Very little has been revealed in regard to the domestic spying issue. I certainly understand the concern for secrecy, especially when it involves following the trail of terrorists. However, given what we know so far, it’s quite apparent that President Bush has deliberately curtailed our current FISA laws for no apparent legal reason.
I cannot understand how we are somehow able to catch terrorists more effectively by not obtaining a proper FISA warrant, even when that warrant could be granted up to 72 hours after the initial wiretap. As of yet this president and Sen. Pat Roberts have not explained this discrepancy well at all. Our Congress has made it quite clear that warrantless wiretapping is illegal, yet it appears this is exactly what is occurring.
There is a sincere concern about this program that is shared on both sides of the aisle. To his credit, Sen. Sam Brownback, one of Bush’s biggest supporters, has voiced such concern. The bottom line here is no one understands how this domestic spying program functions, and no one understands how our administration somehow separates terrorists from law-abiding citizens in deciding whom to wiretap.
The only solution I see to quell any public and congressional fears is to have bipartisan hearings. That way Congress can fully understand if any laws have been broken, and whether or not any reform to those laws is mandated. For Sen. Roberts to block such a process is a means of obstruction that is both suspect and inappropriate.
Well put, Mark.
And Mike at rereason posts a sample letter.
Update: Steal Tom Daschle’s words:
In their wisdom, the Founders did not give outright power on these critical matters of war and peace to any one branch of government. Instead, they left it up to the elected political leaders to debate and struggle over these questions in the hopes that such debate would be the surest way to end up with sound policy.
By refusing to even cooperate with the Senate Judiciary Committee efforts to oversee the legality of the NSA program, the Administration is ignoring the Founders’ sound advice. By refusing to allow the Senate Intelligence Committee to look into the NSA program, Chairman Roberts is doing the same.
It isn’t about what policy is best, it’s about the Constitutional system. The policy comes next.