Friday, January 13, 2006

Among Possible Presidential Duties: Breaking the Law

According to Chris Matthews, our yellow-headed Tweety bird, it might just be the case that the American President's duties include breaking the American laws. Media Matters for America gives us the relevant clip:

From the January 12 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews:

MATTHEWS: I'm asking you, you're our guest here. You're from NSA, you've been there. Do you have any evidence that we're spying on regular, you know, just regular political Americans, who maybe have views on all kinds of things? Or are we limiting it to people who are actually engaged in conversations or emailing with people in highly suspicious situations in the Mideast?

TICE: I can't say one way or the other, and I can't go into the details of how NSA does their business; it would be classified. But the question arises: Why would you do this beyond the FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] Court?

MATTHEWS: Because, apparently, when you want to do this mining by going by topic rather than by who's on the phone, you would never get a court order.

TICE: That's true. That's true.

MATTHEWS: Well, then, how can you do it?

TICE: Well, I -- all the Middle East -- a large broad-brush approach could be used where you -- you know, if you have a haystack of information, you suck it all in to try to find the needle.

MATTHEWS: We're under attack on 9-11. A couple of days after that, if I were president of the United States and somebody said we had the ability to check on all the conversations going on between here and Hamburg, Germany, where all the Al Qaeda people are, or somewhere in Saudi [Arabia], where they came from and their parents are, and we could mine some of that information by just looking for some key words like "World Trade Center" or "Pentagon," I'd do it.

TICE: Well, you'd be breaking the law.

MATTHEWS: Yeah. Well, maybe that's part of the job. We'll talk about it.
We'll be right back with Russ Tice. You're watching Hardball on MSNBC.

Bolds are mine. If breaking the law is part of the Dear Leader's job then we no longer live in a democracy. I'm not sure what to call the resulting governance structure: Tyranny? Dictatorship? Whatever it is, democracy it ain't.

Osama bin Laden has succeeded past his wildest dreams. He is indeed destroying the cultures that he so hates, by making "freedom" something only available in Iraq and by turning the process of democratic decision-making into a farce. Good going, Tweety.