Why?

Bush Addresses Uproar Over Spying

Bush mounted a vigorous defense of his order authorizing warrantless eavesdropping on overseas telephone calls and e-mail of U.S. citizens with suspected ties to terrorists. He contended that his “obligation to protect you” against attack justified a circumvention of the traditional process in a fast-moving, high-tech battle with a shadowy enemy.

Why?

Bush grew testy when asked if he is presiding over the expansion of “unchecked power” by the executive branch. “To say ‘unchecked power’ basically is ascribing some kind of dictatorial position to the president, which I strongly reject,” he responded sharply, waving his finger.

WHY?

Asked what limits he sees on a president’s power in a time of war, Bush said a few key congressional leaders were briefed on the domestic spying program and his administration reviews its own actions periodically. “I just described limits on this particular program,” he said. “That’s what’s important for the American people to understand. I am doing what you expect me to do, and at the same time safeguarding the civil liberties of the country.”

WHY?

In asserting the legality of the program, Bush cited his power under Article II of the Constitution as well as the resolution authorizing force passed by Congress after the Sept. 11 attacks. The resolution never mentions such surveillance, but Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said it is implicit and cited last year’s Supreme Court decision in Hamdi vs. Rumsfeld , which found that the force resolution effectively authorized Bush to detain U.S. citizens indefinitely as enemy combatants.

WHY?

“This is not a backdoor approach,” Gonzales said at the White House. “We believe Congress has authorized this kind of surveillance.” He acknowledged that the administration discussed introducing legislation explicitly permitting such domestic spying but decided against it because it “would be difficult, if not impossible” to pass.

WHY?

Bush and Gonzales maintained that the program is not unchecked because select congressional leaders have been briefed on it more than a dozen times. But several of those who received classified briefings objected yesterday that it hardly constituted oversight. In fact, those lawmakers said they were sworn to secrecy, barred from disclosing the program even to their colleagues and staff, and therefore unable to block the president’s actions.

WHY?

At his news conference, [Bush] said that although he had not issued an order, he presumed the Justice Department has opened an inquiry into who leaked the information about the NSA program. “It was a shameful act for someone to disclose this very important program in a time of war,” he said. “The fact that we’re discussing this program is helping the enemy.”

WHY?

WHY ARE THESE DESPICABLE PEOPLE IN CHARGE OF OUR COUNTRY?

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2 Responses to Why?

  1. David Thiel says:

    Bush and his defenders stress the legality of the spy program, yet for me the real question goes well beyond whether it adheres to the letter of the law. The question is whether we want the office of the president, whomever may be in power at the moment, to wield the power to secretly investigate any U.S. citizen. I particularly liked Mark Evanier’s take on it:

    I think every Republican who wants to defend Bush on this one should be forced to utter the sentence, “I would not hesitate to see President Hillary Clinton have the same authority.”

  2. Jeff says:

    Bush claims that only people with known ties to Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups are being spyed on. If that’s true, then how effing hard would it be to get a warrant from the secret warrant court that rarely turns them down? (At least Bush knows someone with ties to Al Qaeda when he sees one…)