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Cheney Defends Bank, Credit Records Searches By Pentagon, CIA January 15, 2007

Posted by notapundit in Politics, US News, White House.
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WASHINGTON (AP)–Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday the Pentagon and CIA aren’t violating people’s rights by examining the banking and credit records of hundreds of Americans and others suspected of terrorism or espionage in the U.S.

National security letters permit the executive branch to seek records about people in terrorism and spy investigations without a judge’s approval or grand jury subpoena.

“The Defense Department gets involved because we’ve got hundreds of bases inside the United States that are potential terrorist targets,” Cheney said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”

“The Department of Defense has legitimate authority in this area. This is an authority that goes back three or four decades. It was reaffirmed in the Patriot Act,” he said. “It’s perfectly legitimate activity. There’s nothing wrong with it or illegal. It doesn’t violate people’s civil rights.”

The Pentagon and the CIA, to a lesser extent, have used this little-known power, officials said. The FBI, the lead agency on domestic counterterrorism and espionage, has issued thousands of such letters since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The letters have generated criticism and court challenges from civil liberties advocates who claim they invade the privacy of Americans’ lives, even though banks and other financial institutions typically turn over the financial records voluntarily.

The vast majority of national security letters are issued by the FBI, but in rare circumstances they have been used by the CIA before and after Sept. 11, according to a U.S. intelligence official. The CIA has used these noncompulsory letters in espionage investigations and other circumstances, the official said.

The New York Times, which reported Sunday on the expanded use of the technique by the Pentagon and CIA, said military intelligence officers have sent the letters in up to 500 investigations.

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1. Ken Larson - January 15, 2007

It is difficult to convey the complexity of the way DOD works to someone who has not experienced it. This is a massive machine with so many departments and so much beaurocracy that no president, including Bush totally understands it.

I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak.

Presidents, Congressmen, Cabinet Members and Appointees project a knowledgeable demeanor but they are spouting what they are told by career people who never go away and who train their replacements carefully. These are military and civil servants with enormous collective power, armed with the Federal Acquisition Regulation, Defense Industrial Security Manuals, compartmentalized classification structures and “Rice Bowls” which are never mixed.

Our society has slowly given this power structure its momentum which is constant and extraordinarily tough to bend. The cost to the average American is exhorbitant in terms of real dollars and bad decisions. Every major power structure member in the Pentagon’s many Washington Offices and Field locations in the US and Overseas has a counterpart in Defense Industry Corporate America. That collective body has undergone major consolidation in the last 10 years. What used to be a broad base of competitive firms is now a few huge monoliths, such as Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and Boeing.

Government oversight committees are carefully stroked. Sam Nunn and others who were around for years in military and policy oversight roles have been cajoled, given into on occasion but kept in the dark about the real status of things until it is too late to do anything but what the establishment wants. This still continues – with increasing high technology and potential for abuse.

Please examine the following link to testimony given by Franklin C. Spinney before Congress in 2002. It provides very specific information from a whistle blower who is still blowing his whistle (Look him up in your browser and you get lots of feedback) Frank spent the same amount of time as I did in the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) but in government quarters. His job in government was a similar role to mine in defense companies. Frank’s emphasis in this testimony is on the money the machine costs us. It is compelling and it is noteworthy that he was still a staff analyst at the Pentagon when he gave this speech. I still can’t figure out how he got his superior’s permission to say such blunt things. He was extremely highly respected and is now retired.

http://www.d-n-i.net/fcs/spinney_testimony_060402.htm

The brick wall I often refer to is the Pentagon’s own arrogance. It will implode by it’s own volition, go broke, or so drastically let down the American people that it will fall in shambles. Rest assured the day of the implosion is coming. The machine is out of control.

If you are interested in a view of the inside of the Pentagon procurement process from Vietnam to Iraq please check the posting on this blog entitled, “Odyssey of Armaments”

http://rosecoveredglasses.blogspot.com/2006/11/odyssey-of-armaments.html

The following links may also be of interest:

http://pogo.org/

http://www.d-n-i.net/top_level/about_us.htm


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