The illegal wiretaps authorized by the Bush Administration unnecessarily undermined American security by not following the legal requirements of court approval. The special law regulating national security wiretaps of potential foreign intelligence agents (and other potential enemies) permits wiretaps authorized by a special, highly secret court even after the wiretaps are in place.

The law gives the Executive Branch amazingly extensive powers and flexibility concerning national security wiretaps. There was simply no reasonable excuse for the Bush Administration for not following the lax guidelines established by this law. Not following the legal guidelines severely undermined the entire wiretapping operation by the National Security Agency. The Bush Administration demonstrated severe incompetence in the national security field with their obvious contempt for American law.

It is clear that the Bush White House does not respect the rule of law. The tendency of George W. Bush to claim supreme power and authority on almost all issues regardless of American law or American political tradition is a serious threat to our form of government. This writer has been writing about these tendencies since at least our March 2002 column, The Constitution or King George? . The difference between a monarchy or a dictatorship and American Democracy is that we are governed by laws in a democracy instead of the personal whims of a authority figure. Bush does not seem to understand that he is not above the law!

Failing to comply with the law concerning the NSA wiretaps eventually made the headlines since the actions were clearly illegal. Illegal actions by the government are a threat to our very form of government. The Bush White House had made a major step toward laying the groundwork for turning the nation into a police state. The extensive police state powers granted by the falsely-named Patriot Act had already brought the nation to the brink of becoming a police state even before the illegal actions of the Bush Administration had become public.

The New York Times should have revealed these illegal wiretaps before the 2004 Presidential Election. American voters had the right to know that Bush was not respecting the rule of law before they voted. Keeping this essential information from the voters did a great injustice to our citizens and American Democracy.

It is obvious that George W. Bush should now be impeached along with Vice President Dick Cheney. They should both be removed from office after impeachment. They cannot be trusted with the powers of federal government. They are a threat to American freedom and security greater than terrorism. Any Senator or member of Congress that defends these illegal actions by the Bush White House is equally a threat to our Constitution and American Democracy. They should be removed from office by the American voters.

The rule of law must be defended over personal rule by leaders. American citizens should be represented by officeholders and not ruled over by the whims of authority figures. Politicians and officeholders should not be permitted to lie to American citizens on Constitutional issues.

Written by Stephen Crockett ( co-host, Democratic Talk Radio ). Mail: P.O. Box 283, Earleville, Maryland 21919. Email: . Phone: 443-907-2367.