A President, Not a King

A PRESIDENT, NOT A KING….Tom Daschle, who negotiated the post-9/11 Authorization for Use of Military Force with the White House, says categorically that Congress never intended to give the president the power to perform domestic wiretapping:

On the evening of Sept. 12, 2001, the White House proposed that Congress authorize the use of military force to “deter and pre-empt any future acts of terrorism or aggression against the United States.” Believing the scope of this language was too broad and ill defined, Congress chose instead, on Sept. 14, to authorize “all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations or persons [the president] determines planned, authorized, committed or aided” the attacks of Sept. 11. With this language, Congress denied the president the more expansive authority he sought and insisted that his authority be used specifically against Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.

What’s more, Daschle says that even after that language was agreed on, the White House tried to add the following phrase:

(a) IN GENERAL ? That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force in the United States and against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001….

Daschle says:

This last-minute change would have given the president broad authority to exercise expansive powers not just overseas ? where we all understood he wanted authority to act ? but right here in the United States, potentially against American citizens. I could see no justification for Congress to accede to this extraordinary request for additional authority. I refused.

If the intent of Congress means anything at all, this is pretty good evidence that it didn’t intend for the AUMF to give the president power to override FISA within the United States. And the White House knew it.