Monday, February 06, 2006

That makes everything OK

Gonzales’ Defense of Bush: “The President Is Not A Lawyer”:
FEINSTEIN: … it comes with huge shock as Senator Leahy said that the President of the United States in Buffalo, New York in 2004 would say, and I quote, “Any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires — a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed by the way. When we’re talking about chasing down terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so.” Mr. Attorney General, in light of what you and the president have said in the past month, this statement appears to be false. Do you agree?
What we've learned in the last month is that the President, 2 years earlier, had determined that he could order wiretaps without a warrant, and has issued a blanket authorization for such wiretaps for the last three years.

The only possible answer to Feinstein's question is that yes, indeed the President's statement was not entirely accurate.

What did the nation's top lawyer say (not under oath)?

GONZALES: No, I don’t senator. In fact, I take great issue with your suggestion that somehow the President of the United States was not being totally forthcoming with the American people.
Incidentally, I take great exception to the suggestion that the President hasn't been forthcoming, too. I think Gonzales objects to the suggestion, I object to the lack of forthcoming-ness. Petty, petty.
I have his statement, and, in the sentence immediately before what you’re talking about he said he was referring to roving wiretaps, and so, I think anyone who — I think –

FEINSTEIN: So you’re saying that statement only relates to roving wiretaps?

GONZALES: That discussion was about the Patriot Act. And right before he uttered those words that you’re referring to he said, “Secondly, there are such things as roving wiretaps. You know, now, by the way any time you hear the United States talk about wiretaps, it requires — a wiretap requires a court order.” As you know, the president is not a lawyer.
The Patriot Act amended FISA in various ways. Referring to the Patriot Act as wholly distinct from FISA is meaningless obfuscation. But hey, the President isn't a lawyer, so why should we expect him to remember authorizing warrantless wiretapping when he's promising that all wiretaps require a warrant?