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Thread: Who Is Tom Daschle?

  1. #1
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    Who Is Tom Daschle?

    Who Is Tom Daschle?

    Thanks to www.cooperativeresearch.org



    9:48 a.m. September 11, 2001: Capitol Building Finally Evacuates
    The Capitol building in Washington begins evacuation. Congress is in session, but apparently the chambers are not filled with congresspeople. [Associated Press, 8/19/2002; Guardian, 7/22/2004] Senator Tom Daschle, Majority Leader of the Senate, later states, “Some capitol policemen broke into the room and said, ‘We’re under attack. I’ve got to take you out right away.’” Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, third in line of succession to the presidency behind Vice President Cheney, is in the Capitol building with other congresspeople. Only after this time are Hastert and others in the line of succession moved to secure locations. Some time after this, Hastert and other leaders are flown by helicopter to secret bunkers. [ABC News, 9/11/2002]

    September 12-18, 2001: Congress Refuses to Give Bush Wiretapping Authority
    Congress explicitly refuses to grant the Bush administration the authority to conduct warrantless wiretaps and surveillance operations against US citizens in its resolution authorizing the use of military force (AUMF) against terrorists (see September 14-18, 2001). Tom Daschle (D-SD), the Senate Majority Leader, will write in December 2005 (after his ouster from Congress in November 2004) that the White House and the Justice Department will claim, falsely, that the AUMF grants the right for the NSA to conduct such a program (see Early 2002 and December 15, 2005). Instead, Daschle will write, the NSA merely usurps the authority, with the president’s approval, to conduct such an extralegal surveillance program (see December 21-22, 2005). [Washington Post, 12/22/2005] In an op-ed for the Washington Post, Daschle will observe that the AUMF authorizes Bush “to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations or persons” who “planned, authorized, committed or aided” the 9/11 attacks. But, Daschle will write, “Literally minutes before the Senate cast its vote, the administration sought to add the words ‘in the United States and’ after ‘appropriate force’ in the agreed-upon text. This last-minute change would have given the president broad authority to exercise expansive powers not just overseas—where we all understood he wanted authority to act—but right here in the United States, potentially against American citizens. I could see no justification for Congress to accede to this extraordinary request for additional authority. I refused.” Daschle will also write that the White House attempted to add draft language to the AUMF resolution that would give the administration new and sweeping authority to use force to “deter and pre-empt any future acts of terrorism or aggression against the United States,” even against nations and organizations not responsible for the 9/11 attacks. Bush officials such as Vice President Dick Cheney will claim that the AUMF “granted authority by the Congress to use all means necessary to take on the terrorists, and that’s what we’ve done.” But Daschle will write that Cheney is mistaken. “As Senate majority leader at the time, I helped negotiate that law with the White House counsel’s office over two harried days. I can state categorically that the subject of warrantless wiretaps of American citizens never came up. I did not and never would have supported giving authority to the president for such wiretaps. I am also confident that the 98 senators who voted in favor of authorization of force against al-Qaeda did not believe that they were also voting for warrantless domestic surveillance.” On September 12, six days before the September 18 AUMF vote, Bush officials demand that Congress authorize the use of military force to, in their words, “deter and pre-empt any future acts of terrorism or aggression against the United States.” But Congress refuses, feeling that the request is “too broad and ill defined.” Instead, on September 14, Congress choses to use language that authorizes Bush to use “all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations or persons [the president] determines planned, authorized, committed or aided” the 9/11 attacks. Daschle later writes, “With this language, Congress denied the president the more expansive authority he sought and insisted that his authority be used specifically against Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.… The shock and rage we all felt in the hours after the attack were still fresh. America was reeling from the first attack on our soil since Pearl Harbor. We suspected thousands had been killed, and many who worked in the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were not yet accounted for. Even so, a strong bipartisan majority could not agree to the administration’s request for an unprecedented grant of authority.” Instead, Daschle will write, the administration simply takes the authority anyway, and will argue in hindsight that the AUMF actually gives the administration the right to wiretap US citizens. However, Daschle will write, “at the time, the administration clearly felt they [didn’t have the authority] or it wouldn’t have tried to insert the additional language.” He concludes, “[T]here are right and wrong ways to defeat terrorists, and that is a distinction this administration has never seemed to accept. Instead of employing tactics that preserve Americans’ freedoms and inspire the faith and confidence of the American people, the White House seems to have chosen methods that can only breed fear and suspicion. If the stories in the media over the past week are accurate [detailing the breadth and apparent illegality of the NSA program], the president has exercised authority that I do not believe is granted to him in the Constitution, and that I know is not granted to him in the law that I helped negotiate with his counsel and that Congress approved in the days after Sept. 11. For that reason, the president should explain the specific legal justification for his authorization of these actions, Congress should fully investigate these actions and the president’s justification for them, and the administration should cooperate fully with that investigation. In the meantime, if the president believes the current legal architecture of our country is insufficient for the fight against terrorism, he should propose changes to our laws in the light of day. That is how a great democracy operates. And that is how this great democracy will defeat terrorism.” [Washington Post, 12/23/2005]

    End Part I
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  2. #2
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    October 2001: Anthrax Letters Kill Five, Heighten Terrorist Fears
    A total of four letters containing anthrax are mailed to NBC, the New York Post, and Democratic senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy. The letters sent to the senators both contain the words “Death to America, Death to Israel, Allah is Great.” Twenty-three people are infected and five people die. Panic sweeps the nation. On October 16, the Senate office buildings are shut down, followed by the House of Representatives, after 28 congressional staffers test positive for exposure to anthrax. A number of hoax letters containing harmless powder turn up. [South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 12/8/2001] Initially it is suspected that either al-Qaeda or Iraq are behind the anthrax letters. [Observer, 10/14/2001; BBC, 10/16/2001; London Times, 10/27/2001] However, further investigation leads the US government to conclude that, “everything seems to lean toward a domestic source.… Nothing seems to fit with an overseas terrorist type operation.” [Washington Post, 10/27/2001; St. Petersburg Times, 11/10/2001] In August 2002, the FBI names Steven Hatfill, a bioweapons researcher who worked for the US government, as a “person of interest” in the case. [Associated Press, 8/1/2002; London Times, 8/2/2002] Though he undergoes intense scrutiny by the FBI, he is never charged with any crime. As of mid-2004, no one has been charged in relation to the anthrax letter attacks.

    October 2, 2001: Patriot Act is Introduced to Congress
    Sen. Russell Feingold will ultimately be the only senator to vote against the Patriot Act. Sen. Russell Feingold will ultimately be the only senator to vote against the Patriot Act. [Source: Publicity photo]The “anti-terrorism” Patriot Act is introduced in Congress, but is not well received by all. [US Congress, 10/2/2001] One day later, Senate Majority Leader and future anthrax target Tom Daschle (D) says he doubts the Senate will take up this bill in the one week timetable the administration wants. As head of the Senate, Daschle has great power to block or slow passage of the bill. Attorney General Ashcroft accuses Senate Democrats of dragging their feet. [Washington Post, 10/3/2001] On October 4, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman and future anthrax target Patrick Leahy (D) accuses the Bush administration of reneging on an agreement on the anti-terrorist bill. Leahy is in a key position to block or slow the bill. Some warn that “lawmakers are overlooking constitutional flaws in their rush to meet the administration’s timetable.” Two days later, Ashcroft complains about “the rather slow pace over his request for law enforcement powers Hard feelings remain.” [Washington Post, 10/4/2001] The anthrax letters to Daschle and Leahy are sent out on October 9 and difficulties in passing the Act continue (see October 2001).

    January 24, 2002: Cheney and Bush Pressure Senator to Avoid 9/11 Inquiry
    Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D) later claims that on this day, Vice President Cheney calls him and urges that no 9/11 inquiry be made. President Bush repeats the request on January 28, and Daschle is repeatedly pressured thereafter. Newsweek summarizes one of these conversations: “Bush administration officials might say they’re too busy running the war on terrorism to show up. Press the issue… and you risk being accused of interfering with the mission.” [Newsweek, 2/4/2002] Cheney later disagrees: “Tom’s wrong. He has, in this case, let’s say a misinterpretation.” [Reuters, 5/27/2002]

    September 3, 2002: Bush Attempts to Solicit Support from Skeptical Congressional Leaders for Confronting Iraq
    President Bush invites a group of congressional leaders to have breakfast with him and Cheney in the White House’s private dining room to discuss Iraq. Present at the meeting are Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott, Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, and House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt. At some point during the meeting, Daschle suggests that it would be better to postpone the debate on a congressional resolution authorizing military action in Iraq until after the November elections, so as to take politics out of the equation. According to Daschle, Bush looks at Cheney, who replies with a “half smile.” Then Bush answers, “We just have to do it now.” [New York Times, 9/7/2002; Isikoff and Corn, 2006, pp. 23]

    September 5, 2002: Cheney and Tenet Discuss ‘Sensitive’ Iraq Information with Top Four Senators
    Vice President Dick Cheney and CIA Director George Tenet meet with senators Trent Lott (R-Miss), Tom Daschle (S-SD), Dennis Hastert (R-Ill), and Richard Gephardt (D-Mo) and, in the words of Cheney, “share the most sensitive information [on Iraq’s alleged WMDs] with them.” [New York Times, 9/7/2002; Isikoff and Corn, 2006, pp. 30] They show blurry satellite photos of buildings or warehouses that Cheney insists are Iraqi nuclear weapons sites, and shots of drone aircraft presumably capable of attacking Israel with biological and chemical weapons. They also share sketches of tractor trailers that Tenet says are mobile biological weapons factories. Daschle, a former Air Force photo analyst intelligence officer, is skeptical of the photos, but says nothing. [Isikoff and Corn, 2006, pp. 30]

    September 10, 2002
    Condoleezza Rice and George Tenet give a classified briefing to some members of Congress. After the briefing, several Democrats say they are unconvinced that Saddam Hussein poses an imminent threat to the US. Minority Whip Nancy Pelosi from California, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, tells Washington Post, “I did not hear anything today that was different about [Saddam Hussein’s] capabilities,” save a few “embellishments.” Democratic Senator Richard J. Durbin from Illinois tells the newspaper: “It would be a severe mistake for us to vote on Iraq with as little information as we have. This would be a rash and hasty decision” adding that he has heard “no groundbreaking news” on Iraq’s capabilities. Democrat Robert Menendez, a representative from New Jersey, says he also didn’t hear any new evidence. “What was described as new is not new. It was not compelling enough,” he says. “Did I see a clear and present danger to the United States? No.” And an unnamed House Republican leader also seems to believe the case Tenet and Rice presented is weak. He says, “Daschle will want to delay this and he can make a credible case for delay.” [Washington Post, 9/10/2002; CNN, 9/10/2002]

    Late September 2002: Bush: Hussein’s Policy toward US is ‘F_ck the United States’
    During a breakfast meeting with congressional leaders, President Bush says there is no point trying to talk to Saddam Hussein. “Do you want to know what the foreign policy of Iraq is to the United States?” he asks Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD), according to someone who was present at the meeting. Then, thrusting his middle finger in the senator’s face, he says, “F_ck the United States! That’s what it is—that’s why we’re going to get him!” [Isikoff and Corn, 2006, pp. 116-117]

    January 14, 2004: Academy of Sciences Calls for Universal Health Care
    The National Academy of Sciences issues a report calling for universal health insurance coverage by 2010. “It is time for our nation to extend coverage to everyone,” the report says. “Universal insurance coverage is an important and achievable goal for the country.” The report was drafted by a panel of 15 experts and is the product of three years of work.

    Sampling of report's conclusions -
    • People without insurance receive about half the medical care of those who have it. Consequently, they are on average sicker and tend to die sooner.
    • Roughly 18,000 people die each year because they do not have insurance.
    • In 2001, only half of uninsured children in the US visited a physician during 2001, compared with three-quarters of privately insured children.
    • In 2001, taxpayers spent roughly $30 billion in unreimbursed medical care for uninsured Americans.
    • The poorer health and premature deaths of uninsured people cost taxpayers between $65 billion to $130 billion a year.
    Reaction in US government - Republican Senate majority leader Bill Frist of Tennessee—whose family owns HCA Inc., the largest for-profit hospital chain in the US—expresses concern that “the report may not focus enough on the reasons why health care costs continue to rise and how to pay for any reform.” Democratic Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota supports the call. “It’s doable,” he says. “It’s essential. This is, I believe, the single most important domestic issue facing our country.” Tommy G. Thompson, secretary of health and human services, tells reporters the proposal is “not realistic.” [Institute of Medicine, 2004; National Academies, 1/14/2004; New York Times, 1/15/2004]

    March 10, 2004: Cheney Briefs ‘Gang of Eight’ Congressional Leaders on Warrantless Wiretapping Program; Reportedly Misleads Them
    Vice President Dick Cheney gives the Congressional leaders known as the “Gang of Eight”—the House Speaker and House Minority Leader, the Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, and the ranking members of the House and Senate intelligence committees—their first briefing on the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program (see Early 2002). Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) later recalls the meeting as superficial. Cheney “talked like it was something routine,” Daschle will say. “We really had no idea what it was about.” Unbeknownst to many of the Congressional leaders, White House and Justice Department leaders are locked in a sharp dispute over whether or not the program is legal and should be continued; Cheney is preparing to send White House counsel Alberto Gonzales and chief of staff Andrew Card to Attorney General John Ashcroft’s hospital room to persuade the gravely ill and heavily sedated Ashcroft to overrule acting attorney general James Comey and reauthorize the program (see March 10-12, 2004). The briefing is designed to give the appearance of Congressional approval for the program. While most Republicans in the briefing give at least tacit approval of the program, some Democrats, as Daschle will later recall, express “a lot of concerns” over the program’s apparent violation of fundamental Congressional rights. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi later recalls that she “made clear my disagreement with what the White House was asking.” But administration officials such as Gonzales will later say (see July 24, 2007) that the eight Congressional leaders are in “consensus” in supporting the program, a characterization that is patently false (see July 25, 2007.) Gonzales will also later testify that this briefing did not cover the NSA wiretapping program, later dubbed the “Terrorist Surveillance Program” (TSP), another apparent falsehood contradicted by Democratic senators such as Russ Feingold and John Rockefeller, as well as testimony and notes on the hospital room visit made by FBI director Robert Mueller and a memo from John Negroponte, the Director of National Intelligence. Many feel that Gonzales is using the moniker “Terrorist Surveillance Program,” not in use until December 2005, to play what Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff calls “verbal parsing” and “a semantic game”—since the NSA wiretapping program was not known by that name at the time of the Congressional briefing, Gonzales will imply that the briefing wasn’t about that program. [Newsweek, 8/6/2007]

    End
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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