Last Thursday I put up a post about giving up on the “Impeach Bush” movement and starting a “Too Dumb to Lead” campaign to remove him from office. Yes, it was a bit of a sad joke about how no matter what Bush and his Administration does, no matter how much they lie about it, no matter how many people are killed, it’s okay with the American people ’cause, well… nobody’s been blowin’ him.
Two days later The New York Times released a story about how the President has been authorizing the NSA to secretly spy on American citizens without any judicial review. (They’ve been sitting on the story for over a year! [Read about that and then try to stop slamming your head into the wall.] Hmmm… I wonder how that story might have affected the election if it had been released in October 2004? Damn that “liberal” media.)
So what did Bush have to say during today’s press conference about the leak that led to the NYT story?
Q Mr. President, thank you, sir. Are you going to order a leaks investigation into the disclosure of the NSA surveillance program? And why did you skip the basic safeguard of asking courts for permission for these intercepts?
THE PRESIDENT: Let me start with the first question. There is a process that goes on inside the Justice Department about leaks, and I presume that process is moving forward. My personal opinion is it was a shameful act for someone to disclose this very important program in a time of war. The fact that we’re discussing this program is helping the enemy.
The president thinks it’s “shameful” for someone to tell people that he broke the laws spelled out in The Constitution that he swore to uphold when he took the oath of office-TWICE.
Okay so forget the “Too Dumb to Lead” campaign. We are back on the impeachment campaign. No matter what kind of excuses his puppy Gonzales invents to defend his master, spying on American citizens is illegal. The Constitution forbids it, and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act forbids it.
Here’s what Robert Byrd had to say about it today:
Now comes the stomach-churning revelation through an executive order, that President Bush has circumvented both the Congress and the courts. He has usurped the Third Branch of government – the branch charged with protecting the civil liberties of our people – by directing the National Security Agency to intercept and eavesdrop on the phone conversations and e-mails of American citizens without a warrant, which is a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment. He has stiff-armed the People’s Branch of government. He has rationalized the use of domestic, civilian surveillance with a flimsy claim that he has such authority because we are at war. The executive order, which has been acknowledged by the President, is an end-run around the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which makes it unlawful for any official to monitor the communications of an individual on American soil without the approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.
The American public is given vague and empty assurances by the President that amount to little more than “trust me.” But, we are a nation of laws and not of men. Where is the source of that authority he claims? I defy the Administration to show me where in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or the U.S. Constitution, they are allowed to steal into the lives of innocent America citizens and spy.
Bush argued that he had to act fast, so there was no time for judicial review. No time to follow the rule of law and get a warrant. But, as David Sirota pointed out today,”…the law currently allows Bush to order surveillance as fast as he possibly can, and allows surveillance operations to take place immediately. The only thing that is required is a court-issued warrant that can be used retroactively within 72 hours of when the operation started.”
Bush was asked about the ability to get a retroactive warrant during his press conference today:
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Getting back to the domestic spying issue for a moment. According to FISA’s own records, it’s received nearly 19,000 requests for wiretaps or search warrants since 1979, rejected just five of them. It also operates in secret, so security shouldn’t be a concern, and it can be applied retroactively. Given such a powerful tool of law enforcement is at your disposal, sir, why did you see fit to sidetrack that process?
THE PRESIDENT: We used the process to monitor. But also, this is a different — a different era, a different war, Stretch. So what we’re — people are changing phone numbers and phone calls, and they’re moving quick. And we’ve got to be able to detect and prevent. I keep saying that, but this is a — it requires quick action.
David Sirota had this to say about the Bush’s deceit:
This is a form of lying that is worse than even the day-to-day lying that goes on in politics. This is premeditated lying – lying where everyone in the room knows a calculated lie is being told; lying where the facts invoked in the very question asked is patently ignored. How could he possibly cite the need for speed as the reason for refusing to get search warrants, when those warrants can be issued retroactively, and thus do not slow down operations in any way at all?
There really is only one explanation that a sane, rational person could come up with: The surveillance operations Bush is ordering are so outrageous, so unrelated to the War on Terror and such an unconstitutional breach of authority that he knows that even a court that has rejected just 4 warrant requests in 25 years will reject what he’s doing. All you have to do is look at recent news reports about federal law enforcement and military assets being deployed against domestic anti-war and peace groups to know that this is well within what the Bush White House sees as acceptable behavior.
So why does the Bush White House think that what they are doing is acceptable behavior? Because there are so many stooooopid people in this country that think the same thing, and they are allowed to vote! You think I’m kidding? Here’s a quote from one of them that I got off the This Modern World site today:
We’ve got to give the President the flexibility to protect me. I use my cell phone all the time and I don’t have any problem with the folks listening to the conversations I have because they’re appropriate conversations.
According to Tom Tomorrow’s transcript of the show, the live audience at the Fox News Dayside program applauded that statement. What a bunch of dumbasses.
We can only hope that rational minds will prevail and the public will demand hearings that lead to the impeachment of President Bush for his egregious misuse of power. Either that or he’ll get caught having sex with his puppy. Now that’s something that would get the attention of the American people. All this other stuff is just politics…