Thursday, April 06, 2006

Even a broken clock...

by Ken Houghton

All Alone is All We All Aren't

The crack legal mind of Alberto Gonzales proves there are shades of grey in the GWOT:
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales suggested...the president might have the legal authority to order wiretapping without a warrant on communications between Americans that occur exclusively within the United States.

"I'm not going to rule it out," Mr. Gonzales said when asked about that possibility at a House Judiciary Committee hearing.

While the rest of us tremble in fear that Justice Kennedy also may be persuaded to keep an open mind about that Fourth Amendment, it's always refreshing to see that some people have no sense of relativity (save possibly as related to their own entitlement), while the Times definition of "strong defense" makes clear they've watching too many Knick games this year:
President Bush offered another strong defense of his decision to authorize the National Security Agency to eavesdrop without warrants on international calls and e-mail messages to or from the United States.

Mr. Bush, in an appearance in North Carolina, told a questioner who attacked the program that he would "absolutely not" apologize for authorizing it.

"You can come to whatever conclusion you want" about the merits of the program," Mr. Bush said. "The conclusion is I'm not going to apologize for what I did on the terrorist surveillance program."

The motto of the administration can be summed up in those two quotes: Never explain, Never apologize. Will there be a voice of reason, crying forth from the wilderness? Surely only a Feingold or a Gore would dare challenge such unambivalent waffling.

But, no, to the rescue is...Wisconsin's favorite Bush devotee (see #9), Voice of Reason, and Corporate Welfare recipient:
Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., the Wisconsin Republican who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee and one of the administration's staunchest allies, accused the administration of "stonewalling."

"Mr. Attorney General, how can we discharge our oversight responsibilities if every time we ask a pointed question, we're told that the answer is classified?" Mr. Sensenbrenner asked. "Congress has an inherent constitutional responsibility to do oversight. We are attempting to discharge those responsibilities."

When Sensenbrenner is asking the Administration to be responsive, one has to gather the time may be nigh--if only for another terror alert.

Then again, maybe not:
Republicans on the Senate intelligence panel have agreed on measures to impose new oversight but allow wiretapping without warrants for up to 45 days.

which is fifteen times the current legal limit. But just because the Administration requested such powers doesn't mean that they now or even have been...
A department spokeswoman, Tasia Scolinos, said, "The attorney general's comments today should not be interpreted to suggest the existence or nonexistence of a domestic program or whether any such program would be lawful under the existing legal analysis."

Such as the one he presented today. But, possibly, that wasn't even under oath.
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