Dear Mr. President...the warrantless spying issue, one more time
By Lee Russ
Friday, August 18, 2006 at 05:21 PM
A Federal District Court decided yesterday that the warrantless surveillance program being conducted by this administration through the NSA is unconstitutional. If you haven't seen the opinion, a PDF copy is here.
Read the following Q&A with the President regarding that court decision and see if you can find even one point bothered to even address whether the program is constitutional, apart from the bare assertion that it is:
Q Mr. President, the federal ruling yesterday that declared your terrorist surveillance program unconstitutional -- the judge wrote that it was never the intent of the framers to give the President such unfettered control. How do you respond, sir, to opponents who say that this ruling is really the first nail in the coffin of your administration's legal strategy in the war on terror?
THE PRESIDENT: I would say that those who herald this decision simply do not understand the nature of the world in which we live. You might remember last week working with the -- with people in Great Britain, we disrupted a plot. People were trying to come and kill people.
This country of ours is at war, and we must give those whose responsibility it is to protect the United States the tools necessary to protect this country in a time of war. The judge's decision was a -- I strongly disagree with that decision, strongly disagree. That's why I instructed the Justice Department to appeal immediately, and I believe our appeals will be upheld.
I made my position clear about this war on terror. And by the way, the enemy made their position clear yet again when we were able to stop them. And I -- the American people expect us to protect them, and therefore I put this program in place. We believe -- strongly believe it's constitutional.
And if al Qaeda is calling in to the United States, we want to know why they're calling. And so I made my position clear. It would be interesting to see what other policymakers -- how other policymakers react.
Listen, thank you all very much.
This would be hilarious if our fundamental rights, and the preservation of a democratic republic, were not seriously threatened by this particular brand of dark humor.
Let's take a detailed look at this intricate argument, point by point:
- [W]e disrupted a plot. People were trying to come and kill people.
- This country of ours is at war.
- [W]e must give those whose responsibility it is to protect the United States the tools necessary to protect this country in a time of war.
- I made my position clear about this war on terror.
- [T]he American people expect us to protect them, and therefore I put this program in place.
- [I]f al Qaeda is calling in to the United States, we want to know why they're calling.
- I made my position clear.
- It would be interesting to see what other policymakers -- how other policymakers react.
He has once again made his position "clear." Terrific. If this was a dictatorship, that would be all the reasoning we need. But...it ain't. Yet. But stay tuned.
People are trying to kill us, the people want to be kept safe, we're at war. Again, terrific, glad to know that the leader of the country is at least aware of these basic facts. Now please take a second or two, or a year if that's what you need, and tell us exactly how those facts make it constitutional to conduct surveillance inside the United States without any objective oversight or warrant as the constitution requires. And as federal statute requires. And as the founding fathers thought prudent in order to prevent governmental abuse of the citizenry.
Dear Mr. President:
Come on, you're the President for God's sake, grab one or more of the thousands of educated flunkies at your disposal and have them articulate for the country why you're a law abiding head of the Executive branch rather than a power-grabbing threat to personal freedom.
Isn't it worth your time? Or have you already done that, only to learn that not a one can come up with anything rational that will justify this program?
Still Very Worried in Vermont