Olbermann: Bush 'panoramic invasion of privacy' is terrorism
In a scathing commentary against President George W. Bush, MSNBC commentator Keith Olbermann declared Bush guilty of terrorism for playing what he sees as the fear card in an attempt to get the House to pass retroactive immunity for telecommunication companies that illegally helped the US government in its warrantless wiretapping program Thursday evening.
"You are a liar, Mr. Bush, and after showing some skill at it, you have ceased to even be a very good liar," he declared.
"The lot of you," he said, speaking of those who sought to pass immunity, "are the symbolic descendants of the despotic middle managers of some banana republic, to whom 'Freedom' is an ironic brand name, a word you reach for, when you want to get away with its opposite."
Mocking the president, he said that Bush is predicting "plagues of locusts and stuff" should the House fail to reauthorize his warrantless eavesdropping program.
The Senate passed immunity for the telecommunications' companies participation in the program earlier this week by 68-29 -- they are facing myriad lawsuits -- though the House appears less likely to support the provision and has stalled on reauthorizing the bill. The bill had been reauthorized under a temporary basis.
Olbermann called Bush a "liar" several times during his broadcast.
He also called Bush a 'fascist.'
"If you believe in the seamless mutuality of government and big business — come out and say it!" he said. "There is a dictionary definition, one word that describes that toxic blend. You’re a fascist — get them to print you a t-shirt with “fascist” on it! What else is this but fascism?"
"It is bad enough, sir, that you were demanding an Ex Post Facto law, which could still clear the AT&Ts and the Verizons from responsibility for their systematic, aggressive, and blatant collaboration with your illegal and unjustified spying on Americans under this flimsy guise of looking for any terrorists who are stupid enough to make a collect call or send a mass e-mail," he added.
Speaking of AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein, who alleged secret call centers where the firm funneled data to the National Security Agency, he noted Klein's declaration of Bush as "Big Brother."
"And if there’s one thing we know about Big Brother, Mr. Bush, is that he is — you are — a liar," Olbermann averred.
Later, he added, "You are a liar, Mr. Bush, and after showing some skill at it, you have ceased to even be a very good liar."
Olbermann noted that President Bush has promised to veto any bill that did not include telecom immunity. He asserted that Bush was siding with "terrorists" if he vetoed his own bill.
"You would not merely be guilty of siding with the terrorists," he said. "You would not merely be guilty of prioritizing the telecoms over the people… You would not merely be guilty of treason, sir… You would be personally, and eternally, responsible."
He concluded by accusing Bush of being a terrorist himself, in his alleged fealty to violating civil liberties under the guise of protecting Americans from terrorist attacks.
"We will not fear the recognition of the manipulation of our yearning for safety — we will call it what it is: terrorism," the MSNBC host said.
This video is from MSNBC's Countdown, broadcast February 14, 2008. Quotes compiled from a transcript by Crooks and Liars.