December 24, 2005

We Don't Need No
Stinking Warrants

BUSH: "We know that a two-minute phone conversation between somebody linked to al Qaeda here and an operative overseas could lead directly to the loss of thousands of lives," Bush said. "To save American lives, we must be able to act fast and to detect these conversations so we can prevent new attacks."

THE SLIME: A fat and juicy red herring on the part of the president, but an excellent example of how his administration can easily deceives its citizens if they fail to read the fine print. In point of fact, Congress passed a law in 1978, The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which has clear and specific jurisdiction in such situations. The laws states that all federal wiretaps (in this case, wiretaps by the super secret National Security Agency) on American citizens within this country engaged in communications with persons outside of this country require a warrant that is approved by a judge from a special court known as the FISA Court.

The law also states that in the event of an emergency situation, the government may go ahead and place the wiretap BEFORE bringing the matter before a judge. The governement then has 3 days in which to submit the matter to the court for review and approval. Thus, there is no situation where time is of such an essence that the government can't use the FISA proceedings. Which means there is absoultely no legal basis or justification whatsoever for the president to assume dictatorial powers by claiming there is an emergency situation that requires circumventing existing laws. Nor can the president claim he can take such steps because we are at war because Congress specifically denied giving him war powers.

That said, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out the real reason Bush wants to be able to wiretap people without warrants. He wants to be able to spy on individuals and groups in situations where there is no justifiable probable cause. In other words, spying on people for political reasons.

BUSH: "My personal opinion is it was a shameful act, for someone to disclose this very important program in time of war."

THE SLIME: Clearly implying that the Bush/Cheney adminstration believes that secret and illegal spying on American citizens is a patriotic act, whereas disclosing such crimes is treasonous.

BUSH: "The fact that we're discussing this program is helping the enemy."

THE SLIME: Which enemies? Certainly not Al Qaeda, which is well aware that our government possesses powerful spying technologies and which certainly operates in a manner which assumes their communications may be monitored. Rather, we think the president is referring to his political enemies as well as the majority of the American people, who have now been handed the means by which to impeach him if the Congress acts.

BUSH: "Leaders in the United States Congress have been briefed more than a dozen times on this program."

THE SLIME: To date, everyone in Congress they allegedly contacted about this illegal spy program has denied ever being told that the government was ordering wiretips without the required judicial review.

BUSH: "Most of the senators now filibustering the Patriot Act actually voted for it in 2001. These senators need to explain why they thought the Patriot Act was a vital tool after the September the 11th attacks but now think it's no longer necessary."

THE SLIME: I guess it would't have anything to do with the fact that you illegally assumed the power to spy on American citizens for political reasons and without probable cause or judicial review? Or that you lied to the country about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction, lied about Saddam trying to obtain uranium from Niger, lied about Saddam not complying with U.N. inspectors, lied about and changed the reasons for invading Iraq as often as Imelda Marcos changed her shoes, etc., etc.

BUSH: "There were many people, many lawyers within the administration who advised the president that he had an inherent authority as commander in chief under the Constitution to engage in these kind of signal intelligence of our enemy."

THE SLIME: Other than Cheney and your attorney general, name one?

CHENEY: "If we had been able to do that (tape phones without warrants) before 9/11, we might have been able to pick up on two of the hijackers who were in San Diego in touch overseas with al Qaeda."

THE SLIME: Again, a totally false statement no doubt plucked deep from within Cheney's butt. As we said earlier, The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act passed in 1978 clearly allows the National Security Agency to place a wire tap immediately and without delay PROVIDED it takes this to a judge within three days for judicial review.

Blog Sources:

Bush has right to authorize secret surveillance.

Secret wiretaps have disrupted potential attacks.