back to article Wannabe Supreme Brett Kavanaugh red-faced after leaked emails contradict spy testimony

Despite repeated denials, some under oath, US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh appears to have known – and may even have pushed for – the warrantless spying program that was approved by President George W Bush in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks. That is the upshot of a series of emails that were provided …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yet Another America - Fall Of Rome - Moment

    Which you would you prefer sir? More of this US political charade, or 100% full dystopia below. Either way, both places appear to be well and truly f**ked. However, thankfully the world is much larger. So why not just go elsewhere....


    1. Kev99

      Re: Yet Another America - Fall Of Rome - Moment

      Interesting article. From what I gleaned from it, most of Congress and administration would not be allowed out of their houses if that Chinese system existed here.

      1. aelfheld

        Re: Yet Another America - Fall Of Rome - Moment


        But how would you know? You wouldn't be allowed out either.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yet Another America - Fall Of Rome - Moment

      " So why not just go elsewhere...."

      Not the UK.

    3. Notas Badoff

      Re: Yet Another America - Fall Of Rome - Moment

      I am all in favour of more people knowing about Social Credit System. Replacing the Five Black Categories with this new greyish Social Credit is so much more flexible when you might need to suppress *anybody* at a whim.

      Think of your worst SciFi nightmares, and this duplicates or betters it. Your social credit depends on what your friends, family and workplace say and do. If they are not totally compliant, you can't buy a car/house, get a good job, enter a good school or any at all.

      This is collective punishment 'refined', inspired by the cruder solutions of previous eras in that land.

      1. aelfheld

        Re: Yet Another America - Fall Of Rome - Moment

        It's totalitarianism enhanced by technology.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Yet Another America - Fall Of Rome - Moment

          Democracy or dictatorship? AI may swing the advantage towards the latter.

          From The Atlantic.

          The future is not golden / bright / yours / free*.

          *delete as applicable

          But feel free to delude yourselves and your offspring.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yet Another America - Fall Of Rome - Moment

      The social credit system already exists in the US, based primarily on skin colour and appearance - I have a good friend who's a Cajun but get pulled aside every time he flies anywhere because he looks Arabic - dark skin tone, black beard etc.

  2. Kev99

    Hmmm...It's a Constitutional violation to use spying and warrantless searches on US citizens but not a violation for the TSA to do the same. I'm confused.

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      As are far too many people here in the US (confused that is). I'm not a US citizen, although my children are - one of them is here - but at the risk of talking as a hopefully, engaged outsider, it seems clear that a political and legal system suited to the 19th century has run its course. Not of course that I hve a say in the matter.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Some exceptions for border/custom controls exist everywhere, to check for contraband and dangerous/forbidden items. The problem is that once again they used specific exceptions go gain unchecked access to everything.

      It's not much different from the law IIRC enacted in the 1920s against the raising gangsters issues that allows US cops to search a car if they could stop it for another issue, even a very small one like a non-functioning lamp. I wonder US people have been accepting it for so long, elsewhere such searches are't allowed.

      I may understand that in emergency time you could use some emergency legislation - until you can tackle the issues properly - but it has to have a very short life, and not be used as a Trojan Horse to lead to an authoritarian state. Just, it's up to the citizens to not get used to such tactics, and be boiled slowly.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The reason the TSA can do it is because flying is not a right, and it is possible to travel without flying. Not easy, especially if you want to leave the US, but possible. Thus the claim is that you must waive your rights and accept the TSA's invasive searches as the price for choosing to fly rather than drive, or travel on horseback.

      Similar to how the military can invasively search members of the armed forces - it is your choice to join, and by joining you voluntarily waive certain rights.

      Not saying I necessarily buy into this logic, but that's the logic on which it is based and similar logic is used in many places in US law.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meh. Not a smoking gun.

    I don't support Kavanaugh - these memos aside, his general disrespect for 4A issues, his boot-licking worship of executive authority, and his participation in the crafting of the so-called "PATRIOT" Act make him unfit to even set foot in the Supreme Court building, let alone sit on the bench there.

    That being said, the memo is pretty damned vague. It could very easily been a response to various hypothetical questions. No point in dreaming up and being distracted by conspiracy theories when there are mountains of substance to work with.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Meh. Not a smoking gun.

      Agreed, it's more the very carefully worded denials that would bother me. If he'd said "I was asked some hypothetical questions, but I was never part of the decision making group", I'd be a lot more inclined to trust him.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meh. Not a smoking gun.

      The real smoking guns are undoubtedly among the 100,000 pages that are being withheld by "executive privilege". It shouldn't be possible to withhold unclassified documents of a previous administration from congress for something as important as picking a Supreme Court justice.

      It is clear that the Trump administration is hiding some bad stuff from democrats, and there's obviously a lot of it judging by how many pages. There are plenty of ultra conservative justices available, Trump wants this one particular guy - who is the ONLY name that was added to the Heritage Foundation's list of conservative judges Trump was picking from. It is obvious why, because he has some way out of mainstream ideas that presidents are basically above the law, which sounds pretty good to a common criminal like Trump who's finally getting some well deserved scrutiny.

      If only Obama was as petty as Trump, he would have sicked the DOJ on Trump's business activities when he started pushing the birther thing, and would have been in prison before the 2016 election.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge

      It could very easily been a response to various hypothetical questions

      exactly. I think it proves how desperate that certain Demo[n][c,R]ats like Booker and Kamala are. Consider also how certain Demo[n][c,R]ats literally invited disruptive protesters to the hearings (it's the only way they could have gotten in; and 50 or so arrests were made as I recall)

      Now they apparently have in their hands a "gotcha" e-mail [that isn't, but they're claiming it is], because they want to do what an aggressive prosecutor would do to someone using a "process crime" sting, i.e. trap someone into "lying" under oath ('I did not do this', followed by the paper copy 'evidence' and the subsequent 'process crime' arrest) in order to coerce a guilty plea to some low-level process crime, and THEN get that person to 'sing' or 'compose' against someone else, etc. to stay out of prison [what they sometimes do to members of organized crime syndicates, for example].

      In any case, reading the El Reg article is the first I've heard of it. I think if it were a big deal, a big deal would've been made of this by now. [it's still interesting info, but not compelling]

      Apparently the e-mail is real. That deserves an explanation [not fingers pointing and accusations]. However, I can't remember what I e-mailed last year, let alone 2001, and we don't even know what the context is! And without the context, you really don't have a "lie" if, as in the title, it was a response to various hypothetical questions.

      icon, because, facepalm all of this. Booker and Kamala are way out in 'cloud cuckooland' as far as I'm concerned. Anything they say or do is tainted, by definition.

  4. elDog

    It's been so damn hard to find qualified people to run the US gov't.

    Scraping the bottom of the pork barrels with Kavanaugh. Of course the rest of the WH staff will have been masticated and regurgitated many times over while this new RW implant will be happily doing someone's bidding for decades to come.

    Who is that someone? Not the normal Heritage/US-RW groups. Maybe not the Murdoch/Koch/Mercers. Maybe a larger conglomeration that is also trying to topple the UK, NATO, EU. Maybe.

  5. beep54

    As an American

    let me say that our government is well and truly screwed at this point. <sigh>

    1. FozzyBear

      Re: As an American

      Silver Lining.

      You could be living here, In Australia, and watching the f*king Muppets (aka politicians) try to ruin, um, run the country

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As an American ....... NOT !!!

      As a bystander, in a country with more than enough of its own problems, I am *VERY* sure that Trump & his 'car full of clowns' will exceed *everyones* darkest nightmares eventually.

      Regardless of the evidence or otherwise found by 'Mueller & Co' the US of A will not challenge another President. The 2 political parties will take sides, argue a lot but do nothing at the end of the day.

      Trump will then breath a sigh of relief and the 'Gates of Hell' will open for the rest of the world !!!

      Meanwhile, Putin AKA 'Mr. Novichok' will take another big breath and continue 'splitting his sides' and wiping the tears from his eyes with laughter!!!

      Other than that I am quite 'Upbeat' for the future ......... as Brexit is now the biggest International Hit Comedy to come out of the UK in decades, in fact such a hit that Mr. Barnier cannot stop laughing !!!

      [Our greatest & only hope is that both Putin & Barnier die laughing ......... :( ]

  6. Mark Exclamation Bronze badge

    "His email was sent one week after the September 11 attacks at 3am in the morning..."

    Are you sure it wasn't 3am in the afternoon? Hmmm, almost as bad as PIN numbers.

  7. Dabbb

    Gell-Mann amnesia

    Don't think I need say anything else.

  8. Winkypop Silver badge


    Leaking Russian prostitutes on a bed?

    Oh sorry, wrong scandal....

    1. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: Leaks?

      Golden leaks if stories are to be believed

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Leaks?

        > "Golden leaks if stories are to be believed"

        Hey, those stories were used to justify spying on a Presidential candidate! They MUST be true! If they weren't, then it would mean a total subordination of the US Intelligence apparatus for political purposes.

  9. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

    "Stellar Wind"

    What on earth were you drinking last night?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Critical national security need outweighs the impact on privacy"

    "Thanks for asking our opinion on that matter, because of our extensive and well tested knowledge,

    Sincerely yours,


    Do these people understand how many nails they are hammering into US as a model for democracy? Do they understand they are transforming US exactly into that model they fought in the cold war?

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      Re: "Critical national security need outweighs the impact on privacy"

      Do they understand they are transforming US exactly into that model they fought in the cold war?

      Yes. How else are the Republicans going to stop the growing minority demographics from voting against the interests of the shrinking white majority?

    2. Mike Moyle

      Re: "Critical national security need outweighs the impact on privacy"

      "Do they understand they are transforming US exactly into that model they fought in the cold war?"

      Of course they do, with the understanding, "But it's OUR police state, so it's okay!"

  11. chivo243 Silver badge

    Didn't a founding father say...

    That a revolution every couple hundred of years is a good thing??

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Didn't a founding father say...

      That would be Thomas Jefferson, my personal favorite, although he was thinking of much shorter time periods than two hundred years.Twenty years or so between periods of watering the Tree of Liberty with the blood of Patriots. Keeping the politicians on a short enough leash was the general idea. The older I get, the further towards radical anarchism I get with this procedure not having been done as required.

  12. Trollslayer

    Service as normal

    As long as you get away with thing it is OK.

    Like the lack of prosecutions from Hillsborough.

  13. Aodhhan


    First off... the emails weren't leaked as first reported. They were approved the evening before by the Senate sub-committee. Senator Booker introducing them was just putting together a grandstanding moment for the crowd, in hopes of becoming a front runner for president.

    If you read everything thoroughly, you'll find in each case, it shows how the nominee is actually very UNBIASED in his opinions. (which is why not a lot was really talked about during questioning in the afternoon or making headlines) In protecting freedoms of everyone from all ethnic backgrounds; despite Islamist terrorists attacking the USA a week earlier.

    As far as being read into a program. There are items which can come from a program which are declassified or classified releasable outside of it's SCI container. This often happens for certain high ranking government officials, judges, etc. with a need to know.

    It's amazing how people immediately disregard facts, when lies or 'spin' is brought up on things they wish to hear.

    If you want to make a comment when knowing only 2% of the information, and/or looking at all the facts--instead of looking at everything from all sides--you're free to do so. By now, you're likely used to the taste of toes in your mouth. You will also likely continue to make less than $70K/year.

    If you notice, not a lot was brought up in questioning this afternoon... other than grandstanding blah blah questions, and nothing is being made of it today. Well, nothing substantial. I'm sure the far left will still rant and chew on this nothingburger.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ROFLMAO

      Indeed. The Volokh Conspiracy addressed just that:

      Yes, Kavanaugh doesn't support individual rights on the sort of consistent basis that I would like, but don't look for monsters under the bed when there aren't any to be had.

      I suppose, for some, it must be tiresome to keep up their complaining about the President. At least that's completely and justly deserved IMHO (some might say earned even).

  14. aelfheld

    Motes & beams

    Point the first:

    "The emails are labeled "committee confidential" meaning that they should not be shared beyond the committee. But on Thursday they were leaked to the news media and some were then later publicly posted by Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), who argued they were of such significance that their release was warranted due to the broader public interest."

    The e-mails were cleared for release on Wednesday per Booker's request & with his knowledge. His (Booker's) claims of putting the public ahead of partisan interest was itself a partisan sham (admittedly, not something alien to Booker).

    Point the second:

    That Kavanaugh was an associate in the White House during the Bush 43 administration is known, as is his work before & after. His role was to coordinate between various entities in the administration. That he handled documents regarding surveillance post-9/11 is utterly unsurprising & in no way demonstrates knowledge of the actual programs put in place, let alone contradicting his testimony.

    Point the third:

    Kavanaugh is arguably less a partisan choice than Elena Kagan (I'd be curious to see McCarthy's published objections to that nomination) as Kavanaugh has over a decade on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit whereas Kagan had no prior experience as a federal judge.

    It's not difficult to conclude Kieren McCarthy is attempting to manufacture a controversy where none exists to further his own partisan & ideological views. It's not his views that are objectionable but the obfuscatory manner in which they're presented.

  15. Danny 2 Silver badge

    Why Technology Favors Tyranny

    It's already been posted on this thread, and I know he is attracting a lot of hype, but it is seriously good article. I've been saying for over a decade that tech is a multiplier of force for the state and corporations, not the equaliser we used to think it was.

  16. FlamingDeath Silver badge

    It was a September morning when America was tricked by sick men...

    "Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor." - PNAC

    Remo Conscious - We Know

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