Sunday, December 25, 2005

Defending the indefensible (Hume, Fox 12/20)

From tmorange
Sent Saturday, December 24, 2005 1:10 pm
Subject Defending the indefensible

Dear Mr. Hume,

In the "Political Grapevine" segment of the December 20 edition of Fox
News' Special Report with Brit Hume, you reported the following.

Despite claims to the contrary, President Bush is not the first
to use or assert executive power to authorize warrantless
searches. "National Review" notes that President Clinton's deputy
attorney general Jamie Gorelick told the Senate Intelligence
Committee in 1994 that an executive order signed by President
Reagan provided for warrantless searches against a foreign power
or an agent of a foreign power saying, quote, "the Department of
Justice believes, and the case law supports, that the president
has inherent authority to conduct warrantless, physical searches
for foreign intelligence purposes."

As you and Byron York must know, "warrentless, physical searches" are
not the same as electronic surveillance. Domestic wiretapping has for
27 years been governed by FISA, which specifically requires court
orders. Thus, the claim made by Mr. York in his December 20 National
Review piece ("Clinton Claimed Authority to Order No-Warrant
") that you reported is misleading at best.

Moreover, Gorelick clearly stated in her testimony that electronic
surveillance, such as the wiretapping Bush authorized, was governed by

In FISA, the privacy interests of individuals are protected not
by mandatory notice but through in-depth oversight of foreign
intelligence electronic surveillance by all three branches of
government and by expanded minimization procedures.

In other words, she makes exactly the opposite point you and Mr. York
want her and Clinton to make.

How amusing to see the right wing maintaining a tenacious clutch on
its "Blame Clinton First" strategy. Unfortunately, your efforts to
defend this president's impeachable offenses are indefensible.

P.S. You might do better to take the position of your colleague George
Will who for once in his life takes a position that is almost on the
right track: "In peace and in war, but especially in the latter,
presidents have pressed their institutional advantages to expand their
powers to act without Congress. This president might look for
occasions to stop pressing" ("Why Didn't He Ask Congress?," The
Washington Post, December 20, 2005; Page A31).

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