2006/01/01

More on NSA spying program

First, let's hear Bush's explanation on the NSA spying program:

"It's seems logical to me that if we know there's a phone number associated with al-Qaida or an al-Qaida affiliate and they're making phone calls, it makes sense to find out why," Bush said. "They attacked us before, they'll attack us again."
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Asked how he responds to Americans worried about violations of their privacy, he said, "If somebody from al-Qaida is calling you, we'd like to know why."

The president said that he is conscious of people's civil liberties.

"This is a limited program designed to prevent attacks on the United States of America and, I repeat, limited," he said. "I think most Americans understand the need to find out what the enemy's thinking."
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"The NSA program is one that listens to a few numbers called from the outside of the United States of known al-Qaida or affiliated people," he said, adding that he believes that he is acting within the law.


Hmm. So let's get this straight. Gonzales and Card go to Attorney General Ashcroft's bedside after Ashcroft has had an operation because the acting Attorney general won't sign off on the spying program. Check out TBogg's summary of the acting Attorney General Jim Comeys career (Wherein he also relates that Michelle Malkin referred to Comey as "...an underling filling in for his boss..."). Despite Malkin's dismissive tone, Comey is clearly not a newbie. This is not a person fresh off the boat. Keep in mind that the Senate unanimously approved him to serve as Deputy Attorney General. If Comey had problems with the program, and he apparently had very serious problems with it, then I think there's a very serious discrepency between Bush's description of the program and the reality of it.

Another quote from the same interview is also noteworthy:

"The fact that somebody leaked this program causes great harm to the United States," he said. "There's an enemy out there."

There's a bit of a differerence between blowing the whistle on an illegal program that violates the Fourth Amendment and plays hob with the definition of the President's authority as a Commander-in-Chief and between spilling secrets that are of practical use to an enemy. Obviously, the bad guys are going to assume that they're under constant attempts at survelliance. They're not going to presume anything about how American laws protect them.

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