Larry Johnson tells you how.
"Last week the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO gave Rick Santorum the lowest marks of all the members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation on their annual report card...see the video here.
Letter: The record needs to be set clear that the Administration never afforded members briefed on the program an opportunity to either approve or disapprove the NSA program. The limited members who were told of the program were prohibited by the Administration from sharing any information about it with our colleagues, including other members of the Intelligence Committees....read on
His handwritten letter is there from July 17, 2003.
He took the time to say he was keeping it stored in a secure space. Why did he write that? Did he think he would be sleeping with the fishes?<snark>
"The former Senate Majority and Minority leader, Tom Daschle, says tonight in a statement that the White House omitted key details from him related to the NSA interception program, directly contradicting statements by President Bush that Congress was fully informed. Expect the congressional notification issue to get major play in tomorrows newspapers, and in coming days, as other members begin to more publicly discuss what they were and were not told. ....
"read his statement here via Murray Waas"
We, the undersigned Members of the House Judiciary Committee, write to urge you to convene hearings as soon as possible to investigate the President's ordering the National Security Agency (NSA) to engage in espionage of persons inside the United States without obtaining court-ordered warrants authorizing these searches....read on
Pelosi's partial statement:
The President's statement today raises serious questions as to what the activities were and whether the activities were lawful. I was advised of President Bush's decision to provide authority to the National Security Agency to conduct unspecified activities shortly after he made it and have been provided with updates on several occasions.The Bush Administration considered these briefings to be notification, not a request for approval. As is my practice whenever I am notified about intelligence activities, I expressed my strong concerns during these briefings.
Reid partial statement:
Under current Administration briefing guidelines, members of Congress are informed after decisions are made, have virtually no ability to either approve or reject a program, and are prohibited from discussing these types of programs with nearly all of their fellow members and all of their staff. We need to investigate this program and the Presidents legal authority to carry it out. We also need to review this flawed congressional consultation system. I will be asking the President to cooperate in both reviews.
Daily Kos has the full statements posted.
"A CNN/USA Today Gallup poll conducted over the weekend found his approval rating stood at 41 percent, while more than half, or 56 percent, disapprove of how the president is handling his job."
A reporter asked President Bush if his power is going to continue to go "unchecked," after he was found to have bypassed the FISA court.
Q:... And if the global war on terror is going to last for decades, as has been forecast, does that mean that we're going to see, therefore, a more or less permanent expansion of the unchecked power of the executive in American society?
BUSH: First of all, I disagree with your assertion of unchecked power.
BUSH: Hold on for a second, please. There is the check of people being sworn to uphold the law, for starters. There is oversight. We're talking to Congress all the time. And on this program, to suggest there's unchecked power is not listening to what I'm telling you. I'm telling you, we have briefed the United States Congress on this program a dozen times.
This is an awesome responsibility, to make decisions on behalf of the American people. And I understand that. And we'll continue to work with the Congress, as well as people within our own administration, to constantly monitor a program such as the one I described to you, to make sure that we're protecting the civil liberties of the United States.
To say "unchecked power" basically is ascribing some kind of dictatorial position to the president, which I strongly reject.
BUSH: I just described limits on this particular program, and that's what's important for the American people to understand. I am doing what you expect me to do and, at the same time, safeguarding the civil liberties of the country." (Transcript)
We expect you to follow the laws governing our country. The congress never approved your actions. They were legally bound to remain quiet through all of this. You still haven't given us one good reason why you couldn't have gone through FISA.
Digby follows up with better insight: "He's lashing out because this is where his argument is weakest. He's trying to make the case that the congress somehow "approved" this action as a check to executive power.
This is not true. Notifying members of congress in a classified briefing they cannot disclose publicly is not a check. Intelligence committee members cannot give authorization to the president to break the law in the first place And to say that "telling" them what they are going to do and then classifying the information so they cannot reveal it amounts to a check on executive power is to invoke dictatorial powers....read on"
Gregory: ...Why isn't this eavesdropping program consistent with that resolution?
Russ: "This is just an outrageous power grab.Nobody, nobody, thought when we passed a resolution to invade Afghanistan and to fight the war on terror, including myself who voted for it, thought that this was an authorization to allow a wiretapping against the law of the United States.
There's two ways you can do this kind of wiretapping under our law. One is through the criminal code, Title III; the other is through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. That's it. That's the only way you can do it. You can't make up a law and deriving it from the Afghanistan resolution. The president has, I think, made up a law that we never passed."
David prodded Russell as well he should because there needs to be no wiggle room in the understanding of what King George has done.
GONZALES Defends Eavesdropping
Alberto went on the TODAY Show-to do a little clean up work-and to justify the President's actions. I thought he already had the power anyway.
WaPo: Gonzales said that while FISA prohibits eavesdropping without court approval, it makes an exception where Congress "otherwise authorizes." That authorization, he said, was implicit in the authorization for the use of military force.
I like the "I can't tell you, but it has been helpful," routine Gonzo uses. How much did we pay journalists to plant positive stories again?
Bob Graham disagrees: "My interpretation of the law would be yes, that he did not have the legal authority to do this under the Afghanistan war resolution or under the general powers as commander-in-chief."
ReddHedd has her take: "Why bother going around the FISA law anyway? You could already do an emergency wiretap or surveillance at any time, and get a judge to okay it after the fact. You had everything you needed with the FISA laws. What were you spying on that you didn't want the FISA courts to know about?..."...read on"
On Face The Nation, Sen. Lindey Graham was not a happy camper over the revelations of these secret surveillance's that President Bush authorized.
Bob: ...does he have that authority, Senator?
Graham: I don't know of any legal basis to go around that. There may be some, but I'm not aware of it. And here's the concern I have-we cant become an outcome-based democracy. Even in a time of war, you have to follow the process, because that's what a democracy is all about-a process.
Graham didn't want to admit that the President broke the law, but he said as much.
Graham: What executive order or constitutional provision would give the authority to the President to avoid the warrant requirement. There may be some, I just don't know of it, nut if there is not any-that's a problem.
Biden: I'm the guy that drafted the FISA act , twenty five years ago on the judiciary committee--it's a secret court, allowing the President to wiretap anybody, intercept anything for up to 72 hours-----he already has the authority under the FISA court...
Last week, Matthews got very upset when the NY Times ran the "Spy-story," which he felt mucked up the President's greatest day. Even Howard Fineman felt his wrath as he tried to jump in and defend Anne Kornbluth.
Chris: "Can I ask the questions Howard?"
Howard: " Please don't hurt me." (my own phony dialogue)
Chris: So what do you think about your paper, running that story the very day of the President's greatest victory? You guys are raining on his parade, the best day of his life.
Anne: If only we were that organized...
Chris: ..if this gamble comes through and it's note clear yet. If this gamble that he can create a democracy in the middle of the Arab world, and he does it; he belongs on Mt. Rushmore....
Weren't the American people told that this was a six week operation and we would be showered with pastries and Krispy Kreme donuts while the Iraq oil would pay for the war? If there is success in Iraq-it is "despite" the President, and his advisors not "because" of their wonderful leadership skills.