Monday, February 06, 2006

Former Clinton DOJ Lawyer Contradicts Self

The Senate Judiciary Committee began hearings today on the program of warrantless surveillance of terrorist communications by the National Security Agency (NSA). Last week, a few self-described "scholars of constitutional law and former government officials" wrote a letter to Congress claiming that the Bush administration has not offered "a plausible defense of the NSA domestic spying program".

One of the signers was Walter Dellinger. While he was the Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel in the Department of Justice under Pres. Clinton, he had a different opinion. (See pp. 14-16 of the letter by H. Bryan Cunningham.) Cunningham's letter quotes liberally from an opinion by Dellinger. The bottom line: Dellinger believed that the president had the authority and the responsibility not to execute unconstitutional laws, especially "provisions limiting the President's authority as Commander in Chief".

See The Corner for a fuller discussion.

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