Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Feingold/Gonzales SJC Smackdown; Feb. 6th on C-SPAN

Feingold letter to Gonzales:

I am writing to let you know in advance about some of the questions I intend to ask you about when you testify at the Senate Judiciary Committee's February 6 hearing on"Wartime Executive Power and the NSA's Surveillance Authority."


I am particularly interested in asking about your misleading testimony at your confirmation hearing on January 6,2005, when I specifically asked you if the President has the authority to authorize warrantless wiretaps in violation of statutory prohibitions.


Judge Gonzales. Senator,this President is not- it's not the policy or the agenda of this President to authorize actions that would be in contravention of our criminal statutes.

Senator Feingold. Finally, will you commit to notify Congress if the President makes this type of decision and not wait 2 years until a memo is leaked about it?

Judge Gonzales. I will commit to advise the Congress as soon as I reasonably can, yes, SIr.

In light of recent revelations that the President specifically authorized wiretapping of Americans in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and did so years prior to your confirmation hearing at a time when you were White House Counsel, I find this testimony misleading, and deeply troubling. I will expect a full explanation at the hearing.

Other explanations required:
  1. Legal standard used by Admin for wiretapping.
  2. Legal advice given to Admin by DoJ and/or Gonzales, and how it may differ from current WH justifications.
  3. The limits, if any, to the Administration's legal theory that the President has the authority either under the Authorization for the Use of Military Force or as Commander in Chief to violate criminal laws of the United States. What other statutes or treaties are being or might be violated under this legal theory? Would this legal theory permit surveillance of communications by U.S. citizens solely within the United States or the
    assassination of U.S. citizens within the United States? If not, why not?

It's still the middle of winter, but Washington D.C. must be getting pretty dank from all the nervous sweat.

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