Senator Russ Feingold questioned Attorney General Eric Holder about NSA and warrantless domestic surveillance earlier this week. Holder didn’t exactly give a straight answer:
FEINGOLD: In a speech to the American Constitutional Society in June 2008, you, sir, set the following. “I never thought that I would see the day when a president would act in direct defiance of federal law by authorizing warrantless NSA surveillance of American citizens.”
And the president himself also several times as a senator and during the campaign said the program was illegal. Now that you are the attorney general, is there any doubt in your mind that the warrantless wiretapping program was illegal?
HOLDER: Well, I think that the warrantless wiretapping program as it existed at that point was certainly unwise in that it was put together without the approval of Congress and as a result did not have all the protections, all the strength that it might have had behind it, as — as I think it now exists with regard to having had congressional approval of it.
Watch more of the exchange:
Glenn Greenwald provides a recap of relevant history on Salon.