07 February 2006

Yes, This Man Is Our Attorney-General.

President Washington, President Lincoln, President Wilson, President Roosevelt have all authorized electronic surveillance on a far broader scale.

-- Alberto Gonzales, testifying in a Senate Committee Hearing, February 6, 2006 (video here).

I'm sure they did, Mr. Gonzales. History Lessons:

1752 Benjamin Franklin does experiment with kite and lightning.
1775 George Washington named Commander in Chief of Revolutionary War.
1781 Revolutionary War ends when British surrender at Yorktown, Virginia.
1789 George Washington takes office as President of the United States.
1791 Bill of Rights ratified.
1797 John Adams takes office as the second President of the United States.
1798 Alien and Sedition Acts adopted.
1801 Thomas Jefferson takes office as the third President of the United States.
1801 Benjamin Franklin's grandson and others convicted under the Alien and Sedition Acts were pardoned, and the fines paid were reimbursed with interest.
1844 Telegraph invented.
1858 First transatlantic telegraph line completed.
1861 Civil War begins; First transcontinental telegraph lines opens.
1865 Abraham Lincoln Assassinated; Civil War ends.
1866 Lincoln's enemy combatant policy held unconstitutional in Ex Parte Milligan.
1867 Telegraph messages send during year nationwide approximately 5.8 million.
1869 First transcontinental railroad completed.
1876 Telephone invented.
1879 Electric light and radio invented.
1880 47,900 telephones in the United States.
1891 First automatic telephone exchange invented.
1901 Theodore Roosevelt takes office as President.
1913 Woodrow Wilson takes office as successor to Theodore Roosevelt as President.
1914 Fourth Amendment Exclusionary Rule adopted in Weeks v. United States.
1917 United States joins World War I.
1919 World War I ends.
1921 Woodrow Wilson leaves the Presidency.
1922 First radio station opened.
1927 First talking motion picture; first prototype television built.
1933 Franklin Delano Roosevelt takes office as President.
1941 United States joins World War II.
1945 Franklin Delano Roosevelt dies in office; World War II ends.
1972 U.S. Supreme Court holds President is not above the law. U.S. v. Nixon.
1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) passed by Congress.

The Foreign Intelligence Surveilence Act was passed, at the request of President Ford's Administration, more than thirty years after the second President Roosevelt died in office (I presume that Mr. Gonzales meant Franklin and not Teddy). Some of Lincoln's wartime tactics were held unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court even then. President Washington's wartime years preceded not only any communications use of electricity, but also the Bill of Rights.

We now know why he wasn't placed under oath. I wonder if Ken Salazar is still glad that he broke with his party to support this man's confirmation now?

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