Tuesday, January 31, 2006

NSA/FISA wiretapping scandal not going away


President Bush devoted some of his State of the Union speech in a little more revisionism on the NSA wiretapping scandal. It's not going to go away so easily.

J.D. Henderson at Intel Dump did the yeoman's job of reading every word the Bush administration has written in defense of their claim that they can spy on American citizens without warrants. J.D. is wholly unconvinced by their arguments, writing:

The administration also, bizarrely, cites the wiretapping of US telegraph lines by a confederate general during the civil war in support of its contention that wiretapping in time of war does not require a warrant. This is astonishing. The actions of a man who was a self-declared enemy of the United States, who took up arms against the Constitution of the United States and was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of US Army soldiers, is being cited in order to show that the president is not violating the Constitution? I didn't realize that the actions of our enemies could be used to set Constitutional law precedents. But yes, in wartime the military can spy on the enemy. Nobody has suggested otherwise. The enemy is not protected by the 4th Amendment or FISA. We, the People of the United States, are protected - unless, of course, the administration's argument is allowed to stand unchallenged.

The only conclusion I can come to from the document is that the president feels we are the enemy - or at least, anybody he wants to declare an enemy is now an enemy.
Perhaps the Senate Judiciary Committee will have some exciting hearings on this matter, but I'm betting against it. The sooner they put some lipstick on this pig, and leave the scandal properly "investigated," the happier the GOP will be. After all, they've got a lot of trials to get through. However, impeachment is a fool's dream to hope for. The absolute worst that will happen is that Bush will be censured. The party bosses will insist on it.

Speaking of trials, do you find yourself confused about which Republican is in jail, who has plead guilty, etc.? You're not alone: it's like trying to keep track of Liz Taylor's husbands. There's a new, handy guide to all the trial dates and other information at the TPM Cafe Grand Ole Docket. It's all there, from murder to bribery to wire fraud — even to a single, token Democrat (and since he actually is guilty, I guess that makes it a bipartisan scandal by the official rules).

(photo generated by glassgiant.com)

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