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A Faerie's Farthing

Flitting through the internets looking for sparkly bits. All content mine and not to be reproduced without permission.

Location: All Material Copyrighted, United States

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Me Fail English? That's Unpossible!

Me Fail English? That's Unpossible!

I think shrubya's been winging it in his public statements again. I hate to use the term "flip-flop," so I'll just say that some of his positions on recent events haven't exactly been consistent.

After declaring that he would veto any extension of the Patriot Act, shrubya changed his tune:

(White House-AP) December 22, 2005 - The White House is hailing the Senate's vote to extend the Patriot Act for six months, a day after vowing President Bush wouldn't accept a short-term extension.

Press Secretary Scott McClellan calls Wednesday night's Senate vote "an important victory for the American people."

It's amazing what the public backlash over domestic spying will to do unbridled hubris. Sometimes, it can even get a president to admit to a criminal offense. If his handlers are really distracted, he might even completely contradict himself in every way possible.

For 24 hours, Bush and other top administration officials refused to confirm the existence of their secret domestic spying program, arguing that doing so would endanger the American people:

President Bush, 12/16/05

I know that people are anxious to know the details of operations, they– people want me to comment about the veracity of the story. It’s the policy of this government, just not going do it, and the reason why is that because it would compromise our ability to protect the people.

...This morning, President Bush not only confirmed the existence of the program but provided details about how it worked.

Does he operate under the assumption that no one pays attention to a word he says? Or maybe he can't remember, so figures we won't either. The only other explanations are he's either counting on people to not understand what he says or he really has no idea himself. A stunning case in point lies in the administration's defense of its extralegal domestic spying campaign. It's attempt to explain the rationale to bypass the FISA court - and get perfectly legal wiretaps - really lends credence to the "no clue what the words really mean" theory. One has to wonder if they ">listen to themselves at all.

Bush administration officials believe it is not possible, in a large-scale eavesdropping effort, to provide the kind of evidence the court requires to approve a warrant.

Sources knowledgeable about the program said there is no way to secure a FISA warrant when the goal is to listen in on a vast array of communications in the hopes of finding something that sounds suspicious.

Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales said the White House had tried but failed to find a way.

To paraphrase, "Well, we couldn't get permission to do it, so we just did it." They blithely dance around the issue of not being able to meet the court's criteria with apparently no consideration of what that implies. It's as though authorization for wiretaps were as mundane and legally neutral as any other bureaucratic process - it involves paperwork, so it must be administrative. To read this explanation, they regard their inability to meet the legal standards as a mere technicality, a process glitch and nothing more.

One government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the administration complained bitterly that the FISA process demanded too much: to name a target and give a reason to spy on it.

"For FISA, they had to put down a written justification for the wiretap," said the official. "They couldn't dream one up."

It doesn't seem to occur to them that not meeting the FISA court's requirements intrinsically means the endeavor is illegal. I think they've been speaking in soundbytes for so long, they've actually forgotten what a broader context does to individual words. True to form, they focus only on the most superficial interpretations of their statements, oblivious to the deeper implications. Excepting, of course, the traitorous notion that Mr. Preznit is above the law; they can envision that one all too clearly.


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