Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Durbin: Hearings Needed On Warrantless Surveillance

Echoing the words of Senate colleagues, Sen. Dick Durbin said Sunday that he would consider a motion to censure President Bush for authorizing warrantless surveillance, but only after a proper Senate inquiry into the program.

Speaking on Fox News Sunday, Durbin (D-IL) said the March 13 censure resolution from Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) was "valuable ... (as) a catalyst to have the kind of hearings and the kind of deliberations as to what lies behind this warrantless wiretap situation."

"I can't rule anything out until the investigation is complete. I don't want to prejudge it," said Durbin, the Senate's No. 2 Democrat. "But if this president or any president violates the law, he has to be held accountable."

Durbin called inquiries by the Republican-controlled Senate inadequate. Like many Democrats, he was unsatisfied after the Senate Intelligence Committee voted along party lines two weeks ago against such an investigation. Instead, Congressional Republicans cut a deal with the White House to provide Congressional oversight for warrantless surveillance.

"We have a responsibility to ask the hard questions, to find out what the nature of the program is and whether the president violated the law," Durbin said.

***

JABBS has argued in favor of the censure -- and believes Americans of all political stripes should stand up in favor of a president following the law. Unfortunately, support for the censure has been minimal, with only Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) signing on to the measure.

As JABBS has noted, the White House claimed it had "inherent authority" to conduct such surveillance, then undercut that argument by supporting legislation from Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH) to "further codify" (read: legalize) the surveillance program.

Republicans have clearly come out against further investigation of the program. As DeWine said, "We don’t want to have any kind of debate about whether it’s constitutional or not constitutional."

Americans deserve better. And if that means taking a circuitous route to investigate a seemingly illegal program, so be it. Feingold's censure motion is unlikely to pass, but it hopefully will force the Republican-controlled Senate to do the right thing, and thoroughly investigate the program.

11 Comments:

Anonymous Gen. Patton said...

Dick (Turbin) Durbin. The jerk who compared our military prisons to Nazi death camps. I wouldn't listen to anyting this bum had to say. He should be run out of Congress and shackled to the hull of a Navy destroyer until the War on Terror is over.

11:55 AM  
Anonymous Rose Siding said...

The roar from the NYT will *deafening*
"We'd be applauding Mr. Feingold if he'd proposed creating a bipartisan panel to determine whether the domestic spying operation that Mr. Bush has acknowledged violates the 1978 surveillance law, as it certainly seems to do.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/17/opinion/17fri1.html?_...

11:56 AM  
Anonymous rob of wilmington, del. said...

Gen. Patton, Durbin never compared Guantanamo to a Nazi death camp. You can keep spouting that falsehood, parroting Michael Savage or Sean Hannity, but it just isn't true. You have to intentionally misinterpret what Durbin said to come to that nasty conclusion.

How about thinking for yourself?

11:57 AM  
Anonymous savemefromdumbya said...

they CAN"T just vote against an investigation - Harry close down Congress

Democrats should be like dogs with a bone! Harry Reid should close Congress until an enquiry is produced!

12:22 PM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

they can

The committee voted not to proceed with an investigation.

Durbin, Leahy, etc., who have said they want an investigation need another avenue -- either another committee, or another reason with the intelligence committee.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous gratuitous said...

And who will call these hearings?

Considering only one party can convene a hearing and only one party can decide whether or not the witnesses are sworn it, who's going to do that?

I like Durbin, and am in favor of his call for hearings. Now, do the necessary follow through and point out that those hearings aren't happening solely due to one thing: A craven, partisan bunch of Republicans for whom party loyalty is more important than the Constitution.

12:22 PM  
Anonymous ladjf said...

I agree, The only possible , but slight, gain from a hearing would be for Americans to see once again what crooks the Republicans are. But, that has already been shown countless times before. Real hearings would have been very productive.

12:23 PM  
Anonymous ladjf said...

Hearings that are under Republican control are pointless exercises in obfuscation.

12:23 PM  
Anonymous alias: "cutiepie" johnson said...

as we saw with the port deal

If enough Americans of all political stripes get upset, and contact their representatives, things happen.

If enough Americans said, "The president shouldn't violate the law." Or "I want to know whether the president violated the law." Or, "I'm against warrantless surveillance." and told their representatives that they won't support them if they don't do something ... then there would be bipartisant hearings on the subject.

DeWine's statement is telling. If this can be swept under the rug and forgotten by November, the Republicans win. Bush wins. And that's wrong. Because the law was clearly violated.

12:26 PM  
Blogger thewaronterrible said...

Durbin is absolutely correct.
Most Democrats are not supporting Feingold's censure motion because, like Durbin, they would like to get more information first, or rather appoint a bipartisan investigation to look further into the warrantless spying program.
It is not because the Dems fear political retaliation - an Republican created conflict adapted by the mainstream media in favor of actually reporting Feingold's stated motivations behind the censure.
But then again, the MSM couldn't decipher the motivations behind a bird flying south for the winter.

Let's take a peek into the future.
History will ultimately look upon Sen. Feingold and Sen. Durbin actions pertaining to Bush warrantless spying the same way it will look upon Sen. Conyers and his Bush impeachment motion.
Instead of history asking: "Why the hell didn't anyone stand up to the Bush Administration atrocities?" History will be able to say, "There was Feingold, Durbin and Conyers."

2:29 PM  
Blogger peter "the sheriff" yoon said...

Amazingly, after years of amoral covert actions, secretive strategies not unrelated to the way communists used to behave, tacit corruption that compromises the very essence of what constitutes a real democracy, manipulated intelligence, a miserably failed foreign policy perpetuated on rank fabrications, the best the Democrats can do is to threaten to give Bush a demerit like it was just a minor high school infraction. Here Mr. President, a slap on the hand for violating the same democratic principles you're strenuously trying to push on the world's unwilling; please, oh pretty please, don't do it again, alright?

Basically, you've got 2 worlds going on simultaneously in America: 1. the extreme primal arena dominated by pro wrestling and football, wild skateboarders risking their lives for a 5-minute rush, and a group of truly courageous soldiers who have, unfortunately, been placed in harm's way trying to accomplish a miracle, collectively comprising American ferocity, and 2. a slavish citizenry sitting on their hands, uninvolved and disinterested for the most part in the decline and fall of one of history's great nations, represented in D.C. by a bunch of jackasses more concerned about their own welfare than the country they represent, so worried about making the wrong moves they are predisposed to not make any siginifacnt moves.

The middle class is rapidly eroding. The war is robbing us blind and for what? Pension funds and other benefits are becoming obsolescent. But this is not the worst of it. The blind look on people's faces as they sit and nod their heads to the nonsense coming out of Washington, as if it has true merit, along with the apathetic response to grave infractions like illicit wiretapping signifies a far more disturbing phenomenon. While those in charge shove that broom up the collective arse of 80% of the rest of us, hardly anybody's making a peep. And when they do, like senator Feingold, they're summarily rejected. Well folks, say your prayers 'cause we're all unwittingly attending the wake of a once great nation that has passed too quickly across the pages of history.

3:15 AM  

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