Justice Integrity Project
It's easy to reach wrong conclusions about President John F. Kennedy's assassination based on a 1963 CIA document released this month.
Among 2,500 declassified Top Secret CIA Presidential Daily Briefings (“PDBs”) released Sept. 16 is a briefing stating that Kennedy’s accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald visited two Communist embassies in Mexico City six weeks before he allegedly shot Kennedy in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. We reported the overall document dump Sept. 27 in a routine summary story that has already received more than two thousand website hits. Today, we drill down on the document that has received the most attention so far nationally.
The CIA assertion provided a news peg for a Washington Times story this month headlined, CIA confirmed Oswald contacted Cubans, Soviets before assassination, memo shows. Reporter Kellan Howell wrote, "According to the Nov. 25, 1963 briefing, Oswald — a former U.S. Marine who defected to the Soviet Union in 1959 — visited both the Cuban and Soviet embassies on Sept. 28, 1963."
The Times reporter, busy also preparing an advance story for the GOP presidential debate that evening, used the CIA document to imply the conventional story line. The official story was, as summarized in the Warren Commission report in 1964: that Oswald was a Communist sympathizer who killed the American president for reasons associated with Cold War animosities. The reporter's brief story this month promptly received nearly one thousand reader comments and some 2,500 "likes" on Facebook, thereby illustrating the public's ongoing thirst for knowledge about the crime of the century.
But the newspaper failed to explore strong evidence that the official CIA report on Oswald, made to Kennedy's presidential successor Lyndon B. Johnson, was at best incomplete, confusing, and otherwise unreliable.
Less charitably, the newly released CIA document can also be interpreted as being evidence of a suspected plan by federal authorities to frame Oswald as a patsy, thereby allowing others to escape responsibility for Kennedy's murder.
The murder mystery's importance goes far beyond this month's story. In this column, we test an official document for its likely veracity. That method needs to be more common in review of other official documents, particularly relating to sensitive matters. Cable commentator Bill O'Reilly's best-seller Killing Kennedy, for example, adopts the findings of the commission for the most part and then merely dramatizes them.
The Warren Commission asserted in 1964 that Oswald visited Mexico City from Sept. 27 to Oct. 3. The implication was that his activities there showed his pro-Communist and anti-American mind-set.
But the seven-member commission and its investigators disregarded significant questions about whether Oswald undertook his years of post-military and seemingly anti-American activities as an undercover federal agent playing a role. Oswald joined the U.S. Marine Corps as a teenager and won a high-level secrecy clearance because he worked at the Atsugi Air Force base in Japan on the secret U-2 spy plane overflights of the Soviet Union and China. He defected to the Soviet Union after learning to speak Russian in the Marines, but developed extensive contacts with CIA, FBI, and military personnel upon his return from the Soviet Union in 1962 with U.S. government assistance for him and his Russian-born wife.
After Oswald's arrest in 1963 after Kennedy's killing he may have tried unsuccessfully to phone from the Dallas police station a contact in Raleigh, North Carolina. That was near the Nag's Head location of the Navy's secret "false defector" program during the 1950s. The locale trained personnel to defect and act as double agents, according to numerous sources quoted by Richard Belzer and David Wayne in Hit List. Their expert sources included U.S. Senator Richard Schweiker and former high-ranking CIA executive Victor Marchetti. The evidence about the call is disputed. Whatever the facts on the call, they do not contradict that a false defector program existed.
Some scholars, including James Douglass in his 2008 best-seller JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters, argue that the CIA and allied authorities sought to use imposters and false paperwork to create suspicions of pro-Communist and erratic behavior by Oswald to help confirm his guilt in the public mind after the assassination. Remember the title of the Douglass book. As explained below, the word "unspeakable" is relevant to the Pope Francis address to Congress last week and to each U.S. citizen.
Beyond such questions about the JFK assassination, the debate this month over the CIA's 1963 PDB on Oswald illustrates why official documents are not always accurate even when they describe, as here, secrets never expected to become public.
Therefore, those relying on such research should always regard such documents as a tool but not necessarily the truth.
Faked Oswald Photos?
The Washington Times story failed to mention at least two major pieces of evidence directly discrediting the CIA's Nov. 25 PDB for Johnson, the Texas-reared vice president who assumed the nation's top office Nov. 22 after JFK's death.
First, CIA surveillance photos of the balding, heavyset man visiting the Soviet embassy (shown above and included in the 1964 Warren Report exhibits) suggest that he was not Oswald, whose photo is below left on his visa application to Cuba from that period. Jefferson Morley authored the biography Our Man in Mexico on the career of the CIA's Mexico City Bureau Chief Winfield Scott. Morley flatly states in his book that Scott, the powerful CIA bureau chief from 1956 to 1969, mistakenly thought "the Mystery Man" leaving the Soviet Embassy on Oct. 1 was Oswald. So, Scott reported that finding to the CIA, which included that information (with an apparently mistaken date) in the PDB sent to the new president Nov. 25.
Second, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover told Johnson on Nov. 25, according to now-declassified records, that FBI voice tests indicated that Oswald did not make the phone calls that the CIA claimed Oswald had made in Mexico City to set up appointments at the embassies. That's correct: The FBI was contradicting the CIA, and no one disclosed the contradiction to the public.
The reasons are tangled. But they can be summarized this way, thanks to scholarly study: Hoover (shown below right in a 1967 portrait) and his FBI competed fiercely with the CIA, while also cooperating on some matters. Kennedy had forced out the CIA's top three officials in 1961 in fury over their war-mongering behavior. Kennedy was planning also to oust Hoover, who hated both the president and his brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, Hoover's nominal boss at the Justice Department.
With a new president in office, Hoover doubtless wanted to show off on Nov. 25 his insider knowledge, his willingness to help Johnson, and the kind of mistakes and over-reaching that the rival CIA was making. It helped that Johnson was Hoover's close political ally and neighbor. For years, they had lived across a street from one another in the capital's northwest section.
After Hoover made his point his FBI conveniently lost the suspected phony "Oswald" audiotapes discrediting the CIA. The CIA also lost key evidence regarding Mexico City. Then, the FBI promptly authored an 800-page report in early December 1963 confirming what Hoover told the president on the day of the assassination: that Oswald killed Kennedy and a Dallas policeman, J.D. Tippet, and acted alone in doing so. Johnson told his eminent recruits for the Warren Commission they merely needed to confirm Hoover's FBI report. Thus, the busy commissioners participated in few of the witness examinations of their supposed probe, which was tightly controlled by staff focused almost solely on evidence that could portray Oswald as guilty.
But even the Warren Commission hand-picked by Johnson with a mandate to blame Oswald could not cite the FBI's 800-page report in its 26-book report issued in September 1964. In the report and followup, Hoover and his staff stubbornly insisted that all three "Oswald" shots hit Kennedy. But that failed to explain how a shot discovered in March 1964 to have wounded a bystander could be reconciled with an Oswald-only crime using a bolt-action rifle in a seven-second time-frame.
The commission, leaning heavily on staffer Arlen Specter, the future U.S. senator from Pennsylvania, then adopted a theory that one bullet changed direction multiple times and created multiple wounds, including through bone. The bullet emerged in near-pristine condition on a hospital gurney even though Texas Gov. John Connally, shot at the same time as JFK, insisted (as did experienced Dallas hospital personnel) that some bullet fragments were found during Connally's treatment and also remained in his body.
The CIA this month released an unprecedented trove of 1960s Top Secret presidential briefings after years of litigation by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.
Both the Archive and the CIA announced the disclosure with fanfare.
"Today the CIA and the LBJ Library are releasing online a collection of 2,500 declassified President's Daily Briefs (PDBs) from the Kennedy and Johnson administrations," said Archive President Thomas Blanton in a statement, President's Daily Briefs from Kennedy and Johnson Finally Released.
"The PDBs," the statement continued, "are Top Secret documents containing the most current and significant intelligence information that the CIA believes that the President needs to know, and are records that CIA Director George Tenet once claimed could never be released for publication 'no matter how old or historically significant it may be,' and that White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer described as 'the most highly sensitized classified document in the government.'"
The CIA also promoted the release as an example of transparency.
CIA Director John O Brennan and White House National Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (shown in a White House file photo with President Obama) were among intelligence leaders speaking Sept. 16 at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library at the University of Texas in Austin.
They described the unprecedented release of the briefing papers, available for study via the library's research department. An estimated 20 to 25 percent of the contents remain redacted to protect secrets.
Our Justice Integrity Project announced the document release when it occurred in our front-page daily news summaries. The importance of the release merits this fuller treatment. Today's column provides an overview of the document release.
In coming days, we shall analyze news commentaries, especially a debate arising over a controversial PDB whereby the CIA claimed that accused presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald visited two Communists embassies on Sept. 28, 1963, nearly two months before President Kennedy was murdered in Dallas. Many experts believe the CIA falsely reported Oswald's appearance to Johnson.
"It is difficult to overstate the importance of what is usually called the 'Oswald in Mexico City' affair," according to a 2002 online JFK history by the prominent researcher and archivist Rex Bradford, director of the Mary Ferrell Foundation. "Mexico City is indeed the Rosetta Stone of the JFK assassination."
For now, we continue our report on the overall document release.
"On his first full day in office," Brennan said in opening ceremonies at the LBJ Library, "President Obama called on the heads of executive departments and agencies to build an unprecedented level of openness in our government. He made it known that giving the American people a clear picture of the work done on their behalf — consistent with common sense and the legitimate requirements of national security — would be a touchstone of this administration."
The time is now to pressure Senate and House members who are suppressing the joint Senate-House government report that in 2002 identified funders of the 9/11 attacks.
New momentum to dispel the secrecy stems from this month’s 9/11 memorials and research conferences.
Congress has returned to work after summer recess amid alarming war-escalation rhetoric, especially from 2016 GOP presidential candidates.
As indicated by the Sept. 16 GOP debate, nearly all candidates cite the 2001 tragedies as a rationale to fatten the coffers of their defense industry donors by seeking new battles against entities like ISIS and Syria that had no involvement in 9/11 attacks, whatever their other appalling conduct.
From a constitutional standpoint, no legal basis exists for war against either entity even under the modern reduced standard. The 2001 congressional authorization for military action in the Middle East authorized it only against alleged 9/11 perpetrators and accomplices. Congress cannot agree on a new definition that limits a president's power to start endless wars on all parts of the earth against unnamed, unorganized opponents described simply as terrorists.
Also, the Obama administration announced this week vast new spending for war and refugee aid in Syria with minimal safeguards against abuses by terrorists seeking either to confiscate modern U.S. weapons or to infiltrate refugee arrivals into defenseless U.S. communities. Localities have scant power against illegal immigrants in the face of federal amnesties.
Within days, new developments showed the incompetence of the administration and war-mongers in Congress. First, a leader of the brand-new U.S. trained and equipped "moderate" Syrians fighting force announced that they promptly delivered their U.S. equipment to al-Qaeda, as reported by the United Kingdom's Telegraph in US-trained Division 30 rebels 'betrayed US and hand weapons over to al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria.'Then the Washington Post reported regarded refugees Among the ersatz Syrians are Algerian drug dealers and ISIS sympathizers.
Little wonder that the U.S. voting public holds elected leaders in such disdain: Three non-politicians led by Donald Trump hold well over 50 percent support in the latest 15-person GOP presidential polling.
Busy voters have scant way to learn the facts about 9/11 or about most other sensitive matters obscured by national security rhetoric and hidden agendas.
The U.S. government, for example, promptly destroyed evidence from the 9/11 crime scenes and otherwise thwarted standard criminal investigations, trials, and most other normal investigation.
Specifically, the FBI, U.S. Customs Service, Federal Aviation Agency and New York City's Office of Emergency Management immediately seized airplane parts, computers, and other crime scene evidence. They helped supervise the shipment of World Trade Center structural steel out of the United States for meltdown in Asia smelters before the evidence could be analyzed by experts who could confirm the official story about the causes and perpetrators of the mass murder.
Authorities have been reluctant to conduct public trials, including for alleged masterminds Osama bin Laden and Khalid Sheikh Muhammed. Avoidance of trial, a basic feature of due process in Anglo-American law for hundreds of years, prompts suspicion that a defense would expose inconvenient matters — possibly including torture and other manufactured or omitted evidence.
Even elected federal officials are forbidden under penalty of imprisonment from disclosing to voters the identities of those who funded the attacks.
Fighting this conspiracy of silence have been a few voices in Congress for transparency and accountability. One is conservative Republican Congressman Thomas Massie of Kentucky (shown at left). He earned a master's degree in engineering from MIT, founded a successful high-tech business while still in school, lives on a cattle farm in his rural district, and was elected in 2012 on a tea party platform.
He has stated that the 28 pages are “shocking” and that “I had to stop every couple pages and…try to rearrange my understanding of history. It challenges you to rethink everything.”
Meanwhile, the vast majority of politicians and media — who should be demanding answers — are not interested in the topic.
To oppose such corrupt, immoral, and counter-productive policies, the Justice Integrity Project has participated in strategy and research conferences this month in both New York City and Washington, DC.
This work builds on our previous reporting, including that of the 1963 Kennedy assassination and our recommendation that no federal Democratic or Republican candidate merits support in 2016 unless he or she has at least read the suppressed 28 pages of the 2002 joint Senate-House report.
The report itself is secret, except to members of Congress who can look at the materials under guard and without pencil, paper, cellphone or staff. But the word is getting out, in part because independent investigators for years have unearthed evidence implicating the Saudi Arabian government, a much-honored supposed ally of the United States, in heavily funding the suspects.
The corruption of Washington's leaders threatens the American way of life, according to a Sept. 14 speech by best-selling legal commentator and former New Jersey judge Andrew Napolitano.
“Expose Congress for the weaklings they are and the president for the tyrant he is,” Napolitano told a Leadership Summit on Washington, DC Corruption and the Transparency Crisis several blocks from the Capitol Building. The Fox News commentator and former New Jersey judge drew from his most recent book, Suicide Watch, and two of his WND (World Net Daily) columns, What if Hillary doesn't care? and Will deceptive Hillary get a pass?
The conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch sponsored the one-day conference, which primarily documented misconduct allegations against Democrats. But many speakers like Napolitano, shown in our JIP photo of his luncheon keynote, also condemned Republican leaders for lack of integrity and effectiveness in exposing scandals involving Hillary Clinton, immigration, 9/11, and the Internal Revenue Service.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton announced that new evidence shows an inexplicable and potentially criminal five-month gap in the official emails submitted recently on behalf of Clinton, the Democratic presidential front-runner and former secretary of state.
As for Congress? “If they are doing anything about it, it’s the best-kept secret in Washington,” Fitton announced to an audience of nearly a hundred to begin the day.
Republican Joseph diGenova, a former Bush administration U.S. attorney in charge of all federal criminal and civil litigation in the District of Columbia, said he has "never seen an investigation so mishandled" by Congress as its long inquiry over responsibility for the 2012 massacre of four Americans in the Libyan city of Benghazi and related inquiries regarding Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state. Clinton, like several predecessors in the office, used a private system instead of a government-run system whereby communications are more readily reviewed by others.
“The Republican Congress when it comes to investigating corruption is absolutely incompetent," diGenova continued. “It’s almost equivalent to Hillary Clinton’s audacity in setting up that service.”
The Justice Integrity Project (JIP) coverage below continues our reporting that began years ago on these issues. Today’s report begins a series on hot-button issues that we have explored at recent conferences, whose topics include money-wasting and otherwise corrupt NSA surveillance of all Americans that failed to stop the deadly 2001 9/11 and anthrax attacks on the United States.
Turkey is a covert supporter of the brutal regime of ISIS, according to commentators becoming increasingly outspoken.
They tell a story like a James Bond thriller. Except the drama, death, and courage are taking place in real life, right now.
McClatchy, for example, a chain of 29 newspapers in 28 U.S. markets, published an investigation last week reporting that Turkey "orchestrated" the kidnapping by radical Islamists of about 50 newly deployed "moderate" Syrians trained by the U.S. at a cost of $500 million. The result was the deaths of nearly 10 percent of the recruits regarded as a major U.S. strike force against ISIS (The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIL, or Daesh).
Additional claims of a hidden alliance between ISIS and Turkey, a NATO-ally of the United States, are summarized below. These are bolstered by reports that Turkey under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has recently undertaken hundreds of air bombing attacks against Kurds fighting ISIS compared to less than a half dozen such attacks against ISIS itself. President Obama is shown meeting with Erdogan at the White House on Dec. 7, 2009.
None of the 2016 presidential candidates from either party or prominent congressional leaders have sought to resolve the questions even though U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East is heavily focused on fighting ISIS, a group of radical Islamists from many nations that some allege include former U.S.-trained militants.
Meanwhile, U.S. authorities last week obtained an 11-year prison sentence for a 17-year-old Virginia resident who admitted using social media to raise funds for ISIS, which Turkey clearly has also been coddling if not supporting in vastly more substantial ways than a teenager could.
Listed below (roughly in reverse chronological order) are headlines from recent reporting and commentary attacking Turkey, and implicitly the Obama administration. The attacks target also the administration's anti-ISIS "czar" John R. Allen (right), a retired Marine four-star general, and the bipartisan congressional leadership that has permitted the nation's moral, strategic, and financial disasters in the Middle East:
- McClatchy, Syrian rebels: Turkey tipped al Qaida group to U.S.-trained fighters, Mitchell Prothero, Aug. 24, 2015.
- American Conservative, How Turkey Plays the War on Terror, Philip Giraldi, Aug. 25, 2015.
- Consortium News, The Case for Pragmatism, Robert Parry (shown in file photo), Aug. 24, 2015.
- Business Insider, Senior US military official: Turkey 'needed a hook' and tricked us on ISIS, Natasha Bertrand and Michael B. Kelley, Aug. 25, 2015.
- OpEdNews, Insouciance Rules The West, Paul Craig Roberts, Aug. 19, 2015.
- Huffington Post, Turkey Pays Former CIA Director and Lobbyists to Misrepresent Attacks on Kurds and ISIS, Harut Sassounian, Aug. 19, 2015.
- Fox News, Turkey's strikes on Kurds could drag US into new front, military sources fear, Lucas Tomlinson and Jennifer Griffin, Aug. 10, 2015.
- American Conservative, Deep State America, Philip Giraldi, July 30, 2015.
Allen, former chief of the Pentagon's Central Command (CENTCOM) and special forces SOCOM headquarters in Tampa, has resurrected his career following his hundreds of email exchanges with Tampa socialite Jill Kelley, who had come to public attention in November 2012 after President Obama obtained the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus for an affair with Army Reserve Lt. Col. Paula Broadwell, his biographer.
Kelley reportedly assisted if not initiated the investigation of Broadwell leading to Petraeus because Kelley suspected Broadwell was becoming too friendly with Petraeus, also a former CENTCOM commander. Kelley and her twin sister, both born in Lebanon, and their husbands were involved in the social and defense contracting scene revolving around military leaders from MacDill Air Force Base.
As reported by the Washington Post in Gen. John Allen cleared in misconduct inquiry, a Pentagon inquiry promptly cleared Allen of wrongdoing regarding the emails, which sources described as flirtatious. Little is known about the substance of the emails. But Allen, like his predecessor Petraeus, and others involved, had multiple military operations underway for military actions in nations ultimately tolling hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of displaced people, and trillions of dollars in costs so far to U.S. taxpayers.
Allen denied impropriety in his hundreds of emails with Kelley and retired rather than accept a presidential invitation to command NATO. Obama then appointed Allen in September 2014 to lead coalition-building against ISIS and in late July named a career State Department official in July to complement Allen's effort with more diplomacy.
Petraeus (shown in his CIA official photo) is back in the news, not surprisingly because of his neo-con, Wall Street and military connections. He is promoting a plan reported by Shane Harris and Nancy Youssef in the Daily Beast Aug. 31: Petraeus: Use Al Qaeda Fighters to Beat ISIS. Now CEO of a Wall Street affiliate of KKR, Petraeus remains influential with militarists, including fellow Obama administration appointees, some of whom are affiliated with the Petraeus-oriented Center for a New American Security (CNAS).
Yet the Petraeus plan by its own terms underscores how Western interventionism begun during the last part of the Carter era to arm Islamists has led to one horror after another, except for fanatical anti-communists, arms merchants, and a relatively few other insiders with similar agendas.
Below is a sample of commentaries by other pundits who assert that Turkey, ostensibly a non-religious democracy, is increasingly controlled by a hidden "Deep State" that works with similar factions elsewhere, including those positioned in the U.S. government and private sector. The situation is fluid and over-simplified here for brevity since Turkey has such diverse politics that it is operating under an interim government, albeit dominated by the AKP and Erdogan, because AKP failed to assemble a coalition after June 7 elections.
Returning to the alternative analysis by the recent critics of Erdogan: Turkey is not necessarily double-crossing the official governments of United States and its other allies who say they want to eliminate ISIS, but is instead advancing the interests of radical "Deep State" miltarist factions within allied nations. The dissident U.S. factions are claimed to include parts of the Pentagon, CIA, and State Department that contend against those U.S. colleagues who seek to crush ISIS because of its murderous brutality.
- Tax Wall Street Party, State Department Spokesman Forced To Defend ISIS Czar Allen From Clear Implication He Was A Mastermind Of “Reworking” Euphoric Pentagon Intel On Alleged Defeat Of ISIS, Webster G. Tarpley, Aug. 30, 2015.
- WMR, By design -- Many of ISIL's enemies are also America's enemies, Wayne Madsen, June 22, 2015 (Subscription required).
- Zero Hedge, Secret Pentagon Report Reveals US "Created" ISIS As A "Tool" To Overthrow Syria's President Assad, Tyler Durden, May 24, 2015.
Yet just six weeks ago, the United States announced what purported to be a major breakthrough: Turkey's permission for the U.S. and other allies to use a Turkish base to bomb ISIS. Critics increasingly argue that Turkey's supposed cooperation under Erdogan cannot be taken at face value because he has emerged as his nation's leading pro-Islamist force in a decade of rule. These news reports from July summarize the initial conventional mainstream view announced by U.S. State Department and other officials in their briefings:
- Washington Post, Turkey agrees to allow U.S. military to use its base to attack Islamic State, Liz Sly and Karen DeYoung, July 23, 2015.
- BBC,Turkey attack: Border security to increase, says PM, Staff report, July 21, 2015.
U.S. Free press and other civil rights advocates have encountered setbacks during recent days that included a federal appeals court decision that leaves in place continued mass electronic surveillance of the public.
Separately, the Associated Press (AP) and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press sued the FBI Aug. 27 seeking records on FBI impersonation of journalists and warrantless surveillance.
Today’s column summarizes the importance of these court battles and the separate recent reverses in the news industry's ability to serve as watchdog over government.
For example, the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) this week published a column describing how digital media increasingly bear the burden of fighting the government for release of information under Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) law. A separate CJR column reported the demise of the University of Maryland-based American Journalism Review (AJR).
This editor spoke about these developments at a meeting of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) Aug. 28 at the National Press Club and also the previous evening during a cablecast news interview by RT. News reports relevant to these themes are appended to this column.
After Edward Snowden's whistleblowing in 2013 about abuses against the public by the National Security Agency (NSA) we published Backgrounder on Obama's Big Data Domestic Spying System.
Last month, we published Feds Crushed Telecom CEO Who Protected Customer Data from NSA Snoops…But He’s Back, Protesting New Reform Law. This was a report on two courageous and chilling speeches in the nation's capitol by former Qwest Communications Chairman and CEO Joseph Nacchio.
Nacchio argued that the USA Freedom Act, "reform" legislation signed into law in June, will not protect the public against pervasive electronic surveillance by the federal government. In a photo by freelancer Noel St. John used with permission, Nacchio is shown delivering remarks at the National Press Club July 27 in a news conference the Justice Integrity Project helped arrange.
He asserted that abuse by the government poses a greater threat to the American public than does terrorism.
More specifically, he cited evidence that the Bush and Obama administrations misuse their new surveillance tools to prosecute for political reasons innocent people regarded as impediments to the state.
Nacchio's expertise includes running one of the nation's largest providers of telecom and IT services for the federal government. In recognition, President George W. Bush (shown in an official photo) and his new Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell appointed Nacchio in 2001 to chair two national advisory commissions on telecom infrastructure.
With that warning in mind, we can focus on the surveillance case: A three-judge panel of the District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals court ruled Aug. 28 that a trial judge exceeded his authority by enjoining the NSA in 2013 from spying on large segments of the public without probable cause.
An all-Republican panel ruled that plaintiffs in Klayman v. Obama to remand the case back to the lower court. but the arguments were different in three separate opinions that create needless confusion, as one normally pro-surveillance commentator noted in Standing Confusion in 'Obama v. Klayman.' One theme was plaintiffs had not proven they were monitored and so lacked legal "standing" for relief against rights violations because they cannot prove the government spied upon them personally in harmful and illegal ways.
The judges ruled 2-1 that plaintiffs should be permitted to try to prove their standing in future proceedings in advance of the ultimate argument on whether the spying is unconstitutional.
Yet the ruling acknowledged also a potentially unsolvable bureaucratic problem for the plaintiffs (sometimes referenced elsewhere as a Catch 22, derived from a novel by that name): The government has created a “State Secrets” protection preventing citizens from pursuing discovery to learn about arguably illegal spying against them.
Therefore, anyone's practical ability to enforce privacy rights under the tight legal standing requirements becomes almost impossible, except for an occasional inadvertent disclosure via such means as investigative reporting with leaks by whistleblowers who are being ruthlessly tracked down and imprisoned with the new tools of electronic surveillance.