"Let me put it to you in Texan," Mr. Bush drawled at the Grand Ole Opry House yesterday. "If Al Qaeda is calling into the United States, we want to know."P.S. If you are giong to argue against this particular post and want to use the tired old “it’s the NYTimes Liberal rag so it doesn’t count” gambit. Don’t bother. Argue the points and the legality if you can, instead. Thank you.
Yes, and so does every American. But that has nothing to do with Mr. Bush's decision to toss out the Constitution and judicial process by authorizing the National Security Agency to eavesdrop without a warrant. Let's be clear: the president and his team had the ability to monitor calls by Qaeda operatives into and out of the United States before 9/11 and got even more authority to do it after the attacks. They never needed to resort to extralegal and probably unconstitutional methods.
Mr. Bush said the warrantless spying was vetted by lawyers in the Justice Department, which is cold comfort. They also endorsed the abuse of prisoners and the indefinite detention of "unlawful enemy combatants" without charges or trials.
The president also said the spying is reviewed by N.S.A. lawyers. That's nice, but the law was written specifically to bring that agency, and the president, under control. And there already is a branch of government assigned to decide what's legal. It's called the judiciary. The law itself is clear: spying on Americans without a warrant is illegal.
Thursday, February 02, 2006
I like the way the NYTimes editors put it today: