At the meeting, Bruce Fein, a Justice Department lawyer in the Reagan administration, along with other critics of the legislation, pressed Justice Department officials repeatedly for an assurance that the administration considered itself bound by the restrictions imposed by Congress. The Justice Department, led by Ken Wainstein, the assistant attorney general for national security, refused to do so, according to three participants in the meeting. That stance angered Mr. Fein and others. It sent the message, Mr. Fein said in an interview, that the new legislation, though it is already broadly worded, “is just advisory. The president can still do whatever he wants to do. They have not changed their position that the president’s Article II powers trump any ability by Congress to regulate the collection of foreign intelligence.”
Talking Points notes: “That’s the important thing to remember: the White House considers the legislation “just advisory,” so it doesn’t much matter whether or not lawmakers gave up too much authority to the president. He’s going to do what he wants to do.”
I think a better way of stating it was put in the comments here the other day:
As I’ve said elsewhere, alas, I don’t you understand the highly legitimate nature of what Bush is doing here.
He’s operating on The Theory Of We Get To Do Whatever The Fuck We Want, and so he’s doing whatever the fuck he wants.
Laws are for little people. And the Clenis.