Saturday, January 28, 2006
In Bush's defense of warrantless wiretapping US citizens in direct violation of FISA, people have suggested that FISA has some unconstitutional components, limiting the President's inherent powers as commander-in-chief.
I have to admit, that does sound like it at least makes the question a bit murky (to quote the link I'm about to send you to). But there is an answer, as suggested here.
If the President feels that a law unconstitutionally limits his power, he can sue to have the law overturned.
He could have gone to the courts, said that complicated demands for FISA would place an unconstitutional burden on his ability to wage the war, and have the relevant sections declared unconstitutional. Then he could have set up his program. Note that he wouldn't have to give specifics of any program in order to assert that he was being unconstitutionally burdened; his inherent authority to gather intelligence should be sufficient to carry the day... if his lawyers are correct in their assertions about the program and his authority.
He didn't. Instead, he violated the law in secret, depending on national security to prevent his lawbreaking from coming to light.
I'll say this again, to make sure it's clear: the issue is not that he is seeking intelligence; the issue is that he is breaking the law.