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Err ... About that Specter-Bush Eavesdropping Deal…

Posted on Jul 13, 2006

Looks like we were a little too hasty on this one. We had blogged that Sen. Arlen Specter had introduced a bill that would require Bush to get court approval for his NSA wiretapping programs.

  • Turns out that’s not the case. Specter’s bill would merely give Bush the option of bringing his program before a court—which Bush should have done in the first place. Think Progress and AMERICAblog have the details.



    1. So Specter’s “landmark” legislation will give Bush the ability to do what he can already do under current law - go to the FISA court so that they can decide whether Bush’s domestic spying is legal. So that “breakthrough” is irrelevant.

    2. And just as important, the legislation will not force Bush to submit his domestic spying to the courts, as the article leads you to think, it only give Bush the option of going to court, if he wants. And why in heaven’s name would Bush “want” to do that? That’s a bit like repealing the murder statutes and replacing them with legislation that makes murder legal unless the murderers choose to turn themselves in.

    Think Progress:

    This compromise is a sham because it makes optional what Bush is already required to do. Under the FISA law, the administration can wiretap persons inside the U.S. But it is required to demonstrate that the targets are agents of a foreign power, like al Qaeda or their affiliates.

    Sen. Patrick Leahy accurately characterized what Bush is agreeing to: ?[Bush is] saying, if you do every single thing I tell you to do, I?ll do what I should have done anyway.? The Specter bill makes it optional for Bush to follow the law, while rewarding him for illegal conduct.


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    By felicity smith, July 14, 2006 at 2:03 pm Link to this comment
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    Typical Specter. The guy’s all smoke and mirrors. His performance chairing a Senate committee recently revealed the real Specter, slime and all.  Attorney General Gonzales was before the committee to answer questions about government spying and as is usually case someone in that position is sworn in first.  Specter did a Rumplestilskin act, said no, and that was the end of it.  One would think that an officer of the court and the biggest muckamuck lawyer in the country would be sworn in as a matter of course. The result? The Gonzales testimony was a sham - or is that scam.

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