What would Reagan have done?

Ed Meese, attorney general under Reagan, thinks that President Reagan would have taken the same position as the current administration on the Terrorist Surveillance Program. Meese writes:

It is always risky, if not presumptuous, to declare how a former President would act in situations that have arisen more than 15 years after he left office. But there are valuable lessons to be learned from the example of the executive leadership set by Ronald Reagan and the principles that guided his decisions.

President Reagan believed that fidelity to the Constitution was the primary responsibility of every public official and that the solemn oath he took to preserve and protect our Founding Charter was a solemn trust. But he knew the document thoroughly and understood the powers it conferred on a President as well as the limitations it prescribed. As a student of history, particularly the founding of our nation, Reagan appreciated the role that the drafters of the Constitution set out for the chief executive, including the responsibilities of the commander in chief to insure the defense of the nation and its people.

That is why I believe Ronald Reagan would take the same position our current President and the Department of Justice took on the subject of the Terrorist Surveillance Program. Under this program the National Security Agency (NSA) intercepts and records international communications between a telephone located in a foreign country and one in the United States when one or both ends of the line involve known or suspected terrorists. Similar surveillance activity was utilized during the Cold War, including the period of Ronald Reagan’s presidency, to obtain intelligence about threats to our national security. At that time, this highly classified work was carried out in secret so as not to warn enemy agents of our surveillance capabilities. It is only in recent years that irresponsible news media elements have revealed the Terrorist Surveillance Program to the public, thus compromising a valuable means of thwarting terrorist threats to our country.

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