Would you expect anything less?
The Right Makes Up Stuff to Defend Their President's Flagrant Disregard for 'The Rule of Law' While Spying on American Citizens
By Brad Friedman on 12/20/2005, 1:02pm PT  

The wingnuts are in a full-blown panic to try and justify the latest admission by George W. Bush that he authorized the warrant-less spying on American Citizens. That would be strictly against the law, of course, and likely an impeachable offense (remember, Presidents, we used to be told, are not above "the rule of law").

In their usual well-oiled lockstep fashion, the dead-ender wingnut bloggers and hate-radio folks are now attempting to forward the notion that "Clinton did the same." As usual, the apologists get their talking point assists from the extremist rightwing "news" site, NewsMax who reported:

During the 1990's under President Clinton, the National Security Agency monitored millions of private phone calls placed by U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries under a super secret program code-named Echelonůall of it done without a court order, let alone a catalyst like the 9/11 attacks.

Trouble is, this report, from ThinkProgress, would seem to prove otherwise. Testimony given to Congress in 2000 (back when Republicans pretended to care about this sort of thing) by then FBI Director George Tenet would seem to indicate (surprise!) that NewsMax and the other apologists are wrong:

I'm here today to discuss specific issues about and allegations regarding Signals Intelligence activities and the so-called Echelon Program of the National Security Agencyů

There is a rigorous regime of checks and balances which we, the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency and the FBI scrupulously adhere to whenever conversations of U.S. persons are involved, whether directly or indirectly. We do not collect against U.S. persons unless they are agents of a foreign power as that term is defined in the law. We do not target their conversations for collection in the United States unless a FISA warrant has been obtained from the FISA court by the Justice Department.

Whether Tenet was lying or not in his testimony --- which NewsMax didn't bother to quote --- we couldn't tell you. If Bill Clinton actually broke the law in this regard, as the wingnuts suggest, perhaps Republicans should impeach him. Oh, wait, it may be a bit late for that. But perhaps they should have impeached him for it (if it actually occured), instead of impeaching him for receiving an unauthorized blow job. We're just saying.