US Shadow Government - Required Reading
Monday, April 12, 2010
Main Core, PROMIS and the Shadow Government
by Ed Encho
-Earling Carothers 'Jim' Garrison
II: The Shadow Government
To say that the 'terrorist' attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon were an incredible boon to the shadow government and its long running agenda would be quite the understatement. Never before in American history has this particular element been so visible and brazen than in the aftermath of 9/11 which has since become the ultimate trump card to be played against the forces of reason, judiciousness and the rule of law. The frenzied spree to dismantle the republic and reinterpret the Constitution to implement the fascist police state that would suppress the domestic populace while the business of expanding the empire abroad has gone on unabated for over seven years now. The ascendance of the shadow government into the open began on that morning and the events have been instrumental in allowing for every outrageous violation of civil liberties, international law and the very bedrock principle upon which civilized societies are built being habeas corpus. America is now known worldwide as a torture state, a pariah and a rogue nation to be hated and feared and is ruled by an imperial presidency or as it is formerly known a Unitary Executiveactivated Continuity of Government on the morning of 9/11.
Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld who have been collaborators in a war against the basic tenets of American Constitutional democracy since their days together in the Ford administration were active participants in Continuity of Government throughout the Reagan years and afterwards. With C.O.G. being highly secretive it is not widely known due to a lack of official media coverage of the programs so few questions have been asked, no oversight exists and it has been a useful place for a renegade cabal with an acute distaste for democratic principles. One of the most often referenced pieces on this was James Mann's 2004 piece for the Atlantic Magazine entitled The Armageddon Plan. Another shadow government figure who would later become instrumental in the transformation of America into the fascistic Homeland is one David Addington, Cheney's crackerjack legal mind and longtime hatchetman who has along with others such as John Yoo (a man who once said that the president had the legal authority to crush a child's testicles were it deemed necessary) have toiled to change the law of the nation into something dark and foreign. In Addington's world there is legitimacy to engage in illegal (at least until now) domestic spying, abduction and detention without trial, torture both physical and mental (a horrifying example is that of Jose Padilla (an American citizen who would be the precedent for future actions against other Americans) who was imprisoned and psychologically destroyed through the application of mind control techniques straight out of the infamous CIA program MKULTRA to the point where his mental capacities were that of "a piece of furniture". Padilla was not only a precedent setter but also a warning of what the government could do to a person deemed to be a 'terrorist' or 'terrorist sympathizer', the definitions of which are intentionally vague for a very terrifying reason.
David Addington, more than once referred to as Cheney's Cheney was a key player in the implementation of the shadow government infrastructure now that it has come out from under the cover of darkness in the post-9/11 era. Jane Meyer of the New Yorker speaks of their relationship in the following interview from which I excerpt a piece from here:
(translation: dictator). The current state of affairs are primarily due to the policies of the cabal of one Richard B. Cheney, the most powerful Vice President in history as well as a longtime shadow government figure who
How did David Addington get to know Vice-President Cheney, and how long have they worked together?Addington is still largely a mystery man but his connections to Continuity of Government during the Reagan era are documented as well as his ties to Cheney. Another common denominator is the Iran-Contra affair, Addington was a big player in it as well as most of the current crop of neocons who returned to power under Bush II. Addington also is connected to spook master and former CIA head William 'Bill' Casey (a man whose history and past associations is a veritable almanac of American fascism dating from WWII through the Reagan years and who played a key role in the theft of the PROMIS software) through The Lawless Group (named for CIA operative Richard Lawless, a close associate of Casey). Sidney Blumenthal's article for Salon entitled The Sad decline of Michael Mukasey provides some additional background on Mr. Addington:
They met on Capitol Hill in the mid-eighties, when Cheney was a Republican congressman from Wyoming and Addington was a young staff lawyer working for the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs committees. So they have worked together for about two decades. Their partnership was cemented when they worked together on the Minority Report on the Iran-Contra affair. Both Addington and Cheney took the idiosyncratic position that it was Congress, not President Reagan, that was in the wrong. This view reflected the opinion, held by both men, that the executive branch should run foreign policy, to a great extent unimpeded by Congress. It's a recurring theme—pushing the limits of executive power and sidestepping Congress—in their partnership. One example is their position that the President, as Commander-in-Chief in times of war, had the inherent authority to ignore the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which Congress passed in an effort to make sure that Presidents don't violate citizens' right to privacy by spying on them without warrants.
After meeting and working together in Congress, Cheney and Addington continued their partnership at the Pentagon, where, during the Presidency of George H. W. Bush, Cheney was Secretary of Defense and Addington was his special assistant and, later, general counsel. There, Addington was known as a powerhouse, a stickler who controlled access to Cheney and marked up others' memos in red felt-tipped pen, returning the memos for rewrites that would make them sharper—and more protective of executive power.
At the Pentagon, the two exhibited a similar pessimism about world affairs, in particular about the possibility that Mikhail Gorbachev represented true change, and also an unusually deep interest in "continuity of government" planning—how the government survives in the event of a doomsday attack. Addington kept the constitutional provisions for Presidential succession in his pocket at all times, a colleague told me.
Addington's dominion over the law -- controlling the writing of the president's executive orders and the memos from OLC, the office of the White House counsel and the carefully placed network of general counsels throughout the federal government's departments and agencies -- is a well-established and central aspect of Cheney's power. Addington has been indispensable to the vice president since he served as his counsel on the joint congressional committee investigating the Iran-Contra scandal, when Cheney was the ranking minority member. In that capacity, Addington wrote, under Cheney's signature, the notorious minority report that was an early clarion call for the imperial presidency.
Addington and Cheney's report decried Congress for its "hysteria" over the Iran-Contra scandal, which involved the selling of missiles to Iran to finance arms for the Nicaraguan Contras against explicit congressional legislation. The Constitution, they argued, "leaves little, if any doubt that the president was expected to have the primary role of conducting the foreign policy of the United States." They added: "Congressional actions to limit the president in this area therefore should be reviewed with a considerable degree of skepticism. If they interfere with the core presidential foreign policy functions, they should be struck down."
The Cheney minority report was the doctrinal basis for the Bush presidency: the unitary executive, the commander in chief ruling in wartime by fiat and, ultimately, torture being defined as whatever the president, not the Geneva Conventions, said it was. Addington's authorship of the Cheney Iran-Contra report was largely overlooked until fairly recently, but his deeper connection to that scandal and its resonance have received little attention.
In the 1980s, Addington, then in his 20s, served as deputy counsel to CIA director William Casey, the moving force behind the Iran-Contra affair and the most powerful figure in the Reagan administration after the president. Along with other hotshots in the counsel's office, Addington was part of what became known within the agency as the "Lawless Group," named after Richard Lawless, a CIA operative who was a close assistant to Casey, according to a former senior CIA official. After Casey's death, Rep. Dick Cheney co-opted the "Lawless Group," putting its members in key positions when he was secretary of defense during the first Bush administration and vice president in the second. (Lawless, for example, after working as Jeb Bush's business partner, served as deputy undersecretary of defense, retiring this past April.)
"A lot of the decisions on Iran-Contra were signed off by the counsel's office," a longtime senior CIA official told me. "It was not a renegade operation. It had lawyers, just like now. Everything they were doing was run by the general counsel's office and Addington was deputy. You may draw your own conclusions, as the Russians say." In fact, the role of the counsel's office surfaced in the trial of Alan Fiers, the CIA agent in charge of the Central American Task Force, who pleaded guilty to misleading Congress. But that role was never investigated or ever really reported.
"These guys don't like the mainstream CIA. In fact, they hate it," the CIA official explained. "They don't like information unless it fits what they want to hear. They hate the CIA because the CIA tells them what they don't want to hear. They want assessments that prove ideological points. They are looking for simplistic answers to complicated issues. They inhabit a make-believe world of moving up into perceived areas of expertise. It's the same guys; they all resurface when Republicans are back in power. It's the same group. It's a system. The similarities are amazing in all these wars we've been dragged into."
In a fairly recent article that I wrote entitled 9/11: Cover for a Coup d'Etat?, I mused as to whether the 'terrorist' attacks merely provided cover for an Edward Luttwak style coup d'etat to be piggybacked on top of the incidents using the Continuity of Government infrastructure. The massive USAPATRIOT Act was already awaiting a rollout and there is the still lingering question of who was really behind the Anthrax attacks that were directed at those who were in positions to stop its implementation. 9/11 would be consistent with historical black operations and false flag attacks and the festering disregard for American democracy by those who assumed control in the aftermath is widely known but I am not going to revisit that in this particular writing other than to ask the obvious question of Cui Bono? Whether 9/11 was indeed a coup by an alliance between the shadow government along with rogue elements of foreign intelligence services is of less importance than the consistent pattern of below the surface influence and interactions of non-elected government officials and foreign and domestic criminal elements. Author and researcher Professor Peter Dale Scott refers to a "Deep State" and I would refer readers of this article to one of his entitled 9/11, Deep State Violence and the Hope of Internet Politics in which Professor Scott provides an in depth look into not only the deep state but asks serious questions about whether Continuity of Government was implemented in the aftermath of 9/11. I excerpt the following from this piece:
In my book The Road to 9/11, I have argued that there has existed, at least since World War Two if not earlier, an analogous American deep state, also combining intelligence officials with elements from the drug-trafficking underworld. I also pointed to recent decades of collaboration between the U.S. deep state and al-Qaeda, a terrorist underworld whose drug-trafficking activities have been played down in the 9/11 Commission Report and the mainstream U.S. media.
Pictures of the Homeland
That the United States of America has nearly completed the tragic transition to a fascist form of government becomes more apparent with each passing day and each additional outrage and the cancer has so thoroughly metastasized there is little hope that a new regime in Washington is going to be able to bring it to a hald. Whether it be the hijacking of the financial system by the Wall Street banking cartel that is abetted by yet another capitulation by a quisling Congress, more evidence of the desecration of privacy rights by a surveillance industrial complex run amok, the alarming and ongoing militarizing of the nation's police, the assignment of combat hardened troops to domestic duty (with a mandate to quell civil unrest despite the now for all intents and purposes rendered irrelevant Posse Comitatus Act) or the constantly morphing and open ended definition of what exactly constitutes being a 'terrorist'conspiracy theorist is (as it always has been) one gigantic sick joke. The pushback against President Obama for announcing the planned closure of the Gitmo torture gulag by the neocon embeds in the media has been significant.
As the saying goes, if you put a frog into a pot of boiling water it will react by jumping out immediately, but if you put that same frog into a pot of lukewarm water and then very slowly increase the temperature of the burner on the stove upon which it sits, that frog will stay in the pot until it becomes soup. My fellow Americans, that frog is us and the parallel reality that is so essential for the transformation of a state from one of benevolent democracy to one of totalitarianism as set forth by Hannah Arendt is in the final stages of being swapped out. The apple pie authoritarianism becomes more entrenched, political discourse has been reduced to nothing more than demagoguery, lies (either outright or more commonly, through omission) clever and highly sophisticated propaganda, race-baiting, fear-mongering and all delivered through a corrupted and complicit corporate media machine and the celebrity shills that it employs as barkers in the carnival of immorality and perversion that is the shell of American now known as the Homeland.
In the runup to the election, millions of little plastic pieces of vile filth (that hew to the established storylines formerly established as an example in one Julius Streicher's publication Der Sturmer) in the form of a DVD version of a deceitful and meticulously designed and professionally produced (in order to evoke a proper emotional response from certain credulous or otherwise mentally unstable fringe elements) propaganda film Obsession: Radical Islam's War Against the West and sponsored by a well-funded, shadowy front group were mass distributed (28 million) in many of the nation's newspapers and specifically in swing states in advance of the coming election. The obvious intent was to generate fear and hatred and to manufacture consent as well as swing the election to McCain. It worked to perfection as Muslim children were gassed in the nursery of a Dayton, Ohio mosque just after the Obsession DVD was distributed locally. Of course in the land of Orwellian newspeak it wasn't ruled an act of domestic terrorism. For that matter, neither was Kristallnacht in a certain European closing society that eerily parallels what has been going on in the post 9/11 'Homeland' although it is far more subtle for the original prototype was far too ostentatious to endure for very long. to name only a few of the more alarming changes to the republic, those who are able to recognize such things as what they truly are should be increasingly aware that the dreaded and ubiquitous pejorative of
Such vitriolic rallies became veritable lynch mobs and have merely gone underground now that the people have spoken. In a time of an unprecedented domestic economic crisis that already has Americans on the edge are extremely dangerous and will inevitably lead to violence – of course this may be the intent as it is consistent with more traditional versions of fascism. In his study The Authoritarians, Bob Altemeyer identified a certain demographic segment of any society that are hard-wired for serving authoritarians, susceptible to demagogy and subservient to perceived authority figures. This particular part of a population is essential to supporting totalitarian figures who rise to power during troubled times and offer simple answers to complex problems, they are essential components of any fascist regime and their near psychotic fervor can be channeled to the point where they are nothing more than automatons or tools to the dangerous leaders of mass movements. Such behavior was on full display at many Sarah Palin rallies and it wouldn't take much to turn such gatherings into staging grounds for organized pogroms that could then be unleashed when the time is right.
It certainly brings to mind George Orwell's 1984, but then these are truly the times which Orwell so brilliantly prophesied, Oceania has always been at war and always will be at war, for that is what we are and all that we shall ever be in the land of the shadow government. No fascist system can for long exist without a certain die-hard percentage of the population who can be mobilized as shock troops, don't ask questions and are full of resentment and hatred, only seeking a strong leader on a white horse with simple answers to complex problems and who will point them in the direction of those who can be easily scapegoated. History always repeats but it never repeats exactly. Yesteryear's Juden are todays liberals.
"The preparations for Hate Week were in full swing, and the staffs of all the Ministries were working overtime. Processions, meetings, military parades, lectures, waxworks, displays, film shows, telescreen programmes all had to be organized; stands had to be erected, effigies built, slogans coined, songs written, rumours circulated, photographs faked..".The ramming through of the Wall Street bailout (TARP), the financial equivalent of the USA Patriot Act in that it placed unaccountable power in a Treasury Department that has become an occupied colony of Goldman Sachs despite a huge public outcry is another indication of just how much power has been transferred into the executive branch. The usual rubber-stamping by a corrupt and (very likely threatened and blackmailed) Congress was a foregone conclusion in the land of sham elections and an increasingly tyrannical government. The passage of this monstrosity was allegedly aided by a threat of martial law, this according to Representative Brad Sherman of California. Former President George W. Bush took to the television airwaves to once again sow fear over an economic Armageddon and also what could be perceived as an implied threat of martial law in the language "America could slip into a financial panic and a distressing scenario would unfold." One could speculate that the "distressing scenario" which Bush mentioned could activate conditions as set forth in NSPD-51 in order to deal with domestic unrest due to bank holidays, food shortages and any sort of uprising as a result of the financial collapse. Main Core would be utilized to produce the lists of those among the millions already deemed to be suspect and prone to 'subversive' behavior, the 3rd Infantry Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team already in place stateside would be required to 'maintain the necessary order' (augmented by Blackwater and other private mercenaries of course) and the roundups and internments would begin. It was an eerie déjà vu moment in which America was transported back to 2002 and 2003 with the apocalyptic conjecture of smoking guns as mushroom clouds, phantom weapons of mass destruction, sleeper cells, biological weapon spewing gliders that could transverse the ocean and an evil dictator who was a "new Hitler".
Some Historical Context
The United States has had a history of influential groups and individuals that have a serious fascist bent. Some of the most powerful bankers and industrialists of the Great Depression era did plot a coup d'etat (The Business Plot) in order to topple the hated Franklin D. Roosevelt, but were thwarted when the man who they attempted to recruit to lead it, former Marine Corps General Smedley D. Butler instead exposed them to Congress. So shocking was this that the media of that era closed ranks to protect the traitors and erase the ugly blight from our sanitized version of history. It was no secret that Italian dictator Benito Mussolini (once featured in a fawning puff piece in Fortune Magazine) and even Nazi leader Adolf Hitler had ardent American admirers and influential supporters who were enthralled with their highly efficient, corporate friendly authoritarian states and their ability to propagandize the masses and crush labor unions.
Klaus Barbie aka the Butcher of Lyons was one of the more notable names and is a perfect example of an asset being used to further American interests in the southern cone, Barbie was a key part of the 'Cocaine Coup'. The corrupting influence that was asserted on intelligence, the military and deep state movers and shakers by such a close affiliation with Nazi war criminals and the inevitable damage done in terms of moral authority is as difficult to fathom as it is extremely disturbing but that is a story for another time. So as not to overly dwell on the Nazi connection (the amount of material on it is voluminous) I do want to comment that it shows the depths to which the National Security State will go in order to ensure its own perpetuation and ability to lay down with wolves so that the real power structure in this country is allowed to function with ruthless, Machiavellian precision in the darkness that exists just below the façade of legitimate public and private institutions in the United States.
The Cold War gave the intelligence apparatus and the military industrial complex the cover that was needed in order to build the infrastructure of an extra-Constitutional government. Almost from the very inception of the CIA the United States became involved in the assassinations and overthrow of legitimate democratically supported governments all untertaken for big business and to crush resistance to western capitalism. The obvious Nazi influence manifested itself in the extreme cruelty of the methods used to expand the empire and death squads were sanctioned, torture was widespread to the extent that it was even taught at the far-right School of the Americas and the agency participated in sadistic and immoral mind control experimentation programs such as the notorious MKULTRA. It is of the utmost importance to understand the root of evil that is the Central Intelligence Agency that was put together by the American capitalist elite in the aftermath of World War II to act as a Gestapo for Wall Street and business interests not confined to the spheres of legality. I would like to make reference to a that summarizes this much better than I could ever hope to do in a well documented story How the CIA Created a Ruling, Corporate Overclass in America that is a must read for everyone who really is serious about going at the existing order.
"...a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence--on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations."
Recent history has seen a number of such events, such as the assassination of John F. Kennedy, that are so inexplicable by the public notions of American politics that most Americans tend not even to think of them. Instead most accept the official surface explanations for them, even if they suspect these are not true. Or if others say they believe that "Oswald acted alone," they may do so in the same comforting but irrational state of mind that believes God will reward the righteous and punish the wicked.
The Reagan Years
As I wrote in part one of this ongoing series, the recent articles Christopher Ketcham entitled The Last Roundup and Tim Shorrock's Exposing Bush's Historic Abuse of Power are both about the massive database Main Core and how it relates to Continuity of Government programs. It is encouraging to see that there is now more being written about this subject by more well known and influential figures than this humble blogger. Author James Bamford's new book on the NSA entitled The Shadow Factory is drawing a good deal of attention already on just how much that Americans have been spied on by our own government, the rogue neocon occupying faction as well as Israeli elements working alone and in conjunction with domestic interests (but much more on that in part four of this series). Arch-conservative John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute (instrumental in funding Paula Jones' lawsuit against President Clinton) wrote two articles on the shadow government which shows that the immense danger of this transcends the trivialities of partisan politics. The Whitehead pieces can be found at the Huffington post and are entitled America's Shadow Government: Part One and America's Shadow Government: Part Two. I excerpt a small piece from Mr. Whitehead below:
What is the bottom line here? We are, for all intents and purposes, one terrorist attack away from having a full-fledged authoritarian state emerge from the shadows, at which time democratic government will be dissolved and the country will be ruled by an unelected bureaucracy. And because so much of this shadow government remains under wraps, there is much we don't know about it. Yet that does not diminish the threat it poses to democratic government.It is heartening to see this most critical of subjects being examined at last for if the relentless drive towards an American fascist government is not at the very minimum slowed, then nothing else is really going to matter is it?
In his 1961 Farewell Address to the Nation, Dwight D. Eisenhower tried to warn us that a nefarious military-industrial complex had emerged in America. "The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist," he said. Eisenhower realized that after World War II, America had become a national security state that operated largely in secret and answered to practically no one.
And corruption is stranglin' the land
The police force is watching the people
And the people just can't understand
We don't know how to mind our own business
'Cause the whole worlds got to be just like us
Now we are fighting a war over there
No matter who's the winner
We can't pay the cost
'Cause there's a monster on the loose
It's got our heads into a noose
And it just sits there watching
America post-9/11 has been a period of triumph for the shadow government. The ascendance has now been nearly completed, the transformation for all intents and purposes is likely now irreversible. The surveillance grids have been locked into place, the Constitution altered forever, the opposition cowed and nullified, the media matrix impenetrable, the Congress rendered irrelevant, the public brainwashed and the military on alert to move against the citizenry domestically (when the order is given. As they say in the financial world, the gains have been locked in.
Despite the banishment of Bush-Cheney there will likely be no real restoration of what has been lost nor will there be any serious type of accountability, fascism and militarism are now as American as apple pie. Certainly there will be cosmetic changes, President Obama has already announced Guantanamo Bay will be closed, it's just become too much of a symbol of all that has gone wrong. Torture has also been denounced by Obama and the CIA black prisons have been ordered to be shut down but with a deeply entrenched renegade shadow government it is likely that the ghost planes will continue their rendition routes to black sites abroad (albeit covertly) and that private surveillance and intelligence outfits will continue to receive government funding and mercenary armies like those of the infamous Blackwater will continue to grow stronger.
While Tim Shorrock in his Salon piece "Exposing Bush's Historic Abuse of Power" writes of rumors of a potential series of Congressional investigations:
The proposal for a Church Committee-style investigation emerged from talks between civil liberties advocates and aides to Democratic leaders in Congress, according to sources involved. (Pelosi's and Conyers' offices both declined to comment.) Looking forward to 2009, when both Congress and the White House may well be controlled by Democrats, the idea is to have Congress appoint an investigative body to discover the full extent of what the Bush White House did in the war on terror to undermine the Constitution and U.S. and international laws. The goal would be to implement government reforms aimed at preventing future abuses -- and perhaps to bring accountability for wrongdoing by Bush officials.However given the inability of the Congress to do anything to provide a check on the monstrous abuses of the Bush-Cheney regime (and those shadow government activities that preceded it) it is highly unlikely that any legitimate, official review along the lines of the Church Committee will ever occur. If there is any sort of an investigation I would think that it would be a dog and pony show whitewash along the lines of the Warren Commission or the Kean-Hamilton 9/11 Commission, both of which served to do nothing other than provide the facade of an investigation while protecting those implicated from having their criminality exposed in the interests of national security and to continue to provide cover for the existing established order. In their true feckless manner the Democrats are already deferring to their more openly fascist cohorts in the first days of the new administration which does not bode well for the future.
"If we know this much about torture, rendition, secret prisons and warrantless wiretapping despite the administration's attempts to stonewall, then imagine what we don't know," says a senior Democratic congressional aide who is familiar with the proposal and has been involved in several high-profile congressional investigations.
"You have to go back to the McCarthy era to find this level of abuse," says Barry Steinhardt, the director of the Program on Technology and Liberty for the American Civil Liberties Union. "Because the Bush administration has been so opaque, we don't know [the extent of] what laws have been violated."
The parameters for an investigation were outlined in a seven-page memo, written after the former member of the Church Committee met for discussions with the ACLU, the Center for Democracy and Technology, Common Cause and other watchdog groups. Key issues to investigate, those involved say, would include the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance activities; the Central Intelligence Agency's use of extraordinary rendition and torture against terrorist suspects; and the U.S. government's extensive use of military assets -- including satellites, Pentagon intelligence agencies and U2 surveillance planes -- for a vast spying apparatus that could be used against the American people.
Specifically, the ACLU and other groups want to know how the NSA's use of databases and data mining may have meshed with other domestic intelligence activities, such as the U.S. government's extensive use of no-fly lists and the Treasury Department's list of "specially designated global terrorists" to identify potential suspects. As of mid-July, says Steinhardt, the no-fly list includes more than 1 million records corresponding to more than 400,000 names. If those people really represent terrorist threats, he says, "our cities would be ablaze." A deeper investigation into intelligence abuses should focus on how these lists feed on each other, Steinhardt says, as well as the government's "inexorable trend towards treating everyone as a suspect."
"It's not just the 'Terrorist Surveillance Program,'" agrees Gregory T. Nojeim from the Center for Democracy and Technology, referring to the Bush administration's misleading name for the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program. "We need a broad investigation on the way all the moving parts fit together. It seems like we're always looking at little chunks and missing the big picture."
A prime area of inquiry for a sweeping new investigation would be the Bush administration's alleged use of a top-secret database to guide its domestic surveillance. Dating back to the 1980s and known to government insiders as "Main Core," the database reportedly collects and stores -- without warrants or court orders -- the names and detailed data of Americans considered to be threats to national security.
Getting a full picture on Bush's intelligence programs, however, will almost certainly require any sweeping new investigation to have a scope that would inoculate it against charges of partisanship. During one recent discussion on Capitol Hill, according to a participant, a senior aide to Speaker Pelosi was asked for Pelosi's views on a proposal to expand the investigation to past administrations, including those of Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush. "The question was, how far back in time would we have to go to make this credible?" the participant in the meeting recalled.
Too much damage has already been done and too many stand to face not only criminal charges but also charges of outright treason if the sort of sweeping investigation that is required to get into the real systemic rot is undertaken