White House, Cheney's office subpoenaed
But Cheney Probably Not Appear If Subpoenaed


Cheney Probably Not Appear If Subpoenaed
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UPDATE:
  White House won't comply with subpoenas
June 28: Asserting executive privilege, the White House says it won't turn over new documents in the fired attorneys case . NBC's John Yang reports.

MSNBC

White House refuses to answer subpoenas
Constitutional showdown possible over firing of federal prosecutors
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19480518/


By LAURIE KELLMAN

White House, Cheney's office subpoenaed
Wed Jun 27, 2007 14:54
72.201.70.108

 
White House, Cheney's office subpoenaed
By LAURIE KELLMAN - Associated Press Writer
Updated: 06/27/07 3:35 PM
http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/06/27/2145

The Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenaed the White House and Vice President Dick Cheney's office Wednesday for documents relating to President Bush's controversial eavesdropping program that operated warrant-free for five years.

Also named in subpoenas signed by committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., were the Justice Department and the National Security Council. The four parties have until July 18 to comply, according to a statement by Leahy's office.

The committee wants documents that might shed light on internal disputes within the administration over the legality of the program, which Bush put under court review earlier this year.

"Our attempts to obtain information through testimony of administration witnesses have been met with a consistent pattern of evasion and misdirection," Leahy said in his cover letters for the subpoenas. "There is no legitimate argument for withholding the requested materials from this committee."

Echoing its response to previous congressional subpoenas to former administration officials Harriet Miers and Sara Taylor, the White House gave no indication that it would comply.

"We're aware of the committee's action and will respond appropriately," White House spokesman Tony Fratto said. "It's unfortunate that congressional Democrats continue to choose the route of confrontation."

In fact, the Judiciary Committee's three most senior Republicans - Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, former chairman Orrin Hatch of Utah and Chuck Grassley of Iowa - sided with Democrats on the 13-3 vote last week to give Leahy the power to issue the subpoenas.

The showdown between the White House and Congress could land in federal court.

Leahy's committee and its counterpart in the House have issued the subpoenas as part of a sweeping look at how much influence the White House exerts over the Justice Department and its chief, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

The probe, in its sixth month, began with an investigation into whether administration officials ordered the firings of eight federal prosecutors, for political reasons. The House and Senate Judiciary committees previously had subpoenaed Miers, one-time legal counsel, and Taylor, a former political director, in that probe.

But with senators of both parties already concerned about the constitutionality of the administration's efforts to root out terrorism suspects in the United States, the committee shifted to the broader question of Gonzales' stewardship of Justice and his willingness to go along with the wiretapping program.

The Bush administration secretly launched the spy program, run by the National Security Agency, in 2001 to monitor international phone calls and e-mails to or from the United States involving people the government suspected of having terrorist links. The program, which did not require investigators to seek warrants before conducting surveillance, was revealed in December 2005.

After the program was challenged in court, Bush put it under the supervision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, established in 1978. The president still claims the power to order warantless spying.

Debate continues over whether the program violates people's civil liberties, and the administration has gone to great lengths to keep it running with extensive presidential discretion.

Piquing the committee's interest was vivid testimony last month by former Deputy Attorney General James Comey about the extent of the White House's effort to override the Justice Department's objections to the program in 2004.

Comey told the Judiciary Committee that Gonzales, then-White House counsel, tried to get Attorney General John Ashcroft to reverse course and recertify the program. At the time, Ashcroft lay in intensive care, recovering form gall bladder surgery.

Ashcroft refused, as did Comey, to whom Ashcroft had temporarily shifted the power of his office during his illness.

The White House recertified the program unilaterally. Ashcroft, Comey, FBI Director Robert Mueller and their staffs prepared to resign. Bush ultimately relented and made changes to the classified program that the Justice officials had demanded, and the agency eventually recertified it.

The fight was one of the most bitter disputes of the Bush presidency and questions remain over whether the program tramples people's civil liberties. The administration says the program is crucial to preventing more terrorist attacks.

Fratto defended the surveillance program as "lawful" and "limited."

"It's specifically designed to be effective without infringing Americans' civil liberties," Fratto said. "The program is classified for a reason - its purpose is to track down and stop terrorist planning. We remain steadfast in our commitment to keeping Americans safe from an enemy determined to use any means possible - including the latest in technology - to attack us."

Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said the subpoena to Gonzales is under review and that the department recognizes Congress' oversight role.

"We must also give appropriate weight to the confidentiality of internal executive branch deliberations," he said.

Majority Democrats and some Republicans are skeptical and have sought to find out more details about the program and how it has been administered.

Leahy's panel is required to serve the subpoenas to specific people within the offices named. One is addressed to Gonzales, while the others are addressed to: David S. Addington, Cheney's chief of staff; White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, V. Phillip Lago, executive secretary of the National Security Council - or "other custodian of records" in their offices.

The subpoenas themselves seek a wide array of documents on the program from the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks to the present. Among them are any documents that include analysis or opinions from Justice, the National Security Agency - which administers the program - the Defense Department, the White House, or "any entity within the Executive Branch" on the legality of the electronic surveillance program.
http://www.commondreams.org/archive/2007/06/27/2145

-------------------

Congress subpoenas White House on warrantless wiretaps

 

Bush faces eavesdropping subpoena
US citizens' overseas telephone calls were monitored
The US Senate has issued a subpoena ordering the White House to give up documents related to its surveillance of domestic terror suspects.

The Senate Judiciary Committee asked the Bush administration to give up the papers as part of its inquiry into the controversial spying programme.

The administration has refused a series of requests to release the documents.

The president rejects claims that he broke the law by ordering surveillance without first securing warrants.

The programme, authorised after the 9/11 attacks, enabled the government to monitor the overseas e-mail and telephone communications of Americans suspected of ties to terrorists.

While the president says his wartime powers allowed him to authorise surveillance without the need for a warrant, critics say he violated Americans' civil liberties.

The secret spying programme became public in 2005.

July deadline

The Senate Judiciary Committee's subpoenas target the White House, Vice-President Dick Cheney, the National Security Council and the Department of Justice.

Their intention is to shed light on any discussion that may have taken place within the administration on the legality of the spying programme.

"Our attempts to obtain information through testimony of administration witnesses have been met with a consistent pattern of evasion and misdirection," the Senate Committee's chairman, Patrick Leahy, says.

"There is no legitimate argument for withholding the requested materials from this committee."

The White House has until 18 July to comply with the demand, according to the Democratic-led Senate committee.

It is unclear whether it will do so, or mount a legal challenge to the subpoena.

"We're aware of the committee's action and will respond appropriately," a White House spokesman told the Associated Press news agency.

"It's unfortunate that congressional Democrats continue to choose the route of confrontation."  http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/6247404.stm


Senate Panel Subpoenas White House Wiretapping Papers (Update2)
By William Roberts

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney in Washington yesterday June 27 (Bloomberg) -- A Senate panel probing the National Security Agency's domestic wiretapping program issued subpoenas to the White House, Vice President Dick Cheney and the Justice Department for documents showing the Bush administration's legal justification for the secret surveillance.
``This committee has made no fewer than nine formal requests to the Department of Justice and to the White House, seeking information and documents about the authorization of and legal justification for this program,'' Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote in letters accompanying the subpoenas.
Those requests were ``rebuffed'' by a ``pattern of evasion and misdirection'' from administration officials, Leahy said.
The panel authorized Leahy to issue subpoenas on the secret surveillance on June 21. The panel is reviewing whether the White House properly developed a legal basis for the classified eavesdropping on the international phone calls and e-mails of suspected terrorist agents that was disclosed in December 2005.
President George W. Bush claimed authority to order the eavesdropping as commander-in-chief after the Sept. 11 attacks. The program allowed monitoring without a court order of communications into or out of the U.S. when one of the parties was suspected of having ties to terrorists.

Judicial Review
The Bush administration agreed earlier this year to allow the program to be subjected to review by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance court.
``The terrorist surveillance program is lawful, limited, safeguarded and -- most importantly -- effective in protecting American citizens from terrorist attacks,'' said White House spokesman Tony Fratto. ``It's specifically designed to be effective without infringing Americans' civil liberties.''
The subpoenas seek documents related to the authorization of the program, agreements between the administration and telecommunications companies regarding liability for assisting the surveillance and information about the shutting down of an investigation of the surveillance by the Department of Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility.
``We hope the White House doesn't stonewall on this issue that's vitally important to what America is all about,'' New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer said
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=al4GhY0zUy0w&refer=home


June 26, 2007

Waxman catches WH in a lie, recommends subpoenas this week

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) has sunk his teeth into the latest Cheney scandal and he isnít letting go. Todayís edition is particularly devastating.

In a letter to the White House counselís office, Waxman notes that White House spokesperson Dana Perino told reporters last week, ďThe president and the vice president are complying with all the rules and regulations regarding the handling of classified material and making sure that it is safeguarded and protected.Ē She added that Bush and Cheney exempted themselves from the provision that allows oversight.

Waxman argues that this is demonstrably false: the White House and the Office of the Vice President ďhave flaunted multiple requirements for protecting classified information, not just the section related to the responsibilities of the Information Security Oversight Office.Ē

* The White House regularly ignored security breaches. The security officers described repeated instances in which security breaches were reported to the White House Security Office by Secret Service or CIA agents, but were never investigated. In one case, the White House Security Office took no action after receiving a report that a White House official left classified materials unattended in a hotel room. In numerous instances, reports that White House officials left classified information on their desks went uninvestigated.

* The Presidentís top political advisor received a renewal of his security clearance despite presidential directives calling for the denial of security clearances for officials who misrepresent their involvement in security leaks. Under guidelines issued by President Bush, security clearances should not be renewed for individuals who deny their role in the release of classified information, regardless of whether the disclosure was intentional or negligent. Contrary to this guidance, the White House Security Office renewed the security clearance for Karl Rove in late 2006.

* The White House has condoned widespread mismanagement at the White House Security Office. According to the White House security officers, the White House allowed the White House Security Office to be run by managers who ignored basic security procedures and allowed other White House officials to do so also.

Itís probably worth taking an extra moment here to consider the big picture.

Obviously, given the existing political climate, the key news today is that Waxman has caught the White House ignoring its own executive order regarding handling of classified materials. But letís not lose the forest for the trees: Waxman has assembled considerable evidence that the Bush gang, in a time of war, has been reckless when it comes to keeping secrets, and negligent when it comes to security precautions. The same people who claim credibility on national security are the same people who are careless when it comes to maintaining the integrity of a classified system. And then they lied about it.

Waxman went on to explain that heís been trying to get answers from the White House for months, but to no avail.

I am therefore writing to advise you that unless we are able to schedule these interviews promptly, I will bring before the Committee on Thursday, June 28, a motion to subpoena the relevant officials for depositions.

Heís not going to back down. Itís bound to get interesting.  http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com/archives/11254.html

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