Sunday, January 22, 2006

McCain Contradicts Key Piece Of Gonzales' Defense Of Warrantless Domestic Spying Program

Today on Fox News Sunday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told host Chris Wallace that he didn't think President Bush had "legal authority" to engage in warrantless domestic spying:

WALLACE: But you do not believe that currently he has the legal authority to engage in these warrant-less wiretaps.

MCCAIN: You know, I don’t think so, but why not come to Congress? We can sort this all out. I don’t think — I know of no member of Congress, frankly, who, if the administration came and said here’s why we need this capability, that they wouldn’t get it.


The news is not that McCain spoke out against Bush's apparent circumvension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which says that the National Security Agency must obtain a warrant before conducting surveillance. McCain also spoke out against the program last month -- one of at least 11 Republican senators to question the program.

The news is that McCain contradicts a key piece of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' defense of Bush's program -- that Congress wouldn't have authorized it anyway. Gonzales, who as White House counsel approved the program, will try to defend the program in Senate testimony next month.

As Gonzales said last month: "We've had discussions with members of Congress, certain members of Congress, about whether or not we could get an amendment to FISA, and we were advised that that was not likely to be -- that was not something we could likely get."

In other words, someone is lying.


Anonymous tmooses said...

Good Catch! Indeed someone is lying.

1:42 AM  
Anonymous SammyBlue said...

Someone is lying? Understatement of the year!

Of course someone is lying. We all know who too. But John McCain is a scumbag as well. He licks Bush's ass and puts party before country all the time. Fuck John McCain. One crisis of conscience does not make him worthy of respect. He still begs to the call of Bush all the time!

1:43 AM  
Anonymous linazelle said...

"Certain members of congress.." i.e. a select group Gore talked about that they talk with while excluding the rest of the body. Very Clintonesque (their language) to say you met with Congress when the truth is you only met with a few select members.

1:43 AM  
Blogger Kav said...

At the risk of being labelled a pedant, I have to contend with your assertion that somebody is lying. Compare the two:

"I know of no member of Congress, frankly, who, if the administration came and said here’s why we need this capability, that they wouldn’t get it."


"We've had discussions with... certain members of Congress, ... and we were advised that... that was not something we could likely get."

On the one hand McCain is saying that he knows of no member of Congress who would oppose. That does not mean that they do not exist. In addition The members who met with Gonzales (if we accept his word) thought that they did know of members of congress that would block them; or else said they would. Therefore no one needs to have lied, someone just needs to be wrong in their assesment of congress.

Of course that does not excuse Gonzales or the program itself. Its just that the evidence that you present does not support that someone is lying. However, someone might have been lying we don't know at this stage...

8:24 AM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

Gonzales spoke to the Republican leadership. For your argument to be correct, you would have to assume that not only was McCain shut out of the Republican leadership, but that he is unaware of the feelings of any member of that leadership.

If McCain had couched his words -- "I know this would get some support in Congress," your argument would be more likely.

But by saying "I know of no member of Congress," he's saying that he knows of no Republican or Democrat that would oppose the program.

It's a little far-fetched to think he'd so completely misread the entire Congress.

10:07 AM  
Anonymous hang a left said...

I sure hope that is not the perogative of the so-called "hearings". To go ahead and give congressional OK.

10:22 AM  
Anonymous trinity said...

David R. Mark said...
"Today on Fox News Sunday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told host Chris Wallace that he didn't think President Bush had "legal authority" to engage in warrantless domestic spying:"

No kidding? Is this THE Sen. John McCain? The one and only, world-renowned Constitutional scholar who has studied the U.S. Constitution all his life and wowed the entire SCOTUS when he got up in front of them to argue cases? THAT Sen. John McCain? (sarcasm off)

Kav said...
"...Therefore no one needs to have lied, someone just needs to be wrong in their assesment of congress..."

Thankfully, Kav is the lone voice of reason in the wilderness. I appreciate you pointing out what should have been obvious to all. Why is logic so under-utilized here, anyhow?

12:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the MSM was as sharp as JABBS, no conservative (are you listening Trinity?), news reporter or commentator would ever again be able to make that claim about congress never in a blue moon authorizing Bush's spying without a response to McCain's position.
The following appears to be the Golden Rule with MSM "journalists".
1. When the Bush Administration says something, the comment only needs to be questioned some of the time. It's perfectly acceptable to allow Bush or others in his administration to make statements in most cases without questions.
2. If the Democrats say something, at the very least it must be matched with a Republican rebuttal.
3. If a Republican/Conservative says something on the other hand, a Democratic rebuttal is only appropriate some of the time.
The "Liberal-biased" media is a smokescreen created by conservatives resortable whenever they lack facts or rule of law to defend their positions on issues.

12:54 PM  
Blogger Kav said...

It's a little far-fetched to think he'd so completely misread the entire Congress.

I think you have it on its head, McCain does not have to have misread the entire congress, he only needs to have misread some of them (one could argue a majority) in his assertion. Plus I do not know if he was or was not in that meeting. My only point here is that based on the information provided by JABBS the lying statement is unsupported at this time.

1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look. It comes down to who are you going to believe.
Should we believe a true congressional insider like McCain, who really has no self-interest here, especially considering he is a Republican.
Or should we believe Bush, a proven lyer in the spying controversy, remember he told the American people in 2004 he would never participate in warrantless spying, and who also has a big self-interest in that he is facing court challenges and Congressional questioning of his activity.
The answer seems obvious to most anyone, except perhaps a conservative.

1:46 PM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

I think JABBS can draw the conclusion that someone is not telling the truth.

We don't have a roster of everyone that Gonzales spoke with, and we don't have a roster of everyone that McCain spoke with. But undoubtedly both rosters are filled with Republicans: we can probably assume that the Bush Administration didn't consult many Democrats, and maybe McCain did or didn't.

So what is the likelihood that Gonzales and McCain spoke to mutually exclusive groups of Republican senators?

McCain does have a self-interest -- like other possible 2008 presidential candidates, he's distancing himself from a program that isn't popular with the American people, at a time when President Bush's popularity is maybe 40%.

Gonzales also has a self-interest. He okayed the program as White House counsel. He needs to not only justify its importance, but suggest that the administration had no other option in trying to protect the American people.

So readers can decide -- who would gain more from, if not lying, then telling a half-truth? Gonzales, to be defensive of a program under fire, or McCain, to continue his positive perception as an independent voice in Congress, which can only help his chances in 2008?

2:14 PM  
Blogger Kav said...

I agree that people can make their mind up whether someone is lying by weighing the evidence, and JABBS could quite easily have stated that he thought someone was lying; he did not do that, he stated it as if it were a known fact. But it is a fairly strong accusation to suggest that someone is lying when logically there is another alternative, that was the point I was trying to make. There are plenty of points to score in this without throwing accusations of lying. As an independent observer I have noted that there is one thing that the Republicans are good at in any debate; if they find a hole in your argument they drive straight into it and make the hole the new story. How to avoid this? Don't have holes in your argument, deal in the facts and let them hang themselves when they cannot spin it. The Republicans have pretty good aim, but it is a simple matter for the Democrats to take away their ammunition...

8:23 PM  

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