Morning Gaggle a Doozy

From Holden:

Dammit, I wish I had a good source for the morning gaggle transcript. The gaggle summary written by Wendy Wang of TalkRadio NewsService gives you a taste, but I would love to see that actual give and take between Little Scottie and an aroused press corps.

Asked about the President’s authority to issue an executive order giving the NSA authority to conduct surveillance, McClellan cited that Article II under the Constitution gave Bush the necessary and appropriate authority to issue this order as we are facing a different kind of enemy and we are fighting a different kind of war.

[snip]

Asked about the legality of such a move to sidestep the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), McClellan stated that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales explained all that at a briefing the previous day. McClellan cites the Attorney General’s argument that FISA is not applicable to what they were trying to accomplish as FISA was created for different purposes in a different time. McClellan stresses that the intent of this executive order is to obtain information about the enemy from parties with clear connections to Al Qaeda. He recalls Bush’s end of the year press conference the previous day and uses one example the president used of highjackers who flew the plane into the Pentagon on 9/11.

[snip]

Reporters argued that the President could have intercepted phone conversations anyway with a warrant from FISA courts. McClellan interjected that General Michael Hayden spoke about the legalities along with the Attorney General. Never the less, reporters pointed out those knowledgeable constitutional attorneys are disputing the legality of what the President has done. McClellan stated that he strongly disagrees with that assertion.

[snip]

Reporters then asked McClellan what the President believes he is NOT allowed to do. McClellan denies that that is that case, stating that safe guards are in place to protect the American people.

[snip]

Asked if the Democratic Senators’ claim that they were not sufficiently briefed on the matter undermines what the President has said, McClellan responds that Congress was briefed over a dozen times. As to the Senators not given full details of the executive order, McClellan replied that he will not get into a discussion over that matter. Nor will he discuss Senator Rockefeller’s letter to Vice President Cheney regarding the Senator’s concerns over the wiretaps.