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More Patriot Act shenanigans

What is it about a President who not only thumbs his nose at Congress but puts in writing that he doesn't give a damn?
 
 
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Remember all that back and forth in Congress about extending the Patriot Act and postponing the decision until Congress had put some "checks and balances" into the act? Congress didn't do much to change the most egregious provisions (such as library snooping) but they did put in a provision that required that the Executive Branch keep Congress informed of its actions.

In fact, in justifying his signing of the revised act, Senator John Sununu said, ""We sent an important message...to the administration that when we're dealing with these issues, they need to be engaged and active and working toward consensus from the very beginning of the process."

Apparently, Bush didn't think much of that whole accountability thing and so, in signing the new version of the Patriot Act into law, he issued a signing statement (similar to the morally reprehensible one he issued when he signed the anti-torture act), saying he could interpret the law as he liked.

The Boston Globe has the story, and puts it succinctly:

In the statement, Bush said that he did not consider himself bound to tell Congress how the Patriot Act powers were being used and that, despite the law's requirements, he could withhold the information if he decided that disclosure would ''impair foreign relations, national security, the deliberative process of the executive, or the performance of the executive's constitutional duties."

Bush wrote: ''The executive branch shall construe the provisions . . . that call for furnishing information to entities outside the executive branch . . . in a manner consistent with the president's constitutional authority to supervise the unitary executive branch and to withhold information . . . "

The statement represented the latest in a string of high-profile instances in which Bush has cited his constitutional authority to bypass a law.

(Hat tip: War Room)

But Bush isn't the only one playing fast and loose with the Patriot Act, now you can too, with a new Patriot Act digital game (available as a free download). And yes, in the game Bush can go to jail. And yes, nobody wins.

Rachel Neumann is Rights & Liberties Editor at AlterNet.