Specter: Adminstration’s Legal Arguments Are “Strained and Unrealistic”

On Meet the Press, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) strongly rejected one of the administration’s key legal justification’s of Bush’s warrantless domestic surveillance program:

RUSSERT: The administration says that they didn’t need to, that they already had authority from Congress when, back in October 2002, Congress voted an authorization to go to war against Iraq. And that is part of that war.

SPECTER: I believe that contention is very strained and unrealistic. The authorization for the use of force doesn’t say anything about electronic surveillance.

The issue was never raised with the Congress. And there is a specific statute on the books, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which says flatly that you can’t undertake that kind of surveillance without a court order.


Specter is one of many conservative Senators who have been very critical of the program. Hearings on the program, chaired by Specter, start Monday.

UPDATE: Crooks and Liars has the video.