This Week You Need To Know
Cheney and His Patsy, Bush, Face Impeachment Furor
by Jeffrey Steinberg
"Impeach, impeachment, and impeachable are words now back in prominent usage, as the result of the antics of Dick Cheney and his patsy, George W. Bush," Lyndon LaRouche commented on Dec. 22. LaRouche was referring to the firestorm of Congressional and judicial reactions to the Vice President's openly totalitarian assertion that, as the result of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, there are no Constitutional limits on the power of the U.S. Presidency.
Cheney's defense of the right of the U.S. military and intelligence agencies to kidnap and torture suspected terrorists had already triggered a bipartisan, bicameral revolt by the U.S. Congress against the Vice President (see EIR Dec. 23, 2005, "Cheney Is the Albatross Around George Bush's Neck"), when the New York Times, on Dec. 16, revealed that President Bush, under Cheney's influence, had signed a secret order, shortly after 9/11, authorizing the National Security Agency (NSA) to spy on American citizens, without first obtaining a warrant from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. The 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act created the secret FISA court, to give judicial approval in those instances where surveillance of American citizens was warranted. In extreme cases, FISA provided the government with permission to conduct surveillance and receive retroactive authorization from the court, 72 hours after the fact.
The Times story singled out Vice President Cheney as the architect of the unconstitutional espionage program, noting that the first Congressional briefing on the NSA spying, took place in Cheney's office in early 2002. Confirming the Times account of Cheney's role, on Dec. 19, Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.), the current ranking Democrat on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, released a letter that he handwrote to Dick Cheney on July 17, 2003, expressing his grave concerns over the NSA surveillance program, which he had been briefed on earlier in the day (see Documentation).
Two days after the Times storywhich had been kept on hold for more than a year, under White House pressurewas published, President Bush delivered his weekly Saturday radio address, and launched into an unabashed defense of the NSA illegal, warrantless spying on Americans. In what was tantamount to a suicidal public confession of an impeachable offense, the President admitted: "In the weeks following the terrorist attacks on our nation, I authorized the National Security Agency, consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution [sic], to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al-Qaeda and related terrorist organizations.... This is a highly classified program that is crucial to our national security."...