Quitting the fight

Matthew Hoy
By Matthew Hoy on January 18, 2007

Nope, not our troops in Iraq, but President Bush.

For more than a year, ever since the New York Times revealed the National Security Agency's terrorist wiretapping program involving international communications, conservatives have backed the president's actions based upon his constitutional authority as commander-in-chief and the legal authority of In Re Sealed Case (2002).

Today, in the wake of the Democrat takeover of Congress, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales announced the program isn't being renewed and that they will instead use the unwieldy Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act Court. Apparently, the program and the principle weren't worth fighting for.

Thee are some who claim that this isn't a surrender to the soft-on-national security Democrats.

I'm with Capt. Ed on this one:

It's not that the program has ended; it obviously will continue. My anger is over the fact that the Bush administration insisted on two points: one, that the FISA court would not cooperate on streamlining the process for warrants on these intercepts, and the second that the Bush administration had the authority to proceed without it. They took everyone along for a big ride, making all sorts of legal arguments about the AUMF and Article II -- and now Gonzales has revealed that even they didn't really believe it.

If they were negotiating with FISA to place the program under their jurisdiction, then they must have agreed with their critics that insisted FISA was a covering authority for such action. And if they've spent the better part of two years reaching an accommodation with FISA, why not just tell people what they were doing when the program got exposed? And for toppers, why didn't they start negotiating with FISA in November 2001 when they started the program?

The Bush administration just torpedoed a large chunk of their credibility. This is in no way a victory for the White House, but a huge climbdown. All of that effort and argument went for absolutely nothing. [emphasis in original]

If this is a victory, I'm not sure that a vigorous and energetic executive branch working to fight the war on terrorism can survive a whole lot more like it.

0 comments on “Quitting the fight”

  1. Matt, let's fast-forward two years: Hillary in the White House and Dems controlling both houses of Congress. I will bet heavy money that not only will we still be hashing out Iraq and the GWOT, but that the MSM will change their tune on a dime. In other words, all the "good stories" on Iraq will be printed, and every action taken against the insurgents will be covered more favorably than today.

    What will conservatives do when that happens? Get in touch with their inner Pat Buchanan?


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