LegalReader.com  ·  Legal News, Analysis, & Commentary

News & Politics

Bush and Warantless Wiretaps: “Retreat and Cheat”


— January 21, 2007

President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program was once deemed so vital to national security that it could not be subjected to judicial review. Last week, the White House said it was doing just that.

In 2005, the White House would not even comment on news reports about the C.I.A.’s prisons because Americans’ safety depended on their being kept secret. In 2006, Mr. Bush held a photo-op to announce that he was keeping them open.

The administration has repeatedly insisted that it was essential to the American way of life for Mr. Bush to be able to imprison foreigners without trial or legal counsel. Now the administration claims it was trying to bring those detainees to trial all along but was stymied by white-shoe lawyers.

By now, this is a familiar pattern: First, Mr. Bush and his aides say his actions are so vital to national security that to even report on them — let alone question them — lends comfort to the terrorists. Then, usually when his decisions face scrutiny from someone other than a compliant Republican Congress, the president seems to compromise.

Behind this behavior are at least two dynamics, both of them disturbing.

Details here from the editorial page of the New York Times.


President Bush’s warrantless wiretapping program was once deemed so vital to national security that it could not be subjected to judicial review. Last week, the White House said it was doing just that.

In 2005, the White House would not even comment on news reports about the C.I.A.’s prisons because Americans’ safety depended on their being kept secret. In 2006, Mr. Bush held a photo-op to announce that he was keeping them open.

The administration has repeatedly insisted that it was essential to the American way of life for Mr. Bush to be able to imprison foreigners without trial or legal counsel. Now the administration claims it was trying to bring those detainees to trial all along but was stymied by white-shoe lawyers.

By now, this is a familiar pattern: First, Mr. Bush and his aides say his actions are so vital to national security that to even report on them — let alone question them — lends comfort to the terrorists. Then, usually when his decisions face scrutiny from someone other than a compliant Republican Congress, the president seems to compromise.

Behind this behavior are at least two dynamics, both of them disturbing.

Details here from the editorial page of the New York Times.

Join the conversation!