Jan. 4, 2016, Fairfax, Va.—Americans forLimited Government President Rick Manning today issued the following statementreacting to a Wall Street Journal report that NationalSecurity Agency (NSA) spying on Israeli officials netted conversations withmembers of Congress as they considered how to vote on the Iran nucleardeal:
"There is absolutely no excuse for theObama administration to spy on Congress to gather information on an activepiece of legislation, in this case the Iran nuclear deal. Congress has manyroles in foreign policy, including the Treaty Power and consideration of otheragreements with foreign governments. There has to be a bright line betweenthose congressional deliberations and the executive branch on these agreements,which members are under no obligation to support. The executive branch can spyon any foreign government it wishes, but the moment it nets deliberations withmembers of Congress on active legislation, those conversations should have beenimmediately destroyed, not passed along.
"The most damning aspect of this is thatreportedly the White House did not tell the NSA to stoponce it knew it was intercepting conversations with Congress on what was anactive political dispute between the branches of government. If true, theseoffenses would be impeachable. What did the President know and when did he knowit? Congress was willing to impeach Richard Nixon, in Article 2,Section 2 of the Articles of Impeachment against him, for using electronicsurveillance 'for purposes unrelated to national security, the enforcement oflaws, or any other lawful function of his office.' Nixon resigned for similarsurveillance against political enemies. You cannot say Nixon was horrible andhad to go and then defend such an egregious abuse of power. There is too muchat stake. Senate and House intelligence committees must convene hearings onthis issue, and the Attorney General should appoint a special prosecutorimmediately.
"To think what the NSA did was justified,you have to set aside the constitutional separation of powers and say it's okayfor the executive branch to spy on Congress whenever they meet with foreignerson legislation, which happens often when it comes to treaties, trade agreementsand the like, just so the administration can win a domestic legislative debate.There is no other use these consultations would serve. These were legislativedeliberations, not foreign intelligence. It cannot be both. Given the context,where the Israeli Prime Minister had been actively invited to Congress to speakon the issue, and was publicly opposed to the deal along with many members ofCongress for perfectly valid reasons, there is no case to be made that this wasespionage or a significant source of foreign intelligence.
"Notto be missed is, as theleading Senate Democrat opposed to the deal and perhapsthe most heavily lobbied member of Congress on the issue, the stronglikelihood that Senator Charles Schumer's conversations were captured andforwarded to the White House. It has been a source of wonder that Schumer'sopposition was so ineffective in bringing other Democrats along, and it isreasonable to guess that the intelligence the NSA provided to the White Housewas used to thwart his efforts. One can be certain that if a Republican presidenthad engaged in this illegal activity, Senator Schumer would be loudly callingfor his or her impeachment. The integrity question for Schumer is whether he iswilling to subject President Obama to those same standards, and lead animpeachment fight?"
NSA spying on Netanyahu, Congress overIran nuke deal confirms worst fears, By Robert Romano, Dec. 31, 2015 at http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2015/12/31/nsa-spying-on-netanyahu-congress-over-iran-nuke-deal-confirms-worst-fears/
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