In his State of the Union address, President Bush claimed, “Previous Presidents have used the same constitutional authority I have, and federal courts have approved the use of that authority.”
Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) pressed Gonzales to determine whether there is any evidence to justify this claim:
FEINGOLD: Let me first ask, do you know of any other President who has authorized warrantless wiretaps outside of FISA, since 1978, when FISA was passed?
GONZALES: Um, none come to mind, Senator. But maybe — I would be happy to look to see whether or not that’s the case.
FEINGOLD: I can take it as a no unless you submit something?
GONZALES: I can’t give you an answer.
This is why we need congressional oversight so much — it forces the administration to face up to reality.