Wednesday, January 11, 2006Take a look at Dick Polman's article on domestic spying.
Here are some highlights:
"How does Bush's claim of "inherent authority" square with Bush's claim that he is a "strict constructionist"? A literal reading of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) reveals that it is "the exclusive means by which electronic surveillance ... may be conducted" and requires that a president "during time of war" can conduct warrantless spying for a maximum of only 15 days, after which he must obtain court approval. And in a literal reading of the 2001 resolution authorizing Bush to use military force against terrorists, there are no references to domestic eavesdropping and no provisions setting aside the 1978 law."
"The president's lawyers stated, in a Dec. 22 letter to the Congress, that Bush ignored the 1978 law because he deemed it too slow. They wrote: "FISA could not have provided the speed and agility required." But how does that square with the fact that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act gives the president a 15-day grace period to initiate surveillance - and that FISA has rarely been an impediment? Between 1979 and 2002, the foreign intelligence surveillance court approved 15,264 warrants. It rejected four."
""President Bush presents a clear and present danger to the rule of law. ... Congress should insist the president cease the spying unless or until a proper statute is enacted, or face possible impeachment." Those are the words of conservative Bruce Fein, a deputy attorney general under Ronald Reagan, who contends that Bush has explicitly broken the 1978 federal law that requires that a president obtain warrants."
Read it all HERE