CBS’s Face the Nation

On Sunday, Senator Biden appeared on CBS’s Face the Nation with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). The two senators had just returned from witnessing the recent election in Iraq. Senator Biden had this to say about the situation there.

… [the] next six months are going to tell the story. Two important things. What’s the government going to look like? If it’s Mr. Mahdi who ends up representing the SCIRI Party, who’s aligned with Iran, then we got a real problem. We don’t even know who’s elected yet. Number two, if there’s not a consensus constitution that voted on six months from today where the Sunnis buy in, we have, as David Brooks said this morning in The Times, we got a full-blown civil war, and that’s a real problem. The president has a chance between now over the next six months to make sure the ministries that Lindsey referred to are represented by non-sectarians and that we get a constitution that requires, as Kissinger and myself before and others have been calling, you’ve got to bring in the international community and the regional powers to put pressure on the Sunni parties to compromise. If that doesn’t happen, all the king’s horses and all the king’s men six months from now are not going to hold this country together.

Host Bob Schieffer also asked about the news that President Bush had authorized the use of domestic wiretaps without court-approved warrants, in what may be a violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Senator Biden:

Well, I’m the guy that drafted the FISA Act 25 years ago on the Judiciary Committee, one of the three people, and we set it up-it’s a secret court allowing the president to wiretap anybody, intercept anything for up to 75 hours. They can in the meantime go into that court and say, `I needed to do this.’ If there’s a reason the court thinks is under the Constitution permissible, they’re allowed to do it. If it turns out they’re not allowed to do it, they have to destroy the evidence.

So I just don’t get it. He already has the authority under the FISA court to go in and intercept anything he wants up to 72 hours. This is neither, I think, legal, nor is it necessary what he’s been doing. It is a little bit frightening how broadly he asserts his authority as commander in chief, where the guy hasn’t shown very good judgment on torture or a lot of other things.

See the full interview here.

UPDATE: The Seattle Times has an excellent roundup of the reaction to the domestic spying story.

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