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Unwarranted Behavior

Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2005 12:05 AM

President Bush held a news conference today, and questions about the President's authorization for warrantless wiretaps dominated the session.

Mr. Bush asserted his constitutional responsibility and authority, citing Article II of the Constitution.

Nowhere in Article II of the Constitution of the United States does it grant the president the power to ignore federal statues. On the other hand, Article II specifically states that the president, "... shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed."

As mentioned in yesterday's entry, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act does allow for immediate authorization of such wiretaps, provided the application for a warrant is submitted within 48 hours. FISA also limits the duration of such wiretaps.

Mr. Bush's reckless disregard for the law has endangered the continuation of the USA-PATRIOT Act. It's no longer a Democratic filibuster that is blocking its renewal, it is legitimate and bipartisan concerns about the law. Americans were told that the PATRIOT Act was necessary to remove bureaucratic logjams, and Congress rushed the bill out the door.

Are we now to believe that PATRIOT isn't enough? That it is so flawed that the president must order secret wiretaps outside the bounds of both FISA and PATRIOT?

Mr. Bush draws the distinction that FISA is for long-term monitoring; actually, it covers terms up to one year and as brief as 15 days. There are also protections against spying upon U.S. Citizens.

Next, the President affirms that his authority also derives from the joint resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq. Nothing within the resolution grants, either specifically or through implication, the right to violate existing statutes.

And people wonder why some liberals are getting all mouth-frothy about a perceived slide towards a police state and abrogated civil liberties?

It's very simple. The law granted all of the necessary powers to conduct these wiretaps, and all Mr. Bush had to do was follow the law.

One other thing. In response to a reporter's question about, "... a more or less permanent expansion of the unchecked power of the executive," President Bush fired back that saying so was, "... "unchecked power" basically is ascribing some kind of dictatorial position to the President, which I strongly reject."

And perhaps Mr. Bush would like to take back the following words, spoken after his first meeting with Congressional Leaders in 2000:

"Things would be a lot easier in a dictatorship, as long as I'm the dictator."

The Ministry has received 2 comment(s) on this topic.

John - 2005-12-20 18:11:07
A friend of mine suggested a perfect solution to bad legislation: all laws should be subject to a three-year sunset clause. After three years is's null and void, and must be passed again. If it can't pass the test again, then it obviously should be renewed. Gads, just think: our elected representatives in DC would actually have to work for a living!

John - 2005-12-20 18:12:23
Sloppy fingers... that should be "IT'S null and void" and "it SHOULDN'T be renewed."