Dana Peroxide Is Back, Just In Time For Another Helenization
Q Is the President’s position that he would veto it without retroactive immunity?
MS. PERINO: That has been his position for a long time, and the reason is because you can’t have — without the cooperation of the companies, we won’t have a program
Q Who gave them the right to break the law?
MS. PERINO: Nobody broke the law, Helen. That might be your opinion, but nobody broke the law.
Q When these companies — when no warrant is given, and they didn’t break the law?
MS. PERINO: Helen, you’re entitled to your opinion, but you’re not entitled to your own set of facts.
Q Oh, come on, let’s —
MS. PERINO: And the facts are that companies were asked to help, and they were helped —
Q Why can’t they get —
MS. PERINO: — and they allowed — they helped with a legal program that has helped save lives.
Q Who told them they could break the law?
MS. PERINO: That is just — that’s not true, Helen.
Not Until August, But For One Year!
Q Is it not the case, as the writers of the op-ed in today’s Post claim, that the law protects all of this until August?
MS. PERINO: There are — it’s a little bit more complex than that, but there are certainly directives that were approved last August when the Protect America Act was passed.
Q For how long?
MS. PERINO: For one year.
If Chimpy Says It’s Lawful Then It’s Lawful
Q Dana, critics would say that if those companies lose those suits, it’s because they broke the law — even if you give them prospective coverage, that there’s no need to give retroactive coverage.
MS. PERINO: As we said, the program was lawful, they were asked to help their country. And look, the President’s most solemn obligation is to protect the American people. And in some ways it seems that the House Democrats’ most solemn obligation is to help protect the trial lawyers — they’re the ones who have brought all these lawsuits.
Dana Peroxide, Lawyer/Not A Lawyer
MS. PERINO: This program was lawful; and we need it.
Q Dana, to be clear, don’t you still — you can still pursue that information, go after it, as long as you come back within three days and get a warrant under FISA, correct? I mean, it doesn’t stop them from getting information.
MS. PERINO: I’m not a lawyer; I just know, Kathleen, that it’s much more complicated than that, and that the intelligence professionals and the lawyers who are working on this are trying to work with the companies to make sure that they know that we will give them everything that they need in order to be comfortable working with us.
“The President Is Not Going To Accept The Blame”
Q If this is such a big deal, why didn’t the President accept another extension?
MS. PERINO: Because the House couldn’t even pass an extension bill, even if they had wanted to. They couldn’t pass it. What they need to pass is a bipartisan bill —
Q The President said he wouldn’t accept it, so —
MS. PERINO: Well, that’s true, but they wouldn’t have been able to pass it anyway.
Q — isn’t it his problem that he lost a couple of days, if in fact he did?
MS. PERINO: Absolutely not. This — no. The President is not going to accept the blame for House Democrats not taking up a bill that passed 68-29 in the Senate.
“No” Is Classified
Q Since the law expired on the 16th, do you know if any company — if there have been any companies that have refused cooperation since then?
MS. PERINO: Look, I can’t get into a lot — this is a classified program, so I would refer you to the letter that Judge Mukasey — I’m sorry, Attorney General Mukasey and Director McConnell put out Friday night.
Read Chimpy’s Lips
Q When you say he’d be reluctant to support anything that would raise taxes, are you referring to infrastructure projects tied to an increase in transportation fuel taxes or —
MS. PERINO: Well, the bottom line is the President says he’s not going to raise taxes, okay. So I should say it’s not just that he’s reluctant to; it’s that he would not sign a bill that would raise taxes.
But there’s lots of different ways and Congress is very creative in figuring out ways to increase taxes on the American people.
Q Yes, but you can make an argument that if you just increased the deficit, you, you know, inevitably create a tax burden.
MS. PERINO: Well, we already — we have already conceded that.
Question Of The Day
Q Last week, President Bush said that during his visit to Rwanda he learned the clear lesson that outside forces that tend to divide people up inside their country are unbelievably counterproductive. How will the President’s newfound insight affect his Iraq policy?
MS. PERINO: The President has been working towards reconciliation between the Sunnis and the Shia, and it’s actually working on a political level in some ways. Especially we saw that last month, when they passed three laws in one day, which was quite a significant achievement for the Iraqis. And he will continue to work with them on it.
Q Does he know what percentage of the Iraqi people want U.S. forces to leave?
MS. PERINO: Look, what we do know is that the — there might be polls telling — saying different things about who wants us where. What we know is that the Iraqi government wants us there, neighboring countries want us there. And we also know that if we were to leave too quickly that the possibility for chaos and mass violence is too great, and the President won’t risk that.