Looks like His Royal ass-Holiness, Chimpy the First, Protector of the Wealthy, Defender of the One True Faith, Smiter of the Eighteen Random Bystanders Standing Near Where He Thought the Infidel Was, assumed his dictatorial powers well before previously disclosed.
Do I link to it through truthout, or Michael Moore? Hey, how about both? Oh, and look - proof.
What had long been understood to be protocol in the event that the NSA spied on average Americans was that the agency would black out the identities of those individuals or immediately destroy the information.
But according to people who worked at the NSA as encryption specialists during this time, that's not what happened. On orders from Defense Department officials and President Bush, the agency kept a running list of the names of Americans in its system and made it readily available to a number of senior officials in the Bush administration, these sources said, which in essence meant the NSA was conducting a covert domestic surveillance operation in violation of the law.
So, there goes the wingnut talking point that illegal warantless wiretaps would have prevented 9/11. Because look, after all, they didn't.
Oh, and about illegal:
More than a dozen legal scholars dispute Moschella's legal analysis, saying in a letter just sent to Congress that the White House failed to identify "any plausible legal authority for such surveillance."
"The program appears on its face to violate existing law," wrote the scholars of constitutional law, some of whom worked in various senior capacities in Republican and Democratic administrations, in an extraordinary letter to Congress that laid out, point by point, why the president is unauthorized to permit the NSA to spy on Americans and how he broke the law by approving it.
"Even conceding that the President in his role as Commander in Chief may generally collect 'signals intelligence' on the enemy abroad, Congress indisputably has authority to regulate electronic surveillance within the United States, as it has done in FISA," the letter states. "Where Congress has so regulated, the President can act in contravention of statute only if his authority is exclusive, that is, not subject to the check of statutory regulation. The DOJ letter pointedly does not make that extraordinary claim. The Supreme Court has never upheld warrantless wiretapping within the United States."
UPDATE: In the interest of fairness, though God knows why I should be fair to President Bush after all he's done to me, you can find an excelllent (meaning reality-based) rebuttal of truthout's story here.