June 6th, 2008
Every day brings further news that John McCain’s positions are worse than previously believed. Now he claims the President can legally order, as Bush did, wiretapping that is expressly banned by law. If true, the same doctrine would allow the President to order virtually any activity, despite Congressional sanctions or bans.
A top adviser to Senator John McCain says Mr. McCain believes that President Bush’s program of wiretapping without warrants was lawful, a position that appears to bring him into closer alignment with the sweeping theories of executive authority pushed by the Bush administration legal team.
In a letter posted online by National Review this week, the adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, said Mr. McCain believed that the Constitution gave Mr. Bush the power to authorize the National Security Agency to monitor Americans’ international phone calls and e-mail without warrants, despite a 1978 federal statute that required court oversight of surveillance.
Mr. McCain believes that “neither the administration nor the telecoms need apologize for actions that most people, except for the A.C.L.U. and trial lawyers, understand were constitutional and appropriate in the wake of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001,” Mr. Holtz-Eakin wrote.
Now that he hopes to achieve the Presidency, McCain here clearly endorses the “unitary executive” theory that our government is an elected dictatorship. Since this claim can only hurt him electorally this year, one can only assume it represents his real opinion.