Tuesday, February 07, 2006* CONSTITUTIONAL LAW SCHOLARS AND FORMER GOV. OFFICIALS:
"Although the program's secrecy prevents us from being privy to all of its details the Justice Department's defense of what it concedes was secret and warrantless electronic surveillance of persons within the United States fails to identify any plausible legal authority for such surveillance. Accordingly the program appears on its face to violate existing law." ("On NSA Spying: A Letter to Congress," The New York Review of Books, 2/9/06)
* SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM:
"If he has the authority to go around the FISA court, which is a court to accommodate the law of the war of terror, the FISA Act was created a court set up by the chief justice of the United States to allow a rapid response to requests for surveillance activity in the war on terror. I don't know of any legal basis to go around that. There may be some, but I'm not aware of it." (http://thinkprogress.org/2005/12/18/no-legal-basis/)
* SENATOR ARLEN SPECTER:
"'There is no doubt that this is inappropriate,'said Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), who favored the Patriot Act renewal but said the NSA issue provided valuable ammunition for its opponents." ("On Hill, Anger and Calls for Hearings Greet News ofStateside Surveillance," Washington Post, 12/17/05)
* GROVER NORQUIST:
"Referring to what some see as a conflict between fighting vicious terrorists and upholding all civil liberties, Norquist said: 'It's not either/or. If the president thinks he needs different tools, pass a law to get them. Don't break the existing laws.' " ("Political opposites aligned against Bush wiretaps," San Francisco Chronicle, 1/26/06)
* JOHN MCCAIN:
"Wallace: But you do not believe that currently he has the legal authority to engage in these warrantless wiretaps.
McCain: You know, I don't think so, but why not come to Congress?" (Fox News Sunday, 12/22/05)
* CHUCK HAGEL:
"Chuck Hagel said he is looking forward to congressional hearings on the legal justification for the secretive National Security Agency program. He remains unconvinced that Bush could allow the program without fully consulting with the courts or Congress." ("Hagel UrgesBush to Explain Spy Program," Associated Press, 1/29/06) "If he needs more authority, he just can't unilaterally decide that that 1978 law is out of date and he will be the guardian of America and he will violate that law." (This Week, 1/29/06)
* CONGRESSMAN BOB BARR:
"It's bad to be spying on Americans apparently in violation of federal laws against doing it without court order. So it's bad all around, and we need to get to the bottom of this. . .And if we're going to say, well, simply because some people think that this is a new threat, we're going to throw the constitution and specific laws out the window and let a president rule by the seat of his pants, is extremely dangerous, and it's uncalled for. The president had full authority to have done this under the law. He apparently chose not to, and we need to find out why? . . . Well, I am because the law provides very vast authority, and for the president, or Frank Gaffney to justify the president saying even though I have the authority under the law to do it, I have to take certain steps, I'm just going to ignore that, puts us in a situation where we've seen in decades past, with Mr. Nixon, with President Lincoln and others, President Truman, when they overstep their bounds, they need to be held accountable.