The Strange Yet Predictable Saga of Sen. McCain, FISA, and Article II

There has been a spate of stories in recent days endlessly recounting, parsing, and debating a long series of statements by Sen. McCain and his campaign about the extremely important question of whether the NSA’s domestic surveillance program was unlawful or whether, instead, the president has the constitutional authority to disregard limits on electronic surveillance that Congress imposed in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). See, for example, Glenn Greenwald’s , Charlie Savage’s , and Orin Kerr’s accounts.

The whole sordid timeline is provided in this Jake Tapper blog post , appending the McCain campaign’s latest, even-more-ambiguous flip-flop.

Personally, I don’t think the great debate about what McCain really thinks about the question is worth the candle. If one examines the entire series of statements, it soon becomes evident either that the senator and his staff have no earthly idea what they’re talking about or (more likely) that they are quite deliberately being as ambiguous, equivocal, and contradictory as possible so that they can embrace whichever view is politically expedient at any given time and with any given audience. …

… continue reading at Balkinization