Former Vice-President Al Gore used a Martin Luther King Day speech to call out the Bush Administration over its illegal domestic wiretapping program, accusing the administration of breaking the law "repeatedly and persistently", and calling for a special prosecutor to investigate:
A special counsel should immediately be appointed by the Attorney General to remedy the obvious conflict of interest that prevents him from investigating what many believe are serious violations of law by the President. We have had a fresh demonstration of how an independent investigation by a special counsel with integrity can rebuild confidence in our system of justice. Patrick Fitzgerald has, by all accounts, shown neither fear nor favor in pursuing allegations that the Executive Branch has violated other laws.
Republican as well as Democratic members of Congress should support the bipartisan call of the Liberty Coalition for the appointment of a special counsel to pursue the criminal issues raised by warrantless wiretapping of Americans by the President.
It's worth reading the speech in full; Gore devotes a lot of space to pointing out exactly how much at odds the present Imperial Presidency is with the constitutional intentions of America's founders (a traditionally conservative position), the current weakness of the legislature, and the reasons for it (chiefly, the need to finance increasingly expensive campaigns). And he points out how pathetic the administration's attempts to justify their increasing erosion of liberty on the grounds of "national security" are in the face of history:
Is our Congress today in more danger than were their predecessors when the British army was marching on the Capitol? Is the world more dangerous than when we faced an ideological enemy with tens of thousands of missiles poised to be launched against us and annihilate our country at a moment's notice? Is America in more danger now than when we faced worldwide fascism on the march-when our fathers fought and won two World Wars simultaneously?
It is simply an insult to those who came before us and sacrificed so much on our behalf to imply that we have more to be fearful of than they. Yet they faithfully protected our freedoms and now it is up to us to do the same.
Terrorism is clearly a threat to western lives. But unlike those earlier struggles, it is not an existential threat to entire countries or to western civilisation. As I've said before, the real threat comes from the response the terrorists hope to provoke - and from the "war of civilisations" crowd who would sacrifice everything worthwhile about western civilisation in order to "save" it from a few loonies hiding out in caves. It's entirely up to us whether we give the terrorists that victory. Unfortunately, in the US at least, the Bush Administration has decided that they will.