1/22/2006

Daily Kos: McCain: Bush Acted Outside Of His Authority In Spying On Americans

McCain: Bush Acted Outside Of His Authority In Spying On Americans
by georgia10
Sun Jan 22, 2006 at 12:19:05 PM PDT

Via Think Progress & FOX News Sunday, we learn that Senator John McCain has joined the growing list of Republicans who believe the President's spying program may be illegal and needs to be investigated. McCain stated that he does not believe Bush had the authority to implement such a program.

Right-wingers though simply won't acknowledge that the call for an investigation is bi-partisan. Take today's Washington Times, for example, a reliable barometer of winger sentiment and spin:

While opinion polls show public support for the program, liberals have tried to use it against Mr. Bush by suggesting he is overstepping his authority as the nation's chief executive. The program was called "illegal" yesterday by the American Civil Liberties Union in a briefing to Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee. [...]
To counter this argument, the administration is mounting an aggressive campaign to retain and solidify public support for the eavesdropping program. It began yesterday, when White House strategist Karl Rove accused Democrats of making "wild and reckless and false charges" against Mr. Bush.

"Solidify public support"? A Pew Research poll conducted Jan. 4-8 "found that 48 percent of respondents thought that "monitoring Americans suspected of terrorist ties without court permission" was "generally right," and 47 percent thought it was "generally wrong."" Given how poorly worded the questions are in such polls, that certainly doesn't show "public support" for the program. Too many poll questions on this subject are along the lines of: "would you allow the government to monitor some of your calls if it would prevent evil terrorists from coming into your home and slaughtering your family? YES or NO?" Considering the false dichotomy set up by many of these polls, the fact that the program is only garnering a 45%-50% approval rate is shocking.

Yet right-wing propagandists lie and claim not only is Bush's spying program wildly popular among Americans, but that it's just unpatriotic, Osama-lovin' liberals who are calling for an investigation of the program. But the fact that the nation's leading conservatives are speaking out against Bush is undeniable:

* Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): "I don't know of any legal basis to go around [FISA]."
* Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA): "There is no doubt that this is inappropriate."
* Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS): "I am troubled by what the basis for the grounds that the administration says that they did these on, the legal basis, and I think we need to look at that far more broadly and understand it a great deal....
* Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN): "I [want hearings]. I think this is an appropriate time, without going back and should the president have ever tried to listen to a call coming from Afghanistan, probably of course. And in the first few weeks we made many concessions in the Congress because we were at war and we were under attack. We still have the possibility of that going on so we don't want to obviate all of this, but I think we want to see what in the course of time really works best and the FISA Act has worked pretty well from the time of President Carter's day to the current time."
* Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE):"No president is ever above the law. ... We are a nation of laws. You cannot avoid or dismiss a law."

For a long list of other Republican members of Congress who come out against the program, check out Media Matters here.

Don't forget that the nation's leading conservatives have spoken out at Bush's program in unequivocal and blunt terms:

* Bob Barr: "[F]ederal law still clearly states that intelligence agents must have a court order to conduct electronic surveillance of Americans on these shores. Yet the federal government overstepped the protections of the Constitution and the plain language of FISA to eavesdrop on Americans' private communication without any judicial checks and without proof that they are involved in terrorism.""
* Grover Norquist: "Public hearings on this issue are essential to addressing the serious concerns raised by alarming revelations of NSA electronic eavesdropping."
* David Keene (Chairman, American Conservative Union): "This is not a partisan issue; it is an issue of safeguarding the fundamental freedoms of all Americans so that future administrations do not interpret our laws in ways that pose constitutional concerns."

Bush's spying program is so repulsive to the core of our democracy that even some of his most ardent supporters will not come to his defense.

Daily Kos: McCain: Bush Acted Outside Of His Authority In Spying On Americans

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