Bush said his authority to carry out the program derived from the US Constitution and the US Congress's vote to authorize the use of force in Afghanistan to wipe out Al-Qaeda after the September 11, 2001 attacks.They are also citing the inherent executive authority of the President and a Supreme Court judgment from last year as authority for the eavesdropping. But here's Russ Feingold blowing the lid off the sheer lunacy of the Afghanistan resolution as justification for the wiretapping:
But Democratic Senator Russell Feingold told NBC television, "This is just an outrageous power grab."There is much to answer for here and Arlen Specter, while bending a little today, still seems intent on pursuing this issue:
"Nobody, thought when we passed a resolution to invade Afghanistan and to fight the war on terror, including myself who voted for it, thought that this was an authorization to allow a wiretapping against the law of the United States," he said.
Senator Arlen Specter, the Pennsylvania Republican who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee, said, "I am skeptical of the attorney general's citation of authority, but I am prepared to listen."And look who's in the audience to monitor his protege. Could be the last shot of our man Karl before the holidays and it sure looks like he could use a break. Looking a little pale there, guy!
Mr. Specter, who has said he will hold hearings on the program soon after the confirmation hearings for the Supreme Court nominee, Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr., said he did not believe the president's decision to inform a handful of members of Congress was sufficient.
"I think it does not constitute a check and balance," he said. "You can't have the administration and a select number of members alter the law. It can't be done."
Mr. Specter also predicted that the domestic spying debate would spill over into Judge Alito's confirmation. On Monday, he sent the judge a letter saying he intended to ask "what jurisprudential approach" the judge would use in determining if the president had authority to establish the program.
"The fat's in the fire," Mr. Specter said. "This is going to be a big, big issue. There's a lot of indignation across the country, from what I see."