Sunday, February 05, 2006

Republican Senator Believes Secret NSA Spying Broke the Law

Arlen Specter (R-PA), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has used some strong language to criticize the illegal warrantless spying program. He called the Bush administration's justifications "strained" and "unrealistic", and he apparently believes the administration has violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which clearly requires that warrants be obtained. Here's a link that cites Specter's remarks:

Still not sure how this is not a blockbuster story. We have an administration that has admitted to spying on Americans without following legal procedures that require court approval of a warrant. Even members of the president's party think the warrantless surveillance (which is ongoing, by the way!) is illegal. Does it matter if the president has broken the law, and has defiantly pledged to continue breaking the law?

Not yet. But the Judiciary Committee begins hearings tomorrow on this matter. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales will be the first witness. Look for him to try to distract the committee by bringing up red herrings. Hopefully the committee will focus on the specific question of whether the administration broke the law. If Republicans have the courage to find what is obvious, that the secret warrantless spying was illegal, it is to be hoped they will also find the courage to hold the administration accountable. That is probably wishful thinking, but it shouldn't be. In this country, no one is supposed to be above the law.