After September the 11th, one question my administration had to answer was, using the authorities I have, how do we effectively detect enemies hiding in our midst and prevent them from striking us again?Seriously, if Bush believes that this is all there is to terrorism, we're fucked.
We know that a two-minute phone conversation between somebody linked to al Qaeda here and an operative overseas could lead directly to the loss of thousands of lives. To save American lives, we must be able to act fast and to detect these conversations so we can prevent new attacks.
It's bizarre to think that he even believes this. Think about it - was 9/11 nothing but a phone call? Of course not. The terrorists had been in the country for months - many of them were known to the CIA. None of them were citizens of the US. They had been training in the US, and they'd been spending their money here all that time. Almost anything they did could have been monitored, legally. Even if Bush had known they were planning something, he wouldn't have needed new powers to watch them.
But Bush needs people to believe that his using the NSA to spy on American citizens is connected to 9/11. Here's the thing - there is no possible way this is true. The NSA is allowed to operate on American soil, provided it doesn't spy on American citizens. None of the 9/11 terrorists were US citizens. Any person believed to be an agent of a foreign government is fair game, and in any case a US citizen can be spied on with a warrant - which can be procured retroactively up to 72 hours later.
There is literally not a single reason Bush had to violate the law. Period. Full stop.
He ordered his underlings to break the law because he doesn't know any better, and they followed those orders because they wanted to.
It's gratifying to see the blogospheric left begin calling for the impeachment of this president. In my eyes it's about three years too late, but hey, what's a few thousand corpses between parties?