The I Word

As legal scholars weigh in on whether Bush's admission that he authorized wiretapping of American citizens without a court order is a criminal act, it's not just kooks like Ramsey Clark who are calling for impeachment. U.S. Rep. John Lewis called for it on Monday, and Sen. Russ Feingold chided Bush: "The President does not get to pick and choose which laws he wants to follow. He is a president, not a king." Even former White House Counsel John Dean, part of Nixon's cabinet, says the unauthorized surveillance of citizens is an "impeachable offense" that's specifically forbidden in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, passed in 1978 in response to Nixon's electronic eavesdropping.

But maybe a parallel with Clinton, as well as Nixon, is in order. Both guys fibbed about the details. In a 2004 speech (sadly, not under oath), Bush lied through his teeth, failing to mention that he OK'd citizen surveillance two years earlier:
[A] wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.
More Bush wiretap lies here.

Dispatch from the liberal media: The New York Times, it seems, sat on the illegal wiretapping story, waiting to publish it only after the presidential election.

Update: US Rep. John Conyers is serious about holding Bush and Cheney accountable for their abuses of power. He's introducing three resolutions that could impose penalties ranging from censure to impeachment—and not for the domestic wiretapping charge: he wants an investigation into Bush's and Cheney's manipulation of prewar intelligence.

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