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High Crimes & Presidential Privlege

Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2006 2:56 PM

Verbal dustups over President Bush's approval of warrantless wiretaps continues, with former Vice President Al Gore leading the way, accusing Mr. Bush of breaking the law, "repeatedly and insistently," and that the covert program is, "a threat to the very structure of our government." (Gore also implied that the NSA program is the infamous TIA - Total Information Awareness - boondoggle helmed by Iran/Contra notable Admiral John Poindexter. Congress slammed the door on TIA, and so it got a fresh coat of paint and clandestine approval by Mr. Bush.)

While the White House withheld any immediate response, RNC spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt gets no points for her response deriding Gore's intelligence and knowledge of foreign policy, while portraying him as an egocentric whiner.

Certainly nowhere near as bad as a sitting president who is more concerned about his portrayal in the history books than actually taking responsibility for his mistakes.

Then Attorney General Alberto Gonzales made the rounds defend the program, speaking on both CNN's Larry King Live and FOX's Hannity & Colmes.

Gonzales' first offering was:

Clinton did it first.

I swear this country is being run by a bunch of children. If President Clinton had done something wrong, it does not absolve President Bush from responsibility for his own actions. Bill didn't drop by the White House every thirty days to guide George's hand as he signed the NSA's permission slip, did he? (Also, the executive order in which President Clinton approved surveillance specifically excluded U.S. citizens.)

Gonzales then trots out the Justice Department Review line. Laywers in the department and other agencies reviewed it carefully. Top men.

Let's introduce the concept of missing negative cases. In short, an argument where the claimant has no negative cases to present should be looked at with caution.

Every single lawyer who reviewed the program gave their approval? Nobody hemmed or hawed about civil liberties, FISA, USA-PATRIOT, or the 4th Amendment? Every single lawyer agreed with the interpretation of the President's Constitutional Authority and the powers implied by the Authorization of Force?

Does that sound odd to you?

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