In a December 22nd letter to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Assistant Attorney General William E. Moschella wrote that the "President determined it was necessary following September 11 to create an early warning detection system. FISA could not have provided the speed and agility required for the early warning detection system."
Today, we learned from Truthout.org that:
The National Security Agency advised President Bush in early 2001 that it had been eavesdropping on Americans during the course of its work monitoring suspected terrorists and foreigners believed to have ties to terrorist groups, according to a declassified document.
Even more significantly, a group of 14 legal scholars have disputed Moschella's legal analysis, saying in a letter just sent to Congress that the White House failed to identify "any plausible legal authority for such surveillance."
Who is this gang of 14? The usual assortment of deans of law schools, former counsellors to the president, with a former Director of the FBI thrown in for good measure. Here's the complete list:
Their very detailed legal analysis leaves no doubt that the President's conduct was illegal, but they ducked the whole the "horsefeathers" vs. "poppycock" controversy. I suggest we let Princeton Professor Harry G. Frankfurt cast a deciding vote.
“… and tell ’em Big Mitch sent ya!”