Democrat From Kentucky


Democrat from Kentucky
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Bush Asked NYT Not To Run Wire Tap Story Tuesday, December 20, 2005

It looks like Shrub us getting jumpy on us. A Newsweek story covers what happened. He went so far as to bring members of the New York Times into his office and plead with them not to run with the eavesdropping story they ran last week. They'd been sitting on the story for a while at the request of the administration.

No wonder Bush was so desperate that The New York Times not publish its story on the National Security Agency eavesdropping on American citizens without a warrant, in what lawyers outside the administration say is a clear violation of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. I learned this week that on December 6, Bush summoned Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger and executive editor Bill Keller to the Oval Office in a futile attempt to talk them out of running the story. The Times will not comment on the meeting, but one can only imagine the president’s desperation.

The problem was not that the disclosures would compromise national security, as Bush claimed at his press conference. His comparison to the damaging pre-9/11 revelation of Osama bin Laden’s use of a satellite phone, which caused bin Laden to change tactics, is fallacious; any Americans with ties to Muslim extremists—in fact, all American Muslims, period—have long since suspected that the U.S. government might be listening in to their conversations. Bush claimed that “the fact that we are discussing this program is helping the enemy.” But there is simply no evidence, or even reasonable presumption, that this is so. And rather than the leaking being a “shameful act,” it was the work of a patriot inside the government who was trying to stop a presidential power grab.

No, Bush was desperate to keep the Times from running this important story—which the paper had already inexplicably held for a year—because he knew that it would reveal him as a law-breaker. He insists he had “legal authority derived from the Constitution and congressional resolution authorizing force.” But the Constitution explicitly requires the president to obey the law. And the post 9/11 congressional resolution authorizing “all necessary force” in fighting terrorism was made in clear reference to military intervention. It did not scrap the Constitution and allow the president to do whatever he pleased in any area in the name of fighting terrorism.


Our civil liberties have been one of the things that differentiates us from other countries. We prided ourselves on them. Yet everyday, we find they have been violated. The FISA law itself probably violates some civil liberties but it was put into place to make sure they weren't violated further.

The constitution clearly defined presidential powers and in the fourth amendment, clearly defined what protections our citizens had and the limits government had:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.


The administration clearly violated those rights and should be held accountable. The presidency doesn't have unlimited power to "protect" the country.

As the Newsweek article suggested, this is getting into the meat of our constitution and the limits on presidential power. Congress must clamp down on the presidential powers and SCOTUS must back them up on this. The president and the various bureaucracies that support him must have at least the pretense they are working for they are being monitored and kept in check.


posted by Stithmeister @ 8:23 AM
 
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Location: Harrodsburg, Kentucky, United States

I'm currently working in the telecomm industry but one of my passions is still politics.



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