The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Monday, July 24, 2006

Arlen Specter defends the indefensible

When Arlen Specter boasted of his 'compromise' with the White House on warrantless wiretapping of Americans, most media outlets lazily concurred, failing to note that Specter had defanged congressional and judicial oversight of the executive branch.

Today, the WaPo features an op-ed by Specter in which he continues to brag about the compromise. But as Glenn Greenwald notes, the "compromise" seems to have involved Specter saying "you can do whatever you want, just pretend I stood up to you."

With the Specter legislation, Bush has not agreed to allow the FISA court, or any other court, to adjudicate the legality of his eavesdropping program (meaning whether he has been violating the law for the last five years by ordering warrantless eavesdropping). To the contrary, the Specter bill would all but kill pending litigations around the country which allege that the President acted criminally by violating FISA. Nor would the Specter bill require the President to submit eavesdropping requests to courts for approval. To the contrary, the bill expressly allows the President to eavesdrop on Americans with no judicial oversight.