The Administration’s response to my speech illustrates perfectly the
need for a special counsel to review the legality of the NSA
wiretapping program. The Attorney General is making a political defense
of the President without even addressing the substantive legal
questions that have so troubled millions of Americans in both political
There are two problems with the Attorney General’s effort to focus
attention on the past instead of the present Administration’s behavior.
First, as others have thoroughly documented, his charges are factually
wrong. Both before and after the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
was amended in 1995, the Clinton/Gore Administration complied fully and
completely with the terms of the law.
Second, the Attorney General’s attempt to cite a previous
administration’s activity as precedent for theirs — even though
factually wrong — ironically demonstrates another reason why we must
be so vigilant about their brazen disregard for the law. If unchecked,
their behavior would serve as a precedent to encourage future
presidents to claim these same powers, which many legal experts in both
parties believe are clearly illegal.
The issue, simply put, is that for more than four years, the executive
branch has been wiretapping many thousands of American citizens without
warrants in direct contradiction of American law. It is clearly wrong
and disrespectful to the American people to allow a close political
associate of the president to be in charge of reviewing serious charges
The country needs a full and independent investigation into the facts and legality of the present Administration’s program.
Al Gore gave a speech to the American Constitutional Society calling for a Special Prosecutor, Congressional Hearings, and for all private entities cooperating with Bush’s illegal wiretapping to cease and desist. He condemned Bush’s actions in no uncertain terms. Gore may be the most courageous politician in America today; he’s certainly about to be the most reviled by the Right.
The major news outlets haven’t even covered his speech. So much for the Fourth Estate….
UPDATE: As they often do, the media began paying attention only when there was a response from the White House, so that they could report the ‘controversy’ without the appearance of bias. Whimps.