Tuesday, January 17, 2006
This afternoon, former Vice President Al Gore, left, responded to the White House's attacks on him as follows:
"The Administration's response to my speech illustrates perfectly the need for a special counsel to review the legality of the NSA wiretapping program.
The Attorney General is making a political defense of the President without even addressing the substantive legal questions that have so troubled millions of Americans in both political parties.
There are two problems with the Attorney General's effort to focus attention on the past instead of the present Administration's behavior. First, as others have thoroughly documented, his charges are factually wrong. Both before and after the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was amended in 1995, the Clinton/Gore Administration complied fully and completely with the terms of the law.
Second, the Attorney General's attempt to cite a previous administration's activity as precedent for theirs - even though factually wrong - ironically demonstrates another reason why we must be so vigilant about their brazen disregard for the law. If unchecked, their behavior would serve as a precedent to encourage future presidents to claim these same powers, which many legal experts in both parties believe are clearly illegal.
The issue, simply put, is that for more than four years, the executive branch has been wiretapping many thousands of American citizens without warrants in direct contradiction of American law. It is clearly wrong and disrespectful to the American people to allow a close political associate of the president to be in charge of reviewing serious charges against him.
The country needs a full and independent investigation into the facts and legality of the present Administration's program."
D.H.: White House spokesman Scott McClellan tried to justify Bush's illegal wiretapping by citing one warrantless search of spy Aldrich Ames' house during the Clinton years. The law treats physical searches where people will know their house is being searched as different from secret electronic spying where you never know they are there. The Ames home search was held legal.
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