For a great rundown of the secret Bush-era memos recently released by the Department of Justice, check out Glenn Greenwald's comments on salon.com.
One of the central facts that we, collectively, have not yet come to terms with is how extremist and radical were the people running the country for the last eight years.
In regards to a document entitled "Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activities Within the U.S."
The essence of this document was to declare that George Bush had the authority (a) to deploy the U.S. military inside the U.S., (b) directed at foreign nationals and U.S. citizens alike; (c) unconstrained by any Constitutional limits, including those of the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments. It was nothing less than an explicit decree that, when it comes to Presidential power, the Bill of Rights was suspended, even on U.S. soil and as applied to U.S. citizens. And it wasn't only a decree that existed in theory; this secret proclamation that the Fourth Amendment was inapplicable to what the document calls "domestic military operations" was, among other things, the basis on which Bush ordered the NSA, an arm of the U.S. military, to turn inwards and begin spying -- in secret and with no oversight -- on the electronic communications (telephone calls and emails) of U.S. citizens on U.S. soil.