Clark Baker, a fellow Bear Flag League Blogger and retired LA cop, who blogs at Ex-Liberal in Hollywood has an excellent post up today on the necessity defense to the charges against the president for eavesdropping on terrorist suspects in the wake of 9/11. While he doubts the president “committed any crime,” he offers a defense of the president if the Administration had indeed violated wiretapping laws in this case. As the folks at Powerline have shown in a number of posts (especially this one), the president was on solid legal ground in signing off on this program. Indeed, a number of news sources, including bloggers, have detailed the extent to which the Administration consulted with attorneys and tweaked the program to make sure they were working within the “boundaries of the law.”
Clark defends the president in the case that he exceeded those boundaries, noting that unlike scandals involving Presidents Clinton and Nixon respectively, President Bush “wasn’t covering up a sexual harassment lawsuit or dispatching IRS investigators to audit his political enemies.” He was acting to protect Americans from future terrorist attacks. Clark has “found no reports where wiretaps have harmed innocent Americans” and notes that “these wiretaps have helped the United States thwart Al Qaeda attacks.” Importantly, he asks:
Can President Bush reasonably believe that its commission was necessary to avoid a harm or evil to Americans greater than that sought to be prevented by law?
That is the real question which the president’s critics should have addressed before they begin comparing him to Nixon. And now that I’ve whet your appetite, I strongly encourage you to read the whole thing.