Saturday, November 18, 2006

Dick Cheney Speaks to the Federalist Society on Warrantless Surveillance

Glenn Greenwald translates Dick Cheney's recent address to the Federalist Society on the subject of warrantless surveillance:

Vice President Dick Cheney and the Federalist Society got together last night and shared some hearty laughs about the administration's ongoing eavesdropping on American citizens, inside the U.S., in violation of the law, along with the hilarious notion that these things called "laws" or "courts" could somehow restrain the Leader:

In the days following 9/11, the President authorized the National Security Agency to intercept a certain category of terrorist-linked international communications. On occasion you will hear this called a domestic surveillance program. That is more than a misnomer; it's a flat-out falsehood. We are talking about international communications, one end of which we have reason to believe is related to al Qaeda and to terrorist networks.

We are spying on American citizens inside the U.S. as they talk on the telephones in their homes. And we are doing so in secret, with no warrants or oversight of any kind. But it is a "flat-out falsehood" to say that this is "domestic surveillance." Everyone knows that when a Government spies on the conversations of its own citizens while they are inside the country, that has nothing to do with "domestic surveillance."

In addition, the entire program undergoes a thorough review approximately every 45 days. After each review, the President personally has to determine whether to reauthorize the program. And he has done so more than 30 times since September 11th -- and he has indicated his intent to continue doing so as long as our nation faces a threat from al Qaeda and related organizations.

There is no need to worry about our illegal, secret spying on you, because the Leader Himself -- "personally" -- reviews this and approves of it. And even though there is a law in place enacted almost 30 years ago by your democratically-elected representatives making it a felony for us to do this, and even though the only court to rule on this issue has ruled that we are violating not only your constitutional rights, but also a federal criminal statute, we are still doing it, and we will continue to. Because we want to and because we can.

Here is Glenn's plain-English capsule summary:

Hey, Federalist Society patriots -- check out these premises that we have:

(1) Neither Congress nor the Courts can "tie the hands of the President" during war.

(2) We are at war forever.

(3) The war is everywhere, including inside the U.S.

(4) Ergo, by definition, no more courts, no more laws, to restrain Our Leader (raucous laughter; wild applause).

It means -- by definition -- that the Leader exists outside of and above the law, no matter what some liberal judge, the ACLU, The New York Times or all the other terrorist-lovers might say (laughter). What a court says is merely an "opinion" which we are free to ignore like we do everyone else's opinions (and that goes double for the the aspect of what the court says that is called an "Order").

We are at war, and we will be forever, and the war is Everywhere, even in our Homeland, and as a result, unlimited power is vested in our Leader, who will use it for your own Good, to protect you, because the Leader is Good and he loves you (applause, saluting, embracing, dancing).

Federalist Society meeting ends.

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