President Bush signed a secret order in 2002 authorizing the National Security Agency to eavesdrop on U.S. citizens and foreign nationals in the United States, despite previous legal prohibitions against such domestic spying, sources with knowledge of the program said last night.
Kate Martin, director of the Center for National Security Studies, said the secret order may amount to the president authorizing criminal activity.
The law governing clandestine surveillance in the United States, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, prohibits conducting electronic surveillance not authorized by statute. A government agent can try to avoid prosecution if he can show he was "engaged in the course of his official duties and the electronic surveillance was authorized by and conducted pursuant to a search warrant or court order of a court of competent jurisdiction," according to the law.
"This is as shocking a revelation as we have ever seen from the Bush administration," said Martin, who has been sharply critical of the administration's surveillance and detention policies. "It is, I believe, the first time a president has authorized government agencies to violate a specific criminal prohibition and eavesdrop on Americans."
"It's clear that the administration has been very willing to sacrifice civil liberties in its effort to exercise its authority on terrorism, to the extent that it authorizes criminal activity," Fredrickson said.
Bush authorizing criminal acts? So what's new? It's obvious he believes more in the rule of man (himself and his criminal cabal) than the rule of law, what with the Constitution being "just a piece of paper" and all. War crimes, torture, Plamegate, depraved indifference (health care, social services, Katrina), drunk driving, whatever, are part of an ongoing pattern of criminal activity by this administration to get what they want and to Hell with the law.
If the arrogance of thinking they own the joint, and contempt for the American people were crimes, they'd be danglin' from a tree limb already.
Bush and his accomplices need to be in jail. Or under it.