08 March 2006

Rotted Roots

Senate Republicans on Tuesday agreed to expand
of President George W. Bush's domestic
spying program but rejected Democratic pressure
for a broad inquiry into eavesdropping on U.S.

Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, Republican chairman
of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said
the committee voted to create a new seven-member
subcommittee that would scrutinize the
eavesdropping under a plan approved by the
White House.

. . .

"I believe the president is prepared to sign a bill
once the Congress does work its will," Roberts told
reporters after a closed-door committee meeting.

"When it comes to national security, I prefer
accommodation over confrontation whenever
possible. We should fight the enemy. We should
not fight each other."

Four Senate Republicans, all critics of the program,
proposed a plan that would authorize the National
Security Agency to eavesdrop without a warrant
for 45 days but require the White House to justify
every decision to continue beyond that timeframe.

. . .

But the Republican-controlled intelligence panel
voted down a Democratic proposal for a complete
investigation into the surveillance by the National
Security Agency by the full 15-member intelligence
committee. Democrats complained that they had
been shut out of discussions with the White House
that led to the agreement.

"The committee, to put it bluntly, is basically under
the control of the White House through its
chairman," said a visibly frustrated Sen. John
Rockefeller of West Virginia, ranking Democrat on
the intelligence committee.

Glenn Greenwald:
Nobody who has lived outside of a cave for the
last five years could possibly be surprised by any
of this. One of the reason we are at the point
we're at in our country -- where we have a
President who not only breaks the law but claims
he has the right to do so, while the media barely
finds any of it worthy of much attention -- is
because the Congress has completely abdicated
its responsibilities at the altar of cult-like
obedience to White House decrees. That's just
one of the many rotted roots in our government.