Bush on Wiretapping : I Did It And I'll Do It Again
The Bush administration has rewritten the nation's first principles. No man is above the law, except the president. Ours is a government of men (gathered in the White House) and not of laws. Separation of powers gives way to a concentration of power in an omnipotent executive. The president's power must be unchecked, even if the president is unbalanced.
The federal legislature enacted laws that prohibit the executive branch from electronically eavesdropping on private communications without the approval of the judicial branch. The law authorizes the president to apply to a special court for easily-obtained permission to intercept telephone calls of persons suspected of supporting terrorism or of working on behalf of a foreign government. Nothing in the Constitution gives the president greater power than that bestowed by Congress to listen to private conversations, and the Fourth Amendment requires the executive branch to obtain a warrant before it does so.
Like a rebellious child who continues to stick out his tongue after being told to behave, President Bush today acknowledged that he has authorized wiretaps and insisted that he will continue to do everything in his power to protect Americans. While the president contended that he is acting "under our laws and Constitution," his understanding of the law -- detention without trial or counsel, torture, secret renditions to foreign prisons, all deemed appropriate exercises of presidential power -- is untrustworthy.
A president who lies about a private sexual encounter is impeached. A president who defies the law and, when exposed, arrogantly proclaims his right to do so, will never stand trial.
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