NSA Wiretap Leaker Found?


Now this is interesting, and surprising

The controversy over President Bush’s warrantless surveillance program took another surprise turn last week when a team of FBI agents, armed with a classified search warrant, raided the suburban Washington home of a former Justice Department lawyer. The lawyer, Thomas M. Tamm, previously worked in Justice’s Office of Intelligence Policy and Review (OIPR)—the supersecret unit that oversees surveillance of terrorist and espionage targets. The agents seized Tamm’s desktop computer, two of his children’s laptops and a cache of personal files. Tamm and his lawyer, Paul Kemp, declined any comment. So did the FBI. But two legal sources who asked not to be identified talking about an ongoing case told NEWSWEEK the raid was related to a Justice criminal probe into who leaked details of the warrantless eavesdropping program to the news media. The raid appears to be the first significant development in the probe since The New York Times reported in December 2005 that Bush had authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on the international phone calls and e-mails of U.S. residents without court warrants.

And not surprising is the fact that the suspect in this case was a DNC sympathizer: (h/t The Strata-Sphere)


09/17/2004 300.00 24991283185

Of course he only leaked the information because he felt so strongly against it right?  Nevermind that there is a whistleblower program he could of gone to.  No, he leaked it to the papers during the election cycle. 

Bloggers such as Newsbusters have found a few comments left by Thomas Mann critical of Bush in addition to the fact that he received an award in 2000 at Justice which would imply that he is a holdover from the previous Administration. 

All I’m hoping for is if this Thomas Mann is the one who leaked this program to the world, putting us at greater risk, I hope he hangs.

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There’s so much wrong with this post. A DNC “sympathizer”? And “nevermind” that there’s a whistleblower program? What in god’s name does that mean? Was it related to the sentence before it?

And my god, that post on Newsbusters reads like it was written by a nine-year-old. “A pretend syndrome made up by an idiot caused the FBI to find my enemy!”

Lord, help these people. Please.

And the level of uniformedness about the Justice Department you display in that “holdover” comment is stunning. Really.

All I’m hoping for is if this Thomas Mann is the one who revealed the violations, thereby helping preserve the constitution, and protect our rights, I hope he gets a medal of freedom.

Amen, Jay K.

That is really confusing about this. RWeres hould be just as upset about illegal surveillance as anyone. WTF?

And to conclude your speculative witch hunt – you know absolutely nothing about this guy’s involvement – you say “I hope he hangs.”

God. You have serious problems.

you know absolutely nothing about this guy’s involvement – you say “I hope he hangs.”

Funny how you forgot to add what came before those words:

if this Thomas Mann is the one who leaked this program to the world, putting us at greater risk,

But I have problems. Please take your agenda back to the rock you crawled from under.

I hope he gets a medal of freedom.

How come that doesn’t surprise me from a Salon reader.

a whistleblower program? What in god’s name does that mean?

That means a whistleblower program meant to protect those who blow the whistle. No protection for those who leak to the press.

Are you really this ignorant or are you just playing?

“…that doesn’t surprise me from a Salon reader…”
what does suprise me, and has for some time, is how quickly so-called republicans are willing to throw away their rights. karl and dick really have y’all scared to death of the scary men from the middle east. i’m just glad you weren’t on the green at lexington, or the bridge at concord.

i just noticed your charger restoration though…very nice car.

Before you go hanging anybody, make sure you’ve got the right fella. Thomas Mann was a German novelist, Nobel laureate, & author of Dr. Faustus. The guy you meant to string up was Thomas M. Tamm. But these mistakes happen all the time. Besides, moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

What’s up with the trolls on this comment thread? Good post and I agree… IF this guy is the leaker he should be punished severely. Somehow the rules don’t apply to principled politicos in Washington or do they? Punish this leaker and find the others and deal with them. The classified leaking must cease to be acceptable in Washington circles.

Government workers can have opinions but they don’t get to negate elections and administration policies as they see fit when it suits their agendas/worldview.

What you say is all well and good but we should start with the administration and the leaker-in-chief. doh…my bad…him and dick just selectively declassify for political purposes and when it suits their agendas/worldview. you are right…hang this guy.

The trolls are from Salon, always happen when they link to me. No worries tho, combined they maybe have two brain cells left.

Seeing as how the article I quoted and the contributor info I posted both say Thomas Tamm I doubt anyone would be confused….well, except you Salon readers.

Hang Karen Hughes!!!!!

I wrote “Mann,” not you. God I hate that guy. Him I’d have let you hang.

Your saying that if he is the one who leaked he should be punished is revealing. Any freedom-loving American thinker should be saying, at the very least, if what he leaked was illegal, he should be rewarded for his act.

Why is there so much following on the RW blogosphere?

I wrote “Mann,” not you.

Obviously you didn’t read the post then. Not surprising.

Your saying that if he is the one who leaked he should be punished is revealing.

And its quite revealing that your kind would award medals to people who reveal perfectly legal wiretaps that enable us to listen in on those who want to bring destruction to this country.

Quite revealing, but I doubt anyone would be shocked.

Go back to KOS little sheepie.

The Duke lacrosse players were guilty of rape-they should have been thrown out of school and tried for rape in a court of law.

Libby didn’t leak classified information, Cheney had Bush insta-declassify Plame’s identity first. Funny they never owned up to that implying rather it was the NIE that Bush insta-declassified. That was good cover. It worked.

Boehner went on FOX and blabbed about a classified FISA court decision for partisan gain; to blame the democrats -the white house has yet to claim they declassified the info. Shoudn’t Boehner get a trial?

This attorney whose home was searched, if he leaked information revealing illegal government conduct it’s a whole new ballgame. The problem with Bush theory that Presidents can break the law at will in wartime is that it’s not true.

Now granted, I get alot of comments from Salon readers so much of it is quite ignorant but that has to be one of the top 10 in most ignorant comments I’ve seen in at least the last six months. Loosen the strap on that tinhat fella, your gonna hurt yourself.

Presidents can break the law at will in wartime

Which law would that be?

Bush authorized warantless wiretapping of US Citizens in 2001, a program which did not comply with FISA, which operated outside the law, while claiming it was justified by the President’s inherent authority during wartime; re: under the war authorization. The admnistration has since backed off that claim.

Currently, The Bush administration is asking Congress to give the telecoms retroactive immunity from criminal and civil liability. If they weren’t guilty of breaking the law, they wouldn’t need immunity.

I won’t sit here and call you ignorant nor claim that by reading some other website such as FOX NEWS or Drudge has comprimised your command of the facts, your judgments thereon, or the materials used to make your hat, Curt.

Oh, but I will call you ignorant Neil for reading KOS and DummiesU and believing you know what your talking about.

He did NOT violate the constitution by bypassing FISA seeing how the program spied on foreign agents, which is well within his power. Five former FISA judges agree:

A panel of former Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges yesterday told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee that President Bush did not act illegally when he created by executive order a wiretapping program conducted by the National Security Agency (NSA).

The five judges testifying before the committee said they could not speak specifically to the NSA listening program without being briefed on it, but that a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act does not override the president’s constitutional authority to spy on suspected international agents under executive order.

“If a court refuses a FISA application and there is not sufficient time for the president to go to the court of review, the president can under executive order act unilaterally, which he is doing now,” said Judge Allan Kornblum, magistrate judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida and an author of the 1978 FISA Act. “I think that the president would be remiss exercising his constitutional authority by giving all of that power over to a statute.”

Is it your position that Clinton violated the Constitution with Carnivore? Was Carter violating the Constitution when he ordered wiretaps without a court order?

1-101. Pursuant to Section 102(a)(1) of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (50 U.S.C. 1802(a)), the Attorney General is authorized to approve electronic surveillance to acquire foreign intelligence information without a court order, but only if the Attorney General makes the certifications required by that Section.

Or Clinton’s us of his powers here?:

Section 1. Pursuant to section 302(a)(1) of the Act, the Attorney General is authorized to approve physical searches, without a court order, to acquire foreign intelligence information for periods of up to one year, if the Attorney General makes the certifications required by that section.

Finally John Hinderaker put up a great analysis of the program:

Article II makes the President Commander in Chief of the armed forces. As such he is preeminent in foreign policy, and especially in military affairs. This was no accident; as Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist No. 74, “Of all the cares or concerns of government, the direction of war most peculiarly demands those qualities which distinguish the exercise of power by a single hand.” The federal courts have long recognized that when it comes to waging war, the President, not Congress or the courts, is the supreme authority. In Fleming v. Page, 9 How. 603, 615 (1850), the Supreme Court wrote that the President has the Constitutional power to “employ [the Nation’s armed forces] in the manner he may deem most effectual to harass and conquer and subdue the enemy.”

No one questions this basic principle. If our soldiers or intelligence agencies discover a terrorist in Afghanistan, Iraq or elsewhere, the President or his designees can order an air strike or other attack to kill him. It would be very odd if the President has the authority to kill a terrorist, but not to intercept his telephone calls or search his cave.

There is one relevant constitutional provision that acts as a restraint on the President’s inherent power as Commander in Chief. That is the Fourth Amendment, which states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

So all searches and seizures of Americans or their property (including, as the courts have appropriately ruled, interceptions of telephonic and electronic communications) must be reasonable. Note, however, that this requirement does not apply to terrorists overseas. A Special Forces soldier can pick a cave arbitrarily and search it. He isn’t trying to prosecute terrorists, he is trying to kill them. He doesn’t need probable cause.

The Fourth Amendment includes requirements for the issuance of search warrants, and many critics of the NSA program seem to assume that this means that all searches must be executed pursuant to a warrant. This assumption is wrong. There are dozens of situations where warrantless searches have been approved by the courts. The overriding principle is that searches of Americans (defined to include resident aliens) must be reasonable.

One of the many situations where warrantless searches have been approved is when the government is seeking foreign intelligence information, such as information relating to potential terrorist threats. Next to the Constitution itself, of course, the highest authority is the United States Supreme Court. At least three Supreme Court cases have discussed this subject.

[…]The federal appellate courts have unanimously held that the President has the inherent constitutional authority to order warrantless searches for purposes of gathering foreign intelligence information, which includes information about terrorist threats. Furthermore, since this power is derived from Article II of the Constitution, the FISA Review Court has specifically recognized that it cannot be taken away or limited by Congressional action.

That being the case, the NSA intercept program, which consists of warrantless electronic intercepts for purposes of foreign intelligence gathering, is legal.

Bush has not backed off his claim of that Constitutional power, that my friend is called ignorance. He, unlike the Democrats and you lefties, believe the best course of action is to come to an agreement with the Democrats. But to think he backed off that claim is just pure stupidity.


I read the post. I replaced “Tamm” with “Mann.” It was an error. (My six years of middle and high school German coming back to haunt me maybe.) Can we stick to the subject?

By what authority do you deem the wiretaps “perfectly legal”? I at least have a federal ruling, which called them unconstitutional, on my side. That case was dismissed, yes, but not on its merits, but on the grounds that the plaintiffs couldn’t prove they had been injured (gosh, I wonder why?).

One of the best gems in all this was former NSA director Michael Hayden saying, on national TV, in defense of the program, that the 4th Amendment carries no “probable cause” clause. Hayden was, of course, one of the directors of the program – and he didn’t know we have a “probable cause” clause in our constitution?!? And you defend this still?

Ad why did they lie about “congressional support” of the wiretaps?

And you probably know that a FISC court judge resigned in protest of the program.

Y’now, when it’s all said and done, maybe the leaker should go to jail. He or she probably knew that he risked that. But extenuating circumstances should have big play in the sentence given, and in how Americans regard him.

I read the post. I replaced “Tamm” with “Mann.” It was an error. (My six years of middle and high school German coming back to haunt me maybe.) Can we stick to the subject?

Oh come on, my mistake of using Mann is also in the post. The commenter said:

Before you go hanging anybody, make sure you’ve got the right fella.

Which means he was pointing to me seeing as how I said he should hang. In fact I left that typo in the post just for you but you still don’t get it.

And now we are to stay on subject? With your vitriol and venom spewing comments we should now stay on topic. Ok.

By what authority do you deem the wiretaps “perfectly legal”?

Read the comment that I left above yours at 8:34am and then get back to me. It answers all of your questions.

Curt – wtf? Why would I pretend that I didn’t know you had written “Mann”? I had, and I naturally thought the commenter had seen my comment and was making a joke about it. I missed yours. (Why are we talking about this?)

Hey – vitriol and venom can at least be on subject. And your comment answers none of my quesions. For just one part – you have no knowledge that allows you to claim that it spied only on “foreign agents.” That is not close to being established, It is you, again, simply taking the president’s word, something I will never understand about the RW blogosphere. And it is a dodge anyway. You say “foreign agents” when the question revolves around “foreign soil,” or more importantly, domestic soil and Americans, who have the right to a warrant.

“I had,” as in – I han written Mann. I honestly hadn’t noticed that you had. But seeing it now, it wasn’t German class that prompted my mistake – I must have seem yours and not even noticed.

Classic lefty argument. “How do we really know they spied on foreign calls only”. Remember that members of the House intelligence committee were all briefed. If it came out that it was a domestic spying program only believe me, we would of heard about it. As it is, you have nothing but the fact you don’t believe the President. That’s it in a nutshell.

Good luck with that.

Gee and just think it was only such a short time ago that the world liked right wing views

Guess that 3% approval rating has gone to your head huh?