CommunityPam's House Blend

Bush didn't break the FISA law…

…he merely acted within the letter of the law that had yet to be written.

(AP) West Virginia Sen. Jay Rockefeller, the Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat, said the White House had applied heavy pressure to committee Republicans to prevent them from conducting thorough oversight. He said legislation can’t be considered by the full Senate because lawmakers don’t have enough information.

“No member of the Senate can cast an informed vote on legislation authorizing or conversely restricting the NSA’s warrantless surveillance program, when they fundamentally do not know what they are authorizing or restricting,” Rockefeller said.

It remains unclear what any changes in law may look like. Roberts indicated it may be possible “to fix” the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to authorize the president’s program. Perino said the White House considers suggestions put forward by Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, the starting point, particularly his proposal to create a special subcommittee on Capitol Hill that would regularly review the program.

DeWine’s proposal would authorize Bush’s program and exempt it from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. That law set up a special court to approve warrants for monitoring inside the United States for national security investigations.

Hey, I love this new idea in legal temporal shifting! I’m not breaking the law by possessing cannabis sativa, because it may be possible “to fix” the 1970 Controlled Substances Act to authorize my pot smoking!

Sen. DeWine, Sen. Roberts, putting aside the 4th Amendment for a moment (and why not; we have for 36 years now), the question isn’t whether Bush’s domestic warrantless spying on American citizens is something necessary in the The Struggle Against Ideological Extremists Who Do Not Believe In Free Societies Who Happen To Use Terror As A Weapon To Try To Shake The Conscience Of The Free World, and it isn’t a question of whether a 28-year-old law needs tweaking in the age of data mining and wireless telecommunications. The president brazenly and unapologetically broke the law as it is currently written. If the law needed tweaking, he should have come to Congress. If it was a “ticking bomb” scenarios where he needed to wiretap first and ask Congress later, he could have even done that.

But it seems abundantly clear that had this not been leaked, Bush would have never said a word about it. Congratulations, Congress, you’re George W. Bush’s prison bitch.

It’s not nation building if you just redefine it as “liberation”. It’s not torture if you just redefine it as “stress positions and interrogation techniques not approaching the pain equivalent to organ failure”. The people you declare war on and subsequently capture are not prisoners of war if you just redefine it them as “enemy combatants”. It’s not negligently shooting someone in the face if you just redefine it as “an accidental peppering”.

Let’s just save 535 prominent Americans a lot of trouble and save K Street lobbyists a lot of money and just abolish Congress already. It’s not like anyone really needs it anymore.

(Hat tip to AMERICAblog)

Previous post

Who's Playing Doctor?

Next post

Firedoglake: CSI