Friday, December 23, 2005

President Bush to be impeached?

Looks like President Bush may be in deep shit of Watergate proportion.

When he brought into law the Patriot Act he gave a speech last year - two years after he gave the NSA the authority to wiretap without Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) approval – assuring the American people that:

"Any time you hear the US Government talking about wiretap, a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so."

The FISA requires that warrants for national security wiretaps be authorized by the secret FISA court. It is a crime for government officials to conduct electronic surveillance outside that law or the criminal wiretap statute. President Bush’s authorization without even the minimal protection of FISA court warrants is unconstitutional and illegal.

He just recently admitted that he authorised illegal wiretappings, but of course all in the name of anti-terrorism, just as all his dodgy decisions had been excused away by him, including the aggressive violation of the territorial sovereignty of another nation.

John Dean, the disgraced White House counsel of the Watergate era, pointed out succinctly that Bush was the first president to actually admit to an impeachable offence.

A bipartisan group of Democrats and a growing number of Republicans, questioned the White House argument that the combined authority of the US constitution and anti-terror laws passed by Congress in the week after 9/11 gave Mr Bush a legal right to undertake electronic surveillance of US citizens, foreign residents or tourists without recourse to the warrants required under the FISA Act.

Because of John Dean’s remarks, California Democrat Senator Barbara Boxer has taken the trouble to seek the counsel of four presidential scholars as to whether Bush has committed an impeachable offence.

It’s ironical that John Dean, jailed for his role in the Watergate cover up under former President Richard Nixon, provided Senator Boxer with the motivation to probe into Bush’s possible impeachable offence. She considers Dean as an expert on presidential abuse of power. Afterall he went to prison as a consequence of that abuse.


  1. It appears like not all Americans were wire-tapped but only those persons who were feared to pose a potential threat to public safety. Looks like a case of an extraordinary situation requiring an extraordinary response.

  2. One of the core strength or virtues of the USA is its "rule of law" and its twin "due process", so often preached down to Asian nations like Malaysia by the former US State Secretary Madame Albright.

    "Extraordinary" response leads to, for example, "extraordinary rendition" which is the US outsourcing torture, and very soon after that, the USA under Bush or worse, Cheney, will outsource democracy, to be practised elsewhere. That's how dictatorship starts - ask Malaysians as they know.

  3. Torture is, of course, deplorable and all civilised societies reject it (or at least claim to). However, what would you do when you are dealing with hard nuts and taking the route of "Pretty please, could you kindly tell me ..." gets you nowhere? Or gets spat in the face.

  4. That's how democracy rationalises as it surrenders its values and descends to the level of the opposition.

    There was a time the Malaysian Special Branch (equivalent of CIA+FBI) could "turn" terrorist captives around to work for them, with no torture involved. As years went by, and the wrong people got into the SB, the psychological method of "turning" the enemy around, perhaps considered too difficult or too namby pamby for the new hardliners, was abandoned in favour of beating and torture. That's where the Malaysian Police are today. Surely you don't want the US to go down that path a la Saddam Hussein?

  5. I quite enjoy this brief exchange with you, and appreciate your soul-baring frankness. I'd thought to engage you further in a "what-if" scenario ... but naw, I already do see where you are coming from, so to flog this topic ad nauseam is a waste of your time and mine. Besides, interesting new topics beckon -- gotta move on!