Wiretapping Increases Pressure for Impeachment

Random Lengths News | December 22, 2005
Washington—By authorizing spying in America without a warrant, President Bush has apparently violated the Constitution, as well as specific federal law, an impeachable offense, critics said after The New York Times printed the news on Friday, December 16, and the President vowed to continue in his radio address the next day.

Meanwhile, Ranking House Judiciary Democrat Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has introduced a resolution to create a select committee to investigate Bush and Vice President Cheney for possible impeachment for misleading the country into war, tolerating torture, stonewalling Congressional investigations, and failing to protect national security information when his staff retaliated against Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame. Conyers also introduced resolutions of censure against Bush and Cheney for those same offenses.

Bush’s defense of the warrantless wiretapping, that it was necessary and legally proper because of the war on terrorism, is directly contradicted by the text of federal law (Title 50, Chapter 36, Subchapter I), which [under Section 1805 (f)] allows for warrantless wiretaps on an emergency basis in national security cases—provided a warrant is applied for within 72 hours. The statute [under Section 1809 (a) and (c)] also provides for punishment “by a fine of not more than $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than five years, or both” for anyone who “engages in electronic surveillance under color of law.” Bush claimed to have reauthorized his order for warrantless searches 30 times, and vowed to continue doing so.

First Amendment lawyer Glenn Greenwald said that “Defenders of the Bush Administration are resorting to outright distortions and deliberate falsehoods” in misleadingly confusing which sections of the law apply. Bush himself claimed that “a wiretap requires a court order” on April 20, 2004, and made similar statements at least four other times in 2004 and 2005.

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