We had one of the whiney little rightwing posters on this site demanding that we produce proof that Bush had broken the law. Why should we bother, when members of his own party are happy to oblige? Even rightwing nutcase Rep. Hoekstra, of "500 lbs of moldy useless old neve gas is an imminent threat" fame, accuses Bush of breaking the law by not informing Congress of whatever this secret program is, probably something to do with planting net cameras in our underwear or something. Bush has repeatedly broken the law, has repeatedly claimed the laws that apply to the rest of us do not apply to him, and has trampled on our constitution's requirement that the Congress, the representatives of the people, oversee our Executive branch so they don't become our masters. Even the GOP is beginning to howl:
Congressman Says Program Was Disclosed by Informant
The New York Times
By ERIC LICHTBLAU and SCOTT SHANE
Published: July 10, 2006
WASHINGTON, July 9 — The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said Sunday that the Bush administration briefed the panel on a "significant" intelligence program only after a government whistle-blower alerted him to its existence and he pressed President Bush for details.
The chairman, Representative Peter Hoekstra, Republican of Michigan, wrote in a May 18 letter to Mr. Bush, first disclosed publicly on Saturday by The New York Times, that the administration's failure to notify his committee of this program and others could be a "violation of law."
Mr. Hoekstra expanded on his concerns in a television appearance on Sunday, saying that when the administration withholds information from Congress, "I take it very, very seriously."
Mr. Hoekstra and other officials would not discuss the nature of the undisclosed intelligence programs. But officials have said he was not referring to the National Security Agency's wiretapping operation or to the Treasury Department's bank monitoring program, both of which he was informed about. Mr. Hoekstra made clear on Sunday that he was particularly troubled by the failure to notify the Intelligence Committee of one particular major program.
"We can't be briefed on every little thing that they are doing," Mr. Hoekstra said in an interview on "Fox News Sunday." "But in this case, there was at least one major — what I consider significant — activity that we had not been briefed on that we have now been briefed on. And I want to set the standard there, that it is not optional for this president or any president or people in the executive community not to keep the intelligence committees fully informed of what they are doing."
The White House declined to comment on the issue Sunday but said last week that it would continue to work closely with Mr. Hoekstra and the intelligence committees.
The criticism of the White House was particularly surprising coming from a Republican committee chairman who has been an important ally of the Bush administration. Mr. Hoekstra has vigorously defended the administration's handling of a number of controversial issues, including the N.S.A. operation, the prewar intelligence on Iraq, and the treatment and interrogation of terrorism suspects.
Mr. Hoekstra has also been an outspoken critic of government employees who leak classified information to outsiders and of the news media for printing articles about it, and he has suggested that tougher legislation may be necessary.
But on Sunday, discussing how he learned of the administration's failure to brief the committee, Mr. Hoekstra said, "This is actually a case where the whistle-blower process was working appropriately."
"Some people within the intelligence community brought to my attention some programs that they believed we had not been briefed on," he said, adding, "They were right."
In talks with the administration, the committee "asked by code name what some of these programs" were, Mr. Hoekstra said. "We have now been briefed on those programs. But I wanted to reinforce to the president and to the executive branch and the intelligence community how important, and by law, the requirement that they keep the legislative branch informed of what they are doing."
Officials said in interviews last week that the administration had briefed the House Intelligence Committee at least twice in recent weeks, after Mr. Hoekstra's letter, to discuss details of the previously undisclosed programs. But some committee members say they remain wary that the administration is continuing to withhold information.
Regarding the leaks of classified information, Mr. Hoekstra said at a hearing on May 26 that he thought that there should be strong protections for intelligence agency whistle-blowers who bring their concerns to Congress, reducing the risk of leaks to the news media.
"We need to make sure the whistle-blower process is an open door," Mr. Hoekstra said at the hearing. Otherwise, he said, when intelligence officers see something they believe to be illegal or unwise, "they just go, 'Well, I'll just go to the press.' "
Congress is considering stronger protections for whistle-blowers, and a bill approved by the House Government Reform Committee in April would make it easier for intelligence agency employees to report concerns without fear of retaliation from superiors. But last month the Senate passed a separate whistle-blower bill that excludes employees of the intelligence agencies from its protections.