05 January 2006

Congressional Oversight: next on BushCo's "quaint" list

Following Bush's statement that he not only ordered the warrantless surveillance of American citizens in direct contravention of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, but will continue to do so, the outcry for hearings into the matter was immediate, even from members of his own party, such as Arlen Specter. When the press corps asked White House Minister of Information Spokesman, Scott McClellan, about administration participation, the answer was much as you'd expect from a ruling junta:
Q: And my question is, does the White House take this into account, will it try to talk to them, will it participate in the hearings?

MR. McCLELLAN: Like I said, and the President has said we’ve briefed members of Congress on more than a dozen occasions.

Q: But that’s not what they’re talking about.

MR. McCLELLAN: And in terms of discussions about this, the President talked about this at his end-of-the-year news conference. We shouldn’t be talking about intelligence activities, particularly in a time of war, in a public way. This is a highly classified authorization –

Q: Not anymore. I mean, it’s public now.

MR. McCLELLAN: No, it still is. It still is highly classified. The President has talked in a very limited way about the nature of this authorization and what it’s designed to do, and how it’s limited. And so we will continue to talk with members of Congress —

Q: Will you cooperate with a congressional hearing?

MR. McCLELLAN: — the Attorney General has been talking to additional members of Congress about this authorization, so that they do understand why this tool is so vital in our efforts to prevail in the global war on terrorism.

Q: But will you cooperate with a hearing?

MR. McCLELLAN: Well, I’m not going to get into talking about ruling things in or out from this podium. We’ll talk with members of Congress and make sure that they’re briefed and kept informed, as we have been.

They contend that what they did is perfectly legal, but stonewall any notion of participating in an investigation to see if those assurances actually have any validity, whatsoever. Inquiries into his illegal conduct elicit attacks (for "endangering the country," no less) against those who exposed him and declarations that this is something that "shouldn't be talked about." It really tells you all you need to know about El Presidente and his clear contempt for the other branches of the government. There are no coequal powers in BushCo's "America," only his own arrogant will, and whatever justification he manufactures when the aforementioned will just happens to conflict with the Constitution or other laws of the land.

Hope the NYT editors who sat on this until after the 2004 elections are feeling good about their decision.

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