Subpoenas Issued to White House

The Washington Post reports today that a Senate committee investigating the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping program issued subpoenas to the White House yesterday.

The committee ordered White House officials to turn over documents regarding the eavesdropping effort, resulting in a legal battle between Congress and the Bush administration.

Subpoenas were issued by the Judiciary Committee to President Bush, Vice President Cheney, the national security adviser and to the Justice Department; and the committee demanded copies of internal records that will aid in determining legality as well as reveal the agreements made with telecomminications companies that participated in the program.

Vermont Senator Patrick J. Leahy wrote letters that were delivered with the subpoenas stating: "This committee has made no fewer than nine formal requests to the Department of Justice and to the White House, seeking information and documents about the authorization of and legal justification for this program. All requests have been rebuffed."

The White House has not reported as to whether it will submit the documents by the deadline of July 18. White House spokesman Tony Fratto stated they are aware of the action and will repsond appropriately, and said "It's unfortunate that congressional Democrats continue to choose the route of confrontation."

It is also unfortunate that the Bush administration contiunes to choose the route of avoidance.

The fued has only just begun. I'm anxious to see how many tax dollars are wasted because the White House is dragging this out. If the Bush administration has done nothing wrong, why not hand over the papers and get it over with? Or is this just a way to upset Democrats and exert Executive Power?

Posted by Dana J. Tuszke at June 28, 2007 10:45 AM
Comments
Comment #224280

Absolutely. It’s Congress’ job to provide oversight particularly on matters that have such Constitutional weight.

Are you certain you posted in the correct column? Just kidding, but it is nice to see a Conservative/Republican take this line. My hat’s off to you.

Posted by: Gerrold at June 28, 2007 10:51 AM
Comment #224287

I, too, was wondering if Dana posted this in the correct column! It is quite nice to see a conservative holding their own side of the aisle accountable… that said, this is not a Rep vs Dem issue, but rather a Constitutional one…

If it comes out once and for all that this wiretapping was illegal, then people should be prosecuted. And I know every democrat reading this will shout “yeah!” but, if it were a Dem in office they’d be defending him…

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at June 28, 2007 12:17 PM
Comment #224289

VERY well said Doug.
“that said, this is not a Rep vs Dem issue, but rather a Constitutional one…”

Which is why, aside from the partisans, the majority of people who lean right usually say show the facts and let justice be served.

“but, if it were a Dem in office they’d be defending him…”

And the right would be screaming against him. Its gotten pretty old hasn’t it, and nothing has changed.
Justice has become just-us.

The Presidents response:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070628/ap_on_go_pr_wh/bush_letter_1

Posted by: kctim at June 28, 2007 12:35 PM
Comment #224293

Is there an Executive Privilege clause in the Constitution?

Posted by: womanmarine at June 28, 2007 12:58 PM
Comment #224294

If you do the crime you should do the time.
No matter whom you are Republican, Democrat, Independent, Paris Hilton or OJ.
No exceptions to the rule. No one should be above the law. I don’t think the department of justice has much credibility at this point. That is a disappointment that we can not get that problem fixed. We need to have a justice department that can be trusted by all.

Posted by: Outraged at June 28, 2007 1:24 PM
Comment #224307

Dana:

Congratulations! I’m happy to see an article by a conservative that I would have written.

Let’s all stick up for the Constitution.

Posted by: Paul Siegel at June 28, 2007 2:29 PM
Comment #224308

wommanmarine-

Executive Privilege is a court derived concept similar to a woman’s right to an abortion or a person’s right to privacy. USvNixon says it’s not absolute and the 2004 Cheney case says it applies to the VP as long as it’s advice to the President.

Posted by: George in SC at June 28, 2007 2:39 PM
Comment #224309

Let me just point out that I’m a Dem and I have to admit that jumped into this blog expecting something so much different, so thank you. I only wish that some from our side would follow your example and be a bit more worried about whats going on in the world rather than what going on in regards to our party politics, but whatever… can’t change some people right?

Frankly I’m not really surprised the executive branch is refusing these documents, it is a major issue and it would have been a quick settlement had they just released them. Unlike how some people view this administration, I do not think Bushco are idiots by a long shot, they are clever… and they are manipulative… They want this to become a major issue that divides Americans, heck we’re already divided! Not only are their the divisions between this party and that, but within the parties themselves.

They want this to become something that diverts our attention from the failing war, the failing immigration policies, and our failing image to the rest of the world.

My main reason I think this is their intention is because the truth of the matter is that they have broken no laws, it is their right to hire and lay off these guys for any reason they desire…

Of course I’m sure they might have done SOMETHING wrong but they claim no laws were broken, okay… so why the heck not let us just check? Surely they realize that claiming innocence and refusing evidence gives the impression of guilt… Surely they realize that if we get the impression they are guilty of something they should not be doing, that we are going to act to uncover the truth… even if it is as mundane as Bushco being insulted at the insinuation…

They know this stuff… this is basic math as far as conspiracy theories go, if access is denied, then something wrong is going on… or at least it seems that way.

Bushco are masters of the “HEY LOOK OVER THERE” approach to politics and I predict that during the presidential debates, this issue will come up again and again and again, and members of both parties are going to get all up in arms over this, when what they should really be debating is all the things they are being diverted from. Sure this is a serious issue, but so are torture factories, failing wars, violated american freedoms and immigration issues.
Its worthy of an investigation, and several will indeed investigate, but as we all start focusing on this, Bushco is going to do several more secretive things, and we will never find out about all of them or why they are done… but as we are talking about this one issue, our leaders on both sides won’t be criticizing Bushco for incompetance in managing the war and the country and instead be focusing on how unaccomadating they are to people they perceive as “threats”.

Posted by: Squire at June 28, 2007 2:39 PM
Comment #224316

Good job, good timing Dana…..and for a brief time, we all seem to agree on something.
All comments are appropriate and applicable, while Squire suggests that while someone points in one direction, others are doing a quick shuffling under the rug of something else.
Everyone is right….if there has been nothing done wrong, if there is nothing to hide, then release the stuff.

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at June 28, 2007 4:22 PM
Comment #224319

I think we all need a change in attitude. I have been watching this site closely.

Posted by: womanmarine at June 28, 2007 4:31 PM
Comment #224320

Well, rats. It didn’t post. The site is:

Unity08

Posted by: womanmarine at June 28, 2007 4:33 PM
Comment #224323

Doug Langworthy-
If it were a Democrat doing this, I’d be twice as angry. Democrats are supposed to uphold civil liberties. It’d not only be wrong, but politically senseless. Our respect for civil liberties can be a source of moral authority, giving us something to stand for. Actions like Bush’s from one of us would gut that for us.

The constant Republican apology of Bush has deprived them of such strength on many fronts. He who remains silent consents, and Republicans have been silent about far too much of Bush’s foolish actions.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 28, 2007 5:26 PM
Comment #224324

Dana
Good stuff.”If the Bush administration has done nothing wrong why not hand over the papers and get it over with?” That says it all.

Posted by: BillS at June 28, 2007 5:26 PM
Comment #224339

The irony around here is so thick you could cut it with a knife.

Dana:

If the Bush administration has done nothing wrong, why not hand over the papers and get it over with?

Squire:

Of course I’m sure they might have done SOMETHING wrong but they claim no laws were broken, okay… so why the heck not let us just check?

If that’s your attitude, why do you care about NSA eavesdropping in the first place? I mean, if someobdy has nothing to hide, then there’s no problem with a little snooping. Right? The lack of intellectual consistency here reveals the true motivation: this has nothing to do with upholding the US Constitution and everything to with holding a partisan witch hunt.

Please spare us the talk about how “If a Democrat did this, I would be just as mad.” Clinton claimed executive privilege right and left throughout his presidency on a whole host of matters. The reason for that was that unlike Bush, Clinton faced a hostile Congress for most of his term and the Republicans were just as determined as Democrats are now to turn Congress into a partisan kangaroo court instead of tending to the people’s business.

Congress has an important oversight role, but that oversight role doesn’t include going on fishing expeditions about matters which are already being resolved in the proper, normal ways. Nobody has even bothered to mention two very crucial facts about this NSA eavesdropping program.

1). Congress has ALREADY responded to this controversy over the original NSA program. The House passed the Electronic Surveillance Modernization Act (H.R. 5825) which would bolster (necessarily or not) the President’s authority to carry out warrantless eavedropping of overseas communication interecepts under Article II.

2). The administration has ALREADY responded to criticism of the program by agreeing that ALL of this surveillance will take place under the supervision of the FIS courts.

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at June 28, 2007 8:47 PM
Comment #224346

LO… it’s good to see we disagree on something as we have been agreeing a lot lately… I was starting to worry.

There is a BIG difference between saying to the prez “If you’ve nothing to hide then hand them over” and saying to the American people “If you’ve nothing to hide then we should be able to tap into your phone line without a warrant all we want”… there is no intellectual inconsistency here at all.

On one hand we have the president allegedly directing other parts of government to perform this wiretapping… if these allegations turn out to be true then this would be highly illegal as the constitution strictly forbids unlawful search and seizure:

Amendment IV: 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.

Pretty cut and dry. Whether we have anything to hide or not, it is illegal to spy on us and I take it quite personally.

The president’s records, on the other hand, are being lawfully subpoenaed by congress. (I am certainly not claiming that the subpoenas aren’t politically motivated, as I am sure they are… just as the Reps forcing Slick Willy to testify under oath about his affair with Lewinsky were likely politically motivated… but politically motivated or not, Clinton did not have the right to lie under oath.) Since the records are being legally subpoenaed, whether G-Dubb has anything to hide or not, he needs to turn them over to Congress.

Your argument, LO, about comparing the “not having anything to hide” defenses would hold water if someone unlawfully broke into the president’s offices and stole the records, just as the alleged wiretapping is illegal. But that’s not the case. Congress is well within its rights to request… nay, as the peoples’ representation, demand these records.

Posted by: Doug Langworthy at June 28, 2007 9:37 PM
Comment #224352

Loyal Oppostion,

Unless I am seriously mistaken, the Senate has not passed its own version of the House bill. FISA was not amended. The atrocity passed by the House last year, which attempts to grandfather in as legal the criminal actions before the NYT reported on the wireless tapping program, is not law.

FISA very clearly states that wirtapping a U.S. “person” without a court order is illegal and subject to pretty severe criminal penalities.

Here is the law. For the present purpose, the relevant sections are 1802, 1809, and 1811. 1811 gives the president specific warrantless wiretapping rights upon a declaration of war by Congress for a period not to exceed 15 days.

Now, whether Congress did or did not declare war is debatable, but the maximum of 15 days after such a declaration is not.

Congress would be derelict in its duties not to investigate. Interestingly, here is what Gonzales had to say about a declaration of war:

From the February 6, 2006, testimony of Alberto Gonzales to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Wartime Executive Power and the National Security Agency’s Surveillance Authority:

GONZALES: There was not a war declaration, either in connection with Al Qaida or in Iraq. It was an authorization to use military force. I only want to clarify that, because there are implications. Obviously, when you talk about a war declaration, you’re possibly talking about affecting treaties, diplomatic relations. And so there is a distinction in law and in practice. And we’re not talking about a war declaration. This is an authorization only to use military force.


Posted by: Gerrold at June 28, 2007 10:03 PM
Comment #224362

Doug and Gerrold: the Fourth Amendment provision against unreasonable search and seizure and the FISA laws say what they say. But so do both Article II of the Constitution (which gives the president his war powers) and the 2001 Congressional authorization for the president to prosecute war.

You both make it sound like Bush has said that he’s going to just spy on whoever he wants for whatever reason, but that is simply not what happened. The policy (now abandoned, by the way) simply permitted warrantless wiretapping that didn’t go through the FISA courts in the event that three EXTREMELY unique circumstances applied.

1). At least one party to a phone call or electronic communication was overseas.

2). At least one of the two was a known terrorist or terrorist associate (Doug, for this reason alone, you should not “take this quite personally” like you say you do—I hope not, for god’s sake).

3). The intercept took place as part of an investigation into an imminent and quickly unfolding terrorist plot.

It’s debatable whether there is anything “unreasonable” under the Fourth Amendment provision against unreasonable search and seizure about any of that, even though I ACTUALLY DISAGREE with the administration about this because under already existing FISA law they’re permitted to act without a warrant in the case of a pressing threat and then apply for one within 72 hours. I’m glad that they dumped this policy.

You see, I disagree with Bush about this, as I disagree with him about so many things. But disagreeing with me is not, nor should it be, a criminal act. Democrats in Congress, however, seem to think that the law is whatever they say it is, whether the entire Congress or the courts have comfirmed it or not.

The real point here is that there is (or was) a genuine conflict between different interpretations of different laws, and I have no problem with each side making their best case before the courts, if that’s what it comes down to, and getting a legal ruling about it. That’s what should happen—and is happening. My problem is with one side of the debate trying to punish the other over a policy disagreement and start issuing subpoenas over it as if there were criminal proceedings underway related to the matter instead of merely their own sound-byte assertions of criminality—which is worth exactly nothing.

It’s one thing for Congress to try to usurp the authorities of the Executive Branch, but now they’re trying to pretend that they actually ARE the Judicial Branch as well instead of simple what they are: a bunch of puffed up, self-important, partisan posers.


Posted by: Loyal Opposition at June 28, 2007 11:20 PM
Comment #224364

Loyal Opposition,

You are correct; I do think it is likely that this administration has engaged in illegal activities. You are also correct that I am not a lawyer.

I think Congress should investigate and should subpoena. If necessary, it should try to get the courts to settle the executive privilege claim on this issue on the grounds that criminal activity is not protected (the famous Nixon case applies, I think).

It seems useless to deny that some are very partisan about this, but I really would be agitating on this issue even with a Democrat president. When Clinton was impeached I shed no tears because he lied in a court under oath. That the motivation against him was predominately political was irrelevant. I was glad he was not removed, but I felt he brought the impeachment upon himself. You don’t lie in a court under oath. I can’t prove what I’m saying, but I hope based on what you know of me from other posts that my assertions can be taken on faith.

This does get me steamed. Elsewhere I’ve argued against re-establishing the Fairness Doctrine because it violates the spirit, at least, of the First Amendment, even though I would love dearly to hear some liberal voices on the radio. I’ve written here that I believe the courts are wrong about the Second Amendment though I do think some gun restrictions are socially necessary, but unConstitutional (I’d like a rewrite of it, but you know how that goes).

I want the Courts to settle this current issue. I realize that impeachment is a political issue and unlikely to happen, but I do suspect that if we can ever get all the information out of the White House, that there would be legitimate grounds. That’s just my opinion, of course.

—A side note. You are one of the conservative posters I particularly respect because of your tone and appeal to facts.

Posted by: Gerrold at June 28, 2007 11:53 PM
Comment #224368

Gerrold, I agree 100% that this is a matter for the courts to decide, and hopefully they’ll do just that. The point I’m striving to make here is not one that in any way endorses the administration’s interpretation of the laws. Maybe they’re completely wrong, totally off-base, and have no legs to stand on whatsoever.

I’m totally willing to accept that if it’s proven, but I think there’s a strong case on either side that reasonable people could disagree about.

It’s just that when two sides disagree about the law—whether it’s two branches of the federal government or me and my neighbor—we shouldn’t just assume that one side is criminal and in need of punishment. That is, without specific instances or evidence of criminal wrong-doing which goes along with the dispute.

The “famous Nixon case” you mention is actually a very good example of a time when executive privilege was set aside. But how does that compare here in any way?

It wasn’t a policy disagreement or a difference in the interpretation of the Constitution that started the Watergate scandal. A burglary and break-in started that, and Nixon never had any grounds—nor did he even attempt to argue—that breaking into buildings and commiting burglary was a power of the President. You’re comparing apples and oranges. Nixon went down not for those acts (which to this day has never been proven he was behind) but by pretty clearly abusing his powers in trying to cover them up.

So how is this controvery with Bush comparable in any way? The administration has laid out exactly what they intended to do and why they think they had the authority to do it. It’s all out there. Indeed, how is it anything more than a simple disagreement about the law?

Posted by: Loyal Opposition at June 29, 2007 12:55 AM
Comment #224373

LO,

Well, FISA is pretty clear. It contains provisions for warrantless wiretapping even perhaps of citizens (that point is unclear to me; section 1811 in context seems vague) if Congress declares war, which it didn’t. Another debatable point, I know, but Gonzalez argues Congress didn’t. Even so, they are very limited by time. The Fourth Amendment to me mandates warrants, though I wish the construction of the sentence was clearer.

The president clearly has inherent powers (he can pardon at will, for instance), but war powers are shared with Congress; many of the president’s powers are default, I think the term is, and Congress can pass laws limiting them. I believe not many scholars think there is a good case for the president.

At what point can we say this is just a disagreement? If the president can claim a disagreement, how much can he get away with? Look, I realize the president isn’t going to be impeached or face criminal charges — if it comes down to it, and I don’t think it will, he can always exercise his pardon power. But I’d like future presidents not to abuse, imo, their office in this way.

This is particularly important since we may have entered a period of apparently perpetual war against terrorists, though I think the war rhetoric will run its course.

Posted by: Gerrold at June 29, 2007 2:25 AM
Comment #224380

LO-
Nothing to hide? I suppose you would like to give all the information about your private life, your financial information, and your personal habits. No? Of course not. We all got things we keep to ourselves, and not because we’re guilty of anything, but because knowledge gives power, and we want to keep the power over our own lives.

Most presidents of modern time have claimed executive privilege, but the trick here is that it’s being claimed in the face of what is widely considered to be an illegal act.

Legally speaking, the President can monitor foreign nationals as much as he pleases. If Bin Laden and al-Zawahiri have a conversation, and we pick it up, we don’t need a warrant. If Bin Laden calls a citizen here, we do need a warrant, because the citizen has civil liberties that must be respected. That said, it would be difficult not to get a warrant for that, and we get them retroactively by FISA regulations.

The real issue is that what the Bush administration is attempting is a broad dragnet by computer, sifting through many citizen’s information without a warrant. It’s not even certain that Bush can EVER have the authority to do that under our constitution.

Reasonable search and seizure is regarded by law as search and seizure with a warrant. That simple. Probable cause allows one to forgo the warrant, but apart from a cop seeing something, or an investigation leading people somewhere, it’s illegal for government agents to spy on people in their private communications and residences.

What Bush is attempting to argue is that his authority as Commander in Chief allows him to waive civil liberties and order warrantless searches. Warrantless searches are a crime, and apparently, one committed on such a broad scale by the Bush administration that Clinton’s perjury and Nixon’s burglary pale by comparison.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at June 29, 2007 8:02 AM
Comment #224447

Yes, I posted in the correct column. I’m just tired of all the “escape artists”. If Bush and his administration are not guilty of wrong doing, then hand over the damn papers already! It’s not that hard! For once, I’d like to see the Republicans take a stand and make me proud. Right now they aren’t doing it.

Posted by: Dana J. Tuszke at June 29, 2007 5:24 PM
Comment #224452

Why does the Congress persist in trying to see if the President may have broken an existing law while trying to protect the American people during one of the most terror-stricken times in our history?
Seems now that Democrats think the War on Terror is over and we just need to go back to our own business at hand, they ought to just pass legislation declaring that no one in the Executive Branch has power to “spy” or “wire-tap” anyone domestically or internationally, which would protect both the Americans and those who may be in contact with Americans from abroad. After all, there really is no terrorist threat anymore, and such legislation would protect the American people from such a heinous, vicious, and diabolical War Criminal like the President of the United States. Right?

JD

Posted by: JD at June 29, 2007 7:16 PM
Comment #224454

JD and others.Some current supeanas regard the potential undue political influence concerning the Justice Dept fireings. Is it the presidents job to defend us from impartial federal attorneys? How does this relate to terrorism?

Posted by: BillS at June 29, 2007 7:46 PM
Comment #224463

JD, we already have legislation protecting Americans from warrantless wiretapping with some clearly specified exceptions. It’s FISA.

Posted by: Gerrold at June 29, 2007 10:23 PM
Comment #224467

But, who can rely on FISA. What we need is Democratic witch hunts, oops, oversight to make absolutely sure that this heinous, vicious, and diabolical War Criminal that some call the President of the United States does not get his way in the guise of protecting the American people from another terrorist attack in the last five years. His success in helping to thwart such attacks and keeping the lives of American civilians safe should not matter, if he and his “snoop dogging thugs” have violated the rights of even one American on his quest to protect and to save thousands of civilians from catastrophic destruction. We simply have to find those examples of one or two or maybe even a few dozen who had their phones tapped mistakenly or unnecessarily, so that it can be proven once and for all that the President of the United States really is the diabolical War Criminal that the Democrats say he is. Yes, this should be the imperative agenda which the Democrats should be pushing to the very forefront of the political debate in this election year, because that is what the American people care the most about in this time of unprecedented threat of terror in nearly every part of the world. Because if we could just get something to stick to this President and his Vice President, to the point of impeachment, then we would be rid of the diabolical War Criminals, and interim President, Nancy Pelosi would be able to put policies in motion that would cause terrorists to love us. What the United States needs desperately in this time of global threat is total political disruption, impeachment of the President of the United States and the Vice President of the United States to show the terrorists that they have not won. We still believe in civility and the rule of law!!

JD

Posted by: JD at June 29, 2007 10:57 PM
Comment #224471

JD,

Well, I agree with you that Bush deserves impeachment, but I certainly wouldn’t call him all those names. Calm down, friend; we don’t need to resort to demonization. …

Posted by: Gerrold at June 30, 2007 12:02 AM
Comment #224490

I’m sorry Gerrold! It’s just that sometimes, kinda like Halloween, I just try to think what it would be like to really be a liberal. You know, just for fun!!!!

JD

Posted by: JD at June 30, 2007 11:27 AM
Comment #224546

Folks,
I am using a friend’s computer, so I appoligize for any grammar or spelling errors.

Dana,
Excellent post. It shows that no matter what ones’ political registration is, we can agree.

LO
You stated:

1). At least one party to a phone call or electronic communication was overseas.

2). At least one of the two was a known terrorist or terrorist associate

3). The intercept took place as part of an investigation into an imminent and quickly unfolding terrorist plot.

I have a few questions regarding these:

1. Does this include military personal stationed overseas, and also regular family contact for those who have moved here, perhaps even become citizens, calling home?

2. How does a computer know who is a terrorist? Or the computer progamer? Or anyone else for that matter? Isn’t that the whole point of wiretapping - to try to find terrorists?

3. Just what

imminent and quickly unfolding terrorist plot
was actually happening at the time the wiretapping was aurthorized, (please don’t tell me about 9/11 - that had already happened)

4. Why didn’t the President go to the FISA and get it handled legally? It’s not as if he didn’t have the time - or energy -the staff - or know the law…

Posted by: Linda H. at July 1, 2007 11:47 AM
Comment #224581

Hi JD,

You wrote….

“they ought to just pass legislation declaring that no one in the Executive Branch has power to “spy” or “wire-tap” anyone domestically or internationally, which would protect both the Americans and those who may be in contact with Americans from abroad”

And I can agree with you about wire-tapping aiding in preventing terrorist plots, to a certain extent. But at what point does it become an act of invading ones privacy? How do we determine who should be tapped and who shouldn’t, and then doesn’t it set a precedence for the gov’t to tap anyone “they speculate” may be a terrorist or plotting a terrorist act?

And if our gov’t is practicing the right measures and documenting those measures properly, why are they so reluctant to disclose what they’ve been up to? As Americans, do we not have the right to know how our gov’t is running our country?

Posted by: Dana J. Tuszke at July 2, 2007 12:13 PM
Comment #224598

Dana,

You bring up a good and intelligent question, rather than the typical “Bush is a war criminal, spying on us, and taking all our rights away”, that we generally get from the left these days. Your post could be considered a good post, but it will be used by the Democrats to increasingly characterize the Bush Administration as Nazi-like. The Democrats are not looking for whether or not mistakes were made by the administration, they are looking to find something with which to impeach the President.
Every program run by government will have abuses. Do you think the Democratic brainchild Medicare, Social Security, SSDI programs don’t have abuses? Think again. Imagine how many millions the American people are bilked out of with these programs every year, but Democrats don’t dare want Republicans searching out the number of abuses they might be able to find there now do they? I wonder why?
I have no doubt that the Democrats could find abuses within the current surveillance program perpetrated by a few. You can not control all people regardless of how big amd powerful government gets, or even how honest and integrity-beholden one might imagine and expect of their employees. Democrats have scarcely ever cared about oversight of government programs until now. The problem is if they find even the smallest abuse by a handful of people, they will characterize every individual trying to protect this country from terrorist threats as if they were Nazis trying to spy on every American. They have already done this with the program from the beginning. Do you think they would actually be fair now? They will demonize the entire Administration for political reasons, and jeopardize the successes we have had in tracking and thwarting terrorism in the past five years thanks to those who are dedicated to their jobs and the American people.
Just look at how they trashed the entire military and the operation in Iraq with only a handful of abuses at Abu Ghraib. My own Senator from Illinois stood on the Floor of the Senate and characterized our military personnel as Nazis, claiming this Administration is no better than the Saddam regime. Have you heard the attacks the Bush Administration, the American military, the Republican Party, etc. has taken from the left, and I’m not talking about the Michael Moores out there. I’m talking about Democratic Congressmen. Take a look at the hate rhetoric I posted on the Blue side, (in the posting about liberals being accused of hate), that came from those who speak for the Democratic Party.
The Democrats found one memo between Britain and the United States speaking about the need to remove Saddam by force, and they consider that undeniable proof that Bush and Cheney cooked all the intelligence in order to deceive the nation, (including them, of course) into going to War. One memo!!! This is all they base their entire impeachment movement on.
If we looked into the Clinton communications with Blair throughout the 90’s, whom by the way, portrayed himself in much tighter cohorts with Blair than Bush did, how many memos could we find about the need to remove Saddam Hussein from power? I can bet there are plenty, but we’ll never know will we. Clinton himself stated in nearly every State of the Union Address that Saddam was the greatest threat to the United States and instability in the world. Can Democrats claim that Clinton never spoke to Tony Blair or the Brits about the need to remove Saddam Hussein by force if necessary?
One memo, and Rangel and others in the House have already crafted an impeachment proceeding against the President. Do you really think these guys are going to be fair at all if they find anything they disagree with about our International Surveillance?
Barbara Boxer railed on Condeleza Rice that she had sacrificed nothing for this war, and neither had the American people, except for those that had loved ones in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Then a year later they want to impeach the President for maybe, and I say maybe, infringing upon someone’s right to not be listened to if they happen to get a call from someone suspected of having terrorist ties. Where do the Democrats get off trying to have it both ways? Criticize Rice and the American people for sacrificing nothing, then criticize the President for asking the American people to sacrifice a very little.
What a crock!!!!

JD

Posted by: JD at July 2, 2007 8:17 PM
Comment #224602

JD,

As you know, it’s far more serious than you suggest. We’re talking about a president who has publically acknowledged warrantless domestic spying on citizens. On the face of it, this is a violation of the Constitution and a violation of the president’s oath of office. It certainly violates Congress’ intent as codified in FISA. Given that, Congress would be derelict in its duty if it did not investigate. Ultimately the Supreme Court may have to decide whether our president has the power to eavesdrop on American citizens without a court order. I would hope that you, like me, wants the letter of the Constitution abided by. As far as I’m concerned, whatever political motivation some may have is irrelevant; this transcends political gamemanship. I’m sorry you don’t see that.

Posted by: Gerrold at July 2, 2007 9:15 PM
Comment #224605

Yeah, Gerrold, let’s discuss the serious of it shall we?

“Bush added: “Yesterday the existence of this secret program was revealed in media reports, after being improperly provided to news organizations. As a result, our enemies have learned information they should not have, and the unauthorized disclosure of this effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk.”
“He acknowledged during the address that he allowed the NSA “to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations.”
(CNN- Dec., 2005)

“Vice President Dick Cheney and Bush chief of staff Andrew Card went to the Capitol Friday to meet with congressional leaders and the top members of the intelligence committees, who are often briefed on spy agencies’ most classified programs. (((The Times said they had been previously told of the program. Members and their aides would not discuss the subject of the closed sessions Friday.)))”
(USAToday)

It was so serious that the President had started this program a couple of weeks after the 9/11 attack to monitor calls and Emails of those suspected of contact with known Al Qaida operatives.
He briefed members of the Intelligence Committees in both Parties in Congress that he was implementing the program. It was highly classified to combat terror in the U.S. and abroad.

Someone who was briefed obviously leaked this information to the New York Times, who held onto the information for over a year while the program was reauthorized over thirty times due to NSA investigations into new threats, obviously with Congressional knowledge on both sides of the aisle.

After holding the information for a year, the New York Times thought it was in the people’s best interests to know what was going on, so it ran the story, (surprise, surprise) the weekend before the vote to reauthorize the Patriot Act. This was at the time when Democrats began coining the phrase, “King George”. Yeah, Gerrold, that information was so serious the New York Times had to hold it for over a year waiting for the most politically expedient moment for the Democratic Party, right?

“As far as I’m concerned, whatever political motivation some may have is irrelevant; this transcends political gamemanship.”
Posted by: Gerrold at July 2, 2007 09:15 PM

Oh, Gerrold, if only this were true!

JD

Posted by: JD at July 2, 2007 10:21 PM
Comment #224611

JD,

Do you believe the president should abide by the Constitution or not? If you don’t believe he should abide by the letter, at least argue that the executive branch can disregard Constitutional protections whenever Congress authorizes force. All this other political silliness is irrelevant.

Posted by: Gerrold at July 2, 2007 10:47 PM
Comment #224618

I’m saying that this is a political witch hunt to take the President down. I’m saying that the Congress of the United States, both Parties and Houses, knew about it from the get go. I’m saying that the Democratic Party with the help of the New York Times set the President up after a year of running the program without apparently any dissent from the Democrats, until of course the reauthorization of the Patriot Act. I’m saying that after the release of the article by the New York Times, the Democrats put on their outraged, completely astonished faces for pure political purposes. I’m saying the liberal elite in Hollywood ought to give all the Democrats, especially those sitting on the Intelligence Committees an Oscar for their performances.
I’m also saying that the President of the United States made a decision to authorize the intercepting of these communications when we were attacked, the equivalent of which we had not experienced since WWII. I am saying that I give the President the benefit of the doubt when he is weighing the lives of thousands of Americans after an attack on his country against the risk of intercepting someone’s call unnecessarily. Especially if he believes it is in his power to do so in times of war. It is uncanny that people would criticize the President for making this decision to put his neck on the line trying to protect his people from further attacks. But, this incessant venomous hatred aimed at the President and the Vice-President to depict them as dictatorial, Nazi-like commandants coming from the left is just political bull! I certainly believe in the rule of law, but I believe it is based upon intent.
When Clinton was investigated for impeachment and ultimately tried, it was based on the overwhelming evidence that he “intentionally” deceived people, lied under oath, covered up facts, and obstructed an investigation in which he was accused of the human rights violation of sexual harrassment. There was criminal intent there all along.
Where is the criminal intent that G.W. Bush was just waiting for the opportunity like 9/11 to start up a spy program to target the American people, the Democrats, etc.? His intent was to protect the American people. If the Supreme Court says he interpreted the law wrongly in his zeal to protect the people, I can live with it. But this witch hunt, and demonization by the left is just plain wrong!!

JD

Posted by: JD at July 2, 2007 11:42 PM
Comment #224619

You’ll not find me defending Clinton’s prejury, nor will you find me defending any Constitutional abuses.

Posted by: Gerrold at July 3, 2007 12:13 AM
Comment #224727

I did not expect that you would, Gerrold. You seem like a reasonable person. But, it makes me mad when the Democrats have been talking about all of this deception; (ie; 1. they didn’t have any information before authorizing the use of force in Iraq,{BULL!!!} 2. the President promised he would try diplomacy before jumping headlong into war without any coalition forces, but he lied to them {BULL!!! He did try, both he and Sec. of State Colin Powell} 3. the program is a domestic spy program which Democrats knew nothing about {BULL!!! on both counts} 4. the President’s policies are to torture our enemies and citizens for information {BULL!!!} 5. the President knew about 9/11 and let it happen {BULL!!!} 6. the towers were detonated by demolition experts hoping that they would fall {BULL!!!}

The list goes on and on. Talk about deception! Maybe we need an investigation into what Congressional Democrats knew, and when they knew it. They were obviously aware of the wire-tapping program and briefed in the Intelligence Committee for over a year with apparently no dissent, that is, until the vote for the reauthorization of the Patriot Act.
Let’s produce and review the actual information the Democrats had access to in making their decisions regarding the use of force in Iraq. They said they had almost none. OK, Democrats, pull out your records.
Were the Democrats simply sitting up on Capital Hill collecting their paychecks every week and seeing nothing, hearing nothing, and saying nothing, like the three proverbial chimps?
G.W. Bush has carried out no deception comparable to that which the Democratic Party are acting out on the Washington stage with every interview and photo-op on a daily basis.
I’ve visited the blogs of actual Congressional Democrats who allow the proliferation of the “detonation conspiracy theory” of 9/11 by their constituents. These guys have absolutely no shame!
There are Congressional Democrats that, even though they have held no hearings or investigations, have impeachment proceedings “and their charges” posted on their Congressional websites.
There have been no hearings and yet there are, I believe at last count, eight Democratically controlled State Legislatures, including Illinois, California, Vermont, and others, that have called for the impeachment of President Bush and Vice President Cheney. This is not an investigation. This spectacle is reminiscent of a South Carolina lynch mob.
And the Democrats talk about deception!!!

JD

Posted by: JD at July 3, 2007 7:07 PM
Comment #224746

JD,

Frankly, I’m tired of all political b.s. The Right is not an angel on that score, either. We get so passionate about the talking points of the day. Meanwhile, we do face serious problems, and the executive branch’s carving out special rules for itself is one of them.

I was impressed by the article that started this thread because it is rare for a partisan to look unflinchingly at his or her own party.

Posted by: Gerrold at July 3, 2007 9:14 PM
Comment #224774

Gerrold,

That is exactly my point, as well. I’m tired of all the B.S. too, the likes of which I have just pointed out.

I simply do not believe that just because an individual points out the lies and deceptive practices of the left, that individual is some brain-washed partisan Bushie. However, if an individual happens to agree with the left, they are somehow enlightened and open-minded. That is not an attack on Dana, as I said this was a good post earlier. I am simply pointing out that Bush’s reasons for doing some of these things are easily understood considering the events that played out following 9/11.

The behavior of the Democratic Party and those that speak for them is despicable, beyond the pale partisan, and I would think embarrassing, even if I were a Democrat.

I don’t agree with everything Bush did, but I certainly understand his reasons for doing much of them. And it wasn’t to intentuionally throw out the Constitution and deliberately break the law, as the Democrats depict. This is not rocket science, and should be easily understood by any American!

JD

Posted by: JD at July 4, 2007 10:28 AM
Comment #224775

My Comment here would be this: If political parties want to be able to sell their message and their constituency to those outside their base, they must be willing to acknowledge and respect the opinion of those beyond their normal political base. The parties must act more like magnetic attractors of policy and public opinion than brute force manipulators of it, because in the end, it’s very easy for partisan groups to becomes self indulgent, if they don’t feel they have to justify themselves to anybody else.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at July 4, 2007 10:30 AM
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