A federal intelligence court judge earlier this year secretly declared a key element of the Bush administration's wiretapping efforts illegal, according to a lawmaker and government sources, providing a previously unstated rationale for fevered efforts by congressional lawmakers this week to expand the president's spying powers.The administration breaks the law. So, what should we do about it? Change the law. It's good to be the king.
House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) disclosed elements of the court's decision in remarks Tuesday to Fox News as he was promoting the administration-backed wiretapping legislation. Boehner has denied revealing classified information, but two government officials privy to the details confirmed that his remarks concerned classified information.
President Bush said Friday that Congress must stay in session until it approves legislation modernizing a U.S. law governing eavesdropping on foreigners.Well, that's nice. Big olive branch, that. Especially given all that we now know about the partisan criminality of that attorney general.
“So far the Democrats in Congress have not drafted a bill I can sign,” Bush said at FBI headquarters, where he was meeting with counterterror and homeland security officials. “We've worked hard and in good faith with the Democrats to find a solution, but we are not going to put our national security at risk. Time is short.”
The president, who has the power under the Constitution to keep Congress in session, said lawmakers cannot leave for their August recess this weekend as planned unless they “pass a bill that will give our intelligence community the tools they need to protect the United States.”
Earlier Friday, the White House offered an eleventh-hour accord to Democrats in the negotiations over the matter, saying it would agree to a court review of its foreign intelligence activities instead of leaving certification up to the attorney general and director of national intelligence.