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Hugh Hewitt Book Club

All The Vice President’s Lawyers

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You have to like the description of David Addington in the breathless (and lightly sourced) Newsweek article arguing that the Adminsitration had internal conflicts over the NSA program:

According to those who know him, he does not care about fame, riches or the trappings of power. He takes the Metro to work, rather than use his White House parking pass, and refuses to even have his picture taken by the press. His habitual lunch is a bowl of gazpacho, eaten in the White House Mess. He is hardly anonymous inside the government, however. Presidential appointees quail before his volcanic temper, backed by assiduous preparation and acid sarcasm.

The article tries hard to make Addington and others committed to presidential authority in the GWOT tsound menacing, but in fact they come across as competent, confident, and determined not to let the lawyers’ inevitable temptation to compromise color every issue. Note that the NSA program is not attacked by the Administration insiders as it emerged from the numerous cross-reviews it received. The real debate was over the interrogation standards, a debate that has come to a conclusion with the Congressional action.

The debate over the president’s powers in wartime is an extraordinarily serious one, and one the Administration should welcome, and which it has been vigorously contesting for the past 10 weeks. It should continue the strategy of taking on every issue head-on, especially that of warrantless urveillance of terrorists abroad contacting their agents in the United States.


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