Monday, December 19, 2005

THE "NO ONE OBJECTED" MYTH Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) delivers a stunning revelation, one that punctures the myth that congressional Democrats briefed on the illegal wiretapping program never voiced qualms about it.

Turns out Rockefeller did voice objections--in a letter to Vice President Dick Cheney.

The program was so classified that Rockefeller was legally bound not to discuss it, even with his staff. But Rockefeller seems to have known enough about the Bushies--even back in 2003--to know it would be a good idea to hold onto a copy of the letter. He kept a sealed copy in "the secure spaces of the Senate Intelligence Committee":

July 17, 2003

Dear Mr. Vice President,

I am writing to reiterate my concern regarding the sensitive intelligence issues we discussed today with the DCI, DIRNSA, and Chairman Roberts and our House Intelligence Committee counterparts.

Clearly the activities we discussed raise profound oversight issues. As you know, I am neither a technician or an attorney. Given the security restrictions associated with this information, and my inability to consult staff or counsel on my own, I feel unable to fully evaluate, much less endorse these activities.

As I reflected on the meeting today, and the future we face, John Poindexter's TIA project sprung to mind, exacerbating my concern regarding the direction the Administration is moving with regard to security, technology, and surveillance.

Without more information and the ability to draw on any independent legal or technical expertise, I simply cannot satisfy lingering concerns raised by the briefing we received.

I am retaining a copy of this letter in a sealed envelope in the secure spaces of the Senate Intelligence Committee to ensure that I have a record of this communication.

I appreciate your consideration of my views.

Most respectfully,

Jay Rockefeller
UPDATE: Josh Marshall has posted Rockefeller's original, handwritten copy of the letter here.

CONTRAPOSITIVE is edited by Dan Aibel. Dan's a playwright. He lives in New York City.