Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Intelligence committee punts

Details are still dribbling out right now, but the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (insiders pronounce it "sucky") had decided not to investigate the warrantless wiretapping. I'm basing everything I write on a quick blurb on CNN, hoping to get more information soon.

There will be a new subcommittee dedicated to oversight of the program and the committee will push for legislation that would ratify this power-grab, requiring re-authorization ever 45 days and sunsetting after 5 years. Senators Roberts, DeWine, Hagel and Snowe backed this measure, the latter three were considered the swing votes. Senator Rockefeller is reportedly unhappy about it, but I'm waiting to hear from his office. I'm also hoping to talk some SSCI staff about the details.

We can be glad that Roberts gave some ground, but it remains to be seen how much ground, if any, was given.

Furthermore, this entirely skirts the central issue, that the President seized this power without any oversight. We needed hearings to satisfy the public that the system was fair, legal and effective. Ratifying the program without that investigation seems to put the cart before the horse.