Illegal Inheritance

by Jon Mandle on July 25, 2007

For some time, Josh Marshall has been saying that President Bush won’t fire Alberto Gonzales because he wouldn’t be able to get a new Attorney General confirmed by the Senate who would be willing to keep all of the cover-ups in place. Evidence for this theory is mounting. But Bush won’t be able to keep him in office for ever.

Assume a new Democratic President is inaugurated on January 20, 2009. Focusing on the illegal wire-tap program(s) (as opposed to the other cover-ups), which of the following is most likely:


a. the illegal wire-tap program(s) will be dismantled and all evidence of them destroyed by the time the new administration takes office;
b. they will still be up and running, and the new administration will quietly continue them;
c. the new administration will quietly stop them;
d. the new administration will say that they are stopping them, but actually continue them;
e. the new administration will make a big show about stopping them (and actually do so);
f. the new administration will make a big show about stopping them and move to prosecute members of the previous administration for violating the law.

I can’t believe a. is a viable option, so how would a Democratic administration handle such an illegal inheritance? Is there a significant difference among the candidates? (Maybe I should have made a you-tube video asking this.)

{ 1 trackback }

Things You Should Know About This Morning: 7/26 - BlogDC
07.26.07 at 1:47 pm

{ 58 comments }

1

samuel 07.25.07 at 8:28 pm

I have been checking the NRO’s Corner since yesterday and I’ve been wondering why there hasn’t been any mention of Gonzales’ name or his testimony.

2

alwsdad 07.25.07 at 8:46 pm

A good question. I certainly hope we get (f), but I’m afraid I won’t be surprised if we end up with (b) or (d), with any of the leading candidates. Perhaps someone with more direct knowledge of the candidates will give me hope.

3

Martin Bento 07.25.07 at 8:46 pm

I’d say the new Administration is likely to cut them back a bit and call this “stopping them”. The surveillance will probably be just as ubiquitous, but there will be a meaningless legal fig leaf restored. If they don’t do this, they will be blamed for any further terrorist attacks, whereas Bush, even at this point, would probably profit from a terrorist attack. The best we could hope for is that its use will be fairly limited to actually fighting crime (it won’t be limited to terrorism), rather than monitoring political opponents, as I am sure is happening now. All this is assuming Hillary; if Obama and Edwards, though, I think the difference would be slight.

4

Luis Alegria 07.25.07 at 8:48 pm

Mr. Mandle,

The answer is “b”, with the addition that everyone currently complaining about them will find something else to talk about.

5

abb1 07.25.07 at 8:57 pm

Up and running, and the new administration will do more of it. This is how these things usually develop. Until some crazy crusading journalist or low-level bureaucrat manages to create a big scandal out of it and then they’ll have to roll back. And the day after the roll-back is the first day of the new cycle.

6

lemuel pitkin 07.25.07 at 8:59 pm

Assuming a Dem wins, then in order of probability: (b), (e), (d), (c), (f), (a). (Anyone who thinks there’s a predictable difference among the Dems on this is probably deluding themselves.) If an R wins, I guess it’s (b), (d), (c), (e), (f), (a).

7

Quo Vadis 07.25.07 at 9:20 pm

If any administration believes they could justify the program to the public should it be exposed, they will continue it. If the program is producing results and no major abuses come to light they are likely to be able to justify the program. If any abuses come to light, persons directly involved in the abuse will be blamed and the program will be reviewed and modified, limited, or terminated.

8

Sebastian Holsclaw 07.25.07 at 9:21 pm

B and D seem very likely for any of the candidates. That kind of information/power is difficult to pass up.

9

sd 07.25.07 at 9:33 pm

I agree that b and d seem most likely. You’ll recall that throughout much of the late 1990s (post-Oklahoma City) a standard conservative complaint about the Clinton administration was that it was violating civil liberties under the guise of fighting terrorism.

The Bush administration was bolstered by 9/11, largely because it inspired a sense of national unity. But executive branches live in fear of the opposite – that something very bad will happen and that they will get blamed for not stopping it beforehand. Accumulating power, especially for surveillance and suspension of civil liberties, makes them feel that they at least control their destiny somewhat.

10

SamChevre 07.25.07 at 9:41 pm

I’m guessing that if an Republican is elected, (b); if a Democrat is elected, (d). Democrats have never hesitated to collect private information before (note the long fight to keep gun ownership private under the Clinton administration.)

11

Bloix 07.25.07 at 9:47 pm

You think a Dem AG is going to be confirmed without making some commitments to investigate? You think a Dem AG will lie to Waxman about what he or she finds once taking office?

12

nick s 07.25.07 at 10:23 pm

This is an important issue, and the Dem candidates haven’t been sufficiently explicit about it. No matter what, if a Dem wins, he or she will inherit a poisoned DOJ with career employees recruited through partisan tests.

It’s enough to make a person tinfoil-hatty: as if the GOP doesn’t intend on handing over power any time soon.

13

Shelby 07.25.07 at 10:41 pm

b or d, regardless of whether a Democrat or Republican wins. Along with some changes to the program so that, when it comes to light again, there’s a way to sow confusion over whether it’s really the same program continued, or a new, similar-looking one. Also, whoever wins will have a more sophisticated legal argument prepared regarding its validity.

f will happen only if the current administration can be proven (in the court of public opinion) to be using the program to monitor members or allies of the new administration.

14

John Quiggin 07.25.07 at 11:10 pm

There’s one excluded option, which I think is quite likely. The programs are dismantled/scaled back before the handover, and the incoming Democrats decide to let sleeping dogs lie.

It appears that the most clearly illegal programs, running from 2001-04 were stopped and so far the Dems haven’t shown much interest in pursuing them (at least that’s my reading of Glenn Greenwald’s column today).

15

Michael B Sullivan 07.25.07 at 11:26 pm

Y’all are warming the cockles of my libertarian heart. I mean, in as much as it’s heart-warming to find that lots of people agree with me about my soul-crushing, pessimistic predictions of an increasingly unfree future.

I suspect that the programs will be scaled back in a largely cosmetic manner and allowed to continue (and that they will slowly but steadily expand from their pruned-back level).

16

Praedor Atrebates 07.25.07 at 11:50 pm

On a related note, I request that anyone who has an opportunity to meet with any Democratic Presidential candidate or better yet, gets to attend one of those open forum “debates” ask a set of the following questions:

Do you believe that it is legitimate use of the classification system to hide illegal or unethical activities by the government? Do you believe it is appropriate use of the classification system to hide embarrassing actions by the government? Will you pledge, right now, to the American people to run the most open and non-secretive Administration in modern American history? Would you be supportive of a blanket, moving window of declassification that declassifies ALL government documents and activities that are 20 years old or older? Would you be supportive of legislation strictly limiting what can be classified and for how long – limiting classification to current intelligence methods and sources as well as military operations and capabilities? Would you support a federal Open Meetings law similar to that enjoyed by many states that prevents the People’s government from holding secret meetings involving matters of public policy? If these laws are good enough for the states, do you not agree that a similar law is good enough for the PEOPLE’S federal government too? Would you support legislation strictly outlining what can and cannot be claimed under the rubric of “executive privilege”? Can you defend why ANY policy meeting should be secret from the American people since any and all policies that are ultimately decided upon DIRECTLY impacts the lives of the American people?

17

jacob 07.26.07 at 2:12 am

The answer to your question, as now nearly everyone before me has said, is (b) or (d). There’s no reason to believe that a Democrat would ever give back state power once a Republican has taken it. (Or vice versa, of course.)

The video you link to from TPM is just brutal.

18

Jon H 07.26.07 at 2:20 am

Going by Bush Logic:

The AG office is part of the executive, that makes DOJ papers Bush/Cheney papers, that means Bush controls them, and Bush will likely take them to his library, where nobody will be allowed to see them, ever, ever, ever.

19

slippy slope 07.26.07 at 2:34 am

Does anybody seriously believe the Bush administration won’t destroy as much of the executive infrastructure as it can, if it becomes clear that they will be handing power over to Democrats?

20

KCinDC 07.26.07 at 2:46 am

I don’t see how (f) is possible, given that Bush will be giving a blanket pardon in January 2009 to everyone who served in his administration.

21

gz 07.26.07 at 4:46 am

Somewhere between (d) and (e).

Am I too cynical? I think a Democrat will promise to dismantle the program and will change some things about it, and give it a new name. Maybe there will be an actual attempt to set up real, meaningful, independent oversight, which would be a vast improvement.

But organizations don’t like giving up tools or power, and there’s just not much incentive for a president to insist on this particular thing, unless they are a passionate civil libertarian.

I think every serious Democratic candidate is the sort who would probably accept whatever recommendation comes from the FBI bureaucracy after some review, which will essentially mean admitting things were done poorly under that bad president, but in the future the FBI needs, for the good of the country (and under the wise leadership of the current president) to keep listening to bad people if they really want to.

22

Marc 07.26.07 at 4:47 am

Anyone who thinks the Democrats will continue the Bush programs, with no investigation, has marked themselves as utterly out of touch with political reality. The lawless and out-of-control behavior of the Bushies is so severe, and their crimes so apparent, that no Democrat could survive without exposing them. More to the point – why wouldn’t they want to? The entire government has been run as a criminal conspiracy, solely for the benefit of one political party. The sheer partisanship of Bush and co. ensures that no benefit accrued to the opposition from their actions, and there is thus no downside to investigation. You can destroy the opposition party for a generation… or you can keep a bunch of dubious secret programs that were used against you, for minimal gain, and enrage your voters.

Tough choice, no?

23

abb1 07.26.07 at 5:38 am

You can destroy the opposition party for a generation… or you can keep a bunch of dubious secret programs…

Huh, I don’t see it like that at all. If you actively and publicly object to a surveillance program (any surveillance program – legal, illegal, whatever), you immediately become extremely vulnerable to obvious kind of criticism by your fearmongering opponent. And if there’s a terrorist attack – you’re a political corps. It’s much easier to defend surveillance than object to it, unless you have a revelation of some gross abuse, and even then it’s not a slam-dunk.

That’s why the Democrats typically don’t really object to Bush’s surveillance programs per se, they only – and very carefully – object to their illegality, and offer to change the law to make sure they are legal as practiced.

And that’s what they are most likely to keep doing.

24

rilkefan 07.26.07 at 6:44 am

I think it’s bizarre to believe that Obama or Edwards or HRC will come into office, be informed of a worthless and obviously unconstitutional program, and say, “Yeah, let’s keep doing that”.

And I think it requires an extreme lack of imagination to miss the likelihood that numerous R officials will come forward when their loyalties to their ultimate boss and to their paycheck are moot and tell the press about what they’ve been up to and be listened to eagerly by reporters who see the chance to assail HRC with questions about exactly how illegal her administration’s programs are.

This of course assumes no serious terror event in the US in the meantime – whoever was in office might be unable to get control of the govt for quite a while.

25

KCinDC 07.26.07 at 6:55 am

Rilkefan, the unconstitutionality is relevant only if the current administration hasn’t done a good enough job at muddying that issue. I’m not sure they haven’t.

The worthlessness, on the other hand, is completely irrelevant, as you can see from the continuation, by both parties, of the insanity of the war on drugs. See also the 45-year embargo of Cuba, which I’m sure will work any day now. Politicians continue programs and policies they oppose all the time out of fear of the political consequences of ending them.

If a terrorist attack happens, the worthlessness of the program is not going to prevent Republicans from claiming that it would have prevented the attack if only those wimpy Democrats had had the stomach to keep it going. Neither is the unconstitutionality, for that matter.

26

abb1 07.26.07 at 7:24 am

Suppose I’m a WH spokesman (Republican or Democrat, doesn’t matter); I’m telling you:
– think of all the modern communication technology: emails, blackberries, satellites, proxies, voice over IP, pier-to-pier, all that crap, you can’t even imagine how complicated all this is. To protect you and your children from bloodthirsty terrorists we need to monitor all this, real time. It’s not possible to legislate it, law is not flexible enough. It’ll take days or weeks to get all the stupid warrants, and weeks or months to pass missing pieces thru the congress. So yes, sometimes we have to violate the letter of the law in order to protect you and your children from being blown to pieces, sorry. But we promise: none of this will affects you, Sir. Cross my heart and hope to die. Honest, man.

Whaddaya say?

I suppose you’ll say:
– fuck you, I don’t trust you.

To this I respond:
– but you elected me, I’m your president, I’m responsible. What do you suggest? Should I allow terrorists to kill you and your children?

See, illegality in this case is only a potential for abuse, you need to discover real and serious abuse to win this one. The public needs to discover that I’m using this program to spy on some schmuks just like them.

27

bad Jim 07.26.07 at 8:11 am

I’m with many previous commenters in suspecting that (a) is the likeliest option. Paranoid secrecy has been the hallmark of this presidency from the beginning. An early directive removed the records of his father’s term from scrutiny.

The whole point of White House staffers using Republican Party email accounts rather than official services was to allow their communications to remain hidden. Also note that Rove’s records appear to have been specially scrubbed.

Nothing would gratify me more than seeing the whole crew in the dock, whether here or in The Hague. It reminds me of an old line I heard Garrison Keillor repeat on the radio, something like “I was devastated to learn of his death. For years, the only thing that kept me alive was the hope of seeing him hanged.”

28

jonst 07.26.07 at 10:34 am

D.

29

John Rynne 07.26.07 at 11:04 am

All these options presume business as usual (i.e. elections every 4 years, person who gets most votes wins, etc.).
However, some Republicans appear to be worried about a more sinister outcome .
Money quote from Paul Craig Roberts, a former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Reagan:

bq. “the Democrats have not brought a halt to Bush’s follies or the war, because they expect his unpopular policies to provide them with a landslide victory in next year’s election.” (However) “the problem with this reasoning is that it assumes that Cheney and Rove and the Republicans are ignorant of these facts, or it assumes that they are content for the Republican Party to be destroyed after Bush has his fling.”

30

Marc 07.26.07 at 12:16 pm

I’d like to add that those who claim that nothing will happen are also ignoring history. In the US we’ve been down this road before (Nixon), and the result was a series of laws prohibiting political abuses by the executive. It took the excuse of 9/11 and 30 years of forgetting to erode them.

Cynicism has some mysterious appeal for folks, but this is a case where it is utterly senseless. There is a virtual certainty of corrupt partisan abuse, people are genuinely angry about it, and the fear button simply isn’t working any more (witness the 2006 elections, and note the rapid shift since the election away from the party of fear).

31

Kris 07.26.07 at 1:17 pm

I second the remarks of Marc at 12:16 P.M. There is absolutely no evidence that any of the current democratic candidates is as corrupt (or has the propensity to become as corrupt once elected) as the current president and his despicable handlers and henchmen.

32

SamChevre 07.26.07 at 1:33 pm

kris,

There is absolutely no evidence that any of the current democratic candidates is as corrupt?

What hole were you hiding in in the late 1990’s? After Waco, Ruby Ridge, the whole marvelous mess that was HRC’s finances, and so forth–there’s no Dem candidate that’s as corrupt as GWB?

33

rvman 07.26.07 at 1:42 pm

Option D, no matter who is elected. (Maybe different if Kucinich or Paul were elected, but ignoring avian swine-inspired elections, Option D.)
“Their ‘big brother’ program tapping the phonelines of ordinary Americans based on the suspicions of government bureaucrats was a travesty. We have shut it down, and are prosecuting those who abused it. In other news, our new, completely legal ‘panopticon’ program will protect the American people from terrorists, criminals, and excess water retention by monitoring those trained FBI agents indicate are potential terrorists and criminals via monitoring phone calls and bathrooms, and through a new national ID card with a chip that detects sodium in the diet.”

It doesn’t matter who the president is – it is just the nature of government, and the availability of modern technology. Most of Bush’s programs are simply expansions of Clinton-administration programs, which in turn expanded Bush Sr. and Reagan-era programs. J. Edgar Hoover steadily increased illegal FBI monitoring of private citizens under every President from Coolidge through Nixon. Do you think his programs just evaporated on his death?

34

abb1 07.26.07 at 1:52 pm

Ruby Ridge and a good chunk of Waco belong to a Republican administration. The other Bush.

35

Cryptic Ned 07.26.07 at 2:02 pm

What hole were you hiding in in the late 1990’s? After Waco, Ruby Ridge, the whole marvelous mess that was HRC’s finances, and so forth—there’s no Dem candidate that’s as corrupt as GWB?

Two of those are not examples of corruption but examples of overzealous law enforcement. The other one certainly SEEMED like a very small instance of corruption, the way it was covered in the press, but did not actually amount to anything, and did not occur in the White House anyway. Thanks for chiming in.

36

abb1 07.26.07 at 2:04 pm

Well, to be exact: a good chunk of Waco is the responsibility of Bush cabinet people operating under Clinton.

37

text 07.26.07 at 2:41 pm

J. Edgar Hoover steadily increased illegal FBI monitoring of private citizens under every President from Coolidge through Nixon. Do you think his programs just evaporated on his death?

No, I think they were substantially reduced when congress passed FISA. Which took a lot of effort, primarily from democrats. Look, if the point is, these things need to be addressed now, and we can’t necessarily trust someone like HRC to dismantle the programs a few years down the road, I think that’s correct.

But, after the past six years, anyone who thinks the Democrats and Republicans are equally dangerous on this front: I’d like to be living in the country you’re living in. It’s not just the nature of government, it’s the nature of the particular government we have elected. This is the kind of lazy, ignorant complacency that got us where we are now.

38

Barry 07.26.07 at 3:15 pm

“…the whole marvelous mess that was HRC’s finances, and so forth—there’s no Dem candidate that’s as corrupt as GWB?”

Posted by SamChevre

Oh BS. The *allegation* against the Clintons amount to $100K of fishy money, and losing $50K in a land deal. Meanwhile Bush and Cheney’s people took California for billions, and the country for several hundred billions.

39

functional 07.26.07 at 3:23 pm

Of course it will be B or D. This isn’t guaranteed, of course, but it would be ridiculously naive to think otherwise.

40

rea 07.26.07 at 3:24 pm

a good chunk of Waco is the responsibility of Bush cabinet people operating under Clinton.

Reno was pressured to go forward with an assault by her two military advisors, a pair of guys named Boykin and Schoonmaker, of whom you may have subsequently heard:

http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2004_04_25_dneiwert_archive.html#108305345380975226

41

rea 07.26.07 at 3:27 pm

And of course, Clinton wasn’t even in office at the time of Ruby Ridge, but some how he always gets blamed . . .

42

Sebastian Holsclaw 07.26.07 at 4:09 pm

“Cynicism has some mysterious appeal for folks, but this is a case where it is utterly senseless. There is a virtual certainty of corrupt partisan abuse, people are genuinely angry about it, and the fear button simply isn’t working any more (witness the 2006 elections, and note the rapid shift since the election away from the party of fear).”

and from someone else

“You can destroy the opposition party for a generation… or you can keep a bunch of dubious secret programs that were used against you, for minimal gain, and enrage your voters.”

Well we can look at a recent case–the House Intelligence Committee investigation into the bribery of Duke Cunningham. His corruption was so blatant, there is no way that it could have gone undetected by other members. But even after the Democrats came to power, the report on his activities and the investigation of how they impacted Committee business is being kept secret.

I’m not at all certain that a Democratic administration will be willing to open themselves up to extreme criticism which will be likely if they publically dismantle the programs and then suffer a terrorist attack sometime afterward. And ‘enrage your voters’ is surely an exaggeration. Enrage them enough to not vote for them and risk Republican resurgence? Please be serious.

Furthermore, I’m fairly certain that the tools will seem appealing once they are under the control of ‘more legitimate’ people.

Still further, most of the tools are available to other Western governments–the US was a civil rights outlier in the area of governmental monitoring.

So I’m not at all convinced that a Democratic administration would abandon the tools.

43

rilkefan 07.26.07 at 5:36 pm

“the House Intelligence Committee investigation into the bribery of Duke Cunningham”

Pretty big difference between the executive quietly shutting down an illegal program of its discredited predecessor and a House committee loath to publicly embarrass several of its sitting Republican members.

And of course the program could be trivially brought into legality with no change in “effectiveness” by simply using the FISA court.

44

mds 07.26.07 at 7:16 pm

d. the new administration will say that they are stopping them, but actually continue them;

I’d second rilkefan in going with a modified version of this one, to wit: the new administration will continue wiretapping, but comply with FISA while doing so. Since FISA warrants were traditionally easy to get, and were issued retroactively by a secret court, any sane domestic wiretapping program could proceed under its auspices. I think FISA itself is bad from a civil liberties point of view (and indeed the stinking hypocrites of samchevre’s ilk were shrieking about how evil it was when the Clenis was in office), but it’s practically Utopian compared to flouting federal laws when one is Constitutionally mandated that they be faithfully executed. Or compared to ignoring legal subpoenas, for that matter.

45

SamChevre 07.26.07 at 7:23 pm

What about my statements makes me a hypocrite? I don’t trust the government; it was intrusive and powerhungry and abusive under LBJ, under Nixon, under Clinton, under Bush….and I see no reason to think it will change under any plausible President in 2009

46

Barry 07.26.07 at 8:11 pm

Samchevre, if you can’t see the difference between Nixon/Bush II, and Clinton, then there’s really no point in discussing this.

47

SamChevre 07.26.07 at 8:51 pm

barry,

Ok, comparing non-war-related policies from Clinton to those from Bush II, I’ll bite. (If you include war-related, you need to compare to LBJ.)

Both practiced extraordinary rendition.
Both increased the harshness of the War on (some) Drugs.
Both used warrantless wiretaps.
Both used supposed-to-be-private info to discredit political enemies. (FBI files, Valerie Wilson)
Both attempted to use the regulatory process to reward friends and punish enemies. (Power plant maintenance/upgrade issue, Klamath Dam issue).

I’ll leave it at this: you are clearly not involved in the gun-related civil rights issues.

List of some illegal anti-gun actions by the Clinton administration

48

Alan Bostick 07.26.07 at 9:12 pm

What about my statements makes me a hypocrite? I don’t trust the government; it was intrusive and powerhungry and abusive under LBJ, under Nixon, under Clinton, under Bush….

You forgot Poland Reagan.

49

LarryM 07.26.07 at 9:45 pm

There are another couple of options, both involving continuing the CURRENT program, while disavowing the prior program which was so clearly illegal that dozens of people from DOJ were apparently willing to resign over it. That disavowal could include prosecutions, but wouldn’t have to.

Now I’m certainly not ADVOCATING this option – I’m STRONGLY in favor of your option f – but I do tend to think it’s the most likely (probably without the prosecutions).

50

SamChevre 07.26.07 at 10:00 pm

Alan–I was going for symmetry, not completeness. (First 2 and last 2 of the current political era.)

51

agum 07.27.07 at 2:50 am

There’s also option M (for Milhous):

The illegal wiretaps are used by Karl Rove and Republican sympathizers in the NSA to discredit the Democratic nominee, Edmund Muskie style.

Then (since we’re presuming that they fail) I guess (f) would have to follow.

Except Bush will have pardoned the higher-ups, so a bunch of low level right wing spooks end up rotting in jail for a while, converting to fundyism, and getting talk shows (or whatever the Web 3.0 equivalent is) upon release.

52

Katherine 07.27.07 at 4:13 am

C.

Actual statements on the issue. Several of them have said explicitly that it is illegal. No one saying they will continue has cited anything resembling evidence.

They can’t just continue it–they’ve got to appoint an Attorney General & head of OLC that will tell them it’s legal. I am having a hard time coming up with a plausible liberal Democrat for those positions who would endorse the theory that the President is not actually bound by any laws in wartime.

53

Katherine 07.27.07 at 4:15 am

(I can imagine a democratic president trying to revise FISA. But that’s not the same as endorsing Yoo’s theories.)

54

Martin Bento 07.27.07 at 8:45 am

Katherine, neither Clinton, Obama, Dodd, nor Biden would vote to censure Bush over it. Rhetoric is cheap. As I said, they expand FISA or otherwise make it legal, so they won’t be doing illegal wiretapping. But the activity itself will not stop. In fact, most of the statements you cite criticize only the circumvention of the legal process, not the activity itself.

55

Barry 07.27.07 at 12:27 pm

SamChevre, you left off a few things – a couple of wars, deliberately botching a couple of warslots and lots of torture, and attempts to aggregate power to the executive which were literally unthinkable during the Clinton years.

And you can shove the National Review where the sun don’t shine – they couldn’t tell the truth to save their souls. Heck, they’re still printing Iraq war supporters, which at this late stage is proof positive that they stone cold liars.

56

Peter 07.28.07 at 5:10 am

G.

I am expecting the administration to cook up some “emergency” in order to cancel the 2008 elections. Something that people fear and don’t understand, like, oh, H5N1, and how to “protect” the public, there will have to be huge quarantines that will last weeks and months. So then bush, or more likely cheney, becomes “president for life” as some mocking merger of banana republic and pro-life rhetoric.

When the so-called “patriot” act was being debated, some anthrax letters got mailed to targets in the US. If you read the book Amerithrax, you’d come to the conclusion that the perpetrators were right wingers. What politicians got sent these letters? Only democrats. What politicians didn’t get anthrax letters? Republicans (and no anthrax tainted letter was ever sent to the whitehouse). Pearle stated that folks in the whitehouse were taking Cipro starting 9/12. American military anthrax could be treated with Cipro, Soviet military anthrax (which is what Saddam’s folks would have been trained to make) cannot be treated with any antibiotic. What newspapers got sent anthrax letters? NY Times (of which Ann Coulter said “the only thing McVeigh did wrong was that he didn’t go to the NY Times building”), the NY Post (who reported the Coulter quote) and the National Enquirer. Only the NYTimes has any distribution outside the US. What newspapers didn’t get anthrax? WSJ, USA Today and International Herald Tribune (who have distribution outside the US). What TV networks got anthrax? NBC. What TV networks didn’t get anthrax? Fox, CNN, or anything with viewers outside the US.

We’ve been down this road before.

57

hallam 07.29.07 at 2:36 am

I think you are all missing the point that the illegal programs could easily be brought under legal control. The objection is not to the wire taps, it is to performing wire taps without legal authority to do so.

An incomming Democratic President might well prefer to let the matter rest, the wire taps are far from the most eggregious criminal act the administration has committed. If they were to go after anything it would be the torture. But I don’t think that Bush/Cheney will give them that choice.

I expect that Bush will attempt to pardon most of the criminal behavior. The act of issuing a pardon will itself generate the political imperative to find something to prosecute them for. The Bushies are sloppy and incompetent, I don’t think that they have the remotest chance of granting a pardon that covers all their crimes.

In particular a pardon cannot cover future crimes, the constitution uses the past tense, the President has no authority to pardon ongoing or future crimes. The ongoing wiretap programs will thus fall outside the scope of the pardon.

58

BCist 07.30.07 at 2:58 am

e) or c)

Comments on this entry are closed.