Enter the political time machine and return to the tone and fire of an old contested campaign. This morning in an off camera briefing with reporters, the White House Press Secretary appeared more than ready to open up on the President's one time rival, former Vice President Al Gore. Gore returned to the political stage in Washington, D.C. Monday to forcefully criticize the NSA spying program. In an address at Constitution Hall that lasted more than an hour, Gore said, "The president of the United States has been breaking the law repeatedly and insistently."
Fully expecting questions, President Bush's spokesman was ready with punchy quotes this morning when asked for a reaction. Scott McClellan said: "I think his hypocrisy knows no bounds." McClellan supported his comment by asserting that the Clinton-Gore Administration had itself authorized warrant-less searches, citing the example of CIA spy Aldrich Ames and the search of his home without a warrant. McClellan had research and pointed reporters to the congressional testimony of a former Clinton Gore official, Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick.
"The Department of Justice believes, and the case law supports, that the president has inherent authority to conduct warrant-less physical searches for foreign intelligence purposes," Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on July 14, 1994.
McClellan had one more swing in him on the subject adding, "If Al Gore is going to be the voice of the democrats on national security matters, we welcome it." No word on the President's take on Gore's charges. McClellan says he has not discussed it with Mr. Bush.