The White House is desperate to make the controversy about Bush’s warrantless domestic wiretapping a partisan issue. Press Secretary Scott McClellan issued this statement last night:
The NSA’s terrorist surveillance program is targeted at al Qaeda communications coming into or going out of the United States…Senate Democrats continue to engage in misleading and outlandish charges about this vital tool…It defies common sense for Democrats to now claim the administration is acting outside its authority…
But it’s not a partisan issue. Some of the harshest criticism have come not from Senate Democrats but Senate Republicans:
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “The FISA Act was-created a court set up by the chief justice of the United States to allow a rapid response to requests for surveillance activity in the war on terror. I don’t know of any legal basis to go around that.”
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA): “”There is no doubt that this is inappropriate.”
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ): “WALLACE: But you do not believe that currently he has the legal authority to engage in these warrant-less wiretaps. MCCAIN: You know, I don’t think so…”
Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS): “I am troubled by what the basis for the grounds that the administration says that they did these on, the legal basis…”
McClellan wants to the media to portray this as just another partisan squabble. Will they take the bait or report the facts?