Jan 29 2006
10:07 am

Have you noticed how the Bush administration's ever-shifting justification for illegally spying on American citizens is starting to sound like their ever-changing justifications for invading Iraq? Apparently they govern according to the rules of Calvinball.

An editorial in today's New York Times explains why each right-wing talking point defending Bush's illegal wiretapping is wrong. For example: 

(read more after the jump...)

War changes everything. Mr. Bush says Congress gave him the authority to do anything he wanted when it authorized the invasion of Afghanistan. There is simply nothing in the record to support this ridiculous argument.

The administration also says that the vote was the start of a war against terrorism and that the spying operation is what Mr. Cheney calls a "wartime measure." That just doesn't hold up. The Constitution does suggest expanded presidential powers in a time of war. But the men who wrote it had in mind wars with a beginning and an end. The war Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney keep trying to sell to Americans goes on forever and excuses everything.

Meanwhile over at Talk Left, Jeralyn Merritt uncovers clues in the failed Patriot Act II proving that Bush knew all along his surveillance program was illegal:

Why it matters now: It undermines Bush and Gonzales' claims that Bush didn't need Congress' approval or an amendment of FISA to engage in his warrantless electronic surveillance program, instituted in 2001.

In related news, after being told by the GOP to shut up or they wouldn't get dessert, House Democrats retreated to the basement to stamp their feet and hold their breath until they turned blue:

House Democrats said Bush has committed a crime in authorizing the spying and that House Republicans have abdicated their responsibilities by refusing to hold hearings.

Rep. John Conyers, the House Judiciary Committee's top Democrat, and other Democrats met in a basement room of a House office building Friday to hear a panel of lawyers and activists discuss whether Bush had committed an impeachable offense.

To which GWU law professor and analyst Jonathan Turley added:

The NSA's warrantless eavesdropping program is "an intelligence operation in search of a legal rationale," said George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley.

"What the president ordered in this case was a crime," added Turley, who said House Republicans are establishing a terrible precedent by not holding oversight hearings.

OK, then.

WhitesCreek's picture

Just watched Frist on a

Just watched Frist on a Sunday talking head program...Asked about the wiretaps, he froze for a second or two and then started off on what seemed like a memorized part for a play he was having trouble remembering. My wife actually broke out laughing at him.

What a charade!


SemiPundit's picture

Flim-flamming the issue

It is amusing to watch every last talking head shill for the administration deftly turn the discussion of this matter to whether Bush has the authority to order such surveillance, when in fact it is a matter of their flouting of a lawful procedure that is designed to guard against abuse. It is as if all of them were gathered together under a big tent somewhere and given their marching orders and talking points, namely to obfuscate the issue for the unwary. Their contempt for the intelligence and discernment of their faithful viewers and listeners not only shines through--it glows in the dark. 

RedDog's picture

I must agree -

I must agree -

Illegal wiretapping is, well, illegal

but then,

Legal wiretapping is, well, legal

The peanut gallery sure is spouting a lot of rhetoric about illegal activity without demonstrating any basis for the conclusion.  The only basis for illegality I've heard is that Bush authorized it, ergo it must be illegal. 


PS - nice new site RN 

veery's picture

The only basis for

The only basis for illegality I've heard

I guess you didn't read any of the links. Did you even read past Mr. Neal's headline?

The hilarious part about your rant is that Bush's only defense is that he authorized it, he's the president, ergo it must be legal.

redmondkr's picture

Mr. Bush and the wiretaps

Great little things, podcasts.

Yesterday's (30 Jan) Air America podcast - available free at the iTunes store - has a fascinating short excerpt from a Bush speech given in Buffalo, NY, last April.  You can hear it here:


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