Barron's: Investigate a possible impeachable offense

Saturday, December 24, 2005 | 07:44 AM

I normally steer clear of politics (except when it relates to markets, science or technology).

But I had to sit up and take notice this morning, when I saw the normally conservative-leaning financial weekly Barron's calls for an investigation into the Bush administration's use of domestic surveillance as a possible impeachable offense:

"AS THE YEAR WAS DRAWING TO A CLOSE, we picked up our New York Times and learned that the Bush administration has been fighting terrorism by intercepting communications in America without warrants. It was worrisome on its face, but in justifying their actions, officials have made a bad situation much worse: Administration lawyers and the president himself have tortured the Constitution and extracted a suspension of the separation of powers . . .

Certainly, there was an emergency need after the Sept. 11 attacks to sweep up as much information as possible about the chances of another terrorist attack. But a 72-hour emergency or a 15-day emergency doesn't last four years . . .

Willful disregard of a law is potentially an impeachable offense. It is at least as impeachable as having a sexual escapade under the Oval Office desk and lying about it later. The members of the House Judiciary Committee who staged the impeachment of President Clinton ought to be as outraged at this situation. They ought to investigate it, consider it carefully and report either a bill that would change the wiretap laws to suit the president or a bill of impeachment.

It is important to be clear that an impeachment case, if it comes to that, would not be about wiretapping, or about a possible Constitutional right not to be wiretapped. It would be about the power of Congress to set wiretapping rules by law, and it is about the obligation of the president to follow the rules in the Acts that he and his predecessors signed into law.

Some ancillary responsibility, however, must be attached to those members of the House and Senate who were informed, inadequately, about the wiretapping and did nothing to regulate it. Sen. John D. Rockefeller IV, Democrat of West Virginia, told Vice President Dick Cheney in 2003 that he was "unable to fully evaluate, much less endorse these activities." But the senator was so respectful of the administration's injunction of secrecy that he wrote it out in longhand rather than give it to someone to type. Only last week, after the cat was out of the bag, did he do what he should have done in 2003 -- make his misgivings public and demand more information.

Published reports quote sources saying that 14 members of Congress were notified of the wiretapping. If some had misgivings, apparently they were scared of being called names, as the president did last week when he said: "It was a shameful act for someone to disclose this very important program in a time of war. The fact that we're discussing this program is helping the enemy."

Wrong. If we don't discuss the program and the lack of authority for it, we are meeting the enemy -- in the mirror.

>

Astonishing. When people ask me how I derived a 6,800 Dow in the BW survey, its not all that difficult to imagine any number of scenarios where the wheels all come off the bus -- and that was before this potentially troublesome issue raised its head.

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NOTE:  See if this link leads non-subscribers to the full article

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Source:
Unwarranted Executive Power
The pursuit of terrorism does not authorize the president to make up new laws
By THOMAS G. DONLAN
http://online.barrons.com/article/SB113538491760731012.html

Saturday, December 24, 2005 | 07:44 AM | Permalink | Comments (47) | TrackBack (4)
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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Barron's: Investigate a possible impeachable offense:

» Barrons Supports Impeachment of President Bush from Patridiot Watch
You have to pay, but that mainstay of Wall Street, Barrons, has called for the consideration of a bill of impeachment against President Bush. Remembering that Barrons is a Wall Street Journal weekly published by Dow Jones, that is shocking. It also mea... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 24, 2005 11:29:38 AM

» Barrons Bearish on Bush from Everything Between
.Administration lawyers and the president himself have tortured the Constitution and extracted a suspension of the separation of powers, writes Thomas Donlan in Barrons Online. Bush spying on Americans was no shocker, but ... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 24, 2005 10:12:50 PM

» Remainders: Another County Heard From Edition from Wonkette
"Willful disregard of a law is potentially an impeachable offense. It is at least as impeachable as having a sexual escapade under the Oval Office desk and lying about it later. The members of the House Judiciary Committee who... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 27, 2005 6:06:15 PM

» Remainders: Another County Heard From Edition from Wonkette
"Willful disregard of a law is potentially an impeachable offense. It is at least as impeachable as having a sexual escapade under the Oval Office desk and lying about it later. The members of the House Judiciary Committee who... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 27, 2005 6:13:22 PM

Comments

So, in time of war we should not allow the commander-in-chief the authority to intercept the communications of the enemy.

Better yet, lets force the President to bow to Congress who will set the rules and demand court authorization. Have you ever seen an affadavit for a wiretap? No less than 60 pages long.


President had legal authority to OK taps
By John Schmidt
Published December 21, 2005

http://www.chicagotribune.com/technology/chi-0512210142dec21,1,2062394.story
?coll=chi-techtopheds-hed

Posted by: jill | Dec 24, 2005 10:03:55 AM

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