It fit nicely with their long-running scheme to depict the president as the autocratic "King George," who acts unilaterally, beyond his constitutional authority and in derogation of the people's rights, to spy on innocent American citizens. This has always been a pernicious lie. The NSA surveillance program specifically excluded purely domestic communications and was never targeted at innocent citizens but at conversations where at least one party was a known or suspected terrorist.
These Democratic leaders are suggesting they would approve of these warrantless intercepts, provided Congress approved of the practice. But they can't have it both ways. If the intercepts were "domestic spying" then, they still are.
Are you following me? These leaders are now saying that all they've ever objected to is that the president has engaged in this practice without congressional approval. But such consent wouldn't do anything to answer their earlier-stated objection that the intercepts are unconstitutional.
The Fourth Amendment doesn't say that searches can be conducted without a warrant provided Congress provides its formal blessing. It protects the people from "unreasonable" searches and seizures. As we all know, the courts have long held that in certain special circumstances, searches without a warrant can be reasonable. But the last time I checked, there was no "congressional approval" exception to the warrant requirement.
Concerning the false charge that President Bush, through his NSA "signals intelligence," has been engaged in domestic spying, the Democrats have made their own bed and should not be let off the hook. (This mixed metaphor inspires amusing images that are too good to pass up.)
If the program constitutes domestic spying without the consent of Congress, it will involve domestic spying with it. The ordinary citizen will be no more protected from "unreasonable" searches with advance blanket legislative authorization than without it.
Of course, the program is emphatically not "domestic spying," in the sense that Democrat demagogues used that phrase a few short days ago. But since they coined the phrase, it must now be said that a few major Democratic leaders support "domestic spying."
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