Last night we were slapped with this very disturbing piece of news:
The government has abruptly ended an inquiry into the warrantless eavesdropping program because the National Security Agency refused to grant Justice Department lawyers the necessary security clearance to probe the matter.
The Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility, or OPR, sent a fax to Rep. Maurice Hinchey , D-N.Y., on Wednesday saying they were closing their inquiry because without clearance their lawyers cannot examine Justice lawyers' role in the program.
This was a jaw dropper. So an agency who has admitted to illegal activity can ward off any investigation by not giving security clearance to the DOJ. "Gee officer I do have marijuana in that brief case but you don't have the security clearance to look in it so I am free to go." Imagine if our entire justice system worked like that. We would definitely cure our problems of over-crowded jails. Hell we could close down most of them if we operated in this typical GOP justice mind set.
Well after fuming over that piece of crap news, I wake up to find this:
The National Security Agency has been secretly collecting the phone call records of tens of millions of Americans, using data provided by AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth, people with direct knowledge of the arrangement told USA TODAY.
The NSA program reaches into homes and businesses across the nation by amassing information about the calls of ordinary Americans - most of whom aren't suspected of any crime. This program does not involve the NSA listening to or recording conversations. But the spy agency is using the data to analyze calling patterns in an effort to detect terrorist activity, sources said in separate interviews.
TENS OF MILLIONS!!!! The means that out of the people that read this blog, there are certain a number who have had their calls collected by the NSA (and I am sure they have done mine - after all I am a liberal blogger). This also means we are all experiencing a violation of our rights as we speak (type or read).
So what is being done about this? Well here are a couple things. First it looks like Arlen Specter wants to continue investigating:
A Republican senator says it's time to "find out exactly what is going on." A Democrat senator is asking, "Where does it stop?"
The furor on Capitol Hill is over a U-S-A Today report that three big phone companies have turned over the records of tens of (m) millions of calls to the National Security Agency, as part of a government effort to compile a complete database of phone calls.
Chairman Arlen Specter says he wants A-T-and-T, Verizon and BellSouth to appear before his Senate Judiciary panel to explain.
The ranking Democrat on the committee, Patrick Leahy, says he's angry that Congress will, in his words, "rubber stamp" anything done by the Bush administration.
OK that could be good but we know how Specter investigates. He will bring them in and not put them under oath so they can lie all they want without repercussion. What we really need is a joint Congressional investigation coupled with an investigation by the DOJ and FBI into this. This is a massive undertaking and must be done within the confines of our legal system. If they do not then they might as well go to the National Archives, take out the original Constitution (hell and the Declaration of Independence) and burn them. This is not a case of protecting a President - it is a case of protecting a nation.
The Democrats in Congress are also moving forward with another route that might be a little more viable than Specter's, but a little slower:
Seventy two members of Congress filed papers late Wednesday seeking to end President George W. Bush's warrantless NSA eavesdropping program, RAW STORY has learned.
The filing came just before a report Thursday in USA Today which revealed that the National Security Agency's warrantless wiretapping program had collected call records on tens of millions of Americans through agreements with AT&T, Verizon and BellSouth.
Raw Story has the full list of the 71 Democrats and one Independent who have signed on to this lawsuit and everyone of them should be thanked for standing up for America. This is no longer about politics, it is about the history and meaning of the United States of America. Everyone being charged in this should also be charged with crimes against the Constitution and this means everyone from the President on down.