Bush compromises with Congress on FISA, shows willingness to slack off of his dictatorial ways

Via the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON – The White House has conditionally agreed to a court review of its controversial eavesdropping program, Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter said Thursday.

Specter said President Bush has agreed to sign legislation that would authorize the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to review the constitutionality of the National Security Agency’s most high-profile monitoring operations.

"You have here a recognition by the president that he does not have a blank check," the Pennsylvania Republican told his committee.


Specter said the legislation, which has not yet been made public, was the result of "tortuous" negotiations with the White House since June.

"If the bill is not changed, the president will submit the Terrorist Surveillance Program to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court," Specter said. "That is the president’s commitment."

It wasn’t immediately clear how strong or enduring the judicial oversight would be.

An important note from the story (emphasis added):

An administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the bill’s language gives the president the option of submitting the program to the intelligence court, rather than making the review a requirement.

I’m with Allah on this one:

Why would it give future presidents an out? I guess that’s Bush’s way of proving he’s serious about executive power as a matter of principle even if he personally won’t enjoy as much of it as he’d like. But it can also be touted as a concession that he needs special curtailments because he’s uniquely dangerous.

That’s what is at the heart of all the ‘outrage’ from Congressional Democrats concerning the President’s wartime powers.  They believe he’s thisclose to setting up a dictatorship in this country, and that it’s THEIR JOB TO REIN HIM IN!  Forget about the fact that we’re at war, forget about the fact that there is not a shred of evidence that the President illegally acted in spite of FISA, and forget about the fact that we have enemies here at home who are standing ready to wage more acts of war against the US on our own soil.  The President, as a wartime President, should be able to reserve the right to, in extreme cases, authorize searches without a court warrant.

The same Democrats who claim the President isn’t doing enough to protect us from terror are the ones who want to limit his ability to fight it.  Amazing.

Read more via: Stop the ACLU, AJ Strata, Lorie Byrd at Wizbang, Macsmind

Related/Update: Jose Padilla gets access to view US secrets.   Tammy Bruce nails it:

Welcome to what happens when you move war-time enemy combatant terrorists into civilian court. What a debacle.


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