GOP’s Hagel Says Bush Wrong on Wiretaps
“I didn’t like what Mr. Rove said,” Hagel told George Stephanopoulos, referring to the speech last week where, for the umpteenth time, Rove tried to paint Democrats as soft on terror by saying they all have a “pre-9/11 view of the world.”
Hagel went on to say that Rove’s statements “frame terrorism and the issue of terrorism and everything that goes with it, whether it’s renewal of the Patriot Act or the NSA wiretapping, in a political context.”
When asked how he reconciles the fact that politicizing terrorism seems to be the prevailing game plan of the Bush White House, Hagel said simply “I don’t like it. I think it’s wrong for this country.”
Stephanopoulos then raised the issue of Bush’s warrantless domestic spying program and Hagel said he does not believe the president has authority to have been conducting the NSA spying on Americans.
“I don’t believe, from what I’ve heard – but I’m going to give the administration the opportunity to explain it – that he has the authority now to do what he’s doing,” said Hagel, also saying that he doesn’t understand “…why the president would not want to make the Congress his partner. We are a coequal branch of government, we do have the same kind of responsibilities as the president does.”
“He just can’t unilaterally decide that that 1978 [FISA] law is out of date and he will be the guardian of America and he will violate that law.”
Which means, with hearings coming on the domestic spying issue in both the Senate Judiciary and Intelligence committees and with Republican Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Arlen Specter (R-PA), John McCain (R-AZ) and Sam Brownback (R-KS) all questioning the legality of Bush’s spying on Americans, it could be a long February for Team Bush.