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Jack Balkin sums up Gonzales' logic (circular and flawed though it may be) beautifully:
What we did was legal, or, in our opinion, could have been legal. Since there are arguments on both sides, we will rely on our opinion. However, we won't let a court decide the question, because then we wouldn't be able to rely on our own opinion.
We won't answer hypothetical questions about what we can do legally or constitutionally. We also won't tell you what we've actually done or plan to do; hence every question you ask will about legality be in effect a hypothetical, and therefore we can refuse to answer it.
Emily Bazelon over at Slate has the scoop on how Congress was all bark and no bite.
If you want one sentence to sum the whole debacle up, take Arlen Specter's response to Gonzales' argument that the administration has not circumvented FISA:
"That just defies logic and plain English."
And, if Gonzales were interested in plain English, here's how he should have responded: (chuckling) "Logic and plain English? My good man, we dispensed with those inconveniences long ago."
Onnesha Roychoudhuri is an editorial fellow at AlterNet.