The US Justice Department was told to investigate the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance program. An embarassment to the President who claimed he was exercising his wartime powers - what did he do ? Simple. He denied access to the information the Justice Department investigators wanted - because they did not have security clearance - Yossarian thou shouldst be living at this hour.
Bush's decision, was revealed by that legal Titan , Albert Gonzalez, in testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Gonzales said that in matters involving access to classified programs, "the President of the United States makes the decision." which represents an unusually direct, unprecedented and novel White House intervention into an investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility, the internal affairs office at Justice. It forced OPR to abandon its investigation of the role played by Justice Department officials in authorizing and monitoring the controversial NSA eavesdropping effort.
"Since its creation some 31 years ago, OPR has conducted many highly sensitive investigations involving Executive Branch programs and has obtained access to information classified at the highest levels," chief lawyer H. Marshall Jarrett wrote in a published memorandum . "In all those years, OPR has never been prevented from initiating or pursuing an investigation."
“President Bush personally blocked Justice Department lawyers from pursuing an internal inquiry into the administration’s warrantless eavesdropping program.” said Alberto to the Committee.
"The president decided that protecting the secrecy and security of the program requires that a strict limit be placed on the number of persons granted access to information about the program for non-operational reasons," Gonzales wrote in a related letter sent to the committee's chairman, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa. "Every additional security clearance that is granted for the (program) increases the risk that national security might be compromised."
However if you go back to the White House Record of the President
President Bush: Information Sharing, Patriot Act Vital to Homeland Security
Remarks by the President in a Conversation on the USA Patriot Act
Kleinshans Music Hall April 2004 Buffalo, New York
This is how he reassured the assmebled throng at Kleinshans Music Hall in Buffalo on April 20th 2004 - when of course the AT&T access to IP traffic had been in full swing for a least 2 years - if you believe Klein's testimony in Hepting, et al., v. AT&T Corporation.
"Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires — a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we’re talking about chasing down terrorists, we’re talking about getting a court order before we do so.
The Patriot Act changed that. So with court order, law enforcement officials can now use what's called roving wiretaps, which will prevent a terrorist from switching cell phones in order to get a message out to one of his buddies."
Oh No Mr President! The Patriot Act changed nothing, surveillance just carried on regardless of the law on wiretaps, because lawyers like Albert Gonzalez could stand up and attempt to justify it and your actions.
But the President evidently believes in the Patriot Act ..
see what he said in Buffalo ...
" Those who criticize the Patriot Act must listen to those folks on the front line of defending America. The Patriot Act defends our liberty, is what it does, under the Constitution of the United States. (Applause.)"
Yo! Defends our Liberty ... under the Constitution.
However at Scotus Blog there is a handy analysis of US District Judge Walkers refusal to dismiss the
Hepting, et al., v. AT&T Corporation case (Opinion 72 pages) PDF Alert
In a trenchant and forthright way the Judge wrote..""While the court recognizes and respects the executive's constitutional duty to protect the nation from threats, the court also takes seriously its constitutional duty to adjudicate the disputes that come before it," ...
Maybe George isn't out of the trees on this one yet. But don't put the increasingly costly mortgage on it.