Today the Senate will do more to eviscerate fourth amendment privacy protections for American citizens than President Bush ever did during his almost 8 years as this country’s sorriest president. One of the lasting legacies of Watergate is that it is not so much the crime that gets you as the cover-up. The Senate is about to help Bush cover-up impeachable offenses.
If there is to be no impeachment this year, what is needed is a ‘truth and reconciliation” commission appointed by the next administration to learn abut the crimes that Bush has committed in furtherance of his neocon coup against the constitution. With today’s vote, that will never happen.
The Senate is about to pass FISA legislation today that will allow the Bush Administration to cover-up about 30 wiretapping felonies against the American people. The legislation will give telecom giants blanket immunity for helping the NSA break the law and spy on millions of ordinary Americans. The Senate is helping in the coverup of telecom’s breaking the law in concert with the Bush Administration. Let me put this another way, the Senate is about to be complicit in a crime.
It is totally expected that John McCain would support telecom immunity. His campaign has been led by ATT and Verizon lobbyists who, were lobbying Congress on the telecom’s behalf while riding the Straight Talk Express. Obama’s critique of McCain’s lobbyist-centered campaign here is on point. All the more reason to be disappointed by Obama’s scheduled vote today for the bill, which he calls a “compromise.” What I wonder is how did the telecoms get to him?
Rachel Maddow’s suggestion yesterday on Countdown that an exception be designed to allow warrantless spying on overseas-to-overseas communications that happen to cross US switching stations, seems to be the sort of reform that would maintain the integrity of the fourth amendment, hold telecom’s accountable, and allow the courts to delve further into Bush administration crimes even after the president leaves office.
Instead, the bill will prevent Courts from ruling on the legality of the telecom’s assistance in warrantless surveillance. Such court stripping is yet another example of this administration’s total disregard for separation of powers. The Senate’s appeasement on core oversight responsibilities here is Chamberlainesque.