Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Just when you think it can't get worse


Yesterday, the Senate Intelligence Committee voted along party lines 8-7 to prevent any hearings on the NSA domestic wiretapping program. Republicans took their orders from the White House and killed any chance to find out who the government has been spying on, for how long and for what purpose. After claiming the FISA law was too old to follow, passed in 1978 and amended repeatedly and even after 9/11, the White House ordered their servants in the Senate to pass another law so they can ignore that one too. And the new one is breathtaking.

The new agreement, between Republicans spying on Americans and those protecting their right to do so, would "reinforce" the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which was created in 1978 to issue special warrants for spying but was sidestepped by the administration. The measure would require the administration to seek a warrant from the court whenever possible. Remember those words, "whenever possible" because you are going to see them a lot more in the bills passed by the Republican Congress for the Republican President to execute "whenever possible." It's like adding the words "in bed" after reading a fortune cookie. You must follow the law - whenever possible.

But wait you say. There still is oversight since if the administration elects not to seek a warrant after 45 days, the attorney general must certify that the surveillance is necessary to protect the country and explain to the subcommittee why the administration has not sought a warrant. The attorney general would be required to give an update to the subcommittee every 45 days. So if they are spying without a warrant and choose not to seek a warrant after 45, sometime after that, perhaps another 45 days, the Republican Attorney General will ask a subcommittee of seven Senators, four Republicans and three Democrats, if they can continue with the warrantless spying. So oversight now for the Bush Administration's NSA spying program is in the hands of four Republicans who already voted to prevent hearings and to loosen the already loose FISA law. Bravo. Well done.

To quote one of the funniest lines in movie history, "could we be worse...could be raining." I think we just heard the thunderclap. And all of us without an umbrella or our privacy rights.

6 Comments:

Blogger Capt. Fogg said...

There's no doubt that we're on the road to fascism. The only question is where the point of no return is.

1:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well said, and to capt. fogg also!

5:12 PM  
Blogger Crankyboy said...

If this stuff were on Monty Python you would laugh at it as farce. Sadly we have to cry through the fact of it rather than the farce of it.

7:21 PM  
Blogger Intellectual Insurgent said...

It seems like we have already passed the point of no return.

11:09 AM  
Blogger Reign of Reason said...

The Young Frankenstein reference would get me laughing if the rest of the post wasn't so depressing.

US Congressmen and Senators: refusing to stand up for the principles enshrined in the constitution... It tells you exactly how corrupt these leaders are...

11:45 AM  
Blogger Birdy said...

Oh theres a return - it's just decades and billions of dollars later. If we're lucky.

11:21 PM  

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