Jan 24, 2006

Attorney General Gonzales: It is part of War to spy on the people you are trying to protect

JIM LEHRER: Well, as you know, Mr. Attorney General, many present and former leaders of the Congress at that time when that resolution was being negotiated after 9/11 said that never even came up. They didn't in any way suggest or mean to suggest that the president had the right to go around FISA to electronic surveil people.

ALBERTO GONZALES: I would take you to the Supreme Court decision in Hamdi, the 2004 Supreme Court case. There, Mr. Hamdi contested the authority of the president to detain an American citizen in violation of an existing statute.

We argued that the authorization to use military force constituted permission by the Congress to do so. The Supreme Court agreed. And the Supreme Court said it is of no moment that the authorization to use military force does not mention detention. Detention of people captured on the battlefield is a fundamental incident of waging war. The same is true with respect to electronic surveillance.

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