Senate Republicans Affirm Their Lap-Dog Status

Only days after NSA whistleblower Russell Tice alleged that “some of those secret ‘black world’ operations run by the NSA were operated in ways that he believes violated the law,” Senate Republicans proved where their loyalties actually lie. You may recall that last week Karl Rove threatened to “black list” any Republican who went against Bush in the wiretapping scandal. What does black list mean? Well, effectively it was a guarantee that in the best case the administration would cut off all support in the 2006 mid-term elections, worse case – well, think Pat Toomey.

But hey, our Senators care more about the Citizens they serve and their constitutional rights than about some Soviet era party loyalty right? As recently as last Wednesday it appeared that several Republicans, including New Mexico Representative Heather Wilson, whose House committee oversees the National Security Agency, was poised to break ranks when she publicly called for an inquiry into the warrantless domestic spying scandal.

Maybe they do care more about the country than their party loyalty right? Not so fast. It would appear that Mr. Rove’s threat scared the crap out of already embattled Republicans, so much so that they killed the idea of a probe into the wiretapping scandal. What was their public excuse (read spin) on why they changed their minds?

After the meeting, Chairman Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) told reporters: “The administration is now committed to legislation and has agreed to brief more intelligence committee members on the nature of the surveillance program. The details of this agreement will take some time to work out.”

Ah yes, that’s right, since the administration is now willing, three years after having broken the law, to consider changing the law, the Republicans are ok with it. But wait…hasn’t the administration been saying all along that they did not need legislation to make this legal? According to a January 26, 2006 article at Bush believed the program to be legal.

“There’s no doubt in my mind it is legal…”

He said Congress doesn’t need to pass a law giving him authority to conduct such operations; the administration argues that the program is already legal under the Constitution and that Congress gave Bush the power to order such actions in a congressional resolution passed after the Sept. 11 attacks. The American people will understand that rationale, he said, and Congress will continue to be briefed on aspects of the program.

So help me out here, if the program is already legal then why would the President agreeing to make it, um, legal, matter? Since when has a criminal been able to rewrite the law to make their crime legal? And am I the only person that is competely freaked out by this?

My wife asked me this morning, after reading that the Senate decided to back down, what we could do about it as citizens. Sadly, short of armed rebellion (which I am in no way advocating Mr. NSA wiretapping spook) I don’t see what we can do. Even though according to a recent Zogby poll a majority of American’s favor impeaching the President over this issue,

By a margin of 52% to 43%, Americans want Congress to consider impeaching President Bush if he wiretapped American citizens without a judge’s approval.

…it would seem that getting reelected is more important than serving the citizens of this country. Sick.

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