Thursday, February 01, 2007

Bush is not above the law

Bamford in NYT:
Bush is not above the law

LAST August, a federal judge found that the president of the United States broke the law, committed a serious felony and violated the Constitution. Had the president been an ordinary citizen — someone charged with bank robbery or income tax evasion — the wheels of justice would have immediately begun to turn. The F.B.I. would have conducted an investigation, a United States attorney’s office would have impaneled a grand jury and charges would have been brought.

But under the Bush Justice Department, no F.B.I. agents were ever dispatched to padlock White House files or knock on doors and no federal prosecutors ever opened a case.

The ruling was the result of a suit, in which I am one of the plaintiffs, brought against the National Security Agency by the American Civil Liberties Union. It was a response to revelations by this newspaper in December 2005 that the agency had been monitoring the phone calls and e-mail messages of Americans for more than four years without first obtaining warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, as required by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Yet despite this ruling, the Bush Justice Department never opened an F.B.I. investigation, no special prosecutor was named, and there was no talk of impeachment in the Republican-controlled Congress.
On Jan. 17, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales unexpectedly declared that President Bush had ended the program, deciding to again seek warrants in all cases. Exactly what kind of warrants — individual, as is required by the law, or broad-based, which would probably still be illegal — is as yet unknown.

The action may have been designed to forestall a potentially adverse ruling by the federal appeals court in Cincinnati, which had scheduled oral arguments on the case for today. At that hearing, the administration is now expected to argue that the case is moot and should be thrown out — while reserving the right to restart the program at any time.

But that’s a bit like a bank robber coming into court and arguing that, although he has been sticking up banks for the past half-decade, he has agreed to a temporary halt and therefore he shouldn’t be prosecuted. Independent of the A.C.L.U. case, a criminal investigation by the F.B.I. and a special prosecutor should begin immediately. The question that must finally be answered is whether the president is guilty of committing a felony by continuously reauthorizing the warrantless eavesdropping program for the past five years. And if so, what action must be taken?
It is not only the federal court but also many in Congress who believe that a violation of law has taken place. In a hearing on Jan. 18, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, said, “For years, this administration has engaged in warrantless wiretapping of Americans contrary to the law.”

His view was shared by the Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, who said of Mr. Bush, “For five years he has been operating an illegal program.”

And Senator Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican who is the ranking member on the Judiciary Committee, noted that much of the public was opposed to the program and that it both hurt the country at home and damaged its image abroad. “The heavy criticism which the president took on the program,” he said, “I think was very harmful in the political process and for the reputation of the country.”

To allow a president to break the law and commit a felony for more than five years without even a formal independent investigation would be the ultimate subversion of the Constitution and the rule of law. As Judge Taylor warned in her decision, “There are no hereditary kings in America.”
good luck in the court case, mr bamford.


«—U®Anu§—» said...

What must be done? If the system worked as designed, it should be able to remove Bush, et al. in very short order.

I thought the big story I wanted to see from Jason Leopold would be about the Rove indictment, but I like this one better: "Cheney's Handwritten Notes Implicate Bush in Plame Affair"

Let's see the Washington Post comment about that.

noise said...

We don't know exactly what Plame and BJ did but many articles written in the past few years suggest that Plame (and a division of BJ) worked on WMD proliferation issues concerning Iran. It doesn't get more on point than that if the POTUS (and VP) outed a CIA operative trying to prevent Iran from getting nukes.

The word is treason.

noise said...

BTW Luke you were right.

Tenet's book has been delayed...again. March 31 is the new tentative release date.

I would guess it's because the CIA internal review report is finally coming out. Thus, Tenet has to write some major league BS to rebut the charges.

lukery said...

uranus - thnx.

Noise: "BTW Luke you were right.'
if only i had a dime....

Kax said...

Bush may not be above the law, but he definitely operates under the radar for national security, you understand.