Sunday, February 24, 2008

Intel Hurt W/O Telecom Immunity?

WH sez "Um, No."

White House Backtracks On Claims...:

A day after warning that potentially critical terrorism intelligence was being lost because Congress had not finished work on a controversial espionage law, the U.S. attorney general and the national intelligence director said Saturday that the government was receiving the information -- at least temporarily.
"Temporarily" is a White House weasel word if I ever heard one.

FISA has served this country well for 30 years. The only true weakness in FISA lies with those who administer the programs and those who read the results. Bush doesn't want us to focus on that. Their failure to anticipate and stop the 9/11 attacks had nothing to do with our intelligence services being handcuffed by faulty legislation. This failure occurred, as we have learned from the August 6, 2001, President's Daily Briefing Memo to Sibel Edmonds, because the Bush administration wasn't listening!

I'll keep screaming it until I'm blue in the face (not a pretty sight): Retroactive telecom immunity has nothing to do with improving US intelligence capabilities. Under the current program, the telecoms have no choice but to comply with lawful requests. The FISA courts allow our intelligence services enough latitude to avoid constraining
in any way needed surveillance. Saturday's WH statement confirms this point. They simply want us to believe otherwise.

To that end lil' Georgie caps off his month-long super-tantrum with a "We're all gonna die 'cos there ain't no retra 'munity" rant. Mukasey & McConnell's Friday night letter to Congress was naught but a great gnashing of teeth. Bush put the GOP Reps up to their silly kabuki theatre House walk out stunt. The House GOP release a scary web ad too.

This renewed bonding between this most unpopular of Republican Presidents and GOP Representatives (during an election year no less) isn't about national security. There would be no need for retroactive immunity if both our government and the telecoms hadn't broken the law. Telecoms would not fear liability from class action lawsuits from those citizens whose Constitutionally guaranteed civil rights they violated.

This is pragmatic politics for our new age. Retroactive immunity for their telecom campaign contributors is immunity for the Bush administration. Retroactive immunity for the Bush administration immunizes the Republican Party from further damage caused by full disclosure of this illegal wiretapping program's extent. Like tomato juice and the skunk-sprayed cat, immunity would clear up much of the stink but still leave you with ugly looking animal.

Retroactive immunity is a win-win-win strategy for the GOP. It's a losing proposition for the Constitution, the American people and all that we hold dear. Please take the time right now to write or call your Representative to let them know you support the continued efforts to keep retroactive telecom immunity out of the intelligence bill.

It's the American thing to do.