Saturday, January 07, 2006

Report Rebuts Bush on Spying

WaPo reported A report by Congress's research arm concluded yesterday that the administration's justification for the warrantless eavesdropping authorized by President Bush conflicts with existing law and hinges on weak legal arguments.

And a report from the executive branch (the Attorney General) says he does have the power. Congress is interested in increasing its power, and limiting the power of the executive branch, so what do we expect Congress's research arm to say.
The Congressional Research Service's report rebuts the central assertions made recently by Bush and Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales about the president's authority to order secret intercepts of telephone and e-mail exchanges between people inside the United States and their contacts abroad. The findings, the first nonpartisan assessment of the program's legality to date, prompted Democratic lawmakers and civil liberties advocates to repeat calls yesterday for Congress to conduct hearings on the monitoring program and attempt to halt it.
Why would they want to halt it. Do they want to help the terrorists communicate with their cells in the US, to encourage another strike here? If Congress feels the President does not have the necessary authority, then they should give it to him. Like the original Patriot Act, which should be renewed, they can sunset the authority in four years, and thus have another chance to look at it, but the taps should be continued and even expanded now.
The 44-page report said that Bush probably cannot claim the broad presidential powers he has relied upon as authority to order the secret monitoring of calls made by U.S. citizens since the fall of 2001. Congress expressly intended for the government to seek warrants from a special Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court before engaging in such surveillance when it passed legislation creating the court in 1978, the CRS report said.

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