Friday, April 07, 2006

AND THE SHAME DEEPENS. Alberto Gonzales yesterday told the House Judiciary Committee that he would not rule out the possibility of warrantless wiretaps on purely domestic communications, if the Bush administration believed such communications had a connection to Al Qaeda.

In response to a question from Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) during an appearance before the House Judiciary Committee, Gonzales suggested that the administration could decide it was legal to listen in on a domestic call without supervision if it were related to al-Qaeda.

"I'm not going to rule it out," Gonzales said.

In the past, Gonzales and other officials refused to say whether they had the legal authority to conduct warrantless eavesdropping on domestic calls, and have stressed that the NSA eavesdropping program is focused only on international communications.

Gonzales previously testified in the Senate that Bush had considered including purely domestic communications in the NSA spying program, but he said the idea was rejected in part because of fears of a public outcry. He also testified at the time that the Justice Department had not fully analyzed the legal issues of such a move.

In fact, if I'm interpreting this language correctly, warrantless spying on phone calls and e-mails inside the United States between two parties who are both American may already be happening:

In yesterday's testimony, Gonzales reiterated earlier hints that there may be another facet to the NSA program that has not been revealed publicly, or even another program that has prompted dissension within the government. While acknowledging disagreements among officials over the monitoring efforts, Gonzales disputed published reports that have detailed the arguments.

"They did not relate to the program the president disclosed," Gonzales testified. "They related to something else, and I can't get into that."

Justice spokeswoman Tasia Scolinos played down Gonzales's remarks, saying he "did not say anything new" about the NSA program.

"The Attorney General's comments today should not be interpreted to suggest the existence or non-existence of a domestic program or whether any such program would be lawful under the existing legal analysis," Scolinos said in a statement.

I could not stop staring at the photograph of Gonzales accompanying this article. Look at his expression: I would call it calm contentment. He's smiling slightly, and he looks totally relaxed. Just another day in the office, helping his boss to subvert the Constitution and end the American experiment with democracy.


The Heretik said...

Good snark.

Kathy said...

Thanks. :)