Feb 032006

Bush’s defense of his illegal domestic spying program in the State of the Union was almost entirely disputed yesterday by legal specialists across the ideological spectrum. "Bush’s assertion that his program was legal prompted a group of 14 prominent law professors, including both liberals and conservatives, to pen a joint letter objecting to his arguments." Legal scholars disputed three false claims made by Bush. First, Bush’s contention that past presidents did the same thing as he has done "is either intentionally misleading or downright false," said David Cole, a Georgetown University law professor. Second, the claim that Bush was consulting with Congress about the program is false. Richard Epstein, a University of Chicago law professor, said, "The president’s position is essentially that [Congress] is not doing the right thing, so I’m going to act on my own." Third, Bush claimed his program may have allowed the federal government to discover two hijackers. "But the 9/11 Commission found that the government had already grown suspicious about both of the hijackers in question before the attacks took place. Bureaucratic failures to share information about the hijackers, not ignorance of their existence, was the problem, the commission said."

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