Monday, December 19, 2005
"There were many people, many lawyers, within the administration who advised the president that he had inherent authority as commander in chief under the Constitution to engage in this kind of signals intelligence of our enemy," Gonzales said in an interview with CNN.According to this frightening, absurd line of reasoning, the post-9/11 congressional resolution gave President Bush the authority to break any law that interfered with his prosecution of the (undeclared) war on terror.
"We also believe that the authorization to use force which was passed by the Congress in the days following the attacks of September 11th constituted additional authorization for the president to engage in this kind of" electronic surveillance, he said.
A 1978 law, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, makes it illegal to spy on U.S. citizens in the United States without court approval.
Gonzales said Congress had granted an exception when it authorized the president to use "all necessary and appropriate force."
According to Gonzales, there is literally no action that President Bush is legally barred from taking.
UPDATE: President Bush has now echoed this argument in his Monday morning press conference. So he's clearly ready to ascend to the throne if we're ready to let him.