The attorney general seems determined to remove, brick by brick, the domestic security regimes that the Bush Administration carefully put in place.
The latest attack is the release of documents that showed the Department of Homeland Security initiating surveillance against Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam in 2007 when it appeared the racist leader was about to hand over power due to illness.
What were the Bush Administration's crimes? They spied on the NoI for a few days longer than the law allows and disseminated a report to a few more people than was called for.
Spencer Hsu and Carrie Johnson writing in WaPo:
The intelligence gathering violated domestic spying rules because analysts took longer than 180 days to determine whether the U.S-based group or its American members posed a terrorist threat. Analysts also disseminated their report too broadly, according to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group.
The disclosure was included in hundreds of heavily redacted pages released by the Justice Department as part of long-standing FOIA lawsuits about the government's policies on terrorist surveillance, detention and treatment since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. It marks the latest case of inappropriate domestic spying under rules that were expanded after the terror attacks to give intelligence agencies more latitude.
In a written statement, Homeland Security (DHS) spokesman Matthew Chandler said the agency has since implemented "a strong and rigorous system of safeguards and oversight to ensure similar products are neither created nor distributed."
The agency, he said, "is fully committed to securing the nation from terrorist attacks and other threats, and we take very seriously our responsibility to protect the civil rights and liberties of the American people." The 2007 study, titled "Nation of Islam: Uncertain Leadership Succession Poses Risks," was recalled by agency lawyers within hours. The lawyers said it was not reviewed by the department's intelligence chief before release.
Charles E. Allen, who was DHS undersecretary for intelligence and analysis at the time, said that although violations were unintentional and inadvertent -- only publicly available information was collected -- the report should never have been issued.
Ed Lasky adds:
Tell me, how many government employees will display any sense of dedication to protecting our nation when the next administration feels free to release documents and become critical in matters relating to their past performance? All for political and partisan purposes.
Gee, the Attorney General -- who sees the world in racial and ideological ways -- works to burnish the image of Louis Farrakhan, the pal of Barack Obama's pastor and a man who led the march that Barack Obama himself was a participant in, as a martyr who Republicans targeted.
Ironically, it was determined that the Nation of Islam was not a threat despite their bombastic and apocalyptic rhetoric, although the NoI's threat to rational thought and logic was not discussed in the report.