Published on Tuesday, January 3, 2006 by the Progressive
Bush Starts Off Year Lying about NSA
by Matthew Rothschild
Nice to see Bush starting off the new year the way he ended the old one, lying about the NSA spying program.
“I was elected to protect the American people from harm,” he told wounded soldiers at the Brooke Army Medical Center, according to The New York Times Actually, he was also elected to uphold the Constitution and to see that the laws are faithfully executed, but that’s fine print to Bush.
Bush continued: “And on September 11, 2001, our nation was attacked.”
So obviously he didn’t do a good job of protecting the American people from harm.
Back to Bush: “And after that day, I vowed to use all the resources at my disposal, within the law, to protect the American people.”
It’s that little clause, “within the law,” that’s at issue here.
And we all should have claustrophobia when Bush invokes that clause, because he thinks that just because he says something is within the law that makes it so.
Here he echoes Nixon, who said, “When the President does it that means that it is not illegal."
Spying without a warrant in the United States is clearly illegal, no matter how many times Bush claims it is “within the law.”
Bush couldn’t even explain the NSA program properly without hedging the truth about it, saying more than once, according to the New York Times, that the eavesdropping was “limited to calls from outside the United States to calls within the United States.”
Afterward, his aides had to come to his rescue and say that he misspoke, that the NSA in fact is also eavesdropping on calls coming from the United States.
The guy is clueless.
Clueless about his own spying program.
And clueless about our Constitution.
At his press conference in December, Bush called the NSA leak a “shameful act.”
What, pray tell, does he call violating the Constitution and acting as though he is above the law?
I suppose he calls that leadership.
But it is a much more shameful act than leaking to the press the fact that the President is violating the law.
Now Attorney General Alberto Gonzales is investigating the leaker, and what a joke that is.
Gonzales has a double conflict of interest.
First, he’s an old crony of Bush’s.
Second, and more importantly, when he was White House Counsel, he was one of the architects of the NSA spying program. So much so that he and Chief of Staff Andrew Card had “to make an emergency hospital visit to John Ashcroft, then the Attorney General, to try to persuade him to give his authorization” to continued NSA spying after Ashcroft’s deputy, James B. Comey, refused to go along, the Times reports.
Rather than investigating the leaker, Gonzales should be investigating himself—and Bush.
Matthew Rothschild has been with The Progressive since 1983. His McCarthyism Watch web column has chronicled more than 150 incidents of repression since 9/11.
© 2006 The Progressive