Entry for February 20, 2006

The above picture,  Portland’s KATU TV,  is of  U.S. District Judge Judge James Robertson, who resigned from the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance) ccourt  to protest President Bush’s secret authorization of  domestic spying.

On February 16,   ranking member Jay Rockefeller  (D-WV) issued a press release, that  Senate Intelligence Committee  Chairman Pat Roberts  (R-KS) had used procedural rules to block a vote on Rockefeller’s proposal  that the Committee investigate the NSA warrantless surveillance program .

Accusing the committee of abdicating its responsibility, Rockefeller noted,

For four years, the Administration has kept the existence of the President’s warrantless surveillance program from the full committee.  Since the program’s disclosure two months ago, the Administration has continued to withhold essential details about the program’s legality, scope, and application that they are required to provide the committee…. 

It is apparent to me that the White House has applied heavy pressure in recent weeks to prevent the committee from doing its job.  Although some members of this committee indicate they need more time to decide on what action to take, I believe this is another stalling tactic....  

For the past three years, the Senate intelligence committee has avoided carrying out its oversight of our nation’s intelligence programs whenever the White House becomes uncomfortable with the questions being asked.   

The very independence of this committee is called into question as we are continually prevented from having a full accounting of pre-war intelligence on Iraq, the CIA’s detention, interrogation, and rendition program, and, now, the NSA’s warrantless surveillance and eavesdropping program.

If we are prevented from fully understanding and evaluating the NSA program, our committee will continue its slide into irrelevance.

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