Senator Rockefeller refutes Bush lie on domestic spyng
(via Sen. Rockefeller's Senate web site)
Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, today released the following statement regarding the President’s decision to publicly confirm the existence of a highly-sensitive National Security Agency (NSA) program for intercepting communications within the United States. Additionally, Senator Rockefeller released his correspondence to the White House on July 17, 2003 – the day he first learned of the program -- expressing serious concerns about the nature of the program as well as Congress’ inability to provide oversight given the limited nature of the briefings.
“For the last few days, I have witnessed the President, the Vice President, the Secretary of State, and the Attorney General repeatedly misrepresent the facts.
“The record needs to be set clear that the Administration never afforded members briefed on the program an opportunity to either approve or disapprove the NSA program. The limited members who were told of the program were prohibited by the Administration from sharing any information about it with our colleagues, including other members of the Intelligence Committees.
“At the time, I expressed my concerns to Vice President Cheney that the limited information provided to Congress was so overly restricted that it prevented members of Congress from conducting meaningful oversight of the legal and operational aspects of the program.
“These concerns were never addressed, and I was prohibited from sharing my views with my colleagues.
“Now that this issue has been brought out into the open, I strongly urge the Senate Intelligence Committee to immediately undertake a full investigation into the legal and operational aspects of the program, including the lack of sufficient congressional oversight.”
The following is the text of Rockefeller's hand written of July 17, 2003. I presume that is was hand written because "Given the security restrictions associated with this information, and my inability to consult staff or counsel":
July 17, 2003Dear Mr. Vice President,I am writing to reiterate my concern regarding the sensitive intelligence issues we discussed today with the DCI, DIRNSA, and Chairman Roberts and our House Intelligence Committee counterparts.
Clearly the activities we discussed raise profound oversight issues. As you know, I am neither a technician or an attorney. Given the security restrictions associated with this information, and my inability to consult staff or counsel on my own, I feel unable to fully evaluate, much less endorse these activities.
As I reflected on the meeting today, and the future we face, John Poindexter's TIA project sprung to mind, exacerbating my concern regarding the direction the Administration is moving with regard to security, technology, and surveiliance.
Without more information and the ability to draw on any independent legal or techical expertise, I simply cannot satisfy lingering concerns raised by the briefing we received.
I am retaining a copy of this letter in a sealed envelope in the secure spaces of the Senate Intelligence Committee to ensure that I have a record of this communication.I appreciate your consideration of my views.Most respectfully,Jay Rockefeller
Astounding that Rockefeller saw the need to retain a sealed copy!
Digby at Hullabaloo points out this:
He makes it clear that he has very serious reservations about this program and says that since he is not a technician or a lawyer, and is prohibited from speaking with staff, experts or colleagues, he cannot properly evaluate this program.
He evokes Poindexter's TIA.
I'm hosting images of the two page PDF containing the scanned image of the July 17, 2003 letter and include them here: