Former United States Vice President Al Gore stood in front of the nation and the world on Martin King Luther Day and declared that President George Walker Bush acted illegally and called for an independent counsel to investigate the president’s use of unwarranted wiretaps on U.S. citizens. Bush appointee Alberto Gonzalez, the U.S. Attorney General, plans to testify to the Senate in the next month or two, giving the administration’s legal justification for the wiretaps.
“A special counsel should be immediately appointed by the attorney general to remedy the obvious conflict of interest that prevents him from investigating what many believe are serious violations of law by the president,” said Mr. Gore. Later, on a nationally televised talk show, Mr. Gonzalez said he didn’t know why there would be a need for a special counsel. Mr. Gore continued in his speech:
“We still have much to learn about the NSA’s domestic surveillance. What we do know about this pervasive wiretapping virtually compels the conclusion that the president of the United States has been breaking the law repeatedly and insistently… A president who breaks the law is a threat to the very structure of our government.”
The administration’s response came through Republican National Committee spokeswoman Ms. Tracey Schmidt, who said, “Al Gore’s incessant need to insert himself in the headline of the day is almost as glaring as his lack of understanding of the threats facing America.” I find that odd as I’ve not heard anything from Mr. Gore in years – he hardly seems to be a headline-grabber.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights are also planning lawsuits against the Bush administration regarding the wiretap issue.
My source for all this is Reuters. (Interesting side note – my spell-checker saw “NSA” and tried to change it to “Nazi.” Somehow I wasn’t surprised. It’s easy to get them confused these days.)