Intelligence Court Rules Bush Surveillance Program is Legal [video below]

via AOL

President George W. Bush has won a major victory for his legacy building efforts in his final days in office as a special intelligence appeals court has ruled that the Bush Administration’s much derided Terrorist Surveillance Program is legal. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review made the ruling in late August,bush_surveillance but it is only being made public now. Specifically, the court ruled that Congress acted within its authority in 2007 when it passed the Protect America Act, which codified the existing Bush Administration program with minor, cosmetic changes. The terrorist surveillance program, as the Bush Administration calls it, operated in secret for close to four years, from right after the September 11th attacks until the New York Times revealed the existence of the program in December, 2005.

Since then, President Bush and Administration officials have come under withering criticism from Democrats, civil liberties activists, and Administration opponents. The critics accused the Administration of domestic spying, listening in on the conversations of ordinary Americans, abuse if power, and criminal violations of privacy laws. The Administration has steadfastly maintained that the program was legal, necessary, and effective; countering its critics by pointing out the president’s inherit powers under Article 2 of the Constitution to command the conduct of war. The decision validates the Administration’s claims about the program, and proves that critics’ interpretation of the law has been wrong all along. As the president prepares to leave office, the Administration has been highlighting its accomplishments. Chief among those has been keeping America safe from attack for the past seven and a half years. The terrorist surveillance program has played a big part in accomplishing that, despite attempts by Democrats and the left to discredit the program and the Bush Administration’s exercise of its authority. To his critics’ chagrin, the court’s ruling will bolster President Bush’s efforts to explain his legacy in his post-presidential years, and it could be the first of many similar validations of Bush Administration policies and decisions.

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