Two weeks ago, I wrote:
With Congressional hearings set and as today's front-page New York Times story indicates, the NSA spying controversy isn't going to fade away. Opponents of the program claim the president broke the law, while supporters say the president has the constitutional and statutory authority to conduct the surveillance. There are also some who believe it's a close call but also maintain that the president has the unique responsibility to defend the nation and acted accordingly.
But where does Mayor Giuliani stand? Will Sen. Arlen Specter invite the mayor to give his perspective on the program? My guess is that the mayor generally backs the president's decision to implement the surveillance and given his background is someone the American people should hear from.
Well, last night the mayor strongly endorsed the president's actions.
From Fox News:
COLMES: Let's talk about the war on terror. He used the phrase -- you know, he didn't use domestic surveillance or domestic spying. He called "terrorist surveillance." Isn't he trying to reframe the issue by using phraseology that is not what it really is?
GIULIANI: No, that's exactly the reason that he engaged it, as far as I can tell. I mean, he did it to protect our national security and to try to find out information about people that might attack us and might be preparing an attack on us, in order to secure us, in order to protect us.
And I think, in this particular case, there's a lot of hypocrisy in the criticism of the president. God forbid there is another attack, and the president didn't use these measures when he could have...
GIULIANI: ... in order to find out about it. And I think, Alan, you know, on the Democratic side, they'd be the first ones to criticize him. And in that case, they would be correct in their criticism...
COLMES: Well, you know what?
GIULIANI: ... because the president of the United States has to have the courage to exercise the power of the presidency to protect the American people. I think Abraham Lincoln would have done the same thing that George Bush did. I have no doubt that Franklin Roosevelt would have done the same thing that George Bush did. And, frankly, they did the same things that he did and more to protect this country.
COLMES: Well, you know, Democrats are not saying we shouldn't use the NSA or shouldn't even do eavesdropping, or domestically, just go to a court first. It's not true the Democrats don't want to use those techniques.
GIULIANI: Well, I've spent most of my life going to court. Sometimes it takes a long time to get to court. The killing, or the murder, or the attack could take place before you can get to court. Sometimes bureaucracy intrudes in the decisions that are made by a court.
The protection of the security of the United States is the responsibility of the president of the United States. And if he believes that it's necessary to act quickly in order to find out about a possible attack on us, then I'm willing to give George Bush -- I'd be willing to give Bill Clinton, I'd be willing to give any of our presidents the scope to do that. And I think the Democratic attack here is really purely political. It's not in the best interests of the country.
GIULIANI: The fact is that the evaluation of intelligence is an art, got a science. And you know, you try to gather as much intelligence as you can. You try to figure out what`s going on inside a country.
I think particularly the prediction of September 11 is the most understandable. I mean, I lived through it. I remember it, and I remember how horrible it was. But I think pre-September 11 it probably was hard to understand the significance of a lot of the things that you were hearing.
And I think one of the reasons the Patriot Act was passed and has to be reauthorized and the one of the reasons why the president has authorized a terrorist surveillance program in the United States, is he has he wants to avoid that surprise in the future.
And he realizes how tenuous it is, how difficult it is, that no matter how much you search and how much you look, you can miss the piece of information that connects all the dots. And I think that it`s a little bit disingenuous to be criticizing the president for the terrorist surveillance program and then also criticizing...
Chris MATTHEWS: Right.
GIULIANI: ... because he may have missed September 1 or he may have gotten weapons of mass destruction wrong.