Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Alberto Must Go, Our Nations Security Is At Stake

When I started cycling through the intertubes today I kept noticing a story which caused me no little ire. Congress was on the verge of compromise with the White House on a fix of the FISA law.

My initial reaction was something along the lines of... "There go those spineless Democrats again! Compromising with a scofflaw President over the very laws which he has violated time and again... Man this sticks in my craw!!!" Well... my mind has been changed.

Newsweek is breaking a huge story on exactly why it is that we are suddenly seeing a rush to amend the FISA law in Congress.

Newsweek partly relies upon an interview with John Boehner on Fox News in which Boehner says:
"There's been a ruling, over the last four or five months, that prohibits the ability of our intelligence services and our counterintelligence people from listening in to two terrorists in other parts of the world where the communication could come through the United States,"
Can you imagine the uproar if Nancy Pelosi or John Murtha had been the ones to disclose this detail in the media? They would probably be frogmarched out of the capitol hill offices for disclosing a classified program. At the very least I'm certain the Boehner and his comrades would be howling to the moon about it. But I digress!

Newsweek does some research and basically is reporting that the FISA judge has ruled that international calls which are routed through the United States may not be tapped without a warrant. So if Osama is calling up Kim Jong II, and the call gets routed through a hub in Seattle, that call may not be intercepted without a FISA warrant.

You may be able to detect a bit of a bias in my tone on this particular issue, and I would have to admit your perception is right. These taps would be on calls which do not involve an American citizen. I think traditional civil liberties extended by the constitution do not fit this scenario. I would favor oversight of the program by Congress, and want to be able to hold confidence in those running the program, which presents an issue right now... but the overall point of Americans being able to spy on foreign enemies without warrants makes sense to me, much to the surprise of many who read this blog on a regular basis I'm sure.

Democratic Congressional leadership sees a problem with the ruling as well, and that is why they are trying to work out a legislative fix it. But the willingness of the White House to work with Congress over what both sides agree is a hole that needs patched is the fact that the White House is insisting that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales be the administration overseer of the program.

So if everyone agrees that there is a problem which needs to be fixed, just how is it that the Administration would insist that Gonzales be the front man on the project. Gonzales is disgraced, widely distrusted, vilified, and obviously has no credibility with Congress. Why would the administration insist on having this program hinge on Congress accepting Gonzales?

It's like they are trying to torpedo this compromise. Forcing acceptance of Gonzales is a poison pill. As much as I think the FISA law needs a patch, I think it is even more important that our basic rule of law be respected. Gonzales is simply an abomination on our system and I find his continued role in government highly offensive.

I might be cynical beyond all reason, but I can just imagine a terrorist attack happening in the states and the Republican leadership howling and griping about how the Democrats refused to fix the law in order to protect America. Frankly, I can not even imagine the height of perversity it would demonstrate if this is actually the logic in use by the White House and Congressional Republican leadership.

Gonzales must be impeached. Forthwith. Immediately. I can see giving oversight of this program to the attorney general if that person demonstrates the simplest modicum of acceptability in his job. Gonzales does not pass that test, and that is an actual danger to the nation at this point.

Frankly... at this point anyone with a shred of patriotism in them should call for the A/G to resign. Even if you think he is fantastic and a great example for all future A/G's... using him to hold up an issue which may directly affect national security is simply not acceptable. He should be prevailed upon, simply out of any sense of decency he may have left... simply in an appeal to any remnant of patriotism he may still have or sense of duty for the nation... for the good of us all, he needs to resign.

Welcome Crooks and Liars viewers. I bashed this post out in a rage so some of the syntax might be a bit hard to get through. But thanks for coming!
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