David Cole interview

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Islamica Magazine’s interview with civil libertarian David Cole (230KB PDF here) has this nice exchange:

Islamica: You brought up the issue of domestic spying. What concerns you more about this practice: the actual substantive measure of warrantless wiretaps of American citizens on American soil or the aggrandizement of power by the executive branch?

Cole: I think it’s definitely the latter. We don’t know enough about the program to know how concerned we ought to be about invasions of privacy that are illegitimate. We don’t know how many taps there have been nor how widespread the program really is. At some point we may learn that and there may be serious concerns. But what we do know is what the Bush administration has put forth as its defense of the program, and they should give everybody pause. Because the argument is essentially that the president as commander-in-chief has the unilateral, “uncheckable” authority to select the “means and methods of engaging the enemy,” which is a quote from the Justice Department’s memo defending the program. And their claim is that when you’re talking about the means and methods of engaging the enemy, it is impermissible for either of the other branches of government, Congress or the courts, to restrict the president in any way, shape, or form. So that means that the president can spy on Americans in the face of any criminal statute that specifically prohibits it. […] So this is a view of unfettered executive power that I think all Americans ought to be concerned about.

Cole’s next book, Less Safe, Less Free: Why We Are Losing the War on Terror, is scheduled for release next May.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on November 18, 2006 3:42 PM.

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