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 i
December 18, 2005

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)

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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"


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