12 December 2006

What a Difference an Administration Makes

Just another glaring difference between W. and Bubba:

When the Bush Adminstrtion taps your phone without a warrant, it's because they think you might be a terrorist, rightly or wrongly.

When the Clinton Administration taps your phone without a warrant, it's becasue they think they might have the goods on a billionaire Republican who's funding non-government schools, rightly or wrongly.
After the existence of the Bush program was made public last December, some high-ranking veterans of the Clinton administration said they had not engaged in similar efforts to by-pass FISA. “Both before and after the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act was amended in 1995, the Clinton-Gore administration complied fully and completely with the terms of the law,” former Vice President Al Gore said. The amendment to which Gore referred was an action by Congress that included physical break-ins under the FISA law, requiring the executive branch to seek a warrant before carrying out a break-in. Wiretaps were already covered by the law.

When Congress was considering the break-in measure, top Clinton administration officials argued that the president had the “inherent authority” to order such break-ins — including break-ins at the homes of U.S. citizens — on his own, without a warrant. Nevertheless, the law required that the administration seek a warrant if it intended to wiretap a U.S. person’s — in this case Forstmann’s — communications. The Clinton administration could have argued, as the Bush administration would later, that the president had the authority to do it on his own under certain circumstances, like the presence of a foreign enemy.

But it’s hard to see how Diana and Forstmann would have fit that description, and in any event that is something Al Gore and other Clinton veterans say they never did.

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