Friday, September 08, 2006

Reversing course...

As the President gears up for a big campaign event on the 5th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks designed to turn the tide of the 2006 mid-terms, his comments yesterday demonstrate a dramatic shift in White House tactics related to the illegal domestic spying this administration has been engaged in.

As noted here on First Read, as a part of his latest media blitz to try to change the public perception on the occupation of Iraq, Bush for the first time asked that Congress make changes to the law to authorize the NSA warrantless domestic wiretapping and update the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). As First Read reports:

This represents a shift in the White House position, as Bush has not uttered this appeal before. . . . The shift? From the time the program was disclosed last December, up until now, the President had insisted that no new laws were needed -- this is the first time he's called for one.
Who would have guessed - Bush actually changed his mind about something! I'd almost give him credit for this - except of course, the subject happens to be changing from the position that the President is allowed to freely spy on US citizens without warrant, to asking for Congressional authorization to freely spy on US citizens without warrant. Not exactly a remarkable improvement.

In reality, this demonstrates just how much weaker this President, and this White House, is now than they were two years ago. This is a tacit admission that what this administration has been doing has been illegal. Now they are scrambling to cover that illegality. Two years ago, this White House would not have given an inch on this issue - and would have expanded the program in the face of criticism. They are simply not able to get away with what they could before. That's encouraging.

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