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The Collective
Sunday, July 9, 2006
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the NYT: Ally Warned Bush on Keeping Spying From Congress

In a sharply worded letter to President Bush in May, an important Congressional ally charged that the administration might have violated the law by failing to inform Congress of some secret intelligence programs and risked losing Republican support on national security matters.

[…]

But Mr. Hoekstra, who was briefed on and supported the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance program and the Treasury Department’s tracking of international banking transactions, clearly was referring to programs that have not been publicly revealed.

As I have noted on several occasions, AG Gonzales clearly intimated in testimony over the NSA wiretap program that there were other secret surveillance programs in existence. Now, that fact alone isn’t necessarily cause for alarm, however, what is concerning is the ongoing pattern that indicates that the Bush administration has attempted to eschew proper, formal oversight of these programs and that Congress has not been sufficiently diligent or aggressive in asserting their constitutional role in such oversight.

One of several reasons that I did not find the NYT revelations about the SWIFT program to be problematic is that the president’s allergy to proper oversight plus the Congress’ lackadaisical attitude towards the concept has led me to think that the only way to light a fire under both is for the press to be more active in this arena.

It is refreshing to see Mr. Hoekstra becoming a tad more assertive, but I have to wonder if that assertiveness will go beyond strongly worded letter.

The key passage of the letter is as follows:

“I have learned of some alleged intelligence community activities about which our committee has not been briefed,” Mr. Hoesktra wrote. “If these allegations are true, they may represent a breach of responsibility by the administration, a violation of the law, and, just as importantly, a direct affront to me and the members of this committee who have so ardently supported efforts to collect information on our enemies.”

He added: “The U.S. Congress simply should not have to play Twenty Questions to get the information that it deserves under our Constitution.”

Indeed.

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Filed under: US Politics, War on Terror | |

5 Comments

  1. […] rs Dr. Steven Taylor has written extensively on the election. His most most recent post is here. Lopez Obrador’s threats of upheval if he doesn’t get his way tops the conduct of the Democr […]

    Pingback by The Bullwinkle Blog » Blog Archive » The Knucklehead of the Day award — Monday, July 10, 2006 @ 6:31 am

  2. The Knucklehead of the Day award

    Today’s winner is Manuel Lopez Obrador.

    Trackback by The Florida Masochist — Monday, July 10, 2006 @ 6:47 am

  3. So, the next time some Congressman gives, say Fidel Castro secret information eh gleaned from being on an oversight committee, we prosecute him with all the power at our disposal? Is that practical?

    Comment by Honza Prchal — Monday, July 10, 2006 @ 8:07 pm

  4. I’ll bite: when did a member of Congress give Fidel Castro sensitive information and what was the ramification?

    And you seem to be operating from the assumption that Congress has no right to know these things-bottom line is: they do have that right.

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Monday, July 10, 2006 @ 8:09 pm

  5. […] rs Dr. Steven Taylor has written extensively on the election. His most most recent post is here. Lopez Obrador’s threats of upheval if he doesn’t get his way tops the conduct of the Democr […]

    Pingback by The Florida Masochist » Blog Archive » The Knucklehead of the Day award — Tuesday, July 25, 2006 @ 7:10 am

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