What Did Pelosi Know?

If the rawstory report is accurate about the executive order issued in October of 2001 limiting the dissemination of classified and sensitive information gathered by our intelligence agencies to just eight people, the leadership in the house and senate and the chairs of the intelligence committees, then the following would have been the relevant people in 2001:

Hastert
Gebhardt
Daschle
Lott
Graham of Florida
Shelby
Goss
Pelosi

and if the import of the order was communicated to their successors in those offices, the people now in the know would be:

Hastert
Pelosi
Reid
Frist
Roberts
Rockefeller
Hoekstra
Harman

Moreover, if the order was issued and if it hasn’t been rescinded, then the meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on September 24, 2002 about which Sy Hersh reported, on the basis of confidential sources, that the CIA laid out the information on the supposed purchase of yellow cake uranium from Niger, either didn’t happen and Hersh was used to transmit disinformation, or the Senate Committee was lied to, or the executive order was violated or waived and the Senate Committee got accurate information and someone decided to pass on false information to Hersh.

While this seems terribly confusing, it does seem interesting that of the original gang of eight, only Hastert and Pelosi are left in the loop.
Gebhardt, Daschle, Graham and Goss are no longer in Congress. Shelby has been timed out by an eight year rule. Lott is still on the Senate Select Committee but has not moved up to Chair.
So, maybe Nanci Pelosi is the person to ask for an explanation about what the President did and when he did it.

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Correction to This Article
A Jan. 19 article incorrectly said that the Congressional Research Service had determined that the 1947 National Security Act requires briefings for all members of congressional intelligence committees on issues such as the president’s domestic eavesdropping program. The CRS legal analysis said that the law appears to require the executive branch to provide intelligence briefings for others besides congressional leaders. But it does not specify who must be kept apprised.
Congressional Agency Questions Legality of Wiretaps

By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 19, 2006; A05

The Bush administration appears to have violated the National Security Act by limiting its briefings about a warrantless domestic eavesdropping program to congressional leaders, according to a memo from Congress’s research arm released yesterday.

The Congressional Research Service opinion said that the amended 1947 law requires President Bush to keep all members of the House and Senate intelligence committees “fully and currently informed” of such intelligence activities as the domestic surveillance effort.

The memo from national security specialist Alfred Cumming is the second report this month from CRS to question the legality of aspects of Bush’s domestic spying program. A Jan. 6 report concluded that the administration’s justifications for the program conflicted with current law.

Yesterday’s analysis was requested by Rep. Jane Harman (Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, who wrote in a letter to Bush earlier this month that limiting information about the eavesdropping program violated the law and provided for poor oversight.

The White House has said it informed congressional leaders about the NSA program in more than a dozen briefings, but has refused to provide further details. At a minimum, the briefings included the chairmen of the House and Senate intelligence oversight committees and the two ranking Democrats, known collectively as the “Gang of Four,” according to various sources.

“We believe that Congress was appropriately briefed,” White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said in a statement last night.

Bush has publicly acknowledged issuing an order after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that allowed the National Security Agency to intercept telephone and e-mail exchanges between the United States and overseas without court authorization. The cases were limited to people suspected of al Qaeda ties, Bush and his aides said.

Cumming’s analysis found that both intelligence committees should have been briefed because the program involved intelligence collection activities.

The only exception in the law applies to covert actions, Cumming found, and those programs must be reported to the “Gang of Eight,” which includes House and Senate leaders in addition to heads of the intelligence panels. The administration can also withhold some operational details in rare circumstances, but that does not apply to the existence of entire programs, he wrote.

Unless the White House contends the program is a covert action, the memo said, “limiting congressional notification of the NSA program to the Gang of Eight . . . would appear to be inconsistent with the law.”

Also yesterday, the Electronic Privacy Information Center said it would file a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit today demanding information about the NSA spying. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights filed separate lawsuits Tuesday asserting that Bush exceeded his authority and violated Fourth Amendment guarantees in authorizing the NSA surveillance.