Stop me before I hit myself in the head with the obvious truth again.
I’d like to say something about the complete clusterfuckedness of this:
No wonder Bush was so desperate that The New York Times not publish its story on the National Security Agency eavesdropping on American citizens without a warrant, in what lawyers outside the administration say is a clear violation of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. I learned this week that on December 6, Bush summoned Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger and executive editor Bill Keller to the Oval Office in a futile attempt to talk them out of running the story. The Times will not comment on the meeting,
but one can only imagine the presidentâ€™s desperation.
The problem was not that the disclosures would compromise national security, as Bush claimed at his press conference. His comparison to the damaging pre-9/11 revelation of Osama bin Ladenâ€™s use of a satellite phone, which caused bin Laden to change tactics, is fallacious; any Americans with ties to Muslim extremistsâ€”in fact, all American Muslims, periodâ€”have long since suspected that the U.S. government might be listening in to their conversations. Bush claimed that â€œthe fact that we are discussing this program is helping the enemy.â€ But there is simply no evidence, or even reasonable presumption, that this is so. And rather than the leaking being a â€œshameful act,â€ it was the work of a patriot inside the government who was trying to stop a presidential power grab.
No, Bush was desperate to keep the Times from running this important storyâ€”which the paper had already inexplicably held for a yearâ€”because he knew that it would reveal him as a law-breaker. He insists he had â€œlegal authority derived from the Constitution and congressional resolution authorizing force.â€ But the Constitution explicitly requires the president to obey the law. And the post 9/11 congressional resolution authorizing â€œall necessary forceâ€ in fighting terrorism was made in clear reference to military intervention. It did not scrap the Constitution and allow the president to do whatever he pleased in any area in the name of fighting terrorism.
But Franklin Foer might get all pissy and start accusing liberal bloggers of hurting themselves again and we can’t have that.