Justice department finally opens leak probeAttorney General Alberto Gonzales finally announced that they have opened an investigation into who leaked the NSA program information to the NYT. This is the Reuters story on the announcement with this shocking paragraph:
A 1978 law, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, makes it illegal to spy on U.S. citizens in the United States without the approval of a special, secret court. Bush secretly gave the NSA authority to intercept communications without such approval.
First of all, that is a pretty sad characterization of the FISA law. The FISA law was put in place for a number of reasons, one of which was to give the executive branch (mostly the FBI) the ability to "spy" on US Citizens without needing to go to a public court (such as a federal district court). By having a centralized and generally sealed court the process for a federal agency to "spy" on a US Citizen for the purpose of gathering foreign intelligence gets easier not harder.
Secondly, it is well understood that the President has always had the authority to do what this executive order did. We know that the last two Democrat Presidents did it after FISA was passed. It is a power granted by Article II of the Constitution so a law cannot take that authority away.
Third, the President did not do this "SECRETLY". He informed both of the other branches that this program was in place and updated them regularly on its progress. Note, he is not required to do this under current law. But to say that he started and was running this program secretly when a bunch of Democratic Congresscritters knew about it and were being regularly briefed about it is a bold face lie.