The White House announced its support for a legislative proposal by Ohio Sen. Mike DeWine to exclude Bush’s NSA wiretapping program from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. ThinkProgress explained earlier why the proposal is a bad idea. Tonight, on Fox News, DeWine explained his motivations:
You know, there’s been some controversy about whether or not this program is legal or is not legal. I think we need to get beyond that. And the vast majority of American people believe these calls need to be listened to. But we don’t want to have any kind of debate about whether it’s constitutional or not constitutional. So I think we need to put that beyond us.
The reason DeWine and the White House don’t want to talk about the program’s legality is because the program is illegal. DeWine is attempting to fix a problem that he hasn’t even properly diagnosed. Even Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter isn’t buying DeWine’s spin:
Unless they’re prepared to have a determination on constitutionality as to their programs, window dressing oversight will not be sufficient.
President Bush said today, “I mean, a lot of lawyers looked at this, and they said, you bet, Mr. President, it’s legal.” If he’s so confident about that, why is he so afraid to have a debate?