News Release

No Oath for Gonzales; No Law for the President?

JONATHAN TURLEY
Turley is a professor of Constitutional law at George Washington University. He said today: “Alberto Gonzales has been claiming national security to avoid answering basic questions about the program. For example, when asked if he revealed information from the program to the FISA court, he refused to answer under the absurd claim that it was somehow sensitive information. It is a use of national security for purely political reasons….

“The Democrats are not asking basic follow-ups, like when Gonzales said today that the administration did not request an amendment to FISA because doing so would result in the ending of the program; no one asked if the program, since it has been disclosed, must now end.

“Fundamentally Gonzales is following the script of the white paper he released several weeks ago. The legal arguments are without merit. The administration is attempting to argue that the president is not bound by law; that is a concept entirely foreign to our system….

“Perhaps most astonishing is the unwillingness of the committee to place Gonzales under oath. During his confirmation hearings, Gonzales expressly denied that the president was asserting this authority. He did so when he knew that the president had exercised that very same authority.”
More Information

ELIZABETH MATOS
ALEX LITTLE
Matos and Little are law students at Georgetown University Law Center. They are among the co-founders of the group Stand Up for the Law, which organized the student protests when Gonzales spoke recently at the law school. Said Little: “Today, Gonzales said that dealing with the FISA Court takes too long. But FISA allows the administration to get warrants after surveillance has begun, and the Court itself moves quickly. His answers again don’t add up. Now the members of Congress — on both sides of the aisle — face a choice: defer to a power grab or stand up for the law.”

Background:
“Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 shall be the exclusive means by which electronic surveillance … may be conducted.” [FISA; 18 U.S.C. Sec. 2511(f)], see Bush’s Use of NSA Spying and the Law.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167