Saturday, July 11, 2009

Congressional report on Domestic [warrantless] wiretapping

The Congressional investigation's report released yesterday had some interesting things to say about the Bush Administration's domestic surveillance program.

To summarize:

1. The Congressional Probe doesn't question, nor does it criticize, the objectives and intentions of the program launched in 2001, since its aim was to stop terrorism.
2. The investigators did, however, conclude that the legal basis for doing the program was "factually flawed" and that relying on one attorney, the now infamous John Yoo, to provide the legal framework was extremely inappropriate for all parties involved.
The White House should not have relied upon one attorney in the Department of Justice. John Yoo was also well out of line to provide it, because he circumvented his bosses, Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, and Attorney General John Ashcroft.

"The lack of oversight and review of Yoo's work ... contributed to a legal analysis of the [program] that at a minimum was factually flawed," it says.

Since then, the Justice Department has repudiated all of John Yoo's legal opinions on this and others: the John Yoo Memos, in which he gave [flawed] legal rationale for the US Executive Branch to overturn much of the Bill of Rights, citizen or not, in search of terrorism.

The report notes that several members of Congress -- including then-House Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Nancy Pelosi -- were briefed on the program on October 25, 2001, and a total of 17 times before the program became public in 2005.
The document repeats the public assertion by former National Security Agency Director Michael Hayden that no member of Congress had urged that the program be stopped.


John Yoo should be disbarred. He circumvented Dept. of Justice protocols, and his legal memos were all, at best, "extremely flawed." Also, I have to ask: Why did the White House depend solely on the opinion of one immigrant lawyer on issues so important as the Constitution and the Bill of Rights?

1 comment:

Shaw Kenawe said...

I believe the Bush administration depended on John Yoo's flawed legal opinions because they agreed with the WH's objectives of breaking the law in order to achieve their objectives.

No one objects to using every weapon, legal and military, to fight the criminals who attacked us; but if we believe in the rule of law--our Constituion--then we must operate within the framework of it to defeat our enemies.

Someone said that if we don't honor what our Constitution stands for--our American values and the rule of law--in times of danger and war, then those are not values, they're hobbies.