Sunday, March 2, 2008

More FISA Fun

Over at Hullabaloo, dday gets to the meat of this FISA madness:
That's all this is about. The telecoms don't want the amnesty. The overriding goal is to shut down these lawsuits and, most important, eliminate the discovery phase so that the full extent of Administration lawbreaking is permanently hidden. This is about burying the evidence, as every single action by the White House since the Democratic takeover of Congress has been. Bush may have a soft spot in his heart for his corporate buddies, but he's really not interested in indemnifying them. He's interested in immunity for himself.

I read that and instantly knew he’s right.

As dday notes, the telecoms aren’t showering the Republicans with campaign contributions, despite the GOPs Herculean efforts on their behalf. A lot of us assumed this FISA battle over telecom immunity was another case of the GOP sucking up to their corporate cronies, but if the telecoms aren't showing them any love, why bother?

Meanwhile President Bush told some whoppers at his Thursday press conference:

[...]Bush said that, "Allowing these lawsuits (against telecom companies) to proceed could make it harder to track the terrorists because private companies besieged by and fearful of lawsuits would be less willing to help us quickly get the information we need." This, from the administration that had a report titled, "Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States" in it hands Aug. 6, 2001, and did either nothing or not enough. Regardless, according to the AP, telecoms would have to cooperate with the government if provided with a FISA court order.

Of course they would. Saying telecom immunity is needed to protect Americans from scary terrorists is just a bald-faced lie.

But did the President let a kernel of truth slip into his presser? Quoting Glenn Greenwald, dday thinks yes:

"Allowing the lawsuits to proceed could aid our enemies, because the litigation process could lead to the disclosure of information about how we conduct surveillance."

Ahh .. indeed. Not just how, but who.

Most of us on the left have long believed that these warrantless wiretaps on American citizens have had little to do with terrorism, and everything to do with politics, power and an abuse of presidential authority of Nixonian proportions.

Since our news media has gone from being intrepid investigators to neutered stenographers, we can’t count on any revelations from the Fourth Estate. Instead, we’ll have to count on the discovery phase of these lawsuits to shed some light on what this Administration has been doing. Granting the telecoms immunity for their wrongdoing will quash these lawsuits and elimninate any chance of learning about Administration malfeasance in a court of law.

If the Democratics blow this out of fear of “looking weak” or, even worse, a fear of blowing the November election, they will have blown a much bigger chance to cut out a cancer that took over our government in 2000.

You might drop Speaker Nancy Pelosi a line and let her know what you think.