Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Meanwhile, Back at the National Surveillance State . . .


The Bush Administration has now decided that it is not bound by its earlier promise to use the FISA court to obtain warrants for domestic surveillance, the New York Times reports. As you may recall, in January, the Administration attempted to defuse the crisis over the constitutionality of its spying on United States persons by agreeing to submit requests for such surveillance to the FISA court under a novel procedure whose terms it did not fully disclose.

Now, it seems that even this is not enough for our Dear Leader. Taking a cue from the North Korean playbook (make an agreement, then renege at your leisure), he has announced a new diktat through his director of national intelligence, Michael McConnell: Although the President currently abides by the warrant requirement, he has inherent constitutional authority to disregard FISA at any time and at his sole discretion. He merely deigns to apply for warrants at his pleasure. This is, of course, the implausible argument that got him into legal hot water in the first place.

Perhaps the President thinks that no one will notice that he has gone back on his promise to maintain some semblance of the rule of law. Sorry, we noticed.

And, in a new entrant for the chutzpah award, the Administration is simultaneously asking Congress for a revamping of FISA to give the President added powers while refusing to explain exactly what it has been doing or what it would be able to do under the new bill.

The Administration, after reneging on its previous commitments to abide by FISA, is now asking Congress to trust it. After what it has done, would you trust this Administration?


When exactly did the President promise to use FISA warrants to conduct telecommunications surveillance on al Qaeda and its allies?

Reportedly Justice convinced the FISC to essentially ratify the NSA Terrorist Surveillance Program. That is all.

In any case, this "revelation" sounds more like a tactic to pressure Congress into updating FISA when many politicians may wish to punt on the issue after the FISC court deal.

I'm as distrustful of President bush as anyone, but I don't think there is really anything new in this story. Even when AG Gonzales announced the new FISA warrant procedure, he told Congress the President had not given up his claim that he possesses constitutional authority to ignore FISA if he chooses.

Of course, Bush and his lawyers are still quite afraid to argue that claim forthrightly in court.

Someone needs to demand they keep their hands in view when they speak, so we'll know when their fingers are crossed....

Either that or subpoena 'em and put 'em under oath.


"Bart" DePalma:

In any case, this "revelation" sounds more like a tactic to pressure Congress into updating FISA....

No. It's just the maladministration's usual middle-finger hand wave.

"Bart" forgets the authorita... -- umm, sorry, "Republicans" -- aren't running the show any more. No more "USA PATRIOT" 'grab bags' for whatever sh*te the Republicans need to 'fix' (not to mention the little 'unconfirmed interim appointments' kerfluffle)....


Post a Comment

Older Posts
Newer Posts