Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Do We Need A Patriot Act In the First Place?

The last question in the press briefing today is a good one. Gets no answer as per SOP for Scotty McMessage McClellan:

Q Quick question for you. If you have all of these powers under Article II of the Constitution and the authorization for use of force, why do you even need these controversial provisions of the Patriot Act?

MR. McCLELLAN: The Patriot Act?

Q Yes, these particular provisions, including wiretaps that are causing so much consternation in Congress.

MR. McCLELLAN: For the reason that the Attorney General sought out. He talked about the consequences if this law expires, and what happens to the tools that we have available. The wall that was broken down between intelligence and law enforcement sharing information will be put back up. That's vital to helping us to connect dots and prevent attacks from happening. But the --

Q -- wiretaps today --

MR. McCLELLAN: I'd encourage you to read -- the Department of Justice put out a pretty detailed list of the consequences of not renewing the Patriot Act. And yesterday -- you weren't here, but the U.S. Attorneys met with the President and they talked about how they have successfully used the tools within the Patriot Act to prevent attacks from happening.

Q Thank you.

Here's the exchange that led up to it - which I think they were talking about Valarie Palme and Scooter Libby - which we see there is still no interest on the part of the W, Rove and Co to sweep up and clean their own house:
Q It's still not clear to me, what have the consequences been, not only at the White House, but administration-wide, if you violate your ethics guidelines? I mean, I understand with the OFPP official, he was arrested so he resigned. Now, I presume that would mean, had he not resigned --

MR. McCLELLAN: I think it depends on individual circumstances. You have to look at it case by case. If there are violations of ethic guidelines, there is appropriate action that we take.

Q So what are the -- what is the appropriate action? Because it's my understanding there is no --

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I think it -- I think it depends on each case.

Q Well, understandably, it depends on a case-by-case basis.

MR. McCLELLAN: And I would say that, by and large, people throughout this government work very hard and they adhere to those standards.

Q Well, I'm only asking again because it's been two-and-a-half years since Valerie Plame's identity has been leaked --

MR. McCLELLAN: Exactly. You're asking again because of a matter that we've indicated what our policy is on, and that's an ongoing matter.

Q I'm asking outside the scope of the investigation. I'm asking about any ethics violations --

MR. McCLELLAN: You just said you're asking in the context of that investigation.

Q No, outside the scope of it. Mr. Fitzgerald is looking at criminal offenses under your document detailing violations of ethics. I'm asking --

MR. McCLELLAN: That's why the President directed the White House to cooperate fully with investigation.

Q So why hasn't the President taken any action against anyone within his administration who has acted unethically? Or are you saying everyone has acted ethically in relation to being involved in the --

MR. McCLELLAN: Wait, wait, you're making a suggestion that I don't think you can back up. There has been action taken when people have violated ethic guidelines. And to suggest otherwise, I think, is ignoring facts. We just talked about one individual who has left the administration.

Q He was arrested.

MR. McCLELLAN: And he no longer works in the administration.

Q Would he have been dismissed had he not resigned?

MR. McCLELLAN: Go ahead, John.

Q Want me to throw you a lifeline, or --

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't need one. I'll be glad to talk about this if Paula wants to. Paula, I think, is just trying to grandstand on this issue, as she has previously.

Q Oh, boy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Do We Need A Patriot Act In the First Place?

Proving again that questions are more interesting than answers.

This question is almost short enough to fit on a bumper sticker, which is how one reaches the American public.

If the question don't fit,
they won't get 'it.'