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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Bush Fisks Feingold

Hat Tip to Little Miss Chatterbox on this one. I hadn't had a chance to watch the President's press conference today, or read the transcript until just now.

LMC let me know about Bush giving it to the Democrats on the suveillance program, so I check the transcript, and sure enough, he calls them out. I noticed this was completely absent in the Washington Post and NY Times coverage other than the transcript.

(From the Washington Post Transcript, I put the line in red that should make many smile):

QUESTION: Thank you, sir. On the subject of the terrorist surveillance program, not to change the (OFF-MIKE) bipartisanship, but there have been now three sponsors to a measure to censure you for the implementation of that program.
The primary sponsor, Russ Feingold, has suggested that impeachment is not out of the question. And on Sunday, the number two Democrat in the Senate refused to rule that out pending an investigation.

QUESTION: What, sir, do you think the impact of a discussion of impeachment and censure does to you and this office and to the nation during a time of war and in the context of the election?

BUSH: I think during these difficult times -- and they are difficult when we are at war -- the American people expect there to be an honest and open debate without needless partisanship. And that's how I view it.

I did notice that nobody from the Democratic Party has actually stood up and called for the getting rid of the terrorist surveillance program. You know, if that's what they believe, if people in the party believe that, then they ought to stand up and say it. They ought to stand up and say, "The tools we're using to protect the American people shouldn't be used." They ought to take their message to the people and say, "Vote for me. I promise we're not going to have a terrorist surveillance program."

That's what they ought to be doing. That's part of what is an open and honest debate.

Senators Feingold and Durbin, are you going to take the President's advice? Are either of you willing to say we shouldn't have a program of surveillance against terrorists and their accomplices here?

Followup- Dana Milbank, in his Washington Sketch column ignores this passage also. One would almost think the MSM is conspiring not to push Bush's challenge to the Democrats.

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Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox said...

Thanks, I'm glad you liked that. I heard it on Rush and I just loved it!! I took a mental note of it because I'm preparing a post on Bush and the war and I thought it was awesome.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

The transcript seems to be the only place to find it. No one in the msm seems to be covering.

7:49 PM  
Blogger Lone Pony said...

It's pretty sick that they think President Bush is a bigger threat than the terrorists.

8:39 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

He's only a threat to them because he's keeping them from the White House. :)

9:46 PM  
Blogger Repack Rider said...

We need 99 more like Russ Feingold! He seems to be the only senator with a sense of moral clarity, and who understands that if Bill Clinton was not above the law, George W. should not be above the Bill of Rights.

When the president of the United States admits that he has violated both federal statutes and the Constitution because it is "inconvenient" to obey the law, what should we do about it? Censure isn't enough, but it's a start.

Impeachment is obviously too good for Bush, but it's all we get to do to him.

12:24 AM  
Blogger Poser said...

Well, as someone who's apparently a "liberal" now because I do not support the President, I'll tell you why I don't want the terrorist surveillence/illegal wiretapping program to be stopped. Because it probably works, and because we need to spy on terrorists.

The problem isn't the program, it's the implementation. It's a President who feels that he is the sole branc of government. It's a President who says that even though the Fourth Amendment says that the people (American citizens only here) may not be searched without a warrant, he doesn't need a warrant.

I really don't give a damn who's in the White House. As long as you keep backing "your team" (whatever party you belong to) regardless of if they're right or wrong, we all lose. CP, you're dodging the point. No one wants the program to stop, we want it to be done in accordance with the law and the United States Constitution.

12:31 AM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Repack, the problem with your thinking is that half the legal scholars that have testified to the Senate committees on this believe it to be perfectly legal.

Poser, If you read Duggan, you find that the courts have found (for years) that in the arena of National Security, when someone is dealing with a foriegn entity or terrorist (they are mentioned there, too) some of the 4th Amendment issues become moot.

3:58 AM  
Blogger The Conservative UAW Guy said...

I'm sure poser was calling for Clinton's head on a pike during filegate then, as that was blatantly illegal.

Good for you, Poser!!

Thanks for brining this to our attention, CP!

5:18 AM  
Blogger NEO, SOC said...

What drives me up the wall is that thought I do not completely agree with all the tenets of this program, my beef is with the program not the President. As much as I didn't care for Clinton, I understand that if he implemented the same plan, my issues would be with the program not him (though he has meritted America's disdain for his licentious behaviour).

7:36 AM  
Blogger Poser said...

Actually, I was on Clinton for a lot of things. In my opinion, the worst thing Clinton did was bomb the pharmaceutical factory in Africa. That should have been his number one impeachable offense.

I haven't been able to read Duggan because I can't find case law online that goes back that far. I'll keep looking, though, so I can check it out.

10:59 AM  
Blogger MDConservative said...

I just, I don't know what to say to people that don't understand the fact that it was a classified program, if the entire of Congress was briefed it would have been leaked that very same day.

If I hear one single more Senator on the left shrug their shoulders and say "well it was classified, there was nothing I could do about it." Then it is out and they are all over it. They applaud the people on the inside that leak classified material as whistleblowers, they write laws to protect them.

If this was such a huge violation of our rights, why did not a single Senator or Representative stand up? They were not willing to put their neck on the line. That leaves you with 3 conclusions:

1) It is legal, and now they are solely going for political points.

2) They didn't say anything because they are not worried about your rights.

3) They place their job and place in society above YOUR rights that are being “violated.”

If you want to charge POTUS you must be ready to charge every single Congress Member (current and past) that was briefed; therefore must be considered complicit in this! Note that includes just as many Democrats as Republicans. BTW, the answer is 1.

12:10 PM  
Blogger Poser said...

The Fourth Amendment becomes moot when you're dealing with terrorists? Why not the whole Constitution, CP. Why not black out everything except Article II?

If you're such a coward that you would give up the Constitution in order to catch a terrorist, then move to France. They let their government do anything it wants.

2:09 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Poser, I suggest you read a few of the court decisions where that determination has been made, and why it was.

A good starting point would be the recent (2002) case involving wiretaps and FISA. It's a 56 page read, but has some fascinating history in the arena of national security, the 4th Amendment, etc.

here is the link

As for the "coward" comment, I'm not a coward, and since I don't make or receive phone calls from overseas terrorists, none of my rights (a right to plot to kill??) are infringed on.

MDC, I agree with your assessment.

5:35 PM  
Blogger Poser said...

Sorry for the coward comment. I always forget that (slightly wicked) humor doesn't translate well into text.

I'm no lawyer, but I've skimmed through the opinion. All I see inolving terrorists is that if the FISA process is initiated properly (with the more limited requirements for espionage), evidence from that surveillance can be used in a criminal investigation, even though the process for surveillance in a criminal investigation is much more strict. I think I can fully accept that decision.

The main point of the opinion seems to be a Fourth Amendment challenge to FISA. The ACLU seems to have said that FISA violated Title III requirements that a warrant be granted only if there is "probable cause for belief that an individual is committing, has committed, or is about to commit" a specified crime. FISA warrants only require that the application show that there is probable cause to believe that the person is an agent of a foreign power (including terrorists). The opinion holds that FISA warrants are okay, and that they can be used in criminal prosecutions as long as the warrant was originally granted for espionage, not criminal investigation.

So I think, if anything, this opinion supports the idea that you need a warrant from the FISA before you can wiretap a USP.

Either way, this case only round-about deals with the issues involved here. In fact, they don't deal at all with the most germane arguement. The problem is providing FISA with a Fourth Amendment challenge, it provides the President with a Fourth Amendment challenge, as well as a criminal accusation. The Supreme Court really needs to get involved with this one.

8:58 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Poser, read the in re:sealed case 02-001 issue from the FISA Court of Review (the guys who review FISA).

They site all the case law that states a USP working with a foriegn power/international terrorist can be tapped without a warrant.

ACLU filed an amicus brief on that case, which the FCR found FISA ruled wrong, & the 4th amendment rights of a USP weren't violated, in accordance with a ton of settled case law.

The supreme court refused to hear further appeal, basically settling the issue.

Now, if they want to tap a USP, without evidence or knowledge they are working as or with a foriegn agent, then they need a court order from a regular court.

10:18 PM  
Blogger Poser said...

I'm done reading case law. This is getting more involved than my uncompleted engineering degree can handle. The engineer in me says that when it's this complicated, it won't work (meaning your argument of case law is complicated compared to a simple reading of the Fourth Amendment and FISA), but law is a different animal, and I concede that.

If you're right, then parts of FISA itself are unconstitutional. Because if they want to tap a USP without evidence or knowledge they are working as or with a foreign agent, then FISA can't approve a warrant. That's beside the point, though.

IF you are right (and I don't concede that) then the President's program will only be lawful if they can prove that there is probable cause to believe that a USP is working with a foreign or terrorist entity. But who do they have to prove that to if there is no court of review? Themselves? Separation of powers?

There is also the issue of the details of the wiretapping program. Some media reports claim that the agency tapped phones in a very "whatever we can find" fashion.

Maybe I'm less apologetic because I do make phone calls overseas. I have many friends and veterans that I talk to after a few years of military service. I hope that this issue is settled with the Constitution and national security remaining intact. By Constitution, I don't mean the one sentence in Article II that supposedly justifies this.

5:31 PM  
Blogger Crazy Politico said...

Poser, what happens in the cases where the executive branch orders the taps without FISA (or an Art. III) court order is that the trial court becomes arbitor of what is and isn't admissable.

For instance, if they used a "whatever we can find" means of tapping lines, then those communications, and any "fruits" bore because of them would become inadmissable.

However, if they said "No, we tapped that number because it was in Bozo The al Qaeda bombers PDA", then it would probably be allowable.

The Aldrich Ames case is a good one to look at for what the Executive Branch can do in these cases.

6:55 PM  

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