Senator Feingold Blasts the Administration for Their Abuse of Power
Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI) (video thanks to Canofun, transcript):
Well, that about covers it. Let the impeachment proceedings begin.
Look, whoever was notified, and it certainly was a narrow group if they were, it doesn't matter if you tell everybody in the whole country if it's against the law. And I believe it does violate the law. [...]
This is a frightening pattern by these lawyers and those in the White House of disregard for the law, and the Supreme Court had to in fact strike down parts of this enemy combatant stuff that was going out.
So the fact is, Wolf, that this administration is playing fast and loose with the law in the area of national security. And Senator Specter had it absolutely right when he reacted the way he did in the Senate floor and said, "Look this is very troubling. We need the oversight, we need the hearings." [...]
It doesn't -- if you want to sell drugs and tell everybody in the country you're going to do it, that doesn't make it legal. And so, the question here is, yes, those are side questions and I'm glad Senator Specter is talking about how do we deal with this when we're told something that's -- and I view -- patently illegal but we're told we can't talk about it.
But the more important point here is that the president has, I think, made up a law that we never passed. And I think that's the most serious issue. [...]
I believe what we're seeing today with the announcement about the national security activities and the efforts that were made with regard to wiretapping gives me every reason to believe that this administration is exploiting all the laws that it can and now making up its own laws. I believe that this is an abusive situation.
And we don't even know the extent of it, Wolf, because so much of this is in secret.
So I think this is dangerous. The administration has shown us they're willing to take provisions and expand them beyond their meaning. And that's why I've insisted and many of us in the Senate, including four key conservative Republican senators, Senator Murkowski, Senator Sununu, Senator Craig and Senator Hagel, all voted with us -- because we want innocent Americans protected from having their library records, their business records, their medical records from being swept into this secret court.