Today Senator Arlen Specter, chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, will propose a measure that will grant amnesty and will legalize the activities that the Bush administration already says is legal. If the process is legal, as the Bush administration claims, then why should the committee grant amnesty to anyone?
NY Times has an op-ed:
“On Monday, the Bush administration told a judge in Detroit that the president’s warrantless domestic spying is legal and constitutional, but refused to say why. The judge should just take his word for it, the lawyer said, because merely talking about it would endanger America. Today, Senator Arlen Specter wants his Judiciary Committee to take an even more outlandish leap of faith for an administration that has shown it does not deserve it.
Mr. Specter wants the committee to approve a bill he drafted that tinkers dangerously with the rules on wiretapping, even though the president has said the law doesn’t apply to him anyway, and even though Mr. Specter and most of the panel are just as much in the dark as that judge in Detroit. The bill could well diminish the power of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, known as FISA, which was passed in 1978 to prevent just the sort of abuse that Mr. Bush’s program represents.”
Just to make matters more confusing, Senator Specter denies that he wishes to grant amnesty to the Bush Administration. He wishes us to believe that the Washington Post broke the story on a whim. Fortunately Glenn Greenwald of Unclaimed Territory and the author of the new book, How Should a Patriot Act?, has gotten a copy of the proposed legislation. (He has allowed me to post it here.)
Senator Specter seems to stand strong and tall on Monday but then seems to whither under the pressure of the Bush administration. By Friday, he is cowering in the corner like Roberto Duran, yelling, “no mas.”
By the way, I discussed the NSA spying program and electronic privacy on my radio show with Peter Swire from the Center for American Progress, two weeks ago. National Public Radio’s Morning Edition got around to talking with Peter Swire this week.