The Senate Judiciary Committee, acting under bipartisan authorization, yesterday subpoenaed the White House, the Justice Department and Vice President Dick Cheney for records on the administration’s controversial warrantless surveillance program.
Not breaking news, but a few things caught my attention. For one a few Republicans actually took action rather then issuing the usual patented boiler plate about their grave concerns,
Senate Judiciary members authorized the subpoenas last week on a 13-3 vote, with ranking member Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) backing Leahy. The chairman urged the White House that it should not view the investigation as driven by partisanship.
“We’re aware of the committee’s action and will respond appropriately,” White House spokesman Tony Fratto said. “It’s unfortunate that congressional Democrats continue to choose the route of confrontation.”
When you’re eight years old you tend to start snickering about half way through while saying something this absurd. If the Whitehouse had some modicum of respect for the law and the people’s representatives “confrontation” wouldn’t be necessary. If the Whitehouse honestly feels no shame in their Stalin-like appraoch to governance and secrecy that suggests some degree of sociopathetic dysfunction. Kagro X lays out the possible immediate outcomes of the subpoenas,
1. Move to hold the targets of the subpoenas in statutory contempt of Congress
2. Move to hold the targets in inherent contempt of Congress
3. Extend the deadline for compliance and make threats regarding either #1 or #2 above
4. Come to some negotiated settlement with the “administration” — i.e., closed door, no transcript testimony, limited document release, etc.
The somewhat bi-partisan nature of the subpoena signals that the Senate is ready to play some hardball. If the Whitehouse has the same impression we might be spared the usual legal wrangling that has marked Bush and Cheney’s attitude since they refused to testify under oath to the 9-11 Commission – Bush, Cheney meet with 9/11 panel
But the administration initially opposed the creation of the commission. The White House relented amid pressure from some 9/11 family members and it later backed down from its opposition to an extension of time for the commission.
The commission now has until July 26 to finalize its report, but that report may not be released publicly at that time, pending a security review by the White House.
Bush and Cheney did not testify before the panel — they were not under oath and there was to be no recording made of the session nor a stenographer in the room.
That was when we had a Republican Congress. Two years is ancient history and most people have either forgotten about this extraordinary contempt Bush and Cheney showed to a public that was anxious to learn the unvarnished truth about 9-11, but to the genuflecting Right it was just business as usual and how nice of Bush and Cheney to even take time to be questioned. I wonder why Cheney even showed up since he’s not a member of the executive.
Glenn Greenwald in his commentary on this story from the NYT,How did the Bush administration use its secret eavesdropping powers?
To his credit, Shane did raise the other towering, still unresolved question — namely, what exactly was the administration doing that prompted John Ashcroft, James Comey and others to conclude that the President was breaking the law and threaten to resign over it? Given that such behavior — whatever it was — was unquestionably illegal even under the view of the President’s own DOJ, and given that this program, at least allegedly, was abandoned more than three years ago, there is no conceivable basis for continuing to conceal from Americans what our government was doing back then. Yet there is very little impetus to find out.
And this lack of impetus will continue to plague us as long as this notion persits, bolstered today by Shane’s article, that there is reason to believe that the Bush administration only used its illegal powers against the Terrorists, not with any improper motives or for improper purposes. The point is that we ought not have to assume or speculate about that matter. We ought to know, and Congress ought to force the administration to disclose this.
This is a running motif of the Bushites – believe us when we say that what we do is legal and for your own good. Then on the other hand refuse to cooperate with investigations, refuse to comply with their own executive orders, refuse to offer testimony under oath while swearing they have nothing to hide.
Caught on tape, Cheney “It’s really a function of the last 50 years or so that the vice president’s become an important part of the executive branch.”
If there are legitimate Constitutional questions here (I don’t think there are) then Dick needs to make up his mind which branch of government he belongs to and stick with it rather then waffling back and and forth. That’s what, you know someone with any integrity would do.
Olbermann went on to joke that the attempt to pin down Cheney’s real nature is starting to sound like a game of 20 Questions. Turley laughed and said, “The position adopted by Mr. Addington and Mr. Cheney, to put it bluntly, was absurd. … In past administrations, if someone like Mr. Addington made such a moronic argument as this one, they would be out of a job the next week. … I think that what it really shows is the lack of sort of adult supervision within the administration.”
“A large part of the public sentiment was my own, … They saw an absurd quality, a mendacious quality in many of our political leaders and business leaders.” – Joseph Heller
George and Dick packed and leaving 2008.