March 24, 2012. Washington. For the second time in ten months, two US Senators have made a courageous and public showing against what they call, “alarming” and “secret” government abuse of power. Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Mark Udall (D-CO) first took their warning directly to the American people on the floor of the US Senate. Now, they’re taking their fight directly to the door of US Attorney General Eric Holder. Last week, Eric Holder once again refused to disclose the Obama administration’s “secret interpretation” of the Patriot Act.
Senators Wyden & Udall take on Obama administration secrecy.
According to the letter sent to Attorney General Holder March 15, 2012, the two Senators insist:
“We believe most Americans would be stunned to learn the details of how these secret court opinions have interpreted Section 215 of the Patriot Act.”
The joint letter by Democratic Senators Wyden and Udall goes straight to the point of their warning and legitimate fear for America’s future freedom:
“While the executive branch has worked hard to keep the government’s official interpretation of the Patriot Act secret from the American public it has, to its credit, provided this information in documents submitted to Congress. However, these documents are so highly classified that most members of Congress do not have any staff who are cleared to read them. As a result, we can state with confidence that most of our colleagues in the House and Senate are unfamiliar with these documents, and that many of them would be surprised and angry to learn how the Patriot Act has been interpreted in secret.”
What our readers just read in the above words is the desperate attempt by two patriotic Senators to warn the American people that something sinister has happened to their federal government. Readers will notice that in the entire 3-page letter to Attorney General Holder, the Senators never gave one example of the acts which would make the American people “surprised” and “angry”. That’s because they are forbidden by the same very laws from telling the American people. This public letter is as close as these panicked men can get to screaming the truth to an otherwise oblivious public and its representatives.
Ten months ago, these same two Democratic US Senators took on their own Democratic Party’s “new” platform, one that embraced the Bush doctrine and the dissolution of the US Constitution, rather than opposing it as candidate Barack Obama so often promised to do. Instead, the Obama Administration has taken its self-declared powers to levels never seen before in American history. For the first time ever, a US President ordered the assassinations of US citizens without charge, trial or conviction. Read the Whiteout Press article, ‘White House Assassinates Americans, Again’ for further details.
In May 2011, Senators Wyden and Udall spoke on the floor of the US Senate during final debate before Congress voted to extend the Patriot Act beyond its original scope and duration. In the Whiteout Press article covering the event, ‘Disturbing Revelations over Patriot Act Extension’, we wrote:
“I want to deliver a warning this afternoon” Senate Intelligence Committee member Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) announced prior to Thursday’s vote to extend the three Patriot Act provisions, “When the American people find out how their government has secretly interpreted the Patriot Act, they will be stunned and they will be angry.” Fellow Intelligence Committee member Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) also sent a dire warning, “Americans would be alarmed if they knew how this law is being carried out.” The major problem, the Senators point out, is that there is an ever-increasing disconnect between how the Patriot Act is worded versus how the government is interpreting it.
As one can see, nothing has changed in the ten months since the Senators first began their quest to inform the people. If anything, the target of the current effort, Attorney General Eric Holder, is firmly entrenched in the Obama administration’s hip pocket and not likely to be receptive. Together, President Obama and Attorney General Holder have used ‘secret’ authorities to do a number of questionable things from assassinating American citizens to ‘stimulating’ the President’s campaign contributors to the Fast and Furious cover-up.
Still, Senators Wyden and Udall were able to use the process of alerting the Attorney General to possible treason within the federal government, to instead warn the American people.
America and International Law
Ironically, according to one paragraph in the Senators’ letter to the Attorney General, they provide the source for their information regarding secret interpretations of the Patriot Act. According to the letter:
“It is a matter of public record that section 215, which is a public statute, has been the subject of secret legal interpretations. The existence of these interpretations, which are contained in classified opinions issued by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, has been acknowledged on multiple occasions by the Justice Department and other executive branch officials.”
If the subject is secret governments and world laws, you can bet there’s a Rockefeller involved. Not so coincidentally, the joint letter by Senators Wyden and Udall go on to lay blame at a small handful of individuals, not Senator Rockefeller however. The letter states:
“A number of the Senators who are familiar with these secret legal interpretations (including the two of us) have pressed the executive branch to declassify these interpretations so that Congress and the public can have an informed debate about the proper scope of the law. We have personally raised this issue in meetings, hearings and correspondence (both classified and unclassified) with senior officials (including you) on many occasions over the years, thus far to no avail. It was initially encouraging when the Department of Justice and the Office of the Director of the National Intelligence wrote to Senator Rockefeller and Senator Wyden in August 2009 to announce the establishment of a regular process for reviewing, redacting and releasing significant opinions of the FISA Court (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court). Two and a half years later however, this “process” has produced literally zero results. Not a single redacted opinion has been released.”
In probably the biggest slap in the face throughout the entire 3-page letter from the Senators to US Attorney General Eric Holder, Wyden and Udall take issue with the value of the intelligence apparatus itself. In the second to last paragraph, the two Senators state:
“We would also note that in recent months we have grown increasingly skeptical about the actual value of the “intelligence collection operation” discussed in the Justice Department’s recent court filing regarding the pending lawsuits. This has come as a surprise to us, as we were initially inclined to take the executive branch’s assertions about the importance of this “operation” at face value. We will provide more details about this skepticism in classified correspondence.”
According to media speculation, the Senators are referring to details suggesting that the US government is spying on its own citizens regardless of whether or not they pose a terror risk. In Wyden and Udall’s own description of their secret intelligence briefings, they state that the government has gone far beyond the scope and boundaries originally established with enactment of the Patriot Act immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Now, Senators Wyden and Udall have picked up the torch and will continue the fight to tell the American people what’s really going on behind the federal government’s veil of domestic espionage. The most worrisome aspect is the fact that as members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Wyden and Udall already know what’s going on, and they’re outraged and afraid. And they’re doing everything in their limited power to warn the American people that they should be outraged and afraid too.