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Can You Say “Illegal?”

ABC News is reporting that former CIA General Counsel Jeffrey Smith has presented the Senate Intelligence Committee with a 14-page brief on why the Preznit’s authorization for NSA domestic spying without a warrant is illegal.

As ABC points out, Smith is a Democrat. But if you think that means he’s a partisan hack who is soft on national security matters, you can think again: he is a hawk who worked with Sam Nunn (D-GA) on the Armed Services Committee as their counsel before moving over to the CIA’s legal department. (ABC conveniently fails to point out that Smith has been a defense and intelligence hawk throughout his career, and sticks to the Democrat label only. Convenient.) ABC reports that:

…Smith argues "it is not credible that the 2001 authorization to use force provides authority for the president to ignore the requirements of FISA."

He said that if the president’s arguments for the wiretaps are sustained "it would be a dramatic expansion of presidential authority affecting the rights of our fellow citizens that undermines the checks and balances of our system, which lie at the very heart of the Constitution."

Let’s see, hawks on the left and right are appalled by the Preznit’s power grab. Senators are pissed. Constitutional scholars are outraged. The only people backing up Bushie on this are the ones on his payroll — well, and Yoo, who is on the hook for coming up with the idiotic idea in the first place, but let’s just call that CYA support, shall we?

So much for the "everybody does it" defense. Can you say "illegal?" Thought you could.

(Hat tip to reader Stephen Parrish for the link.)

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com