Want some cheese with your Gonzo whine?
At the heart of these defenses are two central 'arguments' - if you call a 4 year-old's excuses for breaking the rules 'arguments' too. To me they don't hold water.
First, they are justified in spying on citizens because Congress authorized Bush to take military action against Osama. Second, they are violating the FISA law because compliance with a requirement for Probable Cause is just too onerous - they're claiming fishing rights.
Well, the first excuse was used to depose Saddam because of the lie that he helped Osama, which was stretching at the time. But to now use that same argument to say that you're spying on me because by six degrees of separation I might know a terrorist is a load of crap.
The second excuse won't hold water because FISA gives them time to start spying before producing any evidence of probably cause. Gonzales actually mentioned on NPR that they were violating the FISA law because it was too much trouble to have the probable cause approved by the several people in the chain of command that FISA requires. Like you're not just rubber-stamping this all the way up, eh Gonzo? The truth is that you simply want to go fishing wherever you please, and it's too much trouble to have to prove the need to FISA when there isn't one.
Oh, and if they aren't spying on citizens, then just why do they not offer to let Congress review the entire program, including the details of who they spied on and why? The Patriot Act prohibits any representative or senator from spilling details to the public - as if their sense of patriotism wouldn't - so it's not like 'the enemy would find out'. Congress could easily tell the nation that the program was used sensibly, safely and not spying on plain everyday folks if that were the case.
But until the administration gives up the details for inspection at the least by the entire Congress, then I will accuse them of spying on innocent citizens for fishing purposes, and will consider everything else said on the issue to be lies concocted to support the illegal activity and to evade prosecution.