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Al Gore Calls For Independent Review Of Something He's Already Declared A Crime

A press release put out by Al Gore in the wake of the speech he gave:

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 parties.

Al Gore has already jumped out in front of any legal review of the President's actions by declaring the whole thing illegal. The details of this program, outside of a few generalities acknowledged by the President, are still a secret. We don't know who was spied on. We don't know what was monitored. Calling for a legal review of the program makes perfect sense. Declaring the program illegal before that investigation has even been started and before all the facts emerge is the action of a man who cares more about making political hay out of this issue than upholding the law.

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.

Nobody is claiming that the Clinton/Gore administration broke the law. What is being pointed out is that the Clinton/Gore administration authorized an intelligence gathering program very similar in method and scope to that authorized by President Bush. This program is called "Echelon" and it includes a keyword computer search of nearly every electonic communication made by Americans.

Gore would like us to believe that he holds the moral high ground in this debate, but he doesn't. The Clinton administration maintained that it had the authority to order warrantless searches, including physical searches, for the purposes of gathering foreign intelligence. CIA spy Aldrich Ames was on the receiving end of one of these searches and could certainly testify to the Clinton administration's broad use of these powers.

The press release continues...

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 against him.

The country needs a full and independent investigation into the facts and legality of the present Administration's program.

Again I'd point out that the details of the program authorized by President Bush remain confidential. What basis does Gore have for saying "thousands of American citizens" have been monitored without warrants? There is no evidence to suggest that any citizens were monitored. The President has acknowledged that people inside the U.S. have had their communications monitored, but that does not neccessarily mean citizens.

Gore seems to be just making some of this stuff up, which is an entirely irresponsible thing for a former VP to do in a time of war. I applaud Gore for his call for a review of this NSA program and would like to see it performed sooner rather than later so that our intelligence agents can get back to their jobs without all this political distraction.

What I can't stomach is Gore's partisan point-scoring.

It might fire up leftist partisans, but it brings little to the debate over this controversy.

I believe that President Bush would be exonnerated by such a review owing to the fact that his actions (what we know of them thus far) are well within the scope of his Article II war powers. Given that he had the approval of the Justice Department, reviewed the program every 45 days and kept the appropriate Congressional leaders from both parties appraised of the program I really don't see much room for law breaking. And if comes out (or is decided by a court) that Bush did break the law then he did so with the approval of members of Congress (both Democrat and Republican) as well.

(via Flickertail Journal)

You can read more from Rob Port at SayAnythingBlog.com


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Comments (37)

The only thing I can figger... (Below threshold)
moseby:

The only thing I can figger is that someone calls up al bore and says, "Go act like an asshole somewhere." Like the dummy he is, he complies.

Speaking of Assholes...... (Below threshold)
DDT:

Speaking of Assholes...

White House Silent on Abramoff Meetings

So what's your problem with... (Below threshold)

So what's your problem with an independent review, then?

You know, I can think that Dubya violated the law and the Constitution, and also call for an independent review (as well as impeachment, removal and conviction). Nothing wrong with that, IMNSHO.

Cheers,

I'm curious as to how you c... (Below threshold)
Rob:

I'm curious as to how you can think Bush broke the law and should be convicted when you don't even really know what he did.

Al Gore lost in 2000, Still... (Below threshold)

Al Gore lost in 2000, Still a loser in 2006!

Arne, did you even read the... (Below threshold)

Arne, did you even read the post?

Rob didn't say he has a problem with an independent review. He has a problem with the people calling for the review already claiming guilt before any "review" even gets off the ground and before the facts are all out on the table. "Independent" reviews are supposed to be, ya know, independent. Unbiased. Non-partisan, etc.

Al won the popular vote by ... (Below threshold)

Al won the popular vote by 5 million. The people are interested in what he has to say. Libertarians, a favorite ally of conservatives are on Gore's side of this issue.

"Al won the popular vote... (Below threshold)

"Al won the popular vote by 5 million."

Gee, the last numbers I saw put it somewhere around 500K. I thought inflation was bad, but this is ridiculous...

He's also taller than GWB. That matters about as much as the popular vote.

There was no law at the tim... (Below threshold)
Jeff Smithpeters:

There was no law at the time of the Ames warrantless search that made the Clinton-Gore administration's actions illegal. Later such a law was passed by Congress. Clinton signed it.

See here for more: http://mediamatters.org/items/200601170014

I'd appreciate it if you'd consider evaluating your own work for instances of partisanship trumping your presentation before you accuse others of the same. But I doubt it will happen.

Jeff,As I said in ... (Below threshold)
Rob:

Jeff,

As I said in the article, nobody is saying that the Clinton actions were illegal. Just pointing out that Clinton authorized something similar.

The bottom line is this: Given what the President has revealed about the program it does not appear to be illegal. Of course, a review may reveal some law breaking, but it is foolish to declare what Bush authorized as illegal before more facts come out.

Honestly, I'd appreciate it if you'd consider evaluating your comments for instances of partisanship trumping your presentation before you accuse others of the same. But I doubt it will happen.

Is Al Gore <a href="http://... (Below threshold)

Is Al Gore Rod Parsley's half brother?

Hmmm.And it's also... (Below threshold)
ed:

Hmmm.

And it's also interesting that Gorelick, on Clinton's behalf, also reserved the right to do those warrantless searches *after* implementation of the FISA court.

sigh. Frankly I think one of the primary jobs that bloggers have is educating liberals. And it's gotten very very old.

And it's also interestin... (Below threshold)
mantis:

And it's also interesting that Gorelick, on Clinton's behalf, also reserved the right to do those warrantless searches *after* implementation of the FISA court.

The Ames searches were in 1993. Gorelick's testimony was in 1994. In 1995 the FISA amendment changed the law to apply to physical searches (by a Republican Congress, largely in response to the Ames case).

sigh. Maybe you should know what you're talking about before whining about bloggers "educating liberals".

Was Gore's handler on vacat... (Below threshold)

Was Gore's handler on vacation the last couple of weeks?

I'm curious as to how yo... (Below threshold)

I'm curious as to how you can think Bush broke the law and should be convicted when you don't even really know what he did.

He's basically admitted that he wiretapped without even bothering to adhere to the procedures required by the FISA law. And also basically said "F*** you and what're you gonna do about it" to anyone who has questioned him about it.

OK?

Cheers,

Rob didn't say he has a ... (Below threshold)

Rob didn't say he has a problem with an independent review. He has a problem with the people calling for the review already claiming guilt before any "review" even gets off the ground and before the facts are all out on the table.

Ummm, what's the matter with that? Hate to say it, but an indictment (which, FYI comes before the trial) is an assertion that a crime has been committed.

Look, you don't think that Dubya's broken the law, out with your argument. Don't go jumpin' on Gore because he has put forth his thinking.....

Cheers,

Just pointing out that C... (Below threshold)

Just pointing out that Clinton authorized something similar.

You misspelled "that was not prohibited by law." HTH.

Cheers,

And it's also interestin... (Below threshold)

And it's also interesting that Gorelick, on Clinton's behalf, also reserved the right to do those warrantless searches *after* implementation of the FISA court.

Care to back that up with some actual fact?

Cheers,

sigh. Frankly I think on... (Below threshold)

sigh. Frankly I think one of the primary jobs that bloggers have is educating liberals. And it's gotten very very old.

Well, if you think that's what you have to do, I'd suggest you start getting to it. BTW, the FISA courts were in place a long time before the amendments on physical searches. Just a FYI.

Cheers,

Yep, the correct people wer... (Below threshold)
scrapiron:

Yep, the correct people were briefed several times but some of the dim-wits think they should have been allowed to immediately release the top secret briefing to their pals at the NYT. Now i'm not too smart but I do reconize someone who cares nothing about my familys safety and the democrats fit the bill. They only care about the power they feel they have lost the past few years. Millions of people dying in the streets of America would suit them if they could only gain one seat out of it.

Since when did it have to b... (Below threshold)
opine6:

Since when did it have to be true for Al Gore to say it? He invented the internet, remember.

"Is Al Gore Rod Parsley's h... (Below threshold)
moseby:

"Is Al Gore Rod Parsley's half brother?"

Yes, he is. He's the part that dried up on Mrs. Parsley's leg.

Yep, the correct people ... (Below threshold)

Yep, the correct people were briefed several times ...

Which has what all to do with whether it was legal???

... but some of the dim-wits think they should have been allowed to immediately release the top secret briefing to their pals at the NYT. Now i'm not too smart but I do reconize someone who cares nothing about my familys safety and the democrats fit the bill.

What ever gave you the idea that is was "the democrats" that blew the lid on Dubya's law-breaking here? As for your pissing your pants and being willing to give up a little bit of liberty for "security" (and remember what ol' 300 year old -- as of yesterday -- Ben Franklin said about that), nothing prevented Dubya from getting 72 hours bite of the apple for free, and then getting a warrant in that time. Note that almost every single FISA warrant ever applied for has been granted. Dubya's problem seems to be either that he thinks he's the Second Coming and can do WTF he wants, Constitution and laws of the land be damned, or he wanted stuff that no rational court (much less the rather sympathetic FISA court) would give him.

Now put that in your pipe and smoke it.

I get this feeling that if Dubya was f***ing a dead 8-year-old on the Rose Garden lawn, and said it was for national security (or even just for the good of the country ... or maybe just for the good of the Republican party), you'd be first in line to defend him and say it's all for our own good and just move along, nothing to see. But it seems that even various RWers are starting to get queasy with Dubya's over-reaching (e.g., Bob Barr), and are starting to look somewhat askance at the guy you admire as Commander Codpiece....

Cheers,

Getting a warrant 72 hours ... (Below threshold)

Getting a warrant 72 hours AFTER the fact?

Anyone in law enforcement will ask you this...

...why?

Do you honestly believe that an ill-gotten warrant will stand up in court? What court?

If liberals want to be in charge of Starbucks, no problem.

National Security? Ahhh...NO.

Of liberals in general, the agenda should read issues not tissues.

Mike:Getting a ... (Below threshold)

Mike:

Getting a warrant 72 hours AFTER the fact?

Ummm, that's what the law says. Not that I agree with it; I think such early peeks under "exigent" circumstances tends toget abused, but that's just me, and they didn't ask me to write the lasw...

Anyone in law enforcement will ask you this...

...why?

Because that's what the law says. If you don't get the warrant, nothing you get can be used in court.

Do you honestly believe that an ill-gotten warrant will stand up in court? What court?

No, I don't think so. In fact, I think not. But AAMOF, warrants obtained even after the fact, provided they comply with the FISA requirements (and the Fourth Amendment), aren't "ill-gotten" (Also AAMOF, Dubya's peeks did not even pretend to comply with FISA). What ever made you think I'm in favour of "ill-gotten warrants"? Do you enjoy arguing against "straw men"? Or did you just not understand me?

If liberals want to be in charge of Starbucks, no problem.

You know, I'd say I have a better understanding of what's going on here than you (see above). Are you claiming to be a liberal here? Or just desirous of a job at Starbucks...

National Security? Ahhh...NO.

Of liberals in general, the agenda should read issues not tissues.

*sheesh* That's pretty lame, isn't it? Surely you can do better.

Cheers,

Actually,Any warra... (Below threshold)

Actually,

Any warrant must be obtained BEFORE it's intended use. What law are you referring to that says otherwise?

I've never heard of getting a warrant after the fact and then hoping that said warrant would ever pass muster in a court of law.

A warrant is nothing more than permission from the court to conduct searches, surviellence(sp?), etc.

If you don't get a warrant, then you don't have the court's permission so what sense does it make to go back and get a warrant later? George W. isn't using the courts but rather Article II of the constitution which will be debated again, I'm sure. So what does getting a warrant from a court that you didn't use in the first place have anything to do with going back to that court after the fact?

There's no logic to your argument. Not to mention, no law supporting it. Again, Bush is using Article II.

Nobody is claiming that ... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

Nobody is claiming that the Clinton/Gore administration broke the law. What is being pointed out is that the Clinton/Gore administration authorized an intelligence gathering program very similar in method and scope to that authorized by President Bush. This program is called "Echelon"...

Al Gonzalez was on news broadcasts (I think the Situation Room was one) referring to the Ames case and saying that Clinton assumed inherent authority, the same as Bush has done today. But FISA was amended in 1995 to cover physical searches, after which Clinton complied. What Bush has authorized certainly may have violated FISA from the outset. [I have not heard anyone (in the MSM) talking about Echelon and it's legality lately.]

I'm curious as to how you can think Bush broke the law and should be convicted when you don't even really know what he did.

Nobody outside NSA (except a few not fully-informed legislators) knows what he did and that's the problem. The FISA court is in place to monitor the president's activity. By avoiding it, he very well may have broken the law and from what has been revealed, it's not absurd to think he might have.

but some of the dim-wits think they should have been allowed to immediately release the top secret briefing to their pals at the NYT

The person who leaked it revealed himself as a former NSA agent. He believes his leak was whistle-blowing and admitted it, unlike other leakers...

Any warrant must be obtained BEFORE it's intended use. What law are you referring to that says otherwise?

Have you been following this story at all? The FISA law, dumbass. It allows 72 hours after the wiretap to get a warrant from the court in case there is an urgent need. And we liberals are the ones who need to be educated?

-This situation most certainly needs to be investigated. If Bush did nothing wrong, then the investigations will prove it. Claiming Bush has broken the law may be going to far, but suspecting he has is certainly acceptable and almost mandatory.

You mean this..."T... (Below threshold)

You mean this...

"The President may authorize, through the Attorney General, electronic surveillance without a court order for the period of one year provided it is: only for foreign intelligence information [2a] targeting foreign powers as defined by 50 U.S.C."

What don't you understand? The President doesn't need to go back to a FISA court for a warrant after the fact. Anyone arguing that the President was "out of line" is on the losing end of the argument.

I'm sorry if that makes Libs angry. There is no law that was broken here and you can stop bringing up FISA because Bush has side-stepped them which makes them irrelevent. The excerpt above is from FISA.

He has the constitution on his side. These issues have been brought up in front of a court in the past and have been Ok'd by them.

I argue this because it's just too much fun. This wire-tapping argument is a "going nowhere" argument. It's settled law.

What new case do you really think you have here?

I'm curious.

Mike:<a href="http... (Below threshold)

Mike:

50 U.S.C. §1805(f).

I argue this because it's just too much fun. This wire-tapping argument is a "going nowhere" argument. It's settled law.

You don't even know the freakin' law. Time to either read up or STFU, I'd say.....

He has the constitution on his side. These issues have been brought up in front of a court in the past and have been Ok'd by them.

Huh??? What the Constitution does say is that no one may be subject to an unreasonable search, and that searches require a proper warrant. I'd disagree that "exigent circumstances" (the "emergency" provision of FISA, e.g.) are enough to nullify the warrant requirement (I've said a bit more on this elsewhere), but currently my views don't hold sway, and we have such as the "Terry" exception and the "Chimel" reaching area type crap as well as the Prohibition Era inspired motor vehicle "exception". But nowhere in the Constitution does it say that the President is excepted from the provisions of the Bill of Rights (and I'd venture to say that you'd probably be screaming bloody murder if some president, one day, decided that the Constitution gives him power to violate ... say .. the First (or maybe the Second?) Amendments just because he's the Presnit).

If you think the issues have "been brought up in front of a court in the past and have been Ok'd by them", then kindly provide a cite to this "OK".

Cheers,

"The President may autho... (Below threshold)
sean nyc/aa:

"The President may authorize, through the Attorney General, electronic surveillance without a court order for the period of one year provided it is: only for foreign intelligence information [2a] targeting foreign powers as defined by 50 U.S.C."

If American citizens were tapped, then your whole argument is moot and you do need FISA. That's the question, were Americans spied on? No one is debating that the President has the authority to spy solely on foreign citizens/countries. By side-stepping the courts, there was no judicial oversight to make sure he wasn't spying on Americans w/o a warrant, thus violating FISA and breaking the law. QED

Rob says "I'm curious as to... (Below threshold)
Kirk:

Rob says "I'm curious as to how you can think Bush broke the law and should be convicted when you don't even really know what he did."

Rob says "The bottom line is this: Given what the President has revealed about the program it does not appear to be illegal. Of course, a review may reveal some law breaking, but it is foolish to declare what Bush authorized as illegal before more facts come out."

Why the HELL would you call for a review of somthing you DON'T believe is illegal ????? ????? ????? ?????

The lack of logic from the wingnuts is astounding.

Let me spell it out for the morons... You find something you think is wrong - and investigate it.

Make sense??

LOL i din't think you'd get it.

*sigh*

Watching C-span today i saw... (Below threshold)
Kirk:

Watching C-span today i saw Ari beeming with glee as Jeff Gannon wannabes tossed garbage about Gore/Clinton's activities - as if they have any clue other than what the regime is feeding them - about something called a clipper chip capable of listening to all phone conversations....

Quite enlightning to see they are still using all the old propaganda tricks.

*still slackjawed*

Meanwhile, thanks to the NY... (Below threshold)
Brad:

Meanwhile, thanks to the NYT and their political wing, the Democratic Party and its stalwart boobs such as Gore, anyone who was being tapped or knows they were a candidate for it now knows not to talk anymore.

It's one thing to be vigilent and remember we are governed with the consent of the governed, but a little faith in your own government trying to protect you in time of war goes a long way. I really believe this kind of crap Gore is pushing is f'ing dangerous and may help lead to another attack--because now the Left DOES NOT WANT US TO "CONNECT THE DOTS"--stupid bastards.

Brad:Meanwhile,... (Below threshold)

Brad:

Meanwhile, thanks to the NYT and their political wing, the Democratic Party and its stalwart boobs such as Gore, anyone who was being tapped or knows they were a candidate for it now knows not to talk anymore.

This is so freakin' lame that the only reason I think the Dubya sycophants and apologists come up with it is that they don't have anything else. Brad wants us to believe that nobody imagined their phone could be tapped unitl the NYT broke the story that DUbya was doing it without a warrant. This ignores, of course, the fact that even Dubya was touting information he claims was gotten by taps as part of his "success" stories. No, the existence of wiretaps is hardly a secret to anyone (and if I were a RWer, I'd think twice before claiam I was so clueless that it's only through the NYT that I'd ever heard of such a thing). I guess the big "secret" is that Dubya was tapping without a warrant, and thus, possibly, without even probable cause. Which might make an astute but well-hidden terraist nervous, but which really shouldn't, seeing as it's also been revealed that the gummint doesn't have the capability to interpret the information it has been gathering, and that the FBI spent lots of its resources running down dead ends thanks to Dubya's dragnet, so that the chances of apprehension went down with all that extra work Dubya dumped on them without probable cause.

It's one thing to be vigilent and remember we are governed with the consent of the governed, but a little faith in your own government trying to protect you in time of war goes a long way.

Well, this is one of the strangest "wars" we've had, and I'd even venture that we're not at war, despite Dubya's desire that we be so for legal reasons of his own.

But where's this "[have] a little faith in your own government" come from? Didn't you hear Dubya say "Brownie, you're doing a hack of a job?" How about Rummy's "We know where the weapons are, they're [around Baghdad and Tikrit]." Never trust your gummint (lesson free of charge from the founding fathers), but you'd have to be particularly insane to trust this one; a gummint filled to the brim with crooks, thugs, cronies, and incompetents.....

Yes, that "don't you know there is a war on?...." crap is starting to smell like a fish too many days on the beach to more and more actual Americans....

Cheers,

Remember 9/11? Do you want... (Below threshold)
bnorm:

Remember 9/11? Do you want another one?
Nuff said...

The time has come to choose... (Below threshold)
RicK:

The time has come to choose sides: are you a Bush Loyalist or an American Patriot? If you are a Patriot you are faithful to the Patria, the Fathers of our country and the principles set forth in our Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. A true president of our great country respects the oath of office: to uphold the laws of the land and the Constitution. Bush has admitted to breaking at least six federal laws and is in violation of the First, Fourth, Fifth, Ninth Amendments found the Bill of Rights, in addition to the Fourteen Amendment. The question before us as Americans is whether the commander-in-chief of the military - not of the nation, by the way - has the right to do this in times of an undeclared war. Keeping in mind that the majority do not support Bush, by his saying that you are either with him or against him and using the military to spy on Americans as though we are the enemy, he has in effect, declared war on the people of the United States -- and We the People are America. Bush is at war with America. Now is the time for all good Americans to come to the aid of their country -- it is time to choose sides.

Remember 9/11? Do you wa... (Below threshold)

Remember 9/11? Do you want another one?

Several unwritten assumptions here: You seem to assume that such behaviour would prevent another 9/11. And also to assume that there's no other means of doing the same thing. The first is far from clear, and the second is patently and absurdly false: There was no bar to wiretaps here; the plain fact of the matter is that the maladministration simply didn't want to bother getting one, even after the fact (as they're alowed to do by law).

But if it comes to protecting Commander Codpiece from criticism for violating the law, the Dubya "sychophants", and others that have been terrorized -- by their own gummint -- to piss their pants at the thought of another such attack, will be glad to sell their freedom for a sou. Simply mind-boggling.

Cheers,




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