Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A Study In Contrasts

For those who worry that the President's NSA terrorist surveilance program will lead to spying on politcal opponents, I have news for you: it's already happened. But not the way you think. Print This Story



The Democrats are all up in arms about President Bush's "domestic" spying program.

The Washington Post:

Senators Debate Move to Censure Bush

The Senate Judiciary Committee's top Democrat said yesterday that President Bush probably deserves censure for his warrantless wiretapping practices...

Democrats invoked Richard M. Nixon's name as they attacked Bush's decision to let the National Security Agency bypass judges to eavesdrop on Americans' international phone calls and e-mails when a possible terrorism suspect is on one end of the line. They said the practice violates the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which requires warrants for U.S. wiretaps in most cases...

As a result, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), the panel's senior Democrat, said he was "inclined to believe" that censure by Congress is appropriate for Bush.

"We know the president broke the law," Leahy said. "Now we need to know why."...

"If you want the words 'bad faith' in there, let's put them right in, because that's exactly what we have here. . . .[Feingold said] The lawbreaking is shocking in itself, but the defiant way that the president has persisted in defending his actions with specious legal arguments and misleading statements is part of what led me to conclude that censure is a necessary step." (emphasis mine)

But let's remember who's talking. Democrats. Keep that in mind when you read the following:

AP:

McDermott: Taping Dispute Not Personal

In a 2-1 opinion Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upheld a lower-court ruling that McDermott had unlawfully obtained a copy of an illegally intercepted phone conversation between Boehner, then-Speaker Newt Gingrich and other House GOP leaders in December 1996...

"The third person in line to be president was plotting a deception on the (House) ethics committee and the American people in private," McDermott said, referring to Gingrich, who was heard on a 1996 cell phone call telling House Republicans how to react to ethics charges against him.

"The people have a right to know that," McDermott said. "John Boehner says people have no right to know, because it was done in secret."...

"This is fundamental," he said. "It's not a simple fight between two members of Congress. The story is whether people have a right to know what is going on in government. Are we going to stand and fight for the rights of the people?"

So spying on political enemies is "fundamental", but intercepting calls from overseas terrorists who are plotting to kill Americans is not.

Senator Feingold, any comment?

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