William Safire: "I'm With The Critics"


Mr. Safire was on MTP today and condemed President Bush's warrantless eavesdropping on U.S. citizens by using his own personal experiences to justify his position.

Safire:

"I was writing a speech on welfare reform, and the president looks at it and says, "OK, I'll go with it, but this is not going to get covered. Leak it as far an wide as you can beforehand. Maybe we'll get something in the paper." And so I go back to my office and I get a call from a reporter, and he wants to know about foreign affairs or something, and I said, "Hey, you want a leak? I'll tell you what the president will say tomorrow about welfare reform." And he took it down and wrote a little story about it. But the FBI was illegally tapping his phone at the time, and so they hear a White House speechwriter say, "Hey, you want a leak?" And so they tapped my phone, and for six months, every home phone call I got was tapped. I didn't like that. And when it finally broke--it did me a lot of good at the time, frankly, because then I was on the right side--but it told me how easy it was to just take somebody who is not really suspected of anything for any good reason and listen to every conversation in his home--you know, my wife talking to her doctor, my--everything.

"So I have this thing about personal privacy. And I think what's happening now is that the--as a result of that scandal back in the '70s, we got this electronic eavesdropping act stopping it, or requiring the president to go before this court. Now, this court's a rubber-stamp court, let's face it. They give five noes and 20,000 yeses."

Russert: The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, FISA.

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"But just as FDR later made a mistake with the eight saboteurs and hanged them all, and just as we made a terrible mistake with the Japanese-Americans in World War II and have apologized for that. During wartime, we have this excess of security and afterwards we apologize. And that's why I offended a lot of my conservative and hard-line friends right after September 11th when they started putting these captured combatants in jail, and said the president can't seize dictatorial power. And a lot of my friends looked at me like I was going batty. But now we see this argument over excessive security, and I'm with the critics on that."


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Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter should remember Safire's words when they gleefully talk about locking up Japanese-Americans in World War II.

Now we're finding out that the Crisco oil anointing, ex-attorney General didn't sign off either.

Jane says Newsweek is reporting:

"On one day in the spring of 2004, White House chief of staff Andy Card and the then White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales made a bedside visit to John Ashcroft, attorney general at the time, who was stricken with a rare and painful pancreatic disease, to try-without success-to get him to reverse his deputy, Acting Attorney General James Comey, who was balking at the warrantless eavesdropping...read on"

Digby says: "They've called us unpatriotic to our faces. They've written best-selling books calling us treasonous. It's not exactly a stretch to suspect that these were not just rhetorical flourishes....read on"

John says: "So the question remains, what was Bush really doing, who was he really spying on, and why is he now lying about it?...read on

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