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Oliver North The Latest FOX News Republican Who Can’t Defend Warrantless Wiretapping And Tell The Truth At The Same Time

Reported by Ellen - February 10, 2006

Former felon and current FOX News host Oliver North (his conviction was overturned on appeal), who admitted to lying to Congress, was convicted of accepting an illegal gratuity, aiding and abetting in the obstruction of a congressional inquiry, and destruction of documents doesn’t strike me as the best spokesperson to defend President Bush’s warrantless spying but there he was, one beneficiary of FOX News Republican Rehab, doing Republican Rehab for George W. Bush. Maybe it’s a 12 step kind of a thing. Too bad North couldn’t do the rehab and tell the truth at the same time.

Alan Colmes said to North, “If (Republicans are) trying to convince the American people that whatever (they) did was OK, there’s still something called the rule of law in this country.”

As I have repeatedly asked, if Republicans are so confident about the right to eavesdrop on Americans without a warrant, why do they have to keep lying about the justifications? North not only did that, he took a cheap shot at The Washington Post at the same time. “FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, has provisions in it for warrantless surveillance. This is not, as it’s been portrayed in The Washington Compost (Oh, isn’t he a clever fellow!), The New York Times and almost every other newspaper in America and I hope not by you as a domestic intelligence operation. This is… an effort to intercept communications between people outside the United States and those within the United States who are in the process of preparing to attack us.” Hello, Mr. Former Felon! When you secretly spy on people, as you put it, “within the United States,” it’s a DOMESTIC intelligence operation.

Also, I have yet to hear the Bush Administration claim that FISA allows warrantless domestic eavesdropping. For example, as Media Matters reports, Vice President Dick Cheney told Jim Lehrer that the authority to do so comes from the authorization for the use of force given to the president just after 9/11.

Colmes said that we don’t know who was spied on, if they really were in the process of preparing an attack and that the FISA law says a warrant is required to do those interceptions.

“No, you don’t,” former felon North declared. “And I think I’ve got some experience in this.” He then revealed that 19 years ago, “Our intelligence services intercepted communication from a foreign capital to a sleeper cell of terrorists in Virginia” to assassinate him. North said the plot was foiled because the FBI intercepted the communique, hid his family and apprehended the terrorists. “Had we not been able to do these things, or if we’re not able to do them in the future, protection like that will never happen for the American people.”

Yeah, but didn’t the FBI likely have a warrant when they did the intercept? Sean Hannity jumped in to take his turn and Colmes never asked.

Hannity, with his voice dramatically hushed, said “You’re describing a threat where you might not be in this chair today had we not had that program, the ability to do that.” Right, but did the FBI follow the law or break it? And why couldn’t they have intercepted the communique and followed the law at the same time? Neither North nor Hannity ever said but surely they are smart enough to know that NOBODY is saying that terrorist communications shouldn’t be intercepted. They are saying it should be done in a lawful manner, by going to the judge. Why can’t North and Hannity frame the argument truthfully if they aren’t trying to hide something?

From there, North told an even bigger whopper. “It’s very clear that there’s guys like Leahy and Kennedy on that committee that grilled the attorney general this week who have a partisan agenda. There are honest people in both parties and both houses who want this program to continue to work and I think there are going to be accommodations made so that it can.” North conveniently overlooked the criticisms of Arlen Specter and Lindsey Graham on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Or was he calling them dishonest partisans, too?

Hannity claimed that Democrats, for the sole purpose of scoring political points, had ruined the program by spilling the beans to “our enemies.”

In his most chilling statement of all, North implied that what this country needs is more secret policing. “The tragedy of what happened this week is that it was all out in the open.”

You can contact North's show at Warstories@foxnews.com

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