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McCain on Warrantless Wiretapping: Where Does He Stand?

McCain believes President Bush's warrantless wiretapping program is legal, according to one of McCain's top advisers. Bush justifies the program based on an unprecedented assertion of executive power, sure to be a legacy of his administration. McCain now appears to embrace this interpretation.

In a letter to the National Review McCain-insider Douglas Holtz-Eakin, wrote:

[N]either the administration nor the telecoms need to apologize for actions that most people, except for the ACLU and trial lawyers, understand were constitutional and appropriate in the wake of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Going back in time, I found that in January 2006, McCain told Fox News that he was against the spying program. When asked by Mike Wallace whether Bush had the authority to engage in warrantless wiretapping, McCain said:

You know, I don’t think so, but why not come to Congress? We can sort this all out. I don’t think — I know of no member of Congress, frankly, who, if the administration came and said here’s why we need this capability, that they wouldn’t get it. And so let’s have the hearings.

For a further look,


The NY Times also reports that just six months ago, McCain opposed the Bush view he seems to endorse now.

I'm not sure how McCain's recent tendency to turn towards the Republican base, and away from his previous distaste for Bush's surveillance and interrogation tactics will play out. Must McCain adopt Bush's unique constitutional theory to relay his tough-on-terrorism message? Where do you hope John McCain stands on this issue?


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