Re-Post: Specter’s “deal” with Bush

In Culture of Corruption, International politics, Laws & Regulation, Terrorism, US Politics on July 14, 2006 at 12:25 pm

Courtesy of AmericaBlog:

As I recall, the initial “deal” Specter was offering – the deal that Bush refused to accept – would have retroactively made legal all the quite-likely-illegal domestic spying Bush already has conducted. If that deal wasn’t acceptable to Bush, I’d really like to know what Specter gave away this time to get the latest deal?

Not to mention, the media could really use a bit more nuance in their headlines (and stories). The AP story headline and first paragraph give you the idea that Specter’s legislation will force Bush to submit his domestic eavesdropping programs to a court of law.

Not so.

Buried way down in the story you find the following:

Gonzales said the bill gives Bush the option of submitting the NSA program to the intelligence court, rather than requiring the review.

Two points:

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.

3. The story reports that Bush promised Specter he’ll go the court anyway, so long as the legislation doesn’t change between now and the time it passes the Congress, which is incredibly unlikely – not to mention, since when do the president and one Senator get to decide the details of an entire piece of legislation, no amendments allowed? Especially legislation this important?

  1. […] Deservedly so, the Washington Post railed against Sen Arlen Specter’s proposal to retroactively legitimize the NSA warrentless, domestic surveillance program, which you read about here yesterday. WaPo’s editorial board slams Specter and his proposal as follows: […]

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