From the story on CNN.
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Reversing a position it defended for more than a year, the Bush administration announced Wednesday that it has begun getting court approval before eavesdropping on the communications of suspected terrorists or their associates.
The Justice Department notified Congress that a court set up to specialize in wiretapping would oversee its “terrorist surveillance program,” which the administration has said could operate without judicial review. Critics said that violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, which set up a special court to review wiretap applications in intelligence cases.
In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales wrote that the administration still believes the program is legal, but that a judge on the court has set rules that preserve “the speed and agility necessary” to battle terrorism.
“The president is committed to using all lawful tools to protect our nation from the terrorist threat, including making maximum use of the authorities provided by FISA and taking full advantage of developments in the law,” Gonzales wrote.
Neither Gonzales nor Justice Department officials disclosed details of the rules set by the court, arguing that details were classified. But Gonzales said President Bush would no longer authorize the existing program, which administration officials said was necessary because the court set up under FISA was too slow to respond to new terrorist threats.
“To save American lives, we must be able to act fast and to detect these conversations so we can prevent new attacks,” Bush said in December 2005.
Oh how magnanimous of you, Emperor Dubya. Your grace is eternal. Of course you need to break the law to save us. Our silly freedoms are of no import compared to your need to protect us from the voices in your head.
Notice the timing of this descision.
The administration’s reversal comes a day before Gonzales was scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Its chairman, Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy, said he welcomed the decision.
Will somebody please throw him and his cronies in jail before we wind up like 1940 Germany? Please?