Monday, December 19


The attitude of the wingnuts towards Bush's clearly illegal surveillance of American citizens seems to be (1) We'd rather have the president break the law than have another 9/11; (2) Congress knew all about the program, the president said so; (3) It takes too long (hours, even!) to appeal to the FISA court for a warrant, precious hours when a plot could be hatched and launched! and (4) attacks have been thwarted through Dubya's illegal actions, so they're justified.

How many terrorists have you heard of being arrested in the U.S. lately? How many "thwarted attacks" have you heard detailed? Seems to me the administration is more than happy to trumpet any accomplishments in that area, even if they have to exaggerate them or make them up out of whole cloth. Sure seems fishy to me that we haven't heard about these.

Repeatedly this morning the spokespersons for the administration, Alberto Gonzales and the Chimpster himself during his press conference, asserted that his authority to conduct this domestic spying program was derived from the vote by Congress to authorize Bush to use force in the war on terror, that the same vote gave the president the power to allow such wiretaps.

You can bet if Bill Clinton or any future Democratic president interprets his powers so broadly there'll be a whole new attitude on the part of the right. But don't, as did one intrepid reporter, even suggest that THIS president is "dictatorial" or unworthy of unlimited power. And don't ask him about those "secret prisons" where "people were tortured" -- that only happened in Iraq under Saddam...OUR secret prisons and OUR torture are justified by 9/11. "It's a different world and this is a different kind of war."

David Gergen was on this morning saying this whole thing smacks of the Nixon days. The FISA law was specifically set up to prevent these kinds of abuses, he said.

If the president thought FISA was insufficient to protect Americans from attack, why hasn't he, in the three years since the program began, asked Congress to change the law?

Dubya got a little testy when asked several times if he would cooperate with Congressional hearings into the issue. "I TOLD the CONGRESS!" he snapped. "They were told 12 times!" Another theme he repeated ad nauseum was, "It's my job to protect you, and I'm going to do that. I'm also going to protect civil liberties by uh, I'm going to protect civil liberties."

Sorry, sport, the American people are not the same trusting fools they were a few years ago.

UPDATE: Forgot one fun thing during the presidential press conference today. The Shrub called the NSA "NASA." Freudian slip?

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Blogger mikevotes said...

I watched that press conference this morning and got a "but I did it all for you" flash.

I really think there's more to this story, but I don't know what it is. There is no logical reason to have done this this way rather than getting retroactive wiretaps. My guess is that the people who were monitored are people that wouldn't have been approved by a court.

I've read a couple of bloggers who've theorized that it might be reporters who had contacts with Al Qaeda people. Don't know just an interesting idea.


3:25 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

I agree with you Mike that the people being monitored may not have passed approval with the court. It makes sense, and Bush probably decided to take the risk anyhow since there hasn't been much government oversight of his administration in the last few years (a handy little perk when one party has total control).

4:13 PM  
Blogger Motherlode said...

The story makes absolutely no sense otherwise (that the Americans subject to the surveillance wouldn't pass muster with the FISA court). But almost ANYONE would pass muster with the court (even a "ham sandwich") if you take its past actions into account. I tend to think it's less likely journalists and more likely political "enemies" and/or war protesters. Considering the Pentagon's monitoring of little old Quaker ladies, nothing is too bizarre for this administration.

9:24 PM  

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