Last updated: February 21, 2008 - 12:24am
CONGRESSIONAL AGENCY QUESTIONS LEGALITY OF WIRETAPS
[SOURCE: Washington Post, AUTHOR: Dan Eggen]
The Bush administration appears to have violated the National Security Act by limiting its briefings about a warrantless domestic eavesdropping program to congressional leaders, according to a memo from Congress's research arm released yesterday. The Congressional Research Service opinion said that the amended 1947 law requires President Bush to keep all members of the House and Senate intelligence committees "fully and currently informed" of such intelligence activities as the domestic surveillance effort. Also, the Electronic Privacy Information Center said it would file a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit today demanding information about the NSA spying.
* Report Questions Legality of Briefings on Surveillance
[SOURCE: Washington Post, AUTHOR: David S. Broder]
[Commentary] Former vice president Al Gore has turned himself into a one-man grand jury, ready to indict the Bush administration for any number of crimes against the Constitution. Whether you agree with Gore's conclusions or not, the speech that the 2000 Democratic nominee for president gave this week in Washington was as comprehensive a rundown of George W. Bush's ventures to the limits of executive authority as anyone could hope to find.
* Who Will Stand Up for the Constitution?
HIGH WIRETAP ACT
[SOURCE: Wall Street Journal, AUTHOR: Editorial Staff]
[Commentary] The WSJ editorial staff comes out firmly against suits filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights concerning NSA wiretaps. The lawsuits are frivolous, they write, because 1) the plaintiffs have no evidence they have been wronged and 2) the Totten doctrine which says a lawsuit can't proceed if it would inevitably lead to the disclosure of sensitive intelligence matters. The battle over the al Qaeda wiretaps isn't in fact a legal issue at all. It is basically a political battle between Congress and the White House over supremacy on matters of national security. President Bush has forthrightly defended the use of wiretaps as essential to fighting the war on terror. If the ACLU disapproves, it has every right to lobby Congress to exert political pressure on the White House to reverse its policy. But its charge of "illegality" is nothing but a political weapon designed to suggest something more nefarious.
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