October 16, 2007

Hillary: Surveillance For National Security? Bad. Surveillance For Election? Good.

According to a book on Hillary Clinton, she personally reviewed transcripts of cell-phone conversations illegally tapped by members of her husband's first presidential campaign in 1992. The Hill notes that the calls took place between members of opposition campaigns, and would have been as illegal then as they are now. It places Hillary in the position of demanding limitations on surveillance of terrorists while having pursued wiretaps on political opponents:

In their book about Clinton’s rise to power, Her Way, Don Van Natta Jr., an investigative reporter at The New York Times, and Jeff Gerth, who spent 30 years as an investigative reporter at the paper, wrote: “Hillary’s defense activities ranged from the inspirational to the microscopic to the down and dirty. She received memos about the status of various press inquiries; she vetted senior campaign aides; and she listened to a secretly recorded audiotape of a phone conversation of Clinton critics plotting their next attack.

“The tape contained discussions of another woman who might surface with allegations about an affair with Bill,” Gerth and Van Natta wrote in reference to Clinton’s husband, former President Bill Clinton. “Bill’s supporters monitored frequencies used by cell phones, and the tape was made during one of those monitoring sessions.” ...

Gerth told The Hill that he learned of the incident in 2006 when he interviewed a former campaign aide present at the tape playing. He has not revealed the aide’s identity. Clinton’s campaign has not disputed any facts reported in the final version of his book, which became public this spring, he said.

“It hasn’t been challenged,” said Gerth. “There hasn’t been one fact in the book that’s been challenged.”

The episode gets reported in Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton, which originally came out last June. It hasn't sold very well to this point, but that may soon change. The Hill listed its Amazon rank as 43,016 in its report this morning, but it has already risen to 1,599 since then.

The Hill extensively quotes Hillary on how government should have tight limitations on communications surveillance. In July, she addressed the American Constitution Society, and told them -- rightly -- that "when it comes to a regular program of searching for information that touches the privacy of ordinary Americans, those programs need to be monitored and reviewed as set out by Congress in cooperation with the judiciary." She then voted against the FISA bill in August that allowed for warrantless surveillance on limited communications in the US.

Interestingly, her chief strategist also has a history of communications intercepts. Mark Penn got served with a lawsuit from a former vice-president of his firm, claiming that Penn illegally tapped into his e-mails. Mitchell Markel accused Penn of intercepting messages sent from his Blackberry, and Penn had to settle the case in July.

Nor is this the only such incident for the Democrats. Jim McDermott (D-WA) got hold of a cell-phone conversation between Newt Gingrich and John Boehner in 1996 and published its contents as a political attack on the Speaker. McDermott eventually lost the lawsuit at the Supreme Court, as it reaffirmed the illegality of intercepting cell-phone conversations first established in the mid-1980s.

So Hillary doesn't want the NSA to intercept communications in defense of the nation, but had no problem with using such intercepts to get her husband elected President? Think that will play well in a general election?


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Comments (34)

Posted by NoDonkey | October 16, 2007 8:45 AM

Well, terrorists are just impoverished people of color. Helpless victims of capitalism.

They're just fighting the man, speaking truth to power and are just trying to "make a difference".

Kind of like the Democrats.

Whereas Republicans are the real enemy, according to the blighted world view of soon-to-be President Butch and her little commie cabal of geriatric hippies.

Posted by Scrapiron | October 16, 2007 8:51 AM

How many hundreds of FBI files on private citizens did the First Lady/Co-President have in her personal office during the 90's? If there's a crime to be comitted the Clinton's have comitted it. Makes one wonder about the state of all democrats in the country. They defend Dirty Harry Reid and the 40 theives when they attempt to silence Rush Limbauch. Wasn't that letter a display of pure Stalin/Hitler tactics to silence all 'opposition'? Where are the MSM attacks on Dirty Harry, and especially where are the defenders of freedom in the education community? Are they all now part of the democrat, Stalin/Hitler movement in the country.

Posted by Jim | October 16, 2007 8:55 AM

It was fifteen years ago, Ed. Give it a break. What woman wouldn't try to figure out if her husband was cheating?

Posted by Jeff from Mpls | October 16, 2007 9:09 AM

These are descendents of Saul Alinsky.

Maybe the younger conservatives need a primer on Alinsky's tactics to warn them what we're up against. Today's mainstream democrats fully expect their party to cheat. The fact that leftists project lying and cheating impulses to Bush and Cheney only says that lying and cheating are things that leftists spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about.

Posted by TheRealSwede | October 16, 2007 9:11 AM


You're right on when you say that, for some Dems, the real enemy is not terrorism, but the Republicans. The culture war here at home is far more important to them than any "imperialist" dust-up overseas. Who cares if some of our great cities end up in smoldering ruin - as long as what remains embraces the political philosophy of the left. No surprise here - it's a belief that is consistent with all of history's leftist totalitarians such as Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, Castro, etc. Hey, we're building a perfect society here, it's a shame, but some will have to be sacrified for the greater good. Maybe we'll erect a statue to them all when it's over... maybe not.

Posted by unclesmrgol | October 16, 2007 9:47 AM

This shows the liberals why, when one of them makes a false statement, the conservative dogs come out and bite hard.

I don't know whether Hillary is guilty, but, in today's world, silence means assent -- that the person speaking (or, in this case, writing) is telling the truth.

Having an aide appear on stage to say that the campaign will have no comment on scurrilous lies is even worse than not speaking -- it calls attention to the "scurrilous lies" and also to the fact that you are not about to address them.

Even Abraham Lincoln, onetime owner of the famous bedroom, knew better.

Posted by NoDonkey | October 16, 2007 9:50 AM


Agree and if the Democrats disliked the people who daily plot for and call for the death of Americans and our country, half as much as they hate people who disagree with their socialist vision, Democrats might actually be of use.

Instead, they continue to be the absolutely worthless Democrat Party.

Posted by the fly-man/bong boy | October 16, 2007 9:54 AM

the real argument is whether, when she becomes President, will the powers that Richard Cheney has stretched for the President's office graciously be respected as hers by the next congress?

Posted by Jazz | October 16, 2007 10:00 AM

"An apple a day will keep anyone away if it's fired from a shotgun."

Heaven only knows that I'm not a Hillary supporter and will not cast a vote for her, but a little more research might be required on this one. In the linked article, notice the wording of the "tapping" in question.

Bill’s supporters monitored frequencies used by cell phones, and the tape was made during one of those monitoring sessions.

In the early days of cell phones, some not very forward thinking tech bots were treating cell phone conversations not much differently than CB radio or police radio transmisisons. With the right type of receiver (and no descrambling equipment at all) you could tune in and listen to transmissions. While government licensing has long provided stringent regulations and restrictions on who can transmit on given frequencies and at what power levels, the rules have always been a bit sketchy on who could receive such transmissions.

We would need to see more details of exactly who was doing what, but given the time period it's certainly possible that this was a group of citizens (as opposed to law enforcement officials acting in their official capacity) tuning in to do some snooping.

And if that were in fact the case... ethical? Hardly. Illegal? That's another question entirely. You can't claim privacy over a conversation you have on a CB radio, and reporters still regularly tune into the police and fire bands to get tips on breaking stories in areas where they aren't scrambled.

The difference between "intercepting" and "receiving" might become important in this question. If they were actually intercepting (i.e. "tapping") people's conversations, then this will be a fertile field. If it was private supporters or campaign workers taking advantage of a loophole in the early technology of cell phones, it's something else.

Law enforcement is strictly regulated in terms of what sorts of communications they can listen in on and (more importantly) use as admissable evidence in court. What you as a citizen can listen to, and what methods are available to facilitate the listening, is a bit broader range.

Again, I'm not saying which of the above scenarios was the case with Bill's "supporters" in this story... just that we would probably benefit from having more details before passing final judgement on the legality of what was going on. There's a big difference between using law enforcement techniques and equipment to tap somebody's phone for personal purposes and a group of people listening to what is, in essense, an unintended radio broadcast.

Posted by alppuccino | October 16, 2007 10:16 AM

Kind of a "Finders - Keepers" loophole Jazz? Hillary would really be able to keep tabs on Bill's johnson if she were to win election.

Posted by patrick neid | October 16, 2007 10:38 AM

Unless the MSM decides to make a story of this it goes nowhere even if there is a story here. They panned the raw FBI files so I can't imagine this will fire them up.

Hillary of Ark is on her way.......

Posted by DubiousD | October 16, 2007 10:40 AM

If the Republican nominee (whoever that may be) plays this up during the general campaign, then this story might have legs. Otherwise it'll just go away, like Travelgate and the FBI files and Sandy Berger and all the other Clinton scandals that have drifted by the wayside.

Posted by SouthernRoots | October 16, 2007 10:52 AM

Jazz - 18 U.S.C. § 2511(1)

(4) “intercept” means the aural or other acquisition of the contents of any wire, electronic, or oral communication through the use of any electronic, mechanical, or other device.[1]

You may have devices that "listen" to transmissions, but to tape (intercept) them is illegal and further, to disclose the contents of an intercept is illegal. Just disclosing what you heard (aural), without a recording, is illegal.

As McDermott found out, if you know the source was from an illegal recording (intercept) and you disclose the contents, you are also guilty of violating this law.

CB radio and Ham radio are not covered by this Act. They do not have the same expectancy of privacy as cell phone communications.

Posted by RBMN | October 16, 2007 11:02 AM

"The Socialist Revolutionary Path is paved with the corpses of the anti-Revolutionary." That speech will come much later in the Rodham Administration I know (probably year 10,) but in that context, what's a little eavesdropping or a few dirty tricks?

Posted by swabjockey05 | October 16, 2007 11:06 AM

Pat Neid and Dubious: Exactly. So why don't the Repubs go after them...? At first, I thought it was because they were spineless cowards...now I'm not so sure.

Some of the alternative theories are scary indeed.

Posted by TheRealSwede | October 16, 2007 11:24 AM

fly-man/bong boy,

I don't know the answer to your question but, I can tell you that Hillary would deserve nothing less than to have her every waking move, day-in and day-out, minute by minute - resisted and vilified on principal by conservatives everywhere, Congress included. After 4 or 8 years of constant hatred and venom is at an end, then you can ask your questions about the Legislative-Executive relationship. While she serves, no respect should be due her, or the office of the President. This would be only what Hillary and her party deserve after what they have wrought on the American people for these past nearly seven years.

Yes, it would be no more than she and Democrats deserve, but I actually hope that this would not be the case. That, should the White House belong to the Dems, Republicans can remind us all what it means to be in loyal opposition. Will the Repubs be the adult party? Perhaps, after all, we didn't hear any adolescent whining about cheating after the '06 elections did we? But my fear is that Democrats have set a terrible precedent during the present Administration - one that will not easily be put aside. There will be a powerful temptation for revenge. I sincerely hope that will not happen, because to continue on this path will eventually lead us all to ruin.

Posted by Jeff from Mpls | October 16, 2007 11:44 AM

The real genius of the Clintons is that they've managed to turn the sheer volume of their wrongdoing into a protective shield.

When accused, all they have to say is "I'm used to being attacked by the right wing..." which is meant to imply: "how could li'l ol me be guilty of all that wrongdoing?"

Easily, Mrs. Clinton. Especially since the image you project in public doesn't square with what your own colleagues say is your character in private.

Posted by essucht | October 16, 2007 12:00 PM

Make no mistake, Hillary is a threat to our Republican form of government itself - look at the abuses she and Bill committed when they held the Presidency; collecting FBI files on domestic opponents, using the IRS to harrass political opponents, shutting down the American Spectator for printing the Troopergate stories, etc.

Thank God they thought they had all the time in the world to work with a friendly congress in 1992.

I expect that if Hillary were to win, especially with a Democrat congress, we could expect a much more extreme and immediate set of policies to destroy Hillary's perceived enemies - say bye bye talk radio to start with...

Posted by Mike M. | October 16, 2007 12:04 PM

In case anyone has forgotten why Vince Foster was driven to suicide, this vile, loathesome woman manages to remind us again and again.

For the love of all that's decent people, let's not let her do to the entire country what she did to that poor man.

Posted by the fly-man/bong boy | October 16, 2007 12:26 PM

All I can say is that the first time the Mrs. gets to declare someone an enemy combatant let's not forget who used it first. I still find it quite disingenuous for you all to allow the current "OFFICE" holder to do as he pleases, signing statements, vetoing bills the first time the opposition gets control of the Congress, pushing immunity for lawbreakers like the Telecoms, all within his right, at this moment, won't have the same respect for the "OFFICE" if it goes to HRC. Vile, loathsome, how about indifferent, brutally unsympathetic, and reckless with resources .Please explain your rationale for adjusting your bedrock principles. I think most of you would just love to have her as the nominee so you can weasel out of sticking to your principles. If everything you preach about is soooo sacred to you why did you allow the President to expand the size of government and do nothing about Social Security and Illegal immigration? Sounds a lot like a Democrat was in charge to me. Well?

Posted by mariner | October 16, 2007 12:30 PM

So Hillary doesn't want the NSA to intercept communications in defense of the nation, but had no problem with using such intercepts to get her husband elected President? Think that will play well in a general election?

I think it won't matter. Roughly half this country will forgive the Clinton's just about anything.

(Or, to be pedantic about it, if there's anything that WOULDN'T be forgiven, we have yet to see what that might be.)

Posted by essucht | October 16, 2007 12:38 PM

(Or, to be pedantic about it, if there's anything that WOULDN'T be forgiven, we have yet to see what that might be.)

Had you told me in 1992 that the Democrats would elect, re-elect, and defend a serial sexual harrasser no way would I have believed you.

Beyond all the Nixonian type hijinx the Clintons engaged in, which the Left had something of a history of anyway (ringing LBJ), I am still singularly amazed by the defense of what should have been the indefensible for the Left...

Posted by njcommuter | October 16, 2007 12:44 PM

I don't think they'll forgive another 9/11, especially since it's ben. Whether all the terrorists would have the sense to refrain from doing it on her watch is another story.

Posted by Mike M. | October 16, 2007 12:46 PM

If everything you preach about is soooo sacred to you why did you allow the President to expand the size of government and do nothing about Social Security and Illegal immigration? Sounds a lot like a Democrat was in charge to me. Well?

I can't believe I'm actually going to respond to someone using the handle "Bong Boy", but oh well. Not all conservatives are reflexive BushBots, and much of what you say is indisputable.

I will never criticize him for taking seriously our war against the Islamofascists (which they declared on us, not the other way around), but as far as I'm concerned, in almost every other regard he's been a disaster. I won't miss him that much when he's gone. Honestly, I would love to see America completely freed from both ends of the Bush/Clinton oligarchy; it's time to get some new blood into this corrupt government.

Posted by docjim505 | October 16, 2007 12:57 PM

the fly-man/bong boy: I think most of you would just love to have her as the nominee so you can weasel out of sticking to your principles. If everything you preach about is soooo sacred to you why did you allow the President to expand the size of government and do nothing about Social Security and Illegal immigration? Sounds a lot like a Democrat was in charge to me. Well?

Um... While I can't speak for all the commenters here, I CAN say that many of us have been quite critical of President Bush on issues like Social Security reform and ESPECIALLY immigration. Possibly you missed it, but many of us conservatives thought seriously about staying home on election day in '06 because we were so disgusted with the fact that neither the president nor the GOP Congress was behaving at all "conservative". Indeed, many of us said - REPEATEDLY - that the GOP have been acting like democrats. We didn't like NCLB, we didn't like the prescription drug plan (talk about a future budget buster), we didn't like amnesty...

Indeed, conservatives managed to derail the amnesty plan (for which we were pilloried as racists), though we were not successful in pushing through any Social Security reform. What else should we have done? Chained ourselves to the White House fence? Staged a hunger strike? (If I do, can I have ice cream like Cindy Sheehan did during her "hunger strike"?)

Say.... Were you one of the libs who accused us conservatives of being so heartless regarding Graeme Frost and SCHIP? Because we were sticking very close to our principles there. Or do you only want us to stick to our principles when it's convenient for you?

As for the Hilldabeast, I personally oppose her because (1) she's a big government lib who will raise my taxes and wreck the economy in order to fund more and more and MORE giveaway programs, and (2) she's f***ing evil.

Posted by the fly-man/bong boy | October 16, 2007 1:01 PM

Mike M. Thanks for your time. Your last line is the one I believe is the ticket. Basically no more political dynasties. I personally don't want the Mrs. to be the nominee for that exact reason. The residual power that exists carries way too much baggage, waste and abuse. All for the benefits of the dynasty members and their cronies while at the helm.

Posted by patrick neid | October 16, 2007 1:21 PM

Posted by the fly-man/bong boy | October 16, 2007 12:26 PM

"All I can say is that the first time the Mrs. gets to declare someone an enemy combatant let's not forget who used it first."

Perfectly stated for the wrong reasons.

The key difference, the difference that makes all the difference in the world, the difference you don't get, is that the enemy combatant wasn't someone who worked in the Travel Office.

Posted by the fly-man/bong boy | October 16, 2007 1:29 PM

Excuse me, where were your principles for Oregon vs Gonzales? States rights not that big a deal huh? Yes I'd say your noble fight against a PR stunt was principled. Little successes ease the pain of abject failure don't they. The government was run by Republicans for 6 years and nothing could be done for such a Vital problem plaguing our nation like immigration, but to skim a little waste from an existing entitlement program, while slamming a 12 year old kid, is a principled achievement? Let's not Dear Leader and his War has created the largest new entitlemnt program since the S-Chip one, namely the Iraq War Veterns health benifits.Where do you want to start about waste and cost over runs? Your priorities are sooo mangled. Got a better example of the Conservative cause's shining brilliance on a domestic issue while in power? Don't you remember what you were sold on to vote for the GOP? All I'm saying is look at the domestic spending and neglect to real domestic issues and no one would have thought 6 years ago the government would look like this. So before you start flapping your pie hole about how bad the Mrs. is, try looking at what the GOP produced for us, under the guise of Principled Conservatism. Total hype,bait and switch, distracted by our noble War against Islamofascism, in Iraq, man talk about abuse and corruption. WTF?

Posted by docjim505 | October 16, 2007 3:19 PM

OK, somebody help me out here:

WTF is fly-man talking about? And to whom? I think he might be having a psychotic episode. KEWL! I didn't know people could still type while having a psychotic episode.

Dude, I think you got hold of some bad shit. Call 911 right away before you hurt yourself.

Posted by skeptic | October 16, 2007 3:41 PM

This should give pause to the national security bedwetters who saw no problem with expanded wiretapping under a possible Democratic president. You neocons are your own worst enemies.

Posted by swabjockey05 | October 16, 2007 3:56 PM

Dr J. Couldn't help you out if I wanted to...don't read what the kids write on the walls...no matter how big they make the letters or how much they jump up and down. Even when they wet the bed.

Posted by NoDonkey | October 16, 2007 4:05 PM

"So before you start flapping your pie hole about how bad the Mrs"

Oh please, you clowns have lied about this President since the moment he took office and pounced on every nitpicking thing he's done.

And now that you're nominating a completely unqualified woman who's accomplished pretty much nothing in her life, we're supposed to clam up?

Because the Democrats are all about "competency" right?

And the way they prove that is . . . by nominating a woman for President who has absolutely no track record of executive achievement. She's never even had an actual job.

If this dingbat manages to get elected, she should wear a "Trainee" name badge on her ugly, size 16 pantsuit, because that's what it's going to be - OJT.

Thanks for playing, flying bong or whatever you name is. You've done nothing here but waste everyone's time, trying to decipher your nonsensical posts.

Posted by BB | October 16, 2007 6:11 PM

Oh, yes, Hillary was only monitoring the "Bimbo-Eruptions."

Not so she could confront her husband, but so she could destroy the "Bimbo."

Nevermind feminist thought on female enablers of male predators.

This is the compassionate and wise person automatically more virtuous than all because of her gender?

Hillary: The Mean Girl.

Posted by Oldcrow | October 17, 2007 4:26 AM

Ths just proves what I have been saying over and over for many years, so all you libertarians out there listen up. THE DIFFERANCE BETWEEN REPUBLICANS AND DEMS IS THE DEM'S SEE US THE AMERICAN VOTER (ESPECIALLY CONSERVATIVES AND LIBERTARIANS) AS THE ENEMY STANDING IN THE WAY OF THEIR SOCIALIST UTOPIA AND WILL DO ANYTHING TO STOP US. Your civil rights are in far more danger with the Dem's in charge why? Because President Bush and the vast majority of conservatives believe that forieghn enemies i.e. islamists do not have civil rights whereas the Dem's believe you should not have any rights if you appose their agenda, all you have to do is look at their actions to know this i.e... gun control, tax's and nationalized health care as well as thier own statements.

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