McCain Backs Bush Wiretaps: Adviser

Says candidate believes president has right to 'override' law
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2008 6:14 AM CDT
An adviser to John McCain said in a letter that the candidate supports the Bush administration's program of warrantless wiretapping.   (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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(Newser) – John McCain supports President Bush's warrantless wiretapping program, a top adviser writes in a letter posted on the National Review website. The adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, outlines McCain's belief that the Constitution authorizes the president to override a federal statute that requires court oversight for surveillance. The position marks a sharp contrast to earlier statements by McCain on the issue, the New York Times points out in drawing attention to the letter.

McCain's position is that “neither the administration nor the telecoms need apologize for actions that most people, except for the ACLU and trial lawyers, understand were constitutional and appropriate in the wake of the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001,”  Holtz-Eakin writes. Six months ago McCain told the Boston Globe that only legal wiretapping is acceptable, even to the commander-in-chief. "I don't think the president has the right to disobey any law," he said.