"Bush’s excuses for the illegal eavesdropping are indeed risible. The Times didn’t mention it, but of 19,000 requests for eavesdropping the Federal Intelligence Security Court has received from the Executive Branch since 1979, only five have ever been refused. Bush claimed again on Monday that this flagrant flouting of the FISA law was necessary because fighting “terrorists” needed to be done “quickly.” Yet, as the Times reported, the secret court can grant approval for wiretaps “within hours.” And the excuse Bush offered this morning that this illegal subversion of FISA was necessary to prevent 9/11-style terrorism is equally laughable. As the ACLU pointed out in a study of FISA two years ago, “Although the Patriot Act was rushed into law just weeks after 9/11, Congress's later investigation into the attacks did not find that the former limits on FISA powers had contributed to the government's failure to prevent the attacks.”
From the blog of Doug Ireland.