In a statement responding to Bush’s speech today, which he used to defend his domestic spying program, John Kerry nailed Bush (again) saying Bush “spoke for nearly two hours, but failed to explain why he considers himself above the law”…
“One of the few things I enjoyed hearing in Judge Alito’s confirmation hearings was his statement that no one, not even the President, is above the law. If only the man who nominated him for the Supreme Court took those words to heart. Today the president spoke for nearly two hours, but failed to explain why he considers himself above the law. The president has yet explain why the secret FISA courts are not good enough or fast enough, or tell Congress what changes need to be made in the law. It’s time for a real investigation to get to the truth.
“What we know beyond any doubt is that Osama bin Laden was wanted ‘dead or alive’ four years ago, but he’s still alive and threatening America. The President says keeping weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of terrorists is our top priority, but the independent 9-11 Commission gave his Administration a D for their efforts. He says he will treat countries who harbor terrorists like terrorists, but Iran has been the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism every year of his presidency and he has done virtually nothing about it. When it comes to our national security, hollow rhetoric will not make America safe.”
Bush called the domestic spying program a “terrorist surveillance program” today, and said with his usual snide smirk and trademark chuckle…
“You know, it’s amazing that people say to me, ‘Well, he was just breaking the law.’ If I wanted to break the law, why was I briefing Congress?” Bush said with a chuckle.
As I posted here on the 19th, James Risen explained Bush’s briefings with Congress in his book State of War.
“Some congressional leaders have been notified about the Program, but only in extraordinarily secret fashion and only in ways that guarantee they feel constrained from raising objections to it. (pg. 55-56)”
Those informed (from both parties), “were not permitted to bring staff members” to the meeting(s) and were told “not to discuss the matter with anyone else.” Under those circumstances, the Intel Committee members that were “informed” were not able to “ask their staff to do any research or oversight of the NSA operation. (pg. 56)” Risen further contended that “By giving the lawmakers secret briefings with no staff present and then demanding that they never discuss the matter with anyone, the congressional leaders were paralyzed. As time wore on, it became increasing difficult for Democrats to protest the operation, since the White House could argue that they had received briefings for years and had barely complained. (pg. 57)”
Smug and full of himself as ever, regarding what he deems his “authority” to run his domestic spying program, Bush said today, “Congress gave me the authority to use necessary force to protect the American people, but it didn’t prescribe the tactics. It said, Mr. President, you’ve got the power to protect us, but we’re not going to tell you how.”
Well, that’s a load of BS! Members of Congress from both parties are up in arms about Bush’s so called “authority.”
Scott McClellan repeated the meme to reporters today before Bush’s speech that “some Democratic leaders . . . have continued to engage in misleading, false attacks about this vital tool.”
The only misleading going on here is from Bush and his minions. John Kerry had it right today (again), Bush “spoke for nearly two hours, but failed to explain why he considers himself above the law”…