Byrd Hunting

December 22, 2005 at 7:32 pm (Politics, Republican incompetence)

No one makes me prouder to be from West Virginia than Senator Robert Byrd.

Americans have been stunned at the recent news of the abuses of power by an overzealous President. It has become apparent that this Administration has engaged in a consistent and unrelenting pattern of abuse against our Country’s law-abiding citizens, and against our Constitution.

We know that Vice President Dick Cheney has asked for exemptions for the CIA from the language contained in the McCain torture amendment banning cruel, inhumane, and degrading treatment. Thank God his pleas have been rejected by this Congress.

Now comes the stomach-churning revelation through an executive order, that President Bush has circumvented both the Congress and the courts. He has usurped the Third Branch of government – the branch charged with protecting the civil liberties of our people – by directing the National Security Agency to intercept and eavesdrop on the phone conversations and e-mails of American citizens without a warrant, which is a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment. He has stiff-armed the People’s Branch of government. He has rationalized the use of domestic, civilian surveillance with a flimsy claim that he has such authority because we are at war. The executive order, which has been acknowledged by the President, is an end-run around the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which makes it unlawful for any official to monitor the communications of an individual on American soil without the approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

What is the President thinking? Congress has provided for the very situations which the President is blatantly exploiting. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, housed in the Department of Justice, reviews requests for warrants for domestic surveillance. The Court can review these requests expeditiously and in times of great emergency. In extreme cases, where time is of the essence and national security is at stake, surveillance can be conducted before the warrant is even applied for.

The American public is given vague and empty assurances by the President that amount to little more than “trust me.” But, we are a nation of laws and not of men. Where is the source of that authority he claims? I defy the Administration to show me where in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or the U.S. Constitution, they are allowed to steal into the lives of innocent America citizens and spy.

The President claims that these powers are within his role as Commander in Chief. Make no mistake, the powers granted to the Commander in Chief are specifically those as head of the Armed Forces. These warrantless searches are conducted not against a foreign power, but against unsuspecting and unknowing American citizens. They are conducted against individuals living on American soil, not in Iraq or Afghanistan. There is nothing within the powers granted in the Commander in Chief clause that grants the President the ability to conduct clandestine surveillance of American civilians. We must not allow such groundless, foolish claims to stand.

You should read the whole speech. Thanks to grundlemobile for the link.

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2 Comments

  1. TLS said,

    Bush’s stance falls especialy flat when you consider the FISA courts. He already has the authority to wiretap someone and THEN get permission. What looser standard could you possibly want? Oh yeah, carte blanche.

  2. booyah said,

    I’m equally glad that this guy doesn’t represent all of Flagstaff:Leaders should use tools to keep safe12/23/2005To the editor:The Bible in Romans 13:1-5 teaches that government is ordained by God to protect the innocent from evil doers and that each person is responsible to be subject to this higher power. Further it teaches that only the evil doer need fear the administers of the punishment that God will inflict through them. The innocent are not to resist the magistrate whose job is continually protect them for their own good.Our Commander and Chief, President George W. Bush is the man who is responsible to God and our country for protecting us from the evil doers who seek our destruction. If this means he must use every means possible to uncover who these people are then so be it. If that includes torture,or spying then let them be fearful. I’m not fearful of the rulers God places over me, nor the tactics they must use to protect me and my family and countrymen. Instead I pray for them and encourage them to do the job has ordained them to do. Remember 9/11. Thank God, President Bush hasn’t.Jeffrey JorgensenFlagstaffBush is now responsible directly to God, not the electorate? Jesus save me.

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