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In Defense of Spying Oliver North Argues That Crime in the Pursuit of Freedom Is No Crime

Reported by Marie Therese - February 11, 2006

Yesterday morning, against the backdrop of President Bush's self-serving announcement of a foiled 2002 attack targeting the US Bank Tower in Los Angeles, convicted traitor and FOX News Analyst, Oliver North, elevated himself to patriotic sainthood, accused Congress of causing the deaths of civilians and agreed that revelations about the foiled Los Angeles terrorist plot were, in fact, part of a ploy to garner support for NSA spying. All in all, a typical rah-rah segment on FOX and Friends.

BRIAN KILMEADE: We saw what happened yesterday. The President talkin' about
attack 2002 in Los Angeles. He'd gone into more detail than ever before.

E.D. HILL: Right. A foiled attack there and here to tell us what that means for the war on terror is War Stories host, FOX News Contributor, Colonel Oliver North.

COL. OLIVER NORTH: Very good news. It's very good news, E. D. The fact that the administration, for one, feels comfortable enough now, revealing that they have foiled in this case a very significant plot.

HILL: Some say they just came out because they're trying to build their case that we may need the, you know, terrorist surveillance program that the NSA's been doing.

NORTH: Probably true. Probably true, and I think it's important for the American people to know that this program does bring success. I remind folks that back - in fact it was 19 years ago this week - a U. S. military officer was targeted by a foreign government. The message was intercepted when it hit the sleeper cell in a suburb of Washington, D. C. The target of assassination attempt was notified. The Department of Defense picked up the military officer and his family up, rushed them secretly to a military base in North Carolina, the FBI apprehended the terrorists on the way to carry out their mission, given to 'em from overseas and the whole thing was a success because of the very kind of operation that the President spoke of yesterday, and I'm here to tell ya' I'm grateful because the target of that assassination attempt and the lives that were saved were mine and those of my wife and children.

KILMEADE: So, this is really personal to you.

NORTH: Very much so.

KILMEADE: And it took all these years to get out. So no one found out about this story. You got permission to talk about it just now.

NORTH: And, and there's reasons for that, because the method by which they intercepted that instruction for that terrorist cell, is still to this day, 19 years later, secret.

North does not say that the methods used to obtain the information about Abu Nidal were ILLEGAL, only that they are still SECRET. As for Kilmeade's assertion that this is new information, Oliver North himself spoke about the assassination attempt during a "Frontline" special report entitled Drug Wars. It is also mentioned by Wikipedia and Hyperhistory-Net, which states:

"During these hearings he was asked about an illegal gift in the form of a $16,000 home security system which he had received. He claimed his family’s lives and his own life were threatened. When asked for details he cited multiple instances when he had received death threats made against his and his family’s lives, and several instances when thugs and terrorists had actually attempted to carry out these threats. The terrorist mainly responsible, according to North, was a man named Abu Nidal, who worked for the Libyan government. On one occasion he and his family were sequestered on a military base for their own protection after a group of armed men, who had been arrested during an attempt to assassinate the North family, fled bail.

"North was obviously unrepentant of his Contra-dealings, which he admitted were illegal, but insisted that he had done the right thing. The hearings finished in 1988 when North was indicted for crimes concerning his involvement in the Iran-Contra affair. He was eventually found guilty on three counts, but in 1990 all of his convictions were overturned on the basis of the limited immunity granted by the congressional hearing."

More FOX smoke and mirrors, designed to muddy the waters and confuse the viewer!

NORTH (continued): And the methodology that's being used today or, as some people call it, data mine. One of the NSA guys that I knew back in those days and know today, is a retired, said to me the other day, he said "The problem is with warrants we don't know what we have until we have it."

KILMEADE: Exactly.

NORTH: There's an enormous volume of information that's available out there that we can collect through very sensitive means, through covert means. And to divulge all of this, like [CIA Director] Porter Goss writes today in an op-ed (registration may be required) ...

HILL: Um-hmm. In the New York Times. It's a very good op-ed.

NORTH: ... and Attorney General Gonzales said it the other day - I actually wrote it down because it's so important - "I cannot help but wonder if they aren't shaking their heads" - he's taking about the terrorists ...

HILL: Um-hmm.

NORTH: ... "in amazement at the thought that anyone would imperil such a sensitive program by leaking its existence in the first place and smiling at the prospect that we might now disclose even more or, perhaps, even unilaterally disarm ourselves in the midst of war." There's a very delicate balance between the Fourth Amendment, the protections that we all should enjoy, constitutionally protected against search and seizure - in other words, wiretaps, ...

KILMEADE: Right.

NORTH: ... peeping, listening - and the need to protect the American people from those who don't care about those civil liberties.

KILMEADE: So the NSA is personal with you. I would be - prison escapes, too, should be personal with you - because a lot of these terrorists are getting out again.

NORTH: Sure.

Good grief, Charlie Brown! Is Kilmeade suggesting here - and North agreeing - that Abu Nidal's henchmen are still out to assassinate the rogue Colonel?!!"

KILMEADE (continued): Can we trust any guys, anybody, being kept in any of these countries that seem to be questionable, 'cause of the war on terror?

NORTH: No. It is - it is very difficult. Look, you've got the perpetrators of the Cole bombing now loose.

KILMEADE: How could we not get them in our borders?!

NORTH: Well, I mean, part of the problem is how did you gather - this is the whole problem with FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. How did you get the information? Did you get it to thwart a terror attack or did you get this information for the purposes of prosecuting these people?

What hypocrisy! While paying lip service to the Fourth Amendment, North then proceeded to list time-honored and sacred constitutional protections as impediments to the war on terror! Why does it always have to be an either-or scenario with these people? Why can't the government thwart attacks AND - drum roll, please - mount a successful prosecution? I guess, because the Bush administration can't walk and chew gum at the same time, they can't do surveillance AND prosecute the criminals, something every police force in the United States does on a daily basis! I kind of feel sorry for the Bushies. They're so afraid of the enemy that it's paralyzed their brain cells and left them cowering under their desks, armed with M16's, waiting for the brown-skinned hordes to break down their doors! It wouldn't surprise me in the least if they all have bomb - oops! - anti-terror shelters buried deep in their manicured, suburban backyards, fully stocked with caviar, smoked salmon, Cuban cigars, bottled water, Jack Benny's money vault and, of course, a regulation pool table!

NORTH (continued): Thus, the whole detainee program overseas and in Cuba is keeping those people in our lives. World War II, as we pointed out in our show - and in fact, this Sunday's show on War Stories is about intercepts ...

KILMEADE: Right.

NORTH: ... and the secrecy with which who knows what about these intercepts. This goes back to World War II. In World War II, we took American citizens, who helped the Germans, apprehended them, tried them, sentenced them to death. William Colepaugh -

KILMEADE: Right.

NORTH: ... case in point right here in New York.

Here's a link to an FBI report on the saboteurs. As you will see, only two of the eight were American citizens (Dasch and Haupt). I think North was grabbing at straws by trying to use this incident as a justification for the NSA's wholesale spying on American citizens, especially since it was good old routine POLICE WORK that caught the saboteurs, not the illegal abrogation of the constitutional rights of the two American citizens who participated in the plot.

NORTH (continued): So, you know, things have gotten better in terms of protection of civil liberties but bad people still do bad things and some of them are here in America.

Wow! Is that vague! It would seem the North is arguing here that the NSA program should be expanded to include any American who does a "bad thing."

HILL: Because these reports have been published in American newspapers, do you think that people who are helping America have died?

NORTH: There's no doubt about it! In fact, to go back to some long hearings back in 1987, there were names that came out in the summer of 1987 in those long hearings in Washington, D.C. ...

HILL: Um-hmm.

NORTH: ... that came out from those hearings - not from my mouth but from the mouths of those people interrogating me - who were subsequently killed. They were killed, their family members were killed and they were killed in Central America and they were people who had been helping us, whose names were revealed in those hearings. There's no doubt the bad guys - whether they're Communists in Central America or whether they're jihadists in the Middle East - are listening to what's going on in this country.

HILL: OK.

KILMEADE: They're saying "I'm not helping you 'cause I'm not putting my family's life at risk."

COMMENT

Firstly, the implication of Hill's question and North's answer was that ANY American newspaper that publishes ANY leaked story is complicit in the deaths of other Americans.

However, North's claim that members of Congress caused the deaths of pro-American supporters in Central America was off the chart!

If we are to take his statements at face value, North clearly holds the opinion that members of the American Congress (which would have included members of BOTH political parties), acting in accordance with their sworn duty under the Constitution, directly caused the deaths of innocent civilians in 1987.

Quick! It's time for a FOX News Alert! Let's open a Factor investigation! Clearly, members of that Congressional committee should be hauled in for questioning. Maybe the CIA can waterboard them or subject them to coercive interrogation to get them to admit that they were wrong to question Saint Oliver, the good soldier who got caught selling arms to Iran and sucking up to drug dealers, in order to topple legitimately elected governments. Poor Ollie! He was just doing his duty for God and country!

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