July 18, 2006

Dianne-Feinstein-NSA.jpg Dianne came prepared Tuesday and Alberto seemed confused in this clip. She left him speechless and in stunned silence...

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very rough transcript:

FEINSTEIN: Now, Congress did not leave the question opened. FISA explicitly says that warrantless surveillance can continue for only fifteen days after a declaration of war. Now that you’ve had an opportunity to examine Hamdan, is it still DOJ’s opinion that it does not affect the legality of the TSP?
GONZALES: Of course, there’s been no declaration of war here, so we can’t take advantage of that particular provision. Uh, our judgment is…is that, um, it does not affect the legality, uh, of…of the, uh TSP program. But let me explain why…

FEINSTEIN: Whoa. But if I might, just a (unintelligible). Then you’re saying, clearly, that the AUMF does not carry the full constitutional weight of a declaration of war.

GONZALES: Yes. That…that is correct. When you…when you declare war…well, when you declare war…

FEINSTEIN: I understand that.

GONZALES: …that triggers diplomatic relations. That trig…that…that maybe nullify treaties of…there’s a big differ…there’s a reason why Congress has not declared war in sixty years. But they’ve…they’ve…they’ve…they’ve authorized the use of force several times. Clearly, there’s a difference, yes.

FEINSTEIN: But you’re creating a caveat now, and saying that the fifteen days does not extend to the AUMF.

GONZALES: No, what I said was we…we can’t take advantage of that provision under FISA because there’s been no declaration of war. Maybe I misunderstood your question. I’m sorry, Senator.

FEINSTEIN: Yeah, well, see I…I think that Congress did, um, prepare for that eventuality by providing the fifteen days. And, you’re saying, well, it really doesn’t apply. Well, in a…in essence you’re restricting the AUMF, which I think should be restricted. So you are, in essence, agreeing with my point.

GONZALES: Well, I agree with your point that the Authorization of Military Force is not a declaration of war. That…that is certainly true.

FEINSTEIN: All right. So, we’re in open session, but I really don’t accept that, because of past actions with respect to the FISA court.

GONZALES: Senator, I beg your pardon. I’m…I’m gonna go back and look at the transcript of your question. And I’m…I’m…I…I…I probably want…want to modify it. I want to make sure that I’m being as accurate as I can about…about what we’re doing, because there may be some things here that may affect my…my response.

FEINSTEIN: I…I would appreciate that because, the way I view it, a very conscious…(unintelligible) effort has been made not to submit…certainly content collection to the FISA court.

GONZALES: Senator, this is something that you and I should have a…a conversation about.

(h/t Legra) (h/t Mike for transcript)

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