Revelations that the Justice Department authorized the seizure of Associated Press phone records have produced condemnation from Congressional Democrats and other Obama allies. But while Capitol Hill Democrats decried the tactics as "inexcusable" (Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid), "troubling" (Senator Pat Leahy) and having "impaired the First Amendment" (Rep. Zoe Lofgren), Congressional Republicans have been largely silent. Silent, that is, with good reason. After all, their relative quiet isn't just due to the fact that they demanded the investigation into the 2012 Yemen leak and throughout the Bush presidency supported the prosecution of leakers, whistleblowers and reporters alike. As it turns out, when it came to justifying the unprecedented domestic surveillance of American citizens by the Bush administration, Republicans leaders claimed "you really don't have any civil liberties if you're dead."
Unlike their foaming at the mouth reactions to the Benghazi and IRS imbroglios, the GOP's best and brightest have in comparison exhibited an almost Zen-like patience over the AP affair. Former Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzales urged giving the Obama administration the benefit of the doubt. While John McCain explained, "For me, to rush to a judgment without knowing all the facts is just not appropriate," Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) defended the Justice Department by proclaiming, "they are doing what we asked them to do, investigate the leak." Meanwhile, the number two Republican in the Senate John Cornyn (R-TX) urged all to withhold judgment:
"Well, I think we need to see how this plays out. I have questions about it, but I'm willing to wait and see how this plays out, whether it was narrowly targeted or whether it was a net that was too broadly cast."
Of course, when Americans learned on December 16, 2005 that President Bush had ordered the National Security Agency (NSA) to undertake warrantless electronic surveillance of their communications, Senator Cornyn insisted that no net could possibly be too broadly cast. Echoing the talking point vomited forth by Kansas Senator Pat Roberts ("You really don't have any civil liberties if you're dead") and Alabama's Jeff Sessions ("Over 3,000 Americans have no civil rights because they are no longer with us"), John Cornyn declared: