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Olbermann: Bush adminstration use of bogus terror threat is 'most overt accusation yet'
David Edwards and Jason Rhyne
Published: Tuesday September 25, 2007


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Former US Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Fein joined Keith Olbermann to discuss recent charges that the Bush administration employed false intelligence to convince lawmakers they should temporarily expand domestic spying powers under the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

"These charges...are the most overt accusation yet of a government gone so wrong that it is using the terrorist's weapon of fear against its own people--and against other legislators who will not go along with the program," Olbermann said.

At a forum on FISA hosted by the Center for American Progress, Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) said that on Aug. 2, word of specific intelligence prompted increased security on Capitol Hill. The House and Senate passed the FISA expansion bill days later.

In what she called a "Rovian strategy of using terrorism as a wedge political issue," Rep. Harman charged that the threat, "it turned out, was bogus; the intelligence agencies knew that."

"The President continues to insist...that he can spy on Americans without warrants irrespective of what a statute says--that he has constitutional authority to override whatever Congress may do," said Fine.

"There is no disinclination of this administration," he continued "to stoop to misrepresentations and omissions to heighten the sense of danger to get whatever they wish in the legislative package."

Before passage of the FISA expansion, Fein said that "the administration was openly telling members of Congress if they voted against the bill that the administration insisted upon, Americans would die."

"There wasn't any substantiation of that," he said. "It was just: 'Trust me, we always tell the truth."

Fein insisted that the president would continue to "have his way if he continues to frighten the Congress and Congress refuses to demand information and facts rather than just rumor."

"The mind reels," Olbermann responded.

The following video is from MSNBC's Countdown, broadcast on September 24.