Friday, December 23, 2005

Krauthammer lays the smack down... (and on Cass Sustein's comments too) 

...on those calling for the President's impeachment because of his asserting executive authority granted by the constitution to conduct wiretaps of suspected associates of Al Qaeda. About the NSA listenting, Krauthammer states:
only the most brazen and reckless partisan could pretend it is anything approaching a high crime and misdemeanor.
I totally agree. Krauthammer is right that it may not be the best political course not to get more congressional approval for warrentless searches, but just because this is the case doesn't mean the President doesn't have the power anyway. This is a balance of power issue, which is as old as the Republic. The congress and the executive are always fighting in relation to who has the ultimate authority in matters of war. This tussle is good for the nation, but in this case since the President would no doubt be held to account if we were attacked again and there was found to be lapses in security that allowed such an attack (ie, he would be responsible), he must have the power to engage with foreign enemies. (Hatip: instapundit)

UPDATE: Relatedly, here's an interview with Cass Sunstein (Prof. from the UofC, my school btw) on the topic of inherent presidential power involving warrentless searches. He comes down on the side that argues the President does have this power when confronting enemies from abroad. I don't see how any reasonable person can argue congress has the constitutional power to limit the president in this regard. The President of the US has the responsibility to protect the nation and its people from foreign enemies. If he doesn't have the power to go along with that responsibility, that's just plain ridiculous. The phrase that those with the responsibility for results also have to have the power to achieve results is quite wise. Read the whole thing if you don't have a grasp of this issue involving warrenless searches already. Here's a great money quote, though:
I don't think any president would relinquish the argument that the Congress lacks the authority to prevent him from acting in a way that protects national security, by engaging in foreign surveillance under the specific circumstances of post-9/11.
Oh, and the part where Mr. Sunstein (a self-proclaimed liberal, btw) says that press coverage has been horrible and biased--if I can be allowed such a paraphrase--is worth a read as well. Mr. Sunstein says he's been contacted by several major papers, but notes he hasn't been quoted in any stories by said papers on this issue. Could it be because he's asserting the President is doing nothing wrong in this case? The media wants a big story, but Mr. Sunstein is saying this is a mundain issue, which does not sell papers or drive ratings.

Additionally, he points out that the media has been overblowing what the President is doing from wiretapping Al Qaeda people to universal listening. Quite true. This story is manufactured to a very high degree (Mr. Sunstein speculates that this is probably due to an echo from watergate where people think that all wiretapping is bad--although personally I think there is a bit of hatred towards the President driving this story too). It needs to go away so we can focus on real problems. The president is right and justified in his actions. In fact, if he wasn't doing this, I'd say he was derelicting his duty to protect the nation from foreign enemies.

Mr. Sunstein also comments on the illegality of the leaking of classified information--the leaking of the NSA info was very, very probably a federal crime under the espionage act. He says that if national security was compromised because the program will be less effective do to being known now, something should be done about it. I totally agree. Round up the reports that covered the story innitially, and charge them with disseminating classified info if they won't give up their sources. Whoever leaked this needs to go to jail for their crimes.

Oh, and since I never posted to Powerline's great posts arguine in favor of the President's actions, I guess I'll do so here.

Man, oh, man, you have a great sense of the craziness going on. We appreciate your commentary on the NSA story.

Thanks for dropping by our site. Hope you will come back and feel free to comment.

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Merry Christmas,
D. Ox
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