Monday, May 15, 2006

The opposition speaks

Former Georgia congressman Bob Barr sounds off on Gen. Mike Hayden, the Bush administration's nominee to head the CIA:

Hayden is not the right man for this job because he appears to change his view of what is lawful depending on who is asking him and when he is being asked ...

In April 2000 ... the general was asked explicitly whether and under what circumstances the NSA could electronically surveil Americans in this country. The general said very clearly, explicitly and correctly that if the NSA had reason to surveil an American citizen while in this country, the only way it could do so would be to first secure a court order. Period. End of argument. You must get a court order first.

Well, here we are six years later; Hayden has an extra star on his shoulder; he is working for a new president; and the law that applied in 2000 is --- on this point --- exactly the same. Yet Hayden's answer to that very same question is as different as night and day: What this president is doing by surveilling Americans in this country without court orders is perfectly fine.

Has Barr -- one of the House's most conservative members while in office -- veered left? Not at all. It's the big government, Big Brother Republicans who have abandoned him.

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