Thursday, May 18, 2006

Hayden nomination hearing
Your blogstress shall return

Although your blogstress would like to spend the rest of her day lolling about in her négligée, eating bon-bons and watching C-SPAN, other duties call -- and these blow-hards were supposed to have been in closed session by now.

Your Webwench does, however, assure her devotees that she shall return later for a display of her customary wit as she dissects the remains of today's proceedings.


CLICK HERE FOR A TRANSCRIPT OF THE HEARING FROM THE WASHINGTON POST

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Hayden nomination hearing
Yes, they're still hearing...

The Senate intelligence committee return from its lunchbreak not long ago, and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) did one of those obnoxious, solicitous rounds of questioning for which he is famous. Here's your Webwench's paraphrase: General, did you approve this program because you wanted to pry in to the private lives of ordinary Americans?

What's the guy gonna say. Indeed I did, Senator!


CLICK HERE FOR A PARTIAL TRANSCRIPT OF THE HEARING FROM THE WASHINGTON POST

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Hayden nomination hearing
Can Hayden call a woman "Senator"?

Your blogstress could be wrong, but it seems to her that Gen. Hayden addressed neither Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) by their rightful titles. While the men who questioned the general were often addressed as "Senator," the only honorific he had for the women as "Ma'am."

Looks like somebody needs a kick in the pants by a stiletto-heeled pump.


CLICK HERE FOR A TRANSCRIPT OF THE PROCEEDINGS SO FAR FROM THE WASHINGTON POST

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Hayden nomination hearing
"He didn't answer any of them"

After being stonewalled by Gen. Hayden -- who declined to answer most of her questions in open session -- Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), apparently thinking she was off-mike, said, "He didn't answer any of them."

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Hayden nomination hearing
"Reasonable just changed"

Under a grilling by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) about the NSA's adherence (or not) to the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, Hayden refuted the notion that searches may be conducted only by warrant. According to the amendment, Hayden said, and according to "relatives of mine who are in law school," (emphasis added by blogstress) the comma that comes between the clause between the protection against "unreasonable searches and seizures" and the one defining the terms of warrants means that a warrant is not necessary for a search that is deemed "reasonable" by the NSA.

So let's get this right: Hayden is saying that he gets to decide what constitutes a reasonable search based on the judgment of law school students to whom he is related. Your Webwench is no constitutional scholar, but she suspects and absence of checks and balances in this scheme.

Later, in trying to explain himself further to Sen. Feinstein, Gen. Hayden described the standard for reasonableness as something rather elastic. Once a new technology comes along, said Hayden, "reasonableness has just changed."

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Hayden nomination hearing
Wyden throws real punches

"Values are about following the law and doing what you say you are going to do....General, in evaluating your words, I now have trouble accepting your credibility..."

--Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)

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Hayden nomination hearing
Detainee treatment

Hayden seems to have just told Levin that the guidelines for prisoner treatment outlined by the Army Field Manual do not apply to the CIA.

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Hayden nomination hearing
Hayden denies lawyers expressed concern

In answer to a question from Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Gen. Hayden disputed reporting in Sunday's New York Times that NSA lawyers had questioned the legality of the domestic spying the agency undertook under Hayden's leadership.

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Hayden nomination hearing
Hayden stonewalls on scope of NSA program

Levin could not get an answer from Gen. Hayden as to whether or not the news reports on domestic spying by the National Security Agency (NSA) represent the whole of the program. He'll only say so in closed session, he says. Note that Levin wasn't asking what the program entails, just whether or not the full scope of the program has been revealed.

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Hayden nomination hearing
Nominee disses intelligent design

Gen. Hayden just told Sen. Kit Bond (R) that there is "easily documented evidence" that the the revelation of the NSA's domestic spying "has impacted the enemy." The general went on to say that the revelation means that now the U.S. will be catching mostly "dumb terrorists" because the smart ones have been tipped off. "It's Dawinian," he said.

Does anybody really believe that before that revelation, the smart terrorists assumed nobody was listening?

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Hayden nomination hearing
Watch it on C-SPAN Online

To watch the Hayden nomination hearing in Real Player, click here.

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Hayden nomination hearing
A few questions

Chairman Roberts to nominee Michael Hayden:

ROBERTS: General, do you agree to appear before the committee here or in other venues when invited?

HAYDEN: Yes, sir.

ROBERTS: Do you agree to send Central Intelligence Agency officials to appear before the committee and designated staff when invited?

HAYDEN: Absolutely, yes, sir.

ROBERTS: Do you agree to provide documents or any material requested by the committee in order for it to carry out its oversight and its legislative responsibilities?

HAYDEN: Yes, sir.

ROBERTS: Will you ensure that the Central Intelligence Agency provide such material to the committee when requested?

HAYDEN: Yes, sir.

ROBERTS: Do you renounce Satan and all his works?

HAYDEN: Yes, sir -- well, except for those that protect the lives of Americans in the War on Terror.
All right, all right; your blogstress made that last part up.

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Hayden nomination hearing
Backgrounder - National Press Club speech

Throughout today's hearing on the nomination of Gen. Michael Hayden to the post of director of central intelligence, your blogstress's devotees will hear references to a speech that Hayden delivered at the National Press Club in January, after The New York Times broke the news of NSA's domestic spying.

Click here for the transcript of Hayden's National Press Club speech.

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Hayden nomination hearing
CIA as newsmaker

In his opening statement, Hayden said, "The CIA has got to get out of the news."

Instead of blaming the CIA's celebrated problem-child status in the national news on internal leaks, Hayden might considering stopping the CIA from engaging in illegal activities like the U.S. of offshore, secret prisons where detainees are said to be tortured.

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Hayden nomination hearing
Porter who?

Your blogstress was intrigued by Gen. Hayden's paean, in his opening statement at his nomination hearing, to the man given the heave-ho whom the general was chosen to replace. Trying to appease Goss's pals on the Hill, perhaps?

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Hayden nomination hearing
Levin highlights administration lies

Thank goodness for Michigan Senator Carl Levin who, in the Hayden hearing, is standing in for Jay Rockefeller, the committee's ranking Democratic member. Levin just essentially called the nation's attention to the lies the administration -- Hayden included -- has promulgated about the National Security Agency's widespread spying on Americans.

While the administration has responded to last week's USA Today article on the massive database that, at the direction of Hayden, the NSA has created on the telephone traffic of virtually every American by saying, well, that's different from eavesdropping -- which the administration contends it is not doing on Jane and Joe Average.

Not accepting the administration's framing of the issue, Levin argued not the merits of whether or not the American people mind their phone traffic being documented, but whether or not the American people have any reason to believe that that's all the administration is up to.

Making his case, Levin reminded the committee that Bush, Cheney and Hayden himself had all assured the American people last December that the NSA was surveilling only phone traffic between foreign targets and U.S. phone users.

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Hayden nomination hearing
Life and death

Here's Chairman Roberts's idea of American values: "You have no civil liberties if you're dead."

Of course, this nation was founded on Patrick Henry's cry, "Give me liberty or give me death."

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Hayden nomination hearing
Roberts derides NSA critics for the ignorance that he promotes

At the Hayden nomination hearing before the Senate intelligence committee, committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Ks.) opened by deriding critics of the NSA domestic spying program for "decrying a program about which they know nothing."

Yeah, well, isn't that the point here? The administration, until yesterday, wouldn't even brief the congressional intelligence committees about this program so that they could administer the oversight with which the Congress is charged in the U.S. Constitution. Herewith the Roberts take: "...ignorance is no impediment for some critics."

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Stay tuned to AddieStan for
Real-time blogging on Hayden nomination

At 9:30 EDT, the Senate will commence the nomination hearing of Gen. Michael C. Hayden to the post of Director of Central Intelligence. Stay tuned for priceless commentary from your blogstress.

(For alerts to new AddieStan posts, subscribe to AddieStan's feed, and view through your favorite newsreader.)

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More Than 50 Die in Afghan Battles

Just in from the Associated Press:

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) -- American and Afghan forces fought several battles with hundreds of Taliban militants in restive southern Afghanistan, and at least 57 insurgents, a dozen police officers and a Canadian soldier were killed, officials said Thursday.
Are we paying attention yet?

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