Soc. 5.79

      by wmc418 on Sun Aug 17, 2008 at 05:16:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Because they've already done it. (0+ / 0-)

    They're just looking for "retroactive immunity" from prosecution.

    Pain is a part of life. Misery is a choice.

    by smartcookienyc on Sun Aug 17, 2008 at 02:44:48 AM PDT

  •  Because Obama lost, that's why (0+ / 0-)

    The fix is is in.

    Obama already lost the election. The great majority of the votes are being counted by a Republican corporation.

    The media's job is to make it look close so people will believe "The Bradley Effect" cost him the election.

    Just look, 80% of the media comments about Obama are negative and they let McCain slide on rape jokes and calling his wife the C-word. Do you really think Republicans would have passed FISA if Obama even has a chance?

    We lost our democracy when Al Gore gave up fighting for the White House in the 2000 coup.

    On a personal level, and speaking as a retired police officer, if my chief sent me to infiltrate an anti-war group, I would do so for fear of losing my job; but I would not betray any person in the group. I would give disinformation.

  •  Timing is everything (0+ / 0-)

    They're getting ready to invade Iran, and they're doing everything they can to try and put roadblocks in place domestically and abroad so that Congress has all it can do to try and retrieve what power it can before that happens.

    Congress has threatened impeachment IF Bush invades Iran.

    Bush will likely declare martial law in the  if they pursue impeachment, and most of the groundwork to establish the requisite police state has already been laid.

    There's also a possibility that the elections will be suspended, especially if there's a successful false flag operation to justify initiating the attack.

    Long story short, the Bush administration has been preparing for a domestic uprising in the United States since July 22nd, 2002, which is when police in NYC were granted permission to search anyone's bags on public transit without a warrant or probable cause.

    Anyone who fails to see the historical parallels between Blackwater & the Nazi SS, or the DHS & the Gestapo, needs a serious reality check.

    by Randgrithr on Sun Aug 17, 2008 at 03:18:52 AM PDT

  •  Congress has three work weeks left. (0+ / 0-)

    Where in the world does anyone think this crap legislation is going to get scheduled?
    And make it through both the House and Senate?
    The three weeks will be wasted in typical repug obstruction of the continuing budget to run the country until the adults are back in charge.

    St. Ronnie was an asshole.

    by manwithnoname on Sun Aug 17, 2008 at 03:48:38 AM PDT

  •  Executive orders in January can render (0+ / 0-)

    In January, the new President, Barrack Obama, with the issuance of one Executive order can undo all prior orders he chooses.

    This is the one biggest reality that is unavoidable.

    Whatever the Bushies built can be vanished in minutes.

    Political pardons are unacceptable Mr Bush,and so is hiding your daddy's secrets behind exectutive orders,free the truth now.Econ 3.50&Soc. 5.79

    by wmc418 on Sun Aug 17, 2008 at 04:54:43 AM PDT

  •  These facists (0+ / 0-)

    are going nowhere.They are not pushing all this thru for another administration. I fear it is much worse than we think.My rule for the last 8 years has been imagine the very worst and multiply it by 100, and then you might be getting close!!!!

  •  Because he can... n/t (0+ / 0-)

    -7.62, -7.28 "We told the truth. We obeyed the law. We kept the peace." - Walter Mondale

    by luckylizard on Sun Aug 17, 2008 at 07:19:45 AM PDT

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