Bush demands power to spy at will

President George W. Bush on Wednesday warned the Democratic-led Congress not to “weaken” the power of US spy agencies to eavesdrop on communications between alleged terror suspects.

But the House of Representatives’ judiciary and intelligence committees both defied the president and approved a new bid by Democrats to revise a law extending authorization for warrantless wiretaps.

The new measure would revise the “Protect America Act” hastily passed under fierce pressure from Bush and the intelligence community before Congress broke up for its summer recess in August.

“When Congress passed the Protect America Act, they set its provisions to expire in February,” Bush said at the White House.

“The problem is the threat to America is not going to expire in February.”

Bush warned that new legislation would take the power of US espionage agencies “backward.”

“The Protect America Act is a vital tool in stopping the terrorists — and it would be a grave mistake for Congress to weaken this tool.”

Backers say the Democratic bill would correct constitutional overreaching by the US government on the electronic spying program.

It would not require the government to obtain a warrant from a special secret intelligence court to eavesdrop on two suspects abroad, even if their calls or emails are routed through the servers or networks of US-based firms.

But the bill would require the US government to get a court order if one of the targets of the surveillance is in the United States, or is a US citizen.

In a move that has angered Republicans and the White House, the legislation does not include retroactive legal immunity for US telecommunications firms that took part in the previous administration program of warrantless wiretaps.

“It would be grossly irresponsible for Congress to immunize companies without knowing whether their conduct was legal or not,” said House Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.

“Congress should not blindly grant blanket immunity for such a serious matter.”

House speaker Nancy Pelosi said the new Democratic bill gave the US government “all the tools necessary to acquire under the law the intelligence that can keep our country safe.”

Following the September 11 attacks in 2001, Bush authorized the National Security Agency to eavesdrop, without a court warrant, on telephone calls and emails between people inside the United States and suspected terrorists abroad.

The administration put the warrantless domestic eavesdropping program under the supervision of the secret court in January after months of criticism from civil liberties groups.


  1. bryan mcclellan

    That was quite the hissy-pissy fit smirk put on yesterday.Looks like he’s one tantrum away from losing it altogether. What a prime example of a child who never had his ass whooped for kicking the dog and writing on the living room walls.He’s got plenty to hide as evidenced by his fervor to cover his ass along with the telecoms that assisted in his unlawful wiretaps. The legislators had better prepare for Blackwater thugs on the steps of the Capitol if he does not get his way.We will see in this showdown whether there is any hope for the constitutions survival.I would bet he’s been tapping the phones of both houses looking for ammo to shoot any that oppose him. We’ve witnessed six plus years of his punk-ass behavior,will Congress finally stand up to this faux dictator?

  2. Jenifer D.

    That is funny you should mention Mercs Inc. (Blackwater), I had an interesting thought about how far Bush will go to get his way; perhaps the systematic blacking out of certain cities, maybe entire states, that his democratic opponents represent?

    I mean that, literally. I would not be surprised if Bush resorted to ordering the shutting off of electrical power to the cities of his opponents in an effort to strong-arm them into complying with his childish demands; think that would be the wake-up call American voters need?

    Yes, it would indeed be an outrage, but, in these perilous times we live in, some folks lose all sense of reason.

    I still don’t understand how congress can impeach one guy for getting laid, but, not another for initiating an act that has costed thousands of lives over a four and a half year period!

  3. LurkingFromTheLeft

    Time out chair…

    …and no supper –

    …plus, maybe they should take away his Wii –

    …oh wait, he’s going for the W(w)iii model –