Thursday, January 18, 2007

Strong Language

The administration, in a rather nicely timed political move, backed down on the issue of warrantless wiretaps of Americans. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez made the announcement of the new procedures yesterday, just one day before he was to appear before a congressional committee investigating the matter. More surprising than that announcement, however, was an editorial in today's NY Times commenting on the issue.

Of the many ways that President Bush has trampled civil liberties and the balance of powers since the 9/11 attacks, one of the most egregious was his decision to order wiretaps of Americans’ international calls and e-mail without court approval. It was good news, then, when the administration announced yesterday that it would now seek a warrant from the proper court for that sort of eavesdropping.

The president’s decision hardly ends this constitutional crisis. Among other things, the public needs to know why Mr. Bush broke the law for more than five years and what should be done to ensure there will be no more abuses of the wiretap statute.

Mr. Gonzales’s announcement clearly was politically timed: he will appear today before the Judiciary Committee, now controlled by Democrats who have vowed to investigate the eavesdropping.

We hope they will do that. Congress has a legitimate interest in the creation of this program, which has always seemed motivated more by the president’s relentless campaign to expand his powers than by a real need to speed intelligence gathering.
[Emphasis added]

The NY Times has been critical of the administration's gross abuse of constitutionally guaranteed rights for the better part of two years now, but this has been the first time (to my knowledge) that it has been as direct and as forceful in its condemnation of that behavior.

The language of the editorial is telling: "Mr Bush broke the law..." is really quite explicit and suggests that the Times believes as many of us do. Mr. Bush has committed a crime. If that is the case, and it certainly appears to be, than Mr. Bush is subject to impeachment.

If the Democratically led 110th Congress does the job it is supposed to do, the investigations into this and other gross abuses by the administration will continue. And if the job is done correctly, I believe that impeachment will once again be on the table.

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Blogger charley said...

well, i used to only care about the idea of impeachment in that it would make these bastards stop.

too late for that now. but it'd be nice to see some time for the crime.

1:10 PM  

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