Politicians fail us again

This Washington Post article makes me sad.

Congress appeared ready to launch an investigation into the Bush administration’s warrantless domestic surveillance program last week, but an all-out White House lobbying campaign has dramatically slowed the effort and may kill it, key Republican and Democratic sources said yesterday.

I really expected this, but had thought we might have a few politicians might care about US citizens more than sucking up to the President and serving the party instead of the people.

And in case you think I’m just proposing removal of the current president, I want to point out that there are at least eight other politicians who need to be removed from office:

Before the New York Times disclosed the NSA program in mid-December, administration briefings regarding it were highly secret and limited to eight lawmakers: the top Republican and Democratic leader of the House and Senate, respectively, and the top Republican and Democrat on the House and Senate intelligence committees.

I don’t know who they are, but if none of them thought this insanely bad violation of the law was OK, then none of them deserve to remain in office.

John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), the Senate intelligence committee’s vice chairman, has drafted a motion calling for a wide-ranging inquiry into the surveillance program, according to congressional sources who have seen it. Rockefeller declined to be interviewed yesterday.

Sources close to Rockefeller say he is frustrated by what he sees as heavy-handed White House efforts to dissuade Republicans from supporting his measure. They noted that Cheney conducted a Republicans-only meeting on intelligence matters in the Capitol yesterday.

I agree with Rockefeller.

Senate intelligence committee member Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) said in an interview that he supports the NSA program and would oppose a congressional investigation. He said he is drafting legislation that would “specifically authorize this program” by excluding it from the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which established a secret court to consider government requests for wiretap warrants in anti-terrorist investigations.

What a surprise. He points out that he knows the spying is illegal. But he’s OK with that. Hey, if the President wants the power to legally carry out this spying, changing the law is the right thing to do. I don’t like it, but if the law allows it, I have to focus on fixing what I consider a bad law. Instead, the party line seems to be “Yes, it is illegal, but it is more important that we do this because we think it is right than we follow the law.” And that’s wrong.

In an interview yesterday, Snowe said, “I’m not sure it’s going to be essential or necessary” to conduct an inquiry “if we can address the legislative standpoint” that would provide oversight of the surveillance program. “We’re learning a lot and we’re going to learn more,” she said.

No. First, you change the law, then do the surveillance. Breaking the law, then proposing fixing it after you are caught should lead to removal from office. Then, the next president can benefit from your willingness to go to jail to set up their increased powers. But that won’t happen here.

[tags]NSA, illegal spying, corrupt politicians, impeachment, Bad President[/tags]