The Roots Project is getting to Roberts
Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts is being watched.Of course there is. Hold public hearing. Investigate seriously and put our fears to rest.
As negotiations continue between the White House and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence over how to handle a once-secret domestic surveillance program, committee chairman Roberts is a key figure in a debate that may determine whether a president can eavesdrop without warrants on Americans as part of a war.
His views put him at odds with nearly all Democrats and a significant number of Republicans, including fellow Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback.
Ross Baker, a politics and intelligence expert at Rutgers University, said Roberts' spirited defense of Bush risks further politicizing debates over intelligence, which once was fairly immune to Washington squabbles.
Roberts acknowledges he's chosen sides -- but he said it's the side of national security.
Roberts' position is intriguing, said Rutgers' Baker, who has advised several Democratic senators and one Republican over three decades.
"Evidently Sen. Roberts has been persuaded there is something there that makes him need to defend the administration," he said.
But the aggressive defense of Bush may also compromise Roberts' committee leadership, Baker said.
"My problem or frustration is that I can't set the record straight," Roberts said.
I think we may try writing letters to Senator Roberts next week. A simple, conciliatory message. He can set the record straight, just be open with the public about the program and its operation.
What other suggestions have people got for next actions?