Saturday, January 07, 2006

Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of the administration? The CRS does!

Ever since my friends told me that I was losing credibility every time I called W a lying sack of you-know-what, I have been struggling to find my voice. I want something with a tinge of sarcasm, but still with some authority to it. And of course, some humor.

Last week I published The President and Article II of the Constitution, in which I dissected Assistant Attorney General William E. Moschella’s lame defense of King George W’s program of domestic spying. I said it was horsefeathers and called it "pernicious."

Since my publication of “The President and Article II of the Constitution,” the Congressional Research Service published a 44 page analysis of the same weak defense of W's use of the NSA. Its analysis and arguments are similar to mine in many respects. Here is the conclusion of the C.R.S. report:

From the foregoing analysis, it appears unlikely that a court would hold that Congress has expressly or impliedly authorized the NSA electronic surveillance operations here under discussion, and it would likewise appear that, to the extent that those surveillances fall within the definition of “electronic surveillance” within the meaning of FISA or any activity regulated under Title III, Congress intended to cover the entire field with these statutes. To the extent that the NSA activity is not permitted by some reading of Title III or FISA, it may represent an exercise of presidential power at its lowest ebb, in which case exclusive presidential control is sustainable only by “disabling Congress from acting upon the subject.” While courts have generally accepted that the President has the power to conduct domestic electronic surveillance within the United States inside the constraints of the Fourth Amendment, no court has held squarely that the Constitution disables the Congress from endeavoring to set limits on that power. To the contrary, the Supreme Court has stated that Congress does indeed have power to regulate domestic surveillance, and has not ruled on the extent to which Congress can act with respect to electronic surveillance to collect foreign intelligence information. Given such uncertainty, the Administration’s legal justification, as presented in the summary analysis from the Office of Legislative Affairs, does not seem to be as well-grounded as the tenor of that letter suggests.

I especially like the last sentence, which I interpret that to mean, Wipe that smirk off your face, Chimp! You're getting impeached!

To the Congressional Research Service: "Welcome Aboard!"

"... and tell 'em Big Mitch sent ya!"

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