Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Pot/Kettle black

Dana Perino is the White House Press Secretary. She speaks for the president:

Q: Is it ever reasonable to restrict constitutional freedoms in the name of fighting terrorism?

MS. PERINO: In our opinion, no.

Look: it's possible that the things the Bush Administration are doing to chip away at American's freedoms are in fact going to protect us. Perhaps the ability to listen to our calls, hold us indefinitely without charge, rifle through our e-mails will ensure the safety of all of us.

But to suggest so boldly that these things fit the Constitution? Either Ms. Perino hasn't been paying attention, or she really does think what her boss is doing is constitutional. Take a look:

First Amendment
: In September, a federal judge ruled that the FBI’s use of secret “national security letters” to obtain citizens’ personal data from private companies for counterterrorism investigations “violate[d] the First Amendment and constitutional provisions on the separation of powers.”

First Amendment, Fourth Amendment: In Aug. 2006, a federal district court in Detroit ruled that the Bush administration's NSA warrantless wiretapping program was unconstitutional, violating the “separation of powers doctrine, the Administrative Procedures Act, the First and Fourth amendments to the United States Constitution, the FISA and Title III.”

Article I: Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in June, then Attorney General Alberto Gonzales attempted to justify the administration’s detainee policy by claiming, “There is no express grant of habeas in the Constitution.” (Article I, Section 9, Clause 2 of the Constitution reads: “The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.”)

Article II: In June, House investigators revealed that Vice President Dick Cheney had exempted his office from an executive order order designed to safeguard classified national security information by claiming that he was not an “entity within the executive branch.”

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