Democrats.com Poll Finds Overwhelming Opposition to Bush's Warrantless Wiretapping
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By a 73%-22% margin, Americans overwhelmingly oppose George Bush's efforts to wiretap Americans' phone calls and emails without a search warrant, according to a Democrats.com telephone poll of 1,006 adults conducted from August 8-12, 2007 by ICR.
This is the first national poll since September 2006 asking Americans about warrantless wiretapping of Americans, which has been ignored by corporate media polls despite headline coverage. Democrats.com has also conducted several polls about impeachment, another topic corporate media pollsters refuse to touch because of opposition from the Bush Administration.
The question asked whether respondents approved or disapproved:
President Bush wants the power to wiretap the phone calls and emails of Americans without a search warrant from a judge.
George Bush demanded Congressional authorization of the program one week before Congress left for its August vacation. Bush officials claimed the legislation only permits wiretaps of terrorist-related communications outside the U.S., but legal experts and editorial writers insist gaping loopholes allow wiretaps of many Americans. Despite strong opposition from Democratic and progressive leaders, conservative Democrats joined Republicans in authorizing the program for six months. Democratic leaders promised to review the controversial program in the fall.
The existence of Bush's warrantless wiretapping program was first reported by the New York Times in December 2005, although they had uncovered the story before the 2004 election. They withheld the story at the request of the Bush Administration, even though many voters would have been outraged to learn of the warrantless wiretapping. When the Times finally published the story long after the election, many conservatives called for the Times to be prosecuted, and the Justice Department opened a criminal investigation.
The American people have never learned the details of the top-secret program. Only eight Members of Congress were briefed on its technology, but they were prohibited from sharing details with anyone, including other Members and their staffs, under threat of criminal penalties. At least three of the four Democrats privately told the White House they objected to the program.
Not a single Member of Congress has learned what legal authority allowed the warrantless wiretaps, which violate the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and the Fourth Amendment, according to the only Federal judge who reviewed the program. The Senate Judiciary Committee has demanded authorizing documents for two years but the Bush Administration has refused to provide them, most recently by defying subpoenas by Chairman Pat Leahy.
In 2003, White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and Chief of Staff Andy Card visited Attorney General John Ashcroft in the hospital in a failed attempt to get his approval for the program in a now-famous scene described by former Acting Attorney General James Comey before the Senate Judiciary Committee in May. Comey said he, Ashcroft, and other top Justice Department officials threatened to resign over the program, contradicting Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' claim that there was no dispute among senior officials. Gonzales could face perjury charges, censure, and impeachment for misleading Congress about the FISA dispute as well as the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys.