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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

If They Knew This Is What They Were Doing, They Wouldn't Have Done It

If you've been following Snoopgate, then you know that Bush and his team argue that the congressional authorization for military force overrides any FISA-related obstacle to the wiretapping in question.  (If you have no idea what I'm talking about, I refer you to Orin's excellent analysis.)

Well, here's another wrinkle.  According to AG Gonzalez (via Kos), the administration considered trying to get a bill passed amending FISA to expressly permit this warrantless monitoring; it ultimately chose not to pursue the law because it became clear that Congress wouldn't pass it.

This can mean only one of two things:

  1. When Congress passed the use of military force authorization, it did not intend to give the President this monitoring power, and if it had so realized, it would have more narrowly tailored the resolution.
  2. Congress may have wanted to give the President very broad powers, including the power to wiretap without a warrant, when it passed the military authorization; but it would not expressly give the President wiretapping power in a separate bill, perhaps because it would be too politically controversial.

Posted by Hillel Levin on December 20, 2005 at 12:11 PM in Hillel Levin | Permalink

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